Friday, August 29, 2008

Just had to share. . . .


I hope this will encourage me not to overeat this weekend like I did last weekend!!

I really, really want to get under 200. I know it's just a number on a scale, but it would be such a mental boost: I haven't been consistently under 200 since a few months after taking the bar exam in 2004.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Stress? Eh, only 216 points' worth

It's no secret that I've been feeling stressed of late. While taking a mental break to surf the internet tonight, I google'd "stressful life events" and came across the following list compiled in order from most to least stressful common occurrences. (I've bolded the items that I have either experienced in the past year or will be experiencing within the next three months.)

Death of a spouse: 100 Points
2. Divorce: 73 Points
3. Marital Separation: 65 Points
4. Jail Term: 63 Points
5. Death of Close Family Member: 63 Points
6. Personal Injury or Illness: 53 Points
7. Marriage: 50 Points
8. Job Firing: 47 Points
9. Marital Reconciliation: 45 Points
10. Retirement: 45 Points
11. Change in Health Of A Family Member: 44 Points
12. Pregnancy: 44 Points
13. Sexual Difficulties: 39 Points
14. Gain of a New Family Member: 39 Points
15. Business Readjustment: 39 Points
16. Change in Financial State: 38 Points
17. Death of a Close Friend: 37 Points
18. Change to a Different Line Of Work: 36 Points
19. Change in Number Of Arguments With Spouse: 35 Points
20. Mortgage More Than $50,000: 31 Points
21. Foreclosure: 30 Points
22. Change in Responsibilities at Work: 29 Points
23. Departure of Son or Daughter From Home: 29 Points
24. Trouble with In-laws: 29 Points
25. Outstanding Personal Achievement: 28 Points
26. Spouse’s Beginning Or Stopping Work: 26 Points
27. Beginning or Ending of School: 26 Points
28. Change in Living Conditions: 25 Points
29. Change of Personal Habits: 24 Points
30. Trouble With Boss: 23 Points
31. Change in Work Hours or Conditions: 20 Points
32. Change in Residence: 20 Points
33. Change in Schools: 20 Points
34. Change in Recreation: 19 Points
35. Change in Church Activities: 19 Points
36. Change in Social Activities: 18 Points
37. Mortgage or Loan Less Than $50,000: 17 Points
38. Change in Sleeping Habits: 16 Points
39. Change in Numbers of Family Gatherings: 15 Points
40. Change in Eating Habits: 15 Points
41. Vacation: 13 Points
42. Christmas: 12 Points

I am struck by the fact that many things most of us few as positive--like marriage, vacation, Christmas, even "outstanding personal achievement"--are ranked in the 42 most stressful life events. Hmmm.

Even though I only scored 216, this may explain why I am stressed even though life is good. And by the way: I think there should be 20 extra points for being a lawyer in private practice. ;-)

By the look of this list, I better do all I can to keep MM around once we're married: death, divorce, and marital separation are the top three! Eek!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Must post one more thing

Today is a very auspicious day because it marks 6 years that Sebastian has been my dog.

I couldn't ask for a better canine companion! I am so lucky to have him.

This is a photo of him when he was younger, before he started getting the gray face.

Free floating anxiety

207.8 (ugh! was 205 yesterday!)

I had a pretty productive weekend, with a little bit of fun mixed in. MM and I went to see the Dave Matthews Band in concert on Saturday; the show was fun. We met my friends M and J from Tucson for dinner beforehand, too, and it was good to see them.

Friday evening MM and I drove up and had dinner in our new 'hood and visited our new house. It's fun to see the progress each time we go there. The tile in the bathrooms and kitchen had just been put down, so we were able to get an idea of how it looks (although a lot of it was covered with brown paper. . . for protection, I guess). The house is not painted or carpeted yet. I'm really looking forward to seeing the finished product soon!

Saturday I spent a few hours at my office doing legal research and beginning to write a motion for summary judgment--the first of four I have to write before October 5. I didn't get as far as I'd hoped on the research or the writing, so that project will be taking up much of time early this week, in addition to two other projects with fast-approaching deadlines. Ugh. I had hoped to spend some time this week continuing to get caught up on some back-burnered work, but it's not looking hopeful.

