Friday, September 19, 2014

7 Quick Takes ... September 19th

I am driving to Pennsylvania today for my grandmother's 90th Birthday Party!  Can't believe I have two people in my close family who have reached 90!  Aunt Hy will actually be 98 on October 7th (same day as Baby Shep turns 1).

As I drive, I'm listening to this book I got free from audible.

Seemed like an appropriate time for the 13 hour unabridged version - while I'm in the car AND can practice the principles and information he presents!  I'll share what I learn - am excited to read/listen to after Modern Mrs. Darcy's recommendation a few weeks ago.

Yesterday I went to a Pregnancy Center's fundraiser where Matt Maher was singing.  I met him one time before actually after a concert at a local CharlotteONE event.  It was fantastic!

Now I've seen him again!  What a great night with good friends, amazing music, and a great cause!

This picture is now my happy place when work gets too crazy!

Amy and I took this on my vacation to Brooklyn for Labor Day weekend!

The affairs of God are accomplished little by little and almost imperceptibly. The Spirit of God is neither violent nor hasty.  – St. Vincent de Paul

Hmmm ... little by little - not hasty ... well, when you're outside of time, this seems fine.  However, when you're in time like we are - big by big might be good and some haste would be fine concerning the status of my future marriage (which seems to be on permanent hold by The Lord)!

Did you see this from last Friday?  Let's call it Keeping Up with the Pope!

When I get back from my trip, I should be able to move right back into my house!  FINALLY!  Although I will miss the family I have at my friends' house.  Two little babies to make you smile and laugh makes for a better evening after a long day at work!

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Expectation Hangovers

Years ago I read part of this book, 20 Something Manifesto, and the one thing I remember was her discussing what she called Expectation Hangovers.  She defines them as a "group of undesirable feelings that arise when a desired result isn't met." (source)

We'll I'm having one this weekend.  I wrote on Friday (ie: Thursday evening for 7QT) about how my house was supposed to be done on Friday and today I would be super ready to move back in, having floors to walk on downstairs, curtains up, furniture in its place, and everything!  Well, welcome to the hangover.

They began to lay the floor and then I was called to the house in a state of panic because it was looking like this:

It's hard to see, but the finishes are different on the boards - so when the light hits it and it goes all the way down the hallway, it will look, well as Ben (the contractor said), "not terrible...".  UM... we're going through this whole thing I want my floor to look amazing, I'll settle for great - but 'not terrible' - I do not think so!

So we picked out a new floor ...

This one is a much lighter color, but it's solid bamboo.  Also it is a floating floor, ie: it doesn't get glued down.  I actually like that a lot better - it's also wider and a much harder wood.  So basically, don't fall on your face in my downstairs, it'll probably break your nose!

Anyway, time line is now this:
     Friday - Ordered Floor
     Monday - Floor Delivered
     Monday through Thursday - Floor Acclimate to my House
     Thursday (maybe) or Friday - Floor Installed
     Saturday or Monday - Hector comes to paint shoe molding and touch up paint
     Monday - Chad comes to place the toilet and the sink
     Tuesday - All is well? Maybe? No expectations!

When it's done, it's going to be fantastic!!!  Until then, I haven't decided if I'm going to stay with my friends or move back home.  Every time I'm downstairs (with all of my furniture in the corner of one room), all I can think about is the night when the sewage came up.  Yuck!

Speaking of that - yesterday a little girl, Natalie, came peddling doughnuts around the neighborhood.  I offered my apologizes for my messy house as I was running all over to find my purse - and said I had a sewage backup.  She said "Oh yeah, that happens here."  WHAT? Why is everyone just okay with sewage backups happening here?!

On a happier note - this happened over the weekend!

Green Bedroom painted, Bed put together & made,
Curtains hung, and ready for me to sleep in peace!

Closet Organized!

Bathroom Unpacked!
I was happy to get all of these things done!  Now it's starting to feel like a home.  I went to IKEA to return the curtain rods I purchased (note to all - don't purchase curtain rods there - you'll have to do this if you do!  Got this:

Yummy Deliciousness for just $1!
Instead I went to Lowe's and got some dark cheap curtain rods.  They are perfect!  And also not that ugly white!

So all in all, the weekend wasn't a total bust.  And today's my Half-Birthday!!!  So just 6 more months of being a woman in her twenties!!!  Eeek ... talk about expectation hangovers!

Friday, September 12, 2014

7 Quick Takes ... September 12th

I was looking for a dance floor on today to purchase for our big festival and this was on my amazon homepage.  Apparently I viewed some men's sandals and now they are suggesting these other items and even these men's running shoes.  And amazon thinks I'm a coin collector.  Who's been searching in my account?

