Hi There

Long time, no talk to. I just wanted to stop by and say hi and say I’m sorry for being MIA here. It’s not you, it’s me. It was 2017, it was politics, it was anxiety, it was exhaustion, it was everything. I had and still have a lot to say about the things that transpired last year, but whenever I sat down at my blog to write, I found myself tired. Unmotivated to share. Unwilling to talk.

Believe me, I had those conversations in person, but not often and not with everyone, because honestly, I just didn’t have the stamina. There was so much about last year that bothered and hurt me and kept me so angry and scared. Personally, it was a wonderful year; I taught my two classes, had a lot of fun with family and friends, and really cemented my bond with my husband after a shaky first year of marriage.

But the world, man, the world just grinded me in its teeth and I felt all the negative emotions.

I donated, I read, I got off of social media for about 8 months (except for Instagram). I did the small things I could to keep my sanity, but every time I even briefly looked at CNN or Washington Post or NY Times or BBC, I just felt my resolve crumble and I would have to build myself up all over again. So I just stayed focused on my small world and turned inwards.

I know the cycle of life pretty well by now: personally and professionally, those waves usually don’t coincide because when one is up, the other is down. Not so this past year! My relationship with Timmy made amazing strides forward and now I can finally see what people mean when they say marriage is fun. It is now and it’s definitely something I treasure more than anything. Professionally, I made even more strides towards my overall career goals, and as soon as I felt myself start to lag or bore with my routine, fate intervened and has provided me with even more amazing pathways.

I won’t share it all right now because it hasn’t all transpired and I don’t want to jinx myself, but let’s just say, if things go the way I would like (and have planned for), god, 2018 may be my best year ever, which is hard to say after my 30th year.

So I guess what I wanted to say is I’m sorry I cut you out. It really wasn’t you, it was me. And in 2018, I’m going to use this blog how it was intended: to fill you in on our lives in FL, and the quirky, ridiculous, fun, infuriating, amazing things that happen to Timmy, Floyd, and I on a constant basis. Stay tuned my friends, and let’s make 2018 a fantastic year (which let’s face it, after 2017, can we say there’s no where else but up?)

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♥, VB


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


One Day at a Time

Ok, so it’s obvious that I have kinda given up on blogging. Life since getting married suddenly picked up speed and lately it has felt like I’m on a runaway train and it’s taking me everything I have to stop for milliseconds to look up and glance fleetingly at my surroundings.

It’s all going by so fast.

And we’ve decided to take on even more major life choices since our wedding, which has only lended itself to making me feel like I’m participating in my own life through fogged up goggles and ear muffs. It’s the weirdest feeling, to be making super adult decisions yet inside feeling like, huh? what? where? who? what are we doing?

Is this what happens for everyone after getting married? Because if this was some big secret that married couples have been keeping a secret from everyone, I’d like to send a big F you to y’all for leaving me so unprepared for and unaware of the next steps.

This blog was the first to get the ax for a while there. I have so much that I want to share (and at the same time, don’t want to share) but I just didn’t have the time or energy to put it all out here like usual business. So now, I’m going to try to retrace my steps and keep you in the loop of our lives here in St. Pete.

It’s been a doozy of a few months to say the least.

Timmy and I have now celebrated nearly 4 months of marriage. We’ve seen each other in person about half that time. His job takes him on the road to Atlanta, Jacksonville, Pensacola, Miami, and anywhere else in GA and FL just over half of the month. Our only real time is the weekends, which used to consist of us frolicking at the beach with beer and football throwing followed by seafood and sleep. Those weekends have since been replaced by hour after hour of demolition at our new house in south St. Pete.

Work has been really crazy for me, which is unusual, because in the almost 4 years I’ve worked at USFSP, I haven’t once felt like my plate was too full. But now, I’m teaching my class, working full time, advising my student group, and at the same time preparing to co-chair a strategic planning committee for our entire division, grade papers, see students for consultations, and preparing to teach a 2nd class in the spring.

Needless to say, we’re exhausted about 120% of the time.

And it’s been a struggle for us to maintain a sense of connection when nearly every night, we wait so long to Skype each other that we’re too tired to really talk and catch up. The majority of our marriage has been: “Hey love, what are you doing?” “Driving and then I have to…oops, I have a call from [insert name here]/I have a meeting to go to. Gotta go!” “OK love you.” “Love you.”

But honestly, I married this person because of the lifelong challenges he and our decisions together would have me face, in order to make me a better person. And all the decisions we’ve made up until this point have absolutely had the “is this is the right decision for us” question right at the heart of them. So while for now, our life seems like chaos, all day, every day, and we’re like passing ships in the night, afternoon, and morning, we’re going in the right direction.

