Sunday, June 28, 2009

A True Artist...

I love that I was lucky enough to be born into a group of interesting people. Every member of my family has a talent that is unique to them and that makes them quite fun to know. (I am still trying to hone a talent.)

Nhung joined our family in January and it became apparent immediately that she is the harbors many talents. She is funny, smart, and an excellent cook! It didn't take long for us to discover one of her greatest skills, though: Photography! I just wanted to share some great Nhung shots with all of you (click on the photos to get the full effect):
Let's start with everyone's favorite Subjects:


Murphy (who by the way, has abandoned me to go sleep in Joe and Nhung's bed every night. What-ev cat! )

Vinnie and Steve (She has quite a knack for catching people at the perfect moment)


Madeline (playing with a magic wand)


Welcome to the family Nhung! We are happy to have you, and your talent!
On a side note: Mick, After seeing these, I agree. We should have splurged for a fancier camera!

Monday, June 22, 2009

"Looking for Empty Boxes"

This was a phrase that my co-worker from the Detroit News used to use frequently. On any given day, you could ask her how she was doing and she was likely to reply " I am looking for empty boxes." What does this mean you ask? Typically it meant that she was frustrated with work and expecting to be fired. In other words, she would be living in a cardboard box relatively soon. This same co-worker also later introduced me to her trademark "Don't screw me file" in which she would keep mementos, e-mails etc. that would highlight the great job she really did do at work. She was a mixture of funny and paranoid, but who could blame her? I've lost count of how many layoffs the Detroit News and Free Press has had at this point.

Lately, I feel as though I am going to start looking for a nice refrigerator box myself. Not because of my job mind you, but the fact that I can't seem to find a place that I would like to move into. First, there is the buy vs. rent debate. Mick is more comfortable with renting, whereas I am having a hard time accepting this as a possibility after owning our own home. I really enjoyed taking a piece of property and making it our own. There is something very satisfying about looking around your space and knowing that it is the way it is because you made it that way! It was ours from chimney top to driveway.

The prices in Detroit are phenomenal right now because of the, lets face it, terrible economy. (I will refrain from scolding those of you that drive foreign cars.) This presents an opportunity as well as a problem. There is real estate for the picking, but what if we were to find ourselves in the position of having lost income? The thing about Michigan is that whether or not you work for the auto industry... you work for the auto industry. My brother Mike was laid off as soon as I got here, serving as a bit of a warning. (Mike literally has the best work ethic of anyone I know. I am 100% convinced that the paper cannot and will not survive without him. They are fools.) I am going to be cautiously optimistic. I have had the month to observe my new workplace and I take a lot of comfort in the fact that Make A Wish seems to be managed fantastically. That is a very grateful me talking!

The worst part is that I have found a condo that I would love to buy. It is tiny, has two bedrooms and includes a basement. We don't need any more than that. It is little, affordable, and the layout would still provide us with the opportunity to separate the house in a harmonious way. Upper floor = quiet (bedroom & office- Mick's domain! ) Middle = louder (living room & kitchen) Lower floor= loudest (sewing & laundry). Plus the landscaping there is really pretty! This is one of those moments where I really have to tell myself to rule with my head and not by what I want. Normally I am really good at letting logic rule, but darn it! I drove through and thought that it was too cute! Logic says "Rent!" We would want to move in 4 years anyway because our financial situation will probably be very different then, and if anything should happen, you can always get out of a rental situation. I think that's what we need to do. Yes, I have just convinced myself while typing this post.

The problem with renting in a college town is that what is available is typically not what my 30 year old self would like to live in. Parties going on in the middle of the week? I don't really miss them. Or, perhaps it is more accurate to say that I just don't want to live next to them. (I mean, I'll go! I'll just leave by 8:00 for bed.)

There are a ton of apartment complexes everywhere, but quite frankly, they depress me.
I think that complexes are void of personality (can we say white walls?), and feature such amenities as sand volleyball courts and pools. You will never catch me in anything that remotely resembles a bathing suit and despite the fact that my maiden name is Carrie Walsh, I have never played volleyball without injuring myself. (That was a reference to Kerry Walsh, the olympic beach volleyball player.)

