Friday, December 29, 2006
Sunday, December 24, 2006
I know, I know, I haven't written since Thanksgiving, what's up with that??? Well, there are no excuses, I've been pretty busy with work and settling into the new house and it always seems the longer it gets since I've written a blog post, the harder it is to start a new one. It's just a bit overwhelming to think about having to catch up, so I guess I'm not even going to try.
I do want to mention, however, how much I'm really loving living in my new house. It is completely, blissfully quiet here, I hear no noise from other people at all. And it's equally great to be able to stomp around, allow the dogs to tear through, or watch loud movies late at night without worrying about disturbing anyone. This is almost a weird concept for me after so many years of apartment living. Anyway, I'm loving it. I have yet to do much in the way of home improvements, I'm still trying to decide what color to paint my living room to start. The color samples I brought home from the paint store I think are going to end up being darker than I want, so I'm going to go back there next week and pick up some new ones. I did find an unfinished furniture place nearby however, so I think I'm going to be able to buy some bookcases there and have them installed in my living room, in lieu of having them custom built. So, I think I'm going to do that, hopefully the store will be able to recommend someone to install them for me.
My father and his wife came up for a visit a couple of weeks ago. They luckily stayed at a local hotel as I (conveniently) do not have guest room furniture yet. It was a nice enough visit, but geez Lorie (the wife) exhausts me. She likes to constantly ask these probing questions, half the time I feel like I'm on some kind of interview or something. And the most disturbing questions are the ones about my childhood, my family and my mother. I frankly don't think most of this stuff is any of her business, but it's hard to blow her off without being rude. Anyway, my father was kind enough to do some odds & ends around my house for me. Replaced some light fixtures, a towel rack, put up a coat hook, etc. When we went to Lowe's on the Saturday morning he insisted on paying for the odds & ends as my Christmas present. He said he'd rather do that since it was easier for him and he then wouldn't have to shop. I was upset as a bunch of hardware odds & ends isn't a very exciting Christmas gift (not to mention what it says about his lack of interest in putting any thought into a gift for me), but he wasn't going to give in, so I just caved. Merry-freaking-Christmas to me. Oh well, at least I don't have to be in New Jersey this year to watch Lorie's daughter open the shower of gifts bestowed on to her. I've always found that particularly depressing.
While my father was here, I had my cousins over for cocktails to see my house, see my father and to meet Lorie, who they had not yet met. All seemed to like my house and we had a great time. Fitz was also a big hit, he spent most of the time sitting in my cousin's daughter's lap like a little hobbit. He's so funny.
Well, there is not much more to say. I have so very much to be thankful for this year. Just looking back on this year amazes me, my life is so different. I've been very reflective over the past few weeks and will probably be even more so in this coming week.
Sunday, November 19, 2006
So Weird ...
... to think that this time tomorrow I'll be in my new place! There are definitely things that I'm going to miss about this apartment though. First, central air ... uh, hello?! love me some central air. I also love my bedroom here. It is the perfect size and layout. I have room for my bed and dresser, my boudoir-style loveseat and even a low table with a TV, with plenty of room for more stuff, if I was so inclined. It's just a luxury of space that I've never experienced before. I'll miss my lovely walk-in closet. OMG, I don't know how I will live without a walk-in closet now that I've had one. I'll miss the access to the Heritage Trail out back.
But, I'm looking forward to having my own space. No longer having to share walls and floors with people. Having my own little backyard and porch & deck. Taking the dogs out first thing in the morning and late at night will no longer be any kind of a chore. And I look forward to hosting friends for laidback weekends of cocktails and BBQ in my space.
So, I'm looking forward to my move tomorrow, but a part of me will also miss my life here. It's probably the most comfortable apartment I've ever lived in.
Saturday, November 18, 2006
Friday, November 17, 2006
The Drama That Was My Un-Closing
So, after all this waiting around, today was finally the day. I had been completely stressed about everything for about a week or so because the Good Faith Estimate (GFE) kept increasing (by like $2,000, at final count!) and I was worried about where that was going to end. I had my approved HUD statement by Wednesday of this week, where my mortgage broker pointed out that the settlement company had not accounted for any credit of closing funds from the relocation company (hello? We're talking over $8,000 here!) Anyway, my relocation contact and my mortgage broker were able to work that out and so I had the revised HUD that afternoon and it was a relief to see that I had plenty of money for closing with reserves, so all my worrying in that regard was for naught.
We had the walk-through scheduled for this morning before the closing. Everything was fine, except that I noticed that they had taken this second, big water heater that had been in place when we did the home inspection. This was obviously one that they had added because they are a family of seven and need the extra capacity, but still the exclusion of the water heater had never been in any document related to the sale at any time. Additionally, the house had been inspected with this in place and with the assumption that this was part of the water heating system. I just felt that it was kind of crappy to not have a notation about it on the contract. I think if you're buying a house, it is assumed that the water heater as part of the core plumbing. Anyway, I think it was a bit shitty. The bottom line is really not such a big deal, having the smaller unit will actually be cheaper for me (since I won't have to constantly pay to heat all that water), but still, I really feel like it should have been noted from the beginning. I was, however, happy that all of their stuff was completely gone. The house also looked a lot bigger without all their crap, but I really could see how the whole place really needs to be painted and the carpeting replaced, and the thought of it all exhausts me. It's not even the expense of it, I would gladly pay for having all of this done, it's just the thought of moving in and trying to deal with this around all my stuff ... I just want to unpack and be done with it all by now, UGH!
Well, okay. Then we had the closing. Oi Vey. First, when the settlement rep was going over the HUD with the seller, there was dead silence. Turns out that the money stated there that he was to receive was far less than he was expecting (by like over $8,000). And it also turns out that he needed every penny of this money to fund the closing on the house he was buying (the closing of which was meant to happen right after our's). It came to light a little later into our meeting that there was a pre-payment penalty with his mortgage. How can you have a mortgage with this clause and not know about that? Anyway, not my problem.
But the bigger problem turned out to be on my end. The settlement company confirmed that there had been no wire of funds for my loan! In other words, the money was not in place. My lender is in California (I got a really great rate) and apparently my loan was not one of the wire transfers they had sent out the night before (even though they knew we were closing in the morning on the East coast). Add that to a three hour time difference and we had a real problem. We had an approved HUD, we had verbal confirmation from the lender, but we didn't have the actual funds. In the meantime the seller's lender blew in to deal with his problems with the other closing. Yet, instead of setting him up in another conference room, he sets up shop at the end of our table! So, not only am I now privy to private info about how the sellers don't have enough money to close on their house, but he felt that it was his place to throw out sarcastic and snide comments from time to time about my lenders and the situation I'm in. I was stressed out enough and this guy really got on my last nerve. When we were leaving the closing, he took out a pile of his business cards and literally threw them at me with some comment about the next time I needed a lender. What a jerk! I just looked at him without comment and didnot take one of his cards.
Finally, after about two and a half hours of this Hell, there was nothing much more we could do and we left the sellers to the conference room to deal with their problems with their other closing. All the paperwork for mine was signed and I gave the settlement rep my check for my downpayment and share of closing costs, it's just not officially completed until my loan funds are physically in place. I had an email from my mortgage broker late this afternoon that he had confirmation that the funds have been wired, so I guess everything is okay, but tonight has not turned out to the celebration of relief that I had hoped it would be. I'm pretty disappointed. Well, it's not tragic, I have the keys, the house is empty. I'm supposed to move first thing on Monday and had hoped to start moving some stuff over myself this weekend, I guess I can still do that, I feel a little weird about it though. On the other hand, it's not like someone will think I'm going to abscond to South America with the house or something, so I'm not really sure what to do, honestly.
Anyway, so that is my story of woe. Nothing is the end of the World, but it adds just another layer of stress to this process that I had not counted on. Luckily I have all of next week off from work to deal with things, so that should help. I'll probably come up to the house tomorrow and will take a few pictures and post them here at some point.
