Tuesday, March 24, 2009

More Pictures and Week in Review

So, first I would like to say that I miss Kate. We talked this evening and caught each other up on most events happening right now, and it's so wonderful to have such a wonderful person in my life. I always feel so refreshed after talking with Kate--because I can vent about anything and know that there's an understanding and sympathetic ear on the other end, and also because she also has interesting and funny stories to tell, and it totally makes my week to hear them! So Kate--thank you for being a wonderful, level-headed, encouraging, smart, and downright funny friend! I appreciate it, and require it at this point! (Side note--Kate and I are twins separated at birth. We have claimed this for years. Today, we both had issues with 3/4 length sleeves being bizarrely tight around our forearms, and both took drastic actions against them. Who could say that? Totally bizarre coincidence--unless it's true, and Jan and Kim are actually the same person...)

Part of what I spent most of our conversation complaining about was my latest task of naming strengths and weaknesses of my new co-worker to my boss tomorrow. Sure, I can come up with the weaknesses--not a problem, believe me--but finding some strengths has been challenging. I'm really summoning the "nice person" inside me to field this one. It's hard, because it's business, and frankly hiring her was not a smart business decision, despite the fact that her salary is already paid for. That is a bold statement, which I can back up in several different ways. But, I realize that one day (in the distant, distant, distant future) I will be going on maternity leave and will have to find someone to do my job while I stay at home. Perhaps this woman is that person, but that means that I have to start training NOW for my absence, which just seems strange. How do you teach someone to use a computer? How do you teach someone to make a phone call when they have a question, instead of asking the person who originally asked them the question? How do you teach someone that doing their job is a more pressing task than finding out which department store has the next Clinique "Gift With Purchase"? (seriously, this happened today.) It will take time, I understand. I am not a robot. But seriously? You really can't take this piece of paper and recreate what's on it in Microsoft Word? But you do understand that it's just typing into a space...and you try to make that space look like that piece of paper? And you've been an Administrative Assistant for 25 years? Oh, 30...30 years. Seriously? I have little to no patience for incompetence or retaliation. And when I ask you not to waste paper by printing things that make no sense and are a complete waste of time, I expect you not to print them. And when you print them 3 times (because you don't know how to feed paper into the printer) and it's still useless nonsense, I am not any more pleased with your lack of progress than I was 15 minutes or 54 pages ago. And I don't want to hear that you "just wanted to print them to show Don what you did" (Reminder: what she did was WASTE 15 MINUTES, 54 PAGES, AND WEAR ON MY NERVES AND PATIENCE). Seriously? I can't help but laugh because every few minutes, I expect Candid Camera to jump out of our filing cabinet. That's the only way it makes sense. Seriously. (NOTE: Since employing this particular person, my use of the word seriously followed by a question mark has increased by 377%. In related news, beer consumption at my residence has increased by 861%, hair loss has increased by 172%, and time Jim spends ignoring my inane stories has increased by a whopping 1439%.)

Happiness still reigns supreme in my world, though, since we are buying our beautiful house. There are still a few obstacles, but mostly everything is falling into place. We had our inspection on Monday, which turned up a few small repairs, but nothing serious enough to be a deal-breaker. We'll see what the seller comes back with, and hopefully we'll continue along in the process.

Here are some additional pictures to give you a better idea of the spaces in the house. Some of the rooms have the staging furniture in them--don't hold it against 'em! White leather sofa? Yikes!

Backyard with pergola, concrete planters for my herb garden, and fence.

Dining room from living room, heading back to the kitchen.

Master bathtub, "bathed" in sunlight (waka waka waka!)

Master shower with pebble floor. 3 shower heads cropped out.

Master bedroom. Doors lead to custom closet (that I will rearrange once I get my mitts on it!)

What will be our nursery in 8 years.

Guest bedroom! Come stay with us and help up unpack!

Guest bathroom off the hallway upstairs.

Basement with TV nook and stairs to upstairs den.

Backyard with more of the "wild" section of the yard on film. And a river runs through it.

Kitchen--fridge and desk area. This is where my laptop will live!

Den off the kitchen with bar area. Woohoo!

Jim standing in the dining room! And plenty of ceiling space to spare!

Front Living Room with fireplace and beautiful front door! (Not pictured (but just around corner and wired to front door and windows): Security system...phew!)

Office with built-in bookshelves and built-in nook)

Monday, March 16, 2009

Pick Me Up

Well, this might be quite different from my last post. We are in the process of buying a house!! The address is 811 E 15th Street, so you can look it up on zillow.com or something, but I'll post some pictures as well. They don't do it justice, which is ridiculous, because it looks great in pictures too!

Master Bathroom tub

Master vanity and shower

1/2 bath on middle floor

Looking from the living room into the dining room, kitchen and den.

