I started my week with a fuckton of overtime. I worked a 12-hour day on Monday alone, so by then, I was already totally done with the week. Throw in a Fleetwood Mac concert Thursday night and waiting the whole week to find out if I’d be able to get Friday off, and the whole damn thing was a drag.

Fleetwood Mac was fucking fantastic. I’ve been lucky enough to see them three times now–and of course a different lineup each time–and they’ve solidified themselves as one  of my favorite bands. I went from being a casual fan of my mom’s favorite songs to falling in love with the songs my mom never played. I anxiously await the day they worked things out with Lindsey Buckingham, because unless this lawsuit really fucks things up, which it very well might, we all know this is just how the band works.

But I did not get Friday off. I functioned just fine, but man, I was really hoping to sleep in and chill out. On the plus side, if I’d gotten the day off, I wouldn’t have actually gotten overtime pay if I’d had the day off, and I believe that for the rest of the year, I’m only working two full weeks. I have two floating holidays left to use, too, so if I plan it right, I can probably get that down to short weeks for the rest of the year. Sure, we still haven’t taken a real vacation, but short weeks for two months isn’t a bad tradeoff.

On Friday, we ended up out on a quest for a card for Nolan and Brett’s wedding because I didn’t like any of the cards here in Washington, and as much as I really didn’t feel like driving into the South Hills, I’m glad we did because I’m pretty happy with what we found. And when my mother found out we were out, I had to look for a Snoopy Christmas blanket and pillow set for her, and throw in a few other stops I wanted to make plus dinner, it ended up being a whole trip out. We’d intended to go to the gym and had the time to make it, but that’s a terrible idea right after eating at Mad Mex.

The goal was to hit the gym Friday night then again Saturday morning before we left for the wedding because I wasn’t feeling great with how my dress I wanted to wear was fitting, and even though two gym sessions is definitely not going to make a noticeable difference, it at least made me feel like I was doing something. Sometimes that’s all that counts. Honestly, I probably should’ve scrapped the Saturday trip because we slept really, really late and the timing wasn’t great, but I thought I could squeeze it in. I ended up getting back home super close to when I wanted to leave, but us being us, we hadn’t actually packed yet, so by the time we did that, we were an hour behind with a pit stop or two we needed to make. But we made it just in time for me to get ready.

The wedding was nice and we had a good time, particularly with super drunk friends and some time hanging out in Meri and Erio’s room. The time change was a nice perk, too, since we didn’t wander back to the room we shared with my parents until 2 a.m. And true to form, I slept like trash. You’d think being up so late would’ve worn me out enough, but it didn’t. And I never sleep well when I travel on top of that, so although I felt fine in the morning–or rather, like five hours later–I’m exhausted now. But almost all of us made it to breakfast, and from there, Paul and I headed back to my parents’ house to kill a few hours before going out to dinner with his family for his mom’s birthday. I’d originally wanted to try and host some friends since people were home for the wedding, but clearly, we had no time for that.

Dinner was a nice end to a fun, busy weekend, but we’re definitely glad to be back home. The cat’s glad to have us back, too, and has been very dramatic and restless since we got in. I expect to spend my workday tomorrow having my feet bitten and toys dropped under my chair.

So what’s next? Nothin’. This marks the end of a string of busy weekends. Emily has a play at school in two weeks and we’re thinking of hosting a small shindig Thanksgiving weekend, but next weekend, we’re free to take it easy. We probably owe the cat a weekend of playtime and scritches.

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Like I said, wedding stuff has started to dominate our time. I had another dress fitting Saturday and need one more, basically because my boobs are too small. Mom had a fitting at the same time and barely needs anything done.

We followed it up with dinner at Roland’s, because nothing says “my dress is a bit snug and I want to drop my waist measurement a tad” like ordering a plate full of rigatoni. I’m great at health and fitness, guys!

I followed that with brunch Sunday morning with Paul’s parents. We decided on President’s Pub for rehearsal dinner because the cost is similar to other local restaurants for better quality, and since his parents are paying for it and his mom has a tendency to want these things her way, Paul invited them out. I’ve actually never gone to the jazz brunch and have heard very good things, and it’s probably become my go-to brunch spot now. Live jazz music with a pretty typically brunch menu with locally sourced ingredients. I honestly don’t know why there aren’t bigger crowds at this place, like, ever, but they seem to be doing okay. We plan to go Tuesday for a fundraiser to benefit residents of an apartment building that collapsed downtown, and I’m kind of hoping this place sets itself out as a community staple.