Wednesday, November 15, 2006
Tuesday, November 14, 2006
The Landing Strip
GAH!!! I swear I'm suddenly living on a runway ... literally! The airport is directly across the river here and all of a sudden all the jets coming and going are passing directly over my building. I mean, they are actually coming in for a landing over my apartment (just a few feet above), WTF???!!! They must have just changed flight patterns, I've never heard air traffic noise like this here in all the months I've been here. TG I am out of here in less than a week (also TG I didn't ever get seriously interested in that nice condo just down the street).
Sunday, November 05, 2006
Tuesday, October 31, 2006
Okay. I know that today is Halloween and everything, but ...
There is a guy here, who is walking around in a Hawaiian shirt, Mardi Gras beads, shorts and flip flops!!! (And I don't even mean Tevas or Merrells or something, but rubber flip flops like you would wear in the shower at the gym or something). And the thing is, no one else around here is wearing any kind of a costume (well, I did pass someone in the hall wearing a Bozo wig, but that was it). Totally bizarre.
Sunday, October 29, 2006
Friday, October 27, 2006
Thursday, October 26, 2006
Monday, October 23, 2006
So, it turns out that I have an infection and am going to need another root canal (on a different tooth). Just shoot me and put me out of my misery. They didn't even give me any good drugs, just antibiotics. Phooey.
This dental place I went to was weird. I've been going to my old dentist in NYC for so long, that going somewhere new is a strange feeling. Anyway, the first thing that made me nervous was the attached a credit application for Capital One with the paperwork I needed to fill out. WTF do I need Capital One credit to get my teeth checked? If someone needs to charge treatment, do they really need to open special credit cards just for the service? Sheesh. Some of these credit card companies have got balls, I'll tell you. And I'm sure the dental company is getting a kick-back for every application they get. I'll bet plenty of people fill these things out too, thinking it's just another part of the required paperwork. Well, they didn't get one from me anyway. Sneaky bastards.
So, after filling out all the paperwork I was finally brought back into the treatment area. This was the really weird part, there were all these dentist chairs in this open air room, separated only by a set of shelving between each. Like a hair salon. I swear I felt like I was at Super Cuts or something. This makes me very nervous, I have to say. Well, to their credit, they were all very nice and seemed very professional. They're referring me to a specialist for the root canal which is good because I really don't know how comfortable I would be having root canal there. I am coming back for a cleaning and a minor re-filling on another tooth though.
So, I woke up yesterday with very bad pain in the area where I had root canal last year. Today it is worse and has migrated up into my ear. I'm trying to concentrate on work and am hoping the handful of advil I just took will kick in soon. I made an emergency dental appt for this afternoon. ARGH! I hope my insurance covers it all, I need to save my immediate cash for the house purchase (by December I will be less stressed about the money thing, but this is pretty bad timing).
Saturday, October 21, 2006
Wow, I just realized that I hadn't written in a while, over a week. Anyway, nothing too much is really new really, so there is not much to catch up on with me.
It's that time of year that I love so much and I seem to be enjoying it even more so here in New Hampshire. Today it feels that Autumn has fully and finally settled in. This week we had some pretty warm weather, but then that was all blown out by wild storms yesterday and last night. Today is rather cool and breezy, but very sunny and beautiful. It's feeling rather like Halloween. I actually turned my heat on last night too, it's definitely getting chillier.
I've gotten in the habit of driving home from work the "long" way, down some of the back roads that twist and turn their way through the town that I am moving to (which is one town south of where I have been living all of these months). Not only does it help me to get to know my way around, but it is a lovely drive and a pleasant way to unwind a little bit from the work day. It's been an especially nice drive as the seasons have changed, watching the daily and weekly change to the trees along my route. Once the days get much shorter I imagine I will be back to taking the shortest route home, but for now this has been a very pleasurable alternative. Certainly a far cry from the stress and annoyance of my old Long Island RR commute (or my former subway commute, which was worse). What a difference a year makes.
Things seem to be coming along with the house purchase. I believe all that needs to be in place before closing has been done at this stage. Home inspection, appraisal, title search, second earnest money deposit ... the final thing I did yesterday was arrange for home owner's insurance, so now even that will be in place. I guess it's now just down to waiting these last few weeks for the closing date (scheduled for November 17th). I had a local moving company come by to evaluate my stuff to give me an estimate for moving. They're projecting about $485, so I went ahead and booked them for Monday, November 20th, that's exciting, it kind of makes it "real". Of course, now I need to start to do some packing (I've been procrastinating about that, for sure).
Oh, in my search for the information I needed to establish insurance, I ended up speaking yesterday to the president of the home owner's association. Very nice guy and it was a pleasure to talk to someone who actually lives there. Anyway, he told me that this is actually not a condo at all (here I was all this time thinking I was moving to a condo) but they are what is called, "clustered housing", which is a new term for me. Whatever. Anyway, he said that the HOA offers various discounted landscaping services which sounds great to me! At least now I know I won't have to run out and buy a stupid lawn mower.
Work seems to be going well these days. I just had a meeting yesterday with our customer sponsor who announced that the business has officially decided to adopt our reporting method as their standard. So we are officially out of the experimentation mode and into true development and support mode. This means that there will much more and varied opportunities there for myself and for my team, so it's all pretty good news. I guess I've managed to do something right over these past many months. Because there have been some failures and some successes, it's been a bit of a rollercoaster, so this news is very welcome. After this meeting, I told my manager about this announcement and he seemed very ecstatic (those were his actual words, "I'm ecstatic", LoL). I know he has been working very hard and has invested a huge effort into getting these services in place, and in getting the team entrenched as a force there, so I'm glad that this has worked out so far for him.
Anyway, so things are generally pretty good these days. I'm content here. I go through emotional ups & downs at work where I worry about whether I'm doing a good job, but I have to just try to move forward with the assumption that I am, and use this energy less on worry and more on work and focus. I'm looking forward to my move to the new place (I just wish all the logistical details were over and I was moved in already), but I am also lamenting about a few things that I will be missing here too, so it's a little bitter sweet. Still, it will be nice to finally be settled in somewhere, almost a year after the start of this process.
I have no plans for the upcoming holidays, but that's actually okay. I'm kind of looking forward to my first holiday season here. Settling in, making my house a home. Maybe I'll enjoy my fireplace some and get a second dog. In any case, I think I can perhaps finally relax a little bit.
Tuesday, October 10, 2006
Take That! NYC Subway Pervs!
NYC women fight back against the plethora of pervs that ride the city's subways. I love it!
Monday, October 09, 2006
Under the Category of, "People Are Weird":
Okay, there is right this second a woman standing in the middle of the Ladies Room (here at New Company) with her filofax open in front of her, making phone call after phone call on her cell phone like she is in her own personal office or something -- toilets flushing in the background and everything (sheesh!) In the meantime, I just walked past at least 5 or so empty conference rooms, team rooms and visiting offices in the immediate vicinity. The Ladies Room strikes me as a pretty strange place to settle in to make a bunch of phone calls, especially when there are plenty of other options around here.
Friday, October 06, 2006
It's just gorgeous here now. We're pretty much right at peak foliage now, I think. The weather is cool, but not cold. Good sleeping weather. It's comfortable to come to work in a sweater or a light jacket. This is my weather, I just love it. Probably the best time of year here (and in NYC too, for that matter).
On Thursdays my work and updates for the week move over to production. Sometimes I end up working furiously until the end of the day to have everything ready, but yesterday I had all of my stuff ready by mid-afternoon. I had about a half an hour to kill before a scheduled meeting, so I decided to take a little walk around part of the New Company campus. I followed a drive down a piece of road I had not been down before and then followed it down a wooded path for a ways. At one point I even wondered where I was. That's how big the campus is, I can walk and actually end up being lost, while still being on company property. Amazing. Anyway, my path finally looped back to a drive I know. It ended up being a nice little walk, I should do this more often, it really is a nice perk at New Company and this is the perfect time of year to walk during the day. In the Summer it's too hot, so you don't want to be out sweating in your work clothes.
I wish I was settled in my new place by now, this would be the perfect weather to be enjoying from my screened porch and deck.
