Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Unemployment is So Uncool - Entry #1

Bills, bills, bills. Some monthly and some unexpected but they all require money I don't have. Thank you, Ohio for giving me unemployment. I truly appreciate it. But when 1/2 a month of benefits almost pay my mortgage, which is very reasonable, it will be interesting to see which bills get paid and which bills will be pushed back a month or two. Now I'm cursing my need for technology at my finger tips and real-time Facebook updates. Damn you, data package.

Unexpected bills...like a $1000 brake job today. My god, did that hurt. But you can't drive around for much longer with completely obsolete back brakes. Yup. 100% non functioning.

Oh tax return, tax return where art thou? Combined with unemployment, you will be expected to help me fund some minor home projects, purchase patio furniture AND float me for a few months while I'm looking for a new job. It will be a frugal summer full of value time hot dogs and Miller Lite.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Zen in 10!

Every year, my friend and I come up with a motto for the new year. There was "Great in 08" and then "Fine in 09." This year, she came up with "Zen in 10" while I half jokingly came up with "No Men in 10." I was dating someone so my motto was invalid, just talk, so I tried to follow her mantra of "Zen in 10."

In theory, "Zen in 10" sounds great. Yay for enlightenment and tranquility! But so far, 2010 has been a tough year for me. I've caught myself thinking in yoga, "Fuck off, that's impossible," when the instructor has soothingly suggested letting go of stress. Side note: Sorry. I heart yoga and the strength and comfort I draw from it. Obviously, I was not happy.

I was feeling pretty bad. The kind of bad where you neglect your priorities, drink a little too much red wine, have a hard time smiling, and bed is the most comfortable place to be. People had started commenting about my bad mood. That behavior is far from my norm. So taking a trip to Arizona to visit my best friend could not have come at a better time. Aside from the immense amounts of Vitamin D I would absorb from the sunshine, I was looking forward to spending time with my friend, whose positive energy and inner strength have been inspiring to me.

We road tripped with friends in a beat up convertible to the Grand Canyon. And other than a run in with a tree that left me with a black eye and a scar, hiking around and seeing the Grand Canyon was incredible. Pictures show you what it looks like, but you cannot appreciate it's vast beauty until you see it with your own eyes. We moved onto Sedona where we spent the night and hiked near Cathedral Rock the following day. We picnicked, we built our own rock formations and we laughed, but most importantly, we shared a great experience. The following days were great too. We laid poolside, had a few margaritas, went out to eat and explored the picturesque area. A fitness hike up Pinnacle Peak left me winded but I kept thinking, "Thank god for being in shape and able to appreciate this."

I feel SO MUCH BETTER. Sometimes things happen for a reason - things fall into place when and why they're supposed to. Like purchasing my tickets back when I was employed. Had I not purchased them then, I would not have gone on the trip. And also the timing of the trip was perfect. I needed to feel warm. I needed my best friend. I needed an adventure. I needed to clear my head, zen out in the desert and refocus my life.

So now I'm back in Cleveland, working on finding a job and tackling the "Zen in 10" AND "No Men in 10" mantras. But truth be told, "Zen in 10" is probably more feasible because this makeout bandit can't be sidelined for too long.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Unemployment Perk #3 - Gettin' it done, son.

I'm a procrastinator. It's a well known fact about me. I once was given the Procrastination Award by my swim team. In my defense, I was 18, rarely showed up for practice, and they only needed me for my fabulous breaststroke. But enough about my glory days in the Strongsville Swim League...back to the point of this post.

I bought a house in November and when people ask me what have I done so far to it, I answer somewhat embarrassed, "Oh the house was move-in ready, but I'm planning to do some projects to make the place more of my own." Well now it's spring, I have plenty of time on my hands, and these projects need to get moving.

Today I made a trip to Home Depot, a store where I feel completely out of my element. Usually, I grab the first person I see wearing an orange apron and follow them around like a teenager with a crush. But this time, I wandered on my own. I priced out lighting fixtures, ceiling fans, grills and patio furniture. All by myself! I even purchased sample paint for my bedroom. Those bright periwinkle walls have got to go.

The immediate projects that I can handle on my own (or with a little help, hint, hint) are: paint my bedroom, clean the gutters, finish the bathroom project that's been in the works since before I moved in, and refinish my gigantic party deck. Projects a little down the line include painting the kitchen and living room, painting my office so it no longer looks like a little sailor's room, replacing the kitchen ceiling fan with pendant lights, and installing a new ceiling fan in the bedroom. Goodbye 70's fan.

I'm sure this post will have a part II, aka when I actually do these projects. Right now, they're all dreams and patches of paint samples.

Bedroom color palette: Spring bedding, courtesy of a Christmas present I no longer have to give; Accent pillow for the spring bedding; Ambient lighting; Winter bedding; Wall color options - darker shade for the accent wall, lighter for the rest of the room (See the periwinkle? Eww.);In the center, the wood color and wavy design of all the furniture.

Projects: My big huge deck; 70's ceiling fan; The bathroom project I've neglected to finish. One of these days...

Monday, April 5, 2010

Wanted: A Distraction

I'm taking submissions for a distraction. I need a break from my head and heart. Applicants must be male, between 25-35 years of age and f'ing hot. They must be willing to stroke my hair, tell me I'm pretty and lie convincingly that everything will be ok. Tom Ford look alikes apply now!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Spring, Spring, Spring!

This bout of warm weather has been wonderful, hasn't it? Though we all know there's a pretty good chance we'll have one more wintry blast. There, I said it. Does that make me a pessimist or a realist?

A few days ago, I met my mom at Crocker Park for lunch on Brio's patio. Half of Cleveland had the same idea and the patio was packed, so we were relegated to the open air bar. A decent lunch and a glass of Prosecco was a fitting way to start off spring. After lunch we walked around Crocker and got used to this unfamiliar thing called warmth.

I invited a handful of people over for an afternoon deck party the next day. One very cool feature about my new house is a huge, over sized deck. And when I say over sized, I mean this thing could have been 1/2 the size and it would have still been decent. I don't have any deck furniture yet, so I pulled out a hodgepodge of chairs and we made a circle. Our food table was a chair in the center. Luckily my friends are laid back and had fun, appropriate deck furniture or none. Next time I have a party though, I promise to have furniture and a hot grill. I even managed to get a little sun. See?

But the fun didn't end there. I opted out of a huge group bike ride because I needed a chill evening with my girls. Sitting on a front porch in Ohio City, watching people on their way to Momocho and Mangos made me excited for the upcoming months. Tan lines, margaritas, patios, Whiskey Island, bike rides, art walks and festivals, random sports, boating, BBQs, fresh fruit, pool parties, trips to Dairy Delight, outdoor shows...this is what summer in Cleveland is all about. And I'm so ready.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Government $$$

It's April Fool's Day and I filled for unemployment. Not exactly a HA HA funny prank...more like a cruel joke, but it is what it is, to use that overused, redundant cliche.

Maybe if times get really tough, I'll go this route - http://www.salon.com/life/pinched/2010/03/15/hipsters_food_stamps_pinched/index.html

I see some artisanal cheese and organic chocolates in my near future.