Monday, October 13, 2008

Ode to my computer

It has been a difficult few days for me. After an accidental dropping of my computer this weekend by one of Pat's friends, my computer would no longer turn on. It couldn't have been broken, I thought, since it only feel approximately two feet from the couch and landed on our carpeted floor. The problem was, I had my flash drive in the USB port and of course since I'm cursed with all things electronic, it landed right on the flash drive causing it to jam internally into the rest of the computer. Pat and I took it to the Apple store yesterday. I held the computer in my arms as we walked to the store to determine the fate of my computer. My lifeline. My love. After doing some testing, the Apple Genius, I believe his name was Jeremy - we will call him Dr. Jeremy, informed me that the results were not good.

The USB drive had been pushed into the motherboard of my computer on impact during the dropping. It would cost me over $800 to repair it. I felt like the walls were closing in around me. My computer is three years old (in fact, you can look to one of my very first posts in October of 2005 to read a blog I wrote about the excitement when I first purchased my computer and my frustration with my previous PC). Since you can buy a new computer for $1,100, investing $800 in the old one is just not worth it. Dr. Jeremy gave me a moment to process all of this information and apologized for being the bearer of bad news.

As the information started to sink in, questions started to fill my mind. When was the last time I backed my computer up? Weeks? Months? Within the last year? I couldn't remember. What are the odds they could get everything off of my hard drive? I asked Dr. Jeremy and just like any doctor, he couldn't make any promises that he wasn't sure he could keep. If I did purchase another Apple computer, they would do their best to retrieve the information off of my hard drive and move it over to my new computer. But they wouldn't know until they tried. He went on to suggest that I take a few moments to look at the notebooks on my way out and added that Apple will be holding a press release on Tuesday October 14th to release their new line of notebooks and suggested I wait until then to purchase a new computer. Come on Dr. Jeremy. Do I look like the type of person who has the money and decisiveness to just walk over and buy a new computer only moments after finding out that mine was ruined forever?

We did take him up on his suggestion to at least peruse the notebook section on our way out. But as we were looking at the options and the prices, Pat and I both knew that it was something we just couldn't afford right now. We're not sure how we'll even pay for our wedding and honeymoon in seven months so the computer is just not in the budget. The thought of going seven months without a computer was more than I could bear at the time. I suddenly felt sick and needed to leave the store.

Most people who know me well, can appreciate the fact that my computer is my most prized (and valuable) possession, aside from my wonderful fiance of course. On a recent vacation to Virginia Beach my digital camera also three years old, was exposed to a little too much salt water on a dolphin watching excursion and bit the dust (side note - the only warning we received before going on this trip was that we might get slightly "splashed." Translation - you might as well jump in the ocean. My camera was in it's case and underneath my shirt but still got a little wet due to the drenching of all customers on the dolphin boat). Long story short - I now have no computer and no camera. Already memories are passing me by. Pat and recently celebrated our 3 year anniversary. I have a scrapbook page of our previous two. Not this one. No camera to document it with. Halloween is quickly approaching and I have no camera to capture these memories. No camera means to pictures. No pictures mean nothing to scrapbook. You get the idea. Oh the pain! The pain!

Sorry, Mom & Mark. You purchased both my digital camera and my computer. I know I have let you down. I hope that you believe me when I say that these technological losses of late are not due to irresponsible behavior on my part but the curse of all things electronic that has been cast upon me.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Betty Homemaker I am not...

To all of you Martha Stewarts out there, today I want to salute you. Since I've moved into our house, and have pretty much tripled the square footage I'm responsible for maintaining, I'm realizing how far from being a Betty Homemaker I really am. To be completely honest, I didn't do a great job of keeping my apartment in tip top condition either, when I had a fraction of the space. I had all of the excuses in the world: I didn't have enough storage space, no place to do laundry, no dish washer. The list could go on and on. Well, I've run out of excuses. I have plenty of room to store all of my belongings. I have a laundry room equipped with a washer, dryer, utility sink, and even a separate area for the litter box and other kitty necessities. I now have a dishwasher, double sink, and lots of counter space. So what's my problem? My problem is, when I get home from work I don't feel like doing anything. And if I did do something, what I should be doing is working out. And I plan to get back into that routine sometime within the next seven months so that I am comfortable wearing a bathing suit on my honeymoon. But that is neither here nor there. When you get home, work out, and cook dinner, where is the time to do the regular upkeep and cleaning in the house? I try. I really do. I just can't seem to keep up with it all!

