So, how’d it go?

Some of you may be aware that when I get super stressed, or have a mission to accomplish, I get a little… um, what’s the word… bitchy. Demanding and unreasonable would also be accurate adjectives. I have a vision how how things should be done, and lord get out of the way if you don’t share that vision.

I know, I am working on it. Really.

Saturday morning was one of those mornings. Damir and I had a lot to accomplish in a relatively short amount of time, coupled with my stress of bringing my parents over to see our abode and meet Damir’s parents for the first time. There were a few not-so-pretty moments on my behalf. But thankfully Damir rocked it out of the park and did the bulk of the dirty work (all the food shopping, prep, and some last minute minor household repairs) so I could have time to shower, get to Oyster Bay to meet my parents, and have some quality time with them before bringing them over.

Have I mentioned lately that I love this guy?

Sadly Damir’s mom had to work unexpectedly, so it was just my parents, Damir’s Dad and a few cousins that live in the neighborhood who were instrumental in keeping the translated conversation going. Damir made an amazing seafood stew and a bevy of tasty appetizers. And there was wine, of which I could not partake, since I was driving the crew back to the boat in Oyster Bay after dinner.

Everyone agreed it was a success. My one and only regret is that I didn’t have the presence of mind to take a picture of everyone. Sad.

The rest of the weekend was relaxed, spent lounging on the boat. I got to have an extra evening with my parents last night since high winds kept them from sailing on to their next stop. I really enjoyed having some one-on-one time with them.

Another Big Weekend!

Well, the parents are coming via boat to Long Island tomorrow… hopefully the weather is better than it is right now. Outside the wind is blowing and the rain is pouring. But this is shaping up to be a BIG WEEKEND.

Why, you ask?

Well, for the first time I am introducing Damir’s family to my dad & step-mom. These are the first members of my family to meet Damir’s clan. This has me tied up into a couple of knots, though I can’t really imagine what could go wrong.

This is also the first time my parents are seeing my home here in Long Island. Its awkward to me since it still doesn’t feel like my home, and very little in our surroundings really represent who I am, or my taste in things. Its odd to feel like a guest inviting even more guests to a home that isn’t theirs. But I know my parents won’t judge these things.

Poor Damir will be doing more or less all the translating, which definitely puts the conversation through a siphon.

I had wanted to get a bunch of folks here, Damir’s parents, some of his cousins that we hang out with a lot, their kids, my folks, all together for a big outdoor picnic, but the weather is shaping up to be crappy and the logistics were just too much to organize. So, we’ll gather here instead.

I am anxious. I would say I don’t know why… but I think I do. This does matter to me, and as much as I want to tell you that this is no big deal, it is. At least to me.

Deuce

This week Damir and I briefly marked the 2 year anniversary of when we first met. It went something like this:

Terra: Didn’t we meet around this time of year?

Damir: Um, yeah, end of April

I actually had to check the blog archive to get the right date (for the record, April 21st). We’ve never been ones to celebrate each passing month or keep track of any particular anniversary. I guess we will if we get married, but that seems like a different ball of wax.

We ended up at the scene of our first encounter briefly for a beer last night. We had a kiss to mark the spot and that was good enough for me.

Back on the W.

Oh Lordy. Watch out!

I decided to go back on the Weight Watchers. Ugh. Boring! Today I went to my first meeting and I couldn’t help but think that SNL should do a skit on this place. A group of mostly older women (its a Monday, so the attendees are mostly retirees) in their velour track suits and big hair dying to talk about Their Story… how they were once skinny….then had kids and got fat… then lost the weight…and now in their older years they’ve gained it all back again, punctuated by the odd hip replacement story or two.

But, it’s all good. I applaud their effort, and in relation, mine as well. I have already apologized in advance to poor Damir to whom I am surely going to be a complete bitch once the hunger pangs and french-fry withdrawal take control of all my rational thought.

Speaking of poor Damir, he has some kind of tooth trauma going on that has one side of his face swollen nearly to the point of shutting an eye. I am home from work and about to take him to the oral surgeon, he definitely can’t drive himself. That means we can kiss another couple of grand away, as certainly there is a root canal in his near future (his second in 4 months). Thanks healthcare for covering all the bases!

