Tuesday, July 29, 2014

My Money Pit Car

I am kind of annoyed with my car right now. I have a 2004 Toyota Corolla that I have had for the past 8 years. We got it the summer after my freshman year of college and it only had 24,000 miles on it (had just come off a lease). I loved it. Great on gas (31 miles to the gallon) and reliable. I was suppose to inherit the monthly payments for it once I graduated college but as my graduation gift, my mom paid it off for me. Nice mother!! :) I was originally suppose to get my brother Mark's old Corolla except my brother Brian totaled it one day going back to school. So I ended up with the better end of the deal, getting a newer car.

I was pretty lucky...I only had to pay gas myself, oil changes, registration fees, etc. There was only two times it had pretty bad damage to itself. Once when it was parked in the grocery store lot in town, a 93 year old man had a brain aneurysm that burst and he hit one car, hit the thing that holds the shopping carts, turned around, hit a Ford Explorer that went flying into my car and took off. They got him but the poor man didn't know what was going on.After all the work done on that car, I had to get more work done two years ago when I had my first accident and got side-swiped. 

Lately though, I feel like my car is becoming a money pit. In December, I spent over $800 on my car. Between new ball joints, an oil change, new brakes and all this other stuff, I was ready to just puke at the thought of how much $$$ I was spending. And yes, I get that it takes $$ to maintain a car. My mechanic is my brother's neighbor so it's a nice service to drop your car off at his house and he brings it back from his shop to your house. He told me a few other things I was going to have to have done later on.

Last month, my car had a vibration feel that it shook around 60mph. I had to get an oil change and inspection done this month so I also had him do the new struts I needed. $600+ later, I was set. A week after, my car starts SCREECHING when I make left turns. At first, I thought I was going nuts because I worry about every sound my car makes. I also thought it was odd it was only when I was making LEFT turns. Then this fell off (and I have no freaking clue what it is!!)

What the heck is that?! Tonight I was at the stop sign around the corner from my house and it screeched very loudly. It's okay when I am driving but I am wondering if its my brakes, the power steering (which is what people are saying online but that's just what came up in Google.....I wouldn't trust it based on Google reviews) or that thing in the picture above. 

I sent my mechanic a text message to see if he can take a look at my car tomorrow or Thursday or even Friday. Luckily my brother is working tomorrow night and Thursday night at the same time as I am so I can go with him (ironically he has to have his dropped off to have some work done too). The mechanic hasn't answered me back so I am going to try him again in the morning. 

But this makes me wonder...is it worth it to keep pouring $$ into the car if I keep having all these problems arise? Everyone says Toyotas are built to last (I swear my mom's Camry had 200,000 miles on it before she got her 2014 in October and her old one was a 2002) but if I am spending almost $2000 in a calendar year to fix huge problems, maybe I should just BUY a new car! I know I have the credit that I could get a good loan but this is a big decision I would have to make. Hopefully my mechanic can look at it tomorrow because I can't keep driving around with it making the noise.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

{sunday Social}

I have been sort of slacking in the blog department lately but that's okay. Life has been busy but I have some AMAZING news that I can't wait to share this week!

Here I am again linking up with Ashley & Neely for Sunday Social. It's all about 3's!

{1} 3 favorite songs right now:
If I knew how to put the YouTube clips into my post so they actually worked I would but the songs I love right now are: All of Me - John Legend, Turn Down for What - DJ Snake & Lil John, and Maps - Maroon 5.

{2} 3 favorite movies that remind you of summer:
Definitely Now & Then, The Notebook, and Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. I want to watch the last two now!

{3} 3 favorite articles of clothing you own:
I have a pair of gray Nike pants that seriously I could live in for days, the black & white striped dress I wore in some of my pictures from when I went to Block Island (it's from The Loft) and my Grumpy coffee pjs!

{4} 3 items on my wish list:
One of these bad boys!

Jack Rogers Sandals and a Disney Cruise!

{5} Three books you recommend to give to someone:
I read this book one summer for 10th grade English Honors. Cried my eyes out. So good and it's the author's real life story.

Anything by Emily Giffin.

The Harry Potter series.


Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Block Island 2014

I have always wanted to spend some time visiting my two female cousins on my mom's side of the family (my Uncle Teddy's two daughters). They both live in Massachusetts so they mentioned they were doing a ladies weekend in Block Island (which is actually in Rhode Island...never knew that!). I decided it would be fun to join and explore someplace new.

Thursday I drove up to my cousin Fran's house. After buying a GPS that morning at Best Buy (I am so geographically challenged), it only took me about 4 hours. The worst part was the traffic getting out of New York (oddly enough, the worst part coming home was the traffic in Connecticut and NOT New York for once!). I stayed at Fran's house and we drank wine, I helped her pack and we went to bed early(ish) for me to be on the 10:30 ferry Friday morning.

