While I'm not loving this up-down-up-down temperature thing, I am loving random warm days on weekends. John and I have been able to take Trevor and Darcy to the dog park for the last 2 weekends in a row!
We have a favorite park. Fairfax County has public dog parks, and we love taking them to the one in Chantilly. It's pretty close to our place, it's huge, it's well maintained (well, last week was pretty bad, but it was the first warm day in months), and it has a small dog area. Today went really, really well. Normally we don't spend a lot of time in the small dog area because there aren't a lot of dogs in it. On top of that, the dogs that are normally there are either A. Really tiny puppies or B. 5-10 lb. dogs. While Trevor, at 21 lbs, and Darcy, at 15 lbs, both are able to go in there (the limit is 25 lbs) we prefer to take them into the general park.
Today, however, Darcy kept whining at the fence towards the small dogs, so we took her over, then brought Trevor over to join. Darcy had the time of her life. Normally she runs around a little at the park then hangs out around our ankles, alternately playing with and growling at the bigger dogs. This time she was running around, playing, chasing, and having a great time. She completely ignored the fact that we were petting and playing with other dogs, which is a pretty big deal for her. And the best part was, once we came over with our dogs, there were 5 dogs in the small dog area, so all the incoming small dog owners brought their dogs in, too. At one point there were 13 small dogs!
I'm hoping we have more weekends like this one... I love seeing my pups that happy, and when they're worn out they're soooo well behaved :)
Two for the price of one here... I only had 1 compliment left, but I got one lady on her cute black peeptoe shoes and another on her purple cowl-neck top :)
Have you ever read The 5 Love Languages? If you're in a relationship and haven't, you need to. Like, yesterday. My language is Words of Affirmation. I can live a week on a compliment. Sometimes, I'll be having a rough day, and someone will tell me I have cute shoes, and my whole day will perk up. I can only hope that I helped those people by telling them they looked good, or yes, their dog is a sweet well-behaved beastie.
BTW speaking of shoes... hubby's getting a bonus and he bought me SHOES!! I was lamenting the fact that we didn't have money and there was a big sale on cute shoes at DSW... then he told me he was getting a bonus and I could get 2 pairs of the $30 sale shoes!!!
Six years ago, pretty much at this exact time, I said a prayer that changed my life.
I was a freshman in college. Let's be blunt -- the start of my second semester wasn't just bad, it was awful. A friend of mine (admittedly a somewhat loose term, we more went in the same circle) died extremely unexpectedly of natural causes. I saw her in the hospital about 2 hours before she died... the sight still haunts me to this day. Then I went through formal recruitment and got cut by all chapters... so to summarize, we have a traumatized, rejected teenager. I was also starting to realize that my friendships at CNU weren't as solid as I had thought. Not a good combination.
I knew that a new sorority was coming to campus, but after my less-than-stellar experience with formal recruitment, I wasn't sure I wanted to go through another recruitment process. My mom encouraged me to go, saying that she didn't want me to be bitter about all of it later. So I did. I went through Zeta's recruitment process, and February 22, 2005 was the last open day of recruitment. At the end of the philanthropy party, we were told by one of the TLC's that we'd get an email the next morning if we were invited back to Preference the next day.
So as I walked out of the Student Center (which no longer exists), I just looked up and offered up one of the most blunt and open prayers I'd ever said.
"Show me where you want me to be. Because I don't know. If you want me to be here, show me."
I woke up the next morning and had an email inviting me to Preference.
That night I got my bid.
Seven weeks later I met the cute boy who worked at Regatta's, who I'd been eyeing all semester.
Two months from the day I said my prayer, I was initiated into the Kappa Phi Colony of Zeta Tau Alpha.
Two weeks after my initiation, I started dating the cute boy from Regatta's, who went on to become my husband.
All this spanned less than 3 months. Matthew 7:7 - "Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you."
To summarize... it's been six years since the first day of the rest of my life. <3
So I posted an ad on Craigs List for Infinite Joy Weddings. So far I've gotten like, 15 emails! Too bad EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM is spam. Ugh.
On a brighter note, I updated all my business literature (contracts, packages, etc) and I'm pretty happy with them. I also definitively figured out my pricing (which has been up in the air since I started the business) and I'm thinking of better ways to get my name out there. Granted, if this Craigs List thing leads to even one booking it will be worth it, but in the mean time, it's annoying.
