Alternative Cleaning Methods

I should probably preface this by saying that I really don’t like cleaning. I’m the type of person that tends to just ignore clutter until I snap and then I will rage clean until everything is cleaner than when it was brand new. I keep things sanitary  clean, but I will ignore piles of paper or shoes not where they should be or clean clothes still being in the baskets while dirty ones pile up on the floor. Again, until I just can’t take it and then everything must be in it’s place.

This worked for me in college. Probably because I lived with my sister and she was better at ignoring a mess than I was. But, we both wanted to be better at keeping things clean. After all, we had no plans to continue living together for the rest of our lives. We came up with a routine, that I have subconsciously continued ever since.

I bribe myself to clean.

Yep. I’m thirty, and I’m admitting that I have to talk myself into cleaning. If guests aren’t imminent, I tend to let things slide. We do the dishes every night, I tend to clean the kitchen every time I cook as I hate cooking in an even slightly grungy kitchen. But, I hate using my off days to clean. And I hate using B’s off time to clean. Especially when his off days are still partial work days for me.

Thus, bribery.

I put on an awesome tv show (today it was Fixer Upper on and make myself a beverage. Every time a show ends, before I can start the next episode and make a fresh beverage I have to do an item on my chore list. Today those items were, deep clean the kitchen, sweep, mop, and vacuum, and run some laundry. Sure, it wouldn’t have taken me long to do those all straight, but by sticking them in-between episodes, I preserved the feel of a relaxing Saturday while still getting everything done.

I guess this is adulting at the finest. I’m getting things done, but on my terms. And that is the best part of being an adult. Figuring out what works for me and then doing that. Regardless of how anyone else would do it. So I clean, while sipping a relaxing drink and watching tv.

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Five for Friday, v.13

2015-07-14 11.38.07one It has been a hectic week around here. Turns out that deciding to buy a house takes up all of your free time. There are the long phone calls with the bank and the mortgage broker to make sure we get the best deal. There are the hours devoted to researching VA loans to find out if that’s the best option. There are the countless houses perused online while tweaking search options to somehow make the magical unicorn house appear. There’s the meeting with the realtor that started a half hour late and then ran for two and a half hours that left you exhausted and not that excited. And of course, it wouldn’t be me unless there were hours laying awake at night thinking about all the changes to come.

2015-07-23 16.23.10two I first found this painting on Pinterest a couple of months back. I fell in love, but of course it was long gone from the flash sale site. I signed up for notices for if it came back and tried to forget about it. I love the riot of color and I adore that the silhouette includes a puppy. The night we discussed buying a house this year, I received an email notification that it was back on sale. I jokingly told B it could be our housewarming present to ourselves. He agreed. We ordered it. It came in the day after we signed the papers for what will hopefully be our house. It feels symbolic to me, in a strange way that this whole time of year does now. This is the time of year for my whirlwind new beginnings. I am so excited.

2015-07-19 10.27.09three Confession time, I have a terrible relationship with money and anxiety. There was a time, when I was in graduate school, in my last semester actually that I wasn’t sure I would be able to pay all my bills. See, the school made a mistake during the fall aid disbursement and gave me more grant money than they were supposed to – essentially they gave me just for the fall what should have been for the whole year. It was fully their fault. But, they chose to fix it by just not giving me any grant money during the spring semester. At night, when I wasn’t awake thinking about the work that needed to be done to finish my thesis, I would run my budget. I would start with my current balance in my account and then add each expected check and subtract each pending bill based on the date I thought it would show up. Down and slightly up and then more down the numbers would go in my head. I left Houston a couple of months early, the day after I finished my last test to move in with friends because I had no money. I completed my move into their home with less than 25 dollars in my checking account and less than 100 free on my credit card. Even though I am, thankfully, far removed from that reality now, the truth is that whenever big purchases come up, I get anxious. No surprise then that this is in full swing with buying a house.

2015-07-22 11.03.48four I had decided against these town homes before we ever went back to see them again. They were too far away, the commute would be too difficult for me – it didn’t matter how nice they were, I wasn’t having it. Then, on the morning we were due to go back and check them out, our realtor emailed us our first house. It was a 4 bed, 2 bath home with only 1400 square feet. It wasn’t in any of our agreed upon cities, instead it bordered a rather infamous for it’s crime part of the city. And then we walked into the kitchen pictured above. I’m pretty sure I squealed over that luxurious backsplash. The reality is, these town homes are way nicer than anything else we can afford. As to my commute? I’ll just get up a little early and go to the gym before my classes so that I beat the traffic and get my sweat on. It’s a win-win. Plus, that kitchen will be mine.

2015-07-22 14.27.40five One week. In one week we went from definitely buying a house next year, to possibly buying one this year, to signing paperwork. I’m dreaming of paint colors, new furniture, and decorating for the holidays. I’m excited to think about finally having a home where we can finally host our friends. I’m picturing forever, not just with my beloved but in a home. I’m planning for our future in sunny, beachy SoCal. Life happens in the small moments and I cannot wait to create memories of these little moments in our new home.

