March 2010


Because global warming is alive and kicking (sorry Republicans, but I’m a believer), Wisconsin has been having some mighty fine weather this March.  In fact, today my car showed 78 and I did a little inside happy dance (because I can’t let the driver next to me see me doing the real thing.  That’s as bad as getting caught belting out Journey at the top of your lungs at a traffic light.  We all do it…cough.)  Anyhow, this surprising weather has made me seriously happy.  Like the kind of happy that makes me want to approach random strangers and just hug them.  And then we’d nod at each other and give a mutual “I know” look, because…well…Wisconsin can be a little rough.  And we know.

This weather has really taken the stress out of a stressful situation right now.  I’m due to go full time next week, but this week I’ve been working partly from home and partly from a temporary office set up on the 2nd floor of a building that will house our company’s brand new office.  Which is still under construction.  Have any of you ever had to move and live out of suitcases for a couple weeks?  Try doing that with files and computers and important documents.  Because it’s like your toothbrush.  You don’t realize you packed it in the suitcase on the moving truck until it’s too late.  Same goes for that one damn document you need.  Figures.

Anyhow, I’m a little nervous because part of the deal of going full time was that I’d take on reception-type duties as well because our office manager is leaving.  And she’s been with the company forever.  That person you go to when you have no idea who else to talk to about some minor problem or another.  And now I’ll be in that role.  And I’m starting to wheeze just thinking about it.  Because a couple hours in one week is not enough time to train.  I feel like I’m being thrown into the deep end without passing swimming lessons. 

I know I’ll pick everything up eventually.  I hate to toot my own horn but I taught myself everything about my current position because my original boss left just months after I started and nobody else knew a damn thing about circulation.  So…toot toot.  Anyway…it’s more that overwhelming feeling of something new.  The whole “I know I’ll get this, but I just want to get this NOW” feeling.

Anyway – the weather is helping to curb my anxiety and I’m just enjoying knowing I’ll have my last Friday off in…well, ever.  Because once full time hits next week, it’ll feel like a big ole’ slap to my inner fun machine.  It’s like karma for enjoying myself too much in college.  I have to pay in 9 to 5’s for another 40 years.  And karma cashes in on Monday.

Someone needs to get my mom a paper bag to breathe in, because from the caps lock on her comment in my latest post, I’m worried she might be a tad bit worried I’m jumping the gun.

I want to clarify my last post.  I DO want to buy a home.  Tony does too.  The price on this condo is decent.  And we’d be Owners. Of. A. Home.  Whoa.

But…I’m not looking to jump into anything we can’t afford.  Hello!  Girl who has never been late in paying a bill her entire life over here!  I’m a little bit of a nazi when it comes to my finances.  In fact, I pretend $100 dollars is $0 in my checking account.  You don’t even want to see my savings organization.  It involves Excel spreadsheets.  So believe me.  There’s noway I would buy something with Tony that we both couldn’t afford.

Yesterday a good majority of the excitement I shared with all of you stemmed from the fact that we finally have something like this on our radar.  And, yeah, I’m tired of scouring the papers for crappy rentals, but I do also see the benefits in renting versus buying something we can’t afford.  So, basically, it’s just a relief to know we’re taking a step forward to meet with someone about where our finances are at…and where they can go.  And what that will mean in our future.

So, whether or not we find we can afford to buy a place like this…and actually decide if we WANT a place like this…it’s still comforting to know we’re heading down the right path and share a similar goal.  Because if you know my stubborn ass fiance, you’d know we’re not always on the same page.  Like rice krispie treat wedding cakes.

So not long ago Tony and I went from joking about, to talking about, to seriously discussing buying the condo I’m living in now.  In fact, after filling out the initial paperwork to rent this quaint, little lower flat in Cedarburg, we came home and started talking about how little (I mean Little with a capitol L) storage space the place has.  Which prompted us to talking about going to meet with a financial advisor about how much house we might be able to afford.  Because I’m about ready to throw in the towel and say “screw renting.”

My “landlord” Kay, who is also my coworker, also made a convincing offer not long ago.  The realtor’s contract expires at the end of this month and if we were interested in buying, she’d knock off another $10,000 from the price if we bought straight from her.  Because, as she figures, that’s what she’d be paying the realtor when the place finally sells.  Have I mentioned how much I love this gal?!  She’s the best!

The asking price is ridiculously low right now because they’re eager to sell and with the extra $10,000 off, it’d be around $40,000 less than what the place is valued at.  !!!.  I felt the exclamation points merited their own sentence.  Because…really.

In fact, we contemplate buying it and then putting it back on the market for the value price.  Because we don’t need to move out for any special reason, we could let it sit on the market (and sit it probably will) and not accept any offers below a certain point.  That way, if it sells, we’d be up a lot of money and if it doesn’t, it’s no skin off our teeth (ooo, a little carry over from my post about cliche sayings!).

There are some downpoints, however, which brings me back from la la land.  One – it’s basically a glorified apartment.  (But it’d be MY glorified apartment…).  Two – Condo dues suck.  Three – Electric heat.  In Wisconsin.  My electric bills are sometimes close to what I pay for condo dues.  Whoever installed electric heat in this building obviously never attended Earth Science class to learn about the climate here in the Midwest.  The unit runs all the time, pretty much. 

