Category Archives: Class

  • Work Update

    Wow, just like that and another summer month is over! Thankfully, July ended on a great note! Sparky’s mom came to get him last Wednesday, and she was so pleased that she wrote me a 5-star review (without me even asking). Woot, woot!! Bubs and I enjoyed a day with Martin solo, and then on Thursday, the German lady brought her long-haired whippet Carla for daycare. In contrast to Bubble Boy, Carla is a breeze. She can go outside unsupervised; she eats everything and anything (she’s a good Hoover to my messy Martin who leaves food all over the floor); no hand-feeding needed; and she gets along with all the dogs we encounter at the park. On top of that, her owner is a serious power playa (the first woman CEO of a German media company and current tech exec) who’s super nice and flexible to boot. Rover is working out great!

    Add to that, a little side hobby/exercise of mine where I research/wonder about the lives of my Rover dogs. So far, every owner has been on the high end, power player side (yes, I look them up on LinkedIn), so I always imagine that their dogs are just living it up in the lap of luxury at home, you know in their hoods of Palo Alto and Los Altos. What do their dogs tell Marty? Do they tell him he’s missing out on the good life?? Haha. I know, I’m a nosy stalker/freak.

    Anyway, the German booked me for two weeks of daycare in August after I return from BlogHer. August is shaping up to be a crazy month. J and I are both traveling a ton: we’re headed to LA next week for BlogHer (he’s just tagging along), where btw, Kdash is a keynote!! Hurrah. I’m curious to see how she comes off as a speaker… Then, Bubs is headed back East to handle matters for his parentals. I’m gonna hit up Palm Desert with my friend M (fingers crossed I don’t get heat stroke) for a quickie weekend getaway, and then for J and I’s big 20-year anniversary, we’re hitting up Aspen, CO! We love Denver/Boulder and have been several times but Aspen will be new! Yeah, kinda a lot of traveling but heck, why the fuck not? I gotta earn my Southwest Companion pass somehow some way, right?

    As for the real estate… With all the Rover work and travel planning, real estate was starting to fall to the wayside. At the same time, I realized that my test/school anxiety was cropping up big time, and I was like procrastinating about taking the exam for the second class. Then on Thursday, I called myself out on that bullshit: I mean, I was letting my fear and lack of confidence run me off the path! And if I’m really trying to give real estate a go, how can I possibly assess this career if I do NOT get the damn license? Time to fucking buck up. So on Friday, I woke up determined to take the test. Somehow other shit got in the way (we counter-offered on the Maryland townhouse… but it fell through), but after noon I got all my shit organized, and I sat down to go through the review questions, study guides, and practice tests. What was intended to be a 2-hr review ended up turning into a six-hour study session. And then I said to myself, “Ok, I’ll take the exam Saturday.” Oh, hell no! I was not going to let myself push this exam back another goddamn day. Can you see this internal struggle? Ugh. So I started the test at 8p, finished about 10:15p, and bam: passed. What a huge fucking sigh of relief. Two classes down, one more to go. After that, I’ll be eligible to apply for the license exam. Gotta get ‘er done.

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  • Don’t Boss the Boss

    I’ve been back on the Houseboat now for a week, and well, the reassimilation has been challenging to say the least. Immediately, I had a Rover client scheduled for the day after getting in. Cody is a corgi, so with that breed comes some strong characteristics: he was very sad to be separated from his family (for two days, he slept by the door, hoping that they would come back), and he’s super sensitive to noise. I guess J and I kinda got used to being with deaf oldies who NEVER ever bark, so having someone alert us to every little sound was initially, quite disruptive. But there are also endearing qualities that make Cody quite loveable. He’s super attentive: he always keeps an eye on me, and he loves to play. He chases balls and even entertains himself chewing on that thing long after fetch is over. It’s Day 9 and I have to say, he’s even got Bubbey wrapped around his little midget paws. I came down with a cold on Saturday night (I ALWAYS get sick near/around my visits with family!!), and after that, Cody was pretty routinely making himself comfortable in the bed. Yes, the human bed where dogs have been prohibited for YEARS. Goddamn, he is super soft though. And those wet puppy kisses are irresistible. I mean, I still have a soft spot for my first Rover Ramona, but the big advantage of Cody is that he doesn’t have an ounce of odor. For reals. Even his breath is fresh. Seriously, you have to see to believe.


