Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Personal Update: New Car, Anniversary, Birthday, Pets

Welcome to another monthly personal update - except it's been a bit more than a month, hasn't it?  Thanks to a house emergency that required me to take on extra work in early September, I had to put the blog on hiatus.  This included my typical second-Wednesday personal update, which I'm now stuffing in between two altar posts.  Technically, I'd be posting my full moon altar today but I don't like to make personal updates on Saturdays, so here we are!  This one is sure to be packed; so much has happened since early August.  I'll give each major event titles to help those who like to skim.  Enjoy!


Shortly after my August personal update, we had a small flood in our laundry room.  It wasn't anything major and, when we called the plumber out, we were expecting a routine auger of the line.  We knew we had a root issue in the sewer line - nearly all houses built int he 1960s do - but we weren't expecting to have to replace it for quite some time.  To our surprise, however, we found that the roots had busted the line in several areas and that we had to have the work done quite literally now.  

This was a total shock to us and, looking at a bill ranging from $9300 to $12,500, we were jarred.  My in-laws graciously offered to pay for $6000 of the bill, but that still left us with a $32300-6500 chunk that would wipe out all the progress in savings we had made this year.  So we turned to you, my readers, and you were amazing!  You came through with an additional $1000 that helped us soften the financial blow of a huge home repair emergency.  The total bill came to a little over $9800 fortunately and, with help from you and my in-laws, we paid just $2800.

Crisis diverted.  Everything went so fast too!  We went from flood in the laundry room to finished work in about a week, with the final work completed in late August.  We now have a new, solid sewer line running from the base of our floor, all the way out to the main line across the street, along with a 10-year warranty.  We even left our mark on the house with a little carving of our initials in the garage.  All's well that ends well.  

Thank you all so much for the help!  We truly appreciate it because...


This was very unexpected.  A couple Saturdays ago, I was having a heck of a day.  The last few Saturdays in September are always very busy and I often have 3-4 gigs a day.  In my desperation to grab a quick bite to eat and change my shirt between agencies, I locked my keys in the trunk of my car minutes before I had to be on premises to another gig.  AAA couldn't make it out for hours, so my husband jumped in the car with the spare set of keys and drove out of town to where I was so that I was only minutes late to the actual event.  Unfortunately, when he went to start his car back up, it didn't start.  After my event, I met him back at where I was and we had a short dinner while trying to figure things out.  A tow truck was still hours away and nothing was open.  If we wanted to use it for free, I had to be present anyway because my husband had already used up all of his freebies.  In the end, we decided his best bet was to talk to the manager of the establishment, abandon his car there for the night, hitch a ride with his dad back home and we'd try again the next day after my gigs.

We also decided, in that short dinner, that we might need to move our timeline up for a new car.  We were both driving 17-year-old cars and, while mine tends to be reliable, his was definitely not.  It hadn't been since my dad bought the thing brand new and even still when we bought it from him to replace Aaron's first car.  Also, as I said earlier, Aaron had already used all of his AAA freebies and then some.  The car had at least 5 major problems that immediately came to mind, a few of which were at the "drive it until it drops because repairing it outweighs the worth of the car" status.  While I identified the current issue as either a mass airflow sensor, fuel pump relay or ignition coil, all of which repair in the 200-300 dollar range, it was only a matter of time before one of the other major problems came to a head.  Before I left my husband to wait on my father-in-law, we decided we needed a new car after winter.

The next day, we returned to the car and - surprise - it started up just fine and drove home.  I followed him the whole way, nervous at every stop light until we finally hit the driveway.  That night, I began asking the Facebook hivemind about potential new cars.  The Hyundai Elantra got a lot of suggestions, closely followed by Nissan Versa, Honda Fit and Toyota Corolla (for anyone also in the market for an affordable, low-maintenance, good gas mileage car).  I took an online quiz about potential cars and found the same kinds of cars on that list, starting with the Hyundai Sonata - and the Elantra being number five.  So I made an appointment to test drive an Elantra Tuesday night.  I figured, if I was going to shop for a car, I might as well start now and know what I want.

I did like the Elantra, but I had some visibility issues with it from the slanted back window.  The gauges were slanted, so I struggled to read them a bit and it was very zippy compared to my old Ford.  My husband, being 6'3", also struggled with head and leg room.  I looked at the Fit, Corolla, and Versa but wasn't particularly set on it.  Then I hit the Sonata - the first on the quiz I took.  And I loved it.  Truly.

Meet Serenity

So I bought it.  We could only afford to do so because the in-laws and you, the readers, helped us with the house emergency.  It wasn't an easy decision.  I nearly had a hyperventilating panic attack in the waiting room before I officially handed over the downpayment.  But it was a much-needed purchase.  My car - the 2001 I got from my parents in 2016, if any of you remember when I sold my first car Cerulea off - is now my husband's.  And this baby is now mine!  I've had a Crisis Moon Compact decal (from Sailor Moon) sitting around and I immediately placed that under the license plate.  Given that I was starting with a Sailor Moon decal, I decided to name her Serenity.  And she's going to be aptly themed...

