Friday, February 20, 2009

Catch You on the Flip Side

Hey, guys! Well, I have been packing my brains out all week. I tell ya, I remember the good ol' days when I was in college, and I didn't have any furniture, and all my stuff fit into 10 large boxes. I didn't even need help to move.

Now, it's an entirely different ball game! I am leaving to go pick up my U-Haul here in a few, but just wanted to post really quickly.

I have read all of your comments (they are all emailed to me), but I really don't have time to reply to all of them, other than to say thank you to all of you for your support. It's a little scary to have this much going on at once, and I'm worried I will f**k something up, but in a month or so, I think I'll be ok.

We still haven't heard when CN will get his job transferred down to Savannah so he can move in with me. Hopefully, it will be soon. We have been across the street from each other for a year and a half, so this will be a big adjustment for us.

If you remember correctly, I told him that we have to either be engaged or have a wedding date picked out before he can move in with me. Since the ring is still in Belgium, with my aunt, which makes proposing rather difficult, we went ahead and set a date: June 26, 2010. Which also happens to be my dad's birthday. I have always wanted to get married on his birthday, since he won't be there to walk me down the aisle.

So that is pretty exciting!!! It gives us time to save up and plan everything. Er, it gives my mom time to plan everything (she's already going into overdrive-control-freak mode). Once I get settled down in Savannah, I will start checking out wedding magazines, I guess. I dunno. Most of y'all are married. What do you recommend as far as how best to get started on planning? Any advice???

I don't know when I will be able to blog again. I have to see what my new job is like. Right now, at this job, I have tons of down time, so it's ok. But who knows what my new job will be like? I will try to get to the public library sometime so I can update y'all on stuff. But that might be a while. It would be great if CN could move in quickly -- he has a brand new, super-fast computer and I could blog from his all the time.

Anyway, we will see. Ok, guys. I gotta go. Wish me luck, and I'll get back to you (and catch up on your blogs!!) as soon as possible!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

My New Home, Part 3

Do you want the good news or the bad news first? How about bad.

You know how when you leave a job, you usually get to cash in your unused vacation time? Ok, well I just went to HR today to do the whole exit procedure stuff and I found out that instead of getting to cash out what I thought would end up being 19 days of vacation time, I will only get to cash out 6. Without going into all the details as to why, I will just say that I do not accrue vacation time at this job. I have a designated amount that I have to use up by the end of the year (our year runs from July - June). So I really shot myself in the foot by showing up to work all these past months. In fact, if I had used up all my vacation time by now, I would still be able to cash in on those 6 particular days.

So to say I'm disappointed is putting it lightly. I am kind of pissed. Plus, I could have really used the money from cashing in 19 days. But at least I get 6. Oh well.

But the good news is, since I can't cash it in (ie, take it with me, so to speak), I might as well use up as much of it as I can before I go. So I'm taking off most of the rest of the week. Which works out pretty well, considering I have umpteen things to do before I move on Saturday.

Alright. Enough of that. I wanted to share pics of the interior of my new place w/y'all. I created a virtual floorplan on (free!) so you can see the layout of my place.

I went ahead and put in some virtual furniture, too, just to make it more realistic. Ok, so now that you have a feel for what it looks like, let me show you the photos. I'm showing you the pics in the order you'd see the rooms if you parked behind the house and enter thru the backdoor, which is the door I will be using for the most part. This first one is the dining and/or entryway. It will probably end up being CN's office. It's the first thing you see when you walk in the back door.
Next, to your right is the kitchen. I really like the cabinets -- each upper one has 4 shelves! I need that, since I have so much cooking stuff. The door you see is open -- that's where the pantry is. I heart pantries. Notice the lack of dishwasher. :(
If you are leaving the kitchen, this is what you see.
Going back through the entryway, you next enter my living room, modeled here by the lovely MJ. Check out that fireplace! I am in love with my fireplaces. Yay for architectural/historical detailing!!! :) Boo for this room only having one electrical outlet. :( Although as I pointed out, this makes TV placement a no-brainer. LOL! I will be putting my couch under the window, because the TV has to go in the opposite corner.
Next, you proceed to the bedroom. Gotta love those gorgeous floors and the big picture window. I think I will put my bed under it.
The other side of my room has a nice-sized closet, again modeled by the lovely MJ. As you can see, she's as excited about it as I am. And no, I am not prepared to share this closet with CN. I will cross that bridge when I get to it. Still need to figure out where to put 60 pairs of shoes.....hmmmm....
The other corner has my bedroom fireplace. This is a close-up. Both of my fireplaces are original to the house--only the tile surround is new. But only the bedroom fireplace has the original mirror as well.

