Bathroom Do-Over

If there is one thing I have learned over the last 2 years as a married lady, it is that my husband will do virtually anything to get out of doing something he doesn’t like. This is also how I can tell if he doesn’t like a particular chore. I suppose I should consider myself lucky because he gets out of these “chores” by doing something else productive-usually yard work, which was a chore for me growing up and I don’t particularly like it so. He is especially grumpy in the winter when I call him out on this because there isn’t a whole lot left for him to busy himself with as an excuse to get out of say, doing the laundry. Here is what I can ask him to help me with and be guaranteed he has something better to do: laundry-any aspect, washing, drying, folding, separating, putting away…, cleaning the bathroom: I don’t think he has cleaned the shower or a toilet since I’ve known him; dishes: he doesn’t really like this but I can usually sucker him into it; any house redecorating/remodeling/renovating. With that being said, you can bet your ass we have about a cord of freshly chopped wood and he landscaped 3 other yards as I did the downstairs bathroom over completely alone.

So this weekend, I finished my bathroom. I started by taking down all the wallpaper last week. I just kind of started doing it. After we decided to put the house on the market sooner than later, I just went nutty and tore the paper down. I decided on a green to try to make the bathroom neutral-ish, put up a new light, new shelf/towel rack, new shades, new hardware, and freshly caulked the sink. I actually had to replace the globe of the light as well because when i took the shelf out so I could paint, I smashed the damn thing into a hundred pieces. The only thing I’d like to do is put some nice tile down. This mini renovation cost me a little over $100 and a little hard work. It went like this: $25 for the shelf, $9 for new hardware, $25 for the light, $16 for the shades, $36 for the paint, $14 for the paint supplies (which I bought for the kitchen as well), $14 for new shades, and $5 for a new globe. Also, I have a Lowes card and I got 5% off!

Here are some pictures:

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I get to enjoy a brand new bright bathroom out of the 90’s metallic cave and into modern cleanliness! Now, to harness the energy my husband puts forth into projects he wants to do and trick him into doing what I need help with… What a task!

 

 

 

The Key To Happiness; Love, Nana

My Nana died two years ago Tuesday. It was kind of strange. I live in New England so we are used to the weather being erratic but the day before was beautiful and the day after was even more beautiful but on the anniversary of her death, it was misty, rainy, cold, and miserable. Exactly like the day she died.

I visited her and my grandfather at the cemetery before work, effectively balling my eyes out while my hair curled and frizzed out from under my scarf I had thrown over my head to protect it from the mist. I was alone, thankfully, except for the groundskeepers who were busy doing whatever it is that needed keeping. I must have looked like a loon, standing alone in the rain, crying, and talking to myself. I didn’t care, I was with my grandparents.

Throughout the day, I had spontaneous memories of my Nana. She was a very warm woman. She loved life, her family, God, and the Red Sox. She would watch every game they played on her TV, blasting the volume so that she could hear it. She was nearly deaf and always forgot that most everyone else wasn’t. I’m sure her neighbors knew the score of the game a block away. She loved Big Papi, or Ort-iz as she called him (iz as in is not eeez).

She loved to dance. She danced in the kitchen cooking dinner, she danced walking around her house. My sister and I used to dance all growing up and put on shows for her. She would then dance with us and sing us songs from when she was young.

She had the memory of an elephant. She remembered everything. She remembered people’s names, where they lived, who they were related to, what they said… Everything. She even could sing the song about the Atlantic Parachute Company, where she worked during WWII.She would tell me stories. Oh-the stories. She could sit for hours and tell me about the “Olden days”. Her friends, how her mother died, her family from Canada, how they were poor, how her father died, how she met my grandfather, how she worked in the parachute factory… How she had to walk to school in “snow up to he’ah, up hill, both ways”.

My Nana was one of the most loving people you could ever meet. One of my favorite values she had instilled in me was to open my home to everyone. “The more the merrier!” For family dinners and special holidays, we always had some sort of “misfit” join us-whether it was someone’s roommate or a friend, or a friend of a friend-I remember one Thanksgiving we even had her stockbroker’s son over for dinner because he didn’t have a place to go. Including whoever from wherever in our lives really just makes the memories that much better and life just that much sweeter.

My Nana basically raised my sister and I. Princess Number 1 and Princess Number 2 (I was Number 1 of course. I say it is because I was the favorite, but I guess it is just because I was older). However, when asked, she would never admit she had favorites. I said once, more recently, “Nana, am I your favorite?” and she said “No, I don’t have favorites. I just love you more.” SCORE!

Now, I’m sure everyone talks about their grandparents and how great they were. The images that initially pop into my head are little old people, senile with age, and unsteadily making their way around in walkers. Sorry, but it is what I think of. My Nana wasn’t like this. She was 89 when she died, living alone and taking care of herself. Her house was modern and clean and she always smelled nice. She died suddenly of an aneurism they just couldn’t fix. She wasn’t ready to go. She never really aged in her mind. Sure, she had an old body, but her mind was sharp and full of life. She was really only like 30 in her head.

