Monday, May 31, 2010

T's New Best Friend

I now have to vie against another woman for the attention of my husband-to-be. She comes in the form of my four year old niece.

A little background...I am the proud aunt of four nieces and nephews. My brother has three kids, including a 13 year old son and twin 7 year olds, a boy and a girl. My sister has 4 year old girl, Roo (Nickname for purposes of my blog). All of them have huge, amazing personalities, and I couldn't be more proud of all of them. They all never cease to make me smile or laugh, and I always keep pictures of them around my office for when I'm having a rough day and need a smile.

My niece Roo, who is quite the precocious one, has taken a little while to get used to T. When we first started dating in 2008, she would only want me to come up to visit or to play with her. She's a bit coy around men that she doesn't know, so she she took her good, long time to warm up to T. And he was always "Nainy's T," because he was MY friend. With a little time, she got used to having him around but always kept her distance. That changed this last spring...

After we did the Race for the Cure in downtown Indy in April, T and I took my extended family, who came in from out of town, to our house to show it off, and my sister and Roo came along. Now, our house is definitely not kid friendly just yet. We have only a few items that can hold a child's attention for a little while so we were worried Roo would get bored quickly. T got this bouncy ball out that lights up when it hits the ground that he got at some trade show, and he got it out for her to play. So they invented this game whereby you had to line up her little miniature toys (gained mostly from McDonald's Happy Meals, and she threw in a receipt in there, as well too...yes, I don't know how she considers a receipt a toy, but we went with it..), and they sat on the floor for an hour rolling that ball back and forth, trying to hit a toy each time to earn a "prize." T was quite the trooper because I know that wasn't so easy on his back sitting there on the floor for that long, but they did it. It was quite the bonding experience, and he quickly became a new playmate for Roo.

A couple weekends later, we went up to my parent's house for Roo's 4th birthday party. She was excited to play with T, and when they got to my parent's house, they quickly started another game of ball. Dinner came, and while I'm usually her choice person to sit next to her at the dinner table, she told me she wanted T to sit next to her. Ouch, I was voted off the island. After dinner, she wanted him to come outside with her to ride her bike. He waited for me to clean up after dinner, and I guess she was a little antsy, saying that "he should just come out now, she can come out later." Apparently he outranks me, huh? We came out and played some more and had a great time. Heading home, her Mom asked her "Roo, did you have fun today?" She responded, "Yes, today was a great day." When asked what the favorite part of her day, she quickly said, "playing with T...he's my friend, you know..." So his title quickly changed from "Nainy's T" to "My friend, T." Absolutely adorable.

Yesterday we went up to my parent's house for a cookout to celebrate Memorial Day weekend and to listen to the Indy 500. (Side note: I won the contest that day! We drew names of drivers, and MY driver won! Whoo!) As soon as we were there, Roo quickly wanted T's attention. She wanted to swing, to play soccer, to play ball, and her playmate of choice was, of course, T. It's really cute, and I can tell how much he just loves it. She wears him out, too, so I don't have to worry about him having all sorts of energy when the day is done... (Just kidding, T!!!) It truly is cute, and it's a huge deal that Roo now has a friend in T.

Here's the duo yesterday enjoying the beautiful day. (They're best friends, you know?)
We're excited for this Friday because Roo is coming to stay with us for a slumber party on Friday. My sister will be here to get ready for a shared garage sale we're having next Saturday, and I'm sure much fun will be had and a few games of ball played. I'm not sure which one of them will enjoy the evening more, Roo or T.

It's like my sister says...."He's hers now. You just introduced them." She's too cute for me to be jealous, though. So I'll let it slide, for now....

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Oh, I love thee...

My favorite meal of the day, hands down, is breakfast. You know how people always ask you what your favorite food is? Mine is pancakes. Sure, I always used to say the staples that people normally say, like pizza or chicken fingers back in the day when I'd be filling out one of those stupid e-surveys friends passed around ( But on a trip to Michigan with my family about six years ago, and for no particular reason other than to annoy my sister, I decided that from then on, my favorite food would be pancakes. (Yes, it took me a long time to make this decision. It was very important. A lot like deciding your career path and picking a mate.) So it's a long weekend...and I want to do something special for T. I decided to make breakfast this morning. (I'm really really nice like that, what can I say?)

Any good breakfast must start off with coffee. It's the nectar of the gods and the only reason I make it to work in the morning. Coffee is to Nain, as spinach is to Popeye.

What's on the menu this morning? Bacon, eggs, and blueberry waffles....

We got this skillet a few months ago at JC Penny's, and it was normally like $40, but we got it for $19, so I guess this qualifies as my Saturday Steal (See: Archives of Our Lives). I love this thing.

(Cue Homer Simpson's voice...."MMmmmm...bacon....") It's turkey bacon, yes, because we do have our health to worry about, but it's still pretty delicious.

The other day I was cleaning out our pantry, and I realized that in addition to hoarding OJ, I also hoard waffle/pancake mix. We had three boxes of the stuff. Three. I would be lying if I didn't say it was somewhat behind my decision to make waffles this morning....

Now I got this waffle iron from my sweet mother (who knows just how much I love breakfast) for Christmas, and I love this thing, too. It's so easy to clean, and it makes really good waffles, really quickly. So here we have our blueberry waffle mix (and yes, those ARE fresh blueberries!):

And scrambled eggs:

Now making all three of these things at the same time proved to be a bit tricky, but I managed. (The coffee helped just a bit)

The finished product:

After my delicious breakfast, made with love, T decided we're going out to breakfast for pancakes on Monday. Sigh, this is just one of the many reasons I'm marrying this man. He knows the way to my heart.

Have a great Saturday everyone!

