If you are not redirected automatically, follow the link to Gretchen, In-Between car | Honey, I Shrunk the Gretchen!
Pages Menu
Categories Menu

Posted on Oct 3, 2012 in Weigh Ins, Weight Loss | 15 comments

Life Update & Weigh-in

Hi there folks,

I know I’ve been a little AWOL over the past few days, and even though I hate the whole thing where bloggers apologize for not posting, I’m going to apologize anyway. I don’t have the self-inflated sense of ego to think that your lives have been worse for the wear without a daily dose of me (oh, who am I kidding? Of course I do. Bahahaha.), but I also am a big fan of consistency. In fact, it’s my #1 tip that I give to new bloggers who are trying to grow their traffic: post on a consistent schedule. I usually do pretty well sticking to my once-a-day, Monday-through-Friday posting schedule, but obviously the past couple of weeks have been just a little bit more hectic than usual. Oh wellps.

But because you know I love having excuses for, er, everything, lemme ‘splain. Wait. There is no time. Let me sum up. Work has been ridiculously busy since September marked the end of the federal fiscal year. Which basically meant there was suddenly a crapton of stuff for me to actually, uh, do. And I’m still riding that wave. Outside of work, I’ve also been spending a lot of time on my book, which has cut into a lot of my other normal extracurriculars. Like taking photos of my food. Heh.

Shockingly (not really), writing a novel is proving much more difficult than I’d have thought. Legitimately shockingly, however, I’m almost done with the writing part! I’d say that I’m about 87% (yes, I’m being that specific) of the way there, story-wise. And considering I only really started buckling down at the end of June, I think that’s pretty good progress. Sure, things definitely slowed down when my life exploded, but I’m back on a roll now.

Of course, writing is actually the easy part of all this. After I’m done comes all the hard stuff. As I’ve mentioned before, I’m planning on self-publishing which means I’ll be handling all of the revisions, copyediting, formatting, design, publishing, and marketing myself. Well, with the help of a few lovely and talented people that happen to like me (for now). All that said, I’m actually feeling pretty good at making the December release date I originally had planned on. I’m not dead-set on it — it’ll happen when it happens — but as long as I can continue with the momentum that I have right now, I think I could make it! And then you can all buy my book as a Christmas present to me. 🙂

In other good news, I got my car back yesterday from the shop. It’s unfortunately not really jump-for-joy good news, however, because even though my car LOOKS good, it still doesn’t FEEL quite the same. Call it the psychosomatic echoes of the accident(s). I’m sure I’ll get over it in time though, and at least in the meantime I have access to a push-button start and Sirius XM again.

In less good news, I’m still not 100% recovered from the car accidents. I still feel a lot of discomfort in my shoulder and neck area, which I’m sure isn’t helped by the fact that I sit in front of a computer for 8 hours at work, and then sit with a laptop in my lap once I get home. But I am getting better, so that’s something! It’s usually worst in the morning (maybe I also have been sleeping weird), and then lessens throughout the day. It’s been almost a month since the accident, so I’m not terribly pleased that it’s taking so long for me to get back to normal. That said, I am happy that I’m at least making progress.

Okay, now I believe I owe you guys a weigh-in. You’ve probably already picked up on the fact that I’m only posting my weigh-ins every two weeks. There are a few reasons for this, but it’s mostly because I found doing them weekly to be simultaneously tedious and discouraging. I’m trying to embrace a holistic approach to my health, not JUST define it by a number on the scale, but that’s hard for me because for most of my life, I’ve been overly focused on that number. But, while I don’t want to OVERemphasize my weight, at the same time it is still an indicator of how I’m doing and whether or not I’m staying on track.

ANYWAY. I talk too much. Let’s see the results:

Starting Weight: 246 lbs
Last Weigh-in: 202.8 lbs
This Weigh-in: 201.5 lbs
Difference: -1.3 lbs

Another strong pound down! I’ll take it. I know that one pound every two weeks isn’t exactly record-breaking weight loss, but as long as I’m continuing in a downward trend I can honestly say I’m happy. Weight loss always seems like it has more longevity when it comes off slowly, and all the yo-yoing I was doing before — 3 pounds down, 2 pounds up, 2 pounds down, 1 pound up — was really not doing me ANY motivational favors. That’s pretty much the reason I can’t weigh myself daily. All the up-and-down is just too frustrating, and takes too much of a toll on my self-worth. So, anyway, long, overly wordy story short: I’m pleased.

And with that, I bid you adieu!

