Monday, March 26, 2012

Free Your Mind Monday

It's time for the next installment of Free Your Mind Monday. Thankfully, these questions aren't as lame as last week's.

36. Is it possible to know, without a doubt, what is good and what is evil? Yes. By whatever design you believe in, we were all given a moral compass, and I believe we know what is right and wrong without having to be told which is which.

37. If you just won a million dollars, would you quit your job? Yes, but only because I’d use the money to get myself into a job I love. I'd find a way to have my own business of some sort or use the money to pay bills that this job pays for while I pursue a dream.

38. Would you rather have less work to do, or more work you actually enjoy doing? I would absolutely rather be spending more time and effort doing something I love than do half the work when I feel only "meh" about it.

39. Do you feel like you’ve lived this day a hundred times before? Sometimes, in some ways. Mondays seem to always feel the same. There is a lot of life that is consistent, but that's not necessarily bad. I know that today, like most days, I'll go home, make dinner, eat with Dan, chat about our day, cuddle the pups, and kiss them all before I fall asleep. There's nothing wrong with any of that. There are, however, mundane things about every day life that make it feel repetitive in a boring way, but that's life.

40. When was the last time you marched into the dark with only the soft glow of an idea you strongly believed in? Dating Dan, honestly. He was so very different than anyone else I’d ever dated, yet I just had such a connection with him. I couldn't put my finger on what had me so drawn to him, but I followed my gut and my heart and it was the best thing I've ever done. I had so many thoughts about the guy I should be with, and on paper, Dan wasn't many of them. I'd glad I threw away my list and allowed myself to love who I love.
Happy (?) Monday, everyone! We had a great weekend in Tucson celebrating my mom's birthday. We had a fun dinner out, watched (er, I slept through) a movie, went antique store shopping, and just hung out. It was great. Yesterday when we got home, Dan actually agreed to go see The Hunger Games with me and it.was.awesome! Loved it. I thought they did a great job with the adaptation, and I can't wait for the other movies. Even better, Dan can't wait. He actually liked it and asked me in the car on the way home what happens in the next book.

So, I was reading Amanda's blog this morning and she recounted this hilarious conversation she had with her husband, and I thought I'd share a funny little conversation Dan and I had in the car. To set the scene, we were driving to Tucson and we were south of Phoenix in an area that's just an expanse of desert as far as the eye can see. I'm sure you all picture Arizona as nothing but desert anyway, so you're probably wondering why I would tell you there's desert in Arizona, because duh, right? Anyway, desert. And in the middle of this desert stands one single horse, which I glanced during an anti-motion sickness break from Angry Birds Space. So I got all excited and was like, "ooooh, a horse!"

Dan: Yeah, it's probably a wild horse

Me: What, there are no wild horses in Arizona!

Dan: Yes there are, there are a ton near Lake Pleasant and we've seen wild donkeys near Scott and Melissa's

Me: But that's like an hour from here

Dan: I'm telling you, they're out there. They roam.

Me: But, wouldn't all the wild horses have been rounded up and claimed by now? Is that a dumb question?

Yeah, apparently, I think there was some arbitrary time at which point the horses should have all been round up and taken in by someone somewhere. Anyway, it might have been funnier if you were there, because these kinds of conversations usually are, but it was definitely one of my Jessica Simpson "is this chicken what I have, or is this fish?" moments. And speaking of Jessica Simpson and horses, WTF is she gestating? A pony? She's been pregnant for like a year by now.

Okay, I'm done with the randomness for now. I'll be back later to free my mind.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Random Musings Friday

Hurray for Friday! What an exciting Friday it is, too, but I'll get into that in a second. Okay, or now....

- It's HUNGER GAMES DAY! I'm not one of those crazy fans who's read all the articles and reviews and brings arrows to the midnight showing (seriously), but I am excited to see this fabulous trilogy brought to the big screen. As such, Dan thinks I'm crazy. Imagine if I went to the theater dressed as a District 12-er. He'd really think I'd lost it. Anyway, I'm not sure when I'll get to see it exactly, but I'm really looking forward to it.

