Thursday, July 30, 2009

It's hottttttttttttt

I've decided that the people down here are absolutely nuts. For the past two days the weather has been some of the more miserable I have personally ever experienced, but they seem to love it. I don't even understand how people can enjoy weather like this--I'm doing my best just to not die every time I go outside. The temperature has been 98 both days, with scattered rain and humidity that's got to be bordering on 100%. Granted I'm discovering a lot to like about this city but I don't believe the weather is, or ever will be one of those things. I'm the most cold natured person I know--I mean, I am always cold, so for me to be mentioning the heat at all, much less complaining about it, is really something. Back home I used to go running every afternoon when I got home from school or work, so anywhere from 2:00 in the afternoon to 6:00 at night. During the summer running a few miles in the middle of the day like that was hottttt, but most times I never even broke a sweat. Yesterday my t-shirt was soaked through by the time I walked from our front door to the street to get in my car. It's a distance of oh, I dunno...roughly fifty feet.

Like a lot of things in life though, the weather is one of those that you can't really do much about so I suppose I'd be well served to just accept that this is what it is and move on. They tell us that its really quite pleasant here nine months out of the year. Of course, I no longer trust the opinion of anyone who is from here when it comes to the weather, but we'll see how it is in a month or two.
Now, as promised, here are pictures of the rest of the cottage...
This is the second bedroom upstairs, which Zack is going to use as a home office when it comes time to study for all of his big, bad law school tests.The only cute part of the bathroom (and thus, the only thing worth putting a picture of online) the built in linen cabinet.
The loft area upstairs which I have filled with my desk, bookshelf, and make-up table.

Why yes, that is an autographed poster from the X-files movie "I Want to Believe," hanging at the top of our stairs. Thank you for noticing.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The job search

I'd really, realllly like to find a job. I had no idea this would be as difficult or time consuming as its been so far. I honestly thought that with two business degrees (and good ones at that) finding a job when I graduated would be teddy bear soup. I know that the economy is kinda struggling right now and not as many people are hiring, and all that jazz. I got it. But there are plenty of jobs still out there--I know because I've applied to all of them! Here's what doesn't make sense to me though; I apply to somewhere between 5 and 50 jobs every day, which I've been doing for the past two weeks, and I'm not even getting called to interview! If I kept going to interviews and not getting picked then I would assume either a) I wasn't what they were looking for or b) I'm a moron and said or did something during the interview to scare them away. But no. I'm not even getting called to interview for the jobs that I'm really way over-qualified for. How does that make sense? If I were an employer and I got my resume in the mail, I'd at least call me to come in and discuss things in person.

Aside from the fact that this town would be a heck of a lot more fun if I had an income and thus money to spend on the fun stuff, I'm beginning to get pretty darn bored. I don't do well at having a lot of downtime. I have the attention span of oh...roughly a four-year-old, so I need constant stimulation. I like to be going and doing almost non-stop and when I can't...well, I just get downright unpleasant to be around after awhile! And while you may think that sitting at my computer filling out job applications for hours on end would be more than enough mental stimulation to keep me'd be wrong. It isn't.

I actually did have one interview last week. It went really well, so I'm disappointed that it's a job I'm way over-qualified for and the pay is lousy. Zack and I sat down and worked out a little budget of our monthly fixed expenses last night and we determined that at the salary this job offers, we could only afford to live until about September every year, and then we'd run out of money. Not a good scenario. Needless to say, that probably isn't the job for me which is unfortunate because like I said, the interview itself went really well.

I have thought about getting a part-time job, at least temporarily while I continue the Great Job Search of '09. I'm thinking something that would be evenings/weekends that would leave me free during the day to schedule interviews and take phone calls from potential employers. I have to assume that anything other than going back to serving at a restaurant would be minimum wage, but that would be $7.25 more per hour than I'm making now so...

And yes, I could go back to serving and probably make pretty decent money given that this town is absolutely food-crazy and everyone goes out to eat almost every night. And it may come to that, at least for awhile, but I certainly hope not. As much as I really enjoyed the whole restaurant experience (and I did) the server lifestyle is one that I don't miss at all, nor is it conducive to establishing a "family" atmosphere around here. Working until midnight or later was fun while I was in school, but its much less appealing now that I know I could be at home spending that time with Zack. Besides that, I've been in school for the past eighteen years, and college for the past five! I went to graduate school for goodness sake! I don't want to go back to a job that I could be doing without even a high school diploma. I don't think it's asking to much to want to put at least some of what I've been learning for the past few years into practice.

