Day 25: Adventures in Anosmia.

According to the internet’s most reliable source, wikipedia, anosmia is “a lack of functioning olfaction, or in other words, an inability to perceive odors.”  In OTHER other words, it’s a lack of a sense of smell, y’all.  I’ve had no sense of smell since birth.  However, I didn’t figure that out until around middle school.  I’m still not entirely sure how I made it twelve or so years without a sense of smell without noticing something was missing, but I am definitely relieved to finally know how on earth people figure out I cooked brownies when I leave no visible evidence.

There are many positive sides to no sense of smell (I grew up with two brothers y’all… think about it).  There are also some negative sides… I completely miss out on the “full experience” of some things because I can’t smell.  I can’t smell fresh flowers, or fresh rain, or the smell of ocean air at the beach.  I can’t smell something yummy cooking in the kitchen.  I can’t smell Dave.  That one is a pro and a con though… From what I’ve heard about men and their smells, if I’m going to commit myself to living with a man for the rest of my life, the positive likely outweighs the negative with no sense of smell, right?! 😉

I learned that my condition is called anosmia from an even more reliable source (the source of most of my knowledge): a mediocre romantic comedy.   The other day I was explaining to a real estate agent that if I had a gas stove, I would need a gas detector since I can’t smell a gas leak.  I told her that I learned my condition is called anosmia from an Ashley Judd movie.  She kind of looked at me like I was crazy.  How is that crazy?! 😉

In the movie, Someone Like You, Ashley Judd suffers a bad break up and she hates that every smell reminds her of her ex.  So she goes to the doctor to see if he can remove her sense of smell so she won’t have to remember her ex anymore.  After explaining the smells she says, “if I could just short-circuit my nose somehow I might actually have a chance at living a semi-normal life someday.”  And then the doctor says nine little words that changed my life, ” Why would you want to voluntarily make yourself anosmatic?”  Ok, it didn’t actually change my life, but for the first time ever I knew there was actually a word for me.

We ended up getting that house (a rental) and Dave promptly went online and ordered a gas detector so if I’m there alone I don’t blow up.  He is so thoughtful 😉


Day 24: Oops I Did it Again.

I billed approximately 20 hours in a 24 hour period which is why I didn’t update yesterday, and don’t quite have the will to write a real post right now, since I’m still running on a little under 2 hours of sleep.   It’s been so long that I kind of forgot what it’s like.  I also forgot that I was capable of running on very little sleep.  I use “capable” loosely, because while I got the work done, I may or may not have screamed repeatedly at a voice recording when I was on hold for over 45 minutes today.  I also may or may not have nearly burst into tears after the 500th time of hearing that recording remind me that all agents were busy.  I also took a shower while on hold.  I held my iphone away from me with one hand, and washed my grody hair with the other hand.  Desperate times call for desperate measures, y’all.  Truth be told, besides the fact that I REALLY needed a shower, I was hoping I would tempt fate and a live human would come on the phone just as I got the shampoo in my hair.  But alas, I was on hold for 20 minutes before I finally got in the shower, and over 20 minutes after I got out.  I also signed my full name (as in each letter) which I haven’t done since early college or possibly high school.  I also wrote the date as February 24, 2005.  At least I had the day right?

In the midst of it all, Ellie failed in her faithful companion role.  She was out like a light in my bed snuggled up to my pillow while I worked the night away.  Sometimes I really wish I could switch roles with her.  But somebody’s got to make money around here and no matter how hard I try I cannot get Ellie to master legal research.  Around 3am or so she came out to keep me company…. or so I thought.  She promptly fell asleep in my lap and started snoring.  Super helpful.  She’s lucky she’s cute 😉

Day 22: Funny Ways People Find My Blog.

