Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2014 Goals Rundown

This year my goals included:
  • learn/try to compost  Did NOT do this.
  • read at least 10 non-fiction books completed, read 12. see books I've read list
  • become a better friend....or make a friend I made three friends in CO, and rekindled a friendship from high school, but it is sort of like a new friend.
  • save more, lower debt With the move, I didn't save a dime.  Will try again when I get a job.
  • enjoy a more balanced life Sort of. I moved for this reason.  Until I work full time, I can't say it is balanced, but the second half of the year has been more 'fun' than years past.
  • send written notes (thank you's, birthdays, congratulations, etc)  I was all over this. I sent out moving thank you cards to about 40 people, I sent out hand written thank you notes to people after a party, along the way, I mailed out many post cards to various people. I sent sympathy cards, engagement cards and a few birthday cards.  I spent about $60 on cards and about $100 on postage.
  • be more tolerant of other people I think I have.  I've had so much more on my mind that I am not really sure if I noticed many other people.  My road trip didn't result in much cursing because of bad drivers and since I didn't work as soon as I got here, I didn't have to worry about strange coworkers.  When you are happier in general, I think this really isn't much of an issue.
and I'd really like to sell stuff I don't use/need...but that is a lot of work...and I am just not sure if I have it in me to do that this year.  Garage sales are great, but why should I sell a coach bag I used once for $5? I shouldn't.  People go to garage sales thinking they can get anything everything super cheap ($5-$10) sometimes the stuff is good stuff.  I did have a garage sale before I moved and I sold a few things on ebay.  It was a lot of work!

I'd also like to be more productive.  Not just with work, but my free time.  I feel like I waste a lot of time away, and I'd like to see that time being put to better use.  This was really half and half accomplishment.  Once I realized I was going to move, I worked my butt off getting things ready, packing, selling, wrapping things up, saying goodbye, etc.  There was so much to do.  But once I moved and I didn't have a routine, I wasted a ton of time mostly because I was feeling guilty for having "fun" when I should be spending all my time looking for employment.  So there were days I didn't leave the house and weeks where I didn't do anything fun because I felt guilty.  I should have enjoyed that time off more...lesson learned.

And without needing to list it above, selling my apartment this year would make me really happy.  I need this to happen, I hate living here.  But the apartment is listed with an agent, and the price is below market (and will probably be reduced again) and therefore sort of out of my control regarding selling.  The apartment sold!  Yes, I lost money...but thankfully it all worked out.

Finally, I'd love to plan a trip...but I am not sure if I am going to have the money for the kind of trip I'd like to plan.  This year I will have some big expenses...so this is not a priority.  I'd say my 2 week road trip was more than enough for this year!  It was such an amazing experience. 

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

any major accomplishments in Colorado?

I was skyping with my 8 year old nephew last night and he asks me, "So, do you have any major accomplishments in Colorado?"  Where did he learn to talk like that?  I asked, "What do you mean by major accomplishments" and he responded, "You know, like a job, a friend, a house...".   I smiled and then gave him a tour of my temporary housing.  I told him I made 4 friends and that I am still working on the job thing.  He seemed a little pleased but I could tell he was hoping for more progress.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Date #1, he seems normal

After a little miscommunication, I had my first date with a man from the online dating site.  He arrived earlier than me and waited by the entrance along with the many other people waiting for a table, which was less than the amount of people by the bar...which meant he was easier to find.  Kind of.  He shaved his head, but I still recognized him.  He stood up to greet me and I apologized for being a few minutes late.  While I left with plenty of extra time, I was not familiar with where this restaurant was which was in a very busy mall around Christmas time.  Our buzzer went off and we were shown to a high rise table.

Conversation started to flow quickly and the waitress gave up asking if we were ready to order.  He was normal.  Well, as normal as one can be
on a first date.  He was decent looking, he presented himself well, he spoke correctly, he was polite, he kept conversation going smoothly and we laughed.  Ok, so he doesn't like fish or RVs and doesn't drink. Not a deal breaker.

We finally ordered food, split a small pizza and an appetizer.  He said he was surprised I was never married, since I was very pretty and was curious why I wasn't snatched up.  Good question. I don't know.  I tell him that I've had 'long' relationships they just didn't work out. Is it that I don't go to the gym? Is it my body, I am not thin and I have huge boobs.  Maybe I should ask the past men why they all preferred other women over me. I am really not sure what is wrong with me.  And I feel like at my age or older, if people haven't been married, there is usually a reason, unless of course they love the single lifestyle.  But I think I am pretty normal.  And he seemed normal.  So unless something drastic happened before we wrapped up, I knew I'd agree to a second date.

They cleared our plates and we continued to talk for another 45 minutes to an hour.  He said that he'd like to get together again and I said I'd like that and he had my number. After 2 1/2 hours of meeting we left.  Gave a quick hug and wished each other a happy holiday.

Thirty minutes after getting home, I had a text from him again stating he had a good time and hopes that if I have any other dates that they go poorly so he still has a shot.  It made me smile. That was kind of funny.

We've texted a few times since then; we are both looking forward to a second date.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

first holiday away

I kept debating if I should go home for Christmas.  Being indecisive, I decided if I went home, I would drive because airline fares were close to $800 and then since I am not working, I can stay longer than a few days.  But three days before Christmas, I decided not to make the long drive and to stay here in Colorado.  My first Christmas without my family, how bad was this going to be?

I got a call earlier Christmas even day from two different families to see if I was going to surprise them for Christmas.  My heart broke and I teared up...no, unfortunately, I wasn't going to be there. No surprise this time.  Most of them thought I'd go home anyway.

Christmas eve is when my immediate family gets together, so I FaceTimed them after they ate dinner and for a little over two hours we chatted and I watched the kids open their gifts.  It was nice, it was like I was there and didn't miss too much, except for the amazing food.  Of course I cried a few times.   Christmas morning I called a few nephews to see what Santa brought.  Christmas day each family does their own thing in the morning and whoever is around then goes to my aunt's house for lunch/dinner, I've missed this once before, always nice to see cousins and aunts/uncles but this is more survivable to miss. And I had plans, I wouldn't be alone.

Christmas day I was invited to my roommate's families house.  I drove down that morning and had a very nice and relaxing dinner and evening with them.  I was so appreciative that they invited me into their homes on a day that is about family and god.  We had some delicious food, a lot of wine and played Catchphrase.  A family that likes games too?  This will be great.  The weather was supposed to be bad that evening, so I slept over.  It was really nice to see how other families celebrate this day.  It was much more laid back, relaxed and less chaotic than I am used to.

So, I survived my first holiday without my family.  I think it was probably a good thing for all of us that I wasn't there, so they get used to this idea that I won't always be around for all the special occasions/holidays.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

favorite 2014 holiday commericals

This year, these were my top 3 favorite holiday commercials.

  1. Kohl's. Boy sees reindeer.  watch
  2. Surface Pro 3.  Catchy tune.  watch  
  3. Wells Fargo.  I love snowmen; these snowmen are giving.  watch  

Sunday, December 21, 2014

DIY - small end table

My room still felt empty and I wanted a few more shelves.  I really was thinking of getting a small bookcase, but when I was in GoodWill they had this small sturdy end table for $10 and it was a 50% off day...so for $5, I couldn't pass it up, even if it did have a heart border on it.

This piece was wood, so I sanded it down, scrapped off some gunk and tried to figure out how I was going to remove the piece with the heart.  First I got a small saw and thought if I could get between the crease, I could saw my way through, thinking it was going to be one of those wooden oval things to keep in place.  I had a hard time getting the saw through the smiggen of a crack, so that wasn't going to work.  Upon further inspection, it looked like staples.  I took out the hammer and started to hammer it to see if it would move.  It did but I needed to be careful because I didn't want to crack it.   Between lightly hammering and pulling, the border piece started to pull away, but I did crack the side a little bit.  I pulled the piece out and was only able to get one staple out, so I just hammered the others down, not a big deal since this is for me and not a kid and it is temporary furniture.  Then I started painting; about 4 - 5 layers of paint (maybe I put too thin of paint layers).

