Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Several Huge Updates!

Well, I just killed my first Black Widow Spider, so I'm going to need drink. Or seven. And I don't drink.

Hey, everyone! I thought it was time for an update since we have a whole lot going on right now! If you don't feel like reading the whole darn thing, scroll through, read the bolded points as a summary, and then check out the photos at the end!

1. We're Moving Again

If you guys remember, we moved here to our current town, Tracy, last August. The intention was to save money on rent by moving further away from The Bay Area so that we could save up for a down payment on a house, however several things happened along the way.

First of all, the apartments we were looking at just weren't very nice. So instead of saving $800 like we had intended, we found some more decent apartments and ended up saving only $500. Of course this is still saving, however we're not where we'd like to be in terms of how-much-is-going-out-in-rent.

For those of you who don't know, homes in California are OUTRAGEOUSLY PRICED. Homes in San Mateo (where we moved from) that would cost about $150k (or less) in Michigan (and you'd get a much bigger yard in Michigan), can cost close to $1,000,000 here. I'm not kidding. The prices make me sick. And, as you can probably figure out, this drastically increases the amount needed for the down payment on a house. By a LOT. Which is why some people in California live in apartments all their lives, and why there are 4+ bedroom apartments here.

Therefore, we are moving once again this August to try to achieve our saving goals and to rid ourselves of a lot of apartment and general area related stress.

Our apartment is not all it was supposed to be. We constantly have problems with trashy neighbors, parking, the gardeners, the noise, and the dumpsters. The amount we are paying for the quality of these apartments is not worth it and we cannot stay here any longer. In addition, moving out here put us 1.5 hours away from an airport and at least 30 minutes away from anything decent in terms of shopping, food, etc., and we have found that the area is just not for us. The drive to the airport coupled with Patrick's work travel is taking a toll on us, especially since my car is not in service right now. I'll get into detail with that in a bit.

The moral of this story is that we will be moving again, which is a pain in the dupa, but it is necessary for our sanity. The good news is that we've found a couple of really promising apartments in Roseville, which is where we're set on moving. The other good news is that moving to Roseville puts us so much closer to stuff, like shopping and food and civilization and an airport. Plus it's only a 25 minute drive to Sacramento, and who doesn't love Old Sac? (No pun intended, this truly is what it is called in shorthand)

2. We Are Retiring from The Bawdy Caste

The bad news is that Roseville puts us a full two hours away from the Bay Area, and that's in decent traffic. It was with heavy hearts that we announced our retirement from The Bawdy Caste at the most recent show on April 4th. We will be close enough to do occasional shows, but Patrick's schedule is so unpredictable that promising to do our part as cast members and show up to as many shows as we do now just isn't possible. We plan on guest performing when time allows, but as of the July 4th show, we will no longer be full-time cast members. We are going to desperately miss performing and doing shows with our Rocky Family, but the time has come for Patrick and I to focus on our goals as a family and what we want our future together to look like.

3. Patrick's Leg Injury is not Healing, My Health is Improving

I'm not sure if I ever mentioned this to any of you or if you all remember it even if I did, but Patrick injured himself last summer. It was just after we moved to the new apartment and while on stage at a show, Patrick turned the wrong way and his tendon separated from his calf muscle. It resulted in an incredibly painful injury that he was given no time to heal from, because the following Monday (and he did this on a Saturday), he was at the airport gearing up for a week in Canada. The nature of Patrick's job is that he either travels to a client to train its staff or he teaches virtual classes from home, but none of this is ever regular, so he could be travelling for a month straight and only be home on Fridays and Saturdays, or he could not travel for several months. It truly just depends on what the clients want.

Patrick was given no down time in terms of healing and went straight on the road with a cane. He was gone for three weeks with only one full day at home between each trip, which took him to Canada, Washington, and Sacramento. Not to mention that much of the time his hotel is so close to the client that he doesn't even bother renting a car and opts for walking every day to the client-- something that really took a toll on him this time around. When he got back, he went to Urgent Care (the only thing he could find the time to get to because we had just moved and he had not switched physicians-- the distance and his schedule made making an appointment with his old doctor in San Mateo impossible). He was told to RICE the injury and he did the best be could, but in order to prevent the tendon from snapping again, he began walking heavily on his heel to prevent the muscles from stretching in his calf.

