Monday, December 12, 2011

Still here :)

Yeah, so it's been awhile since I blogged. I missed all of November. That's what happens when you move :) When I wasn't at work, I was working on the house. I bought an area rug for the living room, painted my bedroom (with my dad's help), got the bedroom recarpeted, finally moved out of my guest bedroom and into my bedroom, emptied my storage unit (saving money, woo hoo!), started setting up my basement (office area and entertainment area), gave my outdated blue-tiled bathroom a "spa" makeover (thanks to Dollar Tree and Target), and bought a lot of little random things that I didn't know I needed until I needed them :)
I had decided early on that I wouldn't even bother having a housewarming party until after the holidays, because this time of year gets a little crazy. But some people just couldn't wait... so I've had a lot of visitors over the past few weeks: Becky & John, Erin, Natalie & Gabe, Kyle, Doug & Jill, Tammy & Mark (who also helped me move things out of my storage unit!), Maria, Kaitlyn, and Miriam. Yesterday Sam and her dad got to see the house. I had asked Deacon Warner a few weeks ago if he would come bless my new home, and of course he said yes (first house blessing for him!). 
My house is finally starting to feel like a home!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Autumn List!

Two weeks ago, I decided that Wednesdays should be the day for lists. I had a list all planned out for last week, but then some other things happened... my niece, Camryn Eve, came into the world last Wednesday October 19th at 2:24 PM.... one day before her due date, which was also my settlement date. So on Wednesday I became an aunt and on Thursday I became a homeowner! What a week!
Things are a little crazy right now. I have things at my apartment, things at my house, movers coming this weekend. I'm amazed that I actually know what day it is right now! So I'm using last week's list for this week... and it celebrates my favorite things about autumn. Feel free to add your own items in the comments :)
Fabulous Fall

  1. Gingersnaps/spiced wafers (I just recently discovered that they are NOT the same thing)
  2. Horror movies (the cheesy ones and the seriously spooky ones)
  3. Candy corn
  4. HOCKEY!!!
  5. Anything pumpkin flavored (bread, coffee, muffins, pancakes)
  6. Fall leaves… oh, the colors!
  7. The crunching sound the leaves make under your feet
  8. The crisp, cool bite of autumn air
  9. Brilliant blue skies
  10. Scarecrows, mums, and pumpkins on the front lawn
  11. Hayrides
  12. Pumpkin picking
  13.  Wearing warm sweaters, funky scarves, and cute boots!
  14. My birthday :)
  15. Honeycrisp apples
  16. Hot drinks: cocoa, tea, cider, mulled wine
  17. Carving jack o’lanterns
  18. Trips to New Hope and Peddlers' Village for window shopping and lovely fall scenery
  19. Bonfires
  20. Homemade soups and stews

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Wednesday's List

By accident, I stumbled upon a blog that was written by people who are probably my soulmates. It's called Listmaker Collective. (Can you see the attraction?? It's like internet kismet!) Sadly, the last post was from December of 2009... so it's no longer an active site.
I was inspired by the idea of making random lists for different categories (because you know how much I love my lists), so I decided to make Wednesday my List Making Day. Today's list is...
Things I Do To Distract Myself From Things That Are Bothering Me

  1. go on Facebook
  2. text someone
  3. listen to music
  4. clean things (usually something very involved, like the kitchen or bathroom)
  5. organize something (I feel like organizing physical items compensates for not being able to organize emotions)
  6. exercise
  7. watch mindless TV (thank goodness for DVR)
  8. make lists
  9. go shopping
  10. start a project
  11. call my mom
  12. read a book
  13. write in my journal
  14. write a blog
  15. play with my dog
  16. bake
  17. plan something big (party, outing, game night... something that requires me to invest my time and energy)
  18. talk too much
  19. rationalize a situation to the point of overthinking it (which is really only a temporary distraction)
  20. watch a ridiculously cheesy chick flick
  21. weed through clothes, magazines, books, beauty products to find things to throw away/donate (decluttering is always therapeutic)
  22. go through old photo albums or scrapbooks
  23. pray
  24. surf the 'net for blogs and fun websites
  25. go to clothing websites that I have bookmarked and pick out clothes I'd buy if I had more money and/or the ability to try them on
  26. take deep, cleansing breaths (sometimes accompanied by a mantra of my choosing)