Friday, May 28, 2010

The "Best" Version of Myself

"A vacation is what you take when you can no longer take what you've been taking." Earl Wilson

I'm about to get all serious up in here, so bear with yeah...that vacation from reality we took last weekend? I kind of wish we could do it again because I could sure use another break from reality. I woke up in a bit of a funk this morning. Now, I'm not normally a morning person, and if you're smart, you don't talk to me before I've had my coffee. However, this morning was different. I woke up feeling like Little Miss Balled-Up Anxiety and Nerves today. Not sure why, considering it's the Friday before a long, carefree weekend, but there you have it. If you looked at me wrong, who knows what would come out of my mouth.

Now I'm normally an anxious person by nature. And my saying that really is putting it lightly for those of you who know and love me. I have always always been this way. You don't get tested for an ulcer at the age of ten if you're not an anxious, high-strung person. (The fact that I managed to get through law school and the bar exam and four years into practice of law without having an ulcer is a miracle of loaves and fishes). I've been working on ways to manage said anxiety for years (and years and years and years), and maybe I should have opted to be a yoga instructor instead a child protective services attorney, but hey...we all make our choices. :-) The blood pressure gets all high, I get all jittery and, well, not really nice to be around. Hey, I'm being honest!

I don't like to admit when I'm wrong, but I was this way today to T. Not cool, Nain, not cool. It takes a strong, patient man to handle me. T gets me, and I'm really fortunate for that. When we first started dating, my sister joked with him that "there are very few people who get Nain, but you seem to." (She's another one of those special people.) I'm quirky, neurotic, and really high-strung. He's an angel for putting up with me on a daily basis, so T, I am very sorry for snapping at you this morning. (She says sheepishly.)

So I snapped today for no really good reason. I joked with T the other day that "I don't always have to have a good reason to do the things I do," and this is true. I don't always have a truly valid reason for being grumpy. And as a woman, I feel this is my prerogative. (Because Bobby Brown and Britney both say so.) That being said, that doesn't give me a "Get out of jail free" card for being mean.

However, I have to be honest in that there really has to be a reason that I've been in a funk lately. I'm still working on the whys, but I think that a lot of it has to do with the need for change. I've been feeling it for weeks now. Well, months, if I need to be really honest. It's actually one of the reasons I started this blog because I needed an outlet. For me, a lot of my life these past few years after law school has been all work and no play, which makes Nain a very very dull girl. Hobbies are not something I'm accustomed to, but with the help of T, I'm using this blog as a way to get back into writing (which has always been a passion of mine) and to other interests of mine that I've let fall by the wayside in the past. I truly appreciate having T there to support me as I go through this little discovery process. I have to admit, writing again really makes me feel alive. I haven't been this excited about something since T and I first started dating. And I'm excited to see what the future will bring me if I follow my passion.

So there's my sharing for the's hoping this weekend bring lots of rest, relaxation and fun! Thanks for listening blog friends and those of you lurkers :-)

Happy Friday!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Spin Cycle: Prom

So, I decided to take a little challenge in my blogging and participate in the "Spin Cycle" through Sprite's Keeper, where she picks a topic each week, and you blog about it, linking your blog entry to her profile. Why not? I'm up for a challenge. This week's topic...prom.

Hmm...a bit tougher than I thought it would be. Let's see...I graduated in 1999, so my prom was about 11 years ago this month (God, that makes me feel old). Actually, I went to three proms - one my junior year, my senior year, and then my freshman year of college because my boyfriend at the time was still a senior. (Weren't my parents lucky to help me buy a new dress three years in a row?) I could blog about each, but I'll just pick the senior one for the heck of it.

My school prom was not like the one you saw in Footloose, even though that would have been totally awesome if everyone broke out in a group dance like that. Nope, I went to one of the more preppy schools in the suburbs of Indy, and our prom (all three years I went) was at the Indiana Roof Ballroom. If you haven't been, it's absolutely beautiful inside. Nope, this is not your prom in the school gymnasium. I've actually been to a few events with the Indiana State Bar Association since then, and it still brings me back to my prom.

In typical Nain fashion (and I mean typical, as this type of stuff always happens to me), something happened that day to mess up the plans. See, I get these debilitating migraines, and I have been getting them for quite some time now. Genetics. Gotta love it, right? So of course, I had one that day, and it was the kind that you woke up with your heading just pounding into the pillow. But I sucked it up like a big girl, and I went and got my hair done (all pulled up in an up-do, which is saying something for my thick hair) and went home and tried to rally to get rid of my headache. My dress for my senior prom was hands down my favorite. It was a spaghetti strap, red princess type dress. Nothing really fancy, but it was just so cute. I had matching red strappy shoes and a red purse to go with it with fake ruby jewelry. It was really cute. A couple years ago, I had to give up my favorite dress because, let's face it, I'll never be as thin as I was in high school and some other girl who couldn't afford to buy a dress for prom needed it more than me. So I gave it to her so that she could be dressed up for her prom. But it was totally a cute dress.

My date had rented a limo for prom, and he arrived at my house, pictures were taken, and we headed to dinner at the Eagles Nest downtown in Indy. It is on top of the Hyatt Hotel and it rotates slowly so that you get a 360 degree view of downtown. I felt bad because my head was hurting so much at that point that I couldn't even eat or enjoy my food. We went to prom, danced a little, but towards the end of the night, I couldn't take it anymore. I ended up getting sick at my senior prom. Not cool, not cool. I was one of the really quiet shy types in high school, too, so I'm sure people were wondering why I was getting sick in the bathroom, possibly thinking I was drunk, who knows...but we had to leave early. So yes, that was my senior prom. Oh, and our prom song? "To Make You Feel My Love" and nope, I don't remember which version they used. It was some country singer, and it definitely wasn't the Bob Dylan version. That would have been cool, though...

Our school also had a tradition the day after where we would take buses to Kings Island. Since we had already bought the tickets, I sucked it up, and I went. Riding roller coasters the day after you get sick...maybe not the best idea, but I am totally not one to waste money. It was a fun day, though, and an overall good prom, minus the whole getting sick part.