    After two days of being mostly bedridden and sweating my brains out, I am finally bouncing back from my sickness. Just in time for another Rover client who is coming tomorrow. The poodle mix Sparky is much older and I expect him to be more high maintenance, esp given the detailed instructions I received from his parent. Seven days. We’ll see how things go!

    As predicted, Marty is doing so great with these other dogs. What a testament to the power of social connections in promoting health! He likes having a buddy.

    What else. Oh, on Friday, I met with a power player German woman who is seeking M-F daycare for her senior whippet. She was very happy with our meet and greet (hee, hee), and I was ready to proceed, but as soon as she left, Bubbey started getting on my case about booking all my time and no longer being flexible for our summer travels.

    That’s the thing about Bubbey and me. We are always off in our timing. When I’m not working, he’s starting a new gig. When he’s not working, I’m starting a new job. For the first time ever, we are both not working. But he has all these grand ideas about hitting the open road and traveling… All while my plan these last few months has been to get my license and start practicing real estate in the fall. And as a chronic travel commitment-phobe, he’s super frustrating to pin down when making plans. When I ask for specific dates, he never gives them. So I just started booking plans for Rover, and he got all annoyed about my lack of consultation and how my work plans are eating into his “unplanned” plans. WTF, dude?

    Yes, we had just talked the other day about trying to rent an RV to try out the nomadic lifestyle. But before, he told me all the RVs were booked for the summer. And we can still RV for three days on the weekends. Frankly, until you can put concrete dates in place, I’m going to keep working and booking Rover! I dunno: maybe there was a miscommunication. I was thinking summer was out except for the weekend quickie trips. Argh, fine! I went back to the German and told her I’m not as available as I had initially stated. I mean, it’s ok: I agree it’s rather silly to be housebound for just a $30/day gig, but I’m just saying, don’t make me turn down work and then we end up doing nothing at all.

    Speaking of Bubbey, this last week being home together was somewhat frustrating. Since I’ve been back, he’s gotten on my case every damn day about studying for real estate. How much studying did you get done today? When are you going to take the class test? How many pages did you read? WTF, dude? I do not need to be herded. You know the deal. Yeah, I fell off the wagon while I was back in MD, but um, can you blame me? Did you see all the bullshit I had to deal with? And now I’m just getting back into the swing of things, and you’re harping on me about my study schedule? Not cool. Go put yourself on a schedule first, and then we can talk. SMH. Marriage. It’s a lot of work, man.

    In other news, the reno work on the townhouse back east is progressing swimmingly. The realtor just sent me pics today: new kitchen flooring, new lighting throughout, paint touch ups, new appliances, granite countertops, etc. The construction work is right on schedule, and we’re expecting to go live with listing this weekend. Woohoo. Goddamn, I love it when people know how to manage projects! I could see myself getting into construction project management…

    What else. Oh, my parents booked their trip to Taiwan for the fall, so that means I’ll be booking our trip there soon. My dad suggested that we visit for 10-14 days, but I think I’ll keep it short and sweet given my last great experience. Also, I’m super stoked that my childhood friend N is coming to visit in mid September. It’s been many years since she’s come to California, so it’ll be great to have her out again. She’s getting antsy in NC, so I think a big change is on the horizon for her.

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  • The Artist (Formerly Known as…)

    My sleep is all jacked up again. Every time I’m about to visit with family, my anxiety level goes up. And on top of my family woes, there are also a number of other factors that are weighing on me: Bubbey is unhappy at work again, his back is NOT getting better, I’m stressed thinking about all the oldies (my grandparents and Marty) and their increased health problems, and I am still trying to learn my real estate stuff as fast as possible… My brain just can’t seem to ramp up fast enough though. On top of that, I’m out of shape. So yeah, overall, I’m feeling overwhelmed.

    But given my experiences from last week, between visiting with S and her Camp Wonder girls and having Buddy pass away, I am trying really hard to maintain perspective and to just focus on the smaller steps.

    Yesterday, I didn’t study as much as I had wanted, but I did reach out to various contacts. Yeah, the Unabomber had a lot of people interaction yesterday. I called Virgin America again and got the remaining points redeposited. Then I called SmileDirect Club and peppered them with a gabillion questions. Wow, that customer service rep Randall is GOOD! What a relief to find someone knowledgeable, helpful, AND attentive. A goddamn unicorn these days! Yeah, I got my treatment plan last week along with an animation and Im pretty darn inpressed! They expect treatment to be only six months!! I’m so tempted but am still sitting on the decision. More on SmileDirect Club later. After that, I contacted a few computer repair/tech support vendors to inquire about home visits. Found a responsive shop, but they mostly do businesses only. Then upgraded my account and researched personal assistants for my parents. I swear to god, the sharing and/or gig economy has not made it to Frederick. Slim pickings, I tell you. I should have known, considering that even Yelp doesn’t have enough critical mass there. I found ONE dude who had “computer help” in his profile. And most other general personal assistant profiles aren’t even active, with 5-7 day response times and log ins from 3 months ago. WTF? Regardless, I reached out to that one dude, and we’ll see when he gets back to me.

