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Archive for February, 2010

Carpooling

Four years ago, when we bought our house, we were pretty limited on places in the city we could live due to our daily work commutes. I had to take one highway 25 minutes in one direction and hubby had to take the same highway 25 minutes in the opposite direction. Now, with his new job, our offices are less than 10 minutes from each other. I mentioned being excited about the chance to carpool together in the morning, but the hubz didn’t share my excitement. So on Day 1 of his new job, we woke up early, got ready, and left the house at the same time…but in two different cars. I was only about 2 minutes down the road when my phone rang:

Hubs: Hey, I need you to turn around and come back home.

Me: Why?

Hubs: My car died.

So, we carpooled. We’re on day 3 now, and so far, we’ve been able to meet up for lunch AND join friends at an after-work dinner/birthday celebration without having to worry about leaving someone’s car somewhere or drive two cars all the way back home. Of course we’re saving on gas, but the best part is probably all of the extra time we get to spend together. Both of our jobs are pretty demanding and have us working 8-6 or later, so it’s nice to have that extra time in the car together. I’m a fan.

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Travel Questions

It seems a lot of people I know are planning their vacations for the year right now. As you know, we’re going to Kauai, Hawaii later this Spring with plans to hopefully visit London/Scotland this Fall. Unfortunately, we have even fewer vacation days this year thanks to hubby’s new job, so we’re going to have to make the most of every day we get. A girl at work just booked a trip to Italy for this Fall and another girl I work with just booked an early Summer trip to Hawaii (Maui). I’ve also read a few blog posts from people planning quick weekend getaways or two-week long lavish cruises on the Mediterranean and that got me thinking about how people tend to travel differently.

I have a sort of made-up rule that I try to abide by when it comes to travel. If it takes me longer than 5 hours to fly there, then I need to spend at least 5 days. (Note: this only applies to places we fly to; not drive. I can do a 5 hour road trip and just stay for a weekend if that’s all I can squeeze in. No big deal.) I also only like to visit places we’ve never been before. Even if I absolutely LOVED the place, I don’t want to go back until I’ve felt I’ve seen enough of the world to start repeating trips. Which could easily happen since I have absolutely no desire to visit any part of Asia and maybe only a couple of places in Africa and South America.

So how do you travel? Do you prefer quick in-and-out trips to new places or yearly week-long vacations at the same beach condo? Do you take multiple smaller trips per year to nearby cities or save up for one huge escape to some place exotic?

If you couldn’t already guess, I like to take two decently long trips per year: One in the Spring to some place with sand and sun, and one in the Fall to some place new and exciting; somewhere we’ve never been before. And if time/money allows, I like to take a couple of weekend trips every year. Whether we drive to Chicago for a Cubs/Cards game, or drive to Memphis for some BBQ, or fly to Denver for a friend’s wedding, I like to go places if only for a quick weekend getaway.

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Happy Valentine’s Day!

I’ve been a bad wife. I bought a Valentine’s Day card about three weeks ago but failed to get my hubs anything else. Every year we say “let’s not get each other anything” but every year, we do anyway. Even if it’s just something small like a magazine and some candy. So, I thought I would have time after work on Friday to pick something up but I ended up working late. We barely made it to dinner before 8pm. Saturday we spent the entire day together and I couldn’t sneak away to get him something. So today I had it all figured out. We would go to a nice restaurant by the mall for an early dinner and I would sneak away, grab him some new cologne he’s had his eye on, and surprise him at dinner. But then it snowed. And snowed some more. And our fancy dinner turned into pizza and a movie at home. Which is still a perfect evening in both of our books, but now I look like a bad wife because not only did he surprise me with a beautiful bouquet of 18 roses at work earlier this week, but he also bought me some new perfume and the latest Harry Potter DVD (because I’m a nerd and am super excited to have a fully updated collection – at least until the next one comes out.)

Well, at least my card sings to him. Valentine’s Day is a girl’s holiday anyway right? RIGHT? What did you get your S.O. for Valentine’s Day? Please tell me “nothing” so I don’t feel so bad.

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A couple of weeks ago in my Decade in Review post, Jen asked me to tell the story about how I decided on my chosen career (public relations). It’s not terribly exciting, but I know most people struggle with career choices, especially when our backs are pressed against deadlines and life-altering decisions such as picking a college and choosing a major. These are questions that will essentially change one’s life forever. How is any 18 year old supposed to know the right answers? Until then, the biggest decisions we’ve had to make are what clothes to wear to school, what to eat for lunch, and who to take to the prom.

