Thursday, September 1, 2011

Where did summer go?!

Once again, it's been almost three months since I posted last, and I have no idea where summer went!

The weather has been beautiful; sunny and dry since probably May. And we have definitely enjoyed relaxing a bit since the wedding. Seems like we had a little stress there in the begining of our 'wedded bliss', but we're past that and all is well.

I went straight from 'wedding mode' to 'baby mode' and I think that threw us into a spiral! I was almost panicked about getting old and was convinced that we didn't really have time to wait before trying to get pregnant.

The Saga continues! Here's what happened next, and what I'll likely report back on from time to time...

I knew I had some 'pre-existing issues' that may or may not require surgery before trying to conceive. So, I decided to go to the specialist my OBGYN referred me to, just to get more information and know what's really going on. Of course, this freaked Pete out big time. In the 5 years that he's been with his company, he's NEVER met the deductible on his health insurance. In two months, I met it all by myself! And thank God for Flex Spending!

Ok, so moving on, I went to the specialist and she confirmed that she did think I would need surgery before I can carry a baby. Of course, I had to go back a second time for more costly tests, to confirm that (which I really think was just another way to get more $$$ out of us). Here's the kicker... Because of all the crazies out here and the 'lawsuit mania', risk is a very important discussion for medical providers. And since I'm overweight, they won't do my surgery until I've lost a whopping 58 pounds in total!

Yes, I know I've gained some serious pounds. Stress, poor eating decisions and basic laziness will do that to ya. And I know I need to lose, so that's not a huge surprise. But to have to lose nearly 60 pounds just in order to have something as pleasant as surgery (the fact that it's outpatient surgery is beside the point here!), is kind of a kick in the groin, if ya know what I mean. And a HUGE goal. I've done my share of losing and gaining but never this much.

So, immediately after leaving the doctor's office on June 16, I started researching gyms, and started writing down everything I ate. And I do mean EVERYTHING. It was an eyeopener, but it also helped me see that calorie-wise, I wasn't in that bad of shape. I don't eat alot. I was just eating less than ideal foods, high in sodium, etc., blah, blah, blah. I was able to turn things around pretty quickly. In the week between my first and second doctor's appointments, I lost 8 pounds. That seemed kind of crazy, but it's true. Of course, then it started leveling off and it's taken lots of work, but I'm down 20 pounds as of last Tuesday morning.

I joined a gym that has locations near my house in San Jose, as well as near my hotel in Brea, so I should be covered when I travel for work. And I've managed to work out about 6 days a week. I also still track my calories pretty closely.

So, it seems I'm on the right track. But I get discouraged from time to time because I've still got a long way to go. 40 more pounds, to be exact! I was hoping to meet my goal by the end of the year, but I think that's a bit audacious with the holidays and all. I will press on and keep doing what I'm doing. It's a little intimidating though and I feel as though there's a black cloud hanging over me.

As you may guess, I get A-LOT of advice. Everyone around me is suddenly a doctor, nutritionist and personal trainer all in one! Lucky me, right? So, I've got one friend telling me that going Vegan is the only way to go. I don't agree and like meat way too much to enteratin that. Another friend gave me some really high impact aerobic workouts to do and doesn't think I'm going to succeed unless I do that everyday. Thanks to trying that, I twisted my already screwed up ankle and was actually out of commission for a few days. And an actual trainer at my gym always tells me not to focus on the pounds, think about how my clothes fit and how I look, not so much the numbers. Easy for her to say! My doctor put this goal on me and EVERYTHING I'm doing is based on the total goal of pounds lost. How can I not focus on the numbers?

Everytime I hit a plateau, I switch up my workout. Workout longer, lift heavier weights, challenge myself and make a constant goal of eating right. Bottom line is, it's hard. Really, really hard. And I've fallen off the wagon a couple of times now. Not usually for more than a day, but still. I'm travling twice a month, which forces me to try and find healthy options eating out. Not too bad here in Crazy-Healthy-California. But expensive. I want potato chips today. Lays Salt and Vinegar, to be exact. I L-O-V-E pizza. And that's a big No-No.

