29 May 2006

Muddy, messy, fun

Success, victory...poverty! At long last, Dan and I have found a table and corner hutch that will fit inside out tiny dining room. After combing through every furniture store in Ottawa, we finally settled on something at Sears. Way over the anticipated budget but at least it fits our needs and will last us well into the future. Here's the funny part...my parents bought the exact same table two weeks ago. I guess this is concrete proof that I really am turning into my mother.

Per usual, the past few days have been hellishly busy. On Thursday Dan and I finished off our last golf lesson. It was a frustrating yet amusing evening, as I got to finally use my driver. I've mastered the irons and pitching wedge, but this particular club and I don't mix well. I've come to the conclusion that not only do I have a big bust, but my arms are also freakishly short. I must have made a strange sight, but at least I managed to stop slicing the ball on the last few balls in my bucket. (75 balls by the way)

Friday night's concert was hilarious. I can honestly say that I was probably one of the youngest people in the building. Looking out from the box, all Dan and I could see was a sea of white hair and walkers. Oh yeah!!!! All this aside though, it really was a great show. The music isn't exactly my preferred genre, but the few Irish tunes did manage to bring a tear to my eye. Mom and I even burst out into song at a few points. Dan looked like he was going to fall asleep...or throttle me... but it was actually fun to get out with the folks and laugh it up for the evening.
Overall rating: 9 out of 10. Daniel O'Donnell really is the quintessential Irish granny’s boy, but he is an amazing showman with an unbelievably awesome rapport with the crowd.

Saturday morning was spent scrubbing dirt, scum and bugs off of the winter pool blanket - yummy. For anyone who has ever opened a pool, you'll understand what a monumental pain in the @$$ this job is. Kudos to my sweetie for sticking around and helping me and the family out. You know it's love when a guy will stay to see you covered in mud and smelling terrible.
And how did I repay him for his kindness you ask? I was passed out and drooling on his lap by 9:00pm. Seriously, what am I...80???

Sunday was productively spent planting shrubs and flowers. This year was especially fun seeing as I had to redo part of the front landscaping for my parents. Once again, I found myself covered in dirt and grime. Luckily, I happen to enjoy gardening so this was a fun and relaxing day for me. It felt weird to know that this is the last time I'd be shopping for flowers with mom. I'll probably have to plant everything for them again next year, but it won't feel the same as I won't be living there anymore. I'll have my own yard to care for on top of everything. Very strange feeling...a little bitter sweet.

The end of the weekend was spent soaking up some rays by the pool. In order to avoid awkward tan lines for the wedding, I had to strip down to next to nothing. I'm glad both sets of neighbours were away, otherwise I may have started a small scandal. My efforts were well rewarded by the start of a slight tan....or maybe it's just a bunch of freckles joining together. Either way, I now have pigment. Très exciting!

Overall weekend summary = Dirty!

25 May 2006

Optimism, bad concerts, golf, swimming and the perfect curio cabinet

Less than 2 months left until Daniel and I move into our new home. After years of saving and planning, everything is finally coming into fruition. Despite all the shopping and running around, the enormity of what we’re about to do is only starting to hit me now. Oddly enough, I’m not apprehensive at all; I’m just excited to move forward, get settled into the house and be married. This is quite the affirmation for a girl who always swore that she never wanted to settle down. I always imagined myself as the stereotypical “ball busting” businesswoman, traveling the world, married to her career and climbing the corporate ladder to success. Looking back, it sounds like a pretty lonely existence. I wouldn’t trade what I have now for anything in the world…good education, decent job, wonderful hubby-to-be, and great relations with family and friends. Now if only I could decide on the whole “children” issue. I suppose I should try and have my first kid by the age of 30, but that whole department still frightens me. Maybe I’ll just hold out until guys can get pregnant….yes….that’s a better idea!

Anyways, enough philosophical / uncharacteristic mushiness from me and on to more amusing things! Dan and I are going to see a concert tomorrow night with my parents. I shudder to admit who it is, but it should be good for a laugh. We’re going to see Daniel O’Donnell. For those of you unfamiliar with good oul’ Daniel, let’s just say that he’s the Golden Boy of Public Broadcasting in the US. A decent singer, but not really my cup of tea. I think you have to be over the age of 50 to truly appreciate him. Poor Dan doesn’t know what he’s in for. A fan of the Beastie Boys and other such music, it will probably be sheer agony for him. He got free seats in the swanky corporate box from his company, so it would have been rude for us to turn the tickets down. We’re poor and beggars can’t afford to be choosers. Free entertainment is hard to come by these days… If we get really desperate, we’ll drink ourselves happy on the pitiful $7 ½ pint beer that Scotiabank Place laughingly sells.

