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Hi. Hi. Hey. Hello. Hello? Heelllooo????  Is anyone still there?

That’s right, ladies and gentlemen (if any of you still exist), I’m back.  To be honest, I’m not really sure where I went.  I still haven’t found a new job, but for an unemployed gal like myself, I am very busy!  I originally started this blog to remember the little things in life and at times it makes me sad that while L and I plan a not-so-little thing (ie our WEDDING), I have majorly failed at the blogging thing. 

We’ve wrapped up many major and non-major details of our big day – including finally finding a church that we both agree on and like very much.  The plan is to write a recap post – or maybe series of posts in case any of you are still out there and care to read them.

In the meantime, we’ve been looking at some new houses.  L wants to buy something before the market seesaws back the other way and doing it before we’re married is probably the best idea (since my credit is not so great due to some student loan difficulties a couple years ago).  Anyway, we found one that we love that the builder forclosed on.  What is normally a $350,ooo+ house is on the market for $230,000.  However, that is still waaaaay beyond our price range.  We’re working with a real estate agent that a friend of ours works with who suggested our first offer be significantly lower than the asking price.  Significantly lower.  Basically, if they went for the price, we would be getting a house more than DOUBLE the size of our current house for almost the same price.  Crazy, I know.

But, it’s all dependent on a lot of other things working out.  So fingers crossed, because I’ve sort of fallen in love with this house and we’ve already talked about the different ways we would like to decorate, etc.  I’m trying not to get my hopes up too high though, because it would be the story of my life to be thinking and talking about this house so much and then not get it.

When out with the agent, we brought her by our house to get her point of view on what things we should change before we put it on the market.  She mentioned a few things here and there, but said that the first things that needed to change were the countertops in the bathrooms.  They are this really ugly dark green/white marble.  They make me want to puke, so I’m not surprised that she mentioned they needed to change.  Luckily, the cabinets are fine so it’s just the top that needs to change.

While searching for different ideas, I perused many different sites for some ideas.  I found some beautiful bathroom vanities at this one site.  They’ve got lots of great stuff, including the Indocraft Atlantis bathroom vanity that would look great in a half bath.  This site is part of the CSN stores (they have more than 200) and I’ve gotten a mirror from them before.  The quality and service is great, so I would expect nothing less from Just Vanities.

Well, off to more day dreaming about the house that may or may not be ours one day and moving on to some more wedding tasks.  I’m going to be bored after our big day!

I’ve been presented with an opportunity.  Some might think it’s not the most ethical opportunity, but I don’t really have a problem with it.  One of L’s colleagues approached me and asked if I would be interested in writing his papers for a music appreciation class he is taking.  And he’ll pay me.  I just have to name my price.

But what do you charge for something like this?  Obviously I want to make it worth my while, but I don’t want to rip him off and lose this opportunity for a little extra cash.  I know some people don’t agree with this, but let’s face it, it’s been going on for as long as term papers have existed. 🙂

I never knew anyone in college that paid to have a paper or assignment done for them, so I can’t even make a comparison.  He asked me about this last month before his semester started, so I told him to show me his syllabus and we’d talk after that.  I know I should base it on how long the paper is and how much research I would have to do to complete it, but where do you think it starts?

This all began when L was working at this guy’s station one day (they have to switch up for a shift every  now and then) and was working on some homework.  He and L started talking about schoolwork and what a pain some of the general ed classes were and L told him that I helped him with his papers for him.  That’s when the guy asked if I’d be willing to do it for other people for money. 

Many of the guys that work at the fire department are in school.  You just need a high school diploma to get hired, but there are different pay levels based on education.  So many of them get hired young and complete their schooling part-time.  I began helping L with his because I find it fun.  I miss college.  The learning and writing papers and staying up to study for exams.  Don’t get me wrong.  I did NOT enjoy this while I was in college and I couldn’t wait for graduation day!  It’s one of those ‘the grass is greener on the other side’ situations.

These guys don’t want to be bothered with the freshman English or music appreciation classes they are required to take.  They want the fire classes and the diploma.

So what do you think?  Let’s say it’s a two page paper (I’m trying to think back to my music appreciation class which was about 8 years ago) that requires2 hours of research.  What would be a good price?

L and I have been in full wedding planning mode since he proposed.  Really, just trying to find a venue and secure a date.  That’s all I really care about at this point.  We’re hoping for the Sunday of Labor Day weekend to give people an extra day to travel and to take advantage of the lower Sunday rates all at the same time.

I have researched and gathered pricing and availability information from everywhere in the Charlotte area.  And then I did the same for the Wilmington/beach area since we want to consider that as well.  Then, together, we looked at the information and the websites in detail and created a ranked spreadsheet of the different venues.  We nixed any that were just too expensive and then decided on which ones we needed/wanted to look at, etc. 

Last Sunday, we drove around a bunch of places doing drive bys and were able to cut a few more off the list just based on looks, etc.  Then I made appointments for us to meet with some of the venues.  This past Friday we went to four places, another one on Saturday and yesterday we drove to Wilmington (and back in one day – a little more than 3 hours each way) to hit a small bridal show and visit 3 other venues, plus check out some other things in the area.

Meanwhile, we also put together our guest list.  It started off at close to 250 people, which is just way too high for the budget that we have.  We are pretty much splitting the cost of this wedding with my parents.  About 99% of our half is coming from L.  It doesn’t help that I don’t have a job right now.  Even so, we have about $5000 more to spend than we originally thought we would and I am very grateful to my parents for that.  They are contributing a significantly greater amount than I thought they would be able to.

So we tried to cut our list down and got it to about 200.  Now, going by the approximately-80%-of-your-guest-list-will-actually-come-to-your-wedding rule, we were at about 160.   As we continue to look at venues, we were estimating about 130-150 guests.  If it were in Wilmington, it would probably be on the lower end of that, but can’t count on that.  Going through all the information from all of these venues, it’s becoming real that we can barely afford the 150 number.  It would leave very little room for anything else. 

I am fine with doing a lot DIY things and actually look forward to it.  I pride myself on being a bargain shopper and know that will help things in the long run.  The only thing I want to splurge on is photography.  I would rather have a smaller wedding and have it at a nicer location or not have to worry about scraping pennies together, rather than having a huge guest list.  L says that he wants a big party – the ceremony is important to him too – but he is looking forward to a big celebration with friends.  He too, says that he’s fine with having a smaller guest list, but this is where it started.

As we were driving around in between appointments discussing one of the venues, I mentioned how we need to cut the list even more because I was afraid this was going to very difficult to afford this with the number that we have now.  This eventually led to him saying how he can’t help it that his family is so much larger than mine and that he’s inviting hardly any friends because of that and he has cut so many people off the list that he wants to invite.  He basically made me feel horribly for this and said how I’m putting this all on him and blaming him because his family is so big, etc. 

