a girl can dream, can't she?

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Recently, I’ve been working on plans for the Gerig reunion. Reminder emails have gone out, number of people have been tallied, and I’m really excited it’s coming together! I have reserved the campground… We need at least 5 tents, and right now we have four (not including us, as we aren’t sure if I’ll feel well enough to camp or not). It’s not like we’ll get kicked out if we don’t have enough tents, but I had to pay for minimum of 5 so I’ll just be out the money. :-( But that’s okay.

Allow me to ramble a little. I feel like explaining my thoughts. :-)

I’ve had people wonder why I push for camping for the Gerig reunion, since not everyone likes it or has the equipment for it. It’s not because I love to camp. I mean, I do love it, but I’m also a fan of mattresses and sleeping raised off the floor, and indoor plumbing and electricity. :-) All are good things in my book. No, my reasons for wanting to camp for the Gerig reunion are much more selfish.

The thing is, we are coming from a long distance usually. Since our friends are mostly in or near Indiana, it only makes sense for us to be the ones to travel. If I’m going to drive 10+ hours one way, I’d really like to see everyone for more than only a few hours. :-) I prefer more one-on-one time, so I tend to break off with one or two people when I find myself in a group situation, which means if I only have 4 hours then I don’t really get to see everyone.

The alternative: spending the weekend together. Then we get 15-20 hours together throughout the course of the weekend. Because we’re also setting up tents, cooking food, walking together to the restrooms, etc. it’s not just idle chit-chat time. I don’t really know Sara well, but last year she was headed to the campground store to get some cups for hot chocolate. I offered to walk with her, and we ended up having a nice conversation which I really enjoyed. And, if I get fed up with people, I can retreat to my tent or somewhere else and get some time by myself without feeling like I’m wasting precious moments. Perhaps it’s because I AM so far away from my Taylor friends for the rest of the year, that I appreciate the moments I have with them even more.

Also, another reason for camping is that it’s close enough for (most) people to come, but far enough away that they won’t be as tempted to just “come for the day”. If we camped in, say, Indy, I could see a lot of people saying “Well, I live 20 minutes away, so I’ll just save my money and stop by on Saturday.” I mean, I would do that! (Except that my love for camping would probably supersede my desire to save money or go for the more convenient option.)

Those are my reasons for wanting to invite everyone to a weekend away, versus just a party on Saturday. In order to get this type of thing, there are a few choices:
* Everyone rent a hotel room/cabin/whatever – the most expensive option, and since most of us are still just starting out, we don’t have that kind of money
* Someone with a really big house that everyone can stay for the whole weekend – I don’t think anyone in our group has a house like that
* Camping – the most cost-effective option, hence the one we go with

There are problems with the camping option, i.e. the rustic-ness and the fact that you need equipment. Not everyone is cut out for or enjoys camping. And especially if you have kids – I don’t know this firsthand, but my guess is kids make camping much more difficult. To be honest, I have always known we’d only be able to camp for the reunion for a few years before interest would fade and we’d have to do a Saturday-only thing. My selfish reasons are causing me to hang onto it as long as possible, but I know I need to admit defeat before I lose everyone. :-)

So, perhaps next year we’ll start looking at other options. Maybe we can come up with something that will allow us to hang out over a span of three-ish days, while still meeting the needs of everyone else.

Here’s my dream one day. I don’t know if we’d ever be able to do it – if it’s even allowed. But wouldn’t it be totally awesome to hold the reunion one year at Gerig Hall? Do it one summer – we stay in the dorms, make our meals in the kitchen, hang out in the lounge, just like old times! Couples can share a room, families can use the other rooms in the suite for the kids. Wouldn’t it be fun? Ah well, a girl can dream!

What about you? Have you successfully been able to hold an annual get-together with out-of-state friends? Am I unrealistic in my desires? Is there a happy medium?

must! declutter! now!

