Monday, October 31, 2016

When life starts happening

I am someone who likes to look forward to things. I struggle to stay in the present, though I am getting better at it. I still sometimes feel like I am waiting for life to happen though, while I'm waiting or looking forward to the big things. For the last couple of years, it felt like my life was waiting for After Australia.

When will we sell our house? After Australia.
When will we move to a different area? After Australia.
When will we go on our dream Italy trip? After Australia.
When will we get a dog? After Australia.
When will we have kids? After Australia.
When will we see more of the US because we’ll have more time and money for smaller trips? After Australia.
When will we start focusing on paying things off vs travel? After Australia.

I know we can travel with kids, I know we can buy a house with a baby in tow, I know we can move with a kid or two and it’s not like you’re not allowed to do all of those things with kids. I just don’t want to. I want to go on my trip and live my life before I have children and live our lives together. There is nothing wrong with that. It just means I push things back, until we are ‘able’ to. After Australia. I know it’s my choice to go to Australia and push things back, but still. You’re allowed to wrestle with your choices sometimes and worry if you're making the right ones.

So I was chatting with my bestie. I told her that I wish I could do it all. I wish we could move to a better area now, I wish we could save up money for Australia and pay the cars off now. I wish we could sell our house before buying a new house, because doing it at the same time sounds terrifying. I told my friend how easy it would be to save money and sell and buy if we could live in my mother in law’s basement for a couple of months in between. She asked why we didn’t do that. I said KC doesn’t want to. We talked some more. I went home and KC and I had this conversation:

Me: I think we should move in your mom’s basement while we sell the house and look for another.
KC: I don’t want to.
Me: These are the reasons I think it is a good idea: xyz.
KC: Okay.

We are both easily persuaded when presented with a logical argument. We happened to be visiting with his mom that day, and brought it up with her. I’ve talked about it with her before, so I knew she would be okay with it (because she loves us!) but KC was under the impression that she wouldn’t be. But of course she was. She got all excited. She asked when, and we told her After Australia.

Why not now? She asked.

We can’t sell now, we said. We just can’t. The house isn’t ready. We have things we need to fix. It’s scary. We aren't ready. Are we ready? Can we sell now?

We called our realtor on the way home. She’s a good family friend and was in the area, so she dropped by to have a look. The market is amazing right now, she said. I think you’ll sell quickly, and I think you’ll sell for higher than you paid.

We haven’t done much to the house – painted 2 rooms and replaced the floors in the living room. It definitely looks much better than it did, and we love it. Truly, our house is perfect except for the location and the no-garage-thing.

So that day, list of things to do in hand, we started doing shit. We replaced a faucet, painted the kitchen and the cabinets, painted 2 spare rooms, replaced the mantel, cleaned the carpets, bought a new fridge and microwave, bought new decor and chucked a bunch of crap out.

The next week when I was running with my friend, I told her everything we did and she was stunned – we just talked about this last week! After that, it was a whirlwind. Within 2 weeks we had everything done. 3 weeks later the house was listed and we were living in my mother in law’s basement. We left the house staged, we just knew it would be easier to not live there – or have the cats there – while we were selling.

I wanted to share a few before and afters. This is the living room when we bought the house and had moved everything in:

This is what it looked like after we painted and re-did the floors - we also ripped the mantel off the wall for no reason and one of us almost decapitated the other person - and bought new bookcases:

This is what it looked like after we added a new mantel and decluttered for staging:

The living room was always my favourite part of the house - we did the most work in there and spent the most time in there together. I wish we'd done the mantel earlier because I LOVE it.

Here's what the kitchen looked like when we first moved in:

Here's what it looked like when we bought a new microwave and fridge, painted the walls grey and put a fresh coat of white on the cabinets - they'd been painted before but not very well and they weren't cute in person:

Here is what our spare room looked like when we moved in, pretty green walls, right?

This is what it looked like after we painted and accumulated furniture over the years (though we removed some for staging):

This is what the 'office' looked like (though to be honest it looked like a junkyard for a really long time, and we called it an office but never used it for any office-ing) before we painted and staged it:

I couldn't help but share this because LOOK AT BABY MILLIE.

Such a little baby.

And here's the after:

It has a closet on the other side but it's a really hard room to photograph.

We painted our bedroom the night we moved in - it was supposed to be grey but it is definitely blue and I kinda definitely have hated it for 3 years but no biggie. We had this black full size bed in it and we bought the king last year and it has sat on the floor for the entire time. 

We just bought a new bed, but it won't be delivered for ages, so we just stuck a super classy air mattress on a frame in there for staging.

Lets see, just the bathrooms now. Our master bath is super small, we didn't do anything but paint it the same time as the bedroom, and add towel racks. Oh and new toilet paper/hand towel holders. We also painted the cabinets white at our realtor's suggestion. Before on the left, after on the right.