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Crossing That Bridge

We are in the midst of my favorite time of year. Five years ago I was preparing to move to North Dakota and diving headfirst into the adventure of life. In the perfect sense of full circle, if everything goes right then roughly around the five year mark of us moving to Germany (just a couple of months away) we will be moving into our own home. In spite of my having looked at homes since well before we moved, I thought we were somehow much farther away from this day than we now are.

We talk about this being a 5-10 year home. Somewhere we can make our own. A place we can live and love and then sell when need be. It’s funny, after crossing the milestone of hitting thirty this summer, the fact that I’m looking to not be moving/selling/buying again until 35-40 doesn’t really compute.

I mean, in the next 5-10 years, where will we even be? Still happy and content in SoCal? On to the next big adventure? Will we have children or will we have decided once and for all to be child free? Will we still have this home or will we have won the metaphorical (or literal) lottery and have our town home on the beach?

When it comes to problems in life, people discuss crossing the bridge only when you have to do so. Don’t worry about it until you must. I think it holds for more than that. We’re currently crossing the bridge of buying our first home. It is terrifying and exhilarating at the same time. It’s probably the best ride we’ve been on since we ran off and got married 5 years ago.

We’ll cross the bridge of children later. We’ll cross the bridge of career choices later. We’ll just keep living, one day at a time. Eventually, we’ll wake up and realize we’re on the bridge and then we’ll cross it.

We didn’t plan to buy a home any time soon. This bridge slipped up and surprised me. It’s an amazing place to be. I was so busy living life that I wasn’t worried about what I was supposed to be doing at thirty. I think sometimes, the numbers become so big that we focus on what should be accomplished and we forget to relish the living in the small moments.

I have no idea what the future holds for us. I’ll cross that bridge when I get to it.

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Five for Friday, v.12

IMG_1671one It’s been a hell of a week. My summer session is in full swing, which means I’ve gone from pretty much nothing going on during the week to 5 classes and three days of private lessons. Plus, B is officially graduated and on his first shift today. Plus, we may be in the process of deciding to buy a house. Plus, my dog decided today was a great day to be sick on our carpet twice – the good news there is that he finally has a vet here in town. Needless to say, I’m feeling a tad bit stressed out right now. Unfortunately, I don’t think things are planning to calm down, in fact they seem to be calming up.

IMG_1684two You know that image that goes around on Pinterest about the most awesome gamer set up ever? Two tvs, two computers, two consoles and some seriously pimped out gaming chairs? B and I have been drooling over that ever since we first saw it. We’ve always said that someday, in our forever home, we would have a room dedicated solely to gaming. This week, we finally decided to bite the bullet and just do it here. We already had the 60 inch upstairs hooked up to B’s computer, so we just brought up the 42 inch and hooked it up to his old computer (see kids, this is why you don’t throw things away). No dual-consoles yet, but we have plenty of computer games to play together. Especially now that B has it set up so I can use a controller instead of a keyboard and mouse.

IMG_1660three It’s been right at a month of working out and eating better for me. I’m proud to say that I’ve managed to lose just over 5 lb during this period. It’s not always fun – I hate tracking calories, but my clothes are fitting better and I’m so much happier with how I look and feel.  I also think that being back in all the classes help – five times a week I spend 45 minutes jumping around and singing/dancing/moving with preschoolers. I don’t count any of that time as anything, but I know it has to be better than just chilling out on my couch or by the pool.

IMG_1688four I came home from work today to find Loki had been sick, in the house again. He’s always had digestive issues – it’s what happens when you eat everything regardless of it’s edibility. It’s ramped up though since we moved here. I’ve been blaming the close proximity of other dogs and just letting it slide. Today though, there was a bug. I’m not sure it came from that or just was in the house, but there was a gross looking bug. So, off to the vet we went. Over a hundred dollars later, we have antibiotics for a week, some doggy immodium, and a fecal float test that will hopefully come back negative for nasty parasites or worms. Regardless, hopefully this stuff will help him get back on track, I’m really tired of cleaning up after him.

IMG_1679five I got all dolled up for B’s graduation last week. And then, of course, because he was in uniform I can’t post any of the pictures of us together. So, I promised myself we would get one from his party when he wouldn’t be in uniform. Only, of course, we got way too drunk for that. Instead, I have a couple of very awkward photos of us together while he’s in uniform (gee people, maybe don’t take photos while I’m talking to you or at least take a couple more, oh well) and a couple of selfies from the day. And that’s it. Learn from me, people. Be that person who asks others to take your picture. While you’re still sober enough to look cute.

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Late Nights

At one point in time, this was our normal routine. Him up and gone well before the sun and not home until well after dark. Me working my music gig and trying to figure out how to have dinner on the table when the end of his shift was an ever moving target. I just knew he couldn’t possibly understand how frustrating it was to be waiting at home to prep and cook dinner when he couldn’t even tell me how much longer it might be before he would be heading home.

Then, as happens, time passed, we both grew up, and our routines stabilized. We’ve been very lucky that for the majority of the last two years we’ve gotten home around the same time each day with very few bumps or detours. Those types of nights faded into the past.

