I’m Thankful for Power Rangers

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I haven’t made a blog post in quite a while. This is probably due to the fact that I haven’t had much to talk about lately. Same boring day to day life.  In an effort to get the juices flowing again I’ve decided to go with the craze and tell you all the things I’m most thankful for, I mean, it is Thanksgiving  after all.

I am most thankful for…

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Bat Quinn, defender of Gotham

 1. My Son

 Quinn truly is the best thing ever to have come into my life. I honestly don’t know where I would be without him. This little boy is so happy and loving, and he completely makes me better as a person. I don’t think I ever really knew the meaning of true love until he was born. When you’re pregnant most people tell you the same thing, that “once you see that little face for the first time, you’re going to fall head over heels in an instant.” I’m sort of afraid to admit this, but when he was born I just didn’t feel that way. When I looked at him, all I saw was a baby (who looked strangely just like his Papa). I think I was sort of in shock…I had just pushed a 7lb miniature human out of my hoo-hah, and was still high on meds. It took me a while to let it sink in that I was actually responsible for someone other than myself, but once it did…BAM! He was like a drug I just couldn’t get enough of, and still can’t. My baby boy means the world to me, and everyday I feel so lucky that I get to be his Mommy.

The Parental Units

The Parental Units

2. My Mom and Dad

My son may be my whole reason for existence, but the only reason I even exist at all is due to those folks on the right there. Growing up as an only child was a unique experience for me. It was just me, and my parents 24/7. It’s because of this that I have a very close relationship with them. When I was younger we did everything together, and even now as an adult, it’s the same way for the most part…just with the inclusion of Quinn. My son’s father has said that to him, our relationship is strange, and I get that. I’m sure there are other people who would probably feel the same way. It’s just not something they’re used to, and that’s okay. I couldn’t imagine for a second what it’s like for people who aren’t close to their parents like I am. I’ll always know that no matter what happens in my life, I have two people who love me unconditionally, would do anything they can for me, and put my happiness above almost all things. Seeing them with my son is one of the things that makes me happiest, and I know that he loves his Nana and Papa just as much as I do. They have done, and continue to do, so much for me that I don’t think I could ever thank them enough. (So if you’re reading this right now…which I know you are, thank you! I love you! And stop crying!)

And now for the good stuff…

I’m sure that you all know that I am thankful for my family and friends, but these are the rest of things I’m thankful for, in no particular order.

3.  Alcohol

What can I say…it just makes everything better!

The good stuff

The good stuff

 4. The Mighty Morphin Power Rangers

The only legit form of Power Rangers. As a 90’s kid, my life revolved around them, and I will still watch the 1995 movie any day of the week.

Go, Go Power Rangers

Go, Go Power Rangers

 5.  O.P.I.Nail Polish

I’m 100% addicted to nail polish and O.P.I. is my drug of choice!

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6. Food.

Period.

I love food.

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7. Star Trek

To Boldly Go where no television show has gone before…

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 8. Doctor Who

It’s just so Timey Wimey!

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 9. The Interwebs

Where else could you connect with friends, and also find a picture of a cat surfing on a burrito in space?

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10. Instagram

I know it’s stupid, but I love seeing random pictures from people’s lives.

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11. Video Games

Because sometimes you just need to kill shit.

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 12. The Digital Age

I am honestly amazed at the fact that my toddler can work a smartphone better than my parents. He is going to have so many more opportunities than I did growing up. Thank god for the time that we live in.

13. My Job

I may not particularly like my job most of the time, but I am thankful that I have it. My job provides me with a place to sleep, a car to drive, food to eat, and the means to support myself and my son.

14. My Baby Daddy

We might not always see eye to eye on things, but I am happy and thankful that we have a good relationship that my child will benefit from in the future. Without him, I wouldn’t even have my munchkin whom I couldn’t imagine life without.

15. My fellow Midnight Mama, Ruth

Ruth is the entire reason I have this blog, so she definitely gets a shout out. I am so lucky that I met someone who gets me like she does. Our personalities are complete opposites at times, but that is why our friendship works. Sometimes I am amazed that it took us this long to find each other. Love you Futh!!

And there you have it, 15 things I am thankful for. I hope everyone is enjoying their turkey hangover. As for me, I’ll be spending my night in the ER thinking about what I shall write about for my next blog post!

