Category Archives: decisions

The Registry

This past weekend, DD and I registered for the wedding. Sure, we’re still over 8 months out, but I enjoy being ahead of the game. Also? I’ve kind of been looking forward to registering longer than I’ve been looking forward to the wedding itself.

I swear I’m not totally gift-grabby, though what bride doesn’t stalk her registry? Honestly, I’m just so excited to choose things for *us* and begin to coordinate the stuff that will make up our to-be-determined living space so that it feels like home.

As excited as I’ve been about registering, I’ve been just as terrified of it. I was terrified of making decisions on which sets of pots to get and which color towels to get and blah blah blah. After all, part of the point of this is to find and receive things that will last us well into our married life. And I won’t lie, I was also afraid of trying to find common ground with DD since I know our tastes are different.

After a solid two hours in Bed, Bath and Beyond, we exited in one piece with our relationship still intact and with a lengthy list of items. No fights were had, not even a small skirmish.

Here are a few keys to our success:

  • Research. I spent many hours perusing BBB’s website to get an idea of china patterns I liked, bedspreads I liked, and kitchen appliances I wanted. When we got there, I was able to quickly narrow down a few choices that gave us a jumping off point to make a final decision together.
  • Lists. It’s the kitchen stuff I’ve been most excited about updating and expanding because currently most of my stuff is hand-me-downs. Over the last couple months I’ve kept a list of things I’d want as I came across them. When I had to bake cookies, it reminded me that I really need cooling racks. It also reminded me to get a bigger mixing bowl. When I made soup, it reminded me that I’d like a bigger stock pot. I also printed off several “what to register for” lists from the Interwebz and used those just to make sure I didn’t forget anything.
  • Compromise. DD doesn’t cook at all, so he let me rule the kitchen department. He held the gun, I told him what to scan. When it came to picking colors for bedding and bath, we compromised and each picked a color. I decided to be OK with neutral bedding instead of trying to talk him into a pattern that I’d like, but he wouldn’t. And as for the china, well, I really have no idea how we came to that decision so easily. It was my greatest fear as far as finding something we both liked and the choice came scarily easy. Maybe our tastes aren’t so different after all.
  • Helpful Staff. Our salesperson walked us through the china and fine gift section right away, which made it super easy to get that knocked off the list. Once we selected a pattern, she added everything in that category to save us time. We can of course go in and delete things we don’t want. After that, she gave us a quick “tour” of the store, pointing out the brands/products that were least likely to be discontinued or were the best in their class. That was helpful for the few things I hadn’t researched, like pots and pans. She was also good about leaving us alone but still being available if we had questions.

There were a few things that didn’t go perfectly as planned:

  • Sticker shock. Even though I’m not buying the stuff for myself, I was still well aware of how much some of our items cost. There were certain things I really wanted to include, regardless of price. But once those were added, I was afraid the other items we’d picked were too high. This lead to a slightly heated discussion in the knife aisle where I refused to select the $200 set and opted for an $80 set. First world problems, clearly.
  • Storage concerns. DD and I don’t know exactly where we’re going to live yet. The goal is a 2-bedroom apartment in Detroit, but we won’t start looking for a few more months. As the china settings and coffee makers and kitchen aids piled up, I grew increasingly concerned about where the hell we’d store everything. But, the beauty of registering early is that we can always remove things if we need to, and do it well before any pre-wedding parties, so I’m not too worried.
  • Really use v. want to use. As DD and I wandered the aisles, I had grand visions of dinner parties that would require fine china and fancy serving trays. DD had grand visions of morning coffee and evening espresso. But truthfully, will the visions come true or will the serving trays and dishes and espresso maker collect dust in the corner? Only time will tell I guess!

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Filed under DD (aka My Man), decisions, list mania, Wedding

Mission Accomplished OR the one where I got a new job

Just one short month into 2011, and I’ve already accomplished what I set out to do.

I got a new job. A fresh start.

Obviously, this was all in the works when I wrote that post a few weeks ago. I was fairly certain things were going to work out so I figured, why not set a goal I know I can achieve?!

I know, I know, cheaters never win.

In reality, this goal has been far from easy. I’ve been job searching on and off for the better part of three years. Then, the past six months happened. At various times last year, I was told by my co-workers and superiors that I dress too casually, that I should be questioning my role on my team, and that I’m not good at certain aspects of my job.

It’s been fun. Or, you know, the opposite of that.

Which is why, out of pure desperation, I applied for a job that I figured I had a shot in hell of getting. It’s a complete departure from my career field in an industry in which I have no experience.

But then…I got it.

And now I find myself diving head-first into the unknown, with the hope that this new work environment will be so much more supportive of me and my goals.

As great a job as it is, it comes with trade-offs.

