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Showing posts from June, 2010

Project 52: Date Nights - Good News

I don't know if we had a quantifiable "date" this weekend. It was mostly low-key, in the sense that we basically chilled at home. Watching movies on both Friday and Saturday nights. Saturday we were surprised by a showing request for our house, so we took our dog to the greenway for a 2-mile walk. We had experienced almost two months of zero showings, so this one took us by surprise.

We were even more surprised when they called Sunday morning to see if they could come back at 10:30. I enthusiastically said YES and instead of going to church, we readied our house for showing #2 and then took Sophie to the greenway AGAIN.

We left a note addressing a couple of questions the buyer had after the Saturday showing. We were delighted to come home and see that they had written us a note back. The note said they would be in touch that afternoon. We didn't want to get our hopes up too much, but they did write that they would contact us. We suppressed our excitement and went to…

Life Update: We Have an Offer!

A lot has happened in the past year-and-a-half. Not all of it pleasant. But things are finally looking up.

Back in March of 2009, Daniel was laid off. For those of you who have been down this road, you know how difficult it is. It took a full year for Daniel to find work again. In March 2010, he began working at TVA. His job is at the Bellefante plant - he gets to be a part of bringing this old nuclear relic online.

The only problem is, it is located in Hollywood, Alabama. Which is 500 miles from Charlotte. So in March, Daniel packed up his bags and moved in with friends in Chattanooga, TN. We had no idea what to expect. Or how long it would take for me to be able to join him.

In April, we put our home on the market. If you have followed us over the last 4+ years, you would know we have put our blood, sweat and tears into this home. But ultimately, it is just a dwelling. We can make a home anywhere.

So on to the market it went. April was a true feast. We experienced an a…

Relief

After months of waiting, we finally have an offer. In the meantime, we have definitely learned a lot about patience and waiting for answered prayer.
Waiting doesn't come naturally. It is so much easier to have what we want right now. But waiting shapes us for what is to come... 
In April, we put our house on the market. We hoped we would sneak in before the First-Time Home Buyer's Credit expired. We welcomed the showings. We averaged five per week. It felt good.
And then April 30th passed. Our only offer, dead on arrival. So we waited. Days creeped by. No showings. It was awful. We had passed through a month of plenty and found ourselves in one month... two months... of nothingness. Not a single showing in almost two months! Desperation became a heavy burden. Separation became torture.
We began to hatch a plan. We would live in an RV. It was doable. Right? We could do it for an unknown amount of time. It would mean we would be together. We visited campgrounds. We learned that Dani…

Hot. Hot. Hot.

Yesterday afternoon the air conditioner went out at work {unfortunately it only seemed to effect the creative department}. It was an uncomfortable end to the work day.
This morning, I arrived at work to find that we still had no AC. It was 80 outside at 9AM and 85 inside and it became increasingly unbearable as the day progressed. Since I am on a tight deadline to get the August issue of my magazine wrapped up and uploaded tomorrow, I was stuck at work.
The editor of the magazine brought me a Dyson fan {that he borrowed from the CEO of our company}. I don't think I could have survived the day without a fan. 
By the afternoon, the PR and web departments were starting to feel the effects of the heat. We turned off all of the lights on our end of the building to try to help us stay cool - it didn't really help.
One of the web guys was complaining to me in the kitchen about how hot it was in his dept. I told him he should walk through creative. He did. Then he took back his comment a…

the good. the bad. the random. (On My Own in Charlotte, June 2010)

The Good.
We had a house showing last week {the first one in 1.5 months}.
The Bad.
They have not come back for a second showing.
The Random.
Thanks to a storm back in March, we are getting our roof and siding replaced. Friday we get to look at samples and decide on colors. I am so excited.

The Good.
My sister and her husband and daughter are moving to Nashville this weekend - that means they will be CLOSER to me :)
The Bad.
My Brother-in-Law needs to find a job. So does my brother for that matter. Both in counseling. Both looking in the Nashville area.
The Random.
My Sister-in-Law quit her job as a school counselor and moved to Boston this past Friday to fulfill her dreams.

The Good.
Daniel said I should fulfill my dream of having being a guide for an outdoor company by becoming a white water rafting guide on the Ocoee River.
The Bad.
I think it is a requirement that you smoke pot to become a river rat. Plus I am still in Charlotte and summer will be over before we know it...
The Random.
I am the…

Project 52 Date Nights - Change of Plans

Saturday we decided to go see Shakespeare in the Park. It is a FREE 2-week long event in Uptown Charlotte. The play was Comedy of Errors. It was something I really wanted to do. Daniel could take it or leave it, but since he loves me, he was willing to attend a free play for a date night.

