Monday, May 31, 2010

Building a House

I finally found where I want to build my home. It's in far north Fort Worth in an area that is new development with lots of different builders. There are gas stations, grocery stores, clothing stores, etc. all nearby. It has very easy access to I-35 (about 3.3 miles away), and it's within 25 minutes of my parents' and sisters' homes. I will have easy access to all my Texas stores, and it's a straight shot up to Oklahoma City and my 5 stores in and around that area. It will take me a bit longer to get to Tulsa, Arkansas, and Missouri, but everything is a trade-off, I suppose.

I have selected the floor plan that works best for me. It's 1,737 square feet, which is outrageous for one person, considering I grew up in a home that was smaller and had 5 people plus a cat living there. But I'll have 3 bedrooms plus a den for my home office. This will give me a master bedroom for me, a guest bedroom for whomever, and a third room to use as a library or music room or whatever I want.

I'm going back on Saturday to see if I can get (negotiate) the builder to pay all my closing costs, throw in a refrigerator as well as give me lots of money for the 'design center'.

I checked my credit report tonight through Equifax, and it all looks good - no strange things that I don't recognize. Everything that can be green is green, and no red flags or statements saying I was ever overdue on anything. I'm sure you all know that you can get your credit report free each year through the 3 credit reporting companies. Then I paid $7.95 to check my credit score. I don't mind sharing that it is in the highest bracket, so I should be able to get a great interest rate.

I'm bad about throwing my paperwork everywhere at home, so I need to get copies of certain things pulled together for when it reaches that point.

The entire process is interesting but also extremely scary. It's a huge commitment to pay a mortgage that is significantly more than my current rent. But I'm about to pay my car off by the end of the year, and the mortgage will be less than my rent + car currently is.


Saturday, May 22, 2010

Pulled Over Again

Oklahoma Highway Patrol likes me. Actually, they like to pull me over and give me warnings on yellow paper that I stuff into my glove box.

About 10 days ago I was pulled over driving from my store in Rogers, Arkansas home to Dallas. This drive takes about 5 1/2 hours, and a huge portion of it is through Oklahoma on I-40 and US 69.

I was cruising along, dancing to Michael Buble's latest CD, Crazy Love, when the trooper pulled me over. I was perplexed, I was astounded, I, for once, wasn't speeding, not one iota. I had no idea why I was being pulled over. The trooper came to the passenger side, and I lowered that window.

"I just wanted to see if you were tired or getting sleepy," he said, "Maybe texting even. You crossed the center line a couple of times a ways back." This was news to me, considering I was alert and fine, just driving along. I told him my company had just instituted a policy against distracted driving and showed him that my cell phones were in their cases and not in my hands. He saw my bluetooth device and believed me. I told him I felt fine and wasn't aware of crossing the center line. He asked to see my driver's license, then gave it back to me and walked back to his car. He wrote me a warning, and let me go. He was very friendly to me, apologetic even.

I still don't think I had crossed the center line, but was pulled over because of the color of my car, which everyone in Oklahoma thinks is pro-UT (University of Texas), when the state is very much an OU (University of Oklahoma) territory. I bought the tangerine metallic car because it was bright and vital and different. Ultimately, it doesn't matter why I bought it. If someone doesn't like the color of my car, they can just be glad they don't have an orange car and shut up about it.

I can't wait for my company car to be built and delivered. It's a black Ford Fusion and won't draw any attention to itself in Oklahoma or anywhere else. It will also be more difficult to find in a parking lot, but I think I can live with that.

Today I took a 4 hour nap, and I'm about to go to sleep again. I don't get enough rest during the week, and today I had no planned obligations, so I did nothing whatsoever but eat, sleep, play on the computer, and watch part of Texas Ranch House on DVD again. I haven't had a day like that in a long time, and I sorely needed it.

I'm tired and going to bed now. Goodnight.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

The Wedding

The rehearsal dinner was Friday night at my parents' house. Dad grilled chicken and brats (I hate brats but the chicken was tasty), and people chatted and mingled a much as you can mingle in a not-so-huge house with 19 people in it.

After everyone ate, the programs were passed around. The wedding theme was that of a theatre production. The invitation looked like a Playbill, and the program had the complete format of a Playbill. All the people involved in the wedding had a photo and a short bio included. I submitted a photo of my mellophone and Octopookie (because I hate having my picture taken and subsequently don't have any) and a tongue-in-cheek bio (because no one really cares about the facts). Everyone else had the same idea about the bio, so they were fun and humorous to read. Big check-plus on this.

