Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Less then a day...

Homer comes home tomorrow!
Oh my gosh! In under 24 hours we will have a new puppy in the house. Homer's amazing foster mom Jenn has been posting so many photos of our new little guy on Facebook for us (look at him, he's so snugly!) I'm so nervous. I'm so excited. I'm all what if the puppy hates us? (he won't) What if he cries all night? (he probably will) Do I have enough toys/food/supplies? (Stop it, you're getting ridiculous). Is this the anticipation you expecting parents feel? Probably on a whole different level though I mean you have 9 months to feel this way and I've just been dealing with it for 3 days!

When we got my current dog (Dusty the old man, 14 years old, still going strong but living with my parents), I had no time to think it over. I was begging my parents every single day for a dog (aka my dad with creative printed notes waiting for him on his pillow nightly because at the time I rarely saw him before bedtime due to his schedule). Thinking back he must of loved coming after a long day of meetings to a begging reminder from his 13 year old daughter on his bed, but I digress.

It was a cold rainy day in March and my parents instructed us to get in the car as we were going to pick up a dog. I remember my stomach fluttering with nerves as I exclaimed "WHAT?! WE'RE NOT READY WE DON'T HAVE ANYTHING". Apparently my parents had been plotting behind my back those sly dogs (har har har).

Seriously, look at that face!
I was so nervous as we drove out to the breeder's home and sat there with the mama dog and all her pups. We picked out Dusty (Puddy as he was named there) and he was so tiny that my dad had to carry him in his jacket because it was raining so hard. Dusty cried all the way home. And he cried that first night at our house. But before we knew it he felt safe and loved and became part of our pack.

This time I have had time to prepare for a new puppy if only for a few days instead of minutes. I don't know if it's better or worse. I'm over thinking everything (as usual) and my list for Pet Smart was a mile long (thank god for leftover gift cards from Christmas/my birthday). Thank you to the staff there for your patience and help as we navigated our way through the store and prepared for our little man's arrival.

But I believe in good omens and tomorrow is supposed to be another super rainy day. Which is perfect for us to pick up our newest addition just like we did 14 years ago with Dusty.



Sunday, January 27, 2013

I have some good news...

I've decided anytime I need to use the phrase "I have some good news" I must be actively drinking some sort of alcohol so the response stops being "You're pregnant?!" Which will make working extremely difficult as I'm pretty sure they frown on drinking in the work place. (I swear it's vodka...I mean water. It's water, right).

I mean babies are adorable and I will be having them sometime in the future, but I need a small responsibility right now like a dog. Because I drop my iPhone A LOT and I'm pretty sure that they don't appreciate parents dropping babies. Just saying.

Besides a lot of good things can happen to me besides being pregnant that I often wonder how it escalates to that assumption so quickly. Okay I mean I understand WHY people just automatically jump to that assumption that but still, I could have won the lottery.

In fact, I hope I win the lottery. And when I say to people that "I have some good news" and they automatically respond with "you're pregnant" I'll say no, I just won the lottery, and I was going to give you a cut, but since you think that the only good thing that can happen to me is that I'm pregnant, NO LOTTERY MONEY FOR YOU.

Okay, okay I'm done my rant because we actually do have some good news (you can't see, but for the record I'm drinking a glass of wine as I'm typing this). We're going to be parents....puppy parents!

Homer!
Meet Homer, our newest addition to the family come next week. It was all a quick turnaround and not at all what Nick and I expected (better, in fact), but everything happens for a reason and we couldn't be more thrilled.

Nick and I had been talking about adopting a dog for months now. I'd constantly be checking Petfinder.com, stalking the Pet Smart website about training courses, and always checking Eleventh Hour Rescue at the recommendation of a good friend of mine.

I was looking into pros and cons of puppy insurance, cost to feed, train, vet, and overall own a dog. I was tweeting anyone and everyone I know because my brain is awesome and I over think EVERYTHING.

It all started out quite innocently yesterday when I found this little guy online, and sent an email to request an application. I truly did not expect to be getting a dog this suddenly. As this is our first time adopting a dog I was figuring it would be a couple weeks to month process.

I heard from the lovely foster parent within a couple hours, had our application in, and within the half hour she was calling me back asking to set up a time for us to meet the dog because our references checked out (HUMONGOUS THANK YOU to Colleen, April and Bobbi Jene. Seriously, I owe you guys big time for not telling them about the meth lab in our basement. I mean... :)

We met him this morning and absolutely fell in love. He's a bit shy but watching him with the other dogs in the household he is such a puppy when he wants to play. The foster parent is such a sweet heart and had nothing but honest answers to all of our questions about this puppy. We should be picking him up next weekend after maxing out our credit cards at Pet Smart or Pet Co to get all the supplies and food we will need.

