Time for Two

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We were talking to friends of ours with kids recently about date nights and we all joked that when you’re married without kids, its always date night. Unfortunately, it also means that you probably take it for granted. We of course enjoy the occasional, get dressed up and make a night of dinner out, but it happens as rarely for us as probably does people with kids. Much of the reason is due to Adam being in hospitality and my being self employed, so most nights we don’t see each other at all. It’s funny, I can always tell when it’s been too long since we’ve had a good dose of together time because Adam gets clingy and wants my attention constantly and I go the opposite route and retreat further into an island of one. To try and avoid this, on the nights we are home together we always eat at the dining room table, but it’s not a long meal and we’re both guilty of being on social media much of dinner as it’s rare downtime for both of us. We used to have these quick, under an hour dessert dates but once I gave up sugar, we were sort of at a loss about what should replace those mini dates. After we moved we came up with the idea to fit in an activity in the evening together. If it’s nice out and we’re both home, we go to the pool or walk the dogs. It’s actually better than eating together as we actually talk to each other without phones or food in the way and we are both happier when active. The days when the evenings are full are more the problem. If Adam is home, I’m working and not always able to just drop everything to hang out. We sometimes try to squeeze in a lunch, but it’s tough. I’m hoping that when the weather cools down (and it’s not raining, we seem to have one or the other this year!) we can fit in more day walks with the dogs. What do you do to spend one on one time with your significant other? We’re always on the lookout for fun things to do that do not involve eating, alcohol or kids where we can actually talk to each other. It’s harder than you think to find them!

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Do it now vs Do it later

The snozzberries taste like snozzberries!
You know what we do agree on? That the snozzberries taste like snozzberries!

Have you read Getting Things Done by David Allen? If you have then you’ll know that he is very into the concept of doing something now if it takes less than 2 minutes to do. I too am also very into this concept and live by it. Adam on the other hand thinks it’s ridiculous. Although this is no big deal in our relationship over all, this difference in productivity tends to make us both frustrated with each other. For example, I will fold the laundry before leaving the house which he thinks is crazy and gets in the way of his being 30 minutes early to everything (we sit in the car upon arrival a lot). On the flip side, his leaving things all over the house to put away later makes me insane, as it will take 10 seconds to put it away now and be done with it. I actually end up cleaning up after him most of the time for this reason. I’m hoping that as he now gets the logic of “the key place”, he’ll eventually come around.

Are you a do it now or do it later person? What about your spouse?

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Divide and Conquer – how do you decide who does what in a relationship?

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Earlier today I had to laugh when there was a situation involving restaurant reservation making. I found myself getting all annoyed at having to log onto open table (so hard, I know!). While I muttered under my breath about Adam asking me to do his job, I thought once again about why in our marriage, we have very specific tasks that we each take care of. These are based on both skill and preference, as I certainty am capable of making reservations, I just for some reason really don’t like to, which is similar to Adam with laundry. Do you have assigned roles in your relationship with your partner (as in the love kind, not the business kind)?

A few weeks after Adam and I eloped, we moved from my apartment into which he had sort of moved, but not really, into a house new to both of us. The changes of both our marital status and living situation brought up new issues, mostly being who was responsible for what. Every relationship is unique like a snowflake and in our unique partnership, we both work and chose to not have children. However, there immediately were a few issues that we had to iron out as it seemed hard to get away from the “traditional” roles in who does what. For example, as I work from a studio in my home, it was assumed on Adam’s part that I would therefore do all of the “house keeping” chores. This did not sit well with me. Even with the help of someone who came in and cleaned every other week, there was still a good deal of upkeep that I did not have time to be doing while my work day was going on. Things like this has to be figured out over time and caused a good deal of yelling until we figured out a realistic plan of who does what. We also realized some interesting things such as having a cleaning person being in our house for 6 hours every Saturday was more annoying than sharing that work and doing it ourselves in a quarter of the time. As time went on, we started to divide tasks more and more, and sometimes sub divided (cleaning the house) tasks until we reached a point where we were pretty happy.

