Friday, November 8, 2013

Time for a Change

So. 

This blog is due for a change. The only makeover it has had was two... Geez, almost three years ago when I changed up the pictures in the header. Before that... It was whenever I won a free layout.

I'm thinking it is time for some rebranding. Moving past the pearl-dazzled sorority girl phase of my life and being more in tune with where I am now. Changing pictures and titles and everything.

I appreciate all of you who have stuck around for so long, even without me posting. I am hoping that making this a better reflection of my every day life, that I will be more inspired to write regularly. So PLEASE, bear with me, and if you like the changes invite your friends to check it out.

Monday, October 21, 2013

So... I suck.

I truly wanted to keep up with the 31 Day Challenge.  And I would have - if I hadn't gotten such great news that it took every second of my time and became my top priority.

I left my teaching position in June but didn't expand my job search beyond education until the end of August/beginning of September.  By mid-September I had to come to terms with the possibility of working part time for a while until a full time position became available.  I went to job fairs and printed resumes; I interviewed for insurance sales that required a very large financial investment (that I definitely did not have) on my part, and for other positions in which I knew I would be miserable.  I was told my B.A. in Political Science meant nothing and that if I wanted to prove that I wasn't a "bored housewife" (true quote), I needed to go get a certification from a tech school to work in billing or coding in a hospital.

Then I interviewed at a non-profit for a part time administrative assistant position.  I thought it went well.  I didn't hear anything for a week, so I wrote it off. I applied for roughly 10 jobs every day for a while, and even used a staffing service. I received a rejection from a tutoring company because I didn't meet their needs (when I taught economics and government and am certified for all social studies for grades 6-12 in Georgia... WTF).

Then, I saw a listing on Monster for a part time retail position.  I swore it would have to be a great opportunity to get me to go back to retail, and it was.  It was for a company I worked for briefly during my student teaching and beginning of my teaching career, and it was for a key holder position.  If you don't know what that is, it is a pseudo-managerial position, but with less stress.  They called and we set up an interview.

A day later, that non-profit called back and scheduled a round two interview.  I agreed to that as well, thinking at least I would get one of them.

I interviewed at the non-profit on Thursday afternoon and thought I blew it.  I called my friend who works for a different segment of the company and was venting when they called to offer me the job.

I still went to the interview for the retail position the next morning.  I was offered that job the following Monday. 

I accepted both.  Which means I am working constantly and have had to get a planner (complete with a menu planning section) to manage all the household schedules since Mr. Firefighter and I are both working two jobs.

Oh... and I accepted a position as Vice President of Fundraising for my sorority's alumnae chapter.  To plan our annual fundraising efforts.

Stick around, I promise I will be posting more regularly when I get into my new work groove and can do more than come home and fall asleep.  I was off from both jobs today and have literally been on my sofa with Preppy Pup watching tv and napping all day, and finally got up enough energy to pull out my laptop.  So I'm here... just busy. :)

Saturday, October 5, 2013

31 Days of Newlyweds - A House Divided






We are a house divided.  My husband (and both of our families) are UGA fans/alumni.  I attended UT before transferring back.  Now, I was raised a UGA fan and disappointed my entire family when I didn't even apply there, so I root for them unless they are playing UT (and Mr. FF roots for UT, fair is fair). 


But today?  Butch, please.  I'm wearing my orange and white (grey out be damned - as one of my facebook friends pointed out, UGA is known as the silver britches, and I wouldn't want to confuse anyone in Georgia stupid enough to truly believe I meant my grey as support for a wrinkled nasty old bulldog).  Divorce papers may be filed, but I WILL support my team.



Friday, October 4, 2013

31 Days of Newlyweds - Communication






Okay, so sometimes I assume things.  More than sometimes.  I am often the one who believes her ideas are the most obvious, most sensible, so therefore everyone else should CLEARLY see this without her having to explain.  Assumptions.

I've been doing a lot of assuming lately, and as the saying goes, I've been making an ass out of myself and my husband at the same time. 

When you get married you tend to think that the other person, since [hopefully] they know you better than anyone else in the world, will always understand what you want and need without you saying anything.  That holds true some of the time.  Mr. Firefighter will rub my shoulders when he can tell I'm tense or stressed, and I know that some days I should go ahead and pour his bourbon and coke when I hear him pull in the driveway.

