Strong Man is Mine

A few weekends ago, Timmy had a major moment. I’m writing about it because HE STILL HASN’T CONTRIBUTED TO THIS BLOG AT ALL. But I’m not bitter or anything…

Timmy has been doing Brazilian Jiu Jitsu for a few months now and I’m super proud of him. He’s had a challenging time in Lake Mary by himself, and I’ve been pushing him as much as I can to strike out and meet people, gain a hobby, do something in order to get out of the house more. It’s hard, yes, making friends as an adult, but it beats sitting at home doing nothing. So he signed himself up at a local gym, and he’s been loving it.

What grown men get out of wrestling with other grown men, I’ll never understand, but hey, to each his/her own, right?

Obviously, as a former state champion-caliber wrestler, he’s definitely a little more advanced than novice. He claims that he doesn’t know what he’s doing, but after watching him a few Saturdays ago, I can honestly say he’s a big fat liar. Or he just needs to work on his confidence. Because dude knows some moves.

The Copa Grappling Tournament started at 9 AM in, shudder, of all places, Lakeland. The place we don’t even stop for gas on the way to each other’s cities because we hate it so much. The town that is associated with so many bad relationship memories, we’d rather pretend like it didn’t exist. Yea, that place. So we both drove to meet in the middle for his inaugural tournament debut.

He was freaking out a little in the days prior because he’d only been doing this sport for about 2 months, and not even that consistently since he kept destroying his feet on the gym mats. If you’ve ever seen Timmy’s feet before, you know they’re already a little raunch-worthy, but man, after jiu jitsu, GAH-ROSS. So clearly, he was nervous, but since he’s an athlete at heart, I knew he would be incredible the day of.

If you’ve ever been an athlete, you know the mindset. The zone. The ability to focus in on the goal at hand and get it done. Timmy’s like that. Once he finds something he can lock onto, he’s unreal. The problem has always been finding that thing to lock onto in the first place. I’m hoping he goes far with this sport.

We were in a high school gym on a Saturday from 9 AM until 5 PM. Of course the bleachers destroyed my back, but good lord, that is a freaking long ass time to wait. I wasn’t bored, which was nice, since they had matches going non-stop. I’d never really gotten a chance to go to wrestling meets in high school because their season always coincided with basketball season. I got a little taste of what it must be like for parents whose children do this type of thing. Lots of waiting involved. Lots of it.

Side note: I’ve never seen so many bare feet in one location in my life. I was fighting my gag reflex pretty much the entire day. Feet, everywhere. UGH.

Copa Grappling Tournament

Copa Grappling Tournament

Anyways, so we waited until almost 4:30 pm for Timmy’s level (novice) and weight class to go up. He had two other guys in his level and class. One was an entire foot taller than him. That match he dominated 9-0.

The second match, Timmy won by submitting the guy with a move he had no idea he was doing. I also had no idea what he was doing and I’m pretty sure I stopped breathing for both matches.

He won first place in his first ever grappling tournament. It was pretty damn sexy to watch.

He also COMPLETELY tore up his feet in the first match, so much so that he bled on the mat and had to wrap his feet up. Big gaping wounds. Be glad I’m not sharing any photos because BARF! I later had to apply liquid skin on him, the material from hell that I remember so well from my ballet days. THAT’S HOW MUCH I LOVE THIS MAN.

You can see the videos of his two matches here and here. I have no idea what he’s doing other than trying to win. I’m trying not to pass out.

It was awesome. Timmy, you’re my strong man for life.

♥, VB

6 Months and Counting

July 7th marked 6 months since I moved down to Orlando from Atlanta, followed by our big move 2 days later on the 9th to Lakeland, so today is now our 6 month anniversary of moving to Mehland. Do I have any updates about living in Lakeland? Construction is now complete on our section of 33. Yay.

It’s not that Lakeland is really that bad. It’s that there’s nothing to do here PLUS I work so far away that exploring becomes too exhausting of a notion to entertain. Actually, that does sound really bad.

