Posted in Blogging, Marriage, Writing Challenges

Yes, it’s just the two of us for the holidays. No, that’s not a bad thing.

For the last 12 years since my husband and I moved away from Connecticut and have been living in Utah we’ve spent all of the holidays alone. With the exception of one Thanksgiving that we spent with some friends a few years back, it’s just been the two of us. 

Towards the beginning it was hard because Thanksgiving and Christmas had always been big family affairs. But over the years I’ve come to realize that I actually prefer spending the holidays with just my husband. 

We sleep in as long as we want. We don’t have to get dressed up. Hell, we can just wear our pajamas all day. No worries about infuriating political discussions. We can spend the entire day playing video games. 

And most importantly for my extreme introvert self, I don’t have to interact with any human beings other than my husband.

I don’t have to explain again that I don’t work anywhere because:

Long story – Mental Illnesses.

 Short story – I don’t want to.

I don’t have to try to find an acceptable answer to the question – “Well, what do you do all day if you don’t work?” 

Seriously, that question can die a fiery death. But in case you’re wondering what my non-acceptable answer is (that might just be my answer from now on anyway, because fuck trying to live up to anyone else’s standards), it’s whatever the hell I want. And housework.

I don’t have to explain to anyone that I’m still not pregnant yet because I never want to be pregnant.

To be fair, I probably wouldn’t have to deal with most of these questions from most of my immediate family. Most of these questions have actually come from random people over the years, and not necessarily during the holidays. 

But still, while I do miss my family somewhat during the holidays, I’m no longer homesick because what my husband and I have has become home. It’s just the two of us, and that’s the way I like it.

Posted in Adulting, Apartment Living, Cat Mom, Health, Marriage

The extremely short lives of our tax refunds…

We filed our taxes as soon as my husband’s W-2 became available.

And then received additional tax forms in the mail.

Luckily the forms would not effect our refund amounts, but they did mean that we would need to amend our taxes.

We’ll be waiting to file until after we receive those forms from now on. Doing taxes once a year is enough for me.

Thanks for wasting my time

But, like I said, we filed our taxes as soon as we could, so that we would receive our refunds from the Federal and State governments as soon as possible.

No big fun plans for those refunds, just lots of debt to pay off. And the sooner it was paid off the better.

Our federal refund showed up first and very quickly most of that money was transferred from our bank account to the various accounts of those we owed money to.

A couple hundred to our doctor’s office to pay off what they decided we owed after a visit that was supposed to be covered completely by our insurance last year. Attempts to get them to fix their mistake went nowhere fast, so it was just easier to pay the debt and make the entire thing go away.

LemurThanksYouButNo1-vi

Several hundred each to our Care Credit cards to pay off all the debt that we racked up the year before through all the dental work that we both needed done after not seeing a dentist for well over a decade.

We had plans to pay of some off our credit card debt, build up our depleted savings, and resume saving for retirement again with the refund that we had coming from the State. We had hopes that we’d have something left from that to do something fun as well.

And then we received a bill from our dentist letting us know that we actually capped out on what our insurance would cover during 2015, so insurance didn’t pay as much as they thought they would, and we now owed them over $800. And could we please make that payment within 10 days?

Whaaat Minion

So much for not having anymore debt on our Care Credit cards for a while… thank goodness we just paid them off though.

So we made another plan on how to pay off this new debt. And then I got sick. For a month. With the chest cold from hell. (Still have an annoying cough that just won’t quite go away. I’m soooo close to being completely better though.)

And then last week our cat pounced onto the bottom shelf of one of our rather old, kinda cheap end tables one to many times and one of the little plastic feet broke off.

Never expected much

 

We had been talking about buying new end tables soon, but we didn’t expect it to be quite so soon.

 

So another plan for what to do with our tax refund went out the window.

dan-renzi-quote-life-is-what-happens-while-youre-busy-making-other

Our State tax refund finally showed up…

and very quickly was scattered among various payments to others.

To buy new end tables and new cushions for our outdoor furniture.

A payment to Care Credit to start to pay down this new, unexpected debt.

