Background template

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Hanging with the townies

Well, friends, I am relieved to report that our 3-mile move has not hindered our ability to maximize our townie potential. And I'm not just saying that because we went to Dairy Queen with some friends on Friday night and actually ran into people we know while we were there.

Last night I had the privilege of joining my friends, Katie and Kristen, for a ladies' night event. With wine and cheese. At a hardware store.

No, I did not accidentally change topics, you read that correctly.

Apparently the local hardware store has a ladies' night every year in order to lure the female townies in and convince them that hardware stores are not just for men. How do they accomplish this, you ask? By giving out free wine, cheese, and door prizes. And if you don't believe me, just take a look at the new FREE doormat in my laundry room.

None of us won the grand prize - a $700 grill- but a good time was still had by all. I met some new townie friends, including our realtor's wife, and ate more than my fair share of cheese cubes... which, in my opinion, deserve their own section on the food pyramid right next to DQ Blizzards.

DQ references thus far: 2

Anyway, I have high hopes that Home Depot and Lowe's will follow suit soon so that I can stuff my face with free cheese while picking out the new blinds that we need for the new house. And by the way, why do blinds cost an arm and a leg? I am starting to think that pinning bed sheets up over the windows is not such a bad option... which, I'm pretty sure, classifies me as a fraternity boy.

And speaking of boys, my very sweet husband has gone running with me not once, but TWICE in the past week. I would like to say it has been on his own accord, but I'm fairly sure that it's only because he doesn't want me throwing any more temper tantrums about how sad I am to no longer have a gym membership. Regardless, beggars can't be choosers, so I'll take what I can get.

Anyway, back when we were engaged and both living in College Station, we also tried to go running together a couple of times. And I quickly discovered that the way in which we both approach running is very clearly a metaphor for how we both approach life. Allow me to explain:

I run for a predetermined amount of time. I decide in advance how long I will run and generally what route I plan to follow. Whatever pace I set at the beginning of the run is most likely going to remain the same throughout the duration of the run. I keep my eyes straight ahead and try my best to stay focused on the task at hand, avoiding potential distractions. For me, running has a purpose, and that purpose is to exercise.

Brian, however, just runs when he feels like it and only as long as he feels like it, which is evidenced by the fact that he willingly went on a run last week on his own for the first time in 3+ years. He just ran until he was tired of running and then stopped- I can guarantee you that no form of a timer was involved.

Brian also has a hard time staying at one steady pace. He will sprint until he gets worn out, and then maybe he'll meander slowly for a bit until he decides to sprint again. Easily bored, he gets tired of just running in one direction and it is not unusual for him to dart in and out of trees or start otherwise straying from the path. And please don't even get me started on the time during one of our runs that he picked up a random tennis ball and decided to bounce it alongside us while we ran.

I'm fairly certain that was the last time (until this week) that we ran together.

Apparently, however, just as our relationship has progressed over the last few years despite our clearly contrasting life outlooks, our ability to run together has as well. There were still a few arguments over important issues like whether it was better to run on the sidewalk or in the street, but when all was said and done, we survived our 2 most recent runs unscathed.

And I would love to say that there will be many more runs together in the future, but given the fact that I have yet to come up with a convincing reason for Brian to wake up at 5:15 am with me, I have a feeling that I will have to continue spending my mornings working out alongside Denise Austin and Jillian Michaels. But hey, at least they don't interrupt my exercise with the incessant and completely unnecessary bouncing of a tennis ball, right? I'm over it, I promise.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Just another manic Thursday

Have any of you ever had one of those moments when you were so completely overwhelmed and/or stressed out that you found yourself crying, and when your husband (totally confused) asked why you were crying, the only response you could come up with was "I don't know!"?

Not that I have ever had that happen or anything... I was just, you know, asking out of curiosity. And it certainly didn't happen last night. And if it had happened, it definitely would not have had anything to do with the fact that I ate too much Mexican food and was sad about having to give up our YMCA membership. Because that would be totally lame and pathetic.

Speaking of lame and pathetic, I feel really out of the TV loop right now. And I know there are worse things in the world, but somehow I feel less cool when I'm not up to date on who was voted off of American Idol and which team is causing the most drama on The Biggest Loser. But I am confident that given a few more weeks, I will be over my DVR-withdrawl and accept the fact that if I can't be home to watch something, I just won't watch it. Ok that's not true, I will probably at least try to watch it online, but you get the idea.

Otherwise all is well in the new house. We do need to call Comcast so that they can come fix the broken cable outlet in our kitchen, however, because I feel really lonely fixing my bowl of Raisin Bran without Owen, Lauren, and the rest of the Local 2 morning news crew to keep me company.