But the rest of the time?  We need to talk to each other.  We need to explain our feelings/experience/mindset/etc. in order for the other person to know what's going on.  99% of our arguments, big and small, happen because we are assuming the other person knows or understands something that they don't. 

I was reminded today that a store I used to work at opened every day with a "5 Minute Chat."  That seems to be a really good idea for a marriage as well, no matter how new or old.  Take five minutes and talk about your days, your current moods, and what you want to do with the rest of the day or night.  Slowing down and taking the time to do this prevents countless miscommunications and misunderstandings.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

31 Days of Newlyweds - Making It OUR Home, Not Yours Or Mine






Mr. Firefighter and I only "officially" lived together for about a month before the wedding.  I had clothes and other things, mainly kitchen items, that I had slowly been moving in since we got engaged, but most of my things stayed at my house.

To explain how this move went down, you need to know that Mr. FF has owned his house for 7 years.  He was married previously so all of the remnants of that marriage that he, like most men, don't think of remained in the house... along with all of his other boy stuff.  Y'all, I have a go-kart and an inflatable play house and a scooter in our sunroom right now.  Next to the "party wall" that has signatures from all of the ridiculous parties he hosted when he was 21 - all hilariously inappropriate and we are finally agreeing (i.e., I am explaining that his son will soon be able to read them and that will NOT be pleasant.) to paint over it soon.

There were a lot of ghosts to overcome and compromises to be made.  Most of the furniture in the house is his - some is great, some is, well, bachelor appropriate.  I can make it work.  Remnants and things that triggered the "ghosts" in the house to me went, after a lot of discussion on WHY they upset me. Guys seriously don't think the way girls do.  Paint colors will slowly be changed.

My favorite thing?  I have a spare bedroom as a closet.  My least-favorite thing?  Besides my lack of a pantry in the kitchen, that my bedroom-sized closet is also home to Mr. FF's "trophies."  Not to be confused with all the sports memoribilia (soon to be packed when the room is redone) in the OTHER spare room.  These are the trophies with eyes.  Or, in one case, skin and rattles.  I did the impossible.  I convinced him to share his man cave (although one could argue the necessity of a man cave in a bachelor's house, but whatever).  An entire day of "Why do you need this many clothes?  Why can't all these shoes go to Goodwill - you just need a pair of black, a pair of brown, running shoes, flip flops, and boots.  Done.  The rest can go.  SEVEN black skirts?!  SEVEN?! HOW MANY DRESSES ARE THERE??? etc.." and my clothes (my biggest possession not in storage) finally have a home.

Keep in mind, this has taken over three months.  Our dining room area still has piles of clothes to be listed on eBay, purses to be sorted and put away, and other odds and ends.  And I still have my classroom packed away in a storage unit.  But progress has been made.

There have been a LOT of arguments that could have been avoided had we not assumed the other knew how we felt.  Many of our compromises started with a glass of wine/ vodka tonic with extra lime in my hand and a Jack and coke in his.  Many included bartering.  Many are ongoing. 

It takes work to combine two lives.  Especially when the two lives belong to two STUBBORN people.  But making a life together, one shared life, requires a shared space.  One each person feels equally at home in.  And while this house may not be my first choice, and I can't wait to find a new space that is truly ours, this is home.  Anywhere can be a home - and it goes from "house" to "home" a lot easier when you're working together.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

31 Days of Newlyweds - Honeymoon Phase




Y'all, Mr. Firefighter and I seriously had one of the best honeymoons ever.  Were there some things that we wish had gone a tad differently?  Of course.  But overall, we had the time of our lives.  We went to Cancun for a week and stayed in a beautiful all-inclusive resort.  We actually were very budget-conscious when we picked our honeymoon and went through Groupon, but it turned out to be a GREAT decision.  We went jet-skiing, snokeling (which, if you've ever gone on an all-day adult-only snorkeling trip, you know is more party than snorkel), got a couples' open-air massage, and went to see Mayan Ruins in Chichen Itza (my history nerd took over that day).  We also really enjoyed our private beach with canopy beds and VIP pool that we shared with resident peacocks.  Yep, peacocks.

