Guest Bathroom Reno

So let’s start at the front of the house shall we? I said I’d share our before and afters, so let’s get the guest bathroom out of the way first. Not because it’s not interesting, but because our renovations in the other rooms are much more captivating.

Before, our guest bathroom looked like this:

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We removed everything except the toilet, which got a gooooood scrubbing.

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Ok so I obviously started demolishing this room before we got any real true before pictures. My bad. I have little patience and since I’m not getting paid to blog, I don’t remember these things until it’s too late.

But as you can tell it was ugly. We had already removed it before this picture was taken, but there was a sink/countertop that extended over the toilet uselessly because there was barely any space to put anything on the counter over the toilet. You can see in the first picture there was this drop-down soffit fluorescent light fixture that was heinous. It seriously took up like 2.5 feet of the ceiling height (there was also one in the master, unfortunately). Then there were those 4×4 in. square tiles in the shower with a really shallow tub. The laminated particle board for the sink cabinet, and no real place for storage. The handicap railing in the shower. The one long builder mirror and hideous square floor tiles that looked like the color beige threw up everywhere (including our kitchen, master bathroom, and stairs).

In short, this bathroom was nasty.

I had a Pinterest board going with our designer, Meg Brannigan of ME Style Designs. We decided on items that had a lot of function but had classic yet updated looks, enough so that when it comes time for us to sell our house, the retirees/snowbirds who love this area will love the design enough to consider this house turn-key. Always gotta think ahead.

First we tore it down to the studs, which is much harder than it sounds.

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Parts of the wall where we were trying to take just the tile down off the shower crumbled underneath, so even though we weren’t trying to take it down to the studs, we really didn’t have another option. Also, the tile jackhammer (even the small one) is so incredibly heavy; make sure you have a protein shake on hand or something to keep your energy level up!

I left the tile removal in general up to Timmy. It was just too difficult for me to operate either the small or big jack because of their weight and the angle that I had to stand which killed my back. A big shout-out to Timmy on these jobs!

I was able to take down that mirror with one pry since it was only being held up by those black adhesive splotches you see on the wall. I almost killed myself trying to hold onto it so that it wouldn’t break while Timmy raced in to help me with it. I was absolutely not expecting that, so when it slid down in one piece rapidly, all I was thinking was “PLEASE DON’T SHATTER PLEASE DON’T SHATTER PLEASE DON’T SHATTER.”

Once everything was exposed, we realized we had a major issue with our plumbing. Our type of plumbing was considered illegal (but not at the time it was put in the house). We could choose to leave it and then have a major issue once the walls were closed up somewhere down the line and ruin all our renovations or just replace all the plumbing up front. It was an expense we hadn’t budgeted for, but considering how much more we were risking going forward with the old (and the fact that the plumbing hadn’t been used in years at this place), we bit the bullet and replaced everything.

Which set us even further back when the rough plumbing was inspected and approved but the final wasn’t. So odd how inspectors work.

We also had a major paint issue crop up that was the basis of many many arguments Timmy and I had during this process. At the beginning of the design stage, Meg and I met to discuss colors and such. She had the biggest color swatch collection I have ever seen and told me to go through it and select colors I liked. I think I chose like 46 colors.

I tend to go for big sections of neutrals and pops of colors everywhere. However, I was so overwhelmed with everything else going on that I told her to go ahead and select the colors for the bathrooms. She decided on a bright yellow for the guest and a bright teal for the master. Neither of these options bothered me massively, but since paint can be difficult to envision unless it’s all up, I went ahead and painted both rooms so Timmy could get the whole look.

Timmy was not happy. And Timmy thought I had decided paint colors without him, which made him angrier.

Needless to say, this was not the only stupid, worthless argument we got into during this past year. But it was definitely a sticking point. So back we went to the drawing board and Meg selected a much more neutral, gray/beige color.

We repainted, and are very happy with the color now. So let us never discuss the process of selecting the color again!