While I had the urethane, I elected not to put it on at this time.  If I have other projects I will then finish this one, but it came down to how messy it was to clean up the last time and me not being prepared; I don't have paint thinner or a crappy paint brush to throw away at the end.


So, I think that will be it for my room right now, unless I come across another great piece that has potential.  While my pieces aren't great...what I like is they all match so it gives it a sense of looking more put together than college poor random stuff.

Friday, December 19, 2014

step towards dating again

Going against everything I've said over the last 6 years, I signed up for an online dating service.  The decision was hard because that is how I met someone who turned out to break my heart by being not who he claimed...and the odds of that happening I am sure are quite high.  But then again, online dating is more mainstream than it was twelve years ago so maybe there are more 'normal' (as in not a sociopath) people on it?  

I signed up, added photos, filled out my profile, answered questions...and matches started to come through.  And honestly, I can't keep up.  I was a little shocked by this, in my young 20s there was not a lot of interest but now, wow.  But I shouldn't be too shocked.  I am decent looking and have a lot going for me...well, aside from a job and income. But I also struggle with my weight/size and I feel like many men can't look past that.

I am trying to look at everyone who has interest in me and I try to respond to everyone.  While there is a lot of initial interest, it seems like after a few question exchanges it dies down as the weeding out begins.

We will see what happens. I am looking forward to getting out and dating again whether it is from someone online or that I met first in person, and I know that it can still take a few weeks before a date actually occurs.  It has been so long since I've dated, and I think I am in the right place mentally now for a greater chance of success.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

lingering sadness over ManFriend

With all my free time, I decided to pull out my scrapbook, finishing up November 2013.  The last year has been overwhelming with everything I've done and the places I've been, and I was way behind in uploading and ordering photos, which I completed last week.  Now I just need to wait for a great sale on prints.

Having only a few pages left, I decide to have my last page be a ManFriend memory.  Unfortunately he was very camera shy and didn't take photos. I only had one of him that I took of his photo hanging on his wall from his sister's wedding so I can show my friend what he looked like, even if the picture was 10 years old.  And I went to linkedin at the beginning of the year and copied his photo from his profile.  Two really bad resolution photographs.  But I uploaded them for printing anyway, it is all I have of him. Seeing his pictures again made me smile.  I miss that face.

As his one year death anniversary is approaching, I can't help but miss him.  I've cried 80% of this year and was just starting to get through my days without thinking about him so much or shedding a tear and the month of January is going to be hard for me.

I have started to accept that I can't continue to blame myself for not knowing he was terminal; that was his decision.  I was a really amazing friend to him when we were friends.  After we broke up, it is normal to hold a little anger and frustration;  I know I can't continue to be mad about my behavior when he reached out to me out of the blue and told me {part} of his news; especially because he told me about the woman he was seeing...hard to listen to when you loved someone.  I still feel guilty about not doing enough for him; but that just loops back to one and two above - he decided that and I have to accept it.

A few weeks ago I blogged about writing a forgiveness email to ManFriend.  I did do that days after the post.  And I think that is when I started to stop tearing up regularly.  It really helped me.  I enjoyed thinking about the things I loved and hated.  I am fortunate to have met him and I know that we affected each other's lives because we were both in a bad place when we met and that turned around.  I never felt more connected to someone; I can't explain it - but it wasn't a connection like knowing so much or being on the same page...it was more of a strong gravitational pull.  He said I was his angel and he is now my guardian angel {I hope, I asked for him...but I don't really know}, although he is probably very upset with me for being so teary-eyed and sad over him.

The sadness will fade with time but he will always remain in my heart.

Monday, December 15, 2014

short layover leads to asthma

With the inclement weather around the Thanksgiving holiday, JetBlue was kind enough to reschedule my flight for free, but that meant I would have a 45 minute layover in Boston.  I hate layovers, especially with really tight connections.

My flight was due to depart at 11:20 pm and while it was a full flight, we all boarded relatively fast and I was moved to row 1, which was great because I knew I needed to be out of the plane quickly since boarding will have already begun for my next flight by the time we land.  But we ended up needing to be de-iced before we could take off.  I knew as I was siting there that we were going to be late.  I looked at my departing gate and the gate were were due to arrive at, and it was only a 4 gates away, maybe it won't be so bad. Nothing I could I do, so I attempted to rest/sleep.

Our scheduled landing time was 5:08 am and my flight was departing at 5:48 am.  It was already 5:32 am by the time we landed.  I walked my NY fast walk out of the jetway, and we were at/around C17, my next plane was departing from C32.  Any idea how far away that is?  I don't, but it was far.  The monitors said 'closing'.  I was half running and half heeling over to breathe through the terminal, past security through the second part of the terminal.  I was so glad I wasn't carrying my luggage with me, that would have slowed me down even more...but wondered if my luggage would make it to my next flight.  Shin splints were starting to kick in.  It hurt to move. I wanted to stop, I wanted to pass out.  I wanted to get home and see my family.  I kept running/jogging/walking fast.

I arrived at my gate. The door was still open.  I handed the lady at the desk my ticket and I am bending over trying to catch my breath, I can't.  I almost told her to call for a medic thinking I was having a heart attack. My chest hurt.  I couldn't breathe.  I felt dizzy.  The lady tells me that they didn't think I was going to make it they were about to close the door and I told her I ran from the complete farthest part of that terminal and I was happy I made it.  But I am thinking, doesn't those computers talk to each other?  Doesn't it say that I had a connecting flight and my flight landed...and if I landed before they took off, wouldn't they wait a few minutes for me instead of putting me on standby on another flight?  A few minutes pass and she is now scanning my ticket to let me on the plane.  And two or three guys come running up.  I ask if there were on the same flight as me, they were.  So there are four of us, at least...even more reason for the computers to talk to each other.

I board the plane, and it was nice, just walking right on, even if everyone was staring at me because I was the last on (I wasn't) and my face was probably a little red and sweaty from the running.  I tell the airline attendant there were a few people behind me and I find my seat, an isle next to a mom and her grown kid.  I sit down, attempt to drink my water and I am coughing like crazy. I can't catch my breath.  I put my arms over my head. I look to see if there was a puke bag that maybe I can breathe into.  I continue to cough for the first 25 minutes of the 40 minute flight.  I realize I am wheezing. Finally, when I sort of have my breath enough to talk, I turn to my fellow isle passengers and inform them I am not sick, I just ran far to catch the plane, I didn't want them to be nervous about my constant coughing and heavy breathing right before Thanksgiving.

The wheezing continued for 2 days.  It was a nasty wheeze, I know because I made sure all of my family heard it!

I know I am not active and out of shape, but I was very surprised that intense 5-8 minute run/walk resulted in me finding out I have exercise induced asthma.

Friday, December 12, 2014

lasting lessons

Every once in a while I get out my external hard drive and move files over from my computer.  I don't do this as often as I should - lesson learned last year when I had a scare and thought I lost everything, but it was able to be recovered.

As I am moving pictures and documents over, I spend time looking through things from the past, old pictures, documents, projects, whatever.  I came across a file I spent a lot of time writing about my two ex-boyfriends.  I read only the last page, dated 2007 and it was heartbreaking.  The emotional abuse I suffered and sort of realized but didn't want to accept.  The debate of love between my heart and my head.  And my little note about where I'd be in 5 years, with him? married to someone else? with children?  I wanted to slap that 28 year old across the face and wake her up. Well, 7 years later and I am still single and I know the first few years were because of him and me not being ready to date other people.  I needed to heal.  And eventually I did; although those lessons will always be with me.