So far, she has a Crisis compact decal, a keychain of the same, and a crystal to mimic the Silver Crystal as my rearview mirror charm.  It looks like a perpetual transformation sequence in my car!  I also have two crescent moon decals coming in for the rear window and some Serenity seat covers as well.

Some of these were gifts, some I already had and some were fairly cheap.  Either way, it's nice to actually have a nice car decorated in a way that's very me.  It's surreal, but I'm enjoying it - along with the 15-year advancement in technology.  My goodness, car tech has come a long way since 2001!  I'm particularly fond of the blind-spot alarm (I'm 5'3" and have a lot of blind spots in any car) as well as the hands-free Bluetooth phone calling.  Plus, I think I wracked up nearly 400 miles before having to gas up again.  My goodness.  What a change!

I guess you could say that this is all of these new things in our lives are in celebration of...

SEPTEMBER 20th, 2008

My husband and I have officially been married for 10 years - and together for nearly 15.  we didn't do much to celebrate it as I've had to work non-stop this weekend.  We're also both sick with a cold, so that put a damper on it as well.  I can't complain too much though, because we're hosting a vow renewal next year and I'm looking forward to that.

We also celebrated...


Turning 30 was odd for me because it didn't occur in the way I had envisioned it at the beginning of the year.  Originally, I was supposed to manage the info table for either CF or WW at PPD and then spend the evening with the circle.  Having left the circle and the community, I ended up spending it... mostly alone.  A friend took me to brunch, which was interrupted by someone vomiting on her car off of a bridge downtown.  Yes, that really happened.  No, it wasn't okay.  I ended up not really eating much.  That night, my husband tried to take me to see a movie at the Alamo but ended up locking us out of our house without car keys.  We had to cancel our reservation and drop $70 on a locksmith.  Super great.  At that point, I was done with the day and went to bed.  

The next day, my husband took me shopping and we picked up some new witchy things as a present to make up for the lock-out.

I also got some things for myself later that week when going thrifting.

Loneliness: Nothing a little thrifty retail therapy won't cure, right?


After having lived in the same house for 27 years, my parents picked up and moved almost two hours away to the middle of nowhere.  Being the only child, I helped them do so as much as I could before having to go to an event an hour north - and three hours away from their new home.  That being said, the next day I traveled down to help them unpack a bit.

I can certainly see why they moved, though.  Their new home is beautiful, and the scenes are gorgeous.  Their dogs are loving it as well.  My dog... mostly enjoyed the food.


Since I was luckily able to move my beautiful piano into my home, I've had it tuned and repaired.  This included replacing the ivories on some of the keys - ivories that have been missing since I was a kid (picture at bottom right, I was likely 15-16).  It's strange to see it "complete."  I'll be working over the winter months to gently whiten the keys from the cigarette smoke it endured with my parents.  Next summer, I'm thinking of sanding and staining it to show off the cherry wood underneath the gaudy textured paint.

Also, because my parents were moving, I was finally able to get this shelf back.  I bought it from a garage sale when I was a pre-teen/teenager and used it to display music boxes in my old room.  When I got it home, my husband sanded it down and I used a black stain to give it an updated look.  Now it displays my teapots in that odd, vacant space between the front room and the dining area.  After two years, I finally have my teapots and teacups back!  I want to install a wall shelf above it to display the white set, hang some hooks to display some of the cups, then put some canvas storage boxes in the top two shelves.  Once that's complete, I can add some utensils to the top to turn this into a tea bar!  But that's a project for next year.

Iris, Artemis, Zeus, Hermes and Apollo

I know many of you look forward to my pet updates, so I've saved the best for last!  Everyone in Rhoeas Hearth is doing well!  Iris is settling into her new home nicely.  We're tackling some territorial aggression issues that are common with the breed, especially Alexandrines that have been moved around a lot.  In the process, my in-laws gifted us with this:

The playground is a great way to limit her territorial aggression from her cage.  We've also swapped her to a "sleep cage" that has just enough room for her to spread her wings and only the bare necessities.  She sleeps in that cage and is transferred to the play stand in the morning hours if I'm home, or to the large cage if I'm leaving.  She also only gets chop, seeds and treats if she's away from the cages.  That's helped significantly with the aggression and we don't encounter it much anymore.  She's still very finicky but that's part of her personality.  She's full of sass and definitely lets us know when she wants something or if something isn't to her standard.  We've lovingly nicknamed her our "Angry Avocado."

Exhibit A of her sass: She decided she didn't like the seed I gave her and threw it at me.  I swear, when I brought her home, she was a bird - not a toddler with a pair of nutcrackers attached to her face.

She's super sweet though and genuinely loves me.  She looks for me when I'm gone and happily chirps when I'm home.  Beyond her time on the play stand, which is right next to my desk to get plenty of interaction, I try to spend an hour each day with her personally.  I'll take her into the ritual room and let her meander the floor, make food with her, play with her on the kitchen table and more.  She's a very independent pigeon and likes to make her own decisions - including, one day, jumping down from the table and waddling into the library where her large cage is to take a nap.

