Tuesday, April 28, 2009

An Aside

Also, there was a spider crawling on my leg this morning as I was backing out of the driveway (I had just moved some plants, I think that's when it made its move onto me) and I FREAKED OUT. I did at least remember to put the handbrake on before I shoved the door open and thumped him off of me. (Yes I screamed a little). Unfortunately I shoved the door open onto the corner of our brick flower bed, and there is a tiny (thank God it's small!) dent and nick in it. But you know what? It was worth it not to have the spider TOUCH MY SKIN. THAT WOULD NOT HAVE BEEN OKAY.

Result of My Upbringing

As the youngest, I despise feeling left out. I'm not sure why this trait manifested itself so strongly, but it did.

Unfortunately for the last year and a half, I've felt left out of my own life. That's the best way I can describe it. I STILL feel like I'm waiting for the best part of my life--the part in which I don't have school, I get to enjoy time with Caleb, I get to have a clean house and occasionally add to its decor...to cook at will, even deciding on a whim to attempt a long elaborate recipe on a weekday--without having to worry about how it will affect my homework time.

I know I chose this, but damn, sometimes it sucks.

Come December, I will be hosting a PARTAY to end all parties. Start planning your cute outfits now!

Also, I'm thinking about having a "shopping party" sometime in the near future...where I invite a bunch of women over, we all go through our closets beforehand and bring decent clothing that we either can't or don't wear anymore, and shop through each other's piles...do you think it would work better with many or few? I think many, just because most of my friends and I are so different in sizes. But then it might get chaotic. Share your thoughts, I'm interested to know if any of you have done something like this, and logistically how it might work.

Friday, April 24, 2009

I Need Encouragement

At the funeral the other day, one of my...uncles? First cousins once removed? Something like that. Anyway, he was talking about Aunt Boe (and, by default, Uncle Posie, since they functioned as a unit--in a good way) and how she and Uncle Posie always, always, encouraged ALL of us kids. Every single one of us, through three generations, felt special (three of the uncles got up and each claimed to be Aunt Boe's favorite, and I thought I was her favorite, and I'm pretty sure my cousin thought she was her favorite, too). She and Uncle Posie had that magical quality of making everyone feel elevated--favorited, even--and encouraged. Even when I was small, they would ask about school and tell me how proud they were of me and how awesome I was...and it wasn't until that moment, the moment that Clayton stood there and said all this (he was talking about himself, but we ALL got that from them), that I realized how sorely I've missed that kind of encouragement, love, and devotion. Yes, I get it from Caleb (my husband. I got tired of referring to him as the husband). Yes, I occasionally get it from my parents, but mostly people just don't talk about school around me because by now they all know how much I hate it at the moment.

Maybe it was just easier to believe the encouragement when I was a kid--I had much higher self esteem then. Now, I feel like I don't--can't--give 100% to anything because I'm so split between work, school, house, family, friends, etc. So I constantly beat myself up mentally about how I could have done that better or I could have spent more time on this. And I feel fat, but that's another post altogether.

It's weird how two of the major things that I used to base my self-esteem on have fallen so far. I wonder if that's why it has taken such a big hit? I no longer make straight A's (in fact, I'll be lucky to finish my master's with a 3.0 overall), and I'm not skinny anymore (and as a result I no longer even feel like myself, nor do I feel pretty). I don't like looking cute in outfits anymore, because none of them fit right, and the cute stuff I used to wear no longer looks good on me. Plus I can't spend money on clothes. I wonder if it all, deep down, boils down to a money issue? A weight issue? Or whether I'm just using so much willpower on work and school and keeping the house not disgusting that I have none left for my body or dressing to look cute or making sure I have straight A's?

I guess, if nothing else, I'll find out in December when I just have work to worry about. I think I will focus on my body and my wardrobe (not buying stuff, just putting it together better and taking more time to look cute) first, then on making my house look like me. I want to paint (burnt orange in the bathroom), build a banquette for the elliptical table in the dining room, get the furniture arranged just right, put pictures up, unpack the office...you get the picture. I just have to find a way to do that frugally. Hello Salvation Army/thrift stores in hoity neighborhoods! I'm getting excited about it already. I will post PLENTY of before and after pictures. For now, here are the "before" pictures of the house (before we moved in--it's not that clean or spacious looking now, that's for sure!)