- Also exciting? Angry Birds Space. You may or may not know this about me, but I kind of have a serious love for Angry Birds. It's completely addicting. I've beaten the original version twice (which is probably nothing compared to the super nerds who post the how-to videos I rely on), along with Rio and Seasons (which continues to be updated, if you're not in the know). And now, they've introduced Angry Birds Space. All your favorite little characters with a sci-fi look and battling not only pigs, but gravitational fields and laws of physics. Awesome. Dan and I both sat in silence yesterday and played for over an hour. Bonding at its best.

- Speaking of Dan, he's got a serious case of the man cold. Like, I could have sworn I was sleeping next to a snarly bear last night.

- Also speaking of Dan, he's a serious keeper. I had a therapy appointment Wednesday that we'd hoped he could join me for. However, he got stuck on a job and couldn't make it. He felt bad, and made it up to me with a blooming bouquet of pink calla lillies, a copy of Cosmo (which he hates and I'll tell you why in a minute), a yummy dinner made by him, and an ice cold bubbly Sprite Zero on my night stand when we went to bed. As for why Dan hates Cosmo, here's an example of a conversation that exemplifies why he thinks it's all a bunch of baloney:

Me: "So, I decoded our hand-holding style. It turns out you're not that in to me."
Dan: "Where the hell did you read that?"
Me: "That Cosmo you bought me."
Dan: "Ugh"

- It's my Momma's birthday weekend! Happy Birthday, Momma! We're headed to Tucson tomorrow, where my mom and my friend Rachel are hostessing a lia sophia party. I'm super excited about it, and looking forward to spending time with my parents.

- Also exciting and related to birthdays, Clover and I are babysitting Mrs. ESPN's girls tonight. Since we have to go to Morristown next week during her husband and youngest daughter's birthday, she's taking Mr. ESPN out for dinner tonight and I get to hang out with Chatty and Bia. And Clover gets to come - I think I'll leave most of the child-caring up to her ;)

I thought I had more.... hmmmm. I might end up coming back to edit if I think of other stuff to talk about. Hope y'all have a great Friday!

EDIT: OH! I remember now. It relates to The Hunger Games. So supposedly, the trilogy was written and marketed to teens, similar to Twilight (which I haven't read and won't comment on, although 40 -year-old women being enamored with Edward Cullen weirds me out to a level I can't describe in words). I am absolutely shocked and amazed by this. The whole premise of the trilogy, entertaining and addicting novels aside, is horrifying. Kids killing kids, often with incredibly graphic description, is not a subject I could ever consider to be appropriate for children. If I had a 13-year-old, he or she would NOT be allowed to read these books or see the movies. There are just too many complex and twisted themes going on that I simply don't find acceptable for a young adult to read. I seriously side-eye and judge parents who are letting their children get in on this hype. I've said it before and I'll say it again, just because the trilogy features teen characters does not make it FOR teens.

And I will now step off my soap box.

Monday, March 19, 2012


I didn't mention it here, but I did on Facebook. We passed a milestone coming up on two weeks ago: the anniversary of buying and moving into our house! It's crazy how fast the year went by. It's also crazy how much we've done, and how much we've still got to do. Here's a quick rundown of our list of projects (crossed out = complete) since our move-in date of March 11, 2011.

Last updated 4/9/12

Living Room:
- Buy a new couch
- Art on the walls
- Replace entryway lighting fixture
- Install doggie door
- Replace porch door
- Refinish fireplace and mantle
- Wood floors (although Young House Love is making me think seriously about cork)
- Gallery wall

- Paint
- Install fan
- Replace countertops
- Replace appliances - technically, we haven't replaced the fridge yet. There's a part that needs to be fixed and then it can be replaced.
- Refinish cabinets
- Replace sink - oh how I love my granite composite super-deep sink
- Replace overhead icky lighting with can or track lights
- Get art for walls
- Chalkboard menu
- Decorative apron hanger - it's kind of done, just haven't hung it yet
- Get a bigger kitchen table
- New: install base cabinets and countertop for workspace on back wall

- Paint
- Replace countertops and sinks
- Replace lighting
- Remove shower doors for curtains
- Replace large mirrors for single mirrors over each sink
- Monogram letters (master bath)

Master bedroom:
- Paint - oh, how I want to cross this off. Still not done though
- Buy a king-sized bed Completed 4/1/12
- Make headboard

Nursery/Guest Bedroom 1/Craftroom
- Paint Completed 4/8/12
- Build desk/storage
- Paint dresser
- Make pillows for futon
- Closet storage
- Replace closet doors with curtains
- Decorate/art

Guest Bedroom 2 (currently occupied by roommate until April 6th)
- Put our current bed here when we get our king-sized bed Completed 4/6/12
- Decorate
- Paint?