I learned a lot about working women and the "second shift" they assume after coming home from working a daytime job and then starting job number two of taking care of their family and keeping up with housework. I know I was impressed and enlightened when I learned about these remarkable women, but I'm even more astounded by this concept now that I have a full time job and a house of my own. I don't even have the kids to take care of and I still can't do it! I can't cook (but I try) and I can't keep up with the housework (but I try). I'm very lucky in the fact that I have a partner who is more than willing to split the housework and split the cooking (let's be honest - I don't think I could marry someone who didn't help and expected me to be the housewife is knows her role in the kitchen and as the maid. And in the spirit of being honest, someone who was looking for a Betty Homemaker, wouldn't want to marry me either!).

So maybe it's all a learning game. A juggle of priorities and time management. If so, maybe there's hope for me yet. And something I can't complete this blog entry without mentioning is the fact that my mom was named the "Betty Homemaker of the Year" recipient in high school. This should be a sign of encouragement and hope for me, right? It's actually not. It's quite scary. They must just hand those awards out! ha ha. I kid, I kid, mom. I've got nothing but love for you.

Speaking of housewives, please read through the following quiz I found online from a newspaper in 1957. Let me know how you do. According to this quiz, I should probably sit down and think long and hard about my relationship with Pat. I don't seem to be serving him well. Wow, thank goodness for the advancement of women over the past 50 years or I would never have a lasting marriage. :)

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

You hate your job...I get it...

Dear Cleveland Postal Workers,

I have had many encounters with various postal workers throughout my last year of employment in Cleveland. None of which have been enjoyable for me. Most of which involved me getting scolded and lectured in ways that I haven't experienced since being a small child. Today's experience, although small in overall comparison to the others, was the straw that broke the camels back. I just don't understand how individuals who so obviously hate human interactions, end up working in customer service/sales related positions such as postal workers. Perhaps it's because of problems in our social structure which require people to do jobs that they don't enjoy. But I have a separate blog for political issues such as these.

Many people dislike their jobs and are dissatisfied at work. Not everyone, however, takes it out on innocent people who just want to buy some stamps for their non-profit. Yes, I admit. You caught me putting tape on a stamp once. You did not like it. You made it quite clear to me that it was a big no-no and that I should never make that mistake again. And guess what? I won't. The thing is, you really only had to tell me once not to do it again. I learn quickly. The five minute lecture and badgering was a bit much. I work for a poor non-profit. We have to try and reuse stamps from old mailings. I didn't have a glue stick yet, I had just started my job. I thought tape was harmless enough. Since the incident, and believe me you made my first experience at a Cleveland post office quite memorable, I have purchased a glue stick and I know never to put tape on a stamp again. In other trips to the post office, and additional lectures and badgering, I have also learned that you cannot drop envelopes in a mailbox with rubber bands on it. This one probably should have been common sense. I was out of my game on that one. Lesson learned. You have also taught me that once I'm given the necessary paperwork, I must exit the line to fill out the forms and then re-enter the lines. Noted.

The final lesson I have learned is that no matter how sweet and innocent I try to act at the post office (well, it's not really an act. I am sweet and innocent), I get yelled at each and every time. I still will kill with kindness though. I will not treat others poorly just because that's how they treat me. I should also mention that I have visited a total of 5 different branches of post offices throughout the greater Cleveland area and my experience has been the same each and every time. But I want to give you credit where credit is due. Today you definitely showed me that it's nothing personal. Even the 90 year old-woman in front of me in line was spared no mercy. She wasn't quite fast enough making her elderly way over to the counter. That made me feel a little bit better (no - I don't enjoy when elderly people are mistreated. I was just glad it wasn't a personal vendetta, me versus the Cleveland Postal Workers).

I look forward to our next encounter. I will keep trying to obey all of the rules and not screw up and you keep trying your hardest not to smile at work and make each experience with your customers more miserable than the last. Until then....

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Just Do It!

I was in a meeting at work today and was completely inspired by something our guest said. We were talking about making changes and improvements in an organization (our organization to be specific) and he said, "Stop talking about it. Stop thinking about. Just do it." Outside of it's immediate context (although I thought it was very inspiring for us and our organization) I was actually thinking more about myself and my most recent blog about my anxiety and worrying. I told myself I'm going to adopt it as my new motto. It was one of the only notes I took during that meeting.