I say all this to explain that it truly was magical. That "honeymoon phase" that everyone is always referring to?  This was IT!  We were THERE! We were alone and on our own and in bare minimum contact with everyone back home.

But.

But we had tiffs.  And mishaps.  Convincing your husband of less than 48 hours that the entire souvenir budget doesn't need to be spent in Atlanta's amazing duty-free shops while you have a BLAZING migraine from staying up all night packing (and I mean until 4 am when we left to drive to Atlanta) is loads of fun.  And that magical massage?  I (due to not working out in 6 months per doctor's instructions) had a HORRIFIC reaction.  All the lactic acid in my muscles worked its way into my system and that caused so much pain I doubt I could ever describe it.  It literally hit when I was in the middle of getting ready for our special "honeymoon only" dinner.  I dropped my hair dryer and sat on the bathroom floor feeling like I was going to die from the aches and pains and nausea.  Imagine the worst flu-like symptoms ever, then multiply it by 100.  You're getting close.  Oh, and after Mr. Firefighter managed to get me downstairs to our beautiful private dining room, I ordered water and a diet coke with lime to settle my stomach - he ordered Jack and diet coke.  They brought us both Jack and diet.  Never has an unintentional sip of alcohol made me want to die more.  I was seriously facebooking my maid of honor (yeah, I was THAT upset that my phone went to dinner in case I had to make any last calls to loved ones) asking if she thought I was pregnant when Mr. Firefighter realized what happened and why I was so ill.

I guess this is my long-winded way of saying that, just like your wedding, nothing afterward will go exactly as planned or expected either.  It will be great, it will be wonderful, it will be a blast to look back on - but even a honeymoon phase can require a little "grin and bear it" to get through.  But you know what?  You now have a partner who is holding your hand through it all.  And that makes ANYTHING worthwhile.



P.S. Please ignore both my husband's look of constipation - he lost his sunglasses and we hadn't gotten him a new pair yet - and our blinding white skin.  What looked tan for our wedding clearly had a way to go.


31 Days of Newlyweds



So when reading Sarah's post here, I decided to do link-up to The Nester's 31 Days of 2013 as well.



I'm going to be writing about all the expected and unexpected experiences of a newlywed, including reviews for some things and rants/vents for others. 

Clearly, I'll be playing catchup since I'm a little late linking up, but hopefully this will also be the kick in the pants I need to begin blogging more regularly. :)


Background:

-If you're new, I am a 20-something newlywed (2 months and counting) in love with her firefighter/EMT husband, her adorbs stepson, and her min-pin, Preppy Pup.
-I am constantly amazed at what this "honeymoon phase" brings.  Some days, I am on cloud 9, and some days... I feel like I've been slapped in the face with a new, and usually unwelcome, experience.
-I am currently on the job hunt after leaving education.
-I attended the University of Tennessee, but returned home to finish my degree, and somehow married into a University of Georgia family (this weekend's game will be my own personal hell).
-I'm trying to branch out in my blog "tone" from what I've been used to writing and write more "real" - and by that, I mean the way I talk to my girlfriends.  There will be a little more snark, more adult language and references, but since my mindset and conversations have changed since I started this blog, the blog should follow.  Or else I'm not keepin' it real, right?





**Oh, wedding photo credit to my wedding photographer: Swamp Fox Photography.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Weather

I know... it's a cliche.  But I'm still going to talk about it.

I read an article in a magazine today that says women tend to eat more this time of year because bathing suit season is over and we feel like we can "let go" and snack on unhealthy items now.  I don't know where they are, but it isn't Alaska (which is currently an AMAZING 55 degrees), and it isn't 1936 when summer ended on Labor Day and people took off their bathing suits to put on sweaters (not a historically accurate wardrobe comment, I know).  It was over 80 degrees here today, and I'm going on day 8 without insulation on my AC ductwork (meaning there isn't a whole lot of point to running my AC - thank goodness for ceiling fans!).

I could care less about snacking, since I did that anyway, even during swimsuit season.  I am tired of starting to sweat as soon as I start to dry my hair.  I am tired of heating up my whole house to make banana chocolate chip muffins.  I am tired of sticking to my sofa and not being able to cuddle with Preppy Pup (Mr. Firefighter is on hour thirty-something of a 48-hour shift, so Preppy Pup is my only option).