Alright, now if you were to come in through the front door instead of the back door, you would be entering my hallway. The doors on the right are as follows: bedroom, living room, and then straight ahead is my bathroom (you can see my sink and shower/tub combo -- the toilet is to the left, but you can't see it in this shot). The door on the left is the laundry area, of which I forgot to take a photo. So use your imagination.

Continuing down the hall, you will enter the bathroom, part of which is pictured here. Yay for linen closets!!!

And last but not least, here's a cool shot. If you were to stand on my front porch, facing the street, and look to your right, here's what you would see:

I love how all the porches line up like that. I think it is so cool and old-fashioned. The house closest is where the students live. I mentioned them in the last post.

Alright, I also dug up some photos I took when CN and I went to Savannah last fall. Better late than never, right? It's funny what you find when you decide to finally put all your pics onto your computer. :P
This is a really cool drain spout I saw in Savannah.
Savannah has buildings from just about every time period and architectural style.
It will take me months before I pick out my favorite house in town.
It was love at first sight when it came to the trees. Live oaks grow very large, and the branches are very gnarled and arching. Throw in some Spanish moss hanging from the trees like cobwebs, and it's basically impossible to shake the romantic, spooky and fairy-tale-like aura of the town.
This is The Olde Pink House. It was originally a home built in the late 1700s, but now it's a restaurant. It's haunted. Trivia fact: it was not meant to be pink. They had red brick and covered it with white stucco, but the brick bled through, turning the stucco pink. But the name stuck, so they kept it pink.

Seriously, I can't stop taking photos of these trees, y'all.
This building is called the Cotton Exchange. I don't think there's much exchanging going on these days. It's currently vacant. On the other side of this building is the Savannah River. Lots of bars, tourist traps and restaurants, too.
This is City Hall. One of the nicest-looking city halls I've seen in a while. The dome was only painted gold in the last few years. It's really pretty in the sunshine.
You may know that downtown Savannah has a series of squares placed periodically throughout the blocks and rows of old homes. I think there are 24 of them, and it's really nice to break up the streets with mini-parks. These last 2 are photos from Chippewa Square, where a big statue of General Oglethorpe stands. He founded Savannah in 1733. Trivia fact: he is facing South, because Savannah was founded by the English as a way to defend its borders from the Spanish, who were in nearby Florida at the time. So he is turned to face his enemy.

If you want to know more about Savannah, here's info about its history, Gen. Oglethorpe and the Squares. You can also watch Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, which gives you a good feel for the city today, in addition to being a really good movie.

Monday, February 16, 2009

My New Home, Part 2

I was a little worried about the location of my new place in Savannah. There are certain roads you shouldn't live near if you want to feel safe, and I am a block away from one, and a block away from another. If I were one block east or south of where I am, I would be in an iffy part of town.

Keep in mind that the couple moving in above me won't be there for another 3 weeks after I move in. It will be just me and Sammy at first, all alone in the new place.

Math time!

One big, old empty house
living on the edge of the safe part of town
+ my overactive imagination
= major panic.

Who knows an area better than the people who live there, right? I mean, after being in Columbia for 6 years, I can tell anyone where to live and where to avoid. So I hit up some Savannah message boards to gather some opinions about the level of safety I could expect.

EVERY person (there were about 10) who replied told me that if I can get out of my lease, I should. The phrases "not a good area at all" and "I would not want my daughter to live there" and "wouldn't be able to find a less desirable location if you tried" were used. Oh dear. That's not good.

So last week, I basically freaked out and thought about breaking my lease. Or buying a gun. Or a very large German Shepherd with a nasty temper. Or a taser. Or something. Anything. All I could think was "I am alone, on the ground floor and it would not be very difficult to break into my house if you were a very large and very violent bad guy. I am toast. I might as well start preparing myself to be beaten up, robbed and gang-banged." After he stopped teasing me about being so paranoid, I made CN promise to stay with me for a few days once I move in.

