Home Remodel: Day 1-ish

Our home remodel is officially under way! We did a rent-back to the seller while she moved her items out. She was a pseudo-hoarder and was moving into an apartment, so appreciated the extra time. She informed us she would be out the 11th of December; so we set up time with her at 10 am on the 12th (Saturday) to do our final walk-through, get the keys, etc. We also brought our paint samples, as our first project was to finalize our paint colors and remove any nails/screw holes before the painters came on Monday. (Between my KISA’s herniated disk and dislike for painting combined with my pregnancy we decided it was probably best to keep that to the professionals since we were repainting every room in the house.

IMG_8221As we were preparing to leave our apartment to head to the house, the seller texted to see if we could back-up the walk-through to noon so that she could finish some cleaning up she wanted to do before we took over. Appreciating her desire to help us clean up, obviously we obliged. During this time drought-ridden San Francisco received a massive down pouring of rain…that wouldn’t stop. Our apartment master bedroom doesn’t have a window, but instead a patio door going out to our little enclosed patio/light well. As the rain kept coming down we noticed the gutter at the rooftop was blocked as the water level kept rising on our patio. There is a small drain on the patio, but there was enough plant debris and leaves that it was being blocked. As the rainwater was reaching the bottom of our patio door, that’s a good six inches above the patio, the reality hit that a bedroom flooding would mean ruining our brand-new king-size mattress that was on the floor – as the new bed was being delivered to the Oakland house. I called the apartment manager to let them know if the situation and then grabbed my goulashes and rain jacket. I found my way to the blocked drain as the sheets of rain tried to knock me on my behind. Thankfully I was able to swish enough of the plant debris away from the drain long enough to watch the water recede away from the door. Crisis averted, or at least temporarily.

We made our way to the new Oakland house and were rather surprised to see a U-Haul in the driveway with people milling about our new house. We found the seller inside with a house full of furniture. She’d originally told us she would be out the Monday before, but apparently things hadn’t gone as planned. She told us the guy she’d hired to help with the move the day prior didn’t come back after lunch. The seller said she expected about four more U-Haul trips before everything could be moved out. I was rather annoyed to say the least since we had things we wanted to do in our house, but there wasn’t much we could do about the situation.

IMG_8234As we were turning to leave and go kill time I realized all the appliances were gone. And I don’t mean just the washer and dryer, but also the stove and refrigerator. Already annoyed I confronted her about where they were. Nonchalantly she informed us she sold them. I told her it was in our contract, in fact itemized out. She denied it. And then started crying. The seller is a god-loving woman and I knew would never intentionally try to screw us over. During the home inspection the seller had made a comment to my KISA about selling the stove, which we immediately had our realtor take up with her realtor. We later had written e-mail communication from her realtor saying that if the stove were gone that she’d be forced to replace it. Apparently the realtor never spoke with the seller about this or any of the other appliances.

We left the house to go sit in the car and try to figure out what in the hell we were going to do about the circumstances. We’d already scheduled the painters to come that Monday and the movers to come to our place the following Saturday. In addition to that, I’d given notice to our apartment complex that we’d be out by the 24th and had hired a house cleaner to come to our apartment the following Monday. There was no way we couldn’t continue with our planned time-line. The next concern was how do you move into a house without appliances? Would we have to throw out all our perishable items and live without a stove and refrigerator for a while? Replacing the appliances was definitely not in the budget.

We decided our next course of action would be to call the listing agent to understand why the appliances were gone when we’d already called out to her that it was in our contract. The listing agent began with trying to deny that it was in our contract or that she didn’t know anything about the appliances being a concern…until we informed her that we had in writing the communication between her and our agent discussing it. She told us she’d have to review the contract in a few hours and that we should determine the value of the missing appliances. We followed up this conversation with a call to our buying agent to let her know. She pulled the contract while we were on the phone and recited what I’d remembered, with them all being listed. In addition to that, she forwarded us the countersigned copy of the contract along with the picture of the kitchen to help guide us with the appliances. She also told us that we needed to determine the REPLACEMENT value of the appliances, not the actual value, like the listing agent stated. We felt better about that and chose to look at it as a blessing in disguise as we now got to pick new appliances, minus the replacement value of her like items.