Zack keeps telling me (and I know he's right) that I just need to have faith and be patient--that the right job will come along when I least expect it. He says that God's not going to let us starve to death, and that He'll give me the perfect job in His own sweet time. Like I said, I know he's right and I do need to just calm down and be patient. It's so hard to do that sometimes though!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Stuff on my mind

First of all, I think I'm going bald. My hair is falling out all over the place which is really starting to annoy me on a number of levels. Obviously, I'm going to look more than a little strange if I don't have hair and perhaps more importantly, remember how I mentioned that our floors here aren't exactly the easiest things in the whole world to keep clean? Well, this certainly isn't helping matters any! Do extreme heat and/or humidity cause hair to fall out, does anyone know? Or just a climate change in general? Whatever the reason, even Zack has noticed and it's just gross!

In other news, Zack and I have been married for one month today! (Cue cute/sappy wedding pictures).

That old "time flies" adage has certainly been true for us...I mean, I can hardly believe its been a whole month since the wedding. In some ways it feels like yesterday and in others, so much has already happened since then that it feels like a lifetime ago and Zack and I have been married for a hundred years (and I mean that in a good way) and are now just an "old married couple." We've done a whole lot in a very short amount of time when I think back over the past few weeks so I guess it only makes sense that the wedding seems so distant. We were fortunate to wind up with such great photographers though, who captured the whole day on film--well digital "film"-- for us. Frank and Sara and their assistants were amazing to work with, and I'm sooooooo glad that we ended up using them because now we've ended up with over 3000 pictures of our wedding day to remember it by. Not that we're going to order prints of all 3000 you understand, but the point is that they captured every last detail and second and minute of the day, even the things that Zack and I never actually saw, so we can always go back and look at these pictures and remember what an incredible time it was for us. The big chore ahead of us now is sorting through all of these pictures to decide which ones we do in fact want to order. And let me tell you, it will not be easy to decide!

Let's see...what else? Oh! Zack and I went to the zoo this weekend! Zack has been dying to go since we very first started talking about moving to New Orleans back in the Spring so Saturday we, along with all the other six-year-olds in the city, visited Audubon Zoo. Supposedly before Katrina this was considered one of the worst zoos in the country. Since then though, they've apparently done just a massive amount of renovation and it's now thought to be one of the best. I'm no expert on the subject but it was definitely a nice zoo! There were lots of animals to see and it was one of the cleanest zoos I've ever been to--not even the elephant cages smelled, which I think is saying a lot. Zack's favorite thing we saw was the white alligator, closely followed by the Roman chewing candy cart (more on this is a sec) and mine were the sea lions. They were great! I don't think there is a goofier looking animal on the whole planet than the sea lion, except maybe a walrus, but we didn't see any of those. They're so agile and graceful in the water and then they get out on land and they're these lumbering, clumsy-looking, burping machines. I think my favorite zoo story though, is about the penguins during Katrina. I haven't seen any statistics but I think they were able to evacuate most, if not all, of the animals during the storm. They got sent to zoos all over the country to stay until their homes could be rebuilt. The penguins apparently ended up in a zoo out in California and when it was time to come back to New Orleans, the powers that be decided the best way to transport them was to FedEx them back to the zoo! The thought of putting a penguin in the mail is hilarious to me.

Now about the Roman chewing candy cart; there's this old guy down here in New Orleans who has a cart and a donkey and just drives around the city all day every day selling homemade taffy out of the back of the cart. This business has supposedly been in his family for generations and he's one of those little oddities that make this city so unique. It's kind of a big deal to find him because from what we're told, he can be a bit elusive. The moral of the story as Zack sees it, is you absolutely have to buy some taffy on the rare occasion that you do come across him.

I think that's all I've got for now. Should I think of something earth-shattering to share, I'll write more later.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Finding God

Disclaimer: I'm about to make lots of generalizations and blanket statements that will, more than likely, offend at least a few of you. Just so you know. Here goes...

