Sunday, April 30, 2006

And there went the weekend

This weekend we had one of The Banker's friends in from Chicago. They were to play golf and piss away the weekend talking about the crap that men talk about. Namely: golf, football, baseball, finances, and business. (Or at least so I'd like to delude myself, thank you.)

A heavy deluge of rain left me in a mild panic. If they couldn't spend an entire day golfing, I would have to entertain them. That meant after my hours of cleaning and cooking, I'd then have to be hospitable for grueling hours on end while every ounce of my being screamed, "Good Lord, help me!"

Thankfully, Someone was kind to me and the storms passed long enough for the boys to tinker about the sodden greens trying to hit their balls with tiny, tiny clubs...Leaving me free to run some errands and to attend my book club on Sunday.

I can't begin to tell you what a bright spot this was in my weekend. It was so wonderful catching up with these talented women, sharing stories, and then freely exchanging our views on a piece of literature. If I could, I'd have the book club meet more often…But then I'd have to find more time to read.

In any case, to all those amazing women with whom I gathered, thank you. Your company, humor, and intellect are adored more than you could ever know.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Expensive medicine

The Banker came into the really big company I work for yesterday so we could meet with a doctor who visits the campus on Mondays. The purpose of the visit was to discuss the immunizations and medications we would need on our Peru trip roughly scheduled for this September. This doctor has traveled extensively and often orders immunizations--at cost--and writes out the proper prescriptions for travelers.

The damage? We'll both require Hepatitis A and Yellow Fever vaccinations, Malaria tablets, and Anti-Altitude Sickness pills (plus some Ambien, something the doctor recommended for sweaty, sleepless nights in the rainforest). Yellow Fever is on backorder, but the Hep A, which is a set of two shots, comes in at $60 a shot. And the Malaria pills that need to be taken for two weeks before and four weeks after the trip? Five bucks a pill. So without knowing how much the Yellow Fever will cost or the anti-altitude sickness pills, we're over $500.

Can you say "Ouch"?

Monday, April 24, 2006

A cold reception on our weekend away

So our weekend away was, by most accounts, relaxing, fun, and refreshing. We escaped Saturday afternoon to a little historic town not far from our home, checked into a bed and breakfast, went antiquing, picnicked at a local winery, and visited an underground Irish pub--all before gorging ourselves on a gourmet dinner.

Have you ever eaten so much you're in pain? The Banker and I'd had a great meal of warm bread, cheese, summer sausage, and fruit at the little winery around 3 o'clock. Our dinner reservations weren't until 8, but after a bottle of wine and a full picnic basket, we weren't remotely hungry enough for the four-course meal that followed.

But we ate it all anyway, including the soup made up almost entirely of heavy cream. Sensibly, we passed on dessert, but only because we didn't want to vomit on the linen-clad tables. Add to that severe pain a good hour (and a few pints) at this amazing pub that's 60-feet underground, and it was 11:30 before we struggled back to the B&B, overly, painfully full. It was humid, but as we waddled we watched a storm slowly roll in, complete with a beautiful display of lightening.

Our Victorian-styled room was equally humid. The owner clearly wasn't ready to put the AC on yet, and a sole ceiling fan labored to cool our little room. But our food coma taking its toll, The Banker and I were asleep in no time.

But my dear husband's pain continued into the wee hours of the night--I awoke to his distinctive moaning and kicking a little past 3 in the morning. Laughing to myself, I rolled over and was just about to slip off to sleep again when my body suddenly felt as if it had been drenched in ice-cold water. My chest felt heavy and every hair on my body stood on end. I was instantly awake--and terrified beyond words. I was so frightened I refused to open my eyes. The feeling lasted for a minute, maybe two, and was just as quickly gone. I woke up The Banker but was unable to really explain what had happened. What had happened? Essentially, nothing extraordinary had occurred. But I was freaked out--so much so that while teasing would have been his immediate, good-natured response, The Banker held me until I quit shaking.

Needless to say, sleep eluded me for the better part of the night. And that cold sensation? It revisited me some hours later, but again I refused to open my eyes, and this time didn't wake up The Banker.

So is there some medical malady that hits you--twice--with the sense of freezing temperatures, only to subside minutes later? Is there some explanation I can place on this disturbing experience? Please, please, please, someone, let me know. Because it was awful. And I need someone to put my mind at ease.