A payment to our credit card, to help pay down our older debt.

A payment to the Utah Transit Authority to refill our transit cards and enable us to be able to continue to use public transportation.

A transfer to our savings account so that our emergency fund might actually be useful in an emergency.

And a transfer to Curtis’ IRA to make sure that we’ve at least saved something toward his retirement this year. (Our retirement savings years end in July, the month he was born in.)

Being an adult is not nearly as much fun as I thought it would be when I was yearning to grow up as a kid…

Calvin & Hobbs Becoming an Adult

But I have to say there is a definite sense of accomplishment in having paid off so much debt. Even if it was only temporarily for some of it.

Posted in Cat Mom, Food, Health, Marriage, Weather

The story of the tragic demise of our second collapsible shopping cart…

ask-yourself-whats-the-worst-that-can-happen-theres-a-good-chance-it-will-415d6

The first shopping trip that we went on after our move our first shopping cart, which we had been using for about 6 months or so, hit a curb wrong and one of the front wheels shattered. We were able to tip it back on its back wheels and limp home with it, but that was clearly the last time that we would be using that shopping cart.

So we ordered a new, bigger shopping cart. One that we hoped would be more sturdy and last us a bit longer.

We used it for one shopping day. A trip to Costco and back home, and a trip to a grocery store and back home.

It was unhappy with the kitty litter, plus other groceries, that it had to carry home from Costco, but it made it home in one piece.

It also didn’t like the snowdrifts that it had to be dragged through on the way to and from the grocery store, but it made it home again.

A month later it was time for us to go grocery shopping again. There was a lot that we knew needed to stock up on, so we brought the cart, our backpacks, and a couple of duffle bags to carry all of our purchases home.

Having Plans

The cart made it to Costco just fine.

We did our shopping and proceeded to pack all of the things from our Costco cart into our bags and collapsible shopping cart. Everything fit and we started on our way home.

Everything was going well until we went to cross the set of 6 railroad tracks that were between us and home.

While crossing those tracks the back axle of our cart bent out of shape and the cart no longer wanted to roll.

Never expected much

We made it across the tracks and limped up to the next intersection where we decided that we needed to call someone for help. As Curtis pulled his phone out a guy in a big pickup truck stopped at the light and asked us if we needed any help. We let him know that we did and he pulled into the parking lot next to us and offered to give us a ride home. He and his 2 passengers helped us load our bags and fully loaded busted cart into the back of his truck and saved us from a very frustrating 2 or so miles of fighting to get our cart home.

Unfortunately, our shopping day was not yet over. We no longer had a cart to use since our most recent one only lasted through one shopping day, but we still needed to get our groceries. So we grabbed a bunch of bags and headed out to the store.

As we had finished loading our groceries into our bags and were about to start our hike back home, around midnight in the freezing cold, a guy in a car pulled up and asked us if we were planning on walking home with all that. When we told him that we were planning on walking a couple miles or so back home, he too offered us a ride. He said that he was watching us get all geared up and thought, “oh dear, that doesn’t look like it’s just for a walk across the parking lot” and decided to find out just how far we were planning on walking and see if he could help us out.

We were very grateful to both of the good samaritans that stopped and helped us out that day. Unfortunately, I probably repaid their kindness by getting them sick.

Throughout the day I had been slowly developing an annoying cough. I thought that it was probably just due to the bad air quality, but the next day I woke up sick.

The stress of the cart breaking the day before, and then once we were home for the day opening the mail to find that our dental insurance hadn’t paid as much as our dentist expected them to in 2015 and we owed them over $850 and they wanted their money in 10 days… that probably did my immune system no favors.

hahahaha-no

So I woke up with a horrible chest cold. And immediately thought that exposing those good samaritans to my illness, even though I had no idea that I was sick yet, was a really shitty way to repay them for their kindness.

