Reno….. she wrote!

renovationDon’t be fooled…that word is Renno as in renovation. Not Reno Nevada. Let me allow you to ride my crazy train for a moment. So I totally deleted social media. I wanted some quiet time away from the madness and I don’t want to be bombarded with all the negativity and BS. So naturally since I’m not reaching for my phone every 5 seconds I have had a lot more free time. While I was in the hospital with my mom last week I developed an unhealthy obsession with home improvement shows. Sure, I used to have a problem when I first bought my house 9 years ago and had all of these wild and crazy ideas. I’d stay up all hours of the night when I couldn’t sleep (I have insomnia quite a bit) and watch shows about how to make my house the perfect dream palace that I always envisioned. My house was a disaster when I bought it. It had stood empty for over two years because the previous owner had died…..in the house! I had a realtor and we combed the local areas to try to find a house close to the barn I own. Which left me with a really tight radius of about ten miles. And after 6 months of searching I had still not found anything that would work. Most houses in my price range has huge issues that I just couldn’t afford to fix as my first home. One day out of sheer frustration I just got in the truck and started driving around. After about 30 minutes I turned down a road I had never seen before. And low and behold there was this little yellow house with the grass so tall you could barely see it. It had awful faded burgundy shutters and a terrible burgundy door with a huge oval piece of frosted glass in the middle. The whole house was dated and sad. Forever trying to be optimistic, I got out of the truck and braved the grass to look inside. It was very clear that the house was now in foreclosure because of all the bank signs posted on the front door. The rooms I could see from the windows were painted terrible colors. The house needed Jesus for sure. Still, I wasn’t daunted. I saw it as a challenge. Right there on that deck in the hot Carolina sun I knew that the other houses didn’t work because this was meant to be my house all along. So 4 months later after a long battle to purchase it from the bank I was now the proud owner of my very first house! And 9 years later, I’m still here. I made the house as livable as I could…..I painted, redid all of the floors, fixed the water heater, had everything inspected, put a new roof on, power washed the deck. I had the yard landscaped, fertilized the lawn, repainted the shutters to cover that awful pink color. My son and I started to fall in love. The location was perfect and for the two of us and our cat, the size was perfect. Now however a new husband, 3 cats, a Chihuahua, and a teenager later and this house is way too small! So hence the new house search commenced. But almost a year and a half later with no good house and no land deals working, perhaps the answer was under our noses all along. I like my neighborhood, I like the area, and I love my lot. It’s over an acre of perfectly manicured lawn with lots of great trees and rose bushes. We just need more space which is why we were thinking new construction in the first place. Houses built today however and not built as well or as solid as older homes. My house is nearly twenty years old but it is still built and insulated exceedingly well. So that got me to thinking. I love everything about my house except the lack of space. What if we could remodel the house to make better use of space or even add an addition to it? Perhaps we could add a second floor to my simple ranch and make it a perfect fit for everyone in the family. My youngest would have his own room, my teenager would have a hang out space in the new bonus loft, I would get a new kitchen and a formal dining room, and the hubby would have the garage he always wanted. Not to mention we would save about $500,000 from our original plan. Curious to see if it would even work, I contacted a contractor that specializes in remodeling. From what I can tell his work is excellent. So we’re going out on a limb and having him come look at this house this weekend. I have already sat down and sketched out what I would like to do with the house. Now we just have to find out if it’s possible. Until then I will have my eyes glued to Pinterest pinning everything that I think would look great in this house. My goal is to create more space and make things more functional. I’ll admit, I’m very curious to see how much this venture will cost. If it’s not a reasonable amount then we may just repaint, replace the flooring, put it on the market and continue the search.

Down the rabbit hole we go!

Onward and upward towards better things………Gigi

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How to lose your mind in 10 days.

3Or in my case only three. Three days is really all it took for me to get to breaking point. Three seemingly little days that felt like they stretched on to an eternity. Three days that had me sobbing on the floor, fighting with my husband. A whole lot can happen in three little days. And here’s what happened to me.

This morning started out in the hospital with my mom. Today makes the third day. I was exhausted with no sleep, no shower, no deodorant, no good coffee and no peace of mind. Mentally I was worn out. The stress of making sure my mom was okay on top of the financial stress and all of the other mishaps that have been happening lately has really dug its claws in deep and torn away pieces of me. Of course the overdrawn notification that the bank sent me at 8 am this morning about my account did nothing to ease my stress either. I literally had $10 to my name and that was in my pocket. But things would be okay because hubby was supposed to get his first paycheck in the new job position today. Things would great better, bills would get paid, the cars would have gas, and the fridge would see groceries again. And right on time the call came in cancelling work for the day because of the terrible weather conditions. No point driving over an hour away to pick up the paycheck when all the right people wouldn’t even be there. Great……now what do we do? I sat on the hard hospital couch contemplating my life and why things have been so ridiculously fucked up lately. Should things be this hard??? Granted we didn’t grow up rich and the past 16 years as a single mom I have struggled my ass off. But I’m married now. Shouldn’t I be happier than a Disney princess about my life right this moment? Shouldn’t I be swinging from the chandeliers just giddy about the promise of my future??? Nope. Instead I was sitting there this morning seriously contemplating kissing a bridge on the way home in the Toyota. Please don’t take what I say too lightly or too seriously for that matter. This isn’t a cry for help by any means. This is I’m sick of all this bad shit happening to my family and it’s time for the world to go piss on someone else. Are we responsible for some of the things that has happened? Sure. But is it really necessary for the past 8 months to be a total freaking nightmare? I don’t think so. Back to my story…here I sit. Thankful that my mom is alive. Hopeful that our very strained relationship might get a makeover. Fed up with feeling woe-is-me. I hate thinking that I sound like a broken record. But again I have no support system. No friends to talk to about any of this and doubtful that if I did they would even understand. The husband doesn’t count because he hears it all the time. And I can’t speak to my teen about this because it’s just beyond his scope of realization. I’m trying not to jade him too quickly about the fact that yes, the world indeed does suck and nothing is fair. He has a chance to still think things can be sunshine and rainbows. But with all of the active shooter situations slaughtering our students and teachers how can you believe everything will be ok? Some days I really feel like the whole world is spinning out of control.

One day this will pass. One fine day this shit will all blow over and I will be so thankful that I had these blog posts to remind me of how tough things used to be. blue-skiesWho knows if I’ll be sitting in my farmhouse on my 50 acres when I have this realization or not. Only time will tell what the future holds for me and my family. I guess all of this would be comical if it were happening to someone else. Then again I might read all of these posts and think that chick needs to get a grip. I’m not homeless or living in Puerto Rico where nearly everything has been destroyed. Things could always be much, much worse. But I’m ready for the better. I’m waiting for the exhale. Enough shoes have dropped already. It’s time for a little peace of mind. I don’t want to have another breakdown while shouting at my husband about the stress and the vet calls and notifies us that our sick cat is still sick with the cat equivalent of MRSA (and yes that really happened this afternoon. I couldn’t make this stuff up people). So I’m waiting on the One Day. And I’m hoping I don’t totally lose it until that day comes. Trying so desperately not to become the crazy cat lady with her robe and slippers on all day. Although my husband already bought me cat slippers so I’m one step closer!!! Things have to improve. If they don’t we’re headed for divorce and I’m headed for a straight jacket vacation. We just need a break. In the past three days we have no farm, my mom had a heart attack, and we got new that the cat still has a major staph infection. That’s just in 3 days. A tiny snapshot of the hell we have been living through. My brain cannot catch a break. I seriously can’t rest. It’s like an actual assault on my mind that just won’t stop.

