Wednesday, March 31, 2010
The second bedroom seemed ridiculously small. It housed our office with a desk, large bookcase, display cabinet, futon, and a jewelry armoire and it seemed jam packed. All I could think was where are we going to put a crib? Hubby told me everything would be fine and that we'd just move furniture out of the room. All I could think was where in the hell are we going to move it to?
We have two enclosed porches, one on the front of the house and one on the back. The front one is my "craft" (or chaos) room. I had a lot of stuff jam packed in there as well. Hubby thought we could move the futon and the computer desk in with the craft stuff. I was not buying it, but Hubby, it turns out, has better vision than I.
Not only did the futon fit, but it made a nice place for me to sit down and work on small things like jewelry in front of the t.v. The computer desk fit nicely on the other end of the porch. All of my crafting supplies and surfaces fit around everything else.
As for the bedroom (soon to be the nursery), the crib fits in there perfectly as well as an armchair (which I'll eventually replace with a rocker). The tall bookcase stayed and another small bookcase came in for baby storage. There is even room for a dresser/changing table.
I've started decorating a little bit. I'm trying not to go overboard, since we still don't know if it's a boy or girl. (See discussion on color schemes here and here.) I've been mostly sticking with the black and grays, since that will go with either color scheme.
Now, I know these descriptions are better with pictures. I'll show you the current status of the nursery, but it looks bare and undecorated right now, so be wary of that. As for the craft porch/office, you'll have to wait until I can finish reorganizing because it's a total disaster right now! ;) All right, enough disclaimers, on with the pictures:
Corner with the crib:Opposite corner with armchair (also note some of Hubby's "office" decor is still on the walls. This will get relocated if we have a girl!) :
Tall bookcase that stayed:
The final corner with display cabinet and room for dresser/changing table:
Since all this, I've been reading on various blogs ways to make even a rental feel like your home. Nobody does this better than The Nester over at The Nesting Place (see what I mean here and here) She even has a post about being brave and painting the walls in your rental here. Her attitude is don't ask if the landlord never said not to and if you have to paint it back when you leave so be it. (Now granted, The Nester is talking about painting the walls a neutral color). Now, if only I could convince my Hubby this is a good philosophy....
I'll keep you all up to date on rearranging our house (with more pics I promise!) as I can. (Read: if I have the baby tomorrow, you're SOL for awhile!) ;)
Do you live in a rental? Have you? What did you do to make it a home?
Tuesday, March 30, 2010
I love the anchor detail on this. I had some cotton rope in my stash (originally picked up in the fabric notions section of walmart). Looks are a little deceiving on this one. I put a hole in each side of the tin using a nail and hammer. Then I used wire to make a little hanger to thread the rope through on the back. I covered the wire on the front of the tin with cute little rope knots. The knots are just hot glued on.
I took my fabric button kit like this one:and some blue and white ticking fabric I had and made buttons. Then I cut the back button part off and stuck them to magnets. Ta Da! Now I have a set of matching magnets. Here's the board at work:
So, what do you think? I love the way this turned out. I need to do this to more of my tin trays! There are a few that are plain silver that I'm thinking of painting with chalkboard paint in the middle. Wouldn't that be great?
*Shared over at:
Do it Yourself Day at A Soft Place to Land
Monday, March 22, 2010
I had retaken the bar and was not so patiently for the results. Finally, April came around. It was the big day. I took the morning off. The office had planned a big lunch celebration (no pressure!). D took the day off so he could be with me when we found out. The list came up. I had my number in my hand. I was too afraid to look, but couldn’t look away. D slowly scrolled down the screen until he got to where my number should be…and it was there! I passed the bar! D and I hugged each other and started crying. The office waited about 15 minutes after they knew scores were posted to call me. This time, I had happy news to share.
I felt like things were finally going to be all right for D and I. We both had jobs. I had finally passed the bar. We were starting to settle into our town and our lives together. D had a scare at work. They let a bunch of people go. Luckily, D was not one of them. A few months later, they let D’s boss go. D is now the only one with an engineering degree left at the company (it’s a small company). Realistically, this means D finally has pretty good job security. D has been working there for almost three years now.
D and I are now expecting our first child. The baby is due on April 3rd (as I said, any day now!). We started looking at houses. We looked at a lot of houses. And then, we looked at some more houses. We finally found one that we like a lot. We had previously been given verbal pre-approval at the bank. We put in an offer. After a little negotiation, we accepted a counter-offer. We sent the purchase agreement on to the bank. Then the bottom dropped out.
