Thursday, June 26, 2008

Perfect for Me

On this day eight years ago, I talked to the man who would become my husband for the first time. He called me at 10pm on a weeknight in response to a phone message I'd left for him after reading his personal ad. We talked for six hours!

Four years later on this same date, I married him on the steps of a beautiful mansion on a lake in Michigan. I know it sounds totally corny, but it really was the happiest day of my life (except for the fake eyelashes I decided to wear--those drove me crazy!). I remember when I arrived at the wedding location, florists walked by me with boxes of flowers. In one box, was the most beautiful bouquet of white roses and green and white striped orchids. I thought to myself, "Wow, that's so beautiful. The girl who's getting that bouquet sure is a lucky bride."

And then, a second later, I realized that that beautiful bouquet was for me. That's when my wedding day seemed less surreal and I realized that, finally at 39, I really was getting married!

I don't remember the sky ever being more perfectly blue or any place looking more beautiful than my wedding location on that day. And I was so surprised at how Craze just smiled like mad through the whole ceremony.

Four years on, my marriage is certainly not perfect. We have our fair share of disagreements and squabbles. But we are always there for each other and I can't imagine life without my Craze. He is funny and infuriating, at different times thoughtful and thoughtless, imperfect in so many ways. . .but still perfect for me none the less. I love him like crazy. And I can't wait to see if my little baby boy looks just like his daddy.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Did I Really Say. . . Gulp. . . . . . . . . . .Mini Van?!?

I spent some time yesterday emailing more business contacts to try and drum up some work. I've actually had a couple of replies and one potential opportunity--so fingers crossed I get some work soon!

Today was the monthly appointment with my baby parts doctor. My little boy's heartbeat was beating for the band and everything else was A-OK. I'm now 14 weeks 3 days. Hurray for the Crazen (or Baby Craze or, oddly, Banjo, as he is sometimes called)!

The nurse asked me if I have an "fetal movement" yet, which I don't. But I'm excited for the moment it finally happens--probably in the next few weeks.

Oh, and about that stinky, big-headed foster dog. You know. . .the one who likes to stick his wet nose up your butt while you're asleep. Yeah. . .that's the one. Well, since his adoption fell through, we've had no other interested parties stepping up to adopt him. He's been shedding like crazy (like vacuuming at least four times a week crazy) but otherwise he's really settled into life in the Sumner household. We've had him now for over two months and I hate to admit it. . .but I think we're going to have to keep him.

I guess I'll have to make some $$$ soon cause we'll be needing a mini van for transporting our hairy (and not-so-hairy) brood of pets and baby. . .and all that extra dog chow. Yikes!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Money, Money, Money

Like most folks nowadays, Craze and I are pinching pennies. . .also nickels, dimes and quarters for that matter.

Back in my corporate-life-make-lots-of-moolah days, I could be a bit of a spendthrift if truth be told. It was not unusual for me to hit up Bloomingdales and buy not one, but two Coach purses in one shopping spree just because I felt like it. Well, sister, those days sure are gone! It seems like it costs almost as much as a pricey purse just to fill the tank of the Saturn Vue!

Working for myself for the past three years has been a great respite from my almost 20 years of endlessly climbing up that ladder that had no end and left me hopeless and exhausted. But the truth is, I've made a LOT less money. A lot less. But we've gotten by ok.

But last night right before bed, Craze opened our latest credit card statement that had only grocery and Target purchases and started quizzing me about how the bill could possibly be so much for just a month's worth of sustenance. We ended up having our typical monthly discussion about money and thinking of ways to economize even more. I was so tired, but after that, I just couldn't sleep. I just lay there and worried about money. Money, money, money.

My work has been SUPER slow for the past few months. Thankfully, I had a really great first quarter. Really great. And that's been keeping us going since Craze's work has also been slow and not so profitable lately. But with mortgage, insurance, groceries, not to mention Craze's recent $1,300+ hospital stay and our forthcoming bundle of joy, money, or more precisely, the lack thereof, is on my mind a lot.