BUT GOOD NEWS: we finally bought a new mattress! It was a struggle, holy hell in a handbasket. We trolled all the usual places before finding an area in Long Island City where there are 3 or 4 mattress warehouses all in a row. They are pretty competitive with each other, so negotiating was like cutting butter with a hot knife. We ended up with a Serta Mattress by Vera Wang (yes, the wedding dress designer), Sweet Slumber, Sweet Comfort version (long enough name for ya?) for about $500… normal retail price is $3870. It was on clearance so we get no return policy or warranty so we damn well better like it. It’s a latex mattress, and oh-so-pretty its a shame to put sheets on it. But there you go, hopefully we’ll sleep better.

Restoration

A hobby I have picked up along the way is trying to restore old photos. It’s not an easy hobby, since its not like I really know what I am doing. But regardless, I enjoy the process of trying to make something old look a little new.

Sabrija, Damir’s stepmom, came across some old Passport photos today. Well, not THAT old, maybe about 15 years or so. But they were bent and somewhat damaged, so I scanned them in to see what I could do. These aren’t finished, but it’s a start…

Here is the original:

You can see there are a lot of cracks and scratches. Here below is my cleaned up version:

Damir’s dad’s photo is pretty good, except for a scratch right on the middle of the eyeball that looks like a cataract from afar:

So I figured out how to cut and past his clean eyeball into the socket of the old one:

I didn’t save the original photo of Damir, but here is the touched up version. He’s about 9 years old in this picture:

Its not an easy photo to retouch since the entire thing is very speckled and slightly blurry. The clean up version looks more like a painting than a photo. But he’s still damn cute anyway.

Shortly

In a few minutes I am going to:

Close up shop
Trudge through the rain across Times Square
Down to 42nd Street
Jump on the 1, 2 or 3 express train to Penn Station (just one stop)
Find the 7:09 Train on Track 21 (scratch that, it’s now 7:45 and I am still in the office)…
Sit in a seat ideally that does put me in too close proximity to any of the following types of people:
– Crazy
– Smelly
– Angry
– A Loud Talker
– Or otherwise annoying

I will read my book (which I want to be loving, but just am not): The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time. I will read probably 50 pages on the train

I missed the express, so I will get in to my town at 7:45
Damir will be waiting in a warm car
We will go to our favorite Thai place, where we go nearly every Friday night
I think I might have a red curry. Or Pad Pirhod. And a Thai Beer.
We will go home
Maybe we’ll put on a movie, I just got TUDOR (the Showtime series) from Netflix.
And settle into the weekend,

Bliss.

The Outlook is Clear

I am very excited about 2008. I think it’s going to be one of these years I will look back on in like 2044 and muse to myself, “2008 was a f*cking fantastic year”. Yes, I plan to do a LOT of cursing in my old age. Why? Because you can. Who will tell you not to? And, for the record, I plan on grabbing lots of butts.

So anyway, why am I so excited about 2008? Well, for starters, this is the first year for me when a BUNCH of friends are getting married. This is a great excuse to travel, celebrate love and devotion with far away friends and spread good cheer. I just made my hotel reservations for Ashbloem’s wedding in Dallas in May and I am already chomping at the bit to get going.

And in addition, have I mentioned lately that I am crazy in love with the man in my life? He is perhaps the most generous and loving person I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. It’s true, we struggle financially and have the whole “family stuff” to contend with, but I see those as temporary issues. We laugh, we fight, we hug strongly and kiss passionately. I am so thankful to have him by my side. The rest is just static.

It’s also a great time to be in the Interravision family, exciting projects, plans and new ventures are underfoot for everyone related to me. My father and step-mom’s recent retirement and exciting travel plans; my sister’s new career as an acupuncturist and shiny new marriage; my mom’s adventures in like, lust and love and finding her new calling; my step-sister’s completion of her PhD and starting a new job in a new city; my brother and sister-in-law’s booming new company and watching their two gorgeous little girls grow and blossom. Though far away, I hope that my unconditional love and support is tangible for each.

I have to mention work as well. Yes, I made some pretty significant sacrifices to work at this company, mostly being felt in my wallet. But, I love the people I work with and I really enjoy the work I am doing. Being part of a small company, I really do feel that my effort to advance the success of our venture is relevant. That’s pretty exciting. Plus, since I do tend to wear many hats here (part sales manager, financier, concierge, HR coordinator, copy writer, semi-graphic designer, meeting planner and gal-Friday extrodinaire), I am definitely never bored.

So, all in all, 2008 is shaping up to be a pretty eventful year and I, for one, can’t wait to see it all unfold.

Moj Dragi

Srecan Rodjendan!

