Sunday, January 25, 2015

Moving—Part 1

I write this with paint stained hands and a sore body.

On Saturday we took 6+ car loads of stuff over to the new place. How did we get so much stuff? And why when we unloaded it in the new house did it look like nothing? Anyway, we packed our cars, drove to the house, unloaded and repeated until it was 10pm and we realized we hadn’t had dinner yet. Bless you, Palermo Pizza for being open and tasty.

There’s just about nothing left in the apartment that can fit in a car, including our kitchen. I moved it all which meant much to Ben’s dismay we had to eat our salad from Palermo’s Saturday night sharing one spoon. Oops.

Today we spent all day cleaning the house (the blind slates—EWW) and replacing outlet covers because someone once thought chrome was a good idea.

Tonight we’re priming the apartment walls back to white. Each roll over on our bright blue living room wall and I’m reminded of how hard Ben worked to set up this apartment for my arrival when we first moved in together two and a half years ago. This place was a pretty darn good first home.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Chutes and Ladders

Last night we took our first of what will be many trips to Lowe’s for home stuff. It was getting late and by the time we checked out we were getting kind of tired.

As we wheeled our shopping cart to the parking lot, complete with a six foot ladder hanging precariously off the bottom rack, I had a terrible realization—ain’t no way a six foot ladder gonna fit in my car.

We had loaded the car up already with a couple big items from the apartment thinking we’d move them to the new house after a quick trip to Lowe’s. I now know “quick trip to Lowe’s” doesn’t exist.

So, at 7pm in the Lowe’s parking lot we unloaded the pre-loaded guitar, Christmas tree, full set of lacrosse pads, full set of golf clubs, a few boxes of wedding decorations and two sets of Rollerblades onto the pavement. Then we loaded in the ladder, and thankfully everything else back in with zero (and I mean zero) room to spare.

Whew. This must be home ownership.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Home Sweet Home

While I’ve been elbow deep in spray paint, wood glue and thread working on project: wedding; Ben’s been working on another big project—project house.

We reviewed a budget together, and occasionally I’d put down my crafts for a field trip to an open house, but for the most part Ben handled it. And he totally rocked it.

This past Friday we closed on our orange-garaged-ranch in one of our favorite neighborhoods. We’re smitten! Not by the orange garage but with the layout and space, the big deck out back, the proximity to our favorite spots around town, and the price tag which came in below our initial budget range.

We’re home owners! Somewhere in the next two weeks we’ll get the keys, by the end of the month we’ll be fully moved and between now and then I’ll probably melt into a puddle of excitement 3-4 times.

It’ll be bittersweet leaving this apartment—the first place we built as our home together, and honestly, the cream of the crop as far my experience living in apartments has gone. Owning a house has been a target on our radar for the last 9 months or so, and being able to tackle this step in the same year we’ll get married makes 2015 even more exciting.

All able bodies with handy skills, an eye for interior design or painting abilities are welcome for a weekend of light labor and fun around town. That orange garage ain’t gonna tackle itself, after all.

Friday, January 9, 2015


Man, you learn all sorts of things when you sign on to have a Jewish wedding. This month’s lesson was in ketubahs—and their cost.

In addition to a state marriage license, a ketubah is a Jewish marriage license. It’s typically half art, half text—an agreement on the relationship between husband and wife. The ones I’ve seen are beautiful, and rightfully so, since many people hang them in their homes as a visual reminder of the vows they’ve made to each other.

It sounds lovely, but a little more research proved purchasing one would run me at least $150, with some topping out at over $1,000. Which, even on the low end was over what I really wanted to spend. Enter my Photoshop savvy bridesmaid Jill.

With the help of the Internet I found some designs I liked, and with the help of our rabbi I found some text to modify. I sent both to Jill and what she came up with is beautiful. It’s the right mix of eclectic and modern that make both Ben and I comfortable. The language will closely mirror our wedding vows, thus making it even more sentimental to one day have hanging in our home.

In line with dress shopping and cake tasting I have the warm fuzzies that a good friend of mine was so closely involved in this part of wedding prep. It makes the ketubah feel more ours and the wedding feel more ours, too. And, of course, it’ll let Jill add another skill to her resume. Who isn’t seeking a ketubah designer these days?

