Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Sometimes silence is necessary.

Yesterday, I posed this picture to Instagram and a few other "in progress" pictures of our home remodel to Facebook and thought, I should have been blogging about all of this! But then I realized, had I been blogging "real time" for this major life event it would have been very similar to  real life in which I'd yell, cry, celebrate, complain and then repeat approximately 17 times each day. And really, only those who have spawned me or vowed in front of people and the law to spend the rest of their life with me should be subject to that kind of crazy ass roller coaster (thanks Tommy, mom & dad!)

LOOK so much less wall paper, I'm immediately comforted when looking at this picture. 
So to briefly recap...we bought a house back at the end of July. It was (obviously) the biggest purchase of our marriage thus far. We made the biggest purchase of our marriage about 7 months after getting married. Then, we did this to it.

We wanted that to happen, but it's still pretty traumatic to walk into your house and see it happening. 

Actually, to clarify, we PAID more money to have other people do that to our largest purchase of our 7  months long marriage. And WHILE we were paying people to demolish our home, we moved in with my parents. Oh, and my dad is managing the remodel project at our house.

You guys, just take a second and let that sink in because as prepared as I thought I was for this, that is A LOT OF STUFF happening. (Also, to refresh your memory, about a month before we bought said home, we both changed jobs to roles totally different for both of us. Because you know, we love change. Oh wait, no that's not us. Either of us. We actually both abhor change and avoid it like the plague!)

So now, a little over a month later, I am in a (slightly) more stable place to talk to you about what this last month has entailed, where our project currently stands, and hopefully post more often about the project itself. Also, there's less wallpaper, so that's like a HUGE milestone in getting me to a more sane and rational place. Note: still a lot of holes in walls, but less wallpaper on them. Also this hole in our kitchen floor no longer exists and I'm now less concerned about falling from the kitchen to the basement!

But, before I do. I would be completely remiss (and a giant asshole) if I didn't make the following demonstration of gratitude for those people previously mentioned who have tolerated me and all of my personalities in the last month (last month..ish...I mean, selling the condo, packing and moving didn't bring out my best self either).

Quick shout to my friends who have patiently tolerated last minute canceling of plans, disappearing for weeks on end, demands of drinking, far too long rants about the process and talked me off the ledge when I was certain I'd end up a divorced woman with no family to love. Y'all are wonderful and I promise to have you over lots to the beautiful new house when it's all done and we have furniture...and maybe a kitchen.

My parents are angels. Also, how do you pay someone back for their dog losing an eye? (I joke, but I assure you, at first it was not a joking matter.) My parents are two of my best friends. My husband and dad can hang out like besties at a Brewer game without me and then spend hours out post-game, recapping the game. I'm pretty sure my husband hopes I turn out just like my mom some day (I'm TRYING ok, those are very big shoes to fill!). We get along so well. However, I knew four grown adults, 2 dogs and one cat living together was going to be a...challenge. I never could have prepared myself for being a newlywed living with my parents no matter how much I like and love them. After a few weeks, I'm proud to say we've all adjusted quite well. We have dinner together sometimes, and sometimes we don't (a good balance that took a little time to figure out). We hang out and then don't (again, balance). My mom and I have gone on walks, cooked together and spent some quality time with the Gilmore Girls. My dad and husband have drank Old Fashioneds by the pool talking about baseball and football and God only knows what else. There have been less than perfect times. My dog and their dog got in a scuffle which ended in Lucy losing an eye. (Note: it was due to the stress of the fight, Bella is incapable of taking someone's eye out through physical matters.) Us humans have scuffled as well. When this is all said and done and we live under a different roof again, I believe our bond will be even stronger (how is that even possible??) and I will spend the rest of my life trying to repay them for opening their doors, taking us in and most of all, not kicking us out.

My dad has meticulously maintained every detail of this remodel. He has corralled contractors, tracked down tubs and answered every question I can possibly think of as I bombard him in the morning, throughout the day and over dinner. He has truly taken a wallpapered beast of an old, uninhabited home and day by day has helped make our dream home a reality. Honestly, without him we'd be living in that old ass house rocking in the corner of every wall-papered room wondering how the hell we were going to get things done. We have not always been perfect in handling the remodel with each other, but dammit it is the most amazing gift he could have given us in taking this all on. And you're welcome dad, as I know we've helped confirm your career choice of commercial over residential projects. It's important to know those things.

