Real Housewife of Rhinebeck

real world. real housewifery. or something like that.

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You Never Get Over Your First Dog

I just came across this article that someone posted on my facebook. It brought me to complete tears. June will be two years since we put my childhood dog, Pepper, down. Not a single day goes by that I don’t think about him. I miss him all the time.

We got him the day before I started high school. We picked him out from the local shelter. Actually, my mom picked him out. Everyone had picked a different one. He was a cute puppy, scared to death. The first few times we went to visit him before we could take him home he was totally not into it. They had found him in a backyard. Totally neglected, occassionally thrown some food. He was fearful of us. He sat there in the middle of the room, hunched over, hoping we’d just leave him alone. Eventually he warmed up to us and we got to take him home after he got fixed. I was 14 at the time and I was over the moon that we finally had a dog. I am the one who named him. He had a weird black spot on his pink tongue and was black with a white chest and feet. They told us he was a lab mix and had a long snout like a setter. As he got older he grew a longer coat and we realized he was more boarder collie than lab.

He very quickly became one of the family. We used to just sit and watch him sleep. I used to lay next to him on the floor and pet his head and nap with him. High school is a difficult time and he was always there when I needed him. He sat with me when I cried and licked my tears and let me ramble on and on. He would always chase something you threw and had to go on a walk before bed otherwise he wouldn’t go to sleep. No one was ever more excited when you came home than Pepper. I felt terrible when I went off to college, I felt like I abandoned him. I knew I missed me too. All through college and even when I moved up to New York, he could tell when I was leaving. He would lay in another room and I would have to find him to say goodbye and I could tell he knew. Everytime I called home I used to ask how he was doing, especially as he got older. When no one answered the house phone I used to leave messages on the answering machine for him.

Right before I got married my family went to Cape Cod for two weeks. Since I had to use all of my vacation time for the wedding and my honeymoon, I could only go for the middle weekend. Since I refused to let Pepper go to a kennel, I took him for three weeks. It was nice to have him around all time again. As he got older, he could no longer leap from the back yard over the deck stairs and onto the stairs and even do the stairs all that well. He started this weird thing where all he wanted to do was lay in the backyard and he wouldn’t want to come in. Hearing about this of course always made me sad. One weekend we were visiting my parents and I let him out in the back one last time before I went to bed. He didn’t want to come in. I made T come help me bring him in. He eventually came in with him and came into the den to sleep under the pullout. He always slept there when we came to visit. The next night we were getting ready to leave and saying our goodbyes when I noticed that his eyes were really drooping and had lots of eye gunk, I freaked out and got really concerned. We went home and my mom called me the next morning at 7:30 and told me she was taking him to the vet because he had been up all night puking. I racked my brain and asked one of my co-workers (who is a dog breeder) what could possibly be wrong with him. My mom called and said she had to leave him there for more tests. I went to lunch that day at the local pizzeria with one of my other co-workers when my mom called again. I could tell she was upset and I was worried about what she’d say. As it turned out he was still throwing up and had cancer and it would be best to put him down. She cried as she told me and everything inside me died. I sat there sobbing in the middle of a pizzeria and didn’t know what to do. I was still at work, it wouldn’t be until 4 that they were going to do it and I couldn’t decide if I should go be with him.

As it turns out, I was too upset to keep working and went home early. I couldn’t stop crying. I decided it was too late for me to go home and I left my mom, brother and sister to be with him in his last moments. Parts of my hates myself for not going and being there for him and part of me doesn’t think I would have been able to handle it. I feel guilty for not going, like I failed him or something. I was two hours away and probably would have driven off the road for being so upset. I never wanted him to miss me or think I didn’t love him. I sat in the dark in my house for hours just sobbing. It was a solid four days of that. Every day the rest of that week I came home after work and sat in the dark and cried. I talked to my family a lot and we talked about him and cried together. I found all of the pictures I had. The first time I went home to visit my family was the worst. I didn’t even make it down the road. As soon as I turned on to our street I started crying. To walk in the door and not have him come running to me killed me. It took me a long time to be able to think about him and not cry. I can’t even really do it now. I’m even crying as I write this.