Another issue I had was with the original tub. I love baths. I know, some people think they’re super wasteful but they are me-time. They help my back pain and duh, they’re great for pure relaxation. The problem is everywhere I’ve lived, I can only get EITHER my boobs OR my knees underwater. It’s been a life mission to get what I call a “knees-and-boobs” tub; this way, all of myself is underwater at the same time. Ladies, I know you feel me.

The rest of the design choices came easily. I love a clean white subway tile with dark grout. Timmy wanted a wood-grain tile for the floor. And boom we got it all.

Here’s the guest midway:

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love this subway tile

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classic lines for days!

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knees-and-boobs tub!

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laying down the floor

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our final floor tile

The floor tile is the same now in the 2 bathrooms and kitchen. Eventually we will redo our stairs to match this tile, but since it wasn’t a priority, we’ll do it sometime in the future.

Tiling the shower and floors were originally on our DIY list. It looks hella easy on HGTV, right? But after looking at the finished product and the fact that our contractors only took 3 days to complete the showers and floors, we’ve since thanked our lucky stars we didn’t try to take this on. One, it would’ve taken us 10x as long to do it correctly, and look at the lines here! We would’ve sucked at it, let’s just be honest with ourselves.

We selected all our vanities from Ikea because the prices just couldn’t be beat. We selected based on cost, style, and ability to appeal to other buyers. Timmy and I built all of the vanity pieces and our contractors installed them. We chose this one for the guest.

We did run into a little issue with the sink drain from the Ikea countertop/sink in that it was chrome but our other fixtures were going to be brushed nickel. Since the guest bathroom is much smaller than the master, it was going to be obvious the differences in finishes since you could see them all quickly. So we switched to all chrome in the guest, yet in our master, the sink fixture finishes are chrome, and the shower fixtures are brushed nickel.

Again, another design element that no one thinks of! I would’ve never thought about that in a million years, so thanks to our contractors for noticing this!

Our designer created some of the other pieces and found similar ones to complete the industrial/vintage/contemporary look, like our light fixture, towel bar, and toilet paper holder. All in all, the look is very us but I think could appeal to anyone else as well.

So without further ado, here’s the finished look!

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the view from the stairs

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a peek inside

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towel colors just pop!

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Timmy and I have said, since our first place together, that the secret to keeping our relationship afloat is having 2 bathrooms. Looking back, maybe sharing 1 bathroom in my apartment all last year is really what made our lives so difficult all that time.

We love our bathrooms, in particular the mirror and light fixture in this one. It’s so unique and bright, but still feels so homey at the same time. It’s functional (knees and boobs!) yet feels like a hotel bathroom with some of the touches, like the waterfall  faucet and showerhead.

A little PSA, if you can, hire a designer. We couldn’t have survived renovating this house without Meg. She led the way, did more couples counseling than she probably bargained for, and made all the difference.

Up next, the master bathroom!

♥, VB

Demos and Renos

Things are good. Things are much much much better. Life is now at an excellent place, both personally and professionally, after months on end of merely existing and praying that this space would arrive again in our lives. We can finally breathe in, expand our lungs, and breathe out again.

So what better time to tell you about our new house??

Yeah, at some point I’ll get around to recapping the wedding weekend, but those are much longer stories for another day. I figured that everyone loves a before and after, so let me fill you in on our renovating and where our house is now. Sprinkled throughout are tips that we learned throughout this super stressful, incredibly anxiety-ridden process that can hopefully help and spare you the pain and fights.

But if we’re being honest, no matter what I share with you, you’re gonna eventually duke it out at some point over tile choices or something as equally dumb. It’s a fact of life, like taxes and death.

Tip #1: If you’re planning on renovating a house, get a prescription for you and your partner for an anti-anxiety medication or medical marijuana.

Holy crap you guys. No matter how prepared I try to be for situations, like renovating a house (for which my only reference is HGTV and the DIY network), this is one of the most stressful things I’ve ever dealt with (and in the same year as our wedding, so it’s a miracle I didn’t end up institutionalized).

I’ve never been more stressed out in a year’s time than this past year.