It all started with our wedding weekend, which now, looking back, seemed awfully dramatic and hectic. While every moment I could control was filled with hope and laughter and honest joy at the thought of marrying Timmy, the other moments were also filled with other people behaving badly. I have since gained enough time away from that weekend to realize that I can selectively filter out those moments and remember only the love.

There was so much love. It makes me happy to remember it that way. And it was so much fun because there will never be another time we can have those people in the same room at the same time ever again. Not to mention our photos and videos are the BOMB.

Where are the photos, you may be asking right now. I know, I know, I’ve only shared about 4-5 photos out of the almost 1000 we got back. I have gotten MANY requests to share those photos. There are a number of reasons why I made the executive decision (and yes, it was just me and not Timmy and I) to not share them, but the main reason is this: I don’t want to. Ok hear me out…

Don’t get me wrong, that weekend was crazy fun. But it was also a weekend that happened to spin a little out of my control and left me feeling like the most private moment of my life happened in the most public way possible. At least, what I had wanted to be private turned out to be shared with nearly 280 people, lots of whom know me not at all.

So the jokes I cracked in my vows, only a small percentage understood them. The super personal declarations of love and our ability to rise beyond our history was only really understood by even fewer who knew about that time in our lives. And the rest of our audience didn’t have a real sense of our lives because they hadn’t lived it with us. Not by anyone’s fault, but simply because that’s how life is.

So for that reason, I choose to keep the photos private. They’ve been shared with the people that matter, the people that spent hours and time and money on us and our weekend, but that’ll probably be about it. I may choose to share a photo here and there, but don’t expect much.

And that’s that.

We haven’t been able to sort fully through the wedding videos, because while time kept moving for us, it didn’t for one of Timmy’s groomsmen. James unexpectedly passed away in his sleep about 2 months after our wedding. And it has only added to the feeling of our lives being one step ahead of us and we’re just running after the train, trying to get back on it.

Timmy has been struggling. I’ve been struggling. Adjusting to the death of a friend is difficult (to put it lightly), but something has shifted since being in our 30s and this death has taken on a new significance and sadness. It’s just different losing someone in your 30s than your 20s or younger. Sure it affects you back then, but you’re just a baby. You have no real concept of life, of how wonderful it can be, or how much life can surprise you if you let it.

You get it in your 30s. You’ve seen enough of life to understand that you can rise above the hardships and get lost in the wonder. When you lose someone now, it’s sadness on a level you didn’t know you could go. When Jake passed, we at least had time for closure. We knew his death was coming for a long time, so when he did die, it wasn’t this huge sense of shock. There was almost a sense of relief at him being released from the pain of cancer.

James just passed. Period. End of sentence. No opportunity for goodbye. None. Timmy didn’t handle it well. And I wasn’t handling this new space of marriage well. And it was all I could do to just let him be in the middle of grief and give him space to move through it. He’s doing slightly better, but there are still moments of tears, moments of true sadness as he misses his friend.

So thank you to everyone who reached out to the both of us, expressing your condolences and sadness. Although we couldn’t get to everyone, it meant the WORLD to us and especially to Timmy to know that you also thought James was ridiculous in the best way possible. Know that your love to Timmy was felt and appreciated.

And did I mention that we bought a house? Yea, how much can we pile on??? Our lives at this moment remind me 100% of this scene from My Cousin Vinny.

Except our lives right now are about 1/3 as funny.

Anywho, that’s about it for right now. Next time, I WILL RECAP OUR REHEARSAL DINNER. I’m screaming that to myself to keep me accountable.

Till next time!

♥, VB


How to Live With Your Partner…If He’s Male and You’re Definitely NOT

This post is based off an email conversation that I recently had with one of my friends. She’s planning on moving in with one of Timmy’s best friends in a few months, and she wanted some advice on how to live with a dude. I decided to expand the short list I gave her and share my amazing wisdom with the general public. If you have any additional insights, please do share in the comments. We women need all the help we can get.

Rules to living with a boy:

  1. Tell your soon-to-be-roommate your dealbreakers ahead of time. Things like “you cannot handle repeating yourself about cleaning” or “if you split the chores, then each person MUST do them” are important issues to get out of the way beforehand. I told Timmy waaaay before we ever moved in about my OCD tendencies because I knew we would move in together at some point and he needed to know NOW what I was like. I think I told him so much about my crazy organizing sprees and my need to fix the bed sheets when they get messed up in the middle of the night that I think maybe he thought I was exaggerating. Maybe I shouldn’t have been so hardcore in sharing my issues, but I knew I needed to tell him so that it didn’t come up as a surprise later. It did though, against all my previous prepping. But now, after living together for over a year and a half, he gets it. Oh does he get it. So whenever he starts to get a little testy with me when I ask him to clean something up, I remind him that I’m not nagging, I warned him I was crazy about cleaning before! One of Timmy’s dealbreakers was that the dishes need to be dried after handwashing and immediately put away. I’m the type that washes them, then lets them air dry in the left hand sink compartment. I HATE towel drying. The air is so much simpler, right? But he freakin hates it. So I try to do my best, but I’m still not into it. It helps that when we’re in Atlanta at my parents’ house, he sees that my mom does the exact same thing that I do, and my dad is the one left to hand dry the dishes. Like mother, like daughter.
  2. Obvs, discuss the finances, utilities, and splitting of payment beforehand. Agree to a monthly budget, and stick to it. That way, if you buy something on your own, or he does, you can’t get mad because the budget was stuck to and all the bills were paid the way they were supposed to be paid. I can’t believe how many couples move in together before they talk about this stuff. Sure, things may end up shifting around once you’re actually paying bills and stuff, but at least you’ve opened the door to this discussion. Money is one of those things that people HATE fighting about but it’s honestly on everyone’s minds all the time. Just don’t be dumb, and work it out beforehand.
  3. There will be little hairs everywhere on the sink because of beard shaving. It honestly looks like their facial hair has exploded off of their faces and razors because the hairs are EVERYWHERE. My leg hair doesn’t do this in the shower, and believe me, I’ve let those hairs grow dangerously long. I have no idea how men do this, or if they’re conveniently blind to the clean-up but it is disgusting and will ultimately be up to you to wipe down the sink area thoroughly. Nothing you do or say will get them to clean it up better than you can. Those little hairs I swear will be the death of me.
  4. They have no clue how to plan for dinner or how to grocery shop without a list. Give him a list, and it’ll be fine. Make sure the list is specific. Timmy calls me from the grocery store to check on which brand of a canned whateverwasonthelist before he buys it. He will call for almost any item on the list that doesn’t have a brand name written before it. It annoys the crap out of me, but I know his intention is to make sure he gets what I want. Give him a detailed recipe and it’ll be fine. Sure, it may take Timmy three hours to make a salad, but it’s delicious, and his attention to detail is pretty impressive. But if left to his own devices, you will eat Mexican takeout every day of the week. I love cheese dip, but let me tell you, 10 extra lbs is not a good look for me.
  5. Try to turn off the tv at dinner. It’s SOOOOOO easy to eat dinner on the couch and watch tv, and tune the rest of the night out. Especially when you don’t have children, you don’t really have the responsibility to set a table up for dinner. Usually, it feels too formal for just two people. But without the tv, you actually talk to each other and reconnect, and it makes a huge difference. Trust me, the lazy way hurts your relationship.
  6. The toilet. Oh gross, the toilet. If you can, just get a place with two bathrooms. Either the one bathroom is disgusting, they pee and don’t flush, or the hairs, or whatever, two bathrooms will save your relationship. I couldn’t care less about about the toilet seat being up or down. I don’t even understand why that’s such a big issue with some women. Who cares? But what I do care about is when either one of us blows up the bathroom, and there’s no place left to dry my hair or for him to brush his teeth except our gas chamber of a bathroom. NO. Just No. Two bathrooms = amazing relationship.
  7. The mismatching internal body temperatures will leave one of you sweating to death and the other with a constant sinus infection. Timmy’s hot 100% of the time. He sweats like he just ran a marathon when we’re watching “Modern Family”. We have our ceiling fan and a standing fan and the AC on all day, all night. Meanwhile, it’s 85 degrees and 110% humidity outside, and I’m in fleece Hello Kitty pajama pants and my NYU sweatshirt, shaking from how cold I am. I think Timmy’s “Ferguson fanny”* actually steals the cold from the air around it, leaving the rest of Timmy’s body fighting for any additional cold that he can get. So while his booty is operating at a nice maybe 70 degrees, his body is 20 degrees hotter and that’s why he’s hot all the time. This is just a theory, but I’m willing to test it out with high-tech scientific gear and what not.
  8. He will attempt to have an opinion on your clothes, and you need to SHUT THAT DOWN. I will never listen to someone telling me that what I’m wearing doesn’t match if he wears polo shirts that ceased to have a recognizable color about 10 years ago with holes in the collar from the 8th grade. If I ask you how I look, I don’t care what you think about my outfit unless your response is, “You look sexy.” And you’d better say it in a Tim Gunn accent if you want me to take you seriously.

I think that’s it for now. This list might save your lives, ladies. Pay attention, print this out and laminate it if you need to refer to it in the future. You are not alone ladies, you are definitely not alone.

♥, VB

* “Ferguson fanny” refers to the bulbous, firm, sky-high booty that’s passed down through the maternal side of Timmy’s family. This booty defies gravity, weight loss, and nuclear bombs. This phenomenon should be studied, stat.