I was sick with a fever ranging from 101.6 to as high as 102.9 for a few days after until my fever finally broke. At that point I was left with the chest cold from hell. People were urging me to go to a doctor, but I wasn’t going to spend money that I didn’t have for a trip to the doctor for a chest cold since the fever was gone. Not to mention that the air quality had gotten worse and I would have had to walk a couple miles, plus take public transit to get to the doctor and back. I was avoiding that horrible air outside like the plague…

LemurThanksYouButNo1-vi

Now it’s almost a month later and I’m just now almost feeling back to normal. My voice still hasn’t returned and my cough isn’t completely gone yet, but I can tell that this illness is almost gone now.

I really hope that those nice people didn’t get as sick as I did, if they got sick at all.

 

Posted in Apartment Living, Cat Mom, Marriage, Weather

Some thoughts on our recent move…

About a month and a half ago my husband and I moved out of the 1 bedroom townhouse that we had only been living in for two years and into a 1 bedroom apartment down the road.

This is what our balcony looked like the morning of the move…

Hunters Woods Balcony 12-15-2015

Mother Nature decided to dump about six inches of snow on us the day before our move. The forecast said that it was supposed to continue to snow throughout the day of our move as well. Luckily, that didn’t happen, but it did stay well below freezing the entire day. The snow and the cold meant that we had to wear our winter boots all day while moving.

Our moving day started with a 2 mile trek through the snow and ice to the U-Haul store to pick up our truck for the day, while carrying a bundle of about 25 or so extra boxes to sell back to U-Haul. A good amount of the sidewalks had not been cleared yet, so this was far from a fun walk.

Once we had the truck, moving out of our townhouse went surprisingly quickly. We had everything out of the garage where we had staged it and into the truck in about 2 hours. Next step was getting out traumatized cat into his carrier and into the truck, and then doing a final walk-through of the townhouse to make sure we weren’t leaving anything behind.

Then it was off to our new apartment complex to wait around in the office (with our cat in his carrier. No way was I leaving him in the freezing truck.) to sign our lease and find out if all the work was done in our apartment and it was ready to be moved into. We were relieved to hear that they were actually just finishing up in our apartment and that it would be ready for us to start moving into by the time we had completed all of the paperwork.

Approximately 50,000 signatures later we were finally able to start unloading the truck. We were hoping that a couple of my husband’s coworkers were going to come over from his office across the street and help us move, but nobody showed. So we unloaded the truck by ourselves.

Unloading the truck proved to be much more time consuming than loading it had been since we had to walk farther to get things into the apartment, but considering the fact that it was just the two of us doing this move it went pretty quickly. I believe it only took us 4-5 hours to unload the truck.

Once the final box was moved out of the truck and into the apartment we drove the truck back to the U-Haul store and almost weren’t able to drive it up the hill of a driveway to park it behind the building due to all the black ice.  We somehow got it in and parked and after dropping the keys in the night drop off box it was time for us to walk the 3 miles back home.

In subfreezing temperatures.

In the dark.

That was one miserable walk.

At 11:19 pm we found ourselves sitting in a Denny’s right down the street from our new place waiting for our dinner. That was the best pot roast I have ever had.

At about 4:30 am we finally had our bed put back together and the essentials unpacked and were able to crawl into bed… to be awoken by an alarm at 9 am. The keys to our old place had to be returned that day, and spaces needed to be cleared for the Comcast home security installer that was coming that afternoon.

Moving is exhausting, and I really hope that we won’t have to do it again for many, many years, but this move did turn out to be well worth it.

First of all, the temperature in the apartment in consistent from room to room. I don’t think it’s ever gotten below 65° in this apartment. No more waking up to a bedroom and bathroom that are 50 something degrees while the rest of the apartment is at least 10 degrees warmer. Or the opposite in the summer. Not freezing in our apartment has been amazing.

Second, my husbands office is literally right across the street. A five minute walk. So much better than the 30-40 minutes that it used to take him to walk to work and back at our old place.

Third, brand new carpet and linoleum. Not to mention the fact that this bathroom actually has a door.

Fairstone Bathroom 1-26-2016 2

Fourth, brand new countertops.

Fairstone Kitchen Sink 1-26-2016

Fifth, open concept floorplan and a breakfast bar.

Fairstone Living Room 1-26-2016 6

Sixth, a walk-in closet.