- Remove trees and shrubs that offend Dan in any way
- Install awning on front porch and in backyard to shield master bedroom windows
- Remove built-in brick grill
- Buy patio furniture - unfortunately I went the cheap route, so we'll be in the market for something sturdier again
- Plant flowers in front of porch wall

- Exterior and motion-sensored lighting
- Paint house - the paint has been purchased, it's just a matter of doing it
- Install front security door
- New house numbers
- Install floor-boards in over-garage attic for additional storage
- Install sun-blocking screens on East- and West-facing windows

Phew! I'm tired all over again just thinking about it all. It's really exciting to see how much we've done to make our house our home. Can't wait for what the next year brings!

Free Your Mind Monday

I don't like this set of questions, so don't be shocked by my absurdly short answers:

31. At what time in your recent past have you felt most passionate and alive? I think when we were planning our wedding and getting married. Everything was so exciting and fun, and had so much meaning. We were just so happy and in love and wanted to make everything meaningful.

32. If not now, then when? When the time is right. What kind of question is this?

33. If you haven’t achieved it yet, what do you have to lose? What is "it," exactly. Because that changes the what I have to lose part of it. I don't like this question either. Next!

34. Have you ever been with someone, said nothing, and walked away feeling like you just had the best conversation ever? Often. It’s part of why I married him.

35. Why do religions that support love cause so many wars? Because they all believe they’re right and fight over details, all while failing to see that the big picture they’re all viewing is the same.

Hopefully next week's questions are more fun.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Show Us Your Life: Infertility

I'd already posted once today and then saw that Kelly's Korner is featuring infertility stories in her Show Us Your Life series today. So, if you're coming here from there, welcome! This isn't an infertility blog - it's about our life since we got engaged, and infertility just happens to be a part of it.

Our story (the short version): my husband, Dan, and I started trying for our first child in April 2010, when we'd been married 6 months. I charted my temps to know my cycle and time our trying to the best of our ability. We had no luck in the first 12 months, which made us eligible for infertility testing. What they found is a progesterone deficiency with me as well as issues with my husband. We later got further info that I've kept private here (if you're dealing with MFI, though, and would like to email me about it, I'm happy to elaborate in private) that made treatment much more difficult. We were told we could try IUI, but that IVF with ICSI would be our best bet. Even for IUI, we'd need a vast improvement and that private little issue I mentioned makes improvement a costly balancing act (for us, due to insurance) and unlikely that IUI would truly be successful.

After weighing our options, chances, and costs, we decided that we were going to walk away from trying to conceive. We're not open to IVF (this was discussed even prior to our first RE appointment), and adoption just isn't for us (though it's wonderful for families who choose that route - we're not anti-adoption in general). So we've chosen to be childfree and make the most of our marriage and life together. We're not risk takers, and the low rates of success made the high costs hard to justify. It's not an easy decision to make, but we're confident it was the right decision for us. We're just thankful to be on the same page.

So technically, we're not going through infertility (treatment), yet we live it every day. We experience the same heartache and feelings of inadequacy that couples going through treatment cycles do. I go to therapy to deal with that stuff, and my husband, friends, and family are incredibly supportive. I identify strongly as "infertile" and hope to someday work to raise awareness and support for couples facing similarly difficult decisions.

To see my posts regarding infertility, click HERE

For some reading on choosing childfree living after infertility, check out Sweet Grapes by Jean and Michael Carter

Random Musings Friday

Hurray, hurray, it's Friday! Another long week. It was a pretty good week, but still a long one. I am ready for some weekend, people. We don't have a whole lot planned - I have a lia sophia show tomorrow and then we're celebrating our Irishness with corned beef and Irish Car Bombs at my in-laws' house.

