Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Busy Week

Well, as so often happens, the best laid plans never quite work out the way I think they're going to.

I had every intention of working on and finishing the chest last week. Really, I did! But when I arrived and got ready to start working I discovered that the landscaping company was also there doing their thing. There was just too much floating around in the air for me to even consider staining.

Still, we home schooled, enjoyed seeing Jeff and lunch, and basically just relaxed.

Jeff got his first paycheck with his new job on Friday (which for one week was about what he used to make all month in his last job) so we decided to go out and celebrate. We went to our favorite steak place to eat and then, like the old people that we are, went to Walmart.

Saturday was the local arts festival and so we all got up bright and early and went to see what there was. We have a long tradition of volunteering and so were signed up to help out. When we got there however, we discovered that we weren't needed (can ya believe it?) and just walked around and goofed off instead.

I got a couple of great pictures of some of the dancers that came out to the festival. These two were thrilled that I wanted their pictures. Apparently, they travel from South Africa and tour all over the United States educating American kids about their culture. It was really cool!

After my mother came and picked Michael up (Jeff and I had a date night) we went out to eat at a Mexican place that we love. Unfortunately, maybe due to the humidity or the crowds I developed a migraine half way through the meal. I did my best to hide it but honestly, all I could think was "please don't let me throw up".

I don't get migraines very often, but when I do, I have to sleep to get rid of them. Jeff took me back to the apartment where I promptly crashed for about a half hour. I woke up drained, but not in pain.

Despite the migraine we had a really nice weekend. It's really a treat to be able to do things together as a family. It always seems like the week pulls us in so many different directions that we rarely get to spend any quality time together.

Anyway, I've spent the week so far cleaning the apartment from top to bottom, steam cleaning the carpets, cleaning out my car, and getting ready for the weekend. I really want to get the chest done before it gets to be too hot.

Maybe tomorrow. LOL!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Projects, projects, projects!!

So I'm almost finished staining a chest that I started like oh... last OCTOBER!

Seriously, it's pathetic how long this project has drug out! In my defense though, about a week after I started it the weather turned freakishly rainy. Then when the weather cleared up I got sick. Like for two months. I never get sick so it was really really weird. It was like I had a combination flu, ear infection, sinus thing going on and I couldn't shake it. I didn't start feeling better until around Jeff's birthday the second week of December. And then well, there was Christmas and New Years and then the cold weather hit and... you get the idea.

So... fully into spring time, not quite too hot outside, past allergies, I figured that it was time to finish it. There was just one problem. I changed my mind about the color. See, originally we got it to put in Michael's room to serve as a toy chest. He has a Captains bed made of Colombian Pine (a very light, soft wood) that we bought for him a couple of years ago. This last Christmas I was helping him clean out his room and sort through his stuff and noticed that he hasn't been taking very good care of his bed. Some of the knobs are missing off the drawers, there are scratches and dings in the wood, food and liquid has been spilled on the headboard (interesting as he's never allowed to take food and drinks out of the kitchen)... in short, it was a mess!

As a result, he's not getting the chest until he's older. I had started staining the chest a light color to match his bedroom furniture, but now I'm wanting it to be a darker, warmer wood to match the living room furniture. Did you know that when you stain over a stain it pulls the original stain up? Me neither. But it does. *sigh*

So now I have an almost tiger striped chest. I have to put the last coat on it today and then seal it. It's not what I ever would've intended to do to it, but it looks kind of neat. Jeff squinted at it (like i did) trying to figure out what he thought. After a couple of hours of walking by it and looking at it, he decided, like I did, that it actually looks like it was intentionally stained that way.

So... what a mess! But still, I wanted to get this project done so I could pull out my quilting frames and stands and finish a king size comforter that I started a couple of years ago but never had the space to do until now.

And then, I promise to finish the cloth bags that Anne so generously sent me the pattern for. I've actually got three cut out and pinned, I just got stuck on the handles (the directions were confusing) and then I got distracted, and well... you know how it goes.

Okay, off to home school and stain! Wish me luck!

Monday, April 21, 2008

A Rant

What a difference a week makes! I guess I was just in shock or something last week when Jeff returned to work. Today was a lot easier and a lot more normal. Thank goodness!

Things are getting really scary around here though, our gas prices are up to $3.59 for regular, eggs are nearing $3.00 and milk? Milk is almost $5.00!! Every time gas prices increase, my wage effectively decreases. People don't order out as much, they don't tip as much, and the $1.35 I get per delivery just barely covers the cost of the miles I drive. Not including wear and tear on my car. I don't even want to think about my poor car!