 

 

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Adventures in Buying a Home

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My House as it looked on the Realtor’s listing, Don’t worry…I got rid of the random make-shift hand rail.

This one is going to be long-winded, so bear with me!

When I think back to the journey I took when buying my first home, I always seem to start at the same place. My house. Not the house I bought and live in currently, but the first and only house I ever lived in until I was 22 years old. Yes, I was one of those kids who was brought home from the hospital and basically lived in the same house for their entire life. Our house was nothing special, but it was mine. That’s the house where I had my first…everything.  (And did I mention we had an in-ground swimming pool?) Throughout the years my parents would decide…without me…that they wanted to start looking into buying a new house and moving. These decisions were always met with so much anxiety and many tears from their only precious child that they always gave up. It was just never something that I ever wanted to think about doing.

Then, a few years after I had graduated high school my parents decided they wanted to start looking again, and by this time I had no choice but to go along with it. We even found a house that seemed to satisfy all of us, but alas, it wasn’t meant to be. My parents were outbid.

It was then that they started kicking around the idea of building a house. At first I was open to the idea, but then after they secured land to build on, I had an abrupt change of heart.  Growing up, we had always lived about 20 minutes away from my grandmother, and the land my parents built the house they now live in, was literally a stone’s throw away from her. The area where they now reside is very rural, whereas I was used to living in a very busy suburb. There was no way I wanted to move away from my township that I loved so much, because I knew that would mean little to no visits with my friends. When you live 5 minutes away from someone it’s easy to make time in your busy lives, but when you move into a different county all together, it’s a little more difficult.

So, the decision was made to build the house, and we lived in our old home while the new one was being built. Meanwhile, we had our house…my house…up for sale.

When the new house was in the final stages of being built, our house hadn’t sold yet and it was clear that it wasn’t going to anytime soon. That’s when I had the stroke of genius to talk my parents into letting me stay in the house until it sold. The one condition, I had to find roommates and we had to pay rent. I talked it over with one of my best friends, and it was decided that she and her boyfriend at the time would move in with me, and everything would be super awesome. And it was, for 6 months… until someone bought my house.

Me as a toddler sitting on the front porch of "My House"

Me as a toddler sitting on the front porch of “My House”

I felt like the world was playing a cruel joke on me. Moving from the only house I’d ever known at 22 years old was very traumatizing for me. I then decided, rather than move in with my parents and be so far away from everything that I loved, that it was a better idea to find an apartment in the same area. I found the apartment of my dreams, and everything was copacetic…for about a month. That’s when I found out I was pregnant with my son.

A few months after receiving the news that I was going to be a first time mommy, I moved into my parent’s new house to save money during my pregnancy, and this is where our story really begins.

Quinn and I had been living with my parents for about a year when I started to get the itch to buy a house. As a young mother in her 20’s, I was starting to feel smothered. While my parents have no problem forever thinking of me as their child, I was not so thrilled at the idea of feeling like I was back in high school as I was trying to raise a child of my own.

At the time, one of my co-workers was also in a transition period where she and her fiancé were stuck living at her parents’ house. As I saw her start the process of looking for, and eventually buying a house, I had the realization that this was actually something I could accomplish.

I called the same loan company (Quicken Loans) that my coworker did, and I got the process started.

The fact is, I am young. I bought my first house at 24 years old, completely on my own, as a single mother. Of course there are going to be things you aren’t going to be prepared for, and I definitely wasn’t. With that said, her e  is a list of some things that young, first time home buyers should know when looking for the perfect house.

1. Credit. Credit. Credit.

Everyone knows that you aren’t going to get far very if you don’t have a good credit score. Thankfully, since my college career ended before it began, I didn’t have many student loans, and they were all paid off rather fast. That and the fact that I’ve never been late on a payment for anything in my life, have resulted in me having an excellent credit score. My lenders were practically throwing themselves at me. Do whatever you can to try to improve your credit score, and things should go much smoother.

2.  Loan Approval and Mortgage Payments

Before you even start looking at houses, get a pre-approval. This will give you a guideline to follow when you start out. It also helps to give you an idea of what your mortgage payments will be like, so you don’t get in over your head. Also, be aware of the different types of loans. If you are a low-income individual there are FHA loans available to help you. They have lower interest rates, but also higher standards when it comes to home inspections, etc.