I'm sure some of you are shocked that I haven't already mentioned this, but just one quick public service announcement: Until April 25th, Dairy Queen is offering a buy-one-Blizzard-get-the-second-for-25 cents deal. So unless you are totally lame or don't happen to live within 60 miles of a DQ (tragic), then you need to take advantage of this event. Bet you can't guess what our plans for Friday night will be!

And speaking of weekend plans, we will be celebrating my wonderful mother-in-law's birthday this weekend! Yes, that's right, my mom, father-in-law, and mother-in-law all have birthdays within 17 days of each other. And then Brian's birthday is quick to follow just 8 days later... followed by Mother's Day just 5 days after that... followed by mine and Allison's birthday just 3 weeks later. Can you guess who usually packs on a couple of pounds during April and May? I'll give you a hint- it's not Brian.

Fortunately for me (and the scale), rumor has it that Brian's mom selected Ragin Cajun for her birthday dinner. You might recall that this is the same restaurant where we celebrated Brain's 26th birthday last year. And in case you are too lazy to review, allow me to copy and paste from that post:

Then it was time for Brian’s birthday dinner with his family at the Ragin Cajun. The restaurant did not disappoint, as sea creatures abounded and I felt fairly out of place. Brian, along with his parents, put on a gigantic bib and proceeded to stuff his face with crawfish like it was going out of style. Shannon and I, however, moved our chairs a safe distance away and enjoyed our chicken. Meanwhile, I tried to stifle the urge to scream in terror every time Brian or his dad tossed the crawfish remains in their buckets, as I was in the direct line of fire should they have missed.

So I think it's safe to say that I will not exactly be stuffing my face at this weekend's birthday dinner. Of course, I never said a word about what will happen once dessert rolls around...

Saturday, April 17, 2010

The new casa de Joiner: Unveiled

Alrighty, friends/family/total strangers- you asked for it, so here you go! Now that we have finished hanging pictures and decorating (yes, exactly one week after we moved in, we are basically finished), I am comfortable putting up pictures of the new house.

And as a bonus for those of you that think pictures without people in them are boring, Brian made a very obvious appearance in one picture and I made a cameo in another. Oh, and Noah and Buster also managed to sneak in as well.

So without further delay, welcome to our new home!

View from the front of the house... duh
The front door (with our sickly- but still surviving!- hanging plants)
View from the front door when you first walk in... sorry, I didn't turn the lights on so it looks dark!
Front entryway area - those are the flowers that Brian gave me on our wedding day!
Another view of the front entryway
The study (first room on your left when you walk in)
Another view of the study
The dining room (2nd room on your left when you walk in... still need to get an area rug for it)
First view of the kitchen (next room on your left)
Another (better) view of the kitchen from the TV room
Tired of looking at the kitchen yet?
The breakfast room (on the left after the kitchen)
The TV room
The seating area in the TV room... I'm not crazy about all the denim, but I do love this rug! My dad actually got it as an extra for his office and decided he didn't need it. Fun fact: He ordered it off of ebay and it is originally from Iran... and we are fairly certain that it brought all of the dirt and sand from Iran with it- but fortunately Brian, with the help of the trusty Dyson, took care of that.
We ended up moving the dogs' crate behind the couch (you can see the basket sitting on top of it in the photo above), but this was taken on moving day with their favorite cousin!)
The backyard/back porch
One of the doggies' side yards
Busty Rhymes... begging for attention as per usual
Snoop Noey Noah... patrolling the yard as per usual (he has already worn a stalking path in the other side yard)
The master bedroom (to the right just before the TV room)
One of the walls in the master bedroom
Another wall in the master bedroom (featuring the closed closet door and a TV that is way too big for the stand that it's sitting on!)
The master bathroom... yes, the carpet is geometrically cut out around the tile, not sure why! But I do love that bath tub like it was my own child... is that sad?
A semi-view of the shower (right), linen closet (center), and toilet closet (left)
The laundry room! I will never again take for granted the fact that our washer/dryer do not reside in our kitchen. (If you go right in the entryway rather than going straight into the kitchen, the laundry room is the first room on your right, the 3 guest rooms are immediately after it, and the guest bathroom is on the left.)
Guest room # 1 (just waiting for the mattress set that I won...)
Another angle of guest room #1
Guest room #2 (proudly displaying Brian's childhood furniture)
Guest room #3, aka: random furniture room, aka: future nursery (no, we're not pregnant)
The guest bathroom (who's that hot girl in the mirror???)
Second half of the guest bathroom (basically the shower and toilet)

And that, readers, is our house! Sorry to end on such a boring note, but I do like that shower curtain, so I suppose I'll take my apology back.

