Friday, March 30, 2012

Finally Free (Happiness is NOT Overrated!)

I read a lot of blogs. Some are written by close friends of mine and others are by people I have never met before in my life. Some of the blogs focus on home improvement, some on family and marriage, some are just hilarious encounters occurring in everyday lives, and of course we cannot forget the juicy gossip blogs (I know gossip is bad but whatever—everyone has their guilty pleasures). The variety of blogs out on the interwebs is endless, I tell you.

Recently I stumbled across a blog that has really touched me and made me think. While perusing one of my favorite gossip blogs Laineygossip, I discovered a blog called His Giant Mistake. Lainey was discussing the topic of cheating and whether it’s ever okay and if one ever happens to fall into that circumstance of my-partner-cheated-on-me if it is ever really possible to forgive. The author of His Giant Mistake, Cleo, is experiencing this situation as we speak and she is blogging about it in real time. Last fall she discovered her husband was having an affair which all started with what she calls “the pocket call” while he was out of town on business. Her blog details every emotion she felt as she has felt it and focuses on how she is dealing with the situation today. Once I started reading, I couldn’t stop—the way she writes about her experiences is so beautifully expressed and I have to say that I felt immediately connected to her, this person I have never even met.

See, a lot of the emotions she writes about were the exact same emotions I felt when breaking up with my ex. Yes, technically he may not have cheated on me but the betrayal and hurt I felt by him were very, very, real. Here was this person I trusted who kept feeding me with false information of a proposal year after year and despite warnings by family and friends I made excuses for him. What I failed to realize was that he had checked out of our relationship a long time ago, he just couldn’t bring himself to let me know. He lied to me and others—giving me false hope when deep down I know he knew the truth all along.

For a while I was very bitter and angry about the situation. Angry that he had wasted my time and angry with myself for putting up with it for so long. I commented on one of Cleo’s posts on HGM, telling her my story briefly. She responded and it felt good to communicate with someone who understood what I had felt. She also brought up a good point—how do we let ourselves get strung along in these relationships that are so obviously toxic? There are always warning signs. Why do we choose to ignore them?

For me I think the blindness initially began because of my love for this person (which I believe is very common) and eventually I think it just turned into this personal quest to prove to everyone how wrong they were to question if a proposal was ever going to happen—to question “our” love. Of course I realize now that I was deluding myself and I almost laugh at the hilarity of it all. I mean, what the hell was I thinking???

At one point in her blog, Cleo states that her ex-husband, “The Genius,” probably gave her the greatest gift by having an affair in the end because she was able to re-discover what it meant to love herself and be true to her wants and desires. I cannot agree with her more on this point. I almost cry when I think about what my life would be like today if I had stayed with my ex. The fact is that no one should have to put their lives on hold to wait for anyone. Relationships are meant to be experienced together and if you are not on the same page as your partner (and it doesn’t look like you ever will be) for god sakes move on!

I cannot even begin to express the difference there is in being in a relationship where you genuinely love and care for someone and a relationship where everything is focused on selfishness. Relationships don’t work when there is someone who is constantly saying “well this is what I want” and “this is what I need” and “why can’t you just change.” It seems so logical but, take it from me, you would be surprised what you can convince yourself of when the mind is willing.

I still see myself bracing when I’m with Erik whenever I say certain things or do something silly that would have gotten eye rolls or started some dumb fight when I was with my ex. Instead he just jokes back or does something equally as silly. Even though we have been together for over a year I am constantly amazed that he doesn’t find my sense of humor corny and annoying or see my playfulness as “too cutesy” and “not sexy enough.” Everything is about our future and our wants--our desires. With my ex everything was always split right down the middle—this is yours and this is mine. Whenever we bought something it was always split in half even though we had lived together for almost 3 years (this is a huge red flag btw ladies). I can’t tell you how refreshing it is to be with someone who actually sees the future as “us”, “we”, and “ours.”

So today I say thank you to my ex. Thanks for letting me be free. I am so much happier than I was 2 years ago and I am pretty certain you probably are too. I forgive you for your selfishness and your cowardliness because it has allowed me to finally know what it feels like to be truly loved and desired. I think I have finally gotten to the place where I can wish you the best (a year and a half is what it takes I guess). And to Cleo (if you ever find my tiny blog)-- thank you for sharing your story. I think it is so important that everyone know how to love themselves first because, ultimately, you are the only one responsible for your own happiness. Don’t ever wait on someone else. It’s cliché but life really is too short!  

If you want to check out HGM you can find Cleo here. I suggest starting from the beginning.  