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I don’t know if I’m officially nesting, or if 3 months of mess and clutter have just made me jump off the crazy cliff, but I spent the weekend in declutter mode! (My weekends are always Saturday-Monday, but this weekend I had Friday off too. Friday was Paul’s birthday. Happy birthday, Paul! I can’t believe I forgot to do a blog post in his honor. Oh well…)

I feel like I got a lot accomplished, but our apartment still doesn’t look it. :-)

I signed up for Freecycle and finally got rid of some wire shelves I’ve been trying to dispose of for a long time. I also was able to sell a bar-height table and stools on Craigslist, and they were picked up on Saturday. That freed up a TON of room!

Today, I finished sorting through the filing cabinet. I wanted to go through the existing files and purge what wasn’t needed anymore, but I had stopped mid-task and had piles of paper strewn throughout the living room. I was able to get that cleared up, and Paul kindly shredded all the old documents that had our names/addresses on them… I had a huge pile but he did it all! I was impressed, and we ended up carrying a huge black garbage bag full out to the dumpster when all was said and done… I can’t believe we had that much trash! (It feels very satisfying, I think, to take the trash out… The same satisfaction you get after turning an overflowing hamper of dirty clothes into neat stacks of clean clothes.)

I have several very large piles of paperwork that needs to be filed. I got through one pile, and I think I’ll continue working on that tonight. I know there are papers around here that need to be taken care of, but they have gotten mixed up with junk mail and the “to be filed” stacks. I’m hoping to get through the latter two so I can find the important stuff. :-)

In another attempt to get organized, I dragged Paul to a few stores looking for a daytimer/organizer. I use Google calendar to keep track of appointments, but I’ve been wishing I had something that I could hold in my hands when we’re out, and also a place where I can stick bills and letters so they don’t get lost. I was being picky – I didn’t want one that was too small, or too heavy to carry around. (Some of those fancy ones with all the pockets just get cumbersome, I think.) Then I found the perfect one! Only to notice that it was from July 2009-June 2010. As I looked farther, I realized that almost ALL of them were like that. I got really frustrated – I know it’s almost April, but July is still a ways away! I dragged Paul to another store, where I found ONE that met my needs. (Had the same problem with the July 09 thing!) It wasn’t perfect, but it wasn’t that expensive so I’ll make do. If I hate it then I’ll get another one when July rolls around.

So hopefully armed with an organizer and a once-again functional filing system, I will stop needing all those reminder letters and will take care of things as I get them. ;-)

And a few other things I got done this weekend – I wrote FIVE blog posts for my pet blog! I had gotten behind with my posting, and so had to write five at once. I got tired and I’m sure the last one makes no sense, but I was happy to get them out of the way. I also worked on the Gerig reunion, reserving the site and sending out reminder emails. I’m getting excited about seeing everyone!

I still have a lot to do, but I feel good about the accomplishments this weekend. I will be glad when I can get rid of all the clutter in our house – hopefully just in time for Baby Sparkleberry’s arrival, and the accumulation of more stuff. ;-)

By the way, the date for our 20 week ultrasound is April 9th. Hopefully the picture will be clear and we’ll be able to tell what gender Sparkleberry is! :-) We won’t be announcing the name until birth, but I might open up the floor for discussion later if we’re still having trouble deciding.

proof of snow

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It actually SNOWED here in Atlanta! Everyone went crazy, schools were closed, people didn’t know how to go more than 25 miles an hour on the road. Paul made fun of all us southerners, and I just enjoyed seeing the big, fluffy flakes fall.

Here are some pictures at the height of the snowfall:

Outside our window

SNOW! In Atlanta!

In typical Georgia fashion, two days after the snow, it was 80 degrees. :-)

mostly about laundry and decluttering

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I think the advent of Twitter has affected my blogging. Short, 140 character one-liners are much easier than long paragraphs in my blog. And, I can update from my Blackberry. I don’t want to stop blogging, though. :-( So I hope I can get back into the habit of daily posts. I have all sorts of ideas, but they turn into long posts in my head and I get lazy or just run out of time.