Zack and I tried our second church in the new city this morning. Last week we went to St. Charles Avenue Baptist, which is right up the street from us. We chose to go there first because, well, it's right up the street from us. Yay for convenience! It was ok I guess, but not what we're looking for. It's a big old church and had a very traditional service, which we happen to prefer mind you, but the congregation was of a decidedly different age demographic than what we were hoping for. We were either twenty years older, or twenty years younger than everyone else in the building. Plus, the church is in the process of getting a new pastor, so things were a little, um...disrupted. We put it on the list of "Churches We May Try Again Later On If We Get Really Really Desperate."

So this morning was church number two; First Baptist Church New Orleans. I thought typically the First Baptist Church of any town was like the original ooooold church downtown. Something about having the word "first" in the name I guess. Wrong, wrong, wrong! First Baptist New Orleans was kind of the opposite of all things old and traditional. It was one of the gigantic mega churches that seem to be so popular these days, and the service was extremely contemporary.

(This is where I'm going to start getting offensive). I'm going to go ahead and say that I personally have a problem with both of those characteristics in a church. Let's talk about the mega-churchness first. No, I haven't been to every single mega church in the whole entire world so I'm sure there are bound to be one or two out there that aren't like this, but of the ones I have been to, they all suffer from the same problem of becoming so focused on the numbers that God sort of just gets lost in the shuffle. I've thought about this a lot and I think it, like most things in life, all boils down to money. I bet these churches started out innocently enough, probably with an ambitious pastor who felt lead to grow the church as much as possible. Obviously, bringing others to God should be one of the main goals of any church so I'm not knocking that. But what happens when these churches start to grow is that pretty soon they get too big to fit in their old building so they have to build a new facility. And of course they have to plan ahead for even more growth so the new building gets to be roughly the size of Rupp arena, and while they're at it why not make this thing state-of-art too? Now the church has this brand spanking new building with more technology in it than NASA...and is millions of dollars in debt. Hence the almost obsessive need to increase numbers; somebody's got to pay for that new building.

I've been to a number of churches that had this problem and I've found that in an effort to appeal to a wide "customer base" the church begins to water down its core beliefs to the point that, before long, it'll say and do just about anything to avoid offending a potential new member. I very much stand by the notion that I may or may not agree with everything a church has to say, or everything it believes, but by golly I sure do have a lot of more respect for the ones that will at least take a stand on what they do believe in. I have no use for a church that cares more about money than it does about staying true to the beliefs it was founded on.

Alright, so that's complaint number one; complaint number two has to do with the contemporary service. And truthfully, this is just a matter of personal preference and I don't really take deep moral issue with the idea of worshipping in different ways. I think people respond to all types of different things, and if a contemporary service is what does it for some people then so be it. To me though, there's just something about worshipping in a basketball arena, with a band on stage, and a light show, and jumbo-trons with the lyrics to songs, and the preacher's sermon on PowerPoint that feels less like a church service and more like a Broadway production. I admit I'm old fashioned but singing the old hymns out of the good old Baptist Hymnal and hearing a preacher preach from the Bible and not from a set of slides feels so much more sacred to me. This morning, as I do every time I attend a church that does a contemporary service, I came away feeling like I hadn't really worshipped. It feels like a very hollow, borderline insincere, attempt at a church service. Oh! And can I just say that I find new contemporary worship songs to be some of the silliest, most inane music I've ever heard? Very few of the lyrics even make any sense and all the songs sound exactly the same. Zack's says contemporary Christian music reminds him of AC/DC--you can take any set of lyrics and substitute it with the music of any other song, and it works, because it all sounds alike anyway.

Some of this is silly, I know. Some of it is probably me being stubborn and set in my ways and making up my mind that if things don't happen the way I think they ought to then they're inferior all the way around. I know that even in the biggest mega church out there, people have gathered in God's name and HE is there. Ultimately it shouldn't matter what songs are sung, what verses are read, or whether I'm in a building that cost $10 million to build or a tent outside on the front lawn. It's just a lot harder for me to find God when I'm blinded by the glare of all the neon lights.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Licensed and exhausted

I'd like to start off by saying that if I had to choose between going through the whole driver's license transfer process again and eating dirt, there's a good chance I'd choose the dirt. This should not have been nearly as difficult as it was I don't think but two days and several hours of waiting in line later, here I am. Here's the story...

Normally I think you have 60 days once you move to get a new driver's license made if you've relocated to a different state. But, since my last name has also changed and I don't have any other identification with my new name, I figured I needed to get this done quickly. I got online yesterday and looked up the address for the New Orleans DMV. At this point I should back up and explain that nothing is actually located in New Orleans as far as I can tell. I'm starting to think the city itself is like this big black hole. There's a bunch of buildings and houses and such, but I think they're all props and everything you really need is located out in one of the suburbs.