Apparently, the federal standards had changed from our previous discussions with the banker. Our credit scores were now too low according to the new standard (but not the previous one). It didn’t matter that we had 10% to put down on the house. At this point, it looks like the dream of owning a house will have to wait. We have one “hail Mary pass” so to speak out there, but I’ve resigned myself to the fact that we’re not going to be able to get a house right now.
On top of all this, one of the attorneys in my office informed me that “they weren’t sure if they were keeping me yet.” So, I may have to find another job in this economy. I’m not looking forward to that. So, it may be for the best that we weren’t able to get the house. All the sea of uncertainty has been hard on D and I during the 9th month of my pregnancy.
Despite all this, I feel like we’ve been through worse. All the job losses, taking the bar twice, etc. makes me feel like D and I are prepared for whatever comes next. We have always been able to turn things around and they have always worked out for us. Every time life gives us a blow, it seems like it isn’t long before we are back on top. D and I have been through the wringer several times, but the only way to squeeze out the extra water is to do so. And it does feel nice to get rid of all the extra water weight!
I hope you enjoyed our story. It feels good to share it with all of you.
Tuesday, March 16, 2010
While looking for places to live, I was also applying for jobs. There wasn’t anything actually listed as a job opening for an attorney nearby, so I began sending out letters and resumes. One contact in Redwood seemed promising. D’s dad asked his friend’s brother (an attorney in town) if they had any openings. It turned out that an attorney had just left their office.
I set up an interview. The interview seemed to go well. Less than a week later, they hired me! Now that I had a job, I became even more nervous about the bar exam. I still hadn’t heard if I passed or not. In fact, I had to wait until October to find out. That was over a month away.
I started work right away. I did work for the other attorneys in the office until I knew if I passed the bar or not. The big day finally came. I took the day off, knowing I didn’t want to find out at work with everyone there. D went to work as usual, but planned to call me at the time the passing exam numbers were posted. D called a few minutes before the list was posted. We both had my exam number in front of us. I began frantically searching the list as it came up. I looked three times, but my number wasn’t there. I was devastated.
I began to cry as I realized I didn’t pass. What was I going to do now? I had a job, one that depended on my passing the bar. Over half of the people who graduated in my class didn’t have jobs yet, and I was going to lose mine before they even had one.
D realized how upset I was and asked if I wanted him to come home. At first, I thought I would tough it out, but quickly realized I didn’t want to be alone. D took the rest of the day off and drove the 20 minutes home. When he got there, all I could do was cry. He held me in his arms while I sobbed.
A few hours later, work called. They knew I was finding out today if I passed or not. I had the really hard task of telling them I had not passed. They told me to take it easy for the day and the firm would talk about the consequences later. I was sure I was going to lose my job. I began to doubt myself. Maybe I wasn’t cut out to be an attorney. Maybe I didn’t study hard enough. Maybe it was too much to take on the bar and a wedding in such a short amount of time.
Going to work the next day was agonizing. I was convinced they were going to ask me to pack my things and leave. Instead, the firm decided to give me another shot. They were pretty clear about what would happen if I didn’t pass. I was given the option to keep working for a few months, and then take some time off to study for the next bar in February. I took it.
I began studying during none busy moments at work. Starting in December, I began working only half days, working in the morning and studying in the afternoon. In January, I took the whole month off to take a live review class. In February, I took the bar. Then I had to wait until April to find out if I passed or not. This time, I felt more confident after I took the test. But I didn’t know if that confidence was due to the fact that I actually did better or if it was just wishful thinking.
Did I actually pass the bar this time? Find out tomorrow in Part VIII.
*D and I right after geting engaged!
The whole time this was happening, I had no idea what was going on around me. I was totally engrossed in the moment. When D and I finally pulled apart, I looked around the room. My entire family was crying. My parents, my brother, my grandparents, aunts and uncles and cousins were all there.
Okay, I know what some of you are thinking. Why a Cracker Jack box? During the time I was pressuring D to get engaged, D would often say we just didn’t have the money for that right now (he was right). My pouty reply was always, “I don’t care if the ring comes out of a Cracker Jack box!” D remembered that phrase and turned it into a wonderful proposal.
I had no idea that D was planning to propose. After D had his new job, I figured it would take awhile before he could save up enough money for a ring. I just assumed that he was more likely to propose around graduation time.
My last semester of law school happened in a whirlwind. All of a sudden, it was graduation. I had applied to take the Minnesota bar. D and I were planning a wedding, and I had no idea where I was going to find a job.
I spent the summer studying for the bar. I split my time between my parents’ house and D’s parents’. Luckily, they were only an hour and a half apart. The bar was set for mid July. D and I had decided to get married in August. (Yeah, I know, I didn’t leave much time there did I?) So in between studying for the bar, my mom and I made a lot of wedding decorations.