- My mom flew to NY last night to visit my grandma and she flew Delta Airlines. Upon arrival at the airport, she discovered that Delta now charges $39 for a window or aisle seat. How do they get away with this? They have to fill the plane, right? So what if all the cheap (read: regular priced middle seats are gone) and someone refuses to pay (because according to my mom, you don't find out about this until check-in)? Then what? And what about people traveling with kids? My mom told me there was a passenger with her child that she couldn't even sit next to without paying $40 to do so. Ridiculous. I get that airlines are struggling, but this is a pathetic way to nickle-and-dime customers. Just go out of business gracefully, Delta. -- FYI, this is the first I've heard of this. If this is old news, please kindly disregard and move on.

- In less than two weeks, I'm going to Morristown, where I get to spend time with my friend Mrs. ESPN and meet Shana! Oh and I have a meeting I have to go to... an all-day meeting that will likely leave me wanting to lobotomize myself with a spoon. But I get to hang with Mrs. ESPN and Shana! Clearly, I'm excited.

- Yesterday, a package arrived in the mail for me from a wonderful friend, Kathy. We know each other through IF message boards - our (and by "our," I mean collectively as respective couples) diagnoses are similar except that just this week, Kathy celebrated the 1 year anniversary of being diagnosed with thyroid cancer by being cancer FREE! Yay, Kathy! Anyway, she sent me a really awesome gift - she found this beautiful print and decided it had Brooke written all over it. I'm in love with it, and I can't wait to hang it over my craft room desk:

Thank you, sweet friend!

- I met up with TJ last night for dinner. She'd booked a lia sophia party with me, which was converted from a traditional show to a catalogue show, so we decided to have dinner instead since we'd blocked the night off. Not making the connection between the closest meeting spot between us and a Radiohead concert in the adjacent arena, we showed up to a pretty packed restaurant. She was there before me and got a table, but as I was walking in, there was a large party who'd just put their name in. I overheard one of the moms say, "25 minutes to an hour? But we have kids with us!" Ummmm... since when does having children mean you get to cut lines in restaurants? This really isn't bitter me speaking. It's just kind of ridiculous and an example of how some parents these days seem to feel that the fact that they reproduced someone puts them above others. And they clearly weren't concerned that the wait was too long for the kids (there are other restaurants in the area they could have gone to instead if the wait was too long) because they were seated next to us as we were finishing dinner. So before anyone suggests that "we have kids, we shouldn't wait" was not what she meant by her comment, if the wait was truly too long, they had other options.

- I get to go to the doctor today for a blood pressure check. Fun shit. Only today is the first time I've used my new insurance, which basically now only covers catastrophic illness and one well-woman check a year. So basically, I get to use my lunch hour to pay about $150 for a blood pressure check. Yay!

You know the drill: have a great weekend and go visit Shana to see what's rolling around in everyone else's heads.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Free Your Mind... Double Up

I didn't free my mind last Monday. Last week was just nuts with work and I just didn't get to it. So I'm doubling up today and posting a whopping 10 questions.

21. Would you rather be a worried genius or a joyful simpleton? Joyful simpleton. I've never been a genius, though, so I guess I don't have that to compare to. I do know I don't like to be worried or stressed, though, so to be joyful - even if I am an idiot - seems preferable.

22. Why are you, you? Because of my parents, my sister, my husband, my friends, my past boyfriends. Everyone I’ve met, and every life experience I’ve had has shaped me into who I am today. I'm also me because of my values, my goals, and preferences. I'm me because I'm no one else, simply and obviously put.

23. Have you been the kind of friend you want as a friend? Most times. I hope to improve on my friend-being skills. I'm not always good at keeping up with communication. I think of my friends often, and rather than reaching out to see how they are or just to say "hello," my joyful simpleton brain moves on to the next subject. I need to be better at acting on my thoughts to reach out and say hello, make lunch plans, or send a card to let them know they're in my thoughts.

