Parallel Universe

This is going to be a little random and scattered, but I think it works.

I’m almost afraid to jinx it. Actually, I’m totally afraid to jinx it. But let’s just say, things are ok at work. Boss and I had a good chat today. I think she’s slowly starting to realize I’m not the enemy. And that’s all I have to say about that.

We took our “staff” bowling today as a staff outing. I quoted staff up because only 3 of our 15 student staff attended, which kind of stinks, but we had a really nice time. One of our students has a daughter, and I spent most of our bowling time with her on my lap singing our ABCs. The best part about it is that at the end, my student came up to me and told me I’d be a really good mom. And that made me kind of warm and fuzzy on the inside.

I had a moment earlier this week when I thought I could maybe be pregnant, but for a weird reason: I was smelling things really strongly. Actually, I was smelling the liter box very strongly and Jersey’s box is not usually smelly, but I think I just went in there to clean it right after she went, so the ammonia smell was still there. I mean, ho boy, was it there. So, of course, my crazy illogical mind thinks that means I’m pregnant. Further consideration had made me realize that I’m not, because, well, I’m not. But, for the 5 minutes I thought I might be, I was totally ok with it. Not totally ok with how we could afford it (we can’t.), but ok with the idea of being a mom right now. I’ll be honest that I’m a lot jealous of LaLa and her belly and her little person that will be here soon.

In other pet related news, we’re still waiting to hear about our dog. I think I mentioned we’re trying to adopt a dog. A Boston Terrier. We’re working with a local rescue group, and have made it through the adoption process, but are just waiting for one of the foster parent’s to contact us saying that they have the perfect dog for us. Keep your fingers crossed.

And finally, I am thrilled it’s the weekend. I’m even more thrilled that next week will be quiet and easy and I go back to working a normal person 9-5. For the rest of the summer. No late nights until September. I can’t wait. My big weekend plans? Sleeping in, lounging in my pj’s, doing laundry, and doing some shopping. Sounds perfect, yes?

So Happy Friday. May your weekend be a boring as watching the grass grow. That’s a good thing. Night!

Mother’s Day and Financial Planning

Hidey-Ho! I’m off again this Monday, as I worked pretty much all day Saturday, so it’s very nice that it’s 11am and I’m still in my PJ’s and have spent the past hour reading up on my favorite bloggers. I have to say, I’m a bad blog reader. I have about 3-4 blogs that I enjoy reading on a somewhat daily basis, but I rarely comment. So I’m that stalker that knows about your life, but you don’t know me. I guess I just feel like, what I have to say, about 12 people have already said, so what’s the point? But then I get sad that no one comment’s on my posts, so it’s a vicious cycle of blogging-self-hate.

But, I also recognize I went for, like, 3 months without a single peep! And honestly, it’s ok. Sometime’s life get’s in the way of our best intentions, right? And I don’t HAVE to blog every day, because some days I don’t have anything to say.

Also, and I’m not sure who you are, but whoever is reading this random little foray into my life, thanks! I’ve had a surge of traffic on this site, which is odd given my absence, but I appreciate it and hope I can keep you entertained!

But now that I’ve gotten that off my chest, onto the topic at hand: Mother’s Day! I must say, I had a very delightful Mother’s Day, despite the fact that I did not get to see my own Mom. On Saturday, in between my time at work, I stopped off at Target to pick up Mother’s Day cards for practically every woman I know: My Mom, Paul’s Mom, Paul’s Grandma, Pau’s Mom from the dog, Paul’s Aunt from the dog, and LaLa, as she is an expectant mother. I also thought it’d be nice to get LaLa a iTunes gift-card so that she can buy music for her labor playlist, as that is apparently all the rage (when I told my mom about it, she was quite dumbstruck at the thought of listing to music while in labor). I had called over to LaLa to see if she was home to drop off her card, and she wasn’t, so we made plans to go for a walk in the park in between our houses early Sunday morning.

I should also mention, for the sake of chronological order, that Paul and I talked about the Big P (proposal) on Saturday night and he a) indicated that it would take place within the next 6-months (too long! do it tomorrow!) and b) fished around for my ring size. And by fished around, I mean be blatantly asked me what size ring to get. And I blatantly told him. Because I blatantly tell him every day to just go buy a Cracker Jack box and wipe of the plastic ring and ask me already.

But I digress.

