So, we bought a house! Again!

Obviously I’ve known about it for a while, but I wanted to keep things kind of quiet because the last time we went through this, I had my heart broken. And it was embarrassing.

Little did I know that these kinds of things fall apart with some frequency, but I’d never been in that sort of situation before and I didn’t know what could be right around the corner.

We’re more than halfway through the loan process – the bulk of it is over – and our loan officer gave me permission to 1) tell people what’s going on and 2) to be excited.

So I’m telling you. And I’m very excited.

I’m still trying to temper my excitement because, hello, this is me we’re taking about – I have bad luck. But all of a sudden I’m obsessed – OBSESSED – with Pinterest. And do-it-yourself projects. And fabric for drapes. And mirrors. And finding the perfect shade of greige (grey/beige).

We decided to go with the new construction for a multitude of reasons, the biggest being we could see ourselves living a happy life there.

It’s a great, great house.

It’s in a more rural location, which Allan likes and which I think will be refreshing. I’ve lived in more urban areas my whole life, so this will be a change of pace for me, one I’m looking forward to.

The house is in a big neighborhood, one with a pool, tennis courts and basketball court. It’s a mile from a future nature reserve, which will have soccer fields, trails, a dog park, etc…

The house itself has a fantastic floor plan – big entryway. Open living spaces. A butler’s pantry (we didn’t know what that even was). A study. (This is sounding very fancy, but it’s not. It’s very nice, but not very fancy.) Four bedrooms, 2.5 bathrooms, a bonus room.

I love the staircase – that it’s not straight up and down. I love that the master bathroom has two separate vanities – in our house now, Allan and I share a small one. I love the open layout of the downstairs – that it feels like one big, cohesive, welcoming space. I love that we’ll have a designated guest room, that we won’t have to try to squeeze our families in when they come to visit.

I have a big, huge crush on the house.

It was sort of serendipitous how it all happened. We went to a community of new homes, one we’d been hearing about on the radio. We knew it was in one of the areas we’d like to live, and we knew they had some houses in our price range. So we went to look on a random Saturday afternoon – no joke – because we had nothing else to do.

Allan didn’t even want to start looking for a new house until July 1. So there we are, June 23, heading to this community. The builder’s representative was busy with some other folks when we arrived, so she suggested we tour the model. So we did. And we were like WOW! Look at this floor plan! WOW! This kitchen is awesome! WOW! Look at this hallway lined with cabinets and granite! WOW! This family room is so big! WOW! The master bathroom has two vanities! WOW! Look at these closets!

You get the picture.

But I knew it wasn’t one of the floor plans we could afford, so we dismissed it. When we finally got to talk to the builder’s representative, we discussed the houses in our price range, then she asked if we had considered the model. No, we hadn’t. We didn’t know a thing about the model – square footage, price, price, price.

Then she told us the price. $3k over our budget. $3k over our budget over the course of 30 years might be doable.

Then she told us they were offering $12,000 in upgrades for free. Meaning we could get everything in the model we loved. And it would still be only $3k over budget.

But there was a catch – there’s always a catch. They’re expanding the neighborhood and once the new section opened, the house we loved could no longer be built. They were opening the new section on July 1. We had a week to decide.

Um, yeah. Allan does not like to be pressured when buying a $10 pack of undershirts, so you can imagine how he felt when he had seven days to decide whether to spend significantly more than $10 on a new house.

It was a rough week filled with last-minute trips to see other houses and long, long, LONG conversations about beautiful houses with gigantic yards and short commutes. Houses that, by the way, don’t exist.

We decided to go for it, to make the offer, because we realized we couldn’t have everything, but we could at least get a great house. The yard is small – slightly less than a quarter of an acre, but it’s flat and private. We’ll have no neighbors in the back. Plus we’ll have the nature reserve a short bike ride away (we’ll have to get bikes).

Now we’re in waiting mode. Waiting for the building permit to be approved, waiting for the loan to be completed. We’re expecting to move in sometime between mid-October and mid-November. Obviously we’d like to move in as soon as possible, and mid-October would be especially nice because of my birthday and all.

Allan’s already trying to pass it off as my gift this year… which might be okay.



We last went on vacation nearly 11 months ago and I’m desperate – DESPERATE, I tell ya – for our next one. Which, conveniently enough, is next week.

Since I got married, we’ve gone on a week-long vacation every year.

We went to the Bahamas (our honeymoon).
We went to Alaska.
We’re going to Utah.

Prior to marrying Allan, I hadn’t been on a single week-long vacation in my adult life. I would even go so far as to say that I’ve only taken a handful of long weekends in my adult life.

But I’m craving this vacation in a way I didn’t know you could crave vacations. I started to wonder why I needed an absolute clean break from my life for 10 days. Then I started to think about the last 11 months, what has happened over the course of all those days, and I realized why I need this time off.

Let’s start with August, the week before we left for Alaska. I had a huge, HUGE fight with my mother. Usually fights are 50/50 or there’s at least some shared percentage. But not this fight. It was 100% her. I feel comfortable saying that. The falling out of this fight was so severe, my mother and I didn’t speak until Thanksgiving. Prior to that, we spoke daily. It completely and irrevocably changed our relationship, and not for the better.

So, there’s that.

Then there’s my birthday in October, during which I got a text message from my mother saying she hoped I had a nice day. Didn’t even pick up the phone to wish her child a happy birthday. So keep that in mind when you hear her gush about how much she loves her children. Can you tell I’m NOT over this? (please, no one give her this website address) And then there’s Allan who did NOTHING for me. Not a single, solitary thing. Why? Because we bought a new table in September, which was considered my gift. We were actually in Ashville for my birthday – just happened to work out that way – and he didn’t plan anything, didn’t give me anything, NOTHING.