At the moment this is how we divide everything:

Sierra:
Cooking
Kitchen Cleanliness
Laundry
Grocery Shopping and Household Basics (for clothes for either of us, we actually go together which is both so dorky and sweet)
Schedules (for both of us, including travel)
Finances (if it involves money, it goes through me)
Dog Care (I organize it all and Adam does what I ask to help, which ends up being a bit less then half)
Personal Car Maintenance
Decorating
Dusting
Electronics/Technology (fixing, plugging in, trouble shooting, Adam just pushes it all towards me)
Anything involving wood, paint or floors
Keeping every single thing in the house/garage organized and in it’s place at all times (which oddly is not something that seems task like to me, its really more like breathing)

Adam:
Vacuuming
Cleaning Bathrooms
Washing Cars/Motorcycle
Personal Car/Motorcycle Maintenance (the motorcycle part could be a full time job)
Lawn Care
Gardening
Outdoor Holiday Decor (it’s a very big deal to him)
Plumbing (mild situations, we call for help if it’s possible he could make it worse, not better)
Anything involving the outside of the house
Garbage and Recycling Duty
Washes dishes after meals we eat together (for some reason we never use the dishwasher)
Communications (this one is HUGE. It’s equal in size to my handling our finances. It covers talking to any and all house related people such as repairs, lawn guys, if the internet goes out (unless I’m home alone) and people, making all dinner reservations, getting to know and being nice to the neighbors, making sure we are in touch with friends and family and on and on.)

It’s a pretty good divide and we seem to be doing well with this split. I wonder how much the assignment of chores has changed in the past few decades. Even though through history, besides for a few short decades in the US around the 1950’s, the majority of women have also worked, yet the bulk of the child care and house keeping used to fall mostly on them. Has this finally changed over time? Oddly we are also one of the few countries who does not have help in the home in the form of a cook and or house keeper regardless of class. The distribution of household tasks has always been a subject that fascinated me!

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Dueling Schedules

Adam & Sierra
A rare evening when neither one of us is working.

Being self employed and having my studio at home makes it so I can have a pretty flexible schedule, however the flexibility factor has been being put to the test recently and everything is failing. You see, Adam now has a schedule that is typical to restaurant management and is all over the place. Neither of us are functioning very well with it. It took Adam a month to be able to do anything besides sleep in the hours that he’s not at work and by trying to go along with when his routine, I was loosing my mind. You see, I love a good schedule. It helps keep my head clear and the blues away. Adam also like a good schedule, but he has no choice…I however do. Somedays he has to be at work at 7am, some days 4pm and some days in between. Some night he gets home as late as 3am. When he gets home, the dogs go crazy and jump on my head and bark and as Adam is all amped up from work, he adds to the chaos and I wake up and can’t go back to sleep. Being a night owl anyway, the obvious choice was for me to work until 1 or 2am, so I’m up when he gets home. The problem is that on the days his schedule is the opposite of this, we don’t see each other as he goes to bed by 11pm and I am still wide awake. Honestly, it’s better than when I was trying to mimic his schedule, as Adam loves naps, he was making up for lost sleep, I was however just working through the longer days and exhausting myself. Mimicing his crazy schedule is not the answer. So what we’re doing seems to be the best option at the moment for us though. It’s just hard to get used to.

Do you have the opposite schedule as your spouse? How do you deal with it? Any tips for making sure you still get in a bit of face time each day?

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Baby, You Can Drive My Car

Out for a drive together this summer…just a random semi relevant photo
Out for a drive together this summer…just a random semi relevant photo

