Thursday, August 5, 2010

Party of Five

Wow just the title takes my breath away just a bit. It is slowly sinking in that we will soon be a family of five but wow still a bit shocking. Sure I have had my freak out moments such as OMG we have to get a ginormous car, we better travel as much as we can until these babies are 2 because then WHOA, and probably the funniest ones have been just trying to imagine daily life with two babies and a toddler. I mean can I just grow octopus arms right now because apparently I am going to need them! Um how in the world do you take two infants and a toddler to the grocery story? Do I rent one of those flatbed carts like they have at Costco and just strap everyone down? Ugh the thought just makes my head spin!

However we are SUPER excited. It is going to be an adventure nonetheless. We have already begun the process of lining up help! At this time I would like to make a Public Service Announcement that if you could recommend a night nanny that would be awesome. Email me, phone me, send a telegram....we are on the hunt and taking names! I feels as if the key to survival in the first few months will be help. I already have someone five days a week during the day lined up now the nights are my main concern. And stop for one second before you judge (believe me I have already had more than a few comments) but hey my husband is here um maybe one or two nights a week and I will have TWO newborns....a night nanny is simply a no brainer for the first few months. No need to hear about husbands wonderful night sleep in a hotel each night while I am looking like a character out of the Thriller music video! NO NEED!

Let's move onto something fun like the fact that my clothes are already getting tight. Um that's awesome the babies weigh mere ounces and somehow my stomach looks like Jaba the Hut! If you did not see me pregnant the first time are in store for a treat this time. Double the fun, lets just not hope double the fatness! Ill just put it out there that I gained 50 lbs with my son...should we take bets on the weight gain this time? My boss seems to be aiming at a rounded 100- hmmmm I might die of fatness!

So the clothes are getting a little snug and the babes are doing well. I went to the doctor yesterday and had a little Skype convo with them. They were good. Baby A was chillin for the most part while Baby B was showing off his (reference I call both babies him just because that is what I am use to) dance moves. I guess A got jealous because he quickly joined the party. Great technology that I can chat with the kids this early. Their friend the big red annoying blob was still being a groupie and trying to hang out with them but it looked like blob did not get any bigger and so far has stayed at bay (you girls know what I mean!). Still on the modified bed rest- Ill be honest its boring and I want nothing more than to run around with the two year old but it will all be worth it! Family and nanny are a true god send right now!

So here are a few funny tidbits that I have learned in my short few weeks about carrying twins:

-You have to double everything...including those dreaded prenatal vitamins......ickkkkk. They make me so sick at the most random times and I don't like them one little bit. They are the size of a caterpillar, why must I ingest two everyday!

-You get to Skype with the babies every time you go to the Dr. I have already done it 6 times! its awesome! And every other week I get to go to the Steve Jobs high tech version of Skype and see the twinks on a huge screen. Super cool!

-I heard a reference that twins in your uterus is like a clown car. I am going to adopt that saying as I totally agree. I love every time when my Dr. says, "Wow, your uterus is big", um could it be due to the fact that I have TWO babies in there....hmmmm.

-Someone told me that twins are only given to those that can handle it. Ohhhh geez well lets check back in about 7 months and see how that is going. Those who know how well I slid into the motherhood role can only just laugh right now. I forever feel as if my new look will be Monica from Friends on her Jamaican getaway with the hair that was stinking out five feet on all sides. However it will not be the humidity that will cause my crazy look! Good times!

So there you have it, a few observations and musings over the past week. Get excited about me updating this more often. I want to remember this crazy journey as well as....well I am sitting around all the time and I tell you I do have to take a break from online shopping and every now and then!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Shock of a Lifetime

Wow- the past 24 hours have been a whirlwind to say the least. I think I am still in some sort of state of shock but I am slowly emerging. Some major details have been ironed out and my feet are once again touching the ground.

