Our house has not sold. In fact, it's only had ONE showing since we put it on the market. We've had 2 open houses to which not one soul has come. The odd thing is that our agent, Miss Edna, says our house is getting more than 140 hits on realtor.com EVERY DAY. She says the most of any listing her agency has. So what gives? Why no visitors? Maybe it's the time of year? We don't know. She's updated our listing to show proximity to local must-need places - Target, grocery stores, and downtown. See? We're not SO in the boonies (well, yeah. we sort of are). I also took some new pics with our nice SLR camera and they've been added to the listing. I have to assume every viewer is as snobby as I am about good pics on a listing, so I retook them. Anyway, we have a great house and I know it'd sell if people just VISITED THE INSIDE. So that's that.
On the flipside, I've been requesting viewings of other houses I've found for ourselves this week. This week alone, I've seen 4. 2 are good, 1 is OK and 1 is a no-go. There are 2 I'm kind of falling for, but I'm also not SO in love that I see my heart getting broken like with the Tunstall and Heater homes. I've pushed past those and know that the Lord has better things planned for us.
One house we saw today I've had my eye on for a while. It's been on the market over 100 days and has had it's priced dropped once. Miss Edna says it's priced way more per square foot than other homes in the neighborhood, and about $35k over tax value. So it's overpriced. Keep it that way until we're ready to buy it! It's a home I can see myself in LONG TERM. That's what we want. Settlement. It's in the in-law's neighborhood (but not too close hehehe - JK in-laws!). Actually, that would be nice. Oh...it was just great. I want it.
Nothing much else has been going on. I continue to be gainfully unemployed and while I love being FREEEEE! I hate worrying about money and not contributing. I did find out that I'm approved for the emergency unemployment benefits so we think I'll get unemployment possibly until March. I'm still looking for jobs. There aren't many out there and I'm still not sure what to do with myself. Everything I apply for just seems to go into a big black hole and I never hear back with a yes or a no. Argh.
Last week, when my mom was out of town, I organized all her legal papers from my dad's case. I came across some transcripts that were taken at depositions and it dawned on me that I could do legal transcription! Some of that work can even be done from home. But how do you get into that? I've read it requires no schooling, but again, where do you get your start? Things seems near impossible to start because everything wants you to have umpteen years of experience ALREADY.
I still toss around getting my real estate license. Even Miss Edna said I had a knack for picking out good houses today and that she should bring me on as an agent. I told her I had considered it. I'm just not sure if they only money you make as an agent is commission or if you get a salary on top of that (???) Anyone know?
I have come to realize that I've been out of work for so long with no leads because I think God is trying to help me figure out what I've been looking for for so long - WHY am I here? WHAT am I meant to do? It's apparently a slow process, but I'm hoping for an end result that will change my life or at least even it out. Best thing about being let go is that I've regained composure of myself and my mind. I can't believe how my last job beat me down and how far my body went to deal with it. I think God did a jailbreak on that one :)
Our house has been on the market for about 3-4 weeks. We have had not one single showing or visitor and that crushes my soul. Our house is one of the best in the neighborhood compared to the other pre-lived-in-homes-for-sale. We have interesting competition right now. We live on the main road in our subdivision and there are 3 homes in a row right at the entrance that are all for sale. The annoying thing is that 2 of them are for sale by the builder, but this doesn't mean they haven't been lived in. The builder chose to RENT these homes to people rather than continue to try to sell them in a bad housing market. That's fine and well for them, but now it looks like everyone in the neighborhood just wants to move out. Including our home, there are 4 others for sale within ear shot of our house.
In addition to the pre-loved homes, we're up against new construction in the back part of the neighborhood. Our 6 month analysis shows that the only homes to sell during that time period have been new construction homes. I'm hoping that before long they'll be out of new homes to sell and won't have any others on their way to completion. We'll see.
This past Saturday we had a 3 hour open house held by our realtor. She said that not one person came through our house. Even worse is that the Parade home down the street (which folks have to get to by passing our house) had plenty of traffic! That house is priced $40k more than our house. That's depressing. We don't know why no one stopped in. In these tough times would you pick the house that was only 1 year lived in that came with a fridge, washer, dryer, and all those blinds ALREADY IN IT? or would you pick the brand new house where you had to shell out nearly $4,000 to equip your home with all those things? We're also offering $2k in closing costs. We're so nice. Apparently not nice enough.
To make matters worse, my FIL informed me on Sunday that another couple in our church is looking at the house in Apex I sort of had my heart set on. It's the reason we even put our house on the market. They sold their house last week and are ready to buy something. I'm hoping they don't buy it - they have 3 kids and the house is 1600 square feet. I can't imagine. I was sort of crushed. It was bad timing to receive such news. Having not yet heard the results of our open house, I was fretting over whether anyone had come or not and then to hear the house I really wanted was within arms reach of a couple who HAD sold their home. It made me really sad and I felt like if I even said words I might cry.
The only bright spot is that I've now found another house that could be grand. It's not in Apex, but is in a cute part of Cary. It's a big bigger at nearly 1900 square feet, and is the same story - 1950's home that someone bought and completely renovated to today's updated standards. It's adorable and has the most cozy, private backyard and patio. I'm hoping to go see it this week. We were able to see a lot of it by peeking in the windows, but couldn't see all the bedrooms and baths. I'm not kidding myself, I think this house will sell based on it's great location and beautiful updates, but I'm a dreamer so I will hang on to both dreams until they are squashed by others who were fortunate enough to actually SELL their homes.
My new dietary restrictions have me frustrated. Basically anything sweet I shouldn't eat and I'm supposed to cut carbs pretty much altogether. I'm not doing the greatest job of following the diet to a T but I try when I can. It's hard to figure out how to eat things that satisfy my cravings for sweets but that aren't filled with sugar or flour. I recently bought this beauty of a book:
...which I've been drooling over for quite some time. I have a slight love affair with cupcakes and I'm not sure why. I think it's their versatility and cute little perfect portion size. I love to make them, to decorate them with delicious icing, and share them with others. This book not only contains tons of recipies for cupcakes but also muffins. One I can't wait to try is the zucchini and feta muffins. YUM.