Oh yeah, I ended up deciding to stick with the original house, even with the issues the sellers are not willing to fix. I figure it's the yard, deck, screened porch, kitchen combination that made me want the place the most in the first place. The other condo was fantastic, but I was never going to be able to add a porch or a yard to it, and making the kitchen or the porch larger would also not be possible. Whatever may be wrong with the first place can be fixed or updated eventually though. Plus, I just want this whole process to be done now. I've been living out of boxes for almost a year now and I'm just weary of it all. I need to be settled and in my own place, finally.
Wednesday, October 04, 2006
My Realtor Has Absolutely NO Idea What I want
She really doesn't. She just called to tell me about this house that she thought I may be interested in. This is the first property she's actually come up with on her own, pretty much everything else we've seen I've found online myself and told her about (with the exception of her then finding a couple of others in the neighborhoods of the places I've requested, just to fill in the time).
That listing is the epitome of what I don't want in a house. It gives me the suburban heebbie-jeebbies just looking at it. Plus it's too much money.
Tuesday, October 03, 2006
I finally had a response from the sellers to my request for some credit and repairs on the house (based upon the findings of the home inspection). Basically, the only thing they are willing to do is replace a toilet seat that is broken. Most, if not all, of the windows in the house have some kind of permanent damage (fogging) so the panes will have to be replaced. I requested that these be repaired or, if they prefer, they could leave their washing machine & dryer in lieu of the repairs. There is a piece of sheetrock missing from the garage that my home inspector said is a big safety issue. With it missing, it leaves the house vulnerable to fire (a fire in the garage could now easily & immediately spread into the rafters of the house). This is a small cut-out and shouldn't be too hard to replace. The fence around the property is rotting and falling down. It is stated in the condo bylaws that any structure like this that is unsound and/or unsightly is subject to removal or replacement by the HOA, at the owner's expense. Lastly, the roof is 20 years old and the home inspector seemed to think it would need to be fixed soon. Depending on who I've spoken to, it seems I can expect this to cost anywhere from 5K - 10K+.
The realtor's response on the behalf of the owners was:
* There is nothing wrong with that roof.
* There is nothing wrong with that fence.
* They were never led to believe from their inspection on the house 7 months ago (oh yeah, have I mentioned that they've only lived there 7 months?) that there was any safety issue with the missing sheetrock -- and this is my problem, because?
* They are keeping their washer & dryer because they are new.
* The sellers have put 10K into the house since they moved there.
* They need the entire selling price out of it.
(they said nothing at all about the damaged windows)
When my realtor asked what they spent the 10K on, the response was, oh new counter tops and flooring, new carpeting and some other stuff. Well, that granite counter top in the kitchen is beautiful, I'll give them that. But who in their right mind would install an expensive slab granite counter on top of
formica cabinets??? To me that's insane. It will now be extremely tricky and difficult, if not impossible, to upgrade those lower cabinets without damaging or destroying the nice counter. Or you can maybe do some bastardization project of replacing the doors and doing some kind of laminate on the rest, but it's F*ed up as far as I'm concerned. The flooring in the kitchen is nice, but it's pergo, not hardwood. And the carpets already look worn and soiled (with 5 kids and a dog, that's no surprise).
I guess I'm maybe being petty about my requests, but this house was not listed as a fixer-upper, I'm paying their full asking price and there are some things that are damaged or in need of pretty much immediate repair. I didn't really feel like my requests were that out of line, but I feel that the seller's refusal to even negotiate for any compromise is a gesture of bad faith. It's leaving a bad taste in my mouth.
In the meantime, because I was pissed, I asked my realtor to bring me to see this condo for which I had seen a online listing:
I really liked the condo and it's also a lot cheaper (and it is a little bit bigger). However, it doesn't have a garage, a screened porch, or a yard. The kitchen is considerably smaller, as is the deck. But still, it was in perfect condition and in a very nice condo complex with lots of walking trails, etc.
So, I think I am now even more confused, but I have to make a decision soon about what I'm going to do. Like in the next 24 hours.
On a good note, I ended up talking to a local moving company and it looks like the move isn't going to cost me nearly as much as I had feared (my expectations of prices for everything around here are so skewed by my experience with NYC costs). So that is a huge relief.
Monday, October 02, 2006
I just can't seem to stop ...
... buying socks. Seriously. I was just putting away a bunch of clutter in my apartment and I must have come across at least 10 pairs of socks that haven't even been opened yet. This is added to the 5 or so other new pair that have recently been opened and worn. This has got to be some kind of sickness or something. Damn you Target!!!
Got the appraisal back today, so that's all set (no surprises there, not that I was expecting any, but you never know).
My mortgage broker expects the title report any minute.
Locked in my mortgage rate on Friday (for 60 days).
I finally spoke to the relocation company, which was a complete relief. I was getting nervous about those closing costs being covered. Although I found out that my move is not going to be covered, so that was a rude awakening. But still, the closing cost is the biggie.
I am waiting for the seller to respond to my request for credits and concessions, that went to them last Thursday and I haven't heard anything yet.
There were also some pictures of the house in the appraisal which is fantastic because my camera batteries went dead on the day I was going to take my own pictures, so I never ended up actually getting any. I can't figure out how to strip them out of the pdf file, otherwise I would post some here. Oh well, at least I can look at them and try to plan where things should go and what color I maybe want the walls to be. Or whatever.
Sunday, October 01, 2006
There is just something I love about a rainy Sunday in the Fall. Being able to sit in my living room with the sliding door open to the deck so that I can listen to the rain pouring down outside, cozy & comfortable in the knowledge that there is no where I have to go, no place I have to be. I know, I'm a freak, most people are upset when it rains on the weekend. I wouldn't want to have this weather for every weekend, but once in a while it is a pure, decadent pleasure.
Wednesday, September 27, 2006
Tuesday, September 26, 2006
That Tired Pug
It is one of those wonderfully gorgeous early Fall days. Mid-70s during the day, but the late afternoon brought this Autumn crispness that is completely unique to this time of year. I took that pug for a good, hour-long walk on the trail this evening, we really enjoyed having it completely to ourselves and I could also appreciate all the wildflowers and tall wild grass that you really only find in the country. As enjoyable as the walk was, I think it wore Lola out, she has already retired to the bedroom and is now snoozing away in the middle of my bed.
Monday, September 25, 2006
There's a New Bitch in Town
I moved to a new cube today on the other floor in this newly built and configured office space. I actually like the cube and the way the space is all laid out, however, I seem to have the misfortune to have been placed right in just about the highest traffic area, right in the middle, outside of the pantry and at the convergence of a number main thoroughfare aisles. As a result, today there were multiple loud impromptu meetings that seemed to happen with the attendees all pretty much standing right over my desk. It was horrible.
Meeting number one: more and more people kept joining in the fray, with multiple loud exclamations to colleagues across the floor. When about 20 minutes of dirty looks didn't seem to clue this group in to the fact that they were being incredibly loud and inconsiderate, I finally had to speak up and let them know that they were being too loud and that I couldn't concentrate on my work (I mean, my headphones didn't even block them out).
Meeting number two: was smaller but even more incredibly rude as the two participants literally leaned against my cube walls, facing each other and talking to each other across my cube while using my wall as a kind of bar on which to rest their coffee. I had to point out the obvious and say, "um, this is my WORK SPACE, do you mind???"
There were other examples of interruptions and loud inconsideration, but these are the two I chose to respond to.
I am hoping that today was just an exception since every one was just moving in and getting settled into the space. Possibly today was just some kind of fluke and the normal day-to-day won't be so bad, but I may have to try and move my space if this continues. I just can't stand noise!
Anyway, I'm sure I've made a wonderful impression now as the biggest bitch on the floor with my multiple hissy fits today. What a way to make a first impression in a new work space.
Saturday, September 23, 2006
Next Step Done
Today I had the inspection for the house I am buying. Not only was it great to get this next step done, but it also gave me a wonderful opportunity to comb through the house in infinite detail. I'm happy to say that after this process I like the place just as much as I did on the day I made my offer. Luckily, the house inspector didn't find anything majorly wrong with it either, so that's a relief.