Well enough complaining. Off to watch Murdoch Mysteries with the husband and pray that tomorrow will bring not a single trace of snow.

Be thankful my friends. For all you have.

Xoxo……….Gigi

 

And she almost died.

breakfastFinally sitting down for the first real moment of  peace that I have had in the past 48 hours. I’m here at the hospital with mom and the floor is quiet. It’s past visiting hours and everyone has gone home. I’m spending the night again to keep an eye on mom since she had her procedure this morning. I’m hoping that tonight will be more quiet than the last. Last night we were kept up all night with frequent blood draws, constant vitals, and alarms and monitors going off at all hours of the night. I think I got about 30 mins of sleep. About 7 am I finally said enough is enough and got up for the day. I went down to the café for breakfast and came back to the room to help mom eat her heart healthy oatmeal. The nurse came in and explained the catheterization procedure to my mom and said that it looked like she would be on the schedule some time after lunch. After being here with 2 days and no shower because the hot water in the room isn’t working, I was sent home by my mom to shower. Of course by the time I get home, and as soon as I stepped out of the shower, I get the call saying that she is in prep and her procedure has been moved up. I barely had time to put on clothes and totally forgot the deodorant. I ran like a mad woman out of the house after kissing my husband with soaking wet hair and completed a 35 minute drive in about 20 minutes. By the time I made it up to the room, she was gone. Her nurse came in saying that she was looking for me because they had just taken mom back about 15 minutes prior. All I could do was wait in the room. And about an hour later, they brought her back to the room and her doctor came in to tell me exactly what they found. Her little chest pain wasn’t pneumonia of course, which I knew. The doctor showed me the following pictures…….

The picture to the left was before her cath procedure. She had a 100% blockage in her right arterial artery and a partial tear in the arterial wall. The picture on the right is after the procedure with a stent put in. Needless to say if she hadn’t been forced to the ER she would more than likely be dead. Her “pneumonia”, “asthma”, “allergies”, “just a cough” turned out being a mild heart attack from a totally blocked artery. Not good. Take note ladies. She has been experiencing chest pain and shortness of breath for awhile now. She chalked it up to having the flu at Christmas, getting older, the seasons changing, and about every other thing she could think of. She didn’t think that the pain in her chest and her back hurting was a sign of a heart attack. But it was. When she told me how bad she felt I made her immediately come to the hospital. I knew something was seriously wrong. This wasn’t normal, this wasn’t ageing, this was a cardiac event. My message to everyone reading this, especially women, is that a heart attack doesn’t discriminate. It doesn’t matter how old you are, what your genetics are, if you’re male or female, thin or thick. You could run on a treadmill or barely walk up the stairs. You could eat barbeque for lunch every Tuesday or drink only kale and banana smoothies. None of it matters. Your heart doesn’t give a shit about any of that stuff. Does some of it help?? Oh sure. But there are so many factors that go into having heart health. Take Bob Greene for example. One of the lead trainers from the tv show “Biggest Loser”. He has followed a health lifestyle for years. Then one day he was at the gym running on the treadmill and he just completely fell out. Turns out he had a “widow maker” blockage and nothing could have prevented it. His healthy lifestyle put a cardiac event off a lot longer than it would have been if he had not been so vigilant but ultimately his genetics got the best of him. And that’s my point. I’m sitting here in this chair writing this watching my mom recover in bed knowing damned well that she and I share the same genetic heart condition. And lately I’ve been lax as hell about my health. Not to mention I also suffer from an autoimmune condition, gastroparesis (slow emptying of the stomach), and food allergies. It could be me next in that bed. So yeah this is a total wake up call. I need to change before things change me against my will and wishes. I mean why not now? My whole life has been a total roller coaster this past year. Time to start controlling how and when I ride.

Oh and to add fuel to the fire? My realtor texted me today about the farm. Remember how we walked away because of the soil quality and the family dynamic about the land? Well the family had a fit and were heartbroken that we were walking away. They want to see our organic farm dream come to fruition. And so do we. They are willing to negotiate either price or soil amendments to keep us happy and ensure our plans with their family farm becomes a reality. Talk about a whirlwind of emotions. I can’t keep up with all that’s going on in my life lately. But if I’m totally real…I cried today when she texted me that. My husband and I gave up on a dream when we decided to walk away. Sure this may now take longer to get what we want but hey…..they say the best things in life are worth waiting for right?

Here’s to hoping I sleep tonight.

Xoxo….Gigi

Radio silent.

rexAs you read this I am sitting at Rex Hospital overlooking the city watching my mom lay in a hospital bed. By the name of this blog post you must be confused for a moment so let me explain. It turns out that this weekend, and well hell, this blog post, didn’t turn out exactly as planned. I started writing this blog entry on Saturday night. Events unfolded with a single phone call on Sunday morning from my sister saying that there was an emergency. At first I didn’t answer her call because I was busy trying to get out the house to go feed the horses. Dave and I had planned to explore a few properties in neighboring counties just to get out of the house because we were tired of sitting around. I had no idea with a simple phone call my day would change so drastically.

My mom is getting older now and for many years she has experienced a few health problems….her heart being one of them. She takes medication and for the past couple of months she has been hanging in there okay. Right after the Holidays she got the flu and just couldn’t shake it. She started coughing a lot more and we noticed that she started slowing down a bit. My mom has always been a pretty active person so this told us that something might be wrong. After a few days of having chest pains and resting in bed, this morning she woke up with pain in her chest that radiated to her shoulder and back. Since I used to pursue nursing and pretty much everyone in my family has some sort of medical job, I told my sis to immediately take her to the ER. Which of course my mom refused. I have been asking her for the past week to check in with her cardiologist to discuss her discomfort and change in activity level. Which of course she also refused to do. Instead she decided to rest at home which was not a good move if you are having chest pain. Needless to say an emergency room visit ensued this morning. So I am currently in my pajamas parked out in an uncomfortable chair altering this blog post. Heart catheterization and echocardiogram scheduled for first thing in the morning after her enzymes came back elevated and EKG abnormal. I chose to spend the night here with her to keep her mind busy and made sure she rested. Not that I will actually be getting any sleep tonight up here on the heart unit with nurses coming and going all night.  The head cardiologist thinks that she either has a blockage or is congestive heart failure. My mom isn’t totally aware of what they are thinking but I think for right now that’s a good thing. The less she knows the less she stresses. The stressing is my job. By forcing her to go to the ER we may have just saved her life. And I am hoping that tomorrow we get some concrete answers as to what is going on. But for tonight I made sure my husband, son, and sis and nephew went home to get some rest. Tomorrow is going to be a long day for everyone and I will need backup once I get too exhausted and give out. I have been under so much stress lately that my anxiety is kicking up my gastroparesis. And I haven’t exactly been eating well. I think this event with my mom has been a wake up call that with all of my autoimmune and stomach issues that I need to take much better care of myself. I have been lazy and complacent. I think once I get in a stable place I will do a juice fast for a few days to get my tummy sorted, start going back to my acupuncturist, and start taking yoga again. You only get a certain number of days on this Earth and none of them are guaranteed. With that being sad, I need to reduce a lot of stress in my life. And as sad as this situation is that’s going on right now, it’s just what I needed to make me realize my wrongs lately. I’ve been so busy surviving that I haven’t been living. And that is no way to go about your life. So on that note……here is my original blog post, “Radio silent”. Enjoy it being so ironic compared to what is going on today. Life is a very funny thing.