We didn't do anything to the hall bath except new shower curtain, and new toilet paper/hand towel holders. Before on the left, after on the right.

And here is our backyard, which we have done absolutely nothing to except curse those trees every time we have to rake leaves or mow the lawn (it's really annoying to mow around them.... I swear).

A few more memories I want to remember from this time:

^ the cats being super excited that they were allowed in the spare rooms again (little did they know they were about to get locked up as we were painting the kitchen), KC being a doofus with the mantel, the cats (mainly Penny) loving all the new space to play and lounge in, the kitchen and living room being a mess for like 2 weeks.

A day after the listing went live, we had 5 showings, with 2 more the following day. We received a full price offer less than 24 hours after the listing went live. The next day, we received another full price offer. The day after that - another offer.

To say we were shocked would be an understatement. Honestly, all we wanted was to break even and walk away without owing anything. We didn’t want to make money - well, who doesn’t want to make money, it just wasn’t our goal. We knew the market was good and we believed our realtor when she showed us the comps but I think we were both expecting a lower offer or more contingencies with the offer. We expected it to sit for a week or two. We were worried we would have to move back in, move all our stuff back in and put the cats through that again.

^ selfie after we signed all the paperwork and cleaned the house top to bottom, selfie with our house numbers and selfie after we accepted the offer.... and yes, I have a blizzard and a mcdonalds diet coke in my arms. I have been eating mega poorly.

Now I know not to count my chickens before they hatch and everything. The deal could fall through. It absolutely could. We have inspections and appraisals to get through, and anything can happen in the 30 odd days it takes to close on a house. If this sale goes through, we’ll have a little extra money in our pocket – it could pay for our trip in full. We have money saved up, and in a couple months we could have paid a car off.

I really am trying not to get too excited or count the extra money until it’s in my hands and we are signing the deed away. I know several people who have had deals fall through. But I still might be a little excited. It’s very exciting that I no longer have to say After Australia for some things. We can pay a car off at the same time as we book and save for our trip. We can start looking for a house next spring, in the area we want to be in. We can do other things as soon as we get back from our trip, because we won’t have to worry about selling the house or paying things off.

I know life is always happening, and I am truly appreciative of every day, little things and big things, but it's really fun when you get to speed things up and tick things of your 'life to do list'. Life is happening you guys, and it’s really exciting. 

Friday, October 28, 2016

The soundtrack to my life: life anthems

I used to be totally obsessed with music. I can't really explain it, so I'm not gonna try, but I am not as obsessed now. I still like music, obviously, and I still get all the feels from certain songs. Steph explained these as her life anthems and I'm not sure if mine are exactly life anthems, but when I thought of the 3 songs that meant the most to me or made me feel all the things, these three came to mind.

Affirmation by Savage Garden.

I did a post with the lyrics to this song. It's been a favourite since the moment I heard it. At first, I just liked the beat and it was a fun song. But as I got older, I had a lot of issues and really struggled to get over them. I heard this song randomly one day and for some reason, the title really stuck with me and to sum up a super long story, changed my views on things, especially myself. So much so that I wanted to get the word Affirmation tattooed on my wrist. Instead, I got cogito ergo sum which 'means' something different, but has the same meaning to me as the word and the song. 

Every time I hear this song, it makes me smile. Sometimes it makes me cry when I think about that stage in my life and what a crappy place I was in. But no matter what, smiling or crying, it always makes me want to dance.

My favourite lines:

I believe your parents did the best job they knew how to do
I believe that beauty magazines promote low self-esteem
I believe I'm loved when I'm completely by myself alone
I believe in karma what you give is what you get returned

You Don't Own Me from The First Wives Club soundtrack.

Tanya did a post on this song and you should totally check it out. The original is by Lesley Gore, and I loved all her music growing up, but it wasn't until I saw The First Wives Club movie and heard the song done by Bette, Goldie & Diane that it pretty much changed my life. 

We've all been in crappy relationships or gone through things that sucked and we gave them control over ourselves... This song validated certain feelings for me, and though I never feel like anything owns me anymore, I can't explain the rush and surge of YES ME that I get every time I hear this song. It is on every single one of my playlists, running, dancing, whatever, it's on there. 

It comes on, I sing along and I think yeah this song is okay, and next thing you know I am screaming in my car and pumping my fists and feeling ridiculously empowered and happy, like happy to be me. It always brings tears to my eyes.

My favourite lines:

I'm young and I love to be young
I'm free and I love to be free
To live my life the way that I want
To say and do whatever I please
No, no you don't own me
You don't own me
Forever young and free darling you don't own me

^ I actually prefer this version over the one in the actual movie.

Someone Like You by Van Morrison.