With the wedding planning, purchasing, renovating, design, Timmy’s travel schedule, my work, and moving, I lost it many, many, many times. The house hunting was incredibly frustrating since Timmy wanted a turn key home, but I knew that at our budget, we wouldn’t be able to find a turn key home unless it was over $400k. We HAD to find a house that could use some renovations in order to be able to afford it in the first place. Eventually, after about 4 months of house hunting, we found one that had all the things we were both looking for that actually felt like our home the second we stepped in it.

But it was butt-ugly inside. Early 90s, butt-ugly. With features suitable for a wheelchair-bound person (of which we are not…one day, probably sooner than later, yes, but not now).

We agreed early on that renovations were a must. However, like with all financial crap that goes along with buying a house, the things you don’t know will end up haunting you later. We didn’t get the mortgage structured the way we needed to in order to complete renovations without having to take out another loan. And if you attempt to take out a loan so soon after purchasing a home, you don’t have enough equity in the house yet, so the amount you can get approved for isn’t going to be the amount you need to complete the renovations.

Taking out another credit card or personal loan were not options with their interest rates. And we are the dumbassess who began demolishing everything before we had the funds in place. We had absolutely no other option than to renovate because we had torn the kitchen and two bathrooms completely apart. So we had to borrow from Timmy’s brokerage accounts in order to pay for the renovations, which caused him an unbelievable amount of stress because he’s the most strict about paying into his retirement accounts.

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Financial discussions had been had by us many times, but it seemed like during this process, things we said were forgotten easily, so who was paying for what and where was this money coming from and when did this thing need to be paid for were issues that had us fighting nearly every day. Not to mention that every decision that goes into renovating and designing a kitchen and 2 bathrooms isn’t just ONE decision, it’s a million little details.

Like I’ve stated before on this blog, Timmy and I do not make decisions the same way. Timmy needs time to analyze and compare; I don’t. Timmy’s travel schedule for work meant that he couldn’t get to some decisions in a timely manner, and no matter that I involved him from beginning to end, our decision-making styles and abilities to remember all the big and little things just didn’t sync up.

When I say we had fights, I mean we had FIGHTS. The biggest, baddest, worst fights of our relationship.

Looking back, I wish I had been medicated for a large portion of the renovations. It would’ve helped me keep my cool and remain patient in situations where all reason had left the building.

Tip #2: Be really, really, really, BRUTALLY honest about the things you can DIY and the things you should hire professionals to do.

I watch HGTV and DIY quite a bit. I, like most people, after watching those shows think to myself, “That doesn’t look so hard! I can totally do that!”

Those channels are big, fat, fucking liars.

Anything you watch on those shows takes you 2-5 times longer to accomplish in real life. Demolishing a wall doesn’t take you 20 minutes, it takes you an hour. Removing tile from the floor with the exact same tool they use on that show doesn’t take you 2 hours, it takes you 7 hours. Plus all the time you have to stop, catch your breath, rehydrate, return the tool to the Home Depot rental store so you don’t pay overages, then going back to rent it again the next day.

I seriously thought things like removing cabinet doors, demo-ing walls and floors, removing countertops, etc. would go as easy as it does on those shows. But if you don’t have a saw to remove the countertop/backsplash from around outlets without electrocuting yourself, you have to pay someone else to do it. You can open up a wall that is seemingly empty and find that all of the electrical wiring from your entire home to your breaker box is in that one random wall. You can remove a double sink countertop from the master bathroom but without a new spinal injection, you don’t have the strength to carry it downstairs to have hauled away so you just leave it in the middle of the living room.

We had to replace our water heater, clean out our vents, and have our AC unit serviced because it began to leak water, which set off our water leak detector from the old water heater. If you’ve ever heard this detector going off, it is deafening. Since I didn’t even know we had the detector, I thought it was the smoke detector. Since my efforts to silence the alarm weren’t working, I called the fire department who ended up informing me of this detector and making me feel like the dumbest person who ever existed on earth.

I assumed we could do the tiling. But you have to measure correctly, know how to mix tile and grout, be able to cut tile down that doesn’t fit, make sure all the tiles are lined up, all with working a full-time job, teaching class, and traveling out of town. We simply couldn’t accomplish a lot of the things we had originally decided to DIY because it would’ve set our timeline back 4 months.