This is the guest bath that I want to paint burnt orange. What do you think? Caleb is worried that it will be too dark and guests would get annoyed with the darkness while putting on makeup...but over the sink (which would be in the far right of the picture but is cut off) there is a light fixture with THREE 60 watt bulbs. We only have two in there now, and it's plenty bright).

This is the dining room. Right now we have a small round table in there, a huge white beautiful Ikea elliptical table (it's the Gidea, if you must know), a chifferobe (which is currently being used as extra kitchen storage because we don't have enough cabinets for all our gadgets), two chairs, and three barstools. I want to build a banquette on the right hand wall in the picture with (hidden, modern) storage drawers in the bottom/sides of it. That way the dining room would be opened up and we'd have more room for the chifferobe and for people to mingle. Not to mention the extra storage (Eventually the small round table and 2 chairs will go back to their owner, which means there's even more need to build the banquette--that's five people able to sit which they can't do after the chairs go away, and we cannot afford chairs right now. I need to do some serious thrift store shopping for chairs, because they are RIDICULOUSLY expensive! Anyone have three stylish chairs they want to get rid of that fit the color scheme or can be recovered?) Other than that, I'm not sure if I want to paint in here or not...I really like the greenish-yellowish-happy color that is in there. Below is a drawing of what it would look like with the banquette in there:

This is a picture of the living room. Currently there is an apple-green, retro, super cool sofa coming out from the wall between the door and the windows with its back to us. I like that arrangement; it helps define the "entry" as such and divides the room from the entry and kitchen without restricting sight lines or conversations. For the "color scheme" in the living/dining rooms and kitchen, I'm thinking of the wall color, apple green, orange (not neon) dark brown, and a tiny bit of white (a la the table, throw pillows, etc).

This is the master bedroom. Our headboard is centered on the left wall in front of the window (Sound weird? I agreed, but we had it on the wall directly in front of us in the picture at first, and it just didn't work. Surprisingly, it looks decent in front of the window). The furniture in there is sparse, with a nightstand on the left side of the bed (but not right next to it), a tiny table on the right side, a white floor lamp from Ikea in the corner we see here, a short dresser across from the bed, and a tall chest of drawers (or if you're from the South, a "chester drawers.") on the non-window wall we are looking at, centered. Sounds like a lot...maybe it isn't sparse? We don't have a rug or anything in here; I like it without one. We have a painting on the wall above the short dresser, and our duvet is apple green with white print. I can't decide if this room is DONE or not. I think in order to decide, I should take a picture of it when it is clean and then determine what, if anything, is missing.

This is the master bath. I want to paint it but I'm not sure what color yet (green? yellow? white?). I haven't been struck by inspiration for it yet; I have a shower curtain that I love that is (guess what?) apple green with white and off white flower outlines on it (looks more abstract than flowery; I'm not really a flower kinda girl). We also have six black 1 ft cubes in there, eventually they will be floor to ceiling but we might paint them dark brown first. Ooh, I just had a thought! We could put shelves on the wall that would be to our right in the picture, similar to the ones I had in the office in Athens! Like an idiot I never took a picture of those, but I have the design sketched out somewhere. Also, that light-colored panel on the end of the cabinet is horrid. We have to find a dark colored one, or paint it, or something. It drives me nuts.

As for the office and the guest bedroom, they will have to wait--the office has all our unpacked boxes still in it, and the guest bedroom looks ok, but has all the stuff we want to sell at a garage sale in it. Caleb gets to be in charge of the decorating scheme for the office; I think he wants to paint it a grayish blue color. I think that sounds lovely.

I can't wait to be the decorating queen among my friends again. Everyone used to come into the house in Athens and go, "Ooh! I love the kitchen!" (or the office, or my bedroom or whatever). My bedroom was freaking awesome. I painted it deep purple and had sort of a moroccan theme, and it actually worked. (My mom was horrified at the purple before we got any furniture in there and said, "You HAVE to paint it a lighter color when we sell the house!" but then after I got everything in there, she loved it). Plus I could sleep late because the room wasn't bright, a very unexpected and welcome benefit. Hmm. Maybe in light of that, I should paint the master bedroom chocolate brown?

