How 14 cents cost me 95 dollars

Having your mail forwarded from your old address can sometimes make bills late or close to the deadline.  Not a big deal for us because we  pay everything online and our bank account has a monthly reminder function so it notifies us with “ahem, your mortgage is about to come up”  or whatever so that we know to be looking either for the paper bill to come in the mail (for things that fluctuate like utilities).  We got a notice from Huntsville Utilities which was very close to the due date thanks to the mail forwarding service.  In BOLD CAPITAL LETTERS it yelled at us and told us that this was our FINAL NOTICE to pay our monthly bill and how they were going to cut off our service because we didn’t pay the month before.  Well, Joel did pay the bill the month before but apparently when typing it into the bank account, he was 14 cents short of the entire bill.  I thought all of this was odd considering this was actually our first notice, but whatever.  I’m not one to get in a tizzy about how many bills they think they’ve sent. Plus, it’s FOURTEEN cents.  I promise I’m good for 14 cents (plus the additional $.01 in late charges for a total of $0.15).

Joel paid it within a few days and all was settled.  Or so I thought.

About a week or so later (I can’t actually remember how long it had been just that it hadn’t been long), we get a notice from our alarm company (which is run by my parents) that we had a power outage.  I looked up the power outages in Huntsville and didn’t see anything in our area, but assumed they were working in the area or maybe a tree fell.  No biggie.  But then the power didn’t come back on.  So I told Joel and he called Huntsville Utilities and the lady was so apologetic about how it’s an automated system with the angry lettering and threats BUT it’s also an automatic system to cut your power off.  Once again, no big deal.  The lady was so nice and said the power would be back on in the morning.

Fast forward a month and we received a bill for this past month.  I’ve been looking for the bill because I’m curious how low our bill can go with no one living there.  As I examined it, I noticed a $95 miscellaneous fee.  Pretty sure there shouldn’t be any miscellaneous fees on my utilities bill.  Turns out it costs NINETY-FIVE FREAKIN DOLLARS to turn your power back on.  Joel and I were both livid – hell, I’m still livid.  But they wouldn’t budge on the fee.  I’m sure it cost Huntsville Utilities $95 to push a button and get my power back on.

Moral of the story?  Never be $.14 short of your bills.

St. Louis Recap (lots of baby pics)

We adventured to St. Louis this past week which I was super excited about because (1) we got out of Indiana and (2) I reeeealy like St. Louis.  It was actually our first choice when we were looking at new places to move.  So I was kinda pumped to have a long trip there.  Joel was in a workshop all day near our hotel so Lila and I mainly just hung out by ourselves during the day.  Of course, she slept most of the time so I was locked in our hotel room.  Thankfully, we were in a “suite” type room with a door separating the living area from the bedroom/bathroom so Lila got her own “room” and so did we.

Throughout the days, I was trying to come up with fun things to do which is hard when you have a kid that takes two two hour naps throughout the day and then wants to pass out at 7pm.

I'm on a boat. (heh)

I’m on a boat. (heh)

I did take her swimming for the first time.  Which, considering I’m already a little nervous about the baby and water, taking her to the pool by myself was quite a feat.  (By the way, that towel was my first hooded towel I’ve made and it went so well that I think those might become my new baby gifts!  I have a feeling Lila will have a collection of them soon.)  She LOVES bath time and hanging out in the tub, so I figured she would love a swimming pool.

WHAT IS THIS GIANT BATHTUB??

WHAT IS THIS GIANT BATHTUB??

Nope, turns out she was pretty nervous at first.  Then she fiiiinaly relaxed.

You can push me now.

You can push me now.

She never really got into the whole splashing thing, but one step at a time I suppose.  I don’t think there is anything cuter than a kid in a swimsuit because everything is just SO TINY.  She looks like a little person here and it’s pretty darn adorable, if you ask me.  We had a few friends pass down some old clothes their girls outgrew and so Lila has a summer collection of about 15 swimsuits.  I…don’t even know.  I’m going to try and embroider on some of them for practice’s sake and then I have a feeling goodwill will be getting a healthy supply of baby swimwear.