Then I looked through scrapbooks I made and no longer have and couldn't help but smile as I remembered 2002 - 2008.  I am happy to say that my scrapbooking style has improved greatly from my first scrapbook! But that first scrapbook was fun and I've enjoyed doing it ever since (and actually took it out today to work on!) and I may not have gotten into it if it wasn't for the timing of that relationship.  And as many great and fun memories there were from that time - and as happy and naive as I was, the last seven years resulted in even more adventures, sights and travel; and doing it alone made it even better - even if it didn't seem like it at the time.  I am proud of what I accomplished on my own.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

making it feel more like home

Living in a house with white walls and virtually little stuff is depressing.  Thank goodness my roommate had some furniture, like chairs, tables, rugs and plants.  That alone made the place look better.

My room needed help.  I had an air mattress, clothes and random things.  It was a sad room. Sad rooms don't help your mental state, so I knew I had to invest in some pieces to make it look better, a place that I didn't mind being in.  I already changed so much about my life - my location, no job, no family, few friends...I didn't need more to depress me.

I've become a thrift store shopper, mostly because I needed my money to go farther and will this stuff be temporary?

Thrift Store:
Curtains - $18 (2 panels)
Night Stand - $5 (got for 50% off; needs work, another DIY project - post forthcoming)
Picture holders - $4 for both
Candle holders - $3 for all four (50% off)

4 Glass things - used for makeup & hair stuff in medicine cabinet $4
Mirror - $10 (got for 50% off)
Filing Cabinet - $2.50 (50% off)
2 Picture Frames - $4 for both (small one will probably get painted)

Garage/Estate Sales:
Dresser - $20 (plus the cost to fix it, see other post)
Night Stand - $3.50 (50% off, plus the cost to fix it, see other post)
Chair - $15 (50% off)

New From Store:
Vase - $2.98
Vase - $1.98


Tuesday, December 9, 2014

wrongful packing

Now that I am staying put for 6 months, I am unpacking the boxes that I had in my car for my journey out here, plus the three that I mailed.

In July, it was hard to know what I might need.  I didn't know where I'd be living or what kind of clothes I would need for work. I packed about half my clothes both casual and work and a suit and one pair of heels, 3 'sneakers', 2 flip flops and one flat.  I packed one plastic tote of kitchen items such as one small pot, 4 of each plate, cup, fork, knife, spoon and the few larger serving pieces, an apple corer, a few tupperware containers and a corkscrew.  I had two small boxes of electronics with camera accessories, a wireless adapter, Google ChromeCast, wires- lots and lots of random wires, a DVD remote (yet the DVD is in another box in my parents basement), a few small tools, some hangers, some scrapbook supplies, a tote filled with bathroom supplies, a small seat, and one throw blanket and one pillow and finally one tote of food and paper products.  I also thought that if I found a job and a place, that I'd have all my stuff shipped out to me via pod, so this was just to carry me through a few months.

On my first visit home in October, I packed two boxes and mailed out to me, snowshoes, hats, snow pants, scarves, gloves, 3 coats, my winter boots, more tupperware, another small pot and some cooking gadgets like a whisk, rubber spatula, one of those small immersion hand mixers, a few recipes, and a shower curtain.  These boxes cost about $78 to mail.  I carried back in my carry on some more clothes.  It was hard because I still didn't have a place to stay consistently, and I didn't know what I may or may not need.

My second trip home was in Nov ember and I just found out I'd be signing a 6 month lease so I shipped one large box for $48, with one suit, lots of hangers, three pairs of shoes, pictures, knee highs and socks, a picture holder and a few other various items like a few candles, shower curtain rings, and my St. Anne statue.  In my carry-on I packed a king size comforter, a humidifier, and 2 family photos.  The price of that box surprised me, but it was kind of big and weighed about 32 pounds.  For $50 I could have checked it at the airport and gotten another 10 pounds worth of stuff.

Obviously I didn't pack well at any of these times.  The first time was the hardest and I didn't use a lot of that stuff until more recently. It really just sat in a few boxes untouched in the back of my car for months.  I didn't use any of the electronics, only a few 'work' outfits for interviews, and only used the scrapbook stuff once.  The wireless adapter I just plugged in yesterday, I've used a few tools and many of the hangers, and the hat, gloves and jackets.

I am not sure I can give advice to anyone who wants to travel with just a car load of stuff.  I think some kitchen equipment is valuable - I still need to get a small frying pan, but I've used most of the kitchen stuff I toted along.  Various clothes are important - both change of seasons and work/casual.  Unfortunately I haven't found a job yet, so that didn't get much use, but other people may luck out faster than me.  The electronics & wires could have waited (minus the laptop, iPad, camera and phone equipment).  I used the small folding seat when I attended little league soccer games and would have along the way if I picnicked (which I did not).  The pillow and throw blanket were very handy, but not enough once it got colder.  The bathroom supplies tote I used some here and there and other items not yet...but you know, it is always good to have some medication or a thermometer around just in case...and I actually did use my ice bag when I broke my toe - so that was a smart use of car space.  Scrapbooking supplies was a 'luxury' but I figured I'd have a lot of free time and a plethora of pictures...yet I am working on 2013 still and haven't ordered or even uploaded many pictures from my trip yet.

And I have been out shopping to pick up both practical things and things to make the place look a little homier.

Monday, December 8, 2014

the 4400

Netflix recommended The 4400.  A sci-fi show that aired on USA from 2004 - 2007 and had 45 episodes.  As I started to watch and enjoy the show, I kept wondering....with only 4 seasons, would this wrap up nicely and leave me feeling satisfied?

The writer strike, budget problems and low viewers played a factor in this show being cancelled, perhaps without and ending.

The shows starts with the reappearance of 4,400 people all who vanished over decades who were brought back to save the future human population, with unique new abilities.  The early episodes revealed drama with these new powers and morphs into a fight for power between good versus evil. Eventually the promicin (what gives people the special powers) is available to anyone, with a 50/50 chance of developing abilities or dying, which causes a greater divide between the promicin positive vs nonpromicin people and the war for the future.

As I typed that last paragraph, I think, that would never be something I would watch.  I am not into the superheros or comics or special powers...but I enjoyed this.  I spent hours watching the show, getting involved in the characters all to wonder what will happened?

On my second to last episode, I googled the 4400 and came across a forum about what would have happened if the show continued, to find a book "The 4400: Welcome to Promise City" and "4400: Promises Broken" and hoped that would have answered my questions, many of the reviews said it would.

I looked to see if this was available at the library, both in paper or digital.  It was not.  And I really didn't want to spend $15 on a book that I would read once.  I am going to keep searching around for a better deal or wait for a sale, you know, since I am kind of broke.


Now, having finished the final episode, sure, I'd like to continue the story because it was enjoyable and there is always a need to know more, but I also feel that this last 43 minutes were quite telling and maybe a perfect ending to this sci-fi drama because in basic simpleness, you know, deep down what will happen.

Another good recommendation from Netflix.  I look forward to watching something else, but after at least a few days break!

Sunday, December 7, 2014

grocery savings

I haven't cooked or planned meals in a long time.  Coupons were being delivered to the house I am at and I cut them out.  I haven't used coupons in a while, and for the most part, there are not coupons for items I actually buy.  Nonetheless, I clipped anyway and thew in a Ziploc baggie.

When the supermarket flyers came last week, I looked to see what was on sale.  Since I was not sure where I'd be living for December and when that was decided, I also had plans to go home for the Thanksgiving holiday.  There was no food here.

I went to three different supermarkets, all really close to each other and purchased only what was on sale at those stores.