We’ve had dinner in downtown Lakeland a few times, to mostly meh reviews. The area is super cute, and you can tell that this area was on the up and up before the recession hit and pooped them out the other end. The architecture of the buildings is so wonderful, a mixture of old and new, and the landscaping is beautiful. But almost every store front is for lease or sale, which is a huge downer. I don’t even have any skills as an entrepreneur, but I’m freaking dying to open up a bakery, a farm-to-table restaurant, tapas, non-smoking gastropub, and a crepe shop.

after another meh dinner, at least the swans of downtown Lakeland are nice to look at

One night, we ate burgers at this place in downtown that made us feel like we were on Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives. We were so freaking excited, we were like, “OMG, we’ve found our burger spot! Yay for supporting local businesses!” But this experience immediately became a haunting note in our relationship with Lakeland as we were both stricken with diarrhea not three hours later and had to make a “run” (see what I did there) for our lives back home.

The Mexican food isn’t all that bad here. Our normal spot Tapatios isn’t open on Sundays (what the hell…I hate small towns), but it’s the best we’ve found so far. Ignoring the fact that their clientele all weigh about 150 lbs over their ideal weight, the cheese dip is good, and that’s how we measure success in these here parts. We found a place called Abuelo’s, which seems to be a chain in FL that serves some pretty alright food. Our bartender last week served us some super sweet skinny mojitos that probably were mixed with a cancer-inducing sugar substitute, so we shan’t be ordering that crap again. The cheese dip is not Timmy’s favorite so another strike.

BTW, every Mexican restaurant we’ve eaten at here in FL doesn’t understand “cheese dip w/ or w/o jalapeños”. It’s like a crazy mystery order to them. Which is super odd because that’s a standard order in Atlanta. Do you want your cheese dip to taste like the napkin or do you want a slight bit of heat in your cheese dip? I’ll take tasty heat, thanks! When you order w/ jalapeños here, you have to explain to them to put them on the side (or else they will dump half a jar of jalapeños into the cheese dip and you will burn your face off), and to have them finely diced (otherwise they will put them sliced raw with seeds and ribs and you will burn your face off). WTF. Why is this so hard?? I miss Taxco like whoa, and especially El Toro, which was right down the street from us in Decatur. God, why is it so hard to find good Mexican food here?!?!?

Floyd has adjusted nicely though, which we’re very thankful for. He loves playing in our huge dog park field in our complex, and he’s even made a few doggy friends. He still “sags his pants a little” (as Barbara says) when he’s on his leash and sees anyone or thing that might be a threat. So far, that list includes: trees, people, dogs, children, squirrels, bushes, frogs, and my favorite, a bicycle. Anyone have any feasible tips on training out leash aggression?

We’re waiting for fall to come around so that we can plan a few days to go visit the parks in Orlando when tourist season is over and the deathly heat abates. Timmy has also never been to SeaWorld (like how our Disney trip last November was his first trip ever…the horror!!), so we’re pretty pumped to get our butts there.

Other than our constant trips out of town for weddings, things here aren’t really that different than when I started this blog. I don’t know how I feel about that, but hey, I guess it’s better than things being god awful, right? I feel almost ashamed that I don’t have a better update 6 months later about our lives here. We’ve been through a lot of ups and down in our relationship, and we’re both working really hard to make things good at home. Work is pretty fantastic and I’m still grateful for being able to get my dream job in the first place. But I think both of us would be lying if we said, yes, this is it for the long haul. FL is totally where we want to settle (I think I threw up a little in my mouth writing that). Our hearts belong to Atlanta forever. But I guess our bodies will have to be all tan in FL for the time being.

Here’s to the next 6 months. May we find more things to do in Lakeland, or so help me I will tear this town apart. At least help me find some good Mexican food within driving distance. A girl needs her cheese dip.