I'm not feeling so hot today. Blah. I decided to come home instead of going to the Zeta meeting, and I'm pretty disappointed about that :(
On the other hand, while talking to a stranger on the elevator today I mentioned how cute her boots were... 9/10! Got a nice compliment on my boots in return :)
I figured out what my next big step is for Infinite Joy Weddings... editing my contract and packages. Before I start working with people I really don't know (as in, not a friend of a friend) I need to have my ducks in a row. So I'm printing out my packages and my contracts, writing stuff in, stratching stuff out, and clarifying as necessary. This whole thing is actually kind of terrifying.
So as I mentioned yesterday, I got infinitejoyweddings.com up and running! And, as I mentioned earlier in the day, I wasn't sure this was going to happen. Truthfully, it was all because of John. And yes, this is now 3 posts in a row that talk about how awesome he is. John went home at lunch (which he does every day, he has a short commute, lucky duck) and uploaded all the images I needed for my webpage, then edited them at work. He figured out what the ongoing red x issue was all about (apparently our computer was taking 'maximum quality' to an extreme and nothing could load it). Then he fixed it, uploaded the logo to proper proportions in the header, and put the pictures in my account photo album. Then I was able to log in and arrange/size the pictures as desired. I finished all this literally 2 minutes before I needed to leave work to go to my chiropractor appointment, and then announced the webpage on Facebook at 6:00. Thank you, internet accessable phone!
The most exciting part about all of this is my new work email. I always found company specific email addresses to look so much more professional, so you can imagine how thrilled I am that you can now email me at firstname.lastname@example.org!
The Verizon guy finally showed up at like, 6:15 PM, and had our internet fixed around 7:15. I will raise holy hell with Verizon if we get charged for phone and internet for the 5 days it was down. Either way, I am really relieved that's over, and now I can move on to my next decision... do I want to start advertising first, or buy new business cards? Decisions, decisions!
Happy Valentines Day!! This weekend was a mix of good and bad.
-My amazing husband! He got me a beautiful bouquet of roses and carnations for Valentines Day, and we went out to dinner at Melting Pot. It was soooo good. We split a bottle of Chardonnay, and had the cheddar fondue, then cooked our meat/shrimp in the Mojo cooking style, and finished with the Disaronno chocolate fondue for dessert. So amazing.
-More good from my husband: he cleaned. I don't know how I'd even exist without him.
-More good from our nice dinner: Waitress in a cute dress = another opportunity to compliment a stranger. 8/10!
-My cell phone, which has access to the internet. Which leads us into...
-Our internet went out Thursday. John tried to fiddle with the router, nothing happened. We didn't worry too much about it, and called Verizon on Friday. Since our phone line was also down, they assumed that we were part of a regional blackout, and that our internet would be back up soon. Haha. Yeah. Sunday I called again, since our internet was still down. Regional blackout was over, so they decided to send someone out, and told me it would be today (Monday). So we leave for dinner on Sunday, and halfway to Melting Pot I get a call from the technician, who is at our apartment. SERIOUSLY?? I told him we weren't expecting a tech until Monday, we're really sorry about not being there. He tells me that he can't believe they told me Monday, the order he got says 'be there by 9:00 today.' Um, the dispatcher told me by noon tomorrow. So now they're *trying* to get us in today. Gaaaaaaaaah.
-This leads to an upsetting twist in the website. I'd really hoped to work on it this weekend, and have it launched at 9:00 this morning. Since our internet was out, no such luck, the page isn't ready. I mean, I could announce it as is, but I'm not thrilled with it, and if I'm not thrilled with it, I don't want to show it off as a representation of my business. So I'm hoping to get it launched this evening, but I'm not hopeful.
-Darcy destroyed more stuff. Sigh.
I can only hope that Feb. part 2 will be better than Feb. part 1.
It's amazing what spending time with sisters can do for your mood. Getting out of the apartment and seeing people made me feel like, a million times better. I had an exec board meeting with the Zeta alumnae chapter last night, and had a really great time just talking and laughing with my sisters after the meeting. I'm pretty excited for car-pooling and hotel-sharing in Richmond for Zeta Day (BTW Zeta sisters who read this blog... will I see you there?).