Long story short, his injury healed but he created a new one when he tried to keep the weight off of the healing injury, and he has been living with chronic pain ever since. He finally had time to make an appointment to see a specialist, who worries that he has created so much scar tissue around his Achilles tendon that he may need surgery to remove the scar tissue and rebuild the tendon, which will be determined by the results of his MRI scheduled for this Thursday, and he's currently in a orthopedic boot. A surgery like this could set us back drastically in terms of down payment savings and moving, so good vibes and positive thoughts would be super helpful! I will keep you all updated about this situation.

Additionally, my health has been improving. My possible brain leakage has not recurred and my symptoms have mostly subsided, which makes me hopeful. However, I am still dealing with a lot of anxiety, which for some reason mostly went away for several weeks but is now back with a vengeance, although otherwise I'm doing alright. I want to thank everyone for their warm wishes towards my health and hopes that I'll feel better, because truly I am.

4. My Car Is Most Likely Retiring

The winter before this past winter, we discovered my that car had some trouble starting in severe weather (when it was too hot or too cold), and quite often I would have to run back inside the house, grab Patrick's keys, and take his car to work. When he would go out to start my car at lunch time, it would start right up, and it took a while for us to figure out what the difference was and why it would start at 11am but not 7am.

The issue continued when we moved here, and now that I don't have much reason to drive it (except for when Patrick is out of town), the car has died completely. The battery will not hold a charge and, regardless of how often I start or drive it, the thing dies. I'm right at the mileage cusp where things in the engine are going to start needing repairs, especially for its age (I have a 2000 2 door 4 Cyl Grand AM, 87k miles), and we've decided that trying to put more money into it to keep it going is probably not in our best interest, especially since the body of the car has suffered a lot of damage from a previous accident with a pole and is rusting out in quite a few places from the lovely weather in Michigan.

Our hopes are to get the car a new battery and turn the vehicle in towards a different vehicle for me. Notice I said different, not new. Though the car will be new to me, it will likely not be "brand-new," because I truly don't drive enough to need something with such low mileage. As affectionate as I am towards my car and as much as I love it, I think that after five years and a trip across the country together, it has finally given up on me and it's time to let it go.

For those who don't know, my car's name is Hercules, and it was my graduation gift from my parents. My dad sold his beloved '64 Impala-- which he was planning on fixing up-- in order to get me a decent first car. We were lucky when a customer of my dad's offered to sell him a car that she just had sitting around (I believe it was her late son's), which only had 53k miles on it at the time. The price was way under what it was worth, and even though it required some work, the result was worth it. That car saved me in my first accident-- the length of the front end prevented what could have been very serious injuries-- and even though the insurance totaled the car out, we bought it back and fixed it up and it was as good as new. During 2011-2013, I practically lived in my car with as much as I drove around, and eventually it got me across the country to start my new life in California. This is a really sad subject for me because I'm so attached to the car, but I think I'm finally ready for a new chapter after all its gotten me through.

5. We're Going On A Trip!

In July, we will be spending a week in Portland (sort of for Patrick's birthday but also because I've never been to Portland). I'll get to meet Patrick's best friend Dennis AND my sister-in-law and her family, all for the first time! I'm so jazzed about this. We're technically staying in Vancouver, WA, but Portland is a short ride right across the bridge. I am definitely way too excited for words about this. Also, does anyone else think it's weird that there is a Vancouver in Washington and in Canada? I keep feeling like I'm heading to another country when, in fact, I'm headed to the Pacific Northwest. Still awesome, though!

6. The Loss and Gain of a Family Member

If anyone knows me well, or even just knows me a little bit, they most likely know that I am a crazy cat lady. I mean, if we had our own house and weren't hindered by a two-pet limit, I would have like fifteen cats.