Since we found metal studs in some of our walls, the option of mounting our TVs all of the sudden became a daunting task and one that I was not willing to tackle since I don’t know the first things about mounting anything with metal studs. So we hired someone to mount 3 of our flat screens TVs (and he did a better job than I ever could considering he hid all the wiring and they are beautiful!).

So what were we able to do? Well there was stuff we could realistically accomplish that we didn’t have to hire anyone to do. We were able to paint the bathrooms (which required a dual paint job because Timmy hated the paint colors our designer picked out originally), the living room, and the 2 bedrooms. We put together all the Ikea vanities and cabinets. We put together bed frames, installed new handles on our cabinets and drawers, and painted our old kitchen cabinets. We sanded and restained/sealed our deck.

Because Timmy’s work schedule kept him traveling most of the time, a lot of the updates had to be done by me after work or on the weekends. I was able to replace our dining room chandelier, hallway sconce light, closet light fixture, outdoor motion detector light, and 4 ceiling fan light kits. I installed new garage door sensors, garage remote key pad, and changed the code for Timmy’s garage door opener and remote. I repainted our garage doors, our front door, spray painted our house numbers, hung our old cabinets from the kitchen in the garage, organized our garage, hung our bikes, and replaced our automatic outdoor lights. I’ve replaced showerheads and door handles, put together our deck furniture and new dining chairs… it just never ends.

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Old disgusting hallway sconce

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New and improved hallway sconce

Our next major projects are to have our 2 decks re-screened because our current screens have big, gaping holes in them and to repair a few roof tiles that are cracked.

We are hiring people for those jobs.

It’s one thing after another. You get some work done, only to find out that the rest of it can’t be completed by you so you have to stop and figure out how much it’ll be to have a professional do it. And that’s how it adds up, little by little, driving both you and your budget out-of-control.

Tip #3: Don’t live in a reno zone if you can help it.

Living in a renovation zone after the year we had was NOT an option. I have no doubts that Timmy and I would’ve separated before the year was done if we’d gone that route.

Timmy and I had worked out that if we were able to purchase a house by August or September, we could have 3 months of solid renovations going and completed by the time we had to move out of our apartment in January.

We almost made that timeline.

For the most part, renovations didn’t begin until the end of October. Our contractors and designer rushed to get the majority of the bathrooms and kitchen completed before we left to go home to Atlanta for Christmas. We cut our trip home short because there was just too much to do in St. Pete, so we didn’t get to see anyone except family that trip. Once we returned to St. Pete, we immediately began packing for a January 3 move.

Unfortunately,  Timmy didn’t schedule his pod (the one with all his stuff from his Lake Mary apartment that he moved out of back in January 2016) to be delivered to the house until nearly 2 weeks later. And both my move and the pod unpacking were done without his presence since he decided to go to the Sugar Bowl and then had a work trip planned.

The Sugar Bowl trip, while I wish he had been a tad more thoughtful, actually worked in my favor since he was out of the house and I could just focus on putting stuff away on my own. I was the one who had encouraged him to go so he could 1) hang out with friends and have a good time and 2) stay out of my way on a very stressful day.

We decided late in the game to order glass shower doors for our master bathroom, so those were delivered, but then the company had to reschedule due to an injury. So for two weeks, we had HUGE glass doors taking up large amounts of space in our master bedroom that couldn’t be moved anywhere else since they weighed too much. Not to mention, that we slept on a mattress and boxspring alone in the guest room for close to two weeks before that.

For a few weeks we lived with unpacked boxes all over the place, until finally I was able to unpack everything and move the unneeded items to our garage storage. And then we could relax and actually enjoy the space we had worked so hard to create.

Tip #4: If you don’t care about something, don’t care about it.

During a renovation, it is imperative that you pick your battles. Simply put, if you couldn’t care less about what goes on the walls, or the grout color, or the exact handles for cabinetry, stay not caring about it. If you have an opinion on everything, that person should be the main decision maker and only bring the other person in for big stuff.

If you and your partner try to make a joint decision on EVERYTHING, you will both lose. Your patience, your time, and your sanity.