Is it so wrong that I want to be able to go to a football game and need a scarf?  And to enjoy my coffee/tea/hot chocolate in the morning rather than feel sick looking at our Keurig?  Or to want to pull out my boots and jeans and slouchy sweaters and put away the shorts and sundresses?  I want to put out my burlap wreath, and buy a new fall monogram flag (our hot pink and lime green and zebra print flag isn't going to work much longer), and be able to sit outside and grill without swarms of gnats and mosquitoes.  To have my glass of wine NOT get too warm to drink before I have time to take two sips.  To carve pumpkins and boil peanuts and make comfort food in my crockpot.

I NEED weather worthy of this outfit... and this outfit.  Jewelery and jeans and scarf, check... but if anyone would like to donate to my Game Day outfit fund so I can purchase the sweater, boots, and bag, just email me. ;)


What are YOU looking forward to in the coming months?

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Temporary Home and First World Problems

Mr. Firefighter and I have temporarily moved out of our house due to plumbing and A/C problems.  This is how I realized what a spoiled brat I am.

Preppy Pup and I had to spend the night in our hotel last night alone because Mr. FF was working.  Everything looked nice until I decided it was time to go to bed.  I walked from the living/cooking area (since we are out for more than just a couple of days, our insurance company put us in one of the nicer executive suites that is more like a one bedroom apartment) into the bedroom, having changed into pajamas and washed my face much earlier in the evening.  That's when I realized that what I'd thought was the comforter folded at the bottom of the bed was truly just an accent throw and the bedding was really just two rather thin sheets.  I searched the closets and all drawers and cabinets, but no other blanket or bedding was there.  I called the front desk but the person working the night shift did not understand my problem because, after all, it is Georgia in August.  Who really needs all those layers?  Me.  I do.  Even though I was sleeping in long sleeves and long pants.  I turn the A/C down as far as I am allowed and bundle up - that's how I sleep.  I eventually pulled the faux comforter up on top of Preppy Pup and me, along with one of our fleece throws I'd brought to be able to use on the sofa.  I will be getting one of our comforters from our house (we can still be at our house during the day, we just have no running water to actually be able to live out of it - in a week or so, the A/C will be shut off so they can replace all duct work and insulation so it won't be comfortable for us to be there).

If that was the biggest "problem" I had to deal with, I wouldn't have even mentioned it to Mr. FF.  Then I got up this morning (after not sleeping well due to the nonexistence of thick curtains to pull over the windows looking out into the headlight-filled parking lot) to shower and get ready to come back to our house for a little while, only to find when I jumped in the shower that there was no hot water.  It barely got anywhere above Arctic.  I sucked it up, thinking maybe there was a problem with the hot water heaters since it was fairly early and most of the people in the hotel are in town to work so they were up showering and getting ready also.  I called the front desk after I got out of the shower and returned to the cocoon in the bed to warm up and verify my explanation.

No.  They are an "eco-friendly" hotel and DON'T HAVE HOT WATER.  They have water that gets as warm as the health department requires, but no higher.  The suggestion I got was to take a bath and heat water on the stove or in the microwave to add to the lukewarm water.  Seriously??  I cannot believe I am the first person to be upset by this.

Then I thought about it on my ten minute drive back to our house. We own a home and have a warranty and insurance on it that is taking care of us when something goes wrong with it.  We have food to eat.  I have the luxury of having a pet that I can afford to feed.  I had to send jewelry to a relative's house (along with Mr. FF's firearms) because it hasn't been added to our insurance yet - who has to do that?

I am fortunate to only be experiencing these superficial first world problems.  Do I have other, non-superficial problems?  Yes, but I have the capacity to deal with those.  I have a home, clean water (well, at the hotel - the water at home is iffy for the moment, but you get my point), and food.  We are blessed and I'm glad that it took a silly little thing like a cold shower to remind me.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

New Distraction Blog

I'm going to start a new offshoot of this blog to focus on my new "housewifely" duties - cooking, cleaning tips, and all of my craft and DIY successes and failures.  You can find me here, at Mrs. Preppy Housewife.  Please follow and share with anyone else you think would be interested.


Sunday, August 18, 2013

Post-Wedding Blues

So... blah. We've been back home from our honeymoon for a few weeks now, and while our wedding was AMAZING, as was our honeymoon, those are posts to come later.  This is for now.