Today, I turned to the "Cupcakes for Special Diets" section and I decided to make the "Ultimate Flourless Chocolate Cupcake." It still has sugar, but only 1/2 a cup which isn't too bad. I wasn't bold enough to try substituting Splenda because the recipe calls for 4 eggs and 4 egg yolks and I didn't have an extra 8 eggs to waste! They have ground almonds in them (which are full of protein and great for me) and a bit of orange extract in them. The icing is made mostly of heavy cream with just 4 tablespoons of confectioner's sugar. So overall, they may not be the lowest in fat, but they have no flour and a decent amount of sugar which is heads above any other type of cake I could make for myself. They also have 1 1/2 cups of bittersweet chocolate chips (I use Ghirardelli 60% cacao chips - they are the best) and 2 sticks of butter in them, but who's counting?
Here's a pic of them fresh from the oven...I will be icing them soon:
I got to taste a tiny bit that broke off when I took them out of the pan - they are good, but were hot. I always prefer by baked goods at room temperature so their real flavor comes through. So far, judging on the ingredients list, visual appeal and light, fluffy icing, I'd highly recommend you try these! YUM!
Our current home is great, but it's just too much. Too much yard, too much house, too many unused (but decorated) rooms. We don't need this much space with or without kids. Maybe I'll eat those words later if we have kids, but I can't help but roll my eyes at that because people used to live in smaller homes with families. The house we're looking at it's just a bit over 1600 square feet and sits on a third of an acre with enough room in the backyard to add on a master suite one day.
If we're lucky enough to sell and be able to buy this home, it'll be a space adjustment for sure, but I feel totally worth it for it's location, charm, and newly renovated interior. If the 50's wife and mother could do it, so can I!
We're busy staging and getting things show ready. Luckily, I had sort of been doing a lot of that already since I got laid off in March so it's been slightly easier than getting the townhouse ready. We hope to list the house this weekend. We've got a bit of competition in the neighborhood, but we're going to price right, will include our appliances, offer some closing costs, and hopefully people interested in our neighborhood will see the value in our home over some of the others.
Keep your fingers crossed for us.
That's stupid. Blogging isn't supposed to be a responsibility, and I didn't start blogging to please others. A lot of folks seems to use their blogs to show off their lives and (as I've blogged about before), a lot of blogs (I'm using that word a lot here) end up being false representations of lives. Lives that seem to be filled with only happiness and sheer joy. I call your bluffs today.
While I'm sure everyone out there has a thing or two to share that's happy and great, I'd sure love to read some entries that show a more real side of live every once in a while because I swear, that's more interesting than the predictable happy news people always love to share. It makes me sad to know that sometimes I don't write because I'm worried my readers will find me depressing because I don't have some wonderfully happy milestone moment to share. I am a real person, with real feelings and real issues in my life and I want to share them with the internet...and my readers. I don't know why I feel scared to do so. I often feel I must come up with something joyful to balance out the mood of my blog. Ugh. Don't get me wrong, though. I don't have a depressing life. I just go through things like every other human and want to share them. I find it more therapeutic to share the hard stuff than it is to share the happy stuff.
I wonder when I'm going to get comfortable with blogging and sharing my feelings to invisible readers. I don't know who is out there reading necessarily and I find that scary. I wonder if I'm cut out to be a blogger?
Nevertheless, here are a few updates on life as I know it:
1. I've been put on yet another prescription medication. This time by my endocrinologist. I'm taking metformin which is a drug often prescribed to folks with type 2 diabetes. My dear mother has found it necessary to tell everyone she knows about this and finds it equally necessary to scare me with the fact that having insulin-resistance is just a hair's breadth from having type 2 diabetes and tells me it's imperative that I change my diet. You know, had I know this was what was wrong with me back when I asked my doctor for a referral to an endocrinologist, I wouldn't be so bad off and I may could've saved myself 20 or so pounds. Oh well, here I am. This drug is supposed to possibly help me lose weight and suppress my cravings for carbs. Hmm. I've been on it for a couple of weeks and don't feel the difference. I'm sure it just takes time to get into your system.
2. I have been painting again! I finally put some paint on a wall in one of our upstairs rooms. It's looking great. Walls are done and I'm not in the process of refinishing all of my grandmother's bedroom furniture. I'm painting it a gloss black and it's looking nice! I have no pics yet, but will update soon when the room starts coming together. Right now, it's all over the place - some on the deck, some in the loft, and it's not even close to being a useable room. I think it'll look great when it's done and will probably be the most finished room in the house.
3. Some sad news. Our BFFs George and Leigh are moving....TO FREAKIN' TAMPA, FLORIDA. Sad doesn't really cover it, but I'm slowing getting over it. George interviewed for a job with Leigh's brother's company (I think) and was offered the job. The NCGA couldn't match their offer so they are off to Florida. Since Seth works with G he sees him everyday, but prior to that, we didn't see them that much, but we did get together every so often and I looked forward to that. I'm the first to admit I have basically no friends in Raleigh. I don't have a job and don't have a way to meet people, plus - am very bad at it. I guess I won't miss seeing them as much as I will miss knowing they are in the same town and getting together won't be as easy. HOWEVER, I'm warming up to the idea that we'll have a great vacation destination whenever we feel like getting out of town! G&L - just go ahead and paint our names on the walls in your spare bedroom! :) What will we do without these idiots in our breathing space??
Skye heads back to Boone shortly for another year at ASU. Last year we helped her move in to a dorm, this year, we moved her into an apartment. She's a big girl now! We headed up in our dueling PT Cruisers on Friday morning and arrived in Boone a little after lunch. We stepped out of our cars at a mattress store and it felt wonderful in the mountain air. Not too hot, not too cool, and a nice breeze to punctuate its wonderfulness. After using the mattress store's bathroom/storage closet/trash keeper, we headed to Skye's new apartment to get her moved in. I forget how easy it is to move in a college student. It sure didn't feel easy when I was moving in, but we'll go with it. Perhaps Skye is slightly less maintenance than I was. No one was home so Seth and I got to building Skye's cool new dresser. Ooooo. FIL built her desk, but Seth and I won the race and finished first :) In an odd way, it was fun. Seth and I actually built something together without arguing! YAY!