And that, boys and girls, was my little trip down memory lane. What was YOUR prom like?
And since you've's the picture!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

My Baby's Got a Secret

Every person has their secrets. The kind they keep deep down and hidden from those they love. Some deny those secrets and refuse to acknowledge that they exist. However, I'm a full believer in facing things head on. It's simply for the good of your relationship. It turns baby's got a secret.

So, last night I staged an intervention. Of the t-shirt variety.

See, my man is a hoarder. A hoarder of t-shirts.

T and I have a Sunday night tradition. This started about a month ago when we were browsing through TV channels and came across the show Hoarding, Buried Alive on TLC. We were sucked in, and I can't explain why. What can I say? I love watching a train wreck. But little did I know that I was marrying a hoarder, too.

Throughout his young life, T has run in a lot of races and has accumulated an obnoxious amount of t-shirts. Four drawers full of them, and the kind of full where you can't close the drawer because there are so many in there. And when doing laundry, it's become a battle to fit them in there. Honestly, I'm a bit jealous, too, because the boy has more drawer space than I do. Totally unfair! I'M the girl!

We've talked about throwing a t-shirt purging party for the longest time. Every weekend T says "I'm going to do it. I'm going to go through my t-shirts." However, this never happens. I blame wedding planning, family obligations, yard work, and well...laziness. So last night, I decided we were going to do do it. I got home, got out four laundry baskets and emptied each drawer into one.

Please see exhibit A. These are all of T's t-shirts, and these don't even include undershirts. (Those are a whole other ballgame for another day.)

And please see exhibit B. This is all in one small drawer. These are the shirts he actually wears out in public. The others are either shirts to sleep in, exercise shirts, and yard work shirts. Yep, the man has four different types of shirts. It really is shameful.

I debated helping him through this, but I decided I'd be here for emotional support. I sat him down, looked him in the eye, and said "it's OK baby. Well get through this together." But to go through each shirt and decide whether he needs to keep it or toss it? That's up to T and T alone.

It was really funny, really it was. As I listened to him go through each shirt, I kept hearing "But I can't get rid of this shirt! I got this in high school." or "I have to keep this shirt, this one is really comfortable." It was just like those hoarders on TV who come up with every excuse in the book to keep a small pen or a box of Cheerios.

However, as he got through more and more t-shirts, he began to purge more of them. Little by little, the piles got smaller. Finally, we ended up with two baskets from the previous four. See exhibit C.

And exhibit D, this is the pile of Goodwill shirts to be donated.

I'm so proud of him.

Now don't get me wrong, I'm not without my flaws, too. I hoard certain items, but I just don't have photographic evidence of them. I have flats in every color and pattern, and these are thrown all over our closet floor. I have a shot glass collection of about 80 or so shot glasses I have accumulated through the year. And I hoard orange juice.

This is exhibit E.
Yes, we have three containers of OJ in our refrigerator, but we did have four just a week ago. I have this problem that whenever I go to the grocery store, I feel the need to get OJ. I know I don't need it, but yet I have the compulsive desire to buy another carton. Every time. And then I get home, and T looks at me and goes "you bought ANOTHER one? We don't need another one!" So now I keep a mental note to myself that I need to shut off that inner voice when I'm at the store. Just say no to OJ!

Sure this may not be t-shirts, but it just goes to show we all have our secrets. But I don't think we'll be needing to call TLC just yet....

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

A Vacation from Reality...Part Three

After a fun day and night in B-town, we headed to McCormick's Creek State Park, which is just a bit west of Bloomington. It was another beautiful day, though a bit hotter and nearing the 90s (actually, I think it reached the 90s during the day) We stopped first to get a picnic lunch at the grocery store and headed out. The plan: eat a quite bite and then go hiking for the day. I've been to this park several times before, with my parents a few times in high school, so I vaguely knew what I was doing. (Key word: vaguely)

I, in my great wisdom, decided we were going to do the rugged trail first, but before I get to the story...just a bit of background....

I grew up in northern Alabama, and my family went camping a lot in throughout my childhood. We had one of those pop-up campers, and we'd camp in Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee and Kentucky. We saw some really cool parks and experienced nature at its finest. And my parents would take us hiking. It was usually a lot of fun, but when you're a kid who is 6 or 7, you get tired easily. My father was notorious for picking one trail and then seeing where it connects to another trail, taking us to that trail, and then we'd end up hiking for hours. And I mean hours. And the trail would always end with this huge flight of steps back up a mountain to the end. Granted, I was a kid, and kids do have energy. BUT, I was a kid with asthma. So hiking for three hours usually resulted in tears. We'd always make it back to camp, and there would be a Kool Aid juice box waiting for me, which I swear was the best thing I had ever tasted in the whole world after that long of a hike. So I have a bit of hiking experience, so I thought "if I could do it then, I can do it now, right?"

So we took the rugged trail. It started off well, until we got down into the creek. T quickly realized, "Hey there's no trail here! Just water and rocks. You want me to cross this?"
Here is T looking just a little bit hesitant.

But I was confident. Just call me Captain Nature.

So we started the hike through the creek. First step, let's jump across these rocks and get across the creek. T did it, but I stood there frozen for a few minutes. He turns around, realizes, "Hey, she's not with me..." I just look up at him and say "I's scared..." (Yes, when confronted with a terrifying situation, I revert to the language capabilities of a four year old.
Don't judge...) I made it, but man, it was not easy. (See! It doesn't look so easy!) Now this next picture, I'm not sure what this rock thing is, but it looked cool, so I took a picture of it....

The thing I didn't remember was that when I was young, falling down wasn't that big of a deal. I did it all the time. I fell of my bike and just got back up and rode again. But when you're older, falling hurts. And it continues to hurt for several days. So there was my hesitation.