So I'm super excited and super nervous to say the least. I'm still working out nuances like apparently you have to 'register' your dog with the township if their over 6 months of age. But if it's after March 31st there's a late fee involved according to the website. But what if my dog isn't six months old until June do I still have to pay the fee? I told you, my brain is an awesome place to be. This township clerk is going to LOVE me and all the phone calls I'm about to make to tomorrow.


Friday, January 18, 2013

Outside the Bubble

I'm going to be making a broad statement about people I see on a daily basis and the assumptions they make about my life. Quite frankly it's frustrating being made to feel like I'm this terrible person for the decisions I've made, not that they're even bad ones! Understanding that, you should just stop reading now. I'm an outcast. I might as well have leprosy. Stop following my blog. Don't bother trying to get in touch with me. I'm going to the far corners of the Earth so you never have to see me again.

Why do I say such things you ask? Because I married a New Yorker, obviously.

Let me break this down. I grew up in a small Italian town. I've tried to leave, but somehow ended back here. 'Never say never' as my mother constantly reminds me. I married Nick whom I met in college. He's from New York, where I (surprise surprise) went to college. Sure, living in New York wasn't out of the question, but job opportunities brought us to Jersey.

Here's the problem with this little Italian town of mine...no one leaves. Ever. It's like a black hole. You get sucked in and can't get out. Then to make matters worse the old timers of this town are extremely judgmental of "outsiders"; anyone not from Hammonton or anyone not full blooded Italian. (Sidebar: You think I'm joking but I had an elderly gentlemen berate me when he asked if I couldn't have children would I be upset and I responded with no we could always adopt. He then yelled 'WHY WOULD YOU DO THAT AND RUIN YOUR BLOOD LINE? Seriously, this is my life right now).
And then to top it all off everyone knows (or thinks they know) everyone else's business.

Look I'm not knocking those who live and stay there. It is a great town with a lot of heritage and a nice community. My grandfather was born and raised there as were my parents and myself and siblings. My gripe is the failure of so many to realize that there's a whole great big world out there waiting to be explored. The world does not revolve around Hammonton I'm sorry to break it to you.

Here is a legitimate conversation I had on the phone with one of these older residents who had called our agency as a perspective client:

What's your name again deary?
Natalie.
And your last name?
Bruno
Which Bruno did you marry from town?
*playful laughter, I know where this is going* No my husband is from New York.
Oh, you're from New York?!
No, I'm from Hammonton, I work for family here. My husband is from New York.
Oh.  *Long pause.*
Well with that last name you'd never know you didn't marry someone from Hammonton.

End scene.

This is a conversation I have at least twice a month. If not more. I wish I could put into words the sound of that "oh". It's the kind of "oh" that suggests I should be ashamed of what I just told them. That I should feel guilty for my choices. It's like I've just disappointed my parents and there is nothing redeeming I can say after I've just made the previous statement.

Lately it has gotten worse because we made the decision to not buy a home in Hammonton. The newest "oh" is when they ask where I live. The leading question is "Where in Hammonton do you live?" of which I reply  "We don't." After they got over that initial shock it's onto where I live.  I literally moved 13.1 miles (just a simple half marathon) away from my parents and this community. The follow up questions I'm always asked are if I like it out there, why do I live so far away, and am I okay?

Yes, I actually love it out here. I'm 10 minutes from any major store (Target, Loews, the movie theater) and there's a lot more to do. I live in a great neighborhood with the nicest neighbors and I'M FINE.

Alas, I cannot tell these clients how I truly feel (stop judging me I promise I didn't marry an alien and move to Mars!) I just smile and nod and let them react how they will. I'm comfortable with who I am and who I married. Doing business with me just because my last name is that of an 'outsider' does not mean you're getting any less service. Trust me.

As I said at the beginning it's just incredibly frustrating to have this same conversation all the time. I love traveling and seeing the world. And when people judge me for decisions I make like that I decided to move out of Hammonton and who I fell in love with because my square peg doesn't fit in their circle cookie cutter minds, it's downright annoying.

But I'll continue to just sit here, smile plastered on my face, and try to not let their comments bother me.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Baltimore Relay

Months ago (aka October in all my craziness)  my mom, cousin, aunt, and I decided that we were going to do the Baltimore Relay. For those of you not familiar, the way it works is that you have a team of four and each team member runs a leg of a marathon. You have a single timing chip for your team that you wear on your ankle and trade off at the marked exchange points.