Sunday KC came over and helped me go through all the various stuff I had stored in my closets. Quite a few of the items I have been carting around with me literally since college--a few even since high school! I got rid of a lot of stuff: threw away four bags of trash and old cards/letters; gathered six large boxes of stuff to be given away to charity; and reorganized the (few) items I felt I couldn't part with.

All this sorting and tossing took nearly four hours, but I felt much better for having done it! KC was surprised at some of the things I got rid of, because one excuse I'd made for years for holding on to a lot of it was "I'll use this someday when I have a house of my own." It seemed odd to her that now that I am on the verge of finally having a house of my own, I would suddenly decide to part with these items.

I can certainly understand why she was confused. I can only explain it this way: most of the things I'd saved were, at one time, things that I envisioned having in a house of my own. But now I'm no longer dreaming and planning for a theoretical house; now I am buying an actual house that MM and I will share together. Now that I know where and what my house is, I am letting go of the theoretical dream house I've always had in the back of my mind and embracing the real house. . . and realizing that many of the items I'd saved are not things that I want to have in this real-life house.

After Sunday's flurry of activity, with the exception of three boxes in my bedroom that I still need to sort through and toss/reorganize, the only things that remain to be packed for me are the usual things that most normal people would have to pack for a move: bathroom and kitchen stuff, a few knick-knacks, clothes. I feel confident that I can get this done--with MM's help!--prior to our move on 9/10.

I have been feeling mildly anxious ever since I woke up this morning. Not exactly sure why, but it may simply be all that I have going on at work and at home. You'd think that my anxiety about work would spur me to get some sh1t done. . . but you'd be wrong! I've been procrastinating all morning.

OK, enough putting off the inevitable! I'm going to get to work. . . .

Friday, August 22, 2008

I think I'm defective

There's been something on my mind that I've been hesitant to blog about. Today, for reasons that are unclear to me, I've decided f$^k it! What the hell is the point in my having a blog if I can't vent my feelings here? Geesh.

Back when I made the decision in mid-April , I wrote about the fact that I stopped taking birth control pills ( I initially went off the pill to let my body return to normal and "gather data" (if you will) about my cycles before MM and I would actively try to get pregnant sometime this fall. As part of my data collection process, I began taking my temperature daily and charting on a well-known website for same ( After a couple of cycles, I decided to add ovulation prediction kits to the mix, just to "get more information" about what my body is doing.

Somewhere between the initial decision to go off the pill in preparation for trying to get pregnant in the fall and today, this enterprise has morphed into MM actively trying to get me pregnant ASAP. I don't know if this is due to MM's desire for instant gratification; my inability to "let go" and not plan things; or the misguided belief we both had that pregnancy happens to people who don't use birth control almost immediately or some combination of these . . . . but my fertility has become a frequent topic of conversation between MM and me and between my closest friends and me, too.

Let me not make this sound as though it's primarily MM's doing. No, I have been wholly complicit in the evolution of the current state of affairs.

As I am now mid-way through my fifth cycle off birth control, I have already come to the realization that I am obviously not one of these women who becomes pregnant at the drop of a hat. At the risk of over-sharing. . . . MM and I have sex almost every day, at least 6 days a week.

I think most people would believe that two adults who have almost daily sex without any form of protection would soon find themselves in a family way. Well, I'm here to tell you: 'tain't so! I know for a fact that MM and I had sex during my "fertile window" the past four months (& this month, but it's too soon to know the outcome there), and I am not pregnant.

All my adult life, I have labored (ha! pun!) under the misconception (ha! another pun!) that unprotected sex would result almost immediately in a pregnancy. I have been extra-careful over many years to take my pill every day and on time, to use condoms, and to keep track of my periods. I have spent sleepless nights worrying on the rare occasions when I didn't use protection for some reason. I am beginning to wonder why I wasted the time, money, and effort on birth control. . . .

I've read the statistics on chances of achieving pregnancy naturally after age 35: according to the most recent study done, 60% of couples will succeed after one year of trying and 85% of couples will achieve pregnancy after two years of trying. We are certainly not outside the norm in having tried for four months and not achieved a pregnancy. I guess I was under the mistaken belief that I would be one of these women who somehow manages to remain super-fertile well into her mid-30's. My thoughts in that regard were not entirely without foundation: both my grandmothers had pregnancies after age 35; my mom and aunt both had unplanned pregnancies, attesting to the fertility of the women in our family.