I'm donating a free day-of coordination package for a silent auction for a sister's charity work. I'm hoping it will yield some portfolio fodder, and maybe even generate some interest in my company. Fingers crossed. If someone buys the package, it definitely counts towards the booked weddings goal, even though the money doesn't come to me :)
Speaking of weddings, I upgraded my package with Webs, bought my domain name, and hope to launch my website in the next week! Stay tuned!
Warning: whiny, stressed, upset post ahead. Maybe not a good post to read if you're not in the mood for a downer.
Writing this post is hard. This is actually my third iteration of today's entry, because I've kept going back and deleting everything.
I figured out what bothers me the most about the issue I mentioned yesterday (aside from having to pay a ton of money to the IRS and Fairfax County). It pushes our long-term goals back. It only pushes the house back by a few months, which I'm not so worried about. However, the baby is another matter.
John wanted to have our first child between our 27th birthdays... so to put dates on that, 12/12/12 (yeah, that one is going to get massively celebrated) and 6/22/2013. I wanted to have a baby during the spring. So we were thinking like, April or May. The thing is, pushing this back 4 months (which is about how much time we expect to be set back) puts us in a spot where we don't want to be: due between late August and late September. Why?
My best friend's wedding date is 9/14/2013.
So this would make me one of three things on her wedding day:
1. Full-term pregnant. Huge. Waddling. Unable to stand up for long periods of time.
2. Immediately post-partum, possibly unable to attend.
3. In labor. Definitely unable to attend.
I really don't want any of these. I want to be able to go to Nikki's wedding, stand up as a bridesmaid (emphasis on stand!) and not worry about leaking amniotic fluid. I want to be able to give a reasonable estimate about my size when I'm ordering my dress. I want to be able to dance, without running out of energy, worrying about kick-starting labor, or wondering if this will make me start bleeding again.
Yes, I know I'm thinking about this years in advance. And I know that just because I wanted to start trying to have a baby at a certain time doesn't mean I'd be able to. But here's the thing for me: I'm the worrier in our family. I worry about things, John tells me to calm down, nothing will come of it. He's the one saying that everything will need to be pushed back... it's not just me freaking out. I'm just unhappy about how far back this is being pushed.
Last night sucked. Blah. The last of my W-2 forms came in and so John and I started working on our taxes. Let's just put it this way... it bypassed bad and went straight to ugly. Really ugly. We've run the numbers like 5 times, and they don't change, so there's really not a lot of hope there. I know how it happened... I saw how it happened as I watched the numbers change in Turbo Tax. Last year I worked for 3 companies. For the first half of January I worked for one temp agency, from the end of January to the middle of March I worked for a second temp agency, and then I started at the company where I am now. Each individual company has me in the 15% tax bracket (well, technically the first 2 have me in the 10%, but that's only because of the length of my employment). However, when you combine the three, I just barely make it into the 25% bracket. It's the job I'm with now that really messed things up for us.
Then when it rains it pours... John's car is a leased 2010 MINI Cooper. I've been begging BMW (MINI's parent company) for information about our personal property taxes. Seriously... I've called 3 times asking for more information: when is it being assessed? How much? What's going on? No answers. Today I open my email and our payment is like, $500 more than usual. Yup, property taxes. Due in 2 weeks. FML.
Sigh. We have the money to pay the taxes, I'm just pissed that our entire emergency fund is going to the IRS, and then we're breaking into our savings to pay MINI. We were about 1 month away from paying off John's now-smallest credit card with our extra money, but now that's going to take about 4-5 months instead, because all our extra funds will be replenishing our savings. The worst part about all of this is we took a CPA's advice on how to do our taxes. I'm not sure I'll be so trusting of CPAs in the future.
So summarizing the last 24 hours: Our income is going to drop by like, 10% (since we clearly need to adjust our W4s), we owe an insane amount in taxes, and all the debt payment progress we made is pretty much at a standstill. Our saving is kind of at a standstill, as well, since we need to replenish before we can move forward. This month just feels like one step forward, eight steps back (two steps back just didn't cover it).
I'm exhausted. I stayed up to watch the end of the Super Bowl and then couldn't fall asleep... and once I did I couldn't stay asleep. That said...
WHAT. A. GAME.
Wow. That was everything a Super Bowl should be... great football, great commercials, a great halftime show.
