The agony of selling real estate

One word…ughhh.  Is that even a word?  It is to me, right here and now as we are in the middle of escrow, about to hopefully close on our rental property sale.  Dealing with lenders, underwriters, agents and all others involved is exhausting to say the least.  Our escrow snafu entails some verbiage in a homeowner’s association insurance policy, which is nothing short of 400 pages for all parties to review.  Both super boring and super unexciting and all parties involved point fingers at everyone else as to what the hold up is.  The joys of real estate transactions…here’s hoping it is over soon and we successfully close escrow on time next week!

It is sometimes difficult to be patient when dealing with other people because I sometimes want to wring their necks (as my Mom would say) when they don’t cooperate and get their business handled in a timely manner.  I am extremely assertive and aggressive when it comes to managing phone calls, checking things off of my to-do list and just, how do you say, getting shit done.  It boggles the mind when others around you are not on the same page.  Maybe that is the learning lesson in all of this.  Maybe.

Forgive yourself

I have felt a little bit like a failure, yet again, in regards to my diet because I have been straying off of my strict course since my knee surgery.  I have been so incredibly committed to myself for the past few months that since, for the past 10 days roughly, I have been eating whatever I want, I felt like I failed.  Failed myself yet again.

It took me a few days to process it.  With the constant support from my husband, who always tells me how beautiful I am, I finally processed it all today and came to my conclusion – who cares that I had a few day lapse in strict eating, I had surgery and have gone through a lot!  I have to cut myself a break sometimes (so much easier said than done for me because I am my absolute harshest critic).

So I write this as a renewed commitment to myself.  I am back on board with caring for myself and being conscious of my choices.  I will not dwell on the small mistakes I have made but I will rather celebrate all of the progress I have made.  I will continue to work hard because I am worth working hard for.  If we don’t make ourselves a priority, aren’t our priorities out of whack?

I look forward to being able to work out and move my body soon, after I become more mobile and continue to heal.  So not only do I have my renewed sense of self to be happy about today but I also have the upcoming arrival of my Mom, who is visiting us on Friday!  And I also have The Bachelorette on tonight and it starts in 5 minutes.  The only thing that would make tonight better would be having my husband at home with me (I miss him a lot since he is at work).  Cheers and goodnight ♥

Attack of the Natural Deodorants

All people sweat.  It is the body’s natural way of cooling off.   Some people sweat more than others and not everyone sweats from the same parts of their bodies.  While most sweat from their armpits, others might also sweat from the palms of their hands (me!) or anywhere else a pore is located on your body.  When we experience turbulence on an airplane, I clench Hugo’s hands as if he is my lifeline to safety.  With the anxiety of a bumping flight, my hands sweat like no other, sometimes even requiring me to wipe my hands on my pants.  Anyways, enough gross info about my clammy hands, time to progress to the topic at hand.  Since Hugo happens to sweat heavily and he also has to work 20 hour days at work once or twice a week (with this week’s temps in SoCal reaching well over 100 degrees) , we have cycled through deodorants in a never-ending search for an effective product that is also within our health parameters.

To start, we do not wear antiperspirants for two reasons.  The primary reason being that antiperspirants are made with aluminum, which we intend to avoid at all costs.  Aluminum in antiperspirants has been linked to everything from breast cancer to Alzheimer’s disease.  I don’t care if topical aluminum exposure was only linked to a head cold, I would still avoid it.

The second reason for not wearing antiperspirants is the fact that the goal of antiperspirants is to block your body’s ability to sweat, which is a natural function that should not be stopped.  Sweating plays a necessary role in our bodies by cooling us off and it is completely unnatural to attempt to stop that process.

Through the years, Hugo and I have been involved in a never-ending quest to find an effective natural deodorant.  I took the attached picture of just a few of the many products we have tried in the past six months or so but there have been countless other brands that haven’t made the cut.  We have tried Tom’s products (not that great), Burt’s Bees (also not that great) and Origins No Offense deodorant (expensive but it works a bit better than the others).  We also tried another really interesting product that we found on Amazon called Organic Island Deodorant with Probiotics.  That product is very interesting.  Effective, yes, but it is devoid of scent.  You can mix it with essential oils, which we tried in the small tub version, but in the end, Hugo’s pits are the judge and they gave it a B-.