Before the sun could go down, Seth and I headed into the hills to find our townhouse. Thanks to my dad's wonderful cousin and her husband, we had a fabulous place to stay for the weekend. It was nice to have lots of space to spread out and I slept like a dream for the first time in a while. The Barwaller is a townhouse that's part of the Yonahlossee resort between Boone and Blowing Rock. It was just great. Great. Great.
Since we got Skye all moved in when we arrived on Friday, we really had nothing to do for the rest of the weekend and that was nice. Saturday we went into Boone and visited the Mast General Store and a few other shops and then we headed up to Howard's Knob which overlooks Boone. I'd never been up there before and it really gives you a beautiful view of Boone without too much fuss. It was quiet up there and only a few other people showed up - I think we beat the "picnic lunch" crowds as they seemed to be piling in just as we were leaving.
We went back to the Barwaller for some naps and downtime before we headed into Blowing Rock to eat at Mellow Mushroom out on the porch. That's a great MM simply because of the atmosphere. We ate there last year as well since it was just a block or 2 from our motel and we didn't have to find a parking space.
Overall, we had a nice weekend and got to relax for the most part. Sunday, we drove up to THE Blowing Rock (which I had also never actually been to) and saw the sights and bought some stupid souvenirs. On our way back to Raleigh, we stopped at the Cascades on the Blue Ridge Parkway which required a tiny bit of a hike, but was worth it in the end. Nature offers some beautiful scenery and sometimes you just have to take the time to find it.
Currently, my weight is 185 pounds. Am I am 5'5".
Pick your disgusted shock up off the floor and continue reading, for I have learned in the past week why my weight has shot up 50 pounds in 10 years.
Let me back up a tad. Last November, I showed up at my new gynecologist's office in tears wondering what was wrong with me, why was I fat, why was I anxious and having panic attacks, why did I still have acne, etc, etc. She handed me a tissue and said she thought I had polycystic ovary syndrome and it was like someone turned a light on. After googling it to death all the while nodding yes, yes, yes to the symptoms on the computer screen, blood tests have proven her suspicions and I've been treated. PCOS isn't curable, but it's manageable. So...we're managing. However, after my last blood test, she decided to refer me to an endocrinologist - the SAME kind of doctor I had been ASKING for a referral to from my general doctor for the last year only to be poo-pooed away from that idea.
The referral came when my doctor saw that my cortisol levels continued to be high. Again, more googling and nodding yes, yes, yes at the symptoms list. I finally met my endocrinologist (who is also my dad's endocrinologist) last week, and he says he thinks I am "insulin resistant." Ordered more blood tests and then will treat me accordingly.
I ran out the very next day and bought this book after he advised me that the best diet for someone like me is to eat proteins and fats but no carbs or sugar. Verbatim he said, "If it's sweet, you probably shouldn't eat it." GRRRRRRRRRREAT. I had been eating the OPPOSITE way for years! That was probably fine up until my body went haywire and started producing too much insulin and had high levels of cortisol, etc, etc. Carbs and sweets were my staple. * Not to blame my fatness on my insulin resistance, I'm sure dessert most nights didn't help either, but it also wasn't a new thing.
Mega-light bulb moment came when I read the following in my new book:
People have different baseline levels of insulin because of individual genetic makeup. That is, some people just have normally higher levels of insulin than others. People with this condition overreact to carbohydrates with higher-than-normal insulin spikes, so fat storing occurs faster for them. The medical name for this overly high insulin state is called hyperinsulinemia. The more common name for this condition is insulin resistance.
The more overweight you are, the more resistant to insulin you tend to become. This happens because extra adipose tissue (fat) causes a hormone reaction (a rise in body cortisol) that closes the cells' doors to incoming glucose. The "shunned" glucose has no alternative but to go on to become fat. The good news is that as you lose body fat, the insulin resistance improves, too.
After reading that I was happy and pissed off all at the same time. Happy because now I understood why I was packing on the pounds so easily and quickly. Pissed off because along with my mom, I thought I might have an issue that needed to be tended to by an endocrinologist for a while and no one would listen or react. Also happy because this condition explained so much more - my "sugar drops" on a daily basis, why I'd feel starved one hour after eating a bowl of cereal or a piece of cake, and again my weight gain.
For the last week, I've been eating proteins, dairy and fats (not high fats) as much as I could. I even ordered a hamburger at lunch on Sunday and shoved the bun to the side to allow it to think about what it had been doing to me for years. It pouted. I haven't seen any weight loss, but it's only been a week. My great new book has a few recipes, too. I made the chocolate mousse and it was pretty good.
I am praying that this is finally the answer my body has been "weighting" for and that things may start to improve (and disappear) soon. I'm sure my cortisol, insulin resistance talk has confused some of you, but let me just say that if you google them both and read the symptoms, the majority of them have happened to me. OH! And people who have PCOS are also prone to become insulin resistant. So it's really all been connected - and I sensed that - but I'm so relieved and grateful to finally have 2 doctors who cared enough to figure me out.
Aside from the minor house drama, things are moving along as you'd expect in the land of unemployment. I've gotten a few more prospects on the job front, but at this point they are not even worth mentioned as it seems as soon as I talk about something it slips right through my fingers. How about I just let you know if something works out? K? K.
I've been painting again. I put down my brush and roller for a little while, but then got a second wind and got right back into it. I've (re)done our master bathroom. It was a sage green from Restoration Hardware, but it just wasn't jiving with the tile in our bathroom. The tile was a little too cool of a color and the sage was asking for something more warm to contrast with. I painted the bathroom the same La Fonda Antique Red I've used in the dining room, half bath, hallway and our bedroom. I love it and I've found so many things to go with it. The rugs have really been my jumping off point and I'm happy so far. Everything is flowing and in harmony up in here.
We also finally started doing some yard work. We pulled weeds, put down weed preventive and bought 30 bags of mulch to finally replace the old crap that's been here since we moved in. We've still got lots to go, but it looks so much better and the weeds aren't coming back in full force (yet).
