Category Archives: Cha Cha Cha Changes

2013: The First Six Months

Oh geez, where do I even begin? The first half of 2013 was challenging at best, rough (and almost unbearable) at worst. 2013 is looking like it’s going to be one of my most challenging years ever.

Obviously updating this blog has taken a (far off, distant) back seat, but I’d like to continue to update it randomly. It’s eye-opening to look back at my own life in such detail, and I hope many years down the road I’ll look back at 2013 and barely remember is as being so challenging. So here’s where we are…

The Good.

Despite some serious frustrations, the first half of the year has had some highlights. Unfortunately many of these highlights are coupled with some major bummers.

  • Brian got a job in NJ and started working there in February. We were officially reunited, even though we were living under his parent’s roof.
  • We sold our house in VA in 8 days.
  • I achieved some major accomplishments in my new job and have solidified myself has a valuable member of the organization.
  • I started going to CrossFit consistently and totally fell in love. It’s probably the one thing that kept me mostly sane these past few months. I am still a newbie, but the variety and challenge kept me going. I have gone consistently 3 times a week for about 6 months. I also REALLY love the atmosphere of the box I joined.
  • We bought a house and have recently moved in. This is a “good” spot because, yay, independent living. But this also falls into the ugly category…we’ll get there.
  • I’ve enjoyed getting to spend more time with family and exploring a new city. Philly is a pretty cool place.

Happy photos

SoldSOLD (and BOUGHT).

CrossFit HandsMy super attractive CrossFit hands

The Bad.

  • One of the first things I tackled in my new job was organizing and managing a large fundraising event. I am no stranger to event management, but it was an incredibly frustrating situation, since I essentially had to act as the race director, logistics manager, communications team, PR director, sponsorship manager, volunteer recruiter, and a partridge in a pear tree. Ultimately my job is to raise funds for my organization, but the logistical side of managing a successful, high-quality event greatly interfered with my ability to develop sponsors or market this race adequately. The event was successful and exceeded budget, but I seriously resented the whole thing. I do NOT want to be a race director, and that’s what this was. I had several months of extreme stress and frustration.
  • While we managed to sell our VA house in just 8 little days, the process ended up being a HUGE PAIN IN THE ASS. We got a great offer and happily accepted, but then one of the buyers got his identity stolen and it pushed our closing back a whole month. It was ridiculous. So we ended up having to pay another whole mortgage payment. And the buyers and their agent turned out to be total d-bags, and were mad at us for having the water turned off on the original closing date. I mean come on people. We were dragged along and cancelled all the utilities, etc (not the insurance!) with the expectation that the house would close before it did. They also complained about all kinds of little repairs, etc. The house was built in 1920, it’s not perfect. Whatever it’s over.
  • Both Brian and I were commuting 1+hrs a day to our respective jobs. Thankfully I was able to work from home quite often, but the commuting got really old, really fast. It took me a solid 5 months to figure out that I should probably just work until 6 or 7 at night vs. attempting to leave anywhere around 5. And I also discovered Audible…bless that app.
  • The buying process for our new place WAS OUT OF THIS WORLD RIDICULOUS as well. It was so easy the first time around, that it was laughable the amount of issues we had on both the selling and buying ends. We literally were not cleared to close until TEN MINUTES before our scheduled closing time. I mean come on people!!
  • I officially lived with my in-laws for 7 months, 2 weeks and 1 day (not that I was counting). It had its benefits, but we were SO ready to gtfo of dodge if you know what I mean.

Annoying Photos.

PackingPacking sucks.

CommuteCommuting sucks. And this was 7pm.

The Ugly.

