Sunday, June 25, 2006

Where things don't go according to plan...

Well...let's see. Since my Dad is in Canada fishing, he sent his most trusted colleague out to look at the house to give it a once-over before we made an offer. He thought the roof needed work, spotted mold in the basement (as did The Banker), and said that the house was shifting a bit (as does any house--but perhaps a bit more than normal for a home only 20 years old). He said he thought the house was overpriced and would need some work.

Then, The Banker pulled some comparison sales in the neighborhood as well and determined the selling price was too high. So we offered $40,000 below the asking price, no contingencies. The Banker said the owner seemed insulted at our offer (he designed the house and did much of the work himself...which explained why some of the crown moldings weren't flush, etc.).

So we're just letting our offer hang there, awkwardly twisting in the muggy air. So we'll have to see. The owner WAS asking too much. And because of how the house was situated on the property, it couldn't really be expanded, should we need more space. So the questions still linger. Isn't the house a little TOO close to the property line? Is it too small? Is there a better house out there? Or are we being too conservative in our offer? Will we regret playing hardball? The doubts have begun to creep in...

Friday, June 23, 2006

It happened!

It was accidental, a total lark. But we knew almost instantly. As soon as we were alone, The Banker turned to me and said, "We're going to do this, aren't we?" He didn't need my enthusiastic "Yes!" for an answer. I think my face said it all.

This country home sits on the side of a four-acre lot and boasts three bedrooms, two-and-a-half baths, a great kitchen, huge living room, and small basement. The bedrooms are large and the bathrooms amazing. The house has more curb appeal than any we've seen in our months of looking. It sits back from the road, encircled by a white fence, with a frontyard full of trees. The back of the house has a small cedar deck and a pool (vinyl but inground. The jury is out on this selling point because pools can be dangerous for littles ones and dogs). The small pool is lined with bushes and plants and has a small terrace. The backyard spreads out from there, firmly fenced--but with so much green space!--leading to a small metal barn with four stalls, a corral, and then two acres of pasture land. It's so beautiful. The pasture is cut short, currently a chipping green for the owner. Needless to say, The Banker loves this ammenity!

So we're going to make an offer. The owner today insinuated there'd been several calls about the property. The Banker insists the owner is asking too much. We'll see how he responds to our number and go from there. My stomach is in knots because this thing could get yanked from beneath us. (Yes, I know, then it wasn't meant to be. But still. When has that ever made the difference?!)

And then there are the other questions. It's a long drive downtown...what about my commute? It's only 15 minutes from my parents' home, but isn't it like a different world? What will this mean to our longterm plans?

But I can't answer those questions. Instead, I keep coming back to how it felt out there last night, looking out onto the rolling green under towering clouds. I felt peace.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Remedy for a foul mood

Friday night I found my remedy for an exhausting two straight weeks of work and family demands: sushi and sake with best friends. Friday evening, still reeling from Thursday's dinner disaster, The Banker and I met our closest friends for sushi to celebrate my best friend's birthday and The Banker's. The conversation and laughter flowed as quickly as the alcohol and delicious rolls. It was just the pick up my spirit needed. It really is an amazing thing when someone knows you so thoroughly inside and out that nothing goes unsaid--even if you've said nothing at all.

Saturday night brought another of The Banker's work functions, and Sunday has been spent at various Father's Day celebrations. So while I'm not exactly ready for the beginning of another work week, I'm a little less frayed around the edges. And this week only holds a handful of obligations, which means that I can get caught up on some freelance work and maybe some reading as well. Maybe. =-)

Friday, June 16, 2006

Random musings

There are days when I'm overcome with the desire to quit. To pick up, pack lightly, and leave. To discard the obligations, responsibilities, and orders that sometimes hang very heavy on my frame. There are times I want so much to leave it all behind, to feel refreshed by new adventure and brought alive by freedom.

Last night was one of those nights. We had dinner with The Banker's family and the CFO of our city's Arch Dioceses at one of the nicest restaurants in town. It was one of those meals where people talk, tossing about huge sums, big names, and banal banter. The Banker's brother and his wife, most specifically the sister-in-law, lorded over the conversation, pulling the CFO and his wife into their web of six degrees of separation. Always adept at social climbing, last night the two were in their element. Whenever The Banker or I tried to pipe in on any subject, the sister-in-law intervened, talking louder, re-focusing the conversation, and regaining her court.

Not that I cared much to talk to these people. We had little in common. They didn't travel, didn't know anyone we knew, and really only wanted to focus on their grandchildren. Little ones was a topic the sister-in-law was keen on; she could brag about her son and share the woes of all his allergies and other maladies.

One of the few times I got a word in edgewise was terribly painful. It went as such:
CFO--"Have you read Marley and Me? It made me cry!"
Me--"I've been meaning to read it. Do you have any dogs?"
CFO--"No, I really don't have a taste for animals."

What the hell?? The wonderful food was hard to swallow, the expensive wine tasted sour. And I caught myself thinking, "Why am I doing this? Why am I here? And why do I spend so much of my precious time at miserable events such as these when all they serve to do is crush my resolve, my soul, a little bit more?"

It's times like these when I wonder what part of my genetic code, my upbringing, has ingrained the "sit there and just smile until this hell has passed" mentality. This sense of responsibility and proper decorum so chafe at the other part of me, the tiniest bit of gypsy spirit, which while kept tightly under wraps most of the time, occasionally swells up and cries out in pain. It's then the fake smiles and bullshit conversations hurt the most. It's then that I find myself so disappointed for playing into all of this, for lacking the strength to say "No," to scream "Shut the fuck up!" to shout "Who the fuck cares?!"

