Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The Fluness

I have just survived a three day, knock down, drag out boxing match with the Fluness. I haven't had the flu in years and had forgotten how horribly awful it is. Of course I got the flu over the weekend J and I had planned to do much of the baby furniture shopping, so it's postponed to this weekend. Hopefully I'll be up to it. I'm still feeling like a pile of blurgh and the weekend is only a few days away.


Thursday, October 23, 2008

Names, Names, Names

If y'all have any ideas for baby girl names, I'm open to suggestions. J and I agree on two names as of right now, but I'm not sure if either of them are THE name. You know?

I'm still getting used to the fact that I am having a girl. Even with my old home office no longer my beloved granny smith apple shade of green, repainted to a brilliant color called "cheery" (read a bright reddishorangepink), and slowly morphing into nursery status, I still have a bit of a hard time registering it.

A girl. There is a little girl growing inside of me. Soooo amazingly strange. J has taken to calling me out every time I refer to the baby as "it," and/or The Flash. But The Flash is sooo catchy. I've threated to use that moniker as the middle name, but I don't think J sees the humor in it. At least not like I do.

I wish we could agree on a name. Maybe if we had one, I could stop thinking of this little girl as The Flash, and by her name instead. So help a sister out if you can.


Wednesday, October 22, 2008


I finally got my updated voter registration information a few days ago. Phew! At the end of August I realized I needed to update my current address in order to vote in the election this year. With the state of chaos my life was in last year, the address change wasn't a major priority to me, but with an election coming up, I realized I needed to get my change in stat. In Ohio (I'm not sure about other states) you can't change this information online - you have to physically go to the board, send your form to the board via USPS, or physically go to a deputy registrar to take care of the change(s).

Since I didn't want the form to get lost in the mail, I opted to drop off the form at one of the deputy registrar's offices a few miles away from my house. When I got there, the lady working behind the counter seemed a bit surprised that I was dropping my form off at the office and proceeded to inform me that she wasn't quite sure what to do with my address change form. Really?! I would think that if you are employed at the deputy registrar's office you would be aware of what your job entails, and be even more aware of the voter changes that would be coming in with an election only two and a half months away. But then again, knowing how BMVs can sometimes be mysterious mazes of contradicting information, maybe not. I then asked her to get someone who knew what to do with the form, so I knew it would be appropriately taken care of before the election. The lady behind the counter was quite apologetic and congenial, got the other person working there (thankfully who knew what to do, unless I was being paid lip service), and as far as I knew, the situation was taken care of - I should be getting my updated registration in the mail within 2 weeks.

Two weeks pass and no registration. Three weeks. Four. Five. Six...I finally got confirmation that the changes were updated and approved on Monday of this week. I'm thankful I received my updated card from the county board of elections, but I can't help but wonder if it takes this long for everyone to receive their updated information. And if it does this long, how do the people who get their changes in by the 30 day before the deadline know where to go to vote besides downtown to the board of elections? Is their information updated in time to reflect the necessary changes to allow them to vote, or does it literally take several weeks for changes to be reflected?

I'm not really sure where I'm going with this, but having to wait so long to find out my voter status was causing me a fair amount of anxiety and I wonder if anyone else in this city has felt that way, too. I know you can call the county board to inquire about your status, but it's not always easy to retrieve that information once you start having to go through a tray of automated options and being put on hold for long lengths of time, getting mysteriously cut off, etc. I guess maybe I would just like information to be more readily available to people who need it. I don't remember it taking this long or being this difficult in any other state I've lived in since I was 18, so it just makes me wonder.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Crunching The Credit

Ever since we found out I was expecting Little Miss Flash, J and I have started working aggressively towards getting ourselves out of debt. For me, this has meant paying off the 3 credit cards in my possession as well as getting my student loan debt in order. As of the end of September, I officially paid off 2 cards in full and am working to get that 3rd paid off before the baby gets here. As far as the student loans go, J has been awesome and is helping me with finding out if I can refinance or get a better payment plan going. So all that has been going on with the aforementioned is a definite positive for us. Less debt = more money saved. Pretty simple when you think about it, but I guess neither of us ever really considered being as aggressive about paying off our revolving balances until we found out about the Flash.

Major life changes, I'm telling you.

When there is a positive, there is often a negative...so to the negative. On Sunday night, J and I were were working and I decided I needed a break. While taking my 15 minute breather, I decided to check on the last credit card I need to pay off. I've been autopaying about 2.5x the minimum balance for the past 4 months, so I hadn't been really monitoring the card seeing as how I haven't used this particular one for several months. If I'm not using the card, there shouldn't be a potential for any transactions, so while I was paying off the other 2 cards, I left the monitoring of this one alone. I shouldn't have.

Apparently someone stole my card or my card number and has been charging pornography to my card since July. When I first pulled up my account summary, I was dumbfounded. My progress was going NOWHERE. Why wasn't my balance going down more than it was - seeing as how I have been paying a good amount over the minimum?

I started examining my statements and discovered mysterious transactions. Not the disgustingly high finance charge. But actual transactions. Transactions with receipt numbers. Transactions that listed the website(s) where said transactions were made. All of these were for pornography. Porn. I don't do porn. And if I were to be all about the porn, I certainly wouldn't purchase it online. Have I mentioned that haven't used this card since last fall? I haven't swiped it since I decided to stop using it until I got my balance down to a more manageable status? And no, J didn't use the card for the porn either.

