Beauty

There are times when I feel overwhelmed with the beauty of life. It’s everywhere when you look for it. And it’s real beauty, not what the media wants you to think is beautiful.

I am fully aware that there is an abundance of negativity out there, how can I not be with the constant bombardment of tragic news stories (because that’s what sells), and the incredibly well thought out comments on social media (and by well thought out, I mean NOT). There have been many times I’ve consider deleting my Facebook account because of the ugliness I see on it (don’t tell B, he’ll know he’s right). The hateful political comments, the judgmental digs on complete strangers…what happened to think before you speak? Or if you don’t have anything nice to say, say nothing at all? Or do unto others as you would have them do to you? There is still wisdom in these archaic ideals, people! Just because you have the right to free speech doesn’t mean you should ALWAYS use it! There is still something to be said about being slow to speak.

Before this turns into a “Can’t we all get along” speech, let me get back to my original thought. The beauty that overwhelms me…A child’s giggle when her mom bounces her daughter on her leg. The way a friend knows exactly what to say to make you feel better when you need it most. An ex-brother and sister-in-law that still and will always consider you family “no matter what”. A stranger giving you a complement while waiting in line for coffee. Making new friends you know you will be friends with for a long time no matter your differences. The love of your life looking over at you to just look at you because he loves the way you look. Your teenage son who doesn’t go a day without tell you how much he loves you accompanied with a hug an kiss. The parents who will do everything they can to help you out even though you are not their responsibility and you didn’t ask them.

If you haven’t recognized the pattern yet, let me spell it out. Beauty is in RELATIONSHIPS.

I know that I am not always the best friend. I forget birthdays and anniversaries. I may not call for a few months or return Facebook messages right away. But I do love my family & friends and I think they know I am there for them when it counts most. Friendship a quality I continue to re-assess and work on. It’s a quality I fear most people don’t really consider too much. I am urging you to consider it. I believe you can be the overwhelming beauty in another person’s life!

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To Sell Or Not To Sell? Is It Even A Question?

The longer I’m a home owner the less I see the benefit of it. I understand the concept of building equity in a home, if that’s really what’s happening, and the whole putting down roots thing did resonate with me at one time, but that honeymoon has ended. I am ready to be a renter once again. I can hear the exclamations already: You’re paying for someone else to reap the benefit of equity; The taxes and interest are tax deductible; You can make whatever changes you want to the house if you own it; You don’t have to worry about having pets; etc. It’s not enough though. The time has come and of course I am going to tell you why…

Reason #1: Taxes!

I have a great house and it’s got great space for my family. I have a yard that’s mostly fenced in (I’ll expand on that one later) and I live in a nice neighborhood. Since I’ve lived here I have refinanced 3 times! And still my mortgage increases ever year. Why? Because of taxes! I know that rent increases as well but you get  a couple months notice before it happens and you can make a choice to stay or look for something more affordable. Every year I am completely surprised when all of a sudden I go to pay my mortgage and it’s $10, $15, $20 dollars more than it was the entire last year. I don’t like those kind of surprises. Can I look for a cheaper place to live? Not without preparing my home to be shown hoping it will be sold, if it will even sell in this market, and going through a lengthy paperwork process that can take months. Just talking about it gives me anxiety.

Reason #2: Trapped!

While the real estate market is improving it is far from healed. When we decided to buy this house it had only been on the market 3 days. We had to rush to get our offer in because houses were flying off the market. Now I see realty signs boasting “Sold. Only listed 45 days!” My parents listed their beautiful home with an in ground pool for 2 years without a single offer! In order to move quickly…well, chances are high that you won’t be moving quickly unless you vacate the house before it’s sold leading to BAD credit. No bueno! It really puts a damper on the discoveries to be had living in a new place (or several  new places).

Reason #3: The Ex!

My Ex and I have a pretty amicable relationship. We still make an effort to be on the same page with parenting the boys and have successfully gotten along better after the divorce than we probably ever did before it. With that said, the house is the last tie to him that allows his controlling nature to rear it’s ugly head. It’s a tool of manipulation for both parties and I don’t believe there will be complete peace until it’s sold. Not to mention the strong desire I have to make a fresh start with B in a place that’s ours and not mine and my Ex’s. He’s done very well with making this his home, we repainted and redecorated, but there are little reminders that I lived here with another in a life before him. It’d be nice to be free of them (and by them I am NOT referring to my sons!).