At the same time, it’s not my fault that my family is smaller, allowing me to invite more friends.  But let’s be clear, I really don’t have a ton of friends.  I don’t know nearlyas many people as he does.  And, based on the names I’ve ssen on the guest list, I really don’t know who all these people are that he wants to invite that he can’t.  He says that right now his list is family and close friends and that’s it, but in my opinion, that’s what a wedding should be. 

Sure, if we had 30 or 40 or $50,000 to spend on a wedding, we could invite more people who were casual friends, etc., but we don’t.  Which means that we need to invite those that matter the most to us.  The ones who you wouldn’t want to miss out on this special and important day.

Yesterday was our first, and what I hope is our only, fight about this process.  He said that I should give him some leeway since he is paying for half of this wedding which I should just consider would be covering his large guest list.  That really hurt my feelings because he always said that would be ‘our’ contribution.  I know it’s his money, but it just really, really hurt my feelings the way he said it.  He also through at me, that I “should see the list with all the people on it that he wants to invite and can’t.  Then [I] would really see how many people [he has] cut.”  And that he has cut and cut and cut and he just can’t get rid of any other people.  I asked who all this family was and if it were necessary to invite others who were not considered immediately family since the only family I’m inviting is immediate.  He said they are family and they have to be invited and that his mom said so too.  It doesn’t help that his sister is getting married a few months before us.  I asked if he reminded his mom that our budget is likely significantly less than what his sister’s is and he said he had.

In additon to our individual lists, we also have a mutual list made up of all friends.  This list is not small by any means and I reminded him of this when he said that he has hardly any friends invited.  I also reminded him that there was a good chunk of people on my list that should technically be on the mutual list and that he was the one who pointed that out when we created the list.  If this was how he wanted to compare lists, then I was going to move those people to the mutual list.

When we got home last night, that’s why I did.  I moved the mutals on my list to the mutual list and then looked at the numbers again.  On his individual list, 39% of the guests were in the ‘friend’ category.  On my list, 24% of the guests were in the ‘friend’ category.  When I pointed this out, he said it was only because I moved a bunch of mine to the mutual list.  I then reminded him, once again, that he was the one who said they should be on the mutual list.

After that, I cut even more people from my list.  People that I want to be there.  Some that I want to be there, but am pretty sure won’t be able to come due to distance and finances.  But I cut them, since he has “made the sacrafices with this guest list.”  He made a few moves and we got the total number down from 200 to 160.  This made me much happier and at this point we were much more civil. 

But the whole argument that happened the few hours before really annoyed me, hurt me and angered me. 

First of all, I refuse to be miserable during this process.  I have seen how this is frustrating me some to not be able to find someplace that we can easily afford.  Perhaps now that we’ve cut the list, this will help.  Based on a few prices we’ve found, this cut can save us up to $3000 which is a huge amount of money.  Second, not only do I not want to be miserable, I do NOT want to argue during this process.

Sure there has been a disappointment, he doesn’t like a venue that I LOVE and think would be perfect.  But we don’t argue about it.  If he doesn’t like it, fine.  There are other places that we both like.  Am I disappointed?  Absolutely.  Do I think it’s a good deal and would allow us to shop around for other components and potentially save money?  Yes.  But I don’t want to choose a venue that he doesn’t like just because I do.  Long before we ever got engaged, I told him that I didn’t want to do this planning by myself (not saying that my friends and mom wouldn’t help me), but that I wanted to do it together because it is OUR wedding.

As far as the guest list goes, he says we are on the same page.  Especially with the whole would-rather-have-a-smaller-but-nicer-wedding-rather-than-a-larger-but-not-as-nice-wedding.  But when it comes down to it, that’s now how he made it out.  And whether I “took it the wrong way” or not, that’s how it came across. 

I think we’re ok with where we are now with the guest list.  I’m still very sad with three of the people (plus their husbands) that I had to cut from my list, but perhaps they can take the place of a few people I know are not able to attend. 

I just want to have this part done.  The venue.  And the damn ceremony location – meaning, decide if it’s going to be in the same place or not and if it’s not where the heck it will be since L doesn’t want a church wedding.

Then we can move on to the fun stuff.

Well, hello blog world.  Are you still there?  I’ve somewhat ignored this little space of mine.  I either haven’t had much to say, or I just plain didn’t feel like writing.  How could that be since I have no job?  I don’t know.  It’s weird.  Sometimes I have trouble mustering up the motivation for things.  Like how I’ve looked at the pile of clean laundry grow larger and larger, but I just can’t seem to bring myself to fold it and put it away.  Or all the projects I have come up with to work on now that I have all this free time, yet, I just haven’t done them.  I know that I’ll eventually get a job (I will right?  Because I’m starting to worry) and I won’t have ALL this time anymore and I’ll be mad at myself for not doing it.

So what have I been doing?  Eh, not a whole lot.  I still spend a lot of time taking the puppies to the dog park.  Sometimes we’ll spend 3 hours there.  I know I could spend some of that time doing these projects I’ve come up with, but I just love taking them and watching them play.  Plus it’s so good for them to get the exercise.  We go almost every day.  Not always for three hours, but we do do that often.  It kind of depends on the weather and how many dogs are there and how much they’re playing.  Over the last two weeks though, every single day we go at least one, sometimes more, person has asked me if Shep is a puppy.  I just laugh and tell them that no, he’s not.  He’s almost two years old.  The question usually comes when he “kneels” down on his front two paws with his butt in the air, tail wagging wildly, jumping and twisting around and barking.  He’s quite a site.

We finally spoke with L’s uncle’s vet about Shep’s eye.  He says he thinks we should wait before we take his eye out.  His gut feeling is that the tumor won’t grow beyond his skull, but it might be a good idea to get an ultrasound to use as a baseline for down the road.  Also, he thinks we should have been advised to do that in the very beginning.  I’m not too happy with our opthamologist.  I think that he based a lot of his advice on the fact that we mentioned we didn’t have a lot of money to spend.  But what we met was that, we might not be able to pay for a $2500 treatment that day, but if it’s necessary, we can save our money and do it at a point in the future.  You know what I mean?  Anyway, we may go back or we may go to an opthamologist in Raleigh that works with NC State University’s Vetrinary School that was recommended by L’s uncle’s vet.

In other doggy eye news, he’s got this weird white/greenish gunk coming out of his eye.  I think it might be infected, so we’re trying to get him in this week to be looked at.  My poor puppy.

L surprised me with tickets to A Chorus Line on Saturday night.  I had mentioned that I wanted to go and then I just never bought the tickets, but he did.  It was a great show and a wonderful night together.

