Happy girls are the prettiest girls

9.27.2013

Where things are at

*Peeks head around corner at the universe to see if it's still trying to kick me in the face*

^ that right there is about how raw I am feeling right now. And honestly, I know I have it good. I really shouldn't even complain. Yet I do, because my normally happy-go-lucky existence is turned on its head. My bad may be someone else's pretty good, and another person's worst-day-ever, so I guess it's all relative. Right? That's what I thought. Thanks for agreeing with me, inter-webs. You're always good for a laugh, to share everything with, and in times like this, to find an ear that is listening and agreeable to everything I type. 

I guess I am sort of stream-of-consciousness writing at the moment. I probably just need to get words out on paper, or screen  as it is, and out of my head to make some sense of things. Bare with me if I jump around more than usual, or if I make no sense. You should see the inside of my brain, it's not pretty.

OK, where did we leave off? Wow, 3 weeks ago, when I thought I was stressed. Hah! I laugh at that Adrian now. She had no idea

So stage 1 of our move is complete. Billy and I drove out to Austin last week and got him settled at a friend of mine from high school's little sister's house. I know, right? Can these connections get any more complicated? Well, I am just happy B has a place to stay with a friendly housemate and a puppy dog to keep him company. Granted, the dog keeps leaving him poopy surprises, but at least she's a warm furry body to cuddle with when he's missing his fur babies. Ailish, the housemate, is 24 and owns her own house. Blows my "born and raised in expensive California" mind. {Insert random segue}Oh, there's a condo across the street from my apartment that just went on the market. It's 2 bed/1 bath, and roughly 1,000sf, and the asking price is $349,000. Um, guys, I don't mean to rub it in or anything, but my beautiful new HOUSE, at 3 bed/2 bath + an office, garage, 1,800sf and only 8 years old was bought at $193,000. That is one thing I will never look back at California and miss when I am snuggly settled into my fabulous red brick house in Texas. 

Speaking of the house, we close anywhere between September 30 {says the Realtor} and October 4 {says the lender}. The lender is being a giant pain in my bum, but I think that's their job. Complicating the already tedious job, is my printer that decided to break down last week, just when I absolutely needed to print, scan and send in loads of important documents. The business center at my apartment complex is lacking a scanner, so I had to go to Office Max and use their professional printing services to print out some letters, then scan everything onto a skateboard USB stick I had with me. I felt like such a dork, and was cursing my beautiful Canon printer that is currently a large and unresponsive paperweight. I feel like we are getting so close to the end, and can almost call ourselves first time homeowners. I am already over zealously jumping ahead to the decorating part, when I know I need to cool my jets and take it slow, see how finances work out once we are officially closed. Yeah right, I just want to fun stuff!

The joy of that thought is very short lived when I think of the 1,700 miles currently separating Billy and I. You guys, B and I have been together for 9 years now. At most, we have spent maybe a few days to a week apart, and probably have seen each other every day since. I realize how lucky I am to have this be the case, and doubly lucky to think that I married my best friend, whom I absolutely adore and really enjoy spending time with. 

Which makes being apart so much worse. {cue heart ripping from chest}

Of course I cried at the airport when B dropped me off last Friday, but I pulled it together. I mean, B is the one in the new city, with a new job, and doesn't know anything or anyone around. I got to come home to everything normal. Same job, same apartment {albeit full of boxes and my stuff in disarray}, same family and friends and fur babies. How could I possibly let myself wallow in the sadness that comes with being apart from my other half, my literal soul mate {which I never believed in until I met Billy}? 

I was strong all weekend, even though the house was too quiet, and I got a little stir crazy with no one but my animals to talk to. As you have probably guessed if you don't know me IRL, I am super high energy, extremely bubbly, a happy little chatterbox to anyone who will listen. So it's tough to not have anyone to talk at. Facebook and Instagram are getting spammed with everything I am up to, and I feel bad for probably annoying people with my constant stream of social media whoring. Billy is usually the first line of defense against my ramblings and takes the brunt of my energy, diluting me for the rest of the world to handle. Not having him here means everyone suffers. 

