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Apr 29, 2015

Green thumb

The weather this week is so much better than last! Sunny and 60's, and while I am still hoping we get MUCH hotter this summer, this will do for now.
Between cleaning and fixing up the inside of our home, I have set my sights outside and ventured into the gardening.
See....this is a big deal because I will (and have) kill a cactus so let's venture lightly.

I need some expert input, please, but first...how amazing are these pear tree blooms?


I have already weeded and turned up the soil to plant some (hopefully) successful sunflowers. One side of our garage is rather barren and when we first moved in we have one gloriously tall sunflower spring up and I thought it looked incredible. I planted 25 seeds yesterday so here's hoping a few of them make it!

Besides the general upkeep; I have to major questions.
The first is this space:


This little spot, I believe, has one remaining peony bloom that I have a hard time keeping alive.
I'm not sure what type of upkeep a peony takes, but as soon as it blooms, it is ALWAYS eaten by bugs and other animals.
My question is, besides that lonely peony, what else can I plant here?
It is full shade, minus late afternoon sun (think past 5pm).
I need something hearty and full-proof for the non-green thumb type.
I basically need a plant it and forget it, minus the general weeding upkeep and watering as needed.
Any suggestions on what to plant and when to plant it?
I should also note we are in Zone 5....the Midwest...northwest of Chicago.

And then I have these lovely tulips:


They are super amazing but the problem is they are growing in our woods.
We have two similarly shaped flower beds like the full shade spot, framing our side entrance. They have a few tulips that pop up but I would like to fill them in with more tulips.
My question is...can you move tulips? Meaning, if I am super careful, can I dig these up and re-plant them in the beds? I don't want to kill them, but at the same time, I also don't want to wait until Fall to plant bulbs. I'm impatient, ya know.

And with those questions, I'm off. I have a workout and errands to run before I set out to wash windows and enjoy the sun!!
Thanks for reading!

Apr 27, 2015

The haps

As my Papa used to say, "What's the haps, paps?"
Well, a lot and not a whole lot, all at once.

I need to preface this post with a quick PA.
Bloglovin' finally got their ever loving shit together and moved my domain over to the oldie-but-goodie free one so all you lovely followers can start reading again.
If you out of the loop, I'm back....HI! THIS is why I started blogging again, and the other posts from last week are HERE and HERE.

Moving on.
My first full, official week out of work was spent over hauling our disgusting house. I was so stressed out for the last four months between how much anxiety there was at work, the constant feeling I was going to be let go, and worry about needing to find a job, ANY JOB, before that happened, that I guess I just went blind to how gross this place was.
Well life took over and cleared out the clutter, so to speak.
I must admit, I am not cut out to be a housewife. I promise I am not bashing those that are, but the fact of the matter is, for me, I am only familiar with accomplishing great things in a corporate setting and seeing the end reward (my paycheck).
I have no kids, and when my bulldogs are not running around flinging drool onto the walls, they are sleeping or rolling their hairballs into the carpet.
I clean up puke all day every day.
Small spots that are all over the wall never seem to quite clean out, and I swear my house always smells a bit funky.
And it's not like I can just open a fucking window because it's 20 degrees outside.

Apr 24, 2015

I am She-ra, the cat pee told me so

A corner of our sitting rooms reeks of cat piss.
Do you have a cat? Have you every smelled their pee?
It's fucking gross. And strong. And tough to get out.

Many moons ago we noticed the aroma of cat pee in that same corner but were perplexed as to how it was happening.  There is an upright piano in that corner and we didn't think a cat could squeeze back there, much less get out.

But cats are sneaky assholes.

So for God knows how long we played this fun game where 
Cat would come barging into the bedroom at around 3am, 
I would kick Mark.
Mark would grunt and grab the cat and throw him into the hallway and shut the door. 
Cat would get mad sometimes (read: all the time) and go and piss in that corner.
And then I would shampoo the carpets weekly to get the stains and smell out.

I tried everything. Adding extra cat littler boxes elsewhere, shoving the piano up against the wall so he couldn't get behind, tolerating his screeching at 3am (not gonna happen), etc.

The smell seemed to finally go away until this spring. With the temperatures rising, so is the stench.
And now that I am home and have all this free time, I get to spend it deep cleaning our home. Lovely.

Amidst the cat piss debacle, I decide that I need to move the piano to the other side of the room.
That's right, move a 400 pound upright piano, by myself, across thick grandma carpeting.
Easy peasy, right?

Pre-piano position
Ha. I shifted the piano. I rocked the piano. I tried to just drag it but almost pulled my back out. 
I debated doing something crazy like waiting for Mark to come home to help, but my stubbornness got the best of me, like it always does.
I shifted my ass behind the piano, sitting in the cat piss, and shoved that damn piano to the other side of the room as if it were a make-shift Smith machine.

Imagine that for a moment, would you?

Me, in hot pink capris, a Chuck Norris t-shirt, barefoot, lying on my back with my feet propped up against the piano as if I had just birthed it, bracing myself against the wall with my hands.
And as smooth(ish) as silk, the fucking piano slid across the room, with each thrust of my legs.

Once it was in position at the other end of the room, I hopped up and yelled my mightiest She-Man howl...."I am BEAST!! HERE ME ROAR!!"

New piano spot, complete with Yanni piano music

Then, proceeded to deep clean the cat pee out of my gross carpeting.
The bright side to this is a couple of things.

1) I found out we have original hard wood under that fucking carpet and as soon as I get another job, it'll be added to the kitchen remodel.
2) I reconfigured the room and I think it looks a bit more open than before. Never
mind that I still need to hang the mirror over the sofa.
3) I found an amazing cat pee removal remedy HERE and it worked. It took forever but it worked.


