Monday, October 4, 2010

My Kind of Crazy....

After a lot of thinking, praying and wondering, I've decided to leave Simple Sayings and start a new blog. I hope you'll follow me over to Embrace the Crazy as I start a new journey in my life.

Hope to see you there. :)

PS - I imported all of my old blog entries to the new blog, so you can catch up over there.


Thursday, February 25, 2010

Lists, Houses and Chipotle

Looking for a home can be frustrating, intimidating and scary. It is the biggest financial investment most people ever make in their life, but it can be a truly satisfying and exciting experience.

Bryan and I are just in the dipping-the-big-toe-to-test-how-cold-the-water-is stage of buying a home. A few months ago when we were frantically trying to find another rental home, we were told about a local grant that gives a loan (with great incentives) to first-time home buyers that meet a specific income. We weren't even thinking about buying a home at that time, but we figured it couldn't hurt.

So, I met with a broker one evening after work armed with all of our personal information. Unfortunately, the news was not good, we weren't qualified. We made "too much" money for a family of two people. I'll never forget, she looked at me hopefully after telling me that we were denied for the grant, "Do you have a child?" I've never seen such disappointment on a strangers face when I said I didn't.

The good news was that we both have good credit and were approved for a loan. GREAT news. So, I filled Bryan in after the meeting and we decided to try to find a home.

After we find me a new car.
After we buy him a new truck.
After we pay off all of our credit cards.
After we start up all of our new insurances and create a new monthly budget.

Finally, all of that is done and we are ready so start looking!

We had plans tonight to go to Guitar Center and Chipotle. I heart Chipotle. It's delicious. Bryan and I always share a burrito now and we sometimes spring for chips and guac. Mmmmmm.. Oh, sorry back to the point of this post.

During our meal I pulled out my handy-dandy notebook that I keep in my purse. I started writing down things that are important to me about a house. Obviously, you can't get everything you have ever dreamed of in your first home. But there are some things you are willing to let go of and some things that you are adamant about.

My list (below) included four items that were important to me, in no specific order.
1. Bathrooms - Are the big enough? Is there at least one tub? Would we have to renovate? Is there potential to expand?
2. Kitchen - Are the cupboards in good condition? Are the appliances older/newer? Is there a gas stove? Is the kitchen roomy enough to actually cook in? Is there enough counter space?
3. Location - Is the property in a nice/safe area? What school district does the house fall in?
4. Fireplace - Does the house have a wood burning or gas insert?

Of course, every one has different priorities when thinking about purchasing a home. But those things are important to me personally and I am obviously not saying the above four things should be on every one's list.

I turned the page to a fresh sheet and hand Bryan the notebook after explaining my list and I say, "Don't be flip. I need to know what is important to you."

Here is a picture of Bryan's list.

Apparently, the only thing Bryan cares about in picking a house is if I am going to be there and if there is a big backyard for his dog.

I definitely have my work cut out for me.

Google Vs. Yahoo


Why is it always about me?


Why is it always about you?

Touché, Google. 1:0.

Jonah's EB Auction

Right now, until February 27, you can participate in an auction that benefits the organization DebRA.

DebRA helps families like the Williams Family and the Turnquist Family during some of the hardest moments of their lives.

There are two ways to participate:

1. Go to JonahsEBAuction blog and start bidding on items.

2. Go to Meghann Turnquist's Avon page and buy items you would normally purchase anyways - but this time it goes to a very special charity.

Actually, there are three ways! You can always go directly to to submit a donation and rest assured, you are donating to an a charity that provides assistance to families that are hit with a genetic disease that no one really knows about, they are searching for a cure, and they provide hospitals with knowledge of how to treat EB babies.


Friday, February 12, 2010

In Honor of Valentines...

Valentine's Day.

Where do I even start?

As trite as it sounds, I love love. Love is one of the most powerful emotions the creatures on earth experience. You have love between spouses, love between parents and their children, love between two children, and love is even so powerful it can be experienced between humans and animals.

I do not, however, love Valentine's day. I feel like a lot of men love Valentine's day because it can be their "catch-all" day. I would guess that for most of the other 364 days men don't pay attention to the romantic needs of their prospective wives and girlfriends. They don't woo their women after they have sealed the deal and they use Valentine's day as a way to go all out for their partners.

Which frankly, sucks.