At this point, I've moved beyond simply being annoyed at not getting near-instant gratification to being genuinely concerned at my lack of fecundity. I'm sure that my advanced age is a factor in this, but I can't help also wondering if something more is wrong, either with me or with MM. That possibility concerns me a great deal.

Neither of us is willing to go to the limits of medical science in order to become parents: we are both opposed to the idea of IVF (not to mention not wanting to spend $10K+ for the mere possibility of having a child); I am unwilling to do anything that involves shooting my body full of hormones (let's face it: I have enough trouble coping with daily life some days as it is!). MM is not particularly interested in the idea of adopting; the primary aim of becoming a parent for him is to have his own child who is genetically related to him. Because we both place significant limitations on the way in which we are willing to become parents, some of the options that might otherwise be available as a path to parenthood for a couple who cannot conceive naturally will not be open to us.

Meanwhile, all around us, people are getting pregnant and having babies. Just since I went off the pill--only a little over 4 months--three friends have announced their pregnancies and two have given birth. MM's surveillance officer partner's wife is pregnant with their second child. . . and the felons who MM supervises are regularly impregnating their partners. (MM was telling me last week that one of his probationers has been out of jail only 3 weeks and has already managed to knock up his girlfriend. They are both 19, and she has one child already with a different father.)

Although I've been overweight to some degree or another my entire adult life, I've always had a perception of myself as healthy. My "failure" to get pregnant quickly and easily has shaken that perception.

Also, I've never before had a goal that I can really do little to work toward. MM and I have done everything "right" for four months: well-timed intercourse; I've totally given up alcohol and nearly completely given up caffeine; I've been eating healthfully and exercising regularly; I take daily multivitamins and fish oil supplements. And still nothing.

ANYWAY. . . . I am not looking for advice on how to maximize our chances of conception--God knows, I have devoted hours to research of this subject over the past few months, so I doubt there's much anyone reading this can tell me that I don't already know. I am CERTAINLY not looking for anyone to tell me "relax, it'll happen." (In fact, I'd be apt to bitch-slap anyone who tells me this or its corollary: "it'll happen when you least expect it!" Please.)

Just wanted to get these feelings out there.

Stolen from my favorite sister. . . .


1. How old will you be in 3 birthdays? 40--eek!

2. Do you think you'll be married by then? Yes

3. Who was the last person you called, and who called you last? apartment maintenance; my BFF KC

4. Have you ever played a team sport? Yes

5. Who was the last person to text you? My BFF KC

6. Current thoughts? Late for work again. . . .

7. What were you doing at midnight? Sleeping.

8. What happened at 11:00 a.m. today? Nothing yet! It's just past 8:00 a.m. here.

9. How many states have you visited? Hmmm. 37 or 38?

10. If you could be anywhere right now, where would it be? On a tropical beach somewhere with a rum drink in my hand

11. Do you prefer shoes, socks, or bare feet? Bare feet

12. Are you a social person? Yes

13. What was the last thing you drank? Water

14. What is your favorite drink? Water

15. What is your favorite dessert? Chocolate cake with chocolate ganache

16. What are your favorite color/s? Blue

17. What jelly do you put on your PBJ? Any kind of berry, typically strawberry

18. Do you like coffee? Yes

19. How many glasses of water a day do you drink on average? 10

20. What do you drink in the morning? Water. Occasionally a caffe latte

21. Would you rather kiss someone with or without a tongue ring? Without. I don't care for piercings, other than in the ear.