Finally, a recent gift from my Mom proved to be one of the best smelling, strongest odor-fighting sticks we have found.  As always, Mom to the rescue! Introducing… Nubian Heritage African Black Soap Deodorant.  Per Hugo, it works quite well and he has a pretty damn good opinion regarding natural deodorants because he has probably tried upwards of twenty different brands in the past couple of years.  I am a bit puzzled as to why it received such mediocre reviews on Amazon (as evidenced through my link).  I didn’t read the reviews but it could also be judged by people who are used to harsh chemical products, which undoubtedly work well, however they are absolutely awful for you.

Hopefully this short piece on attempting to cure stinky pits will serve to inform at least one person out there about the harmful effects of aluminum and the many options that serve as healthier alternatives.

Shark Week Begins!

Just a friendly reminder that Shark Week begins in less than two hours on the West Coast and if you are on the East coast, it already began! And if you are on another coast, check your local listings!  I can’t help but use all of these exclamation points out of pure excitement!  Now go turn on Discovery Channel!

Finding your true North

What am I supposed to do with the rest of my life?  My first 34 years are behind me and I can’t take back any of the things I have done.  I haven’t done anything wrong in those years but all of the time is gone.  Since I don’t know how many more years I have left, how do I know what kind of time frame I have to accomplish my unknown tasks?  I have just under a hundred directions I want to go and just as many careers I want to pursue.  Hugo and I have tons of places we intend to visit, the majority of which I would run off to right now if work didn’t get in the way.  I wish someone could tell you where to go and what to do with your life.  As if there was a perfect answer to the scrolling questions and unfinished sentences in my head.  As if a script was already written, you were handed a guidebook along with a bag of survival tools, and you embarked on the path.  As bland as that may sound, it might be easier at times than having to navigate in the dark on your own.  Are you right where you should be or should you take a drastic risk and it will prove successful?  Of course the main fear we all have is that it won’t work out and I will find myself disappointed in failure and angry with poor decisions.

All of those thoughts stem from my recent internal battle over what direction to go with my life.  It isn’t a true mid-life crisis because, Spaghetti Monster willing (please comment if you get that reference rather than the typical ‘God willing’ phrase), I have well more than roughly thirty more years left on this planet.  Maybe 30 years left on Earth and another thirty on Mars?  Just kidding.  I am simply hoping for another sixty healthy years with Hugo by my side.

My recent thoughts originate from a few levels – my frustration with my current career, the thought of so many of my interests not being explored, and the feeling that every day I go to work doing what I am currently doing, I feel as if my days could be much more satisfying to me if I could throw myself into one of my many entrepreneurial interests.  There really isn’t any way of knowing if I never take the leap to make a change.  But gosh that is scary.

For now, I will just keep sitting here and plotting my next moves.  Day dreaming about the bakery I want to open, the real estate endeavors I want to take, and the endless business ventures I want to cannonball into like a teenager at the edge of a rocky edge in a sweltering summer day.  In fact, it is quite hot outside on this particular Sunday afternoon so maybe a cannonball would be appropriate right now.

Writer’s Note:  I haven’t shared this blog with anyone in my family, other than my husband, mother and father.  Apparently my parents thought that the point of all this was for me to express myself, pose rhetorical questions, and share my deepest, darkest thoughts…and then THEY would reply with tips and suggestions on how to fix it.  I understand that this is the natural parental response because they care about and love me HOWEVER, that is most definitely not the intention.  I assured my mother on the phone today that I didn’t go through the effort of writing so that I could inform them of my feelings by way of a daily post.  If I get one more email from them that includes “Dad found you some nail-biting solutions on Google”, I might have to take extreme measures (dare I say Mom and Dad get blocked?!). Love you both very much ♥




Bad habits and good routines – Why is it so damn hard??!?