I'm ok with this being hard. Good things come to those who work hard. But I tend to be the most impatient with myself. 20 pounds is good. It's been 2 1/2 months. But I wanted to lose 10 pounds a month, so I feel like I'm behind. Always my own worst critic.

So, more than likely, this is what I'm going to be posting on, for a while. I'm adding my weight loss ticker so everyone can keep track of me (like you guys have the time or inclination to keep track of me!)

Other than my personal progress, Pete and I have been doing well. We enjoy having our cookouts with friends, we found a few places to fish and Pete's going to dust off the RC airplane and hopefully start flying it again. Life is good.

Thanks for reading!
Easily Distracted

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Mrs. Donatelli?!! WHAAAT?

Dum Dum, Du Dum! That was supposed to be the wedding march :).

YES, we are officially Mr. and Mrs. Donatelli!! It's so surreal to me. And everytime people call me Mrs. Donatelli, it sounds funny :).

The wedding was perfect! I really couldn't believe how perfect it was. Everything turned out exactly how I hoped it would. The weather was gorgeous and everyone had a wonderful time. Other than the anxiety I had immediately beforehand, everything was smooth! The weather on our wedding day was spectacular. Clear, sunny and breezy, but not too cold. And there was a full moon, which I think has to be good luck!

After the wedding, we had another day with our families and then started getting ready for our trip to Hawaii. We stayed up late cleaning house the night before, since Pete's dad and stepmother were staying there while we were gone.

Maui was absolute Paradise! Regardless of Pete telling me he wanted to relax, after being there about a day, he started with the 'What do you want to do?' and wanted to be doing something all the time. So, he took a surf lesson, which he really enjoyed. We went on two different snorkeling trips, which were both great. The water there was warm and super clear! We saw some cool fish, coral and Pacific Green Sea Turtles, which was a real treat :). We explored the Molokini Crater and Lanai.

The hotel was beautiful and the people there were all friendly. It was a whole different world. Not that we don't like California, but there was very little traffic in Hawaii, no road rage at all and we didn't see anyone who was mad, which is pretty common here on the Golden Coast.

We went to a Luau at our hotel, which was fun. We met a couple from Chicago and actually went out to dinner later in the week with them. I feel very blessed to have been able to take a trip like that. Unfortunately, I had to use all of my vacation time for this year, all for the wedding and honeymoon. But thankfully, I've got some flexibility at work and I can probably adjust some time here and there if I need to.

All in all, it was a busy, but perfect time for us. I couldn't have asked for anything better. Now we're back in our work routines, which is good too and I'm back in Brea until Saturday morning.

Now we can relax and enjoy the summer together! For the first time in two years, I'll be able to spend the summer holidays with Pete. Cheers!

As Always,
Easily Distracted

Thursday, February 17, 2011

February?! Where's the time gone?!

Ok, it has to be said that I can NOT believe that I've not blogged since November. So, I'll give a short update from November-February :)

We spent the holidays here in San Jose and it was definitely a different experience. Usually, it's all hustle and bustle, running around to make sure we can spend time with everyone. But with just the two of us, we didn't have that this year. And I have mixed feelings about it. I missed my family very much over the hoildays, but valued the time Pete and I got to spend together. I'm thinking that if we can't be with family next year, maybe we should take a little trip over the holidays, to add a little excitement. We'll see.

