This Catlady has turned 40!

Yes, it’s true, I turned 40 this Summer and I don’t feel any different. Do we really feel any different when we get a year older? I joke that I feel like an 80 year old, but seeing my 80 year old neighbors get around, I might be feeling much older! I don’t put a lot of stock on birthdays, I’ve never been one to want a birthday party or big get together’s. I’d much rather order my favorite Thai food and stay home and watch episodes of Snapped or Dateline. Yes, I’m really 80! I did make some major changes this summer, including weaning off a medication that I hated taking to begin with. It was meant to control my chronic pain, but it honestly wasn’t making a huge difference. It was a really rough two months, but I’m proud I’ve come off it. I still take medications, but coming off that one was a big accomplishment. We also decided to stay put in our apartment. If you’ve read any of my previous posts, you’d know that we’ve had quite the drama where we are now, but financially, and the fact that my cats are happy here, weighed out the negatives, for now.

I’ve been occupying my time with a new “hobby” which is of trial watching. I’ve always had this fascination with trials and watching true crime shows, but now they allow cameras in many courtrooms and I can watch right from my TV. It’s like a soap opera, but real life drama. I’ve also listened to spreecasts about trials and follow many fellow trial fans on twitter. I’ve rekindled my love of baseball, specifically the St. Louis Cardinals, so I’ve been watching each of their games. I’m looking forward to football and basketball season; I just recently completed my fantasy football draft, go Maneaters! I’ve tried out new recipes and enjoy cooking, but I much rather cook during the Fall and Winter months, versus the Summer. I hate the Summer and heat!

My cats are all doing great. We still miss our beloved Woodrow, but our newest kitty, Minnie, has been a very welcome part of our family. Chase is still a bully, but he makes up for it with cute points by fetching a ball. My Tux is still my gentle giant. All of us have gotten older, but we’re still hanging in there. I’m still focusing on my health and may be getting together with a casual group of ladies, who also have fibromyalgia. It might be nice to meet with a group of ladies who share the same difficulties. I don’t get out of my apartment much, both because of chronic pain and the fact that I’m a homebody. It may be nice to force myself out every now and then.

This catlady is now 40, but I don’t feel that much different than 39.

My Apartment Search Ended Where It Began

As I previously wrote, this past Saturday, my mom and I went to check out four other apartment complexes to see if they would be a better fit for my husband and I. Specifically, issues related to wanting a washer and dryer located inside my apartment and an apartment that has a better sound proofing system. All of the apartments we looked at were one bedrooms, as having the washer and dryer in the unit, makes the price hike up pretty significantly. So a one bedroom is downsizing from the two bedroom, hardwood floor, apartment we currently live in, with the washer and dryer located in the basement. All the apartments I found were online based on a specific search within our price range. I scheduled for us to see four complexes and we rated three other apartments, online, that didn’t have any for us to look at this Saturday. I created a paper with a score sheet for us to each rate, so that we could provide each other with appropriate feedback.

The first apartment was not a good contender. First off, it was pretty dark because it had trees in front of the only windows in the unit and when you stood at your front door, to the right was the window to your bedroom. As a person who is very safety conscious, that was not going to work for me. The bathtub was somewhat dirty, it had a yellowed tint to the plastic covering the tub. We left that location and went to the second apartment. During the down time between each appointment, we drove by the other three we rated online, which were all a “no” when we saw them outside. They did not appear neat and clean and I just didn’t get a good feeling from them. The second apartment was my favorite of the four of the day. We got to ride around in a golf cart, that sounded like it was on it’s last leg, but it got us around the property. We loved the one bedroom unit, but the one they would have available in our time period was a third floor unit. I had lived on a third floor apartment previously, and I vowed I’d never do that again. Plus, avoiding stairs was a main concern, so that wasn’t going to work. There was a two story loft apartment, but it would not be private and it had stairs as well. The apartment was very cute, however, but it would cost us about $100 more a month than we currently pay.