  • Store 1 a farmers market like store- I purchased those mini oranges for $1.98, a package of chicken for $4.99, celery for soup $0.98 and green leaf lettuce for $0.98.
  • In store 2 I spent $22.61 but saved $14.97 for a total of 40% off my order.  This was a combination of manufacture coupons $1.50, double coupon savings $0.50, card savings $12.47.  Food included olives, peppers, raspberries, blackberries, cheese and granola bars.
  • And in store 3 I spent $18.63 with $10.92 in coupons, $2.16 in card savings and $1.80 in double coupons for a savings of 44%.  Food included beans, pasta sides, biscuits, shrimp, carrots, squash, avocado and pudding.

I felt proud of my grocery spending.  Many times I spend that much money and still have nothing to eat.  But this day, I had a lot of food.  I made chicken to eat throughout the week, had salad for lunch for 3 days, made my roommate and I a shrimp dinner, and have side dishes and canned goods to be used in the next two weeks. I also made a big pot of chicken chowder with chipolte (but had to go back to store to get the chipolte in adobo sauce, which was pricey at $3.50, but the price per serving was still low).

I hope future shopping trips have just as much savings.  But I doubt you'll see me as an extreme coupon lady anytime soon.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

DIY - dresser and night stand

Now that I have living quarters for the next six months, I need to stop living out of bags and suitcases and take everything out of my car.  And maybe actually USE some of the stuff that I packed on my original journey out this way.

Since this is temporary, I didn't want to invest in nice stuff...I'd rather do that when I have a more permanent place and when I have a job and have some sort of income coming in.  So, I went to Goodwill and they had this dresser for $20.  It seemed sturdy and was a design/shape that wasn't horrible.  So I bought it.  When I got home and was unloading it from my car, I was disgusted by how many spider and cob webs there were. I  hate spiders and webs....so this just sat in the garage for a week until my friend came over with a vacuum and helped me clean it.  Gross.  Made me doubt the purchase.

dresser - before
Later that afternoon I went to an estate sale.  "Estate Sales" make me nervous because where I was from, those were the fancier houses with nice stuff...that I couldn't afford even in their version of a garage sale.  But I went to the one I found and since it was Sunday, they were doing 50% off everything left.  I found a chair for $30 - so for $15 I couldn't pass that up.  It seemed to be in good condition, just needed a good vacuuming and Lysol disinfecting spray.  Next I found this small little cabinet that was $7 ($3.50 on Sunday).  I figured it would make a decent night stand.

cabinet - before
 A day later, a different thrift store, I found a small filing cabinet.  List price was $5, but it was 50% off because that store was closing.  The cabinet does not have the nice smooth drawers, they just pull out...but for $2.50...I got it anyway, I need a place to put some of my important papers.


I went to both Lowe's and Home Depot a total of three times.  The first time was to get a sanding sponge and a drop cloth.  Then I realized I'd probably get all the sanding done fairly quickly - I wasn't sanding down to the bare wood...not knowing if it was wood.  The second time was to get paint brushes and paint samples and the third was to pick up the paint, polyurethane, wood fill and 1 hardware for the cabinet (I forgot to measure it before I left).  It took me forever to figure out the paint thing.  There are so many choices.  After about 15 minutes I selected a semi-gloss.  Then I spent about 5 minutes picking out the color.  I kept debating if I should go dark brown or do something crazy like teal or burnt orange.  In the end, the brown was selected.  Call me boring.  I ended up getting a gallon of paint. I knew it was going to be too much, but the small seemed too small...why nothing in between? How many coats will I need?  I dreaded spending $26 something on paint...that cost defeats the whole purpose.  Hopefully, I will be able to use that paint for other things in the coming months and then that cost would be spread out.

I took the drawers out of the dresser and took off the hardware and began painting, using mostly a small foam roller.


Is it the quality pant I selected, or does a dark color just need many layers.  This is layer one and two.


In the end, I probably painted 5 layers of paint.



I kept debating if I should put a coat of polyurethane on or not.  I read a few blogs/articles that people do it to seal since items will be placed on top and it will get lots of use.  I bought some urethane from an estate sale.  While I read how to properly apply it with long brush strokes and a thin coating...the top of the dresser looks quite horrible.  I may put more coats on top to even it out.  The rest looks so-so...you can see the brush strokes, and you couldn't with the paint, so, was it worth it?  Yes that only I will be using/seeing the furniture and it will prevent scratches and whatnot.

The original 'test' hardware turned out to be too small, so I went back to pick up more.  But I haven't really liked anything worth the price, so everything was returned.  I ended up sanding down the brass hardware and thought the silver-ish looked better, so I used that, which was 'free'.
top after sanding, bottom original
This great idea of me saving money by buying used turned out to be quite costly.  But I have plenty of free time and it is always good to learn to do something new...so I am going to chalk up the expense to the experience.
dresser - after
Cost:
  • dresser $20
  • night stand $3.50
  • gallon of paint $27
  • paint brush $1
  • drop cloth $1
  • roller and tray $6
  • polyurethane $11 - returned; re-bought a full container and a spray at an estate sale $2
  • hardware - ended up keeping what was on there, but I sanded it down so it went from gold to silver.
OK, well, that is a lot more money than I wanted to spend, but really $60.50+  for bedroom furniture isn't horrible, especially if you average it out over the two pieces.  And I have lots of paint and urethane for other projects.

Friday, November 28, 2014

my first Colorado winter experience

When word got out I was moving to Colorado, everyone asked if I liked to ski.  No, I don't.  I tried downhill skiing on two different occasions, and I really did not enjoy it.  Cross country skiing...now that I enjoyed when I tried it this past January.  No, I was not moving to Colorado to go "skiing", not many people think of cross country when they think Colorado skiing.

This new friend I met really wanted to go skiing and had a coupon for buy one get one free lift tickets to Winter Park.  I thought it would be good for me to get out of the house and get some fresh air because I really haven't done anything 'fun' in a while.  It gets a little mopey job searching and cleaning all the time.

I had my snowshoes shipped out to me about a month ago, I was happy to take them out of the box, along with my winter boots and gloves.  I had my base layers and coat already from when it was below freezing the week before.  We met at a park and ride and I drove out there.  Thankfully, the roads were dry, I am not sure if I would have been a good driver if the roads were wet and icy.

Now, I did NOT need a lift ticket to go snowshoeing, but that would defeat the whole purpose of my friend saving money.  So I bought one/half price $36.50 and took the lift up with her the first time and then walked down a trail.  Sadly, I only did it that one trail.  Since walking takes a bit longer than skiing, my friend had already gone down 3 or 4 times (only short, easy trails were open since it was pre-season), and then after we stopped for a beer and half lunch, I videoed her when she went down two or three times.  

On our way out, we decided to make snow angels.  I haven't done that in years, it was so much fun to feel like a kid again!


Our trip back was faster than getting there by 40 minutes (thankfully much less traffic going east) and she was able to make her dinner plans with another friend.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

my first meditation

I've been wondering more about spirits because I get this amazing cold shaking sensation at night mostly.  For a while I thought it was hormonal.  And then after that that I was cold and it was just a chill.  But I've been tracking it for a while, trying to learn more about it...and wondered if that is a spirit passing through me.

Now before you laugh, there is every reason for someone to do this to me.  ManFriend.  I summoned him to watch over me for two years.  And while I did feel this sensation 4 years ago at a haunted house, it has been very sporadic until February.  Since February it is a regular occurrence.  Of course ManFriend passed at the end of January.  I talk to him very frequently.  I started to wonder if it is just him letting me know he was there.  I wanted to explore this more.

Being alone out here has been difficult.  I have the constant reminder of what led me here (ManFriend's death + my not wanting to live in NY for about 8 years - after SI).  I've had lots of psychic readings done over the years and most recently a lot have been fairly accurate.  It has become a little bit of a fascination for me...maybe because I need some sort of reassurance that things will be ok.