My job also took a new spin on me. I was told when I went back to WV in the beginning of November, that that would be my last trip to that office for work. Talk about panic! So, I worked feverishly on cleaning out my apartment, painting, etc. And I just got the itemized list of deductions my apartment complex would need to make from my security deposit. So, I paid $605 for the initial deposit, $35 for the washer/dryer deposit, $350 for the cat deposit and $50 for the utilities deposit, to total $1040. Yes, folks, I paid over $1000 in deposits to CZS Development! After living there for about 3 years, there was normal wear and tear on the carpet. It was actually really cheap carpet and looked like crap when I moved out. But, again, it was cheap carpet. Other than that, there were no major issues with anything and guess how much I'm set to get back? $70!! When I called to argue about the deductions they were making, I was basically told 'Take it or leave it.' They hadn't included the $350 for my cat deposit, and when I asked I was told that that was a nonrefundable charge that I paid for the priveledge of having a cat. BULLSHIT! Sorry, but it is. I also spent a good deal of time painting the apartment and they are charging me $350 to re-paint stating that I did a crappy job. Awesome, right? Word to the wise, do NOT sign a lease with CZS Development unless you are only planning to stay there for a year or less and have a deposit that you don't care to get back.

Moving on! Now that all of my stuff has been shipped out to our house in CA, we've been working gradually on getting things situated. And let me tell ya, it could take years to get everything situated.

I keep telling myself that it'll be easier after the wedding is over. We can actually save money and have it stay in the savings account. At this point, I'm saving money to pay for our wedding stuff. Which, is a pretty cool thing actually. I'm proud that I can do that. But constantly worrying about money and obsessing over the price of ground meat or coffee as far as our budget is concerned isn't fun.

There's no doubt that this year has been and will continue to be challenging. Our first full year of living together again, after a few years living separately + moving across the country from our friends and families + planning and paying for a wedding + buying and moving into a new house (new to us anyway :)) = a fair amount of stress for a couple to deal with. Luckily I think we're doing just fine :).

I will definitely try not to get so distracted and keep blogging as we get closer to the Big Day :)

Thanks for reading!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Moving Horror Story #2

I got back to CA safe and sound, on 10/8/10. Relieved not to have to deal with the mess in my apartment, for at least a few weeks. This time I was able to be at home in CA for three weeks, instead of two :).

On Monday, I called the moving company to see if they could tell me when my stuff would be delivered. They said the driver would contact me. And, surprisingly, the same day, the delivery driver called to tell me that he would be delivering my 'move' that Wednesday, 10/13. On Tuesday, he called again to tell me he would deliver between 10am and 2pm and I should have a money order for payment. I told him I was supposed to be able to pay with the credit card and he said No, they wouldn't accept that for payment. When I argued, he said it was fine, he just wouldn't deliver my stuff until I could arrange to pay with a money order or cash. So, I caved. I got the stupid money order from my bank the following morning.

At about 10am, I called the driver to see if they were close. He said they were in the area but he had a few stops ahead of mine, and he would call me when he was enroute to my house. 2pm came and went with no call. I called again. Again, he said he had a few stops still and would call when he was getting close. 5pm came and went with no call. At this point, I'm getting mad. I'd taken time away from work to make sure I could be available when the delivery truck arrived. I called again at 5:30 and the driver said he was on his way, but was still 40 miles away. The delivery truck arrived at our house at about 8pm, 6 hours later than he said they would be there!

And when the driver greeted us, he asked for the payment, so I said I'd rather wait until he unloaded my stuff to make sure everything was ok and he said that he would not even start unloading the truck until I paid him. He said I could have a 'beef' with the company that didn't involve him and he didn't want me to withhold payment at the end if my stuff was damaged. If it was damaged, it wasn't his fault. So, again, I caved. I got handed him the money order and he said 'Oh, I'm gonna have to call and make sure I can take this.' I was ready to scream at that point! Pete almost had to restrain me. I said 'You told me you needed a money order and THAT is a money order!!!' Then he said he wanted a Postal Money order. The difference is that Postal Money orders are treated pretty much like cash, where the one I got, would have to be taken to my bank to cash. Sounded kinda sleezy to me.