What are your favorite past decorating ideas? Or ideas that you want to incorporate into your future abode? Please share!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009


Since I've become aware of the fact that one has to spend less than one makes, I've been making (small) strides to improve my spending habits. I'm doing well in some ways and really crappily in others:

Doing Well:
-I have $1500 in a high-interest savings account with HSBC.
-I generally spend less than I make in a month, with the only exceptions being when I pay for car insurance and/or tuition, which I try to save for in other months.
-I have not purchased any clothing items since last August, with the exception of that one $12 pair of leggings that would transform a sundress into fall/winter wearable (remember, I live in Georgia and "winter" is more like fall elsewhere).
-I pay $50 extra on my car payment every month and am attempting to snowball my credit card debt. (And none of my credit card debt is above 11% interest--one is 0%, one is 9%, and one is 11%).

Doing Crappily:
-I only have $1500 in my HSBC account, and car insurance and tuition are coming up this summer. I have an extra grand in my secondary checking account and can use that, but really don't want to. (But it beats using savings!)
-My credit card debt has increased in the last year because I keep putting tuition on them. My work reimburses half, but the other half is still on there. We also put all the appliances that we needed when we bought the house on credit cards.
-I still WANT to shop for clothing and house stuff just as badly as I used to, even though intellectually I know that I don't NEED any more "stuff." I just really enjoy the act of shopping, and the way new things look in my house. I am going to have to find a more sustainable way to enjoy shopping in the future when I have a little extra money--maybe thrift stores combined with a "one in, one out" policy? How do you prevent clutter from building up?

On a non-financial note, I have 1 week and three days left in this semester, and I'm not hyperventilating. I'm a little stressed, but I think I can get everything done that I need to in the time that I have. And I only have 1 final (in one of my classes, we have a project instead).

Then I get a week off before the summer semester starts, and I will only be taking one class this summer--Timber and Masonry, both of which I've had a little of before and both of which I enjoy, especially from an aesthetic point of view. I must say, if I ever get to be really picky and CHOOSE what projects I work on, I'd choose residential coastal engineering.

Since husband and I want to live on the coast someday, I've been thinking a lot about how I'd build a house were I to ever be able to afford building my own beach house. I've come to the conclusion that I'd likely design it with straight up reinforced concrete, but instead of using steel (because it corrodes so easily if any water gets in), I'd use FRP or carbon fiber reinforcement. Slightly more brittle, sure, but it would NEVER corrode, which is a huge problem with reinforced/prestressed concrete structures in coastal environments.




(8--a ONE DIGIT number)


Till I can have a LIFE again. I am so excited.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Internet, Tentatively

I have internet on my phone! And on my computer through the Bluetooth!

That's one thing out of the way. Thank heavens. Now on to the next 99384778324 things.

What a Week

Monday: Feel coughy (not a word, I know, but I'm using it anyway) and crappy, raining, etc. Go to work anyway.

Also I was worried that my rear wheels weren't on good enough after having changed my rear brakes Sunday, so that was in the back of my mind all day Monday.

Tuesday: Feel even worse, come to work anyway again, change T-Mobile plan to get unlimited internet so I can use my phone as modem for new laptop (netbook, $400, small enough to fit in my purse), and internet won't work. Decide to give it a day or so. Mom calls, says my great-aunt (who was more like a grandmother because she lived so close to us and I spend a lot of time over there as a kid) isn't doing well at all. She has had Alzheimer's since I was about 16 (so nine years) and she hasn't known anyone for at least the last five. She can't speak, and she broke her hip in the nursing home about six years ago and they wouldn't fix it so she could walk again because they thought she wouldn't last much longer. So for the last six years, she has been unable to speak, walk, feed herself, or use the restroom (really, if there were a God, and he were merciful, he would not have let that happen). So intellectually, I have known that she's been "gone" for a very long time...I am convinced that she is no longer "in there" which I guess if one has to get Alzheimer's, at least eventually, mercifully (in a sick and twisted sort of way) you are unaware of what is happening to you. So I thought I had dealt with it long ago, and processed that she was gone...and then my mom called and told me that and was hit with the realization that, no, I have not processed it, and no, I am not okay with it EVEN THOUGH I know that it would be the most merciful thing for her. I miss her, I miss Uncle Posie (her husband and my surrogate grandpa who was a little crazy, hilariously funny, and very inventive), and I'd give anything to have one more day with them both. So anyway. I had to leave the office for a bit and go cry in my car. And I need to, again, but have shoved it down into the recesses of my mind because I can't give it the time I need to right now, and anyway, there will be a funeral for that I guess.