We spent the reminder of the day at Home Depot and Best Buy researching her appliances along with our choices for appliances. Being a couple weeks post Black Friday we realized we missed out on all the appliance deals and were somewhat limited on the stock of appliances to be delivered in the next week to have when we moved in. We knew there would have to be a bit of negotiation with the seller and listing agent on the value of the replacement of those appliances (the seller admitted she sold them all for next to nothing), but decided we had to take the plunge and order all the appliances to have before Christmas. We weren’t going to let a lack of appliances ruin our Christmas plans…

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The First Trimester

The first trimester was a little tough for me given that we hadn’t announced our pregnancy yet. But, I did write you a blog posting at week 12 to let you know the 10 things I learned about being pregnant. Here they are:

1. Even if you’ve been on birth control for 16 years that makes you not menstruate, you can still get pregnant in a month of going off it. No need for a “buffer time”.

2. You can say and plan that you’re going to eat healthy when you get pregnant, but when you have constant nausea and starches and crappy foods are the only thing that make you feel better, that all goes out the window.

3. If you don’t eat frequently enough you’ll find yourself dry-heaving at a McDonald’s drive-thru waiting for your emergency dinner. And, it’ll take about 10 minutes after you’ve eaten for it to stop while your food works its way down to your stomach and into your blood stream.

4. The only thing to cure nausea is food and eating happens to be the last thing you want to do when you feel nauseous.

5. Don’t be surprised if you gain weight just trying to combat the nausea so you don’t feel miserable. But, be surprised when you don’t gain any weight after eating constantly for 12 weeks and question if maybe you could have been doing that pre-pregnancy with the same results.

6. You feel guilty for everything you do that might impact the baby – like riding a jet ski in the ocean or using massive amount of fingernail polish remover in an attempt to remove ink from plastic (don’t ask.)…even though your sane pre-pregnancy mind made you promise you wouldn’t be that person.

7. If you don’t have pregnancy fatigue, you could very well suffer from insomnia instead. Or either, depending on the night.

8. You need maternity pants just for the bloating and begin questioning if that bump is a baby or just gas.

9. Speaking of gas, you’ll wish you had a dog, because there’s a lot and you can’t control it…even at work when a coworker is sitting at your desk next to you while you explain a project.

10. Just when you’re fed up with being constantly miserable and wonder why people speak so highly of being pregnant, you’ll have your 12 week check-up and ultrasound and find your baby waving back at you. You’ll wonder when that blob from the first ultrasound formed a tiny human and no pregnancy discomforts matter anymore.

Life No Longer in Limbo

My last blog post was on July 11th and talking about my life in limbo. I was in flux with my job, my housing situation, and my personal life. I was trying to make sense of things and trying to force things to happen, like I always do. What I didn’t know was that I was 24 days away from learning I was pregnant and 48 days from learning we had an accepted offer on our new home. It’s funny how when a couple of things go your way, nothing else in life seems to matter.

On August 4th I woke up exceptionally early. I was out of the office and at Salesforce for the week training on their CRM. I was still new to the whole “Aunt Flow” thing since getting my IUD removed in mid-May, but the novelty was already gone. And, I didn’t like the idea of feeling unprepared. My cycle still wasn’t consistent as my body was learning how to function again. We’d gone camping during what my Glow app had told me was my fertility window and there’s something about being 10 feet away from your friends and sleeping on the ground that doesn’t scream baby-making. I’d also heard that there’s a certain intuition about knowing you’re pregnant. I had no intuition, but I was excited that I’d finally bought pregnancy tests and decided to try one out that morning. I remember sitting there checking email and not even feeling tempted to look. I wasn’t really excited – it felt more like a obligation. I about fell over when I saw there were two lines.

Being the uber-prepared person I am, I’d bought a 3-pack of white onsies at Target around May to have on hand in case a baby fell from a stork and we needed to cloth it. I found them from my hidden stash and wrapped them up with the pregnancy test, waiting very impatiently for my KISA to wake up. I tried to temp him with an unassuming belated birthday gift, with no luck. I waited for him to get done getting ready for work and then tried again to convince him to open it before going to work. He wasn’t having it. Sometimes him being insanely patient makes me incredibly impatient. I don’t recall if I threatened him or what exactly I did before he reluctantly opened the gift. He seemed to be in about as much shock as me as he processed what the two lines meant and the WTF set in.