My mom turns the big 6-0 next Friday and we're having a par-tay for her on Saturday. I hope she enjoys it - I think this party is whats keeping her going right now. John, Shelly, Seth and I have gotten her a nice gift that I think she'll enjoy for a long time! We've also gotten her a fun cake from Swank (who did Seth's iPhone cake) so hopefully, that'll be a fun part to her food table.
Seth and I got the new iPhone 3GS (of course we did) and I have a black phone now. I had a white one before, but wanted to switch it up. I am most excited to make use of the video function and take little videos of Three and anything else fun we come across.
Now for some controversy....Jon & Kate. I just started watching this show when I lost my job. I randomly checked it out one morning and then got hooked. So for me, I've seen them at their best and now at their worst in the span of a few months rather than being someone who's followed them for 5 years. I find it awfully sad that they are divorcing and can see how the issue arose out of both of them, but it's especially sad to see episodes from years past when they seem in love and work as a team and enjoy each other's company. I'm one of those dorks who holds on for dear life to the hope that rumors aren't true and tend not to believe anything until it comes out of the celebrity's mouth (like Clay Aiken). I'm just really sad for J&K and the kids. Maybe things will turn around in the future, but right now it seems broken beyond repair.
Additionally, I saw some Facebook comments about their split that made my blood boil. One from a Christian girl who stated she was boycotting the show and TLC due to their break up. To me, that just seems like the opposite thing a Christian should do. Why would you turn your back on J&K+8 because you don't agree with their decision to divorce and on TLC because you think they forced them to do the show which you think ruined their marriage? Don't you think J&K are adults who can make their own decisions? Do you honestly think TLC could force them to do a show they didn't want to. Sure, Jon obviously didn't want to do another season at the end of season 4, but apparently they decided to move forward. Why would you just slam the door on 2 people who are Christians as well (read Multiple Blessings and you'll see!) during a time that they probably need your prayers more than your back turned on them. I just found it highly hypocritical and it just made me angry.
ANYWAY....pics are below of what we've been up to in the last few weeks.
Since being laid off from my job, Seth and I have entered the sometimes cruel world of living on one paycheck and having to lose things we otherwise would've kept and enjoyed. Namely, a car - we sold our CR-V (on my birthday, thankyouverymuch) to save us from an almost $500 a month car payment. We tried living on one car, but I think that lasted only 2-3 weeks. We then bought a cheap car and more than cut in half that old car payment. We've gone to the grocery store with new eyes on and actually paying attention to prices and how much stuff we didn't need to buy. It's been a bit of an eye-opener that's now reached beyond our simple everyday purchases.
Losing income makes you reassess your true needs in life and helps you to easily distinguish between wants and needs. While it was dawing on me well before I lost my job, it's even more apparent now that wedontneedthismuchhouseandyard. Our house is a little over 2400 square feet and sits on slightly less than half an acre. When we were moving from our townhouse to this house it felt like we could breathe again and I couldn't wait to stretch my legs in the new house and have a place for everything. We wanted a yard for Three to run and play in and be able to be off her leash. We've got all that (minus a fence to let our doggy free) but now I'm not so impressed.
I've been longing to be back in Apex. I realize that I loved being so convenient to so much, yet it still had the small town charm. Apex got a lot of new stores during our time there and I obviously took for granted being able to pop over to any number of those places in mere minutes. Our house now is pretty far in comparison to the nearest "main road" and I guess that's to be expected when you "live out in the county."
I don't need this much house. I'm constantly overwhelmed with our space. We don't use the 2 bedrooms upstairs although we've had friends sleep in our guest bedroom a few times, but the other one has never had a real purpose. We use the bonus room, but lately I've been content to hang out downstairs and watch TV or we'll camp out in our bedroom while doing our separate hobby-type things. I've been to see a couple of smaller homes in the last few weeks and have decided about 2100-2200 square feet is plenty for us.
Aside from the house, our yard is even more overwhelming. We've never done anything to it and the plants the builder put in died within a few months of our moving in. We've got more weeds than grass it seems and as soon as I pull them, 10 more grow in its place. We haven't put the money into our yard and our mulch is probably almost 3 years old. Unfortunately, our neighbors have perfectly groomed yards and have beautiful flowers and fresh mulch all the time. I know they think we're idiots.
Anyway, it's gotten to the point that I'm ready to downsize and am OK with less space. Think about how small a home in the 50's was and people lived just fine and dandy in those homes. My in-laws have about 1900 square feet and they raised a family 3 children and 2 adults in there! I'm into being green when I can be, but I think people forget that part of being green is not only being energy efficient but being SPACE efficient. We don't need all these huge homes with tons of excess. I'm all for a nice, new home with hardwood floors, but I don't need 800 rooms to clean each week.
So....we're going to talk with our realtor about what we might be able to get for our house in this market. If her estimation doesn't meet our expectations we'll just keep hanging on until things get better. I know it's crazy to be thinking of moving just a year after doing it once, but this time would feel more informed and more conscious of what's too much and what's just right. We'd be headed back "home" and I might just be ready to start a family then...
To make it easy, here's a list of everything I can think of that's happened since I last wrote. It's in chronological order as best I can remember and I've included pictures when available.
1. After one full day of being unemployed, Seth, Three and I headed up to Black Mountain, NC to my great uncle's mountain cabin for several days of R&R. My parents came up for a few of those days as well. We went to Asheville, shopped in Black Mountain, but mostly just lazed around and did nothing. I put together the Barack Obama puzzle that my MIL gave me for my birthday and another puzzle that was already in the house. We took our bikes up with the intention of finding a trail to ride, but laziness got the best of us so we did no bike riding. It was a good trip and a good way to ease the shock of suddenly being at home and not at work. This pic of Three sums up the feeling of our vacay quite well.
2. During my first full week of unemployment, I was a slug. I laid around the house, watched the entire Sex & The City series on DVD followed by the movie and did absolutely nothing aside from running the occasional errand, laundry, and keeping the dishwasher in rotation. It was hard. I felt trapped since I could think of no reason to leave the house other than for doing something that I'd have to spend money on and I felt guilty spending money. After about 2 weeks of this...I found some things to do.