I found this new psychic group, so I joined.  I was not sure what to expect, but figured, something led me to it, might as well try it.  Everyone was at different levels with me being the most inexperienced and the lady running it doing it professionally.

About an hour into the meeting, the leader led us through a mediation.  I had not previously ever tried mediation and was not sure what to expect.  I was surprised with how fast I became comfortable and relaxed.  After we relaxed our bodies, we called to our spiritual helpers to show themselves.  I didn't see anything, but I felt this pressure in/on my right hand, which was in my pocket.  The timing of this sensation was strange...it was when we were introducing ourselves to them.  I wondered, was I shaking someone's hand in greeting?  We asked our helpers to let us know if there was anything they'd like to share with us.  Again, nothing.  I didn't hear or see or feel anything.  We went through several other requests before we came out of mediation, and I did not get anything else.

We went around the room, if anyone wanted to discuss what they saw or felt.  I shared that it was my first time ever in meditation and that I enjoyed it.  I told them I, sadly, didn't see anything but felt for a brief moment this pressure on my hand.  A lady chimed in that I was a healer.  They asked a few questions, and then I told them a little bit about the chill sensation I get.  I would not be surprised if I was a healer, after all, I like to fix people.  I don't want to say the guys that interest me are charity cases...but they've all had issues and I tried so hard to help them through it.  It is what I do.

I am looking forward to our next meeting...but sad that it is a month away.  I guess I have homework to work on in the meantime.  That night I attempted meditation on my own, but was not successful.  I instead thought so much about other things that I ended up shedding a few tears before calling it quits.  maybe I need to get a tape to walk me through it again.

I am open to the idea of learning more and attempting to gain more knowledge and skill, but I am worried about opening my channel to the undesirable, and will have to make intentions known and clear about my expectations.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Interview #3 since I've been here

It's been three months and twelve days and I sent out 49 resumes.  I know that doesn't sound like a lot considering it is 100 days...but I am being selective on where I apply....if I get a call, I want to be sure I like what the job entails.  Interview #3 (not counting the two informative ones) makes it 16% rate of call back.  I need to get that number up a little bit.

I received an email stating that a company wanted me to come in for an interview in two days, here is the time slot, please respond back with what hour would be best.  I was a little surprised that I got an email and not a phone call...but I pushed that aside and responded with my preferred time frame.

The following day I did some research on the company, made a few new index cards with questions and reread the job description over and over again.  Honestly, this job wasn't one of my favorites....which is why I am selective.  But after I kept reading and thinking about it, the company might not be my favorite, but the job itself would be good for me.

We had this polar vortex and snow, so on the day of the interview, I kept hoping the interview would be rescheduled.  It was not. Originally I planed to wear a skirt suit, but decided that wouldn't be good, I was not sure how far I'd have to walk to the office since it was downtown.  Thankfully I purchased a pant suit at the thrift store two weeks earlier and dug out my winter coat that I had my parents ship to me.  Still it was an interview, I felt high heels were still required, but I guess I could have gotten away with dressy black boots under the pants, as long as there was a heel.

I am not used to driving in the snow, so I left 2 hours early to go 12 miles.  The roads were not great, but they were not horrendous either. A lot of people were out and about.  I find street parking at a 2 hour meter, pay for an hour and get back in my freezing car for an hour and reviewed my index cards. I'll be honest, I did not prepare as long as I would have liked for this interview, but I knew my basic examples and responses.  After the hour, I put in two hours worth of quarters and headed for the building. I still had 30 minutes, but I needed to pee. I found a bathroom then took a seat in the lobby.

I headed up to the office and met with my interviewer, the second interviewer was unable to attend.  She briefly told me about the history of the organization and her position and the position for which I was there.  Then she went through pre-made 10 questions about how I do work.  I had to respond with my answer and then provide an example.  For the most part, I didn't hesitate.  But there was one question that I really needed to think and eventually came up with something.

But it got me thinking...in my work career, let's span that to about 15 years, how I am supposed to recall something that was so long ago?  The example from above was from 5 years ago - but I couldn't remember all the details.  So what, not only do I need to track my work for what will be put on a resume, but I will have to start to write down projects, work, and examples of all things in between.  And with each job being a little different, we are talking about having a pretty big range of scenarios and examples.

So after her 10 questions, it was my turn to ask questions.  I opened my portfolio where I had my questions written and selected a handful that was not yet answered.  We then had a bit of a conversation with other questions and information and my turn to tell her something about me that we didn't discuss.  That threw me off...so I stated something about my work that was in the job description but that we did not answer.  Then when I thought about that, we really didn't touch upon any of the job description duties.  Those ten questions were more general - missing deadlines, prioritizing work, taking initiative, etc.;  they were relatively easy and straightforward.

At the end she told me about her process and her need to work fast.  She was finishing up the interviews this week and would have an answer by Friday who would make it to round two where we would discuss the duties of the job.  I thanked her for her time and 58 minutes later I was walking out of the office; fairly confident I'd at least make it to round two.

When I got back to my temporary home, I shoveled the snow again, ate an early dinner and started to work on my thank you.  But I wasn't loving it, so I didn't send it until the next morning after I tweaked it some more. I figured it was still within 24 hours, hopefully that would be OK.

Update: I was not called for round two of interview process, but the lady did email a nice email stating that she could tell I was smart and efficient and since I was new, if I needed a reference she would be happy to do that for me, but she went for someone who had more experience (even though she had low expectations for the job!).  She also gave me a lead to look into, which I thought was very nice of her.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

six month lease

I, or rather, we...my friend and I decided to rent the place I am currently house sitting in.  They will do a 6 month lease and are sympathetic to understanding my nonemployment.

While the rent isn't bad...I am very concerned about the utilities. I hope they will not be as much as I fear.  Water is more pricey in Colorado than NY.  The electricity will be quite a bit...and garbage is not included as a town service so that is extra, and of course internet.  

What will be nice is that the small house has a two car garage, so for the winter months especially, this is great.  It also has a washer/dryer in the house (many places have hookups), and two bathrooms so we each get our own bathroom which is quite fabulous.  Add it the extra 3rd bedroom, which is small...but will be helpful for all our stuff.

Now that I have a place I'll be for 6 months, I can work on finding a part-time job that is close by in addition to a full-time position (that can be anywhere provided the salary is good).

With this lease, I can also get a PO box and transfer to license and apply for health insurance since I'll be a resident and get a library card.  These things have been on the top of my list...but because I was sort of homeless, I couldn't proceed.

Hopefully this is what was needed to make other things work out.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Informative Interview

Applying for jobs has been stressing me out.  I read postings, apply and then nothing.  And I keep at it because I need a job, and eventually something will come through.

Last week I started go a different route. Instead of reading job postings, I researched companies that sort of did what I did.  I looked at their websites and thought all their websites needed help.  Then I came across a company I was familiar with.  The company has a good reputation, so I sent the VP of XYZ Denver an email:

I am writing because I recently relocated from New York to Denver and looking for employment.  XYZ Company is a name I know from New York, with a strong reputation of being a great WXY company.  To find out there is an office out here, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to send an email.  I have over eight years of experience in WWY focusing on item #1 and item #2 and I am a ABC.   

Two paragraphs here that is similar to my cover letter.

I attached my resume so you can become familiar with my work history and see that I would be a valuable addition to your staff.  I look forward to talking to you regarding a position at XYZX Company. 