    Meanwhile, I’m still hustling through my eBay store, Craigslist, NextDoor, and OfferUp sites. Trying to sell my stuff and all. Somehow the physical decluttering makes me feel better. So I got a bite for my old mattress yesterday, and the dude showed up with his friend– some chick with green hair. We were talking and then, he asked if I was an artist or musician? Say what? Haha, I could not stop smiling. I mean, I was wearing my crazy floral jeans but shiit, his comment made my fucking day. And they bought the mattress to boot (didn’t even haggle)! As soon as I got back inside, I sent a giddy text to Bubs. The simplest things crack me up. That’s the thing about first impressions though. I’m always curious about the clues we use to make our split second judgements… It’s such an interesting part of human interactions.

    Anyway, in the evening, I had someone respond to my NextDoor posting for Bubbey’s old Mac tower. I had received a few bites last week, with people making outrageous lowball offers, but this dude came by, checked everything out, and bam, sold! Maybe I’m just not as trusting, but this guy was all surprised that I had set the tower up with an old monitor and keyboard and mouse, so he could drive around in the OS. I mean, were you just going to visually inspect, buy, test it out at home, and risk having to find me again if it didn’t work as described?? And it was $375, not just chump change! Oh well, regardless, it worked out great and he even had me keep the change. Yay! The guy himself is a CAD designer, and he was getting it for his friend who’s starting grad school in video/cinematography editing. So cool to be amongst the creatives! Haha. You know me: always wishing I were cooler than I am.

    What else. My third Schoola shipment arrived yesterday. I know, it seems like I have been doing a lot of clothes shopping, and I guess that’s true, but I’m telling you, these second-hand joints are so fucking cheap! My latest lot was all wins: two button down shirts, two blouses, and a blazer for $42!! And all the goods except the blazer are Banana Republic and in excellent condition! Not that you care, but hell, you know I like to crunch the numbers: in total, I have spent $105 with Schoola for 11 items that panned out for me and 2 that panned out for my friend M! Yeah, the free shipping takes 2-3 weeks but it’s worth the wait. And I guess I could always fork over a few extra bucks to upgrade shipping. :)

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  • Deluge of Tears

    Last week, on the same day that I had gone to visit the kids at Camp Wonder, I learned of Buddy’s passing on Facebook. He was the hyperspaz yellow lab whom we dogsat last year while his family welcomed their third child. The FB posting was frantic, something like “Please pray for Buddy. The vet is doing CPR on him right now,” followed later by a post saying that he was gone. WTF???

    I so wanted to contact D to ask what the hell happened? I mean, he’s only four years old, hardly the age for death! I wanted to know and I was annoyed by the “info but no info” kind of social media post that seems all too prevalent these days. But after pausing and letting the truth sink in, I realized that the details didn’t even matter. I was just dumbfounded (he was such a strong boy) and sad. He had only stayed with us for ten days but he’d grown on me. I suddenly felt so regretful that the day they came to take him back home was the last day we saw him. I thought there would be later opportunities, but I suppose bc of the human relationships (and our personal aversion to hanging out with a gaggle of kids), that never happened. And now he’s gone. The one with ears even more velvety than Martin’s. He’s gone.

    A few days later, after a bunch of people on FB kept asking what happened, D finally shared the details. Buddy had just finished an ordinary play session, and then he suffered from heat stroke. My mind just kept imagining that happening… And escalating so quickly. It’s amazing they even got him to the vet. Ugh.

    Years ago, when I worked at the environmental agency, every summer, the rangers would ask us to put out warnings and signs reminding people about heat stroke, esp for dogs. People would go up a steep trail with their dog on a hot day, and come back down carrying their dying dogs in their arms.