Hello everyone, Adam here. Car shopping is usually a fun thing for everyone, right? I enjoy it. I love cars!! I take my time car shopping, I like to do my homework. Sierra and I set a price point that we thought was fair and good for our budget. I shopped online and asked around which dealers people like in Austin. I knew all along I would get a VW and my brother suggested we go to the dealer north of Austin in Round Rock. I started checking the dealers inventory online and deciding which car I wanted. So many pretty cars, such difficult choices. I really wanted to get a GTI but used GTI’s seem to be few and far between. Sierra also suggested that I may eventually get frustrated with the size of a GTI. I golf and we didn’t even think my clubs would fit inside such a little car. I ended up finding a bunch of really nice Jetta’s with reasonably low mileage. Obviously when they day came to go to the dealer Sierra accompanied me. Thank goodness too. Sierra is my voice of reason, without her, bad things would happen. Arriving at the dealer, immediately I start drooling over all the cars. These people sure do know what they are doing. So many badass cars just enticing me all over. When the salesman started our tour he quickly took me to cars out of our budget. I thought Sierra was gonna lose it. She stayed composed and walked away for a moment. I wouldn’t say I quickly put the salesman in his place and stuck to the plan but I eventually said something and got us back on track with the plan Sierra and I had set in place. We toured many different lots and finally the last car we looked at was the one that was meant for me. 2012 VW Jetta and it was a stick. I love manual vehicles. You can’t pretend you are a race car driver or actually be one in an automatic. Before entering negotiations I pulled Sierra aside and let her know that she was gonna have to be the muscle in this particular situation because I am pretty much every salesmans dream customer. They sat us down right in front of the most awesome cars in the joint and I kept nudging Sierra and would be like lets just get that car its amazing. Of course these cars were way out of budget but I didn’t care. So now Sierra is negotiating with me and the salesman. I have to admit I have never bought a car from a dealer, I have purchased all my cars via Craigslist and I am good at negotiating with common folk. I had no idea what I was doing, if it weren’t for Sierra I would have left the dealer with the most expensive car on the lot and gotten a terrible trade in value on my car. Sierra didn’t take any bullshit and she negotiated a sweet deal. So as much as I want to be the stereotypical man in a situation like this, I am not. Sierra is the shark with the money situations and thank goodness for that. I got to drive away in a hot new car and Sierra put some extra money in our pockets on top of that. Watch out salesmen you are no match for my wife, she will out beast you all any day!!

~

Hey there, Sierra here. So as Adam shared with you, it was recently time for him to buy a new car. He had been talking about it for months. We had discussed an amount he wanted to spend and had a plan. The plan was basically that he would buy a newer version of the car he loved when we met, which he regretfully sold a couple of years ago. Since the day he sold it, Adam has talked about how much he wished he didn’t. It was nothing crazy, a 5 speed VW Jetta that made him feel like a race car driver and yet not be something he’d get himself arrested or hurt in. Every time he would start to think he wanted something else, we agreed that I was to remind how much he has missed and talked about the Jetta he sold. For months he obsessed over listings, you name the source, he checked it daily. Finally he decided on a dealership and made a plan to go. My presence was requested…I tried to get out of it, but he said I needed to be there. I realized why the second we arrived. Adam had already been talking to one of sales guys for a few weeks, as I said, he was obsessed and had already told him the prices range and what he was looking for. However, when we arrived Adams ADD kicked into high gear and he was led off in the direction of not only the 2015 cars, but the most expensive ones on the lot. I decided that he could handle it and called my sister to talk me down from taking over the whole thing. Which helped until I saw that he was about to test drive a car about 3 x’s what he had wanted to spend. In the 5 minutes I had been on the phone he went from wanting his dream car to looking at the high end SUV’s. Luckily my arrival into the conversation prompted Adam to remember what he was looking for in the first place and we got back on track. Finally after about an hour of driving around the lots in a golf cart searching for the holy grail, we found it…and it was like the heavens opens and the angels began singing when he saw it. His dream car was found at last. We headed back to the office where again, I figured I would let Adam take control, but um…no. A piece of paper was presented with the trade in offer for his car and the sale price of the Jetta and Adam took it and said…”oh that looks great, thank you!!”. Seriously, I was almost too in shock to butt in, but hehe, we all know that wasn’t going to stop me. I physically threw my arm across Adam to block him and jumped forward to take over and actually negotiate. I’ll chalk it up to my having bought cars from dealerships before as having had experience trading in. We’ll just leave it at that. And to let you have peace in mind in knowing that we not only knocked a few thousand off the price and declined on all unnecessary add on costs, but that Adam’s dream car is now happily parked in our garage.

