Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Apartment Woes Part II

Uy, I am STILL apartment hunting. I feel as though this chapter of my life is never going to end. I’m going to continue living with my parents until I’m 85 and only then will I finally find the apartment of dreams because old people get ALL the cool stuff in their senior housing apartments. Hell, by the time I’m 85 I feel as though my parents will just be turning 90 so maybe we can be neighbors and I’ll officially never leave the nest…ever.

And now I’m depressed.

Alright, so I’m being dramatic, but I’m just frustrated. I thought that getting a roommate would take some of the stress out of this whole situation but now I’m just finding that we have TWO people who can’t be pleased. And it’s not that I’m hard to please at all. In fact, I’m extremely low maintenance!! I just don’t feel like I should have to pay $1000 a month in rent and get nothing in return for that! It’s ludicrous to me. I’m willing to negotiate and compromise on most things that I ultimately want in an apartment (in unit washer and dryer, heated parking garage, big ol’ deck), but in order to do that I have to find something that’s even worth LIVING in first off!!! How can landlords even think that some of these places are livable!! Who could live like some of these people do!!!! What landlord would willingly SHOW a place in such poor condition?!.

I have appointments to look at three more places this afternoon and if nothing pans out with them then its back to the drawing board…and I must admit I get a little excited every morning as I make my way to craigslist and peruse the posting that appeared overnight. I just know someday soon I’ll get lucky!

Monday, June 25, 2007

Park City, Utah...A Tiny Slice Of Heaven

What an unbelievable weekend I just had. My time in Park City can only be described by using the word, wow! I know, I'm a literary genius aren't I?!

I wasn't sure what to expect as I arrived into the Salt Lake City Airport late Wednesday evening. To start things off I was DRUNK after the plane ride (I don't fly well, so I decided to cure my stress with wine...4 worked!) and ended up getting fairly sick on the half hour drive to Park City. Part in fact due to my alcohol intake, part in fact due to the winding, twisting roads and the altitude I'm sure. By the time I got to our Condo. I wasn't exactly in any mood to party and really just wanted to go to bed. But alas, I hadn't seen my brother in a while and I was excited to spend a bit of time catching up with him...even if all I really wanted to do was puke over the side of our deck.

Our condo. was gorgeous. It was right on the mountain and had a beautiful view of the Park City mountain range around us (which I wouldn't find out until the next morning). We had two bedrooms, two full bathrooms, a fireplace, and fully stocked kitchen complete with a wonderful little gift basket provided to us from my brother's boss Michelle (we stayed at the hotel my brother works at right now). We chatted for a little bit, and I called it a night around 2:00 am Park City time. I was EXHAUSTED and wanted to get a good night's sleep to rest up for our busy few days ahead of us.

When I awoke the next morning and stepped out onto our deck my jaw literally dropped as I scanned the horizon. Towering mountains covered with fluffy green trees sprawled out around me and I couldn't help but stare in awe for a minutes as I took it all in. THIS is what my brother got to wake up to every single morning. It sure makes me feel a bit jealous that I live someplace as visually boring as Wisconsin (although I must admit Lake Michigan's views are something to contend with). I awoke the rest of the family as I giddly anticipated our day outside, playing among these mountains that I so rarely get to see.

And playing we did!

We spent the next few days outside doing every outdoors activity we could find to do. We played on the mountain, and riding a few of the touristy rides: Zip Line, Rollar Coaster, and Mountain Slide. They were a lot of fun, and a great excuse to be outside but I tired quickly of the ride concept and so we headed out, this time to the site of the 2002 Winter Olympic Games. Here we toured around the facility seeing where all the great athletes of the world competed and watched some olympic training ourselves at the ski/snowboard practice facility. I was in awe as I watched men and women younger than my brother barreling down a mock hill at a rapid speed and catapulting themselves through the air, all the while bending and stretching and flipping their bodies and landing safely in a pool of water. It was awesome!!! I'll post pictures as soon as I have them I promise.

We were also able to do a bit of hiking on our trip as well and we ate some amazing meals as well. But I have to admit that I was most happy when we were simply driving around Park City in our little Xterra, checking out the views that the mountain city had to offer. I tried to take in every site I could and take as many pictures as I could, but as with most things in life, a picture just doesn't seem to do it any justice. The beauty remains instilled in those mountain tops for every visitor to see.

Although my trip was amazing, and the city extremely beautiful, I must admit that I was really happy to be home in Wisconsin. I wish I could wake up every morning and see a towering mountain in my back yard, but I'm really thankful that I don't have to maneuver around them every single day to get to work or to get to a grocery store. I love an open road and the occasional flat stretch of path that lay before me. I love open grass lands and the way Lake Michigan smells on a cool spring day. The mountains are a great place to visit every now and again, but I don't think I could ever call that small little mountain town home.