I don’t know if I’ll ever forgive myself for not going home to him. I still don’t know if I did the right thing or not. What I do know is that I was there to see him before the end. I feel like he waited for me. Like he knew I would be there one last time. Every time I go to my parents’ I say hi to his box of ashes. I know that sounds outrageous, but I can’t help it. I know I’ll never get over him. I can never replace him. He was my first dog. The best dog. My best friend.

Pepper. ❤



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Happy Place


Last night I was not in a good space. I had an unmotivational conversation with my mother, was feeling like I’ve done nothing with my life, and wallowing in my brokeness and may
have cried a few times. This morning I still felt rather useless; doing things because I had to not because I wanted to. Then I had to go to my lesson. I realize that no matter how crappy I feel and how little I want to pick myself up off the couch. A trip to the barn always remedies everything.

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Does the Bank Take Payment in the Form of Hopes and Dreams?

I didn’t realize it had been quite so long since I had posted. When I started I was like oh, I’ll have plenty of things to write about! I have to say that the past two weeks haven’t been all that exciting. I’ve been too busy worrying about when we’re going to hear about our loan (it’s been two weeks since the appraisal, people, you’re killing me!), how I’m going to pay for all of the bills that seem to never stop piling up (this is when having a self-employed husband sucks!), and the looming (scary and exciting) trying to conceive. That, on top of all of the other things bouncing around in my head. I often wonder how I ever manage to get to sleep at night because my mind races so much.

The stress about the loan isn’t going to go away until the house is done, this I know. I’m dying to know if we’re approved or not. But once I find out it will only be a short reprieve. Once we get a”yes” we can order the house and that only takes six to eight weeks to build. So that means T has six to eight weeks to get all the excavating done and build the foundation. And what it really means is he has six to eight weekends to do it in. We can not afford for T to not work for two weeks to bang it out. If he doesn’t work then jobs don’t get done and we don’t get paid and I can’t pay the bills. Luckily, we have many friends who built things that didn’t fall down are skilled in trades of this type who will gladly work for free beer. So, theoretically, they should be able to get the work done in the allotted time frame, unless of course, they consume beer at the rate of 16 year olds (which is likely) and then we’re all doomed.

Once they’re done and the house gets dropped, I’ll have to impatiently wait to paint and move in. Hopefully, T will allow me to pick out things myself and then we don’t have to bicker over silly things like ivory versus eggshell. We’ll leave that to me and my mother. Of course that leads to other issues. I will have a house with nothing to put in it! We have unmatching bedroom furniture — we each have a dresser that are left overs from deceased relatives that we’ve had since college.  We have his sister’s old stained (stained like ruined, not stained like looks like fresh lumber) kitchen table, and his mother’s old scratched coffee table. The one nice thing we have is our couch. The one thing we bought with our wedding money (I have no idea what happened to the rest). But in our nice, new, much bigger place it will need a companion! Also, I will have a formal dining room. T tells me that if we host Thanksgiving or Christmas we can put plywood on saw horses. I am not amused.

I’ve also been fretting quite a bit when it comes to money. Who doesn’t? This is when I realize I am my parents’ child. While I am organized, efficient, and cheap thrifty  when it comes to our finances, like my father, when things get tight, I panic, freak out, and think we’re going to starve, like my mother. This creates a problem. I am at constant battle with myself. I look at my list and say, ok, it’s the beginning of the season, so it’s slow and it will be tight, but slow and stready wins the race. Then three hours later, I’ll look at it again and burst into tears, crying out how will we ever get all of this paid? The bigger problem with this is when it comes to T. He can not handle me when I am in crazy wife mode. When we sit down and have our “money chats” as I call them, I have to put on my cool, calm, collected business partner hat. Beligerent, sobbing wife hat does not have a place in the money chats. That hat makes its appearance and the whole thing goes to shit.