So Sunday, which was absolutely GORGEOUS here weather-wise, starting off by meeting LaLa in the park. She is delightfully round and oh-so pregnant at 27 weeks, and I reveled in watching her walk around the park with her hand on her belly, supporting and caressing her unborn child as we lopped along. After our walk and catch-up (because I had not seen her since MARCH 12TH! So see, it wasn’t just my blog that was neglected these past few months!), she left and I decided that this was a perfect moment to RUN. Like, outside. To prepare for my Warrior Dash. Which I’ve become recently aware is going to take me 10 hours in my present state. So I ran. I ran so short a distance. But I ran.

Anyway, I returned home and spent a glorious couple of hours on the couch with my baby. She even posed for a Mother’s Day Photo Shoot:

I called my mom and she delightfully recounted her visit to Home Depot wherein her and my Dad bought a new grill. A large one. So that “when all the kids are home there is enough room on the grill for all the food.” God Bless Them, that happens about twice a summer, but I’ll happily be their excuse for a shiny new grill.

Paul came home and we, like the naive young couple we are, went to Stop&Shop to buy flowers for his Mom, Aunt, and Grandma. Only it was Flowerocolypse at Stop&Shop and it looked like a super villain had blasted all the flowers to death. But we managed to find 3 plants that looked ok, and headed back home for our Mother’s Day Extravaganza!

We went out to dinner with Paul’s parents, Aunt, and Grandma last night to a little Italian place and it was rather delightful. After dinner, we headed back to our house for desert. We were downstairs at Paul’s Aunts, just chatting and spending time together. At one point, Paul’s sister called, and one thing lead to another, and Paul ended up bringing down his Mac so that Grandma could Skype with his sister. It was actually adorable to watch Grandma be completely shell-shocked to be able to talk to her granddaughter!

After Paul’s parent’s left, we ended up hanging around talking to his Aunt for another hour. And we began talking about retirement savings. Well, basically, Paul will be able to retire and I won’t. As we speak I’m in my meager account online, and for the love of Pete I don’t understand. As it stands, I personally don’t contribute to my retirement, but my employer does give me a free 5%. This is because I’m still paying off my hefty student loans, so until they get a bit smaller, I’ll just take the free money.

But, she did suggest that we talk to a financial planner. Because, you know, we’re grown-ups, and want to do things like get married, but a house, and have kids. So it’s probably a good idea for us to plan our finances, instead of just sticking our fingers in our ears and going “la la la as long as we’re paying the bills we’re ok”. So my question is this: what are you thoughts on financial planners? How do they work? And what kind of things will I need to inquire about?

So, with all that said, I have laundry to do and an oil change to go get. Happy Monday!

Holiday Recap

The holidays are over. Boo. I feel like you spend so much time preparing for the holidays, and then they are done and over with way too quickly. Overall, the holidays were wonderful, and I was so thankful to have the time with my friends and family. Let’s review:

Christmas Eve Paul had to work until 7pm, but I was graciously invited downstairs to his Aunt’s for dinner, even though Paul was still at work. That was so kind of them and it made me feel like I was really part of their family (more on that later). Paul’s dad and sister don’t get along, well, really, no one gets along with his dad, so there was some bickering and tension, but by now I’m used to it. I was a good little guest and helped with the dishes, which is more than I can say for his sister, but what are you going to do, right?

Paul’s aunt and grandma got me a beautiful Food Network waffle iron for Christmas, and I’ve already made waffles 3 times since. After dinner Paul and I went upstairs and relaxed, and waited for Santa to come.

I didn’t sleep well that night, probably because I was secretly hoping that I was getting proposed to the next morning. Unfortunately, I don’t have any magically exciting news: no proposal. But that’s ok. When it happens, it happens.

But Santa was very generous, let me give you the run down of what was under the tree. Paul got a dartboard, darts, a new beard trimmer, Yahtzee, underwear, and a manicure kit. I got Your Shape for the Kinect, a Dan Marino throwback jersey, and a Open Heart Necklace from Kay Jewelers:

Oh, there's a story

On Christmas, we were kind of busy. First we stopped by his parent’s for breakfast. This was very nice, because while eating my bagel in the kitchen with his mom, she said to me, “I’m really glad that you’re part of our family”. Isn’t that sweet? It made me feel really good that his family accepts me and our relationship and that when Paul does propose, I will be part of the whole family.

And just for the sake of keeping track, his parent’s got me a pick electric screwdriver and pink tool set. So cute! I used them to hang up Paul’s dartboard!

