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Monday, November 26, 2012

NaNoWriMo DONE!

I WON TODAY!

I wrote exactly 2500 words today for an overall total of 50,214 words!  I am continuing to write until my story is finished.  I am really liking my story so far.  I think I probably have about 10,000 - 15,000 more words until the story is really finished, then I'll be fleshing out some of the places I kind of skimmed over.  Probaby another 5000 - 10,000 words there.  I'm hoping for a finished product of somewhere around 100,000 without sacrificing quality for quantity.

Then it's on to revisions!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Thoughts on our first year of marriage

Matt and I celebrated one year of marriage this past Monday. I thought it would be cool to have is each type up some of our thoughts, favorite memories, etc. from this year.

Matt

We had any easy year. We had some issues with cash flow, but we've got it taken care of. We've got a new house, we have good jobs, we had a good year. I love my wife!

Amanda

They say that the first yeast of marriage is often the hardest, but if that's the case, then we're in for a wonderful life. We really have had it pretty good. A great honeymoon, a good first Christmas, built our first home, Matt got a good job, lived through Matt's nasal sinus surgery together, made it through some financial hardships together, and celebrated a wonderful first anniversary with heartfelt homemade paper gifts. I love my husband. :-)

Sunday, November 4, 2012

NaNoWriMo

For the first time ever, I am participating in NaNoWriMo - or National Novel Writing Month.  The working title of my novel is Under the Covers with Friends, and no, it is not a romance novel, lol.  It is about an 18-year-old girl named Liv who moves to a big city and starts sleeping on her two friends' living room couch trying to get discovered.  While playing her very first gig in this new city, she ends her set by performing a cover of one of her favorite singer songwriters.  Unbeknownst to her, the artist (named Asher) has been an incognito member of the audience the whole time.  He is impressed with her performance of his song, and offers to help her get discovered.  She tells him she wants to release an independent EP, and he offers to help.  He rounds up some of his musician friends, and each of them record a cover of a popular song with Liv (thus the title).

I won't go into any further details than that, but I am pretty excited about it! I have got a rough outline, character bios, and 10,780 words so far!  I've essentially written two and a half chapters - one and half at the beginning and one that will fall somewhere in the middle.  I am using this awesome cloud-based composition application called Yarny.

I am so pumped about this novel!  I feel like I have a good story, and a lot of it is just coming to me like I knew it already, and not like I'm having to force it or anything.  Hey, you never know, maybe this thing will see the light of day sometime?  We'll see.  ;-)

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

We are so broke :(

Matt and I have never really had a problem with money.  We are both notorious savers, and we hardly ever buy anything except groceries.  Even during the times (like now) when we are 90-100% living off of my income alone, we have managed to pay all the bills, buy all the groceries, spend a little cash, and then still put money in savings.  Even though we recently moved from a 1-bedroom apartment that we rented to a 3-bedroom house that we own, the expenses are hardly higher.  The utilities have gone down or stayed the same across the board and gas mileage in our cars has actually increased since we moved.  It's maybe $100-200 per month more to live in our house vs. our apartment, and I got a $200/month raise back in May that should have absorbed that difference and allowed us to keep on living like we were living.  So why are we currently broke?

I have been having trouble figuring out what happened to our bank account.  Maybe it was Matt's surgery, which probably set us back around $1000 between the hospital bills, follow-up visits, medications, etc.  Maybe we spent more than we meant to without realizing it on furniture/decor/etc. when we first moved into the house.  Maybe it's partly because we refuse to carry a balance on a credit card or borrow from savings unless it's a matter of life and death, which means that when we fall short, we tend to stay that way for a while.

I don't know, but we are just so completely broke right now.  We probably won't do anything other than sit around the house and eat dinner to celebrate our first anniversary next month.  I don't know that we'll do much of anything for Christmas either.  If we are super stoic and don't go anywhere or do anything - if we pinch every last penny - we should be caught back up in a few more pay periods.  It just sucks that this is happening now, at this time of year.  Or at all for that matter.

Anyway, I'm just really stressed about money and wanted to rant.  I'm sure we'll be OK eventually.  I'm just ready for eventually to get here.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

A month in the house

We have been in the house for a little over a month now, and it has been awesome!  Let's see, what all has been going on?

Matt got his Alabama insurance license, so he can sell home and auto insurance.  I think he's planning on getting life as well, but that stuff is a bit confusing to me, so I'm not sure, haha.  He is now a Producer for Farmer's and is still going through a lot of training.  But I went ahead and switched my insurance to Farmer's through him, so at least he's got one sale under his belt!  We are going to get him a business Facebook page, some business cards, the whole nine yards.  To be honest, I'm kind of excited about the whole thing!

On September 4, Matt had his long awaited nasal-sinus surgery.  The doctor drained and opened up two of his sinus cavities and reshaped his deviated septum.  He can breathe so much better now!  He has already had his first couple of post-op visits and has another one (hopefully his last) scheduled for October 1.  He has to rinse with a special saline solution 2-3 times a day to get out any blood, mucous, and other fun stuff that collects in his nose/sinuses as they heal, but other than that he's doing really well!  He hasn't blown his nose since before the surgery, so that is awesome.

Last Sunday (the 16th) was our housewarming party.  We got to show off the house to our family and friends and got some nice stuff.  My aunt and cousin said they had a perfectly good, only used twice, futon and a couple of paintings that sort of matched it that they would be willing to give me for free!  So today Matt and his dad went over to their house in Matt's dad's van and picked up the futon and the paintings.  I put those in the guest room, along with the repurposed over-the-door mirror that used to be in the master in the apartment but wouldn't fit on the closet door in the house.  I used some screws and picture hanging wire from my tool kit to hang that on the wall in the guest room, and now it actually looks like a guest room!

