Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Scary Header!

Welcome to my scary header. No time to fix it, as I'm off to get B at the end of Day 1. Anyone else want to just make me one and send it? Honestly, do I really work for companies that make websites??

Bar, Day 1

I dropped B off this morning (after a restless night at the Drury) for the first day of the Bar exam. I felt like I had a kid going off to kindergarten!

Items on the Bar's prep list included "comfortable, decent" clothing without logos, "soft" shoes (but NO flip flops), snacks that were unwrapped (to prevent noise), pens with black ink, and an "in your seat" time of 90 minutes prior to when the test actually started.

The morning went something like this:

6am Alarm. B gets in shower.

6:02 "Um, A? Can you get me some soap?"
Me: "It's already in the shower."
B: "You unwrapped it for me?"
Me: "Saving time, sweetie."
B: "That's so nice!"

6:17 Downstairs to get hot breakfast. Made B eat two bites of Lucky Charms, for luck!

6:29 Leave for exam site (3 miles away). B forgets ear plugs, goes back upstairs.

6:30 Leave again.

6:42 Arrive at test site. Drop kids off and remind them not to trade lunches

7:30 B admitted to testing room.

I met him for lunch (turkey sandwiches from Subway) and he was great! Pleased with how it was going, happy he hadn't read any questions and said "What? You're testing in Arabic this year?" I'm excited to get him in an hour and see how he's doing at the halfway point. We're hoping for some pool time (if the weather holds), happy hour (thank you, Drury!), and some dinner nearby (mostly bland, nothing we might be allergic to!). We're also hoping for some bad movies on TV and some lowkey time together before Day 2.

Thank you, everyone, for the prayers you've sent up for B over the past weeks, months, and especially today. I know both Moms have been all but lighting candles today, and we are oh-so thankful.

Here's to another day going well and a happy B headed off to a bachelor party this weekend while I move to Florida with Mom. Life is crazy, but so wonderful!

More to come...

14 (and a half!) Months!

Late late late... Let's not waste any time!

June 9-July 9 was big... I drove to Durham to wait out new Baby Smith, who arrived about four days after I left. Thank goodness I didn't wait; my Sister may have killed me! I had a great time that week hanging with her, seeing my brother-in-law, and playing with two of my nieces. Loooove them. We played, had Chick-fil-A, went to the mall playground, hit the park with swings, and welcomed Grammy, Tim's Mom into town.

I headed home and had a great date night with B at Fox Brother's BBQ in ATL. BBQ eggrolls? Yum!

Baby Smith, a little boy, showed up later that week.

I got to see my girlfriends and meet their babies (and see baby bumps!).

My newest work venture started; I'm currently writing content for websites that one of B's best friends since forever makes. I love it. As Sienna would say, "I'm having SUCH a good time!"

We "warmed" a friend's home in Atlanta and continued to live in B's parents basement, a fun repeat of last summer. While B studied, I had a few extra ears to bend about everyday ongoings.

Then came July. We celebrated the 4th with B's parents at the lake, then Mom and I headed to Jacksonville to find a place to live, and boy did we. The place we got was more than just a spot to sleep, it's a great home; I can't wait to move! I'll hate being further away from family (and more than a floor from B's parents), but I'm looking forward to our new neighborhood and finding a job there.

When I should've posted this entry, B & I were moving into the home we house-sat for over two weeks. More on that later!

It was a nutty month for us. B worked tirelessly and without complaint to study and prep for the Bar (it started today!). I struggled to figure out what was best work-wise for myself and my job. Things are crazy, but B & I are looking forward to having some real downtime on our Bar trip in August; we've rented a convertible and are hitting the A1A down to Miami, then on to Key West. We can't wait!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Freelance Writing

You know it's time to take a break when you're writing a tagline for a sewing company and your first thought is "Happiness is on the other end of the needle."

Oh boy.

Friday, July 9, 2010

My Nightmare Cake

Ironically, my nieces and nephews would dance themselves silly if they sliced into this beauty.

House Sitting, Day 2

This house is stocked with Aveda products. I may never leave. That or I'll develop a very expensive soap addiction. B, you've been warned.

We Got It!

Just got the call that our application for the Florida home as been approved! Yea!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

So I Says to My Sister...

Definitely sign up for the sale on Thursday. The girls and I will hit the science museum or something else equally shady! Hope you aren't melting...

love that you are taking my daughters to do "something shady"...not a quote I will reference when referring you to other mothers!!!


Florida Sex Offender Registry

On the advice of my Mother-in-Law, we checked out the Florida Sex Offender Registry and the whole freaking state lit up like a Christmas tree. I kid you not. We increased the distance from our soon-to-be (fingers crossed!) address and it just added more little "Offender" balloons, which are a happy color blue, mind you.