22. Do you sleep on a certain side of the bed? Right side

23. Do you know how to play poker? Yes

24. What's so good about Fridays? I get my paycheck every other Friday!

25. Any plans for this week? Draft a motion for summary judgment, Dave Matthews Band concert, do a major sort-and-toss of all closets

26. How big is your TV? Mine is 19". MM's is 50".

27. Ever stolen a street sign? Nope.

28. Do you keep a piggy bank? Yes, for spare change.

29. What kind of camera do you have? Olympus digital

30. Have you ever been in an ambulance? As a nurse, not as a patient.

31. Do you prefer an ocean or a pool? Ocean

32. Do you prefer a window seat or an aisle seat? Aisle

33. Do you know how to drive a stick shift? Yes: I owned a manual for 11.5 years.

34. What is your favorite thing to spend money on? Taking trips

35. Do you wear any jewelry 24/7? No

36. Can you roll your tongue? Yes

37. What should you be doing now? Getting ready for work.

38. Do you sleep with stuffed animals? No

39. What is the main ring tone on your phone? Standard phone ring

40. Do you still have clothes from when you were little? Yes

41. What is the color of your bedroom walls? White (I'm a renter!)

42. Do you shut off the water when you brush your teeth? Yes

43. Do you like someone right now? No, I hate everyone. (WTF kind of question is this? I'm not 12!)

44. Do you currently hate someone? Not that I can think of.

45. Where are your best friends? All over the western U.S.!

I think this was supposed to be a 50-item list, so 5 somehow got lost along the way. . . .

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

I will survive


Beginning yesterday evening and lasting into late morning today, I was feeling depressed. After engaging in some self-analysis over the course of the morning--and drinking a caffe latte--I believe that the source of my funk is simply my feeling overwhelmed. A brief breakdown of what's going in my life:

  1. I am hella busy at work and behind on my billables for the second month in a row. Yes, I see the irony in having a lot to do and yet not billing enough hours. It's called procrastination and a lack of self-discipline, people!
  2. In addition to the fact that I need to bill more hours, I have to draft four motions for summary judgment in the next 6 weeks. (For those non-lawyers who read this blog, translate this into hours of research, writing, and picking through disclosed evidentiary documents for support for every fact I must write about.) Actually, #2 will end up helping me up my billables, so eventually a good thing, but more work in the short-term when I don't have time for it!
  3. MM and I have bought a new house and are having to arrange many things for the house: landscaping, spa, utilities, home loan, homeowners' insurance, pest control, cable/internet, new furniture
  4. Movers will be at my apartment to take my stuff to the new house three weeks from today--by this time of day, the stuff will be unloaded at the new house--and I have at least 3 closets' worth of crap to sort through before then so that I can decided what to pitch, what to donate, and what to move.
  5. The 3 closets' worth of crap doesn't even include all the other household packing that any normal person would have to deal with in the weeks before a move.
  6. I am definitely getting rid of about half my furniture before the move and have to decide what to do with it all. Sell on craigslist? Freecycle? Get charity to pick up?
  7. I need to book our wedding package in Maui in the near future if I want to have any hope of doing our wedding while we are there.
  8. I'm trying to exercise more regularly in an effort to lower my dangerously high cholesterol.
  9. I'm back on Weight Watchers trying to lose weight to lower cholesterol and look decent for the Maui trip. And I'm doing Core, which involves more shopping and cooking than usual for me.
  10. I have a crapload of stuff I've put off for too long, including: a thorough detailing of my car's interior (pre-paid in late May and not yet done); 50K-mile service on car (scheduled and cancelled once already); tailoring of two pairs of "summer" dress pants for work (one pair is part of a pantsuit I bought A YEAR AGO and have not yet been able to wear).
  11. I am off the pill and could theoretically become pregnant at any time. . . so every month I am paying much more attention than usual to my cycle.
  12. MM and I need to go to the jewelry store and pick my engagement ring.
  13. I need to schedule a holiday/engagement photo session before all the photographers' available sessions are taken.

Actually, I am getting exhausted and feeling a bit defeated just reading over this list! All of this is in addition to the usual life stuff that we all have going on: household chores, dog care, remembering friends' birthdays, keeping in touch with family. WHEW!

It's no wonder I feel as though I need a week off just to veg. BUT I'm not gonna get it any time soon, so I just have to suck it up and deal.

Not to sound all Alcoholics Anonymous-y, but I'm just gonna have to take things "one day at a time." In six weeks, life will look quite different than it does today. Time will tell how I will survive until then. ;-)

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

I lost 3.2 lbs!

I was 206.8 at my official weigh-in today. Only 17.8 lbs to go to reach 10% lost!

