Sunday, October 06, 2013

www dot weight watchers dot wheeee!

Chicago Camp '61

You might remember that I lost weight five years ago. And I gained most of it back. I gained it so slowly that I barely noticed. Unless I was bare - then it was obvious. 

Since April I have lost over 20 pounds. I'm even lighter than I was five years ago, mostly in thanks to the women pictured above.

Weight Watchers is a great program - as it turns out healthy eating, portion control, and increased activity are the key to losing weight! Who knew? 

Actually I did know, but I needed to be held accountable.

But the thought of attending another meeting makes my head explode. I have seven standing meetings each week, and several other monthly meetings - board meetings, church meetings, neighborhood meetings, committee meetings - you get the picture. 

One day I dipped my chubby toes into the Weight Watchers online community and stumbled across a wonderful group of women all born in the same year. And what a diverse group we are: nannies, nurses, FBI personnel, college administrators, teachers, payroll specialists, homemakers, cable industry execs, and all sorts of fun and inspiring women. I made instant friends!

It is fascinating, but we don't talk about food or our weight as much as you think we would. Since we all have a common point of reference - being 52 - we talk about everything under the sun. 

Several of us got together over the weekend. People flew in from all over the country and spent the weekend together in Chicago. I was lucky enough to drive up on Sunday to soak in their goodness. 

It was great to meet so many of them in person - and I think we're all just fabulous!

Saturday, October 05, 2013

weddings and raindrops

Celebrating with the father of the bride - Cousin Jeff

Dad and I headed to Cass County (where he grew up) to attend the wedding of his great-niece Courtney. The ceremony and reception were held in the middle of a beautiful field on Cousin Jeff's property. 

The weather did not cooperate. At all. Buckets of rain fell hard and quick. 

That didn't stop the celebrating- and the Spitznogle's know how to party, no matter what the weather.

The guests were all instructed to wear boots, even before they knew the forecast. I was glad there was straw readily available to sprinkle on the puddles.

I cleverly also brought my rain boots with me. I not so cleverly left them in the bed of the truck. They turned into a giant rain gauge before I could retrieve them.

Friday, October 04, 2013

i like everybody...

....I really do.

I bought this fabulous pin in Colorado earlier this summer. Luckily I saw it about two seconds before my sister Ann. Otherwise it would be on her jacket, not mine.

A couple of weeks ago I left the jacket (purchased at a thrift store on the same trip) at a venue after a concert. Someone picked it up and knew who it belong to, because as she said, "it must belong to Nora, she likes everybody."

True enough.

Thursday, October 03, 2013

happy feet

Like most people, I totally soak in the vibe of the folks around me and tonight I filled my positivity tank to the brim.

I got to spend the evening with one of the most positive and action-oriented and all-around cool folks that I am lucky enough to know - Robert Egger.  It was a lovely evening, spent with lovely folks in a lovely house - as you can tell, there was lots of lovely flying around!

Robert's brother, sister-in-law, and nephew live just a few blocks from me in this amazing home. It is  beautiful, cozy, and clearly home to a happy family.

Cheers to good vibes! 

Wednesday, October 02, 2013

no regrets

I come from a long line of ruminators. You’ve met the likes of us before. We’re the ‘if only’ people. If only I had said that /not said that/ turned left/turned right/stayed home/gone out/broken up with him/not broken up with him/had the perfect haircut/let my hair grow/worn that/not worn that/blah blah blah. I’m one of those woulda shoulda coulda kind of people.

I avoided one of those times last month. I learned just a few days before that Helen was putting her house (home of the Flower Man Jam) up for auction. I’d always pictured that someday I would live there.  Once the shock wore off I dismissed the idea thinking that there is no way that I could pull it all together to place a bid and I accepted it as fate, while mentally beating myself up for not having buckets of money in the bank.