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Say Hello and Wave Goodbye--2014

Wow-wee, this is my fifth annual review blog post?! Hold—I’m feeling old and getting verklempt. Ok, moving on. 2014 was a heavy year. Big, great, fantastic things happened; so did sad, hard, difficult stuff. Looking back, I’m shocked at just how much happened. Have a flute of Champagne with me to celebrate another year with me, would ya? I might need two.

I rung in the New Year with a good friend and good country music. Grand Rapids got slammed with one of many polar vortexes—so cozy! And then? Ben and I got engaged! What else happened? Who knows, I was busy being love-blind.

We skiedI readI did yoga upside down and fell asleep in corpse pose. Ben and I made progress in wedding planning and I closed out my first solo big work project. Also—I said goodbye to one of the most influential swim coaches I ever had. (Read: "sad, hard, difficult stuff" from above.)

As I tend to do in the indoor winter months, I got busy crafting and cooking and cooking some more. Ben and I visited dogs (and oh my god were they cute), and my brother visited us for a cold Spring break. I’m still scared at how far we walked out onto frozen Lake Michigan. I'll never do it again, I promise, mom. At the end of the month, I took a trip to Boston for work and Ben came along at the end so we could make a mid-winter getaway outta it.

I cooked up one of my favorite lunches and dove into the details of wedding planning. I watched the live filming of the first American man cross the finish line first at the Boston Marathon in 1,000 years (or 31) and cried. And then? I witnessed hands down the deepest belly laughter I have all year—possibly all decade. I mean, a monkey throwing poo? No one is immune to giggling at that.

I took a long weekend trip with some of my favorite girlfriends to Nashville and it was So. Much. Fun. Ben and I biked with family, ran and took in the tulips. We got a dog and gave up the dog and it was sad and awful and absolutely the best decision to make. We quietly celebrated being a year out from our wedding date and between all of it I've never been more grateful to have Ben by my side.

Our local friends threw us the sweetest engagement party ever and I flew to Pennsylvania for a long weekend with some of my bridesmaids. Ben took a new position at work, a really great new position that made me all teary and proud. And then, I found my wedding dress! Squee!

We spent a weekend in Chicago with the Burlands. I celebrated a year at Steelcase by getting into a nasty work-related car accident. Ben took over as nurse and we had a real rough few weeks together. I gave him some peace at the end of the month when I took a trip to Alpena with my family to visit my brother who was doing a summer internship there.

We drove to the east side for a fantastic family engagement party/meeting of the extended families. I spent most of my free time bouncing between doctor, physical therapy and ER-blood-clot-checking appointments. At the end of the month, we watched our pals Andy and Ashley set the best wedding example possible. I mean, look at all that love!

I cooked and cooked, happy to be ok standing for extended periods of time and slowly lengthening the distance of regular walks. We took a trip to the U.P. with my family and Ben and I took a pasta making class together. We did a fall bike race with our parents, I turned in my beloved Saturn for a trustier set of wheels. To put the cherry on top of a family-filled month, we hosted both families again for ArtPrize.

I checked a bunch of wedding to-do's off the list: save the dates, cake testing, and wedding band shopping. We went up north with a big group of friends for a weekend get away and had some other pals visit us for our traditional fall pumpkin carving and spiked cider drinking weekend.

My mom and I picked up my dress, thankfully a few weeks before Grand Rapids got hammered with snow. Two full weeks of snow, day and night and night and day to the tune of 31 inches total. Ben and I hosted a whopping Friendsgiving dinner for 12 in our little apartment. We went home for Thanksgiving and I ran a slow but happy and thankfully healthy 10K with my family.

My brother graduated from college! Ben and I met my parents and grandparents in Mount Pleasant to watch him walk across the commencement stage. We spent a few days on the East side of the state wearing only sweat pants or stretchy jeans. It was lovely.

Whew. What a year, no? Except there's so much more on the horizon for 2015, oh so much more. Good thing I got my holiday rest in. Could I have just a little bit more, please?