Ok, so anyway, I look up the DMV and of course, its not located here in the city--the nearest one is in Harvey, which is on the other side of the river. Since I'm still learning my way around, I make sure to print myself some detailed directions from Google Maps, so that I can hopefully get there and back without getting too badly lost. I even had the foresight to look at the DMV website and double check to make sure I was taking all of the right forms of identification with me to transfer my driver's license from Kentucky to Louisiana.

So yesterday afternoon I set out with my directions, passport, old driver's license, social security card, marriage certificate, blood/urine/tissue samples, GMAT test scores, and two witnesses to confirm I was who I said I was. (Ok, I'm lying about the last three but I really did have to have all that other stuff). I drive, and I drive, and I drive...and before long I am definitely lost. See, I knew going in that Google Maps has an uncanny ability to give horribly incorrect directions and sure enough, once again, this was the case. At this point I had two options--I could stop and ask directions at the scary looking gas station or I could just keep driving in circles and hope for the best. I was all set to stop and ask the guys at the gas station for directions when out of the corner of my eye, I see a sign indicating that the DMV is up ahead on my right. I have no earthly idea how I got there because goodness knows I'd long since given up on the directions I'd printer, but there it was.

Now I ask you; is there any place that is dirtier and more creepy than the DMV office? I beg to say, there is not. And of course, (no surprise here) the New Orleans DMV is especially dark and cramped and dirty and all those other unpleasant things that one tends to associate with public offices like that. I go in and the waiting area is literally packed. Standing room only. Oh and also, I'm the only white person in the room...I'm just throwing that out there. So I take my little ticket from the counter on the wall and stand there in the corner, trying not to make eye contact with anyone. Just to pass the time I start reading the signs and posters hanging on the wall when all of a sudden, I see in the very corner, a tiny little hand printed sign that says "This Office Does NOT Do Out-of-State license Transfers." Are you kidding me??? I drove all the way out there for nothing? Why, I wanted to ask, was that not mentioned anywhere on the website???

By the time I finally got back home I was too worn out to try to find the office where I could get my license transferred, so I woke up bright and early this morning to begin the whole process all over again. I was told that I would have to go to the Metairie office (again, another suburb of the actual city) so I did the whole spiel all over again...directions, ID, marriage certificate, yada yada yada.

Thanks to another set of deficient directions I repeated that whole "getting lost" thing all over again but I'll spare you those details. I finally get to the Metairie Office of Motor Vehicles and walk into a room that is even more packed than the office I was in yesterday. I literally waited in line for half an hour just to get my number. Once I had that I could at least sit down, and wait for my number to be called. When it finally was I presented the lady with my fourteen forms of identification and explained that I needed to transfer my license and change my last name, since I had gotten married right before we moved. She looked at my old license and passport, and then she picked up the marriage certificate. "What's this?" she asked me. I thought it was pretty obvious based on the fact that it says CERTIFICATE OF MARRIAGE across the top in inch tall gold letters...but whatever. "You can't use this," she said. "Gotta have the actual marriage license itself."

Now, I stayed very calm as she was telling my this but on the inside I was really thinking something along the lines of, "If she tells me I have to go home and come back another day to do this, I'm probably going to strangle her."

Lucky for her, one of the managers came over and gave her permission to proceed without a copy of the marriage license, since I very clearly had a certified copy of the certificate.

Whewwwwww! All that to say, I am now a licensed driver in the state of Louisiana, as well as a registered voter, and I'm absolutely exhausted. And if something happens in the next three years and for some reason I have to get a new license made, I guess the cops are just going to have to come find me and haul me to jail, cause I ain't doing it.
My brand new state of Louisiana driver's license. Very different looking from Kentucky's--look how big the picture is!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Domestic bliss = a LOTTA hard work

Before I go too much further with this whole blog thing, I feel like I should maybe post some pictures of our new place. I realize some of you have already seen these, so I promise to add some more as I get around to taking them. Also, I apologize for the weird order these appear in--either I'm blind and retarded, or there's not an "organize" option for photos once you add them on here. Anyway...
We came across this little guy in Bed, Bath and Beyond the other day while we were shopping. I don't know if running across reptiles while shopping is the norm down here or what, but there he was, just hanging out on the salt grinder. Zack is now convinced we should get a pet lizard.

