about me

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Denver, Colorado, United States
i'm 33. i live with my husband, baby daughter 2 dogs and 1 kitty. i'm a chemical engineer with an MBA and work in technical sales. i tend to bite off more than i *think* i can chew and end up with a full bulging mouth for awhile before i can finally swallow. i thrive in chaos, but strive for order.


birth plan?!?! bwhahahhaa!

our little daughter is finally here!  charlotte was born on 11-02-2011 at 5:24pm.  7lb 10oz, 20 3/4"  isn't she precious?

she is such a good baby, which is nice since her birth did not go quite as planned.

on 11-1, i went to my regular doctors appointment.  my blood pressure was high and i had protein in my urine.  they sent me straight to L&D to be monitored because of preeclampsia.   when my blood pressure refused to go down, they suggested induction. i refused at first, and then was basically told that i didn't really have a choice, due to the risk of organ failure, seizure, and death.  at 4:30pm, they gave me misoprostol, a drug that helps ripen the cervix.  i got another dose at 8:30, and then the contractions started.  they weren't too bad, but they definitely kept me awake all night.   the next morning, i was only 2 cm dilated and so they decided to start the pitocin.

unfortunately, pitocin makes your contractions incredibly strong and painful - your body doesn't have a chance to gradually get used to them.  because of this, i decided i needed an epidural.  unfortunately, i am one of those rare people that doesn't respond to epidurals, which i figured out after getting 2 of them.   at this point, i'm in extreme pain with no pain relief and i feel the urge to push.  it's more than an urge - it's an involuntary reaction.  oh and did i mention that she's posterior, so i'm having back labor?  so i'm pushing and there's no progress.  apparently she's stuck up there - every time she moves forward a little, she slips back in.  the nurse tries to reposition her, but nothing is working.  then they doubled my dose of pitocin to try to make the contractions even stronger.  after 2 hours of pushing, i couldn't take it anymore.  i begged the doctor to shut off the pitocin and told them i was ready for a c-section. 

once that decision was made, things happened rather quickly and charlotte was born an hour later.  while i was incredibly disappointed that the birth didn't go as planned, i made peace with it and was glad that the medical intervention was available since i needed it.

luckily, i have recovered quickly from the surgery.  i think it is because i had the placenta encapsulated and have been taking them daily.  nursing has been very easy, which is a relief because i thought i would have problems.  i've also already lost all the baby weight (50 pounds in one week!! most of it was water retention), so that's been nice to not have to worry about.

and most importantly, charlotte is very healthy and the most perfect baby ever!!  :)


the finish line is in sight

on monday i will be 37 weeks pregnant.  that is considered FULL TERM, which means that i could technically have a baby a week from now.  it still blows my mind, even though i've had 9 months to prepare.

the pregnancy has been ok for me.  the first 17 weeks were rough because i was SO sick all the time.  then when i hit the 2nd trimester, i started to feel better but had to contend with nasty seasonal allergies and sinus infections.  july and august were actually pretty good - i had energy and no adverse symptoms.  but ever since then i have just been more and more uncomfortable.  i'm have a LOT of swelling in my hands, feet, and calves.  the swelling in my hands, combined with carpal tunnel, has made 4 fingers on each hand completely numb.  it gets worse at night and in the morning i can't even make a fist.  then they loosen up a bit during the day, but i still have no feeling.   add that to the fact that my belly is now huge, and the simplest things have become crazy hard to do.  like putting on socks and shoes.  getting off the couch.  picking things up from the floor. 

j and i took a 6 week natural childbirth class that has really helped prepare us, and has lessened my anxiety about birth quite a bit.  i'm actually looking forward to it - because i know that once i get through it i will finally be able to hold my baby!  i've started to not tell people i'm planning a natural, unmedicated birth because they look at me like i have 3 heads and start asking me why i don't believe in modern medicine.    it is too much to ask for people to respect your decision?  I don't get all over their case for being induced or getting an epidural, because i believe that each woman has to do what is right for them.  it would be nice if others would extend that same courtesy..


1st anniversary weekend

to celebrate our first wedding anniversary, jared and i decided to take a trip to san diego.  we chose san diego for several reasons.  #1) we had $300 american airlines vouchers from when we gave up our seats for our honeymoon last year, and the only direct flight for <$300 from denver on american airlines was to los angeles.  #2) we wanted to go somewhere warm and we have good friends in san diego.

it was a good decision.  however, it turns out that jared and i cannot travel anywhere without scores of drama related to the trip.  like when we went to napa for a friends wedding and experienced the following:
*a flat tire
*a broken GPS which resulted in calling the hotel for directions from san francisco and trying to get there in rush hour
*a fall that led to a *very* swollen and sprained ankle
*a cell phone left in the rental car on the way home

although so many things went wrong, that trip to napa was very fun and we had a blast!

this trip was similar.
it started out thursday night.  our flight was at 7:30.  jared got home from work and we left to take the dogs to our friends around 4:45.  then we had to drop off jareds homework assignment and we headed to the airport around 5:30.  we hit very heavy traffic and when we got to the parking lot, we were in a hurry to get on the shuttle.  i left my phone in the car and they had to send another shuttle to bring it to me.  by the time i get my phone, we had about 1 hour until our flight left.  we head to security, but that security checkpoint is closed.  we have to go to the one clear on the other side of the airport, which of course has a long line.  it takes us 35 minutes to get through security.  we rush to the gate and have a few minutes to spare before they start boarding.  phew.

right before take off, i turn to jared and ask "you locked the door, right?".  he couldn't answer me.. normally, i would have just assumed that everything was fine, but for SOME REASON i decided to text my friend stacey who lives close to us and have her go double check.  we were taking off, but i had this urge to text her right then and not when we got to LA.   once we landed, i had a text from her "call me when you land, it's important".

i called her and found out that our front door was WIDE OPEN.  apparently, in the rush to get out of the house and round the dogs up into the car, jared had forgotten to go back and SHUT THE DOOR.  i had a pit in my stomach as i asked her if everything had looked ok.  to my relief, she said that it didn't look like we had been robbed and she turned on a light and deadbolted the door for us.  thank god for friends like her.