Yesterday I spent the day on the computer making a list of people to contact for potential work, reaching out to some old contacts, etc. Next week, I'm meeting with someone who's been a good customer. Just trying to stir the pot and see what might materialize in the way of work.

In the meantime, I'm still clipping coupons, remaking leftovers, growing my own tomatoes and peppers and using the A/C less. I think our next big bite-the-bullet move will be to get rid of the cleaning lady. She only comes twice a month for a few hours, but she is less than great and won't even do the stuff I originally hired her to do (like scrub the kitchen floor and clean the base boards). I was going to let her go her when I left my real job, but her husband had recently passed away and I just didn't have the heart to do it. But now, three years on, I think it has to be done. Sorry, Margaret.

In the meantime, I'm going to put my prayer out into the universe for better, more profitable days--not just for my family, but for all those who are feeling the pinch or, even worse, losing their homes to floods and foreclosure. We don't need the freedom to splash out on Coach purses, but what a blessing it is not to worry about the roof over your head or being able to feed your family. May we all be blessed with good work to do, a comfy place to call home, food on the table and the peace of mind that a better tomorrow is hopefully just around the next bend.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Raining on My Parade

Outdoor reading attempt totally foiled by pesky rain.

Today's the Day

Today is cool and overcast here in the Windy City. The perfect day I think to sit outside in the cool breeze, enjoy my somewhat-newly-planted flowers and just read a book for a change.

I seldom make time to just sit and do something frivolous and somewhat selfish. I'm always endlessly ruminating over the outstanding chores and the length of my to-do list. Today seems like a good day for a break from that. Need to grab it while I can.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Being Thrifty. . .and Zitty

Today is all about tidying up and seeking out bargains.

I have to get a wedding present for some friends and think I will buy and wrap it myself to save the wrapping and shipping costs of buying online. Plus, I'm sure I have a Bed, Bath and Beyond coupon around here somewhere that I can use. Yes, I'm being thrifty! I have errands to run at Target and think I might also check out Aldi where I haven't shopped since circa 1982.

I had a meeting on Tuesday with a potential new client that went pretty well, so we'll see if anything materializes. Otherwise, work has been dead as a doornail. Now that all my relations have flown the coop, I need to do some work and make some dough before the babe arrives in December. Fingers crossed something turns up. Clearly, I need to think of some ideas to stir the pot a little and remind folks I'm here.

Other than that, things are going good. I'm spotting again, but nothing major so I'm not too worried (and going to the doc for my regular appointment in a few days anyway) and yesterday I just put my feet up most of the day. I got my hair lopped off by the young Albanian again on Monday in preparation for my Tuesday meeting. It turned out pretty good. Something else that turned up for my Tuesday meeting? The beginnings of the biggest zit I've possibly ever had which has now taken over the right side of my nose. Lovely, right?

I look a little like a pregnant, Halloween witch with cute hair right about now. Nice. But, my pretty, I really don't care. I'm feeling good, if fatter, and the window is open with a cool breeze wafting my way and the sun is shining. How can that be bad?

Friday, June 13, 2008

Guests Have Finally Vamoosed

My lovely aunt and fun, but high-maintenance, uncle have finally jetted back to the UK. I loved having them here but have to say, if I'm being perfectly honest, that I'm really enjoying having the house back to myself after their 3-week visit.

After dropping them at the airport late on Wednesday, I came home, put my feet up and watched three back-to-back episodes of Tivo'd "Days of Our Lives" (my not-so-guilty, secret pleasure). What a delight it was not to have to plan and create more meals and snacks and do all the cleaning up to boot!

Today is the big house tidy-up. But not before I take care of some over-looked personal care. I'm in desperate need of a pedicure and in a minute I'm stepping into the bathroom for some serious root dying. Ah gray. . .you are not my friend, but I will vanquish you!!!