View of the guest room from the doorway

Straight on view of the futon - it turns into a double bed when folded out
 
A few weeks ago, I went to Walmart and Hobby Lobby to finish off a few of the other rooms as well.

My mom gave me the fall decorations in the crystal bowl on the table, and Matt and I found that awesome painting at Hobby Lobby!

We found this vinyl sticker chalkboard at Hobby Lobby and Matt HAD to have it, haha.  So we hung it in the office.

I found a tissue cover at Walmart that matched the rest of the set in the hallway bathroom.  I am still on the lookout for one for the master bath.
 

Yesterday I went to Home Depot and Walmart with my parents and got a water hose, a hose nozzle, and a hose caddy like this one:


Today I cleaned house while Matt went with his dad to get the futon, then after we set up the guest room, we washed the cars.  A pretty productive day overall.  I think that's all for now!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

We've moved into the house!

Other than the fact that we'll likely have been without internet and cable for TWO WEEKS by the time they finally install it, we are loving our new house!  Pictures are below.

The finished front of the house.

The finished back of the house.

The living room from the hallway.

The living room from the hallway again.

The living room from the patio door.

The living room from the kitchen door.

The hallway from the master bedroom.

The gallery of quotes in the hallway.

The hallway bathroom.

The vanity in the hallway bathroom.

The office (smallest bedroom) from the hallway.

The office from the closet.

The office from the window.

The front (empty) bedroom.

The foryer from the front door.

The dining room from the foryer.

The dining room from the kitchen.

The kitchen from the living room.

The awesome fridge.

The stove and microwave.

A somewhat dark picture of the sink/window area.

The master bedroom from the hallway.

The bed wall.

The master bedroom from the closet corner.

The master bedroom from the bathroom corner.

The master bathroom.

The shower/tub in the master bathroom.

Friday, July 6, 2012

I went inside the house today...and other stuff

Over the past couple months, the blog has been pretty much nothing but updates on our house.  I thought this would be a good time to post an update on other things that are going on in our lives, as well as pictures of the inside of the house!

My face over the past 6 weeks or so had gotten really bad.  I had acne as a teenager and all, but it had finally cleared up after college (on the wedding day, my mom was shocked at how clear my skin was).  This stuff wasn't really acne though, and no acne treatment (wipes, creams, cleansers, etc.) seemed to be helping.  If anything, it seemed like it was getting worse.  I finally made myself an appointment with a dermatologist for June 25.  This is what my face looked like on Sunday night, June 24.  (Please try not to actually say "gross!" out loud, lol.)

Not only is there a hive/rash looking cluster of pimple-like bumps all around my mouth and on my forehead and right eyelid, but it looks like I have a permanent sunburn on my cheeks, nose, and chin.

So the dermatologist diagnosed me with rosacea, an incurable-but-treatable skin condition.  He put me on a pill, gel, and soap-free facial cleanser regimen.  This was my face a week later, on Sunday, July 1.

I look like an entirely different person!  Holy crap, that stuff works hardcore, haha.
I'm planning on taking another picture this Sunday night as well.  I have a follow-up appointment on August 22, and I will probably have the clearest skin in the state by then, haha.

In the meantime, we finally got Matt to an allergy specialist.  They poked him with a bunch of needles to test for allergies.  And guess what?!  He was allergic to none of them.  We couldn't believe it!

All those little dots, and none of them caused a bump except for the control!

So the allergist recommended him to an ENT.  The ENT thought he was probably going to need nasal sinus surgery based on the x-rays, but wanted to do a CT scan to see for sure how extensive it was.  He gave Matt a tentative date of July 25ish for a surgery.  Yesterday Matt had his follow-up appointment after his CT scan, and the doctor told him that he wants to try some other things first (nasal spray, medication, etc.) and leave surgery as a last resort.

On the one hand, I'm relieved because we're tight on time and money with closing on our house coming up.  But on the other hand, I want Matt to get this surgery so he can breathe!  But we'll just wait and see.  Maybe later this year.

Switching gears totally now, haha.  On the 4th of July, I looked down at my hand and noticed that one of the black diamonds had fallen out of my wedding band!

The hole on the very end by my thumb nail should have a black diamond in it.  :(

We had a warranty with diamond bond on it, but the diamond bond is only valid if you get it inspected every 6 months.  And...well...we forgot the last, like, 3 inspections, lol.  So that's probably not going to hold.  Matt and I are going to the jewelry store tomorrow to see if they're feeling generous enough to replace the diamond free despite the lapsed inspections.  If not, we'll just get a quote.  I heard from someone with a similar replacement that it cost her $70, so I'm hoping for something like that (or lower).  Otherwise, it may have to go on the back burner until after the house stuff is all settled.

And speaking of house stuff, here's what I'm sure you really came to see!

Almost done!  The shutters, house number, landscaping, driveway, and some paint on the columns seem to be all that's missing on the outside.  Side note:  I think the colors of these pictures are just a little off.  I took them with my cell phone camera.

Closer view of the front porch

Foryer from the front porch

View of the kitchen from the dining room

Close-up of the cabinets/counters

View of the living room from the kitchen

Master bedroom from the doorway - bi-fold doors for laundry area sitting in bedroom floor, lol

Master bath

Laundry area in hallway

Hallway bathroom


Front bedroom from the doorway - windows look out into front yard