Friday, February 26, 2010
Even as a spectator in my warm cozy house I can't really get as interested in the Winter Olympics as much as I do the Summer games. As thrilling as bobsledding, luge, and skiing is they just don't hold my attention. I do however really, really love to watch Ladies figure skating. I stayed up and watched the short program on Tuesday and was looking forward to the long program last night. Only problem is that I could NOT keep my eyes open. I tried so hard but after the 1st skater Rachel Flatt performed the next thing I knew the other American Mirai Nagasu was taking the ice and she was the last to go! I'd missed just about the whole thing and couldn't even manage to stay awake through her whole performance.
I was surprised that Nagasu beat Flatt. Rachel's long program was good AND she was ahead of Marai going into the competition. I was glad to find out that Joannie Rochette from Canada managed to win the bronze. I can't even imagine the pain of losing my mother let alone on the eve of the Olympics. She could have fallen apart but she rose to the occasion. Kim Yu Na won the gold as I expected. She is miles above her competitors. Like a machine. She won by 16 points! It must kind of suck for Mao Asado and all other skaters to know that even on their best most perfect day they can't beat her.
Yeah, yeah!! It's Friday and pay day. It's supposed to rain all day tomorrow and the most exciting thing I will be doing all weekend is going to H.R. Block to do my taxes but that is just fine by me. In case you hadn't heard ALL footlongs are $5 bucks at Subway right now so I am going to stop and pick up a Roast Beef one up for dinner and Mj and I are going to watch a movie.
I love weekends!
The tasting was less of a tasting and more of a all out food fest if you asked me. But, I am definitely not complaining. They offered passed hors d'oeuvres and wine or champagne while we were waiting to go into the tasting room. Once inside all of the food was set up buffet style and you could pretty much taste as much as you wanted of anything that was there. There was a lot to choose from! These are our plates just from round one.
We had Rosemary Chicken, Flat Iron Steak, Wild Rice Pilaf, Stuffed Shells, Mini Beef Wellington, Spring Rolls, dinner rolls, Garlic Mashed Potatoes and on and on. The provided a note sheet so we could take notes on what we liked and what we didn't. After tasting everything I think that we have decided that we like the Southwest Tri Tip steak. I originally figured I would just go for chicken because it's kind of generic and everybody likes chicken but this meat was so tasty and we both really liked it so beef it is. I am debating over if I want to put a beef or vegetarian option on my RSVP cards or not. Or, just tell them on our website that if they are a vegetarian to let us know? I think if we have dual entrees served then we have to provide menu cards and I am not exactly sure what that would entail. I guess I need to find out because I am planning on ordering my invites this weekend.
- One hour bar service including cocktails, beer, wine, punch, and sodas
- Assorted cheese & cracker display during cocktail hour
- Starter, served entree, seasonal vegetables, dinner rolls
- Champagne toast and coffee/tea service
- Cake cutting service
Overall it was a wonderful and fun event. Free dinner and wine is always nice! Of course it made me want everything but I have to bring myself down to earth. The recent renovation on the hotel looks great. They really rolled out the red carpet for us and I am very happy that we chose it for our venue.
Thursday, February 25, 2010
We are almost 30 days out from contract signing and we still don't have financing in place. Not for lack of trying. Run back and forth with paperwork. Wait. Get pre approved. More paperwork. Submission to underwriting and more waiting. This is our 3rd time initiating this approval process for a variety of reasons. With less then a week before our 30 day time limit to secure financing we are told by the builder's lender that they will not offer us the loan we want. They are telling us if they don't get some type of credit approval for us in place by Tuesday we will be 100% denied from any loan at all with them. We don't want to spoil our chances completely but we also don't want to get stuck having to go with a loan program we don't want. We sumitted a loan application to our bank Monday. It will be great if they approve us for what we want but that also means $6,700 builder credit towards closing cost that we were anticipating with use of the preferred lender is now in jeopardy. They might still give it to us but they might not depending. Did we offically get rejected? NO. Did we refuse their counter loan? YES. Or did we agree to their counter offer and get accepted but just don't want it? DON'T WANT TO TAKE THE CHANCE. If we do, we may definitely stuck without the closing costs credit if we choose our bank and the loan program we want over theirs with the one we don't. That's a lot of money to just kind of not know if you are going to have.