Speaking of funny things.  The contractor for my house, Ben, called on Wednesday to tell me the floor install was going to be delayed a few days because they had to put down leveler to even out some bumps in the foundation before they glue the wood down.  This (writing on Thursday evening) morning I text him "After they put the leveler down, so I have to stay off the entire floor?  Checking if I can do something upstairs tonight?"  He says "Just where the leveler is."  So I head over to the house before work to pick up the dirty blankets that have been hanging out on my back porch. Washing them as I type this - hoping that the little bit of infected water didn't ruin anything.

Anyway, I get to the door with my mail in hand and look to see where the leveler is so I can jump over those areas.  This is what I saw!

Yeah, that dark gray area is what you think it is - LEVELER!  I texted Ben this picture and said "So I can go into the house just not walk where the leveler is, right?  Any recommendations about how to JUMP over this?"  He called saying that I might be able to walk on it if it was later tonight, etc... - but I was just amused.  Sure walk all you want, but um... you won't be able to get in - and if you did, I can't get to the Living Room, Kitchen, Dining Room, or even the stairs.  HaHaHa ... tomorrow all should be well - the floors are being put in and they will look amazing - and make the place look more home-like rather than demo-like.

Today at work we had a staff meeting - about 45 minutes into the meeting, Father looks out and sees that our Insurance Company and two Diocesan Representatives are walking across the courtyard.  Today was our Surprise Inspection!  And there is a list!  A list of small items that is going to be pretty long.  Oh, goodness ... the mess that fixing that is going to create...

MG and I went to the Greek Festival on Saturday and concluded our amazing meal of delicious Greek food with a look inside the Church.  How amazing!

While we were in the Church, the priest was answering questions from two gals about the differences between the Catholic faith and the Greek Orthodox tradition.  It was quite interesting.  The one thing that tripped my mind right away was the first thing he stated - regarding how Catholics aren't allowed to receive communion under the bread and the wine and therefore are not receiving the entirety of the Lord.  Although we do not receive under both species on a regular basis, we are allowed to - and even if you do not, we believe you receive the body, blood, soul, and divinity under each individual species.  Hmm...

As I think about moving back in to my new house and how I need to do laundry - I reflecting on my fears about the house in a post this past Wednesday.  If you missed it, check it out - and beware of champagne corks and toilet seats!

And last but definitely not least - have I told you about my godson and his blog (well his mamma's blog where she posts great pics with what she think Baby Shep is thinking)?  If you haven't and you like cute kids, you are missing out by not reading Little Shepherd Boy.  This week's are super cute so I will share them below to wet your taste buds and once you subscribe you won't want to miss a post!

O Praise Jesus, I'm Eleven Months Old!
What is this word, gluttony?
Dear Radio Flyer, I have both
created and filled your most
recent opening for a new
catalog model!

And ladies and gents, that is all she wrote this week ... head on over to Jen's for more amazing quick takes!

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Irrational Fears

Do you ever feel like you are irrationally afraid of things?  I do!

Almost six years ago during my first Advent in Charlotte, Father Pat gave a great homily about being afraid of all the wrong things.  It was so good, I remember it to this day almost word for word - and don't worry, I'm going to share it with you!  He began:
Did you know that more people are killed every year by champagne corks than poisonous spider bits?
Um, Father - NO I did not know that!

The point of the homily was that we are more concerned with if the cookies will be made and the presents purchased and wrapped than if our hearts are prepared to meet Jesus on the day of His birth.  All of the cookies and pies will be baked, but if we don't prepare our hearts, we won't be ready for Jesus.

I think about this all of the time when I get a little afraid of flying and remember that statistically more people are in car accidents every year than are hurt in plane crashes.  And my college roommate once told me that more people were injured by toilet seats than in plane crashes.  So, there you go!

It reminds me of this post by Kendra over at Catholic All Year about encouraging independence in her kids by letting them walk to the park on their own.  People asked about kidnapping, which does happen and is a serious thing, but she responds that statistically they are more likely to get hurt in the car with her driving.

The real reason I've been thinking about this is laundry.  Now, you're asking yourself, what's dangerous about laundry? Do you have one of those creepy monsters in your laundry room that eats socks?  Katie, are you afraid of the sock monster?

Um, no - I'm not.  I don't have a sock monster.  That's silly.  My fear is that the last time I did laundry at my house (which I'm going to move back into on Sunday) my worst fear, that I didn't even know was a fear, happened.  Raw sewage flooded my entire downstairs.  Now, I've had the plumbing fixed so this shouldn't be an issue.  However, I'm still a little afraid and have a feeling I'll be watching the bathroom the entire time to make sure nothing terrible happens.