So, I technically write this blog for myself (because I like having a written account of various events in my life, and it’s quite therapeutic and relaxing to sit down and write once in awhile) and for my family member and friends who like to keep up with my life.   However, the blog is public and so random strangers find my blog in random ways every day.  I have done this once before but figured I’d do it again.  Here are some search terms people have used that ultimately led them to posts on my blog:

1) “Paula Franzese.”  This is the all-time top search hit for my blog.  She’s a professor who teaches some Bar study courses, and one time I posted a funny LOL-cat picture including one of her songs.  That’s the only time I mentioned her.  But every year during bar study times, my blog lights up with people searching for her greatest hits. 

2) “Lawyer funny” or “Funny lawyer picture” or “studying for the bar” or “funny studying picture.”  I am pretty sure all of these search terms also lead to that same post.  I wish I had been a really interesting and funny person while I was studying for the bar, and could have provided more than an LOL-cat picture to represent my studying experience.  But alas, I was not a funny person.  I was a miserable-studying-12+hours-per-day-not-even-aware-it-was-july-already person.  I was a break-down-and-cry-about-almost-everything person.  Sorry to all the google-searchers who have came to blog thinking I would have useful or at least entertaining information about studying for the California bar exam.  I am not that girl 😉

3) “Choose me, Marry me” or “Martha Stewart” or “Martha Stewart Tall Show.”  Once upon a time I blogged about my almost trip to New York to attend the filming of an episode of the Martha Stewart tall show that was going to be about tall women.  Sadly, an epic snowstorm hit New York and the show went on but I could not get there.  Still, a few years later, I get blog hits for that. 

4) “procrastination coach” with various cities attached.  Pretty sure it’s due to this post.   Sorry, friends, I am a master procrastinator but I do not have a coach and I do not have any tips for you.  Even now, I have a million other things to do and what am I doing?  Blogging about how random strangers found my blog while looking for a procrastination coach.  Clearly, I cannot help you.

5) Various search terms involving “Zack Morris” because I once answered a Ten on Tuesday question about whether my first cell phone was as cool as his.  (Zack Morris phone, Zack Morris hot, Zack Morris hair, etc.)

6) Some REALLY weird ones: “me playing dentist” “what does an 18lb dog look like?” “how many ellies is there in the world” “pictures of cats cussing” “ABCs Underwear” and “young girl peeing.”  I am extremely disturbed by the last one, but I think it is due to a post I wrote about a statue in Belgium called “Mannekin Pis” which is a statue of a young boy peeing.  Also disturbing.

7)  Besides all the random searches that cause people to land on my blog, there are also searches that clearly led people to helpful posts, such as DIY searches (e.g., “using modge podge” “sewing a shower curtain” and “map pin board”  “DIY map letters” and “I can’t paint but want to make DIY art”) and travel searches (e.g., “coastal causeway ireland” “roadtrip from oregon to colorado” “things to do around bastogne belgium”).

But by far, for some reason my greatest “pride and joy” in terms of blog hits is this one:

 “Put a Keurig in a Car.”  Turns out Dave & I weren’t the only ones out there trying to find a way to make this work.  You are welcome internet world, we solved this one for you

(Note to readers:  The red/bolded words are links to the relevant posts).

Day 21: It’s Only Funny If It’s You (What People Think Lawyers Do)

Recently Making the Rounds on Facebook

Recently, on Facebook, these black charts (?) started making the rounds.  I have no idea who started it, and I didn’t even understand what it was until I saw one that said “Lawyer” on the top in my newsfeed and decided to click on it.  People have made them for all kinds of different jobs and activities, but obviously I like this one the best.

Whoever made this one is either older than me, or has older parents, because I really don’t think people my mom’s age think all lawyers are Perry Mason.  More like my grandparents age.  I haven’t asked my grandparents what they think I do, but they probably do think I’m Perry Mason or Matlock .  And while the Elle Woods thing is cute, I don’t think most people think of Elle Woods when they think of what lawyers are like.  She is exactly what lawyers are not supposed to be like, which is what makes that movie funny 😉

However, what my friends think I do (roll around in piles of money), what I think I do (the Lincoln Lawyer) and what I really do (try to claw my way out from piles of paper) are pretty accurate.  Except, it’s 2012 y’all, most of that “paper,” whether its briefs to read or documents to review, is all on my work-provided computer.