Luckily, MJ calmed me down a LOT and reminded me that I will probably be fine and that there's no way to 100% avoid crime anywhere you live. She lived in a really REALLY bad part of town when she first moved to Columbia, and she had no problems. Just because you might live near some sketchy areas doesn't meat you're guaranteed to be a crime victim. And just because you're in a nice part of time doesn't mean you won't be a target, either. She said the message board people were probably trying to freak me out and all of them probably live in a cushy suburb somewhere. One man's ghetto is another man's "oh, this is fine."

And the most common crime in my part of downtown is car break-ins. (I looked it up on the police dept website) Which probably won't happen to me, because I drive a friggin Pontiac Vibe and all I keep in there are some scratched up CDs. I'm not much of a target.

So I asked my landlord if I could install some motion-detector lights, and he said yes. I asked MJ if I could borrow her super-scary chocolate lab mix, Nabisco. She said yes. I felt that would be good, but if I started to feel a little nervous, I would think about getting a taser or a home security system.

Yesterday, MJ and I went down to Savannah so she could see my place and I could start moving some of my stuff in, get my key, think about where my furniture will go, etc. Once we were all done, we took a walk, grabbed some lunch and came back to the house. We sat on the front steps and watched the neighborhood for a while. We didn't see anything scary or sketchy. It was actually very very quiet. We went back inside and were about to leave when we heard a commotion outside. It was a group of kids. Two of them were having a fist fight in the middle of the street! These kids were maybe in middle school. After a little noise, a bunch of people came outside to see what was going on, and one of the moms in the building across the street broke it up. It was maybe 30 seconds of craziness. No biggie.

I took advantage of the situation and introduced myself to a neighbor and began asking questions about the safety of the neighborhood. "You just witnessed the worst thing I've seen since I moved here," he said. WHEW! That was good to hear! "Everyone on this street expects everyone else to look out for each other," he continued. The street was about half renters, half owner-occupied. Which is a good mix, I think.

He introduced me to a few more neighbors, and they all said they felt fine living there. They had never seen any crimes or anything unusual or dangerous. The iffy-looking building across the street was full of low-income families -- lots of single moms with kids who never bothered anyone. They said I had nothing to worry about, as long as I don't do anything stupid (like leave my doors unlocked) or showy. (Not like I have any fancy gadgets to be showy with!) My house is surrounded by college kids with irregular schedules who throw house parties on the weekends. If their parents can sleep at night knowing their kids are ok, then I can, too.

So I feel a LOT better. But I'm still going to borrow one of CN's golf clubs and put up motion detector lights. Just in case.

Friday, February 13, 2009

My New Home

One more thing about ring info: so we were worried about getting the ring, which is currently in Belgium, over to the United States without paying major customs duties. Then my mom found out that her friend is vacationing in Europe in March. So my aunt is going to just meet up with her to give her the ring while she's on vacation. Problem solved! Yay!

Ok, on to other big news: my new place in Savannah. Last weekend, I went down to Savannah with CN to look at places. We stopped at a property management place to get keys so we could go check out some places.

"Ok, which properties do you want to go see?" the lady behind the desk asked.

"510 Price....203 E. Gwinnet..." I said, reading off their list of properties for rent.

As CN and I were figuring all of this out, a girl about my age walked in with her mom and her sister. They walked up to the desk and had the same conversation with the lady.

The girl recited the same addresses we did! We laughed about it, and then decided that hey -- we might as well carpool! So we all piled into CN's car (he has GPS, which came in very handy) and started looking at places. We had SO much fun! I learned that she is a newlywed whose hubby is going to be a student at the school where I'm going to be working. She's moving up from Orlando and is just a little bit younger than me. She and I really hit it off. She's totally adorable!

Most of the places were total dumps. I'm talking visibly slanted floors, back doors that literally do not close, washers/dryers in the middle of the kitchen, leaking ceilings, wobbly staircases, you name it. It began to be really funny and we all started just making fun of the places. Each one was worse than the last.

As we were finishing up looking at places, she said she had another appointment at 2pm to look at a place I hadn't heard about. I asked her if we could tag along, and she said sure. So after we split up for lunch, we met her at the 2pm appointment. The guy there showed us around here. While it was a lot nicer than anything else we'd seen that day, he could tell that none of us were blown away. They were a little cramped for my liking. And since they were new construction, I was a little let down. I really had my heart set on living in an old house.