What is this earth shattering news you ask? Well I am pregnant as shocking as that is in itself, we found out yesterday that I am pregnant with not one bundle of joy but TWO. That's right folks, TWINS! Okay pick your jaw off of the floor, right now, its not funny and I am not kidding! This is for real, no hidden cameras, no funny reality show prank, nope two little ones due in Feb!

So for posterity sakes lets recap a little of how this all went down. A little behind the scenes action (don't worry we will skip over the bedroom part)! I am sure all of my loyal readers remember this post so the fact that I am even pregnant means I have come a long way. I have. I have realized that nothing is for forever, things pass and everything that I am afraid of is not permanent. I control my feelings and if I don't want to be stuck at home and resentful I hold the power to change that, and by gosh I will do just that........even with three kids!

Okay so back to the good stuff. Michael Buble (the nickname for the huz) and I decided to start "trying" this summer, well besides the fact that Michael is the finest man alive, he actually has "super sperm" as I like to call it! It only took the first month- bam pregnant. I kept it a secret for a few days from Michael because I wanted to tell him on Father's Day. That morning the three footer and I bought a honey bun and wrote on a card, "Here is a honey bun from your new bun in the oven." On second thought I should have put two honey buns on there! He was ecstatic and so surprised! Great memory! I was a little over four weeks at the time, still very early. We decided we would not tell anyone (family and friends included) until 12 weeks.

Fast forward two weeks to July 4th. We had just gone to the neighborhood parade and got back to find what every pregnant person fears. So called the dr and she said hold tight until Monday. I went to the dr that following Monday and everything was good, one baby one heartbeat, unexplained bleeding. I was put on modified bed rest and told just take it easy.

Two weeks later I was soooooooo excited for my huz's concert. I had literally waited since Feb when I bought the tickets for it. As I got up to go shower, I found what looked to be a slaughtered pig, it wasn't. I was crushed, I feared the worst. Needless to say I missed the concert and returned to the Dr. the next day to find the same thing, one baby one heartbeat and a hematoma that was causing the bleeding. Okay nothing super serious, keep on the modified bed rest just wait. Let's add that modified bed rest is hard when your husband travels each week, I'm just sayin!

So we finally come to yesterday, back to the dr. Still having on and off bleeding and I just want to make sure everything is okay! The dr again finds one baby, one heartbeat and the hematoma. Only this time she thinks that maybe the hematoma is an empty sac. Maybe it was twins but only one fully developed. Okay I can handle that. So she proceeds to keep looking around and finds yet another sac. This time though I knew there was a baby in there. I immediately said- another one??? She said yes I think its twins or triplets! WHAT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I might have had a heart attack right there and maybe just maybe I told the dr to stop moving the ultrasound around I mean how many more where there!

She sent us up the the high risk dr and he confirmed just twins (just....ha!). The third "sac" is the hematoma so I still have to take it easy!

I mean what a day, what a whirlwind, what a ride this is going to be!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Stay tuned!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

My Man

I should be packing but as shocking as it is, I am procrastinating! Hmmm, oh well it will get done eventually. This morning I just wanted to take a few minutes out to talk about my man. He doesn't get enough publicity as he should and I wanted to remember the emotions that we have felt right now and honestly for the past few months!

My man got a very big job promotion yesterday. I just wanted to brag on him and give him the props he deserves. He has made it to this position in 6 short years which is unprecedented. I wish I had the right words to say how proud of him I am and to convey how far he has come. I think the realization is setting in today that I no longer hold the title of big dog around here! ha! Don't worry I am not about to complete lose it and start cooking and cleaning- nah, that would be going way to far. ha!

Ole Boy (my name for the huz)- we are so proud of you and get ready for one crazy celebration- limo style! The champagne is ready (yellow label of course! :)

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Here Without You

Last night driving home I heard the 3 Doors Down song, Here Without You, and I just started to cry. I am not sure I know what the true meaning of the song is but they way I interpreted it last night was that the guy was missing his loved one and she was no longer with him. This struck such a cord with me.