I don't know what to do with myself.  I threw myself into wedding planning and now I have... nothing.  I am slowly but surely organizing everything and getting situated in our house, but I get overwhelmed trying to do it all on my own.  As I said before, I left my job at the end of last school year, so I am watching and applying for jobs, but that only takes up so many hours of the day.  With Mr. Firefighter as the sole provider (for now... I get a paycheck through the end of the month so I will be getting less picky about jobs after that), I don't feel like I can ask him to come home after a 24 hour shift at the fire station or after an 8-12 hour shift at his part-time job working on a private ambulance (yes... he gets too bored if he stays home) and help me with the house.  For now I'm Holly Housewife... and it is KILLING ME.

On top of that, we are having trouble with our house.  We have busted pipes and are supposed to "minimize" our water consumption because the plumbers can't come and start work until Tuesday (which, considering our drain line carrying WASTE to the sewer system is emptying under our house and flooding the crawl space... making my house a mosquito haven and me cough constantly, is RIDICULOUS.  Plus, the THREE plumbers who came last week to see the problem ALL made fun of my new monogram welcome mat that has LED lights that turn on when someone steps on it.  Stupid boys who don't get it.).  For me - whose main contribution to our household now is doing laundry, cooking, and cleaning - this puts me at even less activity during the day.

Even with various and assorted appointments during the week, I am at a loss of what to do to fill those other hours.  I inherited a sewing machine from my dad (which was actually my mom's from my childhood and he got it in the divorce... don't ask) and thought about doing a lot of DIY design to change up our house, so I dropped it off last Monday to be "tuned up" and made ready for use.  I also helped my mother clean out her fabric stockpile last week and took lots of goodies for me, and I found a ton of good things on sale or clearance at JoAnn's, Hancock, and Hobby Lobby.  Which made the phone call Friday (when my machine was supposed to be READY, not just beginning to be worked on) telling me that they had to order a part and my machine wouldn't be ready until at least next Friday.  In the meantime, I stocked up on patterns (on sale from 70 cents to $1.99, down from $11.95-$17.95) and other sewing notions and ordered a few how-to books on half.com. Hopefully this will prove to be a good distraction.  This also means DIY-themed posts - be warned.

Does anyone have any other suggestions - job avenues I might not have thought of (Political Science degree), cheap or free activities for me or me and the hubs, etc.?


Saturday, July 6, 2013

Mr. Firefighter


Mr. Firefighter and I met in 6th grade homeroom.  I was the new kid who had moved from another state (although that state was, like, a mile away) and didn't know anyone. Cue this kid in baggy jeans (he was a JNCO kid) to start quoting The Waterboy.  I swear, if I heard "ma-ma-ma-ma-mama says" once a day, I heard it a thousand times a day.  I quickly realized this boy was to be ignored.

Which I tried to do 14 years later in the grocery store.  I had just gotten back to town from being at work giving the SAT (or ACT, I can't remember) on  a SATURDAY.  Since you don't know the impact of that, let me explain.  When I worked on Saturdays to give the SAT or ACT, I had to be at work at 7:00.  That is almost an hour before I had to be at work on a weekday.  That means Miss Preppy had day-old dirty hair that had been made decent (decent enough for teenagers to ignore while freaking out about a test and I graded papers) by dry shampoo and a curling wand, minimal makeup, and was wearing a light-weight sweater, jeans, and boots.  Completely not the polished look I strive for.

Imagine my surprise that as I was rushing through the store picking up a few things while chatting on my cell about a potential date, I heard my name shouted from across the meat department (romantic, no?).  Oh, &*^$, I mentally screamed.  I told my friend to keep talking so I would have an escape route, turned around and saw... this guy that I could barely remember from middle and high school.  This guy whose last name I couldn't remember for the life of me and didn't even want to really try.  Although he HAD improved massively since we graduated (at which point he had progressed from JNCOs to Dixie Outfitters shirts and boots.  If you have to ask, don't.  It's painful.) We made polite conversation for all of 45 seconds and I made my excuses and walked away, still on the phone. 