We’ve worked on the yard.  A lot!  We spend all day Saturday dethatching, aerating, watering, etc.  Hopefully we’ll actually be able to grow grass this year.  We’ve have a lot more wood to build the fence with and will be working on that too.  It was important to get the grass worked on so L could put seed down before it gets too cold.

Let’s see, what else?

L was at work last night and our friend had to come over when I heard a noise.  It sounded like something fell in the laundry room.  Even though the puppies didn’t budge, it still scared me.  I called L and he stayed on the phone with me while I checked the laundry room, garage and porch and found nothing.  While I was standing in the laundry room, I heard another noise that sounded like it was coming from underneath the house.  It was probably just Shep flopping down on the floor, but then I remembered we never locked the door to the crawl space the day before.  I freaked out so L had our friend come over and check it out.  And he didn’t even make fun of me. 🙂  Not to my face at least.

This same friend lives in a really nice neighborhood around the corner from us.  He and L worked together today in town and I went to lunch with them.  They stopped by his house first and L walked into the house across from him that the developer foreclosed on and told me all about it.  It sounded beautiful (plus I know how nice or friend’s house is, so I figured it had to be similar).  L took me over there after lunch and oh my God, I WANT IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  It is a steal, too.  Still more than we could afford, but both our friend and L said that it would be worth lowballing them for a better price bc they likely just want to get it off their hands.  It would be an awesome investment too since they are selling if for about $120,000 LESS than what it’s worth.

I want it.  No, like, I REALLY want it.  L said that he wants to just throw an offer out to them.  And I hate when he says stuff like that because he never acts on it, but it gets my  hopes up.  I mean, the liklihood of them accepting what we would be able to offer is slim, but it’s still the excitement of doing it. 

The house is unfinished and our friend was suggesting to put in the offer that they could leave things out, like carpeting, etc. to help.  I would love it if we could even look into it more, but I’m trying my best not to get my hopes up, because this is the one thing that L doesn’t really come through on.  He talks a lot of talk about it, but rarely does anything.  Perhaps this is why I’m bad at window shopping in general.

But if we were across the street from our friend – it’s a whole lot closer for him when I hear a strange noise 😉

We’ve got lots of stuff going on this October (also, how is it October already?).  L’s birthday is coming up which means a trip to his parent’s house and the state fair which I’m pretty excited about. 

We’re running two 5ks this month.  My very first.  We were only going to do one, but they just scheduled one on my college campus, so I really want to do that too.

Speaking of running, I’ve run 4 miles.  At one time.  Without stopping.  Pretty amazing if you ask me.  It takes me awhile to do it, but I’m not going for time.  I just want to do it.

I booked a hotel room for the Cooper River Bridge Run which is March 27.  They are very expensive that weekend and I’m afraid of them selling out, so I just went ahead and got one.  🙂

I guess that’s it.  I’ll try to post a little more frequently.  As I try to get more motivation for toher stuff in life too!

I hardly ever use my check book.  I couldn’t even tell you the last time I broke it out.  I just have no need for it on a regular basis.  I pay all my bills online and that’s about it.  But there is that time every now and then when I need it.  And now is one of them.  And I just can’t freakin find it!

I looked for it a couple weeks ago when I needed to write a check to cover my health insurance premium to make sure my coverage remained intact since I was laid off.  I was quite unsuccessful, but luckily I just transferred some money to my mom and she wrote the check for me (I feel like such a child saying that).

But now I need it to set up a direct deposit.  No, I haven’t gotten a job, but fortunatley you can now have your unemployment benefits directly deposited into your checking account.  So obviously, I need my own check. 

I’m not at a complete loss though.  If you don’t set up a direct deposit, they send you a special debit card that you can use.  I was a little worried that this debit card was going to scream “Hi! I’m unemployed!”  But luckily, it doesn’t.  I guess if you know what the debit cards look like, you would know, but if you don’t, it’s pretty inconspicuous.  Just a regular Master Card debit card that has a picture of a cardinal and says North Carolina across the top in pretty writing.

Ok.  The debit card idea is fine and I got it today so for the first time I finally have access to my funds.  It will just be so much easier to have it in my regualr account which is why I have to find that damn checkbook.

But I do have one issue with their little debit card program.  You are charged the usual ATM surcharges unless you use a Wachovia ATM.  No biggie, they’re all over the place since they are headquartered in Charlotte.  However, you can only get TWO free ATM withdrawls PER MONTH.  Even if it is at Wachovia.  After that, it’s $1.50 per withdrawl.  I know that’s an average ATM fee, but seriously, you only get TWO per month?!  This is for people who are UNEMPLOYED.  Every penny counts. 

I don’t even get cash out of the ATM that often, but it still annoys me.  Maybe it’s to deter people from spending the money on lottery tickets and such.  But still.  What about people with kids who might need money for school and all.  Anyway.  That’s just me.  I find it annoying and greedy.

Moving on…  off to turn the house upside down looking for my check book.

Wow.  So it’s been awhile since I posted.  But frankly, when one doesn’t have a job,  I just don’t always have a lot to say.  I will say though that I’ve been able to fill up my days better than I thought I would and some other exciting things have happened too (no, L has not proposed).

– L and I booked a trip to Cabo for next July!  Yes, the girl without a job just booked a 8 day/7 night trip to Cabo at a 4 star all-inclusive resort.  Actually, this trip has been in the works for 3 years now.  My friend LM once said that if she wasn’t seriously dating someone by her 30th birthday, that we were all going to go to Cabo to celebrate her birthday in lieu of a bachelorette party.  Well, a year from next month, LM will be turning 30, and since no boyfriend is in the picture, we’re packing our bags.  But frankly, I pretty sure we would have gone anyway.  At first it was just a girls trip, but then she invited boyfriends/husbands as well.  Invitations went out and the estimated cost was between $1500 and 2000 including airfare.  Yes, meals and even alcohol are included as well, but still, that is a lot of money!   Then two weeks later I lost my job.  L said he wasn’t going if it was that expensive and he would help me pay my way since we’ve been planning this for so long.  Well, LM went to actually book the trip and we got an amazing deal – this trip, including everything is no longer $2000 – but a mere $900.  Whoa!  So excited.  And L is coming too!

– And since we’ll be spending a week by the pool, we’ve got to get in shape (and you know, maybe something else will be next year too that we will want to look our best for).  So L and I have started working out at the gym at the vol FD.  The crazy thing?  I actually enjoy it and look forward to it.  Wow.  Never thought I’d say that.

-The other day it was so nice out, we had a cool spell and I just wanted to be outside.  Rather than working out at the gym, we decided to go run outside.  Oh yeah.  Remember that?  How I was going to try to run?  Well, that kind of fell by the wayside when it was like 95+ degrees everyday.  You know what else happened that day?  I ran a WHOLE mile.  Without stopping.  Yes, yes.  A mile is not much.  But to me, it is HUGE.  Never before have I done this.  Don’t get me wrong, the end was painful and I’m sure I was a sight to see, but I still did it.  For the first half of the run, it actually felt GOOD.  And I thought to myself, ohhh, this is why people do it.  I really think the working out L and I have been doing has helped a lot. 