I was resolutely humming along, forcing myself to try to be normal even though B isn't here, thinking it was just gonna get easier eventually, when BAM, I am hit by something so small and stupid that it shouldn't have mattered, but ended up kicking me in the face and making me break. 

I couldn't open a jar.

Never a problem when my Hulk strength hubby is around! He opens even the tightest of jars with ease. That thought even passed through my mind as I struggled, and then immediately dissolved into ugly tears when I realized he wasn't around to help me out. Everything hit me then. The distance. Not being able to see him. Not having his smell around me in bed at night, or his cologne wafting through the bathroom when he leaves in the morning. No one to cuddle into, hug, kiss, no beard for me to scratch and rub my face against. I may have sat on the floor and let the tears take me for a moment. Since then I have had an edge of sadness permeating every aspect of my life. I can function as usual, I am even pretty happy, but there is just something that hugs the perimeter and feels cold and abrasive and quite uncomfortable. Like your cute bikini after a day at the beach. It's not so cute when it's wet, full of sand and chafing uncomfortably. 

The effed up part of this is I feel so stinking guilty for being sad! The rational part of my brain says it's perfectly normal and acceptable, however, the wild part of my brain that does not subscribe to rational thought says I shouldn't be allowed to feel guilty because I am not the one in a new situation. Try struggling with those subconscious demons. 

BUT! I am working on it. 
I am rationalizing the sadness as expected and accepted. 
I am telling the wild haired demon of guilt that it needs to take its opinion and shove it where the sun don't shine. 
I am counting down the days until I see my love again {21!}. 
I am looking forward to every phone call, text, and Skype date with Billy, trying to be present and attentive to the little time we have together. 
I am embracing the social invites from my well-meaning friends, having dinner, hanging out, and talking, even though my sadness makes me lean toward extreme anti-social tendencies. 
I am keeping myself busy. 
I am reading a lot of good books {I am forcing you to go check out the Fever series by Karen Marie Moning, it is amazing, you will thank me!}. 
I am being active even though the last thing I want to do is go for a run or ride my bike {thank you upcoming duathlon for keeping me going!}. 
I am indulging in dessert every day, even multiple times a day! That last bit may not be the best way to handle stress and sadness, but boy does it make it easier when you are hopped up on a tummy full of sugar!

So that's where I am at, in the most honest version of events I can type. It's not pretty, but I am also not completely shattered. 

If you have coping techniques for being apart from a loved one, send them my way! 

9.06.2013

desserts spelled backwards

Oh, hello!

Big news!! Our offer on the house was accepted! 

We are currently under contract, or as I like to think of it, paperwork purgatory. We sign, they sign. We sign again, we wait for them to sign again. The mortgage people need specific information, we give it, oh wait, it's not the right info and we can't get the right people to verify. Ugh.

We should close by early October if everything goes well. Until then, I am not considering the house "ours", and won't hold my breath. {even though I really want it to be ours and would pass out holding my breath if it were a contest in order to get it}

So on top of the craziness of packing up our apartment and figuring out the logistics of our 3-stage move, I am running around being a naive first time home buyer on top of figuring out the packing, planning going away parties, and continuing my insanely busy work schedule. And let me tell you, my clients are NOT happy about this move. They really want me to stay and continue to doing their hair as usual.

Let me explain that 3-stage move for you. 
Stage 1: Billy has to be out in Texas for his first day of work on September 23. We will be driving out the week before and getting him settled, then I fly back while he stays.
Stage 2: Sometime in October, after our house has closed, my mom and I {and whomever we can wrangle into helping us} will load a U-Haul and drive it to Texas, to set up our house, and then she and I will fly back. Billy will get to hang out in the fabulous new house on his own, but we will probably take the kitties out so he will have company.
Stage 3: Once all of my booked weddings are completed, and I have my last weekend at the salon, I will pack up my last little bit of things and do the drive a 3rd time with Sadie in tow. 

Whew. 