  • We bought our new house in a community about 30 minutes North of Philly. The idea was to give Brian a much easier commute (30-40 min vs. 1-1.5 hrs). And bonus for the new house being 20 minutes from my office (even though I mostly work from home). We moved in about a week ago and it’s been great so far…
  • So why is this ugly? Well. Brian found out yesterday that his entire department is being outsourced. It’s a somewhat dramatic thing, since they literally just decided to bring the department in-house (about a year ago), and that’s why Brian was hired. But thanks to some super shady stuff, the powers that be have decided that they want to outsource the department (and not like oversees outsourcing…like hiring another company to do a particular job). It’s a major, major blow since we bought this house to make his commute to work easier.
  • We are about 1 hour away from the rest of the family, all in an effort to ease commuting issues, and now we don’t know where Brian will end up.
  • And the obvious super ugly…we’re back to square one on the job hunt. It’s kind of surreal, and really, really, really sucky timing. He’ll work through August 30th and then he’s on his own. The whole situation is super pissed-off-worthy. Thankfully B’s made some great connections in his short time there, and he has some great people helping him out. Fingers crossed for a FAST AND EASY hunt. And that’s saying a lot in this job economy. I don’t think the reality of this situation has really hit us. We won’t really hit panic mode until the end of the year, since that’s about as far as the “Stay-on-until-August” payout will last us.

And in more recent news, our AC broke exactly 1 week into living in the new place, in the middle of an insane heat wave. It’s been quite uncomfortable, especially since all of this happened exactly at the same time as the job craziness. Can we get a break?!

So here we are. In a new house, in a new town, an hour from family, with no friends, and one less job than we started with. It’s pretty rough to be honest. I like to think I’m a generally positive person, but this move has been more frustrating and challenging than anything. I’m still kind of waiting for the good stuff to outweigh the bad. And with that, a picture dump of some bright spots from these past few months.

Waffle toungeSomeone is always blissfully happy.

PhillyLove the city.

FamCuzReunited with family.

Happy pupShe flies!

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2013 Here We Come

How is it already 5 days into the New Year??

The past two years I’ve had some pretty solid new year’s goals (not so much resolutions…those are too harsh), and I attained both of them. In 2011 I decided I wanted to run 11 races. In 2012 I decided I wanted to run a marathon. Done and done, and I loved these goals!

So where does that leave me in 2013? Should I try for 13 races? Attempt a PR? Aim for something totally unrelated to running? I’m still kind of up in the air about what I want 2013 to look like, so goal setting is rather challenging. But here are a few ideas…

  • Focus on strength training. I’m not sure how well this goal will work out, since I do MUCH better with solid, concrete goals. This might be too abstract. But I really want to get into some form of exercise that focuses on strength. I’ve tried CrossFit (I’m still a little nervous about my ability to stick to it..) and love BodyPump. Sadly the gym I’m currently a member of doesn’t offer classes, but I don’t want to join a fancy gym until we know where we’ll be living permanently.
  • Take a pre-natal vitamin. Babies are still in the decent future for us, but I’d like to start getting my body in tip-top shape for when it does happen. I’ll be 29 in September, so we’ve started to talk about a serious time line. It makes me super excited, nervous and giddy all at once. I’m ALMOST ready for that next part of our life, but still want a bit more time to enjoy the newlywed phase.
  • Set aside serious $ in the baby fund. I’ve heard through the grapevine that babes are expensive little money suckers, so we’d like to get a decent chunk of change set aside. Even if that means sucking it up for a few months living with the in-laws. It’d be great to not have a housing payment for a few months!!
  • Go on a trip. Not just a vacation. I want to see and experience new things…not just sit around by a pool. While I love that, and certainly need it every now and then, I want to go somewhere awesome with Brian. This might conflict directly with the “save more $ for baby” thing…
  • Quit buying cheap clothing that I sort of like but isn’t actually great for my body and turns to crap quickly. I’m 28. It’s time to get my act together in terms of my wardrobe. I’m no longer in the market for stuff from Forever 21. I love a good deal, but I need to stop wasting $ on lots of cheap stuff, and invest in one or two pieces every now and then.
  • Sell a house, buy a house, and settle in Philly. God this needs to happen sooner rather than later!!
  • And in the running world…I want to get another sub 2 half marathon, and PR in the 10k.
  • I also want to learn how to cook at least 3 new dishes this year. Yes, I have low expectations, but this is probably all I can realistically handle. And I want to learn to cook these dishes WELL and consistently.