It’s my sweetheart’s birthday today. I thought long and hard about the perfect birthday gift for him. First I started planning a weekend away…Montauk, Newport, and a new mountain resort a few hours away were all on the list. But then I realized… Silly! That’s what I want for MY birthday.

So I went back to the drawing board and found something that we both can enjoy, and also will hopefully be fun for the whole cross-language family:

I am not really one for videogames, but this is indeed pretty cool. Instead of sitting stationary in front of the TV, Wii forces you to get up and move. The handheld remotes act as your racket, club, bat, or whatever other instrument you are playing in the game. Not only is this pretty fun, it’s apparently kind of healthy too. I just saw this article:

 

A study by Liverpool John Moores University finds normal Wii use could burn 27lbs (12.25kg) worth of calories a year. They studied gamers in the United Kingdom and found that they spend an average of 12.2 hours weekly playing video games. They also found that kids playing a Nintendo Wii more than doubled their energy expenditure when compared with playing other video games. Wii energy levels rose to 156% above resting level, as opposed to 60% above resting level for normal gaming. That doesn’t mean a whole lot to me, but translated into calories it does. The Wii players would burn 1,830 calories per week playing for 12.2 hours at that energy level.

 

Since I have class tonight, I gave Damir his present last night. We set it right up in the living room so everyone could play. We had a lot of laughs watching Damir and his dad play each other in baseball… especially since I don’t think either has ever picked up a bat in real life before. There they were in the middle of the living room, one pitching and one batting. Good stuff.

The graphics leave a little to be desired on the games that come with the set, but my guess is that other games purchased separately probably are a little more sophisticated. There are some other fun functions of the system, like a digital photo program that lets you edit and play slideshows. I dig that.

So even though we don’t get a romantic weekend away, this, I hope, is something that will bring a lot of fun to our odd family for a long time to come. There is very little common ground I can share with the parents given the language barrier, so this is really a birthday present for all of us.

Homeless Prophecy

As we talked about before, every day I walk from Penn Station to my office in Times Square. About a block into this walk I pass a nice gentleman who is raising money for homeless causes. He shouts loud and clear over the din of the morning rush, asking people to give what they can because, after all, “YOU ARE ALL JUST ONE PAYCHECK AWAY FROM BEING HOMELESS”.

This scares me. I guess because it’s sort of true. But not really. Or is it?

This past year has been a financial obstacle course for me. First I was moving to New York with a great job and a great paycheck. Then I was unexpectedly unemployed and freelancing. Then I made some money and paid down some debt. Then I lost my job and was unemployed for two whole days before taking another job that is a bit less lucrative (but SOOO worth it). How do you keep financial consistency with this madness?

The only way all this was possible without going homeless was because of my sweetheart. He puts the roof over our head, his job makes rent and utilities (even cable!) non-existing entities. And I realize how much I have to be thankful for. As much as I bitch and moan about not being closer to the city, and that we don’t have more space for ourselves (you know, with the parents and all), this crazy year would have been much more crazy and stressful if I was throwing $1400 a month on rent down the toilet.

But there are strings to this comfort. If we wanted to move, for example closer to the city, we don’t just break our lease, pack our bags and move on in to a shiny new place. It is a complicated process of him finding a new job, and then finding temporary housing for three months before being allowed to move into the new place that offers the same benefits of rent and utility. Plus we have to consider the parents. And there is the scary notion that, if bad luck should befall us (knock wood), we will lose the arrangement completely and possibly then, yes, be just one paycheck from being homeless. Ok, not one, but a couple for sure.

Let’s not think about that.

On that bright note, happy long weekend to everyone!

hrvatski!

No, no need to say “gesundheit” in response! I am starting Croatian (Hrvatski) lessons after work tonight. I have signed on for 10 weekly lessons at LanguaWorld here in the city. I have tried and tried to get into learning the language via tapes and CDs (even uploading to my ipod to facilitate), but I realized I need the discipline of a teacher to kick my butt into gear. Plus, reciting Dobar dan, govorim malo hrvatski (good day, I speak a little Croatian) over and over again on the train probably would not be very pleasant for my fellow train companions.

I am a little worried about the school.

I had to pay in cash up front, after a lot of confusion regarding whether or not I am entitled to a 20% discount (apparently I am not.) Then today I get an email that said my teacher was in a car accident this afternoon… did I read about it? (no) And that class is cancelled. But then I got an email and a call saying, We have a subsitute, can you still come? (yes).

Well, I am going to be positive and envision an engaging teacher, bright fellow peers, and me speaking passable Croatian after 10 weeks are up. Sretno! (good luck!)