volume-mute-512So I did it. This weekend I made a concentrated effort to “unplug”. Save this blog post of course. I have come to the conclusion that life is simply better when social media isn’t involved. It seems like everyone is trying so hard to keep up with everyone else. Who can have the best husband, the best kid, the biggest house, the greatest job. It can cause an extreme amount of self doubt about your own life when you read how “great” everyone else’s seems to be. My husband and I have been under an extreme amount of stress. So we are entirely guilty of “checking out” and just grabbing our phones for distraction from the chaos. The end of this past week was a bit brutal. We lost the farm. Or rather, we walked away. After having continuing doubts about the family situation with the heirs that owned the land, and after getting some rather negative news from the soil testing that came back, we knew in our hearts after months of fighting that we just had to give up and walk away. This was something neither one of us wanted to do and we cried many, many tears. Friday we were so depressed after emailing our realtor the grim decision that we literally just laid in bed and cried most of the morning. It felt as if something precious had died. Our dream of having a self sustainable family farm just went up in smoke in a matter of seconds. It was devastating. But once we realized the cost that it would take to amend the soil and build that farm out we knew we had no choice but to pull the plug. Granted we lost the initial investment of the due diligence money which was $1,000. But far better than the close to $300,000 hit we were going to take without even the cost of the house. Add that onto that the cost of the house, horse barn, and equipment barns and we were going to be upwards $1,000,000. That’s a lot of money. And it really got us thinking about what we truly we want in our lives. We’re not young anymore. Hubby is nearly 40 and I am already over the hill. Did we really want to spend our retirement years working our fingers to the bone to get a new farm up and running? Maybe there was a smarter way to go about what we wanted without sacrificing so much time and money. So to rethink our life plan a little, we decided it would be best to unplug and just check out for a little while, even just for a weekend. We put away our phones and decided to concentrate on the most important thing we have going for us…..Us. Our marriage. We have so hastily neglected that in the thick of all of this mess. I figured enough was enough. We needed to get out of our heads a little bit and regroup. So we packed up a picnic lunch and headed to my favorite thinking spot, Shelley Lake. We sat in the grass with our butts on the ground with no phones, no social media, no distractions. And for the first time in what felt like months, we were actually able to have a real conversation about what we truly wanted to do with the rest of our lives and how we wanted to live it. We both acknowledged that we had a bit of a social media problem and that sometimes this distracted us from spending quality time with one another and really appreciating the other person. You get so used to the noise, the distractions in life that it can get really easy to tune everything out, even the important stuff. I stopped watching the news about 5 years ago. I found it too depressing and I found that most of the information was subjective at best. If I needed to know what was going on in world events, I tuned in to the BBC on the radio. I started watching more PBS. I found a great love for documentaries. And while I would love to say I started reading more, I did not. I love to read, always have, I just found that I had “no time for it”. The truth was, I had plenty of time. And instead of becoming addicted to trashy tv shows, I should have had my nose buried in a book. Alas, I often let the world around me influence my opinion. Something we are all guilty of doing in today’s age. It made me wonder how relationships from previous time eras were more successful. When there was no real cable tv or Smartphones and you didn’t go on dates at Starbucks. I want to be fully present when my husband or son speaks to me. I want to cut out the distractions that prevent me from being the best wife and mother that I can be. My husband agreed. We both needed to check into our situation a little bit more and check out of everybody else’s. We decided sitting right there in the sunshine with the wet grass soaking through our shorts and the birds singing in the trees overhead that we would practice unplugging. Just going radio silent for periods of time and work more on our relationship and our family. I can honestly say that Friday was one of the best days we have had in months. We walked around the lake, talked about different things, then went to Total Wine and got a new bottle of wine to try. We came home and cooked dinner together, the husband manning the grill while I held down the stove end of things. Granted we drank entirely too much wine (it was so good though!) but we ended up just listening to St. Patrick’s day music on Pandora, talking, and enjoying the simple fact of just being with each other. And that’s what’s really important after all.

What a funny thing to read after today’s events. Seems like the Universe is trying to tell me something after all. I guess with all of the stress I wasn’t paying attention to the things that mattered most.

I think it’s time to change my life up a little bit. And do things a bit different to increase the quality of it.

With that being said……Party on my friends. Tomorrow is another day.

Zzzzzzzzz……….Gigi

Not Stepford, just Southern.

stepfordOk….I’ll be honest. From the time I was a little girl the only thing I wanted to be was a true Southern lady. Like the kind you see at church on Sunday mornings that always wore crisp, pressed dresses and big hats. I longed to look that put together and even now as an adult I have yet to achieve it. But before everyone out there in today’s modern world starts moaning and groaning, let me explain. Growing up I was surrounded by strong, southern women. My dad’s mom was the wife of the town pastor and to me, she was the shining example of how a “proper” woman should run a home. Now granted I saw all of this through very young and jaded eyes. I’m sure if I could flashback to those moments, I would surely find some kind of fault. But in my younger years I could want nothing more than to follow in her footsteps. Both sets of my grandparents lived about 2 blocks from one another in a small southern town in Virginia. Their properties were connected by a back pasture that us grandkids used as a cut through from one house to another. Both were large, stately southern homes with big white columns and winding staircases.traditional-porch The things kids dreams were made of these two house both had…hidden doors, multiple floors, wine cellars, wood floors, huge horse barns and rolling pastures. I spent many a summer up there and loved every minute of it. Those memories were some of the best of my life. I remember tagging along on my grandmother’s apron strings to try to soak in all of her feminine ways. For starters, she never came down the stairs with her “face” on. She always looked polished and presentable so at a moment’s notice if someone stopped by to visit she was ready. Her house was always spotless but oddly enough I can never remember seeing her clean so I’m guessing she had some really early mornings or some really late nights. She was a superb cook and always had a fresh pan of something baking in the oven. Her baking skills were second to none….she made everything from scratch and her specialties were cookies, pies, and a type of candy called Seafoam that she made at Christmas every year. Her go to dish was chicken pastry, which she made the pastry strips or “dumplins” from scratch by rolling them out on the counter and then cutting them. I would literally eat so much I wanted to puke. Between that and her homemade yeast rolls I am shocked I stayed so skinny in my childhood! I grew up around some very amazing food. And I was lucky enough to inherit her fine cooking skills thank goodness! The men in my house have come to expect a hot meal at least twice a day for breakfast and dinner. And that suits me just fine…. cooking for me is a huge stress reliever! In fact, every time we get snowed in I start baking. My husband jokes he gains at least 5 lbs with each winter event!