I picked the flattest/most downhill portion because I was slacking and my knee doesn't do hills well thanks to surgery in 8th grade. My cousin lives in Baltimore so my mom and I went down after work to meet up with her and my aunt. We planned to stop to get food on the way down.

However unbeknownst to myself (as I haven't traveled down south in a very long time) and my mom, the rest stop she usually goes to which would have the best pizza to carb load on is currently closed. So we had to settle for the rest stop before, which only had Pizza Hut (a personal ick factor for me). Bread sticks and stale general store sandwiches later, at least we had some semblance of carbs in our system. 

We met up with my cousin and aunt at the hotel to work out our game plan and meeting times for the race. They bus the later legs of the relay to the exchange points and since I was the second leg, I had to be on the bus by 7:30 am. 

The following morning we met up and there were so, so, so many people. I couldn't get over it! There was a line of buses that went down the block and well around the corner shuttle us to our marker point. It was super nifty to see all the buses just driving down the highway with all these runners on board.

I made friends with my seat partner as she needed me to help her pin the 'relay' bib to her back. She had run onto the bus at the last second because she forgot her packet at work, had to drive there get it, come back here, and was 99% positive she was parked in front of a hydrant (yikes, motivation to run faster?) As country music with a high static beat blasted through the bus speakers, she said she was running with her boss and other co-workers (Oh cause running a relay isn't enough pressure, let's run with our boss!)

For there being so many people it was an extremely organized event. As I was at the first exchange we got to watch all the runners coming from the start of the race. It was so exciting to watch and cheer the elite marathoners on as they passed us by.

The exchange was easy and it was very entertaining to see people yelling names and volunteers with bullhorns trying to find their team mates. Our team had agreed to call each other when we were five minutes out. My route was mostly downhill and took me down by the Under Armor Factory which included a gorgeous view of the waterfront. I did mess up my timing though and called my aunt when I was only about a minute out...oops!

Of course there were people everywhere cheering on family and friends. Some signs that I loved along my route were:

Chuck Norris doesn't run marathons

Smile if you're running commando   (seriously, how can you not smile at that sign)

Take it easy...you're not going to win

Your ass looks great

And my personal favorite:
You're all really great at exercising!
Myself, Mama, Aunt Suzanne, and Alison

Overall we had a lot of fun and all four of us felt great after our legs of the race.

This year I'm already signed up for the Phillies 5K in March (I'm giving it one more shot after last year, which was just running around a parking lot) and the first annual Yuengling Light Lagger 5K in April. I've got my yearly Special Olympics 5k at the PIA Convention in June. I'm going to see how I feel about the April Fool's Half Marathon, but if I don't feel ready I might wait and see about running a half in Oct/Nov.

Overall I've started my Resolutions this week, am already down 3 pounds, and am looking forward to getting fit in 2013!

Friday, January 4, 2013

Birthday

This year I'm in a total funk about my birthday. I'm 27. Seriously, when did I get that old? And how is it 2013 already? And why aren't there flying cars yet?! I digress.

How is it that 10 year have passed since I was looking into colleges and deciding what my career would be? Now here I am a college graduate, almost 5 years into my career, a homeowner, and wife. Yikes, all those milestones make me sound like an 'adult' now.

I used to hate my birthday. My reasoning: it is exactly a week after Christmas. That means wham, bam, thank you ma'am all my year's excitement over in a 2 week span. Anything 'big' I want has to wait for about a year. [Sidebar: I have been really lucky as my family/friends always saw it as two separate events and I never got "gifts" that counted towards both. And my husband continues to surprise and spoil me, much to the demise of his credit card.] I always felt like I had nothing to look forward to for myself for the rest of the year.

But my outlook changed thanks to my Aunt writing the most insightful thing to me in a card one year. She mentioned how amazing it is to have my birthday at the beginning of the year as it's a fresh start. What a notion (she is a pretty incredible woman if I do say so myself).

Which got me thinking how right she is about having a birthday right after New Years. That means I get a New Year not just figuratively but literally. Every year is a new beginning to start off right. I have that whole year to do whatever it is I set out to accomplish.

So I've changed my outlook on my birthday. Not so much the fact that I'm 27 (honestly, what the heck) but that I have all these goals I've set for myself. Mostly with personal fitness (woof the scale was a wake up call this morning), but also in bettering myself as a person. I have 12 more months to see what I can improve in many aspects of my life before I'm another year older.

So thanks to everyone who wished me a happy birthday. And thanks to the readers that keep following my posts. You guys are amazing and I wish all of you a Happy 2013. Good luck in your goals and wishes you've set for yourself. I can't wait to see what this year has in store for me!