Thursday, July 29, 2010

Morning ritual

When I get into work, I usually like to take 30 minutes to ease into the environment. This involves logging into my computer, reading work email, reading personal email, catching up on my RSS feeds and CNN, checking in with Facebook and Twitter and maybe getting something to drink.

I will do my pleasant "good mornings" to my cube-neighbors, but I basically want to take my time and get into my day. I want to enjoy the semi-solitude that comes with being a contractor.

But my new friend seems to have a different approach in the morning. Today, I hadn't even put my bag down on my counter when I start to get the update on her project, her last conference call, how the client is crazy and now once tight deadlines are flexible as they decide to add additional content into her project and basically introduce scope creep.

Ugh. I would like to say "it's not my problem. And actually, it's not your's either. Let your PM handle the client", but I don't. Instead I listen with half an ear and go about my morning ritual, offering comments where I can but secretly hoping that she'll notice that I'm preoccupied at the moment and let me take a breather.

I can only hope.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Today's Horoscope

If you can't get enough, don't worry -- it looks like your supply is unlimited! In fact, with such huge piles of fun and thrills available, you ought to put out a general notice to your people to come on out and join in. No one can get a party going quite like you, and right now, that talent is cranked up to eleven by your hard-partying energy. Get the word out by any means necessary.
I am so happy about this horoscope. This weekend my college friend Kristen and her whole family will be coming to visit me in NC. She is in the middle of a crazy international road trip (they crossed over into Canada) and will be stopping in Raleigh on their way back home to Houston.

Kristen, with her husband and 2 daughters, will be my first visitors here and I am so excited! I can't wait to hear all about their road trip adventures and introduce her to Charles and see my new home. I'm most looking forward to chilling on the screened-in porch, chatting over beers as we watch the sunset over the pond. I imagine the guys will be in the garage, checking out the Harley and talking shit. And I'm sure the girls will be exploring around the pond.

I'm already relaxed just thinking about it.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Home sweet home

I am only a few days from closing on the sale of my house. The process has been really smooth and so far (knock on wood) everything is on track to happen on time. I will breathe a big sigh of relief when the check is in my hand and I can deposit it in the bank.

With the profit, I will be able to be completely debt free. I will feel a million pounds lighter.

Charles wants to get on this bandwagon too, so we've been talking about selling his home and looking for a new place of our own together. As much as I love the land that his home is on, I can't help but be excited about this too.

The first step is putting the house in our names. Yes, I said our names. The title is currently in his mother's name and with some events that took place in his family's lives lately, he feels its important to officially take his mom's name off the title. So we will buy the home for the remainder of what is owed on the mortgage, which is substantially less than what the house is worth.

Then we need to get a Realtor to check out the home to get a sense of what the market value would be. This is going to allow us to figure out what the price range for our new house will be.

Last night we were checking out homes online to see what's available in certain areas. We were getting so excited that we decided to drive out to one of them to check out the neighborhood. We learned quickly that neighborhoods and subdivisions change significantly from one block to the next. And a pretty home isn't all that pretty in the long run when you have a crappy trailer park around the corner.

So the search is on, for a Realtor, for an area to focus on, for a price range. We know what we want: 4 bedrooms, 3 baths, large open kitchen, less than 10 years old, 1 acre of land, preferably a porch. The home is out there. We just need to find it.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Its funny when it's not me

I am not a fan of Sarah Palin, her politics, her lifestyle or much else about her.

1279057310_cover-290.jpg But I think its supremely shitty when your teenage daughter announces her engagement through a gossip magazine rather than to you. And you have to respond via a public statement to the media.

I mean really, what kind of fucked up family do you need to have?

Strong like bull

My new job has a very casual work environment. It's not uncommon to see people stroll by in t-shirts, shorts and flip flops. I don't think I could ever go that casual, but nice to know that its at least an option.

Another perk about working here is free access to the gym. Even as a contractor I can use it. Which is great because I need to do something. Charles is pretty fit, and while he makes me feel like a sexy rockstar, I know the reality.

So yesterday I went to the gym for my initial fitness assessment. I was poked and prodded by Allison, this cute little pixie originally from Alabama. I hopped on the scale (I reminded Allison to allow 10 pounds for shoes), I was pinched with the body fat calipers, I had my blood pressure and heart rate measured. Then I did 3 minutes of step-ups and had my heart rate measured again. Finally I did as many pushups as I could (25), as many crunches that I can do in one minute (47) and a flexibility test.

So I am 'strong like bull', but I need work everywhere else.

My goals will be to exercise regularly on the treadmill, elliptical or bicycle. At least 30 minutes for 3 days a week. Another goal is to cook more at home. I have been doing a lot of fast-food/restaurant eating. While its been convenient and enjoyable, it hasn't been doing much for my ass.

On the plus side, I do have some pretty strong muscles hiding under my layer of 28% body fat. I think I just need to remind them how to work and hopefully they can start pulling their weight again (har de har).

Monday, July 12, 2010

Biker chick

Charles came home with a new toy the other day. His pretty little Harley Davidson 2010 Dyna something-or-other. I don't have to really know what it is. It's black, shiny and looks really damn sweet.

We went riding among the windy, and wooded back roads that gave way to open fields, farm houses and bright red barns. I held on to Charles' hips and had to try to keep my mouth closed from smiling too hard. Don't want the extra protein of a bug flying in my mouth.

I'm still getting used to riding. He needs to put a backrest on for me so I won't feel like I'll slide off, and I need a more comfortable seat so my butt doesn't break, but it's a pretty cool feeling holding on to Charles and feeling the wind and the world rush by.

I could get used to this.

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Friday, July 09, 2010

Financial crisis

It's been a rough year, financially. When I ended my contract gig and got hired full-time earlier this year I knew there would be a decrease in take-home pay. But I didn't realize that I would actually be losing money by working full-time.

Well, that full-time gig is over and I'm back to doing contract work again. To me, there is no real difference. I still get benefits. I still get direct deposit. I still report directly to my client/manager. I still do a job.

For the first time in about a month, I will finally be getting a paycheck again. I can't wait.

I've been living off credit cards and my checking account. I even had to dip into my money market account. But I haven't been starving and I even had a chance to get some vacation time in.

But I'm ready to see those red lines disappear and get myself back into the green. And with the sale of my house pending (knock on wood, cross your fingers, say a little prayer), all those nagging debt monsters can finally disappear.

August 1st is the start of my new financial freedom.

Let freedom ring.

Thursday, July 08, 2010

New work home

I've been at my new job for 3 days. It doesn't suck. It actually has potential.

More to come...

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

The big move

It's official. I'm now in North Carolina.

This weekend was the final packing. I drove back to NJ Friday just in time for a party down in Manasquan at my friend's shore house. Beers, fireworks and a chill time.

The next two days was filled with activities of emptying out my house before closing at the end of the month. I don't want to have to come back up to NJ quickly to do any rush stuff, so to keep everyone's sanity, I decided to rent a storage unit and lock up whatever I didn't need immediately. This saved my parent's and me the hassle of carting stuff back to their basement, and saved Charles and I the stress of a weekend of driving, packing and driving. Now with my items safely stored, I can concentrate on my new job and my new life.