24. Which is worse, when a good friend moves away, or losing touch with a good friend who lives right near you? It’s more unfortunate to lose touch with a close-by friend because there’s no real reason. If someone moves away, I think there's more of an "out of sight, out of mind affect." Unfortunately, there's more of an excuse - you can't easily get together to do the things you used to do. So when you grow apart from someone who lives close by, it is more unfortunate.

25. What are you most grateful for? My marriage. First and foremost, every day and every night, I am grateful for Dan and our relationship. I'd be lost without him.

26. Would you rather lose all of your old memories, or never be able to make new ones? I'd rather not be able to make new ones. If I lost the old ones, I wouldn't have the knowledge to avoid making mistakes a second time.

27. Is it possible to know the truth without challenging it first? Yes. In some ways, truth is relative. In matters of the heart, you can know your truth without having to prove or justify it.

28. Has your greatest fear ever come true? Unfortunately, my greatest fear to this point in my life has come true. I'm surviving it daily. I suppose now something else will in time become my greatest fear and I'll deal with that coming true if and when that happens.

29. Do you remember that time 5 years ago when you were extremely upset? Yes. My nature is such that I remember when extremely upsetting times. Five years from now, I'll remember this particular upsetting time. I won't still be as upset, and the pain won't be as deep, but I won't ever forget it.

30. What is your happiest childhood memory? What makes it so special? I remember playing baseball in the yard with my dad when I was really small. I’d make him crawl around the bases so I could have time to retrieve the ball and tag him out. It’s special because it was so carefree, and because I think I knew then what a great father he was. It was just one of my favorite things to do with him, and thinking of it always bring a smile to my face.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Random Musings Friday

Hurray, it's Friday! Holy moly, it was a long week. It's the kick-off of our income tax season, and I am dealing with some royal asshats. I'll be having a well deserved glass (or two) of wine this evening. Anywho, on to my randomness

- I don't remember if I mentioned this here, but there was a poll where they asked people what they thought Mitt Romney's real name is. I admit I don't know it, or remember it, but 2% of the population polled answereed that they think it's Mittens. That means grown adults think this man is named Mittens. Like a cat. I heard this on the radio over a month ago and it still cracks me up every.time. I see his name. Mittens. Ha!

- I've become something of a hair product junkie. I switched stylists in December, and I love what she has done. She's punched up my color (a slightly darker and richer shade of my own color, so I only need it done every 8 weeks because I don't really get roots), made my cut fantastic, and shown me products that give me that big voluminous Southern hair I've always wanted but wasn't born with. But of course, being styled with a product for one day just isn't enough. So once I ran out of the stuff I had, I decided I would pretty much buy what she uses on me (all Redken). So in the last 4 weeks, I've gotten a plumper (Velvet Gelatine 07) for my fine hairs, a root pump (Rootful 06) that doesn't weigh my hair down (!) and a spray wax (Wax Blast 10) that gives volume and texture without back-coming. And, I sucked Dan in, too. His appointments are 2 weeks off from mine, and I went to his last appointment, and they were having a special on products. So I made him buy me a hairspray (Quick Dry 18), too. Yeah, no more Tresamme for me, baby. It's kind of sick to think how much I've spent on products (although the cost has been offset by friend and referral discounts), but I love my hair again after a long time of feeling blah about it.

- Kirk Cameron recently told Pusscake Piers Morgan his honest feelings on gay marriage. And he's being seriously criticized for it. Here's the thing though: what the heck did you expect him to say? He's an openly conservative evangelical Christian. I'm not saying there aren't Christians who are accepting of gay marriage or that I agree with him at all, but in general, I think we all know that many who identify as Christian believe it's sinful. I'm honestly not sure why anyone is surprised. What I AM surprised about is that anyone cares what Kirk Cameron thinks. I find it interesting that because he's a "celebrity" we expect him to be PC and open-minded.