after landing in LA and going through a seemingly endless amount of shuttles, we finally get to the rental car place.   then after missing a turn and driving through south central LA, we finally get to our hotel, which was paid for with hotel points.  it was nice and we crashed.

the next day was fairly uneventful, disaster wise.  we enjoyed a nice drive down the pacific coast highway, chilled on a beach for an hour or so, and finally made it down to our friends house in san diego.

saturday, our friends took us sightseeing in la jolla.  we were at the la jolla cove, walking on the rocks and looking at the tide pools.   my first mistake was that i was wearing my chucks, which don't have a lot of traction, so even though i was being super careful, i stepped on a slimy patch on the rock and lost my balance.  everything went into slow motion.  my butt hit the rock and i thought i was safe.. but then i slowly slid backwards into the tide pool.  i knew it was coming and there was nothing i could do except moan "nooooooooo!" as i was going in.    this was quite entertaining for jared and my friends, as you can imagine.  i got up, soaking wet, and had no choice but to see the humor in the situation and laugh with everyone else.

saturday night we checked into our super fancy hotel (our splurge because the rest of the trip was so cheap).  it didn't disappoint.  if you are ever in san diego and want to drop $300 a night on a hotel, i highly recommend the Hotel Solamar in the gaslamp district. we got one of the spa rooms and it was amazing.  for dinner we decided that we wanted to take advantage of being near the water and nothing sounded better than a big bucket of crab legs.   the hotel clerk recommend this place called the crab hut, about 6 blocks from our hotel.  while walking there, my sandals that i hadn't properly broken in yet for the summer, start cutting me so bad that i can barely walk.  i had to stop in the cvs and buy the only pair of flip flops that didn't rub on the cuts - and they were men's.  we get to the crab hut, but we can't get in, because there has been a shooting next door at the marriot and everything is taped off with crime scene tape. 

so we get directions to another seafood place, which is about 8 blocks in the opposite direction.  this place turns out to be more of a fast food fish place where everything is fried.  not really our idea of a nice romantic anniversary dinner.  we then remember that jared's mom suggested a place called "Anthony's Fish Grotto", which is right on the water.  she raved about it and said it was the best seafood she's ever had.  we look it up on google and it has a good rating, so we decide to check it out.  we should have paid more attention to the look the hotel front desk clerk gave us when we mentioned it. 

we drive to anthony's and walk inside. the whole way there i was reading some of the reviews on yelp and it sounded like the atmosphere was not going to be quite what we were looking for.  it was going to be another blue parrot*.  when we're going to our table, jared was focused on the great view of the water from the restaurant.  i was focused on the crowded, noisy dining room filled with tourists, families, and fried food - and the decor that hasn't been updated since 1984.  we sit down, and look at the menu.  NOTHING looks good and the prices seem pretty expensive for atmosphere and type of food.  we order water and look at the menu some more.  i look up at jared with pleading eyes.. and i ask him if we can leave.  we hightail it out of there, even though by this time it's 8pm and we are starving and tired.

we head back to our hotel and walk to this place we had noticed earlier.  it was called lou & mickey's and it was a steakhouse/seafood place with a great atmosphere and prices similar to what we would have paid at anthony's.   this ends up to be a very good decision.  we have a private table and are able to enjoy a very nice meal and good conversation, which is how a 1st anniversary dinner should be.

it is now sunday and i'm typing this while jared is still sleeping.  today is our last day - our flight is at 8:30 tonight.  we plan to spend the rest of the morning in san diego and then drive up to LA and check out hollywood and some tourist things before we leave.  hopefully it will be fun, but uneventful.. although knowing us, i'm sure something funny will happen that will give us another good story.. which is pretty much the way things always go with our relationship and marriage.  and i don't think i'd have it any other way. 

*when jared and i first started dating, he would RAVE about this italian restaurant called the blue parrot.  he took me there on a date, and i was less than impressed.  the atmosphere was like a cafeteria in a nursing home and the food wasn't that good (although it wasn't horrible).  it was then when jared started understanding the importance of ambiance and atmosphere when dining out for a special occasion. 


utterly unmotivated

these past few months have been weird. i have absolutely no motivation for the following:
  • work
  • cleaning the house
  • working on house projects
  • exercising
  • being with friends
  • eating
  • shopping
  • crafts
  • computer games
  • internet surfing
  • watching tv or movies
  • reading
  • taking dogs to park
i just don't want to do anything.  nothing fun, nothing satisfying, nothing indulgent. but i also don't want to just lay around on the couch or sleep - that makes me feel even worse because the hours just go by so slowly.  i have never experienced this before for long periods of time.  i am normally SOO busy that my days fly by and i can't fit everything that i want to do into them.  now it's just the opposite.

i attribute most of it to being nauseous and/or tired all day, but i'm starting to wonder if some sort of depression is creeping up on me.  i don't *think* i feel depressed.. but who knows. i'm going through so many changes with the pregnancy, maybe this is one of them?


week 12 - plum

week 12 started for me on monday.  i was also in kansas city for a sales meeting monday - wednesday.  i was so excited because i wasn't nauseous and felt pretty good! i thought finally, the morning sickness is done!

this morning was my first day back in denver and i threw up twice.  wtf?  now i'm convinced that there's something in my house that i am super sensitive to now that i'm preggo.  but what is it?  there are so many culprits?  the pets, dirty air ducts, scented candles, hidden mold, dirt in general?

this morning i rounded up anything scented and put it in a plastic bin with a tight lid.  i want to get my air ducts cleaned.. but we tried that last summer and the cleaner wouldn't do anything because our HVAC guy installed our furnace wrong.  we're planning to get that fixed, but for now i'd like to just have all the duct work cleaned.  who knows how much filth is in our ducts from our old tenants.

the only place that i think mold might be lurking is in our garage.  i need to have j powerwash the concrete walls to see if we can get rid of it.

the pets i can't really do anything about - although i could brush them more often.  we're putting in sod in the back in the next few weeks, so that should cut down the dirt in general in the house. 

i wonder what else i'm missing?


week 7 - blueberry

i'm now at the point where i am no longer fearing that any slight move i make will make me miscarriage.  right now i just want the first trimester to pass so that i can stop feeling hungover 24/7.  yes, i'm one of the lucky ones who has had all-day nausea.  i hit a wall at about 3pm every afternoon as well, so my days seems to consist of lying on the couch, eating saltines, sipping tea, and napping.  all while wanting to hurl, but not being able to.

