December 24, 2008

Early to rise

Posted in Early to rise, Everyday at 7:57 am by ListenMaudy

I decided that I would try to become an early riser. When I was little I always got out of bed early, and that lasted right up through high school and my first year of college. Then I moved in with my best friend in college. She introduced me to the wiles of a beautiful beast named “snooze.” Ever since then, the snooze button and I have had an intimate, loving relationship. He’s there for me every morning, for hours on end, until I finally give in and get out of bed.

On the weekends I give him a rest. He works so hard during the week that both he and I need a break, so I sleep in. Especially if I’ve had a few drinks, then he’s off the hook for a while. The take-home here is that I really enjoy sleeping in; I am not what you would call a morning person. Muffin is. I would rather stay up until 3am and get up at 11; Muffin would rather go to sleep at 9pm and get up at 6. I always thought he was crazy.

Then, I read about polyphasic sleep. It sounds like the best thing ever. I could be awake for almost 22 hours a day. Think about how much stuff you could get done in 22 hours a day. I could basically work two full-time jobs, and still have as much free time as I did before. It sounds like a dream come true. Sadly, Muffin vetoed it since it would involve a really rigid schedule that would impact him and the amount of time we spend together. I definitely don’t want to spend less time with Muffin, and needing to take a 20 to 30 minute nap in the middle of the evening would really interfere with our social life.

Ha! As if we had a social life! But maybe one day we will, so I don’t want to jeopardize that possibility by having to take a nap every day. Also, I really hate naps, but that’s a different story that I wasn’t going to let get in my way of my dream!

Anyway, since polyphasic sleeping was out, I found the next best thing: getting up at five in the morning, every morning. Since I’m not a morning person, I know this idea sounds crazy, but the theory makes some sense. The idea is that if you train your body to get up at the same time every morning, you’ll adjust the time you go to sleep to accommodate how tired you are. You should need less sleep and feel less tired because you have a reliable routine.

So far it has been going pretty well. I started the week before Thanksgiving, and I was going strong for a while. Then I had a one-night morning stand with my old love, the snooze button. Since then, we’ve been more or less inseparable. I figured out that I needed something to do in the mornings to get me out of bed. Getting up just to walk the dogs in the cold darkness around our creepy neighborhood for some reason wasn’t doing it. And so this blog was born!

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December 23, 2008

Rock and roll

Posted in Everyday at 5:22 am by ListenMaudy

I haven’t been working out very much recently. I get up early to walk Loth and Fig, but our apartment is in a mostly commercial area, with some other apartment buildings strewn about. Walking two tiny dogs in the dark makes me really nervous; there are a lot of sketchy vans parked on the neighboring streets. My nervousness leads to relatively short walks that basically stick to the perimeter of our apartment complex.

These short walks don’t really count as enough exercise for me. My original plan was to work out after walking the dogs, but you know, that didn’t necessarily pan out. I was training for a triathlon for a little while, and I may still do a race this year. I can’t say I’ve been making a lot of progress.

However, I do miss my new favorite workout: the Rockn’ Roll Stepper. It is a ridiculous Tony Little product that looks a little bit like a tiny stair-stepper. Instead of moving vertically, it rocks to the left and right as you step down on the foot platforms. It comes with this ridiculous video of Tony himself doing the workout right along with you. He even talks about “swinging”! It makes me laugh every time.

This workout only lasts up to 20 minutes or so, but it exhausts me. I definitely noticed some more definition in my legs after doing it for only a week. It has beginner, intermediate, and advanced levels. I don’t know how hard the advanced level is since it was too hard for me!

Sadly, the Rockn’ Roll Stepper still counts as working out, so I haven’t set foot on it since we moved to LA. I was a lot more inspired to do indoor workouts when we lived somewhere really cold, and Loth didn’t want to go outside that much. Also, we have about four square feet of space in our living room, which is slightly less than I need to flail about on my way to fitness.

One of the things that I look forward to in owning a house is having somewhere that I can use my Rockn’ Roll Stepper. I think we’ll most likely install hardwood (you know, or laminate, whatever) floors, so I might go sliding all over the living room. At least I’ll get to reunite with my long-lost workout buddy!