Anyway, the point is as usual, I went in preparing to have to defend our choice to have it there and lay down the law about how it’s our wedding and we won’t accept financial help if it means the final say isn’t ours, and she ended up loving the place. I’d say it was a smart move on Paul’s part, but I’m not convinced he knew it would go that way. I think maybe we got lucky.

Meanwhile, at work, I’ve been promoted! I had a very positive review with nothing but praise for the good work I do and how reliable I am, and it comes with an 80-cent-per-hour raise that’ll kick in at the end of the month, just in time to focus on paying down credit-card balances from the wedding–which, fortunately, isn’t a lot. We have a couple expenses we put on cards, in some cases to take advantage of no-interest deals, and I’ve been steadily paying things down after all other bills are paid. Paul got a raise, too, so it’s great timing all around.

Not too long after we saw Stevie Nicks in Philadelphia, she extended her tour and announced a Pittsburgh date. I was leaning towards not going, mostly because it was so soon after, but my mom talked me into it.

The day of managed to be this perfect mess of things that lead to the most pain-in-the-ass commute to a concert I’ve ever had without actually being late. It was supposed to work out great–my mom had to be in nearby Coal Center for work, so she’d come right over to my apartment when she was done. I ended up working a little late and was relieved when I hadn’t heard from her by the time I left because it meant she wouldn’t have to wait for me.

As it turned out, she was stuck in traffic. There had been not one but two accidents on the same interstate in the same area that day, and although that’s not the route she was taking, she did happen to be on a possible detour, along with everybody else trying to reroute. Meanwhile, I had to stop for gas, and out GetGo is in a real shitty location and is almost always busy, and someone was pulled in waiting for a pump in such a way that I couldn’t go around him and I couldn’t see around him, either, and make the left I needed to. So I decided to take a chance on going right, which I know from past experience isn’t a clean-cut, easily maneuverable block. I pretty much just guessed my way home, taking residential streets and making turns that felt right until I saw areas I recognized. It was a delay, but not a big deal.

We got in my building to find my key was getting stuck in the lock. Paul, who was taking Terra to what was ultimately a failed driver’s test, had fallen in mud on his way out and stuck his muddy key in the lock, which must’ve caused enough trouble to make it a real bitch for me to get my key in and unlock the door. After some trouble, I did manage to get it and Mom and I changed into lace clothes, the only appropriate attire for a Stevie Nicks concert.

She wanted to get into the city as soon as possible, so we were out the door and on our way. And then we hit traffic on a separate interstate that almost never has any trouble, and we sat in the usual parkway traffic, then the usual event traffic, finally making it to a restaurant across the street. It’s kind of a good thing we’d seen the tour before–we didn’t really care about seeing The Pretenders, so that gave us some time to meet up with Nolan and Brett and eat. How neither of us was in a cranky, hangry rage is kind of a miracle.

Fortunately, though, the saga ends there. We timed it well enough to get to our seats a little bit before Stevie took the stage, and she was great, as usual. Another bonus to going twice–she did “Landslide,” which she hadn’t done in Philly.

Mom decided to spend the night at my place, so we came back, had a snack, and went right to bed…because I had to work the next morning.

It’s just kind of one of those things that just didn’t work out great. It was my last Saturday on weekend rotation for March, and normally, since Saturdays are much more relaxed, I can choose my own hours and would’ve just gone in an hour or so later. But Stephanie’s baby shower was that same day at 2 an hour away, and I refused to miss it. My original plan was just to switch someone days to make my life easier, but when I ended up needing to do that at the beginning of the month for Pap Pap’s funeral, I decided against doing it a second time. It seemed silly to do it twice in one month. So instead, I worked with what I had. I knew it would be a pain in the ass, but I decided that the best thing to do was to go in early–I figured that way, I’d be leaving when it started and I’d be fashionably late but wouldn’t miss too much. So I slept for about four hours, then went to work, got out about when I planned, had a pretty easy drive, and made it to the shower about an hour in and fortunately had not missed anything other than snacks and mingling, which I made up for plenty after the gifts were all opened.

It was a nice shower, and I was glad I made it work. Some of the old crew was there and we all seemed to have a pretty good time talking and hanging out like we used to, which was nice, too. I hung around a little bit longer than the others since I’d been late, and Steph and I spent a decent bit of time bullshitting, the way ya do when you don’t see people often and they live an hour away.