Fran and I made it on the 10:30 ferry. My cousin Chantal (Fran's sister) and her two friends plus Fran's two friends all missed it by 5 minutes. Chantal and her friends ended up taking a high speed ferry over so they arrived shortly after us. We stored our things in a luggage room (apparently that is what you're suppose to do) and then went to lunch at this restaurant Ballards. After lunch, we hit the beach! It was GORGEOUS weather and probably the best we had all weekend.

Me, Chantal and Fran at Lunch!
View from the ferry when we pulled in. To me, there is just something so calm and peaceful about being near water. (Although I did not have that feeling come Sunday afternoon when I wanted to get off the rocky ferry because I thought I was going to be sick).

Friday night we spent a good portion finding a place to eat. I don't do seafood but most places obviously have other options. We ended up splitting off after we ate dinner. Chantal & her two friends went and partied at this bar Captain Nick's and I went with Fran and her two friends for flaming coffee! It's this whole presentation thing but it was REALLY different and for someone who LOVES her coffee (even my students know), I enjoyed this experience.

Saturday morning, we were going to take mopeds around the island. Block Island is suppose to be about 10 miles around but it definitely felt bigger in a way! Wendy & Allison (Fran's two friends) had rented the mopeds but Wendy backed out at the last minute. They make you "test drive" them before they let you go off. Fran was going to drive and I was going to go on the back of her bike & Chantal on the back of Allison's bike. Well, joke is on Fran because she and Allison BOTH failed. They were both shocked. We ended up renting bikes for $16 for about 4 hours to bike around the island. Y'all, I did NOT sign up for athletics on this vacation. I didn't even pack sneakers. 

I think they need to inspect their bikes because my brakes sucked and it was difficult! We biked up to a lighthouse and took a break.

Then we biked to the Mohegan Bluffs. We all kind of got lost getting there because there is NO direct sign that indicated where they were. It was a 130+ steps down to a rocky beach (which we did not walk on) but it was a beautiful view.

Me, Chantal and Fran

Allison, Me, Chantal, Fran

Sidenote: We all have matching neon shirts. Fran saw them in the window of a store and we all bought them to wear. I think the most we got in a picture of a group was 5.

Later, Chantal and I were going to the beach when these guys were like "Come have a shot on our boat!" I was hesitant but Chantal has such a bubbly personality she was like "SURE!" So we sat on this boat for awhile talking with these guys. And opted for a group photo:
Me, Allison, Fran and Chantal

On Saturday night, we went out to dinner. Chantal, Leana and Missy all opted for pizza/tacos so the rest of us had a sit-down dinner. It wasn't the best restaurant but I now have seen how picky some people are from both sides (serving and sitting). I am pretty easy when it comes to eating out...as long as my food comes out right I am happy! Allison's bass had to be cooked again because it wasn't cooked all the way through (I wouldnt have been happy either). But before dinner, we had a photoshoot on the beach!

Me, Leaiana, Missy, Chantal

 Like how we alternated colors of our shirts?!

When we went out on Saturday, we went to Captain Nick's. I wish I had more energy in me because the band was awesome! They played a mix of stuff on the radio today, oldies, 80's, country. I ended up leaving early with Missy to go sleep but it was fun!

Overall, it was a fun weekend and so great to see my cousins!!! I enjoyed getting to explore a new part of the East Coast and look forward to seeing my cousins again soon.

Can't wait to share the exciting news I have!

Friday, July 11, 2014

{Five on Friday!}

It surely has been awhile since I participated in this link up but my brain needs a brain from the lesson I have been writing for Monday (more on that in a bit).

Link up with the lovely ladies for 5 on Friday!

{1} Last week I went into a school district that I had applied to for a writing sample. I thought it was odd that they wanted the writing sample first before they interviewed but that's how they did their screening process. Hey, whatever works for ya! They called me on Tuesday morning to see if I could come in Wednesday for an interview (this week). Of course I said yes. I was all nerves and couldn't eat anything. 45 minutes AFTER my interview, the secretary called to tell me that I have a demo lesson for this coming Monday!! I almost dropped my phone in the parking lot. I gave them my references at the interview (my chairperson/assistant principal because she has a dual role and two teachers I worked with). One of my co-teachers texted me to tell me that she gave me glowing references!! I am praying big time to God that everything is going to go well on Monday. Keep your fingers crossed!!