But as we got a little further, our confidence built. And honestly (and this may sound incredibly cheesy) but it was definitely what you would call a trust-building exercise. I was there for him, and he was there for me. There were a few times where we both slipped, but the other was there to catch him when he fell (or she fell). And we made it, but yes, it did end with a huge flight of stairs. However, I didn't cry this time.

So we decided to do a second trail just for kicks. This one was labeled moderate, and it went through a quarry, which was really pretty. It seemed pretty easy, until we got about halfway through and started hiking uphill. Uphill for about a half a mile. Um, yeah, girl with the asthma? Not liking it so much. I'm not going to confirm or deny whether I snapped at T, but those of you who know me well, know that I get just a wee bit cranky when tired. But we made it through this trail, too. We were sweating like pigs, but it felt good to accomplish two trails in one afternoon.

So we hauled ourselves to the car and headed out. It was a great end to a wonderful weekend. It was sad to return to reality, but, it had to happen sometime, right? But we decided we're definitely doing this more often. Sometimes it is just great to get away with the one you love and have a little fun.
Next one tank getaway - mid-June and a little jaunt to French Lick, Indiana!

Monday, May 24, 2010

A Vacation from Reality...Part Deux

And now, children, part two of our mini vacation from reality...

Our next stop on the road trip was Indiana University. I was so excited to be back on the campus. For those of you who have never been to Bloomington, Indiana, I definitely recommend it. It's a huge campus and a really pretty one at that. It was the place I called home from 1999 to 2003, and when I left to go to law school in the fall of 2003, I was so sad to say good bye. I haven't been down there as much as I'd like since that time, but I was more than happy to show T around finally.

I gave him the driving tour first, hitting all the major places - the football stadium, Assembly Hall, showing him where I lived my freshman, sophomore and junior years on campus (Note: My roommate Erika and I got somehow screwed in the housing lottery freshman year so our dorm is about as far off of campus as is humanly possible). We then parked at the Union and took a walking tour of campus.

It's amazing how much came back to me as I was walking around. It's not like I block those memories out or anything, but it's hard, seven years later, to recall all of these places and events that meant so much to you for four years. But it all came back pretty quickly.

We walked past the Showalter Fountain, which I've actually been in during my senior year at IU (It was fun, but the water was cold and icky). My freshman year I wrote a story for the school newspaper about the history behind this fountain. Back in the day when IU had won the NCAA basketball championship, the students rioted (as is normal at any Big Ten campus), and they stole two of these huge fish from the fountain. No one knows where they are, but I can't imagine they'd be hard to miss. (Nice lawn ornament!) Urban legend has it that when a virgin graduates from IU, these two remaining fish will leap out of the fountain. Hmm..interesting that they are still there...
As you can tell, I was pretty happy to be back on campus.

We went to the student union to go to the bookstore and to also get out of the heat, because it was rapidly starting to warm up. I made T get an IU t-shirt, of course, but none for me as I worked at the bookstore for 3 years and have my fair share of IU t-shirts. We then headed to the Ernie Pyle School of Journalism where I spent a majority of my time while at IU.

I wrote for the Indiana Daily Student my first two years at IU and then worked for the Arbutus yearbook my last two. I loved doing the yearbook thing. I met some of my closest friends there and really had a good experience doing it. Some good good memories, but it was definitely weird to be back there after seven years.

And yes, I am a dork.

After walking around for a bit, we headed to the hotel and checked in before heading out for dinner. Bloomington is well known for its cool local restaurants, so I picked one that I thought T would like for dinner. Since we'll be going to Ireland for our honeymoon in four short, months, I chose the Irish Lion, which has really good Irish cuisine and a good selection of beers. (Photo: T's Guinness and my Black & Tan)

After dinner, we headed to the bars. Now to get the full IU experience, you have to go to a variety of bars, which means going to ones I normally wouldn't consider. Kilroys, while it has good drink specials and is an IU staple, is well known for do I say this appropriately...douchebaggery. Yes, if you want to witness a lot of douchey guys in popped collars and backwards baseball caps trying to act like they're "the man," definitely go to Kilroys. (I know I may be insulting a lot of people with this, but I stand by my opinion) Case in point: Shortly after we got there, we witnessed this one rather large kid projectile vomit all over his friend, who was your typical douche (baby blue popped collar shirt, aviator shades and a backwards baseball cap). Then the big guy passed out. Did his friends help him? No, they were laughing at him as he passed out and was pulled out of the bar by the two bouncers on duty, taping it while it was happening (I'm sure to post on YouTube later). Witnessing this display of rampant douchebaggery made me realize two things: 1) I'm too old to deal with this kind of stupidity and 2) I'm REALLY glad YouTube wasn't popular in my college days because I'm pretty sure I wouldn't want some of my "best" moments (and I use the word "best" loosely) documented and published. Yikes. I felt for the guy, even though he's an idiot for drinking that much. And man, he was big, too! He must have consumed an enormous amount of booze to get like that. Double yikes.

We ended our night with a stop at Nick's English Hut, which is a must if you're visiting Bloomington. All in all, it was a great Saturday, and I couldn't have asked for better company.

More to come...the last installment in this trilogy known as my vacation from stop: McCormick's Creek State Park!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

A Vacation from Reality...Part One

For Valentine's Day this last year, I came up with a bit of a creative present for T. I planned a mini vacation for us. We've known each other for almost 2 years now, and we have yet to make it down to Bloomington, Indiana, to visit Indiana University, my Alma mater. We've talked about it forever, but we've never found the time. It's kind of sad considering it's only about an hour away from where we live. So I planned a trip for us on May 22nd (a random date for some, yes, but to me, that meant a date when students weren't around and post-graduation...see, I feel much too old these days to deal with this). Considering I made the hotel reservation in February, we've been waiting forever for this weekend to get here, but it finally arrived! We headed out Saturday morning...our first stop, Oliver Winery. I absolutely love this winery. In college, we'd go here all the time, do a wine tasting, buy a bottle and just hang out on their patio. It was always a really nice break from reality. So I packed a nice little picnic lunch for us, and we headed down south.