The view from our BED!!!

Part of our backyard--with pergola, stream, wild trees, and cement planter boxes

full finished basement

In the den looking into the dining and living rooms

The front of the house! Stacked stone columns--my favorite!!

The piece de resistance--the kitchen!! This isn't even the whole thing!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Rough Week

I won't turn this into a therapy session, but I have had a rough week. I just feel so frustrated with where things are right now. I have been working a lot more lately, which I'll explain below, so the rest of my pastimes and duties are falling by the wayside.
Results =
messy house,
behind on my Book Club book (which happens to be 500+ pages!),
feel overwhelmed,
lots of laundry and steaming,
bizarre bumps on my neck caused by stress,
no food in the fridge,
randomly bursting into tears,
forgot to season my chicken pot pie tonight (because I was rushing),
always tired,
un-styled hair with minimal makeup,
frowny face.


We had a new assistant start at work this week. To say that she is incompetent doesn't even scratch the surface. She's been an assistant for a NYL agent for 25+ years, which seems great, but apparently, she doesn't know anything about the products we sell, doesn't know how to use a computer, and moves at a snail's pace. And when I say she doesn't know how to use a computer, I mean it. She actually struggled to find a means to access the internet today--and she was ON A WEBSITE at the time! It amazes me. She wasn't hired based on her merits, she was part of a package in a business deal. Basically the deal pays her salary, so she's a free assistant, although this week my hours went up by 25% to make up for the time that I wasn't able to actually get work done, so it may end up costing us more in the longrun. And my sanity is slowly going down the drain. It's really been getting me down, since I don't like to be mean to people, but she needs to know that this pace is not acceptable for our office. And I know, it's my job to tell her, but it's not--it's Don's. This is only one of 50 stories from this past week. And it's not the worst of them.

I bought a chair on Craigslist this week for $15 that I am going to fix up. I may or may not paint the legs, I will definitely recover it, and I may replace the brass nails, depending on how much energy I have at the end of this project. I am also in the process of painting 2 pictures for our bedroom. I am not sure what I'm making, but I'm sure it will come to me.

I am going to look at houses tomorrow morning in the area we like. Jim isn't coming because he thinks it's a waste of time. He may be right. He thinks that we can't get good enough financing to not go out of pocket until we are in the poorhouse (is the poorhouse for sale? Perhaps I should take a look inside and see if I like it). It's true--once you have purchased the house, the expenses don't end there. In fact, they never end again! I just really like looking at houses, but I don't wait to waste the realtor's time. I'll talk about it tomorrow with her, and we'll see what's what.

We also have a meeting with our CPA tomorrow to get our taxes started. This is one thing I'm very glad to get crossed off the list.

So rather than do any of the things I mentioned above, I just complained to my poor readers. I apologize--apparently, I did make this into a therapy session!

On the plus side, my boyfriend Nathan Fillion (aka Nathan Hottypants) is in Castle now on ABC. The first episode was really good. I am looking forward to more.

Also I'll end on a funny note from work. So I had to call up one of our clients today to finish filling in some missing info on his Life Insurance application. He's a few years older than I am, so pretty young and also successful. This was how our conversation went today:

"So, how much money do you make?"
"About $150K."
"Do you have any health issues--high blood pressure, surgeries."
"No I have great genes."
"Ok, great. So how tall are you?"
"I am 6'1""
"And how much do you weigh?"
"Um...I would say, 216 1/2."
"Okay. So are you married or single?"

So, in my spare time, to make money on the side, I'm going to start a matchmaking business. I already know all of the important things about this guy! Now just to find him a woman (whom I will prescreen in a similar fashion later). If you need life insurance and a boyfriend, just let me know, and I'll get right on it. My fees are minimal--the love you share is all the reward I need (but I do want to buy a house, a new big TV, and have a baby, so charges will be 2% of your net worth).

Now I'm feeling better. That's good. Also, I am looking forward to watching Parks n Recreation with Amy Pohler. She's funny.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

So, first I would like to apologize to my faithful readers, who have waited far too long for a new post from me. I would also like to promise that it will never happen again. Sadly, this just isn't the case. So I do hope you enjoy the occasional morsels I throw in your direction, and hope they're tasty enough to keep you coming back.

So where to start? Part of the reason that I haven't been posting is that we have been pretty busy. Jim always works late, but recently, it's become a habit for me as well. I have taken on more responsibilities at work, which means more time. I am paid hourly, so it's fine with me, but it does mean I rarely get to the gym, have to rush to get dinner ready, and have enough energy when I get home to keep the house in order and spend quality time with Jim and the kitties. I honestly don't know how women have done this for years--and I often think about my mom doing this by herself with 2 kids! I am in total awe and amazement.

