on the plus side, at least I'm not crazy

Last night, I woke up sometime around 1 a.m., and our power was out. That struck me as weird, since we weren’t having any bad weather or anything like that.

Then I noticed strobe lights reflecting all over our bedroom. I wondered if I was still dreaming? Or maybe I was hallucinating? Is this a common pregnancy symptom that I somehow missed? Was I about to be abducted by aliens? WHAT was going on?

I got out of bed and stumbled over to the window. At first it looked like a police car’s blue lights were inside my neighbor’s house. That made no sense, so I rubbed my eyes and looked again, and realized that I was looking at a reflection in their windows. I looked to the right, to our nearest intersection (we live in the second house in our subdivision, so the intersection is close) and I saw police cars, fire trucks, and rescue vehicles all over the street.

Of course, because pregnant ladies are known for being completely sane and rational, my first thought was, “hey, what if it’s that urban myth about the axe murderer who knocks out the power to the whole street before he goes on a killing spree? And maybe the cops are here to catch him? Should I go downstairs and make sure that all of our doors are locked? Or wake up Dave and send him outside to investigate?”

Then I decided that was the Unisom talking and I needed to go back to bed.

I woke up again around 3-something, because that’s the hour Baby 2.0 has designated as her In Utero Dance Party (seriously, EVERY. NIGHT.), and our power was back on, but the cop cars were still outside. Weird.

I asked Dave this morning if he had noticed all that, and he said that he heard a loud bang and assumed that a transformer blew. He didn’t notice anything with the police cars and lights because he was asleep.

I checked the news this morning and found out that apparently some drunk idiot hit a utility pole. Based on the pictures of that truck, I can’t believe that his injuries were “non-life threatening.” Crazy.

And I have to say, it is really weird to see your street on the map of a local news story.

But hey, at least I’m not hallucinating, so there’s that.

moving on

When we moved from Seattle to North Carolina last year, it made sense to rent a house. We didn’t know the area very well, and we wanted time to explore and figure out where we wanted to live. Also, we didn’t exactly make money on the sale of our house, so we needed some time to come up with something that would approximate a down payment on a new place.

And here we are, ten months later. Our lease is going to expire in 60 days. Our landlady wants to know if we’re going to renew our lease for another year or if we’re going to move out. We have a little money that might be enough for a down payment. Our credit is just ok – it’s certainly not bad, but it’s not great either; we’re pretty firmly in the “average” range – and we weren’t sure if we would qualify for a mortgage or not. Sure, it’d be nice to take advantage of house prices being so low, but if banks are being stingy about handing out loans, we weren’t sure if we could work it or not.

(Incidentally, our pain-in-the-butt landlady is one of the primary reasons that I want to move. Everything is a headache with her, and everytime I talk to her, she’s always rude and snippy. Can’t. Stand. Her.)

I decided to contact our realtor here and ask if she knew someone we could ask about a loan. She gave me a referral, and it turns out that, lo & behold, we actually did get pre-approved for a mortgage! Which is really exciting, but now we just have to, you know, find a house to buy. No big deal, right?

So that’s going to be taking up a lot of my brainspace between now and August 1st. I’m much less stressed out about it this time than I was last year – moving across town versus cross-country? Yeah, not much of a comparison there. Of course moving sucks, and it’ll be a huge headache, and I’m sure I’ll bitch and moan through the whole process, but it’ll be nothing compared to our last move.

Plus, when it’s all said & done, we’ll have a place that’s really ours. This place has always felt like a house where we’ve just set up camp. We have our books in stacks on the dining room floor, because why bother buying new bookcases? It’ll just be more furniture to move later. This has never felt like a house where we could have people over for parties or anything; I would love to be in a house where I could have people over and not be embarassed about the visible litter box or the boxes that are still in the sunroom that we haven’t unpacked after ten bloody months. I especially can’t wait to get settled in a house that we can make changes to, so we won’t have to live with hideous wallpaper anymore.

Catie & her Daddy
Exhibit A: ugly fruit-oriented wallpaper in our kitchen. And I swear some of those figs look like testicles. It’s all I ever see when I look at the walls.

I’m worried about Catie, because I know that our last move was really hard on her. I expect this one will be easier; the people who are in her life now (her cousin Elizabeth, her friend Kiersten at daycare) will still be part of her normal routine after we move. But I also know she will be heartbroken to leave her friend McKenzie (and vice versa, really; McKenzie knocks on the door every single day to see if Catie can play). So it’ll be rough, but we’ll manage it.


Plus, you know, an added benefit of home ownership is that we might be able to get a playset for the backyard. And judging by how much she loved playing on Elizabeth’s yesterday, I think that might be a pretty big selling point for her.

Now, off to find that perfect dream house…

marine life & the trip home

We came home from Wilmington yesterday. But first, we went on a completely ridiculous detour to go to the North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher. We saw that it was about 20 miles out of our way, but we didn’t know that we’d be going 30 mph on a local road most of that way. Argh.

As for the aquarium itself: well, to be fair, I’m a little spoiled. Once you’ve been to the aquariums in Monterey and New Orleans, it’s going to take a little more than a couple of sharks in a big see-through tank to impress you. And there are three aquariums in North Carolina, and we’ve only been to this one, so I can’t say that all of the aquariums here are bad. But, um… I was less than impressed. Dave and I agreed that on a scale of 1 to 10, we’d give it a 4 or 5. Still, we got some cute pictures.

digging the aquarium

I love that you can see her smiling face reflected in the glass

Catie & me at the aquarium

love this picture of the two of them

My main complaint is that there were a few things Catie was asking to see, and they didn’t have them: not a single dolphin, otter, or octopus in the entire place. Boo.

Really, the best part of the whole aquarium was the gift shop. Catie isn’t huge on stuffed animals, but she’s really into little plastic action figures. Like the Little People type things? The animals are her favorites. They have conversations with each other and act out entire storylines – most of the dialog is jibberish to us, but it obviously makes sense to her. So we got her a few of their very realistic-looking plastic animals: a sea turtle, an alligator, and an otter. (Seriously, NC Aquarium? You sell toy otters, octopi, dolphins – even freaking penguins – but none of those creatures are actually in your facility? WTF? Lame!)

Anyway, these are Catie’s new favorite creatures:
Catie's new BFFs

I don’t get it, because I think the turtle and the alligator are both a little scary-looking. But she adores them, and even insisted on bringing them to bed with her last night. Personally, I wouldn’t want to wake up in the middle of the night and see that alligator’s face staring at me in the dark, but maybe that’s just me.

After the aquarium, we stopped to gas up the car and grab some lunch, then headed home. Perfect timing, too, because Catie slept the whole way home. She woke up when we were about three miles away from our house. Lovely.

Catie-girl is happy to be back home

LOVE this pic

I think she was pretty happy to be back home. We were too.