The play didn't start until 8PM, so I decided to cook dinner at home. The recipe was Pioneer Woman's CPK's BBQ Chicken Pizza. I love PW and we love California Pizza Kitchen, so I figured I couldn't go wrong. I followed the PW recipe, only adding baby portabello mushrooms because I love them. Well, I must have made my crust too thick because it took 40 minutes {instead of 17} to get the crust to brown. While we waited {and waited}, Daniel decided to take care of some yard work.

By the time we {finally} ate, wrapped up our yard work and took showers, it was almost 8PM. It is a 20-minute drive Uptown, but Daniel said we should go anyways. I complied, though I really didn't like the …

Somebody has to do it...

When you live alone, you have to deal with a lot more things by yourself. If I have a bug {read ant, spider, moth, etc.} in the house, I have to take care of it. If the plumbing for the hall bathroom sink starts to leak, I have to take care of it. If light bulbs need to be changed or the yard needs to be mowed or the dishes need to be done or the dog needs to be walked, I have to take care of it. It's not fun, but somebody has to do it. I would say I am a pretty independent woman. Independence is overrated...

Marriage Advice According to Daniel...

This weekend Daniel told me about the advice that he recently gave to a couple of his engaged co-workers. I thought it was interesting to hear a guy's perspective on getting married.
Advice Part 1: Registering for china Under no circumstances should you let your bride-to-be convince you to register for china. It will sit in a box for a long time, until you finally have a hutch to display it in. Then it will sit in the hutch. It will collect dust and you will only use it once a year - at which time you will have to clean it before you eating AND after eating. Not worth it {in Daniel's mind}. It is better to register for daily dishes that are durable since you will use then on a daily basis. 
Note: we own china and have only used it a handful of times in almost eight years.
Advice Part 2: ALWAYS be honest  I think this bit of advice stems from the younger guys asking if you should tell your fiance she looks fat IF she initiates the conversation by asking you, "Does this make me …

House Update

We had a house showing on Thursday. It was unexpected. I got the call after a moment of brokenness, crying in my bathroom during my lunch break. Seems like my mom has a similar story - though her story is about wanting a new home after living in a very small house with an outhouse in the mountains of Papua New Guinea. My parents lived in this house for four years, two of which included two small children {my sister and I}. At the end of four years of waiting, my mom had her own moment of brokenness, crying in her outhouse...
Anyways, my house story is not about an outhouse, but it is about waiting for God to answer a prayer request. I was on my way back to work {after the crying in the bathroom} when I received a call requesting a showing for that afternoon. I said YES and turned my car around to ready the house for the showing.
According to the follow-up comments, the couple liked our house. They also liked the area and neighborhood. They are considering a second visit next week, thou…

52 Books in 52 Weeks: Book 22

Life is complicated and ugly at times. We are all touched by things like job loss, job searches, a bad economy, cancer, unexplained illness, divorce, addiction, aging family members, hurt, loneliness and so on. It touches all of us. And sometimes we stand at the edge of this chasm and hold hands with cynicism, giving in to the despair that comes with this thing called life. We give up our hopes for the future and let the numbness of not caring set in.
Overcoming that numbness through prayer is what A Praying Life: Connecting with God in a Distracting World, by Paul W. Miller, is about. At this exact time in my life, this was a book that I really needed to read. My natural tendency is to get overwhelmed by life and think that the best solution is to not care, to give up hope. But when I stop caring, I die a little inside.

Instead of shutting down, I should be praying and waiting on God as he weaves together the story that is my life. It won't always be pretty, but it is my story of …

Project 52 Date Nights: House Sitting

Friday I worked half a day then high tailed it to Signal Mountain, TN {Chattanooga area} to hang out with Daniel for the weekend. We were house/pet sitting for the Reynold's {who were at the beach for the week}. I made it there by 7PM. It only took 7 hours of driving and 5 stops... driving with a dog makes life more complicated.