I have already started packing, as I have no clue when I have to get our stuff out of the apartment. And the apartment....I have to figure out how to either get the office to change my lease end date so we just finish our lease rather than break it, or find a sublease for the 3 months left on the lease. Just one more thing to add to my already long list of things to do.
*throws self on floor, kicks legs, and cries*

And that is about the extent of the mess I am sitting in right now, preparing to move out of the state. Continue with the positive thoughts for the rest of this crazy journey!

9.03.2013

Texas: day 3 and 4!

Happy Tuesday!
Thanks for joining me for yet another Texas trip recap! I'll try to hurry through, even though this is the most I've blogged in forever, so you should be happy to read my overly wordy posts  haha

Day 3 started by sleeping in. Yeah, that's productive! We grabbed granola bars for a quick breakfast, then went in search of some local Mexican food. I was hoping for Tex-Mex, but the Internet lies and I couldn't find the place I was looking for. No worries, we totally entertained ourselves at a Allen's Boots, where I tried on very expensive cowboy boots, and I made Billy try on cowboy hats. He wasn't impressed. I may have fallen in love with a pair of Liberty Black ankle boots, but I gave up wanting to own "real" cowboy boots when the price tags were consistently over $200. Sorry, if I end up with boots, they'll probably be from Target and under $50 because I most likely won't wear them all that much. Those aqua boots are pretty awesome though, right? Billy picked them for me to try on because they matched my shorts.
 After pretending to be cowboys, we asked the {very attractive, tall, longish blonde haired cowboys} staff for a recommendation on a good lunch spot. They suggested Polvos, on South 1st street. It wasn't Tex-Mex, but it was traditional Mexican food, and had a fun feel. The food was decent, and filling. We left around 1, and made the 3 hour drive back to Dallas. The temperatures in Austin the first 2 days had been in the high 80's with 80% or more humidity, thanks to some thunder storms that caused scattered showers. Wednesday was clear, and thus, we experienced "true Texas heat" that the locals had been warning us about. 105? Standard for April-October. I lol'd. Not really, my soul cried a little at the thought that this will be my reality very soon.

We checked into the Westin Park Central hotel, where I changed, applied some makeup, and immediately left again so I could get to my makeup class at Elan Makeup Studio. Elan is an agency in Dallas much like the one I used to work at back home. The business and marketing class was geared toward artists looking to go out on their own, or just starting in the makeup field, so it wasn't too helpful for me as a 4 year veteran. However, Nicole, the instructor, and Tiffany the other student, were super helpful in answering all of my Texas market related questions. I found out I will need to lower my prices a tad once I start taking clients in Texas, but I can expect to get brides asking for bridal portrait sessions, on top of the engagement session, trial, and day of services. Say what? The bride takes pictures in her dress before the wedding day? Hells yeah! That's not standard procedure in California, but I like it. I also got info on where to shop, how the Dallas and Austin markets differ, and just how much Texans go all out for their weddings. All in all, it was worth attending, and it helps that I get to write off most of this trip as a business expense. Score one for being self-employed!

I met B in the lobby at the Westin, and we had a super tasty late dinner in the restaurant there. Again, we stayed up too late, and hated our alarm the next morning. One of the things we were doing instead of sleeping was applying for pre-approval for a loan so we could put an offer in on the Branding Iron house. It made me nervous, and it was tough to do from my phone, rather than at home where all of my tax documents and stuff were, but somehow, I made it works. Thanks to Google Drive, and saving old emails, I had enough information to give the mortgage lender!

Day 4:
We had plans to meet the Texas regional Optical manager, Chrissy, for coffee. She is a California native, and has risen in the ranks at Costco over the last 13 years to get where she is now. It was incredibly fun chatting with her, learning more about management, and what Billy will have to look forward to. 