I know that this fear will go away.  How?  Well, I've had this before, after my car accident.  Where I was afraid every time I was driving that someone was going to hit me from behind, the side, or even the front.  I mean, that someone was going to be going the wrong way and hit me head on and not only was my car going to be totaled, but I would be totaled too.  It's not entirely gone yet, but it's much less today than it was a year ago (my accident was just a year and three days ago).

What kinds of things are you irrationally afraid of?  How do you avoid being fearful when a situation happens upon you?

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

NAS: Oh, so chivalrous!

Back with the Not Alone Series gals this week!

Oh, so chivalrous!

Chivalry should not become a lost art and we, as women, ought to step up to the plate a bit more and encourage men to treat us as women, thereby respecting them as men. Do you have tips, ideas, or stories to encourage men to be... men?! Open doors for us, initiate dates, honor us as women, etc? Let's chat! (Thanks to Sarah Thérèse!)

My thoughts on this topic are varied and a little confusing even for me, but I will try to articulate it without sounding like I am complaining, which I am not.

I think chivalry is a lot about how it makes men and women feel, perception, and realizing we are all connected in this crazy world instead of living for ourselves.  I also think chivalry is not just about men doing things for women, but human beings taking care of human beings.  All that being said, here's a story to bed illustrate my thoughts.

About a month ago my friend who was recently ordained a priest drove down from where he's doing research in NC to visit me for a Sunday afternoon.  We had dinner, explored Charlotte, visited a few churches, enjoyed a sweet at Amelie's, and checked out my new house.  It was a lovely afternoon.  Mostly because I got to hang out with my friend, but also because I was reminded about what my standard for a man is.  This guy has always been so kind, thoughtful, and considerate of others - not just me, not just other women.

Some things that made the evening feel so lovely were:

  1. Each time we got into the car, he opened the door for me.  Not because I wasn't capable, I am.  That's not the point.
  2. Every time we entered a building, he opened the door for me.  
  3. At the end of the night when he dropped me off at my apartment, he walked me up the stairs to ensure I was safe.
Now all of those things are small, and didn't cost anything but his consideration of me and respect for me.  As a single woman in her late 20s, they are all things I do for myself on a regular basis.  I don't have anyone to open my car door, help me with the groceries, lead me into a building, or even make sure I get into my home safely at night.  I think that's why I find it so special and memorable.  

Now it shouldn't be memorable, it should be ordinary.  

We have these crazy ideas that if a man opens a door for a woman than he's thinking about how helpless she is, how incapable of caring for herself she might be, or how weak she is.  REALLY?  You opened the door for me so therefore you think I'm helpless!  What crazy woman made that connection and then screamed it from the rooftop and brainwashed all of the other women to yell at all men to never do that again?

I read this article the other day by Msgr. Pope about how dating has all but disappeared from our culture.  Women in their late 30s and early 40s were commenting below the article that they don't think they've been on an official 'date' in their whole life.  They've been out with guys, but just hanging out.  One of my favorite, but controversial, bloggers had something to say about that whole hanging out thing.

How can we reverse this trend?  How can we bring back the idea of dating, chivalry, and awareness for others?  

The topic asks "how do we encourage this" - I don't know.  Saying thank you and be affirming when it happens, but not obvious.  There's no need to say, "It's so great that you opened the door for me young sir, no one ever does that, how did you get to be such a lovely young man, let's get married."  And that might be extreme but us ladies also need to stop thinking that because a guy opened a door for us that means he wants to marry us.  It means he's a decent human being.  It's also a sad state of society that there are so few guys doing this that we are afraid there aren't any decent human beings around anymore.  I know that I go there sometimes.

Anyway, those are my thoughts ... thanks to Morgan and Jen for hosting and this week head over to Jen's to read the other ladies' thoughts on chivalry and see you next Tuesday for more of the Not Alone Series!

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Brooklyn - a Vacation Recap in Photos!

I went to New York to visit my brother and his GF over Labor Day weekend - we had some fun times ... so below is a post of pics in a random/backwards order!

The Hammock Grove on Governor's Island

Riding a Surrey in the rain ... best Sunday afternoon!

The view from the Brooklyn Bridge Park

Roller Skating - Just a Typical Friday Night

A Moulin Rouge Themed adventure on skates

The four of us on the Surrey

My brother and I in Central Park

A great view of the city flying home

A garden rocking horse in Rockefeller Center

Who knew the beautiful view from the roof of the MET

Saint Patrick's Cathedral - I mistakenly thought
that the scaffolding had been taken down...