Just to have a time-related goal, I am aiming to hit my 10% goal before we leave for Maui. So I have about 14 weeks to lose those 17.8 lbs. Seems totally do-able to me.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

So frickin' tired

I'm home and glad to be back. I enjoyed seeing my dad, as always, and had about the weekend I expected to have. It was good to see MM and Sebastian when I got home.

Currently I'm at my office finishing up an assignment that the partner needs "first thing in the morning" tomorrow. It's times like this when I'm not loving my job.

I could really use a few days off just to veg. Seriously. But I know it's gonna be a while before I get anything remotely approaching that: I have too much to do at work and at home. Even my weekends will be filled for the next month.

[sigh. . . . ]

Thursday, August 14, 2008


207.8 (yea!)

I am having a very hard time focusing at work lately. . . mostly because MM and I have so many things to do related to the new house and the upcoming move that my focus has been on that much more than on any of the tasks that my firm (& our clients) pay me to perform. ;-)

One brief side note about the move: it is so nice to be in a relationship with someone who is competent, reliable, and not a procrastinator! With my ex, I usually just made all plans myself; if I didn't, he would put it off indefinitely or "forget" to do it. MM is a much more take-charge kind of person: of his own accord, he decided to take this morning off from work in order to arrange movers, a home inspection, utilities, etc., for the move. I would be even more stressed out if not for his taking responsibility for this stuff!

My friend KH had her baby girl yesterday; Mom and baby are both doing well. I babysat her not-quite-13-month-old son in the morning before his nanny arrived and again after work until her husband came home. Her son is terribly cute, and although I was (& still am) tired, I enjoyed watching him and was glad I could help them out.

Tomorrow I fly to see my dad for the weekend. I'm looking forward to it! I'm sure I will miss MM, but it'll be good to see Dad and to get away for a few days.

Weight Watchers is going well. I didn't really plan yesterday's meals, due to rushing out of the house just after 6 a.m. and rushing back to KH's after work, but was still able to stay Core-compliant, with the exception of just a few low-point foods (lowfat milk instead of skim, a slice of whole wheat bread). I also made it to the gym on Sunday, Monday, & Tuesday this week, so it's been a pretty good week so far.

Being at my dad's could be a bit of a challenge eating-wise. He is a saboteur, although he is often telling me how good it is for me to diet and lose weight. I know we will be going out for Mexican food on Friday night, so I can handle that: I will just order chicken fajitas and whole black beans and skip the tortillas. (That will likely provoke comment, but I can deal with it.) It's the eating at his house, where I have less control over food choices, that may be problematic.

Gotta get back to finishing up a research project and drafting some motions in limine for an upcoming trial. Oh joy! ;-)

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Woohoo carrots!

209.2 (this morning)
210.0 ("official" weigh-in yesterday at noon)

I went to my Weight Watchers meeting yesterday as planned and have started the "Core" plan today. Core is actually pretty similar to Phase 2 of the South Beach Diet, with one notable exception: whole wheat bread is not allowed. I've been hungry on and off today, but not unbearably so.

MM and I are having dinner at Red Robin after the gym. I thought that it might be a bit of a challenge finding a Core-compliant meal there, so I designed one online and am going to use some of my weekly 35-point allowance to have a (whole wheat) bun.

I'm going to post my food for the day to help keep me honest. So far today I've had:

breakfast: Kashi Go Lean Crunch cereal with 15 blueberries and fat-free milk
lunch: mixed spring greens with 6 oz white albacore tuna, 6 oz V8, a banana, and a Yoplait Light fat-free yogurt
snack: 94% fat-free microwave popcorn and a peach

Only a little over 700 calories so far, according to My planned meal at Red Robin is also only a little over 700 calories. . . so if I stick with my plan, I should come in at around 1450 total calories for the day.

MM and I are going to the gym tonight--as per our usual Tuesday routine--and on to his place to gather up the last of his things that are still there. Between gym, dinner, and clean-up, my entire evening is basically shot. And I have plans for dinner with friends the next two nights and am leaving town on Friday noonish to visit my dad for the weekend. Busy, busy!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Starting again


I am joining Weight Watchers for the 4th (or 5th?) time today. I have been rolling the idea around in my head for weeks, but a conversation with a coworker last week clinched it, and today's the day. She and I are going to go to a meeting at lunchtime and join together, so that'll be nice.