On our drive, we stopped 1) on the way out of town to get me lunch; 2) about an hour down the road to get gas and throw out my trash from lunch so Sophie wouldn't eat the cardboard that held my fries; 3) at a rest area outside of Asheville because Sophie was whining and I figured she needed to walk around/do her business {which she did} and I got myself some caffeine; 4) I stopped at another rest area to let Sophie take a break; and finally 5) I forgot to feed Sophie during the last break, so we stopped AGAIN for feeding. At this stop she managed to get into an ant mound and ants were crawling all over her front legs before I realized what had happene…

52 Books in 52 Weeks: Book 21

Mindless Eating by Brian Wansink, Ph. D. explores the psychology of why we eat what we eat. This was a quick read that reinforced a lot of beliefs that I already held.

It was interesting to see how buying in bulk can affect the amount we eat and that children can be influenced in their food choices from a very young age and that having a good cook in your family generally equals healthier eating.

Some quotes that I took away from this book are:
While most Americans stop eating when they're full, those in leaner cultures stop eating when they're no longer hungry. We are all tricked by our environment. Even if we "know it" in our head, most of the time we have too much on our mind to remember it and act on it. That's why it's easier to change our environment than our minds. In most households, decisions about what to eat are determined by what foods the grocery shopper - the nutritional gatekeeper - brings into the house. Although they don't always realize it,…

Things that go bump in the night...

One negative to living alone is that I am more susceptible to fear over every little noise. When Daniel is here, I don't notice the groanings of our home. When I am alone, my ears perk up with every sigh that the house makes. I also hear car doors slamming and garbage cans being rolled to the street. I sincerely admire those who live alone and are used to the "noise."
Last night {around 9:30} there was a loud crash that sounded to the front of the house. Sophie started barking and I flipped on the exterior lights to see what was going on. We didn't see anything. Sophie was acting a little nervous, so I decided to open the front door and let her check things out {this was well after the fact that I was sure it was nothing}.
As soon as I opened the door, Sophie bolted. After a rabbit. Which is incredibly annoying. She is known to do this on occasion. She KNOWS she is not supposed to do this and she normally comes back pretty quickly {and begs for our forgiveness, ears do…

Lonny

My friend just introduced me to Lonny. What a great online magazine to get inspiration from. I am hooked. Here some of my favorite images from the most recent issue. 

I have posted about my love for these swings before. But seriously. I want one. They would be a great addition to a sunroom or covered porch.

Also love this modern version of the rocking chair. I have a special place in my heart for the wicker and wood ones from the 70s, but love this one. Could totally see it in a nursery.
The exterior of this house is so pretty. It looks like it would be in a grownup fairy tale.

I really like these curtains. They would be super easy to make. The simplicity of white with the bright color at the bottom makes me happy.

100 Days

Yesterday marked 100days apart.*
Just to visit me in Charlotte, Daniel has driven over 8,000miles. He should win an award.
To visit him, I have driven over 3,000miles.
I have eaten more than 200meals alone...  I am guessing more than half-of-which were take out.
I don't have to share the remote control, but that is of little consolation.
Daily dropped calls are annoying.
Saying goodbye does not get easier.
On a bad day, regret over not accepting a ridiculously low offer lurks in the shadows.
Praying we don't have to wait another 100days.

*This number is a reflection of the consecutive number of days we have spent living 400 miles apart.

Project 52 Date Nights: Low Key

This weekend was all about being lazy. I think this was the first lazy weekend we have had this year. Which is pretty sad since it is already June...

Friday night we opted to go eat at a local joint. We are trying to savor local Charlotte places since there will come a time when we can no longer visit these places on a whim. We decided on Charley's in Cotswald. We were excited because we have not been to Charley's in some time and they have outdoor dining (a plus in our books). As we walked up to the restaurant we were excited to see a guy playing live music in the common outdoor eating area. We managed to walk all the way up to the door before we realized Charley's was CLOSED - they appeared to be updating the interior and a sign on the door said: Under New Management. So that was a HUGE disappointment :(

Our options at this point were to 1) eat a Salsarita's {a chain TexMex place where we could still enjoy the live music} 2) try out Blue Basil {a newer restaurant wit…

Friends from Papua New Guinea

Six-and-a-half years ago, Daniel and I took a 5-week hiatus from life and traveled to Papua New Guinea {PNG}. Daniel had just graduated from college and we were planning on transitioning to Charlotte, NC when we came back to the States. I had my mind set on taking some type of big trip before we settled into the business of post-college life. I also had a desire to go back to PNG and show Daniel where I had lived for the first six years of my life.

