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!

Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Another Fuzzy Alarm Clock

Tee. Hee.

Hi. I don’t really need to explain do I? I’m just going to go with it. When I write, I write. When I don’t, I don’t. As a wise mid-90’s musical about NYC proudly proclaimed: Take Me or Leave Me!

So I suppose I’m due for about 3 months of updates on life.

I guess the most notable thing is that work as been OK. And by ok, I mean reasonably tolerable. My secretary left mid-March to go work in another office, and I think my boss realized that she could choose to either work with me or against me.  Thankfully, it appears that for the most part, she has chosen to work with me. She has even COMPLIMENTED me in the past few months on my work. Needless to say, my jaw hit the floor quite a few times. We did a search for a new secretary and for the past 3 weeks have had a young man who graduated from the school a few years ago behind that desk. So far so good.

With that said, tonight is the first night in MONTHS that I’m actually cooking dinner (turkey burgers and fries, as per Paul’s request). I’m actually blogging from the kitchen counter as I let the burgers cook on the Forman because, a) the thoughts of what I wanted to write were in my head and I knew if I waited I’d forget, and b) I have a laptop, so why I insist on keeping it on the same end table next to the couch I’ll never know. The point of that rant is that I’ve been crazy-busy at work. Lots of long hours and multiple 12-hour days have added up and taken their toll, but the end of the semester is near and the glory of summer is upon us, bring with it 9-5 work days, 4 day weeks, and not a single snowflake in sight.

Let’s see, what else had happened in the past three months? Paul and I signed up for, along with Kay, G, and Queens for a Warrior Dash in June. I earnestly signed up (again) for Weight Watchers back in February, shortly after my birthday, and gave it the old college try for about a month, but then my secretary left and the 12-hours days hit and McDonald’s was oh-so convenient. But, I do get on the elliptical about once a week, which is more than before, and once the semester ends I can devote an honest to goodness 3 days a week to working out, and really I just want to finish the race, not have the best time. And I think I can do that.

Paul and I finally painted the living room/dining room last weekend. I had a 3-day weekend due to the glory of Easter, and we took advantage of that and I spent 4 days painting away. It’s not a drastic change from what it was. The room went from industrial white to Linen. If you glance at the walls without looking at the trim, you think it’s white, but it’s actually a greyish beige upon further inspection. And I must say, we did a pretty damn good job. And it only took us a year to do it.

That’s right, folks. As of, well today actually, Paul and I have lived together for an entire year. And we still like each other. In fact, we still love each other a whole lot. My sex drive still isn’t that high, but it is entirely due to stress and tiredness than lack of wanting, and he understands. Our two-year anniversary is a short 30 days away, and I’m hoping a shiny ring turns up sometime soon. I know a MAJOR consideration on his part is money. He wants to have a certain amount in his bank account before he buys a ring. But it’s coming soon. Because lord knows that I’ve been dropping lead bricks in the disguise of hints for a while now. He will when he’s ready, but I wish he’d be ready yesterday (oh, and that Royal Wedding didn’t help, especially because I was MADLY in love with Wills when I was younger, pre-Baldy McBalderson…)

But, I do have to say that despite the fact that we aren’t engaged yet, that isn’t stopping us from becoming parents! We are currently in the process of adoption. We’re actually supposed to have a home visit on Monday. We’re hoping for a beautiful baby that’s both black and white and already house-trained. Yup, we’re rescuing a Boston Terrier! We found a great rescue group that serves our area, and have been going through their adoption process. They’ve called Paul’s Aunt, our landlord, for a reference, done a phone interview, and the next step is for someone to visit out house. She was actually scheduled to come today, but had an emergency and will be coming on Monday. After that, if we are approved, we will hopefully be matched with a dog in the next few weeks! I’ve already started clipping dog food coupons in anticipation. How will Jersey react? We’re not sure yet, but two things are on the top of our priority lists with getting a dog: a) the dog is documented as getting along with cats, and b) Jersey was here first and will always be my Bubby Princess Kitty Kat.  It will be a new challenge, but one that I’m open to and excited for, and hopefully will all work out, plus it’s coming at a time of year that I feel good about, and know that I will have the time and opportunity to get used to a new fuzzy alarm clock waking me up in the morning.

So, no promises that I’ll write again soon. It could be tomorrow, a week from now, or 3 months, but know that, with a couple of exceptions and moments of anxiety, I’m doing fine and so are Paul and Jersey and no matter what we will continue to be doing fine. Great even. Amazingly: Happy.

P.S.- Except for the phantom bagpipes I was hearing today that makes Paul think I’m going crazy. Follow me on Twitter for the whole story on that!

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!

SNOW DAY!!!