This is my wedding song! And yes, I say my. Because although KC was down with it and likes it too, I picked this song as my song a long, long, long time ago. It came out the year I was born, and I feel like it's a song I've always known. I hear it and I feel it deep inside, you know? Like it just makes my soul feel at peace. I was an odd child/teenager, and when people would talk about getting married or whatever, I would comment that I would never get married, not because I didn't want to, because who on earth would want to put up with me forever? I was joking, mostly, but I also kind of believed it. I wasn't sad about it, I just thought it wasn't for me. I couldn't be that perfect someone for someone else, I could barely be that person for myself.

I was working a wedding once, I was 19, and this was their first dance song, and I remember it as vividly as if it were yesterday. I can't explain it, but it felt like I was accepting myself and I would one day find someone for me, someone who kept me satisfied and made everything worthwhile, and I was waiting for them... whereas before I was feeling like I had to be the one to fit to someone else and work to make them happy and like me. I don't know why it hit me while they were dancing and I was cleaning the food off their plates, but it did.

It wasn't a flip of the switch and magically made me love myself, but it certainly got me on the right road. This song always gets me. It always makes me teary, but also makes me feel happy and hopeful and at peace. Then when I met KC, I felt like the lyrics matched us and our relationship, and when we chose our song, there was no question. Luckily, he was down. Now, every time I hear it, I still get all those same feelings but I also get a dose of happy lovey feeling too, like it is connecting the different stages of my life.

My favourite lines:

I've been doing some soul searching, to find out where you're at
I've been up and down the highway.. in all kinds of foreign lands
Someone like you makes it all worthwhile.. 

Someone like you keeps me satisfied, someone exactly like you.

I've been all around the world, marching to the beat of a different drum.
But just lately I have realised baby the best is yet to come.

In lieu of a video for this one, here is a picture of our first dance.

Looking at all of these songs together, you might think they have nothing in common, but I've just realised they do. They all taught me how to be me, how to accept and appreciate being me and to not let anyone else change that. They are definitely my life anthems, so thanks for the term Steph!

And of course, thanks for the prompt Alyssa!


Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Half Marathon #7 - Urban Bourbon 2016

I love reading race recaps though I don't normally do them myself. Honestly, it's because I don't have much to say about them other than 'I ran, sometimes it sucked and sometimes it was okay, but afterwards I ate lots of food' which basically sums up all my races (and I am okay with that).

I did want to jot down some feelings I had about this race though.

My last half marathon was back in April. I was actually registered for one 6 days before this one, but my friend hurt her foot and I was like... eh.. do I really want to do it without her when I have another one in less than a week? So I skipped it.

In regards to training, I suck at following training plans, always have, probably always will. But, my bestie and I run every single Sunday, and she is great about following plans so she would always tell me what we should run, and we always did. As for by myself? Eh. Not so hot. I did one long run on my own (10 miles, friend out of town) and a few sporadic outside runs, several treadmill runs. But mostly, I stuck around the 3-5 mile range because I'm just lazy and I tell myself it's okay to stop earlier than it should be. I'm not mad about it, just explaining.

I was feeling pretty confident I wouldn't die in this race, which is totally all I need in a race. I've done races where I was completely unprepared and I was miserable, and I never want to do that again. So as long as I can run at least half of it, speed walk the rest, not cause myself any injuries? I'm good. Of course, I hope for more, but that's my benchmark.

I accidentally got the start time wrong - which never happens, so I had to stand around in the cold for half an hour. It was like 45 degrees, so cold!

Half Marathon #7 - Urban Bourbon 2016

The Urban Bourbon Half is a lot smaller than the Derby Mini, which is great because I stood at the back and I crossed the start line after a couple of minutes on the clock. With the Derby Mini I normally cross like 15-20 minutes after the clock starts.

My goal for this race was under 2:30. That might seem lame, especially since my ultimate dream goal is under 2 hours, but there is no point in being unrealistic and I knew this wasn't my sub 2- which I was totally okay with!

Half Marathon #7 - Urban Bourbon 2016

I ran most of the race, I took a water/walking break around 10 miles I believe, and then I walk/ran the rest. I hate stopping to walk because it normally means I'm going to keep stopping, so I try and run as long as possible. I was in front or alongside the 2:20 pacers most of the race but then the hills towards the end killed me and I lost them. I don't mind though, I was really proud of myself for staying with them as long as I did.

Every time I wanted to stop or slow down, I would tell myself some variation of you can do it! Demand more from your body! If you run, you'll be done faster. Think of all the food you can eat when you're done. Just a little bit faster. Come on, just a few more minutes. It really does help sometimes.