The third apartment was probably the second favorite, however, the only one bedroom unit available, was located sandwiched in by four other units. So I’d only get light from the balcony, which had a very low overhang; I don’t like a dark apartment. My current apartment is more like a condo, it has light on both sides of the apartment, so I get a ton of natural light throughout the day. None of the apartments we looked at, provided windows on both sides of the unit. Most newer apartments don’t, however; my current one is an older fourplex. The last apartment we looked at was awful. The layout wouldn’t work for me and it honestly had the feel and look of a retirement community, plus it was farthest from my target area, and not located close to stores, like I am now. After the end of the search, we decided that we were best suited in my current apartment. Even though I have issues, like the poor sound proofing and having my washer and dryer located in the basement, it has positive aspects, including beautiful hardwood floors and newly renovated as we moved in. So it has the feel that we’re the first ones in this apartment since they updated it before we moved in. Also, we pay less for our two bedroom than we would for any of the one bedrooms that we looked at. Also, the new apartments are now making the tenant pay for water, sewer and trash, which is included where I live. That’s a new thing, because I’ve never had to pay that at any apartment I’ve lived in, in the past.

I do remember the first time I walked into my current apartment. I was in love, I knew it was my home. I love so many things about my apartment and always thought this would be my “forever” home. However, with a couple difficult neighbors and issues with management, I started to feel angry about my situation here. But, I realize that could happen anywhere. When we were leaving the first apartment, a tenant living there asked if I was looking to move there. I told her I was, which she quickly told me I’d be much better off looking elsewhere. She discussed how she’s complained about noise from her upstairs neighbor for the past two years, and they’ve done nothing. Which sounds awfully familiar here. I realize there’s going to be issues, no matter if you live in an apartment or a house. You can’t control the outside environment. But it was also very good for us to see what else was out there so I wouldn’t be wondering if I should move. Therefore, my apartment search made it clear, I’m already home.

My own “Home Hunters” Adventure

In the next week, my mom and I will be going on an adventure. Not quite the fun adventure one would think, but an apartment adventure. My husband is trusting of my decision, so he’s going to stay behind, per his choice. But, my mom and I are going to go search various apartments to see if there is one that might be a better fit for us now. If you’ve read my blog over the past year, you know that I’ve had many issues, namely noise issues with the poor, or zero, sound proofing our current apartment provides. The other issue my current apartment has is that the washer and dryer is in our basement. Although I’m grateful to have my own washer and dryer, I’d much prefer to have one located inside my apartment! Because of my health issues, sometimes it can become an issue bringing clothes up and down the stairs, especially when there’s more than one or two loads. Overall, it would just be a nice convenience to have my washer and dryer inside my apartment and avoid stairs. Also, the basement isn’t a finished basement, so it’s musty and leaks when it rains, so I’m always having to clean my washer and dryer because of the dirty basement. There are some great positives about my current apartment though. I love that we can get Uverse service where we live and I love that the apartment has beautiful hardwood floors; although, I’m not so thrilled my upstairs neighbor also has hardwood floors. Our lease is up in August, so we have some time to figure out what we’re going to do, which is nice that we have time to make an informed decision.

When I say informed, I really mean it. I’m a very organized person and I’ve already made a list of ten apartments that I want my mom and I to check out. My husband and I have decided that we’re ready to downsize for both financial reasons and to help me with having less to keep clean. So, I’ve gone online and researched apartments within my price range and made sure that they have a washer/dryer hookup inside the unit. Like I said, I have ten apartments that we plan to go look at, when my mom comes up to visit on the 24th of this month. I also have a lengthy list of amenities that we will score, 1 through 5, with 1 being very poor and 5 being excellent. Currently, my list includes the following:

Space for a washer/dryer inside the unit

Apartment has adequate sunlight

Apartment is safe and in a safe neighborhood

There is ample parking

Uverse is available

What are the pet fees

Are there move-in specials

Is there adequate bird watching for my kitties (trees/grassy areas outside the windows)

Are there positive/negative online reviews

Is the bathroom in good shape/bathtub appealing to bathe in

Will property provide a letter for my Circuit Breaker (which provides a taxable deduction on my rent)

How is the sound proofing

Is the kitchen updated

Is the apartment close to amenities, like shopping and my doctors

 

This is the list I have currently, I’d welcome any additions! I’m going to have this all typed out and easy to plug in the numbers. My mom and I will complete our scores separately, as well as score my current apartment, and after we’ve viewed all the apartments, come together to decide which is the best apartment for the money and amenities. I think it will be a fun adventure. My mom and I both enjoy shows like house hunters, so this will be like our own little “home hunters” version.

I’ll keep you posted on how it goes!