Tip #5: Once it’s done, move forward.

“But you didn’t ask me what I thought about this!!!” “I hated that color!!” “You are so selfish!!”

Once the renovations are done and you’re in your house, let it go. You get resentful, angry, and disrespectful when stress is at an all-time high. Whatever you did, whatever you said, you have to be able to move forward if you’re to enjoy the new spaces you’ve created. You can’t relax when you’re constantly reliving everything that pissed you off during the reno. Leave it in the past, and come to a new place in your relationship.

Hey, you just survived a renovation! It’s time to celebrate!

Next time, those before and afters I promised you…

♥, VB

Motivation

No, I haven’t felt particularly motivated to update this blog in a long time. Part of it was I had too much to say and the energy required to write it all down was too much. The other part was that life has been more difficult than I’d like to admit this past year and while everyone around us has been like, “Oh great, life milestones, amazing, be happy, you’re going places,” for us it’s felt stifling, stressful, and oh so not amazing a great majority of the time.

I know it sounds like I’m complaining or ungrateful, but the reality of my emotions is far from that. But stress is stress, and in one year, we planned a wedding, got married, bought a house, renovated the house, moved, and tried to find our normal again. Which is so hard when for nearly 2 years straight, you haven’t had a real normal. Timmy moved from Lake Mary to my tiny apartment last January, we were on top of each other all the time, he traveled a lot, and between the wedding planning stress, the house hunting stress, the house buying stress, the renovation stress, the money stress, and then the moving into said house stress, I had literally used up all my coping methods.

I was a ticking time-bomb that went off in January.

The reality of our life is now more normal, more settled, more calm for sure. But that reserve of emotional mess that I had been carrying around and stockpiling just became too much and I broke in a very real way. I was ready to run away and leave this all behind. Which is not at all a very adult way to handle everything, but I was struggling big time. And my partner was struggling in his own way too, and we just weren’t clicking.

I absolutely sank around election time. Trump and the racial hate and misogyny and general hopelessness became the weight that sank me even further, as though the stress of everything else in our lives wasn’t enough. I cried for nearly two weeks straight. I have been off of Facebook since November, about a few days after the election because I simply couldn’t take it anymore. I miss it a little, but after the withdrawals wore off, I’m good without it.

I took on an additional class, Human Sexuality, to teach this semester, so my life is really busy and full, but emotionally, it’s been challenging to catch the happy ride back up the downward slope. My back pain has been worse than ever, and after a failed radiofrequency ablation (where they burn the nerves in a particular area), I’ve been depressed about my back and wondering if life can ever feel normal when all I think about is my pain.

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Maybe it’s the January/February/March blues that get us all. Maybe it’s a combination of our stress, Trump for me, and the winter meh that got us. But we’ve been in a dark place, and we keep wavering in and out of it. Lately, more out of it than in it, which is definitely progress.

It certainly helps that all the boxes and wedding gifts have been unpacked. Our house is beautiful and we still have a few more projects to go, like painting a few spots, rescreening our porches, redoing the floors in our garage, but those weren’t necessities to getting settled. We’ll be getting started on those soon enough.

We love our neighborhood and the quiet nature that surrounds us. We are starting to fish on our fishing pier with the addition of new fishing equipment, courtesy of Timmy. My parents came to visit a few weekends ago (which was so needed) and they brought my bike. So the other night Timmy and I biked close to St. Pete Beach (and stumbled through a ridiculous argument, again), then to a local restaurant for drinks and games.

It was awesome and it felt like us.

The sun is out more, and it’s warmer, so me likey. I can’t wait to start spending afternoons after work paddleboarding around the waterways, and really soaking up the mood-improving Vitamin D. And we’ll get there soon.

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But Timmy misses Jake and his dad and James, and I’m missing my friends and family a lot. Timmy and I working on our connection harder than we have before, but we need our support system around us to help ground us. So friends and family, come visit us! We have space, and it’s close to everything. It’s honestly like being on vacation all the time, living in our new house.