One of my goals as a new wife is to master the fine art of baking pies. Thus far, it has been my Achilles heel of baking and it frustrates me to no end because I think this should be so much easier than it is. This is my first attempt, a cherry pie--complete with a "V" that Zack swears was incredible (he's so sweet).

Our dining room and new dining room table.

Me, cooking our first dinner in our new home.

Living room, obviously.

The kitchen, minus the hanging pot rack that will hopefully be added shortly.
Sorry there aren't yet pictures of any of the upstairs. Something's wrong with my camera so I'm going to have to get that figured out before I can post any more.
Now, on to why I am about to consider myself a domestic flunkee. I've discovered, in the week and half that we've been here now, that keeping this place clean is hard. Like, way harder than I think it should be. When it comes to being neat and tidy I would put my housework skills somewhere right in the middle of the spectrum. I'm by no means OCD about cleaning but I do like things to be clean and organized and in their place. Here're the problems as I see them. First of all, this place is old. Not old as in it was built in the seventies and has that weird/gross gold and green trim everywhere, old as in pre-civil war old. Zack thinks its charming, I think it makes for a lot of work to maintain. The whole cottage has hardwood floors, which sounds nice on the surface. But these floors aren't what I know hardwood floors to be. I guess just because they're so old, they've lost most of their finish and polish and whatnot, and now not only does grit seem to "stick" to them, but I swear I think these floors are growing dirt. I don't have any other explanation for the amount of stuff I sweep up from them every day! I think dirt is literally seeping out of the pores of the wood on our floors. I thought about scrubbing them down with bleach but Mom thinks that might destroy them completely and I have to agree. I hate the dirt but I'm not trying to kill my poor floors!
Problem number two is the humidity. It's so humid down here that mildew grows at just an ungodly rate. I bleached my shower curtain right before we moved so that it'd be nice and clean to put in the new house. Seven days down here and it's already starting to grow that weird orange, streaky, slimy stuff that back home would have taken months to show up. I'm talking, this is some quality stuff we've got here. I don't know whether it would be cheaper to buy a 50-gallon drum of bleach or just accept the idea of disposable shower curtains.
Well, now that I have sufficiently grossed everybody out I'd like to say that at this point, I think I'm still winning the battle against the grime. It's taking a lot more cleaning than I'm used to to maintain the status quo, but so far I'm managing to do it. And really, I suppose I shouldn't complain too much. In all honesty our little cottage is really very nice and (especially compared to some of the places we looked at) in excellent shape for its age. Maybe these things just give it a little more personality.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Selling Out

Well, I've done it. I've sold out. I've always said I would never, ever have a blog because I thought it was much too presumptuous on my part to assume that anyone cared anything at all about reading what I had to say. I had to keep journals at various times throughout my elementary school years and I absolutely despised it. I hated having to write down my thoughts and feelings at any given time, or putting into writing what I did that day. And yet here I am, giving into the ever-increasing social demand to make public every last detail of my life and writing my very first blog entry. I still don't know that anyone cares to read anything I write about but well, I'm not going to let that stop me!

I suppose I justify this whole thing because of the fact that Zack and I have moved hundreds of miles across the country and are strangers in a new city where we don't know a soul. I'm telling myself that this blog will be a way for our friends and family back home to keep up with us a little easier, and maybe catch a glimpse of our life down here in New Orleans. In all actuality, I think I just like to have an opinion on things and this seems like a logical outlet for that, and will give me something to entertain myself with when Zack spends hours on end studying at the law library.

I am hoping to make this blog a combination of things actually. An account, or documentary of sorts of our adventures here in the Big Easy certainly, but beyond that a platform from which I can further promote the column I write in the newspaper back home. For those of you who may be unfamiliar with it, I write a weekly column in my local newspaper back in breathitt County. I've done it for almost five years now, and I absolutely love it. That's where the name for the blog came from, by the way. I really probably should have been more creative in naming this thing but in all honesty, I think Under Construction is a very fitting title for me and anything I write so I'm gonna keep on using it. To that end, I'd like this blog to be an extension of the column and I plan (at least at the moment) to post each week's newspaper article on here, along with whatever else it tickles my fancy to write about.

Aside from those things, I don't know what else this blog may eventually evolve into. And that's the beauty of something when its under can really become just about anything.