I think it's fitting that I've been worrying all day and evening about my surgery tomorrow. Hey, Rome wasn't built in a day! Getting put under isn't fun, surgery isn't fun, being in pain isn't fun, and I'm just ready to be done with my mouth trouble (as you know). The last time general anesthesia was used on me, I had stomach problems for over a week. I hope that doesn't happen again. I won't know until I wake up tomorrow morning whether I will be needing one surgery or two. Whether my healing time will be two months or six. There's just so much uncertainty. I think I'm more nervous about the money than I am about the surgery. No matter what it is specifically that I'm worried about, the reality is, I've been waiting and saving for this procedure for a long time now. I know it needs to be done so I need to stop talking about it. Stop thinking about it. And just do it!

Monday, September 29, 2008

Don't worry. Be happy...

Many people who know me well know that I struggle with anxiety and worrying too much about everything. A few weeks ago I stumbled across a journal entry written in 2005 (handwritten I might add - only a few weeks before I started my blog). I read over the journal entry and was so shocked that three years later I still struggle so much with worrying and letting my anxiety get the best of me. I guess I was hoping that with time my worrying would just disappear? Wishful thinking. The following is my journal entry:

October 17, 2005

"Worrying is like being in a rocking chair. It occupies your time but doesn't get you anywhere." This quote is so very true, but yet so many people still spend much of their lives worrying. Why is this? Is it an innate characteristic that when strong feelings are involved, rationalizing is nearly impossible? Or is it all a matter of learning self-control and being able to tame that voice inside your head known as your conscious? I am truly aware that worrying is not going to get me anywhere. It's not going to change my past and it's not likely to prevent things from happening in my future. Yet, still I worry anyway. The biggest struggle for me in regards to worrying is learning to live in the "now."

Worrying and over analyzing everything really got the best of me and made me depressed. For a few years I was taking medication to treat my anxiety. It definitely helped but anyone who has taken an anti-depressant or anti-anxiety medication might be able to relate to the way it made me feel. I've always been a high and low type of person (aka moody!). Some days I'm really high on life and other days I'm really down in the dumps and letting my worrying get me down. Taking the medication really helped to eliminate those low days which was great. On the same token, however, it also eliminated my high days and I just couldn't get as excited and happy as I did B.M. (before medication). So I decided to ween myself off of it. I also chose to go to counseling and sort through some of the skeletons in my closet and some of the things that I've experienced in my life, possibly leading to or at least contributing to my anxiety and then depression.

So what triggered all of this? First finding that journal entry buried in an old notebook and then today receiving an email with this quote:

Attitude, after all, is everything. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. After all today is the tomorrow you worried about yesterday.

Maybe I will always struggle with worrying and anxiety. I would like to think that it will get better and someday I will have found a way to deal with my worrying in a healthy and effective way. Somehow though, as I get older and stress becomes even more prominent, I don't see that happening. Uh oh... now my pessimism is showing. That's an issue for another entry.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Our humble abode

I don't think I've shared with you how very much I love my new home. I stand corrected. Our new home. I have spent the past 6 years living in dorm rooms and apartments. Places you know are only temporary and therefore never really get the feeling of being "home" when you're there (**I recognize that some people live in apartments for a long period of time and do treat them as a home - this just never happened for me). When you live somewhere that you know is only temporary, you never really go that extra mile to dress it up and make it your own. You don't even care for it in the same way that you would if it were yours. In a house that you know is yours, however, you really value it and take extra good care of it (maybe because you know if something goes wrong - it's on you! No landlord or maintenance person to call. And trust me - the honey-do lists don't have nearly the same sense of urgency).

Okay, so enough about all of that boring home ownership glory stuff. My favorite part of my new home? The big back yard and the nature that fills it. I should first clarify what I mean by "big" as I realize it is a subjective term. I'm using the term big as it relates to Cleveland standards - or all major suburbs standards I guess. We have 1/2 an acre. Going back to my 419 roots for a moment - this isn't that big to me. My mom lives on 5 acres and my dad lives on 13. However, as you know, I've had to change (aka lower - jk!) my standards when I moved to Cleveland and 1/2 an acre is pretty good! We have a big fenced in backyard that backs up to a park-like view. In this area just beyond our fence, we have spotted on many different occasions a lot of wildlife. Just two nights ago, we walked to the end of our property for about 10 minutes and saw a giant hawk (a bird of prey, I remind you!), 3 deer (1 doe and 2 babies), and a fox! The first fox I've ever seen that up close and personal in a Cleveland suburb! Not at my mom's on 5 acres, not at my dad's on 13 acres, but in Cleveland! We also frequently see 3 bucks (1 is a giant 8 point!), have the biggest groundhog I've ever seen living in our backyard (possibly under our deck?) and several chipmunks living under our garage. According to Pat the chipmunks and groundhog are destroying the foundation on our house and our garage. He's not really comfortable with their existence on our property. I prefer the living in harmony scenario myself.

