Nov 18, 2013

In Transition

This photo is unrelated.

Life has been pretty crazy around these parts for the past few months. I have so much to catch you up on, I just have yet to make the time for it.

Up until Halloween, I spent the majority of my time DIYing and decorating for my combination 30th birthday and Halloween party. I called it Thirtyween. It was a lot of fun. Half the fun, honestly, was making all of the decorations. The house looked great. I really meant to post the photos here, but that all kind of fell by the wayside when we discovered another leak in our house. Not counting our house flood, this has been our third leak this year.

It was a pinhole leak in the living room, and in order to clean it up, the room had to be emptied and our brand new laminate flooring had to be torn out. Between that and a mandatory re-pipe of our condo, our living room has been out of commission for 18 days.

We've been considering getting out of our rental and buying a home since our flood back in April. This last leak was kind of the push that we needed to really get moving on the home hunt. Long story short, we bought a new home!

A home so new, it's still only bones.

It's a fantastic end-unit condo in a brand new master-planned community next to the one in which we currently reside. We won't be able to move in until March or April, but we do get to choose everything that goes in it. (So yes, I'm pinning away. Check out and follow my New Home board where you can also see photos of the model!)

We had our first appointment with the design center yesterday to confirm our first phase of options like lighting and appliances. In a month, we'll choose our counter tops and backsplash, so it was fun getting to look at samples to kind of put together some ideas and get some pricing.

Counters, backsplash, and flooring, oh my!

Well, it was fun for me. I think Jamie was only seeing the dollar signs, but we'll make it work. In the end, after our options and upgrades, we still project our final pricing to be about 40k less than the two homes that we almost purchased in our own community. I'd say that's a pretty good deal given that we're getting everything that we want out of it.

While we're mentioning money, I'm going to be earning more of it! My current position is only part time and the hours have been minimal and unsteady lately, so I went on the hunt.

After meeting with a recruiter that did nothing more than spam my references, I applied to two positions on my own. I heard back from one and scheduled a phone interview for the next morning, which was this past Thursday. The phone interview went well, so I went in that afternoon for a second interview. The manager whom I was supposed to meet with got stuck in a meeting, so I interviewed with the girl who would be my supervisor in the position. It seemed to go really well, but I was met with the always frustrating mention of other applicants and the "we'll be in touch". (I just had to hope really hard that the other applicants would bomb their interviews.)

Overall, I felt really good about my interviews and did my best to be patient. Normally one to ignore phone calls from unknown numbers, I did answer every call this weekend, but they were either other recruiters or people calling about the work going on in our house.

This afternoon, after rushing back home from acupuncture in anticipation of a house inspection for the repipe, I answered a call that I thought would be the inspector. It wasn't. It was the manager following up on the interview he missed out on. He asked a few questions, one or two being repeats from my second interview, explained a few things, then offered me the job! I start on Wednesday at an office with a really laid-back atmosphere where I can wear flip-flops and join in on lunch-time yoga a few times a week.

So yes, our life is in a major transition right now. With my new work schedule, I don't expect to be able to get back to any type of consistent or regular posting here, but I'll try when I can.

Sep 6, 2013

Camden's First Day on the Outside

Yesterday was very exciting.

I got out of my workout class and noticed I had two missed calls: one from Jamie and one from my sister-in-law Renata, three minutes apart. I was a little suspicious because Renata and I usually just text, but she didn't leave a voicemail. Jamie did, and it set the tone for the rest of the day.

Two weeks before her due date (and with an induction scheduled for September 23rd), Renata went in for her weekly check up with complaints of a little bit of cramping and spotting only to find out that she was dilated 5 centimeters! Her doctor told her to head to the hospital.

Having only just started washing the baby bedding and clothes that morning, she called me to help out. She considered staying home to finish the two loads, but wanted to make sure she didn't miss her window for the epidural! I spent the afternoon finishing her baby laundry and packing up the baby bag.

Would it be weird for a non-mom to use Dreft? Because that shiz smells so good.

During this time, I kept an eager eye on my phone. Jamie's brother Mike, the dad-to-be, kept both his and Renata's family updated via group text. We had a pretty good play-by-play throughout the afternoon up until delivery time, which was only about a half hour after the epidural.

At 3pm, only five hours after I received those two missed calls, we received the text that the first Ellison grandbaby was here! Our new nephew, Camden Michael. We finally got to see him a few hours later after they were settled and everyone had cleaned up. He's just beautiful and I think it's safe to say that we all fell in love with him instantly.

Let the photodumping commence.

Sep 4, 2013

The Return of So What

I'm linking up with Shannon from Life After I Dew again for So What Wednesday!

So What Wednesday

First of all, SO WHAT if it's been nearly four months since I last put up a So What post? Misty put up her very first SWW and it motivated me to hop back on that train. Now, where to start...?

So what!
if I shattered my phone two weeks ago, taped it up with blue painter's tape and have yet to get it fixed OR even put a case on it.

So what!
if I Photoshopped a beard on my new nephew.

So what!
if I don't want The Neighbs to move and posted this alteration to their for sale sign on the internets.
So what!
if they're still staying in our same town. We were supposed to be neighbors forever.


Sep 3, 2013

A Very Haiku Labor Day Weekend in Milwaukee

I don't know how it came to me, but as I gazed from my middle seat up at Bruce Buffer while he waited in line for the airplane bathroom I was inspired. Do you know who Bruce Buffer is? I'm sure you know who his brother is, even if you don't recognize the name Michael Buffer. He's a ring announcer for boxing and his world famous line kinda rhymes with shmets shmet shmeddy shmoo shmumble. Brother Bruce, a ring announcer for UFC, boasts the less catchy "It's time!" but pairs it with a dramatic gesture to change the focus from one fighter to the next.