Buying a house is not for the faint at heart I will tell you that much. There are variables and unknowns at every step of the process that could make or break everything. There is so much money involved and no average Jane could even begin to understand 1/2 of the paperwork that must be signed along the way. You are making plans to move in the not so distant future yet nothing is guaranteed until you go to closing and they put the darn keys in your hand. I've heard of people getting denied on a loan just 1 day before closing!
For the organized-plan ahead-like to be in control-type like myself this is a nightmare.
I am so over it. I want this house but I also want off this wacky roller coaster ride of confusion and uncertainty.
Tuesday, February 23, 2010
I love watching couples weigh out the pros and cons of one place over another and how much bang you can get [or not get] for your buck in the different housing markets. Location vs square footage. Attached garage vs back yard size. Granite counter tops in the kitchen vs an extra vanity in the master bath. I enjoy seeing the decor and layouts of different condos, town homes, row homes, duplexes, detached homes, and bungalows.
It's interesting to see what that couple with the $150,000 budget in Texas has to choose from. I gasp in dismay at the couple in San Francisco that decides to buy the tiny 980 square foot condo 2 bedroom/one bathroom and no parking space for $415,000. Then in the next episode, I drool over the 2,200 square foot home with the vaulted ceilings, huge back yard and finished basement that the couple in South Carolina managed to get below the asking price of $260,000. Every house in every housing market is unique in it's own way and there is always some advantage or disadvantage that even those with a high budget must weigh out before making a decision. It's fun trying to guess which one they pick!
Mj: We've seen this one.
Me: Maybe you have but I haven't.
Mj: You did see this one. Remember this couple got on our nerves because they were so anal and kept low balling everyone?
Me: Hmmmm...I don't know.
Mj: They are not going to like the busy street in the back yard.......Remember?
Me: Oh, yeah now it's coming back to me a little but I can't remember which one they pick.
[I continue watching]
This happens over and over! I don't think my interest is just because we are currently in the throes of the home buying process ourselves. It crossed my mind that I am finally getting to do what I've been watching on HGTV for months, but I have always loved looking at houses. I love looking at the different exteriors and architecture if I am driving through a neighborhood. I always want to check out the model homes just for fun if I happen to see the sign twirler on the corner pointing them out. I have always had dreams of owning a home that actually looked like a model home down to perfectly coordinated decor, stately furniture, and pristine lack of clutter.
Uh, how did I not know you could watch episodes online? I can only hope they keep cranking these out because I'm afraid I may be running out of new ones to watch! Oh, and of course I entered to win the HGTV dream house in New Mexico. I entered just about every day for two months. The odds of winning are slim to none and I'd have to sell the darn house anyways if I won it but I can't resist a good contest entry.
Monday, February 22, 2010
But yesterday Mj had a rare craving for it and since for years and years I've been talking about doing it I decided to join the fun. I used to order a Sprite but I got a Diet Coke this time around. I used to super size it but McDonald's has long since done away with that offering only Medium and Large so I went with the Medium. In the old days they didn't put the calorie info on the package and this time around I was too excited to be eating it to even take a look at it. I mean, I can always look it up online later and c'mon, if I ordered a hamburger and french fries how likely is it that I am concerned about calories and fat at this point anyways? Was it everything I dreamed it would be? YES! It was pretty yummy and it kind of felt good to be THAT bad and THAT indulgent for once. McDonald's after all is sort of the poster child for everything that is wrong with the American diet today and there I was eating it with vigor.
What I was surprised to find is that while enjoyable not only did the meal not really fill me up but that I was actually starving just a couple hours later as if I had eaten nothing at all. Mj had the same problem too. I don't remember that part. Granted, it was my only full meal for the day but still! $6.00 and 980 calories later....why am I still hungry? So, there I am having exceeded my calories and fat content for the day and yet I am hungrier then ever. I ate an apple and some string cheese as a snack but still went to bed hungry.
This morning I felt a little disgusted with myself. I mean, did I really have to go and do that? Nope, I didn't but I think it's a good thing I did.
- #1 I know that I am not missing out on all that much. Sure it was delicious but I really enjoy my healthier choice meals too and feel much better about myself after eating them and usually a lot more fulfilled.
- #2 it is another sign that I am doing well food wise. I used to have lists upon lists of foods that I absolutely could not would not eat. I used to go weeks without eating any actual solid meals. To go from that to being able to order a meal from McDonald's is actually a good thing. I can still be pretty regimental about my eating habits but I can vary from the norm too and it doesn't rule me anymore.