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Random thoughts

My dad has a Rubik's Cube on his Shelf of Awesomeness. (Remember the Rubik's Cube? I'm sure you do... but kids these days have such crappy toys that people seem to forget about the old standards... Etch a Sketch, Tinker Toys, stuff like that.)
When I was growing up, I was quite impatient (not much has changed... ha!), so I decided that the easiest way to "solve" the puzzle was to remove the colored stickers and put them in the "right" places. Little did I know that I pretty much ruined the Cube forevermore. Now it can only be a display item, and not a functioning toy. But I digress.
Anyway, it's 3 weeks into the school year now, and I had a hell of a time readjusting to my work schedule. Especially with CCD starting up at the same time. The first 2 weeks of September were a mess. I struggled to fall asleep at a reasonable time and as a result, I was exhausted all day. My diet took a nose dive because I didn't take the time to plan out my meals, and I wound up grabbing whatever was easy and quick. I'm pretty sure I gained back whatever weight I lost this summer.
You know when you first get a Rubik's Cube and all the sides are matching colors? Everything is perfectly balanced. (My inner-Libra loves that.) When the colors get all scrambled, it's a bitch to put back together. Usually you spend your time working on one side at a time. You get all the green squares together. And then you start working on the next color, orange. But in trying to get the orange pieces in order, the green gets all screwed up. That's what I feel like now. I spent so much time trying to get myself back on a good sleep schedule and getting into "work mode" that I let other things slide. 
Anyway, the countdown to settlement has begun. It's less than a month away, and I have plans and calendars and lists. Of course I have lists. My lists have lists.
Someone needs to stop me before I start color coding items with my Crayola markers. (Seriously.) But it makes sense that I'm approaching it this way. I've always been a visual learner.
I want my house to look like this!
Speaking of which... a friend and co-worker often talks about visualizing what you want for yourself. I've been picturing myself in my new house for the past few weeks now. I see it fully furnished and tastefully decorated. I see myself cooking in the kitchen and I see my family and friends using the basement and sunroom for parties. I see the front of the house decorated for autumn, with a garland of colorful leaves, pots of chrysanthemums, a scarecrow. My little red Hyundai parked in the driveway. A big comfy chocolate brown couch in the living room. 
Soon enough :)

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Rain on my parade.

This post stems from a comment I made on Facebook a few days ago. It started as a joke, but wound up raising an interesting discussion:
"So Facebook friends... tell me why it's socially acceptable for a woman to have a bridal shower and a baby shower, but not a housewarming shower? Why can't I register for the fun gifts, too?"
Here's the deal: I'm 33, single and childless. (I swear this isn't a pity party... I'm going somewhere with this!) Over the past 15 years or so, I've been buying shower gifts for friends and family who got married or had children. Those gifts were usually chosen from a registry - so not only does a woman get gifts, but she gets to pick everything out herself! A mommy-to-be or bride-to-be makes a list of what she wants and/or needs, walks around the store with a little zapper gun, selects the style and color and quantity, and then people go out and buy exactly what she wants. It's genius. 
I certainly don't begrudge a mom-to-be this rite of passage. It's not like they have cribs and diapers and bottles laying around from their college dorm days. And new mommies get hand-me-downs, but not that's not always practical. Safety requirements change from year to year, so a new car seat is necessary. And not everyone wants a used bib that's been drooled on or a used board book with teeth marks. 
So new moms and baby registries are excluded from my rant. But let's talk about these brides.
It used to be that a woman lived with her parents until she got married. She went into her new home with literally nothing but her clothes. So a shower was a great way to stock her home with all the appliances, tools and gadgets that she would need in her new life.
Things are a little different now. Most women go to college and live in a dorm, and then move into an apartment from there. Many couples live together before getting married. These people already have a coffee maker, dishes, wine glasses, pots and pans. They don't need a shower, right?
A lot of brides tend to get a little greedy and see this as an opportunity to get newer and better stuff. "Someone else is paying for it? Well then... I'll ask for a shiny new Keurig coffee maker! And I'll get rid of my old mixer and register for a new deluxe model in designer pink... and while I'm at it, I might as well replace my blender and food processor to match the mixer! And who needs round waffles when I can make waffles shaped like Mickey Mouse?!"
The list goes on and on, and the items sometimes border on ridiculous. They can't think of anything else they actually NEED, so they pad the registry with things they think they want: quesadilla maker, ice cream maker, s'mores maker... things they would never buy with their own money and will probably never use. (By the way, if you're looking for a good laugh, check out one of my favorite blogs, Unclutterer, and scroll through their weekly Unitasker Wednesday posts. Pure gold.)
So where am I going with all of this? Back to my original point. I've never been married or pregnant, so I've never had a gift shower. In a month, I'll be moving into my first home alone. I have some stuff, but there are other things I want and need. I'm paying a crapload of money for inspection, deposit, down payment, etc... and on top of that, there's a carpet I need to replace... and then there's the dining room set I'll eventually need (so I'll have someplace to eat). My Ikea loveseat is functional, but hardly ideal. I chose it because it was flatpacked, able to be delivered to my 2nd floor apartment, and priced for my budget at the time. I'd love a REAL sofa... comfy and cushioned and good for napping. 
I have a lot to take care of before I'll be able to afford some of the bigger things. And my priority list doesn't even begin to include the fun stuff. The little decorative touches that will make it my home. 
So why is it considered inappropriate, tacky, socially unacceptable to have a housewarming shower? First time homebuyers are just as needy as new moms... and in some cases, they have less stuff than a bride-to-be who has been living with her fiance for years. 
When I posed the question on Facebook, I expected to be met with opposition. Surprisingly, most of the people who contributed to the original discussion thought it wasn't at all tacky for me to create a registry... as long as a friend or family member distributed it for me. (Otherwise it just looks greedy.) People told me that some stores actually have housewarming registries in their computer systems.
I have no intention of creating a registry. I feel like it would be telling people that I expect gifts when I move. Plus, most of what I need is either huge (sofa, dining room set, carpet) or petty (plunger, dish drain rack, bucket for cleaning). But there are times (namely when I look at my massive "to do" list) that I wish I could just make a list and hand it out to people. Sometimes it seems grossly unfair that I have to be engaged or knocked up in order to do it. What if I never get married? What if I decide not to have children? What if this is the ONLY major life event that I have? Don't I deserve a chance to go to Pier One and play with the zap gun? 
(By the way, I found this article online while I was writing this. It pretty much sums up the entire discussion!)