Aaron and I specifically adopted her because we knew we could give her a stable, quiet home.  I can tell she's been through a lot and is still struggling to trust but I feel we make more progress every day.  She steps up beautifully and can shake for treats.  She does some mimics, including "Whatchya' doin," "buhbye," "Hey, how're you?" and "Wahoo!"  But it does seem to me that she only mimics when she's nervous, so we don't press it.  She's terrified of phones.  I think someone used a phone to slap at her once, or maybe even threw their phone at her, because she freaks out at the sight.  We're trying to gently show her that phones aren't going to harm her - that nothing will here.  She does trust me for the better part though.  We have some moments where we lapse, but it honestly reminds me of Artie in his early days where he would lapse in training.  I hope I'll see her open up more as she learns that we're never going to hurt her and that she has a forever home with us no matter what.
Either we like cherries or murder - or both.

We lika tha pellets.

You may have noticed, though, that I did add her to my new banner.  This required me to create a design for her and I thoroughly enjoyed it.  Is she a familiar though?  Honestly, I don't think so, and that's the strangest part of this.  It has been almost a decade since I've had "just a pet."  I forget how much I rely on that ethereal voice to interpret what an animal needs emotionally.  The other day, Hermes came in and I immediately understood that he needed specifically fresh water.  I didn't have to guess or check the bowls.  I knew.  It's a whole different ballgame with Iris.  I'm enjoying having just a pet for once, but I did let her know that, if she is a familiar and would like to pact, I am open to it.  I don't take in animals without that option being available.  She seemed to understand but, as far as I'm aware, simply isn't a familiar in the first place.  We'll see how it goes in the coming years.

Speaking of familiars...

Artie is doing well.  He recently got his groom on and enjoyed a few rides in Serenity.  He's not thrilled with the leather seats, so I can't wait to get those seat covers, but he likes it otherwise!

He likes Iris and gets along with her well, though he is visibly annoyed by her louder noises.  I don't blame him; if I had his hearing, I would too!  However, he fully understands that we rescued her and wants to help.  He's so sweet!

The cats are also doing well.  Nothing unusual to report there.  

Zeus gets along swimmingly with Iris - in fact, he'll even let her walk on him.  He immediately rubbed up against Artie when we first met, nuzzled Hermes the first time we let him out of the bathroom and turned into Mister Mom for Apollo, so it doesn't surprise me.  He's super chill and has always been the center of acceptance in the household.  

Hermes is curious but cautious.  He got too close to her one day and got pecked - no damage but he hasn't been keen to get close again.  He's also not thrilled with her flight.  For some reason, flying animals terrify my cats - as I learned first with the bat that got in through the flew in 2014 and again with the blackbird in 2016.  

Apollo is straight-up scared of her.  He's also a derp, so he repeatedly puts himself in situations to be afraid (like getting on the back of my office chair when she's on the play stand).  She actually hasn't done anything to him to make him afraid - he just is.  We did a slow introduction, taking weeks to fully allow them to see Iris and get near her.  At this point, it's acclimation.  Apollo is okay - if he was mortified and self-harming in the process, I'd be more concerned.  He doesn't avoid the room she's in (or her space for that matter) but I don't see them being buddies anytime soon - even if Iris wanted to be.

Since their lives have been (thankfully) uneventful, Iris is the main news around here still.  Fortunately, I don't have to worry too much about them hurting her, though I'm still cautious and don't allow her out on her own.  To be frank, I'm more concerned about her hurting them.  She seems to have come from a household with cats, so she's pretty calm in their presence.  Less so with Artie, but she's learned he's not a threat.  I nearly got a picture of the five together the other day in the ritual room before Apollo panicked at her proximity.  I'd give it a few more months and I think we'll all be happily settled in!


Just a heads up that I'm gearing up for some more giveaways soon!  My ritual room renovation is officially complete and I found so many items I don't need anymore - or that I never used!  A couple of the books are ones I found in the garage after purchasing duplicates as I assumed I lost them in the move.  And, of course, there's a ton of incense.  Now that I have a parrot, I can't burn it when she's nearby.  Bird lungs process oxygen differently, making incense incredibly toxic to her.  I do still burn it but in moderation - only when she's in bed in the library with the door closed and I'm in the ritual room across the house with plenty of ventilation away from her.  This means that my New Year's Eve spirit ritual is still happening but there's no reason for me to have a drawer full of incense.  My loss is your gain!

The first giveaway will likely come along with my end-of-the-year article questionnaire in December, so look for it!  

What items from above would you like to see in the next giveaway?
Comment below!
(Derpollo not included.)


  1. I would really like to see Derpollo in the next giveaway but if you must keep him I'd like to see incense and candles. (: (Pam from Arkansas)

    1. Unfortunately, Derpollo has to stay here, lol! Incense has definitely been added to the next giveaway, along with a candle holder!

  2. I am glad things seem to be settling down for you! I would like to see the book on household spirits, the wooden star, the candle snuffer and some incense in the give away! I also love the altar cloth :)

    1. Thank you so much, Mrs. K! All of the above has been added to the next giveaway!

  3. I'd love to see the goddess candle holders, the hanging star and moon, the books, altar cloth, and incense in the giveaway. Possibly sent out with photos of Derpollo, as I doubt the real one would get on with the postal system. :)