Edited to add: I just posted a couple of sample chapters from my book over on my writing blog! Feel free to check ’em out. 🙂

Read More

Posted on Sep 11, 2012 in Dear Diary | 40 comments

Catastrophe Week

I mentioned that yesterday was the crappiest of all crappy days but neglected to share any of the details, and I imagine some of you may have wondered why. Well, here we go. I was originally planning on naming this post “Catastrophe Monday”, but you will soon see why that is no longer applicable. This week may actually kill me. Yep, pretty sure.

God, where do I even begin? I guess… chronologically?

So. Monday morning. Yesterday. I wake up to find this situation in the upstairs landing outside my bedroom:

Untitled

Yep. The upstairs bathroom flooded because the tank on the back of the toilet broke into a zillion sharp, pointy pieces.

Untitled

Now, this was plenty bad enough to wake up to on a Monday morning, granted. I know from the experience that we had with our basement flooding that drying out carpet is no easy feat. But oh, it was already so much worse than I knew.

Untitled

Yep, the water had already leaked right through the floor and straight down into the kitchen.

Untitled

“Luckily” (I use the term loosely), the water had not seeped through any of the kitchen tile and into the basement (where all of my brother‘s expensive camera and recording equipment is). Still.

Untitled

Not really being sure what else to do, we “popped” the big bubble of water that was hanging down, and poked a few more holes in our now absolutely ruined kitchen ceiling to help the water drain out.

Untitled

Then, we set up as many fans as we could (uh, two) and I had to go to work since I was already way late (and lest we forget, I was already out of commission for two days last week due to being sick).

Then, what should happen while on my way to work at 10 AM?

Untitled

Yep. That’s right. My brand new car, not even ONE MONTH OLD yet, was hit.

Untitled

Because one catastrophe for the morning definitely wasn’t enough.

The chick who hit me was very apologetic, and admitted right away that it was all her fault (it was) and said that she would assume all liability for it. Still, knowing that it wasn’t my fault doesn’t actually help as much as you’d think when we’re talking about the car that you’ve owned for exactly 29 days. The damage extends from the back of the front wheel bed on the passenger side, down the front passenger door (which is now misaligned in addition to being scratched and dented), all the way through the rear passenger door. Needless to say, I was kind of a mess at this point (note to self: reinvest in waterproof mascara).

So then I got to spend the rest of my day on the phone with not one, but two different insurance companies, for two different insurance claims. (Actually, technically it was three, because I also opened up a preliminary claim with my own auto insurance company just in case anything went wrong with the other driver’s insurance company. Fortunately, it doesn’t look like that’s going to need to move forward.)

So, going back to the house issue, the water damage in the house is covered (after our deductible, which is unfortunately quite high). Because the damage was so extensive, I decided to move forward with letting the insurance company send out a water mitigation team to come out and dry out the problem areas. So I had to leave work early to meet them at home, and then they proceeded to check everything out and then set things up to air out and dry. Meaning this happened:

Untitled

And this:

Untitled

And there are about 20 gazillion industrial fans and dehumidifiers making VERY LOUD NOISES in the upstairs landing and the kitchen now, too.

Untitled

We have to keep them running until Thursday, at which point the guys will come back to remove them, check that everything is dry and that there is no mold (my biggest concern is mold), and then the insurance people can come out after that point to assess the repair work needed. So, it’s still going to be a long process to get everything fixed, but at least things are moving now. Of course, the effect of all this OMG!CHANGE is not having a very good effect on the little ones either…

Untitled

Daxter is petrified to go through the kitchen or upstairs landing now, even to go outside or eat. The fans make a lot of noise and emit a lot of heat, so I have to carry him pretty much everywhere.

Untitled

Poor, anxiety-stricken puppy.

Now. With both house issues AND car issues on the table, I was REALLY looking forward to today. Today is not yesterday, after all. Today should be better, right? Well, let’s talk about today, shall we?

Back to the car issue. The other driver’s insurance company contacted me yesterday and said they were sending out an inspector to assess the damage to my car. He arrived this morning, and was very nice, but it was still quite jarring to hear about all of the things that were wrong with my car. He gave me his estimate for how much the repair work is going to cost, and now I just have to wait for the insurance adjuster to get in touch with me and confirm that they are going to accept liability and let me know when I can go get my car repaired. Because of the misaligned front passenger door, the rubber seal at the top is broken and the inspector is worried about moisture being able to get into my car. So he put a ‘rush’ on it and hopefully I’ll be hearing from the adjuster very soon.

Sounds like that should (eventually) wrap things up all nice and tidy, right?

BUT WAIT! THERE’S MORE.

Guess what happened to me on my way to work (already late again, because of the inspection) THIS morning. Guess. Just guess.

No seriously, you have to guess.

Give up?