    I thought about how much we anthropomorphize our animals. They are so much a part of us, that we forget they are completely different animals with different DNA. To be honest, until this news about Buddy, I had forgotten that dogs don’t sweat. I mean, I knew this fact, but somehow it was buried deep inside and it had left my consciousness. And I thought about how much Buddy panted and breathed so loudly when we had him… The vet did say that he thought Buddy had a condition that compromised his ability to self-cool… Anyway, whenever we took him to the park, he ALWAYS went after the ball. He would appear physically exhausted but his face and body was always ready for more. Back then, I stopped playing with him bc I didn’t want him to over exert or bc I wanted to get going, but it was never about heat stroke. This could very well have happened on our watch, and that scared me even more. This was a devastating but powerful reminder.

    Of course, that evening I started scrolling through our pictures of Buddy. So heartbreaking. And then I saw my old pics of Remy and Ramona… People always say you have to tell the people you love that you love them. Do dogs know? I was petting Marty today, wondering does he know I love him? I tell him but we speak different languages. Does he know from my actions? Is loyalty a kind of love? Clearly, I’ve got insomnia tonight, and the brain is just all over the damn place.

    Needless to say, I’ve been crying a lot lately. That said, I am still trying to make the most of my life, so that means I kicked my studying into high gear. Today, I even tried something new: I got my butt to Starbucks, downed a chai latte, and then hunkered down from 11-4:30p. Government-backed loans, the law of agency, and real estate appraising. I was doing pretty well until I got into Fannie Mae and Ginne Mae and Freddie Mac. WTF. Thoroughly confusing. And then the fucking mortgage-backed securities and insurance and guarantees and… Argh!!! Why is his shit so goddamn complicated? I got really frustrated bc isn’t that what the movie The Big Short is all about? This intentionally complex system that then screws people over?!?! Thankfully, Bubs explained it to me after he got home. It’s still confusing but less so. I’m gonna sleep on it.IMG_0176 IMG_0177IMG_0198(2)

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  • On the Move

    As I type, my parents are enroute to Maryland (from Taiwan). Yup, seems like I’ve been getting flight updates all damn day. I mean, it is a very long haul. Sure sucks to be them!

    So I’ve been crunching down on the studying this week. And thankfully, the material is finally starting to sink in. I mean, with enough repetition from note taking plus reading plus lectures plus chapter tests, I should hope so. That said, I’m not gonna lie: things started out pretty fricking dry (kinda how I imagined law school to be…). Sure, I was able to connect the content to my real-life experiences, but I wasn’t really feeling the jazz. Now, I’m actually digging the pragmatism of it all, like just having a clearer understanding of how things work: processes, contracts, loans. I know, you’re not convinced. That’s why you aren’t transitioning into real estate. :P

    So far, one of the biggest takeaways for me has been this: Dad was right about so many damn things! WTF?!? From obsessively reviewing tenant applications to prohibiting pets in rentals to fearing the difficulty and complexity of evictions… So many times when handling our own rental in Virginia as well as my father’s properties, I thought Dad was being needlessly hypervigilent. But shit, according to the real estate professor on my podcast, Dad had it right all along. Shit man, credit where credit is due. Maybe when I visit my parents next month, I’ll finally reveal that I’m studying real estate. It’s too bad the timing doesn’t allow me to save my parents some dough… Nonetheless, I’m sure being involved in a few more transactions while I’m still learning will help everyone.

    The weather has been bloody hot the last few days. Every night Bubbey comes home and tells me our bedroom AC unit is “the best money ever spent.” Haha. Of course, now that we have a permanent and reliable means of cooling the room, I’m itching to sell our older window/standup unit on Craigslist. We bought that mofo many years ago when my parents visited during a heat wave. And my dad is SUPER sensitive to heat. After a day or two of full-on dripping, J and I bought whatever unit they had at Costco. As soon as we set it up at home, my dad just sat in front of that thing for hours, exclaiming “It was REALLY hot!” Since then though, J and I have rarely used the thing. It takes up a shit ton of space on our already crammed houseboat and then it’s super fucking loud and inefficient. Like we can’t even have a conversation with it on. But like a legit seller, I wanted to double check everything before posting for sale. So I set it up in my office. Yup, still works but wow, what a huge difference from our mini split. Indeed, the Fujitsu is the best money ever spent!!

    Meanwhile, the new Casper mattress and slatted bed frame are continuing to deliver. Who expected that I could ever sleep through the night? A goddamn miracle.

