Friday, January 24, 2014

Out with the OLD...

In with the NEW…

I don't consider myself a New Years Resolution kind of person.  I like to make changes in my life throughout the year, not one time a year. I think the pressure to come up with how you want to change yourself just because its a new year is kind of a waste of time and unfair to your life goals. I could hope for a ton of changes in my life - don't nag Andrew as much, volunteer in my community, exercise 5 times a week, see family and friends more, budget better, etc etc etc. Lets face it, the reality is that most people make these resolutions and they slowly fade away in 2-3 weeks, two months max.  Fitness facilitates have certainly learned how to capitalize on this one.

I am in favor of a new year and a fresh start. The prospects of a new year are exciting, especially when you realize you are getting married! So in lieu of fresh starts and a new year, I decided to have a few "Out with the old, In with the new" moments.

First thing, a new blog theme! Can I get some oohs and ahhhs?!? Thanks to my good old creative friend Etsy and 17th Avenue Designs I have a new stylish look for my blog. I even installed the theme myself and found out exactly how to put in the social media icons - hey, I'll give my not-so-tech-savy self a pat on the back for that one.

Secondly, has anyone seen the new season of Downton Abbey?!  I can't wait for my juicy gossip "stories" on Monday night, when I can finally sit down and watch it on the Apple tv.

There have been quite a few "out with the old, in with the new" in our house in the past 3 weeks! It's back…the massive, overwhelming white board.  Goliath meets David. Out with the old house goals and in with the new ones.  Ambitious?! Certainly, but this house isn't going to fix itself…

Oh, did I mention the new leak we found in our roof? Might be old, might be new, regardless I wish it wasn't there…

January 2 (yes, just 2 days after our engagement, so romantic) we started pulling old horse hair plaster from our bedroom.  We quickly filled a 20 yard dumpster via a chute in our bathroom in less than a week.  As with all house projects, what was supposed to be a one room project became two plus the hall. The original goal was to demo our bedroom and create an inviting bedroom with ample closet space.  It morphed into complete demolition of the master bedroom, office and part of the hallway.  And what a MESS it was!! Holy smokes! Horse hair plaster and old cotton, blown in insulation is absolutely disgusting.  Take my word for it. I felt like Pig-Pen from Peanuts the entire week of demo - like there was a cloud of dust following me even when I went to sleep.  Gross.

So in 3 weeks we have brought both rooms down to studs; removed both closet structures; re-insulated; removed the old window in our bedroom and replaced it with a new, Anderson 400 window; framed our new closet; added a hall linen closet layout; installed 9 can lights, 3 light switches, and 12 outlets; rewired the ENTIRE upstairs with 6 new home runs with proper conduit;  put in 2 coax boxes; and created a massive mess in our house.

Tomorrow is sheetrock, a trip to the dump, and the final touches on the framing for the closets. Somehow these Saturday plans get me excited (non-sarcastic), mostly because we can then turn on the heat upstairs...

Sunday, January 5, 2014


This was Andrew's and my 3rd New Years together and arguably the best. Well, maybe only our 2nd as I was working a caribbean charter last NYE.  But case in point being that Andrew and I don't particularly even like New Years, so I wasn't really expecting this year's sentiments to be any different. I usually feel like Ashton Kutcher's character in New Year's Eve - hating the resolutions and promises that get forgotten a few short weeks later; the pressure to drink, dress up & have an amazing night because you have to, it's NYE!; and the anticipation of staying up until midnight when all I usually want to do is go to bed early and not feel hungover the next day.  Don't get me wrong, the transition from old to new is refreshing and the prospects of the new year can be exhilarating.  I for one find hope in all the unknowns of a new year and anticipation for things to come. And this year is no different.

I am getting MARRIED in 2014! Talk about fresh starts…

I would have never in my wildest dreams imagined that 1. Andrew would propose on NYE or 2. that I would be engaged in 2013. I guess life is full of surprises:)

The funny part is…I was supposed to get engaged on the most random holiday of the year that is actually printed on a calendar…GROUNDHOGS DAY.

Yep, that's right, Andrew was going to originally propose on Groundhogs Day, February 2...before I ruined it.  In typical Maria fashion I pulled out my most obnoxious trait of controlling and anxiously planning and got in the way of Andrew's calculated plan.  Instead of just going with the flow, I pushed.

Not surprisingly, Andrew also doesn't believe in giving gifts because "you have to". Prime example: Christmas. So in lieu of gifts this year, we decided to put our Christmas funds toward a winter ski trip.  Just after Christmas we started discussing possible dates and places while I was still in Virginia with family.  Andrew found a great ski & stay package at Attitash in NH the week of February 2! Perfect, except the fact that I had semi committed to representing Sail Caribbean at some camp fairs that week.  I sent Andrew back to the drawing board but all he could come up with was February 2. Red Flag #1. When I returned from Virginia the argument ensued…I really wanted to go another weekend, possibly one in late January. Andrew was quite persistent about February 2.  Red Flag #2. It got so far as for Andrew to go off in a huff and me to CALL Attitash and ask if they had the ski & stay package for the prior weekend.

Yes people, I am THAT blonde and oblivious.

I of course left Andrew a note on his desk for when he returned to say, "Great news! They have the same ski & stay package the weekend before:)".  Clearly, I couldn't just let it GO.

A few hours later, Andrew returns, throws his hands up in the air in exasperation and says…"I was trying to do something nice for us Maria!! Attitash was a cover. You said awhile back you wanted to do something on Groundhogs Day"….Smoke Signals...To which I mentally realize exactly what is going on and have a panic attack because I have just RUINED the surprise and any hope of an engagement.  I am literally trying to press the life rewind button as quickly as possible.

So Andrew decides he needs to leave the house again and go run some errands. I am almost in tears and call my dear friends Mary Ann and Anne to rehash the horrible situation that I have put myself in…I am devastated.  Anne tells me to just forget about it. Don't think about it anymore and FORGET it. So I do just that.

New Years Eve I go into Newport for the afternoon to visit Andrew's sister, brother-in-law & kids. Andrew decides to stay home and "do a few things". Red Flag #1 (again). Looking back now I realize how giddy and excited Cath & the kids are, but figure its leftover from the Christmas sugar rush.  Red Flag #2. When I get home, Andrew asks me to come into our back living room while he lights a fire for our friends who are coming over in a few hours. I sit on the couch and we chat. Andrew all of a sudden sits on the "poof" across from me and says, "So, I decided to embrace the fact that you are a planner and absolute control freak. It actually can be one of your best traits. Which is why I wrote up a proposal plan that I want you to look over. I want you to make sure you like how I'm going to propose to you." I AM SITTING ON THE COUCH HORRIFIED.  I don't want to know how Andrew is going to propose…that's NOT how they do it in fairy tales or Disney movies or cheesy chick flicks. I don't want to read this 20 page document in a plastic sleeve with pictures, diagrams and step-by-step instructions.
As I am sitting there horrified and saying no you can't do this, Andrew says, "So that's why I decided that I have to propose to you when you least expect it." He pulls the ring from his pocket and says, "Maria, will you marry me?"

To which I of course burst into tears, say yes, then ask if he's sure, then say, "really?!" again and again.

And so this New Years was one of serendipity, a joyous surprise to end 2013.

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