-I still want to do the Cooper River Bridge Run in April and have a long way to go, but I’ve decided I need smaller goals in between.  On Halloween morning, we’ll be doing a 5K around the airport and part of it is even on one of the runways.  And in December we’ll be doing another one.

– And what’s crazier – yesterday I ran a mile AGAIN.  By myself.  I didn’t even have L there to push me.  Very early on I didn’t think I was going to make it, but I just kept pushing myself.  It was incredible.

-In other news, I’ve taken the puppies to the park a lot, I’ve been doing other On Demand workouts and I’ve been searching for a job.

-I’ve found lots of jobs to apply for, but just haven’t really gotten anywhere with them.  I just want an interview!  Fingers crossed I’ll find something soon.

-L ended up with next Friday-Sunday completely off work.  I’m crossing my fingers that his parent’s beach condo is available and we can go.  We haven’t been to the beach since June and I’m itching to put my toes in the sand.

-And that’s about it!

I’m sitting here perusing some blogs and looking for job postings and have the news on in the background.  A story just came on that really irks me.  Soon (I can’t remember when since I was doing too many things at once), US Air will start charging $20 for the first bag checked.

Seriously? 

$20 for ONE checked bag?

Come on, people. 

Oh, and that’s only if you check your bags online – which I didn’t even know you could do.  Anyway, if you check them in at the airport, it’s $5 more.

Ok fine.  You need to charge more because you’re losing money.  But now you’re going to charge more to do it at the airport? 

Sometimes I don’t know if I”m going to check a bag until right before I leave.  It depends on what I can fit into what bags.

Also, with all this charging for bags, it causes havok on the plane and makes the boarding process so much longer because people don’t want to pay the fees and try to shove huge bags in compartments that they don’t fit in.  Or people who can’t manage to lift their bag above them try to and block the aisle and oh my God can’t you just sit down and fasten your seatbelt so we can go???

Perhaps this will go the way of the fees for soda and water.  Since you know, that was dumb too and they went back to it being free.

On a side note, I think all the additional charges are completely absurd anyway.  Don’t tell me that the fuel costs more during Thanksgiving than other times.  Because I don’t think that’s true yet you’re still trying to charge me $600 to fly from NC to NY.  Yeah. Not cool.

Annnd, speaking of crazy ticket prices.  Why were tickets to Cabo $230 last Monday and as of last Tuesday they are $450?  Because, I don’t know, we may have just booked a week long trip to Cabo for next July to celebrate LM’s 30th bday.

Ok.  I’ll end my random tangent.

Yesterday, Shep had his eye surgery.  I was a ball of nerves the day before, that morning and all afternoon.  Even though the doctor and the vet tech seemed to make it out like it was no big deal – “The doctor will just go in, snip it out and that will be it,” the vet tech told me when I made the appointment – I was still very nervous that something would go wrong.

We had to drop him off by 8:30 and since we were travelling in the direction of rush hour, we had to leave at around 7:15.  Shep and Dixie were a little confused that morning.  L brought them in from going out side and they both ran to their crates like normal, waiting for breakfast.  Well, Shep wasn’t allowed to eat so we didn’t feed Dixie till we got home to be fair.  We called Shep out of his crate, and Dixie came too.  I told her to go back in and Shep went to.  It was pretty funny.  Finally, L took Shep by the leash, we put Dixie in her crate and headed out.  She definitely looked confused as to why Shep was going with us and she was staying home.  They rarely are apart from each other.  In fact, the only time they are apart is when they have to go to the vet for their own individual ailments.

We checked him in and paid the 75% deposit of the estimated cost.  Fortunately, we were able to save up just about all of the money we thought we would need and would have to put a very, very small amount on a credit card.  We waited in the waiting room for them to come get him and Shep sat there and whined the whole time.  I don’t think he was nervous, that’s just what he does.  He whines for no reason.  In anycase, the vet tech, who is extremely nice, came to get him and talked to us for a few minutes.  Then she let us hug him and pet him all we wanted before she took him back.  That made me really happy.  When we took them to get fixed (at our regular vet, yesterday we were at the specialist), they took them back without even letting us say anything – perhaps because it is such a routine surgery.

Anyway, she told us that he would probably be done around 3 or 4.  I went home while L went to a meeting.  When I walked in the door, I could hear Dixie’s tail hitting the crate as she wagged it.  But with the sound of only one tail wagging, it was much quieter.  I let her out of her crate and she was her usual excited self, but she kept going to the garage door like she was looking for Shep.  When we came back in from outside, she ran and jumped up and down the hallway like normal, but usually Shep and her are playing.  It was weird to see her doing it on her own.  For the next little while she layed around and looked sad.

When L got home she greeted him at the door and kept looking behind him for Shep.  She also kept smelling us like “I know you were with him. Where is he?”

The vet tech called us at about 2:45 telling us that Shep was ready and could be picked up after 3:30.  She then put the doctor on the phone to talk to me.  He told me that he took some of the growth out, but not all of it and that he was doing ok.  He said something about having the oncologist look at it and sending it out to the lab to be tested.

I was mad.  And so was L.  They were supposed to take the entire growth out.  That’s what we decided to do.  At our last appointment the doctor said there was no point in just doing a biopsy and that while he was under anestesia, he would just take it out.  The reason was because there was no point in putting him under a second time to take it out.  Doing it all at once would save us money, but more importantly, it would put less stress on his body.

When we got there, we planned to talk to the doctor again to ask this question.  We ended up talking to the vet tech and she told us that they absolutely were going to take the whole thing out, but that it had grown more since our last visit and the doctor just couldn’t get it all.  You can’t see it when you look at him straight on anymore, just if you pull the corner of his eye or if he is looking in a certain direction. 

We got two types of pills he has to get and an eye ointment he has to get 2-3 times a day.  We should hopefully get the results back from the lab on Monday and will have to go back in in 2 weeks for a recheck.

On a positive note, since they couldn’t take the whole thing out, it wasn’t as expensive and we still have $300 left (which we’ll save for any further treatment).

She brought him out and he wagged his tail when we saw us, but you could tell he was definitely still a little loopy and tired.  He doesn’t have a patch or a cone or anything.  We left and L had to pick him up into the truck (although, that’s not really unusual.  He’s kind of lazy and rarely will jump into the truck).  At first he sat up and stared straight ahead.  Then within 5 minutes, he was laying down sleeping.

Once we were home, we had to hold Dixie so she wouldn’t tackle him and hurt his eye.  They play so rough.