This week more than ever I have been aware of how precious life is. A dear college friend lost her brave husband to a fire last Saturday night while he was trying to save to residents from the burning house. It is heartbreaking. There has not been an hour in the day this week that I have not thought of her. She is such a kind great friend, it is just not fair. She has a three year old and a newborn. A three year old whose whole world is about his daddy. A three year that I hope and pray remembers the special bond he had with his daddy and a precious newborn that will have her prince charming to look at in pictures of him holding her as a baby. It is not fair.

I never had the pleasure to meet my friend's husband but through Facebook and pictures, I feel like I knew him. He is a true American hero. My heart is hurting for my friend. We share a birthday so we always have memories from birthdays out and many many sorority memories. It is just not fair. I wish I could take away her pain, I wish I could hug her and make it all better. It is definitely times like this that I am in awe of modern technology that brings everyone together. Our pledge class has all come together and a memorial page to her husband has 5600 fans. God must have needed a firefighter in heaven.

The circle of life is truly amazing and as a child I feel like you are protected from it, it truly was not until I had my son that I realized how precious life is. He has taught my heart a new way to love. I lost my grandfather two months ago and the pain still stings. He was 96, he lived a wonderful life but that does not make it any easier. Yesterday I saw first hand how hard losing a husband of 60 years like my grandmother did can really be.

We close on our houses tomorrow. Selling the current one at 8:00 and buying a new one at 8:30. As we did our final walkthrough of our new house yesterday the sweet lady who was selling it to us was packing up with her adult daughter. The daughter stopped to talk to my husband and was commenting on how hard this move was for her mother. She and her husband bought this house together many many years ago. This was their weekend house, their house to come visit the grandkids, their getaway house that contained many memories. Her husband passed away a year ago. They bought it together and now she was selling it by herself.

Wow, here are my husband and I buying this home that we are so excited about, excited to create new memories, that our son will have many great years in a great school district and it hit me, the circle of life. The lady selling it to us had to same hopes and dreams that we do and she achieved those memories and then some in this home but now it is perhaps not the ending she pictured. Buying a home together, you do not expect to sell it and all of the memories it holds alone.

I am forever changed by this realization. I know it is cliche but life is precious and life is short. Life is not fair and I know this but gosh, my heart is just breaking. I pray that my friend can enjoy all the memories of her husband and take comfort that he lost his life being a hero, saving a life. A true hero.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

A Good Laugh

Welcome to what is turning out to be my weekly Thursday morning post. I like to pretend I write for a flashy sophisticated newspaper that headlines my weekly column on the front page. Maybe a little Sex in the City dreaming. Just imagine I am sitting at the bay window of my fabulous NYC penthouse apartment sipping freshly made Brazilian coffee (hence the caffeine high) typing the most riveting column that you have anxiously been waiting for all week long. I like to think that is how it is happening!

So last night I had some really good laughs. The laughs that feel like medicine for your soul. For some reason this week I have been really homesick. Weird because I am not out of town or even out of my normal routine but I have been longing to be home with the little guy. I am chalking it up to a slow/boring week on the work front and therefore being at home would be time better spent. I also attribute it to the slow down of house excitement (please reference the previous post) in that the bidding game really is fun and now that the deals are negotiated all is quiet for a few weeks!

But anyway back to the good laugh! I had dinner with two good friends and their children last night and honestly I felt like a new person on my drive home. Those of you who know my fabulous life know that I drive. I drive A LOT. That issue is soon to be resolved but the driving does afford me a lot of thinking time. On the way home I thought about how much better I felt. These girls are genuine, honest and have similar thoughts and beliefs that I do. I tend to think I am crazy most of the time and they reassured me that they have similar thoughts! Not that they are crazy also, just think the same way sometimes! ha! Very comforting I must say.

It is nice to know that other people occasionally feel socially awkward or laugh internally during conversations the same way I do. Laughter really is great medicine. Being the inappropriate laughter in the group sometimes is hard and it was so fun to hear other stories and understanding that whew, I am not alone! ha!

