Tuesday, September 29, 2009

If Only Someone Had Told Me!

I’ve been thinking a lot about “adulthood” the past few weeks. I recently spent some time at Wingate as an advisor for my sorority and it made me realize how drastically my life has changed in the two and half years that I have been out of college. During that time I have worked my first “career” job, planned a wedding, become a wife, purchased my first two pets and purchased my first home. That’s a lot of change in 26 months! No wonder I feel so tired and cranky sometimes – my body is having a hard time keeping up with my life changes!

I have learned many difficult lessons through these life transitions. It is my belief that fully transitioned adults are really holding out on us up and comers. They are full of wisdom from trial and error – but they don’t share any of it with the young adults. I know that my parents and family friends cannot possibly enjoy watching Steven and I squirm and panic through life’s new challenges. (Could they!?!?) So I’m forced to ask – why was I not given a “Book of Do’s & Don’ts” when I got married? All those showers, all those beautiful, thoughtful gifts – and no one told me anything about practical living!

So I’m starting a book. It’s going to be a best seller. It will be based upon my life with Steven and the hilarious/scary/painful lessons we have learned over the past few years and all those that I am sure God has in store for us. This book is for women, and at times might be considered offensive to men. (Whoops!) But there is a big difference from a young wife and young husband – and I’m telling this like I see it! Here is just a preview of pearls of wisdom I intend to share with young wives or new home owners:

*If you own a home – you should own a fire extinguisher. A new home does not automatically come with a fire extinguisher (trust me, I know). You have to go out and buy one. They can be purchased at Lowe’s or Home Depot. This will come in very handy when you have a car fire during the middle of the night or the first time you attempt to “deep fry” chicken wings. Don’t be cheap – buy the fire extinguisher.

*Pets are a joy. They are loving, devoted & entertaining. But do not let that fool you. Pets are also a nuisance. They are destructive, demanding & expensive. Do not panic the first time you come home and they have chewed up your brand new rug. Do not panic when they knock over your expensive table lamp and it shatters into pieces. You are the BOSS! Pets are like men – they must be trained and disciplined. Use these instances as a learning tool to teach your pet the consequences of bad behavior. Eventually they will figure out what it means to be a “good dog” and they will act accordingly.

*You’re mother was right – you will never change your man and living with them is even more difficult than you would expect. Learn to accept his disgusting or obnoxious habits – try to find them endearing as opposed to infuriating. So what if he hangs his wet towel on the door instead of the towel rack? What man doesn’t do that??? Who cares if he always puts his dirty dishes in the sink instead of in the completely empty dishwasher? At least he got them to the sink, right? Romance is completely overrated. Nicholas Sparks is a real life villan whose novels should be banned from the public because he gives women a false sense of desire & romance. As long as your man keeps coming home to you every night and gives you a kiss once and while – you should be a happy woman. (In case it is not obvious, I am being completely sarcastic. The fact is – men are men. They are wired different than we are. The sooner you learn to love them in spite of everything they do that drives you crazy – the more likely you are to get a romantic evening every once and a while!)

*Home owner’s insurance and car insurance can be more valuable than you would expect! Contrary to popular belief, car insurance covers you under circumstances other than just wrecks. If for some reason, your car were to catch on fire or be damaged in a flood – no need to freak out. You aren’t completely out of luck and liable for your car loan. You’re insurance company will either pay for the damages or pay your fair market value for your car! (Wish I had known that one before my mini panic attack when my car caught on fire last March!) There is a reason that you pay all that money each month – and it’s completely worth it!

*Speaking of cars – you have to pay property taxes on them every year. Yes – the county will send you a tax bill once a year and you actually have to pay a couple hundred bucks! I guess in high school/college our parents paid this for us?? But when you’re on your own, the bill comes to your front door. Expect it – and save for it. It’s never a good idea to be delinquent on your taxes.