Later on, L left to go to his parents house for the night and today and I went to dinner for a bachelorette party.  While there, I got a call, but didn’t recognize the number so I didn’t answer.  I checked my voicemail and it was the doctor again.  He said that he didn’t think that it was a fatty tumor (which is what he thought all along).  To me, this is bad news because if it were a fatty tumor, it wasn’t really dangerous according to him.  He said we need to figure out what kind of tissue it is, which is what the results from the lab will tell us.  He took out as much of it as he could, but it has grown significantly and that if we need to go in and get the rest it would entail taking his eye out, but that’s something that we’ll get to talk about with him.  He said to call him back today, but L isn’t home, so I guess we’ll wait till Monday when he hopefully calls us with the lab results.  I don’t know if the eye removal is permanent or if they can put it back in.  One of my friends I was with last night (who used to work at an animal hospital) said that they can put it back in. 

I just hope that he’s ok and it’s nothing too serious.  I love my Shep and I don’t want anything bad to happen to him.

Then I started to get really upset with me and L.  Our last appointment was as the end of May when we decided to have it removed.  But because it was so expensive we decided to try and save half the money and put the other half on a credit card.  At the end of July, I called to make the surgery appointment – the receptionist could have gotten us in that next week, but we waited almost another month so it would be after we went to CT and we’d have a little more cash.  I know this all sounds like a good plan, and it was. 

But also in that time we bought a new laptop and just put the entire cost on L’s credit card.  We needed a new laptop, but we didn’t really need  it right away.  We got it because it was on a really good sale and there was a limited amount.  Once we got the computer and the extended warranty and something else, it came to about $1000.  The same amount that we were trying to save for Shep’s surgery.

I became so mad that we were selfish enough to put that much money for ourselves on his credit card, but we wouldn’t do it for Shep’s surgery.  The computer was sort of an impulse buy.  We talked about getting one at somepoint.  Then we were in Best Buy and I saw this one on sale.

If we would have just done the surgery in May or June and put it on his credit card instead of the computer, perhaps it wouldn’t have gotten so big and they could have take it all out.  L is trying to tell me not to blame us.  That we’re doing everything we can for him.  And I know we are and I know we will.  But I just get so mad that I was so selfish.  And it didn’t even cross my mind when we were buying it (Ohh! New computer! It’s shiny! And new!), but after we got home I thought about the computer vs. surgery thing.

But, I’m going to think positive.  And cross my fingers that everything will be ok.

I love my puppy.  Who happens to be laying with his head on my lap and snoring as I type this.

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Friday afternoon at about 2:30, my boss called me, and in a very chipper and upbeat tone, he asked me if I had a moment to stop by his office.  When I walked in he was on the phone with another colleague, so I sat down and waited.  He finished the call and got up while simultaneously greeting me in a happy manner that matched his phone call to me.  He walked over toward the door and that’s when the color left my face.  Based on what he said in our staff meeting earlier that day about the company’s financial situation, I knew he wasn’t closing the door to tell me I was getting a raise.

He continued to tell me he had bad news and right off the bat told me that he was laying me off.  I didn’t even know what to say or do.  I just sat there clenching my teeth hoping that the tears welling in my eyes would not start streaming down my cheeks. 

He assured me that it had absolutely nothing to do with my performance and that it was merely an issue of numbers.  Our monthly billings are over $120,000 less than this time last year.  This issue is something that the company has been dealing with for quite some time.  More talk about how he had to make cuts somewhere otherwise the entire company would start going down.  He reminded me that the client I worked on while my colleague was on maternity leave had glowing remarks about my performance during that time.  He had already spoken with that colleague of mine and told me how she fought for my job and how this was not an easy decision for him to make. 

I said very little during this whole event.  I had so many things just spinning around in my head that I couldn’t put any of them together.

His extremely generous (note sarcasm) severence package?  Two week’s pay and he’ll continue my health insurance through the end of August.  I mean, yes, I am appreciative of that, but still. 

He told me that he would be happy to give wonderful recomendations for me and would talk to some people in the industry that he knows.  I know he would give good recs for me, but I am doubtful about him talking to others – he forgets things easily, but perhaps I can send him an email in a few weeks if I haven’t heard anything from him.

He shook my hand an thanked me for all my hard work.  I left, went back and sat at the desk for two minutes and then walked directly into my colleagues office, closed the door and cried.  She told me how hard she fought for me.  How mad she was about this decision.  How it’s ridiculous that he is getting rid of the co-account manager on the most profitable client in the office. 

I took an hour to clean up my desk, pass along things that I needed to and her and I left at 3:30 to go to a bar for a couple of beers.  I only spoke with two other co-workers before I left.  I just had to get out of there.  I emailed everyone else, most of who were probably clueless until they saw my email.

At the bar, we continued to talk about how ridiculous htis was.  There were other things he could have done before this.  He could have frozen my 401k benefits, he could have reduced my salary.  Heck, he could have frozen 401k benefits or asked the entire staff to take a 5% paycut across the board.  I can pretty much guarantee that my salary isn’t enough to save the company from the situation it is in right now.

Also, how about my colleague who took me to the bar is the only account manager that has been there longer than me.  If this wasn’t performance-based, then why was I the one to go when I have been there for almost three years?  What about the account manager that started 4 weeks ago?  Why couldn’t I take his account and him have to leave?  He doesn’t have any specific background in his client’s industry, so he has no leg up on me.  Ugh.  Of course, these are all the things I thought about after I left.

In the meantime, it wasn’t more than 30 minutes after I talked to my colleague that she emailed someone she knows asking if she had anything.  She was unspecific, but asked for my resume.  My boss doesn’t want to tell our biggest client the truth about my lay off.  He wants to spin this positively to the client, but my colleague refuses.  She’s telling them the truth, and will ask them to keep an ear out for me.  We’re both pretty sure that the client will be unhappy about this change.  This means the client is going from two people working on them, to one person.  How is that positive?

I’ll file for unemployment, and everything will be ok.  I hope.  L promises we’ll be able to make it work.  That maybe this is a good thing because I’ve been wanting to get out for so long now.

It’s official.  Shep has an actual appointment to have surgery on his eye and remove the growth that is beside it.  L and I finally decided that by the end of this month we’ll have enough money to move forward with it for now.  August 20th is the  big day.

I called yesterday to make the appointment and speak with the vet tech. to ask some questions.  We have been planning on this costing approximately $900, but they told us that that is really toward the high end.  It will be anywhere between $750-950.  The surgery itself will probably cost closer to the $750 range, but they might send it off to the path lab to have it tested/biospied, which is an extra $180 (approx.).  I think we’re going to go ahead and tell them to definitely have it sent off – just to make sure.