My Nana was my best friend and taught me more than I could ever imagine. Together with my grandfather, I was taught was love is. My husband and I have a great relationship and knowing what I learned from them, we will last forever, too. My Grandpa sent her letters during the war, sometimes including poems. They had destroyed most of the letters written, but some of the poems still survived. My favorite poem “A Time for Love” is actually tattooed on my back. I picked a couple of my favorite lines and asked her to write them out for a project I had. She had beautiful handwriting. She obliged and copied the text. She died two weeks later.

So, I beg of you. I know you, the reader, never met her, I’m sure. But please, please, just love. Love everyone and everything and be happy. Do what makes you happy and do nice things for other people to make them happy. Dance and sing and laugh and enjoy your life. I feel like she has given me the key to happiness and I am forever grateful.

Life-Changing Decisions

If you think about it, every decision is life-changing or certainly has the potential to be life-changing. Some big ones like “What to major in at college?” and “Should I marry this dude?” are pretty important. Others like “chicken or beef?” and “pink or french manicure?” might not make such an impact. You just never know, do you?

This weekend, I met with my real estate agent to make up an offer on the house. My husband couldn’t make it to the office with me so I had to do it alone (well, except for my sister I had for company). We wrote up the offer and discussed terms and conditions. I would have to tie up a pretty large sum of money in an escrow account and have my house sold in a month. Um… what??!

My parents have been super supportive and have offered Dave and I tons of help and resources to get this thing going. However, I was certainly not ready to drop $$$ and get my house in showing condition in less than a week. I have my procedure coming up and maybe some traveling for work, too. I can’t do it all! I finished writing up the offer and signed the papers, feeling more and more uneasy.

I was handed the envelope and was instructed to drop it off on the way home to the other real estate agent and that she will know it is coming her way. I was all sorts of freaked out and nervous. So we went to Orange Leaf.

After some yummy yogurt and fabulous little boba balls, I made my decision.

You guessed it. I chickened out.

I drove home and talked to my husband. This house is perfect, I love it, I want it. But!! (there is always a but, right??) This has to be the most piss poor timing. We can do it-but should we?

I say no. My plan now is to wait and see what happens. Maybe no one wants it! Maybe it doesn’t sell and this summer they drop the price! I highly doubt it, but miracles can happen. However, it did light a fire under my ass. We have already been to some home improvement stores, picked out new carpets, tile, paint, and fixtures, and I will be going balls to the walls on this joint this weekend. I already have half the wallpaper torn off in my bathroom in preparation of my own version of extreme home makeover. Either I get to live in a sweet new renovated home, or it will be a breeze to show it.

As far as financials, Dave and I have made a plan for some extra income we have had and for some credit lines we have utilized… We have been super smart and very conservative with our money and it shows. This being said, I think we can do the house over to at least be super nice for us to live in! We won’t be there forever so I am not going to get the best of everything but I definitely can’t wait for everything to be finished.

If it was meant to be, then I guess it will be. Or if I want it bad enough, I will just work that much harder to get it. Either way, only time will tell how this pans out. Hopefully the market and interest rates don’t do anything crazy within the next few months and I will be a happy camper. In the end, home is where the heart is and I will be happy (or die trying).

Buying My Future

A childhood friend’s parents recently put their home on the market. Now that I am making a decent living and my husband is too, we decided it was time to start to think about upgrading our own home. This house would be amazing.

Someday not too far away, we would like to start a family and I would like to have more bedrooms for our little kiddos. We have a lovely two bedroom home at the moment, but I think now is a better time to prepare and seize the market while it is the way it is. I wish that real estate wasn’t ever changing and that mortgage rates stayed the same. However, this is the real world and that just wouldn’t work.

The house is to die for. Seriously, I wanted it even before I heard about the rest of the goodies. It is a four bedroom in a great neighborhood with 2+ acres of land and 3 bathrooms. In other words, huge and in paradise as far as I’m concerned. We decided to see if we could get a showing and we fell in love. Not only was the house great, the current owners put a crapload of money into it with all sorts of great upgrades (central air and granite counter tops) and more practical things like a new roof and heating system. We wouldn’t have to touch a damn thing for the next 15 years!

We weren’t prepared to make an offer mentally. We have been saving money for when we need it, like now, but I don’t know how comfortable I am just almost sucking that dry. We didn’t think the process would be so quick but there are a few other potential buyers and we were basically told “buy now or forever regret you didn’t buy” pretty much.

Normally, I would hear someone tell me “you have to act now” and I would be like yeah, thanks but no thanks. But now? It is absolutely too good to pass up. A property this good just doesn’t exist in my town, besides this one. We can afford the house, but it would be a bit tighter than I like. I am super conservative with my finances, so it is just my feeling on it.

So, what do I do? Do we just go for this or do we wait out this market and continue to save our money? We have a lovely home now but this would be like heaven. I hate this growing up thing. I am just too afraid to make the wrong decision!