Anyways… can’t think of a good segue so on to my next topic: laundry! :-) Yesterday our old stackable washer/dryer was picked up and taken to a good home. A single mother had a need, and I was happy to fill it. She said she had a friend who fixed washer/dryers, so I hope she’s able to get the dryer working. She just had a baby, and I know she’s probably so relieved not to have to trudge to the laundromat anymore. This morning, the store delivered our new washer and dryer! I have spent the afternoon doing laundry. :-) It’s snazzy! I am so excited to be able to throw a load in while I’m doing other things, and not have to worry about if I have enough quarters (it takes 10 quarters to dry a load of laundry). I know anyone who has dealt with a laundromat can understand my excitement. :-)

Going from a stackable to a side-by-side affected the rest of our laundry room, namely the junk we had been keeping in there. We had gotten an awesome table from Ikea a while ago that we used in the kitchen at our last apartment. It is in great shape and we really like it, but have *no* room here. I was hanging onto it fiercely, but we just could not find a place to fit it. I really didn’t want that table to make our apartment feel more cluttered, and I knew that in 6 months we’ll be fitting enough stuff in as we add a third member to our family. So, on Craigslist it went. It makes me a little sad, but it’s only stuff, right?

I feel like the past three months I’ve pretty much just hidden under a rock and am just now emerging. The apartment is a wreck. Anyone will tell you that if you live in a small place, you have to keep it tidy because it just looks cluttered when things are out of place. (That’s true about big places too, but it doesn’t happen as fast.) I have let paperwork pile high, things I’m intending to sell are sitting in corners waiting for pictures to be taken and Craigslist posts to be written. I am eager to get some of that cleaned up, but I’m overwhelmed at where to start. Or, I’m just too lazy to do what I need to do.

Going back to laundry… I think it will really help the cluttered look to get this stuff washed and put away! I also recently went through my closet and took out all the clothes that are too small for me. As soon as it stops being cold, I will do another sweep and remove the rest of the winter clothes that are too small but I insist on wearing them anyways because I need clothes for work. Ahh… I love the feeling I get when I declutter! I just wish I was more motivated to do it more often. ;-)

I can’t believe how fast today went, and that it’s after 6 already. Perhaps I can devote the evening to starting the task of reorganizing my filing cabinet. Once those papers get put away, that will also help tremendously in fixing the clutter! I should move my filing cabinet in front of the TV so I can watch some Gilmore Girls. That sounds nice. :-) (And Paul, upon hearing this, immediately hides the Gilmore Girls DVDs…)

I'm so excited! laundry!

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Last weekend I went out of town, and packed my last three clean shirts. I looked at the overflowing laundry baskets in our room and thought, “We desperately need to buy that washer and dryer!” We had the money set aside for it; I just stalled because I didn’t know how to go about looking for one.

I can get a discount on a lot of things, including some appliances, through my company, but as the economy has decreased so has the discount. Our plan before had been to just purchase something through them, but as I compared prices I realized that it wasn’t necessarily cheaper than going the traditional way.

We decided to spring for the energy-efficient washer and dryer, since we knew it would be a cost savings for the future. Also – something else that really appealed to me – front-loaders can be stacked, and as long as we are in apartments it’s *really* nice to have that option!

Tonight, Paul and I *finally* decided to go look at washers and dryers in stores. We had a budget in mind, knowing what we could get through my company, and a list of features we wanted. We went to three different stores and ended up finding an out-of-box deal that was better than anything else we found! After we bought it and arranged for delivery this weekend, I said to Paul, “I’m so excited to do laundry!” He laughed at me.

In the meantime, our current washer and dryer (with the broken dryer) is being *given away* so if you’re interested let me know. The catch is you have to come pick it up. :-)