I was so worried all week about whether the weekend would actually be nice. Here in Indiana it has been raining pretty much nonstop for the month of May, and every time we make plans to cook out or work out in the yard, it never fails...rain. I've actually forgotten what the sun looks like. But it was really beautiful out, so the fates were working in my favor. (YES!)

So we started off with a little wine tasting. Now my family does this activity quite often, so I'm a little bit of an expert. We visit the wineries up in Southern Michigan almost every summer, so don't judge! You get there, and the wino person (I don't know what you actually call the people who serve the wine to you, so bear with me) gives the little speech about how you do the tasting, and I nod and smile and act like this is the first time I've ever heard this, not giving away the fact that I've been to so many wineries that I may come across as a wino myself. So we did a little tasting, and it was delicious.

We made our purchases, and sadly, no this bottle of wine was not one I purchased. However, it was extremely tempting.

We bought a couple of bottles to take home and one already chilled one for ourselves, and we set up our picnic lunch. It was really quiet since we got there early and were one of the few people at the place. However, this quickly changed as the bridal shower party from hell arrived and took over the entire deck area. I am pretty sure they didn't reserve the tables, but the death glares we got from the skinny girls in heels as they set up their friend's bridal shower were too much to handle for too long. So after lunch, we took a bit of a walk.

(Doesn't it look delicious? I was pretty proud of myself, and the wine was great!)

The grounds at Oliver Winery are really beautiful - there are picnic tables everywhere and a's just really relaxing. So we walked around for a bit. Of course, I saw a party with a picnic basket, so I decided to do my best Yogi Bear impression and ask "Hey Boo-boo, you want this pic-i-nic basket?" Over and over again until I drove T crazy. (Maybe it was the wine talking, too, who knows...)

It was a great start to our little mini vacation - next stop was Indiana University, Home of the Hoosiers! (More to come....)

Friday, May 21, 2010

Nain vs. Wild

Our house has a problem...chronic infestation. Of the pest kind.

The house T and I are living in right now is actually a rental home through a local real estate company in the town where we live. It's a cute ranch house, 3 bedrooms, really big living room and an awesome deck for cookouts. Just big enough for our family to start off. The problem? It hasn't really been kept very well. The landlord is a very hands off kind of guy, and the tenants before us were just slobs. Really dirty people. I guess if you're renting a house, there's no real obligation to keep the place clean and looking nice, but T and I want to take pride in where we live so we put a lot of work into the home. Dirty living is just not the way we roll. When we moved in, though, a ton of cleaning needed to be done. It was sooo disgusting. My sister and I spent hours in the kitchen wiping everything down, bleaching everything and cleaning the oven. I re-did the contact paper on the shelves, which in and of itself takes a huge amount of patience, and while I was doing this, I noticed a few small black pellets. A brief moment of panic set this mouse poop? Surely not. How old is it? We only found a little bit so we decided to just brush it off that it was old and not to worry.

So that was mid-November. Flash forward to February 2010....we got hit with a bad snow storm, so both T and I were working from home. It was about lunchtime, I open the pantry to get some soup out to make for us, and I notice that there were saltine crumbs on the bottom shelf. I look closer and see that not only were there crumbs, but there was a small hole that looked like it was bitten by a small creature. Then I see it. Mouse poop and pee everywhere. On every single shelf. So I scream, and T comes running in thinking I was hurt or we were getting robbed. Of course, I tell him that he's the man, he has all the man parts, so he has to clean the shelf. I get out a huge Rubbermaid tub, and stand back at a five feet distance as he slowly takes items out of the pantry and hands to me to wipe down with Clorox wipes. Why five feet, I'm not sure...I think part of me thought the thing would come jumping out at me like the squirrel in National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation and claw my face off. Anything that was boxed or not in a can went in the tub which sat on our kitchen table for 3 weeks. We quickly bought traps and set those but also called Terminex just to be on the safe side. I mean, this is enemy territory this mouse was entering. And we didn't know if there was just one. I don't care how cute they are from afar. If the thing isn't making dresses like in Cinderella or cooking me dinner like in Ratatouille, it must die. Sorry, PETA. So Terminex came out, did the whole putting wire mesh stuff in holes, but this little bugger was still smart. He was still in the house after two weeks. We found more evidence on Valentine's Day that he came in from behind the stove and under the pantry, so we pulled the stove out, bleached behind there and set another trap. I mean, nothing is more romantic to me than cleaning mouse poop and bleaching the floor behind your stove, right? Yep, pretty sexy.

I became extremely paranoid for weeks into months. I named the little monster Damian, because I swear the thing was the devil, and I religiously updated my Facebook status with "Mousegate 2010 updates." We haven't seen evidence of it in a long long time, but then we quickly had another problem about a month later. A bird flew into our chimney and got caught there. Our landlord (being the hands off dude he is) had never gotten around to putting a chimney cap on our chimney, so apparently, birds had been flying and in and out of there for a long time. But one got caught, and as T was heading to work one Thursday morning, he heard it scratching up the inside of the chimney. So we had to call a pest company because it didn't fall under our Terminex agreement (go figure) and we weren't about to catch the thing ourselves. Over $100 later, the thing was caught and set free. We complained to said landlord, and now have a rather ghetto looking chimney cap.