Please feel free to come visit any time... unless you are a creepy internet stalker, in which case I would like you to erase this post from your memory. Thanks!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Moving right along

Ok so judging from the comments and e-mails I received in response to yesterday's post, I am in trouble for not providing pictures of the new house. So I promise to take some this weekend once we have had some time to do a little picture-hanging and decorating, aka: Brian’s least favorite part of the move-in process. It might have something to do with the fact that I’m a tad indecisive when it comes to hanging things on the wall, therefore leaving Brian to measure 800 times before I make up my mind, but I can’t be sure.

I am proud to report that as of last night, we have zero boxes left to unpack! It was much easier for me to kick back and enjoy the season premiere of “Glee” without having to worry about where all the contents of the mysterious box marked “hall closet” were going to go. And for the record, (a) the box was surprisingly easy to unpack and (b) I found the season premiere to be a little disappointing. I also found the “Vogue” video at the end of the episode to be slightly disturbing.

I should also clarify that in addition to finding a surprisingly low number of roaches in the old house, we have so far seen ZERO roaches in the new house! And while I’m bragging on the new house, can I also just tell you how amazing it is to take a bath in a tub with no mold in it? Or to put my makeup on in front of the bathroom mirror rather than on the floor of the closet? I never thought that a bathroom could bring such joy into my life.

And speaking of joy, I should also mention that some of our “friends” are even more excited about the move than we are. As you might imagine, Duck (along with his entire family) was elated to learn that our new neighborhood has a few lakes in it… lakes that just so happen to be inhabited by other ducks. Matilda, his often absent wife, showed up as soon as she learned that other ducks were in the neighborhood for fear of losing her husband to one of the other female ducks.

Baby Dinosaur is also pretty pumped about the new location because it means he gets to ride the school bus home with his friends. His teacher, Mrs. Cruikshank, also happens to live just around the corner from us, so she has been kind enough to offer to drive him to school in the mornings. Personally, as a second grader, I would be mortified to have to ride to school with my teacher, but as long as he isn’t complaining, I’m not saying a word.

And once again, I have embarrassed myself by devoting 2 full paragraphs to the life happenings of our imaginary friends.

For those of you that were wondering how Noah and Buster are adjusting, the verdict is still out. Although much smaller than our previous yard, I do think that the fact that the new backyard is covered in grass (for now, at least) is a plus in their book. However, our new fence does not allow the same visibility as the last one, and therefore Noah’s ability to stalk squirrels (and anything that walks by the fence), and Buster’s consequent ability to follow Noah around have both been severely limited.

I should also mention that Buster somehow found a way to escape from the backyard within a matter 1-2 hours after moving into the new house. Apparently he busted down a loose fence post and decided to lounge around in the neighbor’s backyard (which, fortunately, is vacant) instead. I can’t blame him, though, because you know what they say… the grass is always greener on the other side!

And on that hysterical note, I’m going to wrap this up. More updates to come soon!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Mystery solved

Feeling a little left out on the life happenings of the Joiners lately? I apologize for being MIA for the past few weeks, and am hoping that my readers didn’t abandon ship while I was blog-slacking.

So allow me to pick up where we last left off…

For those of you that were worried, worry no more, because we did not freeze to death on our trip to Vermont 2 weeks ago. If you want to read about some of the highlights of the trip, then you can check them out here on Allison’s blog.

We celebrated the following weekend (Easter) accordingly by spending some time with Brian’s family in La Grange and my family in Austin. Much candy was consumed (particularly the Reese’s Egg variety) and a good time was had by all. We also had an early birthday celebration for my mom, who turned the big 6-0 last week. And coincidentally, my most favorite father-in-law achieved that very same milestone just yesterday. Happy belated birthday to Betsy and Don!

Ok so now that all the niceties are out of the way, let’s move on to the topic you’re all wanting to know about: what has caused me to be so consumed over the past month that I have neglected the blog?

Well let’s back up to January, when our priest (aka: Brian’s boss man) notified our church that he would be leaving to plant a brand new church. We were excited for Frankie and his family, but were (a) sad to be losing such great leadership, and (b) admittedly jealous about their new adventure.

And here is where I am going to wrap up 2 very confusing/disappointing/frustrating months in a nice little box with a pretty little bow by saying that at the end of that time, Brian finally came to me and told me that he felt a call to join Frankie in this new church plant.

My first response? Being the ever-obedient and submissive wife that I am, I said, “No way. There isn’t even a building yet, let alone a salary for you. Not happening.” Because if you know anything about me, you know that I do not like change, and I do not like leaving anything open-ended. I am just not a fan of punctuating my life with question marks. Period. (See what I mean?)