So after showing us around, the guy said, "Ok, I was planning on trying to sell it as condos, but I'm not getting a lot of bites in this market. So would you like to see the house I bought and restored? I've decided to rent it out. It's not part of this organization. It's my own personal thing and it's a block from here."

"Sure!" we replied.

We walked down to a yellow house, built around the turn of the century. The bottom floor has a one-bedroom place for me and a 2 bedroom place for the other girl and her hubby. There's off-street parking and the rent was about $100 cheaper than other places on the same street. We are 4 blocks from Forsyth Park and about 2 blocks from the grocery store. I can still walk to work, too. Plus, it's JUST been re-done. No creepy bathroom or old appliances.

We walked in, I took one look at the gorgeous hardwood floors and the beautiful decorative fireplaces and the normal-sized kitchen (a rarity in downtown Savannah!) and shouted, "SOLD!"

The other girl took one look at the upstairs place and fell in love, too. So we are housemates! Isn't that so weird how we just randomly met like that??? And she is so cool!

What's even weirder is that this is not the first time this has happened to her! The last time she went apartment shopping, she met a girl in the rental office and they ended up being roommates and very good friends! They lived together for 6 years before she got married last year. The girl was even in her wedding! Very strange.

So we go back to the office to sign the leases with this guy, who is extremely nice. "Oh! I need to call and cancel my next appointment. I was going to go look at a house over on Lincoln street, but I guess I don't need to now," she said.

"Wait....1003 Lincoln St.?" I said.

"Are you the 4:30 appointment?" she asked.

"Are you the 4:00 one?" I asked.

We burst into giggles.

Anyway, here are photos of our house. I'm on the bottom, she's on the top. (Ooh, that sounds pervy! Tee hee!). I took photos of the inside, but they are on her camera, and I'm waiting for her to email them to me. This is all I have for now. The first one is the front of the house, the 2nd one is the back of it:
There's hooks on the ceiling of the front porch where we can hang a porch swing! Woo hoo!
And yes, he's going to landscape/pave this so it's not just dirt. Those 2 windows on the bottom floor are my kitchen.

Yay! We have been calling and messaging each other on facebook already. She likes to cook! And drink coffee! And she has a dog!

This is so awesome.

Or so I thought. Stay tuned....

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Ring Update

Oh dear. Where to begin? So much has happened in the last 4 days....

So Friday night after work, CN and I looked at some rings in a couple of jewelry stores. I tried on some Tacori look-alikes, and I was very sad to realize that they didn't look right on me! They were too bulky. Designs that intricate mandate a bigger ring, and I have fairly small and delicate hands. So they were beautiful, but just very awkward-looking on me.

Instead, I fell in love with a much simpler white gold design: a 3/4 carat center stone (round, white diamond, prong-set), with .10 carat prong-set round yellow diamonds on either side. On the other side of the yellow diamonds were teeny-tiny prong-set white diamonds, stopping about halfway down the ring. (My suspicions were correct -- the eternity bands, where the diamonds make a full circle around your finger, are uncomfortable!) All in all, the ring would be around $5k, which is reasonable, I think.

I could not find an exact replica on the jewelry store's website, but this is pretty close. Just pretend the little ones on either side of the center stone are yellow:

While I wanted to keep looking, because-- hello!-- ring shopping is super fun, this one ended up being my favorite one out of three stores. It looked the most proportionate to my hand, it was comfortable, it wasn't outrageously expensive, and it felt like "me".

CN and the jewelry store guy did some number crunching, and if CN financed the whole thing, the monthly payments would be around $250.

"That's the same amount I pay on my Jeep every month," he said, thinking out loud.

"Hmm. Go figure," I replied, deadpan.

"I need to get rid of it anyway. I never drive it, and I use my company car anyway. And parking is so bad in downtown Savannah. We really don't need three cars..." he continued.

I just nodded in agreement.