It’s just now starting to sync for us. Just now. If we haven’t been reaching out to you as much, be patient because the ground is just now starting to solidify underneath us again. That’s just life, I guess, and I know we’ll get back. It’s always ups and downs, and we just have to have faith and put the work in.

Winter sucks. Trump sucks. Hate sucks. But we will rock again.

♥, VB

 

VicTim Bach Bash

Bachelor/bachelorette parties are a funny thing. Sometimes they are just the most incredible, most memorable experiences where the groom/bride are surrounded by their best friends who turn the world over to make it all about them for one night/weekend.

Labor Day weekend was Timmy and my joint bachelor-bachelorette parties. They were joint in the sense that we both had them in St. Pete and planned a Sunday beach field day, but other than that, they were separate.

My weekend was amazing. My friends who I invited that are either in my bridal party or are my best friends in the world couldn’t have made that weekend any more incredibly relaxing, chill, and overall exactly what I wanted. We hung out at the beach which was no joke, about 50 yards away from our Treasure Island house. Or what we called it, the 80s Porn Palace.

Yeah. It’s exactly what you would picture in your mind. In fact, a few of us thought we recognized it from somewhere…:)

My maid of honor Lyndsay, my past roommate of 5 years and one of my best friends in this world, went ABOVE and BEYOND. She shopped, she cooked, she prepared, she planned, she had anxiety, but she did the damn thing. I kept telling her that I didn’t expect her to plan it like how I would plan it, because really, that’s crazy, but man I can’t believe what an awesome job she did. If anyone’s in the market (she may cut me for offering her maid of honor services), she left no stone unturned. I couldn’t have asked for anything better than what she did.

And all my friends! AHHHHHH, they were the best! I had two surprise guests show up who I thought weren’t coming, and my other friends were there for me all weekend. No one complained, no one was dramatic, no one was bitchy, and everyone stayed by my side the whole time. Sure, we were kinda boring, taking naps, and reading books, and laying out, and getting in the water, but we’re in our 30s now. My days of clubbing are over because that’s pretty much all I did in my 20s. No need to re-live the good old days because I’m still having lots of good days now.

We did have a few incidents with someone, but other than that, the rest of us were no-drama, sun-loving, relaxing fools. I love you all, there’s a reason you’re in my life — you make my life happier and brighter, you celebrate with me and you grieve with me, you’re there when I need you and I’m there whenever you need me. Thank you for being you.

Two of my bridesmen (my 3rd couldn’t get on a flight unfortunately) stayed at Timmy’s place and spent the weekend going back and forth between our house, our Saturday night dinner, and their house. I planned a private dining room dinner at Station House Saturday night  in downtown St. Pete where we stuffed ourselves silly and just really really really enjoyed ourselves, went to one bar, then went home to get into our pjs. Sleep was such a necessity that weekend, I’m really glad all my friends are now in the same “I kinda love sleep more than people” space that I am in.

I was so sad to say goodbye to everyone, it was just enough time to get comfortable with my friends, but not enough time to feel like we had all really caught up with each other. Seriously you guys, you made the trip, you took the time and $$ to celebrate my life with Timmy, I’m so humbled and honored and blown away that you would put me first like that. Thank you thank you thank you thank you.

It’s true, the time went by too fast. The weekend shot by like a bullet. And at certain times, I wish that it had been a real bullet directed at a few people who attended the parties that weekend. Timmy’s experience…well, let’s just say, it wasn’t the same as mine. But that’s his story to tell, not mine.

But to end this post on a happy note (because by nature, I’m not a negative person), I love all of you who made our parties a place to celebrate not only our love, but our friendships with you, our bonds, our connections. You spent money on us, you blocked off time for us, you came because you love us. Without y’all’s support, Timmy and I definitely wouldn’t be the people we are today.

♥, VB

Life Lately + Head Trauma

Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it. – Ferris Bueller

SO FREAKING TRUE. While we haven’t done anything monumental lately, we have had some really awesome weekends, and the more I forget to share, the faster the time seems to go.

Let’s start out by categorizing what’s been going on with our life lately!