Transitioning from high school to college life isn’t easy. Especially when you’re someone like me who can’t even decide what to have for dinner. When I graduated high school, I didn’t have a clue what I wanted to do with the rest of my life. I had an idea – well-paying desk job, office atmosphere, tall building in a city – but that was about it. No stay-at-home wife/mom for me, and certainly no blue-collar jobs either. So I picked a school based on things like cost (in state), location (far from home), class sizes (small), and how many of my fellow high school classmates would be there (the fewer the better).

When I started college, I felt pressured to pick a major. “You can always change it later,” the counselor told me. I don’t remember talking much about this decision with anyone, and so I just checked the “Political Science” box. I knew a lot of future lawyers started out that way and it sounded impressive. That was my reasoning. I was immediately put into a History class for people with this major. The professor had a reputation for being one of the most difficult and the class itself had a reputation for being the hardest of anyone’s college career. A week later, I dropped the course and also my major. The syllabus alone was enough to send me running.

I spent the rest of that year making bad choices, or at least just feeling like I did. As someone who had always made smart decisions before, freshman year of college was a rude awakening that real life choices aren’t always so black and white when it comes to right and wrong. By the end of the school year I felt lost. I was no closer to deciding what I wanted to do with my life than I was the first time I walked through the door of my dorm room. But a final family vacation and a chance meeting in Washington D.C. changed all that…

My parents don’t take a lot of vacations. Or at least they didn’t when I lived at home. My friends would all go to California or Florida while I was stuck riding in the car to places like Branson, MO and Pigeon Forge, TN. That summer after my first year in college, my parents surprised me by saying they wanted to take me on a real vacation, probably our last one as a family. The caveat: we were driving. No flying. I wanted to go to NYC more than anything. They had already been there and hated it, so they did not. We compromised on Washington D.C. and Philadelphia. My step-dad is a huge history buff so even though it was a vacation, he was going to make it as educational as possible.

I don’t remember what day it was or exactly what historical thing we were looking at at the time, but I do remember us wandering into a Burger King. The place was packed. Something was going on at the MCI Center (or that’s what it was called at the time. AKA the place that holds concerts). So my mom, the always curious and will-talk-to-anyone kind of person that she is, started chatting up these two young ladies while I stood in line to wait on our order. Next thing I know, we’re being offered 7th row Bon Jovi tickets for that night’s show. For free! My mom almost turned them down even though she’s a fan, since they only had two tickets and there were three of us, but my step-dad was more than happy to spend a few extra hours roaming the city and reading every historial-looking plaque or marker he could find. So we took the tickets and spent the next 30 minutes or so chatting with these two young ladies over our burgers and fries.

One of the girls had beautiful long dark hair and big brown eyes, and was sporting a jean jacket. Her name was Lauren. She looked to be about 27. She gave me her card which said “media and artist relations manager” and had the record label’s logo on it. I didn’t really know what her job entailed but I knew she had the hook-up with awesome tickets to awesome bands. Which is why she gave those tickets to us – because she had to WORK, backstage, with the band! In my eyes, she had the coolest job in the world. I wanted to BE her. But our meeting was cut short as she left with her friend to go do some media wrangling. I had so much more I wanted to ask her.

A couple days later my parents surprised me by taking me to NYC for a day after all. I was ecstatic. Before we even crossed over into Manhattan, just looking at the city and picking out the World Trade Center and Empire State Building, I fell in love. If you can imagine a wide-eyed 19 year old girl with her nose smushed up against the glass, jaw open, gawking at the biggest skyline she’d ever seen…that would’ve been me. I was in awe. I’ll skip over all the sight-seeing and sheer amazement I felt as we toured the city. (side note: I hailed my own cab for the first time and went to see Les Miserables – BY MYSELF. It was the most adult thing I had ever done at that point in my life. And on the way out, as I went to hail another cab, a homeless looking dude bumped into me, copped a feel on my chest and kept speed-walking past me. It took me a moment to realize I’d been violated. But hey, it’s New York. It just made the whole experience that much more “authentic.”)