I'm sure a lot of women say they hate February 14 on a rule, because if they set their sights low, the man they are dating could just take them out to dinner at McDonald's and it would be an improvement. But then again, a lot of women might REALLY look forward to it because they know it is the ONE DAY that their man might do something really spectacular and that falling-in-love feeling comes back for a moment, oozes into the next few days and then finally tapers away.

And lets not forget, some men might use Valentine's day to make up all the time they spent thinking about and watching football, and then also having three or four different fantasy football leagues to attend to. So, they do something sweet for all the time their wives wasted on making dip and grabbing them chips from the pantry.

Sigh. How sad. All of those versions up there just make my heart ache.

As much as I can see why the idea of having a day to honor love could be admirable; To actually sit down and think about where you would be without the love of your family and friends. To take a step back and just remember the feelings you felt for your man or woman when loved stopped being a flutter in your stomach and became more of a choice and commitment. It seems like a good idea, in theory. In practice? I don't know. I'm not convinced yet. I feel like there is just not enough expressions of love during the rest of the year.

Now, just for the sake of saying it, expressions of love don't have to be over the top and costly. When my husband takes out the trash without me having to ask, that is a huge expression of love. When he feeds our dogs every day like clock work, its an expression of love. Even when he carts off to work to provide for our life together, that is an expression of love. And most days, I have to remind myself to take a moment to THINK about it. To remember that doing the tedious things we do for each other is a very important expression of love.

But there also has to be more than that. A man should court his wife every day. He should give her devoted attention and he should flirt with her and woo her just like he would if he was still trying to spark up a relationship with her. He should do things on a weekly or biweekly basis, like write her love notes and/or leave a flower on his pillow if he leaves before her in the morning. It should be a constant. Romance is so absolutely and completely necessary in a relationship.

Such simple things can be done to keep it alive. Maybe Valentine's day has killed the meaning of romance. Romance doesn't have to be a grand gesture. It doesn't have to be running through a town in Italy to stop her from marrying someone else. It certainly doesn't have to be thousands of dollars worth of jewelry. That is not what it needs or has to be. Its small things. Small continual moments, running after her out the door to give her just one last kiss, surprising her with a cup of coffee and the book she's obsessed with on a Saturday morning. It's running her a bath at the end of a rough day. Such simple, non-monetary expressions of love that will keep her eyes only on you.

That is what love is all about... Well, at least to me.

What I DO love about Valentine's day is kind of specific to my job. Its so cute to get a couple of students in the office that hand out Valentine's day cards, looking so sweet and giving. They get so excited when they hand their special card to you.

Two days ago two little girls, of Kindergarten age, came in and one handed us each a book-marker and the other handed us a valentine. When I said thank you and they moved on, I looked at them both more closely.

The second little girl, Lainee, gave a Valentine's day card that was a jumbled puzzle! And each piece was a sticker, which you would peel off and stick to the other side, in the appropriate numbered box.

This is the front, almost halfway through the Valentine card.

This is the back! So far so good!

Ta-DA! So cute. Its a PUG. And its kind of awesome because I have... or had a pug. My dad kind of adopted her! :)

On other love-related news, its February 12. It would be my Mom and Dad's anniversary. And even though they don't celebrate it, us girls still do. It's still a part of our history. The best thing my Mom and Dad ever did was have us girls... for me, specifically Alie and Kari. I'm so happy that when I was little I had annoying big sisters to pick on me and be there for me. Now, I'm even happier that my big sisters are my best friends.


Thursday, January 14, 2010

You, Me, plus Three...

On the exterior, one would think that this 'branch' of the Vickers Family Tree is made up of just Bryan and I. The one who would think that would be wrong.

Bryan and I have children. Three to be exact. Are the human children? No. There are furry children. And over the past couple of weeks, I have had some serious mommy moments.
This all started around January 2, 2010. When we started looking for a new house to rent. The house we are in right now is so cute and I love it, but we've outgrown it already... And we can't have Cali here.

This is Cali.
Cali is our first born. She's a good, smart dog that talks a lot of crap to you when she doesn't like what you are saying. (I swear, I'll get it on video sometime so you can see her attitude. Girl is fierce!) We became her parents with a girl that I worked with at Mervyn's found her. She couldn't keep her and I told her that I knew just the person that would love her. Bryan adores German Shepherds. So we took her home the night we met her and she was ours ever since. When she was younger, Bryan refused to listen to me to take her to get her shots. So of course, she got really sick. She was so miserable. I was visiting in Salinas, and wouldn't leave my side. I just held her on the couch until I finally begged Bryan to take her to a vet. He didn't need much convincing. Luckily, she survived and she's our baby-girl. Even if she weighs as much as an elephant and always steps on my feet.

