Friday, December 19, 2014

2014 in review

This has probably been the best year for me in awhile. I'm in a much better place than I have been in awhile.

My brother still lives with me. Truthfully, I could not ask for a better roommate. We get along really well, and Rit loves having him around. After everything that happened with our roommates while I was with ExH, I was worried that I may not be able to live with anyone. This has proven otherwise. I know he will eventually move out, but until then I am going to enjoy having the extra help around the house and with Rit.

I love my job. It gives me variety and a lot of experience. I feel appreciated and valued. It can get hectic and frustrating at times, but they are the exception and not the norm. I like that my coworkers know me well enough to notice when something is wrong. Usually its because my office door is shut all day or I'm not smiling. But it shows me that they care.

Rit is still the best thing to happen to me. He truly is the joy of my life. His speech therapy is helping a lot. And it looks like he is starting preschool next year. I can't believe my baby is about to start school!

My bipolar disorder is so much better. I probably have had the fewest episodes this year than I have had in several years, My therapist continues to agree that I do not need medication right now. I've figured out how to manage it, and how to identify when I am having an episode vs a rational reaction. There are still people that will see me react and automatically blame it on the bipolar. I know I can't do anything about it so I try not to let it get to me as much. I know where I am vs where I have been. I have friends that have seen me then vs now and comment on how much better I am.

I think what has made the biggest difference this year is how I am around ExH and his fiancee. I feel like I have finally worked through everything that happened and have moved on and allowed myself to heal. I don't look at them and blame them for it anymore. I was just as much to blame for my own reasons. I know we never should have been married in the first place, but then we wouldn't have Rit so I can't say I regret it. I needed to get out of the victim mentality I was in because that kept me from letting it go. It kept me from growing and learning from the mistakes I made. It has definitely made it easier for me to be around them and interact with them, and has been better for my own mindset.

Monday, December 8, 2014

The tree debacle

This has been a long road, but it's done.
Over the summer, the maple tree in the front yard lost several limbs in different wind storms. Three different times, those limbs would have landed on my car had I been home. I decided that the tree needed to go soon.
Around the end of September I called around to several landscaping companies and I received a few quotes for tree and stump removal. The prices ranged from $1000 to $1300. I chose the first company, with the lowest quote. I had spoke with the owner on the phone and  I received a quote quickly, so I felt optimistic about this company. I called them up to hire them near the end of October, At that point they gave me a time frame of 2-3 weeks, which I was ok with. We had another windstorm in that period, which I was nervous about but no limbs fell luckily. I was just glad it would be coming down soon.
A month later I called them back to find out when they would be out to remove the tree. I was getting a bit anxious about it. The owner told me that he was out in the field at the moment and he would call me back once he got to the office to let me know the date. After a week with no response, I called back and got a hold of the receptionist. She called the owner and told me that he said he would be out later that week, and that they would call once it got closer. This was Thanksgiving week. I was ok with that since I would be home at the end of the week for the holidays.
Wednesday night, the following week (first week of December), I get a call from them saying they would be out the next day. At first it was supposed to be around noon but then that changed to "not sure but you are second on the work order list". I scrambled at the last moment to be sure that I would be home. Luckily, I have a very understanding my boss. On Thursday, I worked from home so that I would be there. They never showed. Never called. I tried calling at 3pm, and every hour until 7pm, with no answer.
The next morning I called again, livid, and got a hold of the receptionist. She understood why I was upset and said she would talk to the owner. Two and half hours later I had not received a call back. I called and it went to voice mail. I told them to cancel my work order as I would go with a different company.
This time I called a company called Pillion Tree & Landscaping, based in Fairfield, Ohio. They came recommended by some friends of mine. He came out Friday night and gave me a quote to take down the tree and grind down the stump. The quote was the lowest one I had received. I went ahead and hired him. He said they would be out that weekend.
Saturday I went to the Dickens Christmas Festival in Eminence, KY. When I got back, all that was standing was the main trunk. The limbs and branches had already been cut down. By the end of the night the whole tree was down. A neighbor came by and took some of the wood (with permission) so there was less to worry about. They left before they could finish since they were losing daylight. They returned Sunday and finished the job, as well as removed the fallen limbs that were being stored in my backyard. They are returning today to grind down the stump.
I am incredibly happy with this company and would recommend them to anyone looking for tree removal services.
Here are a few pictures:

The tree to removed:

Here is how the tree looked when I returned home Saturday. Sorry it is a little blurry. 

The tree at the end of the day Saturday

The tree at the end of the day Sunday. The wood that is by the street was picked up by a neighbor later on that day.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

A 3rd Birthday

On the 1st, Rit turned 3 years old. It's hard to believe my little boy is growing up so fast! Since it is an even year, I got him for his birthday. ExH and I did our traditional birthday dinner with Rit, except this year ExH's girlfriend joined as well. Rit loved it, but I think it's because we let him have pancakes and french fries for dinner. That night, Rit and I went home and he got to open his presents.

On the following Sunday my family, a friend, her daughter, her mother-in-law, Rit and I all went out to EnterTRAINment Junction. Rit has been on a train kick lately so I decided to try this place. He loved it, as did we. Rit loved watching the model trains go around, and playing in the kids areas they had. I highly recommend it for anyone who loves trains, kid and adult alike.
No cake or big party but a lot of great memories made. I think that is more important.