heelsBeing a true southern lady, there are certain “appearances” that you must keep up. Your looks, your house, your yard, how your children look, what’s going on in your kitchen….all very crucial elements to being a blue in the blood southern gal. My grandmother was especially big on appearances. Her hair was always done as was her makeup and she kept up on the latest fashions. Being a pastor’s wife she was always entertaining so she never knew from day to day what her schedule would be or who she would have sitting at her table. Her theory was, if you always looked your best then you have nothing to worry about. And boy, is she right. Every time I try to duck out of the house to run errands with my sweats on, hair in a messy bun, and bare faced I instantly run into someone important. It never fails. You think I would learn to be a bit more presentable when I leave the house but after all these years I still haven’t. I’m trying to step up my image a bit more and look more pulled together when we go out but I am not sure how that would hold up becoming a farm wife so this should be interesting. I don’t even get mani/pedis like most of my girlfriends because I am so rough on my hands that within a day I have knocked the polish right off and there goes at least $50. Having a horse barn and updating my house to get ready for market is very challenging on your beauty routine that’s for sure! I’m also in a state of fashion flux right now with being over 40. I’m trying to update my wardrobe to make it a little more versatile for day to day but I find it’s a struggle to look “age appropriate”. Right now my fave places to shop are The Blonde Buttercup in Louisburg, Girls Round Here in Bailey, and as always I adore anything in Cameron Village. My mother rocks Talbot’s simple and classy style but I’m not quite there yet with clothes. I have the fabulous purses and shoes down however! If I come home with another purse the hubs may put me out LOL! My little guilty pleasure is Burlington Coat Factory. They have great designer looks for discount prices so I never feel guilty when I come out with a cart full of stuff. Even my husband loves the place and he doesn’t complain too loudly when he sees me come home with bags. As much as I would like to look like the perfect little southern princess when I leave the house, the reality is that I am usually wearing leggings, a vest, and my barn muck boots. It’s a cute look……for a horse barn! At least I always fit in at Tractor Supply. I’ve always done my own thing anyway so sticking to strict southern social norms is something I struggle with. I find as I age however that looking nice is more important to represent my husband and my kids more than myself. I’m just fine hitting the Target after the gym in active wear but I have to be mindful that it makes the hubby nuts. He thinks active wear should be for the gym only. I have to admit, you do see more and more people rocking the running tights and sports bras lately. But then again you can’t go anywhere without seeing someone in pajamas either! That is one look I refuse to participate in. If my grandmother ever thought for one second that I would leave the house in my “bed clothes”, I am sure she would just have a fit! Well that’s enough for my lack of style at the moment,now on to the kitchen.

As a southern mom, there always needs to be something yummy going on in the kitchen. And this is the one thing that I have no problem doing. I absolutely LOVE grocery shopping and I think I could live in a Lidl. fresh marketSo glad that the town close to the farm has one! I also love Whole Foods, Trader Joes, and Kroger. Harris Teeter and Lowe’s Foods are nice but I find that their prices tend to be quite a bit higher. And just because we have money doesn’t mean that I’m not cheap! I take bargain shopping to another level when it comes to sales and couponing. The trick is to buy things on sale and freeze it. Of course it takes a little bit of planning when it comes to meals because you have to decide what to thaw out for dinner and whatnot. Still, totally worth it when you find organic chicken breast on sale! I do shop with a list and I stick to my regular staples and only allow a few extras that go into the cart. This saves so much time and money. Grocery stores profit the most off of impulse buys. Their stores are strategically mapped out to draw consumers in and attract them with bright colors and lights. I find that if you stick to the outside aisles then you save money on less processed junk and get in and out in such a shorter amount of time. If you notice the middle of the store is filled with processed boxed and bag food. The outskirts of the store has more fresh options and less packaged food. Less time shopping, healthier food…win win for everyone. That’s more time baking for me!

Entertaining is also something that the southern belle should be good at. I’ll admit, I suck at it. And if I’m totally honest, I don’t enjoy having people over at my house. I stress out about every little detail. Maybe it has to do with my OCD but then again maybe not. There is a reason why I surround myself with so many animals…..I’m just not good with people on a daily basis. If it’s people I know, I’m fine but with large group of strangers my brain just goes into overload. It starts to overthink everything…..Is my house clean enough? Can you smell the litterbox when you walk in the house? Is my stuff nice enough? Do I look nice enough? Is my grass short enough? Seems silly that I just can’t have people over. But it’s true. Thank goodness my son goes out with his friends a lot and most of our friends don’t live close. Usually it’s just the hubs and I. My family doesn’t even come over to my house now because we are small on space. When I bought this house it was just me and my son. Now, we are selling the husband’s house in the city and living in my house until the farm house is built, which will hopefully be by Christmas of this year.farmhouse 1 It just didn’t make good financial sense to rent a larger house for 6-8 months and then move again when the farm is ready. So for now, we are downsizing all of our things and beginning the packing process. The house is going to look very bare for the next few months so entertaining definitely won’t be on the top of our list! There will be lots of painting, a new deck to be built, new flooring….so much stuff! But hopefully our hard work updating this house will pay off. My realtor is pretty confident that I will double my initial investment. Which isn’t bad considering I bought this property just 9 years ago. We’ll take the profits from both houses and put it towards the farm house. And then hopefully after the farm is finished we can start being true southerners and entertaining more! If we’re going to be operating a working, profitable farm then I really need to work on my people skills. There’s no way I will ever be as hospitable as the fine women in my family but one can always try.

Hope you’ve enjoyed this little taste of southern women culture. Stay tuned as I start to plan out the interior workings of the farm house and begin picking out the furnishings. It won’t be too long now before we get the keys to the old farm house on the property and start going through old family belongings to see what we can salvage for the new house and what we have to donate or throw away. I will make sure to post lots of pictures about this exciting process!