This would have probably been my crazy corner where I rocked myself to sleep to the soothing patterns of this atrocity of wall covering. 
Finally, my husband. I read somewhere that the first year of marriage is one of the hardest. If that's true, we took what was going to be a challenging year, put it in a pressure cooker and then cranked that shit to 10. We are still learning how to be married, how to communicate, how to interact, when the other needs space, when they need support and everything else that comes with expecting one person to be your best friend, household co-manager, spouse, lover, etc. That alone is a LOT of work. It's the most rewarding work I've ever experienced and our relationship has become one BILLION times more solid in the last 8 months, but damn, that is some trying stuff right there. Add to that mix trying to start a family, living with your parents (in-laws) and remodeling an entire home (seriously, every room but the basement is getting work done)? Well, we should have asked for a reality series contract prior to starting this all because this show would have some SERIOUS ratings potential. (Thank GOD we didn't, not my finest moments people, not even a little.) He has shown me patience that I didn't know anyone was capable of, support when I was a hot mess of crumble, defiance when I needed to be put in my place and humility when it was my time to lead. We have laughed and cried and yelled and loved and I cannot imagine doing this with anyone else. This has given new meaning and reaffirmed value in the term "partner" and I will never be able to thank him for making yet another dream of mine come true.

So, that's the cheesy part that had to be addressed before we can start actually talking about the house. More to come on that. Until then look at this - walls framed! Plumbing! Electrical! 3 less layers of wallpaper!

Monday, June 13, 2016

All the Change

For a (very) long time, I wasn't posting any blogs because every time I went to write one I thought to myself, "That's not very exciting." For a long(er than I necessarily wanted) I was dating, which automatically led to entertaining content (for you, the readers--entertaining for you, typically miserable for me. you're welcome). Then I met Tom and everything was all, "OMG YOU GUYS, THIS GUY." Then we got married and I could have (did) talked about that non-stop for the 9ish months it took to plan the wedding.

And then, this marvelously wonderful thing happened. I settled into life. Just me, my husband, the cat and the dog. Nothing really changed. We got comfortable and enjoyed each other. Sure, we honeymooned and visited family in California, and had fun adventures with friends here in the mean time. But nothing that felt worth necessarily reporting back on. We were happy, things were good. Great, even.

And then, because leaving things well enough alone has NEVER been a strong point of mine, we went ahead and changed EVERYTHING all at once. Looking back I guess it wasn't really intentional. We kind of dabbled into changing a few things and then the world was like, "Oh yeah? You want change? You want to test the waters, you type-A control freak? OH I'LL GIVE YOU CHANGE."

In roughly 30 days, one calendar month, Tom interviewed for a new job, quit his job and started a new one. I interviewed for a couple jobs, found one, quit my job, started a new one. We went to peek at a house that had been on the market for forever. And then put an offer on it. Then changed a bunch of stuff in our house and listed it. And then sold it. Oh, and went to California for InLaws Vacation 2016 in the middle there. So let's dissect, shall we?

Tom was killing it at his current job, but just not feeling like progression was happening. Plus, having been married for about 6 months at that point and only spending a total of two, (COUNT IT, TWO) weekends together thanks to a killer retail schedule, he thought a 9-5 might be a little more fun. So he interviewed for a new position. Side note: he didn't just interview, he killed the game of interviewing. Round 2 included a 6 person panel interview at which he needed to give a 2-3 minute presentation. He got an offer 2 days later.

We agreed last fall that we'd take a break looking at houses for a while and pick back up in the Spring. Tom did that, I of course did not (see above note regarding leaving things alone). So I kept coming back to this adorable dutch colonial house on a street I have called my "Dream Street" since moving to Waukesha. Finally, to appease me (because he is not only the perfect match for me but also a mastermind when it comes to "winning" the game of Angie) Tom agreed to go look at it. Despite needing some serious love (read: wallpaper EVERYWHERE and carpet in both the bathroom and the kitchen!) we put an offer in on the house the next day. (more on this later)

Hopefully our Home, Sweet, Home (pending all contingencies behaving)

Next up was a trip to California to see Tom's family.