Whatever happened to the fraud department calling me and asking me about these charges? Mysterious porn charges. The card has been inactive for several months, and then suddenly decent sums of money are being spent on porn. You would think the fraud department would call and inquire. Nope. No dice. Apparently they don't have the time to call people who have more than a 50% balance on their cards, stop making purchases on their card for several months in order to try to pay it down, and ALWAYS pay more than the minimum. I've always been a more than minimum payment maker, just not as high as the past few months.

Long story short. I spent almost 3 hours on the phone with the fraud department on Sunday night. Got my account credited to where it should be. Cancelled the card and am being issued a new one.

I figure there are some scenarios of how this may have happened: someone surreptitiously took the card out of my bag, wrote the numbers down and then started using it; someone went through my garbage and pieced together an old statement I accidentally threw away without shredding; someone somehow got the number by hacking into my secure account and the firewall I have set up on my computer is junk...but then this couldn't really be the case since my other two cards are fine; this credit card company was the victim of some sort of hacker themselves; or something may have happened when i was out of the country in april/may.

What do I think happened? I simply do not know. Which makes me feel completely gross.

What I do know is that I will definitely be checking EVERY SINGLE STATEMENT I RECEIVE MOVING FORWARD. I can't believe something like this happened to me.

Thursday, October 16, 2008


-- I had another appointment with my doctor last week, and again, everything was normal. My next appointment is during the first week of November. I'll be getting the dreaded diabetes test then. MMMmmm...glucola. I only dread the test because I can't stand supersugary things that leave a nasty residue in my mouth, but mostly because of the fact that I will have more blood drawn then. Mere thoughts of veins, needles, and blood makes me lightheaded, so just imagine how it is when blood is actually taken. I'm just hoping to not pass out from the combination of my low blood pressure and anxiety about bloodwork...it's been known to happen. You would think I would be okay with bloodwork and all that comes with it by this point in my life, considering how many stays I've had in hospitals, but I'm not. Well, I will cross that bridge when I come to it.

-- The horrorfest was a pretty good time, although I was displeased with the fact that you weren't allowed to have food or drinks in the theatre. The horrorfest changed venues to the restored Warner Theatre this year, and apparently you aren't allowed to have any noshies in there. Zero. Zilch. Nothing. No popcorn. No licorice. No soda pop. Not even water. Being a pregnant waterfiend, I was displeased. On the positive tip, I did get to see some interesting long and short films, spend time with a couple of my sisters and a nephew, and I got to meet some new people.

-- While I was away in Erie, J altered the cleaning and painting plans a bit. He ended up priming and painting the baby room, and priming about half of the basement room. While it wasn't everything he intended to get done, it was a good chunk. This weekend we ideally be finishing the cleanout of the basement room, moving the office furniture from the baby room to the basement, and possibly getting 2/3 of the painting done down there. It seems like somewhat of a lofty goal considering we both have work to do this weekend, but I am hopeful we can get a chunk of the HI stuff done.

-- Next weekend we are taking a trip south to West Virginia to visit J's mom. On the way back we are stopping off at the IKEA in Pittsburgh to purchase essentials for the baby room and other items for the changes we are making. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't overwhelmed with all of this. I'd also be lying if I said I wasn't excited though, too.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Eerie Horror Film Festival

I'm being kicked out of the house over the weekend so that, in theory, J can prime and maybe paint the basement bonus room, move the heavy office furniture downstairs, and more or less make that space functional.

What am I going to do? Leave ClevelandOH on Thursday, head to EriePA, and watch scary movies with sisters Kat and Becky, and my nephew, Jacob.

How thrilled am I?

Saturday, October 4, 2008

I Should Set Up Camp At The Home Depot

This weekend marked the beginning of major interior house changes J and I will be making over the next year plus. Since it has been decided we will be staying in Cleveland for at least the next 4-5 years (unless a South America move for all of us becomes a reality), we are finally going to invest the buckage into the house to modernize, increase longer-term value, and generally make it more of our own vs. investing minimal money to make minor changes in order to sell the house. I will be taking pictures along the way.

The master list of home improvement projects includes five relatively large undertakings:

1. (Re)finish the half-finished basement bonus room. Make functional for home office and family/play room
2. Baby Room. Painting, furniture, organization.
3. Living room. Reposition room for traffic flow, install new lighting, paint, move and reinstall home theatre system. We need a new couch since our current one is way too large for the space, but I know the new couch dream won't likely happen for at least a year.
4. Demo and gutting of the upstairs. Build a master suite and one additional upstairs bedroom vs. the two strangely small walk-in closet sized "bedrooms" and master.
5. Demo of the kitchen. Install a modern, functional kitchen space.

This weekend we purchased a new flat screen television and started cleaning out the bonus room in the basement. J and our friend Chris moved the old 60 inch projection tv that was in the living room down to the basement since I'm unable to do heavy lifting, then unloaded the new tv, and put it together in a temporary, makeshift set-up since J and I will be getting the living room completed within the next month.

We have a pretty hefty undertaking ahead of us, but I'm thrilled to be doing it. I suppose since finding out I was pregnant, I've become more mindful of the home I want for my family instead of my typical modus operandi: the highly nomadic, bachelor(ette)-pad-minded Karoline. Does that make sense? And while Cleveland, OH isn't my ideal location to live, I do want a livable, comforting, secure, warm environment for the baby.