Cheers!……. Gigi

 

 

The wedding aftermath: From Bride to Wife with two little words.

springIt’s Monday again. I’m sitting here looking out the window at the rain waiting for the 3 inches of snow we are supposed to get to start falling from the sky. Thank goodness we went ahead and put the blankets on at the barn and put the horses up in their stalls. Snow + old horses with arthritis=bad news. I’m so tired of yucky weather. I’m ready for a sunny warm Spring  to start! Waiting for Spring has got me thinking about how we wanted to have our wedding during this time of year. We settled for late winter/ early spring because we simply did not want to wait any longer and with the wedding venue mix up most locations were already booked. I loved that fact that our wedding was wintery but occasionally I wish that it were a little bit warmer when we said our “I Do’s”. All of this wedding thinking made me realize how much has changed since I went from fiancé to Bride to Wife.It’s so silly to think that a few simple words can make such a difference in your relationship. But that is exactly what happens. One moment you are engaged, planning your wedding and the next moment you are staring wistfully into your partners eyes saying your vows in front of friends and family. We didn’t say the standard “I do” but instead recited several verses in our hand fasting ceremony that stated “I will”. The premise however is the same. One moment I was still single and the next a wife. Granted this wasn’t my first marriage. My first marriage was many, many years ago to my son’s father. We met in high school and long story short, we got married way too young. Neither us had done enough actual living to prepare us for the commitment of marriage. So after our son was born, things just fell apart because we didn’t have a firm foundation to start with. We ended up divorced after only a few years of marriage. Now here I am married again many years later. And it’s definitely an adjustment. I’ve been single for nearly 16 years. That’s a long time to get comfortable in your own routine. So now I am sharing the bed, the bathroom, and my coffee mugs. While it’s not a bad adjustment by any means because I adore my husband, it’s still a change from what I am used to. And I think to some extent that as Brides we forget about the day after the wedding. We work so hard for months and even years to plan the perfect event. We obsess over flowers, colors, cake flavors, the invitations, our dress. Rarely do we take a second to think after the wedding aftermath, which is the marriage part of the relationship. flowersThe wedding is fun and exciting but after you put that ring on your finger you are now not just representing yourself, but your husband as well. You are not just married to him, but also his whole family. Everything about your life has now been combined in just a matter of minutes….your households, families, finances. Just everything. And while this is fun and exciting, it’s a whole hell of a lot of work. To be honest, the 6 months leading up to our wedding was the most difficult time in my life. One thing after another started falling apart and things just snowballed from there. We decided to custom build our first home together and got screwed over in the process. Thankfully we were able to pull the contract with little financial damage and the person who took advantage of us ultimately got fired. After that things just got worse. My husband’s financial advisor did a lot of really bad things to a lot of his clients, us included. My husband worked for years and years to build up his portfolio and in one fell swoop this jackass almost completely destroyed it. Thank goodness we have an amazing lawyer who has been able to get answers but it is still 8 months later and the funds have not been located. Money is one of the number one reasons why marriages fail and I can honestly tell you that this is true. And please don’t be like me and ever think that if your financial situation would change that all of the sudden your worries and woes go away. They don’t. The old worries just get traded for new ones. It’s a whole different kind of stress. We have been walking on eggshells and living so stressed out these past few months that I am honestly surprised that neither one of us has had a stroke or heart attack.  All of our plans and goals have either been entirely backseated or thrown out all together. As a couple we are constantly finding ways to reinvent ourselves. While I never, ever want to go through this kind of stress again, I am hoping that once we come out on the other side of this mess that our marriage will pretty much be unbreakable. No one could have prepared us for this stress. If you had asked me a year ago if I thought that we would ever go through something trying like this of course I would say no. A year ago we were in total relationship bliss…..eating at the newest trendy restaurants in downtown Raleigh, drinking adult beverages at Tasty beverage, grabbing dessert at the Cupcake Shoppe, going antique shopping and spending the weekends at the beach house whenever we could. We couldn’t imagine our lives not being like they were right then. Fast forward to now however. We’re buying a farm, we’re custom building a home finally, we’re both in the transition phase of our careers, and we are building our marriage one brick at a time. I’ll be honest, there are some days where things aren’t easy and they just don’t work. There have been tears and arguments and lots of breakthroughs. Our marriage is a work in progress. I consider it a blank canvas to begin with and we just keep adding beautiful colors to it until one day this beautiful painting emerges. We are both learning a lot about not only each other, but ourselves. And thankfully I am blessed to have a husband who is willing to do the hard work and have the difficult conversations. He’s my husband, but also my very best friend. I couldn’t imagine spending my days with anyone else. How will our marriage change when we are both spending everyday together running the farm? No clue but I’m sure that it will evolve even then. I never thought as a fiancé who was engaged with this big shiny ring that we would be here in this place now. I hadn’t thought about how becoming a wife would transition my whole life. But if I’m honest, I love it. I am spending more time at home taking care of my husband and son. I am around more for my family if they need me now that my mom is getting older. The freedom of my schedule allows me to attend meetings with builders, the architect, the realtor, and anything school related for my son. It’s a big change for sure since I am usually Miss Independent but it’s a change I am loving. I’ll choose wife over bride any day! I am looking forward to selling our two houses, decorating our new home, buying Christmas decorations for our first Christmas in our new house, priming the land for our first crop of strawberries. There are so many “firsts” I just can’t wait for! And I am blessed and thankful to have my amazing husband by my side to experience all of this with me. Is everyday easy? Nope. Not even close. But is everyday an opportunity to learn something new? Definitely.

My advice to you all my Brides is do the work. Don’t just focus on that amazing Maggie Sottero dress you’ll be wearing for your wedding day. Remember your groom as well. And more importantly than that, remember your marriage! When the wedding is all said and done your adventure as a couple is just beginning. Appreciate the quiet moments now because later they may be few and far between.

Cheers to love and all the good things in life!

XoXo……… Gigi

Checking out the new town, new people, and new good eatin’ (it’s a southern thing)

breakfastI love a boring weekend! A weekend where you don’t make any plans at all but just go with the flow. Unfortunately it’s been raining here the past few days and that means doing anything outside really in this muddy mess is impossible. Still the husband and I decided to brave the elements and venture out yesterday to check out our new town (or at least the town closest to us). After having a big homemade breakfast for my man and a few good cups of coffee, we suited up and headed out to the farm to check the damage to the trees from the wind storm this week. Upon arriving we saw even more damage to the two termite eaten barns, which will eventually have to come down completely. We parked the car and walked the back of the property in the mud where the farm house will be built. We were disappointed to see that a lot of the old hardwoods had come down from the 70 mph winds earlier this week. We had planned on thinning out some of the trees anyways but it was still sad to see the regal old oaks come crashing down. rainy farmIt’s like old friends that just suddenly disappear into thin air. One minute they are here, the next they’re gone. So sad to see them go. I would bet that several of these trees have seen more than a few decades. At least 3 of the trees on the property are at least a century old that we can verify. Such cool history in this place! I cannot wait to call it home soon. One morning soon I will be sitting on my screened in back porch in my jammies by the stone fireplace drinking my morning coffee looking out over these majestic trees and over the rolling pasture land. If I’m honest, I cannot wait to get farther away from city life. In my early twenties it was something I craved. Now with the crowding, the noise, and the traffic it is something that I don’t look forward to. The farm is in a place with a slower pace. People wave when they drive by. They look after their properties and value family time much more than surfing the internet. Yes, things are a little more old fashioned but it’s not a bad thing really.  Most everyone drives a pick up and you can’t drive at least a mile without passing a family farm. I can’t wait to start buying produce from road side stands and go strawberry picking. I plan on canning at least 2 cases of strawberry jam this year. Last year my one case lasted all of about 30 seconds it feels like once my family found out! Truth be told it was the best jam I have ever made!!! I can give you guys the simple recipe if anyone is interested in trying it with their own families. Canning is definitely a family affair!