A Panorama from the top of the MET over Central Park 

Van Gogh ... love this sky!

Central Park!  Beautiful Blue Skies!

Nate's 25th Birthday!

Prospect Park Zoo - Be a Turtle!

What a great visit that included a visit with Steph and her little ones (including the newest little Allie), a bike ride through Brooklyn, a visit to the biggest Whole Foods I've ever seen, Malaysian for lunch, Italian for dinner, a flee market where great art was acquired, and much more!

Saturday, September 6, 2014

So You Want to Buy a House...

If you've been reading, you know that I purchased a house last month, August 8th to be exact.  It was the result of my roommate moving back to Chicago and the rent in my area being a giant money pit I could no longer afford to play in.  So I went house shopping and made an offer on the 2nd one I saw.  After all the crazy that's been the past month, I still think I chose the best option I saw.  I like the layout, I enjoy the neighborhood, and the location is perfect for me from work.  No one could guarantee I would have the same or different issues at another place.  This one was the best price for the area to keep the mortgage at an amount I can afford on my church salary.

So I cleaned it that first weekend - just preparing the house to be moved into and it looked like this!

1. The Blue Bedroom
2. The Amazing Kitchen, 
3. The Purple Living Room
4. The Wood / The Tile Floor.

Then I moved in with the help of my amazing friends and stayed the first night in my new house!  The following day my friends brought in the best part, my brand new big girl bed!

Then on Thursday evening MG and Mer were coming over to help me official decide between these three colors in my living room.

The one on the far left is the winner - Betsy Ross House Blue!  BUT instead we ended up cleaning up sewage that had come up the toilet in the downstairs bathroom.  The following day this was more like what my house looked like!

Yeah, that's right - what used to be beautiful was then torn up!

But now the new paint is up, the floors have been delivered, and we are almost ready to go!  I even primed my bedroom and am prepared the paint the real colors on tomorrow and Monday!

1. New Dining Room Color "Spun Honey" - Looks BEAUTIFUL!
2 & 3. Bedroom has been primed!  The blue is gone!
4. Dining Room Curtains - handmade
5. Gray Hallway - do those two walls look different?
6. Living Room - Betsy Ross is coming through!  AMAZING Color!
7. Bathroom is an orange called "Morning Sunrise" - very bold!
8. Floors have been delivered!
9.  They look so fantastic with the blue living room!

However, I think my house still hates me a little bit.  At about the fourth brush stroke over the blue, all of the lights upstairs went out.  SERIOUSLY? Why does my house hate me?  First it basically throws up on me and then takes away my light!  How can all of this actually be happening?  Good thing I know how to use a breaker box - and got it squared away pretty quickly!  Still not sure what tripped the breaker though since all I had on were the lights, a ceiling fan, and a radio.  I should remember to always blow dry my hair in the dark!

I am enjoying the ability to do a lot of DIY stuff.  These things aren't really possible when you're in an apartment or at a rental.  I just didn't think that it would all be happening so quickly.  After priming the bedroom today, I am grateful that the downstairs was painted by professionals.  I don't think any ladder would have been tall enough to make me a happy painter!

What can be done to avoid some of these problems - that are going to end up costing about $15,000.  Thank God for Insurance to cover more than 85% of the entire disaster.

1. Don't delay in having an inspection done - be sure to call the inspector ASAP after making an offer and see what you're getting in to with the house.  If you're using a housing program to help with closing costs, call this inspector as soon as you decide so you can get going - you don't have to have the loan package submitted before you do this (FYI).
2. After that, call a plumber to come take a camera down all of the drains and inspect all of the connections.  This way you'll know if you have the proper water pressure, good connectors, or even a blockage down below the foundation or front yard.
3. Have a guy come look at the HVAC system and water heater to determine if things have been cared for in the past or not.

Only the first one was advised to me - no one told me about having a plumber.  The inspector found things like the Carbon Monoxide detector didn't have a battery in it - but that didn't end up being a problem I had to deal with right after moving in last month.  I haven't had any issues with the HVAC system, but with the hatred this house seems to have for me, I will not be surprised if it needs to be replaced in the next 3 to 6 months.  Hopefully no more disasters!

Off to paint more tomorrow, then I'll be ready to really decorate.  I think that's been the hardest part - now I'm getting settled living with the twins and their amazing parents.  My house doesn't feel like home yet - and nothing is on the walls, frankly nothing is even on the floor as you walk around on the cement slab downstairs.


Those two really are the cutest!!!

In a few months, I'm sure I'll feel differently ... but today I'm still in transition and it doesn't feel real yet.  I'm eager to feel at home in my own house!