And then about three weeks later, I come home and find about 20-30 ants just crawling around our kitchen counter. Screaming again, I text T and ask "where are you???" He's at work. Can't come home. So I had to kill the ants. (If you can't tell, I'm a wuss.) But they kept coming. I was powerless against their numbers. So we call Terminex again (because what's the point of having a contract with them if you can't use their services, right?) The guy comes out and puts this powder stuff along our walls and outside. He tells us that this is poison apparently the ants take back to their colony. And then, get this, he says "if you see an ant, don't kill it, because it needs to take the food back to the Queen to kill the Queen." Um, excuse me? If I see a bug in my house, it is in my nature to want to kill it, especially if the thing is in my kitchen. Ant's gotta go. But we complied. And it seemed to be ok. And paying Terminex on a quarterly basis is a lot of money, so we thought, since we hadn't had any problems for a good long time, we'd be ok to cancel. So we did, and all seemed to be good in the household. Until last night...

T heads outside to grill our dinner and notices a bunch of ants crawling around the outside and into our living room. I won't type the curse words that came out of our mouths, but just think Sharon Osbourne. So we have this spray that Terminex gave us, but when you use it, it gives a really strong odor of ammonia. Really gross. But we sprayed, and unfortunately we had to spray inside. So our house smelled of ammonia all night. I tried to mask it with burning a vanilla candle and spraying Febreeze, but then our house just spelled like vanilla, Febreeze and ammonia. Gross. But it did kill the ants.

Until this morning...when I'm doing crunches on the floor in front of our TV and what do I see but a little ant making his way across our living room floor. Ugh. So either he's a survivor from the massacre yesterday, or they're trying to outsmart us. Needless to say, I feel like our house is a wild animal kingdom of the pest variety.

I can't prove it, but I'm pretty sure once we cancelled our Terminex contract, they were all "oh, you want to cancel? You think you don't need our services? Well, let's see about that..." (All while twirling their moustaches and laughing manically, of course). I can't prove that they planted those ants, but the timing just seems a bit suspect. Hmmm....

Maybe I'm starting to lose my mind here...what do you think?

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Hey, man! Be nice!

I totally wanted to write about something funny or light today. I had the best of intentions.....but....then I had an encounter with a mean person. And an unnecessarily mean person at that. So sorry, Cheez-it stories today!

So ok, in my line of work I deal with all sorts of people. And I guess to some respect, when you go to school to become a lawyer, you know that you'll be getting yourself into situations where people aren't always pleasant. No,, not when the law is involved. That's when people pull out the claws. So I did know that when I went to school, but yet I did it anyway. And lawyers are supposed to argue and advocate for their clients. Yes, this is all very true. But what a license to practice law does not give you is the right to just be mean. Nope, you can be nice and still do your job well.

I like to argue as much as the next guy, don't get me wrong, but there's arguing and then there are personal attacks. And without going into too much detail, let's just say I was having a really good day and then had a run in with someone in the professional setting who was just mean for the sake of being mean. Not cool, man, not cool. And it's kind of ruined my mood. (Maybe I need some Cheez-its to cheer me up?)

In situations like that, I wish that I could harness all of the sarcastic and witty comebacks I can think of after I walk away from the situation and throw them back at that person, but then I think "isn't that just sinking to their level?" It probably is, so it's best I didn't do that. I am a firm believer in that civility goes a long way. It's just more professional and is way more effective. And it's the kind of person I want others to perceive me as and the way I want my children to be raised when we do have children. You should just be nice.

Back when I was in high school, I was really really shy and didn't speak up much, so when I see people that I knew back then, a lot of them are confused and genuinely surprised to hear that I went into the practice of law. I hear a lot of "but you're too nice for that!" Well, hey, lawyers don't have to be mean! Most of us aren't, for that matter. And those of us that are just give the rest of us a bad name. Personally, I went into law to help people, which I do through child protection services, and I see no need in resorting to meannness and pettiness to win my arguments or cases. And that really is how most of us are, which is how it should be. But there are a few bad seeds, which you'll get anywhere. And sure, yes, I do have a "Beware of Attack Lawyer" sign over my desk, but that's all in good fun :-) I'm nowhere near "attack lawyer."

But my dilemma right now is how do you let this stuff just roll off your back? T always tells me I need to "be like a duck and just let negativity roll off of your back like the water rolls off of a duck's back when it rains." But that is definitely easier said than done. For those of us who do care about how others perceive us, when someone isn't really nice like that, it does leave a mark. And I'm feeling a little bruised at the moment.

So that's my soapbox for the day. Be nice people! We can really all get a long, really!

Alright, where are the Cheez-its?

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The Battle of the Cheez-its

Since we've moved in together and since we got engaged, both T and I have tried our best to eat a little healthier and to be a bit more frugal with our grocery bill and spending. Of course, this isn't to say we're perfect (see my post from a couple days ago where I'm going on and on about my favorite dessert), but we're making a good effort. (A is for effort, right?)

So one of the big things we've both been doing is bringing our lunch to work. It can be annoying sometimes, having to pack it the night before or rush to pack it that morning as we're leaving for work. But we make it work. I am definitely not a cold cuts sandwich person so that's usually T's thing. So with the lunch, he packs some kind of chip/cracker item, dessert and fruit. And this is where our battle lines have been drawn...the damn Cheez-its.

No matter how hard I try, we're always butting heads on the whole proportion thing with food. He thinks "hey, if it fits in this sandwich bag, it's the correct portion, right?" Um...yeah...not so much. It's like 1/3rd of the box that the boy manages to get into one bag. Or on those lucky days where we have enough leftovers from the night's previous meal, I'll be nice and say "you go ahead, honey, and take that for lunch." And it's usually something substantial, too, like a meal with a salad. But he still persists in putting a bulging bag of Cheez-its in with his lunch, despite how much he's already packed.

