Wednesday, August 20, 2008


and married! hee hee.

sunday (august 10) night, caleb got a text from his best friend's girlfriend. it asked if we wanted to elope with them the next weekend. he relayed the message. i laughed, thought for a minute, and said, SURE!

he was (naturally) a bit taken aback, as i'd been discussing having an actual wedding and we'd pretty much decided it'd be next fall. i explained that after attending one of my bff's weddings, i had NO interest in going through that much stress for just one day that i'd be stressed out and probably grouchy (due to not eating) for.

he kept asking me if i was SURE. i think he didn't want me to feel like i was giving up my dream wedding. i reassured him, and got super excited. then (within hours) his best friend called to say they were backing out (friend was upset over losing the opportunity to propose and have it be a surprise). we, however, had already concluded that we were IN. no matter who came or whatever. in retrospect, it was one of the best decisions i've ever made. no stress.

monday afternoon, i booked the hotel on tybee island. it was a cute little b & b near the beach (maybe a block or two away).

monday night, my best friend and i went shopping for a dress. EIGHT STORES later, we finally found one--at Dillard's of all places. it was 8:45; we couldn't have timed it better. also monday, caleb ordered the ring (that i still hadn't seen).

thursday evening, we were on the way to tybee. we called family then (only because both our moms had SPECIFICALLY said, we don't care HOW you get married, but we'd at least like to know about it...i'm the baby, and i think at one point caleb's mom thought she'd never see him married, or at least not to me. lol.)

the uproar grew, but people quit their grumbling and either made plans to come, or didn't.

friday morning: to chatham county courthouse for marriage license. then to florist for flowers (just mine and his). then nail place for manicure/pedicure (gotta make my fingers look worthy of that beautiful ring!). then food, parking was a nightmare in savannah friday, finally found some, ate. then back to hotel for nap.

people all arrived friday afternoon/evening. we ate dinner at the crab shack friday night. (though due to other stresses, which i'll discuss in a minute, i was unable to eat more than a bowl of crab stew).

caleb and i ran to wally world friday night to get plastic cups, silverware, and paper plates and napkins for the "reception" the next morning. (we had gotten a tiny, cute cake). we also got OJ and champagne and apple juice. yes, weird, i know. there were kids. they needed apple juice. and mimosas taste good! we arrived at 10:40 and were done by 10:50. which was good since it closed at 11.

saturday morning, i got up at 4:40 am to get ready (i had to make sure my hair was already DRY for the ceremony and pictures so it wouldn't frizz up or look like a wet dog). got ready, got dressed, left at 6:21 for ceremony at 6:40. met the officiant and photographer, signed paperwork, paid the wedding company people. the rest of the group arrived and we all trooped out onto the (beautiful, not too hot, sunrisey) beach to begin the ceremony.

(at this point, it got to feeling a little surreal. was this really ME? was i really this lucky? i'm not dreaming, am i? *pinches self* nope. not dreaming. AWESOME).

we do the ceremony, repeating the words in turn, faces threatening to break from smiling so much. it feels RIGHT. more right than anything i've ever done. and also wonderful. i can't believe i'm here. i'm the luckiest woman alive.

we are done, and we kiss. then he announces us (i am mrs. caleb stephens?! rock on!!!), and we turn, surprised to find there are other people there.

then we go take an assload of pictures and our faces hurt from smiling but we're not forcing the smiles cause we're so freaking happy.

then we go to the "reception" on the rooftop deck and eat cake and drink mimosas for breakfast. hang out, talk with everyone, then people begin leaving.

later that day, breakfast (real food this time), nap, dinner with mom and his mom and stepdad (my dad had to go back to work so he was an early leaver).

all in all, it was a wonderful, perfect, beautiful weekend. happy sigh. i keep looking down at my ring to make sure it was all real, i feel THAT lucky.

so yeah. eloping is great! three emails and a phone call and we had a ceremony and a room all booked...AMAZINGLY EASY.