On a related note, my mortgage broker got in touch with me last night to let me know that I now have the official mortgage loan approval, and for a rate even lower than I had been pre-approved for! So that is a very nice plus. It took only about a day or two to get the loan -- I can't believe how fast that was. Everything is moving extremely fast, frankly.
Thursday, September 21, 2006
Wild Turkey. No, not the booze
I took Lola for a walk on the trail behind my apartment building this evening and, upon rounding a turn, we can across a whole gaggle of wild turkeys hanging out in the middle in of the path. It was so freaking bizarre. They were a bit ahead of us and high-tailed it into the tall grass pretty quickly once they saw us, so Lola (being the clueless non-bird dog that she is) didn't even notice them, she was too intent on what was immediately under her nose. Wild turkeys. In my backyard! You sure never encounter anything like that in Queens!
Wednesday, September 20, 2006
I just love how I can walk outside here at night and look up and see a sky full of stars. When I take Lola out for the last time each night, I always spend the entire time I'm out there with my head craned back staring at the sky. It reminds me of the sky at my childhood Summer home. It's the little things in life, it truly is.
Tuesday, September 19, 2006
Things sure do move fast when you're not buying a co-op. I already have a signed contract! When I bought my co-op (and, again, when I sold it) I didn't have the signed contract for months. Now I am desperately looking for all the necessary paperwork for the mortgage. I think I have everything except my 2004 W-2, that is packed away and buried in some box somewhere, I'm sure. Not quite sure what I'm going to do about that. Ironically, I actually did find a W-2 from 2001 ... SHEESH!
Monday, September 18, 2006
Sunday, September 17, 2006
Waiting on a House
An update on my house search: I was very disappointed on Thursday night to find that the house I wanted seems to already be gone. My realtor contacted the realtor for the property to find out the story. Turns out the sellers have a signed offer with another party, but it is a contingent offer, the buyer has to have a signed agreement on their own house, or somehow have the means to buy this house regardless, in order to hold the sellers to the agreement. The sellers on the other hand have found a house that they want, but can not move forward until they have a firm contract on their house. Got that?
So, because I'm very interested in the house and because I haven't seen anything that suits me quite as perfectly in my price range, I decided on Friday to go ahead and submit my offer, along with $2,500 "earnest money".
Now, the way it's been explained to me, if the sellers are interested in my offer (and why wouldn't they be? It's for full-price, I'm pre-approved and I don't have to make my offer contingent on selling property), that they have to give the original people 72 hours to get a signed agreement on their house (or otherwise prove they can buy this one, regardless of whether they sell their current one). If this doesn't happen, first buyers have to release the agreement and allow the sellers to pursue the more viable offer.
So, I'm currently in the waiting stage. I don't really know what's going to happen, I don't even know when the seller's agent submitted the bid to these people and if they had any response to that. My realtor doesn't seem to think I can expect to hear anything much before Monday night at the earliest. It's extremely nerve-racking. If this falls through, then I guess it's back to the drawing board for me.
Friday, September 15, 2006
Thursday, September 14, 2006
Tonight I finally saw a house that I can picture myself living in. I came home and looked it up again on the real estate site to just crunch some numbers and review the pictures, with plans to make an offer tomorrow. Well, somehow in the time between my seeing it around 5 PM and my arriving home at around 6:45, there is a sale pending. WTF???!!!
This is So. Freaking. Frustrating.
Saturday, September 09, 2006
I (literally) Have No Words
Today in the mail I received the long-awaited invitation to my Father's 75th Birthday Bash. I had wondered if I would be invited at all (especially after talking to my father last week where there was no mention of any party) and I also commented at one point to my sister or a friend, I can't remember which, that I didn't even know when the party was happening. Since his birthday is on a Wednesday, it could easily be the weekend before or the weekend after. I then joked that for all I know she was having it on the Wednesday. The response from sister or friend was, "oh, I'm sure she wouldn't do that!" The subtext, of course, is that no one would be that stupid or clueless.
Well, guess what? The party is scheduled on the Wednesday! Along with the invitation, which (by the way) is the kind of invitation you would send out for your kid's 7 year old birthday party or something (I mean, complete with a cartoon elephant and monkey in primary colors declaring, "It's a Party!"), there is a note from Lori (wifey) gushing about how she hopes I'll come. Well, how in the Hell does she expect me to be able to come on a FREAKING Wednesday???!!! Is she crazy? I mean, she does realize that I live, at minimum, a five-hours drive away?!
It's also not as if someone is offering to buy me a first class plane ticket to fly in for the party either. That honor is reserved for her own daughters. I'm sure they are all already scheduled to be staying in the spare bedrooms at my father's house too. So even if I somehow was able to come, I most likely wouldn't have a place to stay anyway (unless I didn't mind the couch or something).
If I didn't know better, I would think this was some mad scheme to alienate my father from his own family. But she just seems too ditzy to be that machiavellian. Or perhaps I'm being naive. But anyway, SHEESH!
I went to a couple of open houses in North Manchester today.
I saw this house:
and this one:
I particularly liked the little yellow ranch house. The pictures don't do it justice, but it showed very nicely. Very open, reasonable space, decent closet space, little yard, but perfectly landscaped (the yard also borders the grounds of a VA hospital, so it is very private). And that "3-season room" is a really nice bonus. Anyway, I don't know if I really want to be in Manchester, particularly that far North (although, I'm told that this is one of the most desirable neighborhoods in that town). I really like the area where I am and this would be a farther commute and it's more suburban than I ideally want, but it is a nice and very quiet neighborhood. Anyway, so I don't know. I'm sure neither of these will stay on the market long, but geez, I wish I had looked at more places recently, so I would have something to compare it to.
Friday, September 08, 2006
My realtor is completely booked for the entire weekend. Well, in the meantime I'm going to put together a list for her of places I want to see (from my online searching). And I'll maybe try and do some drive bys, maybe I can rule out, or rule in, a few places. Maybe I'll even get lucky and come across an open house or two while I'm at it.
On an unrelated note, is it bad that I just did 20 minutes on the treadmill in my bare feet after drinking a pint of beer? I didn't think so ...
Thursday, September 07, 2006
I'm so good at this investing stuff! ... Well, maybe not so much
I've made it a habit, here at New Company, to regularly log into the Benefits Page on the company intranet to see how my investment accounts are doing, since they make it so easy here to do so. My rollover IRA from Old Company is with a free advisory service here at New Company and it's interesting to watch how they invest this money. With my regular New Company 401K account however, I've chosen the funds for my investment myself (basically through the "throw a dart" method). Since I am generally an idiot about such things, I like to keep an eye on it -- not that I would really know what to do if I saw something alarming, but still. Anyway, this morning I logged in and got really excited to see that this account has grown by about $2,000 over night! WOW! I thought, 'I must be doing something right here!' It took me a few minutes to remember that payday is tomorrow and this increase just represents the contribution from this next paycheck. Duh, maybe I'm just an idiot.
Sunday, September 03, 2006
The Nail Biting Mortgage Game
I bit the bullet and spoke to a mortgage broker this weekend. After going over my records and financials, etc. he doesn't think I'll have trouble qualifying for a decent mortgage. I won't know the particulars though until probably Wednesday, so I'll be biting my nails a bit until then. Fingers crossed, if all goes okay, I may be able to start a serious home search by late next week! I am terrified and excited, so expect me to be freaking out for awhile. Just giving some advance warning here.
Thursday, August 31, 2006
Wednesday, August 30, 2006
The Latest with My Father's Wife
Okay, so, this is the latest:
I had an email from my sister the other day to tell me how when she had called for my father the other night, Lori had answered the phone. Lori then proceeded to tell her about the 75th birthday party she's planning for my father near the end of September. She then tells Jen (my sister) that they all (Jen, her husband, and the kids) are invited to the party, but that Jen has to be there. Uh, my sister lives in freaking Oregon! (My father & Lori live in New Jersey). Lori then proceeds to brag about how she is flying her own daughter in from Kansas for the party.
Now, Lori knows:
A) That my sister, etc. were all out East in Vermont for a family vacation just three weeks ago (she and my father even visited them there).