As many of you may have heard, New Jersey got hit with a teeny-tiny amount of snow. Of course, cause fate is a fucker, this happened when I already had this time off of work, but Paul got a snow day today (super-rare in the retail industry), so it worked out I guess. Since our town has yet to plow our side street, and therefore we cannot leave the house (nor should we because we’re in a State of Emergency), I’ll share with you some pics of our Winter Wonderland.

Paul and I decided to venture out about an hour ago to build a snowman, but the snow is too fluffy and not sticking to itself, so we just basically walked around and ooh’d and ahh’d over how high the snow was. We pushed each other in the snow a couple of times, and then decided it was time to come in and relax. Here are the pics of our Yeti Adventures:

Our backyard, before we trudged through it.

 

This is Paul's favorite picture. I don't really understand why. But that's in front of our driveway. Hence the not leaving.

 

The snow pile is as tall as I am. Are you loving my sexy snow bunny outfit?

 

Paul wanted to prove to his boss the street was unplowed. I love the random neighbor running down the street in the snow!

 

I am the queen of arm-stretched self portraits. I call this "Yeti's".

 

Paul trudging through the backyard. (Very Yeti-like!)

 

I have on 2 pairs of socks, 2 pairs of pants, 3 shirts, a coat, a scarf, and ugly Miami Dolphin-colored gloves. That's why I look like an oompa-loompa.

 

So I hope everyone stays safe and warm. If you can, stay home and relax, try to build a snowman, drink hot chocolate, and enjoy the snow.

Happy Snow Day!!!

Fa La La La La, La La Ka-Ching!

The title really has no relevance to this post other than being a hilarious quote from last year’s (it was last year’s, right?) The Office Christmas episode, when Dwight is selling the unicorn dolls for a jacked up price, and his talking head is him deadpan saying that? I think I laughed for an hour. Haha, I’m actually laughing now thinking about it.

Actually, this post should be titled “Christmastime Plan-O-Rama” (but you’d have to pronounce the “rama” like ram, not rom, cause otherwise it doesn’t rhyme. Sorry, this is the one time I won’t account for regional dialects!) because I’m going to share with you my extremely exciting holiday plans! Are you excited?!?! I know I am!

But, before I get into all that, I’d just like to say that today was my last day of work until after New Years, so I am SUPER EXCITED to not have to see my boss for the next 10 days!!! It’s like Christmas!

Anyway, here ya go, big plans:

Tomorrow (Christmas Eve)

My thrilling plans include doing laundry, which involves a laundromat (ugh.) and lugging twice my weight in dirty clothes up and down two flights of stairs. But it needs to be done. Maybe I”ll bake another batch of cookies, if I have the energy, and then when Paul gets home at 7:30pm we’ll head downstairs to his Aunt’s for Christmas Eve We’ll miss dinner, but that’s ok.

Saturday (Christmas)

We’ll get up and have our first Christmas in our new house! Yay! If by any chance I get engaged I’ll put it on Twitter, so follow me if you don’t already (shameless holiday plug, but whatev)! Then we’ll head over to his parent’s to spend some more time with them and then head down the shore to my family. We’re going to try to make a quick appearance at Gram’s house, but that depends on traffic. If we can’t make it then we’ll head right to my parent’s house for the rest of the day. Kay and G and Rufus will be there, so it’ll be a warm and fuzzy holiday filled with presents, darts, crab dip and picture-taking. I can’t wait!

Sunday-Thursday

Abso-frickin-lutely nothing. Sleep. Redeem my $20 Kohl’s cash I got when I bought my mom’s Christmas present (yay! It’s like a finder’s fee!) Sleep. Maybe hang out with La La. Sleep. Shovel snow. Sleep. You get the idea.

Friday (New Years Eve)

Paul and I were invited a couple of places. Last year we spent it with my friends, so this year he wants to spend it with his. Which I’m fine with. Although I didn’t know until, like, yesterday we were invited out with his friends, so I was counting on a nice, quiet evening home. Which sounds lovely. God, I’m old. But out with his friends I will go!

Following Saturday and Sunday (2011)

Sleep some more, and mourn the end of my vacation from work. Have I mentioned I severely dislike my boss?

So Merry Christmas and all that jazz to all of you out there in Blog Land! I hope it’s full of fuzzy kisses (from your pets), sloppy kisses (from your kids) and warming kisses (from your other’s) and wipe-the-lipstick-off-your-cheek kisses from your great aunt’s and grandmas! I’ll try to post next week, especially if he puts a ring on it! (By the way, I’m doubting it, but a girl can dream, can’t she?)

Merry Christmas!