Like I mentioned in my Derby Mini post, 2012 me was super fast but she was also pretty unhappy and super unhealthy. So yeah, 2016 me has an extra 30lbs on 2012 me, but I also am much happier, healthier and I would take that any day of the week. I would love to be as fast as 2012 me, but not at the risk of my health and happiness.

Half Marathon #7 - Urban Bourbon 2016

^ My favourite thing about races! Food & chocolate milk. I always have too much and make myself feel sick, but what can you do.

But of course, the most important thing... how did I do?

^ Yep, my goal was under 2:30 and look at that! 2:23:55. I'm pretty damn proud. That's my second best. Far away from my best, but who cares. Not me. This is a big deal for 2016 me, and I'm not gonna ruin it by comparing myself to 2012 me. 

I love seeing all my half marathons next to each other:

2011: 2:37:15
2012: 2:04:48
2014: 2:39:15
2014: 2:33:21
2015: 2:50:36
2016: 2:32:12
2016: 2:23:55

Well, at least some things never change. Apparently when I'm running and I see a photographer, I stick my tongue out. I'm like a dog. Or Miley Cyrus.

Here's to the next half marathon! Oh, and to my bestie and running-partner-in-crime - it's her birthday today! We've been running together every Sunday for over a year now, plus when I lived with her when I first moved to the US, we ran together then. I would be a lazy slob and never run if it wasn't for her, so happy birthday Jenni!

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Three Things

3 has always been a weird favourite number of mine. No particular reason I don't think, I just like 3s. I am one of 3 kids, my mum is one of 4 so I always had 3 aunties and uncles, and they all had 3 kids each (no family on my dad's side, that would have screwed with the 3s obviously). I have 3 cats here (Penny, Chelsea & Millie) and 3 pets at home (Aggie, Pacey & Zeus). So when Steph posted this, I knew I'd be copying too. 

Three things I'd never give up
Books, travel and yeah, stealing Steph's here with my independence. 

Three favorite vegetables
Spinach, potatoes and onions.

Three shows I watched faithfully from beginning to end
Charmed, Dawson's Creek and Friends. Yeah, they are all old because in the last 5 years or so, my attention span just isn't that long. Grey's Anatomy is one I've always been a huge fan of, but I'm behind a season. I also really like Once Upon A Time but I think I am behind 2 seasons? My most recent obsession is Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries which I'm sure I've mentioned like 100 times, but that doesn't count, because it's not the end of this show (well it bloody better not be).

Three places I want to visit inside the US
Seattle, San Francisco and Charleston.

Three places I want to visit outside the US
Scotland, New Zealand and Switzerland.

Three things I always have with me
Water, book and chapstick.

Three things that are always in my car
Tissues or napkins, pen and clothes/shoes. I have this awful habit of taking an article of clothing or my shoes off in the car, and then leaving them when I go inside (yes, I walk in my house barefoot I'm classy as all get out don't ya know) and then that happens a few times and KC is like wtf why do you have 10 pairs of shoes in your car.

Three most recent phone calls were to/from
KC, mum and a window company.

Three books I read and loved in college
Well I didn't go to college (I went to Uni online but the only books I read were directly related to my degree, so non fiction and no thanks), but I think around that age I read and loved Pride & Prejudice, The Time Traveler's wife and The Bronze Horseman.

Three most often used makeup products
Maybelline instant age rewind concealer, mascara (either better than sex or a drugstore one, current favourite is the l'oreal voluminous original), and milani nude creme lipstick

Three things that make me laugh
Babies eating lemons, cats doing silly cat things and bad jokes.

Three things that make me cry
Thinking about my cats dying, commercials, especially anything to do with family - state farm always kills me, and also have you guys seen the Toyota commercial where the brothers are driving and competition made them friends? OMG I cry every time. Um, what else, this thing called 'everything' because I am an emotional mess most of the time.

and not because posts need pictures but because I like sharing random pictures of my cats:

^ our house is a mess right now, which means a whole new crazy playground for the cats.

^ we don't have a nightstand next to the bed in the spare, but when I watch Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries TV in there, I need somewhere to put my drink, so I fashioned one together with a cooler and a plastic tub that holds our files. Millie loves to sit/sleep on my nightstand, so she does the same thing with this makeshift nightstand. 

^ Penny is my least weird cat and also the hardest to photograph, but here she is on a box. If there is a box in my house, there is most likely a cat nearby or on top.

I should stop at 3 but I don't wanna.

^ Chelsea cuddles - she never, ever, ever, ever cuddles with me. She loves KC and loves being held by me, but hates my lap. Once a year or so, I get some cuddles and they must be documented.

^ Took the cabinets off to install a new faucet and Millie was like well thank you for my new bed.

^ Chelsea being a weirdo.

^ New TV stand! Millie is a fan. Obviously that little cubby thing will have to stay clear so she can lay in it whenever she wants.

What's your favourite number? Any reason why?