So I was satisfied but, in the end, pretty fucking exhausted. It was a very distinct kind of tired, too–I’ve had days where I’ve gone into work after not sleeping well and end up struggling to stay awake if I’m not engaged in what I’m working on, but this was an entirely different thing where my eyes felt heavy the whole day and I couldn’t wait to crawl into bed at the end of the day, yet I was functioning fine.

Still, I was pretty happy to see my bed and not have to set an alarm for the next day.

The day after Christmas, I did the unthinkable–I went to the gym.

I’ve always been kind of anti-gym, just really feeling like it wasn’t for me and I hated it and didn’t see the need for it. And for a while, that was all true. But while Paul and I were in a good walking routine while it was warm, it’s not something we can really keep up now that we’re in the middle of winter, and if I want to lose weight, that’s not gonna cut it–especially as I’m closer to 30 than I am 20. So I decided it was time to do a little more. Paul had been going to the gym and lifting weights every so often with a friend of his, so I decided to tag along.

And so the boys put me through a weightlifting regimen, obviously with a pitiful amount of weight because, you know, I’ve never actually done this before and have no muscle to me at all. But I trusted them, and I held my own–I may have done a tiny fraction of what they did in terms of weight, but I did nearly everything they did until about the end, when I really just couldn’t anymore. But I was pleased with and proud of myself for having done it, and I was happy to find that I didn’t hate it. Maybe it’s that I’m older now and my opinions on it are different than when I was scrawny, maybe it was just the better attitude in general, I don’t know, but I actually kind of enjoyed it and was looking forward to continuing to go, most likely on weekends with Paul and Marc.

We went home, got cleaned up, headed to the South Hills to buy books at Half Price Books that I’d wanted for Christmas and hadn’t gotten, then went on our annual trip to see The Nutcracker, the only day we were able to squeeze it in. Usually, Brandon and Kelly join us, but they saw it down in Morgantown since one of Kelly’s friends (and bridesmaids) had a lead role this year. So it was just Paul and I, out on the town on our day off.

The next day brought the annual Trans-Siberian Orchestra concert, too, and I lucked out and got the day after that off–I had one floating holiday left to use by the end of the year and the schedule was full, but I took my chances and requested it anyway. I figured I’d lose the day entirely if I didn’t bother and that it didn’t hurt to try, and it paid off.

Paul’s college roommate happened to be in town from California, where he’s still in the Air Force, so we met up with him for dinner and a movie. We saw Assassin’s Creed, which did make for an entertaining movie but still felt very much like a video-game movie in that it just kind of felt underdeveloped, like the characters and plot could’ve used a little more depth.

Paul and I went out again for dinner the next night, and then I started feeling a little pain in the back of my throat. It wasn’t too bad, but I decided the smart thing to do was take a day and call off. I felt a little bad calling off in a week where I’d already had one day off for a holiday and a second day off for vacation time, but I’ve learned by now that it’s better to take a day early on and recover rather than push myself and feel worse as a result. And I figured it was the weekend of New Year’s, so I’d have a nice, long weekend to get over whatever little bug I’d come down with.

I was wrong.

I felt like shit the day after Katie and Jacob’s wedding. I only had one drink, so I definitely wasn’t hungover. I blame Paul and I cramming in a little single bed. I also apparently came down with a cold.

That Monday, I traded cars with my dad so mine could get its bumper replaced, then we returned Paul’s tux. We ended up driving all the way back out later in the evening to have dinner with Brandon, Kelly, Katie, and Jacob so we could all hang out since Jacob was in town and Katie was leaving with him just two days later. It’s one of those things that proves we need to get together more often, but it’s obviously not really possibly. The goal is gonna be to clean up and have everybody over so when we inevitably just talk all night, we can all go right to sleep and not have to worry about sitting in a restaurant for forever or driving home or going to work the next morning.

We tried to go for a long walk in the park at some point in the midst of this cold, and it failed miserably. We’re up to 4 1/2 miles in a trip now, and I barely made it through two.

When I still felt pretty crappy and slept pretty crappy Monday into Tuesday, I decided to call off work. I ended up spending most of the day sleeping, which seemed to help a lot. I was hoping my car would be done, but it wasn’t until Wednesday, so I headed back out to get it.

Driving my dad’s car was terrible. I’ve borrowed it before for similar reasons, but going from a new car to his sucked. I only drove it like two or three times by the time mine was done, but I was so glad to have mine back.