After we made sure the farm was secure, we decided to drive around and check out a few of our neighbors on the nearby roads.  I was sad not to see little Zilphie kitty…the black and white tuxedo kitty that’s been hanging around the old farmhouse. Hoping maybe she was visiting a nearby neighbor for a snack. We had a full tank of gas so we just drove and drove and got to see some really nice houses. The area around the farm is really building up. People are buying huge tracts of land and starting their own family farms. I say good for them! As long as we see more farms moving out our way and not more modern places like gas stations and Walmarts then I am just fine with that. Although I predict that within the next 20 years the growth and development will catch up with our area. Not something I am looking forward to of course but for now we still have to drive at least 15-20 minutes to reach civilization. It takes about 17 minutes from the farm to reach the next biggest town. So Saturday we decided to spend the whole day there, checking out all of the places and locating businesses that we may need to use for the farm. I was so excited to see a Lowe’s home improvement and a Tractor Supply. We’ll be visiting both a lot in the upcoming year! We also checked out the new Target, went shopping at the new grocery store, and stopped by the craft store to pick up some burlap ribbon for the new monogram wreath on the door at the house. tapatioWe also ate lunch at the recommendation of a friend at what is in my opinion the best Mexican restaurant I have ever eaten at! The food was so good and we were so stuffed that we rolled out the door and back to the car. I cannot wait to eat there again and take the kids. Authentic Mexican food is so hard to find these days and I love it so much more than tex-mex or Americanized Mexican food. The hubby got the flauntas and I got the enchilada platter. We cannot get back there soon enough I tell ya!!!! It was so nice to have everything we needed right there without going all the way into the city. And with town being less than 20 minutes from the farm, I doubt I’ll have to go into the city more than a couple times a year. I honestly dreamed of having my own farm when I was a little girl but I never ever thought that my husband would help make it a reality. I am delighted and very, very blessed that he has decided to take on this adventure with me! Hopefully soon we will be growing our own strawberries to make jam.

After we ran the errands we needed, we picked up some different ciders to drink with dinner and headed home to make some cilantro lime chicken nachos. cidersI decided to sample three different types of gluten free ciders…. Stella Artois Cidre, Strongbow golden apple, and Angry Orchard. Honestly, I have had Angry Orchard before. It’s not bad but then again it is not my favorite either. This go round the clear winner was the Stella Cidre. It’s smooth without much of a bite and it tastes like fresh, crisp apples. Second place goes to the Stongbow, with third going to the Angry Orchard. Being gluten free means I don’t have too many options when it comes to a suitable “beer” replacement. Ciders seem to work the best. I have tried plenty and my favorite of all time is the ciders made by ACE. They have flavors like Pear, Pineapple, Apple honey, and Pumpkin. My next go to would be the Woodchuck ciders. They are a little easier to find then the ACE and the Stella. Anyhow enough about my GF cider rant. Dinner was delicious! I mean who doesn’t like nachos? Sat pmWe seem to get on these kicks where we get stuck on one type of food and this week it seems to be Mexican food. Last week was Italian. Who knows what next week will be? I did try something a little bit different with these nachos then my regular one. I found a queso fresco that you could crumble instead of melt, like the liquid form of the cheese. It looked a little bit like feta but tastes just like the queso blanco you get at the Mexican restaurant. The second thing I did differently was I used Rick Bayless’ “Frontera” brand fajita sauce on the grilled chicken. Made a tasty improvement to an already yummy dish. The hubby gave it two thumbs up and I am totally adding this to the rotation.

Sunday we didn’t do too much except change the oil in my sis’s SUV for her and try to catch a stray passenger pigeon that flew into my mom’s garage. I made a huge pot of chicken  and rice because neither of us have been feeling too well and we laid around and caught up on our new binge show “the Murdoch Mysteries”. I spent the afternoon blogging and constantly checking the weather for the threat of snow for Monday. Ahhh you’ve got to love the Spring in the South. One day it’s 80 degrees and a week later it’s going to snow. That’s good ole global warming for ya. Or you can blame it on El Nino like the old timers do down at the country store. Either way, it sucks.

Hope everyone had a fantastic weekend. Pardon such a boring post but sometimes getting back to the basics isn’t a bad thing.

Cheers!……. Gigi

 

 

Transitions.

stepfordwives.org_stepfordwife.com_Yawn. It’s not even 8 am yet and I am already exhausted. I didn’t sleep well and ended up getting up at 4 am to feed the cats just to shut them up. The three of them have constantly been fighting lately and I have no idea why. Maybe it’s a full moon or something. All I know is that my eyelids get heavier and heavier by the minute!!! And I’m trying to behave and not consume TOO much coffee because of the whole heart murmur issue. What’s the point of decaf anyway??? Ugh…getting older simply sucks. What a great Segway to talk about todays blog post…..transitions. I feel like my entire life right now is in a state of flux. I have officially become a “housewife”. I know, I know…that very word screams 1950’s. Very Stepford-ish. I went from working two jobs and going to school full time to working one job to not working a “real” 9-5 anymore. I write from home and have an office here. So that keeps me busy quite a bit. I told my husband the other day that instead of the word housewife I prefer house manager. Not that there’s anything wrong with being a housewife. I just do so much more “momming” than “wifing” some days. For example, here was my schedule for just today. Bare with me it’s pretty boring.