At least someone other than the owner, who informed me the next morning that the B&B--built in 1848--was said to be frequented by a friendly spirit?!?

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Growing Up

The Banker and I are still on the hunt for a new home on a few acres of God's green earth. And while my parents and in-laws haven't been supportive, we continue unabated.

One of the main objections was how far out South we'd been looking. There's good reason we're forced to look so damn far out: Land prices have gone ridiculously high and the only affordable homes are located in BFE. As an act of compromise, though, The Banker and I began to look for homes within my parents' school district--considerably closer in to town, so the number of available homes immediately dwindled and the costs crept upward. But my parents, for the moment, seemed more open to our plan.

The other weekend The Banker and I stumbled on a house situated on 7 acres within the new search area. The green pastures ran up against a beautiful pond and the house--while not quite what we were looking for--had potential. My father is in the construction business and owns one home, a condo, and is in plans to build a retirement home. So needless to say, he knows his shit and we respect his opinion greatly when it comes to this sort of thing. He was instrumental in the purchase of our first home and we wanted him to weigh on this new possibility we'd found.

My dad had no real reservations about the quality of the home, the location, or even the lay of the land. But he couldn't necessarily find anything positive to say either and ended up urging us to find another home, one in a neighborhood, one in town. Finally in frustration, he admitted he didn't understand the appeal of land, thought we were being foolish, and said he wouldn't look at any other homes with us.

I thought he was being grumpy...but I didn't really take him at his word. I brushed it off a bit, and The Banker and I agreed that maybe we should continue looking for a home that required less work to fit our needs.

Today an incredibly beautiful home, formerly out of our price range, was listed again with a substantially lower price. While still a little over what we want to spend, I couldn't help but get excited and called my dad. His response? "I told you I wouldn't look at any more homes with you."

So there it is. I'm so disappointed. What my dad means is that he won't look at any more homes that don't meet his plans for us. If we were to find a home in a quaint neighborhood with house after identical house atop each other, he'd be there in a second. And even though we were open to compromise, even though we tried harder to make our dream fit his comfort level, it doesn't matter.

So it looks like we'll be doing this on our own without the support and insight I've always respected and valued. The Banker and I will continue looking and when we find something we love, we'll put our home on the market.

And I guess my parents will find out when they drive by and see the For Sale sign in the yard. And I hate that.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Me and Batman

On Wednesday, I had my picture taken with Batman. I really wanted to catch Scooby-Doo, as he was my childhood favorite, but he had to take a potty break. And Tweety ran out of film. And Wonder Woman was half naked--her perky little butt cheeks hanging out of her super suit--so why would I want to take a picture with her?

So I settled for Batman--who was HOT. Mmmmmm...the strong jawline and bulging muscles under tight spandex. He complimented me on my eyes. I wanted to compliment him on his impressive codpiece, but refrained.

I got paid to pass this hunky hour. Only at the company I work for...

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

The Mysteries of MySpace

A friend of mine who recently moved to Seattle asked me to join so we could easily keep in touch. Then another friend was transferred to Georgia and asked me to do the same. I'm not tech-savvy and never have been. This blogging thing is the closest I come to Internet culture and all three of my readers don't exactly constitute a huge following. But I decided to go ahead and humor my friends. Besides, I'd read a lot about MySpace in Time magazine and such and was interested in finding out just what the deal was. (Not to mention Sister #1 and #2 use FaceBook religiously. Since I graduated much too late to join this fad, I felt a wee left out.)

So I signed up and filled out the basic information: Married, Hometown, Colleges I Attended, Occupation, and that I was online to meet Friends. Then, to ensure my long-lost highschool friends, old roommates, and study abroad pals found the right Kat, I posted a picture of myself. I don't usually do that. In fact, I've yet to post an image of myself here, and I've been doing this since September. Why? Well, I'm one of those gals who pretty much abhors any picture she's in. In all my years of cheesing it for the camera, only a handful of shots don't make me want to burn every last photo and negative.

But I managed to find an okay photo that didn't make me squirm:

I'm the one on the right in the pink bridesmaid dress slightly tipsy at Sister #1's June nuptials. Next to me is one of my nearest and dearest friends. It's a safe photo. I'm not trotting about in my underwear or straddling a car or any of the other nonsense people have captured themselves doing and posted for the world to see. This was about connecting with friends from afar, not discovering new "friends" who wanted to talk dirty.