*I don’t care what people say – it is always acceptable to cry at work if your boss is a man. If you’re having a bad day and just need a break, a couple of tears might just do the trick. He is a man – just like your husband or father. Just like the rest of them, it makes him uncomfortable and he somehow feels responsible. More than likely he will send you home for the rest of the day (with pay!) and tell you to take it easy. Obviously, something must be very wrong if you are so upset. He does not need to know that you are on your period and someone just took the last Snickers bar from the vending machine. **Warning – if your boss is a woman, this will not work. She will consider you spoiled and childish. She can make it through her period without a Snickers and so can you!

There are many, many more tidbits that I intend to share. If nothing else, I’ll give them to my sister and Michelle when they get married. This roller coaster ride of “adulthood” is scary enough when you somewhat know what to expect. But you would be surprised at home many things have caught me off guard the past two years.

Stay tuned – more to come….

Thursday, September 17, 2009

My Bucket List

So I watched the movie “The Bucket List” last night and it got me thinking about things that I would like to accomplish before I kick the bucket (or preferably before I’m 35 as most of these items I would probably enjoy more in my youth!). So I’m putting this out there – so hopefully I will hold myself to it and actually accomplish my dreams. Some are incredibly silly, but valid desires – others are more “note worthy” if you will. Either way, here is a list of 10 things I hope to accomplish before I turn 35.

Run a marathon

Own a pair of ridiculously expensive, sexy, completely impractical Manolo Blahniks

Witness a miracle

Scuba dive off the coast of Greece

Go to the Iron Bowl & have good seats

Own a vacation property (so probably not before 35 – a girl can dream!)

Take a road trip to the west coast with all the good stops: Grand Canyon, that place with the super huge trees, see the Pacific Ocean….

Bungee Jump

See U2 live in concert

Own a pair of size 6 designer jeans (Yes – for the skinny girls that seems pathetic. But this just might be my most unattainable goal as God has blessed/cursed me with lots of junk in my trunk and those child bearing hips!)

There you have it. I’m on my way to the marathon. I’m running a half marathon in December and intend to run the Marine Corp Marathon in October 2010 in DC. More than likely the others will have to wait. I’ve got a good 10 years! :)

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Guard Dogs on Crack

I really don’t know why we have Dixie & Bauer. Don’t get me wrong – I love my dogs. I'm just not sure why we actually have them. The April before we were married, we decided to buy Dixie to keep me company and be my guard dog when Steven traveled. Once we moved into the house last August, we decided to get Dixie a companion and add additional security with a male dog. I think the overall intent or purchasing two, 70 pound boxers was so that I would sleep better at night while Steven traveled.

Talk about a swing and a miss! I swear these dogs make getting a decent night’s sleep impossible when Steven is gone. They go on absolute high alert. Last night was the worst! A contractor came out around 6 to check our roof for hail and wind damage. All the banging around on the roof apparently set the dogs off. Dixie stood on my chest (yes – forced me to lay down flat on the couch as she stood on all fours on my chest!) and barked at the door the entire 15 minutes of the inspection. For the rest of the night they barked and growled at every little sound imaginable. Noisy kids playing in the street?? You better believe they were barking. Car drives by the house late at night? Growl..bark...growl..bark! Air conditioner turns on at 4 in the morning? Somebody alert the press! We are in grave danger and howling & barking must commence!

I mean, do you know what is like to be in a deep, blissful sleep and be awoken by two angry, paranoid dogs who are barking like mad at the ceiling fan?? I do! It’s not pleasant! Around two am they went into a tirade because of the ceiling fan and I felt my whole body literally go airborne when they started barking. What’s worse is that they insist on sleeping on either side of me. It’s as if they believe if I am sandwiched in the middle of them, nothing could possibly happen. So when they begin barking and growling at God knows what during all hours of the night – they are actually barking and growling directly into both my ears! Maybe I’m just being dramatic, but I found it a tad difficult to sleep smashed between two 70 pound dogs who give off enough heat to warm a small village in the dead of winter. Additionally, their random outbursts left my heart racing and I swear at one point I thought I had actually wet myself of sheer terror and shock. It’s quite aggravating to be jolted from sleep believing the only reason your dogs could be barking so ferociously is because a mad man is standing over your bed with a gun only to realize they are barking at the crickets chirping outside.