Feel free to tell me all about how you got to use your gym muscles in real life!
Happy weekend!

Apr 22, 2015

New Routine


I spent the day of the lay-off texting and talking with co-workers and wrapping my head around what just happened. I am a rather emotional person, and unfortunately when I get really angry I tend to cry. It's not my most professional trait, and I tried to keep it together and not really focus on what HR was saying and the hand I had been dealt. Being laid off for lack of work doesn't mean you did anything wrong, but you do still feel like a failure, regardless of the situation.

I have been battling between whether I care or not.
I care because, well, I care. I did care about that company and I did love my job. If you had asked me at this point last year, how long I planned to stay, I honestly thought I would be there until the company was no longer. But hell, what do I know.
And then things changed. Although I tried to plead my case and stay visible, it was a struggle realizing I was being pushed aside because there were shiny new distractions. I was old news. And I didn't align with the newer vision of the company. I wanted the old company. So I pulled back when I felt like it wasn't worth fighting for anymore.

True to form, I didn't just lay down and die. I am pretty sure they tried to let me go in February, but I got the chance to step back into part of my old role for a couple months when a shiny new person left abruptly. I was able to do what I do best, find an issue and solve it.  There was still an internal struggle. I didn't love what I was doing and who I was now working for, but the money was good and our home goals were always in the back of my mind. I figured I would just stick it out as long as they would allow. Turns out that was two more months.

Things are a bit different these days.
Instead of jumping out of bed at 5am to workout, rushing to get ready and out the door by 6:48am, rushing to here, rushing to there, I have a bit more free time.
I think it's important to make sure I keep a solid routine each day for a multitude of reasons. First and foremost, I do actually need to get employed again. As lovely as it is to have a bit of cushion between severance and unemployment pay, keeping as minimal of a gap between jobs looks better on my resume.

Each day my goal is to do three major things: Work out, hunt for jobs, and knock out a project at home.
Mark is up at 5:30am so I decided I will still get up between 6-6:30am and go to the gym. Now I get to stay longer than 30 minutes and maybe I'll start seeing faster results from all the lifting.
Edited to say: 6:30am is a joke. I have been "trying" to do that since Saturday...and by trying, I mean I just wake up when I want to ....which is really more like 7:30-8am.

I have three, yes three, head hunters working for me. The more balls in my court, the better. (twss)
I updated my Linkedin profile and will spend a good hour or two each day searching and applying for jobs on my own.

Finding my next job has been a bit of a struggle as well.
I am trying to find the golden ticket in terms of a career.

I want less of a commute (under an hour) but suburban jobs historically pay less than Chicago jobs.
I want to make the most money possible but don't want to work insane hours.
I want amazingly cheap benefits.
I want flexibility with working hours and dress code.
I want to feel like my voice is heard in a company that isn't boring.
I would like to stay somewhere long term. This whole jumping around every couple of years is exhausting.
And duh, I need something that accepts pregnant ladies and moms (this one isn't off the table)

Does this job even exist?
Am I asking too much?

I really, really want to be home more as opposed to commuting, but taking a hefty pay cut makes my head spin. We have renovations and purchases and baby junk in the future and I just don't know how to make it all happen and still be happy.
And I have just realized how whiny this all sounds. I have no problem diving into something amazing and spending more time at it, but it has to be WORTH IT. I want that passion back. That drive. That eagerness that makes rushing everywhere and sacrificing daylight hours WORTH IT.

Phew! One day at a time.
Thanks for reading.

Apr 20, 2015

I got laid

...off.

(side note: remember my last farewell post? Riiiiggghhhttt. In the words of Justin Beiber's song writer, never say never.)

Four years of fantastic, dedicated service to a company I loved and then subsequently thrown out on my ass. Seems fair, right?

Luckily, I saw it coming. Working for a technology start-up, the goal is to get in and get out quickly and make as much money at the end. Well, the company is doing just that. Sparing you the gritty details that could jeopardize my severance, let's just say that the corporate restructuring didn't fair well for those that had been there for years (outside of management, of course.)
What we knew and loved about this company dissolved in a matter of months. 
The time spent collaborating with open, honest conversations was quickly filled with hush-hush closed door meetings. Anxiety rose. People started gossiping. The environment turned toxic.

I spent four year handling the entire office, all of our finances, three audits, multiple trade shows, calendar and travel coordination, a new office build-out, and all the other little daily details that I can't remember. As we grew, each part of my job started to shuffle....away....from me. My HR duties went to the actual HR person. Finance to finance, and so on.

But I didn't have any real work at that point. The end was close. I could just feel it in my bones.
I guess you could say I had a chip on my shoulder, but in the professional world, you can't just run around yelling at people and complaining about "how it's not fair."
I tried to make the best of the situation but it was tough.

Be flexible...they said.
Go with the flow....they said.
You're still important...they said.

Everyone that had been there for years quietly started to take action. Some are leaving and others are making similar plans. I....well, I got the boot, in the nicest way possible. 

They simply eliminated my position and left me a few bucks to pay the mortgage.
That was Thursday.

So, in my newly found vast free time, I decided to get back into blogging. I can't guarantee this is a new forever thing, but it feels good to write again. My head was in a dark place these past four months, but I have so much to share with you. 

I won't be hosting sponsorship opportunities or blog designs or anything like that. It's too much pressure and this is my outlet and chance to keep connecting with good people like you guys. As you can tell, I bit the bullet and paid for a blog design because damn....it looks good right?
Give credit where credit is due, and 17th Avenue Designs knows their shit. 

We'll get there.  And please, don't feel sad for my situation. In a weird way, I think it's for the best. 
It's the first time in a long time that I feel sane. It's funny how you just kind of deal with a shitty situation and don't really realize how bad it has become until you are through it, right? 

Stay tuned, friends.