On the day that we were leaving, my parents took me by the record label where Lauren worked so I could give her a thank you card and flowers in person and offer to buy her breakfast. I walked into the enormous, heavily-secured building and asked to see her. Several minutes later she came down, flattered to receive my thanks, and although she was in a hurry, agreed to a quick breakfast. She took me to the bagel shop in her building and bought me a bagel (despite my efforts to pay) and I asked her a few more questions about her job. Basically I just wanted to know what she did in college to get to where she was now. She told me she had majored in communications and journalism, did a couple of internships, and here she was. Just then, it was as if the proverbial lightbulb above my head had just lit up. I had a path laid before me now, I just needed to start walking.

Later that fall when I returned to school, I immediately declared my major: Communications with an emphasis in Journalism. And I’ve never looked back. Oh sure, I’ve learned some things along the way – like as much as I love NYC, I could never live there; and working for a record label isn’t as glamorous as it seems. I know that now, after living in NYC and interning at a record label. I don’t work at a record label, as I originally set out to do, but I know I chose the right field. I’m in the right profession. I have the job that I was meant to have, a job that I love (most days). And it all started with a chance meeting. A moment and a person that changed my life forever. And I know that I’m incredibly lucky to have had one of the hardest decisions any person has to make, become the easiest for me.

So maybe that’s why I’ve never really believed in coincidence. A wise man once said, “coincidence is God’s way of remaining anonymous.” And I’m not really one to argue with the likes of Albert Einstein.

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An actual excerpt from an actual email written by me to one of my actual friends. How she puts up with me, I’ll never know, actually.

The cravings for junk food today are ridiculous. I went to the snack shop at work to get a sugar-free Monster energy drink and all I could see were Doritos! Funyons! Ruffles! Chicken-In-A-Biscuit crackers! And I wanted it all. And for two days in a row I’ve seen people eating Cheez-itz and I think about cutting them and running away with their snack.

But today especially. Except I’m too tired and lack the energy to actually do it, meaning it’s laborious to me to even BREATHE, so I guess they should consider it their lucky day. No cutting = good day. For them anyway. Not for me. Because I’m still without Cheez-itz.

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More Good News

So remember my good news about my hubby’s job and how he doesn’t have to travel any longer? Well, I have even BETTER news! He just accepted a management position with another, much more well-known and organized media company. He is just over the moon about it too. He did multiple interviews, and the night before he got the call telling him he got the position, he was extremely nervous and couldn’t sleep just anticipating it. And I am just beaming with pride and happiness for him. I ran around emailing friends and telling a bunch of people at work because I was just so excited for him. He’s going to have to work hard, no question about that, but it’s work that he’s passionate about so hopefully he’ll enjoy it.

There are also a few little perks, like how he’ll have not one, but TWO offices in two different buildings. That just sounds cool to me. And one of them will be just a few blocks from my office building so I’m looking forward to lunches together and possibly car-pooling on occassion.

After 6 years at his last job, it was a bittersweet experience for him to turn in his resignation. But it was time for him to move on, and coincidentally, several of his co-workers recently left the company so it’s not like he was leaving behind a bunch of close friends.

Lots of big, positive changes to look forward to!

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24

That’s how many times I worked out in January. Want to know how many pounds I lost as a result of those 24 workouts? A big fat ZERO. Talk about frustrating.

The good news is, I’ve lost two pounds since February started. Yeah. Weird right? It’s like January was out to get me. Or maybe it’s because I’ve just stepped it up at the gym. I’ve been running longer and harder (3 miles in less than 30:45 minutes and then 4 miles in 42:20. That 4 mile time is my best ever. Probably because I’ve never ran that far in my life to have any other numbers to compare it to. But still: BEST. EVER.) And I’ve started mixing things up more at the gym. Like last night, I did 15 minutes on the stair climber, which doesn’t seem like much, but it was the equivalent of 65 floors and I was dripping sweat all over the machine.

Speaking of dripping sweat, do you ever get sweat in your eyes? That burns like a mother.

Anyway, February is going to be a challenge. I have less than 2 months before I’ll be in a swimsuit. I need to lose about 17 more pounds (I’m down about 10 since last Fall), but I just don’t see that happening in two months. This is NOT the Biggest Loser. And I do not have hours upon hours of extra time to burn thousands of calories at the gym. So I’m gunning for 7 pounds. That sounds do-able.

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