3. Also for my birthday, I had gotten a gift card from my BIL to Target and a gift card to Lowe's from my in-laws. I was at Target one day and found a runner that I loved and decided to use my gift card to get it. From that one runner, I found inspiration to start painting my house. Finally - after one year of being here - I felt I had the pieces ready to start a color palette. I used my Lowe's gift card to load up on paint (3 colors and primer) and I got started. I tackled the living room first, then the foyer, then the hallway, and finally the dining room. Since our living room is 2 stories tall, I had to get creative to connect the walls receiving full color to the ones that would be impossible to paint completely. I came up with the wide horizontal band idea and so far it's working. I think it needs a little something more, but not sure yet. I'm most proud of my foyer, whose design I concocted as I went, but I think it looks great and really sets it apart from the living room and says "I'm the foyer...and you are?" Below are some pics.
[caption id="attachment_469" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Living Room"][/caption]
[caption id="attachment_468" align="aligncenter" width="200" caption="Peek at the horizontal banding (and I moved my office downstairs!)"][/caption]
[caption id="attachment_467" align="aligncenter" width="200" caption="Foyer"][/caption]
[caption id="attachment_471" align="aligncenter" width="200" caption="Hallway (with lovely IKEA pics and the inspiration runner)"][/caption]
[caption id="attachment_470" align="aligncenter" width="200" caption="Dining room (whew)"][/caption]
4. After I finished the dining room, I finally got it fully "dressed" as best as I could (the table is probably not our final table), and was excited that I got the dining room and foyer to coordinate. It was all in my plan - but plans are great to see come alive! The dining room was a challenge - I had to tape and prime everything first (including the ceiling) and originally, I painted it a nice, bright, turquoise, but it turned out not so great. So I took the left over paint from the hallway and went rusty red on the walls and the greenish-yellow on the ceiling. Works great.
5. I put down my paintbrush for a few weeks and picked up (again) cross-stitching. I've had this bag of projects for years that I pick up every one in a while and work on, but I really got into it again. Some days, I'd sit in bed with Three and work on a project all day. Sheesh.
6. This is probably out of order, but who cares. Seth and I joined his parents for a trip to Pennsylvania at the end of April. We stayed for 3 nights and my mom kept Three. We had a great trip, stayed with the Carson's and visited with Seth's grandparents at "The Home." Of course, we hit up IKEA (my favorite store ever) and got a few things with yet another gift card we had gotten back in December when we were in PA for Christmas. We got this gift card from IKEA for spending so much money. No, really, it's true.
7. Meanwhile, since I'd been at home, Three had been barfing fairly regularly - maybe once a day. She was just puking up yellow bile so we took her to the vet. Their first guess was bilious vomitus syndrome, but after another week she wasn't any better and I took her in the day before we were to go to PA. They still thought it was some sort of digestive issue, but we wasn't eating or drinking much of anything. They gave her a few shots and sent me home with yet another type of food for her to try.
My mom kept her while we were gone and took her back to the vet again and still wasn't really helped. She had had some blood work done and things looked OK, but her markers for having a parasite were high so they were treating her for that. Still wouldn't really eat or drink much. Not making leaps and bounds to getting better.
By the time we got back, she was worse. She was eating a tiny bit for my mom and keeping it down, but when we got back we couldn't get her to eat or drink PERIOD. It was awful. We called in on Monday (as instructed), and were told by one doctor to "wait another 24 hours." GRR. We did that - skeptical - and the next morning took her in at 9am. By the time we got to the vet, Seth literally had to drag Three from her crate. She couldn't move or walk or anything. We both thought she was about to die. She was limp in his arms and they took her from him as soon as we walked in and got her hooked up to fluids. She was SERVERLY dehydrated but they got her perked up a tiny bit before we left.
After a $700 3-night stay at the vet, they determined she has Addison's Disease. We have to give her prednisone everyday for the rest of her life, but she's finally back to the dog we knew and missed, she's eating and drinking like a champ and we're so glad they got our baby figured out.
[caption id="attachment_476" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Post 3-day hospital stay...All better!"][/caption]
8. I finished the 4 books in the Twilight series. 1, 2 & 3 = good, #4 = weird!
9. Job prospects came and went. Right now, 2 possibilities are coming up. One to be a Legislative Assistant at the NCGA or the other...wait for it....to work in the same job I got right out of college in Redistricting at the NCGA. We'll see!
10. This week I've started a new painting project and am tackling our master bedroom. It's a big room and has a tray ceiling so I've been putting it off for a while now. I got new bedding from Target as a part of my new "there's no need to buy everything from Restoration Hardware" way of life and once again, got totally inspired to paint our room. Pics below. I will probably be repainting our bathroom soon as well.
[caption id="attachment_477" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Excuse the mess...it's a work in progress"][/caption]
[caption id="attachment_478" align="aligncenter" width="200" caption="Closet hall between master bedroom and bath (ceiling will be the same color in the master bedroom)"][/caption]
11. In other worlds, John and Shelly finally sold their townhouse and will get to buy the house they had a contingency offer on! They are very excited and sold their house just in time to close on the new house in the 90 days allotted in their offer. Their house is in Holly Springs and will be closer to their office at UNC-CH.
12. Seth and George are writing a game for the iPhone/iPod Touch!
13. I on the other hand, have fallen in love with a new house. While I love our house, it's true what they say about living and learning. I (not speaking for Seth) have learned that I don't want this much yard (we have 0.46 acres) and we aren't yard people. We wanted a fenced-in yard for Three to run free in, but we still don't have that and certainly didn't need this much to get the job done. Our neighbors probably hate us for our yard, but they can't say we don't have a green thumb for weeds! Those suckers grow fast and furious!
I also don't think we need 2500 square feet of living space. One of our spare bedrooms is used for storage and still looks like we just moved in. I think 3 bedrooms is essential, but I am constantly overwhelmed with having to clean this place. The house I'm in love with is a tiny bit over 2100 square feet and it's a ranch-style home. I remind myself that part of living green, is not only recycling, but economy of space, too! 2100 square feet should be plenty!
The house I've fallen in love with is my dream Craftsman-style home. It's in Apex and we both would really like to get back to Apex. I thought I'd be able to get used to a new side of town, but it hasn't happened in a year's time and that makes me sad. We go to Apex every Sunday and I feel homesick for the shopping and convenience I got used to while living there. I feel like a poop for wanting to move back already, but those are my honest feelings. We certainly won't move until we can get some money back on our current house which means the market will have to shape up (but do it soon, please!!).