The surgery, apparently, is kind of minor.  In terms of recovery time anyway.  We weren’t sure if he would have stay over or anything.  When I spoke with the vet tech., she told me that we need to drop him off by 8:30 am the day of the surgery, he will then be put under general anesteshia (I know I spelled that wrong), have the surgery and will probably be ready to go home around 1 or 2pm that day.  I couldn’t believe it.  When we had him and Dixie fixed, they were able to come home the same day, so I guess it’s not different really.

They are just going to cut in and remove the mass.  He’ll go home with some pain medicine, ointment and antibiotics for the week.  I asked if we should schedule it when someone will be home the next day and she said that wasn’t necessary, especially if he stays in a crate while we’re gone.  He’ll be a little loopy and tired that night, but the next day, he should be fine and can play and everything.

He won’t have a cone, collar or bandage over his eye.  Too bad.  L and I were really looking forward to him wearing a patch.  Then we were going to call him a pirate, and perhaps get him a parrot to wear on his shoulder. 🙂

We’ll have a little more than half in cash and will be putting the remainder on L’s credit card and paying if off from there.  We could have had the surgery done as early as next week, but we’ll have some more cash at the end of the month, so we decided to wait.  We’ll be glad when he’s back to normal and we know everything is ok.

June 2009 039

This weekend turned out to be really nice.  Our office suprisingly closed at 3 on Thursday, which was very nice!  I headed home and continued to work on the banners I was doing for the Volunteer FD’s 4th of July parade “float.”  L and I had a quick dinner and then he headed to training while I went and purchased MORE blue glitter for the signs.  I then worked on them until midnight and was still not done.

We had plans to actually put fence posts in the ground Friday, but I had to get these posters done since we were decorating the float at 2.  I finally finished at 1:45.  Spent a couple hours decorating and hanging out and then went home to shower and change and then headed to LM’s housewarming party.

I was sad about not getting to put the fence posts in.  You know, since L cleared the land last AUGUST.  Oh well, hopefully we’ll be able to do them next weekend.

LM’s party was fun and we stayed till about 1, which made getting up early the next morning for the parade tough.

We left the fire station at 8:30 to go get in line and hung out till 10 when it started.  The parade route is really small, but it was fun nonetheless.  We had great weather – sunny and warm, but not too warm.

I would show you pictures of my signs, but I would have to black out a huge portion of it that includes our town’s name (although, I’m sure I’ve slipped up and left it in some picture on this blog at some point) and I just don’t feel like doing that.

After the parade, L and I just hung around the house and then headed back up to the fire station around 6 for an impromtu cookout before the fireworks in town.

Yesterday, L worked so I took the opportunity to sleep in way later than I have slept in a long time, cleaned the house and took the puppies to the dog park.  Ever since Shep came  back from camp last weekend he has been limping.  He always limps after he plays a lot, and I just chalked it up to him getting hurt when he was younger and it just getting sore.  He was limping a lot at the dog park and I wonder if he injured himself at camp.  I gave him to children’s tylenol – although I have no idea if it helped or not since he obviously can’t talk!  I guess we’ll just keep an eye on it.

Hope everyone else had a nice 4th too!

No, not really.  But maybe we should.  Apparently that’s where all the big lottery winners are.  We need to win some big bucks.

L and I took Shep to the ophthamologist again yesterday.  After waiting 20 minutes in the waiting room (well, I was in the waiting room, L was outside with both puppies because they were whining and barking at the other dogs in the waiting room) and another 15 minutes in the exam room, the doctor finally came in.

We explained to him that we think the growth next to his eye is the same size, but it gets very red when he runs and plays.  However, our real concern was the extremely dark purple/almost black spot that had formed in the middle of the growth.

The doctor quickly dismissed the discoloration and said that it was just pigmant forming due to excessive irritation (his eye lid constantly rubbing it when he blinks).

He was concerned with the size though.  He said he thought that it had gotten slightly bigger than our last visit back in January.  That’s when I promptly said to L, “See!  I told you so!”  Every time I told L I thought it was a little bigger, he always told me I was imagining it.

The doctor still thinks that it is just fatty tissue and not a dangerous tumor or anything, but his worry stems from the fact that it is mostly growing backwards inside of his head and that it’s possible that it could eventually grow around his eye and potentially impair his vision or he could lose his eye altogether.

He took Shep back to see the oncologist quickly and when they returned she had said the same thing – that you couldn’t be for sure unless it was biopsied.  Our doctor suggested that it we want to move forward with it, that we just go ahead and take the whole thing out rather than biopsy.  He will still have to go under for the biopsy, so we might as well just do it all at once rather than having to have him go under twice, potentially.

The cost to have it removed?   A mere $900.  Approximately.  Umm, yeah.  We sort of don’t have an extra grand lying around.  And this office does not have any sort of payment plan – the only thing they offer is a credit card and we really hate to have to take out another card when we’re both working hard to pay off our own.

He concluded by saying that he would be as aggressive or not as we would like.  And mentioned that since he’s such a good dog and will let you do anything to him, perhaps we can just continue to feel it and judge if it’s growing backwards anymore.  We said we would do just that, and after 35 minutes of waiting, our 10 minute appointment was over.  Luckily, since this was considered a “recheck” it was only a $50 visit, rather than the $100 it was last time.

Shep really was such a good boy during the whole thing.  L was holding his leash and he just sat there while the doctor messed around with the growth and all.  He didn’t whine, he didn’t move.  He just sat there.  Perfectly still. 

Dixie was there too.  Initially we were just going to take Shep since they get so excited around people and this wasn’t our normal vet, but L suggested going to the dog park afterwards.  We thought about leaving her in the car with the A/C running, but decided to  bring her in the waiting room to see how things went.  We also didn’t know if this vet would be ok with her tagging along.  They were.  And she was fine.  I had a little talk with her before we went in saying this was Shep’s appt and she better be good.

She sat very nicely and quietly next to me while the doctor looked at Shep.  It probably also had something to do with her standing outside with L for 20 minutes in the 85 degree heat before we went into the exam room.

In anycase, as we left, L said that he really wants to have this removed.  That kind of surprised me.  Don’t get me wrong, he loves those dogs to death, but he tends to be a little more conservative about stuff like this than I do.  More of the wait and see approach.  I was glad that he said this, because I want it taken out too.  We just have to figure out  how to fund it.

He has a credit card with a pretty  high limit that we could put it on, but he was also planning to put some house projects on that.  I suggested maybe trying to save half the cost and put the other half on the credit card.  However, that left each of us saving $100 a month for three months to just get to the halfway point. 

What he ended up saying, and what I think we will end up doing – is that he’s just going to take a couple months to pay down that card a little more and then we can just put the whole thing on there and we will both pay toward it.  It’s such a large amount of money, but really, it’s not like we’re going on a shopping spree.  And if we wait, and it goes farther back, the surgery could end up  costing more or becoming more invasive and I don’t want Shep to have to go through that.