Fairstone Walk-in Closet 1-26-2016 2

And seventh, a rather large patio with lots of birds that live in the bushes around it.

Brids on Fairstone patio 12-25-2015

Our cat says this is the best thing about our new place.

Teddy Bear looking out at Fairstone Patio 1-26-2016

That and the larger birds that also come to visit sometimes.

Teddy Bear and the ducks 1-26-2016

 

 

 

 

Posted in Apartment Living, Hairstyles, Marriage, Random

Over the weekend I…

Over the weekend I:

~Finally got the chance to see “Jurassic World” with Curtis. I really wish that we could have seen it in theaters. Maybe we’ll eventually be able to own a copy and will watch it in the theater room in the apartment complex that we are moving to in a month and a half.

~Totally had dinosaur shaped chicken nuggets for dinner the next night because I still had (/always have) dinosaurs on the brain (and because Costco had them on sale during our last shopping trip).

~Discovered that Curtis and I are already almost out of boxes for our move. All that we have left right now are some smaller boxes. We almost didn’t have enough boxes large enough to pack away the contents of our bookcases. Our one humongous box that we saved from our last move had to be used to store a combination of our board games and most of our blankets and comforters (thank goodness for space bags). We are really hoping that the U-Haul close to us still has that “leave a box, take a box” box set up so that we can hopefully pick up some more free boxes next weekend and continue to put off spending any money on boxes.

Great Idea until packing

~ Raided some of the boxes that had already been packed away to find what was left of my hair bleaching kit and “Ultra Violet” Manic Panic hair dye, plus my hair dryer. I then spent several hours Saturday night dyeing my hair purple. I am still sore today from all the time spent “heat treating” my hair with my hair dryer both while using the bleach and the purple hair color, and all the time spent kneeling with my head hanging over the tub to rinse out (with cold water) all the various substances involved in bleaching and dyeing ones hair. Here is the result of all my effort.

11-2-2015 1 11-2-2015 2

~ Walked to a couple of stores with Curtis with the intention of spending most of the money that we had on stocking up on food and buying Curtis a new pair sneakers. After Curtis found his new shoes we got sidetracked in the electronics section and ended up buying me a new (purple!) phone charger cord to replace the original one that was more electrical tape than cord. We luckily remembered to also buy some food before leaving the store.

~ Mused with Curtis about how different our lives might be now if we had never moved out of Connecticut. What sort of work might he have found? How much tighter might our finances be due to the higher cost of living and the fact that we probably wouldn’t have been able to get rid of our car. What if we had moved to Vermont like we always thought we would? Or if we had decided to not continue on to Utah while driving through Pennsylvania and had settled down there instead like we were tempted to? What if we had moved into the apartment complex that was our first choice when moving to Utah instead of into our third choice because it had Sunday hours? What differences might living in a completely different part of the Salt Lake Valley have made in the course of our lives?

~ Was stopped dead in my tracks by the beauty of Autumn starting finally starting to really show up out here. Bright yellow leaves popping against dark blueish gray clouds. Trees with red edged green leaves next to trees with leaves a burgundy red. There is a reason that Autumn is my favorite season.

Posted in Apartment Living, Family, Marriage

Last weekend’s mantra: it’s all just stuff…

This past weekend Curtis and I went through every item that we own.

Every. Single. Item.

Why Do I Own All Of The Things

We spent the entire weekend going through it all and deciding what we were keeping, what we were donating and what was trash. Our rule was if we aren’t actually using it or going to use it, we could not keep it. If it would only continue to be stored in a box and take up space that we aren’t going to have, there was no reason to keep it.

No matter what it was.

I kept repeating to myself that’s it’s all just stuff and if we don’t have an actual use for it we don’t need to keep it. Which led to some brutal decisions and emotional moments.

Curtis spent a lot of time building with Lego when he was growing up and had 4 boxes of original Lego from the 80’s that we had been lugging with us every time we’ve moved, including when we moved across the country from Connecticut to Utah. We’ve found somewhere to store them every time that we have moved, but this time we are moving into a much smaller apartment and just couldn’t figure out where we might have room to store them. Since they haven’t actually been used in years, after some discussion Curtis decided to go ahead and donate them. Which kind of broke my heart for him because I never expected him to decide to give them up.