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A Place For Everything and Everything In It’s Place

Celebrating our two year anniversary (in a very dim restaurant)
Celebrating our two year anniversary (in a very dim restaurant)

Hey everyone, Adam here!! This week lets talk about “how to train your husband?”. I don’t know the answer to that but I can tell you my wife sure does. You may say to yourself “how do you know that Adam?”. In which I would say, because somehow she trained the shit out of me without me even knowing. Seriously though isn’t that how marriage works? Men are a mess when they meet the future Mrs but luckily the future Mrs sees something in said man. She says to herself, I can work with this, hahahaha.Let’s get into some key factors of my training. When Sierra first met me, I kept all my clothes in a pile in my room, my bed was a mattress on the ground and I maybe owned a TV, the bed and my clothes. I actually think my last TV was left at my rental by my landlord so really I didn’t own it I just used it. So I owned clothes and a bed, which insured moving was easy for me. I definitely liked to skip showers and was living a much faster lifestyle. Sierra started out slow with her wifely trickery. She set a bowl next to the door and told me that is where we keep keys. Keys to the house, keys to the car and any other key we use. I was introduced to the key bowl. Very sneaky this key bowl and guess what? I used it!! I was amazed I always knew where my keys were. What kind of sorcery was this key bowl.

Then Sierra set limitations on me sprawling clothes all over the bedroom, she gave me a designated spot I could sprawl a limited amount of clothing in the bedroom. This satisfied me, made me think I was winning but truthfully just being trained, sneaky trained! Next she made me shower 6 out of 7 days, I’m allowed to skip on my day off. Some of you may being saying “eww, gross Adam” but I don’t care, showers are boring. I grew up in the mountains where we would go camping for weeks at a time, stop being a pansy people. I’m gonna skip a lot of the training and jump pretty far ahead. Sierra and I have been married for 2 years now. Many things have taken place at home that I apparently hadn’t recognized within my training. I have been out of town doing on site training for a new job (which btw, I’m pretty sure was also part of my wife’s training of me). This is what opened my eyes to the training that has taken place.

I left Austin early one Saturday morning, hopped a plane to Miami to begin my new journey. Nothing unusual right? I disembark the plane grab my bags and head to the hotel. This is when it all came to fruition. I walk into my room un pack my bags, place all clothing in its place. I fill the chest of drawers, I hang things in the closet. I place all my shoes in the closet. Not only did I unpack, but everything in the drawers is organized. It’s not all the clothes thrown in one drawer, they are placed in separate drawers, in their proper categories. Underwear and socks, pants and shorts, and t-shirts all in separate drawers folded nicely. I placed my toiletries in the bathroom, pulled them from my toiletry bag and arranged them neatly on the counter. After all this happens I sit outside on the balcony and I call my wife. Sierra answers and I say “you will never guess what I just did?”. She just laughed and of course said “I’ve trained you well!”. You sure have lady, you sure have.

~

Hey there, Sierra here…and let me start off by saying that as much as the “training of Adam” snuck up on him, it snuck up me as well. I didn’t even realize anything was sinking in until he called me from Miami all proud of himself. When he’s home, it’s like a mini tornado rips though the house. He walks in the door, drops his pants off on the chair by the kitchen door (I still have no idea why this happens, can someone explain this to me?) and leaves a trail behind him of wallet, lighter, contents of his pockets and anything else he had on him when he walked in the door. I just pick it up as I walk around the house and put it all away, thinking nothing of it. I had no idea that left to his own devices he would pick up after himself, and less of a clue that he would be orderly about it as he seems to resist the extreme organized aspect of our home.

Well, except for the key spot. The key spot was a life changing situation for Adam. He still marvels over always knowing where his keys are. I told my dad about this on the phone one day and his reply was, “well thats just good sense”…hmmm, its pretty obvious that the sneaky training skills were passed down. These skills are so sneaky that I didn’t even realize I was doing it! When we moved in together after Adam proposed, it was a bit of a struggle at first. This was partly because he moved into my apartment and partly because I used words like “key spot” and he considered a pile on the floor as adequate storage. There were many arguments over piles. As Adam did not bring much to the relationship in terms of material possessions, it wasn’t as bad as it could have been. However it was difficult for him to accept that he had to open a door or a drawer to see or use something he needed. I asked Adam once why he didn’t own anything besides a bed and clothing when we met. His answer was that he knew that when he met the woman he was meant to marry, that she would make him throw out all his guy stuff anyway, so what was the point of having it. Valid point.