Watching the game, it was never a runaway. I really don't enjoy games where one team never shows up. The Packers and the Steelers were both there. Even though the Steelers never took a lead, they were in the game the entire time. It was great to watch.
Then the halftime show... wow! Best one I've seen in a long time. I know a lot of people were underwhelmed, but oh well. The Black Eyed Peas were awesome, and I loved their background/stadium light-up dancers. Plus, keeping Slash AND Usher under wraps? Incredible!
Last year, I felt like there were only 2 or 3 good commercials. This year, it was more like 2 or 3 bad ones. I loved the Living Social commercial (Living Social changed my life!) the Budweiser ads and the Coke ads. The Audi commercial (escape old luxury) was hilarious, and I loved the Eminem Brisk commercial.
The only real goof I saw was Christina Agulera botching the National Anthem. Oops.
To make this post slightly goal related, I worked on website content this weekend. It's actually harder than I thought.
My sweetie shook hands without trying to take my hand off! I've been working on this trick for a while, and when told to shake, he'd lift his front paw. Then you'd try to take it, and he'd gently (then increasingly not gently) try to pry your hand off his paw with his teeth. Today I asked him to shake and he let me take his paw! No mouthing on my hand at all! It's very exciting :)
Tonight I'll be enjoying what will hopefully be some excellent football. Go Pack!
Another day, another goal... this one 2 months in the making!
25. Hold a $500 safety bubble for 2 months 25. Hold a $500 safety bubble for 2 months
I think about the start of this goal a little bit like pregnancy. A weird analogy but here's my reasoning: a typical pregnancy is 40 weeks, but they don't start counting from the day of conception, they start counting about 2 weeks prior, when you got your last period (i.e. the last time you definitely weren't pregnant). So the first two weeks count as part of your pregnancy retroactively. That's where it ties in for me: I've tried/failed at this goal a few time prior to now, but I never start counting during the first 2 weeks (i.e. the first pay period). It's only after I've maintained the bubble for 2 weeks and have another paycheck on top of it that I start counting, and I start when I got the earlier paycheck.
I know, it's weird, but it makes sense to me. We've maintained $500 in our checking account since December 3, and I started counting it when we still had $500 on December 16 (the day before our next paycheck). Admittedly we made this goal with the help of Christmas money, but the point is we made it. I'm pretty pleased with us.
To celebrate our completion, when CNU called last night asking for alumni donations, we gave the requested amount. And let me tell you... it felt good. Really good. Being in a financial situation where we were able to just give money. I get the feeling that there will be points where I'll look back at this post and growl at myself (giving money away, grrrrr) but it's ok. John and I talked about where we wanted to give our money when we had money for charity, and actually being able to do just that was a great feeling. Yay stability... I'm actually starting to feel like a grown-up.
Thank you, Punxsutawney Phil, for declaring an early spring. It's much appreciated. And a happy Groundhog's Day to all my readers.
And on that note, a very happy 7th anniversary to my brother-in-law and sister-in-law, Greg and Laura.
BTW, have I mentioned that my husband is awesome? Because he IS. I could go on and on about how he's God's gift to me and humanity, but I'll spare you, and just tell you that he finally fixed the red x issue on my webpage and now my logo shows up! I think a little more editing is needed so that it's a little bit bigger (just a little bit, I know to be careful about what I wish for) but I'm really excited.
Basically after sitting down and fiddling with things for like, an hour, John got my logo in the header. Hooray! The only thing was the background on the logo was white and the background on the template was blue, so I went to find a white template. And my logo vanished, and I couldn't re-insert it. Cue frustrated almost-breakdown. He fixed things again, and now everything is ok. Website work resumes, and my husband is my hero. <3
This month is looking pretty good on the goals front. There are some financial goals I think I'll finish this month, I'll cover those as I get to them. I feel like I'll jinx it if I talk about it early... or be really embarrassed if I don't complete the goal. I also think I'll finish some of my wedding related goals... the website is in the works, and once I finish with that I'm going to start advertising on Craig's List. Can't beat free advertising, especially when you don't have a lot of revenue.
As I mentioned yesterday, this might also be the month for the fresh flowers goal... with Valentine's Day coming up, and the fact that it's a short month, this might be the easiest time to complete.