Believe it or not, although we have been together nearly 11 months, MM never knew how much I weigh. I had made a veiled reference or two to weighing "more than" him, but he never knew the number. . . that is, until yesterday at the gym when I climbed on the elliptical trainer next to him and put in my weight when requested to do so. DOH!

As we were working out, at one point I noticed him giving me a very odd head-to-toe once-over. At that precise moment, I had my iPod on and had finally gotten my heart rate into a good zone, so I didn't slow down to find out what the look was about. But I asked him about it later. He said he "couldn't figure out where all that extra weight is." He thinks I "don't look like you weigh over 200."

I should add here that MM himself weighs between 160 and 164, depending on the day and how much strength training he is doing. He's only 5'8", so he's not skinny, but he is by no means overweight. . . I don't think he has even one pound of excess fat on his body anywhere.

Anyway, I guess it's really not that big a deal: I'm the same me, and he feels the same about me as he ever did, despite being a little weirded out by finding out that I weigh over 200 lbs. I had just hoped to keep this little tidbit of information about me private. LOL

Had a busy weekend. Saturday was filled up with social obligations: a book club brunch, picked up KC at the airport, attended a birthday party at a pizza place for my friends' two-year-old. All in all, I ended up seeing no fewer than 10 children under age 4 (and two pregnant women) during the day's festivities. Sunday MM and I went to Macy's and bought a sectional for our new house, drove by the house to check progress (our driveway cement had been poured and doors installed), went to the gym, then home to shower before going to MM's parents' house for dinner.

Tonight I'll be headed to the grocery store to buy some healthy foods for the week and will do the household chores that I didn't have time to do this weekend. I'm going to visit my father this coming weekend, but every other weekend until our move, I need to spend at least a solid 3-4 hours decluttering and sorting through crap. MM would freak if he knew all the junk I have tucked away in closets in our current place, and it's just a good idea to get rid of everything I can before we move into our new house.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Our new home

Before I start, I want to say that I wrote a lovely entry about the new house yesterday afternoon on my work computer, and IE crashed when it was about 90% finished. God knows why blogger didn't autosave as usual, but all my writing was lost! I was so disgusted at having wasted all that time that I couldn't face rewriting the entry. Hence the delay in posting the details.

Anyhoo. . . MM and I signed a contract on a new home on Thursday night. The house is a builder "spec" home that is already mostly constructed. It is located less than 20 minutes from my office (crucial!) and about 5-7 minutes from the neighborhood we had seen and liked the previous weekend.

We went out to this new subdivision--which is nearly completed; people are already living in many of the homes--and looked through the six spec homes (three different floorplans) that were available in our price range. Of the six, three homes had the floorplan we chose which, though it is the smallest in terms of square footage, we liked the best. Here's what it looks like:

I love the great room and the openness of the floorplan in general. I don't care much for a separate living room/family room because I feel that the "formal" living room ends up being wasted space. (I feel the same way about a separate dining room.) The second and third bedrooms in this floorplan are not very large, but the master bedroom is a good size. Considering how little we will use the other bedrooms, I'm not much bothered by their size.

All of the other three homes available were on lots that MM would not consider because they were near some high-voltage power lines. Not only does MM consider these power lines an eyesore, some people think they cause cancer (, and MM is an admitted hypochondriac. To use his words about one of the homes (which was on a larger-than-average lot): "If we move in here, I'll drop 60 lbs and go completely bald the first year we live here." Nice.

For my part, I didn't care for the floorplans of the other three homes: one was basically the same floorplan we have now, but with a fourth (superfluous) bedroom tacked onto the front of the house. I would've been more interested in paying extra to get more square footage if the extra space had been put into making the common areas or the bedrooms larger, rather than adding another room that we don't need and likely wouldn't use much.

The other two homes had a floorplan where the door from the garage brought you into the house through the hallway where the bedrooms were located. I knew that if we bought one of those homes, this design flaw would annoy me every single day when I arrived home with my arms full of crap. So I ended up being glad that MM ruled out all these homes as choices.