December 22, 2008

Transition

Posted in Hardly working at 6:02 am by ListenMaudy

I started my new job in late May. That means I have been working there almost seven months. Two weeks ago, we found out that my department was being disbanded and that 40% of our department was being laid off. The rest of us were being transferred to another department. Everyone would have roughly the same job responsibilities, except me.

Since I have the least amount of experience in the industry, “they” decided that I should go into a position where I would learn the most about the industry very quickly. I would still be in the same department as the rest of my team, just in a different group. You know what that group does? Finance.

I don’t have anything against finance, but it wasn’t where I saw myself going. During school, I took finance classes and understood most of it, depending on the class, but it wasn’t what I expected as my career path. Not that I wound up on my desired career path anyway, but that was my choice to make.

Now, I didn’t have a choice; on a Wednesday, they just told me I was in finance, as of Monday. My only real choice is whether to look for a new job. I graduated less than a year ago, so getting a new job, especially now, would be quite difficult. Finance will be a good learning experience; it’s true. I haven’t done anything related to finance in over a year at this point, so I worry that my learning curve will be pretty steep.

Since I transferred into my new department, we have gone out to a couple group lunches. The team is great, and everyone seems to get along well. It’s a relief. However, my bosses keep asking me about my finance experience. They ask where I interned. I tell them, and the follow-up question is, “Were you doing financial analysis there?” No! I haven’t done finance outside of classes!

Maybe over the next few months, I will finally come to love finance like so many people do. Then I’ll write a new post explaining how crazy I used to be. For now, at least I have a job.

December 20, 2008

Phase one – Complete

Posted in Home at 5:30 am by ListenMaudy

We were pre-approved!

That means that all of the houses that I have saved on different websites could actually be ours. I no longer have to pine for a house that we can’t have; we can actually make an offer on the house we want to buy, if only we could find one.

Getting pre-approved took much longer than I expected. Our mortgage broker told us that it would take one or two weeks. In my mind that meant it should take one week. How could it take longer?! Our credit is good; we both have jobs. Apparently, it still takes a full two weeks. Actually, it was two weeks and one day, but I’m trying to let that go.

I really hoped that we would make an offer and begin the actual buying process before Christmas. It’s not going to happen at this point. There is one house that I love in our price range, but it has some major issues that mean we may not get lender approval on buying it. That house desrves its very own post though.

Now, I have to wait. We probably won’t have time to see any houses until after New Year’s, so I won’t find my dream house until at least January. Our lease ends in late March, and I do not want to stay here one extra day, let alone an extra month, or two or three. I hope my dream house goes on sale soon!

December 19, 2008

Strike two

Posted in Home at 5:41 am by ListenMaudy

Another house that I really wanted sold last night. We had an appointment to go see it today during lunch. It’s hard to schedule time to see houses since it’s dark by the time we get out of work. Mid-day is the only time we can go during the week, and I was actually busy in the middle of the week.

This house was bigger than the last house and had a bigger lot. However, it was located on a dirt road. In the middle of the Valley! A major section of the Valley is still zoned as farmland, so a lot of our potential neighbors own horses and ride them around the neighborood.

We still aren’t approved for a loan though. It seems like we sent in our application forever ago. It was only two weeks, and we didn’t even send everything in at the same time. We probably didn’t submit everything to our broker until three or so days later. That does not mean that I will be patient though!

I felt so dejected yesterday when I saw that my new dream house had gone to “inactive” on the realty website. It had a beautiful wodden fence surrounding the entire property and making it into a compound!

Then last night, I realized that the house was posted twice on the website. Hooray! The other listing probably was deleted since it was a duplicate – that’s why it went to inactive. We could still go see it, and if we were approved this morning, we could buy it at lunchtime!

Then, oh sad day, our temporary realtor emailed and said someone really had bought the house. Someone else will get to live in my dream house, just like someone else gets to live in my other dream house, and I’m sure the same thing is in store for my next dream house and probably the next.

I don’t think I can take much more of this rejection! I get my heart set on a house; I figure out where we should put the pool and how we’ll remodel the kitchen before I even see the inside.

Investors have to be buying the houses. Not many other families are sitting there waiting for a total disaster of a house to come on the market so they can fix it up and make it their true dream house. Investors can see just as well as I can (you know, or better, since they have some experience) that these houses are under-priced, even for a tough market. Buy them, hold them for a few months, and turn a hefty profit. Heck, I would do that if I had a few hundred grand just laying around waiting to be used up.

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