the baby is the size of a blueberry and that's what jared and i have been calling it.  "do you think this will hurt the blueberry, or am i ok?"  "our little blueberry says thank you for giving it some closet doors!" "please, little blueberry, you're killing mommy with these hormones!"

i'm amazed at how fast it's growing.  poppy seed --> sesame seed --> tic-tac --> blueberry.  next week the nickname will change to our little raspberry.

right now it's waving it's little arm and leg buds around - and that just blows my mind.

we haven't told our parents yet because my mom is coming to visit at the end of the month and we want to tell her in person.  it's killing us!  i nearly slipped when she called me yesterday.  i also have a little anxiety because we've told a lot of our friends and i'm a little worried they're going to say something on facebook and my mom will KILL me if she finds out that way!

speaking of anxiety.  i had it when i thought i couldn't get pregnant, and now that i am, it's just manifesting itself in other ways.  i'm slightly terrified of the labor part of things... in a "there's no going back now" sort of way.  it's how i felt when i went skydiving, and that didn't have a pretty ending (or video!).  i'm reading too much for my own good, but i also know i have to.  it's in my nature to be prepared for absolutely any little thing that could possibly happen. 

i'm even more terrified of the idea of having someone be entirely dependent on me for so long!  i know that we will be good parents and whatnot, but the whole idea of PERMANENT parenthood seems so daunting! 

then there's our house and finances.  i simply don't know how we're going to afford things like day care.  or college.  even the co-payment on the insurance.

i'm SOOO happy that this is happening, but i am in total fear of the unknown.


so remember when i posted my analogy about selling our house and trying to have a baby?

well, we finally have an offer!!

baby rockman will be joining us sometime around 11/7/11.   i'm 10 weeks right now, and right in the middle of all the lovely morning sickness symptoms..

i have a post that i wrote when i was 7 weeks, but didn't publish at the time.



i am so thrilled that winter is finally over.  even though we really had a very mild winter, it's still too much for me.  i like being outside and doing yardwork and gardening and not being cold.   so yay to spring!

we spent the weekend cleaning up our backyard, which hasn't seen any kind of gardening tool in probably 10 years.  we (jared) had to cut down a bunch of weed trees and then put them in a mulcher we rented.  it didn't work too well, so we ended up bundling sticks and having a controlled bonfire in the backyard. 

i haven't been feeling too good lately, so mostly i just supervised and watched.  next weekend jared has a huge dirt pile that he has to spread around the yard and then he's going to build some raised beds and i'll finally get to plant all my veggies!  i'm being smart this year and i planned out everything i'm going to plant on a calendar so that nothing will go to waste. 

my mom is coming to visit in a couple of weeks and that has kicked jared into high gear on the house projects.  he finally installed closet doors in the study last week and is about halfway done getting our hall closet in shape.  hopefully the house will feel a little bigger once all of my closets are done and i actually have some storage!

the honey-do list is getting shorter, but it still seems neverending!


emotional intelligence

i've always thought i was a pretty good salesperson.  it's what i do for a living, i like it, and so far i've been pretty successful.  it was review time for work last week and i went into my review thinking "i'm 112% of goal!  i did a good job!  they love me!"  the actual review was waaaay different and i was kind of caught off guard. 

while it was acknowledged that i reached my goal, far more time was spent on all the things i did wrong.  i didn't have enough meetings.  i'm not hitting my potential.   i felt like jennifer anistons character in office space when she's being lectured by her boss about how many pieces of flair she needs to wear. 

after getting off of the call and bursting into tears (which i was amazingly able to hold back during the call), i thought about it a little and realized that my boss was just trying to motivate me.  but he has NO idea how i am actually motivated.  he's treating me the way he would want to be treated, instead of treating me the way i want to be treated.

i've been reading a lot about emotional intelligence lately and how it is a much larger factor in success than IQ is.  the book i'm reading right now is how to sell with emotional intelligence and it has been very helpful for me to learn about my traits and why i find some other people SO annoying or hard to get along with.  

i scored pretty evenly in all categories - the range was from 12-48. My dominant personality is that of "motivator" (35), and my secondary is "enterpriser" (34).  the two that were equally my lowest were "togetherness" and "analyzer" (32).  i think this will help me recognize other people better and conscientiously adjust my personality so that i don't irritate them. 

here are a few of the traits - which one are you? 

A larger version of this chart can be found here


food fight

i've heard somewhere that the top three things couples argue about are money, sex, and work.  what is the main thing that j and i seem to argue about?


some back story.  j has always been a very picky eater.  he hates vegetables.  his sister hates vegetables.  his dad hates vegetables.  and even though his mom likes vegetables, she never made the rest of them eat any.

when i met him, the only things he ate were:
pizza. spaghetti. ham & cheese sandwiches (white bread and american cheese of course). burritos. hamburgers. hotdogs.

i am not kidding - that is ALL he ate.  of course, him and his family are blessed with good genes and they are all crazy tall, a healthy weight, and appear healthy.  so because he looked fine, he didn't think there was anything wrong with his diet.

when we moved in together, a typical night would go like this:  i would make a balanced meal for dinner.  he would take one look, wrinkle his nose, and cook a burger on the grill.  or eat a frozen pizza.  because his schedule was so weird, he was only home 3 nights a week, so it wasn't a huge problem for me, although it was very annoying.

recently, he has been home every night and i have taken on the responsibility of making dinner.  i was pretty lazy for awhile and we had a lot of pizza, which resulted in me gaining 20 pounds.  i realized that i couldn't keep going like that and i needed to start eating healthy again.  then we went on the 17 day diet, and although he hated it, jared was able to eat the vegetables.  he kept commenting about how great he felt and how he wants to incorporate healthy eating into our lives.  i was thrilled!

well, the strict part of the 17 day diet is over and j has completely reverted back to his old eating habits!! sausage and pepperoni pizza with ranch dressing.  spaghetti with plain meat sauce.  he has made a *few* changes - wheat bread, eating more yogurt, cut back on coffee - but the veggies have basically vanished from his diet.