After coffee, we headed to the Dallas Galleria mall, which was epic, but neither of us felt much like shopping. We opted to grab lunch at Mi Cocina instead while we watched kids ice skate on the indoor rink. While we were eating, I got a text from Realtor Ron, letting me know our pre-approval had come through. In order to place an offer, he needed earnest money and a check for the sellers to take the house off the market if they accepted our offer. We cursed Gail the GPS as she pointlessly took us in circles looking for a bank branch, but eventually found a very helpful Chase banker to issue us bank checks, and then a UPS store to overnight the checks to Austin. It became very real at that moment that we were in the process of putting an offer in on what is very close to our dream home. A lot of exclamations were made by both of us.

I finally let B drive the Camaro when we were heading back to the airport. He put it into manual mode and used the paddle shifters. He was intent on beating the car and putting it through its paces to see just what that 400 horsepower engine could do. I had a headache after the many accelerations that threw me back into my seat, but he had fun. Also, I love my new Lulu Guiness sunnies from Costco! Polarized, movie star big, and super cute. Oh, and like $50. Can't beat that.
After hours on the plane, we finally made it home. Our first stop? In-N-Out burger! Sure, there's an In-N-Out in Dallas, and they are building one {along with a Trader Joe's, woo hoo!} I think in the same shopping center Billy's Costco will be in, but it was nice to have something so Californian after being away. And I wanted quick, yummy, food at 9pm on a Thursday. Next stop was to pick up Sadie, who was quite happy to see us. 
And that concludes my epic Texas trip recap! Hope you learned something, or at least had something to read while you were bored ;)

9.02.2013

Texas: Day 2. The one in which we find our dream home

Happy Labor Day! While y'all get the day off from your labors,  I am laboring away at the salon. Here's a Texas day 2 recap to give you something to do between BBQs and beers.

Day 2 started early, for us, as we were on California time, two hours behind Texas. We opted to check out Magnolia Cafe on South Congress for breakfast at the recommendation of Julie who lived in Austin for years before moving to Seattle. Once fed and happy, we headed up to Cedar Park, the suburb of Austin we will be living and working in. We weren't impressed as we drove through on the highway, so it made me happy to find a fabulous mall where we were able to entertain ourselves for a bit until our appointment with a local Realtor rolled around. Any city with a good mall means it has more than what I saw from the road. While B geeked out in a video game store just like his Dad's back home, I again made friends with some locals and asked all sorts of questions which they were quite happy to answer. Both had nothing but wonderful things to say about the area, which is experiencing amazing growth. One of the women was even a transplant, having moved from Buffalo, NY 11 years earlier.  

We met up a little later with our Realtor Ron, whom we found through Zip Realty. He had about 6 houses for us to see, all in different neighborhoods, so we could get a feel for the different areas we could find homes. Now, I have to back up and let you know why we immediately jumped to buying, rather than renting. If you remember back to Billy's birthday guest post when the idea of moving to Texas first arose, you will see that his man-ological clock is ticking pretty loud. Not for babies, mind you, but for a home he can have paid off by the time he retires. Also, when I was looking for rentals, and comparing them to the homes for sell, I realized that I could be paying a mortgage on a big old house that was the same as what I pay on my 1 bedroom apartment here in San Jose. 
Mind = blown. 
So of course we wanted to see what we could buy before turning to an apartment or other rental in the area. Well, some of the houses I had flagged that Ron showed us were less impressive in person. Not awful, mind you, as most of the homes were less than 20 years old and in pretty decent shape, but nothing called out to us. That is, until the 3rd home, on a street called Branding Iron Lane. {link to the zip profile, where you can see the rest of the photos!} 
It was the first, and only, one-story home we saw that day. The others were two-stories. The stairs could be seen as a problem, you know, with how klutzy and accident prone I am, and also our desire not to move furniture up stairs. I didn't realize I even had a preference for a one-story before walking into that home. Immediately, we were greeted by arched doorways, beautiful tile, designer paint, a kitchen with a fancy back splash, updated cabinets with amazing granite counters. Seriously, this place blew us away, and had both Billy and I saying out loud how much we loved it. It's 3 bedroom, 2 bath, with a separate office that B and I are already fighting over. The master suite has a garden tub and a stand up shower, a huge walk-in closet, and the toilet even has it's own "throne room", which you know that is a super cool feature if you share a bathroom with a significant other. The backyard has a patio with a ceiling fan, and a huge lawn that Sadie will love running around in. There is even a doggy flap installed in the backdoor, holla! 
Needless to say, we have put an offer in on this house, and are waiting to hear back after the sellers countered and we accepted, on the condition that they throw in the appliances. Cross your fingers for us, this is huge! Every place in San Jose we put offers on last year had multiple cash offers and ended up selling for way more than the asking price. Seeing this house had already been on the market for 45 days, and we offered less than asking, and still got a counter was amazing to us.  