    Tomorrow I’m headed out to Livermore. My friend S, whom I befriended at the Duke Nonprofit program a few years ago, is a camp counselor at Camp Wonder, a week-long adventure for kids with skin diseases. I’ve visited S and her girls (she’s in charge of 8!!) the last two years. S doesn’t always get the same group, but there are definitely repeat campers. And despite my general aversion to kids, I learn so much about fortitude, courage, kindness, and joy from these girls– some as young as six. They blow my mind every damn time. And my friend S… She is so young in age (mid 20s) and yet, she carries so much weight on her shoulders, from being the primary caretaker for her mother who has cancer, to serving as a nanny for her nephew, to herself battling a painful and debilitating skin disease… Hands down, she has one of the purest, most selfless hearts I’ve ever encountered. And she is AMAZING with the kids– so attentive and energetic and fun. She always inspires me to do better.

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  • Project Me

    Martin had a good day today: he ate some food (without meds); he didn’t vomit; and he went on an extended walk. A few days ago though, my neighbor had emailed me a list of things regarding the City’s On Call Plus service, yard waste, pet sitting, and how Marty was doing. I replied that things weren’t good and I was thinking maybe we were a month away. The next day, she replied that she and her husband hadn’t said anything to their daughter E about this. She suggested that I might start preparing E so she isn’t fully taken off guard when shit goes down. I mean, sure, I know E in that I have paid her to walk Marty during the week for the last year, but she’s 10, and I have no idea how adults communicate topics like death to kids. To be honest, I had been thinking about it, and all along, I’ve been verbalizing that he’s a lot weaker and older and not feeling well, but I dunno, isn’t the deterioration and death of a dog something the parents are supposed to interpret for her? I replied asking for her suggestion. She said E is mature for her age, and I should just “repeat over and over again that Marty is dying.” Really?

    A sidebar about my neighbor. She’s a French lady. Very nice, very organized (she’s a project manager), extremely active and disciplined (just turned 50 and started competing in marathons and Iron Woman shit). Now that I think of it, she’s pretty dang direct too in her communication style. Is it a French thing or just her thing? I don’t really know. But an example of her bluntness:

    Before we headed to Europe in April, I had “refreshed” my side shave. You see, my initial foray into the side shave was just a teaser. In February, I had shaved a small section from my face back to the front of my left ear. As I had mentioned in my Instagram back then, the move wasn’t nearly as dramatic as I had anticipated. So in mid April, I decided to take the shave a bit closer (number 2) and shave it farther back towards the back of my skull. Maybe by then I had already been desensitized, bc even though it was a lot more noticeable, it still didn’t feel like a huge deal. Then again, when I sent a pic to Bubbey complaining about the vertical demarcation from the old shave, he replied, “Forget the vertical line, how come the shaved area got way bigger?!?!… It’s a little extreme.” Whatever though. What does Bubbey know. So off we went on our European jaunt with my expanded shave debuting in London and Paris. When I got back, the neighbor came over with E to walk Marty. She looked at me with great horror and gasped:

    F: Oh my god, what happened to your hair?!?!?!?

    Me: Haha. Oh, I just shaved it.

    (She was practically speechless.)

    F: What did John say???

    Me: He said it was a little extreme. (Shrug)

    F: Well, it will grow back.

    Me: Yeah it will… And then I’ll just do it again.

    I always chuckle a bit when I think of that exchange. I really can’t see any of my American friends or acquaintances reacting in such a manner. But yeah, back to the Martin death thing. WTH? Weird, right? Is she tying to give E like unadulterated exposure so the girl isn’t coddled? I dunno. I don’t exactly understand it, but heck, if you want me to play the radical honesty card with a child, I’m game.

    So beyond the stressful Marty doggie care these last couple weeks, I’ve been doing my very own version of GTL (S/O to Bubbey’s show Jersey Shore), except my version is Gym, Tanning, Learning. You see, when I was obsessing big time about my physical imperfections a couple months ago, I came to this realization after watching a ton of makeup and skincare tutorials on YouTube: looking good takes a lot of fucking effort. All the makeup people I follow on YouTube? Absolutely stunning and gorgeous. I mean, they’re already naturally pretty even with nothing on, but holy crap, there’s a HUGE difference in before and after. The “enhanced” version is super gorgeous. And these ladies can whip themselves ready in a flash (under 8 minutes). That said, let’s be real. They use a gazillion products AND there’s so much maintenance even beyond the makeup. Seriously, from teeth whitening gels to permed lashes to tattooed brows to shaving their faces to special shampoo… A shit ton of work and effort. So of course, that got thinking: here I am moaning and groaning about how ugly I am, and am I doing all that work? Nope. Just complaining while sitting on my ass. THE worst. So fine, time to step up my game. I have switched up my foundation to give more even, less splotchy coverage. Added bronzer for some healthy glow. And I think I’ve been over-stripping my skin, bc homegirl does a lot of skincare prep to get her acne-prone skin plump and ready before putting on any color. So now I am trying to hydrate my skin more often to see if that will help me achieve her smooth and flawless finish. I’m telling you: that shit is an art, and she is a master. I’m fascinated.