Well fortunately for Brian (and for me, as it turns out), God quickly changed my heart, and miraculously, I was on board with this crazy plan virtually overnight. Long story short, Brian approached Frankie and asked if we could join them in planting the new church, and thankfully, Frankie (and his wife, whom I love!) were on board. Phew, the hard part was over! Or so we thought.

In case you have forgotten, we were living in a house owned by the church. And in case this isn’t all adding up for you, let me lay it out for you: If Brian left the church we were currently serving to start a new church, we would no longer have the house. Just a teensy tiny little logistical concern, right?

So essentially from there, we set out in a whirlwind effort to purchase a home (our first!), and likely set a record in doing so. If there was ever a question in mind as to whether or not we were doing the right thing (and believe me, there was more than one), the speed and ease with which we purchased a home answered those questions.

While I am a self-proclaimed advocate of the concept of predestination (Presbyterian, born and raised!), I have never been one to throw out phrases like, “It was fate,” or “It was meant to be”… except, of course, when I really liked a particular pair of shoes and the store just so happened to have it in my size (9). That was obviously fate.

However, I think few would argue that owning what is now officially OUR house was meant to be- our mortgage broker even used those exact words at closing! The entire process from taking our first look at the house to having the keys in our hands lasted 24 days. The inspection was essentially flawless, the appraisal went better than anyone anticipated, and we closed a week ahead of schedule. And did I mention that in the meantime, I randomly won a free mattress and just so happened to receive offers of random furniture/rugs from friends and family members that just so happened to fit perfectly in the new house?

And if it weren’t for the fact that (a) a down payment on a house is not exactly cheap and (b) it rained on moving day, I would venture to say that the whole process was actually pretty painless. That, of course, does not mean that I didn’t spend pretty much every second of every day stressing myself into a headache and waking up in the middle of the night panicking about how we would most efficiently transport the contents of our refrigerator to the new house without losing any food. Because that's rational. So in case you were worried that I had suddenly became carefree and learned to roll with the punches, worry no more :).

And while we’re on the topic of things that were causing me to turn into even more of a neurotic psycho than I already am, there was the whole issue of Brian preparing to turn in his notice at a job (one that gave him regular pay checks, mind you) without any concrete foreseeable income lined up for the future.

So suffice it to say (and I’m sure many of you can relate to this), that when something is so completely consuming your brain, it is extremely difficult to fully function as a human being, let alone come up with something to blog about.

So there you have it.

But (and you don’t even know how much of a relief it is to have this over with), Brian’s notice has been turned in, and the move is complete. We were fortunate to have not one, not two, but TWENTY people assisting with our move. So while the boys loaded up dollies and disassembled (and then reassembled) furniture, the girls and I were able to spend time doing important things like deciding which place mats to put out on the breakfast room table. Ok I’m kidding, I obviously already had that figured out before we arrived :).

And while we have made incredible progress considering that the move was less than 3 days ago (we only have 2 boxes left to unpack!), there is still much to be done at the house. And then there is the issue of “tweaking” the new budget. I am sad to report that DVR and our membership to the YMCA are the first casualties of our new belt-tightening efforts, so you will have to live without my tales of exercising with the elderly. So while the hard part is over, the stress certainly is not… so I apologize if the blog still continues to be somewhat neglected over the next couple of weeks.

I also want to point out that we are really incredibly excited about this new church! I don’t have a whole lot to report about it just yet, as it is all still very new, but I will definitely be updating you on its progress. And I realize that the idea of a “church plant” is probably a foreign concept to some of you, so of course feel free to ask questions. And in case you are really curious, there is even a Wikipedia article on the process—who knew?!

But before I conclude this excessively long explanation for my absence, let me make sure to point out 2 other bits of good news:

1. We have already done a trial run from the new house and are happy to report that we are still within a 5-mile radius of the closest Dairy Queen! Hooray!

2. Shockingly, we only discovered 4 dead roaches when packing up the old house. I really expected that number to be in double digits, so it was a pleasant surprise indeed.

So in case you were hoping that our move would mean fewer blog references to Dairy Queen and cockroaches, you were sadly mistaken.

Oh, and I meant to clarify that we're staying in Richmond- the new house is only 3 miles from the old one!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Better than nothing

Just for the record, I'm still alive. And no, contrary to popular belief, I am not pregnant!

I will probably be MIA for at least a few more days, but promise to update you all soon!

In the meantime, please feel free to comment and share your favorite dessert. Because I have nothing else to talk about.

The end.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Hoppy Easter!

Hey, remember that time when I didn't blog for a week? And then proceeded to not blog (with the exception of a brief cop-out post admitting my slacker ways) for a few more days?

Oh yeah, that's right now.

Happy Easter nonetheless- enjoy this pic of me as the (not so cheery) Easter Bunny!