Nothing else that is overly exciting to report. I have my last golf lesson tonight. I tried swinging my driver and some woods on Tuesday, but that was disastrous. Hopefully I’ll learn how to follow through a little better tonight. I’m getting tired of banging the club against the pad; it always manages to make a large thudding noise that scares the hell out of me. Like I said earlier, Tiger Woods can keep his record…no competition here.

Saturday should be a “fun” day – NOT! This is most-likely the day that my family will open the swimming pool. Typically it is an arduous task that usually involves lots of yelling and frayed nerves. Great times all around!

Tonight, Dan and I are going to continue our great search for the perfect dining set for the house….

How’s that for total randomness….?

19 May 2006

Proudly destroying turf

Last night Dan and I attended our second golf lesson. We got to the range early, so we decided to kill a bucket before we met up with the instructor. It seemed like a good idea at the time, although my arms are regretting it now. On the upside, the muscles do look nice and tight.

I walked away from yesterday’s lesson feeling much more confident. While I still scream amateur, I did manage get a few nice shots near the 100 yard marker. Once again we were using the 7 iron. If I’m still only hitting 100 yards when I try out my driver next week, I’ll have to reexamine my newfound confidence.

I always thought I’d hate golf, but I have to admit that there is definitely something gratifying about swinging clubs and propelling objects after a hard day at work. I have also discovered that making large divots in the ground is rather amusing. If anyone is looking for a non-conventional means to aerate their lawn, I am available for hire.

17 May 2006

Golf…creator of the beefy forearm!

Last night I had my first foray into the wonderful world of golf. In an attempt to find a common activity which we could enjoy together, Dan and I decided that we would start lessons. Being a complete golf virgin, I was naturally a little nervous.

For those who know me well, patience and sportsmanlike conduct are not fortes of mine.
I have a particularly annoying habit of competing with myself and becoming frustrated when I don’t excel at things right away. After 30minutes of continuous swinging at the range, it was apparent that I will “never” be giving Tiger Woods a run for his title.

I must have made a pretty funny sight. Anytime I managed to hit the ball, I got a big stupid grin on my face…never mind the fact that the ball may have only moved ten feet. In my defense, I was only using a 7 Iron. I did manage to get a few decent shots near the 100 yard marker, although totally by fluke. Hopefully I’ll get to use my “badass” driver soon.

To all you golfers out there, I am truly sorry that I used to mock your sport. I had always assumed that it was a lazy man’s game. In all fairness it isn’t overly exerting, but my arms and back sure do hurt like hell today! Thank God I will only require my legs for Irish dancing tonight.

For your enjoyment, I have posted a funny cartoon sketch that reminds me of myself. I don't smoke, but I did find out that I don't appreciate friendly advice on the golfing green ; )

14 May 2006

Inspector's worst nightmare

The pre-delivery inspection is over and I have to say that our team of critics really came in handy. Between FH, myself, mom, dad and FIL, I think we managed to terrify the inspector. All in all, the house looked pretty good however we managed to point out several nitpicky details that the average human being may have left unnoticed.

Crawling around on my hands and knees, with my eyes practically glued to the floor, I managed to detect several small chips or scratches in the hardwood. The inspector gave FH and I a roll of masking tape to mark off boards that we want to have changed. I don’t think he anticipated having as much tape on the floor as we ended up with.

While FH and I worked our way through the main floor, the rest of the family spread out throughout the house. They were relentless in their ability to point out little details that needed attention. Mom & dad have a good eye for the aesthetic, while FH’s dad was in charge of all things structural. I was nice to have so many pairs of eyes examining the house. I was even surprised by me and FH’s ability to pick up faults. It’s amazing how thorough one becomes when they are suddenly paying for a home!

We were very pleased with everything overall. The taping in house is particularly well done. I’ve gone into some brand new homes where I can already spot nail pops and cracks; not a single one was to be found in our place. I know this will change over time, but I was pleased to see good straight walls with no blemishes from the start.

Only a few more months now until we are ready to move! It’s crazy to think that year’s of waiting are almost at an end. It’s a bizarre melange of excitement, trepidation and even a little bit of sadness. A new stage of life is just around the corner.

12 May 2006

I'm right and you're wrong!