Sincerely,

Denise

Shockingly, the man emailed me back the following week stating they did not have any openings as they are a small office, but if I'd like to meet with him for an informative interview, he would be more than happy to meet me.  So I took him up on his offer, went to his office and we chatted for 45 minutes.  He told me a little about the company, pulled up my resume and asked me a few questions, and then I asked him questions about the industry out here and about other resources he thought I should look into.  It was refreshing to speak to somebody who has the same credential as you as well as knows the industry and work it entails.  He said he would keep my resume for a while, and hopes that in a few months they will grow as they take on more clients.  I told him it would be wonderful if he kept me in mind, and that I really appreciated his time and thanked him for responding to my email even if a position was not available.

So bottom line, I cold-emailed a place I knew I wouldn't mind working at, the guy in charge wrote me back, we met...and who knows what may or may not come about in the next year.  I got out of the house, I got dressed in work clothes and I sort of talked about me and my work.  It is great practice, if nothing else.

If you get an informational interview, I suggest you be prepared with questions you can ask them.  To help you get a feel, these were some of the questions I asked:
  • You mentioned XYZ is a small office, how many staff do you have here?   How many clients do you have?
  • Are you actively pursuing finding new clients or is XX a happy number for you?
  • What qualifications do you seek in a new hire?
  • How does XYZ compare to its competitors?
During the course of the 45 minute meeting, a lot was discussed and answers to questions are automatically answered if they are too basic, so it is good to do your research and have 'harder' questions so you at least ask something, after all you are there to get leads, learn more, and make a connection.

When I got to the car and checked my email, I had an email asking me for an interview midweek...so off to the library to do more job-related searches and research to prepare.  I hope the interviews continue as that is good enough motivation to keep going! and/or a job is offered...keep those fingers crossed.

Monday, November 17, 2014

the need for a forgiveness email to ManFriend

I was on the phone/hold for 90 minutes, I couldn't do much, so I was in my email and came across that forgiveness email I sent 4 years ago.  Even after 4 years, it was so touching, that will be one email that I don't delete.  My list was great and the brief dialogue after was emotional too.  Isn't it crazy after another 4 years I can still tear up and cry.  Not for the guy...but for what I went through, memories of a happy time that I really haven't had since, and maybe for how far I've come.

Of course some things are still painful: the fact that I am single, childless and sort of without direction.  I am so unsettled.  It goes without saying this is not how I thought I'd end up, I never imagined I'd be single in my 30s and as of today, without even a prospect of a significant other.

Where are they?  I really don't care.  He is probably married with kids; and I don't care if he is happy or not.  She, well, I think she is happy I moved across the country.  I say that because when I changed my LinkedIn profile to Colorado, she stopped stalking me (viewing my profile under her name).  Maybe she is finally satisfied that I am not with him.

Anyway, the time and thought I put into that forgiveness email really helped me mentally; I felt much better afterwards.  So, I started to wonder if I need to make a similar list for ManFriend.  I still think about him all the time and aside from my few post-mortem emails, I can't ask him for his forgiveness and get a response.  Maybe if I write it and send it to his email or post it here...maybe I will feel better.  I need to let go of this sadness and guilt for not doing more for him.  At the same time, this list will remind me of both the bad and good and I will be thankful for the brief time I had with him.  It is worth a shot.

(rt)

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Freezing. absolutely freezing

November 11-13, 2014 was record breaking low temperatures for Denver.  With the arctic blast storm that passed by, temperatures were -5 through 20 degrees.  That of course, does not account for the wind chill factor.

My family back home was teasing me...this of course is what they warned me about, Colorado being cold and snowy, and I kept telling them it isn't as bad as everyone thinks.  Snow melts faster because of the elevation and the sun still tries to peak out.

I am not used to driving in the snow because I would walk to the train, take the train and then walk to work...and do it in reverse at the end of the day.  When I got home, if the weather was bad, I'd just hang out at home...no need to go out for the most part.  So while NY had some horrible winters, it really didn't affect me driving (trying to stay warm for all the walking is another story).

But I had not choice, I had to leave because I had an interview and I didn't want to cancel.  What would that say about me?  So many other people were going to work.  I wanted to show that I was interested.

I watched the news. I saw the accidents.  I figured the highway might be better than the main side roads.  I heated up the car and headed out.

main road 12:15 pm
My road wasn't plowed.  At the time there was about 2 inches of snow on it.  When I got to the 'main' road, there were lines of where the cars have traveled.  Key was to stay in those same lines.  I kept a driving speed of no more than 30...and shockingly, I wasn't the slowest. I figured with all the people used to it, people would be driving faster, I was happy to see that wasn't the case for the most part.

Took ramp to highway, and was shocked that the interstate wasn't plowed.  Same conditions as these main roads.  Now sure, it was still flurrying, but the interstates are heavily traveled for all the commuters, surely they would have plowed this several times right?  It didn't seem like that was the case.

Interstate 12:30pm
What I worried about wasn't necessarily driving in the few inches of snow, but because the temperatures were so low, all that slush turning to ice...and sliding all over the place.

Going slow, keeping music low, hands on the wheel and having a good winter weather car of course really helps.  I was nervous but I did it.  And it was good to have my first taste of this before winter comes along.

my road...4pm
From what I have been told, is that most winter snow will fall, and then the sun comes out and melts it away either that day or within two days.  What was so unusual about this storm is its extremely cold temperatures.

By the time I got home from the interview, and navigating the interstate and main roads, I turned into the development and all that snow was still there.  I shoveled the driveway and side walk for a second time that day and my fingers were frozen by the time I was done.  Looking at this site from inside - even the following day, does not make me want to leave the house, even though I am sure the main roads are fine.

So I made it through the freeze.   But then today they say that we are expecting another storm that will bring in 3-6 inches.  More fun.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Interview #2 since I've been here

Three Fridays ago I applied for an Executive Assistant at a company a bit north of where I am.  I wasn't sure if I'd really want to be an Executive Assistant, but the salary range thy had listed was good and well, quite frankly, it was a job I could do, and I could do it well.  Within three hours, I got a call back from the recruiter...a good sign.  We set up an interview for the upcoming Monday.

I looked nice, I did research on the company, I had my questions set, I practiced answers to common questions, I was ready.  Since I was not familiar with the area, I went up two hours early so I could drive around neighborhoods and see what the area was like, research just in case I ever end up in that area.  It was a cute town.  It felt more like a town than Suburbia.  It was more quaint.  I was pleasantly surprised.

At the designated time, I go into the office and wait for the recruiter.  She comes along and brings me to a large conference room.  We sit and chat.  She tells me that she normally does not do the recruiting for this particular position and was not familiar with the position at all, but after we chat, she would bring in the HR guy.  Great.

So she tells me basically what is in the job description.  Yes, I know how to do that kind of work.  She is more pleased that I am from NY, because the executive wanted someone with a NY attitude. This is going well.   I ask a few very basic questions, knowing that I'd ask the HR guy the better ones, as he knows the position and company better.  As a recruiter, she is not employed by the company, and only has been representing them for a few months.

She gives me a tour of the facility.  I ask questions about production, sales, etc along the way.  Her answers are vague, she really doesn't know very much.

We end up in the HR offices and checks the door of the HR guy; his door is closed.  She asks a lady who I think manages his calendar about his availability, and he is in meetings for awhile.

Well, that is bad.  Why didn't she check his availability BEFORE scheduling my interview?  So she tells me to leave and that if I was interested, she would pass along my information to this guy.  I said yes, I would be interested and left.  That evening, I sent her an email thanking her for her time, and reiterating my interest in meeting with Mr. HR Guy.

I never heard back.  Nothing.

I was extremely frustrated with the experience, but, it was great experience reviewing my interview questions/answers.  Hoping more interviews will come about, it is good to go over those note cards so there is not so much to do in a short period of time when you get that call.

So, in three months, I had 2 interviews.  Let's hope for more!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

what to do, what to do?