Once Ron had showed us all of the homes that day, he drove us around Cedar Park. He showed us the Cedar Park Center, which is home to a hockey team and a basketball team that feeds the NHL and NBA teams in Texas, and also has big concerts. Thank goodness I can get some good music and watch live sports, if I ever feel like it. Ron showed us the location of the new Costco warehouse Billy will be working at. It is supposed to open November 15, but only the foundation has been poured so far! Apparently, it's behind schedule, but the crews can work quickly. After driving around town, he took us out to hill country, so we could see just how close we were. It was crazy how we just drove out to hill country, and instead of climbing a hill, the terrain just sort of dropped out from beneath us, creating valleys and hills to drive though. It was bizarre, but made me so happy to find something familiar in the landscape. San Jose is in a huge valley with gorgeous mountains on 3 sides, which means I am used to lots of hills all around. Being in Texas made me miss those hills with a passion. I realized just how much I rely on the landscape to geographically orient myself while I drive. Not having any hills, or anything that stuck up off the ground other than the occasional water tower, was so hard on my sense of direction! I had no idea what direction I was driving in at any given moment, and found I was turned around a whole lot. Gail, the GPS, didn't help much in that aspect either. 

Ron dropped us off at our car, and we headed directly to the Salt Lick, finding it open this time. We had spent 4 hours with Ron, and hadn't eaten since early that day, so we were starving. The Salt Lick was really good! It had come highly recommended by so many people, and was well worth the wait to finally eat there. Heading back into downtown Austin, we had the intention to stroll around 2nd street and stop into a few bars looking for live music. We made it into one bar, Kung Fu Saloon, that had a video game theme which drew Billy's attention. We each had a rather weak drink {that's saying a lot, as I am the lightest of weights when it comes to alcohol!}, then meandered out. We walked up and down 2nd street, but only found one bar that had live music. It was a Tuesday evening, so we shouldn't have expected much. Just as we sat down, the musician took a break! Just our luck. We figured it was time to head back to the hotel and try to get some sleep. Instead we stayed up too late, thanks to our time difference issues. 

Look for Day 3 recap tomorrow!

9.01.2013

In the heart of Texas: day 1

Hey y'all! 
{I'm working on my Texas-isms and southern drawl so I can fit in once we get to Texas}

Wow, talk about a whirlwind trip. Texas is a big state, and even though I spent 4 hours in a car, 3 days in a row, I barely saw any of it. Not that I was on a road trip to see the state or anything, but that's sort of how it worked out.

How did we decide to go to Texas for a short trip? Grab a drink and kick your feet up, I've got a long recap for you.

At the beginning of August, I said to Billy, "Hey, B, we should really check out this state you keep applying to, since we have never been there, and you are proposing we move there indefinitely should you get one of these jobs."  And just like that, I got  the OK to proceed with "vacation" planning. I quote vacation, because it definitely wasn't my idea of a vacation. No, vacation in my mind is Las Vegas, or a tropical island where I can sip fruity drinks on the beach. Texas somehow doesn't fit into that category for me. 

Originally, I had planned to spend the trip in Dallas, as there was an existing warehouse store in Plano that B had applied to, so I figured we could visit and see what the store was like. About a week later, when no one could give me any suggestions for things to do while in Dallas, I decided to book a night in Austin, and spend part of our trip there. I totally did what any small business owner does when wanting to be able to write off traveling expenses, and booked a makeup business and marketing class in Dallas for Wednesday night, so I couldn't turn the whole trip into an Austin destination. Well, B had his interview a week before we were to leave, and that Friday, we heard that he got the job. Que me freaking out for 1) realizing that meant we had to pack up and move, and I was inundated with the limitless logistics that made my head swim, and 2) our trip now had to serve as a house hunting trip, rather than any sort of vacation. 