I just adore Craftsman and Arts & Crafts style, and this house is everything I'd put into a home if I were to build my own from scratch. It's a goal I think I'm wiling to wait for if it means we could get into my dream home. Sheesh. Seth says he just wants me to be happy. This is a new neighborhood so hopefully, if things go well, maybe we'll be able to set up shop back in Apex in my dream home in due time. :)
14. I've become a fan of Jon & Kate Plus 8. I watch it and Tivo it and am cheering for them to make it.
15. Patrick and Courtney had a baby! Eli looks just like Seth! hehe
That's all I can think of for now. If I've left anything out, hopefully I can cover it in future posts.
Please say hi if you're still out there! I want to know I've still got readers! :)
The last time I posted was the day I was informed I was being "let go" and today was my last day of work. It was uneventful and I'm glad it's over. I'll be home tomorrow and then Thursday-Monday we'll be in Black Mountain for a get-away. I just want to get out of Raleigh and leave all this junk behind.
If it's not one thing, it's another, and I feel like I've been beat up on all month. My birthday was sucky, the day after was suckier, and people all around me are acting like idiots and I just don't have time for it. I hate to be totally self-absorbed, but when you're told you're out of a job and given less than a month to find something else, you really don't have time to make time for other's petty crap.
We've had to sell a car to make some wiggle room in our budget, I've had to buy my own insurance which means forking over ~$350 a month for insurance (I've never had to pay for insurance through work), and it just means discomfort in the wallet region for a while.
I've applied for many jobs during my time at the Governor's Office and only one was offered to me - that was last summer - and stupid me turned it down thinking I might move up at a later date. Boy, was I an idiot.
So...I'm not going to write again until I feel like it or have something better to report. It's depressing me to relive life on my computer screen.
There has been so much stuff going on in this office since day one and all of it has been stupid, ill-advised, non-researched, sloppy, careless, and unorganized. Those are just a few adjectives to start with; I could go on. I was called to the COS's office yesterday for the first time and I had no clue why. Foolishly, I thought perhaps the opposite was going to happen - perhaps they wanted to use my skills elsewhere in the office. Even as he delivered the news to me, I still thought I was being moved. He says, "We are reorganizing the Constituent Services office so therefore we need to ask you to move....." and instead of the end being, "....to a different area of the office" it was simply the word, "on." I was stunned to the point where I had absolutely no reaction. I miraculous recovered from whatever confusion I felt and said I understood and that was that.
I walked back to my office fighting tears with little success. In fact, my current supervisor was passing me on the street headed to the office from which I had just left and I didn't even see her. I was just in a fog - desperate to get back to the safety of my private office where I could close the door and call my mommy. I had called Seth and my mom prior to the meeting with hopes of the meeting being a good sign. I was horrified at how very wrong I had been and could hardly speak to deliever the news to my mom. She was speechless.
I have gone through a range of emotions over this. Of all the employees in my small section of 5, why did they choose me? I'm one of the hardest, loyal, and dedicated workers here. I help others without having to be asked. I pick up the slack when people are out on vacation without having to be asked and I do it all without complaining (at least I save my venting for home and keep it out of work). I don't gossip or waste time socializing at work, yet a new employee comes in, refuses to help answer the phones, refuses to do any work until they tell her her title and how much money she will make, demands an office with a window after 2 months of being here and all the while getting her way. And they chose to let ME go? I just can't come to grips with it and I'm angry.
I've been here 3 years and am in my 4th year. We were told we were "safe" back in January so I had no idea this was even a possibility. I'm hurt, I'm angry, and I'm bitter. Yet I dragged myself into work today just to show them. The transition process has been unbelieveably disappointing. I wish I felt like I was "getting out of jail," but I always assumed I'd get to leave by choice not by force.
This place has been a great learning experience and I have come to appreciate the knowledge I've gained, but I am insulted at being the chosen one to be let go. Hell, I developed anxiety disorder doing this job and they let me go. THANKS A LOT! Good riddance people!
Since I last posted several things have come up. I am still at my job, but got a call to come in for a second interview at the NCGA. I went last Friday for a short version of the previous interview and it seemed to go well. It was only 30 minutes and I got a chance to meet a few more people, including the newly-named director of the division, and a couple other attorneys who work in the practice area with the team I would be assigned to should I get the job. The practice area is criminal law which sounds cool. They told me it was down to 3 people and I would hear something soon. I'm holding out hope that soon=a week. As always, I'll keep you posted.
I'm due to go to the doctor on Tuesday for my big appointment to talk about me possibly having Polycycstic Ovary Syndrome. I FINALLY woman-ed up and went to LabCorp this morning after postponing it since November. It was a mess. I have to fast and I hate that because not eating in the morning can give me a bad sugar drop. I made Seth go with me in case I had any fainting issues. I get there and just cause a bunch of trouble. The technician got her supervisor to do the draw because I was so anxious. I got to lay on the table rather than sit in the chair and she talked me through it. Glad to have gotten that done. It was weighing heavily on me. Sheesh. I'm ready to go to my doctor now and find out the results and get on a path of treatment and maintenance so I can be a real woman now (and maybe even plan for some kiddos).
Whatelse??? I taught Three to roll over and it's the cutest thing. I want to post a video of it - she's gotten really good at it. It took me about an hour with her before she got the hang of it. Three is so smart, I am so proud of her.
Lastly (and this is still sort of a secret as of today), we bought another new car. We are stupid - or should I say "I" am stupid. We bought a Jetta SportWagen and we're picking it up today. With Three and possible kids in our future, we really enjoy having hauling space and storage room in the car. Three's crate in the back of the CR-V is great because she doesn't take up a human seat in the backseat. It's charcoal grey with grey leather interior. It has a wonderful sunroof that's huge and allows even backseat riders to see out the roof of the car. I'll post photos once we've got the car.
Mostly, I'm anxious to hear from the NCGA - either way. I just want to know if I'm here indefinitely or if I'm going to be moving on. From what I understand, they were checking my references shortly after I left my interview on Friday. That seems like a good thing, but we'll see. I haven't heard anything yet. Keep your fingers crossed for me!