- Kon.y2012. I'm not linking the video because you all are capable of Googling, but if you haven't seen the video yet, it's interesting. And everyone on my FB feed is calling to stop K.ony and buy bracelets to support the cause. Um, let me make a comment about the cause. The In.visible Chil.dren "thing" behind this has a website and if you read enough literature on the mission, they basically want to lobby congress to send more troops to Africa to fight and capture Ko.ny to bring him to justice. Here's the thing though, the guy has built himself an army of children (which I'm not saying isn't horrifying and disturbing), but he's still around, I'm sure, because he makes sure he covers his ass and is protected. Someone this wacked isn't likely to have plans to go down quietly. So to send troops after him essentially means sending troops to fight his army... of children. I'm not sure we've thought this through. I have a better idea: take all this plastic bracelet money and increase the bounties on him. You can't tell me someone wouldn't take the SOB out for a cool couple million dollars. Also, they've been trying to catch him for 9 years - my guess is this isn't as easy as selling some bracelets. But it's been fun to see how a viral video is turning everyone into experts on global issues. Hurray for inactivism (Heir to Blair wrote an interesting piece on this that's worth a gander).

- I may or may not have (read: definitely did) burned a baby shower invitation I received with a blow torch. It was a rough IF week and I definitely felt better afterwards.

Alright, I think this just about covers the randomness in my brain for the week. Go visit Shana and see what's on everyone else's mind.

EDIT: Now with product names!

Friday, March 2, 2012

Random Musings Friday

Hurray, it's Friday! Finally! Gah, I've been sick all week. And unfortunately, I'm that sick girl at the office because it's month-end close and I can't work from home, so I've been getting the side-eye all week. It's this weird cold thing that has phases - yesterday was the sneezing sensation phase, where I felt like I had to sneeze constantly and had stinking between my eyes. Fun stuff. I plan to go home and take a long nap, as I've been needing it all week. Anywho, my musings...

- I went to Starbucks this morning as I do every Friday and almost got hit by a teenager who was going about 20mph in a parking lot. She stole the space I was preparing to turn into, then flipped ME off. Um, okay. I almost made a comment to her about slowing down in parking lots, but I didn't want to be THAT lady. But honey, if you're out there, keep in mind: I'm older, and I have better insurance (it's true, I'm amazed at what great insurance you can get for cheap when you're over 30 with a 95% clean driving record). Towanda!

- I get to go to NJ for work at the end of March, for sure. And I'm leaving at 8:45 Wednesday morning and land back here in Phoenix 53 hours later. Awesome. At least I'll get to hang with Mrs. ESPN and this other fun girl from Rhode Island that we like.

- My nail-clipping co-irker is going on his annual trip to Vegas soon. He's had a slot machine ring tone for his Vegas buddies - which plays at a ridiculously high volume for an office - for three months now. He talks constantly about his stupid trip, and the only thing more annoying than the lead-up is the fact that he'll be complaining for a month afterward about gaining 10 pounds from eating at buffets for a week (yes, a week. He's going to Vegas for a week. Insanity).

- Speaking of Rhode Island (who ever says that?) I got an exemption letter from a customer the other day informing me that I should not charge them tax because they're not registered to collect and submit to "Road Island." And it wasn't a mistake - it appeared that way three times in the letter. Doh.

- I've ordered something ridiculous like 22 pieces of jewelry in two weeks to add to my collection. Most of it was covered by jewelry premiums I've earned for hitting sales goals, but I still feel like a crazy jewelry lady. The sad part, I still have about 70 items on my wish list. Yikes!

- Oooh, I made a most amazing dinner last night that you should try. You know how I said I discovered that Dan loves chicken pot pie? I created a twist. I used my crock pot to cook 3 chicken breast halves in cream of mushroom soup as I usually do, but then I also added a can of chile in adobo sauce. Then, after making my rue, instead of adding garden veggies, I used a can of corn, a can of seasoned black beans and a can of mild diced green chiles. The result? Mexican Chicken Pot Pie. Soooo good!

- This Pinterest thing? Where they're saying we could all get sued for pinning? I think it's kind of crazy. I mean, I get where people would be coming from, but it seems like it would be a huge mess to try to sue people for having your pictures. And I kind of feel like if you put it on the internet, it's sort of fair game. Sort of. I guess I'm on the fence. I mean, at least you're giving credit to the owner because Pinterest links back to the original site. Tumblr, on the other hand, completely divorces the thumbnail from its source. That seems way worse, yet no one is questioning the legality of Tumblr accounts. Still, in my idealic mind, I'd be fine if someone emailed me and said, "hey, you pinned my stuff, and I'm not happy with that. Can you take it down?" Sure, no problem. Do we really have to start sueing people? Also, considering that I'm still waiting for Lars Ulrich to show up at my door with a warrant for my arrest for my Napster account, I'm not all that worried this will go anywhere.