The only downsides about traveling for us is that Lila likes to have teeth break through whenever we aren’t in our own home where I can heavily medicate and don’t have to worry about her waking anyone but me and Joel.  She had 4 come through when we were in Florida/Georgia for Christmas and in St. Louis, her molar finally made its way to the surface.  On a positive side, I have found out what works really well for her.  If it’s the middle of the night crying I do a dose of Tylenol (Advil hasn’t ever really helped for the massive breakthroughs), 3-4 Hyland’s Teething Tablets, and rub some Orajel Naturals (which doesn’t have the benzocaine in it) on her gums.  A nurse friend of mine referred to it as the Holy Trinity of Teething.  It was the only thing that helped to calm her down and let her sleep.  Which if it helps the baby to sleep, then I’d do it all over again.

Family Matters

My parents came to visit about a week ago and stayed for a long weekend.  It was really great to have them here, mainly because it was nice seeing some familiar faces.  However – and I feel this way whenever either of our parents visit – I was also glad to see them go. —I don’t feel this way when Joel’s siblings stay with us (and we usually have one of his college-age brothers live with us during the summers) and, in fact, I ADORE it when they are with us.  Maybe it’s because I still feel like *I’m* in charge ?  I’m not sure.

I love hanging around with family, and I adore watching them interact with Lila.  Plus the free babysitter aspect is also wonderful.  But at the end of the day, I want everyone to leave so we can have our own family time.  Joel only gets to see Lila for about an hour a day (yeah, Lila goes to sleep by 6:45 pm every night).  We have a definite routine every night – dinner done by 6:15, Joel gives Lila a bath (while I clean up the kitchen), then I go put her to bed (while he finishes the kitchen if needed), and then finally we get to hang out.  When either of our parents are here, our routine gets disrupted, which isn’t a big deal in the scheme of things, except that I don’t ever feel like I get that “down time” that I need.  Plus, they aren’t that big of a help with the baby, which is frustrating.  Lila is still little and neither of our parents KNOWS her enough to know that when she starts shaking her head “No” when eating that she isn’t done eating, she’s just done with that one thing and wants something else.  And this baby is SO skinny (because she won’t sit still OMG) that we really have to shovel food in her all the time.

I wish our parents lived closer so they could have shorter visits more often.

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In completely other news – I signed up for the latest CDP exchange!  And you should too!  Just go to this link and read all about it:

http://amdoingmybest.blogspot.com/2013/03/crappy-day-pckage-exchnge-2013-2.html

The more the merrier 🙂

The Truth About Our New Home

I have been told that I am not a negative person, and I believe that.  For the most part, I try to stay positive and always find some benefit or good out of any situation.  I have to keep reminding myself to do that now that I’m in a new city in a new state and in a place that I do not like.  I’m struggling with saying I “hate” it here, because hate is a strong word and I don’t know if I’ve given this place enough time to really form that impression yet.  We’ve lived here about a month and I’m struggling to find the positives.  It’s been so gray, overcast, and cold.  On days that it is sunny, I can’t take the baby out because the wind is too strong for any sort of walk to be pleasant.  The dogs are going crazy being cooped up inside all the time.  I have to keep them in a bathroom because if I leave them in the laundry room, they instantly crap and pee all over the floor.  There are only so many times I can clean it up before I want to strangle them.  So in an effort to save my sanity, I keep them locked up.  They want to go outside but it’s too cold even for them with their coats on.

And then there are the little things I need and miss.  During the week, Lila and I would frequently go on errands.  Costco, Target, and Publix were visited almost every week in an effort to replace necessities (milk) and for sanity (OMG GET ME OUT OF THIS HOUSE).  I have none of those stores now.  Sure we have other places here (Walmart – sigh.  Y’all, I’m trying to make see it in a more positive light but I just can’t.) but it’s not the same.   And this seems SO DUMB for me to be bitching about stores that we don’t have.  But when you’re at home all day long, I need some sort of incentive to get out of the house.  Walmart is not an incentive.

On the bright side, the TJ Maxx is waaaaay nicer and more organized than any of their other stores I’ve ever seen.  Even the clearance racks at Kohl’s were still organized according to size.  The Chili’s here is a testing site for future stores and it might be one of the nicest chain restaurants I’ve been to.  One benefit to living here versus any other place in the South, is the farming community.  The farmers here are extremely active in pushing their produce and meat to the average consumer.  In their local chain of grocery stores (kinda reminds me of Huntsville’s Star Market), they carry local produce, dairy, meat, and other products like breads and popcorn.  THIS I LOVE.  The farmer’s market is only one day a month throughout the winter but even going to that, it was better than the farmer’s markets I went to in Huntsville.  I’m hoping for good things to come out of the weekly summer market.