One topic that we all had a good laugh about was pet peeves. Not just your average finger nails on the chalkboard pet peeves but your abnormal ones that make your skin crawl. Okay so I will share mine. It irritates the living ..... out of me when people drive across empty parking lots. Just go up and down the aisles, don't cheat and drive across four rows. I literally want to ram my car (figuratively of course) into cars that do that. Just follow the rules! One of the other girls go bananas when people do not obey four way stop traffic rules. Watch out, she just might be carrying a dart gun the next time you are at a four way stop!

Pet peeves are a funny thing if you start to think about it, I mean where do they originate. Did we all have a bad experience that created the pet peeve. Funny. Words tie into my pet peeves. One of my friends posted a word pet peeve on facebook and what ensued could only be described as some sort of word therapy sessions. People were posting word pet peeves right and left. I have never laughed so hard. My own personal word pet peeves are belly (ekk!), gal, womb and supper. Yuck all of them make my skin crawl. A few others that were thrown out on facebook were lunch (makes me laugh every time), panties, deli meat and kids. When someone says a word that I despise, all conversation is lost. My brain starts thinking yuck I don't like that word, thoughts drift to why someone would use that word and social awkwardness ensues as I am totally lost in the conversation. Yep my brain is a funny little working machine!

A good laugh even if internal is sometimes just what you need!!! Just take a moment in your day to think about it and I guarantee you will have a little chuckle!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Best of Intentions

I always have the best of intentions to keep this blog updated. Partially for the thousand and thousand of readers that I am sure that I have. Even though the stat counter only says about 20 I am envisioning that people gather around a few 20 computers and read in large groups. Maybe it is read to large groups and people are just drooling with excitement. Maybe I am delusional. Maybe.

Honestly I want to keep this blog updated mostly for selfish purposes. One, to work on my writing. To try different styles, to write when I am in different moods, settings, etc. I have found most of my writing is best when I am overly caffeinated. Hmmm I wonder what that says about me. Anyway, I am going to make a concerted effort to keep this blog updated. The problem is that I only like to read blogs when they are interesting. Mostly funny or informative and therefore when I do not feel like I have interesting content then I do not feel like updated the blog because who likes to read boring content- not me. I am thinking that is a good way to lose a few thousand of my readers.

So let's see what is on my mind today.....stress. It is a funny stress and mostly self induced. You see my husband and I are addicted to the real estate game. We love the chase, we love the game and let's be honest, we love the money making ability. We have been lucky (maybe even a little smart) and have succeeded in our five short years of playing the game. And goodness our realtor certainly loves us. I would say that is where we could be a little smarter because I am pretty sure we have provided our realtor with a steady income for the past few years. But I do believe in order to succeed you need to surround yourself with people smarter than you and she is GREAT at her job therefore it is money well spent.

Well this time we have embarked on a daunting challenge for ourselves. The selling part is taken care of and actually was pretty painless. I won't lie, I was stressed during that period but we have the selling part down pat and are lucky enough to have made a good decision, lot wise and house wise that ended up paying off. Now onto the buying part. This is where the stress comes in! The area we are wanting to buy in is a little above our comfort level and therefore we are trying to really wheel and deal. Our first effort was not the deal we were wanting however I "think" our second deal is going to make it. Fingers crossed. It is a deal unlike any other deal and we are super excited/hopeful!

So who are the players in this game and what role to they play. I love behind the scenes stuff. I think that is why in the accounting world I was drawn to audit. Not because I loved to tie-out hundreds of financials or use tickmarks or even create a lead sheet. No, my favorite part was understanding how the company worked, taking the plant tours and realizing the in depth complexities of what seemed to be a simple company. So if you are like me, when a deal happens, I like to understand how it happened. For instance am I the only one that finds the sell/purchase of the Texas Rangers fascinating. Fascinating because Tom Hicks is completely running one company into the ground yet his real estate company is going to come out on top from the sale. Total nerd I know but at least I am honest!