I took the bar exam. I had no idea how I did. In some ways I felt like I did well, in others, not as much. For the next two weeks, I threw myself into last minute wedding preparations. When the big day came, I was ready to be married. The only things still weighing on my mind was whether or not I passed the bar and finding a job.
Our wedding was a huge success. D and I had a wonderful time. The day was warm, but not ridiculously hot. We saw so many people and for the most part, everything ran smoothly. I was so happy to be finally marrying the love of my life.
The only problem was now what? D and I didn’t have a clue where we would live or where I would find a job.
Monday, March 15, 2010
It wasn’t very long into that search that we had to sit down and decide something very tough. There was not a lot available for D in his field where we were currently located. That was added with the fact that I only had one year left of law school before I would be graduating. D and I went back and forth on this awhile. I finally told D he needed to apply to any job he could find that would be in his field, no matter where that job might be.
Things became stressful in our relationship. D was depressed about the job situation. I was trying to finish law school. During this time (and prior to D’s job loss), I was also adding to the stress by putting pressure on D to get engaged. Looking back, it was clearly not the time to be thinking of getting married, but I couldn’t seem to help myself from adding that pressure.
D continued filling out job applications and going to interviews. One interview occurred at a small company in a small town in Minnesota. We knew the job prospects for D were better in his home state of Minnesota. The only effect it had was whether or not I would take the bar exam in South Dakota or Minnesota.
D ended up getting the job in Minnesota. Late that fall, D had to move. Luckily, the job was close enough to his parents’ house that he could live with them for awhile to save money. D worried about me staying the apartment by myself (partially because he was worried about me being alone, and partially because he was worried about the financial aspect).
Thankfully, a fellow law student had a house with an extra bedroom that he was willing to rent out to me. The last semester of law school, I moved in with him and another law student. It was a bit of a challenge getting along with “roommates” again, but it worked out fairly well.
That year, D and I were both looking forward to Christmas. We had already been living apart for a month and a half. It was a struggle after being together for so long. D and I were at my grandparents’ house celebrating with my Dad’s side of the family. We were opening presents and laughing as usual.
Suddenly, D brings out a present for me. “I thought we were going to open ours later. I didn’t bring your gift with,” I told him. “That’s okay,” he said, “I wanted to give you yours now.” Thinking nothing of it, I began to open the present. On the top was a book I had asked for. I lifted the book out of the box and turned to say thank you. When I looked over at D, He was down on his knees smiling. I couldn’t believe it! I threw the book on the floor and looked back at the box. There was more in the bottom. Inside, was a Cracker Jack box. On the box, there were words written in sharpie.
Friday, March 12, 2010
D and I ended up moving to a different apartment when our year lease was up. This apartment had a balcony/deck. I could at least plant pots outside. I was thrilled! I even dug up a small patch of dirt underneath the deck. It had clearly been a garden once upon a time, but was sorely neglected with big, tall weeds. It took me hours to clear it out and replant it, but it was worth it in the end.
I began my second year of law school that fall. There is a saying about law school. “The first year they scare you to death, the second year they work you do death, and the third year they bore you to death.” That saying was certainly true for me. Second year was a lot of hard work (not that the rest wasn’t, it just seemed like second year there was more of it).
D and I grew closer through our struggles (his job loss and my second year). We of course still had our ups and downs, but overall, it felt like we belonged together. We had friends over frequently, barbecuing on the deck, taking impromptu fishing trips, etc.
The school year flew by, and it wasn’t long before summer came again. That summer, I had an internship (albeit unpaid) at a law firm in a neighboring town. I got school credits and therefore qualified for summer student loan money. D continued working.
I loved my internship. I was working under a great mentor who taught me so much. That summer, I truly felt for the first time that being a lawyer was what I wanted to do. My internship allowed me to actually get in the courtroom and question witnesses, make arguments, draft briefs, etc.
It was towards the end of my internship and summer was winding down. D called me while I was at work. He was very upset. He told me something that neither of us saw coming…
What did D say? Stay tuned on Monday* for Part V of “Through the Wringer”
*Yes, I am taking the weekend off, as I will be out of town. Sorry for the delay in the story that will cause.
Thursday, March 11, 2010
D had just had an interview near where I was going to law school. He called me a few days later with news. He had gotten the job! We were so excited. Not only was the job close enough that we could live in the same town, but it was finally a job that utilized D’s degree. Once again, just a few weeks after we thought we were going to have to be apart, we were together again.
Since we had lived together all summer and neither one of us could really afford to live on our own, D moved into the two bedroom apartment with me. It felt like we were playing house for awhile, with D going to work every day and me going to school.