I don't know that I've ever said this before and really meant it, but I'm scared. I'm scared of what will happen if I don't find a job. I'm scared of rising food prices, astronomical gas prices, and unbelievable living expenses. I feel kind of cheated, as silly as that sounds. I worked my way through college as a single parent with no support. I worked my way though graduate school while balancing two very responsible full time jobs. I took care of my family, my parents, my brother, my son. And it was hard. Very very hard. I did it because it's what you do: you take care of those you love. It was a labor of love, if you will. I didn't mind and I don't regret it. But the entire time I secretly thought to myself that eventually, when everyone else was taken care of, it would finally be my turn.

And now I'm delivering pizzas with a Masters degree, unable to marry the man I love because I can't find a job.

I don't know who will win the next election, but I hope to hell they're a heckuva lot smarter than I am. Because I just don't want to think about what will happen if they're not.

Weekend Fun

We had a really nice weekend, busy, but nice.

Saturday morning saw Michael headed out the door with his Boy Scout troop to throw mulch down to earn money to pay for Scout camp this Summer. He finished just in enough time to have lunch with the boys before having to jump in the car and head out for a Youth Volunteer Corps activity. This time the activity was with the Search and Rescue Squad helping to train the dogs. Needless to say, he was thrilled! I think his favorite was Toby, a huge beast of an animal with the sweetest temperament I've ever seen.

When the activity was over Jeff and I dropped him off at my mother's house just in time to have her take him over to a friend's house. She had a meeting to go to and thought that he'd have more fun hanging out with friends than going with her. As a result, Jeff and I had a rare opportunity to spend time together alone. There is a new outdoor, upscale shopping center that is nearby so we drove over there and just walked around. Neither of us were overly impressed with the inflated prices and snooty salespeople, but it was fun anyway. When we got tired of that we just drove around looking for houses for sale. His parents are thinking about moving here sometime in the next year so we're trying to get a feel for location and prices.

The rest of the night was spent running to Walmart, talking via web-cam to his parents, and chilling out on the couch. It was a real treat!

After church on Sunday we decided to drive to the State Park that is located on the top of the mountain where Jeff's apartment is. We're kind of scouting out locations to hold the reception and thought that we'd take a look at the lodge. It's really about average in price ($1500 for 8 hours and the entire Lodge would be ours), but it's still more money than I wanted to spend. I'll have to think about it. Still, the view was breathtaking and it had an indoor/outdoor option that I really like. We've got time, I'd like to go back and see the inside when they're open.

Anyway, we walked around the park, played at the playground, and then went back to the apartment for dinner and a movie. It was almost a perfect day.

I feel better this Monday than I did the last one. I think having a chance to settle into the idea that he's not always going to be around was just harder than I anticipated. I'm back to looking for a job and trying to trust that things tend to happen the way that they're supposed to.
I'm still losing weight, it's been really slow, but at least it's happening. I tend to eat less when the weather warms up so that helps. Michael has been suffering from some pretty wicked allergies so that's been putting a damper on our 5k training. I'm hoping that now that he's taking the 24 hour Claritin that he'll start to feel better soon. We need to get moving!
Goals for the day:
  • water water water!
  • 10k steps minimum!
  • lotsa green veggies... I've been bad about that lately

Friday, April 18, 2008

Week One: Down

Well, I made it through the week. Honestly, I've wondered more than once if I'm not hormonal... even though I shouldn't be.

Michael and I drove over to the apartment everyday to meet Jeff for lunch, time that I think we all needed, and time that helped me to adjust to not being able to talk to him anytime I wanted to. Throughout the course of the week, and as the result of a lot of introspection, I've realized a few things about the crappy way I've been feeling.

In the year and a half that Jeff has been back down here we've been able to talk basically as often and for as long as we've wanted to. We had to wait for so freakin' long to be together again (we lived in separate states, and at times countries, for three years) that the ability to actually look at each other became a novelty that hasn't worn off. I don't think it's going to. I think that when you have to fight as long and as hard as we did to be together, you're never able to take it for granted. Does that make sense?