    I also did some additional reading on the dermaroller, and I might be giving that up. I haven’t noticed a difference in skin texture after three uses and some papers are claiming that extended use causes serious damage. I might do it a few more times, but I won’t be re-ordering.

    On Mothers’ Day, I ordered my evaluation kit from SmileDirectClub. Yes, it’s over 50% cheaper than the regular ortho and that def plays a factor with cheapie old me, but honestly, more than anything, I can’t help but be intrigued with the concept of mail-order ortho treatment. So I’m going to create the molds and see what treatment plan is proposed and then go from there on deciding whether or not to really go forward.

    Fitness-wise, I’ve been going to the JCC pretty consistently. The gym just got some new ellipticals too that are making me sweat my brains out. Then I sweat some more in the sauna and steam room. I got my shower routine down. Yesterday, I changed up my exercise activity and hit up the pool (where I befriended a very outgoing 9 y/o Latina girl… Why are kids approaching me?!?). Oh and I am back on the self-tanning wagon. I still had some St. Tropez left (given to me by my gal K), so I figured I had to use it up, even though I’m sure K will insist that shit is expired. Whatdya know. Maybe the gym sauna/shower routine is working some kind of magic: No application mitt or anything, and the color is deep, uniform, and streak-free!! Yeehaw.

    Yup, still studying my real estate books. Shit is finally starting to sink in. And the info is coming in handy for duties back East. I think I’m finally back on a roll! Just in time for our upcoming weekend getaway. Thank fucking goodness!

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  • Long Night, New Day

    I had an awful night’s rest yesterday. Marty was appearing visibly weaker (even the neighbors agreed), and his appetite was not coming back. J and I started talking about how this setback was seemingly different… In the past, it just took fluids and/or a quarter pill of mirtazipine, and his appetite would come back with a vengeance. Not. this. time. He is also starting to sleep even more soundly than before, something I remember Remy started to do towards the end. Some sign like the body is shutting down. I couldn’t sleep. I tried to distract my mind by studying my real estate book, by reading about the Bernie sham (I support Clinton), by reading about the ethics and legality of password sharing (As much as I’m into deals and saving money, I’m not comfortable with this), by thinking about all the things I need to do (should I order Marty’s fluids by the case?). Yeah, I was up late.

    Eventually, I did fall asleep, but then I woke up in the middle of the night in a cold sweat. I dreamed that my grandmother had died. In my dream, the entire cascade of shit communication with my family (immediate and extended) began, rife with confusion and misunderstanding and paralysis.

    This morning, we had an appointment with a contractor to talk about the heating/cooling unit for the master bedroom. I know, that project is dragging ass– mainly bc the vendors are so vague with their estimates and also, the estimates are all over the fucking place. This was my final quote though. $5500. Comparable to another quote, but $2k more than a third one. We will likely proceed soon, bc Bubbey needs his AC this summer. 

    After the contractor left, Marty woke up and to my pleasant surprise, he ate his food. What a fucking relief. Is he coming around again? Too early to tell. Now to see if he’ll go to the bathroom. I haven’t seen solids for two days. I was relieved with this latest bit of good news though, and then I went back to bed.

    I awoke again past noon. I haven’t slept in this late in a long, long time. I still feel tired, but I gotta get moving. Gremlin juice (Diet Coke) is in order and then back to the gym. I’ve been doing the elliptical now, bc I can listen to my real estate podcasts and well, to be honest, I’m yearning for my Shanghai days of fitness when I could do cardio for 45 min easy.