I realize this is a boring post and I'm sorry. But me and my new retainer are boring. Much less dynamic and animated so as not to outburst in laughter and therefore result in the showing of the metal mouth.

Friday, September 19, 2008

In Memory of My Great Grandma

I found out this morning that my 95 year-old Grandma (she would have been 96 in December) passed away last night in the nursing home where she's been staying for the past year. Although it's a natural part of life for someone of her age to pass on, it still makes me very sad. There's something about knowing that you will never have the opportunity to see or talk to someone again that is so difficult to bear. Forever is such a long time. No matter how much time you spent with someone or how many memories you have with them, there's always that need and desire for more. More time. More memories. More of them.

She was such a warm and compassionate person. I enjoyed every moment I ever spent with her. She was quite the talker (hey, I get it honest, right?). I always knew that when I called her I was in for a long conversation. I will really miss those.

I learned a lot from my Great Grandma. She introduced me to the soap opera General Hospital which I know she watched the entire time it was on until a few years ago when she stopped watching TV. She introduced me to grape pop. I loved going to her house and drinking grape pop out of the can with a straw and eating a bowl of fritos. She taught me how to use a spoon to pop the seal on a jar when it's too hard to twist open. Works every time and I use it often.

I've always been able to talk to my Great Grandma about anything. And I know she felt the same way about me. She opened up to me about many of the struggles she faced growing up. Things that led her to move out of her home at the age of 14 and marry my Great Grandpa, her knight in shining armor who whisked her away from her abusive home. I won't go into anymore detail about the struggles she faced because I know how private she liked to keep those terrible memories. I owe her this much. But she sure taught me a lot about strength and perseverance just in sharing those stories with me. The way she trusted me and felt so open to talk to me about anything and everything, always made me feel really good and meant a lot.

My Great Grandma liked Pat a lot. She asked about him every single time I went to visit her. We talked about him and our future together the last time I visited with her. Just like me, she recognized that I had found a really good partner and she was so happy for me about that. I told her that I really hoped she would be around for my wedding day. It breaks my heart that she will not. I can't be selfish though. This is best for her.

I've been extremely fortunate to have my Great Grandma in my life for the entire 25 years I've been alive. There are a lot of people who can't say the same and for that, I am very lucky. I wear her original wedding band around my left thumb. She gave it to me a few years ago during one of our visits. I've never taken it off.

You were deeply loved, Great Grandma, and will be greatly missed.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

All I want for Christmas is my front tooth....

I met with the oral surgeon yesterday about my freaking never-ending drama of the mouth. It reminded me of all the headaches and hassles I've gone through with my teeth over the last 14 or so years and I must say, it's getting old. When complaining to my dad, he reminded me that it could be worse. I could have been born with cerebral palsy or some terrible, debilitating disease. And he's right. But I also could have been born with normal teeth. What a concept! Before I bring you up to speed about the procedures I'm going to endure over the next seven months, let's first go over a brief timeline of my dental history:

  • Birth to Age 6: sucked my thumb every moment I could. Bad idea, Emily. REALLY bad idea.
  • Preschool'sh: tried to impress friends by jumping off the teetor tottern (aka see saw). Bad idea, Emily. REALLY bad idea. Teetor totter, meet my jaw. Jaw meet the teetor totter. Moments later I went to rinse out at the drinking fountain only to realize I had knocked out both of my front teeth. Luckily they were only baby teeth!
  • Kindergarten'sh: lost baby teeth, adult teeth started coming in. Continued to suck thumb. Bad idea, Emily. REALLY bad idea!
  • 1st grade'sh: teeth are growing in extremely crooked and bucked. One tooth grew in extremely skinny and little. One didn't grow in at all. What does it all mean? Time will tell...
  • 5th grade'sh: met with dentist who specializes in orthodontics (not to be confused with an actual orthodontist who knows what they're doing). He required that the family pay upfront, in full for his treatment plan. Bad idea, parentals. REALLY bad idea.
  • 5th grade'sh: wear some strange "2 block appliance" with a key to turn and expand the size of my mouth (let's be honest. increase the size of my mouth? necessary? I think not.)
  • 6th grade'sh: get four of my adult molars pulled because there wasn't enough room for them. Bad idea, REALLY bad idea!
  • 7th grade'sh: get braces
  • 7th-10th grade'sh: wear many different types of experimental appliances since the dentist had no idea what he was doing (my favorite being the top and bottom retainer in one. I had to rubber band it to my braces, locking my jaw shut. I had to undo the rubber bands to eat.)
  • 10th grade'sh: my teeth had gotten worse, not better. No end in sight. Begged parents to take me to get a second opinion. We were told by several orthodontist that the first guy really screwed up, the four molars should have never been pulled, and if it had been done right, my braces would have been off by now already.
  • 10th grade: start the entire braces process over again. Learned more about my skinny tooth and my missing tooth. Knew it would be an expensive procedure to fix those some day!
  • Senior year of high school: senior pictures with braces on, senior homecoming and prom with braces on, senior high school graduation with braces on. Good times.
  • Summer before college: braces come off, retainer with fake tooth go on. Skinny tooth is bonded, with the understanding that someday a porcelain veneer will be needed
  • Summer going in to sophomore year: retainer with tooth only needs to be worn at night, bridge with fake tooth is made
  • Sophomore year until present: fake tooth falls out at inopportune times such as two days before college graduation, at work cocktail party honoring our top donors, right before engagement pictures, etc. Skinny tooth chips at inopportune times such as right before engagement pictures, on my way to Virginia Beach for vacation, etc.
That about brings us up to speed. I've been saving my money and am now in a financial position (or so I thought) to finally get the necessary procedures to fix my mouth problems once and for all. In meeting with the oral surgeon yesterday, he explained if I want to have all of this taken care of before my wedding (which I told him is a MUST because if there is a chance that I have to wear one of those stupid retainers with a tooth attached at my wedding, I do not even want to start this process!) then I need to have my surgery ASAP. So they scheduled me for Thursday October 2nd. What exactly am I getting done? Find out here!

It was a depressing appointment all around because the doctor thinks he's going to have to do a bone graft which is bad for many reasons: 1. it's an extra $2,500 (that I wasn't prepared for at ALL!) 2. it adds 4 months on top of the 2 months of healing time 3. I will have to have two surgeries instead of 1 4. it will take until the middle of April to get everything done (giving us only 1 month of leeway in case something goes wrong - which let's be honest... it will. Murphy's law with my mouth), and let's not forget number 5. there is a chance that my jaw will be partially numb forever after they remove some bone from it from the bone graft. AWESOME! The only positive thing that came out of the appointment yesterday was that there is a slight chance, and he did emphasize SLIGHT, that they will get in there the morning of the surgery and find that they don't have to do the bone graft and can just go right ahead and do the implant surgery that day, which would be wonderful for my bank account, sanity, and self-esteem.

Monday officially starts the process when I go in and they remove my fake tooth and replace it with a retainer with a tooth attached. I envision it looking very similar to the stupid one I had to wear only six short years ago when I got my braces off with the metal wire in the front and a fake tooth attached. I'm sure it will be one that you're supposed to take out of your mouth to eat. Hmm... can't wait to go out for a work lunch meeting! Maybe it will help me to lose weight for the wedding since the chances of me taking that retainer out and being toothless to eat in public is pretty slim. So, as of Monday through the middle of next April... I am becoming a hermit. I will not leave the house unless absolutely necessary (so, every single weekday for work and to go to tap dancing class. Humiliation on top of humiliation). I will avoid opening my mouth at all costs. Hope to see you before Monday. Get your smiles while they're hot! Free smiles, get your free smiles. On sale now through Monday! It was nice knowing you. See you at the wedding. :)

Yours truly,

Hillbilly in Disguise

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

A fish out of water...