We considered all three of the houses that have our floorplan, and we very nearly went with one that had the most upgrades and larger, darker tile. When we went back for one last look at it before deciding, as MM stood in the master bedroom to see if it was quiet enough for him, I went out into the backyard again and heard a small dog yapping. I called MM out, and he looked over the wall and saw a Chihuahua. Both of us hate living near small, yappy dogs (or "yappers," as MM's mom calls them).

We both know that any of our future neighbors could end up owning (or later acquiring) a yapper, but we knew FOR SURE that these neighbors had one. Because the Chihuahua lived at the house between two of the available homes, we went with the third house. (In addition to being yapper-free, it was slightly farther down the street and a little quieter in general.)

Because the house is so far along in the construction process, we are not getting to pick any of the flooring, paint, countertops, lighting fixtures, etc., but all are upgraded from the basics which the builder puts into these homes. The color scheme is very neutral and very much to our taste and fits in well with the "decorating vision" we have for our home. (I had to put that in quotes because neither MM nor I is much of a decorator.) The kitchen has beautiful granite countertops and stainless steel appliances. We will get to pick our landscaping, front and back, and the cost of both is included in the price of the home. . . as are window blinds; a garage door opener; and the range, microwave, and dishwasher.

What ultimately settled us on this new home vs. the pre-owned homes we had seen and considered
in the other nearby neighborhood we liked was this: we simply got more home than we could have purchased there for even $50K more. We ended up spending well under what we can afford, and that gives me a lot of peace of mind: I hate the idea of being even slightly over-extended financially just to have a nice house.

It's an unfortunate fact for people trying to sell their homes that the builders can offer huge incentives to move the homes they build. Because this is a spec home in a community that is near completion, we ended saving $65K off the original price of this house--and that doesn't even include the free upgrades or landscaping! And I am only 3-5 minutes farther from work than I would've been if we had purchased a pre-owned home a few miles away. (We are even in the same school district as the other, established neighborhood.)

Another thing I like about the community in which we purchased is that our house is priced in lower part of the mid-range: there are many more expensive homes and only a few less expensive than ours. I like that. I don't like the idea of living in a neighborhood where my house is one of the most expensive.

MM has had his heart set on putting a pool in our backyard, and this is also included in our price. However, when he met with the pool designer today, he learned that a pool would (as we had feared) take up our entire backyard. Neither he nor I want that--that was one of our specific complaints about a few of the pre-owned homes we saw--so instead he has opted to go with an in-ground spa which will take up less than half the backyard. I've not yet seen the plans, but I trust that it will be very nice and add something to our backyard. Because a pool was so important to MM, I had to let this be his choice. . . but honestly, I will probably get more enjoyment out of the spa than a pool myself.

I'm excited about the new house: I've already ordered change-of-address cards for us and am planning on hosting a house-warming party once the spa and landscaping are complete. This will be the first home I've ever owned, and I've never lived in a new house before!

At the same time, my excitement is slightly tinged with anxiety. (Don't misunderstand me: the good feelings definitely outweigh any apprehension.) Buying a home is a big step financially for any person. I would have some anxiety about that aspect even if I were buying a place on my own.

Buying a home with MM also represents a big step in our relationship. In some ways, this home purchase is a bigger commitment to each other than marriage. . . or, at least, it is a commitment that could prove harder to get out of. In Arizona, an uncontested, no-fault divorce takes 60 days and costs only court filing fees if you do it yourself. If we decided to split within the next two years and had to re-sell this house--and we would have to sell, because neither of us could afford it alone--we would likely lose quite a bit of money. . . assuming we could even find a buyer. (Yes, I think about these things: I can't help it, I'm a lawyer!)

Anyway. . . we have both considered this possible downside and are going ahead regardless. I think that's a good sign. ;-)

As we began filling out the paperwork for the house purchase, a huge monsoon storm hit and continued for hours. We later saw on the news that over 2 inches of rain fell in some areas and that it was the largest monsoon storm in the Phoenix area since 1999. I hope that's also a good omen!

MM is moving all his stuff out of his townhome today--his closing is on the 15th--and putting it into storage until our house is ready. A friend is helping him, and he was adamant that he didn't need me to help, too. Is it terrible of me that I was totally willing NOT to insist? LOL

Our house is scheduled to be ready on September 9th, so barring any significant and unforeseen delays, we should be living there before the end of September. Hooray!

