Wonderful Wednesday: Staying Positive

This Monday, I got laid off from my nanny job.

It doesn’t matter why. It wasn’t anything terrible. Addison’s fine, and so am I. It just didn’t work out. The reality now is that Kurt and I have lost about 40% of our income source. So the job search is on. At first, I was bummed, but I knew I had to stay positive, or else there was no way I’d find another job. I thought, “At least now I have the time to look for an office job. I was wishing I could do that for a while but didn’t want to leave Addison. Problem solved, I guess.” Searching for office jobs turned out to be very daunting. Everyone still wants more experience than I have. Ugh.

Kurt was more bummed about it than I was by the time he got home from work (I had texted him immediately after leaving Diane’s house). I spoke very calmly and tried to encourage him to think positively. When we were first starting out in Kirkland, he was always like, “I’ll get a job in my field,” and “when I get a job in my field,” and I never bought it. I mean, it’s 8 months later and neither of us are working in our field. He’s still confident that he’ll get a job in his field by the end of the year, but he’s all bummed when I lose a job and say, “It’s okay, I’ll find another one!” Am I not allowed to be confident about the future? Maybe it’s just weird to him because I’ve never been very positive about the future before. Well, by golly, I will be now. I have to be.

Yesterday, I applied online at Fred Meyer, the same one Kurt works at. I selected “barista” as the desired position, though I fully intended to come today and give a resume to the manager at the jewelry counter. Kurt said they were hiring, and I would like to work at a jewelry counter. I hate the online application process. So tedious.

When I woke up this morning, I saw on my phone that I had a private message on Care.com, the same site through which I met Diane and Addison. A local daycare center needed a teacher for 4 infants. $10 an hour. 40 hours a week. I didn’t think much of it and went back to sleep because my stomach hurt. My stomach hurt because I was hungry, so that probably wasn’t the best idea. I finally got up at 11:30 and ate some food and started watching Angel. I checked my email. Thought about that message. Paused the episode and called the number. Couldn’t hurt to just respond, right? Within an hour, I was on my way to Hidden Treasures Learning Center to interview with the director. Tomorrow at 9:30, I have a working interview so she can see how I am with the babies. By next week, I could be earning $1600 a month with 2 weeks paid vacation, paid holidays. I could quit Victoria’s Secret because I will not need the money anymore. I’m getting tired of retail anyway.

So here’s to the future! If this door closes, I’ll just open another one. There’s plenty of jobs out there. I can still apply at Microsoft and Google for crying out loud! Why be negative about the future, when there are so many opportunities?

I just hope I can keep this up!

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Wonderful Wednesday: Financial Stability

Last night, Kurt and I bought a new car. We only got the Mercury in July because we had to trade in the Saturn to pay off credit cards and bills (yeah, it was a hard time), and we never intended to keep it forever. It was a beater. We knew that as soon as we could afford better, it was going to go. It overheated after a 20-minute drive for goodness sakes! Every time! And it was leaking oil for no reason, even after getting it fixed twice, which hurt the milage like crazy. 

So Kurt, who is the math person in this relationship, figured it into our monthly expenses and decided it will cost us less in the long run to buy a new one now rather than keep the Mercury until it finally dies, leaving us stranded somewhere. Constant maintenance and repair costs are just not worth it. Especially if, after everything, it still won’t make it to visit your family or friends across the mountains. Which is what we’re doing tomorrow!

Now, because my credit score is absolutely stellar (that’s what happens when you take out student loans and are never late on your payments or your credit card bills), our monthly payments are going to be significantly lower than if Kurt had bought it by himself. Literally the only downside to your parents paying for your college education completely is that you haven’t built up any credit by the time you’re 24. I was glad I could help. Anything I can do to keep the monthly expenses down! 

So, this week, I am thankful that we have enough money to do this. I am thankful that we have 4 jobs between us (including Kurt’s tutor.com job) and Kelle subletting. I am thankful that we have enough for all of the bills and then some fun. And I am thankful that I will get to see friends from college and my brothers tomorrow! Woo!

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Stock photo, but yes, this is the car. 🙂

TV Thursdays: You’re Watching Supernatural

There was a time when I thought that Supernatural was just one of those ghost-hunting reality shows that was all faked and cheesy, like “Oh look, ectoplasm!” I don’t know why I thought this. I must not have known ANYONE who watched it.