I’m moving from a career in marketing to one in project management. I’ve always had lofty goals of advancing in the marketing/communications field, but lately the field has left me quite the Bitter Betty. I’m tired of what I call the “Monday Morning Marketers”, who think they know how to communicate a message solely because they have a Facebook page. The field has become so competitive and has developed such a low barrier to entry that I’m just done. I’ve finally recognized that I don’t have all the answers, that I don’t want to fight about those answers, and that I really just don’t care.

Not only am I shifting careers, but my new career will involve little to no writing — something that I swore would always be at the center of my career. That is, until I lived through constant criticism over my writing. To make things worse, it’s writing that I could really care less about. As I’ve said before, it’s tough to focus on personal writing when I come up with corporate-speak for 40+ hours a week.

I’ve always been passionate about writing, but that passion has been slowly pushed into a dark cave. These days, I rarely write for myself, no matter how much I say I’m going to. I’ve recognized that I have a great voice, but that voice doesn’t necessarily translate well into corporate-speak. And that I shouldn’t have to make it. I’ve also recognized that the problem with turning your passions into work is that they become just that — work.

Trade-offs.

I’m not saying this move isn’t going to be really freakin’ hard. It’s an industry with its  own form of competition and strife. It’s an entirely new job function that I once said I never saw myself pursuing. And it’s an entirely new commute — from 4 blocks to 30 miles. But, it’s a fresh start. And right now, that trumps any4 block commute.

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Filed under career, decisions

How I spent my summer vacation: The birthday

As a final nail in the recap posts, I figured I’d touch on my birthday, way back in June.

It passed earlier this summer without much fanfare. On the Monday before, I found myself at a Marine’s funeral. Then came the work meetings and the book club and the catch up and the general things that life brings.

When the weekend arrived, it didn’t seem to warrant much celebration. Frankly, after two weekends of dealing with death and family, we probably would have preferred to collapse in bed and sleep for a weekend. But, DD and I had long before booked a little jaunt to Windsor, Ontario, for dinner.

I can practically see Canada from my apartment, but I hadn’t been since I was 19 and it was the only place I could legally drink. So, I was excited to go for dinner and we found a great little place in Little Italy. DD got me a new and much improved yoga mat and other gear. Low-key, but just what we  both needed to get back into the swing of life.

What IS noteworthy is that it was the last birthday of my 20s. The next time June 13 comes around, I’ll be celebrating the big 3-0. While I’m not one to be all whoa is me about the impending end of my 20s, I am one to give it pause.

After a brief conversation with DD last spring, I’m relatively confident I’ll be engaged by the time I’m 30. So there’s that.

More recently, I’ve been thinking that the next decade may mean lots of changes. Changes in career. Changes in my status as a non-mother. Maybe even health changes. I can’t help but think that all of these things are inevitable. Isn’t that the way life works?

My 20s were pretty stable. The love life was rocky, but I found my compliment. The career was a rock. Through thick and thin, I’ve been there since I graduated college. Aside from a kidney transplant, the health was pretty stable as well.

It was good. But I’m probably due for something different. Will my career demand a new direction? Will my health take a turn? These transplanted kidneys don’t last forever, you know.

I think I’m ready for a new decade and all the changes that come with it. There may be a few I’m a bit terrified of — hello, motherhood! hello, second transplant! — but overall, I’m excited. (Except for that second transplant. That can hold off forever if I have my way.)

30 has a good ring to it. Now, let’s just see if I’m wearing a ring when it comes along!

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Filed under DD (aka My Man), decisions, foodie, glass half full, loft style living, rambling nature, relationships, transplant, Y is for Yoga

Anatomy of a bracket

For the first time, I filled out a March Madness bracket. I’ve never been much of a sports fan, following my alma mater (Michigan State) when it was appropriate, but otherwise feeling rather indifferent toward sports. I was the girl that cared more about the marching band at football games than the actual football team.

But for some reason this year, I decided to step out of my box. And now I’m hooked. I was up until midnight on Thursday and Friday watching the games and cheering for teams I’d never heard of, like Murray State, Siena or St. Mary’s California.

It is a bit maddening, this March Madness. I mean really, how do you choose who’s going to win among 64 random teams? Everyone has their own methodology, and even though I’m only 1 year in, here’s mine:

  • Name recognition. I believe in strong brand awareness, and if I know your name, I’m likely to pick you. Who gives a shit if Louisville hasn’t been good in years? I know you, you’re going all the way.
  • Loyalty. In addition to MSU, I have a few favorites. My father went to Oklahoma State. I was born in Manhattan, home of Kansas State. Oakland University is in a suburb of Detroit. Funny thing is, when it came down to it, loyalty didn’t cloud my judgment. Sure, it made me think a minute, but loyalty only played a role when I thought the team was good. Which has worked out well now that MSU and K State are headed to the Sweet Sixteen.
  • Sweet Nothings. I did my bracket while on the phone with DD. You better believe I casually asked for his advice without making it seem like I was asking for his advice.

