I officially worked 53.5 hours this week. I’ve technically been in the building 55 hours, since there where a few half-hour lunches. I’m a little exhausted, a little delirious, but a whole lot of proud. It’s no secret that I would rather get a root canal than come to work 99.9% of the time, but I feel like I helped out when we’re busy, ergo helping the co-workers that I like, and am also that much closer to a house, because, well, that’s a whole lot of time and a half.

Today I’m working 1-10, so I joked with my husband that I was excited for a “short” day. I’ve been working 11am to 12am most of the week. I keep myself occupied looking for houses and writing for Nano, so I still have a firm grip on my sanity.

Speaking of Nano, I blew past the halfway point of 25k words! I can’t even begin to describe the feeling of that sort of accomplishment, I never thought I would actually push myself to hit that point, but I have some amazing support along the writing process, and I’m even beginning to talk about my characters and discuss their background story as though they’re real people….which is either a good thing or a bad thing, I haven’t quite decided yet. 🙂 I do know though that I will finish Nano and I will win. Right now I’m basically pounding out the frame of the story, the minor and major plot pieces, and then I’ll go back in December and flesh it out. One major surprise with this entire process is that the story just flows as I write. I’ve long since tossed my original outline in the fire and haven’t looked back. My characters are suddenly in charge of the story, and I’m simply giving them a voice. I’m immensely proud of how far I come, and once the story is written I want to have the editing done by the time I’m 23 (which lands on the end of January).

As promised, I would also like to share with you my new favorite food, the panini.

Panini!I call this my “grown up” BLT, minus the L, haha. I have found that instead of using butter on the outside of the bread to keep it from sticking to the hot plates, using pam is a fat-free and crispier alternative! I used butter flavored Pam and it was basically amazing. This sandwich consists of lite mayo, bacon, tomato, fresh mozzarella cheese, and onion. I’ve also made steak sandwiches with french fries, ham and cheese, and tuna, all turned out amazing. The thing about the panini maker is that it seriously makes the sandwich look and taste like you bought it somewhere like Panera Bread, even hubby agrees. I’ve had a panini every single day this week and am not sick of them because every one can be different, but the easy prep and quick time is always the same. Love, Love, Love!

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The house hunt continues. Wednesday our Realtor took us to a house that Justin and I both loved, which has not happened yet on our adventure. Unfortunately it was also about $15,000 over our price range and exactly $34,000 over our comfort zone. It just went on the market a couple weeks ago, so we’ll keep it in the back of our minds and continue to look. If it is still on the market in a couple months then we’ll see if the price drops or possibly low-ball the sellers. It’s an estate so it could really go either way. In any case, it really set a standard, and I hope we can find something else just as great!

Finding that house has also really lit a fire under my ass. I have been working like crazy and will continue to do so in the coming months. We’re at that point where we’re so close we can taste it, but we just have to find something that meets all our criteria. Patience has never been a strong characteristic of mine, but this is something so monumental that I just don’t want to settle for anything short of what we both love.

I guess that will be it for houses until I have some more concrete news. I have other things to amuse me this month (like my 50 hour work week next week, ha) Nano is coming along splendidly, I’m still about 10k words over where I need to be at this point. And notice the cute widget I added to the right there? It’ll keep you updated. ha.

I am currently three hours into my 10 hour work day. Like I mentioned before, Next week I volunteered (ick, I know) to basically work 50 hours. 10 hours of glorious time and a half over time though, and we just got our yearly raises, so I really can’t complain too much…until later next week anyway. Justin also picked up a little over time, in the form of 8am to 12am on Friday. He can pound it all out at once though, I on the other hand would probably hurt someone.

So as I’m rearranging my schedule and biting my nails at the thought of spending so much time at a place I am not incredibly found of, I got to thinking what might make the work onslaught a little easier. First thing that came to mind? Chocolate chip cookies. Random, yes, but also an excellent idea. Another idea was to break out the Panini maker that we got as a wedding gift that I’ve been itching to try out and stray away from the boring ham and cheese sandwiches Justin eats every single day (I usually go hungry because I’m lazy) and try some fancy sandwiches to keep us entertained throughout the impending week. As of right now I’ve added about 10 Panini sandwiches to my Recipe archive and still going strong. One website I found in my searches is absolutely amazing, Panini Happy. I highly recommend that site, and will definitely be using some of her amazing recipes this week!