I decided to sign up for an adult tap class. One of the things I have always said that I really miss from high school (one of the only things I miss from high school) was taking dance lessons. I always wanted to take a tap class during college but BG only offered one and it was for those who have never put on a tap shoe before in their life so I opted not to take it (although it should have been an easy A!). When someone told me about the Beck Center for the Arts in Lakewood offering adult dance classes, I got really excited! They offer classes in levels 1, 2, and 3. 1 is for those who have never tapped before, 2 is for those who have only tapped for one year, and 3 is for those with two or more years of tapping experience. Although I tapped for about eight years growing up, given the fact that I haven't tapped in over 6 years, I thought it would be in my best interest to start with the level 2 class. Unfortunately, this fall they only offer level 1 or 3. When I talked so someone at the dance store about it, she said "Oh, it's like riding a bike. It will all come back to you. You'll be fine in Tap 3." I felt a lot better...for about 3 minutes. Then I went back to being nervous again. The class started last night so yesterday at work I got even more nervous. I emailed the girl who had told me about the class and who I know has taken years of classes from the same instructor. She wrote back and tried to make me feel better but did warn me that the instructor is "tough" and "used to be a Rockette." Suddenly I felt even more nervous. I had this fear of being the worst one in the class and I was afraid that the instructor might make us dance alone in front of the other class members and/or dance across the floor in front of everyone.

Every fear that I had, came true. The entire hour I was there was like a scene off of Saturday Night Live. I felt like Sally O'Mally when she was trying to audition and then dance with the Rockettes. I was like a fish out of water. She was like a tap drill Sargent. She would stand at the bar on the other side of the room, perform some ridiculous mini-routine once and then we were expected to repeat what she had just done. At first I thought it was a joke until I looked around and everyone else WAS repeating the step. Everyone but me. She made us all do steps by ourselves in front of the rest of the class and she would come and stand by you when it was your turn. I haven't been that nervous in a long time! Then we had to go across the floor with a few steps in front of the class and I was by far the worst one in the room. She's very hardcore and a bit intimidating. The good news is, she's a fantastic dancer and I will probably learn more from her in the next 18 weeks than I learned in 6 years at my tap class in high school. The bad news is, I'm going to make a fool out of myself in the process. You know you're bad when the rest of the class keeps coming up to you and telling you what a great job you're doing. I'm like the charity case in the class. I'm not going to quit though. I'm sticking it out! But I will say, I'm going to be building a lot of character over the next few months!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Must love cockroaches

I had an unfortunate incident a few weeks ago walking up the stairwell at my work. I had almost made it to the fifth floor when I heard the little pitter patter of some sort of insect. As I got up toward the landing, I saw a cockroach and it was running right at me. It jumped down on to the step where I was standing (in flip flops!) and it almost landed on my foot. It immediately turned to face me almost like it was preparing for a stand off. Not going to happen, cockroach. You win! Before the cockroach could blink it's eye I was gone. The incident left me shaken up for quite a while. I'm not sure what was most troubling for me: the fact that there are cockroaches in my place of employment or the fact that unlike other bugs that run away from humans, this one charged right at me. I called the owner of the building to complain about my fateful morning. She was less than surprised about the incident. She said they've been spraying in the stair well every Thursday because there are so many of them. She assured me however, that they would start spraying twice a week for good measure. She then told me that they aren't really cockroaches, they're water bugs. I think she was hoping that this would soothe me (if only she knew that I pretty much hate all bugs anyway - especially ones that exceed the size of my thumb!). I asked her what the difference between a waterbug and a cockroach is. She had no real explanation except something along the lines of the term waterbug being a little more politically correct than cockroach. "It makes people feel better when you call them that." Hmm...what people? Not me. She went on to warn me about our office leaving crumbs on the floor or food in the garbage as this will only attract the cockroaches in to our office. I've spotted a lot of dead cockroaches in the hallways and stairwell over the last year of my employment, but this was the first live encounter I've had. And it was all that I need. What reminded me of the incident is that this morning I spotted another dead cockroach in the stairwell. It really creeps me out. I honestly get nervous walking up the steps now because I never know what I'm going to find (another employee recently said there was a mouse in the stairwell). I don't remember my job description saying anything about "must be willing to tolerate very large insects." Doesn't your work have an elevator, you might be wondering. Oh yes, it does. It's a freight elevator. Not familiar with freight elevators. Think of the demon drop at Cedar Point. It's like that except there are no seats and you're not only the passenger, but also the conductor. I'm not sure which is the better choice at this point since I can't even count on my hands anymore the number of times people have gotten stuck in the freight elevator. So unless Rapunzel suddenly appears at my office offering to let me use her hair as a rope up to the office (and since I'm afraid of hair, this doesn't seem like a great option either) it looks like it's a catch 22 for me. Looking at this from the "glass is half full" perspective, which I've never been good at, at least I can say that there's always something exciting happening at work? That's the best I can do.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