We brought my parents out there this time, so they could all get to know each other better. I'm sure most people are already cringing at the thought of taking a trip with inlaws to visit inlaws. But honestly, it was the perfect trip. We had a killer air bnb rental with a view that just wouldn't quit. Everyone got along like they'd been long lost friends.

And we got to go sailing on my father-in-law's gorgeous boat where I proceeded to get super seasick and made everyone turn around after hour. And they still like me! So, winning, I suppose.

While in CA, Tom and I continued negotiations on our offer on the new (very old) house over pancakes at iHop. After some drinking, some heated discussion about our flexibility in the offer and then some tears (from me, of course) we finally agreed to an offer!

When we got back, I found a posting for a job as the Marketing Director of a pretty awesome shopping/town center here in Milwaukee and applied on a whim. Few days later I had an interview with my potential future boss at a Starbucks. Three hours later, I was ALL about this job and basically best friends with her. Fast forward a few weeks and I had participated 3 more interview rounds and accepted an offer.

Fun fact: on one day in this 30 days of change, I had a final interview with my boss and her boss, accepted the offer for the new position, and then went IMMEDIATELY to the inspection on our new house. Just keeping things real casual with no pressure, you know, how I like it!

Then, because we had put an offer on a new (old) house, we realized we also needed to list our condo. So we did some real quick updates and projects (within in one week we got new floors, new countertops and did some small projects around the house) and got the thing listed.

Thanks, St. Joe. Despite making my husband think I was off my damn rocker, you served us well!

Three weeks later (and SO MANY showings that included Tom, Bella, Gracie and I locked in a car in visitor parking about 10 feet from the house) we had an offer on our condo!

So much more time in a car w/ animals than I care to have in a few week's time. 

Very indicative of how they felt about the showings.

So, current status: new jobs are going great, better fits for both of us. We are scheduled to close on July 29th on the new house, then we're going to live with my parents for as long as our ridiculously awesome and scary and expensive remodel of said old home takes, then we'll move in! (Much, much more to come on that...)

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Meet the Vendors: The Places

There are so many things I have to write about that happened on Saturday, at my WEDDING. The people, the vows, the dress, MY HUSBAND!! But until I can figure out how to put words to all of that, I figured I'd take the chance to rave about my vendors because dammit, we had the most all-star, kick ass crew of vendors in the whole entire world.

So today, we start with the places.

Our ceremony and reception were held at Anodyne Coffee Works in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Throughout the planning process, when I told people we were having our wedding at a coffee shop, I got more than a few strange looks. A coffee shop? I'd return their wonder with a smile and a nod because I knew, from the very first time Tom and I stepped in the place, this was no ordinary coffee shop. The cream city brick against the warm wooden floors, the cozy yet spacious area, the stage, the tables, it was all we needed to make our big day perfect.

When Lindsay, the event coordinator, told me she had gotten married there before she started working there I felt a pretty big sense of comfort. She's been the bride and the planner, she's gotta know this place like the back of her hand! And then she showed me her 17 page PDF she assembled for her wedding and I was sold!

The space is amazing for a wedding, there's room for everything without feeling cramped, the staff was incredibly accommodating and helpful. No matter a guest's preference they could experience our wedding however they chose. Tearing up the dance floor? Plenty of space. Comfortably at their seat? Still in view of any excitement taking place. Near the bar? Tons of standing room along the gorgeous built in bar.

There's a separate room where the caterers were able to set up dinner allowing for comfortable traffic flow. Three private bathrooms, helpful for a bride who needs some assistance using them that night. Plenty of storage space to house decorations, bridal party stuff, etc. And, my husband's favorite part, a ping pong table in the "staging area" to keep the groomsmen busy as guests arrive.

This amazing venue is becoming quite popular, so the ability to snag a date will likely become harder and harder. Their policies are evolving as they become a coveted wedding venue, but Lindsay was great about explaining any updates/changes.

Next up, where we stayed, The Iron Horse Hotel.

I feel bad for any bride who stays somewhere else on their big day. From the moment we walked in the door, every single employee made certain we felt like the most special people on the planet. (Note: there were THREE other bridal parties staying at the hotel that weekend so it's not because we were the ONLY bridal groups.) From the first second we pulled up, the valet team grabbed a cart and instead of rolling their eyes at all 60 stems of flowers they helped unload, he asked about my wedding, what we were doing with the flowers, and told us the weather was going to get better!

