Saturday, December 15, 2007

Backdating - 12/15/07 - Our Life Since August

So, as I mentioned, we moved into J & J2's parent's home last August. The day before the "big" moving day, five days after S chipped her ankle while mini-golfing with her mother (in shoes I might add that J and I both told her to stop wearing because they were not intended for 12-year-olds), and on our 6 year dating anniversary (August 9), J broke both major bones in his lower left leg and rearranged some ligaments as he did it.

This came in the midst of an insurance struggle that started a couple of days before S chipped her ankle (she needed a boot and crutches btw). Before J and I got married, we decided that the most cost efficient way of doing insurance was for the family to be on my insurance. Fair enough.

(NOTE: For all singles, family insurance is at least two and a half times single insurance, and at least one and a half times parent and child insurance. It was a surprise to me anyway.)

So, we got married, and I called the insurance company, and told them that I had a "life event" and now everyone needs to be covered by my insurance. I gave names, SSNs, and all the info needed, and they gave me medical coverage cards. On July 31, I got a letter in the mail saying that my insurance had changed, and it had reverted to single insurance. Um. 'Scuse me?

About a billion calls, quite a few meetings with HR and a 30 page fax later, even though the insurance company didn't want to admit that they were a bunch of idiots who seemed to have no problem delivering useless information via postal mail, yet still had no idea how to send dependent forms, all was resolved before J's August 20 surgery to fix his leg.

Note the date on this post. This is J & my 1st wedding anniversary, and he still has stitches from his second surgery to remove the 3 inch pin that was put in place to hold the two bones in his lower leg together. The large plate and seven screws will remain. Which means he'll set off metal detectors for the rest of his life.

(NOTE: There is no such thing as a note/letter/certificate from a doc saying that there is metal in one's body. Doc's exact quote is "Just tell them you have a plate in your leg and let 'em wand you. They'll figure it out.")

So, since we moved in, in August J has not had the mobility to unpack. Or work, since his job requires him to be able to restrain students if necessary. Plus, its likely the school district would see a lawsuit waiting to happen if they insisted that he return to work before he's completely healed.

But, starting in the new year, we're going to be just as busy. J will be returning to work, and school. The newest announcement is that we will have an 8th personality in this household who is due to arrive on July 4th. Yes, I'm about 11 weeks pregnant, and cautiously optimistic and excited about our new course in life.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Backdating - 11/2/07 - Our Home

We live in a ranch style home in the suburb of a major city. Three bedrooms, 2 baths, about 1600 square feet. For all seven members of the family. J and J2 inherited this home when their mother passed away. J2 already lived here, as did the dog. The rest of us moved in back in August. Though we would much rather have his parents here with us, we're fortunate that the home came with no mortgage attached.

How is that real, you may ask? Well, for someone like myself who had only ever lived in apartments, the enormity of maintaining a home is real enough. Everything else except a mortgage is still here.

Let's do a walk through:

Entering from the two car garage where there is about 10 years worth of storage so there is only enough room for one car, you will walk through a small mudroom/laundry room with a pantry off to the side. This is where the litter box, the cat's food and water dispensers and the kitchen garbage can is kept.

Walk further, and you are in the eat-in-kitchen. We eat around the table maybe once a week, and at least once if we have a weekend guest, and almost always if we have dinner company. The kitchen is also where the cats live. Sadly, they were used to having roaming privileges wherever I lived. Now, not so much.

There is an extra wide 27" tall baby gate that separates the EIK from the den. And separates the dog from the cats. The younger cat has some sense, preferring ONLY the kitchen, despite dog-less outings into the den. The older cat...she and the dog get into staring contests through the gate, she's gotten caught on the mesh from swatting the dog through it, and though she's clever enough to figure out how to get into the den when the dog is out...she's not clever enough to figure out when the dog is out. When it comes to a 70 lb dog vs. an 8 lb cat...It doesn't matter how fierce the cat is - one bad move from the dog, and the dog will win.

In the den you will find the newer furniture that my MIL purchased in the year before she passed, a large flat screen TV, J2, my husband's new computer and my grandfather clock. And boxes of stuff from our move here which we need to go through and clear out. There are still a few in the kitchen as well, but J and J2 went through a lot of them, and wheedled it down to just a few. J2 spends at least 12 hours a day in the den watching TV. That will change when he gets to working.

Go through one set of double swinging doors, and you will be in the 'formal' living room and dining room. We never use these areas. However, this is where our furniture from the apartment is located. Leather living room set, bar-style dining room set. Go through the other set of double swinging doors, and you will be in the bedroom area. J and I are in the master bedroom, and in it we have two closets and a full bath. We also have additional things that we need to go through including some of his parents' items, and more moving boxes from the apartment. S & J2 have the other bedrooms, which share a full bath.