And so began my confusing encounter with Because I only have four friends after this first week or so, and two are family and therefore don't count. But I've had plenty of invites from complete strangers who want to be my buddy. There was the guy dressed like Darth Maul. Or GirlsXposed. Or the Marilyn-Manson lookalike.

WHO ARE THESE PEOPLE? I don't understand why I'd list a complete stranger as a friend. Maybe I'm taking that term to mean more than it does. Maybe friend now means "complete stranger I can stalk over the Internet." I must be missing the appeal of this whole thing. It isn't like blogging, where you can get a sense for a person. Where you can respect someone's craft. This is my picture and some scant information. Nothing more.

But what really boggles my mind are the comments I've begun to receive. From the 30-year-old glass cutter looking for some fun. From the father and husband oohing over my "gorgeous smile." From the weird guy who likes to dress up. No, I don't want to get together over the weekend. No, I don't want to have a naughty exchange. Did you miss the big MARRIED indicator on my profile? There was nothing insinuating about my photo, right? How come all the freaks have found me and none of my friends?!?

Friday, April 07, 2006

A little spot of green

Nature has always held strong sway over me. I'm drawn to the outdoors and its furry inhabitants and the simple beauties and truths they hold. So in turn, part of me mourns when another open field is churned up and then smothered with a layer of concrete, another box structure, another enclave of cookie-cutter houses. I watched for years as the deer and other wildlife that made their home around my parents' neighborhood slowly dwindle and then disappear altogether. I hate the way we binge on land, expanding ourselves until there's very little open, natural space left. Because of this, I've always wanted to have some land of my own---just a few acres---where green space could flourish, hundreds of animals could romp, and millions of babies could roam, reveling in the outdoors, appreciating nature, imagining and being creative. I know I've idealized the hell out of owning acreage. I know that it can be a pain in the ass, countless hours of work, a lot of inconvenience, and a major flippin' investment.

But I still want my own little plot of green Earth.

This tiny desire planted itself in The Banker as well. So we've begun to look for a larger house with 7 to 10 acres or plots of land on which we could build. Our list of demands is long: good school district, close to a highway, close to a hospital, in a neighborhood setting, and not too far from the city. It's crushing to admit that we're about 5 or 10 years too late to find affordable land that meets these demands. But rather than dampen our spirits, this fact has put a desperate edge to our resolve. We want land, and we need to find it soon.

It's really disheartening that neither my parents nor The Banker's support this search at all. They are suburbia people. They don't understand. "Why can't you be happy in a nice, manicured suburb?" "Do you know what that kind of move would entail?" "You don't know what you're asking for." And surprisingly, my parents are far worse than the in-laws. They’ve condemned our efforts and been outwardly snide about our plans. It's one of the first times I've not had my parents support on something that means so much to me. It leaves a dull ache in the pit of my stomach.

But their negativity won't change my mind. While it may cause a tiny breech in our relationship, I can only hope that with time they'll learn to respect my decision. Because it's mine. It's my desire. It’s my dream and has been since I was little.

Now I only hope I can find that perfect plot of green.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

A move but little closure

I moved cubicles, floors, and teams today, but still have no sense of what this will mean for my career, not to mention my daily enjoyment of the job. So I'm still measuring up this new set of circumstances. Not that I've had much energy to do so. Last night we had dinner out with one of The Banker's clients, the night before, dinner with my parents, Sunday night dinner with the sisters, Friday night dinner with The Banker's parents, and the list goes on and on. Sleep has been hard to come by and down time is damn non-existant. We need to decide on our Farewell to Independence Tour itinerary, the pressure is mounting to find some land that's affordable before acreage prices *really* go through the roof, and our calendar is fit to bust.

So it's easy to see how I really, fantastically lost it the other day. The Banker responded by offering a weekend retreat to a cute little town about an hour away. It's a historic town filled with adorable bed and breakfasts, antique stores, and a winery. (Confession: Okay, I know wine grown in the Midwest can't possibly be that good, but let's not be a downer, 'kay?) So I'm holding on by my fingernails until the weekend of the 22nd rolls around...