As I sit here pondering my next blog topic and biting my nails, it occurred to me, I was actively participating in my next blog topic.  Biting my nails has been a bad habit, an awful habit actually, that I have struggled with for all of my adolescent and adult life.  Through the years I have successfully quit for as long as a year or so, only to slowly resume the habit out of stress, anxiety and pure routine.  Everything in me wants to quit and never do it again.  I have painted my nails, tried diversionary tactics like chewing gum and I even applied that toxic, off-putting and foul-tasting, gross, anti-bite nail polish (I really don’t know how else to describe the rancid taste that stuff from the 90’s had and that’s not to mention that it was probably hazardous to my health).

With all of that said, I still can’t quite figure out how to make a new routine.  The new routine being that I do not reach for my own hand to nibble on when I am spacing out, thinking, nervous or any combination of the above.  It really is a strange habit and I know I am not alone with the struggle to change it.  After a quick Google search, I discovered that researchers do not have any idea why humans do it and as many as 20-30% of adults actively bite their nails!  That is a pretty remarkable number if you think about it.  What I do know is that it may be a learned habit, just as many things are.  My mother bites her nails, while my father and husband do not.  My husband’s parents do not, which may also explain why he doesn’t and is incredibly turned off by the habit.

It’s a funny thing really – I bite my nails, however, when I see someone else engaging in the self-mutilating activity, I too am disgusted by the behavior.  If only I could continue to remember how it makes me feel to witness it when I am about to put hand to mouth (even writing that sentence grossed me out).  And that leads me to the other side of the coin.  On the one side we have bad habits and the difficulty we have in breaking them.  From biting nails to quitting smoking, habits become a part of us that are difficult, if not damn near impossible, to change.

Flip to the other side and you have good routines, the pleasant step sister to bad habits.  Just as bad habits can be a straight uphill battle to break, our healthy routines can be extremely difficult to create and implement in our lives.  How many New Year’s Day diets and exercise routines have we seen come and go with people you know?  And finally, as the most advanced species on the planet, I find it pretty remarkable that we are responsible for breakthroughs like walking on other planets and cloning creatures yet we cannot master our own bodies.  Shedding weight, from ten pounds to hundreds, or eliminating bad behaviors, like biting our nails or smoking, from our routine are real struggles that consume entire lifetimes for some people

Sometimes it makes me feel incredibly weak as a person to not be able to just change something about myself that I want to change.  I know I am not alone in having things about myself that I wish to see improve and that, in itself, is the human struggle.  Identifying your own struggle and working towards improvement, however slight it may be, is a battle worth engaging in.

Rules of Engagement (Part 5)

The fifth and final installment of this series is all about our animal instincts.  Deep down we are all animals and if you believe in evolution (like any sound-minded individual should) then you know that we have inherited our traits, such as fierce loyalty and protecting our loved one, from our ancestors.  Traits such as these should be celebrated and admired because without them, family units would not stay intact throughout generations.

Being loyal to who you love and what you believe in is one of the most admirable qualities someone can possess.  I can only speak for myself but I do know that I bond to people for life.  And once I am bonded, that’s it.  All bets are off and I will be by your side until the end.  I have said this many times, when talking about my connection with Hugo to people – if we both lost our jobs and ended up living in a van, down by the river (RIP Chris Farley), I would happily live in that van with him.  I could decorate it very nicely and we would enjoy the river-front location together.

As I ponder what it means to be protective of those that you love, I can’t help but also think of the word jealousy.  Jealousy normally has a negative connotation but I truly believe that a small, healthy amount of jealousy is a good thing.  For instance, when my husband’s phone beeps with four text messages all of a sudden and when asked, he replies that it is from a female coworker, I can’t help but feel like, “Who the hell is this girl?!!?!”  Now, I know I have nothing to worry about because Hugo loves me beyond belief and he would never cheat on me.  I truly know that.  But the animal side of KK can’t help but perk her ears up, have her back arched, and swat her tail back and forth.  Hugo is the prize I hold dearest to my heart and I protect him like a hungry lioness guards a fresh kill from nearby hyenas.

I think all women, and men for that matter, actually have those instinctual feelings, and it isn’t anything to be ashamed of.  I joke with my husband all of the time about how I feel because he should know.  It is actually a bit flattering to have your significant other get a little worked up over someone else potentially being interested in them.  And don’t kid yourself – when I have been flirted with or pursued by other men, Hugo postures up and flares his nostrils, so to speak, as well.