Not sure that my methodology has worked out for me. My bracket is completely busted (I’m looking at you Georgetown and Kansas). I’m thinking I need to get better at picking upsets (damn you, Murray State, I almost picked you!)

So tell me, how do you make your picks?

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Filed under DD (aka My Man), decisions, S is for sports, the telly

No place like home

Just a quick update as life is moving at warp speed these days…

I’m in my new place and loving it! It’s funny, here I am sitting at work, just anxious to get home so I can luxuriate in the fabulousness that is…my kitchen…my big open living room…the central air…the walkability…the proximity to DD…the etc etc. It’s been a long while since I’ve been so excited about my home.

All the boxes are unpacked and everything is set up. All that’s needed is some pictures on the walls and some rugs on the floor. Though those last details will probably take weeks, if not months, to get done. I’m just happy I’m here and no longer ashamed to show off my home.

This must be what being an adult feels like.

There is one major missing component; my Internet, which is coming on Friday. So until then, posting will be limited (what else is new) and the gReader will just have to wait.

Pictures will come at some point, probably when I get Internet, or just get sick of sitting around luxuriating. Or when I come up for air from making out with DD. We live so freaking close we can see each other every! single! day!

Though that, too, will probably get old sometime soon. Ah well, the world has to come crashing back to normal at some point.

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Filed under decisions, Detroit, glass half full

Movin’ on up

For the past month or so, I’ve become fed up with good ole Landlord S. I’ve finally decided I’m moving.

But then becomes the question of where. I LOVE my current neighborhood. I can walk to coffee shops, restaurants, my nail/facial salon, etc. However, given the trendy nature of it, I can only afford an old apartment. And I’m kind of a modern gal. But, the modern hip and trendy lofts in my neighborhood start at $900 and up/month — and that’s for small ones.

Then there’s downtown Detroit. Where I work. Where DD lives. Yet, it’s not quite as walkable. Still somewhat walkable, but not as much as my neighborhood. There’s also less foot traffic downtown. Which makes me feel ever-so-slightly less safe. But on the flip side, I can afford a more modern apartment because it’s not as hip and trendy.

So I’ve looked at two places, an old place in my current neighborhood that’s a slight upgrade from my current locale…and a modern-ish loft downtown.

Now comes the decision process. Here’s a list of pros and cons to each neighborhood/apartment. Asterisks indicate the reallly important things.

Option 1: Current neighborhood

Pros: walkability*, things open at normal hours, familiarity/enjoyment of  neighborhood*, central to entire region (which is important when your region lacks mass transit), cheaper than Option 2; walk-in closet

Cons: new apartment would not be much of an upgrade from current sitch; several hundred less square feet than Option 2; hate the kitchen

Option 2: The D

Pros: walking distance to work (save on gas $$)*; walking distance to DD*; more potential for making new girlfriends (I’d actually be starting from scratch in current neighborhood)*; modern appliances and loft-style look; central air; washer/dryer in unit; open/spacious kitchen

Cons: Some businesses operate odd hours/closed on weekends; slightly less walkable; less general foot traffic; feel slightly less safe walking alone at night; no window in apt. bedroom; more expensive both in rent and utilities

There’s a part of me that feels I should look at more than two places. But I feel like I know the rental market in both neighborhoods and have picked the options that would be comfortable for me. Plus I really don’t feel like dragging this process out for a month.

So, where would you live?

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Filed under DD (aka My Man), decisions, Detroit, Hmm, Landlord S

My cash cache

I lived at home for over 2 years after college. My kidney transplant necessitated it at first (I had the surgery one month after graduating college), but I definitely stayed long past what I had planned. In fact, it was only after my mother told me I wasn’t allowed to spend the night with boys while I lived under her roof that I finally got up off my bum and found a place of my own.

Yes, it took losing access to pre-marital sex for me to move out, but whatever works, right?

The upside of all that time at home was that I built up quite the little nest egg of cash which gives me a sense of financial security that I really appreciate given today’s economy.

Currently, my cash cache is sitting in a savings account. Basically the equivalent of stuffing it under a mattress because I just realized the interest rate has plummeted in the past year. (Thank you, shitty economy!) It was a reminder that lately I’ve been thinking I need to diversify my “investments” a bit. You know, past the mattress. I’m not very good at figuring this stuff out, so I think it’s time to seek out a financial planner, even though I’m not really looking forward to paying someone to do this for me. Remember, I’m cheap.

Related to all of these thoughts running through  my head are other major expenses in my future. Namely, whether I will have a job next week. We should know about layoffs in the coming weeks. If I’m laid off, all thoughts of investing some of my stash are out the window because it will need to be liquid enough support me.

But if I still have my job come April, I think it’s time to make some decisions. Broaden my financial horizons and stop stuffing dollar bills in my mattress. It’s not getting me anywhere.

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Filed under decisions, Hmm