Folks, I present to you this:
I understand if some of you need a second to catch your breath, absorb the meaning of this photo. I'll give you a few seconds to do so.
...... ...... ......
Done? Good. That my friends, is what we alert and responsible drivers calls a "turn signal." Every car has them (2 in fact!) and they are easy to operate. With the quick flick of the wrist you can alert other drivers what your plans are for future movements of your car. See (and this might surprise you non-signalers), contrary to what your mind believes, PEOPLE ON THE ROAD CAN NOT READ YOUR MIND. I know, right? It's crazy, but true. I swear.
[caption id="attachment_451" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="They even make them like this now so you, yourself can see your own signal in action! oooo!"][/caption]
I just don't get you people that don't use your turn signals any time you're going any direction other than straight or in reverse. If you see another human being anywhere driving a car, you need to signal. This is especially true when you have drivers BEHIND YOU or drivers waiting on your turn so that they may make their next turn safely. See, for those drivers who are aware that the rest of the world is also using the roads (no, they don't belong to YOU Mr. Me-Monster), the turn signal is an essential communication tool and pretty much the only one that comes with your car in addition to the horn, brake lights, and back up lights.
[caption id="attachment_452" align="aligncenter" width="430" caption="Here, Two-fingers McGee demonstrates how to operate the turn signal. ahhhh"][/caption]
Just today, I was on a busy road going straight with traffic. Homeboy in front of me puts on his brakes and comes to a complete stop before turning ever-so-slowly into a parking lot. No signal, no nothing. And he could clearly see me behind him. I just don't get it. I don't get the non-signalers. I seriously can not think of anything ruder that people do on a daily basis in their cars.
Non-signaler: Who do you think you are? Why do you think it's not important for you to let others around you know what your intentions are? Is it that you wish to get flipped off? Do you secretly hope to be rear-ended so you can cash in on an insurance claim? Are you being tested by the Self-Centered Jerks Society before they'll give you your special club jacket? What gives? Use your freaking signals people!!!!
I'll leave you with this full-tail view of a signal in action!
[caption id="attachment_453" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="Way to go VeeDubs! Way to signal - even in the garage! "][/caption]
So here goes. Yesterday, I had the biggest interview of my life. I interviewed for a Research Assistant/Paralegal position. This is a for real job that requires me use my brain! and skills! and paralegal certificate! It came at the perfect time - before I knew if I could stay on in the Governor's Office and after I had gotten the good ole Lexapro into my system. I applied and had a few things on my side that made me feel confident that I could get an interview at the very least. Prior experience at this agency, a paralegal certificate, and a pretty good grasp on all things state/local/federal government. At least to the extent that I could carry on converstations with people in the know and at the same time continue to learn loads.
I was invited for an interview and scheduled it for a Friday. I was sent a packet of information in the mail including information on what the division was responsible for and a little bit of information on each staff member. I was asked to come in one hour before my interview time to do a writing sample and after that would be meeting with 6 staff plus the interim director for a one hour interview. I was immediately freaking out after reading this information and knew the day would be a challenge to get through. I used to never get nervous for interviews mostly because I knew all I could do was present myself and if I wasn't who they were looking for then I was fine with that. I understand that companies need people that can do what they need done and if I'm not the person for the job, I'm just not and I have always been OK with that (not to say I've not had my heart broken to pieces before, but still).
So I show up, Xanax in my system, and I get started on my writing sample. Turns out it wasn't that hard and I had to write a memo based on a hypothetical situation. I was given an hour to do this and probably finished in about 30 minutes. I was back in an office by myself and it had WINDOWS! and I think that gave me time to focus on something else other than my nerves. I had hoped all along that the writing time would do just that - help me ease into the interview and shake the nerves off. I was so thankful that it happened. Before leaving the room for the real interview part, I took another half Xanax and whether or not it was the key to helping me stay calm or not, I don't know and I don't care. I just wanted to feel normal for the interview.
I was taken to a large conference room where 6 people were waiting for me and stood upon my entry (how nice!). I shook all their hands and introduced myself to them. I knew one of them from my previous time with the agency, so it was nice to see a familiar face and know that someone was here who know a bit about my work ethic even if it was in a completely different context than what this job called for. The first part of the interview consisted of your basic questions regarding work history, why I chose to do certain things, why am I interested in this job, what are my strengths/weaknesses, etc. I felt like I did well in that part. The second half - they threw a bunch of hypothetical situations at me. I was honest and myself about each answer and while I'm sure there are WRONG answers to the questions, I don't think I gave any. There are far too many to really detail, but from my answers I couldn't get a good reading on whether or not they thought I'd be a good fit for the job. Luckily for me, I have prior experience with the kinds of folks I'd be working with and for, and I have a good track record. They can't ignore that and certainly, it has to be a leg up on my competition who may or may not ever worked around elected officials.
Overall, I think my interview went very well. I was calm, at ease, confident, and I made them laugh a few times. I think I came across as a real person and not too stiff and serious. I was, after all, interviewing with a bunch of attorneys and they can be a colorful bunch. I enjoyed meeting each of them and hope I get offered a position. There are 2 open slots for this same job so that at least doubles my chances. I think this could open a lot of doors for me and I could take this experience anywhere should we ever leave NC (which I doubt, but you never know).
I'll update when I know more!
Example. If you read this blog, you may know that I started taking Lexapro about 2 months ago to help control the massive anxiety I was feeling at pretty much every turn in life. Once I got over the initial first week hump, I started feeling better and have notice a difference in myself. Prior to being on Lexapro, were I to receive emails from my friends from Salem, I wouldn't respond. I felt like everyone else was saying how great and wonderful and happy they were and I had nothing positive to say about myself so I just opted out of the email reunion. Recently, a new email update chain went out and I fessed up. I admitted why I had been MIA for the most part and told about my new meds and recent troubles with anxiety and panic attacks. To my great surprise, but also excitement, my honesty allowed 3 of my friends from Salem to also fess up. It's amazing what a little honesty will do! I think the others might have gotten some relief from being able to spill the beans as well, and if I could help them feel less alone then all the better. I'm happy to do it. With this - I suddenly felt back in the club, part of the group, and eager to see them. I hope our talks of a girls only (no hubbies, no babies) weekend at the beach works out!