Granted I have a lot of free time on my hands, but having all this free time and having no TV and internet in spotty locations in the house only on the iPad has made for challenging things to do.  I love doing puzzles, but I don’t have a table and there is only so much sitting on the floor I can do before my back hurts too much so that isn’t really an option.  Of course I am reading, but I can only read for so long so many days in a row.  I can sort of look for jobs and websites, but I need the computer to actually apply (my comfort level with technology).  And of course there is NetFlix and watching previously aired TV shows through the network.  With daylight savings, it gets dark around 5 now, so occupying myself for at least 4 hours with this and one dim bedroom light and a hallway light is very limiting. 

The obvious thing to do, especially when the fridge is broken, would be to go out to eat and sit at the bar and take my time and watch their TV.  But…that cost more money, and I can’t afford to eat out ‘big’ meals so often.  Also, driving around in the dark isn’t as fun because you can’t see much.

There is a cheap movie theater pretty close to me ($2.50 for movies that were out months ago), maybe I’ll start seeing an evening movie one night a week, just to get out of here.  I am worried that living like this, even for 4 weeks will result in a pretty big depression.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

first snow in Denver

Well, it only took 102 days here before it snowed.  Everyone I was talking to in the last two weeks was saying that this was abnormal, that it usually snows before Halloween, how mild and wonderful the autumn has been.

And it has been.  October was gorgeous.  It ranged between 63 - 75 degrees most days with little rain.  It was the perfect weather.

The meteorologists a few days ago said to expect dropping temperatures and snow...and you know what?  They were right.  This morning (November 10th) was blue skies and 67 degrees at 9:30 am.  Within an hour it was down to 50 degrees and partly sunny, then at 11 it was 34 degrees, flurrying and cloudy.  As I type this at 3 pm, the flurries are still coming down.  The temperatures will get into the single digits tonight and stay there for 2-3 days.  I made sure to stop at the store to pick up some hot chocolate, snacks and comfort foods as I brace for the cold weather.

I don't think I would mind the cold, if it was already cold.  But when it drops so drastically, it seems colder because just hours it was nice, no coat needed.  Now you need to bundle up, so I feel like the chill stays with you longer when that happens.

I am very curious how this winter will play out here.  I am so nervous about driving in the snow.  Sure, I have a great car for winter conditions, but, having walked to the train, commuted via train and walked to work, I didn't have to worry about driving in it...and many times elected not to leave the house after work if it was snowy because...well, I'd rather just curl up on the couch.  So, this year will be different, if I have a job, I will have to drive there. and I don't want to be holed up all winter in a new place either.  We'll see.

Monday, November 10, 2014

November’s living situation: week 1

My friend’s rental house tenants moved out and for the month of November we are fixing it up so she can list it again.  Aside from the regular cleaning, she wanted to get estimates on a kitchen floor and new windows, so the house was going to be vacant while these things were being done.  When she asked if I’d like to stay there, for free for the month of November, I said sure.  Of course ‘free’ comes with a price, while I don’t have to pay rent, I am living most minimally, on an air mattress and two folding chairs in the living room and helping with the cleaning and repairs.  They were able to hook my iPad up to a cable hot spot, so I am able to stream Netflix or check my email from certain areas of the house, depending on how the wind blows.

I’ll be honest, cleaning isn’t really my thing, and cleaning other people’s filth is even worse.  So a little about this house.  It was built around 1972.  The windows are original.  The kitchen floor is all scuffed up.  The kitchen cabinets are falling apart and need to be touched up.  The fridge is broken, but the freezer, stove, oven and dishwasher work.  The carpet is dirty and a little skivvy in parts. And all the walls need touch-up or repainting.   There are two bathrooms and both cabinets were filthy and one tub was disgusting. 

Day 0, Friday – we stopped by after the tenants moved out to see the state of the house.  We were there about 20 minutes.  No appliances were in the kitchen, the grass was cut but the bushes were overgrown, all the batteries were taken out of the smoke detectors and garage door openers, the blinds were all broken, and maybe 9 out of 25 light bulbs worked and the place smelled and was just kinda gross overall.  I thought I can’t believe I am going to live here starting tomorrow…and that I hoped the four weeks went by quickly.  Just another part of this exciting adventure.  That night they called the tenants and told them to move the appliances back into the kitchen; they did.

Day 1, Saturday – we spent 8 hours cleaning and assessing the damage.  Her husband took care of wrapping the swamp cooler, installing a toilet seat I bought (I didn’t want to sit on what was here), smoke detectors, looking at paint, getting stuff at the store, etc.  She & I started scrubbing one bathroom and wiped the kitchen cabinets with the magic eraser (what an amazing cleaning product).   Yes, it took hours to clean the surface of those items.

They left and I was left alone in my new temporary accommodations.  I was exhausted.  I took a shower in the cleaner bathroom and went to RedBox to pick up a movie. 

Day 2, Sunday – everyone was exhausted so they didn’t come over.  I trimmed the front hedge, and went out driving a few times.  I started to have a lazy day until power was lost at about 3:30.  I went to a friend’s house for a few hours and returned ‘home’ to power at 9pm.

My neighbor’s diagonal from me must run a side business on weekends fixing cars because all day there was revving of engines and cars coming and going and it was just so loud and very ghetto like.

Day 3, Monday – three people came over for estimates, two window people and one floor guy.  As my friend was talking with each of these guys, I was peeling contact paper out of the kitchen cabinets and drawers and applying new cushiony foam stuff.  We then went to two places to look at refrigerators.  Not having a fridge is harder than I realized.  I’ve had to really think about what time I went to the store and when I would be making dinner.  What can I make that does not require refrigeration or defrosting (no microwave).  No making things in advance to reheat later or the next day.

I bought a pair of DearFoam slippers for $10 at BigLots. I am not a slipper kind of gal, but I didn’t want to waste all my socks walking around,

Day 4, Tuesday - I needed to get out of the house for a while, so I left early in the morning, even though I knew my friend was coming over to work.  I want to help her, I do...but I also need to think about ME and finding a damn job.  So I went to a new library and sat there for a few hours reading job postings and not really making too much progress applying for anything.

In the evening I scrapped contact paper off one cabinet.  Friend told me that the new fridge would be delivered on Friday, but they may not put it in the kitchen since they want to get the floors redone...I hope they plug it in somewhere because no fridge/freezer would be even harder than just having a freezer now.

Day 5, Wednesday - Back to the library for more job searching and an 'online job fair'.

Taped a bedroom for painting in the evening.

Sleeping much better on the air mattress.  It took 4 nights, but I adjusted.

Day 6, Thursday - Taped the second bedroom for painting.  Cut the paint in bedroom #1, did all the painting in bedroom #2.

Went to the library in the afternoon.  Didn't have a such a productive job search day. Went home but friend was still there, and honestly I just couldn't handle having 'company' so I turned around, drove around, ran an errand and by the time I got back, she was gone, so I made some spinach and paneer cheese dinner, finished my book, and went to bed by 8:30.  Yup, the depressed life of Denise.

Day 7, Friday - I moved out of bedroom #3 and into bedroom #1 so my friend can paint the room.  Had a few ravioli's for breakfast, then I headed to the library to do....I don't know. I only applied to a few temp jobs.  But it is good to get out of the house and use the internet.  Starting to wonder where in the world I belong.

Fridge delivery window was from 4:15 - 6:15pm, so I was home for that and then went to the grocery store for some food for the next few days....hopefully I will start to eat better since I have this 'luxury' of keeping food good a few extra days!

Friday, November 7, 2014

Fast Food Fatty

Originally I had hoped that being in Colorado, I would lose weight because I would be more active.  That hasn't been the case at all.  While I have gone on a few hikes, I am more sedentary and lazy than ever, let's chalk it up to depression.  