Outside, in the backyard there is a cemented area where we grill during the summer, a porchswing that no one uses, and the backyard, which only the dog uses. The driveway has two cars - one running, one not.

When we moved in, we were struck by the number of duplicates we had. We now have two desktop computers for which we have no use, 3 TVs, 1 set of living room furniture, 1 set of kid's bedroom furniture, 1 washer/dryer set, and quite a bit more. What to do? Its all in storage at a U-Haul center across town. We pay $108/month for it. Which, when you think about it, is much better than the $1K/mo rent we were paying, or $1300/mo mortgage that we could have been paying. But the very fact we're paying for things that we already own to stay in a place where we can't see it or use it makes me a little bonkers.

Why haven't we unpacked, or gone through storage yet? Until next post...

Friday, October 12, 2007

Backdating - 10/12/07 - Introduction

Hi, my name is H, and if you dig hard enough or know how blogger works better than I do, then you can figure out what my name used to be.

This blog was inspired by
1) My husband, who is starting a blog of his own for writers (go see it @,
2) the fact that I read at least a dozen blogs a day (or skim) looking for good info that will actually be helpful and
3) the idea that I wanted to have a blog that actually has helpful info for REAL folks.

I have a real weakness for women's magazines. They're good to pass the time, but when it comes down to REAL helpful tips, I'd say only 20% of the content (or less!) in any given magazine actually applies to really improving my life, or helping me out.

So, why am I a Real Person? Well, for one thing, I don't fit into a category. No one magazine or blog is really the ONLY thing that I need to get helpful ideas, or tips. I don't have a set schedule of weekly crazy that I have to go to, but I do have things that need to get done. Bill-paying, financial stuff, cleaning, organizing, etc. There are not enough hours in the day, but all of it HAS to get done, so...

Here is Real Life and Times. A blog that consolidates what I think is the best of the best, a quick read of the most helpful tips for Real People who don't have the time to scope out dozens of magazines, blogs and websites looking for the most helpful stuff. As for me? I'm Real, but this is my fun time. I LIKE scoping out that stuff, and if I can help some of you out along the way, then its my pleasure to do so.

Here's my family:

Myself: I'm a 27 year old female, with a BA in Sociology, and an MBA. I have been married for almost a year to my wonderful husband. I work in advertising, and I've practically lived in online communities of some shape or another for the past seven years. I was born outside of Chicago, grew up in New York, and moved to Texas a couple of years after graduating from college.

My Husband (J): A 34 year old male, who has gone back to school for his bachelor's degree, and currently works as an educational aide in a classroom for kids with emotional and behavioral issues. He is also a poet, a writer, a singer and a movie buff. He was born in Texas, lived in Oklahoma for some time, went for some of his undergrad in Indiana and moved back to Texas again almost 10 years ago.

My stepdaughter (S): A 12 year old female, who is currently in 7th grade, and is learning to play and love playing the viola. She goes to school where J works, so that's a fun dynamic. Technically, since her mother and J share custody, she is only supposed to be with us Wednesday nights and every other weekend. But, her mother drops her off before school most days so that either J or I can take her, and J picks her up from school and hangs on to her until her mother gets off of work, and then she stays the whole time from Wednesday till Monday the weekends that we have her. Its a good deal.

My brother-in-law (J2): A 32 year old male, who is currently unemployed. He has a learning disability that has yet to be diagnosed, and I suspect a social issue that goes beyond just awkwardness as well. He means well most of the time, and he did work at one point. We just need to help him get up to speed.

The Cat (F): A 17 and a half year old female, who is crazy. I've had her since she was born, and she has moved with me from Long Island, to Queens, to Brooklyn, to Texas without batting an eye. She has six toes on her front paws, and eats everything from corn to wasabi, from honeydew to chocolate.

The Other Cat (P): An 8 year old female whom I never see, but comes out on rare occasion to chat. She spends about 23 hours a day in the kitchen bay window. She'll snub all human food except for vodka sauce and tiramisu.

The Dog (M): A 7 year old male, who belonged to my mother-in-law before she passed away. Previously thought to be completely untrainable, he has recently learned to sit, lay down, stay and walk on a leash. Rollover gained me a bite on my upper arm, so we're still working on that. Also has a depth perception issue, so he constantly bumps into things that have never moved from the positions they're in.

Next post, I'll walk through our current living situation.