Friday, December 19, 2014

Unplugged is the new plugged in

It was one of those nights.  I went out, pretended I was 22, and tore down.  Ended the night at a Waffle House, and the next morning, I woke up in bed with someone.  Don't worry- it was my college roommate who yes, believe it or not still hangs out with me and loves me even after my college craziness.:)  She was there at three in the morning when I was lying on the floor needing help getting my cowboy boots off and didn't bat an eyelash when she woke up next to me topless because I had gotten hot in the middle of the night.  We had a five hour trip home and I was barely functioning.

It was also one of those days where you say, "I'm never drinking again."  You can't wait with every ounce of your being to get back to your hubby (eventhough he was on my last nerve) and babies.  You realize that your day in and day out life of running carpool, rotating your outfits from Kohl's and Target, and pulling your hair out at bedtime are actually quite fabulous and everything you ever dreamed of even if sometimes you feel like you are in the biggest rut and you might scream if you have to pick up one more pair of shoes that have been left in the middle of the floor.  And that you might as well stick with your current role of asswipe, I mean housewife,  because it's way too late for you to become a nun.

This particular girl's trip was also a time of reflection.  Riding down the road on a five hour car ride to Garth Brooks, your cheeks hurting and eyes watering from laughing so hard, you suddenly stop documenting your trip because you are enjoying this face to face time with long lost friends- Friends that you have kept up with because of Facebook. Your one friend is a snapchat addict and you realize that you have gotten to the point where everything you do is real timed on facebook.  A few conversations later, after viewing, and the two of you decide to unplug from our vices until the new year. 

Dear Lord.  Are we going to survive?  I think I'm getting the shakes.  Is that a hive?  Dude, someone could be posting at this very moment that they are pregnant and I don't know.  I'm okay.  I can do this.  I deactivate my account.

The next day, texts come in one by one.  Are you okay?  Did you defriend me?  And it dawns on me, just like I do, stepping away causes two things.  Some to check on you and genuinely have concern, and for some to gossip about you and make up their own story- Like I ran away on a girl's weekend, am getting a divorce, and checked into a facility.  Or something like that- I mean, I've done this with my BFF when someone suddenly vanishes from our lives on Facebook.  We most certainly let our minds and imagination run wild- we're women- that's what we do. It's never just that they need to unplug and get away.

But, I did it.  And how did it go?

Let me tell you the ways. 

My thumb suddenly felt like it went to physical therapy. It no longer swiped 1,000 times a day to refresh things.  I no longer missed out on the little things my children were saying to me because I was checking on what people I hadn't seen or physically talked to in fifteen years were doing.  I was present. 

Instead of having my face in my phone, I was on the ground playing Uno with my daughter.  I was answering what oh toodle Minnie needed instead of reading morning statuses like people used to read the newspaper. I was actually starting to workout instead of looking for the next fast fix, protein powder, workout video, or oil that would help me shed my pounds from friends that direct sell on my feed. And don't get me started with how much money I probably saved myself by stepping away from the "deals" on Facebook yard sale groups that I just couldn't pass up even if I really didn't need it. 

I was still snapping photos of my babies nonstop.  I just wasn't making them have 100 takes to get that "perfect" shot and my kids are more than thankful. 

Don't get me wrong.  My kids also drove me crazy- and I didn't have an outlet to tell people how I was going insane and somehow that outlet make me feel better.  But I also realized how wonderful they are and my complaints of how they drive me insane are really nothing at all.  I dodged seeing a million posts about a local boy and former neighbor passing away from childhood cancer.  Sure, I heard the news, and mourned, but I didn't read the tributes nonstop and it wasn't in my face.  Instead, I channeled his loss by hugging my kids that were driving me crazy- and considered every dirty look, rolling of the eyes, and minutes that they weren't listening to me the biggest blessing I could ever have.  Ya see, I'm the lucky one, I can still snap  at my babies.

For an entire month, no one heard about my period, my sagging boobs, or my aging that is driving me batty. For a month, I missed out on things, but the things that mattered most were right by me. I didn't piss my mother-in-law off by mentioning my hubby's penis, and she'd be happy to hear we've had way more sex because I went to bed with him instead of staying up on my computer.

So many things have been different- I didn't spend an entire week freaking out about the next snowstorm that Jay's Wintry Mix was predicting, and I didn't care about the euro models.  I didn't waste time watching random crap about the Kardashian's or clicking you tube links about dancing boobs or flies dug out of a man's ear.  Yes, I'm usually guilty of that. Sucker.

I'm sure I missed a ton.  Those perfect Thanksgiving table settings, beautiful Christmas tree pictures, trips to Walt Disney World that would leave me jealous that I wasn't going instead of happy for you. Don't you worry- We have a gorgeous three foot tree (that damn Craigslist ad said 4 feet people) that we happily decorated- Yes, there were way more candy canes but the one year old is obsessed with them, and well, they entertain her for at least ten minutes... and don't mind that Nicky Toothy  (that elf on the shelf that has a slightly different face than our normal one causing my ten year old to stare at him way longer than normal but never say anything because our usual one is packed in storage and yes, it made me gag when I had to shell out another thirty bucks for a new one)

And yes, our stocking are hung (No they aren't our normal ones that are also in storage but 98 cent ones from Walmart happily strung from softball trophies- who knew they make great stocking holders?)
And our fireplace is oh so beautiful- I mean blocked by light fixtures and faucets for the new house- Be jealous people, be jealous, we have some beautiful decorations going on here.:) Don't mind the toilet... I thought the baby was ready to potty train... but  now it's just a toy...