Then the agenda for the entire day was passed out, and on the front page was the 'cast' list with everyone's duties listed. This is where the bullshit began this weekend. Without any advance notice whatsoever, I was unwillingly assigned 3 additional duties. I say additional because I was already in charge of the live fish for the centerpieces. My older sister was also assigned additional duties. In fact, about 10 people were assigned additional duties that they didn't know about or agree to ahead of time. This pissed me off to no end, and we bitched about it at length (my older sister and I). You don't just make assumptions and dictate to people what they will be doing for you with less than one day's notice. You plan ahead of time who is going to do these things and ask for participation well in advance. I would have told her she needed to get some of her other friends to do these things. Trust me, there were plenty of other people available to delegate things out to.

On top of all this, the meeting time for pictures at the venue was changed to an hour earlier than what it previously was. My hair/makeup appointment had been made 2 months ago, and was going to make me late for the new time. Aggravating.

I ponied up the money to stay in a hotel near the theatre (wedding venue) and 'cast party' location in downtown Fort Worth. This was well worth the $250 it cost me, because I was a mile from the theatre and a couple blocks from the pub where the party was going to take place, instead of being 45 minutes away.

On Saturday morning I went to PetsMart to buy the fish for the centerpieces, and the lady wouldn't sell me any goldfish, telling me they would die without aeration. This is crap, but I just bought 15 female bettas and drove to the theatre. I didn't know where the heck this building was, because it's in the arts district where a ton of buildings take up several blocks. I parked in a garage and asked a security guard where the theatre was. He directed me to the Omni Theatre, and as I was opening the doors to it, I dropped the bags of fish. The tops popped off of several containers, and I had to scoop 2 fishies off the ground and put them into another container because theirs had broken. There was water all over the floor. No one in the Omni could tell me where the theatre was, and I was livid....absolutely livid.

I called my Dad and he gave me directions. I was walking down the road with 4 wet bags of containers of live fish in my hands, hoping I didn't drop them again. I finally found the theatre and proceeded to clean the glass vases and the rocks, add and treat the water, and pour in the fish.

Then I ran to the salon to get my hair and makeup done. It turned out fine, but wasn't finished until 1pm. I still hadn't eaten at all and was very very hungry. I stopped by McDonald's on the way back to the hotel and got some lunch. Then I tore up to my hotel room, put on my pretty purple dress and everything that I needed to go with it, and made my way back to the theatre.

By this time the parking lots were completely full, and I had to wait in a 10 minute queue to get into the parking garage. At least I knew where the theatre was from having been there in the morning, or it would have been another half hour before I actually got there.

I looked great. I mean really really, even. And I never ever ever think I look great, so that's really saying something. My dress was a simple Calvin Klein purple dress I got at Nordstrom's. The hem comes down to just above the knees, and it has wide straps at the top, but no sleeves. I wore a white sweater shrug with it, a silver necklace, silver sandals, and a cute beaded silver purse I got at Dillard's. My hair was big, not Texas lady hair big, but I told the hair stylist to do whatever she wanted, so that's what she did.

All the women told me I looked fantastic, and I think they actually meant it. I usually dress so simply and don't spend a ton of time on hair and makeup, so to see me dressed up was a big deal. The men didn't say anything, but they're men. Whatever.

We finished off the pictures then headed inside. The day was a rather humid, but was bright and sunny and not too hot at all. It was rather comfortable, and I was very pleased at this. I forgot to mention that I finally broke down and had my nails done in a French manicure before the rehearsal dinner on Friday. I was able to do my own toenails with a kit I bought, but I couldn't seem to do my fingernails acceptably. They are already chipping, but I'm using the kit to touch them up each day in hopes that they'll last longer. The white really chips off easily. I'll just repaint them clear or some neutral color when the repair job starts looking hackneyed.

So I had to take on my additional duties of encouraging everyone to sign the guest book, then encourage them to sign the picture frame which was in the other room, and also take cards and gifts and put them in the other room. I did not want to do these things. I wanted to mingle and talk and take full advantage of the situation to meet new people (single men) during the one time in the surrounding 5 years that I was looking cute and hot, with strappy sandals and a pretty purple dress on.

It was a packed house (100-120 or so). There were people there from her high school days, work, Scuba diving hobby, church where my family goes (and I most certainly do not), family on both sides, and friends from the pub.