Good thing I'm already married, amiright?

We adopted my cat Marble back in May of last year, which brought our household cat total up to two. Some of you may know that when I moved in with Patrick, I also moved in with Beep, the tabby cat. This part of the post is incredibly bittersweet because our ability to adopt a new pet came after we had to make the incredibly difficult decision of letting Beep go.

Beep was almost 18 years old and was suffering from severe arthritis and dementia. She constantly limped and would only get up to go to the bathroom or eat. She also wouldn't leave the office, but would lose her memory every few minutes or so and start to cry and yowl at the wall, wondering where everyone was. Unless Patrick was in there constantly, Beep would continue to suffer and was almost always scared because she didn't know what was going on. It was definitely time to let her go, and so last month in March, we made an appointment and let her pass on peacefully instead of allowing her to suffer as much as she was. It's difficult for both of us, even though she was specifically Patrick's cat, and sometimes we catch ourselves and can still think we hear her snoring underneath the desk. The loss of a pet is never easy, and Beep's passing is no exception, but we are glad that she is no longer suffering.

Some of you may also know that our apartment complex has a ton of stray cats in it. We've fed them on our patio ever since we moved in, we've named all of them, we've been able to trap and adopt a couple of them out, and some of them are friendly enough to let us pet them and play with them. Especially Agador.

Agador Spartacus, who we initially thought was a boy until we got a closer look, would follow us home from the mail box almost every day and would let me pick her up and bring her inside. She did this for several months, and a few weeks after Beep passed, Patrick and I knew that our hearts still had a lot of room to fill, and we decided that the next time we saw Agador, we would bring her inside and bathe her and clip her nails. If she allowed us to do these things, we would keep her.

Since she has been living with us since April 2nd, obviously the bathing and nail clipping went alright. She is about 4-5 months old by the state of her teeth (she is getting her big kitty teeth still and losing her baby teeth, which means she is under 6 months). We even discovered that someone has already spayed her, although we are certain she was a stray and was either abandoned or someone took her in as a TNR (Trap, Neuter, Release) and didn't tell the vet she was a stray, so they marked her differently than they would have a stray (spayed/neutered pets have a tattoo on their belly to indicate that they've been fixed, which is what Agador and Marble have; fixed strays that are taken in for TNR have the tip of one ear clipped for easy, distant identification).

Agador is so super sweet and playful. When I lay down on my back next to her, she will hop up on my belly/chest and start to purr instantly. She likes to run inbetween our legs and she twitches when she dreams and she is very talkative. She has a very high pitched "MEW!" and almost sounds like she is saying "hello?"

We had been keeping the two cats separate up until a couple of days ago, and the introduction seems to be going well. Marble is learning to share her space and Agador is learning to give Marble her space. The only thing we need to work on with Agador is scratching the carpet (we're trying to teach her to use a cardboard scratcher but she just isn't getting it) and eating Marble's food (which we've moved to on top of the dresser where Agador has a harder time getting to it and hasn't found it yet).

So without anything further, everyone please welcome Agador Spartacus Powers to our family! Points if you know where we got her name from! Agador has joined Marble on her Instagram, which is now @marbleandagador, so go follow them if you haven't already for your daily dose of kitties!

My dad sent me a bag of chocolates, a card, and this bunny for Easter. Agador promptly stole the bunny and tries to "kill it" on a regular basis.

She'll hop right on top of you and start purring! 

"What are you eating? Never mind, I don't care. Give it to me."

That's it for now! I will keep everyone updated on our health and anything else they might be curious about. I still have a blog that I haven't done... I'll get to it eventually! Right now I'm crocheting up a storm, using Youtube to teach me new skills. I've even made a few amigurumi catnip mice for the cats, how cool are they?! I'm hoping to add to my skill arsenal so that I can start to put things on Etsy and make some profit off of my hobby! We also have a wedding to attend this weekend which we are both super excited for, so I'll probably get to a post about that sometime next week! Thank you again for the love, everyone! 

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