So anyway, back to our game, in the real estate game we play we do have a few key players. I would say that my husband and I compliment each other nicely. I am the stress ball, number cruncher, glass half empty player and he is the realistic, calm, sometimes number cruncher level headed one. Bless him! We look to several people for advice mainly my parents and my boss. My parents both give excellent advice and differing opinions. My dad is a tax expert and will always run through the financial and tax ramifications with me and my mom grew up with a real estate minded father so she will preach the usual....location location location. "You always buy the smallest house in the neighborhood on the largest lot." Let me tell you- she is right. Works every time!

My boss is a trusted adviser for me. I know most of his financial information (mainly because I handle it) and he is a good businessman. He is a straight shooter and I always appreciate his opinion. My husband knows him as we all work in the same business so it is always nice to bounce things off of him.

Through the escapades I have found that you really do marry your best friend. This game we play would not work for most couples. Husband and I love to move we get bored after being in one spot for too long and we make a good partnership. We compliment each other in this game. It is funny we do not always make the best decisions and goodness we have definitely learned many life lessons along the way but I do feel that through all this we have become closer. Buying and selling real estate is in a way our own form of marriage counseling. It allows us to do something as a team while understanding each other's strengths and weaknesses.

I do look forward to completely our next deal and I think we will probably make this one our final one (for awhile!).

I must add that my sisters have recently gotten into the game, both completely their first deals this year. Let's see if they get as addicted as we are!!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Effects of the Economy

We hear it all over the place, the economy, the economy, health care, the economy....yea yea yea. I know it is affecting hundreds, no make that millions of people but honestly it is hard to conceptualize unless it directly hits you. Sure you try to cut back, make a few less Starbucks runs, maybe stop by Wal-Mart instead of Whole Foods, maybe make last year's clothes fit a little longer. Unemployment is hitting millions and I do see that first hand as I work in the highly sought after business of medical sales and watch as eager little beavers come in daily to interview for our ever expanding business. My husband who is in the same business receives resumes in his inbox on a weekly business. It is tough out there but do we really truly understand the effects.

For me, I do somewhat understand the economic impact in a business and financial sense but no one, not even me, cares to talk about that. I mean really do you think my friends would enjoy chatting about how the economy is affecting the financial markets or the lending industry....doubtful, highly doubtful. I mean I am bored just writing about it, but I must admit, my nerdy mind does think about it! ha! So anyway, a much more interesting take on the economy and a first hand view of the changes it is causing is from business bankruptcy.

So let's put it this way, your favorite store closes. Ahhhhh I hate when this happens. I shop there all the time, why is it closing. I mean I spend hundreds there a year and I always see other people shopping in there and I know all my friends love it so how can they be suffering. I think I could personally support it through my insane addiction to it. Well it is is oh so much more complicated than this. I am going to attempt to explain it in simplistic terms!

The latest victim ladies.....hold you breath........Swoozie's. Yes my dear friends, Swoozie's is closing all of their doors. Can we all make a mental note to jot this down in whatever form of planners we use so that we can alert each other as soon as the clearance and liquidation sales begin! I just might buy all of those little cookie jar things, maybe I will give them as gifts, maybe I will eat them all myself, I am just saying. I think the husband is more sad than me that they are closing because it is for sure his go-to place for gifts for me. It is so easy, just buy pretty much anything in there for me and I am happy. My friends know, I buy every single birthday, baby shower, wedding shower, gift in there. Love it, oh the sadness is setting in. Ahhhh.

Okay so why are they closing, why do stores that are seemingly doing well from an outsiders view close? Well there are many explanations. In Swoozie's case it was over expansion and then the inability to off-set those increased costs with increased sales. Liabilities were greater than assets coupled with net loss and pair that with the inability for increased borrowing and not finding a suitable buyer to buy the company all points to bankruptcy and closing. Now bankruptcy does not always signal an end for a company. There are two types of bankruptcy- Chapter 7 and Chapter 11. Today I would like to chat about Chapter 11.