Pardon the brief and immature post, but I just have to say…"Na na na boo boo," and "In your face!"

This goes out to all you pessimists who said that the Sens would lose last night’s game and be ousted from the playoffs. (cough..cough…dad…cough)

Granted the game was a close one, but they still pulled through. No shutout like many so-called fans predicted. The chance of carrying through to round three of the playoffs is slim, but at least the Sens can hold their heads a little higher today.

So to all you doubters and naysayers, “HA!” Don’t always put the cart before the horse. It’s not over until it’s over.

11 May 2006

Daily scoop...

May is a crazy, crazy month! In addition to my hectic personal life, there's a lot going on here at work right now. Our organization is going through a process of renewal so there is a great deal of apprehension about the security of some peoples’ jobs. I am fairly confident that my sector fits into the new plan however the overall uncertainty can really get under your skin after a while. As a communications officer, I will have to help disseminate the final word to staff members. All I can say is..."don't shoot the messenger!" I hope that everything pans out well for the organization. With a new government in place, it is difficult to know how much funding we can rely on.

In other news, FH finally managed to settle up the inspection issue with our developers. Neither of us understand how the mix up occurred, but in the end we were able to keep our initial appointment for tomorrow. Let’s just say that the good people at “Ashcroft” aren’t very good about returning phone messages. I only hope that they aren’t as tardy when it comes to fixing the problems that we will point out during inspection. The golden rule of new home ownership seems to be, “Keep after people!”

Leisure (maybe not..?)
Over the past year, FH and I have come to realize that we aren’t quite as young as we used to be. We aren’t old by any stretch of the imagination, however we do seem to be a little more prone to injuring ourselves. I started weight training again this week; the classes are offered at work every Tuesday at noon. While I do regularly lift weights at home, I clearly have been neglecting certain muscle groups. My armpits and sides are soooooo sore right now. Putting deodorant even hurts! FH is in even worse shape than me; he pulled something in his back yesterday at Jujitsu. Poor guy is laid-up at home right now, zonked out on Robaxacet. Why do we pay $$$ to injure ourselves??? I guess it’s fear of the dreaded middle-age spread.

FH and I had our first meeting with the deacon who will now be presiding over our wedding ceremony. After the troubling issues that we had with the priest that was originally assigned to us, I became paranoid about every single aspect of the ceremony. I was fearful of doing anything that might even minutely be construed as irreverent. Luckily, the deacon quickly put my concerns at bay. I’m now confident about everything and am glad that we’ve decided to have the shorter Catholic ceremony. It is still considered the Sacrament of Marriage in the eyes of the Church, yet we have a little more room to breath and involve friends and family. The sky’s the limit now!

08 May 2006

Inspection woes

Exciting times. Dan and I went to see the house last night and ended up meeting our new neighbour. He’s fairly young and seems to be a nice enough guy, so hopefully all will go well. Seeing as we bought a semi-detached, we are hoping that we won’t have to share our driveway and dividing wall with a nut case. Time will tell I guess….

FH and I are currently having inspection issues with our developer. Last week I scheduled our pre-delivery inspection for the afternoon of May 12th. The woman doing the booking was very accommodating. She put us with a different inspector than usual, because the regular couldn’t fit into our schedule. It was very important that we booked a time where both of our parents would be available to come to inspection with us. Five sets of eyes are better than two!

This morning I got a call from the inspector that weren’t booked with. He told me that we would have to reschedule with him. I explained to him, that we had our inspection scheduled with the other inspector. This seemed to confuse him, so he told me that he would clarify the situation. He then calls back two minutes later and tells me that it is him that will be doing the inspection. At this point I’m fuming! I’m told to reschedule for a later date, early in the morning when me and FH’s parents won’t be available. Meanwhile, I’m still convinced that our original appointment for the 12th is still on. Somehow, they must have gotten their wires crossed. Either way, very frustrating for us! I’ve given up on dealing with all the confusing issues that come up. FH is now taking his turn in dealing with it. The joys of buying a new home!

04 May 2006

Better late than never

Last night my Irish dance teacher managed to convince me that I should compete in the upcoming National Capital Feis. A Feis (pron. fesh), is an Irish dance and music competition. It's a chaotic event at best, chalk full of frayed nerves, accordion music, hug curly wigs and kids running around in bloomers and costumes. While it can be quite daunting, competing is a necessary part of Irish dancing in order to move up in rank.