♥, VB

P.S. Don’t forget to check out our “30 Years, 1 Wish” page! It’s our 30th birthday party/fundraiser in September and we’re donating to three charities! Donate by clicking the link on the sidebar (or clicking here) or ask me for the password to the page!

I Want to Go to There

I am one of those people that’s a complete sucker for dorky touristy adventures. I will never say no to a good, cliche amusement park or museum. Since we live in Lakeland, the home of Publix, we have been told by numerous people that there is a Publix museum. Dedicated to the wonder of Publix obviously, but I’m so freaking excited to go to it. I don’t know what will be on display, but I nevertheless will be amused by whatever’s in there.

Yet there is one place that is on the top of my list to visit. No, not Disney, or Universal, or even Busch Gardens (though believe me, that one’s in the top 5). Everyday, on my way to and from work, I pass this place. When I say my heart starts to beat faster and my mind races with ideas of how much freaking fun I will have by stepping through the doors, I wholeheartedly mean it. It happens everytime I drive by it, and my curiosity just grows and grows and grows. Judge me if you will, I couldn’t care less. I LIVE for places like this.

In case you didn't believe it existed

I’m not kidding. Picture proof in case you didn’t believe it existed.

Now can you imagine my excitement?!?! This place looks freakin amazing! OMG. I can’t wait. Timmy and I are heading there the first chance we get.

♥, VB

Arriving and then Leaving

After a 7.5 hour car ride with Floyd in the passenger seat, we finally made it to Orlando yesterday. Not an eventful ride, although around hour 4, I started to slowly lose my mind. Floyd’s great and all, but he can’t really carry on a conversation (which is funny compared to Timmy who could talk to a plant and feel like he learned a lot from it).

Floyd in his bed in the passenger seat. He looks comfy, but he was mad at me. That's all the room he had to move.

Floyd in his bed in the passenger seat. He looks comfy, but he was mad at me. That’s all the room he had to move.

Also, driving by yourself with an adopted pet who’s quite anxious, it’s pretty challenging. You have to make sure they’re not overheating, bored, upset when you get out of the car to get gas or go to the bathroom, make sure they’re drinking water, etc. Needless to say, we went and got Mexican food nearly the second I unloaded the car.

And to top it all off, YOU CAN’T FIT ANYTHING IN A MINI COOPER. I had to leave half of my stuff at my parents’ house, the stuff that was only supposed to last me the two months I was staying with them. That was really uncool man, uncool. But whatever, stuff is stuff, I’m just concerned now about moving from here to Lakeland tomorrow. We HAVE to do this tomorrow so that we have time to unpack and get settled, get cable and internet installed, all before I start work next Monday.

And poor Timmy. Continue reading

Lakeland? More like Mehland.

OMG, looking for places is seriously one of the most stressful things to do EVER. I hate doing it, even though I am the most organized person I know. I dislike the planning of looking for places, having to keep everything straight as far as square footage, bedrooms and bathrooms, location, amenities, safety and crime, as well as the cost. Does it have a fenced backyard? Since it’s Florida, what does the outside living space look like? Will we be able to sit in a screened-in porch to save ourselves from mosquitoes and heat or we will we be subjected to the sun as soon as we walk outside and get skin cancer immediately? What shops are around (hint: there’s nothing in Lakeland) and are there good restaurants nearby (hint: Outback and Olive Garden do NOT count as quality eateries, regardless of what the realtor told us)?

Even harder is having to look at places with someone else. Compromise is a pain in the ass. Has anyone told you that? That may be not PC or romantic, but it seriously is. You always have to keep their opinions and thoughts in the mix, even when you hate/love someplace immediately. You can’t crush their spirit by just outright saying, “YOU HAVE NO IDEA WHAT YOU’RE TALKING ABOUT.” (This didn’t happen, but there were fleeting moments when both of us just gave each other that look…you know that look. The look that implies, “Please hurry your ass up.”)

There were a few moments I’d like to share with you here. Some extremely high, some low, most meh. Join me, will you? Continue reading