ImageI’m excited about 2013!!

A Move in the Right Direction

YAHOO! The hubs has an interview in the Philly area!! Perhaps the days of our long distance marriage are finally numbered…

Next up, packing up our entire house as quickly as possible, so we can get that baby on the market. I am REALLY hoping it sells quickly (all signs point to yes, thank goodness) once we get it on the market. Then we can hunker down at the in-laws for a month or two to save some $$, and then FINALLY start house hunting and get settled. I really hope all of this happens by April or May. And I really hope I don’t look back on that statement and tsk tsk tsk at my incredible naivety.

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Random Waffle photo. Because she’s cute.

In other news, I have a FINAL project due on freaking Christmas Eve. Because I’m in a completely online program, it’s accelerated and set up a bit differently. We ALWAYS have a final paper or project due on the last Monday of the 9 week term. And that last Monday just so happens to be Christmas Eve. I am pretty much the worst procrastinator ever, but I’m really hoping I can just get that thing done early.

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I’d like to experience Christmas joy on Christmas Eve.

Only 2 days of work, a long drive to Richmond and Raleigh and this damn project stand between me and a solid 10 days off from work. Time to get crackin’!

Too Many Cookies

I definitely just ate a foggy, dreary, sad, blah, long day’s worth of Christmas cookies. I worked from home today, which is a great perk of a flexible job. I love not having to commute an HOUR each way if I can help it, and it’s nice to really tackle all those computer tasks that always seem to build. However, I am NOT a fan of working at home when the neighborhood is covered in a lingering, dark fog until 2pm. It was SO dreary.

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My view…dark and blah. Until 2 freaking PM!

No matter what I did today, I just kept getting sad. It was nice to have work as a distraction, but it just felt like the dreary fog was taking over my mind. I think I’m handling this crazy time in my life pretty well, but sometimes it’s hard to maintain constant positivity. I miss my little family. I miss having a routine. I miss having my own space. I know my in-laws are family, but it’s hard not being in charge of my own home, or doing things the way I do them, without having to constantly worry about how someone else perceives them. I know I’m SO LUCKY to have such a great family, but this situation is still really tough.

Tomorrow I’ve got meetings in Philly, so I’ll be out and about, which I think will be great. And the sun is supposed to be shining. I also plan to squeeze in a run if I can, since I know it will help boost my spirits. I’ve just got to keep telling myself that all this change is worth it!

Miss this guy.

I’m currently living 4 hours away from my husband. It’s been this way for almost a month, and it’s tough.

When I got the job in Philly it was a no-brainer that we would move. We’ve always wanted to raise a family here, but never had the right reason to leave. And now, that reason is here. It’s always seemed like such a dream, such a far off wish, that I never really thought about what it would be like. Bri couldn’t up and leave as quickly as we’d hoped since he was in the middle of a huge project at work. It just wouldn’t be right for him to quit like that, and we didn’t want to lose his salary when he didn’t have something else lined up in Philly.

So now he’s on a perpetual job hunt while I live with his parents up in PA. It’s SO great to have a free place to live while we get things figured out, but it is tough. I miss him dearly. It’s weird how much you miss someone when you’re suddenly taken away, even if you know it’s only temporary. And we’re still “newlyweds” to boot. We should be living up this time of our lives together.

The plan at this point is for me to go on a crazy packing spree in our Richmond house in the week between Christmas and NYE (I have the week off from work, thank God). We’ll get it ready to list in early February, so it HOPEFULLY sells first thing in the spring. Bri will move up to Philly as soon as the house sells, or he gets a job up here, whichever happens first. I’m going balls to the walls getting that house ready to sell, because at least I have SOME control over that.