Time to cleanse and degrease.
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
As a reward for going back to work today I picked up this short sleeved Double Button Placket Shirt in white from The Limited on my lunch break. Their clothes are soooo cute but pricey so I normally don't step foot in that place unless I have a coupon. They usually have pretty great clearance deals too. Yes, I am on a budget being that the monthly amount due on our wedding venue equals my current mortgage and I'm in the middle of buying a new house. BUT, I had a coupon. That makes everything OK. The shirt was on sale for $29.70 and with my additional $15 off coupon I spent a whopping $15 and some change. I could have doubled that savings to $30 with a $100 purchase but that wasn't the plan. I went in for one single sale priced top and that's exactly what I got.
The only problem is that because of this little shopping trip I found out that ALL of their pants are on sale for $39.50 which means I might have to go back for another round of speed shopping!! This sale is huge considering they have such great fitting and quality pants that are usually so expensive that I would rather wear 10 year old pants to work then buy them. They are usually $60+. The good news is that I have another identical coupon that says it's for "a friend" and if I stick to the plan I can walk out of there spending about $28 bringing my total shopping expenditure for the month to $43 bucks!! That I can do.
It's actually quite helpful that there is just one Limited in the entire county that is only conveniently accessible from work while I am on my lunch break. I am on a tight budget but if I can reward myself with little things here and there I don't feel so deprived and I can work on filling out my wardrobe bit by bit. Everything in moderation!!
Sunday, February 14, 2010
I am not one of those people that believes that Valentine's Day is this made up commercial holiday that is forced upon us just to make money. Ok well, it kind of is but forced is a strong word. We do and spend what we want ultimately and if I believed that about Valentines day I would have to believe the same about a lot of other mostly meaningless holidays that we celebrate just for fun. Yeah, it's a money maker but I don't see anything wrong with having another day to show appreciation to your significant other. Yes, we can do it every day but why does it hurt to add one more in particular and call it Valentines day? I have been single on Valentine's Day and it did kind of suck but it can only get you down if you let it-which I did. So glad those days are over.
Wednesday, February 10, 2010
I will consider up lighting because we got such an awesome deal on our DJ in the first place that I might be able to fit it in. I didn't even know what it was until another blogger enlightened me-excuse the pun! I really want chair covers because I can see just how amazingly well it transforms a room but may not because the chairs they use are actually OK. I was loving the look of tall elaborate centerpieces with fresh flowers but I am piecing together my own to cut costs. I am spending a little bit more on invitations then I thought I would because the cheap samples I got just looked....well cheap. I think I will go ahead and do the personalized table number cards and place cards because I found a decent price and feel it's one cute detail I can afford. I will forgo an additional Hors D'oeuvre at cocktail hour but may host a bit more alcohol. I am telling myself that doing what I can is going to be A OK. It's not like my wedding is going to suck because there wasn't a fruit display in addition to the cheese or no chair covers.
Buying this house at the same time has added some extra pressure and provided some clarity on what's really important. Instead of Europe we will do Hawaii. We will have a good time wherever we go as long as we are together. Saving up money so that we can buy down our mortgage points for a more affordable monthly payment and getting our washer/dryer and refrigerator pales in comparison to having an extra dessert in addition to our wedding cake. Not that my wedding isn't important. Not that I don't want to provide a wonderful experience for our guests, but the fact that we are throwing this "party" and bringing everyone together in the first place is huge in itself. I will attend to the extras that I can but if not then so be it. The important thing and what I have always wanted is to have a beautiful event, have people that I care about there to celebrate this wonderful occasion, have a good time, and have great pictures to remember it all later.
Would I love to plan a no holds barred anything my heart desires wedding? YES!! But since that is not possible I will not sweat the small stuff. I will simply enjoy that fact that I get to do this at all and take pleasure in every moment. As far as I'm concerned the biggest thing missing from my wedding is likely to be my big sister and that's not something that even costs money. This wedding is not about the stuff it's about our love. And it's about our friends and family coming together to celebrate it.