.....except for one minor (major?) snag.

when my mom, daddy, and grandmother arrived friday evening, they couldn't drive to their hotel (hyatt in downtown savannah on river street). they discovered there had been a taylor swyft (sp?) concert and so streets were blocked for traffic. so they parked and walked to check into the hotel. at which point they discovered a) there had been some kind of underground explosion directly under the hyatt (i think it was a transformer), so b) the official people had turned off the power to the hyatt to check stuff out, and c) the hyatt wasn't offering refunds or letting people cancel. keep in mind my brother, the argumentative, irascible lawyer with two kids under the age of 5, is on his way TO THAT HOTEL. it promised to be very, very ugly. meanwhile, mom, daddy, and mama dean are eating with us at the crab shack...which is why i couldn't eat well (my mom is very, very good at RADIATING stress when she's stressed, which she was very, more so than was necessary).

so we get done eating and all split up to go to our respective hotels (and i'm cringing because i KNOW what david's anger will look like after he's been in the car with a < two-year-old who whines while in the car, no matter how long. especially since he spent the better part of an hour LOST because he and my mom didn't communicate very well about alternate directions due to road blockoffs).

in the morning i discovered that sometime before david arrived at the hyatt, the hyatt people had reconsidered their stance on refunds/cancellations and agreed to refund everyone and cancel for no charge (when it became apparent they wouldn't have power anytime soon). so my family found another hotel. thank goodness. :)

all's well that ends well, i guess.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

oh my lord

i knew michael jackson's nose was bad, but now it's HIDEOUS. much, much worse than i remembered.


i always thought julia child was hiding something...

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

tall tale

so i was assigned to write a tall tale in seventh grade...and had forgotten all about it till i came across it just now:


One day, as I was sitting in my room, I heard the strangest, most nerve-wracking noise I had ever heard. I peeked out my door. The hair began to rise on the back of my neck. Goosebumps covered my body. There, at the top of the stairs, its body glowing in the dark gloomy shadows, rose the Huge...Deranged...Slinky.

I tried to flatten myself against the wall, mortified of its horrid intentions, praying that it hadn't caught a glimpse of my flattened form. As I listened closely, I could hear metallic whirring of the slinky's cold, steel spirals as it began its terrorizing descent. Slowly it came, inch by inch, carpet strand by carpet strand, dodging the dust bunnies along its crooked path.

I had just enough time to snatch my arctic-proof, thermal insulated, fire-proof Barbie sleeping bag. The slinky took one look at the life-sized fake smile and began writhing in pain. Then it began gagging and retching and suddenly, to my great surprise, it spontaneously combusted, leaving only a puff of smoke and a few sparks.

My only proof of the Huge Deranged Slinky's existence are the few singed fibers left in the carpet of the third step.

my teacher (my QUEST teacher, of all teachers--QUEST was the smart kid program) didn't like it all that much, but even now i laughed out loud reading it. i'll admit i'm strange, and writing this in seventh grade was probably stranger still. but damn, son, that was funny.

yes. i am insane. but you laughed, didn't you?

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

for god (or, you know, whoever) and the world to see

i read the simple dollar today, and decided that my "gazingus pin" is clothes...i splurge on clothes WAY more often than i should, and it's not good. i wondered exactly how much, so here goes...

the rationale behind the splurges usually goes something like this: "my work clothes are old...and unfashionable...and my office is pretty trendy...and you never know when you will or won't find stuff that you actually i should get this now while i like something in the store!"


i realized today while thinking over the "gazingus pin" idea that i have spent (brace yourself) $1,751.48 on clothes over the last 19 months. (not including the approximately 100 bucks still on my banana republic card, or any clothing that went onto credit cards the first half of last year. i can't remember if i had quit using the credit card at that point or not). Mostly at banana republic and target. dudes, that is 92.18 PER MONTH. a used car. part of an emergency fund or a down payment on a house. 44 meals out. EIGHT MONTHS of groceries. or, nearly a week of life energy. 146 hours. one hundred forty six hours of my life working to pay for CLOTHES.

oh my lord. i am disgusted and horrified at myself.

hey, at least i have lots of cute clothes (1751.48 dollars worth!) to wear for the next year while i DON'T BUY ANY FREAKING CLOTHES. grimace.

Monday, August 04, 2008

cross purposes

so i've been looking for a house for almost a year. the saga so far:

found a short sale. it was a little more than i wanted to pay for a house (180k), but i put in an offer anyway since i had 2 guaranteed roommates for a year. waited FOUR MONTHS for bank to approve it, seller went bankrupt before short sale approved. (in retrospect, thank god. that price was a bit too high).

found a brick ranch fixer upper a couple miles south of where i really wanted to be. 4 bed/2 bath for 45k, in decent shape. (that, to me, represents rock-bottom, or close to it, of the atlanta market). put in offer for asking. lost it to (presumably) an investor.

first short sale house came back on market as a foreclosure for a lower price. put in offer, above asking, but still not as much as before. the next day, the bank sends notice that we need to send highest and best offer because there are already SIX OFFERS...and it's only been on the multiple listing service (on the market) for less than 24 hours. go up to originally under-contract price (grudgingly). face the fact that i've probably just lost the first house i ever loved (insert sad music here), but also grateful that i'm not going to be spending that much money.