Untitled

Yes. I got rear-ended on 395. My beautiful baby of a car got hit by a SECOND person, for the SECOND time in the SECOND DAY IN A ROW. It happened, I pulled over, and I literally screamed into the silence of my car: “ARE YOU F&$#!@*% KIDDING ME?!!?!”

“Luckily”, because of the horrible, horrible traffic, we were going like 5 MPH, and the only visible damage that I can see (so far) is two nice little round dents from the screws on his license plate. UNluckily, my neck and shoulder are noticeably sore now, which really, really sucks. I’ve already put in a claim with his insurance company and gotten the ball rolling there, and I guess I need to go get my potential injuries examined by a doctor on my own.

Now, before I end this story of horrific proportions, let me just say this. I’m sure there are a lot of people who will want to sanctimoniously remind me that today is 9/11 and that my troubles are nothing in comparison to what happened 11 years ago. Of course that’s true. I would never presume to suggest otherwise. But that’s also kind of like comparing apples to an entire burning orchard of orange trees. Obviously one (or in this case, three) apples, no matter how mealy, wormy, or awful they may be, will never compare. We remember the loss and devastation of 9/11 with a freshness that makes it feel like it happened much more recently than over a decade ago, and that will probably never change.

But that doesn’t mean it still doesn’t blow to be the person who bites into that apple.

I think I’ll go hide under the covers of my bed until this week is over now. Kthxbai.

Read More

Posted on Aug 13, 2012 in Dear Diary | 22 comments

Hello Buttercup

Hi-dee-ho, friends. So, remember how on Friday I said that I was really feeling the color yellow lately? Well, I wasn’t kidding.

Say hello to my brand-spankin’-new, beautiful 2012 Ford Focus. She has been loooooooong overdue (in case you don’t remember, feel free to revisit my former car troubles here). Her name is Buttercup.

Somewhat ironically, I ended up purchasing a car that wasn’t even on my “list” of contenders to begin with. I actually was kind of all over the place when it came to test-driving cars, which is why it ended up being a rather lengthy process. When I first started thinking about getting a new car (when my car had it’s first breakdown on my birthday back in April, haha), I thought I’d be getting a tiny little subcompact like a Yaris or the Scion xD. I test drove the xD and, while I liked it for the most part, it really is a TINY little thing. And, as we all know, I am not so tiny.

Then later I was convinced that I would be driving home with a weird and quirky box car like the Kia Soul or the Nissan Cube. I test-drove both of these, and though I still do like the aesthetic (hey, I’m a bit of a weirdo, what can I say?), the engines just really weren’t powerful enough to make either of them particularly fun to drive. I need a little more torque coming out of a stop, and the Cube in particular struggled on hills (and Northern Virginia is actually surprisingly hilly).

My third round of wishful thinking involved what I believe are being referred to as “compact SUVs” (or crossovers). Since I was driving my mom’s Chevy Equinox for a while due to my own sad car troubles, I was getting really into the idea of driving a big car. So I also test drove both the Toyota RAV4 and the Nissan Rogue. I really liked the Rogue (not so much the RAV4), but in the end, it really was just unnecessary space for me. Plus, the price point was much, much higher on those (obviously), and after all of the frustration involved with my own car I really wasn’t considering buying used anymore. (Don’t get me wrong, I know that used cars are of better value, and there are plenty of used cars that will work just as well and problem-free as a new one. It’s just that, with all of my recent experiences, I really didn’t want to have to deal with the hassle.)

So how did I end up with the Ford Focus? Well, near my house is a Nissan dealership right next to a Ford dealership (both owned by the same company), and my brother Ben thought I might like the Ford Fiesta (a subcompact in the same class as the xD). However, given my feelings about size, I decided to test out the Focus instead. I drove a manual one and I REALLY liked it. It reminded me a lot of the Mazda3, which my sister used to have and I had really enjoyed driving but was out of my price range. The 2012 body redesign looks really slick, too. Even though I ended up test-driving a ton of different cars that day (and several the day before), the Focus was definitely my favorite.

So when I found one in one of the colors I liked at the Ted Britt Ford in Fairfax (where an old friend of mine from middle school also happens to work — if you’re looking for a Ford, go there and ask for Alex!), I knew I had to go check it out! It also happened to be listed at an almost too-good-to-be-true price (which did, of course, end up being too good to be true, haha). In the end though, I feel confident that I got a really good deal considering how many bells and whistles are on this thing.

It is stocked with the MyFord Touch system that connects it to my phone, has voice activated everything, and is generally just really sweet. I did end up purchasing an automatic, but one of the things I like about it is that even the automatic still drives like a manual. (Some reviews point this out as a negative thing, but I think they’re just from people who are not familiar with how it feels to drive a manual.) There’s also a manual mode that you can put the car into, which helps amp up the whole torque/fast acceleration thing that I like.

