Monday, October 27, 2014

Bye Felicia

Over the weekend, we drove home to Charlotte to celebrate my birthdizzy early with my family. The boys went to the driving range, and the girls (well, Barbara, mom and I) went to Ft. Mill to a butcher shop mom likes to get steaks. I couldn't leave without getting something for my main squeeze, so mom got 6 steaks, and I got 2 filets and 2 lbs ground beef to take back to Raleigh. Guess we'll put off becoming vegetarian for another few weeks.

Eli showed up for dinner, which was delicious by the way (mashed potatoes, green beans, steaks, banana pudding and carrot cake, all made in my honor and not Lee's like he likes to think), and then the presents started! The family gave me a beautiful new pair of Jack Rogers. This in and of itself is important because the only pair of Jacks I have ever owned I got on eBay and I'm pretty sure they were pre-owned, and they are just gross at this point. So I am really excited to have a brand new pair I can call my own! (and yes, I did put the old ones back on eBay, and yes, they have already sold, which is even grosser because at least when I bought them, they didn't look like they had been through the streets of New York...). Eli gave me a gift card to use towards home improvements (because hello we are under contract!) and Bill gave me the Kate Spade bag I had ordered - ya know, from him - during the big blowout sale a few months back. These beautiful new designer gifts made me feel  better about my outfit choices for the weekend since mom had announced she wanted to go out to breakfast the next day, and I of course, had packed stupid (or smart) and only brought gym clothes.

Shortly after the gifts and the singing of birthday songs, Eli became a refusatory and refused to take Bill and me for a ride in her new car, refused to help clean the kitchen and refused to quit lounging on the porch sofa during dinner. But we won't talk about that.

Sunday we all got up early for breakfast the The Terrace Cafe in Southpark. Much to my mother's delight, I had discovered a pair of jeans and a long sleeve t-shirt in my bag, so when combined with my new treats,  I looked cuter than expected. It turns out Eli felt ashamed because she showed up for breakfast too! (Since I chose not to talk about her bad behavior above, I failed to mention that she went home to Hickory in a huff when she finally did decide to get up off the porch sofa). We asked Eli what she did when she went home alone and she said she watched the boy with the striped pajamas and it made her very sad to be alone, and then Lee reminded us all of the scene from Friday when Felicia flips out and leaves, and everyone just says "Bye Felicia."  Eli didn't much like that comparison and said she was not a Felicia, but dad made everyone laugh when he said "Look Mary Elizabeth! There is a name for how you act. It's called a Bye Felicia!"

In the end though, Felicia didn't cry at breakfast and everyone had a good time. And here is some photographic evidence (only of the no tears, not of my cuter than expected outfit)

Monday, October 20, 2014

A home is where the heart is.

That may be the case in most instances, but if you ask Bill, a home is whatever I see and decide I want to live in. Actually, I'm pretty sure his exact words were: you live and die with each house we see. Whatever that means.

Back in June, I convinced Bill we should start looking at houses. You know...we had lots of time, but it would be good to start looking so we could see what was out there and determine what things we like and what things we don't.  We knew the area (approximately 3-5 miles from our apartment), either inside the belt line or just outside, and under a certain amount. Only one problem with that search criteria: in that area, if it's affordable, it hasn't been updated since it was built. And did I mention we wanted minimal work?

We thought about building a house in basically the only place new homes in our area were being built. We could get a brand new house for the right price. So we talked to the builder. We picked out a lot. We picked out the upgrades we would want. We got the pre-qual from the bank. And then I made the mistake of redlining their contract (hello, day job) and all of a sudden, the builder got grumpy. In reality, we could live with everything as is except for the $12,000 non refundable deposit. I won't get into the logistics, but once they realized we weren't stupid, and weren't going to just fork over that amount of money to never see again, they got grumpy and we walked away. And I was depressed.

So then we (ok let's call it for what it is. When I say we, in the case of the house search, I mean I) fell for the Lindsay house. 5 bedrooms, including 2 on the first floor so my whole family could come from out of town to stay! Formal living room and dining room. Finished basement. Exposed beams. IVY ON THE BRICK. Huge windows. Charming. Sure, nothing had been updated since it was built in 1970 something. But look, these cherry cabinets are custom! All we need are new appliances and flooring. And the two toned toilet could be replaced. Oh and we could change out the puke green tile in the master because that closet is worth it. And I could still get a farm sink in the kitchen. It was a win win. Except Bill didn't love it. So I cried. And called off our house search.