Wedding Planning

I. AM. SO. EXCITED!!!! This is the stage where I’m the most comfortable being at when I’m planning anything. It’s the anticipatory, to-do lists, breathable, productive, I’m-going-to-conquer-the-world stage and I’m loving it.

Obviously, the beginning was ROUGH. Like, beyond rough. Like crying every day for a month rough. Once we set that date, it was a ticking time bomb strapped to my back. Looking back, it was a combination of everything in the world that overwhelms me, hitting me all at once.

  • Ginormous price tags? Check.
  • Guilt beyond belief at my parents paying? Check.
  • The idea of being married when I had never wanted that? Check.
  • Decisions that I never thought I would ever need to make and try to make them with someone who doesn’t like making decisions? Check.
  • Planning a major event from a different state for a reason that I never had wanted before? Check!

One of the main problems was that Timmy and I do not approach decision-making in the same way. In fact, we’re complete opposites. I’m a snap decision-maker. I don’t like to over-analyze anything and I just want to move on and get shit done. Timmy becomes paralyzed. He gets frustrated easily when it’s time to decide, and then he will just stonewall until he feels he’s had enough time (usually about 10,000 times longer than I’m okay with). This does not make for smooth decision making and it’s been an issue for a long time in our relationship in general.

But we sat down, hashed it out, and now we’re excellent. Timmy and I finally found a groove to wedding planning. I’ll do some research here and there and compile some ideas and send it to him, and then 2-3 weeks later, we’ll basically knock out like 3-5 decisions in one day. And I’ve had time to digest the fact that my parents WANT to do this for us and I can accept it now.

We have just under a year until we get married. This is what we’ve done so far:

  • wedding coordinator hired
  • date and time chosen
  • venue chosen
  • guest list almost complete
  • photographer chosen and engagement pictures printed
  • caterer, food options, baker, and design chosen
  • band chosen
  • alcohol package chosen
  • wedding website nearly complete
  • invitations printed
  • registries complete
  • save the dates designed
  • rehearsal dinner space booked
  • wedding dress and bridal party and outfits selected
  • bachelor/bachelorette party scheduled

I told you, I don’t mess around when it comes to planning. I want as much done now so that we can just pretty much coast up until the wedding. We have about 4 things on the docket that should be complete in the next few weeks, so as that to-do list gets done, I get happier and more and more excited to marry my partner.

Travels and Visits

The first weekend of June, I traveled to NY to celebrate my best friend Denise’s daughter’s baptism. Seeing as how I hadn’t met the little lady since she was inside her mom’s uterus, I thought it would be a great time to meet her and chill out with my besties. This trip, I didn’t even step inside Manhattan, which was a nice change of pace. It always feels like the city is trying to run me over when I visit because I try to fit so much into one weekend, and this time, we just stayed in the suburbs and enjoyed beautiful weather with family and friends.

Not going to lie, their apartment does not absorb sound well, so in addition to little Mary’s screams, I also was privy to the fighting Puerto Rican family below them, and good god, getting 4 hours of sleep is just not okay.

A few weekends later, my good friend from grad school, Alex, came down for a half week of relaxation and fun. This woman, god I love her. She’s amazing. Strong, driven, intelligent, and with a heart as big as the sun. I admire her in so many ways, and it’s always such a nice calming feeling to be around her. She pretty much came down to escape a little drama in her life in Atlanta, so we ate well, beached it, had a boat day with my old work colleague Leila and her husband, and just enjoyed ourselves thoroughly.

Pride Weekend

It’s really really fun living in monumental moments. Timmy had made the trek to St. Pete a few weekends in a row, and so Pride weekend (the last weekend in June) was supposed to be my weekend in Orlando. But then the Supreme Court upheld marriage equality Friday morning, and because Timmy is the most amazing person ever, he decided to come to St. Pete to help me volunteer and experience what a major civil rights victory feels like.

This year, I’ve been trying to volunteer more around my community, and Pride felt like another perfect moment to help out. I volunteered earlier in the week for the Stonewall Reception and got to meet the mayor of St. Pete. We volunteered together at a concert with someone from Glee (no clue, but holy cow they could sing!), and then we made it out to the nighttime Pride parade on Saturday night. Of course, Timmy is the greatest flirter in the world (which I warned him about), so he won the bead war. Hey, it’s not my fault most of the floats were men and Timmy was practically throwing himself at them!