Sunday, March 25, 2012

State of the House Address 2012

So I know it's been awhile since my last post--please forgive me--and I don't even really have much of an excuse. I guess you could say I've just been living life. Suffice it to say I missed documenting  my 1 year "blogaversary" (oh the shame) and the 1 year anniversary of when I moved into my house. Oy vey! I am indeed the worst blogger ever.

So to make up for missing this auspicious time in (my) history I thought I would give an update on the state of my house. This time last year I had just finished painting inside and out, was finally clearing away all the boxes from the move-in, hanging pictures, patiently waiting for my new couch to arrive and preparing for my sister's baby shower. I had also bought a couple of new appliances (a sweet Kitchen Aid dishwasher and an over-the-oven-microwave), installed new gutters, and cleaned up my horrendous backyard. Looking back, I realize now that I did quite a bit up front. Unfortunately that meant I exhausted my "home improvement" budget pretty early on. Therefore, other than buying a lawnmower, adding some weather stripping to the doors and planting a couple of flowers here and there not much in the way of home improvements have really happened in the cottage over the last 6 months.

Thank goodness it's another year and with it comes some extra fun money in the form of a government tax return. Yay for owning a house and getting money back! After paying off a couple of credit cards (Macy's you are the devil) I have a small pot of money to put into completing some much-needed house projects. Number 1 on the list was adding some insulation to the attic. I've known since I moved in that this needed to be done (it was noted in my home inspection) but after a year of ridiculously high energy bills and what is looking to be the beginnings of a hot summer I figured I would go ahead and get 'er done. So, Erik and I made a trip to Home Depot today and picked up about 20 bags of cellulose insulation and were able to rent the blower to install the insulation ourselves for free. We decided to go with cellulose because it is a "greener" option (made of 85% recycled material) and it is more fire-retardant than fiberglass. We also learned that rodents don't like it as much as fiberglass so that's always a good thing.

It took us two trips to get all the equipment back to the house but the set-up was pretty easy and once we got started it went pretty quick (I would say we did all 20 bags in around 2 hours). The process is a 2 person job--Erik was up in the attic blowing  the insulation while I stayed outside and loaded the bundles of insulation into the machine. I have to say that both jobs were quite messy and if you are attempting to do this at home do not ignore the warnings to wear a mask and safety goggles. This stuff is dusty!

My job was to load these 20 bags into the machine (right) while
Erik blew it into the attic

The attic before

Another before. It is recommended here in GA
that you insulate to the R30 mark. As you can see
we were nowhere close with the current insulation.

This paper indicated the last time insulation was blown in was in 1999.
I'd say it was about time for the update.

The machine at work. I unwrapped each bale and broke it into big chunks
which the machine then broke up into smaller bits.

Very dusty job, but unlike fiberglass this doesn't irritate your skin.
I also found it smelled like old books.

The attic after 20 bags of insulation. We are now close to the R38 mark!

Another after shot. So much better!
As you can see from the before and afters there is a significant improvement. I can only hope we put enough down and that we start seeing some lower energy bills soon. Fingers crossed!

Next up on the to-do list (currently in progress actually) is re-grouting in the bathroom shower and gluing back some loose tiles. This is just a temporary fix until we can get together some kind of guesstimate as to the cost of re-tiling the shower and floor because in addition to the shoddy work the previous renovators did (we have discovered rotting boards and some other construction errors) there are several cracked tiles that just look like crap.
Erik working on the tile

Gross rotting wood that will need to be replaced when we re-tile

Luckily Erik is pretty experienced with laying tile so in the end we should be able to do the whole re-tile fairly cheaply. I just need to decide what I want to put in (be ready for some tile selection posts in the near future). Fun, fun, fun!

So those are the top 2 things on the priority list right now. Other things we would like to do in the near future include re-painting the exterior of the house (the guy who did it so I could get FHA approval did a complete shit job but I didn't really have a choice in picking who did the work), fixing some woodwork on the laundry addition, cleaning up the flower beds in the front yard and building some raised beds for the backyard. I would also really, really, REALLY, love to build a patio or deck in the backyard but limited pool of money=only the necessities right now. Boo.

We've had some squirrels scurrying up into the roof of our laundry addition
so we are going to have to remedy this situation. Luckily this portion is not attached
to the rest of the roof so as far as I know we don't have any critters there. 

Broken board under the bathroom window

Dry rot and crumbling drywall under the loose board. Gross. 

Obviously need to fix this. Who knows what happened.

Just a little something the painter left. Nice, huh?

Erik plans on redoing this section of the roof on the laundry addition.
It looks pretty rough.

More shoddy paint work. Le sigh.

Had to sneak a Lulu pic in here. She kept me company  while
we were trying to get the insulation done. 
She brought me lots of sticks.

And there you have it. The state of my house as of today, March 24, 2012. Here's to lower energy bills and a newly tiled bathroom! (I hope!)