Happy Friday! Hope you have a great weekend! And go see Shana to check out everyone else's musings.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Two Steps Toward Freedom

Let's talk money for a minute, shall we? When I was in college, I got myself into a little bit of a pickle. Okay, maybe a lotta bit of a pickle. I was given a credit card, went nuts, and I maxed it out. My parents bailed me out and then... I did it again, but this time I had two cards. I lived in a world of constant stress as I tried to make payments until one day, shortly after I graduated from college, I hit a wall. I owed something crazy like $1200 in 4 days. I did credit counseling, during which time I was issued no new credit, my score tanked, and I had to learn to live with only the cash in my bank account. I used tax returns and extra cash and paid the debt off a year and a half early.

I don't think my situation is all that uncommon. I think it's a generational thing - we want what we want when we want it. For whatever reason, we may not understand how credit works and how to use it responsibly. We see plastic cards that buy stuff and we'll figure it out later. Even though I knew I had to make payments, I don't think it sunk in ever that I had to make more than the minimums and that the amount of debt I had would affect my future and buying power on big things like a car and a house. I think this is one of those lessons I had to learn the hard way - as a lot of people my age probably do - and it's a sucky one.

When I signed up for the credit counseling, I was told that when my debt was paid, my score would recover and I would be able to build fresh new credit. It turns out that wasn't so easy. My score has only very recently begun to rebound (and I paid that last bill almost 3 years ago), and I still can't get a card with a limit over $500. That's fine, I don't need more. I've learned to budget and pay for what I need with cash. It's funny though, because when I hear people say they'll do a short sale on their home and their credit will be fine in 7 years, I laugh. That's when you may be able to start applying for credit because it drops off your report, but it doesn't mean you'll have enough of it that anyone will trust you with their borrowed money. What is difficult is not having a safety net for things like car repairs or a water heater going out, or a medical bill. For that, I've had to rely on Dan. When Paisley got sick, a big portion of her bills went on his card. When my tuition for grad school exceeded what my company covered for a calendar year, it went on his card. When we moved into the house and had fun with some renovating and redecorating, it went on his card. I'm thankful he's credit-wise, but it doesn't mean we haven't built debt in our time together.

When I could finally be approved for credit of my own, I opened a couple small retail cards. I added another when I needed a laptop. I needed to establish a good payment history, and I finally had a true understanding of what that meant. I was careful to keep my debt ratio low and make my payments on time as well as pay at least $20 over my minimum. I've had them for about two years now and they have small balances that I make sure to manage. I'm mindful of making old mistakes. However, I hadn't ever completely paid them off.... until today.

Today, I got notice of my second lia sophia commission check, and I scheduled payments to pay them off 100%. They're weren't big dollar amounts, but they were more than my regularly budgeted payments and having that debt wiped to $0 is an amazing feeling. And it's a part of our plan - my cards get paid off, I dedicate what would have been the old payment to Dan's card. As I eliminate payments and dedicate them and lia sophia income to Dan's card, we hope to be debt free by July or August. At that point, we can contribute more to savings and do more of the things we want to do, like (hopefully) take vacations and renovate more of the house.

It feels absolutely amazing to see our plan being set into motion. It's just the first two steps, but I'm excited that those two little steps will help snowball us into achieving goals that would have taken longer to achieve without the opportunity lia sophia has provided me. And this isn't a lia sophia thing - yes, it's the opportunity I had (and you could too), but it's a matter of having a goal, working at it, and seeing the first part of the plan completed. It's the motivation I need to keep working hard at booking shows so that I can keep it going and bring us to a better financial place. It also shows me how far I've come - from stressed out 7 years ago to feeling liberated as I hit that "confirm payment" button. I'm truly proud of myself.