Monday, February 8, 2010
Speaking of which. They start building it on Thursday. We are going to go out to the site on Saturday and meet with the builder. We had our design browse appointment on Sunday and ended up with a whopping $10,137 dollars in upgrades. I thought our loan agent was crazy when she said that she was giving us $10,000 for upgrades. Yeah right! It adds up so fast that it makes your head spin though. Also, a lot of the so called up grades are less of an upgrade and more a basic necessity. Like a garage door opener. How are you going to sell someone a garage and not the automatic garage door opener part in this day and age? Oh, and who ever thought that medicine cabinets in your bathrooms or an extra clothing bar in your closet would be considered an upgrade? We did go for some upgraded carpet, kitchen appliances, and doors among other things which definitely added up but a lot of the upgrades that we got were just little things that they get you on that should probably come with the house in the first place. When all is said and done $10,000 only adds $100 per month to your mortgage. Not that I don't think every $100 counts but by the end of this process I just kind of threw my hands up and went with it. We will get what we want in the house and be done with it.
The paperwork on this is never ending. Bank statements, W2's, pay stubs, VA documentation, letters of explanation and it just goes on and on. We got this huge packet in the mail-half of which I don't even understand and had to sign just about every page. They are waiting on one last bit of information and then we will be officially submitted to the underwriting department for final review and approval of our loan.
It's been another busy weekend capped off with the Superbowl on Sunday. I really enjoyed watching the game with my family. I have a bit of a snack food hangover today so I am feeling slow and heavy which I hate. We were out all day and finally made it home around 9:00pm where I collapsed into bed just as soon as I could. I forgot to take my sleeping pill before getting into to bed and was too tired to get up and take it but I somehow managed to sleep ok without it.
Another busy weekend down and many more coming up.
Friday, February 5, 2010
Everyone has issues including myself. Admitting that you have issues does not necessarily justify or excuse your problematic behavior but it at least means that you have some sort of awareness about yourself. Heidi on the other hand is clueless. She says that she is "beyond obsessed" but then goes on to say that she will have more when the time comes. There are always little things that need fixing. Does she not see the problem with that? She says that she is a Christian but she poses in Playboy. She says that God only cares about what's on the inside but then she spends obscene amounts of money changing her outside appearance. She justifies these surgeries by saying that it's necessary because she is trying to be a Pop star but SHE CAN'T SING!! I am still amazed that she feels her triple D's are still not large enough for her. She's whittled her body down so much that I'm surprised she doesn't topple over when she struts along in her little high heeled shoes.
I haven't watched The Hills in a while but I have heard little tid bits about her baby obsession. If she gains any weight during pregnancy I know she'll fix that with more plastic surgery but has she thought about what she is going to say to her child when he/she wonders why she looks so different in pictures pre 2006? Is she going to say, "Oh, I had my dumbo ears fixed but there is nothing wrong with yours. You are fine." Is this child going to feel the need go to a plastic surgeon too to fix any similar perceived genetic imperfections that she had changed on herself?
Thursday, February 4, 2010
I had to kick her out because she may not be able to come at all. She is a high risk pregnancy because she is older and has fibroids. She is due August 24Th and will likely be put on bed rest at some point during her pregnancy so it is unlikely that she will be on a plane around July 10Th when I get married. She still is saying "we'll see" but I doubt it and I don't think either one of us needs the pressure of worrying about if she will be in it or not. If she does make it somehow I will be thrilled to have her there whether she is in the bridal party or not.
I am so incredibly disappointed by this. So is she. She lives in a podunk town, hardly has any friends, and was really looking forward to a visit back home. I have to look at the bigger picture though. She had two miscarriages and has desperately wanted a baby for a while now. This baby being born healthy takes precedence over anything else. I am finally going to be an auntie. It's about time one of us gave my parents some grand kids! I am happy for her even if it means she will miss a very special day in my life.
I currently have 3 bridesmaids. My longtime friend from college who now lives in Atlanta and a good friend who currently works for the same district as I do. My little sister will be my maid of honor now. Mike also has 3 stable groomsmen he can count on being there. He has a fourth that may or may not be able to make it so whether or not I ask a 4Th person to be in it will depend on that.
It's funny because I originally didn't even think I would have bridesmaids. I'm not a queen who requires "attendants" surrounding me. I didn't want anyone to have to go out and spend money on a dress just for me. That's why it was really important that I find cute re wearable dresses for them. I wish it were not $135 but for coordination purposes it just seemed simpler to go with David's Bridal. Once I started planning it just felt right to have my close friends and sisters to be part of this. I want that memory of them standing up there with me on my wedding day. I'm not into having an army of bridesmaids just because.
