The 30th Birthday

Yesterday I celebrated my 30th birthday, and after a history of mediocre or crappy birthdays, this first step into my 3rd decade was a very nice change filled with a lot of amazing people.

Some highlights:

  • My dad cooked me breakfast and gave me an automatic garage door opener. Normally to get into the garage door now I have to unlock the side door, then go in and unlock-n-life the garage door from the inside. -Then- get back into my car and back it in and do everything in reverse. In the rain or snowpocalypse this can get tedious, but now I’ll be able to open the door easily.
  • Dad also went down to our old hometown icecream shop (the best in the world ,fyi), and got me an icecream cake.
  • Co-workers surprised me a card and some cash (we all know where that’s going :)), and my department surprised me with an additional card and a giftcard to the organic market. They also decorated my desk with black balloons and gave me a gag gift of one of those 8-ball fortune teller thingies, but shaped like a males appendage :).
  • Another co-worker baked me an amazing chocolate and peanut butter conglomeration.
  • Volt restaurant (Bryan Voltaggio’s restaurant of top chef fame) came up and gave me an amazing icecream dish with “Crystal lettuce” on it and a candle.
  • The boyfriend sent me a package with some more cash, a simm card for my new cellphone so I can listen to music, and a few other little things for a project I am working on.
  • My aunt and my father both put an announcement out on the local radio station.
  • My co-workers went out with me for dinner for indian food (some against their dislike for indian food), and the indian restaurant gave me a free dessert dish. Our waiter was a little awkward though, I think I may go to a different restaurant next time 😡 A co-worker paid for my meal against my wishes, but I’ll get her back.
  • Another co-worker gave me a Downtown Frederick giftcard when she heard I was going out for dinner because she wasn’t able to go as well. Course I didn’t get a chance to use it, but will have to reciprocate the favor by using it to pay for someone elses lunch sometime.
  • My social networks (especially facebook) exploded with birthday wishes from a lot of amazing people. Even some social networks I forgot I was on 😡

So all and all it was a -very- good birthday, and all the people who took time to just communicate well wishes to me is a good representation and first step into my 30’s. I’m looking forward to the rest of them 🙂

Then and Now

As mentioned on Twitter, yesterday when I took off for the funeral and to visit my grandfather, and then my cousin, sister, and I went by the old house to see what it looked like before they tear it down. Ironically enough (and not planned, mind you), it was the exact 1 year anniversary of when we left that place. July 28, 2008 is the day we packed up the rest of our belongings and drove off.

Dad has been back since, but I’d never been back until yesterday. There were a couple of times I wanted to, but could never muster up the gumption to actually go.

The yard was pretty desolate. Considering the amount of plants and flowers we had, the way it is now looks entirely foreign to me. There is insane overgrowth where there were once paths and cut grass that we’d sit out on. The back yard itself is just a mad jungle.

The front door was deadbolted, so we made our way to the back door and found our way inside. The smell of mold and……I don’t even know what else, was pretty overpowering. We all had to hold our noses as we walked through, using our other hand to try to navigate through the mass of spiderwebs. My cousin Steph let me take some pictures with her cellphone, because we were all just in shock at how bad things were. I cannot believe that just a year ago…my father and I were living in such horrible conditions, and for so long. I told Steph that this is what I imagine a house in a third world country to look like. I won’t even get into how the kitchen floor looked like it was starting to turn green with mold 😡

Steph couldn’t believe how bad things actually were either, but I told her that when we were living here and had all of our belongings here, it looked much different. I guess the energy of the home would have been different too. We coped and patched things as best we could while we were there. Now that there is no one there to tend it, it just turned dark and gross.

The comparison from that house to the house we bought is unimaginable. I am actually grateful that I had the opportunity to go through something like that. To not only live in filthy conditions but to also move on to something normal, and be able to leave behind so much clutter and junk (and I don’t just mean physical stuff either).

The next two months of staying with family to recuperate are much of a blur. But I can’t forget the kindness my Aunt showed us while we stayed there, nor the good things I enjoyed about living there (the sunrises were AMAZING).

I’ll post pictures tomorrow (I left them at work). But even then they won’t be able to describe how things really looked.

The Weekend and the Birthday

This weekend I taught a Basic Personal Finance workshop at the Grove. I’m not a very good public speaker (I just don’t do it enough, really), and I was nervous, but I think the workshop actually turned out really well. There was a lot of participation from everyone who stayed for the workshop, and I mean LOTS. People had a lot of good experiences to share and I think everyone learned something. It ran for about 3 hours, and I made paper copies and the pdf copy available for the participants.

The only drawback was that a lot of the people who I think could have benefited the most from the workshop were not in attendance. I chalk most of that up to being done on Easter, so I will have to go through and teach it again sometime (or just share the pdf with them, or something).

If there’s enough interest, I may post the document for others outside the Grove as well.

Afterwards I was treated to dinner at Amer’s Cafe for my birthday, which is a Mediterranean restaurant down in Baltimore. I was also given two bottles of mead that I love 🙂

I also henna’d my hair as a treat to myself.

I did go to work today, despite it being my birthday, and my co-workers devised a cake surprise for me, the topic of which had me cracking up most of the day. Picture below:

(this is a photoshop image I did a while back of one of our IT guys on Fabio’s hair/body)

The upcoming weekend is a camping trip to see some good friends that I’ve missed very much.