This is Danny.

Danny was born on May 5, 2005. When I moved in with Bryan and Rick in October of 2005, I was so homesick and lonely that I went to the SPCA, looking for a pet that could be a Farpella, with me. I wasn't looking for any pet in particular, my criteria was: cuddle-bug, nice, distinct personality. That's it. Danny's story was so sad. A bicyclist found Danny on an overpass bridge on the 168 outside of Salinas. He or she was passing by and saw a pet carrier tossed on the side of the road. When he/she stopped, there were multiple kitties in the carrier, but only Danny and one other cat was alive. The bicyclist grabbed the carrier and biked to the SPCA (which is miles up the 168, in the middle of no where) and handed them over. Danny was the only one that survived. When I first met him, Bryan was with me and he was perfect. He had such a
personality. He liked to be held, which made me hope that he'd be a cuddler and he played like CRAZY with the toys. I handed over the $65 dollars (which was and IS a small fortune for a cat, but whatever) and Danny became a Farpella. And yes... he is a cuddler......... but only on his terms.

Ps... He just bit me. I think he was reading over my shoulder.

This is Duey.
Duey's real name is Dumbledore. I first met him when Brian, an old high school friend of mine brought him up to Fresno with Denise and I were living together. Brian had found him and was trying to find his home but was having no luck. Duey (at the time called, Duder) was a puppy and I fell hard! I told Brian that I would adopt him if he was unsuccessful in finding the owners. And I did! When Duey has his hair grown out he is white and fluffy, which reminded me of Dumbledore. And since he now answered to Duder and Doody, I decided to call him Duey, since it was close enough that he wouldn't get confused. He is such a sweetheart. He's not very intelligent, but he makes up for it by being completely adorable and a snuggler!

So, now that you've formally met my entire family, I'm sure you can tell why I would have Mommy moments when people treat my animals unjustly.

Which brings me to the real reason for this post.

Bryan and I are trying to find a house to lease for the next year or two before we buy or build. We're looking for a nice house, of standard proportion, in a nice neighborhood. We've narrowed our search to a three bedroom, two bathroom house with a nice background for the pets.

Pretty standard right? And while there are things I would love - like his and her sinks in the master bathroom, I can live without it. There are things, however that I won't live without.


I have been so angry over the lack of houses that allow pets. AND, the budget range that we have set ourselves in is not overwhelming nor is it underwhelming. Its healthy for the area we live in. We're talking $1000-1200. Hanford is a small town folks, you should be able to get a pretty nice house in this area for that much.

Key word being, should. I can't believe the state of the rental houses I have been shown. Buying a home is the BIGGEST investment most people ever make. It is not to be taken lightly. And the decision of renting, who to rent to, and who to have as a property manager is not something that can just be picked out of a hat. It seems that so many people rented to people that should never had keys to a home and those people destroyed the houses.

We went into one house - in a pretty good neighborhood, that had fist holes all over the walls and doors. We went to another area in a very nice and coveted neighborhood that was missing the glassware on light fixtures, had boards missing out of the fences and the toilets were dirty. And the best part - both houses were advertised as $1100. No joke.

I have called every house (that fits our criteria) that is advertised online and in the newspaper. That's at least 50 houses. And I get more and more upset when this dialogue happens.

"Hi, I'm calling on the house advertised in the Hanford Sentinel. Is it still available?"

"Yes, it is. Its a three bedroom, two bathroom on (insert street). It has a two door garage with an automatic door, and lawn service is included."

"Oh, that sounds great. Do you have a pet policy?"

"Uhhh.... uhhmmmm... what kind of pets do you have?"

"Well, we have three rescued pets. A german shepherd, an outside cat and a maltese/poodle mix. And we do have Renter's insurance."

"Oh, yeah. No, no pets. Sorry."

"Ok. Well I hope you trip and fall down."

...Okay, I don't really say that last part. But I think it. Its house, after house, after house. It is very frustrating.