I will not get into the nitty, gritty of my financial woes, but I try to remind myself that we always manage to pay things and there are plenty of other people that are in the same boat or worse. But, having your own business is stressful and sometimes it makes me wish T just had a regular job and collected a paycheck every two weeks like me (except bigger, obvi). It’s hard when you get a check from a client and then you have to stretch it until the next one comes, which could be days, weeks, or months away. And you have to worry about taxes, insurance and all sorts of other bills. So on top of the taxes from 2011 that we have to pay, along with our other debts and monthly bills, we are trying to build a house. T likes to joke with me that my mother must have smoked crack while she was pregnant with me. At this point, I might believe him because why else would I be crazy enough to believe that we could do all of this and build a house. Oh wait! AND we want to have a baby! Wait, there’s more! T needs to buy a new tractor and dump truck! Are you fucking kidding me?! This is why we keep buying Mega Millions tickets (dammit, we didn’t win on Friday either!). Because I have BIG plans for theose millions. At least then I will be able to afford the taxes imposed on me. Otherwise, I have no idea. Why does everything have to be crammed into one year? I am not one who likes to borrow money or even pay a cent of interest, but sometimes I think there’s no other choice. I do not forsee how a house and a baby will financially allow us to get a tractor and/OR a drump truck without borrowing. And then I laugh because if we’re lucky enough to get approved for this loan, surely they will laugh in our face when we say oh wait, we want to finance a peice of equipment too.

Oh, and a baby. While I think I am ready to say, yes, let’s do this, it still scares me to death. I am on the baby train. I’m not sure if I am the conductor of this train yet though. If I woke up tomorrow and was pregnant, I would be overjoyed. But I tend to fret over and over about my big life decisions. But I make a big deal out of nothing most of the time. I have to micromanage everything (another trait of my father’s I thought I would never get. I always thought I was a go with the flow type of person. Turns out I was wrong). I have stopped taking my birth control. I even have an ovulation predictor chart (that I think I did for one day). But because I must read and analyze everything on, based on my last period, if I got pregnant now, my baby would have a due date of December 20th. Gross. No one wants a Christmas baby. Christmas is stressful enough as it is and then the poor kid would have to smush his/her birthday and Christmas into one month. Plus, winter birthdays suck because you can’t have fun outdoor birthday parties, like Slip N Slide.

Personally, I want a spring, summer or fall baby. My sister in law tells me it sucks to be pregnant in the summer. Again, I don’t like winter birthday parties. But alas, I listen to what my husband thinks is the voice of reason, him. He wants a winter baby because he will be home more in the winter, ergo he can help. Or at least that’s what he says. I also panic about what we will do with the baby since I will have to go back to work. My SIL And BIL are both cops, they work alternate hours, with the same days off. He is 8-4, she is 4-12. His sister comes and watches their kids for the lag time in the middle, but otherwise, usually, one of them is always home with the kids. We will not have this luxury. Well, I don’t really think 4-12 is a luxury, but you get what I mean. T and I both work during the day, he works basically from sun up to sun down and most Saturdays and even Sundays when necessary. I work random hours between 8 and 6 during the week and some Saturdays for most of the day. Who is going to watch our child? T says we can worry about this when the time comes. Shouldn’t we be worrying about this now?! I think so. My family lives two hours away, so they’re out. His mother often has to watch SIL’s kids and has her own little one as well as working in the summer months. I don’t like the idea of daycare all the time and frankly, if that happens, most of my paycheck will probably go to that.

On top of that, I constantly worry about what if we don’t get pregnant right away? What if I gain 80 pounds and can’t lose it? What if I have to go on bed rest? Or need a C section? Or puke every single day? Or something goes wrong?Or, or, or. I could go on for hours. How do I even know I will be a good mother? I like to think I will be. I’m a good mother to our dogs. But they are pretty self sufficient dogs. This is when the micromanager needs to get a grip and let things just happen. Actually, I need to let that happen in all aspects of my life. I know it’s going to be a bumpy road, whether it happens to be bumpy or I make it bumpy, I don’t know, but I know we’ll get there in the end. I hope.