Thank you, Excellence Creme Color!

Friday, June 06, 2008

Oh My God. . .or Dog I Guess

Ok, just when I'm counting the hours until the smelly, big-head foster dog leaves for his new life in the spacious, green suburbs, I get an email at 10:30 this evening saying the folks who have already paid the adoption fee and signed the contracts can no longer take him because of some unspecified family obligation.

I will repeat. . .Oh MY GOD!

I can't tell you how many emails I've answered in the past month specifying for them the info they requested about his training commands, specific foods he eats, good and bad habits, etc., etc., etc. They finalized the adoption a week ago and agreed to pick him up this Sunday and now it's all a no go.


Obviously, it's good that Bear is not going to a home with potential problems. As much as I'd like to see him go, I'm not willing to offload him to just anyone. I want to be sure he finds a really great family and environment and I really thought I'd found it with the two teachers. Guess again.

Anybody looking for a slightly limpy (he got hit by a car two years ago), sometimes smelly, fuzzy giant (ok, he really only weighs 70 lbs) with a head as big as yours, 4.5 year-old, heart-worm recovered Aussie Shepard? He really is a sweet animal and doesn't have too many bad habits--his worse probably being he'll very occasionally try to sneak a quick crouch sniff from the side of the bed while you're asleep. Nothing like a big wet nose up your butt to say "Rise and Shine."

Uh, anybody?

Summer Excitement This Weekend!

Big preparations are underway for all the goings on this weekend. First, the big birthday BBQ for Craze. House is clean but still need to buy and make more food--that's on today's agenda. Oh and make beds for my returning overseas guests and Craze's parents.

Secondly, the smelly big-head foster dog is being picked up by his new family on Sunday. After two months at our home, we will be sad to see him go and I'm sure he will be unhappy for a little while. That said, his new family are two teachers with a giant fenced yard in the burbs, a cute doggie brother that the Bear already took a liking to and they have the next three months off to spend acclimatizing Bear to his new home and family. And the best thing? I think the husband of the teacher duo is madly in love with Bear, which is what I always wanted.

Craze will be sad to see him go. He loves that smelly, furry giant of a beast but he also gets that with the baby coming it's not the best idea for us to keep him. I'm sure I will also be sad, too, but I'm also looking forward to regaining my smaller trio of pets and a less chaotic household.

Last, but certainly not least, Craze's unsuspecting parents are coming to the party completely unaware of the impending baby announcement. We'll be letting his parents and my brother and family all in on the secret at the party. Another birthday to celebrate coming up. Summer excitement all around!

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

It's A Boy!

Now on a brief respite from the visit of my overseas guests (they've gone to my brother's until Saturday), I'm excited to report that I went in for CVS testing last Friday and found out two incredibly great things on the very same day: 1) all my baby's chromosomes are totally normal and healthy (no Down's Syndrome, etc) and 2) we're having a BOY!

It's funny, even though I've been holding out all along for a girl, every time I looked at my ultrasound pix in the past few weeks I kept wanting it to be a girl but just knew in my heart of hearts that "she" was a "he." And so it is. Craze, the boy lover, was thrilled of course--a little boy to do lots of manly, sporty things with. No tea parties for me I'm afraid.

I'm doing well and feeling better. Still tired (probably due to my visitors who are a bit of a handful, no doubt) but not as nauseous at all. And even with the CVS test, my bleeding/spotting has resolved, which is great.

Since I'm officially 12 weeks along this week, we're finally going to spill the beans. We're having a b-day bbq for Craze this weekend and that's when we're going to share our big and, I'm sure at my 43 years of age, totally unexpected news. I think Craze's mom just may pass out from her pure baby joy. As I've said before, she is a serious baby stalker.

So, it's time to start looking beyond the hot pink and chocolate brown nursery options I've pined for. I'm thinking yellow, green and lots of monkeys and giraffes. We'll see. . .it's all part of the fun!