The ceremony was short, and their vows (they had written their own) were sweet, loving, romantic, beautiful, and made everyone tear up. My sister was so happy, and it was wonderful to see her that way. This sounds so silly, but I had no idea how much she loved this guy until the wedding. They've been together for a long time, but I never really thought about it before. And it was clear that he loves her more than anything, too.

The reception took place in the same room. There was a spread appropriate for the occasion; the chocolate covered strawberries were deeeee-licous! The champagne was tasty, and the cake was adorable. It was an aquatic them of sorts, to go along with their Scuba hobby. My sister's Maid of Honor sculpted and painted the topper (turtle, heart, leaves, so cute). After the cutting of the cake, my older sister and I had to perform another last minute duty....cut the cake. I am very fast at cutting a wedding cake. I firmly believe people are hungry and want some cake NOW! So, I do it quickly, slap those slices on a place, and have someone hand it to people quickly. This cake was very moist and didn't survive the transfer from cake server to plate very well, but we did the best we could. The sides of the tiers of the cake were covered in what was made to look like the blue/green mosaic tiles of a very nice swimming pool. It was very original and very pretty.

After a while of mingling and all that, various toasts, etc., it was time for the B&G to depart and head to the pub where the cast party was being held. An announcement was made for folks to take the centerpieces home, and I ran around trying to pimp or pawn off the centerpieces to the wedding guests so that I wouldn't have to flush the fish. Then I went around and had to give information to a few people on how to care for the fish. In hindsight, having a small instruction card would have been helpful.

I mostly missed the B&G leaving because I was ensuring that all the centerpieces had a home (they did, Yay!) Then I helped clean up a little and finally got went to get my car out of the garage and go to the hotel to change.

On Thursday night when I packed for this, I somehow threw together this amazing outfit for the cast party. I am really a fashion and accessory-challenged individual, but this seemed to fall into place. I wore some light colored jeans that are cute and have a nice cut to the legs that make them seem a bit fancy. I had a dark rose colored tank, over which I wore a shiny pale-pale-pink button-up shirt (unbuttoned, of course), tied a long scarf with those same colors plus a little metallic thread action around my waist, left on my silver necklace, and added a doubled-up long beaded necklace in all those colors. I continued to wear my silver sandals. Again, I thought I looked darn good.

Because I was late leaving the theatre and went to the hotel to change and took my time, I was a bit late arriving to the pub. There was a simple catered dinner there, and I enjoyed my time playing with my nephew and talking to friends. Most everyone left by 10pm, but I stayed to talk to a couple of my new friends that I made through my sister.

I was feeling pretty down by the end of the day. I was exhausted (still am), and even though I looked hot, nothing had come of it. What's the point of getting all dolled up if the men aren't going to notice and do something? It turns out there weren't many single men there at all, so perhaps that's one of the reasons.

My sister was still radiant up until the very end, and I am very happy for her. The day went off without a hitch (though I was telling everyone after the fact my funny fish-on-the-floor story).

And yes, you guessed it...the Guy brought a date. I'm so stupid and should have just forced myself to stop thinking and hoping a couple of months ago. He never said I looked nice; he is alternatingly nice to me at one time and oddly distant at another. For example, he said if he had known I was going to stay in the hotel he would have offered to let me stay at his house instead (he lives very close to all the festivities). How on earth can you tell one girl that and then bring another to the wedding? Even if we were supposed to be 'just friends', he knows I like him, and wouldn't that seem odd and inappropriate? We are definitely not meant to be together in any capacity, even for a fun romp. It's not like I've even been pursuing him for a while now, but I just feel so mad and so stupid. I will now and going forward somehow change my brain to think of him as a friend, acquaintance, anything but a potential guy I could date. Easier said than done, but I will find a way; I have lots and lots of practice at this, as I'm sure everyone does, because everyone in the world has gone through this many times in their lives.

So that's pretty much it. I finally left the pub and went to the hotel and slept fitfully. Early this morning I had a dream where I was yelling at the Guy, telling him every little instance of when I thought he'd done me wrong. Geez, that is not healthy. I need to drop the anger fast. I'm back home now, of course, and I'm supposed to go see a musical tonight, but I'm just so exhausted that I'm going to skip it. I already bought the ticket, but more naps and relaxation are worth the $50 I'll lose on that ticket.