Then I spent a few hours with Helen in her backyard that Sunday. I woke up Monday morning determined that I should figure out what my options were. I ran around my house like a nut and gathered up and scanned last year’s W2s and tax return, and my current pay stub.  I e-mailed them with a link to the auction and details to the mortgage officer at my bank.  I was in an off-site board retreat/planning session most of the day and didn’t realize that the e-mail to the loan officer had flipped back to me. I stopped at the bank on the way from the meeting to work and learned that the contact I had was long gone, someone had replaced him, that guy quit, and the “new” loan officer hadn’t started yet. I stopped at another branch of my bank and learned that the loan officer for that branch was on vacation. Again I decided that it must be fate and I mentally gave up on the idea (while wondering why the heck they didn’t forward bank e-mails to the new people).

Then I remembered that I had a mortgage broker from when I purchased my house. I shot her a quick e-mail and she responded immediately. In 36 hours she had me pre-approved for a mortgage, a heroic feat, really.

 It forced me to examine my current living situation and whether I wanted to let the double go to make the move to house Helen's. After crunching numbers I decided that untimely I wanted to keep the rental property. After almost six years I’ve got things manageable enough that renting out both sides would cover the cost of my mortgage loan, property taxes, and insurance – but not much cushion for emergency repairs or vacancies. Armed with the numbers, I decided that if push came to shove I wouldn’t sell the double in order to buy Helen’s house.

I was a Nervous Nelly, arriving two hours before the auction and was the first to register and get my bidding number. I let Helen know that I would be bidding and she gave me free rein to poke in the attic and cellar. The house is quirky and old – the ‘new’ part was added 123 years ago to an existing log cabin. It was really interesting to see the different foundations in the basement. Schaun was with me and he used his plumbing and electrical expertise to look at the mechanicals of the place. The plumbing is new, but the electrical “system” would need to be updated. The roof and decking looked great. I was smitten with the attic – as wide as the house with tall roofline and several windows. It almost doubled the size of the living space and I could picture myself with a chair tucked in the corner and the computer on my lap. I mentally upped my maximum bidding amount.

There was lots of ‘tire-kicking’ on the house and the auction company thought there would be some heavy bidding and I was hoping so for Helen’s sake. I was going in to the auction wanting the house, but hoping that Helen would get tons more money than I could afford.

As it turned out there were only two bidders, me and another guy. As I farm kid I am pretty comfortable with the auction process, but I’ve never been a participant in anything bigger than bidding on a potato fork or box of wrapping paper.

I took my seat on the lawn chair with the dozen or so folks – including Schaun and Dad – gathered in Helen’s back yard.

The auctioneer started out high and I was afraid to breathe. The auctioneer asked for an opening bid. The other bidder opened at $100,000, a mere $10,000 more than the in-in-head maximum.  Yikkes. I was pre-approved for more, so I bid $105,000. Gulp. He countered at $110,000. I bid $115,000. He bid $120,000. My dad was looking green in the lawn chair next to me. I went to $125,000. Dad was shaking his head vigorously back and forth. The other bidder offered $130,000. I started shaking my head no.

The auctioneer took Helen into the house for a conference and they came out and re-opened the bidding. I bid $1,000 more, he bid another $1,000, I upped it by $1,000, he upped it a thousand  to $134,000. I was out. Another in the house conference between Helen and the auctioneer and they came out and announced the house was sold to the other bidder.

I could have gone higher, but I would have had to sell the double and I wasn’t ready to do that yet. It was emotional and heart-breaking, but I gave it my best shot.

Dad, and Schaun, and I took Helen out to lunch and swapped stories and laughter.

I’m glad I tried, and you can bet that I’ll be first in line if the house ever comes up for sale again.

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

mum's is [not] the word

... at least for October. Remember when once upon a time, five years ago, when I posted all 31 days of October. I'm going to try that again.

I miss writing or at least thinking about writing daily and quite frankly need the distraction.

These beautiful mums belong to my dear mum - I need to get them to her, but I'm enjoying having them on my front porch. I'm sure a squirrel will be enjoying that pumpkin for a snack soon. Probably tonight.

See you tomorrow.