B) That my sister works. That her husband works. That the kids are back in school (and have about a bazillion activities and commitments).
C) That their trip to Vermont in August was basically their travel budget for the entire year (they had also paid their share on the lake house the my brother-in-law's family rents there every year up there).
D) That my sister's mother-in-law in Vermont is right now in hospice care and is not expected to live much more than another couple of months (so they are all going to have to pay for another trip back East sometime in the near future).
One might also ask, why didn't Lori mention something about this shindig when they were all together three weeks ago? Or mentioned even earlier, maybe money could have been saved, plans could have been made. Or (even better) a party could have been planned for the time that they were all already going to be here. My sister is pissed. I wonder if it isn't some conspiracy to illustrate to my father what horrible children he has ("look, my daughter TANYA managed to come all the way from Kansas!" -- I should also mention that she just flew her daughter out to NJ for a visit two weeks ago! And why shouldn't she? It's not like she contributes any of her money towards food or electricity or running the house or (heaven forbid) the 200K of improvements and renovations they want to do to the stupid house, no that all has to come out of my father's income and also by cashing in our inheritance).
Oh, and before you ask, I have not yet been invited to this party at all. If my sister hadn't emailed me the other day, I still wouldn't know about it. Maybe I'm not meant to be invited at all (I don't know which day the party is on, but at least one of the dates around that time I have to be in Boston for work anyway).
But I'm not bitter ...
Tuesday, August 29, 2006
Treadmills are Good
Well, so far I'm loving having a treadmill in my home. Take tonight for instance, I was tired and hungry when I got home, so by the time I felt really ready to do some exercise, it was almost 8 PM. Too late to go out for a walk or a run, and no way am I talking myself into going to a gym by then either. No problem, got on the treadmill and did 40 minutes of fast walking at varying inclines, interspersed with one minute intervals of running (hey, I've got to start somewhere!) while watching last week's Rescue Me episode that I had recorded on the DVR. I feel good now, did something positive, got some endorphins flowing and didn't have to add any extra travel time to my day. And Lola got to watch, and we all know how entertained she is by that!
Sunday, August 27, 2006
I Love Autumn
I don't know if this weather we've having here in New England is a fluke, but you can really feel Fall coming, especially at night and in the morning. There is this cool, crisp, seasonal change thing going on. Autumn is pretty much my favorite time of year anyway, and I just love it when the Summer starts winding down and you can feel it coming. Those cool mornings & evenings when it is best to wear a light sweater or jacket, with days that are still warm enough to feel like Summer. It seems a bit more marked here in New Hampshire (Summer somehow likes to hold onto NYC in a death grip most years), so I am enjoying it even more than I ever have in previous years. I love New England.
Thursday, August 24, 2006
That Wacky Pug
So, my dog totally freaks out when I use the treadmill. First she stood beside it and just stared at my feet. You could just see her eyes clocking back & forth and back & forth. Then she suddenly made this growl/bark, spun around, tucked her rear-end under her and started racing in circles around the apartment, low to the ground, hell for leather, what I call, "The Pug-tona". Totally cracked me up.
Wednesday, August 23, 2006
Finally, My Treadmill
So, I ordered this treadmill, like, way over a month ago. When I spoke to the delivery company to arrange the delivery, I was informed, "Oh you don't have to be home, they just drop it off outside." WTF??? I responded, "Uh, it weighs, like, 300 LBS." (And I live in an apartment on the 3rd floor, just where do they think they're going to "drop" it?) Basically, it turns out that this was not their problem (after getting back in touch with the treadmill company, it turns out it was not their problem either). So, I make sure I'm home when it comes and convince the delivery guy (well, I convince him with a $20 bill) to bring it up to my apartment for me. Anyway, so I finally have the thing, I put it together (no easy task by myself either) and turn it on and nothing happens! ARGH!!! So after a call to customer service and (once they determine that, no, I am not quite going to be able to tip this machine on end and remove the hood over the engine -- sheesh!) they decide that they will arrange to send out a service technician. So, this of course now takes another couple of weeks. Anyway, the guy finally came today. Turns out the problem was a detached wire or something in the motor. Whatever. Anyway, it now WORKS! I now have a treadmill ... IN. MY. HOME. This has always been a huge wish of mine. As Julia would say, HAPPY, HAPPY!
Tuesday, August 22, 2006
Sometimes I'm Such a Freak
So, I've been worrying and worrying that I'm not doing a good job here at New Company. I mean, to the point of actual depression and loss of sleep, etc. Well, today I received my manager's review that is meant to go with the small raise I got last month and I was shocked to find that it was almost all completely positive. Ironically, the only thing about it that could be taken as a negative is that I need to have more confidence (now, where I have I heard that before?) I just really, really need to learn how to relax.
Saturday, August 19, 2006
I Love My Car
Have I ever mentioned how much I'm loving having a car? People who haven't lived in NYC maybe can't fully appreciate what a thrill it is for me to be fully mobile as I am now. Today it was a simple trip down to just over the Massachusetts border (about 20 mins away) to Trader Joe's (which was another first for me). But being able to hop in my car and go someplace on a whim like this is still a novelty and thus a complete thrill. You would think I would be the completely jaded NYCer at this stage, but I am goofy with joy over stupid, silly stuff that most people completely take for granted.
Oh and I love my car even more now that it is completely paid for (nothing drives better than a car for which there is no lien).
Friday, August 18, 2006
Tuesday, August 15, 2006
(isn't she cute?)
Annabelle is a sweet, Jack Russell Terrier who lives in my building who somehow got out of her apartment and was found wandering the grounds on Sunday. One of the office ladies found her and thought she belonged to the apartment here on the second floor (wasn't positive), but nodody happened to be home, so I offered to take her for the afternoon. She ended up being such a nice little dog who got along very nicely with Lola (which was a relief because sometimes JRTs don't like other dogs, especially same-sex dogs) and ended up curling up on my legs on the couch and sleeping there (I think Lola was a little jealous). She stayed with us for a few hours and I was almost disappointed when her owner showed up at my door to pick her up. So sad. We enjoyed having her so much more than Lucy (my father's dog), who doesn't have the greatest disposition (and is also loud and very spoiled).
Sunday, August 13, 2006
ARGH!!! my father is unbelievable!
Now that I've paid my debts and am making some more money, and since I don't plan to have children of my own, I want to try and help out my niece & nephew where I can. I decided that I wanted to buy a computer for the kids (currently, there is only one computer in the house that everyone has to share) and I told my niece that I would start a savings account for her and that I will match anything she saves on her end towards college (I'll of course add more as I can too). She has apparently been saving babysitting and other money for college and already has $500 (she's twelve).
So, anyway, I know that my sister has been disappointed that my father hasn't stepped up and offered any financial help (or plans to help) for the kids, especially as these are his only grandchildren. So I mentioned the computer thing to him when he was here, mostly to see his reaction. I was then talking to him tonight about the savings plan for my niece. This is how the conversation went:
me: "So, I told S that I would start a savings account for her and will match whatever she puts into her own savings account."
him: "I thought you were going to buy them a computer?"
me: "I want to do that too."
him: "You know Lori" [his wife] "has this old Compac Presario. I was telling her that we should add her to The List."
me: "WHAT?! You can buy her a computer if she needs one. Lori is NOT my responsibility!"
Friday, August 04, 2006
Thursday, August 03, 2006
Wednesday, August 02, 2006
No Debt Giddiness
So, I mailed the pay-off for my car via Express Mail on Monday. By noon the next day the package had been signed for and by 5 PM my car loan account showed an online balance of 0. (Man, that was fast!) I was so giddy about it that I probably logged onto my account about 5 times or more last night just to look at that big fat ZERO. By this morning, the entry was already completely gone, like I had never even had a car loan in the first place.
Sometimes I'm so easily amused.