What's UP with Florida??

Tummy says, "grooooooowl."

Thanks Kim. :)

House Sitting, Day 1

We've only been here four hours and already Marley is running the show. So far he's gotten up on the table and stolen B's fork, taken a bag of rice out of the pantry and chewed on it, and started napping (which doesn't bode well for tonight).

The funny thing is, he's a good dog. I think he's just testing his boundaries. Too bad we already assumed he was hungry and fed him. Again. Worst dog sitters ever...

Busy, Busy

How did summer get this busy? I worked this morning, have editing to do tonight, start house sitting this evening (must pack!), and am headed to water aerobics with my mother-in-law in an hour. Granted, that last part's all fun, but still. We're getting busier around here!

Florida Application Memory

30 miles away from Jacksonville, en route to Atlanta


Me: Hello?

Agent*: Hi A, this is Agent. I'm so sorry, but I told the lady at the front desk that you had to leave your security deposit check with us today.

Me: What?

Agent: Yeah, the owners said if they're going to hold it until August 1 that they want the check in-hand today.

Me: Ok, well I can give you my debit card.

Agent: Well, no...

Me: Credit card?

Agent: No, we need a check.

Me: We're already on our way back to Atlanta. Can't you charge my card and cut them a check?

Agent: No, they require a check from you to them.

Me: So we have to drive back.

Agent: Yes. I am so sorry.

It cost us an hour, but we chose to think of it as securing us a home. If we don't get the home after that, I'm sending them a bill for gas...

*NOTE: This wasn't our original agent, but the one assigned to process our application. Uggggh.

Florida Hotel Memory

Time: Night. Dark. Late dark.

Noise: Loud noise. Boy noise.

I wake up and stagger around to find the phone, finally figuring out that you had to dial 88 for the front desk (seriously? 88?).

Front Desk: Good morning, how may I help you?

Me: There are people talking. Behind my head. Close to the elevator. And they're loud.

FD: Yes.

Me: Not angry loud, more like happy loud, but I'd rather they not be.

FD: Absolutely. I'll send security right up.

I'm glad I knew he said "Good Morning," because it was still dark so it must've been at least after midnight. It would've been terrible if it were only 10:35. After all, we did go to bed before 10!

We Have a Place to Live!

B & I have been so excited about moving to Florida. Actually, we've been excited about finishing law school, completing the Bar, and ... did I mention being done with the Bar? Florida has simply been icing on the cake.

However, every cake must have a box (or some metaphor), so I knew I needed to make a trip to Jacksonville this summer and secure us a place to live. B's knee-deep in Bar review and course work, so I left him with his parents and recruited Mom for a girls' trip down to the riverfront.

Our adventure got started earlier than expected. We volunteered to drop off some family in town for the 4th at the airport on our way out, which meant we were on the road at 5am (post airport drop off) and arrived in Jacksonville at 10:20am. Have you ever driven several hundred miles and arrived someplace while Chick-fil-A is still serving breakfast? It messes with you.

We got checked in to the amazing Priceline hotel, then headed to the Landings for lunch. One delicious lunch and a little wine later, we were en route to visit a few of my top picks. Number one turned out to be in the middle of Riverside, a cute area off the St. Johns with shopping, restaurants, and a margarita bar. I swooned. The house was even better than in the pictures. We knew it was vacant, so we peered into the windows and excitedly texted the agent that we were in town and ready to roll!

Earlier in the week I'd started to panic. What if the houses rented while we were driving down? What if every single one of the six on our list vanished before my very eyes to some laughing family of undeserving art deco charm? (Seriously, this is the kind of stuff I worry about.) I armed myself with information about apartment rentals, just in case.

Here's the deal. B & I are over apartments. They're wonderful, convenient, amenity-filled, and generally clean and lovely, but they have mass parking, group trash, sterile hallways, and zero community feel, at least in our experience. Everyone exists together, but no one knows anyone else. It's like the Mark Twain quote, "TV is the only invention that allows millions of people to do the same thing at the same time and still feel completely alone." And not in a good way, if you ask me.

But apartments have selling points. On-site landlords and maintenance. Safety in numbers. Easy of move-in and utility hook up. This ain't their first rodeo. Still, we wanted a house. Then we saw the prices and decided that a duplex would be more our style.

Still, three homes remained on my list. Tried-and-true single family detached homes. So off we went, driving by one. It wasn't too bad. Cute as a button, but on a street where the lawn mowers (and tire-free cars, I might add) must be on strike, cause they weren't movin', that's for sure.

