The Huge Epic Post-Christmas Weekly Update

by brandt

I didn’t think the holidays were going to be this busy.  I mean, it’s only Ashley, me, and our two dopey cats.  I figured that it would be one of the “lounging” Christmases that we’d had over the past couple of years.  I was wrong.

First, the cats have finally forgiven me.  I’ve been working from home this past week, and Ashley has had work off since Thursday (today was her first day back).  That means people are constantly coming and going, in and out of our apartment.  I’ve never seen them this tired at night.  Their cat napping has taken a big hiatus, and recently I’ve caught them finding some sort of sanctuary in their cat-carrier.  Poor cats.  Instead of getting their normal 16 hours of sleep per day, they’re down to about 12 hours of sleep.  I know, it breaks your heart.  The interesting thing about me working from home is how much they follow me.  We’ve got boxes upon boxes stacked up in the office in our apartment for that eventful day when my agent calls to tell us we finally have an accepted offer, and the cats love jumping up to the very top boxes and snoozing away while I’m crunching numbers.  Heaven forbid I actually shut the door.  I start seeing paws under the door, and the small “meows” grow larger and louder until it sounds like Jack Bauer is interrogating them in the hallway.  Nope.  They just want to come in and visit.

Christmas was great.  My family is loud, brash, obnoxious, and sarcastic.  The family’s game of choice when we get together is Phase 10, and while that usually gets pretty competitive, we might have found one to usurp it.  My sister asked if I would bring our “Catchphrase” game, and after a few rounds to give everyone a chance to understand it, we played it for about 3 hours straight.  I mean, we played it so much that we kept getting the same topics over and over again.  We might have to invest in a larger Catchphrase database for the next big get-together.  But before I get ahead of myself, here’s a few things I learned from this past Christmas:

Ashley said tablescaping is kind of a big deal, and apparently my mother did a very good job this year at the Christmas table.  While I wish I could appreciate it more, I guess that’s the man in me coming out.  Paper plates, plastic forks and red plastic Solo cups? Works for me.  But cloth napkins?  I feel like I shouldn’t be using it to wipe my mouth when I use it.  Napkin rings?  Are you worried about the napkin going somewhere that you need to contain it like that?  Again, I guess I chalk that up to being a man.  Maybe Ashley thinks differently.

The centerpiece was nice, and the 8-person table was just enough room for both of my parents, both of my uncles, myself, Ashley, and my younger brother.  I’m sure others can take in how good of a job my mother did on that table.  I was too interested in the food.  I can here you all from here, “Typical man.”  I know.

Ashley probably won’t be too pleased with this picture, especially considering it was taken with A.) A cell phone, B.) I didn’t follow the Rule of Thirds very well, and C.) The aperture, exposure, ISO, or some other fancy schamncy photographer term wasn’t correct.  I just take pictures of interesting things.  She gets all scientific about it.  Darn graphic designers.  Perfectionists, all of them.  Anyways, she got this recipe from Christmas Cooking Southern Style magazine.  We were killing some time at our local Meijer Grocery store when Ashley and I made our way to the magazine section.  I was looking at home improvement magazines while Ashley’s eye travelled to the food magazines.  She showed me this one, and we both started drooling.  Above is the Red Velvet Peppermint cake, there was also a spicy Hot Chocolate (with pasilla negro chile powder and ground red pepper), cranberry pomegranate cider, southern fried egg rolls, and crushed peppermint ice cream.  Is your mouth watering yet?  Mine was…until I saw the price tag on the mag – $7.99!  Yeouch!  I told her we could probably find the recipes online, yet when we got home, I was wrong.  And by golly, that Red Velvet Peppermint Cake looked really good!  Another trip to Kroger found us facing the magazine again, and after securing a promise from Ashley that if we got the mag she’d make the cake, and that leads us to Christmas Eve.  And the cake was totally worth it.  She used a buttercream recipe instead of the whipped cream, which might not have been the most appealing thing to look at (since we had to mold the icing to the cake, as above), but boy did it taste good.

And I would be remiss if I didn’t revel in my awesomeness.  See, I kinda screwed up Christmas a bit this year (even though Ashley is finally to the point where she can laugh about the absurdity of ordering 4 Snuggies four days before Christmas).  However, I think this should make up for it.  The one thing she wanted was a really nice painting of where we got married, and after scouring high and low, I finally found it.  It was delivered about 2-3 days ago, and I rushed it home to get it wrapped and ready while Ashley was out Christmas shopping.  Truthfully, I’m not very good at wrapping.  That being said, I did a freaking phenomenal job with this one (and for good reason).  Even Ashley was impressed at the wrapping job.  She knew it was a picture of where we got married, but wasn’t sure how the picture was going to look.  Let’s just say I got the reaction I was looking for.