She nags at me, spreading discontent, questioning what happened to that other path, the one filled with a different sort of life. She prods me to pick up that passport, discard the responsibilities I pretend to enjoy, and do something, anything, different. I do want to break out of this rut, but all those other enticing options don't entail adulthood, compromise, martyrdom. And as the age 30 hovers on the horizon, and I slug it out at work and watch The Banker trying so hard to carve out his place in the business world, I think I should probably silence this little voice. Because being a gypsy is not compatible with adulthood. And this is now my life.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

A WTF Wedding Weekend

So this weekend was totally bizarre. The Banker and I get into Arlington Heights on Friday in time to pick up his tuxedo, find the hotel, take a ten-minute nap, and get ready for the rehearsal. And that's where things really got messed up.

It seems the groom-to-be was in rare form on Thursday night, so intoxicated he could barely stand. And in the process of this "fun," had his wallet, full of credit cards and $1,000 cash, stolen by A STRIPPER. So he cancels all the credit cards, unbeknownst to the bride-to-be, who's at the spa with her bridesmaids. Imagine her surprise when she exits the peace and calm of a day at the spa to find that all her credit cards are denied. So she's late for the rehearsal, and tensions are understandably a little high.

The rehearsal drags on until finally we get clearance to head to the rehearsal dinner. There the bride-to-be admits to me that there is so much yet to be done--including place cards, parting gifts, various decorations, etc. So I say, "Well, since the boys are going out tonight, I'm totally at your disposal."


Yep, the poor gal had no idea that the men had another night of debauchery planned, even though the groom-to-be had already had SEVEN bachelor parties, including one to VEGAS and COSTA RICA. She storms over to her beloved and they have a low and heated conversation...thanks to yours truly. The guy is entirely huffy and rude to his future wife. And I'm thinking if he were mine, I'd kill him.

So since the boys are heading out, I follow the bride-to-be back to the hotel and help hold her things while she tries to check in. With no credit cards. That bridal suite and the two shuttles needed to transport the wedding guests from the hotel to the church to the rececption and back to the hotel? Yeah, that needs to be held with a credit card. Apparently my credit card, because there are no others available.

Finally the night ends as the clock is closing in on one a.m., after having helped various bridesmaids complete all the final tasks for Saturday's wedding. The men? They were out drinking.

But for all the craziness on Friday, the wedding actually went off without a hitch. I couldn't wait to get the hell out of town on Sunday, though. The Banker and I regretted to the couple's offer of brunch in their condo, and at 6 a.m., mouth still feeling full of cotton from too much vodka, we began the drive home.

And it feels damn good to be home. And with a husband who doesn't have a gambling addiction, problems with strippers and credit cards, and a total crap attitude.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

A weekend in the Windy City

In an odd twist, before we left the city The Banker was asked to be in the wedding of a colleague from the, well, bank. It struck me as particularly strange because the people I chose to stand by me at the altar were my sisters and my best friend, whom I'd known for almost a decade. The Banker had known this guy for a year and change. But heh, who am I to judge?

So we're driving up to Chicago this Friday, or the outskirts, to be exact. We'd originally planned on driving to save money; it didn't make sense to fly and then rent a car. But that was before gas became the equivalent of liquid gold.

And while I'm always up for a good meal and dancing, I have to admit that I'd rather spend the weekend in town. Between the four freelance stories I'm juggling, the need to get a Father's Day gift and a birthday gift, a general need for some downtime, coupled with the dread of the long drive and weekend of strangers, I'm kinda in a sour mood about the pending nuptials.

So I need to pull my head out of my ass a bit. I need to find something to re-energize myself with. I need the energy of a child who's just been given a shot of expresso and a new puppy. Now how can I get that bottled up?

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Finally, the lies and secrets are finished

It's been a long six months of sneaking, lying, and secret pay-offs, and finally, it's finished. The Banker returned home from a long day of golfing and opened the fridge in search of a cold beer and he found it: his (very) early birthday gift.

He'd wanted this brand of watch since we married, but the price Tag was such that it wasn't a rational purchase. But last January I called the family's jeweler and asked if I could put something on layaway. I'd just received a little chunk of change in the form of a freelance payment that could begin to whittle down the price tag.

The Banker is ever-vigilant about our bank accounts, so I knew I had to fund this surprise entirely on the side. So for the last five months I've been secretly whittling. Selling old CDs and DVDs. Racing home to get the mail and fish out any freelance checks that might be waiting there. Taking every crap writing job that came my way. Squirreling away ever odd $20 that would otherwise pay for lunches and odds and ends.

And I've felt bad about being so deceitful. Our thorough screwing by Uncle Sam came after I'd put the watch on layaway, so despite the fact we needed my extra funds, I had to forge ahead. But it was all worth it. The Banker is thrilled beyond words and proudly wearing his new bit of bling. And now those extra checks can begin to go toward our upcoming trip. And I can quit being so sneaky.


Friday, June 02, 2006

Day Off

I took today off so I could sleep in a bit, work on some freelance, and get a pedicure and my hair "did" with the sisters for tonight's gala event. (And maybe head to the chiropractors. Curse you, lowerback!)

Yup, tonight is one of my favorite charity events: Jazzoo. A creative blacktie, everyone decends upon the local zoo to mill about the hundreds of tents filled with offerings from the city's best restaurants. Three stages beckon with a variety of bands and the night will, hopefully, be clear, late, and a great amount of fun. The girls and I are having feathers put in our up-dos, since birds of a feather...