Probably the most frustrating part of living here is that I’m already planning on moving back to the South.  I want to be closer to our family – end of story.  Instead, we moved much farther away and are on the way to no one.  Joel and I have both talked about how we probably won’t live here for more than 5 years, mainly because we want our families to be a big part of Lila’s life.  Joel didn’t grow up around family and I did.  I think that’s one thing he definitely missed out on growing up overseas.  So with that in mind, I KNOW I can live anywhere for 5 years.  I know I can.  But it was so much easier when we moved to Huntsville because I started graduate school and was automatically thrown into social situations with opportunities to make friends.  Now?  I am home-bound with an infant and two whiny dogs.  I have to keep reminding myself that I didn’t like Huntsville when I first moved there, and I grew to LOVE it.  But….I just don’t see that happening here.

I keep telling myself that THIS is why we moved.

joel lila

Can’t you hear the squeals of laughter?

 

 

 

So this little girl gets to see her dad when he’s not completely stressed out.  So that he wants to give her a bath every night and read her stories.  So that he can help his wife clean the kitchen after the baby is in bed.

 

 

I just have to keep reminding myself of this.

 

New TV Shows I Can’t Get Enough Of

After being really disappointed last spring when some of our television shows were canceled, Joel and I made an effort to start liking shows that weren’t new or in their first season.  That way we couldn’t get too involved and then have it canceled on us at the last minute (*ahem* “Awake”). SO, here are some of the shows that we really got into this year.

Parenthood

parenthood cast

courtesy of NBC

I watched the first episode or two of this show years ago when it first came on tv, but I guess I just forgot about it.  I do remember liking the little bit that I watched, but not enough to really get involved.  The entire series so far is on Netflix, with the exception of this latest season.  Whenever laundry needed to be folded, I would just saddle up on the couch, fold my laundry, and watch Parenthood.  Soon enough, all of the clothes, towels, and sheets were completely clean.  I became slightly addicted to the Braverman family and NEEDED to know what happened to them next.  The writing is clever and heartwarming and the characters all seem like people I know.  The funny thing is – Joel isn’t really into this show.  That’s because on the first episode, the oldest brother was running around, putting out fires.  Joel started getting stressed out watching Adam Braverman getting stressed out, and started saying something about this being his life.  The season 4 finale was a few weeks ago, and apparently it’s up in the air as to whether or not NBC will renew Parenthood.  If they don’t, then I apologize for getting this show canceled.

Game of Thrones

courtesy of HBO

courtesy of HBO

This show – man.  SO. Good.  This  might be Joel’s favorite show we watch now.  I guess it can be described as fantasy but it doesn’t seem silly, which is what I associate with the word “fantasy.”  This series is actually based on a novel series, but I don’t plan to pick up the books any time soon.  There are so many characters in this that without the visual reminders, I couldn’t keep the characters straight.  I can barely do that with the visuals as it is.  I love how creative this story line is – constantly taking new turns and twists that are unexpected.  Oh, my favorite part of this show?  They feel absolutely zero allegiance to their characters.  Meaning, they will kill off anyone at any given time.  The story line is addicting, so we were grateful both seasons were on On Demand so we could watch it immediately.  Season three starts at the end of March.

Homeland

courtesy of Showtime

courtesy of Showtime

Who would have thought to give Clare Danes her own show??  Honestly, she was the reason I initially didn’t want to watch this show even though I was intrigued by the concept.  After watching the first two seasons, I am completely addicted to this show.  In fact, I believe I would be an awesome asset at the CIA.  While I love this show, sometimes it really scares me – and not in a “Walking Dead zombie pop out” kind of scare, but a “holy crap this stuff is going on in real life” kind of way.  There are crazy people in our world who have no qualms about killing others (as we’ve seen lately in the news).  Scary.  Anywho, this show is wonderfully written and edited in such a way that I cannot wait for the next episode.  Plus Mandy Patinkin is in it (it blew Joel’s mind that this is Inigo Montoya) so that’s reason enough to watch.  It’s obvious after watching this why it wins all the awards.

So that’s what I’ve been watching this season.  What else am I missing out on?

The Joke’s on Me

So when Joel quit his job and was at home for about 6 weeks, I was SO SURE that I was going to have so much free time.  Time to blog, sew, embroider – shoot, maybe even pick up a book.  But instead, I did none of those things.  Whenever Lila went down for a nap, we found ourselves just hanging out and watching tv, which was awesome.  It was like I had no responsibilities!  No chores!  The kitchen never needs to be cleaned!  Eh, that reality check was fun.  Our laundry piled up because I don’t do laundry on the weekends.  Instead, I start it Monday when Joel goes back to work.  But he never went back to work.  It was like an ever lasting weekend.