We basically laughed all morning, not making much sense of it. There wasn’t any real talk about anything because I think we were both still trying to process it. All that day and every day that followed for the rest of the trimester I was convinced I was going to lose the baby and waited for that moment to happen. It wasn’t supposed to happen this early. I still didn’t feel pregnant and had no symptoms to tell me I was. I didn’t even feel an attachment to the baby. My KISA laughed at me when a week later I took another pregnancy test, just to see. Yep, still pregnant.

22 days after we learned I was pregnant was our first prenatal appointment. I assumed they’d have me pee in a cup and confirm I was pregnant. Nope. They had a portable ultrasound machine waiting for us in the room. When the nurse walked in she recognized me from May, laughed, and congratulated us being very quick. She then proceeded to perform our first ultrasound. I’m not really sure what I expected since I was still in denial about being pregnant, but they found the baby (or blob) right away. She then proceeded to comment on how it was the strongest heartbeat she’d seen this early. I was really pregnant. IMG_7469

Life in Limbo

Sometimes you reach a crossroads in life and wonder how you got there. More often than not, though, you can see it coming if you have your eyes wide open.

I had a quarter-life crisis at 25. At that time I decided to quit my job, break up with my boyfriend of 5 years, go back to school to get my Master’s degree, and leave the country for a year. I made big changes in my life because I could feel a culmination of everything unsettling in my life ready to surface. It wasn’t easy, but it was the right move for me at the time.

Assuming I live to be 96, I can see the onset of my third-life crisis up ahead. I don’t do well with life in limbo, and am resisting making knee-jerk changes ago since my life now includes my KISA and his happiness.

We moved out to San Francisco almost two and a half years ago. It’s the longest I’ve stayed at one physical address during my adulthood, which is amazing since it’s probably the smallest place I’ve lived during my adulthood (excluding my time overseas) and the most I’ve ever paid in rent or a mortgage. Our time out here has served us well and we’ve both grown and made ourselves better people. However, my infatuation for the city is fading.

We’ve been in the housing market out here for a year and half. And by being in the housing market, I mean actively trying to buy a house, spending most Sundays going to open houses, checking Redfin daily, writing offers on houses, etc. I naively thought the hardest part of buying a house would be the sacrifices we’d make to save up the significant amount of money required for the down payment. And, mind you, for a half a million dollars out here, all you can compete on are major fixer-uppers in Oakland, in less than ideal neighborhoods, where you’d want to stay only temporarily because all the neighboring public school receive a score of 1 out of 10. But to buy a better house in an acceptable neighborhood isn’t possible unless you buy an aforementioned house, renovate it, live in it for a couple years, and then sell it OR are a key player in a major start-up that IPO’d.

After our 11th property offer wasn’t accepted I stopped counting them. And, people have stopped asking – either assuming we stopped looking or because it’s always the same news. (I honestly can’t say I blame them as I don’t bring it up in conversation anymore either.)

While we’ve been looking to buy that also meant that we committed to not looking for another apartment and signing another lease (ours is currently month-to-month). This has also meant us not signing a lease on a storage unit to house some of our recreational items that require storage, because you never know which offer might be accepted and you don’t want to be committed to a storage unit in a neighboring city that you no longer need. All the while, you can see the rental prices inflating around you and realizing a lease on a bigger place would be more than a mortgage on a less-than-mediocre property.

This life in housing limbo also means not being able to start on a family. Our current apartment isn’t big enough to house a child, except very temporarily. And, getting a bigger apartment would then be almost double what we currently pay…with no money leftover for daycare or a crib.

And, to add fuel to the fire, my job is now in flux. Since my last posting about my current employment unhappiness we learned last Tuesday that an acquisition by Cisco is underway in the next month. Cisco aspires to retain all my company’s employees, but it’s possible for it to not be in the same capacity, the same pay scale, or the same title. This could be a blessing in disguise, depending on how it shakes out, but it also adds to the stress of life in limbo.

With all this being said, I know many of you are probably thinking, “Just leave and move back to the Midwest!” If I were still 25, that’s most likely what I’d do. But, I have one very important person to take into consideration now: my KISA. He loves it in San Francisco. It’s been his dream throughout adulthood to move out here and he’s finally able to live it. He’s excelling at his job and has hit his stride in life. You can see it in the way he carries himself, his lack of stress, and his endless positive attitude. He’s supportive of me in every way and I know if I put my foot down hard enough he’d let us move back to the Midwest. But a major part of what makes me happy is his happiness as well. And, that’s not presently moving back to the Midwest.