All I Want For Christmas

Ok, I admit, it’s a little early to be thinking about this. But in reality, it isn’t. I need to start buying Christmas gifts now so that I don’t get financially overwhelmed come December. Now, I’d love to share with you all my plans for what I’m going to get everyone for Christmas, but the truth of the matter is, some people I am buying for read this, and I’ll be damned if I spoil the surprise. But, that doesn’t mean that I can’t publish my list of the things I want for Christmas! So, in ranked order:

  1. An Engagement Ring. We’ve discussed this. It shouldn’t be a surprise.
  2. A new knife set. Mine, while ok, are not the best. I want pretty, shiny, sharp knives, please.
  3. A Miami Dolphins Jersey. Either blank on the back or a throwback Marino one.
  4. iTunes gift cards. So I can buy more Glee music.
  5. Target gift cards. So I can buy more everything.
  6. Bob’s Discount Furniture gift cards (do they have those?) so I can put money towards my new couch I want.

That’s pretty much it. I realize it’s not a terribly exciting list, but these are really the only things I want. I don’t want any fancy electronics. I don’t want any movies. I really just want to be happy, engaged, and sporting my favorite football teams colors. While wielding a sharp knife sitting on my new couch listening to Glee songs. I think that’s a very appropriate vision.

And that’s all I have to say about that, I guess. Have a great week!

Did I Mention I Was Half Naked?

It occurred to me this morning in the shower, where I do my best thinking, that I may have skimmed over a very important life moment when I was telling you about my weekend.

I briefly mentioned that I “rocked a tankini” all day. But, PEOPLE, that was big. This requires more detail.

When we got to the lockers, I had a moment where I was debating whether or not I should leave my shorts on. At that point Kay, my Never-Has-Even-Been-Considered-Remotely-Fat-And-Walks-Around-In-String-Bikinis-And-Looks-Hot-And-I-Love-Her-But-I-Hate-Her sister, says to me, “Jerz, just take off your shorts. There are people here who look way worse wearing way less.” Oddly, that did it for me. And I walked around all day in just a bathing suit. Not even shoes. Not even a towel. I just dripped and dried and moved on.

There are two very important points about that interaction that I need to discuss. The first is my emotional response to the whole situation. The second is my intellectual response to the comment my sister made.

So to start off. I have always “struggled” with my weight. I say struggled with that because I think, now that I’m a little older and wiser, that the struggle wasn’t a physical one with my body losing weight. I think the “struggle” was with my head to accept who I am and how I look. You see, on a scale of 1-10, 1 being a Vikki’s underwear model, 10 being a gelatinous blob of whale fat, I’m probably a 6.5 (Kay is a 2). I’m a little on the curvier side of average. Not Jersey Shore average, NORMAL AMERICAN WOMAN average. But growing up where I did, with the sister I did, well, that left me a little down in the dumps about my body.

It didn’t help that my mom was always trying to get me to lose weight. It also didn’t help that my mom, to this day, is a 3, and she’s almost 60.

Anyway, so here I was schlepping thorough Mountain Creek practically naked, and you know what, I was ok. I felt good. Not in a “hey boys check me out” kind of way, but in a “hey, this is my body. I like it. Achoo likes it. I don’t really care if you do or not” kind of way.

And it was the most wonderful thing in the world.

I think a lot of it has to do with Achoo. With boyfriends of the past, I was always self-conscious. If I gain weight he’ll dump me. If I let him see my fat he’ll dump me. There was never affirmation that I looked good. Until Achoo. One of my favorite things in the world is when he has the day off, and he’s still in bed half asleep, and I am drying off after a shower, totally naked and exposed, and I here a little “mmm,” a short, purposeful I like what I see affirmation.

And that is one of many reasons why I love him.

Now, onto my second point. My intellectual response to my sister’s comment. As I mentioned, in an effort to get me to go sans shorts, she said, “Jerz, just take off your shorts. There are people here who look way worse wearing way less.”

In hindsight, this bothers me. A lot.

Why did the knowledge that someone was fatter, someone was uglier, or someone was in worse condition and sanity make me feel ok? Why was that a motivating factor? And, I’m ashamed to admit it, I found myself, the part of me that is still not thrilled with my body (she didn’t like VANISH), looking around at the other curvier girls trying to judge whether or not I was bigger or smaller, and if my bathing suit choice was better than theirs.

What I should have been thinking was, “you go girl! You rock whatever makes you feel comfortable! I’m proud of us for not giving in to societies view of how we should look!”

But I wasn’t.

I think I still have a long way to go. My level of body acceptance has certainly risen in a year (last year when Achoo and I went to Mountain Creek, I rocked the shorts). But as I’m learning to accept my own body, I also need to learn to accept others. Those girls at Mountain Creek probably had the same feelings I did that day. And maybe the were having the “I look good” moment. How dare I, even if it’s only in my inner monologue, take that away from them to make myself feel better.

Yup. Still have a long way to go.