It was a very tiring, emotional, and draining weekend, and I wasn't even the one to get married! Now, I am going to go get some food (none in the house), and take another nap or three.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

A Frustration

There is a new policy at work that just rolled out. I support it, but I'm going to have a hard time with it. It is perfectly rational, logical, and with peoples' best interests at heart, but it's also going to interfere with my ability to perform my job effectively.

Starting immediately we can no longer receive (read) or send (write) text messages while driving. Now, actual texting has been disabled on our blackberries since before I got my current position, but the word 'text' refers to anything written. I email all the time while driving. And I mean all the time. I can spend 18-20 hours a week driving between all my stores if I do the Grand Tour, and around 12 hours a week driving if I do a 'regular' week. Flying would not solve the problem, as there are 2-hour driving intervals between my markets.

We also must use hands-free devices for cell calls while driving. No problem on this, as I have a bluetooth thing that I bought a few months ago and didn't like, but I will use it and learn to like it with no major issue.

The problem is that now I will have to spend more time on my laptop while I'm in a store, reading and responding to emails, instead of spending time with the people. I won't be able to make optimal use of my travel time, and that bothers me.

I'm not one for breaking the rules, and so I won't. I'm just concerned about how it's going to make me unable to respond quickly to things in a written format. Sure, people can still call me if they need something urgent, but my quick access and very fast responses to my team's emails will be dead as the dodo.

On the upside, maybe they will look more for the answers to the questions themselves instead of relying on me so much. So perhaps they will gain some independence and growth from this.

Monday, May 03, 2010

So Much Things, So Many Stuff

My younger sister's wedding is May 15. It is a fabulous and happy time, and I can't wait for it all to be over. I think you all can relate. How her wedding is ending up costing me around $1,000, I'll never be able to figure out how, but it is. Between buying my dress, underthings, purse, shoes, getting hair and makeup done, probably getting manicure and pedicure (for the first time in my life), hotel rooms, bridal shower gifts, the fish (she wants fish in vases on the reception tables, and so fish is what she shall have), paying to have my parents' house cleaned for the rehearsal dinner, and on and on and on, it is very expensive to be a sister-of-the-bride. My other sister is experiencing the same thing. I am the middle of 3 sisters, and it is the youngest who is getting married.

I still take issue with the fact that they registered. She is 32 and he is 39; they've been living together for a couple of years, and yet guests are obligated to purchase a gift for them. I just think that's wrong. If they were just starting out in life, sure. But he's been married before, and they have already bought a house together. I just think it would be more appropriate to ask that donations to a particular organization be made in lieu of gifts. But, I may be alone in that opinion. I tend to be harsh in some situations and judge others by what I think is right, not by all the possibilities that exist.

I'm battling many feelings over this wedding. I'm happy for them, I'm sad for no reason. I am excited about the wedding and reception and party and meeting some new people, and I am angry and feel sorry for myself because it looks like the Guy might possibly be bringing a date, and it's not me. I personally think that is very bad form...bringing a date to my sister's wedding when I told him I liked him. I should just get over it completely since lately he's given me no indication of ever wanting to pursue anything. I should listen to Urbie. She's right every time about these things. But nothing is set in stone yet regarding that. I guess I'll find out in 2 weeks time what choice he made. And I have to confess I think I am jealous over the wedding. I am now the leftover one, the one no one wants. The one who is smart and talented and successful, but whom no man wants to date. In other words, I feel like shit. I feel sorry for myself, and I am terrified I am going to bawl at the wedding because of my selfishness. I just need to get a grip and focus on all the great parts of my life and not worry about that one thing. Easier said than done. I could really use some advice here, with the wedding part of things, even if it's just to tell me to shut up and buck up little camper.

I am eating a Potbelly Uptown salad, and it is tasty. I think I am gaining a taste for bleu cheese, though I used to hate it. Funny, that. Their chicken noodle soup tastes odd, but their sandwiches are fantastic.

Jimmy Johns also has fantastic sandwiches. I love their #12 on whole wheat. Get is sometime if you can. It has so many delicious tastes in one sandwich..mmm. Get their jalapeno chips, too.

My house hunting is not going well. It's not really going at all. I do have one Saturday in May that I can use to house hunt. All my other days are filled with work or other obligations. Crazy. I'm around people all the time now, except for when I'm driving to my stores, and I'm still having to adjust to not having any 'me' time.

Drum corps is going great. Our music is amazing, with really exciting mellophone parts that are a blast to learn and play.

Lots more is going on, but I need to work on my personal to-do list. Catch ya later. I'll try not to let another month+ pass without posting again.