Here’s the funny part…I’m old! Not many people my age are competing. Most dancers start out a very early age and progress to Open Championships by the time they are young adolescents. Better late than never I guess. There are some competitions open to ages 18+, however there often aren’t enough eligible dancers to warrant having a separate adult competition. Essentially, this means that I’ll be dancing with competitors ages 15 & over. This scares me! I’m not ancient, but I’m probably not as flexible as a 15 year old.

I’m scared that I’ll look like an idiot dancing next to people who are 10 years younger than myself. I don’t want to look like the “big bad adult” trying to steal the young girls’ trophies. My teacher assures me that it is common to combine age groups, but I’m still a little leery. Either way, I seem to have put my foot in it and can’t back out now. The school is so excited that I have decided to compete and they are already pooling resources together to find me an outfit for the day. God Lord, what did I get myself into?!?

In other news, my dance school has offered to perform at my wedding reception. I was really touched by the offer, which would be completely free and voluntary. A lot of the girls love to perform so this gives them the opportunity to get out and dance for an audience. It would also be a nice way to share something that I love with all the guests. They want me to get up and do a few steps with them in my dress…but I just don’t see that happening! Should be fun to have the girls out in full costume…definitely something that will be memorable for everyone.

03 May 2006

Calendar girl

Lunchtime at last! This is about the only time of the day that I have a chance to take a breather. It looks like rain is threatening, so I’ll have to hold off on my usual walk. Lucky you…a new blog entry for your perusal!

I have to admit, I’m pretty surprised by the response that my blog is getting from family and friends. As it turns out, my father has been emailing everyone he knows with links to my wedding website and blog.. So to all of you who I haven’t seen in ages…howdy! Hope you’re all doing well!

May is gearing up to be a busier month than anticipated. My day planner is turning out to be a real godsend lately. Much to my chagrin, I’ve become one of those annoying people who says, “Let me pencil you in,” anytime I’m asked to do something.

For the past three weeks, I’ve been battling with my new bank over opening new accounts and transferring balances over from my old bank. If anyone ever tries to push the “Easy Switch” service on you…kindly tell them where they can shove it! This is supposed to be a seamless process where the new bank closes out accounts at your previous institution and transfers all the money for you. All you have to do is provide them with account numbers and your permission to proceed. Sounds perfect right??? Wrong!!! This turned out to be a three-week long period of waiting and anxiety, during which I had no access to my money or knowledge of where the balance was floating.
Thankfully, the money was transferred last evening. It is still difficult to pinpoint where the holdup occurred. Thank God I wasn’t paying a mortgage yet! If you ever have to switch banks, do it the old fashioned route; close the accounts yourself and get a cheque from the bank. Maybe I’m over reacting, but it’s pretty scary not knowing where your money is! I’ll chalk this one up to experience.

The house is approaching completion now and FH and I have a pre-delivery inspection scheduled for May 12th. Little does the developer know, we have been sneaking into the house periodically to sniff out any potential problems. Last week my parents went to see the house with FH and I, and we were surprised to see that the patio door was unlocked. This gave us a chance to see the house before we meet with the inspector – an added bonus as we have already started making our list of “fix it” items. Overall, the house looks wonderful, but there are also your typical areas of sloppy craftsmanship. It’s very disheartening because developers don’t seem to care about quality anymore. I suppose this is one of the problems that comes with subcontracting various projects to smaller companies. Either way, we’ll have the “dream team” of critics helping us out during the walk-through. (a.k.a. mom, dad and future FIL). It’s a pretty discerning crowd…the poor inspector doesn’t know what he’s in for!

Wedding planning has really reached its pinnacle. FH and I meet with the wedding coordinator tomorrow to go over specific plans. We also meet with our deacon on Saturday to finalize the ceremony. While we are still four months away from the wedding, I’m anxious to get things planned straight away. Hopefully I’ll be able to start on wedding programs next week. I realize that I’m probably making a ton of work for myself, but its fun to have a creative outlet. Lord only knows what will happen after the wedding. I’ll probably rock back and forth on the floor babbling incoherently about ribbons, glue and pretty paper. The withdrawal will not be pretty!

My first official dress fitting with the seamstress has been booked for June 9th. I’m looking forward to seeing what ideas she has, but nervous to see the bill. At 5’2”, you know that a good deal of hemming will need to be done. It always amazes me that littler people have to pay more for everything. Even if they made dresses with less material, they would still charge more for it. You figure it out…..

End of rant….back to work.