I hope that some creative adventures in the kitchen will distract me enough from the workload for next week, and I truly hope hubby isn’t going to get sick of my creative adventures. Truth be told, he’s not quite as into my….creativity sometimes. I know once or twice (or, you know, a dozen) times I’ve made something for the two of us and he grins and bears it. He truly is a very supportive man, so I hope to impress him as well as fulfill my domestic duty to keep him full and content with some yummy sandwiches!

As long as life doesn’t get the best of me, I’ll try to take some pictures to share throughout next week, we shall see!

So today is basically my Wednesday. I traded my weekends off to have Wednesday and Thursday off with Justin. Lets just say it’s very, very disorienting. I literally spent most of Wednesday morning thinking it was Saturday, only to be corrected because the shows I usually watch Saturday morning were no where to be seen. THEN I did the SAME thing on Thursday. I was entirely convinced it was Sunday.

The nice thing about having our “weekend” in the middle of the week is that when we went out to dinner on Wednesday at the brewery we got right in. Saturdays when we usually go it is packed to capacity and we usually have to wait about 20 minutes or so. Win!

In other exciting news, someone made the first purchase off one of our registries yesterday! I was ridiculously excited, because it just means all this is really happening. We’re getting married! I can’t wait to find out who made the purchase just so i can kiss them and tell them thanks for making my day, because it really did! I am now one step closer to my Italian/wine themed kitchen =)

The registry is really a lot of fun. I mean, when else can you make a huge wish list and have a chance of getting some things? The nice thing for us is that we have everything we need to live comfortably, we’ve had a home set up going on two years now, so we basically just get to either upgrade our cheaper/abused/second hand stuff to new stuff that reflects our tastes and register for “fun” stuff, like a panini maker, basically stuff we want but probably wouldn’t buy. Justin complained about me dragging him to do the registries, but he was like a little kid in a toy store zapping everything in sight with the little scan gun. It was fun though, and through it we kind of get a better idea about each others tastes in different things. Happily we do share the same taste in many things, so that made the whole process very easy.

Bree’s getting married on Saturday. I am going to lose it so hardcore when I see that happen, just because 1) they’re great together, and 2) she’s one of my oldest friends, and seeing her getting married is going to sucker punch the realization to me that I am too. I mean, it’s one thing to hear about someone you know getting engaged, married, whatever, but to have a childhood friend get married…I think it’s like a whole other level of realization.

Justin said to me the other day that I am getting married young, which struck me as funny. Granted, he’s 26, I’m 22, so there is a little gap, but it’s not something I really think about. Justin and I are on the same level with what we want in life right now, so age really isn’t an issue. It’s just weird to think of myself as getting married young. I don’t think I’ve been “young” in a long time. I’m an old soul, and I’m glad I found another one.

It’s really no secret I’m not overly fond of my job, but every other Thursday I am reminded why I grin and bear it. I get my paycheck.

I’ll freely admit that if I didn’t read the news I would never know the economy is as bad as it is. The Consumerist has articles daily about the panic in our country about money. I’m happy to say I think Justin and I dodged the bullet. I feel bad for the new college grads who are scrambling around right now trying to find their first “big kid” job. I realize I’m lucky that I can make a living here if my degree ends up being worthless until the economy picks up. I think I almost subconsciously knew that working until midnight every night on school nights would put me in a more comfortable place later on. I didn’t get to do as much “college” stuff as a lot of my friends have, but I am very secure right now. I guess that was a sacrifice I felt I needed and wanted to make. Everyone says I’m crazy, and I think that about myself from time to time, but I am a serious workaholic, and incredibly lucky. While other people are getting laid off my company just hired 22 people and initiated mandatory overtime for all employees. I know I could be doing a lot worse right now, especially with a wedding in three months.