After they started unloading stuff, Pete asked if there was an inventory list we should be checking. The guy said 'Yeah, it's in your envelope.' So, he wasn't even going to use the list if we hadn't asked. I started checking everything off the list and at the very end, my 37" LCD television hadn't been unloaded yet. The guy said 'Is there anything left?' and I told him and he said 'Well, you'll have to call the company because I don't have any TV on my truck for you.' Pete even climbed in the back of the truck to check and sure enough it wasn't there. I held it together pretty well, even after the driver said 'Well, sorry about your TV, but it's not my problem. Call the company.'

Pete treated me pretty much like you might handle very thin, fine china. Very gently. I told him I was ok and I would call the company first thing in the morning, even though I felt like I was about to lose my sanity, I was so mad.

I called the moving company in Atlanta the following morning and spoke to the manager there. The same guy who had raised his voice at me and threatened to cancel my move, when I wanted to pay for the pickup with a credit card :). He said he was sorry about the TV and he would call the delivery company and find out what happened. At this point, I was convinced that it had been stolen. I thought at this point, maybe it was time to write to the Better Business Bureau. So, I went to their website and started the claim process. I submitted the claim to them that morning by about 8am, Pacific Time. At about 9:30am, the manager called me again. He apologized again and said they would either find my tv, or someone would contact me to figure out reimbursement. I was happy with that. He said they would let me know by the end of the day. And sure enough, by the end of the day, the same, smart ass driver, who was 6 hours late delivering my stuff and who told me the tv 'wasn't his problem', called and said they had found my tv. He was very vague and said they found my tv and someone would contact me to deliver. NICE! That was on Thursday, 10/14/10.

The following Monday, I still hadn't heard from anyone. So, I called the company in Atlanta again. I spoke with the manager again and he said he would call the dispatcher of the delivery company. He called me back and gave me a number to call and basically told me not to call him again, that I needed to deal directly with the delivery company. Fine!

I started calling the delivery company and everytime I called, a nice girl with an Indian accent answered. Each time I told her who I was and why I was calling, gave her my phone number so she could look up my account and each time she didn't have the slightest clue what I was talking about. Also, each time she said I needed to speak with the dispatcher, who was magically never available. In the meantime, the elusive dispatcher called and left a message that my tv would be delivered no later than Wednesday or Thursday that week. And someone would call me closer to that time to give me a more specific time. Nice!

Tuesday came and went with no calls from the delivery company. I called Wednesday morning and spoke to the same sweet-sounding receptionist who didn't know who I was or what I was talking about, but called me by my first name even before I told her my name. And again the dispatcher wasn't available, but someone would call me back to setup delivery. I called again later in the day and was told that they would deliver later in the week. I said 'Ok, so that's tomorrow or Friday?' she said 'Yes ma'am, later in the week.'

I called the delivery company EVERY DAY that week, with NO calls back concerning a delivery time. Finally, Friday afternoon I called and spoke to a different receptionist who actually helped me. She said they had be scheduled for a Saturday evening delivery and she didn't know why no one had called me. In the end, my tv was delivered back to me the following Monday morning, at like 6:15am. And this time, the driver was actually very cordial and apologized for all the crap I'd been through. Most importantly, my tv was all in one piece and had not been damaged! And, the best thing for me is that I don't ever have to call or deal with either of these companies again!

Word to the wise: do NOT use Xpress Relocation, Inc., or Moving Solutions for your moving needs. I've been through enough hassle, worry and expense for anyone who may be reading this :).

On a happier note, I have made LOTS of progress with the wedding planning, and I'll be adding a page for those stories, like the one I added for House Hunting :)

Stay tuned and thanks for reading!

Easily Distracted :)

New Ventures and Horror Stories

When I came back to Fairmont for my fourth trip back for invoicing, I knew that my company had been bidding on work in Southern California, and that if we were awarded the job, there was a really good possibility that I would be transitioned over to that job. And, I was aware that if we got the job, things could move pretty quickly. So, I decided to give my notice at my apartment complex and move have my 'stuff' moved to CA, so I could be a little more mobile.