last night we got into a fight because i made lasagna for dinner.  i used ground turkey and whole wheat noodles, which he was ok with.  but then i also chopped up some zucchini,  mushrooms, and red peppers to put into the sauce.  you would have thought i was trying to poison him by the reaction i got. 

he can't understand why i would "ruin a perfectly good dish by adding vegetables", and i can't understand why he wouldn't want the veggies to be "hidden" in the meal, since they add more flavor and texture to the dish. 

i can't get through to him that we need to add as many veggies to things as possible, in order to get more fiber and nutrients.  I would rather have them in my main dishes instead of having to eat 5 bowls of salad a day. 

it seems like if i want to compromise i have to either
a) let him make his own dinner - which he doesn't have time to do because of his school/work schedule and which will result in him having pizza or fast food every night
b) make him something different - which i just refuse to do on principal
c) make what he likes and try to eat more salad

none of these seem like a viable option to me.  is it wrong to think that if you are the one making the meals for the family, then the other person should be happy you're cooking and eat what they're served?  or do i just not understand what it's like to be a picky eater?

i'm so sick of this being a battle every night.  it's making me feel like he's a child, which is NOT good for the marriage. 

how does mealtime work in your house?


homemade sugar scrub

anyone who knows me, knows that i love me some sugar scrub.  now that i've been on a budget, it's been a little out of my price range.  it's usually $20 for a smallish tub that i end up having to ration*.

so in the spirit of being more crafty, and also because i have sugar in my cabinet that i won't be *eating* due to my weight loss attempts, i looked up how to make it myself..

holy crap is it EASY!!!

here's the gist.

50% white sugar, 50% brown sugar.  mix and place in container (i used a glass storage container that normally goes in the fridge).

pour some sort of oil until the sugar is almost saturated (i used olive oil).

add a bit of vanilla extract or any type of essential oil.

mix it up a bit. 


my skin is SO soft.  for approximately $3.

now i know what to make for my clients next christmas!  if i can find cute packaging, i might try to sell on etsy. 

*and yell at j if he decides to use it!


today was a good day

i haven't had the opportunity to utter those words much over the last year or so.  i feel like there's been this black cloud following me around a bit.  but today, 3 little things happened to give me a little hope and make me realize that it will be sunny again someday.

1) this morning i finally broke my plateau and was down 1/2 pound.  that equals 10.5 lbs since Jan 1.  i was getting discouraged because jared was losing so much more, but 10 pounds in a month is still pretty good.  if i can keep this up, i'll be at my goal weight in 3 months.

2) i found out that i made my sales quota for january - this is the first time since i started with the company that this has happened.  january and february are notoriously slow and i am usually behind until about april.  this will help us tremendously with our finances this month.

3) jared and i started the fertility testing process.  i had my bloodwork taken this week and the doctor just called me and said that everything is normal.  of course, there still could be other issues with me (scarring, etc), but getting one unknown out of the way is a relief.  jared goes in for his tests on sunday, so we're crossing our fingers that he has lots of strong swimmers.

it's always nice to have some of the stress in our lives alleviated. 


brand name fail

i usually avoid going to establishments which imply that their customers are akin to livestock.  the golden corral is one of them.  the second is dressbarn.

next week i have my annual sales meeting in new orleans and i realized that i have no nice business casual clothes to wear.  i work from home, so my usual outfit is jeans and a hoodie or a sweater.  i have 2 pairs of dress pants and a few cardigans that i wear when i visit customers, but i don't have enough cute outfits for a whole week with my coworkers.  i decided to do a little shopping, but i didn't want to invest heavily since i am determined to NOT be this size for much longer.

my first go-to spot was old navy and i did pretty well.  i got some cardigans, a jersey wrap dress,  and a pair of skinny jeans (which i never ever ever thought i would buy, but i need them for my cute new boots*).  i didn't find a good blazer or anything business-y though.   as i was leaving, i noticed that there was a dressbarn next door.  since the weather was bad, there was virtually no one around and i decided that i could quickly check out the store, just to see if it was a bad as i thought it would be.

i ended up spending $136 there.  i got a cute silk tank (pictured on the model) in a colbalt/black paisley-type pattern to wear under a black sweater with black pants.  i got a clearance brown/green patterned gauzy tank ($7!) to wear under this blazer (although mine is a dark tan color, not black).  i got this grey long sleeved tunic with a cute monochrome rosette detail at the collar.   i also got a cowl neck scarf (brown/grey) and 3 pairs of earrings. 

i was happy to shop in the "misses" section and not the "womens" section, although the "womens" section actually had some really cute things that weren't available in the smaller sizes.  that kind of sucked.

anyhow, i was surprised. i'm not sure what i thought i would find in there, but i assumed it would be hideous, all based on the name.  i'm guessing that when it started, their brand manager was like "i have a GREAT idea for a name!  hint:  it's where all the self proclaimed "clothes horses" will want to shop!"  

*so annoyed that these are only $26 now.  I paid around $40, which I thought was a good deal at the time!! i am also pissed because they are now sold out of black ones.  they are very comfy. 


the time i was sued

as i mentioned in this post, the house we are living in now isn't one we picked by choice.  this is something that is difficult to deal with emotionally, considering the people that used to live here.

once they were kicked out of this house by the city, i thought i would never have to deal with them again.  10 months later, as we were packing up our house to move and 3 weeks before our wedding, there was a knock at the door around 9pm.  had i been home alone, i would have ignored it, but jared answered the door and just like that, we were served.

the summons said that we were being sued by the previous tenants in small claims court for $7500.  which, not coincidentally i'm sure, is the maximum amount that you can sue for in small claims court.  this meant that if i counter sued for even $1, the case would get kicked into district court and lawyers would probably need to be involved.  they were suing me for 2 things.
They claimed:
*they did not receive their deposit back
*they were forced to move and lost all of their belongings due to a mold problem

right away, i knew they didn't have a leg to stand on because:
*they never paid me a deposit
*they were forced to move by the city - the mold problem was remediated.