If we do sell and he hasn’t found something up here yet, we’ll live with his parents until he’s firmly on his feel. Luckily he works in a field that is in high demand, so we’re hoping the process isn’t too painful…

In the mean time, I’m thankful that I miss him like I do. It solidifies my love for him, and the fact that he really is my best friend (soooo sickeningly sappy, but true, and I don’t want to ever forget it). These next weeks and months are going to be HARD (holy hell I’m in a brand new city, in a new job, living with the in-laws, don’t know my way around, am trying to adjust, am taking grad school classes, am trying to stay in good running shape, and am doing it all without my husband), but I know it will all be awesome in the end…

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Yikes…

Oh wow it’s been 6 months. But I needed those 6 months. And boy, oh boy, have things changed. Maybe I’ll start posting more regularly, maybe not. But sometimes I just feel the need to write. So here I am.

In the past 6 months I…

  • Ran a marathon (holy hell that sucked)
  • Got a new job (bittersweet awesomeness)
  • Moved to PHILLY
  • Celebrated my 1 year wedding anniversary
  • Learned a LOT about what’s important to me
  • Have gotten very excited about the future
  • Tried CrossFit for the first time
  • Am currently in a long distance marriage

Perhaps I’ll write more on these topics when the mood strikes…there’s a lot to maintain for posterity’s sake!

It’s like a WHOLE NEW ME!

Oh HI two months later.

Clearly I’ve been a little bit of a blogging slacker. But I’ve got some good excuses…

I wrapped up the biggest event of the year for me at work.

I GOT MARRIED.

I PR’d in the McDonald’s Half Marathon.

I honeymooned in Mexico.

I spent Thanksgiving in Florida.

I’m FINALLY settling back into a normal routine that includes regular access to a computer/the internet and the time in which to use such things.

Words won’t really do all of these activities justice, so here are some pics. I likely won’t recap these events in superdetail (yes that’s a word), but expect to see lots of pics and blurbs in the future.

Oh hey HUSBAND.

2:05:51 a new PR.

A typical honeymoon day.

And now back to our regularly scheduled programming!

Floor Sleeping & Food Fails

For the past 2.5 months I’ve been sleeping on a mattress on the floor.

Not because I don’t love snuggle time with my main man, but because I literally could not sleep in our old, curvy bed. We got our queen size bed and frame from my parents when we bought our house two years ago. They upgraded to a tempurpedic and we happily accepted the freebie. However, considering the bed was purchased in the mid-90s, it was already past its prime.

Old bed. Painful mattress.

I started to have A LOT of trouble sleeping…just tossing and turning and feeling so uncomfortable. There was basically a giant ditch in the middle of the mattress and no matter how many times we flipped it and rotated it, the ditch was still there. Brian didn’t have a problem with the mattress (homeboy can sleep through anything), but I opted to move to a twin mattress on the floor of our office (my brother is occupying the guest room). Eventually I started to feel like I was sleeping in the maid’s quarters. Not only was my house full of boys/men (of the human and cat variety) constantly playing Playstation and making messes, but I was also forced to sleep in a cramped little room away from all the hustle and bustle. Maid’s quarters.

So I put my foot down and decided it was time to invest in a big people bed. I even got to the point where I said we could cancel the honeymoon if it meant we could get a new bed. Not having an adult bed was really driving me insane. FINALLY Brian gave in and we went bed shopping. Thankfully that whole experience only took about 20 minutes since I am an expert Consumer Reports investigator and I determined exactly what we would need to keep me from going postal.

The bed of glory and sanity arrived on Saturday.

Thank you for saving my sanity (and future marriage).