Go to class, discover that I could have been taking Management for Engineers instead of Finite Element Methods (read: EASY A instead of possible D), come back to work, still worried about wheels. Decide to meet some friends for dinner. Before dinner, decide to go to other friend's house and check wheels. Pull up in driveway, and he freaks out because something looks wrong with my rotors. Discover that rotors are wrong size, hurry up to take old ones to be turned (call the people I got them from and leave a civil but angry message), cancel dinner, come back and get car off ground, wheels off, calipers off...and discover a leak in the seal of one of my caliper pistons (new caliper, $300...or rebuild kit, $25 and EIGHT HOURS TO REBUILD). Grapple with the realization that I won't be driving my car for a few (possibly several) days. Go pick up turned rotors, leave car and borrow friend's (he has five). Get dinner at 9:30, (STILL FEEL LIKE HOLY HELL), FINALLY go home and go to bed.

Wednesday: Feel even worse than on Tuesday (are you sensing a pattern here?), go to work anyway. Raining, and that's a problem because the loaner car leaks a little, drip...drip....drip onto my left shoulder (I had been warned that that was an issue so wasn't TOO awful). People that shipped rotors call and declare that their website isn't at all misleading (even though I chose MY make and model and somehow it jumped makes and models while I was clicking on things in MY MAKE AND MODEL'S BRAKE CATEGORY such that I ended up with 02-03 WRX rotors). Get angry and hang up on them. Post on WRXAtlanta forums about how the people who sent me the wrong rotors won't take them back (not even for a partial refund) even though they have LESS THAN FIFTY MILES ON THEM and I ordered them AFTER CHOOSING MY CAR'S MAKE AND MODEL AND THEY WERE WRONG. People agree with me, and one guy offers me a great deal on new ones that actually fit. And hopefully I have hurt their business, because there are 2500 members of WRX Atlanta. Plan to post it on NAISOC (North American Subaru Impreza Owners Club) forums as well. Go to bank to deposit $2200 check (refund from old escrow account) and it isn't in my purse because it was in my car and when I moved cars I took everything in the house. Call T-Mobile b/c internet still won't work and they try some stuff and then tell me to wait another day because nothing they have done fixes it. (At this point, it is only around 11:00 am). Go to class, feel stupid and behind, come back. Having issues with a project at work; it's not as easy as it looked. VERY FRUSTRATED AT THIS POINT. Email people about work problem, leave. Had enough. Go home, eat, take Nyquil, and accidentally crash before planned, miss hubby's phone call. Wake up at 1 am because of thunder, pee, text him to tell him I'm ok. Back to bed.

Thursday: Wake up feeling EVEN WORSE. (WONDERING HOW MUCH FUCKING LONGER THIS CAN CONTINUE). Cough a lot, rattles, hurts, but NOTHING comes up. I am hating life right about now. Get dressed, come to work. Get out of car at work and realize my entire ass is SOAKING WET because it rained all night and that drip, drip, drip had been dripping right onto the seat. Put saran wrap on the door to try and not let it get any wetter since I have to go to class and back again today. Also it is hot and humid IN THE FUCKING BUILDING so I am sweaty and hot on top of having a wet ass. That brings me to now. I am thoroughly pissed off, hot, sweaty, wet-assed, and feeling like HOLY HELL. I can't stop coughing and NOTHING WILL COME UP. And to top it all off, I STILL CAN'T GET ON THE DAMNED INTERNET WITH MY PHONE. So I get to look forward to calling inept customer service people to deal with yet another problem. And look! It's only 9:38! I can't wait to see what the rest of the day and week brings!

Don't piss me off or I'll punch you. Amen.