3.  Realtor

One of the most important parts of your search is to find a realtor that you love. You are going to be having almost constant contact with this person, so you need to make sure that you’re comfortable with them. The more comfortable you are with your realtor, the better they will be at finding your perfect home. When I first started out, I didn’t have a realtor, so Quicken Loans set me up with a local realtor (a husband and wife team) that was affiliated with their company. It’s sad for me to say, but we just didn’t have the right chemistry. I decided that it wasn’t working out, so my mom set me up with the realtor who sold our old home, who just happens to be a cousin of hers. The great thing about Kathy was that she knew our old house so well, and knew exactly what I was looking for, and what area I wanted to be in. She is one of the nicest, and most fun people to work with, and I have nothing but good things to say about her. I highly recommend her if you’re looking to buy or sell a home in the Youngstown area. Her name is Kathy Carroll and she works for Northwood Realty. You can find her contact info here.

4. Utilities

VERY IMPORTANT! If you find a home that you LOVE, call around and get estimates on your utilities. It will save you time in the end to find out that you can afford the house, but you can’t afford to heat it. Or bathe.

5.  Amenities

One of the downsides to my perfect home was the fact that the previous owners had striped every appliance out of the place when they left. (They were foreclosed on, and apparently sought vengeance by taking everything they could, including light fixtures and window screens. Way to stick it to the man!) If you end up in this situation, make sure to price your appliances before you go through with the sale. Prices add up, and that could make the difference whether you can afford the house or not. (I recommend Sears. Their Kenmore brand is great quality, and reasonably priced.)

6. Repairs

When you view a home, take a notepad with you and jot down any noticeable repairs that you may have to do in the future. I bought my house using an FHA loan, and they have more strict policies on home repairs and safety. For instance, when my bid was accepted on my house, an FHA inspector came to look at it and determined that I needed to paint the garage, which was cracked and peeling, and add a railing to the back deck. If I hadn’t done these things, they wouldn’t have let my loan go through.  There are some homes that the repairs greatly outweigh the cost of the home, and should be taken into consideration. Not to mention the fact that your lender will require all the purchasing information for anything that you do to the home, as well as the fact that if it’s still not up to their standards, you can be out a lot of money for a house that you aren’t going to be living in. Be careful what you get yourself into. 

7. Lenders and You, wave goodbye to your privacy!

Be prepared for the onslaught of daily phone calls from your lender. Also, have your finances in order. While going through the loan process, I had to send W2’s, bank statements, paystubs, etc. to the office what seemed like every day. I’m surprised they didn’t ask for my first-born child. The endless calls questioning every single dollar in my possession, and where they came from was astonishing, and almost maddening. I had multiple conversations with my friend who was going through this at the same time about how we broke down crying after getting off the phone with these people.

8.  Neighborhood

Almost any website that you go to about buying a house for the first time will tell you to scout out the neighborhood of any home that you are going to seriously pursue. They all tell you to go at different times during the day to get a feel for things. What they don’t tell you is to stick around for a few hours, especially when you have neighbors in very close proximity. For instance, since I didn’t move into my house until last October, I only recently found out that my next door neighbor likes to cut his grass 3x a week. At exactly the same time my son takes a nap. Would this have been a reason for me to not go through with buying my house? Absolutely not. I actually got really lucky with my neighbors. Most of the people on my street are either elderly, or very quiet, and all of them I have met so far are very nice. I even live across the street from a high school classmate of mine, and her mother who used to be my manager at a previous job (which comes in handy when I lock myself out of the house!) So stick around for a while, meet the neighbors and see if they’ll be a good fit for you.