The hotel itself is GORGEOUS. The minute you walk in the lobby it's freaking stunning. The rooms are spacious, well decorated and feel luxurious. The staff at the front desk were friendly, helpful and accommodating no matter what crazy request we threw their way (and we had a few!). They had tea delivered to our room when my Husband wasn't feeling well after our reception. They delivered stools for the makeup artists, extra towels required by having 10 girls in a room at one time, chairs, tea, coffee, all with a smile and a quick step.

Every time they saw us they asked how things were going, what we had planned that day, how we were feeling - things they didn't have to take a vested interest in, but DID. On Saturday when we showed up with 7 and wanted brunch, they scurried to find a table for us and continued to treat us like royalty.

Aside from being the location we got engaged, had our first look and stayed on our wedding night, Iron Horse has confirmed a hundred times over their spot as THE place to go for something special.

Still to come... The Eats, The Beauty, The Clothes

Saturday, November 14, 2015

My Little Village

It's 6:35 on the morning of November 14th. I'm watching the sun come up over Lake Michigan and couldn't sleep another second. Today I am going to marry my best friend and quite frankly this is like all 31 of the Christmas mornings I've lived through all wrapped up in to one. And, even better, because I'm a grown adult and the bride, no one can tell me I have to stay in bed until it's light out!

However, this post isn't about him, or our wedding. There will be plenty of those. This post, my last a a single woman, is about all of those people who got me here. I spent a good chunk of my late twenties single. If you were one of the fortunate few to find your love earlier than that, you may not know what it's like to navigate the choppy waters of dating as an adult. But I can tell you, you do not sail that ship alone.

I am amazed, humbled, overwhelmed and overjoyed when I think about all of the people along the way who have shaped me, changed me, pushed me and kept me afloat when I just wasn't sure I could do it alone. They came in the obvious ways, my family, my friends. They came in less obvious ways, teenage girls I coached and then watched become amazing young women in their own real world life. In conventional ways, like coworkers who became lunch buddies who became best friends. In grounding ways, my little bodyflow family who kept me motivated to change physically and in doing so mentally. In, what seemed at the time, crazy ways, my internet strangerfriends who became mainstays in my life in no time at all.

Looking back, every single one of those people were so deliberately placed in my life to give me exactly what I needed when I needed it. At the time, all I wanted was to find the man I would marry. I'd beg them for answers, cry on their shoulders and curse the universe for being so cruel to me. But I realize now, I never could be where I am in this very moment on my wedding day without each day with each one of those people. I grew, I evolved, I took the occasional step back and I learned. And then, in just the right moment, I was the me I needed to be to take the chance on a stranger from Jefferson, to fall in love and to finally know I was right where I needed to be.

So thank you, to every one of those people. Thank you for pushing me and for pulling me. For having hope when mine was wavering and strength when mine was tired. It was a sometimes trying journey to get here, but it's filled with so much love and joy and help.

If it takes a village to raise a child, it takes that and more to raise a single 30 year old woman. So thanks for being my village. Can't wait to see what's to come.


Thursday, September 24, 2015

The Water in my Whiskey

Last night because Tom had the night off, I agreed we could take a trip to, what he refers to as "his Disneyland", Costco.

On the way there I called to tell him I was leaving work and while COMPLETELY obeying traffic laws and driving slowly to a red light, some lady in a van put her hand up to her ear making a phone motion and then did the most obnoxious and insulting impersonation of, apparently, me on my phone. It was one of those moments where my stomach drops and I can feel my face flush because a) I hate feeling like I've done something wrong. B) I DESPISE being made to feel like I'm doing something wrong when I haven't at all. C) Why do you have to be such a bitch? I mean, I don't know you, so maybe you're not one. You're driving a minivan so I assume you've got kids. Maybe they kept you up all night and you're exhausted. Maybe your boss was a dick and it's been a long day and I just happened to annoy and offend you personally by being on my phone? Whatever your reason, don't be a B maybe? Because I didn't actually do anything to you. So, just...stop?