  • Wake up at 4 am (usually 5 but the assholes were feeling particularly froggy today) and walk the dog and feed the pets
  • Grind the coffee and put it in the coffee pot for hubby’s morning cup of joe
  • Go back to bed and fall asleep for exactly 15 mins before the 6 am alarm goes off to wake up my teenager
  • Make said teenager breakfast
  • Pack teenager’s and hubby’s lunch for the day
  • See teen off to school for another successful try at adulting
  • Go back to bed and this time sleep for 10 mins before 7 am alarm goes off to wake up hubby
  • Get up and make hubby breakfast and his morning coffee
  • Make sure hubby gets off to work on time
  • Watch an episode of The Real Housewives of New York while checking FB and Twitter
  • Attempt to write. Get about 4 sentences in and freeze and stare at the screen
  • Get up, shower, and get ready for the day
  • Go to leave the house to feed the horses, take care of Miss Cleo the Pemphigus queen, and go grocery shopping only to discover that you have left your entire purse with your keys in it in the husband’s car. Fuck
  • Call your mother to come chauffer you around. Argue with said mother about how her Toyota will not get “stuck in the mud” at your horse barn while going to feed the horses
  • Accompany mother to the grocery store for cheese. She did not buy “just cheese”
  • Be forced to look at yet again another piece of property your mom thought was “nice” even though you are already under contract with the Farm 🙂
  • Return home to clean the entire kitchen like a mad woman and wash nearly every dish in the house
  • Scrub the hardwoods and use a vinegar rinse to make them shine. Complain loudly when the cat leaves prints all over them 30 seconds later
  • Do 118 loads of laundry. Try to figure out why we own so many clothes but only 5 socks
  • Fold only 4 loads of those 118. Retire the rest to appropriate laundry baskets for a later date
  • Clean all the litter boxes. Then sweep the hardwoods you just mopped because you tracked dirty cat litter all over the house by accident because there was a hole in the garbage bag
  • Clean all of the countertops in the house. Consider hand scrubbing the garden tub. Rethink having a big tub in the new house. Change mind and watch more Housewives episodes
  • Make lunch
  • Clean up after lunch which means yet again wash dishes
  • Eat 30 gluten free animal crackers. Could have been 31. Who’s counting really?
  • Pour through the cabinets and the fridge and decide on something for dinner. Other than pasta. Which you had for lunch because 1) you are lazy and B) pasta is Life
  • Thumb through a few magazines to get ideas for the new house. Realize the house you are currently living in is crap. Get depressed and go back to cleaning
  • Text the husband
  • Answer a call from the realtor, followed up by 3 more hours of texting to clarify “annexation”
  • Welcome son home. Find out that he needs help with a project. That is due tomorrow. And he needs to go buy stuff to make. Crap
  • Have to wait until husband gets home with purse
  • Welcome husband home and yell at the dog for barking too much. Again
  • Gas up the husband’s car
  • Drive into Raleigh to give the cat meds that you missed this morning because again, you did not have a purse or car keys
  • Clean another litterbox and fold more laundry
  • Stop at Sheetz on the way home for a fountain Diet Mt Dew. Hell I earned it. I survived another hump day people
  • Feed the pets. Again
  • Begin making dinner while simultaneously check 15 emails from the realtor. Curse loudly when you realize a mistake on one of the documents that is the seller’s fault
  • Threaten to drink wine on a weeknight
  • Eat dinner with the family while sharing the dining room table with the teenager’s project
  • Clean the kitchen. Again
  • Help teenager with project. That he messed up. Twice
  • Interrupt Facetiming with his friends to pop your head into the screen and say “hi”
  • Appreciate when said friends say they wish you were their mom
  • Burn your fingers with hot glue while trying to fix blasted atom project
  • Help son make a large clock to wear around his neck during his presentation. Make a Flava Flav reference and endure strange look from teenager. Tells him to Google it for full effect
  • More damn laundry
  • Put away project supplies so that the cat won’t eat them
  • Grind coffee and clean Yeti coffee canister for husband’s coffee in the morning
  • Put clean dishes away. Wish you had a housemaid like those rich folks up North
  • Put pajamas on, wash face, take out contacts, adorn obnoxious fuzzy socks to keep feet warm
  • Fall into bed to finish this blog post for the day
  • Forget to take sinus meds. Go back into the kitchen to take them and realize that there are no cold bottled water. Restock the fridge
  • Finally done for the day. Listen to Beethoven while yet again trying to finish this damned post
  • Voila!

Hope you enjoyed this latest episode of “Living with Gigi”. Who knows….tomorrow I might do something super exciting, like yardwork!!!!

Sweet Dreams……..zzzzzzzzzzzGigi

Farm house kinda feeling

farmhouseIt’s raining, I have a nasty sinus infection, and I have not enough coffee to keep these sleep deprived eyes open. So what better than a blog entry folks??! Lately my thoughts and days have been consumed with the farm and all of these things that we will have to do to get it up and running. This venture is going to take years to get off the ground but I am super excited about it. Who knows….maybe in a few years  we’ll start having small weddings and events in the vineyard and rent out the tasting room (which will be the 100 year old farmhouse we will be renovating that is already on the property). Sadly though it is in very poor condition which makes me wonder if we can even save it. Our builder came out and surveyed the property for the new house last week and he thinks that the farm house is too far gone to make any kind of serious renovation. So we’ll have to see I guess. It was in this family for over 4 generations but it has remained abandoned and empty for the past 15 years. old houseThere is a terrible leak in the roof, the walls are caving in, and there is black mold growing on the walls. I am fairly sure that the original wood on the outside of the house (which was covered over with vinyl siding) is eaten up with termites as the front porch is starting to fall apart from the pest damage. I am sure that the paint is all lead based and that the ceiling and walls have asbestos in them. As much as I would love to save this house, I am not sure if it is fiscally responsible to invest so much money in trying to save the thing. We’re going to try though. First step is to get my home inspector that I already work with to come in and survey the damage. Then I guess the hubs and I can make a more informed decision and just go from there.

We are blessed to have enough space on the farm to build the new house on a completely different part. Our house will overlook the little farm house, back and to the right of the front pasture area. The house will be located in the back away from the road frontage, with the Morton Barn, equipment barn, and fenced pasture area in the front. Our fence will look very similar to the pic on the left that you see. horse fencingWe will probably leave about 5-6 acres for our “yard” and then leave about 10-12 acres for the front pasture. We have enough space to make another pasture in the back of the property if we really decide to get back into the horse business but for now just the one barn and pasture for my boys will do. They are older horses so they don’t do much running around these days. Hopefully we can start working the ground and planting a good quality fescue before the house is ready so that we can have the pasture established enough to move my guys right around the same time the house will be finished. I would hate to commute from the old barn to our new property but if I have to make it work for awhile, then so be it. It’s only about 15 miles so not too shabby. While the house is being finished we will also till under the other land tracts and plant a clover cover crop to add more nutrients to the soil and help with any fungus that may be hanging out underground. Realistically the farm won’t have it’s first “real” season until 2019 but it will be worth the wait if we can get the right prep work done. It also gives us time to decide if we want to tackle wines or not. Wine is very daunting and in NC there are quite a few small successful vineyards. Not sure if we want to play with the big boys with our mere 50 acres. We have been given the option to purchase the remaining 15 acres across the street but for now we are forgoing that to concentrate on the land we have already purchased. If we do buy it this summer we will grow fescue hay on it until we decide what we really are set on.