Sometimes it’s hard to sit and actually reflect about how well we’re doing when I just want to complain about my job. I’m trying very hard to appreciate the things we have. For example, Justin just got a promotion, a raise, and a really shitty schedule. I was pretty put out for awhile that he would not have weekends off anymore when I still do, although we’re going to be on the same shift from here on out as far as working day/night goes. Then I realized I was being horribly ungrateful. He got a promotion, and I’m crabby I would have to rearrange my schedule to have the weekend in the middle of the week? Yeah, I have a bit of perspective now, so I found people to trade my weekends for the days off he has and realized it was no big deal. It’s no different than a regular weekend, in fact, we plan on making Wednesday our Slippery Rock Brewery wings and beer date nights…because nothing says romance like wings and beer 😉

I guess what I’m getting at is that you gotta just roll with things. Justin and I will finally be working the same shift, and although Saturday and Sunday are my favorite days of the week, I’ll trade them in for Wednesday and Thursday in a heartbeat to be with Jut, and I plan on it! I really need to work on just appreciating life in general. I’m alive, I have a steady income, I have a wonderful place to live, amazing friends and family, and I’m trading my weekends off to get even more out of the week with my wonderful husband-to-be. I’m a lucky girl.

I finished with my classes Wednesday. I’m free until later in June when my online summer classes kick in.

As I drove home yesterday from my last final I wasn’t as happy and relieved as I have been after past semesters have ended. Technically, if I did everything exactly right, I should be graduating on Saturday. I changed my major 3 times and added a double major, so that date gets postponed until next May. Part of me is seriously depressed and seriously dissapointed in myself. How hard is it to get a degree in four years? Seriously? Then I woke up and realized that finishing a four year degree in four years is getting to be a thing of the past. I’ll get there soon, and I’ll have two bachelor degrees to show for my extra year, so I really can’t be that upset with myself.

I’m wondering what it would be like to not have school anymore. I’ve been taking classes for the last three years straight, always taking inline courses in the summer. I’ve never been without a class or 2. This summer I’m finishing up my criminology degree requirements with two summer courses and then next semester I’ll only be taking on class on Mondays. How awesome =) I’m lucky in the fact that once I graduate I’ll still be working here making a nice paycheck, I can afford to be pickier than someone who has no job and needs money.

In the grand scheme of things, I’m only 22. I think I was born 30 and haven’t really taken the time to think about what I should be doing and where I should be at the age I actually am. I’m getting married fairly young, I’ve been independent from my parents for about three years now, and I really feel proud of the little life Justin and I have created together. I think sometime I just have to remember to chill out and breathe, remember that at 22 I’m not expected to have a degree, a booming career, a big house, a husband, and a million other things I want at this very second.

Justin got something he wanted on Monday, a new Colorado!
Don’t mind the quality, it was from my camera on my phone. But yeah! Our first major purchase together! Justin’s been thinking about trading in his car for a long time now, and he knew he wanted a truck so he can take his dirt bike up to the camp and whatnot. My issue was that he wanted a truck with a big bed and no back seat, just a two-seater cab. If we’re going to put the money into a new vehicle and will have it for a good while then I wanted something that is kid-friendly too. I know, it’s weird to be thinking about kids, but in 3-5 years we plan on it. So we debated back and forth, and last Saturday we found this guy in New Castle! I really like it, it has a big enough bed for Justin and a little backseat that it just plain nice to have for now, and very good to have for the future. It was kind of cool to actually make the decision together. Justin went on Monday to talk to the dealer about it while I was at work, and he kept texting me the prices they offered him. He said that I really helped him bring the price down because I kept saying no, and Justin relayed that he can’t buy something this massive without my approval. It was awesome, and we basically got them to lower the per-month payment by 50 dollars. Yesssss.

Tomorrow is Brian and Brittany’s joint bachelor party. A keg, a bon fire, and lots of dirk bike/four wheeler action. I’m pretty pumped, as a good country girl should be 🙂 I’m sure I’ll have many photo’s of our drunked debauchery last on. Happy Friday everyone!