Anyway, while we were both attempting to find employment we accepted menial jobs. Jobs so far below our educational and professional training that it would be laughable were it not so pathetic. In the ten months that we've had these jobs, we've been able to prop each other up, assist the other in our job search, talk and bitch and whine to the other about how hard working in those places for those wages are. When Jeff suddenly left that world and returned to a more normal existence, it left me behind in a way. Don't get me wrong, this job is amazing, neither of us is capable of creating a more perfect situation than the one he currently has. His salary is amazing, his potential for growth is incredible, his opportunity to make real and lasting changes that will make a real difference is unbelievable. I am so happy for him, for us, and for what this job means for all of us.

That being said, the selfish part of me is insanely jealous of this job. I miss having responsibility and a career that I can be proud of. Watching Jeff drive away to work, knowing that my day will consist of laundry, homeschooling (which I love), and pizza delivery was almost more than I could handle. It felt so isolating. Add to that the fact that because of the preliminary meetings (before he was hired), his normal cell minute package wasn't enough. It always had been up to that point, but this time, a week before the new month starts, he ran out of minutes. Because they charge an additional .40 cents for every minute over the amount he was allotted, we agreed to not use the phone unless it was an emergency.

So... lets recap: We can't talk as he's driving to work in the morning (which we've always done), we can't talk on his breaks or as he's driving home, we can't talk as I'm getting off work, all of a sudden we had to go from constant communication to NO communication. And it happened at the same time he started a new job and I felt left behind.

It's pathetic, and I know I'm whining. I'm sorry. I can't help it. I need to return to work so I have something else to think about, something else to focus on. We're ending the homeschool year pretty quickly and I think that this would be a great time for me to begin a new job.

He and I talked about it last night and I feel better about it today. Though it probably sounds like it, this isn't a co-dependency issue. I can function fine without him, and he without me. We had to for years. It's because we've had to that having to, even a little bit is really hard. He's my partner and my best friend. Somehow, I won the lottery. I think not wanting to share is understandable. He feels the same way, so much so that he made sure that Messenger was installed on his work computer. He can't get on very often, but as of Wednesday he's able to jump on for five minutes or so at a time and say hello. Apparently, this lack of communication was just as bad for him.

Anyway, we need to get married and get it over with. Living in separate houses, jumping back and forth between lives is just getting to be too hard. Never mind the gas prices! I'm hoping for a spring wedding. I'd be happy with this fall, but there just won't be time.

Anyway, everything is working out the way it needs to. I just need to trust that and be patient.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

I Need to Get a Life!

I really am pathetic! I can't believe how much of a difference there is in my day now that Jeff is working normal hours. I'm disgusting myself! Really. I need to move on and get used to this new schedule. I think I've just gotten spoiled always having him within arms reach. I need to go back to work. I need a life. Ugh!

Anyway, yesterday wasn't too bad. I think I managed about 5.3 miles from noon until bedtime, and I drank a couple bottles of water in addition to my normal two Diet Pepsi's. Baby steps. I think I can see progress, today was the first morning in a long time that I walked past the mirror and didn't instantly wonder who was in the room with me!

I'm getting ready to head out and take Michael for another run. I think his allergies are getting to him today, poor kid. I also return to work today (such as it is) so we'll see how it goes. I've not missed the smell of pizza in my car. It's amazing how much easier dieting is when you're not faced with that every day!

Goals for today:
  • three bottles of water
  • stay OP
  • at least 6 miles on the pedometer
  • I will NOT strangle my boss or any of the kids I work with (this is a big one people)
  • I will finish the laundry so our sheets do not independently decide to run away (ugh)!

Monday, April 14, 2008

A Good Day

Jeff's first day at work was great- he has his work cut out for him, but then I think that's a good thing. This is a wonderful opportunity for him and I couldn't be prouder. It is going to be an adjustment to have him be out of pocket for most of the day. He and I talk all the time, probably more than is normal for most couples. To give you some idea, we once had a conversation that lasted 18 hours! The only reason that we stopped talking was because I HAD to pick my son up from school.

Not much has changed since then. We still have to remind ourselves to shut up and go to sleep. I have a feeling that it will probably always be like that. I think that's a good thing. Anyway, I'll adjust. Even faster if I can actually find a job. Lord, but I miss working!

Don't get me wrong, I love staying home and homeschooling Michael. This time with him has been a real gift, and I know that these are memories that I will always cherish. Ideally, I could work part time in a professional capacity. If I could, it would be the best of both worlds. Unfortunately, I don't think that that situation is likely. I need to work, financially and for my own sanity. I didn't go to graduate school because I wanted to be a stay at home mom. I hope that doesn't sound horrible.