Then I joined Tumblr. I began seeing gifs and photos everywhere. Handsome men, rugged and bloodied, making goofy faces, with captions that made zero sense to me. I had to find out what was going on. I wanted in on all of the jokes and the “feels.” So I got on Netflix and starting watching as often as I could. Apparently, it is about two brothers, Sam and Dean, who travel around the country, carrying on their father’s legacy: “Saving people, hunting things: the family business.” They kill or “gank,” as Dean likes to say, any supernatural or mythical creature that is harming people and has been brought to their attention by news stories or tips from fellow hunters. Vampires, werewolves, evil witches, demons, and so much more. The demons are brought more into the story with developing plot lines about Heaven and Hell and what comes out of them. Every facet of North American lore has been brought to the table, or will be in future seasons. The themes of self-sacrifice and family love are very strong with this one.

Now, when I started watching, I didn’t have a job, at least not full time, so I ended up catching up completely just in time to start watching season 8 as it aired. I loved it. I was obsessed. I’m still obsessed. Among my Tumblr friends, Supernatural is one of the best shows out there. Among my Facebook friends, the response is not quite as enthusiastic. Here’s why: The show only has 3 million fans. Sounds like a lot, but compare it to The Big Bang Theory, which currently has 18 million fans. Ratings for Supernatural are not great, apparently. So how is it still on the air? Because the fans are more hardcore about their love for the show than are the fans of many mainstream shows today. National Public Radio even did a story on how wildly devoted the fans are. I found it a very interesting read. It’s too popular to ever be considered a “cult classic” like Firefly or Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but it’s not popular enough to be featured in the “What to watch” sections of celebrity magazines. I’ve never even seen paparazzi photos of any of the actors in those magazines. Which is great for them; they get to live a normal life, somewhat. The only downside of the small number of fans is that it’s hard to find friends in real life who are also fans and who can watch it with me!

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“Sam, I’ve never dealt with rabid fangirls. What to we do?”

“Uh…”

How do you show your devotion to your favorite TV show?

Wonderful Wednesday: Washington Living

If you’ve read my “About Me” (or know me in real life), you know that I’ve lived in Washington State my entire life. I think I always took for granted how lucky I am to live in such a beautiful and amazing area. That is, until I met Kurt, who is from Missouri. My mind was especially made up after I visited Missouri in the summer for the first time. I don’t take it for granted anymore. I am very, very thankful to be living where I am, specifically in Western Washington. So here are some reasons why Washington is awesome. Please do not take this as bashing any other state or region, or the people who live there.

1. We are not experiencing the coldpocalypse that has been affecting much of the rest of the country, mainly the Midwest. This week, temperatures have been in the upper 40’s (F). So far this winter, snow has fallen once. It didn’t even last all day. I like snow, but it gets old real fast, so not having to deal with that is great.

2. We never get mayflies or junebugs. They just aren’t a thing. Kurt tells me that in Missouri, thousands of mayflies hatch at once and they just hang out in the air around your house, and if you spray them with water to incapacitate them, they stink really, really bad. Um, no thanks? The only annoying bugs I’ve noticed in Kirkland are European cross spiders. Except for in winter, they are literally everywhere. I have walked out my front door to ALMOST run into a huge web with one of those big suckers about to say hello to my face. No thanks to that too, but at least they don’t stink and fill the air. We also don’t have poisonous snakes or scorpions. Well, we have rattlesnakes. But that’s really it. We do have Bigfoot though!

3. While the humidity in Western Washington is greater than it is on the other side of the Cascade Mountains, in Central and Eastern Washington, it still doesn’t top the humidity levels of the Midwest. Usually. In summer of 2012, dew levels in Seattle reached “60”, which if you are not versed in meteorologist-speak, is high. Seattle usually peaks at 50. My first full summer here since early childhood was definitely not as muggy as my first visit to Missouri. And here is where the comparison stops, because I really didn’t want this to be a “Missouri sucks” post because people live there whom I love. I just wouldn’t choose to live there, given the choice between here and there. It’s just the weather, I swear!

4. We have loud sports fans. For the Seahawks. You know, if you’re into that sort of thing. I’m not, but lots of people are. Did you know that Seahawks fans broke the world record for loudest cheer at a football game or something this past season? And the Seahawks might go to the Super Bowl this year, so that’s exciting!

5. We are healthy. In an analysis of American cities by Nerdwallet.com, Seattle ranked second in overall healthiness. Things considered: health scores, insurance coverage, clean air, outdoor activities, and prevalence of doctors. Seattle scored highest on clean air and high fitness.