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  • Recent Epiphanies

    I admit: every time I see J’s sister S, I admire so many of her qualities. She makes me wish I were mentally tougher, more extroverted, more professionally accomplished, more high powered, more fashionable and stylish. I aspire to be better, but at the same time, I realize that I still need to work within my own constraints. Like I can try to be more outgoing and I can work on dressing better, etc., but it’s highly unlikely I’ll start shopping at Hermes or Prada or whatever. Sometimes I get frustrated when I feel like Bubs is pressuring me to move more in the direction of his sisters. It’s just too far beyond the boundaries of who I am… It would be like me expecting them to get excited about recycling/reuse/waste reduction or to consider living in a tiny home/shipping container home and aim for the 100 Items Challenge… Anyway, I’ve just been thinking a lot lately about judgement, acceptance, and shame. In the past, I’ve let other people’s success make me feel happy for them but also simultaneously feel worthless about myself. Hearing about S’s high stakes/high rewards career, hitting big corporate numbers, earning hefty bonuses, and flying on corporate jets… I very quickly feel lame: working/leaving my low-wage jobs and now studying real estate. I think of all that my parents invested in me to be successful and I swear I fight this feeling of disappointment and failure every fucking day. Still, I’m trying to stay focused on swimming in my own lane and keeping my head above water. I have become more aware now of shame and how it impedes me.

    In a similar vein, I remember how before, even for simple interactions, if I was curious or wanted to know more about a product or process, I would just keep quiet, for fear of appearing dumb or coming across like I was bothering or inconveniencing others. But recently, I’ve realized there’s a way to ask about something with interest and curiosity and without coming across like an entitled ass. So now I’m trying this new thing where if I have unsettled thoughts or unanswered questions, I’m trying to verbalize my concerns rather than internalize them. Like with Martin and the new dog sitter: I hemmed and hawed about asking her for a reference with whom I could speak on the phone. The sitter already had multiple written/posted reviews, but after reading about how reviews for some services like AirBnb can’t really be trusted I really wanted to hear a client’s voice and just listen for other hesitations that wouldn’t necessarily come across in a written review. Also, she had received one scathing negative review. Normally, I wouldn’t have brought it up bc maybe it was too confrontational. But I did. The sitter was super fine and accommodating with both my requests, and honestly, I felt even better about her after seeing how she handled them. Long story short: I recently vowed not to let shame or fear of embarrassment/judgement keep me from asking questions and from learning more. The next time a contractor comes to the house to talk HVAC, no holds barred. Another shift for me now that I’m older and wiser at 40 (close enough anyway). :)

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  • Flurry of Activity

    Last week, I was feeling so good about getting myself back on track. Faced with the deadline of my yoga Groupon, I actually hit the studio every damn day for a week (minus Easter). And on Friday night, J and I tried a new ktv place for the first time in years, joined by K + D. In the past, our ktv spot was a Japanese joint in Cupertino. This time, we opted for a Taiwanese-owned place with lots of food options (instead of just snacks and drinks like the old place). What a pleasant surprise! Sadly, the audio system didn’t work wonders on my voice the same way that ktv place in Tokyo did and the queuing system was a bit confusing, but overall, we had a blast! And holy crap: K is really good! I have a lot of friends who are fans of karaoke, but homegirl can do hardcore rap! I have NO IDEA how she knows all the words and is able to keep up with the pacing, but it’s pretty damn amazing to witness. I keep telling her she needs to enter some karaoke contests, for realz… I’m gonna be her agent! Bubs and I did have a realization Friday night that we need to update our song list. I mean, K + D are mid-80s babies but shit, who knew music from the 80s and 90s was so damn repetitive and lingering? Those chorus lines drag on and on!!!

    In other news, on Saturday, G + J came to town with baby O. Yup, the Houseboat was the site of TWO babies (and six adults), as J + J also came over with baby H. I have said it before: holy crap the babies are nonstop action, and J and I didn’t even have to do anything! But it’s just the constant movement and monitoring… J and I were so wiped that night. Still, we had a great time catching up with our buds. The two baby boys got along (we captured some nice photos), and it was nice to just chillax on the Houseboat: cook dinner and lounge on the patio outside. We couldn’t have asked for better weather this weekend.

    On Saturday, my gardeners were also over all day, getting going on Operation Front Yard. They tore everything up, added a shit ton of fresh soil/amendment, regraded/tilled, and started laying out my plan. To be honest, I’d been dragging ass on this front yard do-over for nearly 3 years… mostly bc J and I know nothing about plants and we really just had no fucking clue what we were doing. But my bud J kicked things off with that watercolor sketch and then I got some ideas from Pinterest and finally assembled a design board. With a few trips to the nursery, I started feeling better: it wasn’t really as hard as I had anticipated. I pretty much just needed full/part sun plants that were also drought tolerant, and surprisingly, the nursery is already arranged in a logical way where the plants are categorized similarly. So I’ve definitely deviated from the design board, but as my gardener has laid things out with spray paint and brought us sample flagstone and gravel to help envision everything, I’m finally feeling excited that this shit is going to happen. I’m kinda bummed that we missed the county landscape rebate program (the county ran out of funds), but at this point, I just can’t wait to see how everything comes together. Two more Saturdays and we should cross that finish line! Yippee!