I'll leave that to my baby brother.

It really was a truly fantastic weekend...busy, but fantastic. I would gladly visit Park City, UT again ANY day. You all should too.

And that's all I have.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

I'm Leaving On A Jet Plane...and I Know When I'll Be Back Again

About a year ago my baby brother Mikey, headed for the hills of Utah in search of his life long dream of bumming it out on the ski slopes, growing his hair to ridiculously long levels, and probably sleeping on numerous random couches and dirty floors. You see, unlike his big sister, my brother is a "free spirit" if you will. Not quite a hippy in the sense of tree hugging and acid trips and world peace, but he generally doesn't give a rats ass about big business, corporate america, and wearing his pants at it's natural intended place on the body. In fact, when he was a Sophmore in college, he and his buddies took a week trip to Spain for spring break and instead of sleeping in hostels (or hotels with little soap samples like I would prefer), they opted for the "au natural" approach and slept on park benches and beaches throughout their stay. It's not exactly my style...but it fits him.

Needless to say, as he approached his Junior year of college he found that he wasn't experiencing everything in life that he felt he needed to be experiencing and thus packed up his truck, and drove to Park City, UT where he took a job as a snowboard instructor on one of the very large mountain resorts in the area. He absolutley loves what he's doing, and he's perfect for the job, but him being so far away from home gets a bit sad sometimes so I vowed to take a trip out there sometime before he returns home for good.

That opportunity presented itself this weekend and I jumped at the opportunity to spend a few days in the mountains of Utah doing what Utah-ians do...hiking, biking, hyaking...I'm not really sure what's all in store for my time there but I'm sure it'll be a lot of fun none-the-less. I'm very excited to board that plane tomorrow afternoon (rest assured I have an entire bag full of my spaz spills, as I like to call them) and just spend some time in the outdoors with my entire family. If there are three people on this planet (besides Jon Hainstock and his music) that can lift my spirits it's my mom, my dad, and my baby brother. I feel very fortunate to have such a tight knit family, and one that I thoroughly enjoy spending lots of time with.

With that said, I will be absent for a few days as I frolick in nature, but rest assured I will return with plenty of pictures, and hopefully some good stories. Or maybe just a really good tan, which I would be completely okay with as well.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Jon Hainstock Rocks My World

Live music, and great company will cure anything…I’m not kidding!

I was feeling really sick and down in the dumps on Friday and ended up getting into my car at the end of the day and just crying to myself. It felt really good to let it all out and just be sad for a second instead of constantly putting on the flippin’ happy face. I called Tara immediately, and I felt better after I unloaded on her. I was very grateful for her kind face and words. I sometimes feel as though I have nobody to talk to these days, but then I remember that no matter what Tara has always been there for me…a shoulder to cry on. And it makes me feel a little better to know that.

Shortly after, Tara made me a daiquiri which instantly made me feel better, but I couldn’t shake the icky feeling in my stomach or the sickness in my body. I was slightly dreading the rest of the evening, as I had made plans earlier in the week to meet up with some friends at Live on North Ave. to see Jon Hainstock’s show but I knew that being around good friends would make a world of difference for my mood.

It most definitely did.

John’s show was amazing! He has quickly been thrown to the top of my list of "live musical acts to see whenever possible", and everyone else at the bar seemed to be thinking the same thing. Tara, Nicky, Joe, Sara and I grabbed a table close to the front of the stage and enjoyed our half priced martinis and free Bud Lights, courtesy of the Bud Light girls running a special promotion there that evening. Jayne and her posse arrived shortly after and I was thrilled to be able to spend a little bit of time catching up with a dear friend whom I see not nearly enough. In between sets you could hear the rumble of the crowd singing sounds of praise for what they were hearing that night, and the friends I arrived with that evening said they would definitely be willing to see him again. Score! By the time the show ended I was a proud owner of a new Jon Hainstock CD and a certified fan no doubt. He rocked, seriously. I need to talk to his “manager” about getting him to Milwaukee more often!!

We left the bar early as I was sick and needed sleep desperately but I was thrilled that I trooped it out for the evening and went to the show. Music is my safe haven to a world of chaos. No matter what happens, or how I’m feeling, a good song and a great sound will heal almost anything I’m feeling…even if it’s only temporary. Throw in some great friends and some yummy drinks into the equation and you have your own personal psychological treatment facility right there at your fingertips.