He clearly didn't give up that easily.  He ran around the grocery store looking for me, didn't see me so he gave up, only to find me in the checkout line.  He came up behind me (sadly, I had finished my phone call so I didn't have any distractions) and trapped me in.  After some more small talk and awkward chit-chat, he asked me what my plans were for that night.  I was vague and he invited me to go out with some of his friends.  For a BACHELOR PARTY.  WTH? I quickly paid for my groceries and said my goodbyes.  I did, however, wait to see what kind of car he got in when he walked out a minute after me (which ended up being a truck).  Superficial, yes. But had I not done that, I most definitely would have ignored the Facebook request I got thirty minutes later because all I could remember about him were the however many years old Camaro he drove in high school (all I remembered was 80s, early 90s red car though), braces, super short hair, and ROTC.

We Facebook messaged for a few weeks and I ignored all the plans he tried to make or made up excuses.  I had a failed blind date or two during that time.  At some point I realized he could see when I read the messages versus when I responded to them (and the sometimes 48 hour gap), so we exchanged phone numbers so I could come off as less rude.  And finally, when all of my friends were busy and Preppy Pup was at her trainer's for an overnight stay, I got bored. And anxious because my baby wasn't home with me.  So I decided to go to dinner... except all of my friends were busy.  I texted Mr. Firefighter and he immediately said yes.  I told him I would meet him after my run and quickly went and got cuter running clothes than what I'd thrown on, went for a 30 minute run, then met up with him.  Or I thought I was, but he was 30 minutes late.  The fact that we talked for over two hours (on a week night when I had to work the next day) was a definite mark in his favor.  Unbeknownst to me, he had cancelled plans with another girl that night as soon as he got my text asking him to dinner.

Not knowing what a player he was, I decided to take things really slow.  I was going out with friends for Halloween that Saturday and spend all day working on my costume and asking Mr. Firefighter advice via text.  He kept offering to help, but I kept putting him off and saying I didn't need help.  I went out with my friends and he went to a costume party.  I got bored and kept checking Facebook and texting him how bored I was, hoping he would show up without me having to ASK him to show up.  Then I saw the picture on Facebook.  The picture of him with another girl as half of a couple's costume.  I quickly wrote him off and texted him "Nice costume, FRIEND" so he would get the message. Because clearly, I was not jealous at all...

That was the first and last time he went out with that girl (remember how he was planning a bachelor party?  He met her at that wedding). Or any other girl.  Despite the flowers I got the next week and the dinner dates, he didn't really have me until he took me to Election Day parties and two weeks later took care of me when I got Pink Eye. 

And that is the unabridged version of how we [re]met. :)

Remember me? From, like, 2 years ago? No?

So after a much-needed and overdue hiatus, I am back.  With news.  Lots of news.

1st - in limbo and not sure if I am still a teacher or not.  I left my position at the rural school where I taught for 2 1/2 years for several reasons that I won't be discussing on this blog.  I have had interviews for other teaching positions closer to my home (I had been driving ~80 miles round trip every day) but the first was given to someone with previous experience at that school and the second, for which I was told by my insiders that I was a frontrunner), has been put on a hiring freeze so I doubt that will com through.  I am paid through August for my teaching contract, so I am in no hurry to find anything until after July 28th.  Why that date you ask?  Well....

2nd - I'M GETTING MARRIED.  That's right, y'all, married.  We are getting married July 20th and heading on our honeymoon July 22nd-28th.  My guy, who will get a full introductory post soon, is a great guy that I have known for almost 15 years (we met in 6th grade... cue the "aww's").  He has a 3 year old son that is awesome and crazy (like EVERY 3 year old boy), so we will see how this OCD, Type A, not a hair out of place, don't-get-that-on-my-clothes, anti-outside without tons of bug spray girl adjusts to being a step-mama (although I have an awesome role model as my stepmother is the BEST) and wife. Oh, and y'all... he is a firefighter.  Yep.

3rd - I totaled the car that I got after my last post.  Yes, I am that accident-prone.  This time it wasn't my fault though.  A dump truck had faulty breaks and rear-ended me at a red light.  I didn't get up and go to work from that one, not for almost 2 weeks. 

4th - I will be guest-blogging for Wed Pics after I get back from the honeymoon.  I am debating doing more online, from-home work so hopefully this will help!

So... I am back! For those of you still following (not consciously, just because you never realized there was an absence of posts and forgot to find me and unfollow I'm sure), please stick around!