So needless to say, I’m irritable today. I’m tired. I’m scared out of my wits. I have this incessant ringing in my ears. I’m having a tiny bit of buyer’s remorse. Mostly I’m dying for Steven to come home. Apparently Steven is such a tough man that we can all sleep soundly and safely when he is at home – no need to sound the alarm at every little disturbance! Seriously – we should have just paid for ADT!

Friday, September 11, 2009

I Can't Believe I'm Saying This

So this is pretty big. I am considering doing the unthinkable – becoming an Alabama fan. My team is currently, and always has been, Auburn. So this is kind of the ultimate betrayal imaginable. I’m sure that my mother has never been so ashamed of me. But here are my reasonings:

Steven is a die-hard Alabama fan. To an obnoxious point, in fact. There is no chance that any of my children will ever become Auburn fans – EVER. So if I continue to remain an Auburn fan, I am looking a lifelong struggle against my family. I can only imagine the solitude I will feel when my husband and beautiful little boys are all dressed in Alabama gear and cheering in front of the TV and I am still an Auburn fan – forbidden to join in their joy and banter. It’s really a depressing thought.

Additionally, I no longer am surrounded by a single Auburn fan – anywhere. No one to watch the games with, no one to help keep me up-to-date on the latest stats and players. I don’t have time to read all the articles to be in the know. I need to be close to an avid fan who can keep me informed. Considering my husband’s obsession with Alabama football, I would actually be a better Alabama fan than I currently am an Auburn fan. I would know more about the team! And if Alabama and Auburn are ever playing a game at the same time – our TV is always on the Alabama game – no question. So now, I would never have to miss one of my team’s games. Also, tickets to SEC football games are ridiculously expensive! As it is now, if Steven and I want to go to a game together, one of us is paying good money for a ticket to see a team that we don’t even support. If we both cheered for Alabama, we could justify purchasing two expensive tickets to an Alabama game because we would both enjoy the game and be rooting for our team.

All in all, I feel as though this may just be one of those sacrifices that married women have to make. Sometimes one person in a relationship makes changes in order to accommodate and make their lives together more enjoyable. This may just be my contribution. I’m only 24 years old. If I become an Alabama fan now – Steven and I can have many amazing years of Alabama football to share together. This could actually be the tie that keeps our marriage going strong for years to come.

I know if I make this switch I will be shunned by some. I can only imagine the cracks my family will take at me. Everyone other than my mother and sister are Alabama fans – so while I’m sure they will enjoy my change of heart – I know that I will not be welcomed into the fold without a great deal of torture and torment. They will have to make sure that I am Alabama worthy. Steven has already set a list of tasks that I have to complete before he will recognize me as a true Alabama fan. This is proving to be more difficult than changing my last name….

Still haven’t decided yet – but I’m feeling like I should declare my loyalties soon before we get too far into the season. I think I just keep looking for some sort of sign…

Friday, September 4, 2009

No Problem Mon

It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything. It’s just been hard to find a moment to make an update with our recent trip and returning back to work this week. Thankfully, we have a half day in the office today and Monday off. :) Nice transition back, huh??

About Jamaica – it was fabulous. More than fabulous – it was the best vacation I’ve ever taken. We did everything! Scuba diving, snorkeling, beach time, catamaran tour, swimming in caves, karaoke, etc. There were times when I felt like Steven and I were the only ones on the island and other times when we were surrounded with other guests in fun activities. Our veranda had a free swinging hammock and we spent a great deal of time it in reading Harry Potter – lol – it’s vacation, you’re supposed to relax!