the court date was scheduled for a day that we were on our honeymoon.  i kicked into high gear and got the court date changed and scheduled a meeting with an attorney.  he mentioned to us that we were going through 3 of the 5 major stressors that can happen to people, all at once.  getting married, selling a house/moving, and getting sued.  great.
he gave me some good advice, but also left me with this statement.
if you plan to be a landlord for awhile, this won't be the first time you're sued. 

like the nerd i am, i spent weeks googling what to expect in court and what to do and not to do.  i gathered all documents and pictures i could find, made copies, and organized them in a binder.  i prepared my opening speech and practiced it in front of jared.  jared actually made fun of me, but i told him that we shouldn't underestimate these people.  he was convinced that they would be completely unprepared, but i had a suspicion that this wasn't the first time they were involved in a lawsuit.

they day of the court date, we arrived 30 minutes early, prepared and dressed nicely.  30 minutes passed and the plaintiff still wasn't there.  we held our breath, thinking maybe they wouldn't show up.  the court told us that they would give them an extra 15 minutes.  we were livid.  if you can't show up on time to court, you shouldn't get extra time.  sure enough, 10 minutes later, we see the door open, followed by a baby carrier and the plaintiff*.

before we could go in front of the judge, we were required to go through mediation.  we met with mediators who told us that there was a $100 fee for the mediation.  the plaintiff refused to pay it.  the mediators tried to negotiate with her for about 20 minutes before they finally gave up and waived the fee.

after going over the details of the case, jared and i were a little worried about three things.
*even though she didn't pay a deposit to me, she paid one to the previous landlord that never transferred to me.  i didn't know if that was my responsibility to have it transferred or not.  if it was, i may be liable for 3x the deposit amount because even though they did not deserve to receive their deposit back, there was no letter sent to them itimizing the damages.
*we didn't know how the judge would react to the mold situation.  even though i thought i did everything the right way (working with the insurance and a contractor to take care of the problem asap), maybe i was wrong?
*we didn't know if the judge will feel sorry for the plaintiff since she is clearly poor, has a lot of kids, and is not educated.  versus us, who appear to be the opposite.   i had never been in court before, so i didn't know if there was ever a bias in these type of situations.

things got pretty heated in the mediation and the mediators, even though they aren't allowed to give us legal advice, were strongly encouraging us to settle because of the mold issue.  jared and i decided to offer them $1600, which was the amount of the deposit.  they didn't accept it and wanted us to pay them $4500.  we countered with $2000.  they declined and we went in front of the judge.

the judge asked if we had any witnesses and the plaintiff named her daughter.  i wasn't going to have a witness, but i decided to name jared.  what i didn't know is that they would send the witnesses out of the room during most of the trial.  so there i am, alone, scared and nervous at the defendant platform.  we start the trial and i have to listen to the plaintiffs sob story for a good 45 minutes while i am not allowed to say anything.  finally it's my turn to talk.  i say my part about not being paid a deposit and show the judge the signed lease i had with "0" clearly written in the deposit line.  the judge asks the plaintiff why she's not suing the previous landlord instead and immediately clears me of that charge. 

right then i think, oh wow.  maybe this WILL be cut and dry like it should be.  i relaxed a bit and we got onto the mold issue.  of course, i had all the documentation about how it was being remediated and the plaintiff had the option to move but they didn't want to.  i also had the piece of evidence that i'm pretty sure the plaintiff wouldn't want me to show.  i had the actual eviction notice from the city that said they were living in squalor and went into details about how they were feeding their dogs from the trash and there was a dead animal on the front porch, etc.

there were a few more details and we went back and forth and then the witnesses were called in and we went back and forth some more.  finally the judge said that i had acted appropriately and done everything i could and none of it was my fault.  she dismissed the case.


that was one of the biggest rushes of my life.

it restored my faith in the judicial system. 

and i was thrilled that our greedy tenant could have had $2000, but ended up with NOTHING.  i would have liked to have sued them for the money it cost me to deal with this ($50 to the courts, $250 to the attorney, $12 for parking!), but there's no way i would have seen a dime from them even if i won the case.  not worth it.

it also made me hyper aware of the risks of being a landlord.  i am way more diligent about doing everything by the book, getting everything in writing, and covering all of my bases. 

because i really don't want to have to go through that again.  it was one of the most stressful times in my life.  i couldn't even FULLY enjoy my honeymoon because the court date was looming over my head for when i returned. 

i have faith that karma will catch up to these people.  they've worked the system and other people for way too long.  quite honesty, their lifestyle is probably punishment enough. 

*there was not a time that i had ever NOT seen this lady pregnant.  before they were kicked out, they had a baby and we didn't even know she was pregnant until after the baby was born.  sure enough, she was pregnant again, bringing the grand total to 10 children and another one on the way.  this is revolting to me on so many levels.


day 16 and be careful what you wish for

today is day 16 of phase 1 of the 17 day diet.  i am so happy that we've stuck with it this long!  i've been stalled at a 7lb loss for about a week, which is frustrating, but 7 lbs is still really good!  it's doing a number on our social life though.  we ran into some friends at the daniel tosh* show last night and felt like losers because we didn't want to go out with them after the show.  going to a bar when you can't drink or eat anything is so hard that it's not even worth it.  i'm not sure our friends understand.

we have 2 more days of this detox phase and then we can start adding in red meat, pork, shellfish, starchy veg, and some whole grains.  i can't wait to have a steak and baked potato.  i'm hoping that this will break my plateau.  during this phase, we can also start working out more.  i absolutely HATE HATE HATE running, but i have this sneaking suspicion that it might be the only exercise that will really work for me.. since i've tried everything else.  i heard about this program called couch to 5 k, which is an app and helps you with the interval training.  you start with running at 90 second intervals (which honestly, i'm not sure i can even do yet) alternating with 120 second walking intervals and then go from there.  i think you can even put in customized music, but i'm not sure if that is a feature on the blackberry app version.  i'm researching it today.

remember the other day when i was complaining that jared hadn't found a job yet? well, after 1 week of seriously looking, he found one!  it's only $10/hr and he's driving a forklift all day, but it works with his schedule and he's qualified to do it.  when he went in to fill out the application, it was obvious that although there were a lot of people applying, the competition wasn't that stiff.  he has a professional demeanor and appearance, and so when he stuck around to talk to the owner about the position (for 45 minutes), i knew that he would get the job. sure enough, the guy called him the next day and he starts tomorrow.

i am a little sad because he will be working from 7am-3:30pm M-F and then he has to leave for class at 5:30 and gets home around 10.  that is a LONG day.  but he is willing to do it, which makes me happy.  he's always been a hard worker when procrastination is not an option.  i think it will give him some much needed time management skills.  and i've been wanting to cancel our cable for awhile (it's just not worth $75/month to me - especially with netflix and hulu - there are so many other things i need to do besides zoning out to some stupid show).

it's really going to suck not seeing him though.  i know we were spending too much time together, but this just seems like the other extreme!  it's only temporary though, so i know we'll get through it.