But back to the farm house itself. In order to preserve the heritage of the farm, we have decided to go old school with just a touch of modern (see the big pic above). We want to do rustic real wood floors and big wood beams in the kitchen. The house will have lots of windows to let in plenty of natural light and showcase the gorgeous landscape outside. There will be a real wood burning fireplace in the living room that will be double sided and back up to the fireplace outside on the screened in porch off the master. All of these fabulous plans were designed by me but are being drawn up by a local Raleigh architect who has won tons of awards for his designs and who has planned several Parade Homes. As silly as this sounds, I would love for our house to be a Parade Home. I know that sounds pretentious but we are going to incorporate so many neat elements in the house that I would love to share them with other people who love the farm house design. For example, the original farm house on the property has an antique Hotpoint stove that I plan on using in the new house. stove19Of course I will have to have the entire wiring redone but when it is finished it will add that vintage element to the kitchen that I just love!!! In the end if we have to have the farm house torn down I will try to reuse every single little thing in the new house to try to preserve the memories of the family and carry on the farm house legacy in a new way. There are lots of large, old solid wood doors that I would love to use as well as the original wrought iron door knobs and brackets. Right now the house stands exactly as it was 15 years ago when the last heir passed away. All of her effects are still in the house and I have to admit, it’s heartbreaking. Apparently from what we have learned about the family history, there was a huge family fight between the heirs and the two sides of the family. When the last daughter passed away, the family was in such a disagreement that the house was left untouched. Nothing has been removed. Even her toothbrush and shampoo are still in the bathroom. In the south when a family member passes away the traditional thing to do is the family comes to the house, goes through the loved ones belongings, and sorts out who inherits what. But in this case, everything was left completely intact. Not a thing was removed. So when we finally close on the property and get the keys we will legally own everything in the barns and the house that hasn’t been removed. Kinda creepy I know. We are hoping that the family will go through the house in the next month to remove what they want to during the due diligence period. After that legally everything becomes ours and trust me….I will put a lot of the belongings to good use. There are many gorgeous antiques peppered throughout the house that I would love to incorporate in our new house. So now it’s just a wait and see to find out what and when the family will remove their belongings. Here’s just a few pics below of some of the items that are still in the house at this moment……..

 

In a nutshell, these are my mind’s workings as of late. I swoon over light fixtures. I pour over design magazines. I beg hubby to go to country auctions with me to start gathering our furniture hoard for the new place. It’s like I’m having a hot, steamy illicit affair but with a house LOL! Of course we have a long, long way to go. We still have to sell the hubs house in the city, the house we are currently living in, and wait out the 8-12 months that it will take to finish the farm house. It’s a lot. It will be trying, stressful, and an absolute financial nightmare. But in the end I truly feel it will be worth it. This isn’t just a house here. It’s a lifestyle. It’s a legacy for our children and families. Trying to get back to the simpler things. Trying to unplug a little bit. Going back to my farming roots. And hoping it doesn’t kill me in the process! I’ll keep everyone posted as more details come. And maybe if I actually have time I’ll post some bridal info to keep all my Brides out there current.

Stay savvy…… Gigi

A serious post about Cyber Stalking

stalkI hate that I even have to write a post about this subject. And chances are, because you simply CANNOT restrict everything that one does on the internet, the person stalking me is reading this at the same time as you are. Let me give you a little background into what I am experiencing in hopes that someone else can relate and maybe find comfort knowing that they are not alone.

I have been stalked before so this is nothing new,IRL and also online. Mostly by jaded exes when I was in my younger years. But this individual is not someone I have ever dated. This person was a former friend and coworker. This person made the decision one day many years ago to constantly involve herself in the details of my dating life. She would consistently cyber stalk the people I was dating without my knowledge. To be honest I knew nothing of it until a guy actually broke things off with me because he couldn’t stand to get one more “crazy” message from this alleged friend. I honestly thought he was nuts. But just to make sure, I asked all of my friends at the time if anyone had been contacting the people I was dating. Time and time again the answer was no. Even the person actually causing all the trouble looked me in the eye and said no right to my face. So I let it go. I dismissed what happened and I just moved right on with the pace of my life. Over the years, strange things began to happen. People I dated continue to tell me that this one person was contacting them. Exes began approaching me with the same information, telling me that this person was divulging in very personal information. On more than one occasion an ex said that this individual followed them or conveniently showed up where they were going. My female friends began telling me that this person was approaching them on social media, requesting to be friends and inquiring information about me. Time and time again I confronted this person who continuously had an answer of no. I began to distance myself and even called off the friendship entirely. I told her never to contact me, my family, or any of my friends again. It seemed to work for awhile but then she began to target my new fiancé and my son. She even messaged my sister pretending to show fake concern for my well being. Things truly got out of hand and again I told her that under no circumstance was she to ever contact me or any of my family or friends. I was called a few names of course and she denied everything. I blocked her on every social media outlet that I frequented as well did my family and friends. She was warned that if she had any further contact that a restraining order would be issued. To this day I know she trolls this blog as well as my business Facebook page. I know from time to time she continuously tries to make contact with friends of friends just to see what I am doing. A few days after our wedding she even found a way to message me on social media sending her love and congratulations even though she has been blocked from my account for months. I finally went into my social media accounts and deleted and blocked every single person that could have a link to her in someway. Sadly, there is no real way to prevent her from following this blog. But if she is reading this, she should be ashamed of herself. A grown woman who is harassing my family and myself for what purpose???? It’s really sad that in this day and age we truly are not safe. Everything that we do is monitored and watched. I had honestly considered just deleting all of my social media accounts but that is how I keep in touch with both sides of my family and my high school and college friends. It’s sad to think that every time I log into my WordPress I am wondering if she has read the latest post. Which is why if you noticed I try not to put places in my blog posts. I don’t want her knowing where I live, where I work, or what I am doing at any time. And I am sure that most of you reading this have had a similar situation. It’s sad that you can’t really be safe nowdays but then again, people overshare on social media way too much. I am guilty of this as well. Every time I check in somewhere, I let people know where I am and who I am with. Every time I tweet where I’m grabbing a quick bite for lunch, I let people know exactly where they can find me. Every time I post a picture of my son, I am compromising his safety. These are things that we seriously need to start thinking about. My dad used to always say, “Safety First”. And he’s right. You can’t be too careful. I know this post is not my usual but it is a very important subject that I feel needs to be addressed. In today’s world of smart phones, laptops, tablets, and Alexa…..we just need to be mindful. You can never be too cautious. Just remember that the next time you post something online. And pay attention to the people that follow you, message you, and like your social media when you truly are not friends. You could be missing red flags. If something feels off then it usually is. Frequently check your social media to see who is following you. Check your privacy settings to see who can see what you post. Block and delete people if necessary. Keep some parts of your life private. Not everyone needs to know that you are grabbing a bagel and a cup a joe at the new hippest hang out in the area. And if you do decide to post, wait until you are no longer there. Checking in gives strangers in the area that may be following you the chance to pop in and see exactly what you could be doing. Is that extra like really worth it??? Nope! In some ways, I’ll be so glad when we move to the Farm. The only people I will be talking to on a daily basis are my hubby, son, mom, my horse, my goat, and the chickens in the yard. Peace and quiet isn’t always a bad thing. Neither is distancing yourself from people who could be potentially dangerous. Just use your common sense and go with your gut. Gut feelings are seldom wrong. Learn to trust them about people and situations. And try unplugging a little bit more.  Your soul and family will thank you for it.

 

Safety first my friends. Safety first……… Gigi