 

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Castle Days

A little over a week ago was the first Castle Day of Loveland Castle for 2014. Castle Days are like mini renfaires. There are vendors, shows, and lots of friends. That night was our semi-annual Castleteers gathering, so there were a lot of us in garb.
My brother, friend, and I got there later than usual, closer to 3. I got out of my car and had my corset tightened. I gave about two hugs when I saw ExH in the distance. I bee-lined to him, knowing that if he was there, so was Rit. Apparently, he decided to bring Rit up figuring I would be there. I was really excited to see Rit. I told ExH that I would take care of Rit for awhile if he wanted a break, and he decided to take it. So I got to have Rit for a few unexpected, wonderful hours on a Saturday. Some friends got to finally meet him as well.


Friday, April 4, 2014

Anniversary

Today marks the 3rd anniversary of my Grandma's death.
I realized I never told the story of how my Grandma passed. Most assume that it was natural causes. She was in her 80s after all. But that isn't the case here.

My grandparents went out to eat on April 2nd, 2011. I can't recall if they were coming in the restaurant or leaving, but a kid that my Grandma said was about 8 years old was running around and ran into her legs, knocking her to the ground. With as old as she was, her reflexes were not as good as they once were and her head hit the ground. There was an EMT at the restaurant and he checked her out before she was taken to the hospital. They did a CT scan and said everything looked ok. So she went home.
The next day she was relaying this story to my mom, which is how I know it. About an hour after that, she started complaining of a bad headache. An ambulance was called. She lost consciousness before it arrived. When she got to the hospital (a different one than the day before), they did another scan and found that she was bleeding into her brain.
I received a phone call from my dad telling me that she was in the hospital. About an hour later I received a text saying that they would be doing surgery to relieve the pressure in her skull. And then, an hour after that I received the phone call saying that family is being told to come down to the hospital. ExH went with me and told me of the possible outcomes. It may seem cold to some, but I am glad he did as it prepared me for what I encountered.
Before I went in to the hospital room, my dad pulled me aside. There was so much bleeding in her brain that it had actually moved her brain. The damage was just too much. They were keeping her on life support until the family all had a chance to say goodbye. I had an aunt and an uncle on vacation who were driving back that day. I remember walking in, and immediately I knew her spirit was gone. All that was left was the shell, being kept alive by machines. I cried. I told her I loved her, and said goodbye. They took her off of support that night and she passed the next morning.

I sometimes get angry that it happened. That my grandma was robbed of the chance to meet Rit, or that Rit was robbed of the chance to meet his Great-Grandma. I have no patience for children running around in crowded areas as a result of this. I hope that by sharing this story, some parents will see it and keep a better eye on their kids.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Teachings of credit cards

I recently found out that several of my friends, who are in their early to mid 20s, do not have a credit card or credit history of any kind. Why? Their parents taught them that credit cards are evil (ok, not exactly but that seems to be the general idea of the reasons they gave me). I did not realize that this idea was as prevalent as it is. Naive, I know.
I wonder if these parents realize that they are just making things harder on their kids as they get older. Without a credit history, they will pay a higher interest rate when they have to take out a loan for things like a car or a house. I know that some landlords will run credit checks on prospective tenants as well, to check on their reliability to pay the rent on time. What if something major happens and they need to take out a credit card? Will they understand how it works? The interest rate they have to pay will probably be high as well.

My first loan payments were for a car purchase in 2007. At the time, I had pretty much no credit history. I had one credit card through my bank that I kept only in case of emergencies and was used very infrequently. The interest rate of my car loan was 12.99%. On a $5,000, 5 year loan, that was an extra $1,825 in just interest (if I did not pay it off early). Ouch. I tried to pay that off as quickly as I could.
At the end of 2013, I had to purchase a new(er) car since the car I purchased in 2007 had died. Since 2007, I have a better credit history. I purchased a house and I have several credit cards (only one of which ever has a balance). The interest rate they offered me for this car loan was 2.99%. Using the same terms as my last loan, that would be $390 in interest (if not paid off early). Amazing what a good credit history and credit score can do.

Credit cards are not evil. They are simply a tool. The problem is when people look at a credit card and think "free money". It is not free money, simply a short term loan. I track all of my purchases made on my credit card in my checkbook. The goal is to pay off the balance each month. If you see my post above, you will see that I carry a balance on it. I'm not perfect. I do fall into the mindset of "I want this now, but I don't have the money for another month. I'll put it on my credit card and pay it off when I get the money." I hate carrying a balance so I try to keep my outstanding balance from getting too high. The problem is not the credit card, it is my own mindset.

I will teach Rit about finance and responsibility of finance as he grows up. Teach him about the concept of money, that everything has a cost, how to save, how to budget, how to use a credit card, etc. I don't want finance to be a scary thing. It isn't supposed to be. Its a part of our everyday life.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Co-Parenting Challenge

Several weeks ago, a mutual friend of mine and ExH invited us to go to COSI with him and his family for his son's birthday. It was on a Sunday, our drop off day, so I discussed it with ExH and we agreed to meet up there and I would take Rit home with me. I had never been to COSI before, and I wanted to take Rit, as did ExH.
I admit that I was a bit worried as it was the first time I would spend an extended period of time with ExH and his girlfriend. It had been awhile since things were over, but when it comes to feelings it is always a toss up. Good news is, everything went great. ExH and I traded off being the parent in charge. There were a few things he wanted to do with his girlfriend that Rit couldn't do, so I was in charge of Rit. And there were times ExH took over so I could get a break and check something out. His girlfriend also backed off a bit, letting me and ExH be in charge (which was a worry, I admit). We made sure to get pictures for each other and emailed them afterwards. ExH even helped me find the elongated penny machines there, a long standing hobby of mine.
All in all, we had a great time and lots of great memories. I am really glad that ExH and I are able to co-parent that easily, and that I can get along with his girlfriend. Now, I'm a lot less worried about any future trips, as it sounds like there are several places we all want to take Rit.