Monday, July 31, 2006
Coyotes and Frogs and Stupid People
The other morning as I was walking from the parking lot at work towards the building entrance, I saw what looked like a wolf standing stock still under a tree beside one of the foot paths. I stopped and stared, completely amazed that no one noticed him. Knowing that it really couldn't be a wolf, I figured it
had to then be a coyote (no way was it a dog). But why was it just standing there? And how could I be the only one that even noticed it, or thought it was strange? It bothered me for most of the day and when I left the building late in the afternoon, guess what? It was still there, standing in exactly the same spot. Turns out it was a statue! DUH! Well, at least it wasn't a hallucination.
Where I live there is this strip of wetlands right in front of my apartment building. There is a whole ecosystem there filled with all kinds of plant life and interesting birds and dragon flies and frogs. At night I can hear the frogs sing, and it's interesting because the tone of the frog voices tend to change with the month. Anyway, after it rains, at night, sometimes the frogs migrate a little bit out of their environment onto the black top of the driveway/parking lot. So when I take Lola out at night I go searching for stragglers and try to herd them back into the grass -- I'm so afraid they'll get squished out on the pavement. They're so funny, you touch one and they'll really make this huge leap, the first time I did it, it was so startling. Lola was really stunned. You should have seen her face the first time she put her nose on one to check it out and it leaped out from under her so suddenly -- it cracked me up. I love the frogs (and what a far cry from listening to all the punk kids and their hideous loud thumping music in Queens).
I was in a parking lot over the weekend and this stoopid woman goes to get out of her car (next to mine), she swings her door open smashing it into my passenger side! I roll down my window and express my dismay and she responds to say that it didn't do anything to my car. I said, "well, you don't mind if I take a look, do you? it's a brand new car." (SHEESH!) She then goes on to bluster about how the wind caught her door -- hello, there WAS no wind! She was just stupid and careless. Luckily there was no damage, but I was completely pissed. Stupid stupid stupid.
Officially and Completely Debt FREE!
I just wanted to announce that as of this morning, I am totally debt free! I've paid off all of my debt over the past seven months or so and this morning mailed the big pay-off check for my car. I am still a renter here, but at least I can proudly say that I don't have a cent of debt to my name. It's sort of a weird feeling.
Thursday, July 27, 2006
Note to Self ...
When having a restless, sleepless night, it is best not to get up and take a TylenolPM at 1:30 in the morning.
I dragged myself out of the bed this morning, turned on the Today show and spent about 5 minutes freaking out over why the time displayed on the show stated it was "2:24". It took a long time to register that no, it actually said "7:24". doh.
Wednesday, July 26, 2006
For some reason I find myself really depressed today. I feel a little vulnerable at work, like maybe I'm not doing a good job. I am struggling with the working relationship I have with the PM, he is not the best communicator with me, but likes to schedule private meetings with the users that I've been working with for months, essentially cutting me out of the loop. He will then come and make a project request to me for whatever he has promised the client. Additionally, I am not confident that I am getting credit for any of this work I've done specifically at his request. Maybe it doesn't matter, but it is worrying me.
Today Tech Manager told me that they are relocating me to make room for a new support person who is coming in. I am to be moved from the cube I've been sitting in since January to this shared office around the corner. A shared office sounds good, but I walked by these offices this afternoon and realized that these are offices are designed for one person, two people sharing make it pretty cramped, so I'm kind of upset about losing my own space.
I don't know, I always struggle with confidence issues and maybe I'm just having a bad week, but I'm feeling a little low today.
Today Tech Manager told me that they are relocating me to make room for a new support person who is coming in. I am to be moved from the cube I've been sitting in since January to this shared office around the corner. A shared office sounds good, but I walked by these offices this afternoon and realized that these are offices are designed for one person, two people sharing make it pretty cramped, so I'm kind of upset about losing my own space.
I don't know, I always struggle with confidence issues and maybe I'm just having a bad week, but I'm feeling a little low today.
Friday, July 21, 2006
Speaking of "Lobstah"
I was in the pet supply store the other day and found this stuffed lobster doggie toy -- you know that I had to buy it! I've been cracking up all week watching Lola play with the thing, dragging it around by a "claw", shaking it, growling at it. "Kill the Lobstah! Kill it!" heh. I'm so easily amused.
Monday, July 17, 2006
So I walk down to the cafeteria as I usually do and notice that they have a shrimp & crab salad sandwich as a deli special today. Hmmm, sounds good, think I'll take a break from my usual turkey. My turn comes:
Me: "I think I'll have the sandwich special".
Sandwich Lady: *blank look, long pause, vague look around* "we're out".
Me: "it's only 12:15!"
Me: *sigh* "I'll have turkey on whole wheat".
12:15 and they're already out? What do I have to do, come down there at 11:30 for my lunch?
Oh well, if this is the biggest hardship or annoyance of my day, then I guess I'm doing pretty well. Of course, the day isn't over yet.
Friday, July 14, 2006
When did our lives become so dull?
I was talking to a friend of mine on the phone the other day. Here is a guy that used to have a pretty exciting life, he traveled a lot, went out a lot – he and I used to do brunch all the time when I still lived in Manhattan. Or margaritas at Rancho (especially if it was a 2-for-1 special). Or martinis at Vermouth. I even once snuck him into Old Company’s fancy schmancy Christmas party at the Plaza. Anyway, we both had active and relatively interesting social lives (too bad I wasn't keeping a blog in those days, might have been halfway interesting). So yesterday we’re talking and neither one of us really had anything much to say. He was droning on & on about some problem he was having with his clothes dryer (his DRYER!) when I finally lost it and interrupted him with hysterical laughter.
Is this how dull our lives have become that the only topic of conversation we can come up with (after a month or two of no contact) is about his stupid dryer? Even sadder is the fact that I had nothing better to offer.
Tuesday, July 11, 2006
Life is fragile.
And the last two days have reminded me of that.
First, yesterday, a building on the Upper East Side of Manhattan (pretty much the wealthiest neighborhood in NYC) exploded and completely collapsed. At first officials thought the blast was caused by a gas leak (which is bad enough), but as the story has developed, there are suspicions that it may have been an intentional suicide attempt – WTF!
This is one of the things that has always bothered me about living in apartments, your safety is completely dependent on your not having the bad luck to live near some crazy or criminally negligent person. My personal worry has always been the random black-out drunk who falls asleep with a lit cigarette, but this incident opens up a whole new world of fears. Great.
Second, today, a multi-ton concrete “tile” fell from the ceiling of one of the major tunnels that snake under Boston and killed a woman sitting in her car on her way to the airport for a vacation. So here is this woman sitting in her car with her husband, on their way to the airport, probably all excited about their coming trip to Vegas and out of nowhere, WHAM! It’s all over.
You would think after 9/11 I wouldn’t need reminders such as these to shake me up, but apparently I do.
Sunday, July 09, 2006
Damn, it's hot out there today, but pretty much in that "good" Summer way -- very sunny, quite warm, blue skies, but not that blinding-white-sky-so-humid-that-even-a-15-minute-jaunt-outside-makes-one-utterly-miserable-type of Summer day. I don't seem to be minding the Summer nearly as much up here in New Hampshire as I did in NYC (although, I'm sure there are a lot of factors contributing to that).
Friday was an interesting day at work. I had a couple of emails before I had even left my apartment in the morning, one to let me know that the PM on my project was out sick and the other a forwarded email from the business liaison about a reporting program that was screwed up (for an area of the Desk that is not usually my responsibility) and could I maybe help? (Since PM was out sick).
It turns out that the PM has a reporting program that he wrote that runs on with a regularly scheduled job and pushes an Excel file out for various VPs in the trading area to review. So, after this has gone out, it turns out that much of the info was wrong and it becomes an urgent issue to get it fixed right away. Conveniently, the author of the program is out sick, so they come to me.
After doing a little looking around, I find that this is a reporting program for which I had, at the request of PM, developed a special technique for pulling multiple rows of data together for display (something that wasn't straight-forward and took me half a day or more to do). Anyway, so I'm a little familiar with part of the program, which helps. I was able to pull apart the program and (after breathing a sigh of relief that the incorrect data was not caused by anything I had written) I was able to fix the problems. I then worked with the various parties to get the updated files in place for the next scheduled run that afternoon.