I’m hopeful this life in limbo ends soon. I’m hopeful we find a house to buy, the acquisition becomes a good thing for me, and then we can bless the world with all the Stew-babies you all ask me about. Until then it’s a life lesson in how to endure situations outside of my control. And how to not stress eat.

Challenged

I quit my job in Mountain View in late March. It came as much of a surprise to me as it did my boss, who had become one of my close friends. Her reaction when I told her was, “You’re joking, right?” and laughing. After a few rounds of explaining myself she realized I was serious and I felt like I was breaking up with someone. In a way, I kind of was.

I wasn’t exactly trying to find a new job. Yeah, the 42-mile commute was a bit long, but I knew they looked past my hours in the office, knowing I was working on my commute in. And, I really looked forward to the downtime I had to myself on the commute home. The part I was hung up on was because I felt like in many ways I took a step back from the job I left in Madison. I knew I was giving about 30% of myself and I had a lot more to give. It came down to the fact that I wasn’t challenged.

My lack of challenge wasn’t a newfound revelation. I’d known this since shortly after I started working there. Instead I found other ways to challenge myself creatively, physically, and mentally. I trained and ran a marathon, I started a blog, I picked up sewing again and made my wedding reception dress, I started making watercolor cards, I learned how to propagate succulents, I started reading a ton, I made wall décor for our apartment, etc. I found I didn’t need a job to challenge me and reveled in the fact that I had the opportunity to challenge myself, which most didn’t have the opportunity to do.

In early March LinkedIn sent me an email notification to let me know a company in San Francisco was hiring for a Sales Operations Manager. It also happened to be the company where two of my friends worked. I interviewed painfully, realizing there were many processes that I could help enhance, and rejected the job after two offers before hesitantly accepting the third. My gut told me it probably wasn’t the right fit, but I proceeded, suddenly feeling empowered by the challenge. Three months and four days into the new job I can say I’m challenged.

I’m not sure yet if my new workplace challenges are healthy. I found in the first two months I didn’t care to talk to anyone when I wasn’t at work. I was burnt out, emotionally drained, and my hair was falling out in clumps. To say I hated my job was an understatement. In the past month I’m finally starting to hit my stride. I’m not sure yet if I like my job yet, but I don’t text my KISA daily anymore requesting his permission to quit.

What’s unfortunate is how I’ve changed in the last three months and four days. I find my motivation to do most things is minimal. Most of my succulents have died. My sewing machine is collecting dust. I’m social mostly out of obligation. I am no longer challenging myself personally like I used to. Hell, even going grocery shopping or emptying the dishwasher seems like an achievement.

To those of you I owe phone calls to, belated birthday wishes, or a comment on how adorable your kids or dogs are – I apologize. But, I promise I’m getting my life back together again. I refuse to let my job define me or be the only thing that challenges me.

At Last

After this post I’m officially caught up on attire (I apologize to all my male followers that don’t really care how I assemble my outfits). Good thing I went shopping today for more clothes!

Tan cardigan, pink tank, white jeans, leopard print belt, sandals

Tan cardigan, pink tank, white jeans, leopard print belt, sandals

Cardigan: Lands End Canvas, Tank: Banana Republic, Belt: J. Crew Factory, Jeans: Levi’s, Shoes: Aldo

 

White silk blouse, black pants, black and gold tipped heels

White silk blouse, black pants, black and gold tipped heels

Blouse: Banana Republic, Pants: Gap, Heels: Kenneth Cole Reaction

 

Red sweater, navy polka top top, ripped jeans, leopard print flats

Red sweater, navy polka top top, ripped jeans, leopard print flats

Sweater: Banana Republic, Top: Handmade, Jeans: Levi’s, Shoes: J. Crew Factory

 

 

Yellow cardigan, Frida Daft Punk silk screen tee, fuchsia belt, black jeans, white Converse

Yellow cardigan, Frida Daft Punk silk screen tee, fuchsia belt, black jeans, white Converse

Cardigan: Gap, Tee: Rio street market, Belt: H&M, Jeans: Levi’s, Shoes: Converse

Jean-ius

Some chambray inspired attire:

Chambray shirt, white jean shorts, leopard print belt, black ballet flats

Chambray shirt, white jean shorts, leopard print belt, black ballet flats

Shirt: J. Crew Factory: Belt: J. Crew Factory, Shorts: Old Navy, Shoes: Lands End Canvas

 

Black blazer, chambray shirt, leopard print belt, white jeans, black flats

Black blazer, chambray shirt, leopard print belt, white jeans, black flats

Blazer: Lands End Canvas, Shirt: J. Crew Factory, Belt: J. Crew Factory, Jeans: Levi’s, Shoes: Lands End Canvas

 

Jean blazer, white tank, tan belt, black jeans, slip on Vans

Jean blazer, white tank, tan belt, black jeans, slip on Vans

Blazer: The Limited, Tank: Express, Belt: J. Crew Factory, Jeans: Levi’s, Shoes: Vans

Racing Stripes

Some inspiration of the striped kind:

Fuchsia cardigan, striped tank, black jeans, black flats

Fuchsia cardigan, striped tank, black jeans, black flats

Cardigan: Gap, Tank: Old Navy, Necklace: Forever21, Belt: J. Crew Factory, Jeans: Levi’s, Shoes: Kenneth Cole

 

Striped long sleeved tee, white chandelier necklace, tan belt, black jeans, tan shoes

Striped long sleeved tee, white chandelier necklace, tan belt, black jeans, tan shoes

Shirt: Loft, Necklace: Urban Peach Boutique, Belt: J. Crew Factory, Jeans: Levi’s, Shoes: Lands End Canvas

Plaid!

While on our honeymoon we learned that plaid is technically called tartan in the UK. You’re welcome for the random fashion knowledge.

Pink and blue plaid shirt, white jeans, tan flats

Pink and blue plaid shirt, white jeans, tan flats

Shirt: J. Crew Factory; Belt: Express; Jeans: Levi’s; Shoes: Lands End Canvas

 

White sweater, blue and pink plaid shirt, jeans, pink Sperry Topsiders

White sweater, blue and pink plaid shirt, jeans, pink Sperry Topsiders

Sweater: Mango, Shirt: J. Crew Factory, Jeans: Levi’s, Shoes: Sperry Topsider

 

Blue and pink plaid shirt, blue cardigan, pink chinos, tan sandals

Blue and pink plaid shirt, blue cardigan, pink chinos, tan sandals

Cardigan: Gap (dyed), Shirt: J. Crew Factory, Chinos: Gap, Sandals: Lands End Canvas

 

Navy sweater, navy and pink plaid, ripped jeans, brown booties

Navy sweater, navy and pink plaid, ripped jeans, brown booties

Sweater: J. Crew Factory, Shirt: Lands End Canvas, Jeans: Levi’s, Booties: Aldo

 

Plaid scarf, white long sleeved tee, black jeans, leopard print ballet flats

Plaid scarf, white long sleeved tee, black jeans, leopard print ballet flats

Scarf: Lands End, Shirt: Gap, Jeans: Levi’s, Belt: J. Crew Factory, Shoes: J. Crew Factory

 

Plaid scarf, white long sleeved tee, black jeans, white Converse

Plaid scarf, white long sleeved tee, black jeans, white Converse

Scarf: Lands End, Shirt: Gap, Jeans: Levi’s, Shoes: Converse

Peplum My Step

One trend I’m starting to fall in love with is the peplum top. I found one at H&M on clearance for $15 and had to try it out. I’ve only worn mine a couple of times and I really like it. However, I think I need to hem it just a bit as it’s border-line maternity top at its current length. (And no Mom, I’m still not pregnant.)

Purple blazer, white peplum top, black belt, ripped jeans, black open-toe booties

Purple blazer, white peplum top, black belt, ripped jeans, black open-toe booties

Blazer: Loft, Top: H&M, Belt: H&M, Jeans: Levi’s, Booties: Franco Sarto

 

Same look, blazerless:

White peplum top, black belt, ripped jeans, black open-toe booties

White peplum top, black belt, ripped jeans, black open-toe booties

 

White peplum top, navy belt, olive jeans, suede boots

White peplum top, navy belt, olive jeans, suede boots

Top: H&M, Belt: Banana Republic, Jeans: J. Crew Factory, Boots: Lands End