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  • Come What May

    So I’m pretty much speaking to my dad daily at this point. On Monday, he got an appointment with the neurosurgeon who promptly ordered an MRI scheduled for Tuesday. My father is feeling less nauseous, but the dizziness is not subsiding. He tells me the MRI is pretty fine-grained, and it can usually detect Alzheimer’s, tumors, and/or blockages (something about the brain arteries not carrying enough oxygenated blood?). I dunno, I’m pretty sure it’s frustrating as hell trying to communicate with a biology/medical newb. Meanwhile, his family in Taiwan is freaking out and calling him every day.

    The good news is that he has finally started doing some exercises– just 10 minutes twice a day. Nothing on his new elliptical but I suppose so long as his balance feels unstable, that’s probably smart. I haven’t spoken to my mother since that day she asked me to come home if it turns out to be something serious. My guess is that she is paralyzed even further by fear and catastrophic thinking. That’s her m.o. anyway. I’ve pretty much taken over the coordination/communications of his property-related items. He keeps telling me he just can’t handle those things mentally right now, and then he apologizes for being a “burden” on me. At the same time, I think he is somewhat resigned to what will come. He says he wants to keep living but if something happens, that’s life. It’s so weird to think so much nowadays about mortality. The inevitability of it does nothing to lessen the emotions. I wonder if he has a different perspective due to his profession. Stanford’s Dr. Kalanithi comes to mind. I’m trying to stay calm until more information is available. As you can tell from my family, it’s hard to keep the worry in check.

    I was up early today for yoga again. Class 3. Still way more intense than I would like, but I’m feeling the soreness and taking that to mean progress on some small level. Turns out I have six more classes left by March 29. In the very least, I hope to finish this week out strong. It’s a little weird being back on an early schedule again. When I walked Marty this morning, I ran into all the kids walking to school. I also bumped into a neighbor (the one who complained to me months ago at the park about parenting): she asked me what I was up to… Turns out, her sister is also taking classes now to get her real estate sales license. I’ve been reaching out to a number of people I know (including my loan officer) to just get some more scoop/background. Honestly, I’m probably doing a little bit of analysis paralysis here, but I’ll get going soon enough.

    What else. Yesterday, I made two trips to the nursery for plants. Yeah, for weeks now, our front yard has just been a big muddy lot. I had our gardener completely cut off the water, so the lawn browned and then last month, he dug up the remnants so that only dirt was left. Trying to re-do the front lawn the cheap way, I asked my friend J, who is a hobbyist gardener. The lady came back with a freaking watercolor painting of her proposal. And with Pinterest and many conversations with my gardener, I did a mockup plan. I kinda wanted him to take my design board and go with it, but my gardener insisted that I buy the plants. Ugh, fine. Turns out, that was a good idea, bc stuff I thought I wanted didn’t look good in person, so there were several modifications. Now, the crew is coming Saturday to get started. Btw, who the fuck knew plants were so damn pricey. I mean sure, I’m always stuck in 1980s pricing, but shiit. I don’t even feel safe piling up all these plants behind my front gate. Some of them should be on lockdown or something. SMH.

    I guess it all works out though, bc I was pleased to sell my Petrie sofa today! Yup, I had posted almost two weeks ago on Craigslist and on a for sale app called OfferUp. No interest at $700 (which I admit was a high starting price). I then dropped $25 and got some interest. Today, a lady from Menlo Park stopped by and put down a deposit. I kinda wish I had held firm at $675 but I came down another $50. Both M and Bubbey were shocked that my sofa sold for that much, but hey man, there are plenty of frugal rich people out there!! After the sale, as I drafted a quick text confirming receipt of the deposit, she revealed that her hubby is a lawyer. Something about them moving and they just sold their couch, so maybe this one is a temporary one? See? I could have gotten $700 Bubbey bucks.

    Ok well it’s suddenly 4p, and I gotta scramble to get groceries and make dinner. Yup, living the June Cleaver lifestyle these days. Except for the etiquette/manners/charm school part, I’m pretty good with managing the home!

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