I'm glad that I was able to jump right in and help. That I was able to fix the problems relatively easily and that the clients were all appreciative of my efforts. All these things I hope will assist in their viewing me as a valued contributor. The business liaison sent out a very nice note to my manager late in the afternoon (cc:ing the tech manager on the customer side and me, of course) complimenting me on the work I did and the very quick turnaround, especially with having no notice, etc.
It is really little bits of feedback like this that make all the angst and frustrations and uncertainties of my work worthwhile.
There was one small thing that disturbed me, however. Speaking with the business guy, I found that the way the data was displayed, for which I had developed my technique for PM, had been a special request from the business. I quickly realized after discussing everything that no one has any idea that I was the one who worked this out for them. I didn't speak up then to inform them of this, but it bothers me a bit. I wonder what other future work of mine the PM plans to take credit for. Or perhaps I'm being paranoid (wouldn't be the first time).
Friday, July 07, 2006
Things I Love about New Company
(well, one of the things anyway) Free lunch! I try not to take advantage every day (although most people do), but Friday is "sandwich" day and there always seems to be plenty extra. I should put the money I save on lunch into a pedicure fund or something.
On Fridays this group also always has free bagels & donuts in the morning too, but I avoid all that like the plague.
What is it with women who like to wear tons of perfume??? This morning, I go on the elevator to take Lola out and must have gotten on right after someone who had been wearing TONS of it, it was horrible. Well, after bringing her back in, I milled around putting together the bag I bring to work and my fruit & yogurt, I fed the dog, etc. Only to finally come back out, summon the elevator and find that it STILL stunk to high heaven. I mean, I could smell the elevator coming (and I am NOT exaggerating). Maybe this was from a new woman, I can't imagine all the perfume from the first trip hung around that long, but the smell was so strong, I couldn't tell the difference in fragrance at that stage. I sure do feel sorry for anyone who has to work in the vicinity of this woman (women), must make for a miserable work day.
Thursday, July 06, 2006
So it has again been a long time since I’ve written. I don’t really know why, I’m just not feeling it, I guess. What’s new with me? Not a whole helluva lot, but let’s see:
I got a bit of a raise! That was exciting. It’s nominal, but then again, my big raise came by taking this new job and making this big move. The mid-year raise is important though in that it is a bit of barometer as to whether my manager thinks I’m doing a good job. It’s also refreshing to have a little review mid-year. This way if anything is not on track, I have the opportunity to make adjustments.
I am proud to say that in the next week or so I am going to be completely debt free! Well, except for my car, but all of the debt that I’ve been living with for years & years & years will be completely gone. It’s a great feeling.
I received my new bed and mattress and am very happy with both. The delivery of all was rather stressful however – first, I wasn’t given any options about the delivery of the bed, they said they were coming on Thursday (2 weeks ago) and that was that. Well, of all the days of the week, Thursday is my worst and least flexible (and unfortunately, that week was particularly bad). They then called me the night before and narrowed it down to sometime from 2:00 – 7:00 PM. Of course I had to be in a meeting until 2 PM and the meeting ran over. But still, they didn’t end up showing up until around 6 PM anyway. ARGH! And then the mattress delivery was the next day: I had taken that Friday off as a vacation day because of the delivery (I had hoped to also get the bed delivered that day too) and because my father was stopping through overnight on his way home from Maine. Well, we had severe storms that morning and, just as the delivery guys were pulling up outside my building, all of our electricity went out! If they had been just a couple of minutes earlier, they would have been in my elevator when it went out and they would have been stuck, stuck, stuck! (the electricity was out for about an hour). So, these poor guys ended up having to haul the thing up three floors of stairs – still, much better than being stuck in the elevator! Anyway, I now have my new bed and I’m loving it. Sleep. Is. Good. Although, can someone please explain to me why my dog thinks that she needs to sleep practically on top of me now that we have all this additional space? Sheesh!
As I mentioned before, my father came through for a short visit. Two short visits, actually. He went up to Maine for a fishing trip with some old college fraternity buddies and so he stopped over night on his way there and on his way back. Both times we managed dinner with my various cousins who live locally. The second visit everyone managed to come, so it was a lot of fun. Even though I don’t see my cousins very often, I really like knowing that they’re close by. Anyway, on his second visit, my father got to my place earlier and since I had taken a vacation day, I was able to take the time to drive him around a bit. I showed him New Company’s campus and drove around the area some. I also drove him through a couple of condo complexes where I had looked at townhouses. He seemed to really like the area and even liked the apartment that I’m currently living in. (Surprising because he is usually extremely hard to please). Of course when he was leaving on the morning of his second visit, he somehow managed to completely back up my toilet (I don’t even want to know how THAT happened) and was all ready to just leave me with it, but I made him run up to Lowes to buy a damn plunger. SHEESH!
What else? Well, it looks like my NYC friends, Ellen & Ken, are going to stop by on Monday. They are going to be in Massachusetts on a little bike trip and so are going to plan to come this way for dinner to see me (and my place and my dog). It should be fun, I miss them.
Oh, so this is funny! Have you ever seen the movie "Office Space"? If you haven’t, you HAVE to rent it, particularly if you work in an office. It’s basically a spoof on office culture, it was done about 8 years ago, but has a bit of a cult following. ANYWAY, last week they (this department where my project is located) announced that Friday (last Friday) was going to be Hawaiian Shirt Day! I almost spit out my coffee when I heard. Anyway, come Friday and EVERYONE was wearing a Hawaiian shirt (all the guys anyway, and there are mostly guys here). People were so serious about it that the big mucky muck here sent around an email letting everyone know that he had 5 EXTRA shirts, in case anyone didn’t have one. I was laughing my ass off all day. I am so jaded, I think I lived and worked in NYC for too long.
Monday, June 12, 2006
Since moving here to New Hampshire, I am finding myself with plenty of free time and also with much more freedom to get around than I enjoyed in NYC, having a car and all. I'm child-free, don't have a lot of obligations outside of work, and so I've been thinking about what I can do with some of my free time. I've thought of going to school at night, various possible volunteering opportunities, leasing or buying a horse, and even getting a part-time job. I tend to wallow around on the weekends, the first half of the weekend may be a bit justified as I'm usually tired from crappy and not enough sleep during the week (hopefully my sleep quality will start to get better once I have my new bed), but the rest of it is usually pure laziness. Easy enough to justify when there is torrential rain outside (as has been the case for the past month or so), but this rain has to end sometime.
So, I've been thinking about it and I've come to the conclusion that I should be doing something I enjoy and also something that is completely different from my job (because otherwise, what's the point?) So I think I'd like to find some kind of volunteer opportunity working with animals. Even if it's just walking dogs for a local animal shelter, or brushing horses for an equine rescue or something.
With that decision, I sent in a volunteer application for this place today. We'll see if they get back to me.
Sunday, June 11, 2006
A Good Week Afterall
Despite my physical complaints, I actually ended up having a good week at work. Things are a bit crazy & stressful at the moment while the project I'm working on is going through a bit of a reorg. The project management is being shifted over to our client side, and I'm trying to get used to the transition and the new project manager in place who I now have to work with. He's a very nice guy and very enthusiastic and approachable, but I don't think he's quite gotten it just yet (as I wrote about previously). I don't think he's grasped the various priorities and scope of the project. I think he also has a too casual attitude about some of the work and the meetings we have on a regular basis. Every time I talk to him he is spouting new and grandiose ideas about all these bells & whistles-type stuff we can do, while I am right now concerned about getting the actual meaningful content and necessary core functionality out to the users. Bells & whistles are great, but there needs to be a natural progression for this stuff and I don't think this guy is really getting that. He also has this habit of dragging me away from my work willy nilly to run over to his desk to help him debug something that he's working on, or to teach him how to do something with the BI tool. It's fine, but it seems to be happening every day now and can be distracting to my own work when I have to drop everything and go sit with him for an hour or so.