*how can someone be so insulting and so HOT at the same time? mmmm.. i heart him!


an analogy

for me and jared, trying to have a baby is a lot like trying to sell a house.

selling a house
when you first put your house on the market, you think you're going to sell it right away.  it's for sale, you have showings, OF COURSE it will sell.
trying to conceive
when you decide to have a baby, you think you'll get pregnant right away.  you're having unprotected sex, OF COURSE you'll get pregnant.
selling a house
the first month goes by and you've had several showings each week, but no offfers.  that's ok, sometimes it takes a little while.  
trying to conceive
the first month goes by and you've had sex several times each week, but no baby.  that's ok, sometimes it takes a little while.
selling a house
three months go by and you don't have an offer.  even though you have showings and those showings are perfect.  you clean really well and stage the house perfectly. you burn scented candles.  you leave a bowl of candy out for your potential buyers.  you leave soothing classical music playing during the showing. you start to get a little worried.
trying to conceive
three months go by and you aren't pregnant.  even though you have sex when you're ovulating.   you abstain from alcohol and take prenatal vitamins and your husband wears loose boxers.  you start to get a little worried.
selling a house
five months go by and you start researching "how long is an average house on the market".  you read a lot of things that calm you and terrify you at the same time. you realize that some people sell the first week of being on the market, and for others it takes years. you keep doing what you think is right, but you become obsessed.  it's all you and your husband talk about.  
trying to conceive
five months go by and you start researching "how long does it take the average couple to get pregnant".  you read a lot of things that calm you and terrify you at the same time.  you realize that some people will get pregnant the first week of trying, and for others it takes years.  you keep doing what you think is right, but you become obsessed.  it's all you and your husband talk about.
selling a house
several more months go by and you start wondering what else you can do.  you try not to get your hopes up for each showing but are still disappointed when you don't get an offer.  you start getting irritated at well-meaning friends and family that keep telling you to "give it time, it will happen".  then, OMG, you FINALLY get an offer and you're over the moon happy and you feel like all is right in the world.  and it falls through.
trying to conceive
several more months go by and you start wondering what else you can do.  you try not to get your hopes up every month but are still disappointed when you get your period.  you start getting irritated at well-meaning friends and family that keep telling you to "give it time, it will happen".  then, OMG, you FINALLY skip a period and you're over the moon happy and you feel like all is right in the world.  and then it arrives a week late.
selling a house
more months go by and you start to get depressed.  you wonder how you'll be able to live the life you dreamed of if you never sell the house.  you are stressed about it and cannot relax, no matter how many well-intentioned people tell you to.  you are annoyed with people who had no problem selling their house.  you are especially annoyed with people who didn't even want to sell their house, yet someone offered to buy it.  you wonder if you waited too long to sell you house and it will be impossible in this market.   you go to your realtor and say "what is wrong with my house?  is it fixable?  is it unsellable?"  you buy a statue of st. joseph and plant it in your yard and say a prayer because you figure it can't hurt.
trying to conceive
more months go by and you start to get depressed.  you wonder how you'll be able to live the life you dreamed of if you never have children.  you are stressed about it and cannot relax, no matter how many well-intentioned people tell you to.  you are annoyed with people who had no problem getting pregnant.  you are especially annoyed with people who didn't even want to become pregnant, and got knocked up accidentally.  you wonder if you waited too long to try to have a baby and if it will be impossible because you are too old.  you go to your doctor and say "what is wrong with us?  is it fixable?  are we infertile?"  you buy a thermometer and chart your basal body temperature because you figure it can't hurt.
selling a house
just when you've resigned yourself to the fact that maybe you weren't meant to sell your house right now and you start to think that you can stay in that house for a little while longer,  you get a frantic call from your realtor who tells you that the most perfect first time homebuyers LOVE LOVE LOVE your house and they are heading back to the office RIGHT NOW to make an offer. you close and move out and well after the fact you think to yourself "i can't believe i was so worried.. of COURSE we would sell the house!  i can't believe we were so impatient.. these things take time."
trying to conceive
and this is where i can't continue the analogy.. because we are still not pregnant.  but this is what i really hope will finally happen to us - and when we look back on everything, we'll wish we hadn't stressed ourselves out so much because these things totally take time.  we still have 4 more months before we hit the year mark and will be considered for having fertility problems.  i'm hoping we don't make it to that point.. but if we do we'll figure it out then.  


crafty goodness

i found out about this through lori's blog.  here's how it works:
the first 5 people who leave a comment will get a homemade goodie from me.  in turn, they must commit to doing the same thing on their blog.  have fun!

the vortex

here's the picture i promised.

right now we are using it for storage.  when we finally get the money, it will be a beautiful 1000 sq ft with a master suite (including 5 piece bath and walk in closet), study, and tv room.  i'm hoping this happens within the next 2 years.


heating the vortex

our electric/gas bill came in the mail today.  it was $171.18.  i am trying to figure out how it is so high, considering that we keep the house between 60-65 degrees and it has been a relatively warm winter.  right now i am in fleece pj pants, a long sleeve t, slippers, and a heavy duty fleece robe and i am still freezing.

i know it's because we are heating 2000 sq feet of house.  but since we're really only living in 1000 sq feet of house, it doesn't feel like our bill should be twice what i'm used to.

lost yet?

i haven't mentioned this house to the extent of it's importance in our lives, because it is the bane of my existence.  besides the wedding, it was my main topic of conversation in 2010 and i'm a little OVER it, but i will try my best to get you caught up on the story.