So, I’ve already created an ING account called “Shep’s Eye” and will be throwing any spare dollars I have into that.  Even if I just randomly put in $10 – that’s like a trip to Target (ok, that’s like a trip to Target when I only have five minutes to shop, haha).  And soon it will add up.  Even if it’s just a little bit to pay a chunk of the bill first.  We’ll see.  Some things you just  have to do.

But once he has this surgery, he will officially be the more expensive dog.  Currently, Dixie holds that title.  $75 for xrays, $150 for the snake bit, $200+ for her random sickness.

I think this spoiled little guy deserves it though.

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Please note that they don’t normally sleep IN the bed and that the sheets were washed before we went to sleep next.

At first I thought it was a dream.  “This can’t be happening, I thought to myself.  “They seriously did not just say that.”

I turned on the news when I woke up, as I always do.  And the first thing I heard the anchor say: “And now we bring you breaking news from [moderately large city in area].  The police & fire departments along with the bomb squad are on scene investigating a suspicious device found along the railroad tracks.”

You’ve got to be f-ing kidding me.  Name of moderatley large city in area=my client.  You know, the one that I am covering on my own for the first time ever bc the main account manager is on maternity leave.  And when did she go on maternity leave?  Yesterday.

Day 1 and I get a freakin bomb scare.

The news anchor went on to explain what the device looked like and mention which of the many streets that were closed as a precaution.  I immediately checked my blackberry and cell phone to make sure I didn’t sleep through any calls or anything.

I didn’t.  Thank goodness that although we provide the city with PIO (public information officer) services, that the police department is really good about handling it on their own.

I was kept abreast of the information throughout the morning until they finally determined that it was fake.  But still.  Day 1 and that’s what I hear when I wake up.  Oy. Freakin. Vey.

*****

In other work related news, I just got a call from a man from Kenya who works for a coffee company and are trying to get into the US market.  He got my name from a press release he saw that was put out for one of my former clients.  He tells me they have very good coffee.  And macadamia nuts.  He will save my contact information and bring me back some macadamia nut cookies (bc I told him that’s the only time I’ve ever had macadamia  nuts) from his next trip to Kenya.

Ooookkk.

*****

We had out monthly Support Team meeting at the fire department last night.  I’m kind of pissed, in a very 5 year old way, because the woman who is the chairperson totally stole my idea and passed it off as her own.

I like this lady, I really do.  In fact, her and her husband came to the steeplechase with us.  She is very nice, but personally I think she has her hand in too many pots at that fire station and likes to take over.  Last night she starts the meeting by saying she had an idea and wanted to know what everyone thought.  We try to have a family dinner once a quarter.  It’s usually potluck, but it always ends up being the same people bringing food and the same people coming that don’t bring food.  Also, we tend to sometimes run out.

Her (my) suggestion was to host a dinner where we bring and prepare everything and charge members to eat.  Moderately priced, $3-4/person.  YOu know a big spaghetti dinner or something of that nature.

I know this seems petty and trivial to be annoyed by this, but really… I’m trying to get more involved and these people always preach about getting people involved, etc.  Yet once again, this was V’s idea (even though it was really mine).  Need I remind her that we spoke about this more than once.  Oh, and it’s in the 7 page rebranding document that I created for the Support Team.

Speaking of that… at the the first meeting we had where they tried to get this group going again, she asked everyone to email her ideas of what they wanted this group to do and she would put them together and we’d talk about it as a group at the next meeting.  That’s where my 7 page document came in.  And since then.  Nothing has been said.  I’m getting ready to write her an email saying we need to revisit some of this stuff.

*****

Tomorrow afternoon L and I are heading to his parent’s house and going to his sister’s graduation Sunday morning.  Apparently about 35 people are going (whoa!). 

Initially I was going to wear the same dress I wore to the steeplechase, but then I wanted something new even though I didn’t really have the money to spend.  But I didn’t really see anythign I liked that I could afford.  Then I saw Ashley D’s post about dresses she was looking at for her graduation.  And umm, yeah.  The first one she bought was EXACTLY what I was looking for!  And it wasn’t too expensive either.  I was unsure what size to order, especially given the brand, but when I got it in the mail, it fit perfectly.

dress2

Actually, I loved it so much, I didn’t want to take it off.  Between the pretty color, nice cut, perfect fit and the awesome new heels I had on, I almost wore it to the store (seriously, I love my new shoes.  I don’t wear heels as much as I used to and I just feel so much prettier when I do.  Especially bc they are so cute and sexy – and I don’t use the term sexy very often).

I’ve mentioned before that I kind of obsessively plan what I’m going to wear for events and it gets kind of stressful when it involves being around his family because I feel like they judge me and I’m afraid that what I have won’t be right for the occasion (you have no idea what I was like when I was trying to pack for our trip to Vegas with them last year).

But. This time I was very happy with my choice.  And confident.

Then L calls me the other day and says he talked to his mom about this weekend.  After the graduation, everyone is coming back to their house for a cookout.  Ok, cool.  She does not want him to wear flip flops at the house.  She says they are too beachy and casual.  Umm, ok.  But it’s a cookout at their house.  And besides, he has Rainbows – they’re not the most casual flip flop out there.  In fact, I think they’re pretty nice.  Also, I’m pretty sure that his Rainbows cost more than the heels I’m planning to wear.  But whatever.  No biggie, this doesn’t affect me.

Yesterday he talked to his sister briefly (a rare occurance).  She told him (I’m not sure if he asked or if she volunteered this information) that she is wearing purple – I’m assuming a dress – to the graduation and then pink something to the cookout.

Panicking, I asked, “pink what?  pink WHAT?!?!?!!”  He didn’t know.  He didn’t have good service and couldn’t hear what she said.

Do I need another outfit, I asked.  Now I’m beginning to stress.  What else would I wear besides this dress if his mom doesn’t even want him to wear flip flops?????  He had no idea.  I asked him a while back and then earlier in the week to find out about the events and get an idea of what I needed to wear.  And now I’m stuck.  I don’t have anything else.  The only thing I can think of is taht I have a navy blue casual sundress from old navy. It’s cute, but i would def wear with flip flops or cute sandals.  Cute sandals that I think would fall into the flip flop category for his mom.

He called his mom last night to ask, but she didn’t answer her phone.  He said he would call her first thing this am, but I haven’t heard anything yet.

Now, I’m stessing.  But, I mean, maybe I’ll just wear the pink dress all day anyway.  And bring the blue one.  Oy vey. I hate this.