So, before I came back, I started looking at moving companies, trying to figure out who could give me the best deal on coming and loading my belongings and delivering them to our house in CA. I contacted several companies for bids, made the decision and booked my move for October 1. I was going to be in Fairmont, and I figured I could have the movers come, take everything, I'd sell a few items and then I'd just have to worry about cleaning and painting the apartment. And, I'd have the next trip to Fairmont when I could finish things up. Right? WRONG!

The movers came, as scheduled on the morning of October 1. I showed them around and showed them what I needed packed and taken. The 'leader' was Israeli and had a thick accent, so I had trouble understanding him. But he was very clear in telling me that I had much more 'stuff' than what they had estimated. The girl who did my estimate, based it on a very thorough inventory list I'd given her, but apparently she underestimated and this guy was telling me I had about double what she had estimated. And, since they had only allowed for so much space on their truck, he would have to charge me 1 1/2 times more per 100 cubic feet over the amount they had alloted for me. GREAT. So, I asked that they pack the specific larger items and we could reasses after that. I was also told up front that credit cards were accepted for payments. But the crew leader told me they never accepted credit cards and I had to pay him with cash or money order. He basically insisted that I go to Walmart and get a money order with my credit card for him. I argued. I was LIVID at this point. So, I had to call the company in Atlanta, to fight with them over this. The manager there told me the girl who did my estimate was wrong and they did not accept credit cards. He threatened to cancel my move. I was pretty tough about this and I told him if he cancelled my moved I would be on the phone with the Better Business Bureau within 10 minutes. The guy actually raised his voice to me, asking 'Are you threatening me?!' But in the end, he backed down and let me use a credit card to pay for the pickup. Hurdle #1 jumped.

So, the guys proceeded to pack my stuff. They were friendly enough, althought I didn't trust them at all. The leader had told me how he went to West Point and had been in the military, had a degree in Engineering but he couldn't spell 'kitchen' to write 'kitchen table'. So, whatever.

After about 4 hours, they had packed and loaded much of the important stuff I had, but there was still about 1/3 of my stuff left and they seemed pretty rushed at that point. The leader told me that the boxes I had of my clothing and personal items would be cheaper shipped via UPS. They left behind several of the larger items I had told them needed to go, also. So, after he scammed me for an extra $150 for the little bit of extra space I took on the truck, I paid them and they left. And I had to figure out what to do with everything I had left. They didn't take any of the clothes in my closet, and left behind about 6 boxes I had already packed.

I ended up spending every evening the following week, going through my stuff and trying to figure out what to throw out or give to Goodwill and what I could pack and ship back to CA. HUGE disappointment and hassle. Luckily I had a company pickup truck and could pretty easily take loads to the dumpster and to Goodwill. What a mess! But, by the end of my trip, I made alot of progress. I sold some things on Craigslist, and some were spoken for. But there would be much left to do when I came back for the beginning of November.

Stay tuned! Another horror story is coming up, about the delivery of my 'WV stuff'!

Hurricane Donatelli

Pete made some real progress on moving things around and getting more stuff settled at the house while I traveled back to WV for two weeks of work in the office. For some crazy reason, we planned to have our Housewarming party on September 18, even though I was gone from August 29-September 12. Ambitious, I know :).

So, Pete's father and stepmother decided to come out for the party and Pete needed his dad's help with fixing some things around the house. We were all flying back on the same day, September 12. So, I was a little nervous about just getting back to CA and having Larry and Debbie there already. I was planning to work Monday and Tuesday that week, taking the rest of the week off to visit and prepare for the party. My assignment while the 'boys' were working on the house, was to take Debbie out running around in San Jose. Fun, right? Well, after all the travel and just getting back on Pacific Time, I really only wanted to sleep. But I do love to shop, so I was up for the task. Overall, we had a great time. Very busy, but fun all the same.