My cousin Lisa and Bryce, who celebrated their one year wedding anniversary on July 4th, are expecting in November. In fact, her due date is Thanksgiving Day! I have been dying to know what they are having and when I was at work last night, they sent me a picture:

While I was hoping it was a girl (because I want one in the family to dress up lol), I am super excited for them!

I am super excited that this time next weekend I shall either be in or on my way to Block Island with my cousins Francesca and Chantal. I am desperately needing a vacation and just some relaxation time.

The deck is FINALLY finished being built around our pool. It is huge (to me) and nice to lay out on. Tuesday I fell asleep in the pool chair and got burnt. I looked like Sebastian from the Little Mermaid because of the reflection of the sun on the water. Oh well. Its not as bad now (except when Lily scratches my legs). 

I have desperately been needing to get my eyes checked because I am so blind it's just sad. Not that I am really blind but if I don't have my glasses on (and I have been without contacts for a few weeks because I ran out), everything is like blobs. Thanks to my FANTASTIC (sense my sarcasm) insurance through the healthcare marketplace, I apparently have to get a referral from my PCP because the eye doctor is a specialist....oh well guess whose PCP doesn't take my insurance even though the insurance company says they do? Yep...so I have to straighten that mess out but I paid out of pocket because well, I need to see. Got contacts ordered and I also got a prescription for glasses. Apparently my vision hasn't changed in the past few years (always a good sign) but my frames were so worn. My eye guy is great....he said i could spend $175-$225 on new frames PLUS $200 for my lenses (because they're so thick/need anti-reflective glare, etc) plus the $110 for my 24 pack of contacts (I'm so glad I wear the same prescription in each eye) OR he could pop my lenses out of my old glasses (because they were in good shape) and put them in new frames for $100. I chose the second option! I love them...they're Coach and purple!

I hope everyone has a fantastic weekend and enjoys the sunshine! I am off to continue/finish my demo lesson and take Lily for a walk before I have to go to work later.  

Sunday, July 6, 2014

{Sunday Social}

{1} What is your favorite genre of music?

I would honestly have to say probably pop music. I love those catchy tunes that "get stuck in your head." Most of my iTunes is pop music (Britney Spears, Taylor Swift, One Direction, etc) with a mix of country (which comes in as a close second) and rap. My taste is ALL over the place!!

{2} What is your favorite genre of movies?
Comedy and drama. Two of my favorites:

{3} Do you watch reality TV? If so, what was the first show you remember watching?
Survivor: Australian Outback.   I remember my mom being in a pool to see who won and I watched it to see how the person she got did (who was Elizabeth Hasselback....many moons ago!!). Now, I have my "guilty pleasure" reality TV shows!

{4} Who is an actress you'd want to be BFFs with?
 Hands down...Jennifer Aniston!!

{5} Who is an actor you would be happy to be stuck with on an island?

Channing Tatum!!!

Link up with Ashley & Neely.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

One week in!

I am one week into my summer vacation. Let me just say it was PURE TORTURE being stuck in school until June 27th. We were in school later than we were last year! At least this time we did not have to come back on Monday for a workshop on teacher-student relationships like we did last year.

Two babies were born this week!! My friend Anjelica from work was due July 1st and she actually had the baby on July 1! She was induced on the 30th and after 28.5 hours of labor, her little munchkin Michael Lawrence was born! He weighed 8 lbs 8 oz. Oh he is such a doll. I had to go to the hospital on Wednesday and see him:

My co-worker Elvis from school and his wife were due July 3rd, also with a little boy. Their son, Sebastian, was born ON July 4th! Two more coworkers from school are also due this month. Can't wait to see pictures of them!

I also went on an "interview" this week. Actually, I went in to do the writing sample and had to bring 10 copies of my cover letter and resume. I found it odd that I was doing a writing sample before being actually interviewed but I guess every school district is different. The writing sample was pretty easy and everyone else that was there doing it was either for Speech or Reading. Only one other person did the Spanish sample (from that I could see in the bin) so we shall see where it gets me. I am slowly getting frustrated in the job department (as I have mentioned time & time again) because I apply to every single posting and it seems to be getting me nowhere. At this point, it has been almost 70-80 jobs I have applied for. I have had handfuls of interviews (which is always great) but I want to know when I am actually going to get my break. I am tired of being passed over (like I think happened where I work now for a leave), which has led me to my out of state research on jobs.

On the line: Virginia, North Carolina, Georgia, Florida. I have New York state certification so I am trying to figure out the whole deal with inter-state reciprocity. Anyone have any suggestions? I know to look on each state's department of education website but some of it is confusing!

While I have worked almost every day so far this week of my summer vacation, I get to take another one in two weeks when I go away to visit my cousins in Massachusetts and we're going to Block Island for the weekend! So excited!!!