I admit law school was a struggle for me. I really never had to put much effort into studying before. I did minimal work (a.k.a. usually just reading) and would get decent grades from high school all the way through college. Law school was work! Classes required at least an hour of reading before each one and that didn’t include any note taking or briefing you did so you could remember the cases for class the next day. The two week stretch of finals every semester required long hours upon hours of studying.
Through all this, D and I had our ups and downs. Law school was stressful. As such, I was already stressed out. On top of that, law school culture is one of drinking. Large amounts of your classmates go out several times a week. D had a regular job, so it just wasn’t feasible for him to do so. There are times I went out with the girls, or a group of friends sans D. After awhile, this did put a strain on our relationship. Looking back, I wasn’t being very respectful of D or even myself at times. Add to the fact that anytime we visited either D’s family or mine, it was a three and a half hour drive. This was not something we were used to.
We managed to get through all the relationship ups and downs together to survive my first year of law school. Summer was fast approaching. I tried to get a job at a few places. I’ll admit that I was picky in pursuing a job. I got a little egotistical and felt it was too low to take a job at a fast food joint (slightly in my defense, I had never worked fast food in my life). I’m sure D was frustrated with me and only living on one source of income that summer, but he kept that to himself.
I did babysit for D’s sister for a week when she didn’t have daycare. During that time, I got a call that they were offering me a job at telemarketing firm I had interviewed at. Unfortunately, they weren’t offering any new training classes until the end of the summer and I would only end up working for a few weeks before school started. I knew there was no way I could work during the semester, so it just seemed pointless.
If I had known was about to happen, I might have taken the job. Unexpectedly, D called me in the middle of the day. The news was not good…D had been laid off.
What did D and I do next? Stop by tomorrow for Part IV.
Tuesday, March 9, 2010
D had left only a week before, when he called with news. He had a job interview in town. D came into town and interviewed. We spend a couple of days hanging out with each other like D had never left. During this time, D got the call saying he got the job!
That’s how less than two weeks after he left, D moved back into town and into my life. Our first “official” date was Valentine’s Day. D gave me flowers and took me out to a fabulous steak dinner. I think we watched a movie at his place after that.
Things fell naturally into place after that. D and I began a relationship. My previous relationships had been serious. I had thought at the time, that both were headed for marriage. But my relationships before were nothing compared with what I had with D. We could talk about anything. I finally felt like I had someone I could share virtually all my thoughts and feelings with. I had never had that before. I also felt that for the first time, I had a relationship that was give and take. Of my previous two relationships, both had felt like it was me doing all the giving.
Then, in the spring, came the letter. It was from USD. I was scared to open it. Luckily for me, it was good news. I had been accepted to law school. I finally knew what I was going to do after I graduated from SDSU! I was ecstatic, but I think my parents were even more excited than I was.
Graduation came way too fast and I realized that by the end of May, I wouldn’t have a place to live. I had started a job in April working the front desk at a hotel and didn’t really want to move until the end of the summer. That’s how D and I ended up living together. For all intensive purposes, we spent most nights together anyway. D was living in a house the size of a postage stamp at the time. It seemed like the perfect solution for the time being.
That summer was idyllic. We both worked. We played in the summer softball league. We had friends over to barbecue. D would mow the lawn and I planted flowers in a tiny garden next to the house. But, the summer was coming to an end. I was going to have to move almost two hours away to go to law school. D was looking for another job closer to where I was going to school. His current job was not something that involved his degree anyway. We were preparing for a long distance relationship.
D went with me to look at apartments in my new town. We found one that seemed decent. D and my mom helped me move down to start law school. I was to have a week of orientation and then start classes. I muddled my way through orientation week, feeling utterly overwhelmed.
Toward the end of the week, D called. He was interviewing next week at a company about 20 minutes away from where I was going to school. It seemed too good to be true. I also met some great friends toward the end of that first week in school. D came down for the weekend and I introduced him to my new friends.
D had his big interview and then went back to work the next week. A few days later, D called with news again…
Friday, March 5, 2010
Or how about this steampunk skin for your ipod?*Source
Very popular are steampunk cuff links made from watch movements like these from London Particulars on Etsy:
How about some steampunk inspired art pieces:
This digital art print by Galeriedeilluminata on Etsy is great:*Source
Or this print from Chet Phillips's Steampunk Monkey series on Etsy:
I too have been caught up in the craze. Here's a necklace I made recently out of watch movements, gears and vintage silverware:*Source
Steampunk takes on different meanings to different folks. But in general, the style is fairly defined. I wear a brooch on my coat of a seahorse with a watch movement for a body (I'll try and get a pic later). I constantly get compliments on it and explain to people what "steampunk" is. I love the style as far as jewelry goes. I hope you enjoy it too!