Jamie pointed out that Buffer, who dressed casually in a slightly douchily-decorated graphic tee for his flight to Milwaukee, reigned supreme in his exit row aisle seat. (We flew Southwest, so getting said seat is even more impressive.) My brain churned as my fingers counted syllables...

Aisle seat, exit row
You can't get any better
Than that, Bruce Buffer

Wheels down-- Bruce Buffer
Milwaukee, we are in you
"It's tiiiime!" to find beer

And so it was said,
Labor Day weekend
Haiku statuses only
Challenge accepted

I followed these three haikus with sixteen social media posts throughout the weekend, all only 5-7-5, but my haiku challenge was an annoying-to-everyone-else supplement to our Milwaukee weekend.

This trip was made possibly by our friends John and Lisl who wanted some travel buddies and also happened to have a couple Southwest vouchers and a free place to stay. We had no reason to refuse, so we didn't. The trip to Milkwaukee where they're both from was rooted in the fact that Harley Fest was going on all weekend. None of us ride motorcycles, but hey, why not?

Green hose in the dirt
With beer and Armorall plus
Free margaritas
Lisl, our eager guide, never ran short of fun-fact bits of Milwaukee history and anecdotes from when she and John were dating. With holy-crap-that-had-to-have-been-rehearsed timing, we turned a corner at the perfect point in her story for her to gesture toward the house where they lived that one time someone knocked on their door to tell them their upstairs was on fire. We bar-hopped and listened to stories about each one as we went along, even frequenting one special place throughout the weekend and twice on Saturday. 

Jamie bought the beer
At John and Lisl's Mecca
Many more to come

Since we've known John and Lisl, Wolski's Tavern has probably been mentioned on nearly every occasion spent with them and with unquestionable fondness. Reminiscent of many bars I've visited before near my own Midwestern hometown in Ohio, Wolski's is a typical dive. It's decorated in dusty flags and old framed photos; it's dark and a little musty. More importantly, it's where John and Lisl fell in love and they wanted to share that place with us.

Jamie didn't get the "act natural" memo.
Being with locals meant knowing where to go. We skipped the actual Harley Davidson Festival in favor of the nightly block party both Friday and Saturday nights. Lined with bikes and bars, Brady Street was closed to automobile traffic. We went bar to bar, weaving through the crowd stopping every once in a while to watch some of the bikes drive by. It was loud from music blasting from various points of interest and the constant rumble of Harleys.

Friday night involved joining in on a dance party in the street, eating Jimmy John's well past midnight (with the possibility of my having stolen two sandwiches), and meeting a man with a lizard whom jokingly requested to be paid a dollar for me to take a photo. John paid him five.

Adopted a child
It's scaly and not human
My life is complete

Bikers and hipsters
A little bit louder now
Block party dancing

On Saturday we took a tour of Lakefront Brewery which involved drinking beer, listening to our hilariously loud and inappropriate tour guide, drinking more beer, singing the Laverne & Shirley theme song, then drinking more beer, and then going outside to drink more beer.

(Not my video, not our tour guide, but you get it.)

After the tour, we went to a barbecue (well, after a quick trip to Wolski's) where I tapped into my Midwestern roots with a game of Cornhole, checked another item off my Milwaukee Bucket List by eating brats (unfortunately my TCM diet prevented me from enjoying the cheese curds), and met a few of John and Lisl's friends.

Saturday night meant it was time for Lisl and I to make sure we fit in better with some cool outfits. She in her Three Wolf Moon shirt that I tore the sleeves off of in the street using a pair of nail clippers (please read the reviews if you happen to somehow not be aware of this "intrinsically sweet" item of clothing) and I in my screeching eagles with mini skirt and boots, we were able to thoroughly enjoy our evening.

Fuzzy late nights and
So-awful-that-they're-great shirts
Klassy skirt with boots

We made yet another post-midnight stop at Jimmy John's (we paid for all of the sandwiches this time) then headed, once again, to Wolski's with the intention of earning our first I Closed Wolski's sticker by staying until last call. Bernie, one of the owners, however, had a different plan and we found ourselves stumbling a few houses down to "party" at his place. This "party" was basically a tour of his nicer-than-expected home, a couple drinks, fresh tomatoes, and Bernie nearly cutting off Lisl's thumb with a sword (we're only kind of exaggerating). We didn't get a chance to earn our sticker, but I'm told this is a one-up.

I have to admit that Sunday morning was more than rough for me. The 3am bedtime, the day 2 hangover, and the mental and physical shittiness I was feeling from the arrival of yet another period made it a little difficult to get my day started. It took a couple drinks and a lot of mental focus, but after chicken and waffles at Hollander Cafe and a bit of a nap followed by, what else, a trip to Wolski's, I was good to go.

We had dinner with previously mentioned friends at Pizza Man, which was delicious, even though I had to eat salmon rather than the oh-my-God-it-has-cream-cheese-on-it pizzas that everyone else ordered. Then we capped off our final night in Milwaukee with Kopp's Frozen Custard (I got a root beer. Whomp whomp.) and hanging out around a fire, chatting, laughing, and listening to the cicadas.

And because why not, I'll cap this off with a photodump.

We loved Milwaukee.