We then headed down the shore to Grams, which was annoying. We were only there for about 15 minutes, but in that 15 minutes, about 15 people were in her tiny living room, and I felt overwhelmed. Gram gave me some cash, which I used to buy a Shark steam mop I’ve been wanting.

Then we left the chaos and headed to my parent’s house. Kay and G and Rufus were there, and it was so nice to spend time with them. We haven’t seen them since they came up to visit in July. We ate some snacks and caught up, and then it was present time. Paul and G loved their Nerf guns. Kay’s scrubs fit perfectly. Mom loved the scanner and everything that I bought for my dad to give her. Dad did his classic “very good” response to every gift he got. I did well, too. $50 to Ikea from Kay and G (we already bought the end table we needed to finish up the living room!), and a new knife set, pillow, and homemade crocheted blanket from my mom (Dad doesn’t really buy gifts).  After gifts we ate our delicious dinner, and then played darts. It was a really lovely and calm Christmas and I couldn’t be happier with how I spent the day.

As you saw in my last post, the next day we had about three feet of snow, so I spent the next couple of days in the house doing nothing. But that’s exactly what I wanted to do during my break.

I have stories about my necklace and why you should avoid Kay Jewelers, and about where we stand with the proposal, and about the rest of my break, but I’ll save them until tomorrow.

Right now I”m going to finish locking up at work and then head out for the day. Thankfully, since there are no students here, I get to leave at 5pm instead of 7pm or 8pm.

Until tomorrow, Peace!

Gift Giving

So I’m pretty excited about all the gifts I’ve bought people this year. I think I did a pretty good job of getting people things that they will like/use/appreciate/love. Granted, that’s if Jersey doesn’t eat their presents in the next week and a half. For a little cat, she sure likes to wreak havoc on Christmas! (As I type she’s under the tree chewing on the ribbon on the gifts… but hey, at least she’s not in the tree!)

Anyway, let me share with you what I got everyone (except for Queens, who may read this. Just know, I’m SUPER excited about what I got her and I know she will LOVE it!).

Paul

Despite the fact that he “ruined” Christmas by guessing this, I’m still super excited about getting him a dart board for Christmas. (I was so set on not giving him any hints this year, so one day out of the blue he goes “did you get me a dart board?” I was caught so off guard that I couldn’t keep a straight face! I proceeded to cry hysterically, hyperventilate, and basically freak out, until I calmed down and realized Christmas is about more than the gifts, despite what this post suggests…)

 My parents have one in their den, and Paul has always enjoyed when we play when we are down. He’s been asking for a dart board since we moved in together, so I wanted to get him one. Now, I could have spent $29.95 at Sports Authority and gotten an “English Style” board, but that’s not the kind my parents have. You see, in the Philadelphia/South Jersey area, “American Style” darts are more popular. It’s called American style because the game you play is called Baseball and is based on, you guessed it, American Baseball. Here’s a link to what the dart board looks like. I got him the wooden one, not the paper, and I also bought us 6 darts. I’m excited to get it and put it up in our spare bedroom. Someday, when we actually have people over, we can play!

In addition, he also will receive: Yahtzee (to beef up our game stock), a beard trimmer (and nose hair trimmer mwah ha ha), a manicure set (to discourage him from biting his nails), and Christmas boxers. Granted, when I write it down like this, it looks like I’m trying to change his personal hygiene habits. But really, he needs a new beard trimmer, and I get the benefit of not seeing stray nose or ear hairs! And the manicure set is more of a gag gift, really.

My Parents

For my dad, I got him a new wallet/money clip thingy. To be honest, my mom bought it for him with the intent to have either my sister or I give it to him, so I bought it off her. She lives with him, and we don’t have the tightest relationship. But he will like it and go “very good” when he opens it like he does every year.

For my mom, my sister and I split buying her a photo scanner that she’s been asking for. She wants to be able to take her old photos from when we were kids (before the digital age) and scan them on her computer. I don’t blame her. There are tons of pictures from when I was a teenager that I would love to put up on Facebook, so I will reap the benefits of that as well. In addition, I picked her up a Christmas Wreath Yankee Candle, which is her favorite. She thinks it smells the most like a Christmas tree, and I have to agree.

In addition, my sister and I also split getting them together a new Scrabble board. My parents are kind of obsessed with Scrabble, and play, on average, 2 games a day throughout the entire summer. They play outside by the pool and their current board has become super faded over 4-5 summers of use, so we decided it was time for a new board.