the house we are currently living in is a house i bought for the sole purpose of renting it and then eventually selling it.  it was purchased approximately 2 months before the housing market crashed.  luckily it was rented out to section 8 tenants, which meant that my mortgage was paid by the government each month.  things were great for a little while and then the asshole guy that was managing the property for me went crazy and decided that he didn't have to pay the mortgage anymore and we should all buy gold and move to the mountains and live off the grid. so my mortgage wasn't getting paid and i decided that i had to take over the management of the properties (yes, i had two with him - one is currently rented to college kids) and became a landlord overnight.  fun.

so i became a landlord and i thought i should get to know my tenants.  they. were. AWFUL.  11 people living in this house like pigs.  breaking everything.  crap overflowing out of the house.  way too many chihuahuas.  flies.  *shudder*

we had to come over every month to pick up their portion of the rent ($126 - the city payed $1474) and hated it.  these people were the definition of "taking advantage of the system".  the husband worked under the table, the mom was pregnant 24/7, and they were on welfare.  besides continually having children to get more money, they had: cell phones, internet, cable, elitches (6 flags) season passes for ALL of their kids, and there were always empty papa johns pizza boxes piled high on the front porch.  j and i both have jobs and even WE don't regularly splurge on the expensive take out pizza. 

one time when we were over there fixing something, one of their kids was bugging us and hanging on the towel bar in the bathroom, which of course broke.  i looked at him incredulously and said "stop it!  you just broke the towel bar!" to which he nonchalantly replied, "oh that's ok, someone will fix it".  to which i replied, "yeah!  that someone is ME!".

these people always had run ins with the neighbors and cops and i knew they were bad tenants and i didn't like being a slumlord, but if we kicked them out, we would have to find a bunch of money we didn't have to fix up the place before we could get new renters in.  so we just let it be and buried our heads in the sand.

over the next year, we had to deal with a mold problem in the basement which involved insurance companies and unsavory contractors.  a normal tenant might be a little concerned and ask to break their lease due to the mold, which i would, of course, allowed.  but seeing as though these people had been kicked out of 10 houses over the last 10 years, they didn't want to leave.

in july of 2009, i received a phone call from the tenant, crying about how the city was making her move.  the next day, i received a call from the city telling me that they were evicting my tenants for......drum roll please...

living in squalor (!)

yes, that is actually what was written on the eviction notice.

they moved out, we freaked out about having an vacant house and two mortgage payments, and had a few months of  not knowing what to do.  we finally came up with the plan to put our current house on the market (the one i bought in 2005 that i loved dearly but really was too small) and then use any money we made on that house to fix up the vacant rental and live in it.  because it was bigger and would be a more appropriate house for when we started a family.

we put our house on the market in oct 2009 and after 80+ showings, finally sold it in may 2010.  we also made $24k, which doesn't go as far as you think when you're having to completely gut  a 2000 sq ft house.  in fact, it really only gets you about 80% of 1000 sq ft.

then we made really smart decisions, like letting jared quit his (high paying) job to go back to school and were reduced to a single income family. 

it wouldn't be so bad if the basement was just old and needed updating.  but due to the mold problems, the entire basement was removed.  all the floor.  all the drywall.  all the fixtures.  everything.  then a french drain was installed to control the water-table problem.  and a bunch of gravel was shoveled in.  and all the windows were replaced (since we did all the upstairs ones too).  and then, with $8k still sitting in escrow with the mortgage company, everything was halted because we ran out of money and we don't have the $5k required to pour the new basement floor and install the rough in plumbing.

i call it the vortex.  i will take a picture soon and post it.

right now the upstairs of the house is livable.  it's not pretty or finished, but we have working appliances and essential things like doors*.  here is a partial list of the things we still have to do, just so you can get the picture.
  • trim the office closet and install closet doors
  • mud the inside of the hall closet and install shelf and bar
  • install crown molding (moulding?) over the kitchen cabinets
  • cover 2x4's in kitchen
  • paint kitchen ceiling and window trim
  • install doorknob and trim around pantry door
  • fill all nail holes and paint trim/baseboard
  • caulk around bathroom sink
  • finish installing baseboard in kitchen and office
  • install kickplates under kitchen cabinets
  • fix broken tile in kitchen and regrout floor
that's just a partial list.  so you can see why i get annoyed when jared is watching judge mathis in the middle of the day instead of doing one of the things on his list that is clearly more important to the family.

a year after the house was vacant, you'd think that we would never have to deal with those tenants again.  that's what i thought too.  until i was served** and notified that they were suing me in small claims court for $7500.  more on that story later.

*we did not have interior doors for about 6 weeks.  no bathroom door does not a happy marriage make.
**one month before our wedding, because apparently i didn't have enough going on and had plenty of time to hire attorneys and reschedule court dates and file replies and all other sorts of legal-y stuff.

    math nerd

    i got a little too excited yesterday when i realized that if i'm able to get pregnant this month, there is a decent chance that our baby will be born on 09/10/11.


    back to class!

    tonight is j's first night back in class after the christmas break.   i'm excited and guilty about being excited at the same time.

    it's not that i like him being gone every evening, i just really like having my alone time, which i have been getting less and less of since j quit his job.  now that we're both home all day (and all night when he doesn't have class), it's a little much.  i think some apart time is good for the marriage.  i need a chance to miss him.

    right now he's at a job interview. finally.  this is a little sore spot for me as well because he quit his job in september, was supposed to take ONE month off and then start looking for something part time while he was in school.  that one month turned into four months.  FOUR MONTHS of one income = super stressful.  as most of you know, i do not handle having an unemployed partner well - mostly because my ex was on and off of work for years.  it scares me.   j isn't  lazy or entitled like my ex, but it still worries me that this will become a pattern.

    j is a hard worker, but he is also a procrastinator.  which means that i have to nag encourage him to search for a job.  which only makes me irritated, especially when i'm also nagging encouraging him to finish up the projects around the house. 

    i just hate feeling like i have to do everything - make the money, pay the bills, manage the household, plan our social life.. and be the taskmaster for everything.  it gets tiring.  i know that he will help me if i ask him to, but sometimes that creates even more work because i have to figure out what i can have him do and then ask him to do it.  it is so much nicer when he realizes something needs to be done and just does it.* and no women ever wants to feel like she's an encourager nag. 

    i know this isn't something unique to our marriage.   how do the rest of you balance the work load?