Two years in, its pretty great that by now he just lets me put things where I feel they are meant to be. I use logic to determine where everything will go and Adam knows that if he asks where anything in the house is, I will tell him its exact location in seconds. Sometimes it drives him crazy that I cannot and will not go to bed until everything in the house is back in its place and he still has his piles. We do our best to compromise though, he keeps the piles to designated areas that I glare at every time I walk by it and I let him keep the remotes on the living room table and his couch blanket disorderly. Apparently though my extreme need to have everything organized and in its place is rubbing off on him. Maybe he’s just realized that life is too short to spend it looking for your keys and more importantly, that you never have to if there’s a key spot. Or maybe he’s learned that being organized is really just good sense.

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A Night Owl Sharing A Bed With A Morning Lark

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I love being in the studio late into the night. Its quiet, there are no emails, texts or phone calls coming in after about 11pm and as its dark out there’s a cozy feeling in the room. I have been a night owl since before I can remember. I have never wanted to go to bed. Not because I think I’ll miss out on anything, simply because my brain works better late at night. I’m at my sharpest, work comes easier and I can focus the best from about 9pm until about 2am. When I do finally force myself go to bed, I still can’t go to sleep but read for an hour or two. Only when I have been working really, really hard, such as working on a huge deadline for orders do I fall asleep quickly. As you would assume, I don’t think I have ever woken up and jumped out of bed all excited to go. I drag myself out of bed. After I read emails and check in with social media for a while. Which is after I have hit snooze 10 times…and then just shut off the alarm clock and gone back to sleep.

When I first met Adam, we were both under the impression that he too was a night owl. Then we got engaged and moved in together and we saw how different our natural rhythms were, we realized that was false. The biggest difference is that at 1am, I want to talk about all of the big things. Plans, money, worries…you name it, my mind is ready to discuss, solve and make some lists. Adam not so much. He gets really stressed out when I do this. On the other hand, 8am rolls around and Adam jumps out of bed if he has not done so already at 7am and wants to talk about all of the things, he feels that the time to start the day is NOW and runs out the door to tackle his to do list. I am still sleeping with a pillow over my head until he shuts up and leaves already. When I do finally force myself to get up, it is to get a cup of coffee and read blogs until my brain can process that it needs to function.

There have been some struggles with these difference as we like to go to bed at the same time, but we have some pretty good compromises going:

1. I promise to not talk about big issues after midnight and Adam is not allowed to whistle from midnight to noon.

2. I leave the studio at midnight to have an hour of wind down time in the living room before bed, which we try to go to by 1am, 2am at the latest.

3. Adam is a watch tv in bed while he falls asleep type and I am a read in bed in complete silence in order to be able to sleep type so he watches tv on his phone in bed with headphones while I read.

4. I am trying to get up by 10 every day, and on the mornings he’s still home when I wake up, Adam is trying to not come into the bedroom and ask me when I am getting up every ten minutes.

Do you share a bed with the opposite of you? How do you deal it?

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I ate pizza, and survived

Home Slice Pizza in Austin, TX

I hate being one of “those” people at restaurants. You know the type, the please avoid all ingredients because of my weird eating habits people. Allergies are one thing, odd diets are another. Since going paleo, I basically avoid restaurants. This pains me because I love food. But I respect great chefs too much to be a pain in the ass about my new eating habits, so I do my best to avoid most fine dining establishments and choose places to meet friends where I know I can be picky without drawing attention to myself. I also eat before I go out a lot. Besides the avoiding of restaurants, the only other time I really wish I was a little less strict with what I ate is pizza. I’m not a substitute fake out versions of food type person, but I’ll eat a burger without a bun and feel satiated and spaghetti squash really does make the pasta craving go away. But there is nothing to make the pizza craving leave. The other night Adam asked if we could go do something cheap and fun together. I suggested we head to South Congress to walk around and then made the mistake of admitting that I had been craving pizza. Within 2 minutes, I was being escorted to my car before I could change my mind. I figured, hey it’s been so song since I’ve ingested cheese or bread that I can’t remember the last time I ate them, what harm could it do?