I understand that pets can be messy. They can have accidents. They make mistakes. But guess who else does? PEOPLE. Children! I say, if you allow families that have children you should allow pets. Its pretty much the same thing. And if they do chew something up or ruin something? Guess what - the renters are LIABLE. That is why there is something called a deposit and a pet deposit. Because if something should go wrong, you have an extra thousand or so dollars to fix it. And, the lease should state that the house should be returned as it was when it was leased, beside "normal" wearing over time. That's like... worn carpet on the constantly used paths.

So, the house hunt is pretty horrible. And I'm super discouraged. But Bryan is trying to be a little ray of sunshine by telling me that it will all work out.

I sure hope so.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Weekend Recap

A couple of nights ago, Bryan told me that one of the guys from the band he has been playing with lately invited us to go out to Jimbo's with all of them and their wives on Saturday. I'd never been and I figured it would be fun. It would also give me a chance to get to know the guys since Bryan has been and will be spending so much time with them. We accepted the invitation and looked forward to it.

When Saturday came around, Bryan worked and I fixed up my blog. (Did you notice?) I decided that I needed a change. I'd really like to dedicate more time to SSMM but its hard. I often think to myself that I should take pictures of whatever we happen to be doing at the time, but then I chastise myself. I have to remember to LIVE my life... not just capture it. It's a tight rope, but I hope to do a better job of balancing the two. I would love to be able to look back on this little diary of mine, and revert back to these moments.

Anywho, my sister, Kari and her husband, Adam, came by the house to bring my wedding bins, a end table and a few other things. Bryan arrived home a few minutes after we were done looking at everything and we decided to play a few rounds of Mario Kart on the Wii. SO MUCH FUN. It was nice being able to hang out with them... They are hilarious. After they took off, I went to shower and ready myself and we ended up leaving the house around 6:45. I begged Bryan to stop by Starbucks. I am loving those Christmas gift cards! It was a nice little treat to keep the chills away - not to mention it pepped me up for what I knew would be a late night.

I haven't had In-N-Out in forever so that is where Bryan and I decided to eat. When we were done, the VZ Navigator took us out to Timbuktu instead of where we wanted to go. It was kind of hilarious... We ended up WAAAAY out in the country on East Bullard where there was no 'night life' in sight... besides the coyotes that were hanging around, I'm sure.

We finally arrived at our destination. Jimbo's is a pretty cool place... With a lot of different characters. The band ended up being pretty good and one of the wives we were with managed to get Bryan on stage.

It was a great time and even better was the fact that we had made plans to go Garage sale shopping when we woke up on Sunday. Except that we didn't. We made it home late, and by the time we were up and around it was too late. Instead, I threw all the fixings into the crock pot for Taco Soup and we went out on the town.

We drove around a bunch of local neighborhoods that we would want to live in. Our lease is ending at the end of this month, so we'll be moving. Its stressful and exciting all at once. Then, we went to return Christmas stuff at Target and FYE. Bryan had gotten me hot rollers, which I wanted super badly) but they didn't work on my hair. He also bought me Bones: Season 3 and 4 for Christmas, except I already had season 3... and one of the discs for season 4 didn't work! We exchanged the season 4 for a new one,
and I chose Dollhouse: Season 1 instead. LOVE. THAT. SHOW. I was really happy.

We spent some time in Game Stop and Borders since we both had gift cards but we left empty handed. They didn't have the book that I wanted and Bryan couldn't find anything he wanted so we decided to wait. I succeeded in getting Bryan to let me go to Ross because I've been looking for filler for a vase that I bought at Big Lots (for ten dollars! Love that place.) and I found some that matched perfectly! It was a successful outing!

Rick, Bryan's Dad, came over for some Mario Kart and dinner. We decided at the last minute to go see Up in the Air, the new movie with George Clooney. Folks, it's a dud. Totally not a good movie to pay for. At the end, you feel empty. It gives you no feelings of happiness, sadness, retribution, excitement, mystery.... absolutely nothing. Its not horrible... its just a flop. Anna Kendrick (known recently for her part in Twilight and New Moon) did a pretty great job though. She's a promising little actress.

Today marks the end of a four and a half day weekend for me, so its off to bed so I can work tomorrow. Hopefully the day flies by and I'll be on my way to the gym for Yoga and then off to Kari and Adam's for dinner. Seems to me like it'll be a great day tomorrow!