Reason #4: Things Break!

This past weekend we had a great visit with some friends at our home. Halfway through the day I noticed it was getting warmer but the air conditioner was on and running. I could hear it and feel the air moving at the intake, so I didn’t worry too much about it. It took another hour or two to realize that the air being pumped through the vents was room temperature. I was freaking out inside while maintaining a cool demeanor outside for my friends and the boys. In reality I was living one of my worse fears. My mind was a jumble of what if’s, trying to plan out what to do next, knowing full well that I didn’t have the money for a new HVAC unit. That night we bought a window AC unit and B, the boys and I all slept in one room for two nights (we tried to make it exciting rather than dooms-day’ish). THANK GOD all the unit needed was a new compressor! And THANK GOD we have extended family with the know how to replace a compressor! That doesn’t remove the gut wrenching anticipation I constantly feel waiting for the next big thing to break though. I still have part of a fence out thanks to a wind storm and a HUGE tree that broke through said fence and landed on the trampoline. (The trampoline was not harmed much to the boys’ relief.) Then there’s the hole in the bathroom wall, which mysteriously gets bigger after my youngest has been in there, and the door bell that’s missing the part you push on, and the bath tub that wants you to take a bath every time you shower, and the weeds that think they’re trees, and the broken window in the garage that the birds use as their personal door…and the list continues. How nice it would be for all that to be someone’s problem that’s not me.

So now I just need to get the repairs done and the house ready to be sold. No big deal…right?

Side note: The boys still ask if we can all sleep in the guest room again. I guess we made it too exciting!

A New Job and A Wedding (not mine)

It has officially been a week since I started my new job so I thought I’d share my first impressions with anyone who might be interested. Besides the fact that I get to work in the same building as one of my very best friends, thus having a lunch buddy most days, I am actually enjoying work at a huge company. I wasn’t sure I would as I have mostly worked at medium to small sized companies, but there are many amenities a larger company can offer. For instance, there is a different restaurant that brings food for purchase every day of the week, so you don’t have to leave the building. There is also a parking garage that keeps my car cool during the day so that I am not scorched when I leave work. There are elevators for ones convenience although I take the stairs to avoid that dizzy feeling I get in elevators. And there are vending machines on every floor!

Ah, but these are just the little things (having my BF there is not a little thing, for the record, just everything else I wrote about). The best parts of my job are not having to answer the phone and being able to complete a task without being interrupted. Listing to my music (instead of the classical station ALL DAY LONG) or podcasts with the use of ear buds, effectively creating the “my own little world” effect (LOVE this). And for the administrative part of my brain, I get to sort and organize docs all day long. Sigh! I guess you could say, “So far, so good.” I am curious though about the end of the year when my contract is up and what my journey will look like then. But I am REALLY trying to stay in the now.

I briefly mentioned my friend Leslie’s wedding last week but I want to take some time to GUSH all about it. It was beautiful, warm, colorful, fun and delicious! Everything seemed to go as planned. B and I had the privilege of shooting the wedding and got to witness the inner workings. I have a new appreciation for the assembly of a Saree. It’s amazing how quickly and efficiently the women that outfitted Leslie were at making a beautifully designed dress out of one LARGE piece of intricately decorated fabric and safety pins. In a hotel room filled with 12-15 people you could have heard one of those many safety pins drop. Everyone was mesmerized by the process. In the end, Leslie looked like a goddess!

And what better location for a goddess than a museum! The NC Museum of Art to be exact. The intimate ceremony took place in one of the gardens outside the museum with just the immediate families present and included a “ring warming” (which I loved). The party that ensued not long after included a wonderful pallet of tastes, colorful garments and lively music EVERYONE could dance to  (Drummers accompanied the DJ = WOW!). However, it was the people who attended and the two amazing people we were there to honor, that made the wedding what it was. AWESOME! Now, to capture all that in a 6-10 minute video…shoo, B has his work cut out for him!

L&V back