Until the Dixie house (because you know I was still secretly looking at houses online). If you know anything about Raleigh, you know that Dixie Trail is such a cute little street. And who wouldn't want to say they live on Dixie! Except the house was literally the size of our apartment. And needed work. And just because I wanted to put rocking chairs on the front porch and Barbara could run around in the perfectly fenced in back yard did not mean it made sense to move into a house that size just so we could live on Dixie Trail. So I cried. (by the way, it still hasn't sold and even though it keeps dropping in price, Bill still isn't interested. Rude) And of course I said I would never try to look at another house again, and that we would just stay in our apartment FOREVER.

Then there was the house on Oberlin. Nothing what we had in our search criteria, but a great home and worth a look. It was awesome. Granted, it's only real flaw was the fact that it was really only 2 bedrooms, but on Oberlin, it would just increase on value. So we put in an offer and got promptly outbid. By 3 other bidders. So we walked away. We both may have cried that day. And had to eat our feelings for dinner. And called off the house search once again.

But because I have continued to secretly search, there have been several houses in between, including a beautiful bungalow with a guest house that needed to be demolished and a basement that needed finishing. Of course, my argument there was that if we just don't try to use the basement - I mean, with no access to the main house, it's not like it would be hard to ignore it - and we didn't look at the guest house, then it was perfect! Oh and we can't forget the tiki hut that has little tiny shingles glued to the walls and is basically ugly inside.

So we will see what happens. Like I said, we aren't in a rush! We have plenty of time! We love our apartment! I just don't know how many feelings I have left to get involved. Which is probably good since we decided to put an offer in on a house today and I Have declared I will not get emotionally involved OR mad at Bill if it doesn't work out.

But I guess we will have to see about that. Because I secretly already have decorated it and made a list of things we will need. But don't tell Bill because we've already had a talk about how I will need to practice patience with this home and how I can't go out and just buy a bunch of furniture to fill it up.


Wednesday, October 15, 2014

hot yoga with the boss

Recently, my current boss was telling me about his love for shows like Revenge, 90210 and the OC. I guess he felt insecure because then he reminded me that he was married with children and loves football. I assured him that unless he made me go to hot yoga with him where he then took his shirt off to reveal a rose hip tattoo, I promised to never question his masculinity.

Then I realized just how often that exact topic has come up since it happened. That being the hot yoga with your boss who then takes off his shirt to reveal a rose hip tattoo. And since it clearly didn't come up here, it might as well come up now.

I have practiced hot yoga with my boss (this sounds kinky). Who just so happened to be the General Counsel of a billion dollar company. He also was a tiny man. Not only was he much shorter than me, he was a triathlete so he was also much fitter than me. And once he found out I was into yoga, he wanted to come with one day since he was looking for a new studio. Now. There are many things that could go wrong in this scenario, but none of them bothered to cross my mind at the time. I can say though from experience that hot yoga with your boss is just in general not a good idea.

There were probably 50 people in the class, so our mats were close. and of course he wanted to sit next to me since he didn't know anyone else. The room is a million degrees, so we were sweaty. And as a result of said sweat,  he proceeded to take off his shirt. As if that wasn't weird enough - for me to be doing hot yoga with my shirtless boss after work - the shirt removal revealed a single rose tattooed on his hip bone.  Now, because he was a tiny man, his rose hip tattoo took up basically his entire hip. And I'm not gonna lie - I noticed it. I mean, put yourself in my shoes for a minute. I'm a hot yoga. With my tiny boss. Who has taken his shirt off. OF COURSE I AM GOING TO LOOK AT HIM PEOPLE.

And promptly fall out of whatever pose was going on at that moment because I just cannot stop laughing. Judgmental I am not.

And you know, since yoga is supposed to be everyone's own practice, and talking has never been seen as anything but a distraction, all I could do was shake and tremble in silent laughter. And of course I put myself in child's pose so I could laugh into the mat. He whisper yells at me that I better not be laughing at him and if I can't keep a secret he will kill me.

Remember. This is my tiny boss. and he signs my paychecks. and now he has made yoga a violent place by threatening to kill me.

After yoga, he didn't even bother to ask what I was laughing at. He just says something along the lines of he used to be single, had to impress his girlfriend at the time, they were drunk at a guns n roses concert and so he decided to get a rose tattooed on his hip to express his masculinity to her.

oh. okay.

I'm sorry but i still think about that rose hip tattoo on that tiny man.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

a fall porch.

I've never felt much inspired by the changing seasons, but this year is different. Last year, I got really into Christmas (you first married Christmas) and this year, I'm really into fall. Well, for the time being at least while it actually IS fall.

My good friend Karoline posted a picture on Facebook of the fall wreath she made for their door. And I immediately wanted one. Karoline is so talented and should be a professional do it yourselfer. She walks into Michaels on a mission. I walk into Michaels feeling crafty and inspired, walk out a hundred bucks poorer and go home and feel overwhelmed.