My brother has a slightly different career, and he made his own chart to depict what others think about what he does:

His job is tough!  But he has four kids under age 5, the boy has to sleep sometime 😉

Day 20: The Other Side.

Every year during law school I went to our school’s annual “Law School Dinner.”  It was basically a fun excuse to get dressed up and have a fancy dinner and take tons of photos with friends.  One thing I noticed was that it always seemed like we were sitting in the “nosebleeds” so to speak, in terms of how far we were away from the stage.  If this is our dinner, I thought, why are we sitting so far away?  Who are all these other people?

Well, this year I found out who all those “other people” were.  Those other people, my friends, are people who pay way more than $50 (the law student rate) to attend the dinner.  Those other people are actually lawyers.  Even more crazy?  Those other people actually get wine with dinner (we always had to buy our own drinks outside when I was a student).  Now, I guess, those “other people” are me.   Yep, I paid way more than $50/plate for Dave and I to attend the dinner this year and sit at one of my law firm’s tables.  Law schools gotta make money y’all.  And I am plenty happy to give them money, given how much they put into me.  We were sitting way closer than the law students, and had white and red wine on the table.  One of my coworkers (also an alum) quipped, “we are grownups now!”  Yep, we’re grown-ups.

I couldn’t find the dress I wanted to wear anywhere, but in my searching I discovered a dress I bought from an outlet years ago for $20 but never wore.  Score!  Unfortunately I did not take a full picture, but you can see a little of it in this picture 😉

One of the guys at the table “won” the centerpiece and let me have it.  I was so excited!

You should be happy to know the flowers are still alive and kicking on the dining table.  I’m not usually a fan of roses, but this flower combo (sans the creepy purple things) is really growing on me for a centerpiece idea 😉

I love it when I get the opportunity to go to an event at my law school, because it always reminds me how great of an experience it was, and how happy I am to be part of that community.  I have quite a few friends that are not happy to have our law school on their resume.  And I know a ton of people who majorly regret going to law school at all (both from my law school and plenty of others, because, spoiler alert to all the law students out there: being a lawyer is hard work, and often miserable work, and in this economy you are “lucky” to find lawyer work at all).  However, even in my darkest moments where I hate my job and wonder what I’ve drug myself into, I have never for one moment regretted my time at my law school.

The dinner also reminded me of how far I’ve come.  The first “fancy” dinner I ever went to was a recruiting dinner for my law school.  They had the tables set with multiple forks and utensils and I had no idea what glass was mine or what bread plate was mine or what fork I was supposed to use for my salad.  And it was a round table and I was sitting next to a fairly famous lawyer/political figure, and of course all eyes were on him which meant all eyes were also on me when I made the grave mistake of grabbing the dessert fork first instead of the salad fork.  Everyone gasped and a spot light shined right on me and security came to remove me from the table and threw me out in an alley.  Just kidding.  That last sentence didn’t really happen, but I did really grab the wrong fork and I felt humiliated when I realized everyone else had used the correct fork.  But I’m 99% sure nobody noticed or cared.  Also, I used my ninja skills to cleverly scoot my salad fork into the dessert fork position and nobody was the wiser.  The point of this story is that now I know which fork to use.  Also, that fairly famous lawyer sitting next to me?  He got up to speak and did not eat his dessert (chocolate cake).  Guess who did?  This girl.  There is probably an etiquette rule against eating two desserts at dinner… particularly against taking someone else’s dessert without asking.  However, I never said I was perfect 😉

(Note:  I am intentionally vague on this blog about my law school and my law firm because this blog is public.  Thanks to the internet these days, giving out those details would be equivalent to sharing my home address.  Also, I don’t mention those details because the views expressed here are not the views of my law school or my law firm and I don’t want there to be any confusion.)