We had already scanned all of our pictures, so all of our photo albums went in the trash. All of them, including our wedding albums. We never look at the physical pictures anyway, so it wasn’t all that hard of a decision, but I did feel kind of guilty about it. I’m just hoping that someone isn’t going to “rescue” them from the trash and try to return them to us. I felt like we should have included a note in the trash bag letting people know that they were thrown away on purpose because we made digital copies.

We took pictures of all of the things that we were not going to be able to keep so that it wasn’t like we were completely getting rid of them.

I kept one small doll that my great grandma made, but had to decide to donate a doll that my grandmother made and a doll that I helped my grandmother and aunt make because I simply will not have the space to store them.

I had to make the guilt inducing decision to throw away the cake topper that was used at both my wedding and my parent’s wedding because it was falling apart. The other cake topper that was used at our wedding, the utensils we used to cut our wedding cakes and the glasses that we used for the toasts at our wedding are all being donated.

All of our Halloween and Christmas decorations are being donated. I haven’t decorated in years and will have no space to store them. We took a picture of each individual decoration before sticking it in the donate pile.

All of my yarn and all of my beading supplies are being donated because they take up way too much space. Most of the artwork that we had done over the years that we were never likely to display anywhere again was gotten rid of or donated after we made absolutely that we got pictures of all of them.

There is a pile of stuff waiting to be donated in our garage that probably takes up about the same amount of floor space as the size of what our new living room will be. We have a picture of it, but it’s Curtis’ phone at work with him, so I can’t share it here.

It was a much more emotional project than I thought it would be, but overall I’m mostly just relieved to be getting rid of all of that stuff. We are much more likely to be able to fit in our new apartment now and the stuff that we are donating or that we trashed is all stuff that we will not have to pack into a moving truck. Which makes the thought of this move a lot less overwhelming.

Go Minimal

Posted in Blogging, Family, Marriage, Relationships

No longer anonymous…

When I started this blog a few years ago I didn’t start out as anonymous. I let people on Facebook know that I had a blog and had my posts automatically shared on Facebook when I posted them. But, to my knowledge, not many people I actually knew were reading my blog and I wanted to start writing about things that were going to be easier to write about if no one knew who I was, so I decided to unlink my blog from Facebook. I went completely anonymous. No photos of myself, no names, only vague references to where I lived.

And then as I made friends via my blog I slowly started to give out bits and pieces of information about who I was and where I lived. I let people know that I lived in Northern Utah, in the Salt Lake Valley. That before that I lived in a little town on the Connecticut shoreline where I grew up. I slowly started to post pictures of myself, first without showing my face and then no longer hiding my face. I even changed my user pic to an actual picture of me.

The one thing that I have not done is let people know my real name. But as I have made friends on here and have started to connect with them via my personal Facebook page I have realized that eventually some of my other friends and family are going to figure out that I have a blog. And while that used to worry me because I fear judgement from them for the opinions and life choices that I discuss on this blog, I find that I no longer care as much if they might disapprove. I will be 33 years old on the very last day of November. I have been married to my husband, Curtis, (also known as unremarkable man) for 13 years and living on the other side of the country from most of my friends and family for over 11 years. In other words, I’m grown ass woman, and while I will always appreciate input and support from my friends and family, their opinion on how I choose to live my life doesn’t really matter.

Don't be afraid to rock the boat

I don’t need anyone’s approval or permission to live my truth. And if anyone decides to voice their displeasure with my life choices, just know that one of my life choices is that I don’t need to have negativity in my life. You are allowed to have your opinions, but there is no reason why I need to hear about those opinions unless I have specifically asked for them.

WhatYouThinkOfYourself

My life choices are not up for debate.

I have recently come back to blogging after taking a break from it for almost a year. I spruced up my blog layout. And I have decided that I’m tired of hiding. This is my space to write about what I want, and if people don’t like it, they don’t have to read it.

My name is Charlene Perry.