Chapter 11 bankruptcy generally provides the company the ability to reorganize. The company intends to stay in business while allowing the bankruptcy court to supervise the company's debt and contractual obligations. The court has the ability to cancel all or some of the company's debt and therefore allowing the company to remain in business. Think of it as a pause button that the companies can push to catch their breath, re-group before they jump back into the race. It is equivalent to walking through a water station during a marathon. It is a long race, sometimes you need to slow down and get caught up. Sometimes it works and the companies allow some fresh faces, new management strategies, new lenders to help them out. Sometimes it doesn't work. There may not be anyway to restructure they debt, a bank or lender may not be willing wot work with the court or take on a new agreement. Okay have I lost you? Are you bored?

Here are some Chapter 11 companies that might impact your daily life......Mrs. Fields Cookies (I mean who does not love a gooey yummy cookie), they filed for Chapter 11 in August 2008, emerged October 2008 and now are opening new stores, ready to go. So what did they do...they cleaned up their balance sheet. What is a balance sheet, well it is where your assets and liabilities and equity are located. It is simple if liabilities are greater than assets....well you are in trouble. So they eliminated both short term and long term debt and established a new credit facility that enabled them to emerge a stronger, more sound company. They are now thriving as they open new stores, expanding their brand and marketing.

Circuit City was not as lucky as Mrs. Fields. They were not able to find banks and/or lenders who were willing to take a chance on them. Best Buy, Costco, various other electronic stores posed to much competition. They were a sinking ship that was not able to be saved. Harold's was in the same boat. I loved Harold's, what college age girl in the south did not shop there, especially for rush and sorority related activities. It was annual event at my house, as the mother of three girls, my mom would take us to Harold's to load up for the spring and fall semesters. It was a sad sad sad day they day Harold's closed their doors.

So what happened, Harold's filed for Chapter 11 in July 2009. At the time of the filing the companies liabilities exceeded its assets by $19 million. How could that be, I swear we single handily supported the various Texas stores we shopped at. I mean their clothes were by no means cheap. Well it all goes back to poor financial management. Sure they had great sales but their expenses began to out weigh their sales, competition set in and Harold's did not necessarily keep up with the new trends, all recipes for disaster. In my years at PwC I quickly realized how quickly management could force a company into financial distress, despite of the popularity of the merchandise, services provided, etc.... It is sad really. Sad for the consumers who did their part in supporting the store and upper management just made poor decisions.

To tie it all back together that is what happened with Swoozie's. Over eager expansion just caused them to drown. They were over eager beavers, taking over 13 Blue Tulip stores in the Northeast in early 2009. The economic downturn coupled with the failure to obtain additional capital caused the cookies to crumble. Oh how I love those little chocolate chip cookies in the cute jars. I admit, chessy metaphor but I had to do it, way to easy!

On March 2, 2010, Swoozie's filed for relief under Chapter 11. This did not come as a complete shock to me, I was assuming something was up because as the frequent shopper that I am, I started to notice "wind down" activities. For instance they have been out of bags and "Swoozie" wrapping materials for several months and will not provide a date when they should expect to receive more. They also are not taking anymore special orders. Hmmm I knew something was up! They estimate that their liabilities exceed their assets by $9 to $40 millions (all courtesy of bankruptcy filing information). Very vague if you ask me. The end is near my friends. Their inventory is extremely low and the knight in shining armour does not look like he is about to ride up on his white horse! Sale information should be coming any day now!!!

The big bad stationary and cutsie item companies after them. Their top 40 creditors include, Mud Pie, Heart Strings, Crane, William Arthur and Melissa and Doug. Most of this debt is unsecured, meaning these companies will be lucky to receive their money but their are a few landlords in the deal who are sure to stake their claim as well.

The lesson learned in all of this, as much as you love a store and are loyal to them, sometimes their management and business plan can ruin it all for you. I am on the look out for a replacement store now that my love is closing. Let me know if you find one. In the meantime, as you peruse the malls and shopping centers and see empty store fronts, in the back of your mind maybe this little lesson will pop up.