A Dogwood Winter

Brrr! I can't believe how cold it is outside today! It was in the 80's on Friday and it's only in the low 40's today. The great thing about living here though is that we're expecting mid-seventies by Wednesday. Gotta love Spring in the South!

Jeff started his new job today, he called at lunch and sounded really stoked. I think he's in a little bit of shock though, he found out that he not just has the local corporate office, but also offices in Mississippi, Tennessee, and soon to be Georgia that fall under his direction. He said that there's a lot of work that needs to be done to get the building running as effectively as it could be, but that everyone seems to be ready for the necessary changes. Oh, and they have a bookcase in the men's room. Obviously, they don't take themselves too seriously!

Michael and I have just returned from a thirty minute wog (a combination of running and walking). And yeah, by running I mean something less than a graceful bounding down the track. Light on my feet, I am not. Oh well, every little bit gets me closer to where I want to be. I weighed in this morning and am .6 away from where I was when I was floored by allergies. I think most of the couple of pounds I put on was water weight. For some really weird reason, I seem to hold onto more water when I'm taking antihistamines. You'd think that it would be the opposite... anyway, back in the saddle again!

I'm still not getting enough water in, but I'm really going to try hard to focus on moving more this week. I forgot to put the pedometer on until around noon when we went for our walk, but I'm still going to try and hold myself to a reading of six miles by the end of the day. I think Jeff and I might take (another) walk when he gets back tonight.

So, goals for the rest of the day:
  • six miles on the pedometer by bedtime
  • water water water!!
  • better food choices. I can't count calories, it just doesn't work for me. I want to focus on making good food choices and incorporating more greens and veggies into my diet.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

A Divorce

This has definitely been an interesting week.

In the true Southern way of things, my former MIL has decided to leave her current husband (number four), and move five hours to our south to set up with a new man (who is going to be leaving wife number three), start a catering business with an old friend, and probably marry again. They are already talking about buying a house together. It's important to remember that they are each still married to someone else!

I'm hoping that she sticks around long enough to offer some sort of explanation to Michael, who will be losing the only grandfather that he has left. And he really will lose him, there's no blood relation between them, I can't see him sticking around. He's been married to my former MIL for sixteen years. I imagine that he'll find someone else too. I really worry that this is going to be hard for Michael, he really hasn't had any experience with divorce.

Bah! The whole thing just disgusts me. Whatever happened to marriage being a sacred institution? I'm not gonna get all religious and preachy, that's SO not me. But come on. This is going to be her fifth marriage!

Anyway, food has been really great this week, but exercise has been for shit. I don't know why I can't seem to get my butt in gear. I have this 5K coming up that Michael and I really need to get moving on, especially since I found out that the proceeds are going to the Fallen Officers Memorial fund. We've lost two officers in the last three years, one was a friend and an amazing person (I didn't know the other one). I NEED to do this!

Jeff starts his new job on Monday so I'm thinking that that will be a good time to get moving on running again. We've taken this past week and have stayed busy every day just enjoying the ability to spend time together. I don't regret it. We've had a blast!

I've bought a new pedometer (the other one stopped working well), and I'm setting a goal of at least 40 miles a week. I've been getting close to that anyway, but I think the new goal will get me moving more. Here's to hoping, anyway!


Sunday, April 06, 2008

A Week Later

I've been lax in posting this week, largely because I've been in bed all week with horrible allergies. We have absolutely gorgeous springs here, but it doesn't come without a price.
From Monday night when my eyes swelled shut, until yesterday afternoon when I could finally stop taking meds, I was totally out of commission. It was horrible! But... I did get some great pictures. This one was taken at the park we went to Monday night. That's Jeff walking down the stairs.
Jeff and I are getting ready to head out and celebrate his last day at Target. I surprised him with tickets to Stomp!... well, okay, surprised him might be a bit of an overstatement. I can't seem to keep him from figuring out anything! Still, we're looking forward to it, and I actually have Michael at his grandma's house until sometime tomorrow. I can't even begin to tell you how nice it will be to have a night off.
I'm freaking out more than a little about finding a better job, with rising gas prices, I just can't continue delivering pizzas. I'm barely breaking even anymore. But, tonight is not for that. Tonight is for laughter and fun and remembering what it means to just enjoy each others company without talk of jobs and money and stress.
Tomorrow is for job hunting, yard work, and race training.
Tomorrow will be a good day.