As you can imagine, I was so excited when she said she would make me a wreath and ship it to me!!

And now I present to you our fall porch!!!

I am so in love with it. It was definitely a team effort. The wreath, perfectly made by Karoline and perfectly hung by Bill. The door mat was a surprise I had sent to our house for Bill in honor of our (note: our in this case our really means his) favorite team. I purchased two of the pumpkins and the lantern at the Teeter but it looked dinky - not to mention I really didn't know what I was actually supposed to DO with the lantern -  so we got some hay, some mums and some additional pumpkins. Bill is responsible for the arranging of the props. He also is responsible for how great our hanging mums look. Before those were there we had two really dead Boston ferns hanging because the porch doesn't get much sun, and neither of us watered them for pretty much the entire summer. Oh and in the corner you'll see the leprechaun plant Aunt Libby gave me when we visited her house for Sunday lunch back in March. Like all my plants, it has a multitude of lives and is currently living a good one in the one sunny spot we have on our fall porch.

And now, I give you this quote by one of my fave writers, F. Scott Fitzgerald:  Life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the fall.

Man, isn't that the truth? So much life that now I am thinking about the Christmas wreath I know Karoline is going to make me. And my Christmas porch (because what is a wreath without its porch?) that will not include the light up train station my sister loves or the giant blow up Santa because I sold him on Craigslist.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Anniversary Weekend!

Our anniversary weekend started off on the right foot with a stop by Biscuitville for some chicken biscuits (with cheese, thank you very much) and some diets. (Yes, Natalie, when you wrote on my facebook that you hoped we ate lots of chicken biscuits, you had no idea that we already were doing so!)

Back when we were making plans for our anniversary, we decided we wanted to go somewhere that neither of us had been, but that wouldn't be too far away. After many great suggestions from facebook friends, we settled on Columbia, NC, where a friend from college owns a B&B. I for one had never heard of Columbia, NC but it turns out, it's precious. We read an article in Our State Magazine about it, and determined that was our destination!

So, we headed east, first with a stop in Edenton, NC. I hadn't ever been to Edenton, but it's super romantic (yay!) and cute. On the way, I read TripAdvisor reviews to Bill about the different restaurants in Edenton, and we settled on a little bistro based on one review about their reuben sammie. It was TASTY. We did a little browsing in Bloomingdeals, a local consignment shop not to be confused with Bloomingdales, and then headed to the water front. We stopped in at the visitor center and got a little history lesson (did any of you people know that there was an Edenton Tea Party - yes, same as the Boston tea party - that was hosted by a woman and it caused quite a stir with the town and their menfolk over in England?) We contemplated a boat ride, and got shunned from the lighthouse (private tours only apparently) and then made an excellent decision to stop in at the soda shop and get an ice cream cone before heading to Columbia.

We had reservations at The Brickhouse Inn, which is one one end of the main - and maybe the only - drag in Columbia. I can't believe I didn't take any pictures of it! We had some time before we could check in, so we did a little window shopping in this man's antique store. Turns out he retired from New York to Columbia and opened an antique store. I thought that was interesting but also pretty cool because he was living his dream! We left there, walked 100 feet more, and took a walk on the boardwalk, through the swamp. It was so peaceful and really beautiful. Funny that the boardwalk ends right across the street from the local wine shop, and even funnier how thirsty one can become while walking through the swamp. Needless to say, we stopped by for a taste of local wine and a smoothie.

After our wine tasting, it was time to check in, shower and get ready for dinner at Old Salt Oyster Bar, which my friend also owns. Everyone was so welcoming, and the space was really cool. We had an app of cheese and crackers, and Bill had a steak and I had crab (local! Columbia is a big crab hub for the east coast). And.It.Was.Delicious. For dessert, we had our wedding cake topper!! And an entire bottle of prosecco.

The cake tradition was really fun! My friend from college, Anna, made our wedding cake. She owns a bakery in Wilmington - One Belle Bakery - and is super talented. She's been on TLC too! I was really excited about having a famous pastry chef (is that what you're called Anna?) do our wedding cake and it was so yummy. So yummy in fact that there wasn't anything left except our cake topper, and Bill and I only got a smidge at the cake cutting. So we had been looking forward to eating an entire layer of this delicious cake all on our own for literally a year.

It was pretty good too! I mean, it wasn't as fresh as I imagine it was the day we got married, but considering it had been sitting in a freezer - with live flowers on top - for a year, it was pretty good.

The next morning, we had a HUGE southern breakfast before heading back home. I had never stayed in a REAL B&B but after that breakfast, I will definitely be trying to make it a habit. Anyone who knows us knows we enjoy our meals. We had breakfast casserole, hash brown casserole, biscuits, cinnamon bread, the best bacon I've ever had, and some other dishes I can't even remember.