On the housing front, it looks like things are getting quite interesting.  Our pre-approval expired on the 22nd, so now we are in the process of getting a new pre-approval.  It shouldn’t be that hard, but see not all parties are cooperating.  Most times a Loan Officer wants to see 2 sets of paystubs for both parties involved (for me and Ashley), 2 months worth of bank statements from all our accounts, 2 years worth of W-2’s, and drivers licenses for the 2 of us.  Not too difficult, right?  Except when, for some odd strange reason, your bank doesn’t have 2 months worth of your bank statements.  As a matter of fact, they have no clue where they are.  And no matter how many people I talk to, whether they be branch managers, people in the corporate offices, or whoever, can’t tell me what happened to them.  We had a big chunk of money locked up in the bank in case we needed to access it immediately for the house, and because the bank fooled around and won’t provide me with statements, all that money is now transferred into the high-yield savings account.  Too bad for you bank, you can’t say I didn’t warn you!

That being said, we’re also hoping for a larger pre-approval amount.  This will give us a ton more buying power when it comes to a couple of the nicer houses on the market that we’ve been eying for a while.  Like what?  Well, we just toured 3 yesterday, and I’ll be touring another one tomorrow while Ashley is at work.  I think we’ve got a really solid chance on one of them, we’d be stretching on another one (but hitting a huge home-run based on the subdivision if we got it), and there are 2 other good possibilities.  Is that enough of a hook to get all 5 of you readers to come back tomorrow?

All photos taken with a Motorola Droid.


8 Comments to “The Huge Epic Post-Christmas Weekly Update”

  1. Yay!!!! My wish come true, pictures of the REAL kitties 🙂 I dont know which is which, but during my 3 weeks of fostering, they were Smokey (gray) and the Bandit (stripe). They are so cute!! and huge! The striped one is still so beautiful with those stand out stripes, is he still sorta swirly? I cant wait for Hayley to get back from Ky tomorrow so I can show her the pics, although then she will spend the rest of the week begging for a playdate….
    Love your blog btw – you and Ashley seem to have never ending adventures, which is such a wonderful asset to a marriage 🙂

    • Sarah, hopefully we’ll have some more pictures up of the 2 little turds. They have quite the appetite for people food, and while the grey one (Manny) has really gotten big, the brown one (Toby) still keeps his “kitty” figure. They are talkative, though. That’s all they do is meow at me.

      I’m probably going to write something in the future about how we found the cats, and their whole story (as well as how you found the cats). I’ll email you for some details when I get around to putting it all down.

      Ashley could probably agree that life with me is always an adventure…as in…”OK, what did you do now, Brandt??!?!??!”


  2. Good luck with the second pre-approval. How long are the approvals good for before they expire? my hubs and I got pre-approved for a home loan a few months ago and haven’t been stationed yet. eep! anywho — good luck!

    and ohmygosh dopey kitties!!!! they are so cute. and paws under the door? please. story of my life! haha

    • The cats are turds. That’s all that there is to say about that. They just want what they can’t have.

      And our original pre-approval lasted for about 4.5 months. Our new one is about the same. The nice thing is that when I called to get an updated pre-approval, she had it in about 30 seconds because she had all of our original information saved in her computer. How long before you two are stationed? I know the military isn’t the most timely organization, but they can’t leave you all hanging forever!

  3. I LOVE Phase Ten! Never played Catchphrase, can you play it with two people? That’s what I love about Phase Ten, only two needed to tango – err – play. I also love Apples to Apples but that takes at least four.

    Did Ashley study graphic design at BYU-Idaho? Did she have Lana Grover (I think she’s called Sister Grover?).

    • Sara, Catchphrase is tough with 2 people. You really need a minimum of 4 people (2 per team) because you’re trying to get the other person to guess the “phrase” or word. It’s a great party game, especially with very “outside the box” and unconventional thinkers.

      And Phase 10 is a family tradition. A brutal, sadistic family tradition, but a tradition nonetheless. And Apples to Apples is Ashley’s family tradition – the more odd the explanation, the better!

  4. Our cats do the same thing when we’re home! They are so busy following us around and running to the door when people come that by the evening they are exhausted. They didn’t even come downstairs to greet everyone for Christmas Eve dinner because they were so tired from following us around all day and wondering what the heck we were doing.

    • Today Toby (our brown one) has been OK. He followed me around all this morning, but when he realized that I was ignoring his desperate attempts at getting petted, he curled up on a box and fell asleep.

      I have the feeling we’re going to have major issues when we finally get around to doing the big move. They are OK being in their cage, but have major issues if they can’t come and go as they please. With all the activity going on in moving into a house, they might need 48 hours to recuperate and get back to normal. And then the exploring begins, and we wont’ see them for another 48 hours!

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