 

I’ve got a question for you.  A preppy question.  I like to consider myself a preppy person.  I love the clean, classic look.  The lovely color combinations and all that jazz.  I don’t necessarily have as many preppy items as I would like, because let’s face it, that stuff is expensive.  But I try.  So I consider myself knowledgable in the preppy world, but there’s something that I just don’t get.

What’s up with the skull and cross bones, people?

I swear that there used to only be a few spots that you saw this. 
1- Halloween related things
2- When walking by the scary Hot Topic store at a mall
and if I’m going to try and be comprehensive…
3- One of Chi Omega’s symbols (I never did get my freshman yr roommate to tell me about that)

But now I see it everywhere.  In preppy spots.  And I just don’t understand it.  Personally, I think it’s a little strange.  But to each their own.

Honestly though.  Why is this preppy all of a sudden?  Or has it been preppy for ages and I’m just not as with it as I thought?

I asked L this the other day when we were walking through Marshall’s and I saw this cute pillow from afar.  When I got closer, I realized that the pink pattern was really a skull and cross bones.  I was really just talking outloud though.  I knew he wouldn’t know.  A nice dresser and very put together, but preppy knowledge he does not have.  But he really loves the VV turtle tie I bought him. 🙂

Anyway…

I was reading TheNortherner today (for the first time – I randomly found her through NotSo Jenny) and saw her posting about Boatman Geller.  Dear Lord do they have cute stuff.  And the sale prices.  Oh, the sale prices!

As I was perusing through (not my first visit there, but it has been awhile) and casually adding things from the tent sale to my shopping cart (which I may or may  not have purchased.  Hint, go with the former.), I saw it again.

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Skull notepad by Boatman Geller

It’s taking over the world.  Ok.  Maybe that’s a bit drastic.  But it’s everywhere.  Maybe I’ve just never noticed it before.  Who knows, perhaps this note pad has been a design on BG since it’s inception and it just never popped out.  But now?  Now I see it everywhere.

Since graduating from college, it seems as though summer is such a busy time.  Gone are the relaxing days and nights.  Now you have to jam pack everything into the weekends and soak up all the sunshine and beautiful weather in those two short days each week because dear Lord, you do not have unlimited vacation time available to you.

The busy season is upon us, dear friends.  As I looked at my planner this morning, I realize that I only have seven weekends between now and August available, and three of those are being held for tentative beach trips that may or may not happen.  Seven sounds like a lot, but really, it’s not.

The Steeplechase is this weekend and they are still predicting 80 degrees and sunny (woohoo!).  The following weekend is free and then after that is L’s sister’s college graduation.

Let’s talk about that, shall we?

L and his sister are not very close.  At all.  But when he told me when her graduation was, I obviously assumed that he would be going.  I, however, did not assume that I would be going.  Don’t get me wrong, I actually want to go (I’m weird, I know).  I feel like that’s a big occasion.  Even if it’s not for him, it is for his family.  And it would be the first big occasion I had with them (besides the trip to Vegas last year).

I am not the type of person to invite myself to anything.  But I will not-so-subtly drop hints.  Although, in L’s case, he rarely picks up on them.  For some time now, as we’ve been talking about what we have going on, I would say, “Well, that’s the weekend of your sister’s graduation and I assume you’re going.”  Never did I say, “and we’ll be going.”

Besides not wanting to invite myself,  especially to a function of his family because I’m still not totally convinced that his mom likes me (tolerates me? yes.  Likes me? not so sure.), who knows what kind of crazy rules colleges have for graduations.

For example, at my graduation, I was only allowed 6 tickets.  Granted, I went to a much larger school – she goes to a small, private college.   I didn’t know if her school had a similar ticket policy.  And if they did, I had no idea how many she was allowed.  Their family is very family oriented when it comes to stuff like this.  I assume that both their grandmas and perhaps and aunt or uncle or two will be there as well.  So, I didn’t want to assume that if there were tickets, that one would be used on me.

Last night his mom called him.  His phone is very loud and I can always hear what she is saying.  I heard her talk about the graduation.  When he was finished, I asked what she had to say.  He tells me, then says that we’ll need to be home for Mother’s Day (same day as graduation) and that if we are going to the graduation, we need to be there by 9am.

“I’m invited,” I asked.  “Of course,” he told me.

Well, shit.  Now I have to find something to wear.  I could wear the same pink dress (#2) I’m wearing to the steeplechase this weekend.  Or I could see if that Lilly dress fits any better and have him wear the matching tie.  I proposed that idea to him.  He said “maybe.”  I think that his “maybe” is really more like I’m saying maybe so we don’t have to talk about this, but really the answer is no because you know I hate that tie.

We’ll see if I can wear him down.

So, in fact, I am excited.  I asked him to let me know a run down of what may be going on that day so I can dress appropriately or bring other outfits.  Because, let’s face it, I’m going to start making that list now even though we’ll only be there over night.  I have to allot for perhaps buying a new shirt or accessory (I have still yet to find the perfect “everyday” summer purse).

Now on to your help…

We need to get her a graduation gift.  I told L a few weeks ago that I would make some suggestions for him.  And I came up with some stuff yesterday, but I just don’t know what to do.  We’ll split the cost and are looking to spend no more than $100 total.  I don’t like stuff that is too over the top “graduationy” though.  All the stuff that screams ‘graduate’ of ‘class of 2009’ – it’s just a little much for me.

Here’s my first idea:

This bag from Preppy Monogrammed Gifts . com

bag

And include the following items:

makeup
From Preppy Monogrammed Gifts – I would include her first initial or name instead of the palm tree

towel
Beach towel from Preppy Monogrammed Gifts
I would only do the crab or maybe a palm tree instead – no name or initial

mirror
From Thingsremembered.com
I would have the name of her college and graduation date engraved on the top.  This way it has a little bit of ‘graduation’ to it, but not too much.

 

My other option is one nicer gift.  She seems to be a bit of a “brand lover” and I think she would like something from Tiffany’s.  Unfortunatley, there isn’t a whole lot from that store that is less than $100.  They have the silver bead earrings,  but I think she is too petite for them.  Then they have circle and heartshaped earrings that say “Return to Tiffany”, but I can’t see her wearing them. 

Here is what I chose:

elsa-peretti-crystal-heart-box
Elsa Peretti Open Heart Crystal Box

tiffany-crystal-box
Tiffany Crystal Box

heart-key-chain
Return to Tiffany key ring

oval-key-chain
Tiffany Oval key ring – would engrave with initial or monogram

Here’s my question though… do you think the boxes are dumb?  I would like them, and they are from Tiffany, but what do you think?

Same with the key chains.  They’re kind of small gifts, but we can’t go too much bigger due to cost.

Do you like the beach bag idea or the Tiffany idea better?  Any other suggestions?  She’s hard to shop for and makes it known if she doesn’t like stuff.  And isn’t much into “cheap” jewelry.  Any help is greatly appreciated.