Day 19: Another Paintspiration.

Like I said before, I do not consider myself an “artist” but I do enjoy slapping some paint on a canvas to make art for my home that is essentially cheap or free.  It’s not that I refuse to spend money on art, but why buy some when I can make my own and it’s fun for me?  The saved money is just icing on the cake 😉  A few months ago I saw a painting in the club house that came from a chain furniture store nearby:

I LOVED it.  I didn’t take a picture of it at the time, I just saw it and loved it and the image stuck in my mind.  (I went back after the fact to take a picture for this post).  Then one night shortly before Christmas, I found myself with the urge to paint something, and a small blank canvas to paint on.  So the dogs and I got to work:

Yes, I am using a dog bowl with a napkin in it for the paint.  (Don’t worry animal lovers!  This is my “paint bowl” now and neither dog uses it for a water bowl.)  First, I painted the whole canvas that yellow color, and brushed in some fake “clouds” with a little white paint.  Then I painted the mountain layers in one at a time by gradually started with a ton of white and a little blue paint, and gradually working in more and more black paint.  The result?  This quirky little painting:

I really like it, and without even realizing what I was doing, it kind of looks like it belongs in a series with my first painting:

I didn’t have any inspiration for that painting.  I was just bored one day in the break between taking the bar and starting my current job.  So I went down to a local art store and bought yellow and black paint, a canvas, and one paint brush.   Why only two colors?  Why only one brush?  I had only painted twice in my life.   Once was a particularly horrendous experience painting wooden christmas tree ornaments at church.  The other time was way back in high school.  And I remember thinking that my painting was fairly good, but I could not for the life of me figure out how to paint faces on the grandpa and the little girl.  The painting just looked CREEPY without faces, so I ultimately threw it away.  So I didn’t want to sink too much money into this thing in case it crashed and burned like my prior experiences.  The only thing I knew for sure when I walked into that art store was that I couldn’t do anything with faces (be it Frosty the Snowman or a grandpa and granddaughter).  And I really like ugly shades of yellow, so I figured yellow and black paint was the way to go.  Then I decided to do tree silhouettes.  The problem?  I only bought a big brush.  So I found  an old, small make-up brush, and guess what?  Apparently make-up brushes can make cool trees.  Apparently that is the only kind of tree I can do though… because I tried to make a different tree painting a few weeks later, and failed miserably.

I think I need at least one more painting with that yellow color.  Time will tell what it will be 😉

Day 18: Keep Calm and Lawyer On

This week at work has been one of those weeks.  For some reason my mind always wanders to that scene in Michael Clayton where that lawyer suddenly cracks in a deposition and starts stripping off all his clothes and runs out of the room all crazy.  The reality is that nearly all jobs are that way, right?  You have days that are not so bad, and you have days that make you think maybe selling everything you own, living out of your car, and working part time at a food truck would be preferable.  Or am I alone in thinking that?  😉

The point is, after five of those days, I decided to take a quick break from work to search around the internet for something to make me think happy thoughts about being a lawyer and/or remind myself to chill out.  I started googling around for a “Keep Calm” poster for lawyers.   Back during WWII, the British government produced these posters that said, “Keep Calm and Carry On” which were intended to boost morale during the war.   Somewhere in the last decade, the posters were rediscovered and have become fairly popular.


Now, people have made all kinds of posters.  Keep Calm and Sail On.  Keep Calm and Sew On.  Keep Calm and Write On.  Keep Calm and Eat a Cupcake.  You get the idea.  (I seriously approve of that last one!)  So I started looking for a lawyer one, but I couldn’t quite find what I was looking for.   However, I did find this great Etsy shop called Encore Prints that prints “Keep Calm” sayings on old antique book pages from the 1800s.  I LOVE the look, and totally intend to buy some (I am leaning toward the “Keep Calm and Write On” one to hang in my home office and encourage my non-work writing).