6. It’s so green! Environmentally and physically! The other day I met someone from Ireland who said she loved this area because it reminded her of her homeland. The wet climate, the green landscape. That only makes me want to visit the home of my ancestors all the more. I love how many trees there are here, how many parks, and how much water. It’s so beautiful!

7. There is a huge variety of outdoor things to do in a huge variety of biomes. You want to go biking? Hiking? Rock climbing? Surfing? Parasailing? Boating? Skiing? You can do it all in Washington. We’ve got big cities, small towns, farming villages, deserts, shrub-steppe, beaches, lakes. We’ve got mountains, beaches, valleys, lakes, deserts, shrub-steppe, grasslands, hills, and freaking rainforests. All in one state. Yeah.

8. Amazon, Boeing, Microsoft, Arenanet, and Starbucks all started here. Not to mention Costco! This means lots of jobs. Well, there are lots of jobs in general, at least on the west side of the Cascades, just because there are so many business and so many people. Kurt and I have gotten 5 jobs between us (kept 3) in the last 8 months, and we got the first 3 nearly immediately after applying. I didn’t even have retail experience.

9. This is one is specific to Seattle, but I just feel really strongly about it, okay? Seattle is a very widespread city, and is made up of neighborhoods. My favorites right now are U-District and Ballard, but I haven’t explored all of them fully. You can live in and soak in the culture of one neighborhood and go to work and soak in the culture of a different one, and it’s only a 20-minutes bus ride. Every neighborhood is totally different and has their own vibe that is completely distinct from all the others. You could live your entire life in Seattle and still discover something new every week. That is what I intend to do.

10. Another Seattle one: The transit system. The Metro Transit system can get you nearly anywhere and cuts out costs like parking, gas, and car insurance (Kurt has a car but only pays for insurance for himself because I don’t drive it). Many people work on the east side of the Lake Washington and work in downtown Seattle, like I do. It’s an hour and ten minutes of a ride, but I can read the whole time, so I don’t care.

There are so many more, but this post had to end at some point.

What’s your favorite thing about your homeland?

Tacky Tuesday: Facebook Drama

Everyone’s got that friend or two who feels that there are no boundaries when it comes to what is appropriate to post on Facebook. Why do they do it? Are they unaware of how such personal posts make some of us uncomfortable? Are they looking for sympathy and/or pity? Do they just not care what anyone thinks of them? Who knows! All I know is that I’ve seen several forms of inappropriate Facebook posting, and it’s so tacky.

1. Constant Griping

There is a fine line between posting about a problem because you legitimately want advice from your friends and just posting about your problems because you just want everyone to know how upset you are. It’s all in the wording, really. Here, I’ll show you:

Drama: “Ugh, I hate my coworkers so much. I hope my boss dies in a fire so I can finally get some time off.”

Not drama: “Work has really been stressing me out lately, but at least I have a job. Gotta focus on the little things and keep on chuggin.”

 

2. Relationship Drama

The worst kind, really. Especially when you have someone posting negative things about how their significant other is so terrible and they can’t trust them ever again because of one thing they did, or won’t stop doing, and then their next status is about how in love they are. That’s tacky. It’s awkward. No one wants to see it. Directing your status toward the person you’re angry at, whether or not they will ever see it. Publicly. What is the point of it? Those conversations should be private!

 

3. Parenting Wars

You’ve seen it. It usually happens in the comments of a link to a parenting blog post that expresses an opinion that not everyone agrees with. Folks, there is more than one way to parent. There are definitely wrong ways to parent (read child abuse), but there is not just one right way. Arguing with other parents about their parenting techniques publicly just because you do something differently is tacky. If kids aren’t getting hurt and can still grow up healthy and happy, the way their parents raise them is no one else’s business.

 

What else do you think is tacky Facebook behavior?

Marriage Monday: Love Languages

At some point in our relationship, I had Kurt read “The 5 Love Languages,” a marriage book by Gary Chapman. I had already read it before I met him, and felt strongly about it being very important to our marriage that we both read it. If you don’t know, in his book, Chapman outlines the 5 main ways that human beings give and receive love. Here is his website, which you should really check out, because there’s a really cute video on it. Also, if you watch it, I won’t have to list the “love languages” for you.

What I love about this book, as compared to many marriage books, is that the advice given is the exact same for men and women and explains that we both can receive love in all of the ways listed. No love language is more feminine or masculine than the other. So it works for everyone, no matter what kind of man you are or what kind of woman you are. Kurt is not the stereotypically macho man and I am not the stereotypically girly girl. And even if you are one of those kinds of people, this book still works for you too! I highly suggest that you take the quiz to see what your main love languages are, because it will help you communicate to your spouse, significant other, platonic friends, siblings, children, parents what kind of things make you feel loved, and why. Basically, it’s about learning what is most important to you at your core, what makes you feel valued. Once you can identify and communicate that, and learn all of your loved ones’ love languages, relationships will get just that much easier to navigate.