That little slice of heaven is a king-sized Original Mattress Factory bed of angels. It is ridiculously comfortable and provides ample space for two greedy bed-hoggers and one fat cat. We had to do a little rearranging of the room, but I really love how it turned out. I plan to scratch the mismatched pillows and find a few that compliment the room a bit better.

Goodbye college hand-me-downs...I have old people sleeping problems now.

 

The view from my side.

I am not so good at interior design, but overall I enjoy the space. I love color, hence the massive orange rug. There’s nothing better than sprawling out on that baby (especially when you’re a cat).

In other news I ate HORRIBLY today. I don’t normally talk about food – I eat a pretty healthy, balanced diet. It’s really not that interesting. But today was weird for me. I like the taste of healthy foods (I could live off avocados, hummus and bagels), but I do enjoy the occasional treat. If I’m in the mood for something “bad” I just eat it. I must have been in a “mood” today. I ate:

  • A delicious smoothie for breakfast…I started out on the right foot. Spinach, greek yogurt, pineapple, blueberries, and chocolate milk.
  • Two pieces of plain pizza for lunch (provided by work…we loaded trucks today and it was brutal)
  • An M&M McFlurry (I NEEDED this after the truck loading)
  • A small McDonald’s fries (I honestly can’t remember the last time I ate at McDonald’s)
  • A handful of sweet potato chips (doing better here)
  • A bag of mini carrots (go me!)
  • A “real” grilled cheese made by my brother (white bread and kraft singles cheese)
  • A handful of buffalo pretzel bites

Talk about unbalanced. Maybe I’m having health food withdrawls since I ate McDonald’s today. That’s enough to last me at least a solid year. Tomorrow it’s back to my regularly scheduled programing.

Time to relax around these parts…I’ve got an EARLY morning tomorrow!

 

Taper? And a New Roomie!

The Williamsburg Half is only a week and 3 days away, so I should probably start tapering off my runs so I’m fresh and strong for race day. Although I must admit, it feels a little weird to taper when I’ve really only been back running for 1 week since my sickness. My plan is to attempt 7-9 miles on Saturday and then really tone things down.

Monday I ran a very successful 6 miles. I left the music at home and just ran. It felt amazing, which hasn’t happened to me in a while. Brian’s been trying to teach me how to pace myself a little better during these runs. I tend to want to go all out for EVERY run I do, but he insists that I need to maintain specific paces for specific distances. I’m pretty clueless about all of this, and he was a collegiate runner, so I guess I should listen. I attempted to stay at a 9:30ish pace for the 6 miler.

I definitely had energy left during the last mile, so I decided to go all out. In other words, Brian’s advice basically went out the window. One day I’ll learn…

Apparently I also went a little too fast during my 5 miler today. Maybe I need to readjust my definition of hard vs. moderate vs. easy?? It my head it makes sense that I should do a 5 miler faster than a 6 miler, but according to Brian it’s not all about speed. I’m hoping for a lightbulb moment sometime soon.

It makes me happy to see that I can do 5 miles at around a 9 minute pace. I should be able to do 13.1 around 9:45 right?!

Moving on.

This weekend my little baby brother graduates from COLLEGE and the exciting news is that he’ll be moving in with us!!! He is graduating with a degree in civil engineering (he’s super smart) and has been applying to jobs and programs. So rather than kill time in our hometown in NC for the summer, he’s opted to come up to VA! I’m sure the fact that his girlfriend (who is also one of my best friends – I helped set them up!) lives in Richmond had a little bit to do with it too wink, wink.

My bro is da bomb.com

Tristan is the best lil bro in the world, so I have no problem welcoming him into our home. He and Brian also get along really well, especially over their shared love of beer. We’re 4 years apart in age, but we did live together for 18 years so I figured, why not. He’s a good kid (yes, he’s still a kid to me), a good cook (score!), and just generally easy to get along with. He moves in on Sunday!

We've come a LONG way.

Another epic adventure of my 2nd quarter…living with two guys and two male cats. I’m soooo outnumbered.