Friday, August 08, 2008

We bought a house!

Signed the contract last night.  More details to follow. . . .

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

7 things I hate about my apartment

In light of the fact that I've been blogging a lot about buying a house with MM, I thought I would share this list.  I have carefully confined my gripes to things I did not/could not know when I moved in here or that have changed since last July.

1.    I hate how slow the drain is in my shower.  This problem has been developing slowly over the past few months, and Drano isn't working to cure it.  I've had multiple plumbing problems in the time I've lived here.  Calling management is useless; they don't ever fix a problem.

2.    I hate how the management never properly fixed the water damage from my flood last November.  I have plywood for shelves in one cabinet, and part of the laminate is peeled back; both look sh1tty.  I made two maintenance requests to have these things fixed months ago, but got tired of asking and gave up.

3.    I hate that the light outside the doors that lead to my hallway is burned out and has not been replaced even though I have called twice (and gone in once in person) about it.

4.    I hate the neighbor who lets his huge dog take a crap in the common area and doesn't pick it up after.  Seriously, this dog must weigh 100+ lbs: his craps are bigger than Sebastian's, and THAT'S saying something!  Pick up after your f$%*in' dog!

5.    I hate how the toilet seat on my toilet is loose and slides when I sit on it.  Not a time when I want a feeling of insecurity.

6.    I hate how the air intake in the hall doesn't take a standard-sized filter.  I'm sure this is not good for MM's allergies, and it's just damn frustrating.

7.    I hate all the sketchy-looking people who've become my neighbors over the past several months.  When I moved in here a little over a year ago, the majority of my neighbors were older retirees who had lived in the complex for years.  I see an ever-increasing number of heavily-tattooed folk and younger people with questionable hygiene & questionable cars.  I know I'm be judgy, and I don't care: I don't want these people as neighbors!

Wow, that was easier than I thought.  Maybe I should've made this a top ten list. . . but I wanted to give a nod to Miley Cyrus with today's post title.  ;--)

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Looking for the one that is "just right"

MM and I went out on Sunday with the realtor as scheduled and looked at houses.  We had 10 properties on our list; of those, 2 were short sales that we ended up not viewing--one because the bank had recently accepted a prior offer and the other because we could tell as soon as we opened the front door that the previous occupants had trashed the hardwood floors and much work would be required to fix them.

Of the eight homes we saw, each had something about it which was not to our liking.  I joked that I felt like Goldilocks because none of them was "just right."  If we liked the interior, the yard was completely taken up by the pool and/or backed up to a busy road.  If we liked the yard, there was something about the floorplan that didn't suit us.  The only house we found that came very close to meeting all our criteria was priced nearly $40K more than we want to pay.  (We have not totally tabled the idea of making a low-ball offer for that place, but we're not 100% in love with it.)

Our current plan is to go out with the realtor again on Sunday and look at four more homes in our preferred neighborhood which are within our price range, as well as checking out a new development slightly farther from work (still only 20 minutes' drive) where the builder is offering some big incentives to sell some spec homes.

My friends and acquaintances seem to be pretty evenly split regarding whether it's better to purchase a new home in a new development or a pre-owned home, 10-12 years old, in a nice, established neighborhood.  I suppose the split is due to the fact that there are pros and cons to each.

Both MM and I are sick of looking at houses and just want to settle on some place and be done with looking.  On the other hand, we recognize that this is a major purchase and a big decision, so we feel obligated to look more and make sure that we make a good decision.

Several people have told us "when you find the right place, you'll just know."  HOWEVER. . . . people have also been telling me that about my love life for years, and I haven't found it to be true for me there, either.  ;-)

Other than house hunting, there really isn't much new going on with us.  Once we close on a house, MM is going to buy me an engagement ring, and we are going ahead with our plans for a small, private wedding ceremony on Maui while we are there for vacation around Thanksgiving.  Our relationship is good, and actually, the stress of the house hunting has highlighted the fact that we are pretty compatible and also able to disagree and discuss without causing a rift. . . good things to know.  (When I briefly house hunted with my ex SL, it should've been clear to me then that we were not on the same page: we hardly agreed on anything, even areas to look!)

Work is status quo; it's still bloody hot.  Not much new to report. . . .