Slut.

But all in all, it was pretty much the perfect weekend, and I can’t wait for next year! 🙂

Destin and 4th of July

UGGGGHHHH, this trip was no bueno for me. It seems like every time I’ve been to Destin, it ends in E.R. visits (which is actually the case for Timmy. He and his friends really have never been able to finish a trip to Destin without visiting a medical professional). They actually still had my information on file from the last time, like 5 years ago, when I jumped in the water and stepped on some barnacles which tore the sole of my foot up.

This time, it started out great. Magda and Corey, who so generously donated the BOTE board for our “30 Years, 1 Wish” party, invited us to stay in their renovated, white, shiny new home. Their house is super gorgeous and seems to be the perfect party pad. I’m not a huge alcohol drinker, so I knew I would have to psych myself up to hang out with this crew who have livers of steel. Not that I went overboard, but I definitely had to pace myself to get through the day drinking part (which for those of you who know me well, is NOT a strength of mine).

Friday, they had a get-together at their house where people just drove their boats up or paddled up on their boards (which is the greatest way of life, let me tell you) and we all hung out in the sun by their pool. Saturday started out much like Friday. The sun burning our eyes out (they hadn’t put up drapes yet), children crying, that sort of thing. But we were heading out to Crab Island, so I was excited to have a really awesome day.

The only photo I got of the weekend.

The only photo I got of the weekend.

We made it out there, anchored the boat, played a frisbee game, met people, it was great! BOTE is constantly trying out new designs, and this weekend they were trying out a prototype for a wake surfing paddleboard. It’s smaller than a regular paddleboard, and way less stable. I tried it out a few times, was able to get the hang of it, and even tried (and failed) to do a little yoga on it.

But then, it all went downhill.

Here’s where my memory gets a little fuzzy. I remember talking with Timmy, facing their boat, and then all of the sudden I heard, “Look out!” and then BAM, the paddleboard came crashing down on the back of my head. If you’ve ever been hurt by something that’s also taken you by complete surprise, you understand the feeling. It was horrendous.

After that, I remember things in bits and pieces. I remember being brought on someone else’s boat to ice my head, I remember feeling really sleepy and just wanting to rest my eyes, and then I remember being at the E.R. with a brace around my neck, going in for a CT scan. I couldn’t remember who the president was at first (which made me cry because I was so scared).

Timmy was by my side the whole time. He was my rock, calming me down when I started to freak out, asking all the right questions, and helping me with insurance and confusing payments. In short, he was incredible.

The following week, I had some nausea, trouble sleeping, headaches, and general confusion. I had a lot of trouble getting words out, and am still kind of struggling here and there with speaking smoothly and quickly but in general, I’m completely back to normal. Timmy hated it but loved it because he eventually said, “I finally feel smarter than you!”

Slut.

After that, I felt good enough to have another St. Pete weekend (the last one in a while, since it’ll be my turn to visit Orlando multiple weekends in a row. It’s only fair). We had a really good time at the Rays game last Saturday night for an Emory alumni event, which I may or may not have outed him to everyone as a non-alum. As though his Auburn hat didn’t give him away. We had a delicious dinner at our new favorite place, Brick and Mortar, met a couple and talked with them the entire night. Sunday, we had lunch at Locale Market (an incredible, jaw-dropping place) and saw Jurassic World (which pretty much sucked. We were uber disappointed), and had ourselves a delightful weekend together.

The weekends are getting harder and harder when it comes time to say goodbye. We may be seeing an end in sight as we try to figure out Timmy’s job and what moving will look like. We’re not there yet, but we’re definitely having the talks.

Life is so funny. As I’ve been going through the summer, I haven’t really felt like what we’ve been up to has been that interesting to share. I haven’t been taking as many photos, I’ve really been trying to be IN the moment. But now that I’ve finished writing this post, damn, we are busy people. I love our life.

♥, VB