 

Cat On A Leash

My apartment complex is shaped in a large U and in the middle is a nice green area where people sit, kids play and birds chirp away in the trees. Several times I’ve noticed a tuxedo cat roaming around on a leash! I know that there are leashes for cats, but I’ve never seen one in action. Today, I got to see this cat up close and personal. The owner was walking him and she noticed my Minnie in the window and asked if she was a Maine Coon, which she is. I told her to hold on and showed her my tuxedo cat; her cat on the leash is also a tuxedo. She laughed and brought her cat up to our window. I thought my brat, I mean cat, Chase, might growl, but he was a gentleman and just stared back at the cat. I don’t think any of my cats would ever tolerate being on a leash; I think they’re so used to being indoor kitties, that taking them outside would be a culture shock. But, they enjoy watching the other kitty getting his exercise.

 

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To Reunion Or Not To Reunion

I’ve joined my senior class Facebook page, but I honestly don’t recognize many. Granted, we’ve all grown up and many have married, so I may not recognize their married name. But, I also don’t recognize their faces or even if they have their maiden names listed. Some of it could be due to my memory issues, thanks to fibro and RA. But, I wasn’t a fan of high school and wasn’t popular, at all. In fact, I hated just about everything to do with high school. I really don’t have any long term friendships from high school and quickly moved away, after graduating from my hometown’s college. I thought about moving back several times, to be closer to family. But, every time I consider it, there are many things that make me decide to stay where I’m at; which is about two hours away. I recently saw that we are approaching our 25th year anniversary, wow, don’t I feel old! Yep, I graduated in 1992, but they’re already talking about making plans for a reunion. I didn’t attend the other reunion, which I think was held for our 10 years. I really don’t remember many people and I don’t really think I’d have much to say.

Today I was thinking about it, and joked that it might be fun to go to the reunion with a “fake” life story. Like I’m a world traveler, or my husband is overseas and we’re so wealthy, living in the Hampton’s most of our time. I like to think I’d get my hair done up, makeup put on beautifully and possibly rent a nice car to arrive in. Since I didn’t attend the previous reunion, I have no idea what goes on at these things. I assume it’s a bunch of talks about kids and what they’ve done since they’ve last saw each other? I don’t have kids and I really don’t want to tell people that I’m legally disabled. I much rather like to keep that my own “secret”, granted, I say it on here, but I hate that look of, but you look just fine. I probably won’t attend and I’m ok with that. Maybe they’ll post pictures and I’ll still stare and wonder who the hell that was? For now, I’ll smile, looking at my graduation picture, thanking God above that I’m no longer in high school and far away from it.

I personally left that part of my life, far, far behind. Do you have any desire to attend your high school reunion?

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My Quick Fix on Decreasing Sound in my Apartment

About a year ago, my life was full of turmoil over my upstairs neighbor. We had a lot of issues, that I won’t rehash, but I’ve blogged about, many times. Today I was reading a post from the site, Apartment Therapy, and they asked a question about what you dislike most about your home? Well, that’s an easy answer for me, the lack of insulation and poor sound proofing. I realize that my upstairs neighbor can likely complain about our TV or voices, etc, since we can clearly hear him. I mean, I hear his phone ring and then hear him saying “hello”. I’ve lived in many apartments, and this is the first time I’ve lived in one where the sound proofing was apparently “left out”! I researched many ways to try and cut down on sound, such as adding thick drapes to shield out some noise and there’s even a spray paint that’s supposed to cut down on the acoustic sounds. But, all of this is costly, and we can’t do anything major, like adding a layer of insulation and sheet rock. We’ve alerted our new neighbor about the poor sound insulation, but that hasn’t done any good. He wears his cowboy boots everywhere, including above our bedroom at all hours, even at 4am, waking me up. It’s just a courtesy thing, and sadly, a lot of people don’t consider that their walking in heeled shoes would be a nightmare to the tenant below them.