I’ve taken the quiz a few times over the last few years, and I always get the same thing: Words of affirmation. Words are extremely important to me. I’m one of those people who has to be told, “I love you,” “Your feelings matter,” “I understand what you’re saying,” “Thanks for working so hard,” “You’re beautiful,” etc, over and over. I already know these things, but it’s hearing them that’s important. It’s not that I’ve forgotten; it’s just that I want to know that you haven’t.

Kurt’s main love language is a tie between physical touch and quality time. He’s big on snuggles, kisses, and just sitting together and talking about our days. He hates when our conversations turn to stuff like money and moving. He just wants to relax together and be all cutesy. I’m not even kidding. It’s hard for me to remember that all of that cutesy stuff is just how he gives and receives love because that’s what makes the most sense to him. I think he’s rubbing off on me. I never really feel right when, after getting home from work, I haven’t gotten a Kurt hug yet. They make my day.

 

What’s your love language? What actions make you feel most loved?

TV Thursdays: I love Joss Whedon

I had never watched Buffy the Vampire Slayer until a few years ago. I am not ashamed. I grew up with five channels and none of them were the WB, okay? Not my fault. Kurt got me into it when we started dating, and fell in love. Buffy’s snark, confidence, insecurities, her struggle between living a normal life with normal girl issues and saving the world. Willow’s charmingly awkward eagerness to help her friends. Xander’s self-sacrificial love for his friends. I loved the bad puns and the tongue-in-cheek acknowledgement of “the world is constantly ending.” The added characters and story arcs over the seven seasons, not to mention the spinoff Angel (currently watching right now), only made the Buffyverse better and more amazing. As I learned more about Joss Whedon as a person and a writer, I began to love him and his universe all the more. Whedon is an unabashed feminist and incorporates his passions into everything he makes. He’s responsible for such things as Toy Story, Atlantis: The Lost Empire, Firefly, Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog, Marvel’s The Avengers, and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 

Who is your favorite TV writer?

Wonderful Wednesday: Houseguests

Wednesday has a new theme! Well, most of the days have a new theme, or they will soon. Making a blog post out of a random word every week just wasn’t working out, like most of my other themes. Who knows? I may completely change the themes around a year from now when I’ve run out of topics! This blog is still young; I’m just trying to see what works best.

Wonderful Wednesday will be like a Thankful Thursday, but on Wednesday. Today’s topic is houseguests. I love having houseguests. I am more extroverted than my dear husband, so while he is content to just be with me or alone all the time, I need more people around me. I am constantly trying to get friends in the area to come over and play games, eat food, just visit with us. It is usually not very successful, but I suppose that’s what happens when everyone you know is in their early 20s with jobs and bills to pay.

So when someone makes a plan to stay overnight with us and take the time to just hang out, I am so grateful. I go into power-cleaning and power-planning mode. I want to make the best food, show them the coolest sites, and make sure everything in their room is perfect.

Speaking of rooms, I am also immensely thankful that we even have a place for guests to stay. When Kurt and I first started looking for apartments, we hadn’t had jobs in a while, so even though we has just gotten jobs in Seattle, we couldn’t meet the income requirements of even the cheapest apartments. We ended up moving into our elderly relatives’ house in Kirkland, as they had just moved into assisted living, and renting from them. The rent started out very low and rose up as we could afford it.

We’re now making over twice what we were when we moved in, and we don’t intend to leave if we don’t have to. It’s a 3-bedroom house! There’s no way we would have been able to have many guests, at least not comfortably, in a tiny 1-bedroom apartment! My cousin Kelle is subletting and has the second bedroom (which we used as guest room for the 6 months before she moved in), and we just converted the old study into a guest room, just in time for Kira to stay for 3 weeks.

Kurt met Kira at a Lights concert a few years ago, and they’ve been internet friends ever since. I’ve only recently gotten in on the friendship, but I am so excited to have her staying with us! I’m writing this while Addison naps, and as soon as her mom gets home, I’ll be on a bus to downtown Seattle to meet all aforementioned people. I am so excited!