Example. I've also had 2 people who read this blog contact me to tell me they, too, are taking medication for similar problems and that I should not be embarrassed or feel like I've failed because I'm on medication. People I would not have guessed were on medication, but it was so nice of them to reach out to me and tell me they understood. I can't even begin to describe how I felt when I read their emails extending a hand of support. I appreciate it beyond measure. Had I not been documenting my struggles on this blog, those folks wouldn't have known and we wouldn't have been able to make a connection. I'm glad I've at least been gutsy enough to write this stuff for the internet to see. It's been hard, but rewarding all the same.
Example. Most recently, I've had a family-member go on the same meds that I'm on and while she's still in the initial stages of getting into her system, we had a brief IM chat about it and I could sense the same relief from her that I felt when first talking to someone else who had already been through it. A support system is some of the best medicine when you're going through a health issue other than the common cold. It's scary and unclear what's going on, when you'll feel better, or how you'll respond to a medication. I'm glad to have found people who have helped me through it, and I'm glad I'm not sort of that person to someone else. I'm so glad I put myself out there for the world to see. It's paid off not only for myself but for others as well.
There's beauty in the truth and if being truthful and honest and real allowed me to rekindle friendships with those I had distanced myself from, then I'm glad I took the plunge. I've felt lonely over the past few years since I have no close friends in the area. I've needed to make connections with people, but my anxiety and (probably some depression) was causing me to dislike many people and pick them apart rather than enjoying them and forgiving their faults. I hope things continue to improve and I hope that I can start becoming the person I always knew was inside of me, but that was blocked by my fears, worries, and anxiety. I see now that I was afraid of my fears and that's one of the worst places I've ever been.
We're in week 4 of the new administration and while things are still really scattered and unorganized, we're coming together little by little. For now, I've still got the same job I had before, although our section has been shaken up a bit and none of us are totally sure what we're doing yet. We've got 2 new people, helping out, but one of them refuses to help us answer the phone, but she's taken all my special letters so I'm not writing letters for the Governor any more. The other new person is great with phones and while he's not on the official rotation yet, he picks them up all the time and that's a breath of fresh air. I wish he'd answer them full time. :)
We're all still learning new faces, new names, new policies and rules, it's weird. It's hard to break out of old habits, but it's also frustrating to try to convey to the new staff how much MORE work and correspondence a Governor will receive over at Lt. Gov. We have yet to be visited by our boss so we're all just doing the best we can until we can be given more direction and approval to go full steam ahead.
Aside from work here, I've got an interview at the NC General Assembly on Friday. I applied for a position as a Research Assistant/Paralegal back at the beginning of January. I feel hopeful about this job and there are actually 2 positions up for grabs so that doubles my chances of getting the job. I'm nervous about this interview. I have to show up an hour early to do a writing sample and will then have an interview with a staff member. Luckily, I know this place and some of the staff since I worked there before, so I'm hoping have that level of comfort will help with the nerves. I'm anxious to get this interview behind me. At this point, I'm starting to get comfortable with the new administration, and if I were to get the NCGA job, it wouldn't be so easy to decide which direction to go. I like the people I work with here (for the most part), but I think that the other job would really expand my skill set and really open me up to opportunities and jobs anywhere doing a whole lot more than administrative paper-pushing.
I started this blog more than a year ago and never wanted to go private with it, but more and more I want to write about my job situation and find myself opting not to. It is a huge part of my life at the moment, but when working for an elected official, it doesn't seem appropriate to have a blog viewable by the masses.
SO - I'm going private. If you would like to continue to have access to my blog, please send me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and I'll add you to my users list. I'm going to leave this one post up for a week and then I'm going undercover. Depending on what happens with my job I may go public again at some point, but for now, I need to keep my work under the radar.
I returned to work yesterday after having been off since December 23rd. I've not even posted about our lovely Christmas and even lovelier amount of time away from work. I'll have to get to that later. For now, the topic at hand is the great transition. It is a strange thing working for an elected official who is going out of office. As a quick side note, I at least appreciate that we knew he was leaving even before the elections so there was no nail biting hoping he'd win so I could keep my job. However, Friday is the last day for Governor Easley. Monday, Governor-Elect Perdue will be up in here taking charge. However (again), I am still unsure about my future as an employee in this office, in this job, anywhere and it's such a weird sensation.
I applied for a job at the NCGA last Friday that I feel I have a good chance at getting, but I've been screwed before, so I'm being cautiously optomistic and am not counting on anything. Today, I had an interview with someone from Perdue's transition team. Everyone is being given the exact same interview and it was nothing challenging. Just your basic interview. I have no idea what they will be doing with the information from the interview or if I should come to work on Monday for that matter. My interviewer suggested I DO come to work because better to be here than not. We'll not have much to do, but who knows.
I tried to express interest in moving on. That was one of his questions but I brought it up at least one other time in as gracious a manner as I could muster. I was told in my interview for my current job that "this would not be a dead-end job" and "you're going to meet people who will help you move up" blah blah blah BS. It's not happened and I see no reason why a new Governor's staff will move me elsewhere without knowing or meeting me yet. But again, WE'LL SEE, as is the theme phrase for the week.
Over Christmas vacation, my boss left me a couple of voicemails, one of them telling me she has a new job. When I got back yesterday, she further explained that she was not told she wasn't being kept for her current job, she actually read it in the news. That sucks. That hasn't happened to me yet, but I have a low-level loser position that no one wants so I don't know if I expect it to happen or not. Several of the high-ups have accepted appointments elsewhere and are packing up their offices ready to start new jobs on Monday. Many people are enjoying their last days in this office tomorrow and it just seems so odd. I suppose in all my other jobs I've been the one to do the leaving people behind thing, and it just feels sad and strange to be the one getting left. I sort of feel like I'm the one who didn't get asked to the prom, but I have to listen to all my friends giggle over who they are going with and what they are wearing. It's not that I'm sad to not know what's next for me, it's just that I want to be on the other side of the fence where I can be excited about MY next opportunity.