So I eventually started calling him on it. Mostly because 1) I pay the grocery bill and going through a box of Cheez-its in one week's span of time can be a bit much; 2) the stuff isn't really that good for you anyway with a bunch of salt, saturated fats, etc. and 3) I want him to be around a good long time so I want him to be healthy (am I a nice person or what?) So any given day, he'd be packing his lunch and I see him putting in a huge bag of Cheez-its with his leftovers. I'd ask him why the need for the extra carbs, and he'd respond with a "but I get hungry!" To which, I'd respond by taking the Cheez-its and replacing them with a fruit item saying, "here's a good snack, try this!"

Well, the boy's gotten smart on me. He now waits until I'm out of the room and getting ready in the morning to pack his lunch, and he sneaks it in. Sneaky, T, very sneaky...but one of us is sneakier.

So one day, when I was going to be the doting fiance' and put a little note in with his lunch, I open it to find a huge bag of Cheez-its shoved in there. So I quietly take them out and write him the sweet note but include at the bottom of the note: "Missing some Cheez-its?" And would you know it...I get a text from T around noon that day inquiring the whereabouts of said Cheez-its.

The battle has reached an all-time high just last week, as T was getting ready, after packing his lunch, I inquired what he packed. It was standard items - leftovers from previous day, salad, fruit and dessert. I asked," Do you have any Cheez-its in there?" He responds "No, I didn't put any at all in there. You can trust me." So I ask "ok, so hypothetically, if I look in your lunchbox, will I find some Cheez-its in there?" He goes "Dont you trust me?" in the sweetest possible voice to convey his innocence. So I can't help it...I took the bait and looked, and what do you know? Cheez-its! Drat! But it was early, and I was tired so I let it slide...

Of course, this is all in good fun, so don't think that this has become a huge issue in our household and send me referrals for premarital counseling. I do genuinely care about his health, and we've both been instructed by our respective doctors to have the whole low sodium, low carb diet for our blood pressure, so to compromise, I went and bought one of those packages that has the 100 calorie portions. See, he can get his Cheez-its but in moderation, right?

But that only worked for a little while because those suckers are quite expensive! Plus, he'd supplement by throwing something else in there with the lunch which would defeat the purpose.

Every day when I get to work, I would share my tales of Cheez-it battle with a coworker of mine, who finds this hilarious, of course. "Give T the Cheez-its!!!!" she says. So we had her over for dinner last week, and the traitor has sided with Team T and bought him a 3 lb box of Cheez-its. This thing is HUGE. It cracks me up, of course, so there you go...but in my estimation, this box should last him about two weeks. We may need a bigger box.

What's a silly thing that you and your spouse go back and forth on? (Or am I the only nutcase in the room? :-) ha)

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Guilty Pleasures

"Life may not be the party we hoped for, but while we're still here, we should dance." Author Unknown

Everyone has their dirty little secrets, the guilty pleasures in life that make them happy. For me, that guilty pleasure is bad TV. I often get made fun of by my husband-to-be and my family that I have the taste of a teenage girl when it comes to TV. My favorite shows? ultimate favorite show of all time (which crushed me when it went off the air but I have every single episode on DVD anyway and can quote verbatim) is Gilmore Girls. I also frequently watch Gossip Girl, One Tree Hill, Dancing with the Stars, Life Unexpected, and yes, I DVR The Hills. (Don't judge!!!!) Of course, I also throw in a little comedy, too, with Thursday NBC television, The Daily Show (mostly because I'm in love with John Stewart...sorry, T!), The Colbert Report, and Chelsea Lately. So I'm pretty diverse in my TV.

So just yesterday, as I was sitting in court waiting for my case to be called in, I get a text from my sister which says "So they just said on the radio that Gossip Girl will give you an OMG guarantee. Seriously?" To which I responded "OMG Yes!" She responded with "So are you so excited to find out if Sabrina has the STD?" (So many things wrong with this, first of all being her name is Serena and not Sabrina, but I digress...) This went back and forth a couple of texts, all in the name of good fun, but this isn't the first time I have been teased for my taste in movies and TV shows. Oh, and music, for that matter.

But I just don't care, and here's why...(clears throat and prepares to state my case) See, I'm an attorney in child protection services. What I see on a day-to-day basis could make the average person completely lose their mind and soul in one afternoon. It's some pretty dark and stressful stuff. So when I come home in the evening, it's time to relax. And relaxation to me does NOT mean watching something that requires a lot of thought and/or emotion. I mean, don't get me wrong, I do really care if Chuck and Blair end up together on Gossip Girl, but it isn't going to ruin my whole day if that doesn't happen. It's light. It's fun. It's entertainment.

I often get asked if I watch shows like Law and Order or (insert your appropriate court drama here). Nope, sorry. I have watched those shows on occasion when at my parent's house, and I have nothing better to do than just watch whatever is on their TV at the time. What ends up happening is I spend more time criticizing the lawyer's techniques on the show or saying things like "you can't ask a witness that!" or "it's not THAT easy!" that I end up irritating the people I'm watching the show with or end up irritating myself. Neither of which is pleasant. Besides, what's the fun in watching something that you have to deal with on a daily basis?

Yesterday I had a particularly bad afternoon at work, so I was excited to plop myself down on the couch with a glass of wine, some dark chocolate and watch the semifinals for Dancing with the Stars. Personally, I think it's Chad's week to go, but you never know. But watching shows like this makes me happy, and isn't that all that counts?

So yes, those who know and love me might think I need a 12 step program or to start watching age appropriate television shows (I'm not 30 yet!), but I refuse. Yes, my name is Nain, and I'm addicted to smut (if that's how you spell it) TV. And I can't wait to see who gets kicked off DWTS tonight.

On a side note (and a MUCH more important note)...only 4 months from today until I marry my best friend! I couldn't be more excited!

So, what's your guilty pleasure?

Monday, May 17, 2010

Date Night!