I looked at a townhouse a couple of weeks ago that I shot down because it was ugly and had no dishwasher. Horrors! I also fear that I would be forced to keep the vertical blinds by the condo association. I don't have anything against them. They just weren't in the best of shape and IKEA has such very cute and inexpensive curtains. What the rental condo did have was a layout that was what I was looking for. Goodness gracious! It even had a basement! I may call on it again. I just have to hope that it has not been rented in the meantime.

Well, send some good wishes our way. It is fairly certain that I am going to miss my July 1st deadline and we are going to have to figure something out for all of our stuff. I cannot keep mooching off of my very generous parents. (The poor dears have put up with an array of crap from me including a generally poor, stressed out demeanor and a quite a bit of messiness on my part. Sorry Mom and Dad!) After all, if I don't get it together, I am going to have to start looking for empty boxes!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Look out Sunday... here I come!!!

Oh my. What a month. Well, since I last posted, a few small things have happened. No big deal. Just a few slight inconveniences. This won't be an overly clever entry, but hey, we have a lot to catch up on!
The weekend before we moved, we wound up having a very last minute gathering of sorts. I had planned on packing, cleaning and finishing a few sewing projects that weekend, but the opportunity to spend some last minute quality time with friends proved to be too tempting. Instead my weekend was filled with baking, entertaining and...oh open house crammed in there somewhere. I wouldn't trade a minute though.

The next couple of days were spent getting ready for our departure and on the 20th I had my last day at the American Cancer Society. It was tough at best. I won't go into it too much. Let's just say there will be a mourning period and I am going to miss everyone so much! Later that night we had dinner with our friends Tammy, Steve and Eric at Patton Alley Pub. Another gut wrenching goodbye to good, good friends.

That evening we had also received an offer on our house! The next morning, our real estate agent Michael came over and helped us to write our counter-offer. We were supposed to leave that morning and drive through to Michigan in one day, but this delayed our travels so we wound up turning it into a two day trip. So, we packed up our car on Thursday, complete with two unhappy, sedated, yet vocal cats and began the journey.

We wound up stopping not too far from Chicago for the night and had to wrestle with Maisie to get her from out behind the disgusting hotel bed in the morning. On our way to my parents we received a call that our counter offer had been accepted! Whew!

So, we arrived Friday afternoon to find not only my parents, but my sister and my niece Erin "cuddlebug" were there. What a nice homecoming! We had plans with Mick's family that night so we met at his parents house for dinner. Brian, Pat, Allison and our new niece Leah also came. We were exhausted, but I will do just about anything for some Leah time, so that was okay. Have I mentioned lately how cute Leah is???? I'm just saying...

Anyway, Saturday we got up and started to run errands. Why you ask? Because Mick was getting on a plane to go to Paris that afternoon! That's why! That was another sad day. I was excited that he would get to experience a month in France and so sad because I would miss him. I was also a tiny bit jealous.
After Mick left, I didn't sleep very well, which if you know me at all, you know that is a fairly common occurence. I spent the next couple of days running errands in preparation for my first day of work at Make A Wish including spending a bit too much on clothing. (Much of my clothing had the Relay For Life logo on it.)
Tuesday I started at MAW. I was extremely tired, but fortunately the one thing that kept me going was the promise of a restful weekend...and the fact that Merry the woman training me is hilarious. I am quite excited that I get to work with her. (I will save the rest of MAW for a future post.)
Unfortunately, my dreams of a restful weekend were quickly dashed. I wound up working Friday night and all day Saturday, finally got to hang out with a friend (Sarah) and then got up early on Sunday for Leah's baptism. I am dragging but working with Wish Kids, volunteers and hanging with Sarah and Leah made it all worth it.
Sunday night I thought that I would go to bed early and get a lot of sleep in. Murphy had other plans and kept me up by pawing at my face for much of the night. When I tossed him out of the room, he cried outside of the door. Give me a break, cat!
So, it is Tuesday. I have managed to have a relatively relaxing evening, though I admit that I am hardly thinking straight. This Friday I have Erins recital, and the Edison street sale starting Saturday morning. I plan to sleep in on Sunday and I am telling you that no one can stop me. Don't even try to call before noon. Look out Sunday... here I come!!!