I took advantage of the trip and did some free laundry–which I’ve been able to do a lot of lately–and stuck around long enough to see my mom for a bit after her meeting, and the rest of the week was work. I stopped at the mall Saturday, then went for a walk and to church yesterday before spending the evening at my parents’ to watch The Walking Dead together.

I may or may not have seen it at work last month. I may or may not have been sitting on the big death reveal that whole time.

Working in the TV industry means that the fall is a very busy time, meaning putting in overtime, but the tradeoff is the work is also more enjoyable, for the most part. I also just passed my fifth anniversary in the company, which is kind of weird–it doesn’t feel like I’ve been out of school and working that long, but I have, and I never thought I’d be there this long. My job hunt continues, but I’m still being really picky. Getting a raise every year is nice incentive, as is the fact that I got to pick out a gift for my anniversary. I chose a five-piece luggage set that I could really use.

Paul and I both had long, tiring weeks at work last week, so Thursday we caved to having dinner at the Greek place in town.

Saturday I picked Terra up to pick her cut up from the vet, and I ended up paying since she’s only just started working, hasn’t been paid yet, and she’s entitled to some of Scott’s money that he’s not giving her. I’d just gotten paid, I was going to a Lularoe party in the evening, and I could afford to do it, so when she said she was gonna write a check and hope they didn’t cash it until she got paid, I didn’t feel right letting her take that chance. And as vet visits go anyway, it was a relatively small amount of money.

I went to my parents’ house, then to the Lularoe party, then with my mom to the mall right quick, then back to the house for some free laundry.

On Sunday, my brother had a small apartment-warming party, mostly attended by immediate family–Paul and me plus my parents, and his new wife’s mom, siblings, and their significant others. Paul and I ended up hanging around the longest, just kind of talking and dicking around.

Unfortunately, that was also the day I discovered my new car had been hit in the lot, so my day off Monday ended up half being spent driving to a body shop for an estimate, then taking advantage of the trip to do more free laundry at my parents.

And now it’s back to the work grind for the week, and I’m on Saturdays this month.

I’m back on weekend rotation at work yet again. Every time a new rotation schedule is released–and I have it about every six months-ish–I tell myself I’ll have a new job by the time it rolls around, but I haven’t had much luck with that, especially lately. The open positions have been very scarce lately, but I am excited to say I’ve at least added to my freelance work. I now do reviews for Pennsylvania Theatre Guide, and my very first one went up last night. I hope this helps open up other opportunities.

Rotation means I work Saturdays and have Mondays off, so I kicked that off last week by going shopping with my mom. She still hadn’t found a dress for Brandon’s wedding this summer–in fact, I don’t have one yet, either–and wanted to try a bridal shop just minutes away from my apartment.

Said apartment is still a disaster, organizationally speaking. It’s a mess. And I knew my mom being in the area meant there was a small chance she’d be coming in, so I devoted some time before she came into town to cleaning up. I did make a noticeable difference, but it wasn’t so drastic that I felt good about it when my mom said she was gonna need to come in and pee. Fortunately, I can at least blame some of it on not having much room for some of the things of Paul’s that are still in boxes.

The goal is to continue cleaning so that we feel comfortable inviting people over, at which point we’d like to at least have Paul’s siblings over on occasion before Julie and her boyfriend move to Erie. I figure it’s an easy, cheap/free way to get them out of the house and doing something, and they can hang out with each other for a bit. Although if we do it, I do envision there being a point where his mom complains that the siblings all gather here but not his parents, or that the siblings see us a lot in general but his parents don’t. Both our therapists have discussed setting boundaries, and I think that’s harder for Paul than it is for me. He feels guilty about not wanting to see his parents much; I don’t.

I’m grateful that my mom doesn’t say much to me about the state of the apartment, but I wouldn’t be surprised if my brother and dad heard all about it when she got home. My one saving grace is that she has seen it cleaner.

But shopping went well and much more smoothly than I expected. We only spent 45 minutes in the store, and my mom tried on just about every dress in the color she needed in her size and easily ruled out ones she didn’t like and picked out favorites. Funnily enough, she ended up going with the very first one she tried, which was also my favorite. It fit her really well, and it’s a really pretty dress.

We also drove out to the South Hills for a little more shopping, and I only came back with some socks, tights, and some Sephora purchases. I’m trying to not go too crazy with shopping, what with planning a wedding and all.