All of this sounds annoying and the makings for maybe a bad week at work, but this past week I got the impression from the head guy in the client space that he really appreciates my efforts and that my role is valued there. New PM is apparently going to be on vacation all of this week. One of the problems is, there is an important meeting/presentation that is happening on Thursday. New PM had put together this Power Point document outlining all the various areas of the project and a bunch of other information that is going to be presented to this mucky-muck trader guy who is supposed to be at the Big Meeting. When I found out that New PM was not going to be present for the meeting, I asked him who was meant to do the presentation in his absence (I had put together a bunch of slides with screen shots to represent some of the reporting I've done, but this is only one piece of the thing). So he says, "R" will be doing it ("R" is the head of the tech group on the client side and New PM's boss). So, on Friday I went into "R's" office and asked him how I could help him for the meeting for next week. He looked blankly at me for a moment and then said, "I thought we were just doing a demo?" I said, "well, New PM put together a whole presentation, so I think his intentions were more involved than that". "R" then communicated to me that he was upset that New PM had just announced at the last minute that he was taking a vacation for a week and basically dropping the ball on a lot of stuff. It is particularly bad timing as we're still in this transitional period and the Desk (for whom this project is for) is also in a transition (the new head trader guy who is supposed to be seeing our stuff for the first time in our Big Meeting). We also talked briefly about some of things the New PM is proposing for the project that are positioned to take everything completely off track. "R" thanked me for being proactive about the meeting and my assistance to him and asked me to take care of a few things for him.
I also had a meeting on Friday with my head end user, the trader who is driving all of the requests and requirements of the project. I was able to show him the new module that I am working on for him and he seemed pretty happy with it. We spent some time brain storming on how we could exploit the functionality possibilities to make it the most useful tool for them and I came away with a very clear plan of action for this coming week.
So things are challenging, but I feel like I'm making valuable contributions and am pretty firmly entrenched in my position within the project. I've gotten comfortable with the various players and they with me. Of course everything can change in a heartbeat with one screw-up, but at least I don't feel quite as tenuous as I did for the first few months. It was hard coming from a position that I had been in for years & years to a brand new company, environment, business, project, etc. but my comfort level finally seems to be growing a bit.
Wednesday, June 07, 2006
Not Having a Good Week
First I throw my back out over the weekend and now I both feel a virus coming on (I'm achy and headachy and I have a sore throat) and also have lots of female-style crampiness in my hip area suddenly. And my back still hurts. I'm just generally a wreck.
Tuesday, June 06, 2006
Julia is doing the cereal diet. I am thinking of doing it too. As much for the convenience of not having to cook or figure out what to eat in the evening as for the diet aspect. Actually, I had cereal for dinner last night, so I guess it's on.
I still have a lot of pain in my lower back, but it's a little better. Sitting in one position all day at work isn't helping much however. I just ordered a new bed, now I have to go buy a mattress. I am finally, finally, finally going to have a brand new, just for me queen-size bed. After years & years of sleeping on this full-sized cast-off. Certainly my dismal bed situation hasn't been helping matters with my back!
Saturday, June 03, 2006
Friday, June 02, 2006
"So. Are you ever gonna blog again? Or are we going to have to start calling you MJ?
I know I know I know. So I didn't even blog at all for the entire month of May. I just haven't really felt like it. There also hasn't been too much of anything very interesting to write about really. I haven't even read a blog in all this time. Sheesh!
So, what's new? Well, my apartment finally, finally, finally closed! That was a complete relief. I had visions of this dragging on and on indefinitely, but in the end everything ended up going very smoothly and painlessly. So this makes my move out of NYC complete and final. Although I have to say that it does feel weird to think of some stranger now living in "my" place. That first weekend in particular I kept wondering if the new owners were in the process of moving in or what. Anyway, it's over now. I'll probably always miss many of the people, but I can't say I'll ever particularly miss Queens.
Work at New Company has been coming along and I feel like I've made progress on my project. I've had some good and positive feedback, both from the customer and from my manager. And my principal end user has in the past couple of weeks expressed a certain degree of satisfaction that I didn't really feel was there for the project previously. So I think I've turned a corner here. There is still a lot of work to do and a lot of requests & requirements to fulfill and I'm still stressed and I worry constantly, but I don't feel quite as freaked out.
There have been some other reorgs on the project lately however, and I find myself virtually the last one from my team still a major part of it. I was a bit dismayed the other day to find myself the sole representative from my group in a meeting otherwise full of our customers. ACK! There is now also a new project manager representing the customer who I don't feel has quite yet grasped the scope or complexity or even the various priorities of the project. He keeps talking about alot of bells & whistle type stuff when we are still trying to get the content required and the basic functionality out to the users. So, I'm stressed. I actually feel more comfortable and confident in my specific role, but I am worried about how & when certain necessary steps are going to happen. At least I feel like I know my day-to-day role and I usually have a good sense of the importance and necessary priority of certain steps and can also usually see the "big" picture, so as long as I'm given the freedom that I have had thus far, my end should continue to progress. The customer also expressed that they want me on the project through the end of the year (previously I was meant to be on this specific assignment until about June or July) and also they hope they can use me to pitch in on some other concurrent reporting work in the department during this time as well. So, I would say these are all good things and if you asked my manager, he would say definitely so. Especially since apparently this is one of the more important customers for my group. It's definitely interesting from my point of view anyway.
I'm enjoying my apartment, it's relatively spacious and comfortable and quiet. I love having the little deck and after living in old and semi-decrepit (creaky hollow floors & all) NYC apartments, it's rather nice to live somewhere where everything is pretty new. And you gotta love central A/C. LOVE!
I still have a lot of unpacking to do here though. I sometimes sit here and just look helplessly at the boxes around the place and I don't even know where to start. It's also kind of a bummer not knowing where anything is. At least my kitchen stuff is all put away, but I have no idea where most of my Summer clothes are.
I also love the walking trail out the back door of my apartment. Lola & I have enjoyed some nice, long walks there over the past month. The ticks however are plentiful, so I've taken Lola to a local vet and gotten her vaccinations for Lyme Disease and a new heartworm medicine that also kills ticks. Luckily I've only found one tick on myself though.
We've had crazy rain here over the past few weeks! Complete insanity, real wrath of God stuff. First there was the eight days of consistent rain, culminating in the weekend of over 100 inches. There were many flooded out homes and businesses in this area as well as road closures all over. At one point I drove a route along the Merrimack River where you could see that the river had risen all the way to the bridge. People were all pulled over to the side of the road to view the swollen river and the houses across the way flooded completely over their first floors. Since that crazy weekend, there continues to be periods of rain (like today), much of it torrential (like last night).
Here is one of the things I like about living here: I kind of like thunderstorms, last night some big ones rolled into the area and I was able to enjoy standing on my little deck and watching the storm (the deck has roof with an overhang so I can stand there during the heaviest rain storm and not get at all wet). A part of my trail has been turned into a pond (not a puddle, but a complete pond of standing water) that doesn't look like it's going away anytime soon. There is a bit of a detour up onto a path along some RR tracks. Luckily you only have to cross that path for a few yards, otherwise I would be completely cut off from most of my wonderful trail.
So, things are quiet here in New Hampshire, but that's the way I like it these days. Quiet and serene with purposeful, interesting work to be done. I don't have much of a social life here, but then again, I hadn't really enjoyed much of a social life in NYC these past couple of years anyway, so I'm not really missing much in that regard.
Sunday, April 30, 2006
Real Estate People are Unbelievable
At least sometimes. I decided to go to an open house that I knew about today since I had nothing better to do. I didn't think that I would have a serious interest in the condo, but I hadn't seen one in this particular complex yet, so I took the opportunity to take a look. Anyway, as I suspected, the condo isn't for me, it's rather small, too close to the highway and another busy road, the campus is a little cramped, etc. (but it was cheap!) Anyway, as I looked at the place, the realtor asked the typical questions, do I have kids, where do I work, etc. The realtor then went on to stress about how I didn't "need" any more space since it is just me. I love how these realtors love to tell you exactly what you need, while at the same time not really knowing anything at all about you. What does she know what I need or want? I mean, I could have lots of extended family and friends who plan to visit all the time, or maybe I have a couple of huge dogs, or a hobby the requires space, or I need a fully functioning home office, in addition to a guest bedroom or something. Sheesh!