As of this June 25th, T and I will have known each other officially two years, which isn't a huge expanse of time considering we're about to pledge our undying love for the remainder of our days this September, but to us, it's a big deal. So anyway, back when we were dating, we did all sorts of things - went to the movies and dinner, went to festivals around town, walks on the canal, trips to Brown County...whatever we wanted because our time was ours, and no matter what we were doing, as long as we were with each other, the world was good. We could sit outside at a park or walk around the Monon Trail for hours just chatting and enjoying each other's company because we had all the time in the world.

Things started to get a little crazy after we got engaged last July and then moved in together last November. Soon it seemed that our time was not our own...most of it was spent packing and moving, wedding planning and then the holidays hit, which means major family time. We were saving our money as much as we could for our honeymoon and for the house. A weekend would roll around and we'd look at each other and go "Should we go out to dinner?" Of course, the answer is usually "No, we should save our money. Let's eat at home and catch up on our DVR." But what's happened in the long run is we haven't gone on an actual date night. If we do end up going out to dinner on a weekend, it's usually followed by a quick run to Target to pick up some items or a trip to Home Depot, which is terribly romantic, isn't it? Nothing keeps that fire going quite like buying bags of lawn fertilizer and Weed-Be-Gone on a Saturday night.

Actually our last date was the night of my birthday, which didn't end well. Dinner at my favorite restaurant, BARcelona Tapas was cut short by me getting the stomach flu. The stomach flu on my flipping birthday. Lovely.

So this next weekend we decided to set a date and go out, just the two of us. We picked a restaurant and decided we'd head to the canal and just walk around and talk like we used to do when we first started dating. So Saturday morning, we were both in high spirits, anticipating the relaxation and fun that was to come that evening. We did the usual, got up, ate breakfast and worked out. As T looked outside, he noticed the sky was clouding up. Sure enough, the perfect sunny weather we were supposed to have all Saturday was changing to rain. But we kept saying "it'll pass, it'll pass" and as the afternoon went by, I kept checking the radar like it was my job, hoping that once dinner time hit it would pass.

We took the gamble, and went to dinner, to BJ's Brewhouse, which is an awesome awesome restaurant, and I highly recommend if it you have one in your area. Good beer and really good food. My favorite is the's called a pizookie, which is a huge, warm cookie that is served fresh out of the oven in a small cookie pan with a dollop of ice cream on it and chocolate syrup. It's happiness in a cookie dish. Takes your breath away with one bite. So, of course, we had to have that with our meal. And it was delicious.

It was still raining a bit by the time we finished, but we headed out. As luck would have it, the rain stopped once we got downtown. We parked about 2 miles away from the canal (Have to get that in because I gave T such a hard time about how far away we parked...), and you know what? We had an amazing time. We just took our times, strolling on the canal, held hands and just talked. And not about stressful things either like wedding planning, jobs or families. We talked about my wanting to write again...the conversation actually getting me to start this blog. We talked about our future and what we want, and it was great. For a short few hours, it was like we were dating all over again. No worries, no obligations or places to was wonderful. We reconnected in a way we haven't in a really long time.

Of course, we got in the car and started heading back home, and me, being the perpetual worrier, says "Man, I don't want to go to court on Monday. I'm really not looking forward to my trial." Nope, can't shut my mind off for one second! T had to point that out to me, and I quickly tried to change the subject. (But of course, that didn't shut off the good old mind)

BUT the date night was a success, and I truly think that we will be making a point of doing more things like this as we get married and begin our lives together.

Until next time...

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Adventures in Cooking

So for my birthday this year, my future mother-in-law gave me a cookbook (because I'm always going through her cooking magazines when we come to visit, looking for new recipes), and she gave me this cookbook - "Now eat this: 150 of America's Favorite Comfort Foods (All Under 350 calories" by Rocco Dispirito. Of course, I immediately recognized Rocco from the season of Dancing with the Stars when he danced with Karina "My name is a vodka brand" Smirnoff, but apparently he cooks, too! It's a pretty cool book, and since I'm getting ready for a wedding in 4 months, I'm game for eating healthy. I've been wanting to try one forever, so today, I did it. I picked a recipe and went for it. On today's menu? Brownies. How could you go wrong, right?

Of course, this cookbook is a healthy type of cookbook, and I don't necessarily have a "healthy kitchen" so I had to go shop for all of the ingredients on Monday. I spent an hour scouring the aisles of Kroger looking for things like "sugar free chocolate syrup" and "fat free sour cream." I got most of it, except espresso powder. I wasn't sure if that meant actual espresso or what. Who knows. So I gathered the ingredients...

Yep, that's right. You see a can of black beans in there. In brownie ingredients.

I had my doubts, but the recipe says "drain and rinse the beans." So I thought....maybe some of the flavor that you would have with black beans would rinse out. So I followed instructions:

Combined the ingredients in a food processor, which was something, too, because I didn't remember we had one. Truth be told, my Mom gave me her old food processor back in college or law school, which was way too long ago, but I broke it out and used it.

I think the thing is from the 1970s, too, with the look of it, but it also sounds like a drill at the dentist office which leaves much to be desired. (Note to self: Add food processor to the wedding registry).
So I processed everything, poured it into a baking pan and cooked for 25 minutes...

So this is my final product. And I have to doesn't look a damn thing like the one in the cookbook. Nor am I sure that it resembles brownies. And the recipe says you can't taste the black beans, and I think that would be the case if you burned off all of your tastebuds because I sure taste them. (It's a texture thing) T's response to me after it came out of the oven was "Oh that looks like the top of a roof!" I mean, sure, the thing is edible, but this just goes to show the lowfat substitute is never as good as the real thing. I think I might stick to the Betty Crocker next time fo sho. But we technically haven't had a full brownie yet, and I'm sure the thing will taste just fine after I put ice cream and pour chocolate syrup on top of it. Or is that defeating the whole purpose? Would Rocco approve?

Eh...screw Rocco, bring on the ice cream!