We’ve learned that talking to our apartment manager was useless and only made the situation worse, much worse. So, we’ve decided we have to learn to deal with it, because financially, we’re not in a position to move. Plus, we’ve been here for five years and we really do love our apartment, with that major exception! I will say I’ve found a fairly decent solution to cutting down on some noises. I have a TV in my bedroom,  but because I have etiquette, I would never play my TV after 10pm as a common courtesy to my neighbor. I would certainly hope he wouldn’t turn his TV or radio on after a certain time, as well. The solution we came up with is, is getting wireless headphones. I researched online and we decided on a pair of RCA wireless headphones that we purchased on Amazon. We ended up loving them so much, we got two more pairs for our other TV’s. The sound quality is great and it blocks out all outside noises. I never feel guilty about watching TV late, in bed, and I can wear them walking around my house because they’re wireless. Another great feature, is that they run on rechargeable batteries! So, when my neighbor is having his loud days or it’s late at night, my wireless headphones help me to enjoy my TV show, versus cursing out my obnoxious neighbor!

Here’s a link to the headphones we got, I have had zero complaints and would highly recommend them to anyone! And no, I don’t work for RCA or get any financial gain from writing about them; although, that would be completely welcomed!

 

My Makeup Box Subscription Obsession

A few things I’ve been obsessed with lately are makeup subscription boxes! I mean, what’s better than getting a monthly box of makeup goodies? In my opinion, not much! If it were up to me, and not my checkbook, I’d be getting a box a day! But, for now, I get ipsy, which I really love. One of the best things about ipsy, is that they not only send cool samples of makeup products, but they always send a cute makeup bag to go with it. The bags are always different and really cute. Some of which you could totally use for your purse and one I thought would make a cute clutch bag. I also love birchbox, which I have sent to my mom, for a special mommy to daughter treat. Birchbox does have a male version of a box, but I can’t speak to how to great it is, since I’ve never purchased it. Both of these monthly boxes cost $10 per month. each,so overall, it’s not too much of an expense. My favorite is julep. If you see any of my pictures from instagram, you’ll quickly see that there is a tie between cat pictures and nail pictures. Julep is mainly about nail polish, but they also have great makeup selections. What I really love about julep is that they’re cruelty free! This is of course a very important topic for me, since I’m vegan, and an animal rights activist. Julep is a bit more at $20 per month, but they give the option to skip that month’s box and/or provide a choice of a selection from another box. When you sign up, you take a maven style quiz; I happen to be “classic with a twist” which explains my style perfectly. However, if I want to mix it up, I can certainly go into my maven box display and choose another box to be sent to me instead. I’ve yet to have a month where I’ve decided to forego a month. Who are they kidding? But, at $20 per month, I have to make sure that I really want that month’s selection. Typically, they send two nail polishes and a lip gloss or blush or eye shadow. It’s so much fun to receive my monthly box, it’s like Christmas opening them up. I’d love to start receiving the Elf box, but it’s a bit more and only comes out every 8 months, so I’ll pass for now. There are much more options for boxes, and it’s not only limited to makeup, there are nature, food and stationary boxes. Very fun! I’d say you get your money back because the samples are sometimes more than sample size. I’ve received full size item’s that I may not have considered purchasing before getting them in a box. I’ve recently took advantage of a 50% off sale with Elf and got some great deals for only $12. I absolutely love a DEAL! I also got a great deal from the body shop. Both Elf and the Body Shop are cruelty free brands, which is very important to me. Julep also let’s you get your first box for free, find the code on their website, http://www.julep.com/rewardsref/index/refer/id/444525/. You can also join ipsy by going here, http://www.ipsy.com/ladynicole. You can join birchbox by going here, https://www.birchbox.com/invite/r43h6.

 

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February Julep Box

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February Ipsy Box

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One of my favorite Julep Colors

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March Ipsy Box

If you check out my instagram pictures, on the right of the blog, you’ll see that I typically provide pictures of all of the bags I receive. It’s fun and fairly inexpensive. Granted, they’re a luxury item and it’s my one vice. I’ve always loved makeup, especially nail polish. I inherited that love from my grandmother, who was a Vanda saleslady. Anyone remember that makeup? She was always decked out, even when she was going to church. I remember when she started to get ready, from her hair, to face to her nails. It was an all afternoon affair, since she attended the Saturday evening mass at St. Augustine Catholic Church. She was a beautiful woman, who loved looking her best. She was and will forever be, one of my favorite role models. Love you Grandma!

So, if you love to pamper yourself and get a monthly gift of fun and unique makeup products, they you may just want to check out getting a box of your own. You can always cancel at any time. I mean, getting makeup next to a bunch of bills, does tend to take the sting out of it! I hope you enjoy your monthly boxes as much as I do! Enjoy my makeup friends!