He did learn what it was like to be at home waiting. The first week I worked for the lawyers, my very first Friday night involved leaving work almost two hours late. And I was in a meeting where I couldn’t even text him to let him know what was going on or how late I would be. He texted me several times and even called a couple of times. I sobbed the entire drive home, which probably should have been my first clue that the job wasn’t for me. During my brief stint there, too many of my nights were late for my comfort – I like predictability and routine in my old age.

Now, he’s back on shift. Tomorrow is the first real day one. Today he went in for training, not supposed to be long. With a noontime start, we figured an early dinner would work perfect. Instead, around the time I thought he would be home, he was texting to say they weren’t sure when they’d be done. I prepped his lunch, finished doing the laundry, and finally started dinner. Miraculously, it was ready as soon as he walked in.

But I’m out of practice. I was so frustrated by the news that he wouldn’t be home when I expected. Which is ridiculous. He works twelve hour days in a job that racks up over time like kids collect candy at a small town parade. One of his friends worked fifteen hours on their first day – three hours of overtime in the blink of an eye. I’m trying to prepare myself for that possibility for tomorrow.

I’m trying to remember how to be the calm in the midst of the storm. That’s never been an easy job for me. I’m naturally the tempest tossed waves, not the rocks that break them. There was a time when the late nights waiting for him to come home and the late nights keeping watch while he slept were as natural as breathing. I hope it comes again soon.

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Five for Friday, v. 11

IMG_1546one I am so glad it’s finally July. B graduates this month and for the first time in three and a half years he won’t be doing school in the evenings. I’m not sure we’ll know what to do in all our free time. On the flip side, aka my side, my teaching will pick back up this month. I’m teaching the five week summer session and currently have five confirmed classes, plus one that we just opened yesterday. I’m looking forward to having some busy days again, especially as B leaves his M-F portion of working and heads into shift work.

2015-06-21 18.04.21two We went to go see Phantom of the Opera for my birthday. It was such a treat. I’ve loved the musical for years (what girl hasn’t?) and we watched it with B’s parents while living with them, which is what got him thinking about taking me. Prior to watching it with his parents, I’m pretty sure the last time I watched it was with a friend in SA while waiting for this hot guy I’d gone on a date with to text me back. Phantom was supposed to distract me, though it didn’t really work. Luckily, he eventually texted and the rest is history. In typical us fashion, our fancy night out was ended at a fast food place. We can only take being so fancy in one evening.

2015-06-12 15.03.26

three We finally visited the dog beach when B’s parents came down last month. It’s not far from us geographically, though a Friday afternoon was totally the wrong time to head south towards the beach. Loki loved being back in the water, though he did get wiped out by waves a couple of times. It didn’t take him long to watch the waves and wait for them to break before going after the ball. Sam, on the other hand, was fairly miserable. She was barking at every other dog, which isn’t at all like her. Plus, she’s not a big fan of water. Still, it was fun to explore and share the experience with B’s parents.

2015-06-21 21.52.23four I’ve been playing with adding texture to my hair instead of just straightening it. I saw on Pinterest a suggestion to add waves by flipping your straightener different directions while pulling it through your hair. Surprisingly enough, it actually works to give me some casual, beachy waves. Which, I adore. I’m not sure if it’s my latest cut, or just me changing, but I’m really not a fan of my hair straightened with a kick out or under at the ends any more. I love the curly look, but don’t always feel like busting out my curling iron. Embracing my waves, which I’ve always sought to subdue, feels really good. Plus, it’s me – a little messy, a little out of control, and ready for fun.


five Shutterfly had a promotion this last week for 50% off of their hardcover photo books, free shipping on orders over thirty-nine dollars, and a couple of free 8x10s. Which, of course meant that I decided it was time to do the 2014 photo book, our wedding album, and get all of my pictures off my phone and onto my computer. I started with transporting the photos, I don’t sync my phone to my computer (long story, it syncs to my old laptop that still has all my iTunes on it) so I went through Dropbox. This took forever. I probably need to just bite the bullet and sync my damn phone. Then I decided to make a folder on my computer for the pictures I wanted to use. This actually worked really well. Still, I spent at least four hours on Sunday getting it all done. And, in the process rediscovered some of my favorite wedding photos. I’m pretty sure the above is my all time favorite. It definitely feels like they captured a stolen moment. Now I’m waiting impatiently for them to come in. I can’t wait to see how they all turned out.

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No One

He received his assignment yesterday. A list of names that are honestly meaningless to me. Areas were picked based on their proximity to where we live. He wants a short commute. Underneath it all, of course he wants to see action. No one goes into this expecting to sit behind a desk and push papers.

He got his second choice. I celebrated with him yesterday. No one got to go where his first choice was, so he still received the best option that was available to him. Today, he let slip that it’s a happening area. And not in a good way.

I sit here, eyes filled with unshed tears and don’t know what to do. I want to cry. I want to talk about how hard this is for me. How scared I am for him, for us. But I don’t want to burden him. I don’t want to weigh him down with my fear.

Right now, it feels like there’s no one to talk to about it all. No one who will understand. No one to share the burden. So I will sit, smile with him, and keep the tears at bay.

God keep him safe.

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