Tacky Tuesday: Finders Keepers

So Tuesday has a new theme. I just wasn’t feeling the news stories theme and I didn’t feel like I was getting any good work out of it, so I asked for suggestions, and this what I decided on. I’m going to use “tacky” in the way my dad has always used it, rather than in the way that the fashion police use it. My dad uses “tacky” to describe behaviors in human beings that are unprofessional, tactless, rude, or awkward. So this will be a kind of ranting post. But I will not use this theme as an excuse to bash anyone. This is just where I will be voicing my opinion on actions that I’m sure everyone can agree are just plain tacky.

First up: Finding something a stranger lost and taking it home with you instead of turning it in to the lost and found. This seems like a no-brainer to me, and yet people do it. One of my co-workers did it. I complimented her on a new scarf and she said, “Thanks! I found it on a bus!”

“Oh… cool.”

 

I might not have been so bothered by it if I hadn’t recently lost a favorite jacket of mine on a bus. I got off 2 stops before the last stop, and when I called the Metro Transit lost and found line, I was told that it had never been found or turned in. Great. I could have sworn there was no one else on the bus when I got off, which means the driver must have taken it. But someone might have gotten on at the next stop and only ridden for 1 minute and got off at the next stop. Which I doubt. But I’m not pointing fingers. It doesn’t matter who has it. The point is, I don’t, and if someone had just turned it in to the lost and found, I would have it now.

More recently, I found an umbrella under an empty seat. I asked if it belonged to anyone else on the bus, but no one answered. Even though I had lost my small umbrella at a blues dance the day before and I could have taken it home without anyone caring, I wasn’t even tempted. I knew that if I lost my umbrella on a bus, I’d be calling the lost and found line every night to see if anyone turned it in. I’d be hoping that someone out there had a heart and would be able to put themselves in my shoes. So I gave it to the bus driver. I hope the owner gets it back.

Friends, if you ever find something that someone has obviously lost, don’t just take it home. First, try to find a lost and found or someone in charge, or something that will help the owner get it back. It just seems like common sense to me. Taking things that don’t belong to you: Tacky. Because that’s not thinking of others and not thinking of others is super tacky.

Marriage Monday: Surrealism

Today, my dear friend Jessica asked me (granted it, it was in response to my asking for blog topics) when I first realized it was real that Kurt and I were “gettin’ hitched.” Honestly, I do not know. We knew we wanted to marry each other mere months after we first started talking. People thought we were crazy then, and we probably were, but look at us now. We’ve been together for three years in December and have been married for 9 months, and it’s only getting better. In November, we had officially been in an in-person relationship for longer than we’d been in a long-distance relationship. That’s surreal. We spent a year and a half separated by 1800 miles before he took the plunge and moved here. It’s been up and down and totally different from any other relationship we’ve had or known the entire time. So when did it feel real? When he proposed on that mountaintop? When I walked down the aisle and saw his face? Have I even realized it yet?

I think, officially, my answer is, “It hits me all the time.” I’m reminded of something one of my co-workers at Victoria’s Secret asked me while we were both chilling in the break room the other day. I’d mentioned my husband to someone else, and Adrienne asked, “How long have you been married?”

“Since March 30th. Like 9 months or something. Still newlyweds!”

“How long are you considered newlyweds?” 

Good question! I thought about it for a second. “I guess you’re newlyweds until you stop turning to each other in the kitchen and saying, ‘We’re married!’ like it’s a shock. I still marvel at it.”

I really do. Often, we’ll be cuddling on the couch watching Angel on Netflix, making pancakes on a Saturday morning, driving together to a bus stop to part ways and go to work, or just any old thing, and it will hit me with a wave of joy. We are married. So many times, I take it for granted that he is a human being who cares about me, whose feelings matter just as much as mine, and who is doing his absolute best to be a good husband and a good man. I can be so selfish sometimes. But in those simple moments when it’s just us and we’re not worried about anything, just enjoying each other’s company, I remember that he is mine and I am so thankful for him.

We met and courted in an unconventional way, flew back and forth, fought and worried about the future, and yet here we are now. He’s my best friend and he always will be. He’s my cuddle-buddy for the rest of time. I will always have someone with whom to watch nerdy TV, freak out about anything Harry Potter, and eat a delicious dinner after a long day at work. He will always be there to calm me down when I’m anxious, and to hold me close the entire night when I feel lonely. Often, I take him in my arms, smile, and say, “We’re married! We met on Xanga, and now we’re married. You lived in Missouri, and now you live here! With me!” Nearly everyday, he likes to say, “You’re my wife.” I answer, “You’re my husband.” I marvel at it every time.

When will it get old? I hope it never does.

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