419 kind of girl

So September 1st will mark exactly one year since I moved to the "big city." You would think that after living and working here for a year, I would no longer assume phone numbers start with the area code 419. One would think, but one would be wrong. Just today, when filling out some paper work, I started to fill in the phone number and started writing 419-216...wait a minute..those are two different area codes. Old habits die hard, right? But to me, there is so much more to it than just an old habit. The two area codes represent the two major chapters in my life. The majority of my 24 years have been spent living in a 419 area code and a 419 way of life. What am I talking about? 419 way of life? You might not think there are differences between the lifestyles simply based on area code, but I assure you there are. Nothing specifically bad or good. Just different. 419 represents the easy way of life. The life where I was being taken care of by my parents. The college life which we all know is "the life." 216 represents the new chapter in my life. The "real world" chapter and the soon to be "for better or for worse" chapter. The other day I caught myself referring to something in Cleveland and I said "we" as if myself and the Cleveland community are a collective unit where as before I would have said "they." I don't want to read too much into it, but maybe..just maybe...I'm ready to start that second chapter of my life. While there are parts of the 419 life that I really miss (my family, my animals, very little rush hour) there is so much excitement here in the 216. My new house, my recent engagement, my future husband, career opportunities, and all the exciting activities that come with living in a big city with 3 major sports teams! I've never been one to handle change well, so it should come as no surprise that after a year I'm still in the "adjusting" stage. I will tell you this. I don't regret, not even for a second, moving to Cleveland. It was the best move for my relationship and in turn, the best move for me. I've learned so much at my job and have met a lot of wonderful people. That being said, I will always be a 419 kind of girl. You can take the girl out of the 419, but you can't take the 419 out of the girl. :)

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

To my brother

On a serious note, my brother would have turned 22 today. It's so hard for me to believe! July 30th marked 15 years since he died. That's even harder for me to believe. It's so great for me to have Pat's younger brother Michael in my life. Mike turns 22 in a month and gives me an idea of what my brother might be like. Even after 15 years, I can't say that I look back and think to myself, "Everything happens for a reason and there is a reason he was taken from us." I just don't think I will ever have that kind of outlook. What I can say, however, is that life is what you make it. Similarly to the attitude of "everything happens for a reason" (I'm not criticizing that outlook on life, I'm just saying it doesn't work for me. It leaves too many questions about what reason could possibly be good enough to take away someone's only son, someone's only brother, someone's entire life?) I believe that we have the opportunity to take any situation and make the best of it. It has only taken me about 15 years to get to that point. No matter how much I have healed over the last 15 years, I still miss my brother. I think about him today on his birthday, I think about him around the holidays, I will think about him on my wedding day, and I will think about him when I have children who will never know their uncle. Thanks for giving me the opportunity to be a big sister for 7 years and for being the sweetest little boy I have ever known. We all still miss you.

The Hills are alive

I have to admit, I'm very excited that the new season of The Hills started. Some people are surprised when they find out how much I enjoy trashy reality TV. Others however, aren't surprised at all. Yeah, it's fake and trashy and I love it. Some of it is definitely getting old, but I just can't seem to let my little friends from Orange County go. Monday's show followed the typical MTV format: eight minutes of the show and 22 minutes of commercials. I guess I should be used to that by now. Anyway, I wasn't disappointed with the show. Drama, drama, drama. I can't wait to see how the season unfolds. I can make a few predictions: Spencer will be his annoying, arrogant self. His sister will prove that anyone with the last name Pratt can't be trusted. Heidi will be annoying putting up with Spencer's crap even though we all know she deserves better (she's not perfect - but she definitely can do better than Spencer!). Lauren will attract drama everywhere she goes and will continue to chose the "bad guys." Audrina will get fed up with Lo and probably eventually Lauren too. Heidi and Lauren will become friends again until something happens again to push them apart.

I will say though, my friends and I think we've caught MTV blatantly dubbing a conversation, making the show even more fake than we already knew it was. It was during that awkward conversation between Lo and Audrina. Out of nowhere, Audrina just says "we'll never be friends." After Kari watched it a few times on her DVR...she is convinced it was actually Lauren's voice. Interesting. Not only are the characters shady but now MTV is too. If you can't trust MTV anymore, who can you trust?