The weather was a little cloudy/rainy Monday afternoon so we played beach volleyball for about 2 hours with other guests. It was a load of fun and I was surprisingly good – better than the other girls who were playing. Go me! One of the funniest moments of the trip happened during the last game. Steven and I were on opposite teams. I was standing at the net on my team’s side and I looked over and saw Steven and two of his teammates laughing hysterically. Steven was actually bent over and his face was BRIGHT red. Immediately I knew what had happened – he farted and they heard him. So I mouthed to him “Did you just fart?” All he could do was nod his head in shame. His teammate said, very loudly, “Dude – did you just rip one?” We quit playing volleyball after that…and I will never let him live it down!

I promised him that if I blogged about his farting that I would tell about my meltdown that we like to refer to as the “Scuba Incident”. We scheduled ourselves to take the beginner scuba course Tuesday morning and go on a dive immediately following. We had to swim 8 laps in the main pool which we both did, no problem. Next we had to watch a video of what to expect on the dive. I was kind of freaked out. The video kept saying that if you ascended too quickly back to the surface you could suffer major injury to your ears or your lungs could explode. Umm..way to make me feel safe! Next we moved back into the pool to learn some basic skills such as breathing from the regulator, what to do if your air runs out, and how to get water out of your goggles if they leak. During one of the skills my mask flooded with water and sucked water up my nose. I panicked. I immediately stood up and felt the weight of the scuba gear and my weight belt on my chest. I couldn’t escape this fear that I was going to dive, be trapped under 35 feet of water and unable to get air. I immediately began crying and I couldn’t gain control of myself. After the class finished their underwater skills, Steven came over to me and said he wouldn’t go out on the dive since I was so upset. That only made it worse. I knew that scuba was what he was looking forward to the most on our trip and I didn’t want to be the reason that he couldn’t go. I begged – or actually threw a fit including flailing my hands about for everyone to see and demanded – that he go without me, but he refused to leave me. It was embarrassing. People were having their breakfast all along the pool, watching my meltdown with pity-filled faces, and I couldn’t calm down. So then I said, “Fine – I’ll go. I’ll just dive out there and drown if it’s that important to you.” (Melodramatic??) Needless to say – we didn’t dive on Tuesday. We got back to our room (I’m still sobbing – thank the Lord for big sunglasses!) and the maid was cleaning our room. All I wanted to do was throw myself on the bed and have the hardest sob of my life but I had to stifle it. Steven has this look of horror on his face and kept pleading with me to calm down to which I responded, “This is calm. You have no idea how bad I want to freak out right now – I just feel so scared and upset.” The look of horror increased as he said, “THIS is calm? You want to cry harder???!!!” Twenty minutes later I got it together and we had a pleasant afternoon on the beach.

On Wednesday I went back, faced my fears and did the skills course again. I passed with flying colors and we went for a dive that morning. It was amazing. I was very nervous at first and took some time to get used to mouth breathing. But it was so worth it. The wildlife that far below is spectacular. The feeling of swimming around with so many fish and sea creatures floating around you is indescribable. I was so happy to have experienced that with Steven and to have conquered my fears. He was beaming at me when we got out of the water and back onto the boat. I could tell he was very proud of me for trying again and succeeding. We are planning a trip back next year. We want to get certified for open water diving at the resort so that we can dive together on our trips in the future. I think it will be something really nice for us to enjoy together.

Unfortunately, we had to come home on Friday. I was so sad to say goodbye. The people of Jamaica are inspirational. So happy and carefree (it could be all the “smoke” they talk about). I have never felt so carefree or peaceful in my life. I can honestly say (aside from previously mentioned Scuba Incident) that I did not worry or fret once during my trip. And if you know me – that’s saying something big! The concierge was waiting for us when we arrived to check us in and take us to our room and they scheduled our transfer back to the airport at checkout without us having to ask. It was fantastic. I would strongly recommend Couples Swept Away to any couple – at any age. There is so much to enjoy! I have pictures posted on my Facebook page of the trip if you would like to view them - it's too must to post here!

A side note regarding reality – we are having our master bathroom redone today. :) We are having tile laid and a new double sink vanity installed. We also are updated all the hardware, lighting and mirrors. We’re hoping it will be done by tomorrow. I have friends coming into town this weekend I would love for them to see it completed!

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