It felt good to smile that day.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

A Motorcycle Dream Come True

A little over a year ago I wrote THIS post, not really thinking anything further about my love of motorcycles. Today, my dream came true as I signed up to take the Harley-Davidson Rider’s Edge Course at Hal’s Harley-Davidson, August 15-20. In less than two months I will have the rumble of a motorcycle between my legs and the open air whisking past my body. Who knows, maybe by next summer I will be the proud owner of my own motorcycle. It makes me all giddy inside just thinking about it.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

A City Girl In The Country

I have just returned from a three day getaway camping weekend in Southwestern Wisconsin and I must admit that I am absolutely thrilled to be home. The change of scenery and pace was great for the time I was there, but I’m a city girl at heart. As much as it pains to me admit it, I missed Starbucks, and my down comforter…and pay at the pump gas stations. The smell of camping remaining on my clothes makes me sad to have had to say goodbye to such a gorgeous weekend, but it makes me happy to be back home.

The weekend kicked off on Saturday with the initial camping trip prep work: pack the car, pick up the boat, get gas, etc but once we were on the road the ride went smoothly and quickly. Our destination was slightly unknown, as we had very little camp ground information to go off of, and I found a lot of humor in watching civilization disappear further and further behind us. After about a half hour of driving through winding roads leading to nothing but more rolling hills, I questioned if this tiny camp ground even existed. After all, what place doesn’t have a website these days…or voicemail?! But finally, after passing through a town of about 40 people, we arrived at Blackhawk Memorial Park Campground and what I saw sent me rolling out of the car into complete hysterical laughter. Greeting us at the campground entrance was not a visitor’s center, campground lodge, or county ranger but instead, a small wooden box nailed to a tree with a handwritten note saying “Camping $5, please place money here”.

“Oh my god it’s on the honor system!” I managed to choke out as I wiped away the tears from my face and tried to compose myself long enough to realize what was actually happening here. We had just driven 2 ½ hours to find ourselves staring face to face with a wooden box, and a completely empty campground. After a few more minutes of mind numbing laughter, we piled back into the car and gave the campground the benefit of the doubt. But after driving through the “resort” and seeing what was truly offered, we decided to head up Plan B (thank god we made one) and drove the half hour to bumble-f town #2 to go camping at Yellowstone State Park, and I am so glad we did.

The campground was fantastic. It had a HUGE man made lake perfect for fishing and swimming and about a hundred perfectly secluded campsites complete with running water AND showers and flush toilets…*score*! It was quiet, which I loved, and the weather couldn’t have been more perfect.

After settling in I went to work right away on setting up the tent and about an hour later we had the car unpacked and I was sitting on a chair with a beer in my hand, loving the fresh air and the sound of nature. Thankfully there were no bugs to be accounted for…all weekend…which made the outdoors experience that much better.

I did manage to get some fishing in during the weekend and by Monday I was actually ready to bait my own hook, AND take off my own fish. I quickly lost interest though as the worms made me gag to put them on the hook and the fish moved entirely too much for my liking when I pulled them out of the water but I was happy that I was able to do it…at least for a little while.

Other than that I spent some time on the boat, drank some beer, and got to know a little town called Blanchardville (or something like that). We hiked, and slept on the ground, and cooked our food over an open flame. It was fantastic. I love camping…and summer.

Friday, June 08, 2007

I Call It Fishing

Tomorrow I camp…real camping...the kind where you sleep in a tent and bathe in the lake, and eat bugs to keep full. Okay that last part was a joke, and I’m sort of hoping the bathing in the lake thing was a joke too but unfortunately, I don’t know much about this camp ground we are going to except that it is secluded, small, and there is no running water…so I think that answers my bathing problem. I did buy a solar heated bag shower just in case. I’ll try “roughing” it in the outdoors, but at least let me be clean while I’m doing it!

I also went and got my first fishing license last night so that this weekend, I can attempt to fish. I bought a ten dollar fishing pole with a button to help me cast and some pink Barbie bobbers that I just had to have. I’m not really into fishing in terms of hooks and worms and fish and all that nonsense, but I LOVE going out on the boat, getting some sun, and throwing a fishing line in the water. Some would call that sun bathing, but I like to call it fishing. Plus, there is something really exciting about seeing the end of your fishing pole suddenly bend towards the water as the attached fish (or occasional chunk of seaweed) struggles to free itself from the sharp hook. I’ll throw my book down, anxiously reel in the fish, and then scream like a girl when I realize the fish attached is slimy and wiggly and yucky. And then, the fun of fishing is gone when I’m forced to stabilize a disgusting lake creature, rip a hook out of its poor mouth, throw it back in the water, grab a disgusting worm and re-bait my hook. It makes the hair on my arms stand up…I hate doing it. But after all that, my pole goes back in the water, and the peace that is fishing resumes and I’m happy again. I can’t wait!