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Barn vs Babies

Ahhh!! How nice to finally be able to get outside without a coat! I finally got back out and started walking again. It feels good to be out in the fresh air and being active. The roads I walk down are nice and peaceful, hardly any cars and there’s a nice lake I can walk by too. I saw a couple of swans today actually. And it’s not totally flat. There are flat parts, but a few nice rolly hills. It’s nice that I get out of work a little on the earlier side this week and thanks to daylight savings, it’s light out, so I can go out after work. I didn’t go all that far today as it’s my first day back and  T was home sick with a stomach flu and I have a tendency to get shin splints. Maybe my sneakers don’t fit right? Back when I was actually trying to lose weight I would do intervals of walking and jogging. I am not a runner. I never have and never will be, but I can jog for a stretch. I enjoy walking. I like being outside and hearing the birds and peepers and everything.

As much as I would like to try to lose weight, I just want to be healthy and more fit. It will help with my riding and help for pregnancy. My BMI is a little high, so if I could drop a few pounds before I get pregnant I’m sure that means that I could afford to gain more weight during the pregnancy. This is where I get conflicted. Especially at this time of year. It’s nice and wonderful and I just want to be outside. I spent my morning yesterday at the barn. I wasn’t even riding, I was just there, watching others ride, BSing with my trainer and I took my horse for a walk down the driveway. It makes me miss being there. The last few weeks I’ve only been riding once a week because I stopped my share board. Having a self-employed husband with a seasonal business and a winter with no snow all while hoping to build a house makes for a tight winter. I figured I’d stop my share board for a couple of months to help catch up on bills. However, I’ve been going to so many doctor appointments trying to figure out what my issues with my thyroid and allergies are (better to find out before I get pregnant!) and at $40 a co-pay for a specialist, you go through money fast when you have an appointment every week (or at least it feels like it!).

I miss being at the barn regularly during the week. Spring is coming (or here) so show season is coming. I’m on the show committee, so I’m involved with that. I get excited knowing I can ride outside pretty soon and work on all sorts of things. And then I remember we’re going to start trying soon. I want a baby. Believe me I do. I’ve always wanted one (or three) and it took me a long time to say yes I think I’m finally ready. T would have gotten me pregnant on our wedding night if I’d left it up to him. And I wrestled a long time with the fact that I’ll have to stop riding for, I don’t know, a year? I wasn’t sure I was ready for that. And over the last couple months I’ve decided I’m ready. But now the weather’s changing and I wonder how much I will miss. Is that selfish of me? Probably. I just don’t want to lose this part of me. I’ve been riding and at the barn since I was nine years old. I know it will only be maybe a year I won’t be able to ride and I can still be at the barn and visit and be involved, but I worry about afterwards. How am I supposed to balance being a wife, having a child and working full-time and still do something for myself? Not to mention afford, I of course have one of the most expensive hobbies. But it’s not just a hobby. It’s ingrained in me. I can’t imagine my life without it. I am not me without it. But I want a baby. We want a baby. I want to start a family, I want to be able to tell my parents they’re going to have a grandchild and tell my grandmothers they will have a great-grandchild. But I guess I will figure it out. I want my child to have something like that in their life too (hopefully ponies!). I’m always amazed at the woman who do this everyday. I know down the road I’ll figure everything out and it will all fall into place. I just have to bug out about everything up until that point.

For the time being, I can enjoy the wonderful weather and be at the barn as much as I can and take it day by day. I’m sure everything will fall right into place.

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House News!

So T couldn’t wait any longer so he called the mortgage broker to see what the deal was with the appraisal. So as we remember, since we’re not doing a second floor until later they can only appraise the house as a one bedroom cape. Thus, they lowered what the minimum value we had to come in at was. So… our appraisal came in $19,000 over the minimum! Super relieved about that! I was so afraid they were going to low ball it. It’s not like there’s a plethora of new one bedroom capes on seven acres floating around town for comparison. Also, they said the interest rate won’t be going up, so that is fantastic to me. But, it’s going to be another two weeks til we have an answer. Two more weeks?! The last two weeks were nerve wracking enough! I guess the broker’s secretary said they bank they are working with they have a good relationship with and would not have proceeded with anything if they didnt think it had a good shot. So everyone keep your fingers and toes crossed!!

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Here We Go

I just took the first pill of my last week of taking them! No more after this week! We’ll have to see what happens! Of course it would help if I heard any news about this house. Having a house and room for a baby always helps.