This car has almost all the frilly technology stuff I like (only things it’s really missing are navigation and parking assist/rearview camera, but it’s not like I NEED those things, it just would have been cool), plus it’s fun to drive. Plus it has great fuel efficiency — I was getting 42 mpg on the highway at one point! Plus it’s an awesome color — it’s called “Yellow Blaze”, and it has that kind of shimmery, sparkly finish to it. The color reads as bright yellow to orange-ish yellow depending on what light it’s in.

Plus, even though it’s still a small car, it definitely feels spacious in the front. And there’s still plenty of room for schnauzers.

Car buying was definitely an experience, I will say. I did a lot of research on the buying and negotiating process but still wasn’t prepared for how long and exhausting the process would be. I was at the dealership for FOUR hours! I may or may not have cried at one point. Just saying.

I had intended to do a nice, full-scale car photoshoot with the good camera, but I guess I just got too carried away actually, you know, driving this thing.

Anyway, buying my first “real” car is a very exciting (and somewhat terrifying) step into adulthood, and I can’t wait to celebrate it (once I get over being terrified that someone is going to hit me, ding me, dent me, or otherwise ruin my life, that is). Happy Monday!

Read More

Posted on Jul 16, 2012 in Dear Diary | 34 comments

Zoom Zoom Sigh

Happy Monday, folks! Title is to be sung annoyingly in your head for the rest of the day to the tune of the Black Eyed Peas’ “Boom Boom Pow”. You are so very welcome. 😉

So hey, remember that time when it was my birthday and my car died and I spent 4 hours in the autoshop getting the battery replaced?

And then remember that other time, when it was a month ago and my car died in the exact same way, and I spent another 4 hours getting one of the post relays (or something) replaced?

I’m sure you see where this is going.

Yep, yesterday my car died, again. My sad, old, tired 2000 Chrysler 300M is apparently just not loving life anymore, and decides to continually test my sanity by dying without warning over and over and over again. Seriously, it is the most frustrating thing ever. It’ll be fine, zooming along, business as usual. I’ll drive it to work. To home. To Starbucks. To the gym. And then suddenly, without warning, without even the SLIGHTEST indication that anything should be amiss (i.e. no battery light or anything like that), I’ll try to turn it on. And it just won’t.

No lights.

No engine trying to turn over.

Nothing.

Like all of the power has just been completely sucked out through some kind of power-sucking machine.

This time, it happened at the Exxon station, mere seconds after I had filled up my tank. My brother Ben came to my rescue and spent an inordinate amount of time trying to jump it, but for whatever reason it just was not jumping from a car. Taylor’s parents ended up stopping by and trying to help as well, but still nothing. Eventually, I had to call USAA (because of course, with all of my OTHER car dying stuff, I’ve already eaten through my free AAA service calls and AAA would have cost me $75+ to jump it whereas USAA only cost me $53) to come out and help, and in an act that only served to infuriate me further, the car jumped on the first try with his little jumper box thing.

Enter the “sigh”.

Sean lent me his little portable jumper box, which I need to charge up so that this doesn’t end up happening again, but in the meantime I dumped my car at my parents’ and borrowed one of theirs instead. I was just sooooo not willing to spend the rest of my Sunday (it literally took hours to get the freaking car jumped and moved) in the waiting room of Sears Auto Shop (yet again), so I will deal with it later. And also in the meantime, I will be fantasizing about buying a new car, complete with warranty and new car smell. I still have yet to test drive them, but these are the top contenders in my mind right now:


Kia Soul (yep, pretty much just because of the hamster commercial)

 
Nissan Cube


Scion xB


Scion xD

I also want to test drive a few compact cars, like the Honda Fit and Ford Fiesta, but I do like the idea of having something just slightly bigger for not that much higher of a price point (the xB is the most expensive one on the list). I particularly like these ones because they’re big for their price, they come in fun colors, and they’re just a little bit weird, which, y’know, so am I. Obviously, I don’t have my heart set on any one thing in particular just yet, aside from the knowledge that I will never again own a Chrysler. NEVER. AGAIN.

I know you guys are all probably pretty sick of me whining about wanting to buy a new car, but there’s a reason I haven’t yet. Unfortunately Ben and I are tied up in a mortgage refinance right now, so I can’t extend my credit right (i.e. take out a new loan) yet. I’m not sure when it’s going to be resolved, unfortunately, so until then, you’ll just have to put up with my whining.

What car do you drive? Do you love it? Give me your recommendations!

Read More