And it gave me a great idea!  I have an “antique” (1930s) Blacks Law dictionary.  I couldn’t bring myself to tear an actual page out of it (Encore Prints prints on real pages!), so I decided to photocopy a page.  To add extra lawyer nerdiness, I picked a page with super lawyerly words such as “res judicata.”

I had a frame laying right by the printer that I bought at Ikea a few years ago but never used, and it was perfect for this project.

I measured the opening, and then hopped on my Mac to create a “Keep Calm” template in Pages.  I used “Arial Hebrew” font, and I googled “scales of justice” to find a little icon to put at the top.  It was super easy to drag the icon right from the google page into my document.

(Note: I took this photo today, while waiting in the car for Dave… I did not make this project in the car).

Then I put my photo copied page back in the printer, and printed my template (making sure to load the paper right so that the words would print on the correct side).  And I got this:

This is the kind of thing that would normally require trial and error but I happened to get it right on the first try!  Then I just had to trim the edges so it would fit in the frame, and I was done!  So, from start to finish, including googling around to try to find a print I could just buy, I spent about six minutes on this project.  And here is the finished project:

I LOVE it.  I am contemplating redoing it with slightly bolder letters.  But otherwise I love, love, love it!   Especially since it was basically free.  Hopefully this will help me remember to calm down and not run out of the room naked like a crazy person 😉


Day 17: Every Girl Loves to Sign Her Bonus Check Over to the Dentist

I had grand ideas for my year-end bonus I received in December.  Mainly of the OMG!EUROPE!FUND! variety.  Unfortunately, my mouth had other plans.  Dental bills are crazy.  Even when you have insurance, you still have to shell out hundreds of dollars for things that seem like they should be routine and fairly inexpensive.  So when you are raised by a single working mom with 3 kids, and a single filling costs $$$ even with insurance, let’s just say you’re not going to have routine and consistent dental care.  And given that braces aren’t covered at all, and are $$$$, braces are out of the question if you are that one kid of the three who has crooked teeth (me).

So I finally got a job where I could afford whatever dental care I needed, but with the slight complication that I didn’t have time to go to the dentist.  Last March, I was so busy at work that I got a killer tooth ache and just tried to power through it for the week because I really didn’t have time for an emergency dental visit.  I was slathering that oragel stuff in my mouth every 15 minutes or so… which is completely against the recommendation (something like only 3 times per day).  It was a miserable week.  I couldn’t sleep.  Then, finally, on Sunday, I couldn’t take it anymore.  I was pretty sure I was going to have to rip my mouth off my face to survive if I didn’t see a dentist ASAP.  Unfortunately, pretty much no dentists are open on Sundays.  There was a very, very sketchy sounding emergency clinic in downtown L.A. that I found on the internet, but I was not entirely confident that I would leave with all of my organs if I went there.  Then, it turned out I had a friend who had a friend who was a dentist, so I drove down to Redondo Beach on a Sunday afternoon for an emergency dental visit.  The decay was so bad she had to pull the tooth, and then put some bone in there and stitch it up because I basically had no bone left in that spot.  Yep, I have a random dead person’s mouth bone in my face.  That’s not weird or creepy at all, I know.

(Let me just clarify that nobody at work said, “No, Michelle. You can’t go to the dentist.” I was just so crazy busy I didn’t know what to do.)

She said there was more work to do, but of course I got too busy again and didn’t go back.  So finally, January rolled around and I decided to go back to the dentist.  However, I wasn’t even thinking about cavities or anything like that, I was just thinking about finally getting my crooked teeth fixed.  I was open to veneers or invisalign, but I needed something.  When they realized I hadn’t been to the dentist since last march, they asked if I wanted a cleaning.  “Sure!” I said.  Bad news bears.  It turned out I needed two root canals, and two cavities filled.   Even with insurance, the total was somewhere in the neighborhood of $2500.