I never wanted a huge bridal party but I really did want my big sister there.
Wednesday, February 3, 2010
I have acted in corporate video industrials, local TV commercials, done entire scenes in acting classes or for auditions and have modeled but the idea of speaking in front of a group of people is nerve racking. When I am acting or modeling I am trying to be someone else. I am putting on a facade. That's easy. But when I have to be me in front of a group of people and supposedly know what I am talking about that is a totally different ballgame for me.
I could have said no. My boss told me that I didn't have to do it but I knew that it would come up again down the road and be something looming ahead of me that I would have to do but was afraid of. So, I stalled for a bit but the next day I told her that I would do it. Even though everything inside of me was screaming "What the hell are you doing? Are you crazy?" I pushed through the fear and stuck to my decision to do it.
The best thing I could do to ease my nerves is be prepared. I wrote up a short script of things I wanted to talk about and practiced it. Very similar to what I would do if I were preparing for an acting audition. I printed my hand outs and make sure I knew them backwards and forwards. I know this stuff. I talk to teachers all the time over the phone and help them navigate this program. I can do this.
And that's exactly what I did. I arrived early. I didn't tell anyone how scared I was or that this is the first time I've ever had to do anything like this. It made me feel better to have them think that I knew what I was doing and that this was routine. I walked in and put the different websites up on the computer that was hooked up to the projector for display. I stood there with confidence and when the director introduced me to the group I smiled and jumped right in. My voice was confident. The paper that I was holding didn't shake. I took my time and I did a darn good job if I do say so myself. The director told me "I nailed it" as I walked out.
It was a roomful of about 10 people. Nothing major but to me this was huge. On my way back to the office I was smiling on the inside and outside. It is such a great feeling to have conquered my fear and to know that I actually can do something that I never thought I could.
I get so down on myself for so many things so much of the time. I sell myself short and I often can't see beyond my fears and perceived limitations but not this time. I exceeded my own expectations on how this presentation would go. I was the center of attention talking for about 45 minutes instructing teachers. Yes, little old office assistant me. I am pretty darn proud of myself at the moment and that feels amazing.
Tuesday, February 2, 2010
My life is feeling a little shaky right now too. House hunting has taken over my life to the point where I am just plain old worn out. The contract is signed, the financing is -hopefully- secured and we have our final design browse appointment Sunday. Yes, superbowl Sunday and it's a 1 1/2 drive!! It was the only time we could get with hubby being out of town this week and the one right down the street being closed over the weekend.
Oh, and get this. A foreclosure property that fit our price range came up yesterday. It has a deck and looks pretty nice from the four pictures we saw. It has fees but they are low and it's right in the middle of a lush golf course. It would mean doing that nasty commute but it's priced lower then the new house. Timing is everything. It was comforting to hear Mj say he still likes ours better because all of those what if's started running through my mind. I hate that feeling of second guessing yourself and wondering if you made the right decision. Especially on something so HUGE!!
I do expect things to calm down now that a decision is made but there are still so many variables. And the number crunching continues. What will our final interest rate end up being? How much does it cost to lock the loan rate? How much of the interest rate will points buy down? How many of those darn points can we buy? It's crazy how you have to sign your life away and pay $3,000 up front when all you can see of your so called house is a pile of dirt and there are still so many variables that will have a major impact on our monthly payment. They can't even tell us exactly when the house will be done so we can move in. We have heard April and May. All we really know is that it will be about 60 days after they pour the foundation. Whenever that is. Sigh.
This is a good thing. I can't wait to move into a HOUSE!! But it's scary too and I am just hoping for the best.
Monday, February 1, 2010
Unless I added much more flowers they looked sparse and kinda boring in the vases. I thought baby's breath might add to it but I didn't want it to look like a lack luster homemade arrangement. I cut of the tops off and floated them in a bowl hoping they would stand up straight but they didn't. They kind of float a bit on it's side although with two or three in a pretty glass bowl of water might look OK or a little lame.
I wandered into Michael's yesterday hoping for some inspiration. In the wedding aisle I ran into two other brides one of which had the exact same date as me-July 10. She was a newbie on the block barely getting started so we shared our wisdom with her about navigating this whole wedding planning thing. Look at me! Only 2 months into planning and I feel like a veteran.