It felt sketchy, so we drove on. House two had rented the weekend before (I KNEW it!). House three turned out to be in the shadow of a gold-buying pawn shop, just down the street from the title car hub of SE Florida (#2 on our list). Veto, Veto, Veto.

House one lingered on my mind.

We went to see two apartment buildings. One was great, right on the river and totally fine. Clean, wonderful, and fine. Apartment two was industrial style, cold and clean, but a second to the first apartment, for sure.

Happy that we'd ruled out so many and excited to see more the next day, we headed out to the beach (13 miles), then back for dinner at an adorable place called Biscotti, where we enjoyed wine, lobster pot pies, and salad before calling it a night and slumbering away in our comfy, posh hotel room.

Wednesday started bright and early. We left at 7:30 to check out and hit a well-known bakery before our 8:45 showing at an apartment complex. The complex was amazing, like a hip New York hotel dropped right on the riverfront. But there was no place to eat or shop or walk anywhere around it. It was surrounded by lonely businesses that cleared out after work. No life. Plus, I might not have been cool enough to live there. It did have a sauna and steam room (don't tell B!).

After that, we met our agent and went to see House #1. We met the owner and heard all about it and, honestly, fell in love. After our tour, we went across the street to another listing (#3 on our list) and spent the entire tour (agent included!) talking about the house across the street.

That was it. The rest of the early afternoon was spent negotiating price (fail), talking move-in dates (win!), and submitting our rental application. Mom and I were practically singing as we pulled onto the road at 2:30, due into Atlanta around 7:30. After a minor delay (more to come!), we were on the road an hour later.

I won't say we have the place yet (application is pending), but I'm confident that my record's clean and that B's just been vetted by the Bar. Plus no pets, no kids. Come on, we're ideal! I'll let you know. And when I know, I'll post pictures!

Real Estate Fact of the Day

Did you know that real estate agents can't use "s" words? That's right, "safe" and "secure" are words non gratta in the housing market. I will say that it would've been useful if my agent in Florida could have said that instead of suggesting that we drive by the house I thought I wanted to rent (#2 on our list) the night before we'd tour it.

It was 10 minutes out of town, past two strip joints who featured unintentionally hilarious ironic signs about "no cover" for the summer of 2010 for customer appreciation. Did I mention it had an unofficial used car lot in the next yard? We didn't even slow down. Sad! The house was yellow, cute, and totally redone. And I imagine it will sit unrented for some time to come...

Quote of the Day

from Mom...

"You should always live at least a mile away from barbed wire, gentlemen's clubs, and any place buying gold and selling german helmets."

Friday, July 2, 2010

10 Random Things On My Mind

1. My friends and family have the cutest kids in the world. For real, I'm always wondering what's going to come out of their mouths next!

2. Today is Dad's birthday. Not happy about it. Not sad about it. Just kind of there, on my mind.

3. In honor of Dad's birthday, I've been trying to think of something to do. Fried chicken was the plan, but ugh I do not feel like fried chicken today. I think I'll get a Diet Mtn Dew and not sleep for a week.

4. Every night for the past week or so I've had anxiety dreams or nightmares. B said that last night's bug dream (see below) wasn't a quiet thrashing but an all out scream-and-wake-your-husband dream. Yuck.

5. It suddenly makes sense why I'm tired and need afternoon naps!

6. B & I are house sitting starting next week for two weeks. I can't wait! Pool access, hot tub on the back porch, and a Snoodle named Marley. No joke.

7. Mom & I are leaving for Jacksonville on Tuesday to find a house for B & myself for next year. I'm super excited to have some time with her, and to see our new city again!

8. In the midst of all that, I'm off to Durham for 5 days loaded with girly time. Poor Tyler; he's going to be loved to pieces.

9. I can't wait to unpack all the fun things we got for our wedding. Aside from my mixers and a few wine glasses, it's all still waiting for us at home. It didn't make sense to move it six times before we unpacked it for good. Maybe it'll feel like Christmas that day... or at least make it less painful that we'll have to rent a small uhaul to get all the boxes here.

10. Um, Haley? You are not alone. My sister loves the bachelorette. I love the bachelorette. I felt bad for "the weatherman," weird about Justin, and constantly am confused by Frank. Glasses or no glasses?! Decide! I don't want to know how it ends either, not until it's time. I do, however, want to know what Frank says to make her cry in Tahiti, or whatever amazing beach she's on. Or at least I think it was Frank. Frank or really good editing. Long story short? We're all in. You are not alone!!

Bad Night

Me: Ugh! Ick! (general thrashing)

B: What? What is it??

Me: The bugs are getting on me! They're falling through the hole!

B: What? No! No bugs. No hole.

Did I mention it was around 3 am? Poor B....