Paul also got them something from him: a monogrammed wine stopper and monogrammed stone coasters, the kind they like. (Last Christmas Paul and I got them a wine chiller, the kind you put the bottle in and it cools it in about a minute. This year, my dad had me buy a Rabbit corkscrew on behalf of him. It kind of makes my parents seem like their winos, but they really aren’t!)

My Sister, Kay

Kay is getting a new set of scrubs (she works in the lab at a hospital in Maryland) from me and Paul got her and her boyfriend, G, a new Mario game for the Wii. G is also getting a Nerf gun from Paul and I. (Also, Paul is getting a Nerf gun from Kay and G! Kay and I thought that would be funny. Paul wants one to shoot darts at Jersey. I told him that’s animal abuse but we couldn’t resist. He’ll get bored with it after a day and Jersey will be fine.)

Paul’s Parents

We got the In-Laws a device that allows them to stream Netflix on their tv. They have the Netflix subscription, but they don’t have the gaming system that allows them to stream right on the TV. This will allow them to do so.

Paul’s Sister

I have no freaking clue what to get her. Paul got her a scarf and a CD. I’m open to any and all suggestions, but I don’t want to do a gift card. She lives in DC, Paul is of no help, and I don’t think she’s my biggest fan. My price point is about $20-$25. Ideas?

Paul’s Aunt and Grandma (who live below us) 

This weekend I bought Grandma a very warm and fuzzy scarf and glove set. I went with cranberry red because every 89-year-old should spice things up once in a while.

For his aunt, who is also our landlord, I also have no clue. Paul and I will go in on this gift together. I was thinking of a Barnes and Noble gift card (she has a Nook) and/or an iTunes gift card (she just got a Nano), but it’s soooo not personal. But Paul, God love him, is no help in the idea department on this one either. Thoughts? She’s in her late 50’s/early 60’s, unmarried, lives with her mother, has a dog and works as an Admin for a large financial firm.

La La and Freckles

Again… I think I used all my ideas on my family. They live right around the corner, and La La is infamous for not doing things because they cost too much. I was thinking of getting them a gift certificate to a local restaurant and maybe the movies so they can have a date night (which they don’t do often), but I have to be careful. To cover 2 people to go to the movies up here, that’s $22, plus to cover their dinner… it would put me over budget. We’ll see. I have a few more days to figure that one out.

Queens

Let’s just say, it’s preeeeeeetty!

The Pets

Jersey is getting a bumble bee toy. Rufus (Kay and G’s Alaskan Malamute) is getting a large rawhide bone. Spooky (Paul’s parent’s Westie) is getting a small rawhide bone from me and doggie stairs from Paul. And Biscuit, (Paul’s’ Aunt’s Yorkie) is also getting a small rawhide bone.