How do you make decisions so quickly that will ultimately impact the rest of your life?

A {little} Heart to Heart

Oh, wait? I’m not invincible?

I think this is a realization I will struggle with for the rest of my life. Now that I am getting older, far out of my teenage years, and slowly creeping further and further from my college days, I keep getting smashed in the face with the horrible reality that is what we call life. I am not, in fact, invincible, contrary to popular belief. Well-my own belief at least. And I’m sure I’m not the only twenty-something living this frightening reality on a daily basis.

My latest realization has occurred now that I have been diagnosed with a heart condition. Finally! A diagnosis! Ever since I was a teenager, I can remember having heart palpitations. Nothing too crazy, but crazy enough to notice that my heart was doing a little flippy-floppy in my chest. Fine, eat a banana (for the potassium). Ok, now what? It got progressively worse and more noticeable until last year when I began passing out randomly. I kept track of when these episodes were happening and decided it was freaky enough to warrant a visit to the doctor. Actually, as an EMT, I had gone on a rescue call where the woman was feeling some of the same symptoms I was experiencing. Except for the fact that we were probably a good twenty years apart, she was presenting with what could be either an anxiety attack or something else like SVT. I mentioned it to the paramedic on the scene and he told me definitely to get it checked out, he knew of a young woman in her mid-twenties who actually passed away from an undetected heart condition. Um… scary! I was also told not to take no for an answer. As a young woman, anxiety seems to be the most common blanket diagnosis and isn’t always the right diagnosis. Thanks for the heads up, Scott!

I got my butt to the doctor and was told that yeah, I might have anxiety. But wait! I protested-I am not anxious! Doesn’t matter, the doctor said, your body might “think” that you are. Also, you may be having seizures. Let’s get you in to get your head checked. So I did. I had an EEG, and Ambulatory EEG, and an MRI on my head, all with the same conclusion: You can’t fix crazy.  My head was totally normal. I went back and told the doctor that my “episodes” were still persistent. “Here is some Xanax, take it when you feel this way. If you still feel the symptoms after you take it, it could be something else”. I abided by the doctor’s rules. Can I just say that Xanax is some really lovely stuff? I would feel the “episodes” coming on and pop one and wait. Eventually, I wouldn’t feel like “Oh my God, my heart is racing!!” Instead I would feel “Hey, cool. My heart is racing. Oh well!”.

Now what? I was stumped and I felt funky going back to the doctor because this was totally in my head. Out of the blue, my mom called and told me after talking to my aunt on my father’s side that she had SVT (supraventricular tachycardia). She had all the same symptoms as I had and had an ablation and hasn’t felt this good ever. She told my mother that all the doctor’s thought she had anxiety until she insisted on going to a cardiologist that listened to her and finally diagnosed her with SVT.

Is this what I have? I thought. After another bout with the doctor, I was sent to a cardiologist who, for good measure, put me on an event monitor for 30 days. I put it on Friday and by Monday morning I had a phone call from the cardiologist saying they had already found I actually did have “episodes” and said that they had found Atrial Flutter. I had to leave for a business trip to Germany for 3 weeks so I didn’t even wear the monitor for more than 10 days. After seeing an electrophysiologist when I got back from my business trip, we have decided on an ablation. That is when they go through your groin area and “zap” the tissue of your heart that is causing this. He explained that my atrium was beating at 270 beats a minute while my ventricle was trying to keep up and beating about every other hit. So there IS something wrong with me.

At first, I was relieved that they found something-if only for the fact that it validated what I was feeling and that it wasn’t in my head. I’m not a hypochondriac!! Bad news is that I need to have this procedure done. Most of the time it works but with any surgery, there are risks involved and the small chance that it won’t actually work. It all depends on where this rogue signal is coming from and how close it is to my AV node. If it doesn’t work, there is medication I will be able to take that will lower the frequency of my symptoms.

Coming from a kid who was rarely ever sick growing up and the epitome of health, this has been a huge blow to my ego. I am no longer the healthiest girl in the room, there is something wrong with me. Life goes on, though. It isn’t life threatening and I should be totally fine, but just the thought has been killing me. I am super grateful that it is something so small.

My advice? Well, try to realize earlier on in life that you aren’t invincible so that it doesn’t come as such a shock at age 25. Second, if you are feeling funky, be persistent. This little journey of mine has been going on for almost two years. Don’t let anyone discredit the way you feel. I am lucky to have been able to work with some great doctors, but I know that some aren’t so lucky. Don’t wait to make yourself feel better. You aren’t a doctor-you certainly can’t diagnose yourself. So ask for help. I can be really stubborn so this was a bit hard for me to admit to something being wrong and then having to ask for help, but if it makes me feel better and healthier in the end, you can bet your ass it is worth it!

So, in about one month, I will be able to let you know how it goes. Until then, I’ll just be doing my thing counting down the days till these damn things (hopefully) go away!

heart shaped toy being held in 2 hands