At any rate situations like this make me irrationally upset because I am, to my very core, a people pleaser. And as much as it drives me batshit crazy, I apparently even seek to please strangers. And when I've done something to be scolded I cannot control my immediate, biological response of sadness, frustration and anger.

But, also, whatever ya big B, I'm going to Costco with my love and we're going to buy enough paper supplies to last us MONTHS and even you and your stupid face you're making can't stop that.

*fast forward to me pulling into the Costco parking lot*

I'm behind a woman in an SUV and we're entering the lot where there are two lanes, clearly marked on the road and by a sign. The right most lane is for turning right. The left most lane is for going straight. She's in the right lane, I'm going straight. Until she sees a close parking spot and then we're BOTH in the straight lane and I'm slamming on my breaks. I honk my horn as if to say, "WHOA! Someone's over here!" because that's what you do to alert someone who's enclosed in a vehicle separate from the one you're enclosed in.

She pulls into her spot, I find one two spots closer (because karma, I assume). As I get out of my car I see her, her two teenage sons (who look like troublemakers but who am I to judge) just GLARING at me. Um, I'm sorry, are we not adults here? So I say "is there a problem?" and her son says "what the hell's your problem honking at her like that?" To which I respond "Um, you cut me off. You were in a right turn only lane." And she yells "I didn't have my damn signal on did I?"

Pause. Okay ma'am, first of all a right turn only lane pretty clearly indicates a right turn is happening. The fact that you failed to use a signal does nothing to prove your case as a driver in the right. Also, no you weren't using a blinker, perhaps you should consider that. Also, FANTASTIC lesson you're giving your, what I can only assume are soon-to-be behind the wheel sons. Good luck keeping them out of jail for road rage related charges.

They continue to stare me down as they walk into Costco as I get more and more flustered about by the situation. I can feel my face turning red as Tom gets out of his car. I explain what happened (he was in his car right behind me) and he confirms I was right and she was wrong. He also encourages me politely to let it go. It's okay, she's not worth my time and also, "hey! We're at Costco!" (possibly forgetting that makes him a different level of happy than it makes me).

Between the phone lady and this chick, I'm at my limit of just plain old DICKS in the world. I'm frustrated with society as a whole and I can't figure out why all these assholes are ganging up on little old me. As we're walking in I stop and just ask to take a quick minute to explain why it frustrates me. He obliges, confirms again that I was right and that it's all okay. He slowly (without my realizing) continues to walk us into Costco, grabs a cart (still ensuring it's all okay and yes, again, I was right) and meanders over to the TVs. He starts looking at them, talking to me about the differences, what he might want to do in our next house, how this one is 4k and that one is curved. "Hey what size is our TV in the basement? What about the one in the bedroom?" We're 2 aisles deep in the TV section when I realize what's happening. "Hey! Are you shiny objecting me right now?! Did you just pull a textbook toddler distraction play on me?" I squeal.

"I am waving the hell out of my hypothetical keys, hoping you'll see them and want to play" he calmly states as we're walking past the big screens. "huh, you got a teething ring in your pocket, too? I'm getting kind of hungry." I responded, realizing he had won.

It was in this moment (and in many, MANY other moments we've had in our relationship) that I realize how lucky I am to marry this man. I am so ridiculously fortunate that when I go into a fit of Type A, control-needing rage that, instead of running scared (as he'd have every right to do), he not only tolerates me, he finds ways to fix it. Ways that I assume he has fine tuned over time that don't offend, upset or insult me in my illogical, irrational state.

He is many things to me, in this specific instance he is the water in my whiskey. When I've got a bite and am ready to kick some ass (usually over something unnecessary) (and honestly I could never *actually* kick some ass) he comes in, calms things down, and makes everything better, smoother and overall more enjoyable.

Also, he's going be a great dad -- by then he'll have had plenty of practice.

Also, also, PSA: no matter how shitty your day is, just don't be a dick to people who don't deserve. And definitely don't be a dick in front of your kids. Ok? Thanks.

Monday, August 10, 2015

#HappilyEmreyAfter: The Bachelorette Party Edition

aka #SweatingfortheWedding.

This past weekend was my bachelorette party and I almost couldn't write this post because I had the hardest damn time putting words to it.