Co-Workers

Christmas Cookies. Really? Do you think I’d go above and beyond for my boss? Nope. Homemade Christmas cookies are a fine gift if you ask me!

~~~~~~~

And that’s it! I’m really excited to give everyone their gifts this year. I’m excited Kay and G (and Rufus) are coming up for the weekend. I’m excited that Paul and I get to spend our first Christmas in our new home together. And I’m excited that I get a whole 11 days off of work.

I really do love Christmas!

My Wet and Wild Weekend

I’m pretty sure that if I told Achoo we were going to move to Mountain Creek he’d be all for it.That boy loves him some water park.

We had a GREAT weekend with Kay and G. They drove up early on Friday morning and we headed up to Mountain Creek. It only took us about 45 minutes to get there, and really only had to wait on 1 long line (more on that later).

We started off by renting a locker, and the age-old debate roared in my head: do I wear shorts or do I just rock the tankini? Well, in a “I am woman hear me roar” moment, I rocked the tankini all day. Let me reiterate: I walked around all day in public just wearing a bathing suit. Yikes. But I did it. And you know what? I felt good. Not in a “oh I look hot” kind of way, but in a “yeah, this is my body. We’re friends.” kind of way.

Anyway, things were going great. We went on a bunch of rides, and I was masking my huffing and puffing as I climbed a mountain like 30 times. Around 1pm, we decided to go on the Colorado River ride. You know the type: large raft with 4 people in it? Well, there was a long line. One of those windy ones where you feel like human cattle, all smushed up together? About half way through my body realized it was 95 degrees out, I had only had 100 calories so far that day, and was feeling a little claustrophobic. Needless to say, I was about 20 seconds away from being the fat girl who passed out on line. I sat down (in the middle of the cattle herd line, mind you), and did my best to keep breathing. I knew that if I could just get through that line, and that ride, we’d go get food. So, to make the story completely anticlimactic, I didn’t pass out. I did make it through and eventually housed a hot dog and fries.

We went on more rides later in the afternoon, and ended up spending 5 and a half hours there. Crazy!

Then for dinner we went and got some yummy sushi. Yummy. And after dinner, like the dorky 20-somethings that we are, we played Apples to Apples. Have you ever played? Excellent party game. I won’t go into the details about the rules, but I will say if you haven’t already, definitely look into it.

The next day we all drove down the shore to our parent’s house. We had a lovely afternoon by the pool and then my mom and dad went out to dinner, and the four of us bbq’d up some steaks and hot dogs. After dinner we got a great game of darts going, and Mom and Dad came home around 8pm. They hopped in the game and we played darted and listed to music for about two hours.

Now, here’s the special part. Ever since Kay and I were little, there were always the few and far between nights were Dad didn’t watch TV; he’d put on music. Eric Clapton: Unplugged, The Traveling Wilbury’s, Dire Straits, the Talking Heads and Fine Young Cannibals were the sound track of my childhood. About 3 years ago, I compiled all these songs that stood out so predominantly in my mind and gave each member of my family a copy, entitled “A Jersey Family Christmas” (Christmas Eve was always a ‘no TV’ night).

So on Saturday night, A Jersey Family Christmas was brought out. And we danced. Poor Achoo and G, I thought they’d both run screaming. But they didn’t. They danced, too. And that’s especially shocking coming from Achoo, considering he has the rhythm of a dying fish.

After the dance party had died down, Achoo and I went out back and stuck our feet in the pool. On this crystal clear night, so quiet and peaceful, I made myself a promise. My children will dance. My family doesn’t have many traditions, and if you saw us on a normal night, you’d never think that dancing is one of them, but it is. So my kids will dance. They will dance their way through “A Jersey Family Christmas,” and they will learn my fathers patented: You-Don’t-Have-to-Move-Your-Feet-to-Dance dance. (See appendix 1)

Achoo and I headed home around 11:30pm, and passed out like lights when we got home. He had to work yesterday and I spent the day napping and doing laundry.

Finally, on a less fun note, my ulcerative colitis has been acting way up lately. I am trying really hard to take my medicine twice a day like I’m supposed to, but I’m still getting a lot of stomach aches (grated, I noticed I get them every time I think of work). I have an appointment for the first Friday in August to go to my doctor and review my status. I know he’s going to want me to have a colonoscopy again, but lord only knows when I’m going to be able to schedule that. Having UC is shitty people, pun intended.

So that all there is to say about that. My boss is out again today, which I’m actually glad for, because it means I can work in peace. Happy Monday!

And baby when you call me, you can call me Al.

Appedix 1-

The Don't-Have-To-Move-Your-Feet-To-Dance Dance

Big Plans: Big Week

I am officially on vacation! Woo!

Now, with that said, I am incredibly anxious that my boss is going to text me about a thousand things that I’ve done wrong. I have no intention of checking my email or calling the office, because, you know, I’M ON VACATION. But, I have a nagging feeling that at any moment my phone is going to beep with my boss wanting to know if I did something or where something is.

I did my best to make sure everything that could be taken care of was taken care of before I left. But I’m not perfect. I could have forgotten something.

I’m also pretty nervous that she’s going to go through my space. It’s not like I have anything to hide, but it would just be an invasion of my space, ya know? Funnily enough, my secretary will be out today as well, and she has the same fear…

But enough about work, since I’m not going to be there today! Or tomorrow! Or until next Tuesday!

I was pretty smart when I planned to take this week off, because I know that for only taking 4 vacation days, I’d really be away from the office for 10. And in those 10 days I have some pretty fun things planned!

Today, Queens and I are going to see a taping of The Late Show with David Letterman! So fun! The guest is Kristen Stewart. I’d much rather Taylor and his (jail bait) yummy-ness be the guest, but whatever. Take what you can get.

Tomorrow, I have very detailed plans involving me, my mom, and her pool. I also will include my Nook and a bottle of SPF 15 in those plans. You get the idea.

On Wednesday, Achoo and I are probably going to go down the shore (again for me) to the beach. He’s been wanting to go, so since we’re both off, why not?

Thursday-Monday: No definite plans yet, but relaxing and doing nothing sound fabulous, right?

With all that said, I’ve been making a conscious effort to work out more, so I need to go do that.

Yay for vacation!