And I would like to get out of this damn basement. Had my second allergy appointment today. As it turns out, I am allergic to trees, grasses, weeds, dust mites, mold, cats, and dogs. Um what? Dogs? I had a dog since I was 14! My brother in law thinks the doctor just randomly picked things. Gotta love doctors. More on the basement and allergies later. But check out my grafitti!

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The Waiting Game

Yesterday T (sounds better than constantly referring to him as “Husband”, especially since his name starts with a T.. although that makes us T and A… anyway…) got a call from one of the secretaries from the mortgage broker’s office. When he called me at work to tell me they called my heart about fell out of my chest. It’s been two weeks now since we signed the application. The appraiser has come and gone. Apparently he was only at the property for about 30 seconds, but I guess that’s how long it takes to judge the value of a plot of land… So we’ve been waiting on bated breath to hear what the outcome is. I sat for weeks collecting every piece of paperwork I thought they might need — credit reports, pay stubs, deeds, bank statements, letters about T’s business, W-2s, estimates, a million copies of taxes, house plans, SAT scores, and blood test results. I knew it would be by the skin of our teeth that we’d get approved so I was beginning to think I should promise my first-born if we got the loan.

So she calls up T and proclaims that she doesn’t have plans for the second floor. Well, lady, there are no plans for a second floor. T explained that the upstairs would be unfinished and we would frame it in and do bedrooms later down the road. For those of you just catching up, we’re cheap bastards and are doing a one bedroom cape with an unfinished upstairs to be finished at a later date (and when we’re not robbing Peter to pay Paul) by the ever so handy T. So she said “oh.” Which I can assume, even though I had no part in this discussion, was one of those depressed sounding, I see you suck at life type of oh’s. “So you’ll have a couple of rooms upstairs.” “Oh no,” T proclaimed, “there will be three bedrooms and a full bathroom(and an office) upstairs, we’re just doing it later.” This time she said, “Oh!” In what I would think was one of those oh, I’m very surprised at your response and you almost outsmarted me type of oh’s. “That sounds like it will be a big house then!”

So basically what this means is that the slightly on the high side (though in a decent market it would be normal and easily doable) finished value that we had to hit to be approved, has now just dropped about $80,000. However, we will probably have a difficult time finding a reasonable comparable. I don’t know who else has brand new one bedroom capes on seven acres floating around, but hopefully there is something and they can get a reasonable appraisal done. Unfortunately, she explained to T this might mean a higher interest rate. So of course I asked T was that meant and he said maybe a half a percent, which is a lot, but I guess it could be worse. Or T could have totally made this up as to not have me go completely ape shit while on the phone at work. So secretary lady is reporting this back to the broker (who I thought knew all of this after three meetings and what I thought was a meticulous letter I wrote explaining the estimates and so on. I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt and assume it’s the bank.).

Do I have an answer yet? No. When will I get an answer? I don’t know. Is it making me completely insane? Yes. I hate waiting on answers. I wish they had a fast track for mortgages. I made such an organized folder of all of our paperwork and information, all paperclipped in sections of like items. Doesn’t that count for anything? He said we could, or maybe he even said should, know in a couple of weeks. Well it’s been a couple! We signed our life away, played nice with the appraiser, what is taking these damn underwriter’s so long! There will be plenty of equity left in the property and it will only increase in value since A) we’re putting like four more rooms upstairs, B) T is a stone mason and landscaper so it will look pretty outside, and C) because I said so. Oh, and other practical things like a front porch and back deck will be added. And maybe a petting zoo. Ok, now I’m just being ridiculous. But T does say I can have horses there. Where, I don’t know, especially since I want to board them anyway, but now I’m getting totally off topic.

I am getting tired of waiting though. Every day, all day I get people coming up to me at work asking about the house and how it’s going and all I can respond with is that we’re waiting. I want to tell people, “Oh yes, wonderfully, we’re moving in next month!” Perhaps I could buy some Mega Millions tickets and win and then I wouldn’t have to worry about waiting for some silly underwriters. But in all seriousness, I’m ready. I want to get out of this basement. I want to start our life and move on and up and have a real home. And spend loads of money on new furniture and other housey things. Hopefully Monday will bring us a happy phone call.