On Monday, before the party, I had written an email to the lovely ladies on the invite list telling them how ooey gooey I was already getting inside thinking about how much this weekend meant to me. I have been repeatedly blessed over and over and over again with what can only be described as a bunch of baller ass women. And when I thought about what it would be like when the majority of those baller ass women were all under the same roof for a weekend celebrating the fact that I found the love of my life...whoa, the waterworks were on and there was no sign of them stopping.

 Friday I picked up my favorite Texan from the airport and we piled into a car and made the trek north to Door County. The group's timing couldn't have been more perfect as the entire caravan of vehicles all arrived within minutes of each other. A car full of Internet Friends, a car full of Minnesotans pulled in shortly after we did. We stayed in an adorable house with enough space for 14 of us to sprawl and enough counter space for the plethora of booze and snacks that accompany a group of well planned drinkers/eaters.

Amy handed me a "Future Mrs. Clay Matthews" wine glass for drinking. Mel and Rachel handed me a gun holster beer coozy. My MOH Gina was turning our kitchen into a Chipotle so I could recreate one of my favorite meals ever for dinner. (Seriously, right down to the salsa options, she NAILED it.) We cued up the playlist, poured drinks and it was happening... MY Bachelorette party. It started to feel a little surreal. (BUT, I had locked it up and hadn't cried, NOT EVEN ONCE!) Here's where the locking failed and I cried, but only a little! 13 of the coolest people I know, my closest friends all gathered around a table and talked about how they met me, funny stories we had together and how they met/know/got to know Tom.

Now, I know these people pretty well so I had a pretty good idea of how the weekend was going to play out. I know there would be a lot of fun. I was certain there would be music and dancing. I even had a pretty good inkling that there would be delicious food and hella planning that would turn into the most well executed bachelorette party ever. What I could not have possibly imagined or prepared for was the overwhelming feeling of awesome that happened over and over throughout the weekend. I would be going along, talking and hanging out and all of a sudden it would hit me like a ton of bricks. Individually I have known each of them and we have forged a friendship, built memories and connected. But to see those individuals connected was one of the coolest things EVER.

I also could have cried (and did when I got home--you're welcome ladies) over the thought and consideration that went into this weekend. They thought of EVERYTHING. Meals, snacks, drinks, coozies, bride accessories that didn't include penises, EVERYTHING was exactly me. And every time I turned around, someone was doing something thoughtful. I have never felt so spoiled in my entire life. 

I am so incredibly lucky to have found my partner for life. I'm even luckier that he's also my best friend. But lucky doesn't do justice to the fact that I was carried by this incredible group of women until I found him. I am so unbelievably thankful for the planning, hard work and thought that went into this weekend. Every single detail was perfect and I'm just so freaking lucky to have you all.

Monday, July 6, 2015


365* days ago, I met Tom. 383 days ago, I wrote this post. One year later, all of it is still true. He made me smile bigger and laugh harder. He has more than won my heart. He's kept my heart happy, my tummy full of butterflies and forever in his hands. A lot has happened in 365 days. We've moved in together, we've met each others families and we've gotten engaged. In 13
0ish days we'll be getting married.

Much like the post I first wrote about him, he still leaves me pretty wordless. Sometimes when I think about it too much it kind of blows my mind. He's my very best friend. He keeps me on my toes. He challenges me in a way I've never been challenged. 

One of my good friends got to meet him for the first time this past weekend. She's seen other boyfriends come and go and has a pretty good gauge of ghosts of Angie's dating past. She said to me, "Ang, Tom is really funny. And he challenges you. In a totally different way than the others have. And you put up with it way more than you ever did. 366 days ago, if you could have asked me "How would you like your friends to describe the man you're going to marry?" I may not have been able to give you that exact answer but that is so much of what I had hoped for during all those single days. Someone to make me laugh and make me better. 

He encourages me, supports me, tolerates me and loves me. He has a calming way about him when I've gotten maybe a little too high strung. He rolls with the punches when I'm planning to the minute. He even knows when I'm about to get cranky and forgives what I might say when I'm hangry. 

We haven't been together all that long, we haven't even known each other all that long. But in 365 days we've navigated our way through living under one roof, planning a wedding, death, job changes and so much more. He's my best friend, my love and my everything. 
I can't wait for the rest of our lives. 

*Disclaimer: I wrote this post on Saturday but didn't post it until today because blogging is hard...