We even got to visit Wine Country for the day and I'd love to go back and spend some more time. The wineries are so spread out that it took us almost two hours to drive from the first one we visited and the second. The wine tastings were awesome and I will post pictures from them within a few days. Good wine, nice company and beautiful scenery. AND a 2+ hour drive back to San Jose, through San Francisco traffic was not so much fun :).

Our Housewarming party was a hit. We had about 20 people there all in all and everyone had fun. We had tons of food, I baked, Pete grilled and it seemed like everyone brought wine :). Good stuff! Then Sunday came and we were all exhausted. After my four days off, I was back to work that Tuesday and felt like I could use a vacation to recover from the four days off :). I know that's pretty common, but we did so much work over that time, to get ready to have people over for the party, there wasn't much of a break.

I titled this entry 'Hurricane Donatelli' because I tease Pete's dad about being 'Hurricane Larry'. He doesn't do anything softly. He walks fast and hard, and I see him as something of a bull in a china cabinet :). I love him, but he's 'All Go'. Pete had a short list of things he needed his dad's help with around the house, but almost immediately after Larry got to the house the first day, he insisted they needed to stain the deck. That wasn't even on the list, much less the first thing Pete wanted to tackle. But regardless, the went and spent $100 on stains and sprayers and spent the first afternooon staining the deck. And it looks gorgeous! But Pete had trouble getting past the fact that it wasn't on his To Do list :).

All in all, it was a great week. The party was a success and basically forced us into getting things more settled in the house, so it worked out well. And then the following weekend, I left again, to travel back to WV for another two weeks. That would be my fourth trip back.

Easily Distracted has been slacking!

I've been thinking about updating my blog for WEEKS now. And only now and I taking the time. I can't believe I haven't written anything in almost 3 months!

So, here's how this is going to shake out: I've been so lax in keeping up with the blog, I'm probably going to write several over the next few days, with different topics. What can I say, I've got LOTS to say and I don't think I should jumble it all up in one entry :).

Here's what's been keeping me SO busy I haven't had time to blog:
1. Moving into the house being an ongoing process
2. Traveling every two weeks for work
3. Moving out of my apartment in WV
4. Planning our wedding

So, I'm going to start where I left off the last time. I believe I was preparing for the termite fumigation for our new home.

To shorten what could be a long story, I prepared the house for fumigation, per the instructions we got from the termite 'people'. I trimmed back our plants in front of the house, made sure we didn't have anything edible inside, and Pete got permission slips signed by our neighbors. My next task was to be at the house to let the fumigators in and make sure everything was ok before locking up. What a HASSLE!

The crew leader came to me and said 'This house isn't prepped!!' Well, being new at the 'bug business' I said 'Yes it is! I did it everything the checklist said.' So, he proceeded to tell me that he would help me out by prepping the house, but he wasn't going to put things back when they came back to take the tenting off and everything. Fine. I have to say I felt a bit violated when he nearly destroyed all of the plants in front of the house, started taking down sections of our fencing and went through the house opening all of our cabinet doors, windows, dresser drawers, etc. I felt like saying 'hey, buddy, that's my closet!' So, the termite guy now knows what color panties I have in my underwear drawer. I actually left in tears because I was convinced they were going to hurt our house.

That evening we went by and saw the house completely covered by blue tenting with 'HAZARDOUS GAS' signs posted everywhere. Wasn't a great way to spend our time. But, the good news was, I got a call Monday afternoon that the house was cleared and we could go back in. So, I went over to check everything out and started closing drawers and cabinet doors. Tuesday we moved the majority of our things over from the apartment and Wednesday night we started sleeping there :).

At that point, I felt so much better because we were actually there and I could spend my non-work time putting things away and getting settled in. So, we moved into the house on Wednesday and the following Sunday, I was leaving again to head back to WV for two more weeks of work in the office. Not ideal!

So, that's Book 1 of our New Homeowners/Moving in story :). More to follow about the Housewarming party and Move-In Part 2!