Jeremy and Tasha came to visit us as well, and we had a great time showing them around Charlotte, eating out, and hanging out. They were house-hunting at the time, so it was fun to shop around online with them. We had Sarah, Morri, and Hattie over for dinner with them, and everyone got along really well, which is always awesome!

Jim celebrated his 30th birthday on February 13th. He shares a birthday with one of my bosses, so the 6 of us (Larry, Don, myself, and all of our spouses) went to dinner at the Mez, which is a new hip restaurant in Uptown's Epicentre. This is the newest area of town where they have restaurants, a movie theatre, a bowling alley, and some shops--it's like condos for restaurants. It was a lot of fun. I suspected it would be, but you never know how people will mesh once they're all together. Luckily, we both had a blast!! Of course, the next day, I caught the plague, and was in bed for the next 2 days recovering while Jim tended to my every (and numerous) need. He was the greatest nurse ever--and on Valentine's Day no less! Ordering in delicious Thai food to clear my sinuses, bringing me juice every 30 minutes, keeping the tissues stocked and medicine nearby--I did not want for anything! I was pretty much back to normal come Monday (which luckily was Presidents' Day, so I was off of work).

Two weeks later, Jim was sick with similar symptoms--I did a pretty good job nursing, but unfortunately, my patient was stubborn and went to work everyday. He now has the "teacher mentality" which is, it's easier to go to work and be sick, than to stay home and have to prepare for my absence.

My friend from college, Dawn, came to stay with us while she was at a LEED Certification class in Charlotte. It was fun to visit with her and catch up, even if it was only 2 days. Just a note to all friends out there--if you want to come visit, please do!!!

After Jeremy and Tasha left, I caught the house-hunting fever. Now let me say that I look at houses online at least once a week anyways, simply because it's something I really enjoy doing. But after seeing one house in particular, I was energized by the fact that I thought there were wonderful houses, in great parts of town, that we could afford. So, in typical Megan fashion, I dove head-first into a house search in this part of town, mapped it all out sequentially, and drove us around multiple times to look at all of them. More on this later.

Our most exciting news is from this weekend--our friends Sarah and Morri got married!! It was an intimate ceremony in Lynchburg, VA, and it was great! Sarah looked absolutely gorgeous, and everything went very smoothly. Jim was an usher, and I cut the cake. I was very nervous, and had theorized and practiced it all week, but I was thrown a curveball--the cake was really tall and 2 layers. Luckily, we brought our cake-cutting set as well, so I had plenty of tools to help me out! The four of us stayed at a bed and breakfast close to downtown. It was the funniest and most unique experience ever. The BnB was run by an older couple--Joanne and George. George is a financial planner in Lynchburg, and treated me and his team to a presentation about charitable giving and 1035 exchanges. I already knew everything that he presented, which made me feel pretty good, since I typically feel clueless when it comes to the specifics of insurance products. He tells pretty bizarre stories, and seems to know a lot about everything. Joanne was a bit of a mother-hen type, and made sure to tell us where everything was, and took care of our every need. They also had a massage chair, that we used quite a bit (more than any other guest, they said)!! We went for a bike ride through a nearby park, went downtown to a bar (it's so weird to see smoking in bars--and I forgot how gross it is to sit in it for a long time).

Saturday we got back into Charlotte. We had an appointment to see the house that I mentioned above today. We got there, and the realtor was late, so we decided to take a walk around the neighborhood. When we got back she had arrived, and we went inside. The house was absolutely beautiful inside--beautiful floors, kitchen, bathrooms, everything--and the yard was a decent size for us. The most noticeable drawback was the neighbor to the right of the house. Young people, no maintenance to the house, a total piece of crap, and they are probably into some dogfighting. We asked the realtor about it, and she said that they were the reason the owners moved out. What?!? That's pretty crazy, right? She didn't really go into what they were doing, but explained that the man who lived there died, his daughter inherited the house, and basically gave it to her son for his party house. I was still excited about the house, though. I thought that the upsides of the house were greater than a crappy neighbor who may move at some point. After the showing, we went to go see another house with a different realtor, and we got talking about big houses in bad neighborhoods, and he mentioned that house specifically. Apparently, it's a bit legendary in the area. The house next door is a crack house. So, the house that I've been in love with for the past few weeks, is out because the neighbors are crackheads. Great. Thanks. So we're back to square one with the house search, but really we were only at square 1.5, so it's not a total dream killer. I'll definitely keep you all posted about any progress that happens.

Tomorrow is the first day of work for a woman who will be helping us out. I am not too excited about it, since we don't have any room for her, and I don't really need any help. We'll see how it works out. She came as part of a business deal that Don made, so she's basically a free assistant.

Well, I am heading to bed now. I'll leave you with a few pictures of Sarah and Morri from this weekend.