I did what I could, but being a couple of days out from our travels, there was no cheap way to change our flights or hotels. I did book a second night in Austin, and changed our plans so we would fly into Dallas and immediately drive the 3-4 hours to Austin to check into our hotel, then drive back to Dallas on Wednesday. It was funny knowing we had two hotels booked for both Monday and Tuesday evenings. Funny as in I cried a little knowing we were wasting money. 

Monday morning came too early, and at the airport I was pissed to see our flight, the one that would have cost me far too much money to change to Austin, was actually stopping in Austin before continuing on to Dallas.  You mean to tell me, that it would cost more money to get off your plane earlier? Yeah, I felt the sting of that one, Southwest. However, I did make a new friend in Ann, a lovely San Jose resident who actually lives close to me, who was going to visit her daughter in Buda, a southern suburb of Austin, and an Austin native. Ann had so much to  say to me about the area, and I really enjoyed the few hours we chatted. She got off in Austin, and I felt way better about this trip, and the eventual move, since she was so nice. We finally made it to Dallas, where we picked up our ride for the week, a Chevy Camaro SS. I proceeded to commandeer the keys, and didn't give them back to B until we were returning the car on Thursday.  Yes,  I very much enjoyed driving the 400 horsepower, burly, tank of a car. It was way too easy to reach and exceed the speed limits, which ranged from 55-85 mph. The drive to Austin was pretty flat, and rather boring as it was through rural countryside for the most part. Something I noticed while driving was how green Texas is! I live in California, with super temperate weather that doesn't get too hot, and yet it is far more gold and brown than Texas which regularly has months of 90+ degree weather and droughts. I couldn't believe it. We also saw a huge double rainbow as we drove through Waco, and a gorgeous sunset.

We reached Austin after dark, and the Google Maps app on my phone ended up taking us out of the way when we asked to find a Salt Lick Barbecue joint, which we had heard was fantastic. We were pissed when we reached the Austin airport, as we couldn't exactly get into the terminal to find the restaurant there. We decided right there that we had to name the GPS, as yelling at each other for the fault of the map wasn't making us feel any better. Google Maps became Gail, and holy hell is that the way to save your marriage while traveling. So many times over the trip we yelled "DAMN IT GAIL!!" or simply "GAIL!!" when we were rerouted when she couldn't figure out if we were on a frontage road or the highway, or she took us out of the way, or the phone slid off the center console, again. It actually made us laugh when we were super unhappy, so trust me, name your inanimate objects and get mad at them, instead of each other. We finally found the Salt Lick we had originally wanted to go to, but we got there an hour after closing. Whomp whomp. We immediately settled on Whataburger, a hugely popular fast food burger place, and were happily surprised by the food. Although, since we hadn't eaten since that AM before the flight, anything would have tasted like the BEST THING EVER at that point. We met some very friendly employees, who insisted on talking to us while we inhaled our burgers, fries and shakes, so again, we were impressed by the nice people of Texas. I definitely felt my Californian tendencies to want to ignore strangers and keep people out of my space bubble rise up, especially because I was tired, hungry, and just wanting to be left alone. No dice, I had to accept their friendly chatter and just deal with it. Such a hardship, accepting friendliness from strangers haha

We checked into our hotel sometime around 11pm, and crashed. If you want a nice, relatively inexpensive hotel in downtown Austin, I highly recommend the Hampton Inn on San Jacinto. The hotel is super updated, really cute, and offers free breakfast that we never got to experience, and is very close to a lot of fun things. I didn't think the beds were all that comfortable though, but that's because I need a super cushy, soft mattress, as everything else feels like a rock and has my back hurting.

Look for Day 2 recap tomorrow!

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