So much goodness.... And yet, here I am, back online.

I know it's not January 1st and I'm failing miserably- but I did make it an entire month away from here... and my friend who was detoxing from snapchat lasted three days, so I'm calling it a success.  Ya see, I missed friendships and in the strangest way people that I feel really close to. Y'all don't know it, but with a traveling hubby, you guys sometimes are my village.  And tonight, I'm holed up in my house with two sick kids and my wild night is going to consist of kid's Redbox rentals and trying to be spirited and a Suzy Homemaker mom by making sugar cookies with the girls- which I'm pretty sure will turn into a disaster... So what better way to cap this crazy night off then catching up on what all I've missed. Come on, there's no hiding it, I'm a nosy son of a gun. :)

Ya see, what I've learned with my absence is that  it's kind of like that night of drinking.  And like that comfort food I sometimes  use as medicine to cheer me up.  I've learned, everything is okay... in moderation.  And I'm sure I'll return to filling your feeds with nonsense.  But if you suddenly see me vanish again- I was just getting myself in check.  You don't need to make up a story in your head about me... and if you do, make me proud and make it a really, really damn good one- Ya know, like I'm off checking into a convent becoming a nun. :)

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Building A (Semi) Custom Home in Loudoun County

Here's the deal.  My husband and I have always kind of played real-life Monopoly.  We buy and sell homes like some do cars.  It started out as moving for jobs- Nine moves in our 14 years of marriage not including stints at my parent's house and friend's guest rooms...  We've done it all- bought our first home- a little cape cod for $127,000 (Oh dear me, how I wish we had that mortgage again!), bought in Wild, Wonderful West Virginia because housing was so crazy expensive in Loudoun, bought two foreclosures, rented to watch the market... and now we're building a house on land.

I've decided to blog about our experience building our home because a) some people have shown interest in the process, b) I'm an open book and don't mind sharing, c) It will be nice to get people's comments/suggestions with design, d) I'm bored as crap in our apartment.

So here goes nothing... a series of blogs following our building process.  This all started when we decided to sell our home that we loved because we saw the opportunity to make a profit and build our forever home, and honestly our house was huge, had high bills, our kids are doing more and more activities, and quite frankly, we felt like we were in the poor house.  After househunting in Winchester, we found a custom home builder that we fell in love with.  I would love to say we're getting a custom home- and in many ways I feel like we are- but nowadays everyone calls their home custom.  And really, this house plan wasn't designed especially for us- our builder just built it for another family last year- but we loved it so much that we decided to use the basic plan to save on architecture fees and tweak it to be perfect for our  family. Also, when I think of a custom home, I think of  something over the top amazing.  While this is  my dream house, I'll be the first to say- It's my dreamhome on a budget.  When I went to meet our kitchen designer, yes I got to design my kitchen from absolute scratch, but at the same time I had to pass on the cabinets that I loved because they were out of my price range.  While I was able to go to different granite shops and hand pick my slab of granite, I'm not able to get the $60/sq foot sea glass backsplash that I pinned on Pinterest and dream of because, well, Mama's on a budget.  But, I will say, every square inch of this house is my vision, my dream, and as I often joke is either going to be a hit or a miss--- and I'm hoping it's a hit- but I just won't know until we move in.

If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment- I know that I was always searching the internet for homebuilders, etc. when we began this- but most don't give you the time of day and very little information is out there.

We found a lot in Round Hill that we LOVED.  Our builder actually bought it for us, we gave a down payment, and he is taking care of the construction loan, etc... and that process has been easy breezy thus far.  What hasn't been as easy is getting the project off the ground.  Our builder is building in Loudoun County for the first time and getting permits has been slow.  We originally hoped to be in our home by October, but it just began framing the last week of November.  We didn't factor in a delay with getting the HOA to approve our home plans, a delay with engineering work to approve a regular drainfield over an alternative system, permitting delays, etc.... But it's finally moving... fingers crossed!

Would we do it again?  That's the big question.  Since we thought we'd be in our new home in 4-5 months, we had the bright idea of moving all of our belongings from a house with almost 7,000 sq. feet of room to a 1300 sq. foot apartment... Brilliant, right?  I mean, save on storage fees, save money for a few months, it's all good... Well seven months later, with three kids in a two bedroom apartment with every nook and cranny crammed with crap and we certainly have moments where we question our decision to move.  We miss our old neighborhood terribly.  We are driving our kids two and from school 25 minutes away and our one year old only gets a nap in her carseat because of the schedule.  Our kids miss their friends.  Just last night, my husband was upset we still have so long to go before we are in our house and he said, "I just feel so bad for the kids."  We got to talking and we really only have them for 18 years and a year has been wasted... no sleepovers, no playdates where they are running through the house, very few friends have been made, etc.... Don't get me wrong, apartment living has taught us many things- We could totally be apartment dwellers or a townhouse family- The ease of it is amazing and where we are living is really nice... It's just that we aren't unpacked, we haven't hung a picture on the wall- there is no room with all of the stuff we have here, and we haven't even attempted to make this home... so it doesn't feel like one.  On the bright side, we do see an end in sight, and when we walk into our new home the view out back takes my breath away... I see my daughter's getting married in our back yard, and I can't believe that this OCD Mommy is counting down the days to when my kids can have friends over for a sleepover and tear my house apart... Through this process, I've learned that a house is a home and one should live in it and enjoy it...

Ask me in two months... and I'll let ya know if we'd still do it all over again... this has certainly been a roller coaster... come along for the ride!