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Movin' on up.


Just a few words to describe how I'll be feeling for the next few months :)
There comes a moment in everyone's life (or at least I hope there does) when all the hard work you've been doing FINALLY pays off. When I registered for grad school 6 years ago, I had no idea where it would take me. Now I can see the end result and it was totally worth it. I left my old teaching job at the Catholic school (a bittersweet, but necessary step) and got an amazing new job with the School District. Not only did my salary increase, but I met an entire network of co-workers who are supportive, friendly, and fun. This past summer, when the district threatened to lay off many of its employees, my co-workers offered a constant stream of reassurance and good wishes. Luckily, I made it past that hurdle and was able to keep the job that I love. Which in turn led to the house hunt... which led to me making an offer... which was ACCEPTED!!!
In less than two months, I will be a home owner. I feel like such a grown up :)
The home inspection was last Friday and aside from one minor plumbing issue, all was well. I'm already planning ahead by looking at colors for carpet and paint and finding furniture I like online. I've been mentally decorating inside AND out... I know I won't be able to afford everything I want right at the beginning, but I'll add a little at a time until the house is truly my home. There's no rush.
In less than two months, I will also be an aunt. This deserves another smile. Or two. :) :)
Doug and Jill are expecting a baby girl on October 20th... which also happens to be my settlement date! Talk about a great birthday present - a niece AND a house all in one week! I can't wait to welcome her into our family and spoil her rotten. With the new Mom & Dad's permission, of course. They will be awesome parents. It will be so exciting to watch them take on this new adventure.
Autumn has always been my favorite time of year (baseball playoffs, the beginning of hockey season, Halloween, cool crisp weather), but this year I have a lot of extra things to be thankful for. I am truly blessed!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Brave little toaster.

When I announced that I was looking at houses, the reactions I got from friends and family were positive and supportive. But what I didn't expect was that people would comment on me buying a house "alone." None of the comments were negative or discouraging... but I was kind of surprised that people would even mention it. I heard things like, "I'm sure it's not easy to do this by yourself," or "I'm always amazed when a woman buys her own house." Is it really that brave of me to do this alone? Then again, most of my homeowner friends are married... and most of the single homeowners I know are men. 
Well, I will say this: it's certainly not easy. I mean, home buying itself isn't an easy process. But doing it alone just plain sucks. Not just financially (because, OH BOY does it suck financially), but also emotionally. Aside from my realtor, I don't have anyone to offer an opinion about any of the houses. No one is walking around an empty home with me imagining where furniture will be and how the rooms will be used. I know that some people would consider that a huge plus - sometimes too many opinions make the decision more difficult. And there is definitely something empowering about knowing that this will be MY HOUSE and I did this with no help from anyone else. But sometimes it also feels a little lonely. It's definitely not how I pictured myself doing it... but if there's one thing I learned, it's that life usually doesn't go the way my 10 year old self thought it would go. If that was the case, I would have been married at 25, and live in a beautiful suburban development with a gazebo in the backyard (who actually uses those things?), with my handsome successful husband, a big fluffy golden retriever, and 2 adorable children (one boy and one girl, naturally). 
But I digress.
So now I'm at the point where I found a house that I like. The rest is a waiting game. Put in an offer and wait to see if it's accepted. If it is, then I wait to get the house inspected and hope that nothing major is wrong with it. If the offer isn't accepted, I look at more houses. Or wait for more houses to go on the market. And then it starts all over again.
Well... maybe I'll get lucky. Never know.