    *like when he makes the bed, does the dishes, cleans the litter box, takes out the trash, all of which he is getting good at doing without asking, but there was still a time when i HAD to ask...


    17 days is a long time/nostalgia

    j and i have been very successful in the 17 day diet thus far.  i've lost 7 pounds and j has lost 12 pounds.  we haven't cheated either, which is an amazing feat in itself.  we are on day 9 and feel like this first phase will never end.  it's not that we're hungry, it's that we're BORED.  we can't use food as entertainment like we used to do and that makes me a little cranky.  of course, using food for entertainment is probably why we're on this diet in the first place, which makes me crankier.

    however, this is the easiest diet that i have ever been on and i believe it's solely because j is doing it with me.  amazing how much that makes a difference.

    when i first started blogging, SIX years ago, it was kind of the new trend.  i followed a lot of other blogs that were just starting out and i enjoyed "connecting" with so many strangers who seemed to be paralleling my life.  then i got my new job where i worked from home (and didn't have to pretend to work all day) and facebook became the new trend and i stopped blogging regularly and reading others blogs.

    for some reason this weekend, i decided to catch up with some of my old favorites.  and by "catch up", i mean, "read the past 4 years of archives in chronological order on She Just Walks Around With It." right now i'm in the middle of 2006 and it's weird how reading through these posts is causing me to remember where i was in my life when i read them the first time.  i have always felt a weird connection to the author of that blog, kristy.  we seemed to be going through the same things at the same time and have a similar way of expressing ourselves.  we were both single girls living in a city, trying to lose weight, drinking wine, going on crazy dates.  and then we got married and our lives changed and now she has a baby and one on the way and that's what i'm working towards as well.  and it just kind of hit me how crazy it is that SO much can happen in such a relatively short time and where does that time go?  and although i am so happy with my life, i got very nostalgic about that time  when i was single and just..waiting for the rest of my life to happen. 

    i really feel like these last 2 years have gone by in an absolute blur. and i've had some major changes, but i feel like i'm stuck in some sort of weird limbo that i won't get out of anytime soon.  like there are still a few things i need to do before my "new life" really starts.. and right now i'm stuck between the past and the future and not really able to enjoy being in the present.  and i know that when i read this 3 years from now and all of the things i'm currently obsessed with have finally happened, i'll wonder why i didn't allow myself to just enjoy this in-between time and LIVE MY LIFE.

    so that's what i'm going to try to do in 2011.  live in the present and not worry so much about the future, because when the future finally happens, i'll wish that i had taken advantage of my life as it is right now.


    Day 6

    5.5 days down, 11.5 days to go.  we're still going stong.  j made homemade tomato sauce last night which was delicious.  i managed to get through my 2 days of client lunches and kept on track as best as i could.  the side veggies with my salmon were sauteed and included zucchini which i can't have yet.  and i did have one sip of my green tea before i realized it was sweetened.  it wasn't as hard as i thought to watch my clients eat fries and sandwiches, although they sure looked good.

    j has lost 11 pounds so far and i'm down 5.5.  that's keeping us motivated for sure.  we are getting a little bored, especially with the veggies, but i'm experimenting a little more with spices.

    we are both very excited for phase two - where we can add in shellfish, beef and pork, starchy veggies, all fruits, and some whole grains.  should make things a little more interesting!


    Day 3

    i was expecting to be drooling over real food today like i have been for the past few days.  but it really wasn't that bad!  i was babysitting my nieces and managed to take them to starbucks for a vanilla steamer (green tea for me) and watch them eat their sandwiches without wanting to shoot myself.

    i was also down FOUR pounds today, so that helps.

    one thing that i'm battling with is how to keep ground turkey, chicken, fish, and veggies exciting.. because that's pretty much all i can eat for the next 42 meals.   i've already done stir fry and salad.. if anyone has any recipes using these ingredients along with eggs, spices and/or a little olive oil, i would LOVE to have them!  

    i'm a little nervous because i have a co-worker in town tomorrow and wednesday and of course we have to take clients out to lunch and dinner.  this is when being on a diet is SO HARD.  so much of my job is tied to wining and dining.  i'm planning to just order a salad with a grilled chicken breast and some oil/vinegar.  which will be torturous because i'm sure there will be a bread basket right in front of me or someone will be evil and order french fries. 

    jared is threatening to tag along because he doesn't trust me - but i will show him!


    17 days

    yesterday j and i started the 17 day dietdr. phil and the doctors have been heavily promoting it and since j watches both of those shows daily, he suggested we try it.

    both of us have gained 30-40 pounds since the wedding and it was starting to get out of control.  and since we're trying to start a family, we figured that losing some weight might make it easier. starting a diet on january 1 is nothing new to me, but j has never been on a diet before.  this is the first time that i have been on a diet with a significant other, so maybe it will be easier?

    we've been joking about it since we decided to try it.  and last week we ate like food was going out of style. i was convinced that j would back out at the last minute, especially since all he probably needs to do to lose weight is scale back his portions a bit.  but he didn't, and now we're on day two.

    right now we're in the 1st phase, which lasts 17 days.  it's a detoxifying phase - we all know how fun those are.   we can eat: eggs, unlimited chicken/turkey/fish, unlimited veggies, 2 low sugar fruits, green tea, black coffee, and 2 probiotic yogurts a day. 

    yesterday was tough.  we were both cranky from sugar withdrawal and hungry.  j is not the biggest fan of veggies or fish, but he's being a trooper. j couldn't get over the fact that he ate huge plate of salmon and veggies, yet didn't feel full and satisfied.  welcome to dieting, baby.

    today was a little better, although i had to go to costco to get some greek yogurt and chicken breasts and it was so hard to pass up all of the samples.  once the withdrawal symptoms go away, i'm sure it will be much easier.

    both of us feel better already - i have more energy and we each lost a few pounds this morning.

    i'm hoping that by having j's support on this,  and being able to cook for both of us and not have to sit there starving while he devours a huge plate of spaghetti, it will work and i can finally get down to a normal weight.

    wish us luck!