Can you tell I’m not over that, either?

Let’s move on to November, shall we? LASIK! Oh, LASIK. LASIK that I had saved and saved for. That I had built myself up emotionally for. That I was so excited about and terrified of. I had it on November 11th. 11.11.11. Seemed like a lucky damn day to me! But then, around Thanksgiving, my vision started to deteriorate. And for seven straight months, I had doctor’s appointments, tried a million different things, and it NEVER GOT BETTER. That surgery has something like a 95% success rate, and I’m in the other 5%. Of course.

Moving on to December… the month in which I had to have a root canal, which came with an $800 bill, and learned that my mother had lung cancer. Merry Christmas, everyone!

Also in December, I quit my job at the RBC Center. Well, it was the RBC Center then. Now it’s the PNC Something-or-other. Deciding to walk away from that job was extremely hard and emotional. I’ve never worked anywhere longer. It was like letting go of my lifeline. Lots and lots and lots of tears surrounding that decision.

In January I took a week off from my life and hauled ass to Allentown to take care of my mother after her surgery (During which we learned it wasn’t lung cancer after all. Hey, maybe cigarettes aren’t as bad as we thought!). It was cold, it was dreary, my mother was ungrateful, I felt isolated and extremely lonely. With the exception of the time spent with my gorgeous little baby nephew (squee!), the week was Awful with a capital A.

In February I found out that I’d be in braces for at least another six months. Originally they were supposed to come off in March. Now it’s looking like September at the earliest. Allan says this shouldn’t be on my list, that it’s par for the course, but it’s on my list, dammit. I’m 32 years old and I’m sick of having braces attached to my now-straight teeth. I want them off. Tomorrow. Please. Thank you.

In March, we applied to our HOA for permission to rent our house. We were denied and then we were shocked/frustrated/angry/enraged. We then had to wait a month for an in-person hearing during which they overturned their original decision and granted us permission to rent. Phew.

In April we bought our dream house. And just like that, it was gone. I cannot even begin to tell you how disappointed, confused and downright sad I was about that set of circumstances. As the cherry on top, I was actually away from home when it all fell apart. I was supposed to be having a great, long weekend with my family, and instead I retreated into myself and made the weekend awful for all involved. So, I was disappointed, confused, sad AND feeling guilty. Wheee!

In May Allan and I went through the worst patch our relationship had ever seen. I wanted to move forward, try to find another house. He wanted to wait. And wait. And wait. And he wasn’t willing to give me a solid timeline, so I was stuck in limbo for who knows how long when what I really wanted was to move on and put the dream house behind me.

In June I got word that my grandfather was sick again and a few weeks later, our worst fears were confirmed: the cancer spread. I also had to have an emergency root canal which, you know, isn’t even remotely close to being as bad as having cancer, but it still sucks.

So, yeah. I’m ready for a vacation.



My grandfather’s dying.

In about the time it will take for a woman to grow a baby, to start a new life, his will end.

I’ve never experienced anything like this before, this knowing how numbered someone’s days are, especially someone I love so much.

And I do, I love him so much.

It’s rare, but prostate cancer, even while being treated, can spread. And his did. To his lungs and, they think, his bones. A PET scan will reveal more at the end of the week.

Nine months. A year if we’re lucky. Less if we’re not.

He says he’s at peace with the diagnosis, that he lived a long and happy life. He says he can’t wait to see his wife again, to be out of pain and to be free of his worn-out body.

Me, I’m just sad. He’s not fighting the cancer, only managing the pain, and I understand, I really do. But it’s still sad.

I’m not going to eulogize him – he’s still alive. But I will tell you that a girl couldn’t have asked for a better grandfather. Truly, he was the best. Perfection. Born to be a grandpap. To be my grandpap.

He’s the last of the four and I’m so lucky to have had him as long as I did. To have danced with him at my wedding. To have photographed him holding his great-granddaughter and great-grandson. To have introduced him to my husband.

I hate that he won’t meet my children. I hope that if there’s a way, magic or angels or something will intervene, and their spirits will connect in some other place, in some other way.



It’s been four hours since my appointment and my lips/cheek/jaw is/are still numb.

That’s to be expected after one receives seven shots of Novocaine, I guess. Four shots in my gum. Two shots inside my tooth. One shot in my palate.

Seven shots got me numb while the doctor cleaned the infection from my tooth. Four canals, two of which were infected while the other two were merely severely inflamed. I didn’t even know pus could be in teeth, but today I learned differently.

The doctor and his assistant are now convinced that I have an extremely high pain threshold. Maybe I do. But last night when the pain was a 12 on a scale of 1-10, when shooting pain was running down my arm and across my face, and before I woke my husband asking him to help me, please help me, I didn’t think my threshold was that high.

Now that I know of the mess inside the tooth, yeah, maybe it is.

Regardless, I’m glad to not deal with the pain anymore. I’m grateful for those who specialize in the tiny roots of teeth, and I’m even more grateful that they schedule a little leeway in their day to help those of us who qualify as emergencies. I’m looking forward to sleeping longer than three hours tonight.

It’s storming now. This is the storm that’s going to relieve the Carolinas of ridiculous, record heat, so I’m happy it’s here. And this is the storm that’s going to put me to sleep in the middle of the afternoon, so I’m very happy it’s here.