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Push and Pull

I found an apartment last night that I can’t stop thinking about. It’s on the East Side of Milwaukee on a tree lined street around cute condos and within walking distance to many of my favorite downtown places…including the lake. It has a cute front porch big enough for a comfy chair and a table and a living room with a fireplace, yes a fireplace. The kitchen is bright, big, and sunny and the attached bedroom will easily house my double bed, dresser and nightstand. The bathroom is small, which is probably the only downfall but it’s a small price to pay for a truly adorable apartment.

But I’m not sure I can afford it. Actually I can afford it, but it doesn’t leave much expendable income afterwards; in fact, very little…closer to none. I may not be able to eat very often. Is an adorable apartment in the exact area I want to be worth the extra financial hassle? I don’t know!

The smart decision is probably no. I should be saving money for a house, I should be saving money for a new car, I should be saving money to eat. I should, I should, I should.

But it’s so cute. And I’m not exactly smart with money…ever. But I really should suck it up, learn my lesson, and stop using the “that’s just how I am” excuse huh?


I know, you’re all right. It’s just so damn hard to tame the immediate satisfaction urge within me!!!

I wish that growing up, and moving out of your parent’s house could be handled in the same way as a divorce is. In a situation when one’s financial stability severely overrides that of the other party, it is generally deemed necessary by the courts that the more well-off party continue providing a monetary compensation in order to provide the other with the same status of living as they are now accustomed to living. I think this agreement should apply to broke children moving on with their lives. Then I could have my cute East Side apartment…and maybe an Audi.

And now, I’m whining like a spoiled kid would and yet, I wouldn’t give up my independence for anything, no matter how much I pretend I’d like to. The burden of financial struggle although it sucks, is a great feeling to know that I’m doing it…all by myself. And so, I’ll probably sign this lease, because I can, and I’ll complain about being so broke that I’ve resorted to tearing out magazine perfume samples to make myself smell good. Don’t doubt me, I’ll do it.

Or maybe I won’t…because I never can make a big decision.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Debt Sucks

You know what the most frustrating thing in the world is?

For the past year I have been forking out $680 dollars every month for my student loans. For 12 months at $680 I have given Sallie Mae $8000 for my ridiculously high interest student loan, and the ass raping that accompanies it. Excuse my language. With every humungous check that I write I silently breathe a tiny sigh of relief as I think, that’s one less check I’ll ever have to write them, and I’m that much closer to getting this thing paid off.

And then I looked at my outstanding principal balance today, as I do every month.

And it hasn’t moved.

Not in a year.

In fact, I think it may have even gone up.


For an entire year, I have been paying nothing but interest. Sure there are the rare occurrences that I can actually afford to put money towards the principal, but those are few and far between. Instead, I have simply been hurting my checking account simply to keep my student loans in good standing with the credit bureau. My loan remains 5 digits long and painfully expensive and I think it laughs each month as I try desperately to make it disappear.

There is no end in sight.

I want to cry.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Paris Hilton Went To Jail and All I Got Was This Lame Blog Entry

I don’t feel like I have much to write about. It was a nice weekend: Tara graduated with her MBA, Nicky turned 23, and Paris Hilton went to jail. Oh, and I bought season one of The Girls Next Door on DVD, I’m pretty excited about that. Other than that, I had your standard two days off topped off by your standard early Monday morning alarm clock. It’s foggy and dreary outside which tends to make Monday mornings a bit more intolerable but the temperature remains above 60 degrees which can never be a bad thing in my book.

And that’s all I have.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Much Funnier than The Bird

Every now and then my dad will bust out the “now, now” finger wave while driving. It’s sort of his ridiculously composed way of releasing road rage. I’ll always make fun of him whenever I see him shaking a finger at someone that just cut him off because honestly, who does that anymore…besides maybe my grandmother, but I like to think even she is too cool for that.

Today however, in the always heated morning commute to work, a woman looked me straight in the eye, and shook her finger at me the ENTIRE way through the very large intersection that we were stopped at…well, that I was stopped at. She apparently felt that regardless of who’s turn it REALLY was to cross through the intersection, she had made her complete stop sign stop (even though I know there’s no way she got one one thousand out before she was half way through the intersection) and that entitled her to go. I quickly threw on my brakes and let her pass in front of me but honestly began to laugh uncontrollably as I watched her shake her finger at me and spout something out through her mouth (although it’s very possible she was singing). I literally barely moved my tires before I realized she was going to make it HER turn and yet she truly felt the need to reprimand me, as if while braking I was spreading boogers on my five year old best friend or something. I hope she feels better now.

So there you have it, there are two people in the world that use the “now, now” finger wave…my dad, and the woman I will call Monique, because she looked like a Monique. I’ve decided that my grandmother IS too cool for the finger, so she is not counted. If you see either of them on the road, tell them I say hi.