So after we rolled ourselves to the car, we headed back home. And promptly stopped at Biscuitville for one last weekend chicken biscuit (not to be confused with a weekday chicken biscuit. Because they are very different).

And now our anniversary is over. And we've been married for more than a year. Onward!

Thursday, October 2, 2014

one year later.

Dear Bill:

I can't believe our one year anniversary is almost here! We have the cute little B&B booked, our wedding cake topper ready for defrosting, and I hope the perfect new dress I had delivered this week fits.

It took me so long to find you. So many tears, so much deep, heart felt pain, so much anxiety. And then, all of a sudden, there you were.  And you became everything to me, almost immediately. It was only a few weeks in that we planned to get married, and here we are, haven't even known each other for two years, and we've already been married for one.

It is such a privalege to be your wife and to do life next to you, with you. It makes me sad to think of all the people who don't know your heart because they are missing out on such a gem.

You are so funny, so kind, so smart, so gentle, so sweet. After all, I do call you my sweet boy bill. I feel like you have taken the words Bruce spoke over us at our wedding to heart and have tried your best to uphold them during the course of our marriage. Every day, I wake up feeling so loved and so accepted. I feel like every day you take from your store room of love and add to mine. Even on my worst days, when my insecurities and my fears from the past come creeping up, you love me through them and remain steadfast in your gentleness and love. You show grace when I don't deserve it  and you show patience when I know inside you just want to gouge your eyes out. Or mine. You are my hero.

Our wedding was perfect to me; an absolute dream. I love looking at our wedding album and remembering every little detail and how full our lives were that day. I loved that so many people loved us enough to celebrate with us as we started our life as one. I remember our honeymoon and how much fun it was, being totally relaxed and away from the day to day stresses life can bring (me more than you because I can over analyze and be anxious about things until I am blue in the face. You on the other hand are go with the flow Bill and seem to have mastered the art of not worrying. And I love you for the balance you bring to our life).

I  knew taking our vows wasn't something to be taken lightly, and I knew marriage would be hard. And plenty of people told us the first year of marriage was the hardest. Of course, I don't think either of us really believed that. I mean, we were in a whirlwind of love and joy and celebration. What could go wrong?

I remember the fear we felt that cancer had returned, and the pure elation we felt when it turned out to be a false diagnosis. I remember the joy of new jobs and the excitement of a new place to live. But I also remember the stress of new jobs and the stress of moving. I remember the feelings of (whatever you want to call them) from taking a financial planning class and learning to manage our money now that we were one, and I remember how trying it was for us to have only one working car for a few months. I remember being in debt, and I remember the feelings of relief to wash over us when we no longer were.  I remember the excitement of our first married trip. I remember so much laughter, so much fun, so much life lived together in this first year.

This first year of marriage has shown me just how selfish I can be. I would be lying if I said shifting my focus from me to us wasn't hard (and it IS different than dating. I don't care what anyone says). Sometimes, I just want to do what I want to do and buy what I want to buy and go where I want to go and make huge life decisions without explanation and without having to check in with you. But, that defeats the purpose of teamwork, and I don't want to be in a marriage where we aren't on the same team. Over the past year, I have learned that the long term benefit of being selfless outweighs the short term benefit of doing things my way all the time. I have learned that the more I strive to serve you and to love you well, the better I am as a helpmate, and the better our marriage is. I have learned that self sacrifice is a daily choice and as long as it's with you, it's a choice I want to make day after day. It's also a choice that has made me even more grateful for new mercies every day, because there are a lot of days where I mess up, and I need another chance.

This first year of marriage has been such a source of joy and has brought meaning and purpose to my life. I love so many things about you and even when we have hurt each other, you're the only one I want to do life with. You complement me in so many ways and don't let me take myself too seriously. You bring fresh insight to my thoughts and you don't seem to mind all my feelings, even if they are just a whole lot of the same ones! You don't mind my lists, my love for MTV,  my belief that Barbara is human, you appreciate the little things I do for you, you bring me flowers often, you affirm me and you encourage my dreams and hopes for the future. To quote Taylor Swift, your hands are rough but they are where mine belong.

Sometimes, I still lose my breath and have to pinch myself because I never thought I would find this love, and even now, it's still sometimes hard for me to believe it's real and it's mine. It just never occurred to me that such goodness was waiting for me. I don't feel deserving of you at all but you are my living proof that our God is a God of grace and mercy and second chances. You are my answered prayer and evidence of His faithfulness.

So here's to our first year of marriage. I am so excited for the ones to come.