We keep things pretty simple around here, and birthdays are no exception!
Saturday Justin, Brian, Brittany, and I went out to celebrate Brian’s birthday at a local dive bar (which are always the best, hands down) and not only was everything cheap anyway, but we stumbled into an Augustiener (sp?) beer special, 5$ for a pitcher of beer. Needless to say we were in alcohol heaven. And aren’t they just adorable? haha. Justin and Brian were very very excited about their pitchers. their excitement was contagious and we all had a blast. Brittany tried her first ever fried pickle, and I think we’re going to have an artery-bashing day and try our hand at our own fried pickles (and mushrooms, YUM!) Justin and I don’t get enough use out of our fryer in the winter for obvious reasons. Anyway, we went out to see Brittany’s cousin sing in her band, but to be honest, I was already starting to sink under the table. I had my first shot of Three Wisemen (which is jose cuervo, johnny walker, and jim beam, OUCH!) I really don’t recommend it, it was pretty gross and very, very harsh. I like shots, don’t get me wrong, but I don’t like shots that make me feel like I’m proving manhood or something. Give me Georgia Peaches or Southern blue any day, those are strong and taste good.
Here’s our DD for the night, the lovely Brittany. She DD’d because I refuse to drive her when she’s drunk. Biggest back seat driver EVER. Well, I’ll drive her again, as long as we’re not in the car longer than ten minutes 😉 haha. But seriously. BAD GIRL! 🙂
Judging from the angle I apparently cannot aim a camera to save my life. To be fair this was after Justin and Brian kept pouring more beer into my pitcher, and after a shot or two of manhood-proving liquor. that has to count for something, right? Yeah…I’m a lush.
I really do love a good night out. Lately with work it’s like we all really, really, really need it. It’s been awful lately. Busy as hell, and it’s hard to tell if we have more callers or if we’re just understaffed. I have to say it’s probably both. The company does really well, we install hundreds of new people every week, but we can’t hire fast enough to keep up with all the new callers. I guess I really cannot complain. The economy is almost in the toilet, and yet our job is so secure here that we are currently running mandatory overtime. As much as we complain about it, and complain about our jobs and yadda yadda, I do know deep down that we really are lucky, and should count our blessings rather than complain about them. I try to keep that in mind, although it’s definitely a trial.

Hello, my name is Ariel and I’m a work-a-holic.

I am now at the point where I keep changing my mind over wedding stuff. Things I liked a month ago I want to change and make it something I have discovered now. Take, for instance, my new little mini-obsession. I got the idea from for something a little different from the other thing I had set up too. To be honest, I really am a work-a-holic. I loved creating that. It took a few days, and I twisted every metal strand by hand, but I think it’s going to be worth it. It’s different. It’s not just another flower arrangement, and it’s something I created from nothing, save the vase, which I just love. it’s different! haha. I just hope I can stop here. I don’t want to come across something I love even more weeks away from the wedding.
Another thing I’m completely rethinking are the bouquets for bridesmaids. not completely rethinking them, because I love calla lilies, but maybe something different. Either that or I have a whole never direction for my bouquet 🙂
I plan on going to Pat Catan’s, a local craft store, very soon. Nothing says happiness like dropping $100.00 on pretty flowers and beads! I will be in wedding craftiness heaven!
Onto other exciting news…
Justin got a promotion! He is now a network operations annalist. how’s that for a super sexy title? Haha. So on Saturday, in true company spirit, everyone took him out to get completely wreaked. Let’s just say it is possible to do, you just have to have a spare $120 lying around. It was definitely money well spent, he deserved it plus so much more. I seriously feel like a proud wife, which is pretty much the truth. I’m just so happy for him 🙂 so here’s a picture of most of our more liver-sturdy co-workers, except for one rude lady flashing the tacky peace sign or bunny ears in the back there, we don’t know her. And that’s of course Justin on the far left, he got a funny tee-shirt from the bartender for getting the new job (or possibly all the tips we were throwing at him) and I do believe my boy looks very good in that shade of blue! Anyway, It’s 11:38, I’m ready to pass out, and I’m probably only typing 5 words per minute, I might even be in the negatives for how often I have to backspace. I’m freaking beat!