However, after 3+ fairly painful and tedious weeks of dental visits, my teeth are in pretty good shape.  And the good news is: I am eligible for Invisalign!   When I first went in, we were newly engaged but keeping it a secret for the time being (except for our families), but I totally spilled the beans and was all, “I’ve been wanting to fix my teeth for a long time, but I just got engaged and now I’m getting married and I really want straighter teeth for the wedding! And OMG let me tell you all about my ideas.”  (Later when I told Dave he was like “… you told the dentist?!”  Men just don’t understand, amiright?! ;-)).

The bad news is that it is going to take close to two years.  The good news is that while they won’t be completely fixed by the time our September wedding, they should be significantly better.   And the dentist is throwing in a free zoom whitening as a wedding gift 😉  And Dave is getting invisalign too so we’ll be invisalign buddies.  He already has a great smile, but he thinks his bottom teeth could use a little help.

Me getting fitted for molds. I look hot, right?!

It’s a really small dental office with a dentist, assistant, and receptionist and they are GREAT.  The assistant actually told me to take the above picture and post it on Facebook.  A woman after my own heart.


Day 16: Lady & The Tramp (Not the Disney Kind)

It’s always a bit difficult to ease into a new relationship when kids are involved.  In our case, kids = dogs.  When we met, Dave had an 18lb Rat Terrier named Cosmo that he had rescued from the vet several months prior.  I had a 9lb Manchester Terrier that my coworker had rescued from the street about a year earlier.  I thought maybe our dogs could be friends.  Most people think our dogs are or should be good friends.  Not so much.  The picture above?  They were only sitting so close because we were in Oregon and it was COLD.  A better depiction of their relationship is this:

Ellie is thinking, “Poor me” and Cosmo is thinking, “Girl, please. You are lucky I let you exist.”

The first time our dogs met, Cosmo had to wear a muzzle so he wouldn’t bite her.  He was defening the home front.  Then, for several months after we started dating, he would still bite Ellie on occasion, particularly if she dared try to sit in either my lap or Dave’s lap.  Even now, Cosmo and Ellie have been around each other regularly for nearly 10 months, and Cosmo will still randomly start sniffing Ellie and then bark at her like she’s an intruder.

The good news is that we’ve made progress.  For the most part, he’s stopped biting her.  Also, she used to cower away whenever Cosmo barked.  Then it turned to her flipping out back at him, like “LEAVE ME THE HECK ALONE ALREADY.  I’M HERE TO STAY. GET OVER IT.”  Now, they sometimes try to play together, and will share a lap when it is advantageous to both parties (as in both dogs… generally because I am the only one around).  But Cosmo still does the barking thing sometimes, and Ellie still does the “I WILL CUT YOU IF YOU DON’T LEAVE ME THE HECK ALONE” freak out in response.  Hopefully this will gradually work itself out.  The signs of them playing give me hope.

But this post is not actually about how well they do or don’t get along, it is actually about how incredibly different they are, which we find amusing.  They are both “small dogs,” both rescue dogs, both LOVE to eat, and both breeds were bred to hunt rats.  But that is about where their similarities stop.  Dave referred to them as “The Lady and the Tramp” the other day, because we often joke that Ellie is originally from Bel Air and Cosmo is originally from the hood.  Ellie definitely has a snobby, drama queen attitude, and tends to treat Cosmo like he’s below her.. which is probably why he tries to pretend she doesn’t exist 😉

Here are just some of their differences:

Cosmo: Must be touching a human at almost all times. If Cosmo is not touching a human, and a human is home, you better be on the look out, because he is not the type that wanders off into another room to be good.  It’s always bad news if Cosmo is not in eye sight.
Ellie:  Would almost always rather not be touching a human.  If nothing exciting is going on, she prefers to be buried under blankets in a room by herself.  If she isn’t in sight when a human is home, 95% of the time that means she is sleeping.  The other 5% of the time she is accidentally locked in a room or accidentally locked outside and we think she is sleeping.  The point is, there is pretty much no chance she is doing anything bad.