My first place, I didn't like to cook when the lady was home and I only had so much free space in the cabinet, fridge and freezer...but I went grocery shopping regularly and picked up a few things and ate quite minimally.  Now in place number two, my kitchen situation is much worse.  Aside from the whole house skiving me out, the fridge is broken, there is no microwave and I have been trying to go to the grocery store daily to pick up items for one meal because saving leftovers is not an option.  Honestly, not having a microwave isn't a problem, back when I owned my apartment and the microwave died, I didn't replace it for two years.  The fridge is more of a challenge.  

Fast food is all over the place out here.  Someone told me that Denver is a test market for new restaurant chains...I still have to verify if this is true or not.  Being on such a tight budget, it is cheaper for me to get two tacos or a McDouble for dinner than it would be for me to buy some fish and vegetables and then having to cook it or even buying the ingredients for a hamburger.  My friend has kids so when we go out or when she buys me lunch for helping her with the apartment, it is mostly fast food.  I know that all the fast food places are starting to serve salads and whatnot but 1) I have never enjoyed salad and 2) most salads still have a lot of calories after you add up the yummy stuff they put in it and the dressing...at that point wouldn't you prefer the sandwich?

In my three months, I've had the following fast food (which is more than the last ten years worth of my fast food eating!)
  • Chick-fil-a
  • McDonald's
  • Wendy's (new for me)
  • Arby's (new for me)
  • Burger King
  • Chipolte
  • Taco Bell
  • Noodles & Company (new for me)
  • Sonic (new for me)
  • Panda Express (new for me)
Of course I know I control what I eat. I can be making better choices, but I feel like you need to experience this before you can make that realization. And that realization just came as I feel less than pretty in my body right now.  

Aside from moving around so much, the eating is another reason I am craving a more permanent living situation.  I need to get back into my routine of cooking and eating better - and it worked out really well when I was cooking most of my food once a week and eating it throughout the week. I was able to take advantage of buying larger quantities to save money.

But I get it.  I understand why poor people are generally fatter and eat crap food...because it is cheap and honestly, it is filling.  I can eat a Wendy's hamburger & fries for lunch at 2 pm and not really be hungry for dinner...or have something small and light or a snack and I'd be fine.  But poor people also  can't afford (good) insurance and gyms and our health goes down hill.

Maybe I am supposed to take this knowledge and find a job where I can make a difference.  Hmm, something to look into during this week's job search.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

sleeping on air mattress

I haven’t slept on an air mattress in about eight years and ended up sleeping on an air mattress for about a year or year and a half.  It was hard to adjust, but eventually I did.  I am having the same ‘problem’ now.  I bought this air mattress from a girl who was moving knowing I’d probably need a bed to sleep on if I wasn’t renting a furnished bedroom.  The air mattress is queen sized and is higher up off the ground then the one I slept on years ago.  I went out and purchased some beige 650 thread count sheets from Ross for Less for $16.95 plus tax, a pillow and king size down alternative comforter from Kohl’s with a 30% coupon to total about $70.  I started to price duvet covers, but they are just too expensive for me to justify right now.  Maybe around Thanksgiving when everything starts going on sale I will be able to buy something.  I wasn’t sure if I should keep the king size comforter for a queen size bed, so I didn’t open it right away. 

My first night I was freezing.  The air in the mattress really cooled me.  I had the microfiber sheets and a small fleece throw blanket on the bed.  Night two I raised the heat just 3 degrees and I was less cold.  But night three was going to get below 30 degrees…so I had to do something.  My friend lent me a really old mattress pad and blanket.  I put the mattress pad on under the sheets hoping it would get that extra chill off me.


Wednesday, November 5, 2014

free rent for cleaning

This wouldn't be much of an adventure if everything went according to 'the plan'.  The place I am 'living' in now is a room in a lady's house.  We agreed on a rent for the first three months and then she was going to be away for three months and wanted to increase the rent by $400 since I'd have the whole house.  I already use the bathroom, kitchen and living room...I stay clear of her bedroom, so I couldn't justify another $400 for something I wouldn't be using.

As I was contemplating not staying here but where would I go, a friend told me her tenants were moving out of her house and I could stay there for free for the month of November as they prepare to list it again.  That sounds great - save money and good timing!  The decision to leave this 'home' was an easy one.

The day my friends tenants moved out, I went over with her to check out the state of the house.  It needed a major scrubbing.  I don't mind a little cleaning, but scrubbing other people's yuckiness is not my thing, it skives me out.  But, it is something that I have to do - her letting me stay there, the least I can do is help clean it, paint it, fix it, etc.

Since I will only be there 3 1/2 - 4 weeks, I am not bothering with cable or internet...so that will be a little bit of a challenge, but a good one I think because it will get me out of the house.  I also bought a few used books at the library so I will have something to do in the evenings.

It will be a good test.  Of my mental health as well as perhaps deciding on where I want to live.  It will be a tough month, but like everything else so far, I am up for the challenge.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

job, oh job, where are you?

It is really hard to want to research and apply for jobs when you are sad or don't feel well.  It takes a bit of time to not only look for jobs and then look at the company websites when you find a posting you like, but then to write a good cover letter takes time, even if you have a template.

I've applied to a good number of jobs, not as many as I could have, but ones I would actually want to work at.  Now that I've been here three months and those jobs aren't calling, I have to start a new round of applying at different places.  I start the day optimistic that I'll apply to at least three jobs.  But many times I don't apply to any.  Choosing between several equally not-so-good jobs is hard, and I end up with many tabs open and hours of frustration.  It becomes this downward spiral of stress, frustration and sadness.

Sure most of my current stress about money would be solved if I was hired.  Then I could be happy.  But getting there is really hard.  I am losing faith.

I am educated and have years of experience, I really didn't think I would have this much trouble finding a job.  I started to wonder, was I overpaid at my last job?  I thought I was underpaid.  hmm.  I started to wonder if my qualifications even mean anything...can anyone do what I do...yeah, I guess so.  So where does that leave me? Why would they want to hire me over other people?  This is something I need to figure out and address in my cover letter.

Sadly, because I have a graduate degree, I cannot accept a $15/hour position because I have mounds of student loans still....and should someone with a graduate degree work for $15 and hour anyway? That is why I spent thousand of dollars, so I wouldn't have to, so I can work for a more acceptable salary to meet my personal needs.

Job, oh Job, where are you??


Friday, October 31, 2014

roommate possibility

I have this friend out here that I knew in middle/high school.  I think we were more of acquaintances with a mutual good friend, but we never hung out alone and only sometimes in groups.  Seventeen years have passed since we last saw each other, but in May she agreed to get together and talk to me about Colorado.  After I moved here we hung out a little bit and it was 'safe' - I didn't know know her, but I knew her.  We shared the common element of growing up in the same area and since I knew her at one time and she wasn't crazy then, I didn't think she would be now.  And I was right, and our friendship accelerated in the short time I've been here.

She knows all about my crazy living situations and wanting to find a place to settle into for a while (to establish residency).  About a month ago she tells me she applied for and was accepted into a college program and she recently reviewed her finances and thought it would be best to give up her apartment and live with someone to save money.  

We started to discuss the possibility of being roommates.  I am not sure if I ever told you about the time I had a female roommate in college - it was a nightmare and I vowed to myself I would never live with another woman.  But, the last three months I've rented a room in a house, which is like having a roommate and it was hard and scary at the beginning and I didn't start to be comfortable with it for at least a month or 8 weeks.  So, I think I can live with someone.  And if it means I can save a few hundred dollars a month for a while....especially because I eventually want to live near a job - a 6 month to a year lease might work well.  It is sort of temporary but it is enough time to figure out my next step.

The option of renting a room in someone else's place or even getting my own place is still a possibility, I hope that the month of November will have answers.