9. Sometimes you just have to walk away

My last piece of home buying wisdom is this; never fall so in love with a house that you set yourself up for disappointment. Also don’t make up your mind as to what exact kind of house you want. You have to always think that there is a good possibility that you won’t end up with the one you want, or the home that you end up with may be completely different from what you were originally looking for. I’ve had experiences with both while I was with my first realtors, which was a big reason why I made the decision to switch. The first home I ever bid on was about $10k more than I was approved for. The home wasn’t even on the market at the time, but the realtor I was with knew the person who was renovating it. I loved the house, it was exactly what I wanted, and I bid as much as I was able. My realtor assured me that there was no way the seller would turn down my offer. He couldn’t have been more wrong. The seller turned down my bid, and informed us that there was no way he was taking less than full asking price.  Needless to say, I was crushed. Moving on from that, I found another home a little further away from the primary neighborhood I was looking in. The house was exactly what I wanted, a beautiful 2 story Tudor being sold because the elderly woman who lived there moved to a nursing home. It was in a decent, but somewhat declining neighborhood where my son would have had to go to inner-city schools when the time came. A big thing to think about is resale value of the home you’re buying. Had I bought this property, the neighborhood might have been nice enough for us at the time, but by the time I’d ever be ready to sell, the value would have been pretty terrible. In the end, I found a cute little Cape Cod that was newly remodeled and will make a perfect first home for me and my baby.

Satellite image of my new home

Satellite image of my new home

Buying your first home is the most rewarding experience you can have, although it’s probably also the most stressful. Just keep some of these things in mind when you go into it and you should have smooth sailing.

 To do this at such a young age, I can’t thank my parents, family, friends and co-workers enough for everything they did to help me.  I truly am very lucky.

Button? Button? Who’s got the Button? Not me.

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Some people are afraid of needles, some are afraid of spiders. I have an irrational fear of buttons.

From childhood on, I have had a strong problem with buttons. Recently I started looking into it and I was surprised at what I found.

Koumpounophobia, or the fear of buttons, as described by phobias.about.com is “surprisingly common. Yet like any phobia, the specific fear may vary dramatically between sufferers. Some people are afraid of the texture of certain buttons. Others feel that buttons are somehow dirty. Some only fear touching or wearing buttons, while others are scared of viewing buttons worn by strangers or friends.”

There is even a type of the phobia where people are afraid of ingesting them, or having them stuck up their noses, etc. This fear can even be brought on by witnessing a traumatic experience that happens to someone else, such as choking on a button, or swallowing one.

I can honestly say that my fear did not come from some traumatic childhood experience, or anything of the like. As far back as I can remember buttons have simply made me cringe. I do not like to touch them, or have them touching me. Although, seeing them or viewing them on other people does not bother me. Also, to me, buttons have an indentifying smell that is extremely unpleasant.

The severity of my fear depends on the type of button in question. My main phobia consists of your typical four holed button that exist on clothing like menswear shirts, polos, sweaters, etc. Whereas metal buttons that are typically found on jeans, or snap buttons, do not bother me in the slightest.

Want to send me running for the hills? A jar, or bag full of mismatched buttons will do it. The thought alone of having to run my hands over a pile of buttons gives me nightmares.

My problem with this sewing staple has been so constant in my life, that anytime I buy any article of clothing that has unneeded buttons on them, I cut them off as soon as possible. Oh, and those little packets they stitch inside your clothes in case you lose one? In the trash immediately.

I sometimes thank the powers that be that I was born female, therefore not needing to deal with these as often as men would have to. My major concern as of late has been my son. Quinn is 2 this year, and my thoughts often dwell on the fact that as he gets older, I am going to have to conquer my fear of these damned things. Heaven help me if my child ever gets one stuck in his nose, or accidentally eats one.

Being a single mother is challenging, but it also a very rewarding experience. I have to overcome a lot on a daily basis just to keep life constant and joyful for my number one little guy. I get a lot of help from my parents and his father when he’s able, but I can’t always rely on someone else to be there when I have to get him dressed for any kind of dressy outing or the like. I foresee a lot of rubber gloves in my future.

While I was researching my phobia I came across a startling fact. Steve Jobs, the man himself, had Koumpounophobia. Part of the driving ambition to create the iPhone, iPad, etc. was Jobs’ fear of buttons and traditional style phones. “If Steve Jobs had not been afraid of buttons, would cell phones and tablets as we now know them exist today?” –  , former About.com Guide

It will surprise no one to learn that my phone is in fact, an iPhone.

Throughout my life, this fear of mine has been mostly a joke to my immediate family, friends, and even coworkers. Many times in the past I have been chastised by my parents for not being able to wear them and it’s even been the butt of a few jokes. Just this evening while I was looking at articles online, a couple of my coworkers were devising ways that they could hide buttons on my chair, or on my locker to paralyze me with fear. The joke is on them though, because payback is a bitch.