Cosmo:  When humans aren’t home, as long as any bedroom doors are closed, all he will do is sleep.  There is rarely any evidence that he moved at all, no matter how long you are gone (Dave has left him home alone for over 12 hours before.  No sign Cosmo ever left the couch).  We never have to worry about leaving this guy alone anywhere.  (But if the bedroom doors are open, he will bite holes in blankets).
Ellie: Like I said before, if humans are around she mainly sleeps.  If humans aren’t around and she is left alone, about 80% of the time she’ll just sleep and perhaps rearrange shoes and undergarments in a sort of mafia like “leave me alone again and I won’t just move these I will chew them up” fashion.  The other 20% of the time she  does in fact chew things up.  She is the biggest fan of destroying leather products and electronics.  Particularly if they belong to men i.e. Dave.  And she is a ninja jumper, so even things on counters and top shelves are not safe.   This is why I gave in and Ellie now hangs out in her “penthouse” when she is left alone.

Cosmo: Will not sit on command unless you are holding a treat or something he wants.
Ellie:  Will sit on command even without a treat, but won’t necessarily stay there.

Cosmo: Will freak out like the world is ending if you attempt to put him in a crate.
Ellie: Will go into the crate voluntarily if you say, “Ellie, Crate.”  She LOVES it if the door is open and she chooses to go in there, and will often sleep in there voluntarily.  She is not the biggest fan of being locked in there. But she doesn’t whine or try to get out.  She just lets out a big sigh and buries herself in her blanket.

Cosmo: He assumes any stuffed toy is fair game and will destroy the heck out of it in under 5 minutes.  The first time he came to my apartment in L.A., he got one of Ellie’s owls and had it ripped open, stuffing torn out, and ripped into tiny shreds in less than 3 minutes.  If we take him to someone’s house who has babies, he will steal the baby’s toys and try to kill them.  The only thing he can’t seem to destroy is his red kong.  But he doesn’t try to destroy anything that isn’t a toy, so that’s good 😉
Ellie: Loves to play with stuffed toys and does not kill them.  She tries to mimic Cosmo but can’t seem to figure it out.  How is it that the girl can chew up blue tooths and game controllers like nobody’s business, but can’t figure out a stuffed animal??  On the bright side, her toys last way longer than they would for Cosmo.  On the downside, she can’t play with her toys around Cosmo.

Cosmo:  White fur, Male, acts like he’s from the Hood
Ellie:  Black fur, Female, acts like she’s from Hills

Cosmo:  Is not remotely bothered/interested in the TV.  Does not even appear to be aware that any sound comes out of the TV.  How is it that he will bark at a dog barking outside, but not be remotely concerned about a dog barking on the TV?
Ellie:  Loves watching TV.  Particularly HGTV, and action movies.  She also growls at crying/whining kids or babies on TV (as well as in person).  She is going to be a TREAT when I have my own kids.

Cosmo:  Chubby.
Ellie:  Extremely skinny/lean build.  Not worth eating (kidding!!)

Cosmo:  Totally cool with babies, children, or humans of any kind.  Also completely unaware that cats exist (a cat can walk right by him and its as if the cat was invisible).  However, he will pretty much try to fight any other dog to the death, regardless of size.
Ellie:  Not a fan of children, babies, old people, asian women, anyone on wheels (e.g. wheelchairs or bikes).  Absolutely HATES cats, but totally cool with other dogs.

Cosmo: Likes to go outside, but would prefer to stand around and stare and smell things, not so much a fan of walking.  And would rather take the elevator than the stairs.  Always lags behind.
Ellie: LOVES to go outside, and loves to cover as much ground as possible.  She will hike up and down a mountain without so much as a pant, and she will look back at me with judging eyes like “My legs are wayyy shorter than yours.  What is your problem?!”  She always leads the way.