We went to Home Slice. Because its the ONLY pizza I would ever break paleo for here in Austin. I ate two NY sized slices of pepperoni pizza and it was…spectacular! I topped them with both red pepper flakes and tabasco because that just made it all the more perfect. Post pizza, I had a stomach ache for sure, but it wasn’t nearly as bad as I thought it would be. The best part was the look on Adam’s face, he was just so excited that I ate pizza, for him. Which I did. Because he needed a win this week, and I was more than happy to give it to him. Plus…pizza.

 

photo credit: the Home Slice Facebook page

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How do you take your fro-yo?

Mike & Ikes (pink ones!), mini gummi bears and nerds.
Mike & Ikes (pink ones!), mini gummi bears, nerds, blueberries and boba over mango and pomegranate sorbets

Frozen yogurt places that let you pile on your own topping are one of my favorite places on earth. For obvious reasons…mainly how they make it completely acceptable to consume massive amount of sugar for no good reason. Due to my lactose issues, I have to make sure they’re the good kind of fro-yo place, the ones who have one or two dairy free options, which thankfully most do. When we moved to our current house my secret favorite thing about it was that it was less than a mile away from my fav place to go in Austin, Tutti Frutti. Adam and I actually found time to have fro-yo dates once a week last summer because of that, and then one day it was gone. I may have wept a little on the inside that day.

Nerds over mango and strawberry sorbet
Nerds, strawberries and boba over mango and strawberry sorbet

We tried a few other places around the city, but they were never the same. There is one place that’s almost great, but they never have sour gummi worms, so I refuse to go there often on principal. While on this journey we did discover that there are dairy and vegan ice cream options in abundance in Austin, and we enjoy those occasionally, but alas…no toppings so we don’t go often. And then one day while I was dropping off a package at a UPS by my house I parked in front of Yo Way. Its basically the same layout as Tutti Frutti and the options are even better, there are NERDS! Nerds and sorbet are a very unexpected match made in heaven. As its August and often 105 degrees out, Adam and I have resumed our weekly fro-yo dates…Monday nights you can usually find us in a sugar coma as a result.

The day I found the dividers!!
The day I found the dividers!! On the left: mango and the right: strawberry. Boba, berries and gummi bears on top

I am a pure sugar fro-yo person. I use sorbet as my base and pile on boba, fresh berries and candy of the fruit flavor and pure sugar variety. Sometimes I mix up the candy or fruit selections, but if I stay too far from this palette, I’m always disappointed. Adam goes for cereal, cake, cookies or fruit. We never even consider sharing for this reason, even with the cool dividers. So how do you take your fro-yo?

 

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The slow season

Hibiscus flower
Summer: Bad for online traffic, great for flowers!

The other night over dinner I was lamenting that online traffic had been slow this week. As I became increasingly agitated, Adam not so kindly told me that this was the third year in a row that he heard me talk about this exact same thing this exact same week (and then tried to tell me enough was enough). I sighed and told him that he better get used to it, because in the 11 years I have had an online business, I have gotten upset when summer hits every. single. year. I talk a big game leading up to it telling myself all of the amazing things I can do in the slow season, but once it comes I just want to crawl under the covers and cry. The good news is that as I have been changing the way I run the business so that it’s focused so much more on wholesale, and I therefore never get quite as slow as I used to.  Actually for the start of the slow season I have been super busy, so hooray for that!  I however am not really prepared for what happens in July, I’m actually terrified of it because when sales start flowing like molasses on a cold day, I start to freak out. For reals.

In other news, I have been picking up sassy sayings like the molasses business from watching Hart of Dixie on Netflix and it has also confirmed a few things.

1. I do not not live in the South (with a capital S).

2. All small towns are the same, regardless of region.

3. Austin is the anomaly of Texas cities.

The show is cute, and makes me not miss living in a small town, at all. Also fun, in season 1 there are cute Friday Night Lights references for Scott Porter.

Oh and one thing that summer is good for? Gardening.  See that big hibiscus flower up there, well we grew that flower. Bam!

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