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See articles on Steve Jobs here:

CBS News – Apple’s Steve Jobs Hates Buttons

http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-501203_162-3095726.html

The Wall Street Journal – Hide the Button: Steve Jobs Has His Finger on It

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB118532502435077009.html

Anatomy of a Fangirl

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“Space… The final frontier..
These are the voyages of the Starship Enterprise.
Its continuing mission: To explore strange new worlds…To seek out new life; new civilizations…
To boldly go where no one has gone before.”

When Star Trek: The Next Generation premiered on September 28th,  1987 and Patrick Stewart first uttered those words as Jean Luc Picard, I was 3 weeks old. The show has been in my life since before I could walk or talk, so it’s no surprise that I spent the next 25 years of my life latching on to any fandom that struck my fancy.

While most little girls spend their time playing with Barbie dolls and dresses, I was watching Power Rangers and crushing on Wil Wheaton. I didn’t know it then, but this would be the start of a future of decisions outside the norm.

Now a days it is much easier to be a self proclaimed “nerd” or “geek” but when I was growing up you didn’t talk about these things. In the community I grew up in, during the 90’s and early 2000’s conformity was the “in” thing. Everyone wanted to keep up with the Jones’ and if you weren’t one of the elite (aka popular crowd) then you practically didn’t matter. Even though I seemingly blended into the background and went unnoticed for basically all of my adolescent life, it was for these reasons that I chose to keep my true passions a secret.

When I was 9 years old my cousin and I fell in love with a TV show you may have heard of. Buffy the Vampire Slayer captivated our young imaginations and gave us a heroine that we could idolize. Every time we had a family gathering we would huddle in her Aunt’s room and watch Buffy marathons. I’m going to assume that this is where my love of all things occult comes from.

That same year I can distinctly remember being in fourth grade and loving the Animorph book series. There were one or two of my classmates who liked them as well and we would talk to each other about them and pretend to be the characters. Looking back, I can also recall us being the outcasts in our classroom.

Since then, pop culture has rearranged itself. Everything present day seems to scream “Embrace the geek!” With Super Hero movies as far as the eye can see and even a sitcom about the nerdy Trek-loving Physicists of our generation, its as if the powers at be finally realized that a slightly awkward boy or girl who loves to cosplay and can tell you the name of Lt. Commander Data’s cat (its Spot by the way) can bring in many more dollars in retail than your typical jock or cheerleader.

That brings me to my conclusion, which inevitably ends up at Doctor Who. Some may say that because I am a late in life Whovian, (I didn’t stumble upon it until I was in my 20s) that I do not understand or respect the iconic BBC tale of a timelord and his companions. These people completely underestimate me in the worst possible way. I discovered Doctor Who while pregnant with my son in 2010 and it has been a love affair ever since. I may have not seen every episode, but I know the history. I know each Doctor through and through. Some days, I’d even pick Peter Davison’s 5th Doctor over all the others. But this, is just the latest in a long line of fandoms for me.

I felt that with the premier of Star Trek Into Darkness this past weekend (two enthusiastic thumbs up from this girl) that it would be poignant to start my first official blog post off with a bang. I really wanted to show you a big part of what I’m about from the start, and this was the best way to do that.

Now I’m going to leave you with a list of all the fandoms I have enjoyed over the years. I am still in love with all of these as much as I was the first time I discovered them, so if you ever feel like striking up a conversation with me, one of these would be the way to do it.

  • Star Trek (all series, mostly TOS, TNG, Enterprise and the JJ Abrams movies)
  • Star Wars
  • Power Rangers
  • Harry Potter
  • Lord of the Rings
  • Doctor Who
  • Sherlock
  • Being Human
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer
  • Batman
  • The Green Arrow
  • The Green Lantern
  • Thor
  • IronMan
  • Captain America
  •  The Mortal Instruments (Shadowhunter Chronicles)
  • The Eternity Series
  • Lost Girl
  • Firefly
  • Farscape
  • Red Dwarf
  • Battlestar Galactica
  • The Walking Dead
  • Game of Thrones (the book series & television show)
  • True Blood

And probably many others that I can’t think of at the current moment.

Thanks for reading.

Peace and Long life, and also…Darmok and Jalad at Tanagra.