When I first presented these ideas to Daniel, he was a little reluctant. He thought that a 2-week vacation would be plenty of time to take off... wouldn't it be better if we stayed in the USofA? I dug my heels in and proceeded to persuade him to go along with my plan. This led us to a week of camping in Oahu, Hawaii {which is free if you take your own gear} and then 4 weeks in PNG. We spent our first 3 weeks with Andy and Catherine Scott in the highlands – mostly Mt. Hagen where I lived as a child. We were able to take some quick trips …

KIS'D

Over the last three months, Daniel and I have had to adjust our eating habits. For me, this means committing to cooking for one instead of running out for fast food every night. For Daniel, this has meant frequently eating out for lunch {the Reynold's, who he has been living with, have graciously provided meals for him in the evenings}.

This past weekend we discussed trying to limit eating out so often in order to save money and to improve our health. For this week, in particular, Daniel is house sitting for the Reynold's and will be on his own for all of his meals. So I asked him if he would like me to help him with a meal plan and shopping list {he said YES}.

When I thought about what Daniel could/would make for himself, I decided to incorporate the KIS'Dmethod or KeepItSimpleDear {as opposed to the KISSmethod - KeepItSimpleStupid as my husband is not stupid}. Daniel enjoys simpler flavors and tastes and since he is cooking for himself, I wanted it to be meals that he co…

...

So... we have known since January that Daniel had the job with TVA and that we would be moving {eventually}. Although he didn't start until March 1, we have officially known/been preparing for this transition for the past 5+ months now.
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I have a daily planner that I use to keep track of my projects at work. Earlier this year, when we developed the monthly schedule for the magazine I design/layout, I only updated my daily planner through the end of May. I suppose I was hoping to be moved to TN by now. Whatever the reason, I just realized that I am still in Charlotte, NC and I am about to start work on the August issue of the magazine. With no true end in sight, I sat down {yesterday} and filled out my planner for the rest of the year. Trying not to be too depressed about this {or the fact that our house has had ZERO showings since the end of April}...
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52 Books in 52 Weeks: Book 20

A Woman Alone: Travel Tales from Around the Globe is a compilation of short stories written by women traveling the world alone. Edited by Christina Henry De Tessan, Faith Conlon and Ingrid Emerick, these stories take us to remote deserts, lush islands and a variety of exotic locals.

To me, the thrill of adventure is always alluring and I appreciate reading travel stories from a woman's perspective. However I experienced an underlying loneliness while reading these tales... This is probably just my personal reaction to traveling alone in foreign countries. I keep thinking about the summer I spent in Europe while in college. How I traveled with companions the entire summer until the day I boarded a train from Rome to Paris. Alone. It was one of the hardest things I have done. Adventure will always drive me. But I want to share it. I want to have people that understand my stories and experiences after the fact...

Some excerpts from the book: Travel intensifies the elements of a perso…

Project 52 Date Nights - Wedding. PFunky Griddle. RiverWalk.

This weekend was another whirlwind of traveling - this time to Cedars of Lebanon {in middle Tennessee} for a cousin's wedding on Saturday. I believe that all married couples should attend at least one wedding each year, if for no other reason than as a reminder of why you got married. It was a sweet wedding and nice to catch up with family. 
We also managed to meet up with some friends {from this weekend wedding} on Sunday morning for breakfast at the Pfunky Griddle in Nashville. It was my friend's pick, so Daniel and I were unsure of what to expect. The restaurant had tables with griddles built into the middle and you get to make your own pancakes right there at the table. Pretty cool experience. It was nice to do with a group. This would make a fun "at home" date - just set up a griddle on the table and make your pancakes while you visit.

Sunday afternoon we headed to Chattanooga. Daniel took me to the town he works in {in Alabama} where I proceeded to have a moment…

Trying to be hopeful...

To say that this weekend was tiring would be an understatement. It was fun, but thoroughly exhausting. That seems typical for our lives right now. One {or both} of us is in a constant state of exhaustion – Daniel more often than me.
My drive to Murfreesboro, TN on Friday took an extra 2 hours thanks to I-40 being “open” but only one lane through the gorge {on the TN/NC state line}.
The weekend included a wedding, spending time with family, breakfast with friends and then driving to Chattanooga...
About 30 minutes outside of Chattanooga, we stopped and parked my car in South Pittsburg and Daniel drove us down to Scottsboro to show me where he worked and also to scope out areas, in case we decide to buy land and build a house at some point.
Coupled with longs hours of driving, not enough sleep and overall emotional exhaustion, this was a little much for me. South Pittsburg and Scottsboro are seriously rural. Intellectually, I knew they were rural, but actually seeing it. Wow. It was very ov…