But plusses!  Underground parking.  A beautiful, roomy place.  A great location.  No moving! (When you’ve moved 3 times in the last 2 years, this benefit definately makes the list).

An actual home that we own. 

That’d be pretty cool, I think.  I wish this was fast forwarded one year.  Weddings aren’t cheap so a good portion of the money I’ve been putting aside each month is going to a wedding fund.  We were hoping to use any wedding gift money towards a downpayment on a house.  That would totally come in handy about now.  But…maybe I just need to bite the bullet.  And stop my dreaming and make it a reality.  Fingers crossed we get good news from a financial person.  Maybe something like – “hey, your monthly payments will only be $100 dollars a month.  And you’re exempt from taxes because you both are ridiculously good looking.”

Sorry for the lack of posting this week.  I caught my mom’s cold and boy has it put me on my ass.  I had this growing Things To Do list (also known as Holy Ambitious Katie list), but I’ve only checked off a few things so far.  Because, really, who wants to clean the bathroom floors when she could be throwing herself a pity party on the couch and watching Law and Order: SVU reruns?  Helloooo Elliott Stabler!  Wink, wink.  (Ok, that was stupid, but today I get a free pass to blame anything stupid I do on the fact that my brain feels all fuzzy-like and my reasoning is off.  And, duh, Elliott Stabler is kind of a beefcake.  I’m just saying.)

Did I leave you hanging for too long?  My apologies.  It’s been a busy weekend hanging with the madre so I haven’t had much time to write.  Excuses aside, here’s how the dress shopping went down.

My mom flew in Wednesday night.  Originally, we planned to use all day Thursday and Friday and maybe even the weekend to hunt down the dress.  To make Operation Find The One go as smooth as possible, my friend Allie and I visited a few bridal stores to weed through some of the likes and dislikes.  This way I could show my mom the favorites.

At one of the stores, I ended up finding quite a few that I fell in love with.  So I booked an appointment for first thing Thursday morning.  And in less than 2 hours, we were walking out of the store with a deposit down on a dress.  I think we were both in a little bit of shock at how easy that was. 

It came down to 2 at the end.  Both were gorgeous and I was actually leaning more towards the one I ended up not getting.  But my mom and the sales lady, as well as other visitors in the store, kept raving about the one I did get.  And so I tried it on one more time and, bam, that’s all I needed.  It’s the one.

I knew going into this whole experience that I wanted a unique dress.  I told the sales girl right away that I wanted something a little chic, a little different, but that wouldn’t wear me.  I think the dress ended up being a perfect blend.  It’s a one shoulder gown with a beautiful flower on the shoulder and a fit and flare silhouette.  The bottom of the dress has ruffles that flow all the way down to the floor.  It even matches my shoes perfectly (bonus!).  The dress is funky.  It’s modern.  But it’s also soft and a bit romantic in a way.  It’s a dress people will probably have an opinion on – good or bad.  But in a world of strapless, beaded numbers (I tried many beautiful ones on, but they didn’t do it for me) I’m ok with having something a little outside the box.

I struggle with whether I should post a picture of the dress on this blog.  I have a print out copy of the dress that I haven’t had any reservations about showing to people.  However, sometimes it’s nice to be surprised.  So I’m leaving the decision up to you all.  If you want to see a picture of the dress that an overly shiny model is wearing for the ad campaign, let me know and I’ll send you a link.  If you want to be surprised in December, then…wow, I’m going to need lessons from you in will power.

Anyhow – a big thanks to my mom who not only helped me find the dress, but has hashed out all kinds of wedding details that I’ve been putting off.  Sometimes we all just need that little boost.  And moms are sometimes the best people to give us that.

I don’t have much time to write, but I wanted to let you all know…

I found a dress!

Woohoo!

And in the literary world, this is what we call a cliffhanger.  Because my mom and I are heading out the door soon and I can’t write about the whole experience.  But, I’ll write soon, promise.  Stay tuned!

Guess what, my little lovelies?  I have a VIP visitor in T-minus 2 days! 

See if you can guess.

She’s the person who let me lick the batter off the mixing spoons whenever she made chocolate chip cookies when I was a kid. 

She’s the same person who showed up for writing awards, teacher conferences and basketball games. 

She took off countless days from work to pick me up from school during my 5th grade year when I was having a really rough time and getting really sick. 

She was also the person who sat on the floor and cried with me when I was so overwhelmed with anxiety at this time in my life as well.  And she’s the one who stuck with me when I started to get better. 

She’s the one who delivered the first birds and bees talk.  Oy. Vey.

She’s the one who will scold me for swearing and then turn around and tell a story that might make a sailor blush.  (And usually her sisters are helping her fill in the blanks, too.)

She’s who I think of when defining self-less, warm and the rock of the family.  And because she’s modest, she’ll never admit she is all of these, but she is.  And everybody knows it.

She’s the one who will go wedding dress shopping with me this week.  And I’m so excited that not only will she be there for me as my mom, but also as my friend.

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