find another house, in the location that i want, for ~80k. needs a small amount of work or can do a more major renovation before move-in and have a freaking awesome space. either way, still will have <=140k in the house, which i am FAR more comfortable with than the 180k for the first house. put in offer for 85 (with 3k in closing to be paid by seller). receive notice that there will be multiple offers and need best and final. up it to 91,725 (with closing costs by seller) and hope.

that's where i am right now. this house feels right. there's an upstairs area that is currently two attic bedrooms (will become one bedroom, large closet, and large master bath). it feels like a little treehouse up there, so cute! and downstairs is a compact floor plan with 2 bedrooms and a bath, kitchen, dining room, living room, and back deck. all brick exterior, big yard with fence. feels very not-so-big-house-ish. big magnolia tree in front yard. on a street with well-taken care of houses in the location that i want, and very close to publix and the interstate. in short, i can see myself there for a good 10 to 15 years, as long as i don't accumulate a crapload of STUFF. which i plan on not doing. :)

also, within the area that i want to be, i am in one of the sub-areas that doesn't yet have the majority of homes rehabbed. so as an investment, i'm either one of the frontier people (and will therefore make more money when others follow) or i do it and no one follows (but there are a couple already rehabbed, so i'm pretty sure that won't happen). and i'd be okay either way, price wise and neighborhood wise. so all in all, i really hope the hunt is over. i will find out wednesday or so. cross your fingers!

the reason for the title of this post: i think my realtor and i have different purposes for this house. i see it as a space that i'm happy with, that i can be happy with for years to come, and that i can afford comfortably while still having enough room for a family. realtor sees it as an investment, and has in mind a certain amount that i need to make off this deal in order for it to be worthwhile. (the assumption, i think, is that i will want a bigger and therefore better and more expensive house in a few years and this "instant equity" is the way to do it, which is not entirely true. if i'm happy there, i'm staying, because then i can use extra money for travel and fun). this perspective, though, is good and's nice to have someone watching out for my equity, but at a point, i keep losing houses because if i offer above a certain amount, i don't make the "magic number" on it.

so for this one, i offered a little more than the realtor suggested, in the hopes that i might prevail. and while i'm giving up some instant equity, i'm not banking on the instant equity being there in the first place--it's just a home for me, a haven, at a price i am ok with and with the intention of living there for a long time. if i make money, great, if not, at least i have a really cute home that i love and want to live in!

all in all, i am very, very glad that my realtor is who he/she is. i trust this person implicitly because they are above all a friend (and i know there is commission to be made off me, but the person's main income isn't from homebuyers, they just do this because it is their passion to find people homes and make them instant equity--they are actually pushing me NOT to spend as much money). also, every action is explained, reasons are logical, and no question i have regarding the process, prices, reasoning, etc. is off limits with this person.

it's been an interesting year. i have gained A LOT from the process, though, because the process was somewhat atypical: we began by driving around many different neighborhoods in the area, and comparing what you can get for what price in what area. after several months of this, i was asked which neighborhoods were my favorites. my choices? cabbagetown, old fourth ward, and east atlanta village. two were out of my (self-imposed, not the bank's estimate) price range for amount of space and the condition that i desired, so that was easy. the most valuable part of the experience, though, to me, was learning the city. i know where most, if not all, of the neighborhoods in atlanta are. in more than half of them, i know which areas are safe versus not-so-safe, where the good food is (cause come on, y'all, good food is one of my top priorities in life), and the general feel of the residents. i fell in love with the city (cities in general, this one in particular), made a friend who is now among my closest friends, and learned a LOT about real estate. (never mind the fact that it has always fascinated me and secretly i've always wanted to be a realtor and interior designer). it also took (takes?) my mind off my somewhat depressing current apartment. AND, i like looking at houses even when i'm NOT going to buy one--sometimes when we were young, my family used to drive around on saturdays looking at houses (where i lived, they were generally left open for much of the construction process, allowing for us to wander in freely). it's great cheap entertainment, and good for when you actually do look at houses for real, because then you have an idea of floor plans/finishes/etc that you really like and think would flow well.

i love houses, homes, interior design, and making my space fit me and feel good. i also love helping other people express themselves through their spaces (helped my BFF decide on curtains for her classroom, and i think she will be really happy with them and enjoy them a lot!) here's to hoping i have that in my own life again soon. :)