And then we moved.  I have to say I was really impressed with North American Van Lines.  They came in on Tuesday with about 6 guys and packed our entire house up in about 6 hours.  They came back on Wednesday and loaded up all the boxes in about the same amount of time.  It’s shocking how much stuff we had.  There was a tractor-trailer sitting outside our house slowly but surely being filled.  Naive me was like “Um, so I guess a typical moving van won’t work?”

boxes

It’s amazing how much stuff we had.  Unfortunately, we didn’t really go through and throw stuff out before they came so we’ve been doing a lot of that since we started unpacking. We had very little damage to our stuff.  I think our only casualties were a wine glass and a few other little items like that.  Our giant headboard did get damaged, but they are sending a repairman to fix it.  I’ve heard good things about their guarantee of delivering your furniture undamaged or fixing it if they damage it.  When we showed them the damage, they easily acknowledged the damage and told us to call their people.  I was glad we didn’t have to argue our way into that, you know?

We moved our 3 bedroom, 2100 sq ft house into a 6 bedroom, 4200 sq ft house up here in Indiana.  The rental house is huge, mainly because they were the only people willing to rent to a family with 2 large dogs for only 6 months.  Shockingly, we’ve filled up most of this split level house.  The house is oddly designed and chopped up.  I thought rooms would be left empty but surprisingly, we have most everything filled up.  One of the other perks about it, is the family who owns this house left their “movie room” furniture.  All we had to do was supply the tv.  Um, yes, please!  I’ve never really understood why people love having home theaters in their houses and have doubted how often these rooms would be used but NOW I KNOW.  I GET IT.  And I love it.

So now Joel is back working full time and it’s just me, Lila, and my (sometimes annoying) dogs.  I’m doing my best to stay positive about moving to a place where we know absolutely no one.  I mean, after all, this is what happened when we first moved to Huntsville.  Five years later, we were heartbroken to leave our friends.  I’m hopeful that we will have those same feelings when we move again.

Everyday’s a Weekend

So today is Joel’s last day of work.  Officially.  He put in his 4 weeks notice a month ago and now we prep to move.

Oh yeah.  We’re moving.  Kinda forgot to mention that here.

I feel like I’ve been absent a lot from blogging because so much has been happening that I wasn’t sure if I should be posting on the internet for all the world to see.  But (obviously), Joel quitting his job isn’t a secret anymore.  Mid-January we will be moving to Terre Haute, Indiana.  It’s a small city about 45 min west of Indianapolis.  It has a good bit of charm, but overall the city seems average at best.  It’s not Huntsville, that’s for sure.  BUT, the countryside is absolutely stunning.  Who knew that Southern Indiana has gorgeous hills and luscious greenery.  It reminds me a lot of Kentucky, for those of you who might be more familiar with that area.

It’s a couple hours farther away from our families which wasn’t really ideal (but right now they are all driving me crazy so it’s seeming like a GREAT idea at the moment).  We’ll be about 4 hours from Chicago and 3 from St. Louis (where one of Joel’s best friends live and where my best friend’s in-laws live).  I don’t think this is a permanent move for us; our dream area to settle in is the Franklin/Nashville, TN area.  If we are going to be moving around, I want to do it while Lila is so young and not in school yet.  Although we don’t really plan to move a lot.  Joel moved a LOT growing up.  I think by the time he graduated high school at 17, he moved over 20 times.  Whereas my parents still live in the same house since I was 1.  We’d like to end up more like my family and settling early because we both see a lot of benefits of having a community and making life-long friends.

So with Joel not working, he’s going to be here.  All day.  Every day.  While this is awesome in the fact that we can go out to dinner or to a movie whenever our babysitter can watch the baby and I can finally go to the gym/have alone time, I have a feeling that he’s going to go stir crazy within days.  Either that or he’s going to drive me crazy.  We’ll see.  Right now we are just excited that he has 7 weeks until his new job.  At least someone will be home to help me clean and get ready for showings for the house (if we could ever get one, anyway).  This weekend I told him that everyday is going to be like Saturday to him – we can cook breakfast, hang out, play with the baby, do necessary chores, etc.  We don’t have many places we have to be and we can do it all in our time schedule.  I’m going to try and start forgetting what day it is, much like I do in the summer.