Cosmo:  If you ask him where his “monkey” is (his kong), he will run off and sniff the world until he finds it and will bring it to you to throw it.
Ellie:  If you ask her where anything is, she will have no idea what you are talking about.  Even if you point.

Seriously, I’m not sure they could be any different aside from one of them being a Great Dane or something.  Regardless of all of their differences, they both have TONS of personality, and overall they are both really good dogs.  I think we make a good blended family 😉

Day 15: On Being Grown-Ups.

It’s funny how as a kid being a grown-up seems so awesome.  From a kid’s perspective, it kind of seems like adults just swim around in piles of money, eat candy for breakfast, and otherwise get to do whatever they want.  I think that’s how they get you.  The grown-ups that is.  They want you to grow up so you can start taking care of yourself and pay taxes and stop being a burden on anyone else.  So they lure you in with these grand ideas of fun and endless money and candy for breakfast.  And then they’re all “GOTCHA! Now you must have tons of bills and stress about money and plan for your future and raise your own bratty babies!”

I’m mostly kidding here, but let’s face it:  being a grown-up is not quite as awesome as it seems from the eyes of a child.   But I really can’t complain too much because I did in fact eat cookies for breakfast this morning.  But the truth is, even when you have money, being an adult and making “adult” decisions can be stressful.  And at the very least, not what you expected as a kid.

How did we spend our Valentine’s Day?  No, not swimming in a pool of champagne and flowers and gorging ourselves on chocolates.  We spent our Valentine’s Day discussing our married life budget, our financial goals for the next couple of years, and two very different but awesome rental houses (no need to buy a southern CA house when the Navy could ship us elsewhere in 1.5 years).

The house situation is TOTALLY like an episode of House Hunters.  We have narrowed it down to two:

Option 1:

  • Pros: Very affordable, super close to great hiking trails, 3 car garage (which means plenty of room for both cars, bikes, and DIY projects), completely updated kitchen, huge master suite, front loading brand new washer and dryer, smoker and fire pit included, central air
  • Cons: No view, wasted space (the house is 2200 sqft, and includes a formal livingroom/sitting room and an extra bedroom that we just wouldn’t use), cookie cutter neighborhood (every house looks pretty much the same), some parts are carpeted and hardwoods are fake (we love all hardwoods), 2-story (we like one story better), not much counter space in kitchen, and microwave is on kitchen counter (so even less space)

Option 2: 

  • Pros: AMAZING ocean and canyon views (you can hear the ocean from the back deck), amazing outdoor spaces (see last pro!)– huge back deck, sizeable front yard with grass for the dogs and two side yards, real hardwood throughout (no carpet), one story, no wasted space, TONS of counter space in the kitchen, not cookie cutter at all
  • Cons: 25% more expensive (and when you are talking california rental prices, 25% is a LOT!), Kitchen is not completely updated (pretty sure the stove is the same stove from the 60s), no A/C (although it is right by the ocean so super breezy)

Both houses are about the same distance from Dave’s work, both are in quiet, safe neighborhoods, neither house is really walkable to shops or restaurants but neither is too far of a drive, both have nice outdoor spaces (although the the outdoor space at #2 is considerably nicer given the size, ocean views, and sound of the ocean), both have plenty of storage (including walk-in closets), and both have laundry rooms and plenty of kitchen storage space.  Also, both have very open floor plans which we love (although House #1 is a little more open).  And while House #2 doesn’t have a 3-car garage, it does have a 2-car garage which is plenty for 2 people with only 2 cars. It would just be nice to have that little bit of extra garage space 😉

In the end it comes down to:

#1:  Really too much space, and no view, but a great house and a great price
#2:  Views to DIE for, and a great house, but can we justify the price?

This is what turned our plans of a quiet night cooking a Valentine’s dinner together to discussing finances for a few hours.  And those are the moments that make me think, “holy cow I am an ADULT now.” (Even though I’m 27 and should be fully aware that I’m an adult now, after nearly 10 years of legally being one).

Which house will they choose?  Stay tuned, y’all 😉