Monday, August 18, 2008

Life in the fast lane

I'm really disappointed in the fact that I haven't written a new entry in my blog since March 6th. That's almost six months of inactivity! Life has been moving so fast that I have just let the time slip away. I haven't taken time for the little things in life that I enjoy so much: blogging, reading, and scrapbooking to name a few. I can only imagine that life is going to get more hectic the older we get so there's no time like the present to make sure that I'm not letting life pass me by! Sometimes I get a little bloggers writer block and feel like I can't make an entry unless I have something significant and witty to write about (although some may argue that I'm never witty anyway). But the truth is, my blog can be whatever I want it to be. Right? Some entries might be more significant than others and maybe some will be witty and some won't. But this is supposed to be an outlet for me to express whatever I want when I want. So that's what I plan to do. Here's to a new era of blogging!

Thursday, March 06, 2008

The little things...

After the rush of the holidays was over, Pat and I were strolling around the mall. We eventually wandered into the calendar store and decided to look for desktop calendars. We both agreed that we needed something to look forward to and get excited about at work. As with every decision I make in life, I really struggled with choosing a calendar. There were so many to choose from. Anywhere from bible versus, origami, paper airplanes, going green tips, and comic strips.
It wasn't until I was almost settled on a comic strip that the Family Feud, an old favorite of mine, caught my eye. My decision was made. Family Feud it was. I envisioned getting some coworkers involved and having it be a fun little "office tradition." After the first day or so when there never seemed to be an opportune moment to include my coworkers in the game, I soon realized that this was going to be a tradition that just involved me. After a week or two of doing it by myself, I knew something was missing. Then, it occurred to me that I could involve a friend. Aubrey and were "chatting" in gmail occasionally throughout the day so on January 14, 2008 I extended the invitation to her. She accepted with excitement. We laid out the ground rules and importance of honesty and integrity and away we went. After only one brief day of adding the feud to her daily routine, I saw the joy it was bringing Aubrey and I wanted to do more. I wanted to make this opportunity available to even more friends. On January 15, 2008 I sent out an email to a few of my close friends explaining what Aubrey and I were doing and asking if they wanted to be involved. The invitation was well received. I now have 4 people with whom I share the joy of Family Feud trivia every day. It is a big hit! If I don't send it out...people email me wondering where it is. Even people in the office like to get involved. Best $5 ever spent? I think so!

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Max's First Birthday

Max turned one on January 28, 2008! We celebrated his birthday this Sunday at my Dad and Jill's house. It was a lot of fun! Here are some videos from the party.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

At my mother's request (yes, she is still the boss of me even at age 24) I am posting some more videos of Max. As you can see, I'm not the only one obsessed with him. :)

Monday, January 14, 2008

Spreading a little Max joy

Some videos of my adorable nephew Max. I got to spend the entire weekend with him. He brings me so much joy every time I'm around him. Maybe he'll make you smile too. :)

Saturday, January 12, 2008

A little Lysol goes a long way

I just don't understand why people don't provide air fresheners in their home bathrooms. It's almost as if they want others to know what you've done in there. The worst is when you know someone else is out there waiting to go in the bathroom when you've finished. On the one hand, if they're waiting outside of the door, they probably know how long you've been in there so there's really no point in trying to partially cover the smell. On the other hand, it would be nice to have something like roses or fresh cotton for the next occupant to smell in addition to the other smell so that it doesn't seem quite as strong. Some people carry pocket-sized air fresheners in their purse for this very reason. Unfortunately, I am not one of those people. For as much as I enjoy planning my every move and every possible outcome, you would think I would be well equipped for just about any situation. That was not the case one tragic morning. I had been in the bathroom for so long, that someone actually came and knocked on the door to make sure it was actually occupied. That's such an awkward situation when someone knocks on the bathroom door and you're in there. What is the appropriate response? I never know what to say. On this morning I decided to say "Yes?" The knocker immediately apologized and she went back to waiting. I knew time was now of the escence so I needed to hurry things along. I was troubled knowing that as soon as she walked in she would know what I had been doing, and because no air fresheners had been provided, there was no way for me to even attempt to mask the smell. Or was there? As I was washing my hands I decided to get creative. Why not sprinkle hand soap around the room in order to have a slight smell of lilacs? Seemed like a great idea. That is until I was walking out and noticed I had left water drops all over the toilet. Great. Now I look like I not only took 10 minutes in the bathroom, but I also got pee all over the seat and didn't even bother to clean it up. What had seemed like a good idea at the time now seems to have made the situation worse. I frantically wipe the seat down with toilet paper and exit the facilities. Much to my surprise no one was standing outside waiting. I had taken so long they gave up. I got off the hook this time, but next time I might not be so lucky. I encourage everyone to provide air fresheners in their bathrooms so that no one else has to experience this high level of stress.