He did seem a little freaked out about the whole process, but he said it was because he always gets nervous whenever he spends a large amount of money at one time. He assured me it wasn't because he didn't want to marry me or wasn't ready yet. I wanted to make sure. So when we got home, I talked to him a little bit more. I just wanted to be sure he was really ready to take this next step and start moving forward. I told him that if he wasn't ready, this was the time to tell me. I also said that if he didn't feel comfortable buying an expensive ring right now, he can get me a cheaper one -- the cost of the ring wasn't as important to me as being engaged was. I explained that I didn't want him resenting me later if he felt uncomfortable with buying something like that. "No, no, I want to get you something you like! Something nice! It's just that with both of us moving and our is just kind of crazy right now, and I am just not seeing how this is all going to work."

I agreed. So I told him that it's no big deal -- he can just get his own place when he moves to Savannah and we can figure it out later. I told him we can put it off and just live together later. He can take his time and save up his money. No biggie. Which works fine, anyway, since we don't know when he'll be joining me in Savannah. Could be months from now.

Well, he surprised the heck out of me. He put his Jeep, his drum set and his guitar on craigslist yesterday! Woo hoo! He must not be as freaked out about all of this as I thought! Yay!!!

Of course, I had to email the above pic to The Czarina to show her what I liked and tell her everything. I guess I shouldn't have been surprised when she called me soon after and said, "So, can I tell everyone that you are engaged????!!"

"Uh, well, no. I don't have a ring and he hasn't asked me yet, Mom, so no." I answered.

"And he hasn't called me to ask my permission yet, either," she noted with a tone of sarcasm.

"I know, Mom. I told him he has to call you before he can ask me," I said.

"I am just so baffled as to what is going on, though. I mean, you're doing it all backwards. He's supposed to ask first, then you go pick out the ring. I'm very confused," she went on.

"Well, Mom, he really didn't know exactly what all was involved with getting engaged. He thought he just needed to get me a $200 wedding band and we just go get married," I said.

"He's right. Why not? The ring's not the important part. He can get you a gemstone one that's cheaper. I mean, what are you waiting for, anyway?" she said.

"I know, Mom. I agree. I told him all of that. But he's a guy, and he wants to save up his money, so I had to show him how much these things cost, and what kind of ring I like, because he had no idea," I replied.

As you can probably tell, she's ready for me to get married yesterday. The woman is chomping at the bit to be a grandma. All her friends' kids are married with babies, and I know she feels left out. She has really surprised me. I knew she would get like this, but I didn't realize it would be so soon. He hasn't even proposed! Sheesh! Calm down!

So one trip to a jewelry store has turned my mom into a monster. She's already more obsessed than I am. I keep getting emails and voicemails with ideas for how we can consider ourselves engaged without him having to buy a nice engagement ring: "Tell him to just get you a gemstone one!" "Go check out estate sales!" "All these jewelry stores are having sales right now!" "Just get a little one for now. You can upgrade later!" "Just set the date and get the ring later!"

Jeez, Louise!

Just for the heck of it, I did look at a calendar and realized that the last Saturday in June 2010 is my dad's birthday -- the 26th. Since he won't be there to walk me down the aisle, I have always wanted to get married on his birthday. So this date actually works perfectly. I told CN about that and he said, "Sounds good to me." :)

When I got to work this morning, I saw an email from The Czarina in my inbox. "Oh boy. Here we go," I thought. I clicked on it. Well, it pretty much made my day. Apparently, she was too excited to keep it all bottled up, and she must have called her sister last night, because the email essentially told me this:

"I talked to Aunt M. last night. Told her about you and CN going ring shopping. She told me to tell you two to stop shopping right away -- she has your grandmother's ring, and was going to give it to you anyway, since you're named after her. She said she might as well give it to you now. So you can have that ring. It's a platinum solitaire. Love, Mom"

My Aunt M never had any children, so it does make sense that she would eventually give me the ring. But I had forgotten all about it! I have always hoped for a family ring, but never thought it was possible. This ring in particular is especially sentimental for me, because I am named after this particular grandmother, but I never met her. So this was really great news!!! I am so excited to have a family ring. I've seen it before, but aside from remembering that I like it, I can't remember what it looks like. I think it's a pretty simple setting, with a generous diamond. I will keep it exactly how it is, though. I get to have a really neat connection to a grandma I never got to meet. That is the best kind of ring, I think. And I know CN is relieved to hear that he won't have to stress out about finding a way to buy one. :)

YAY!!! This is so great. I must have cashed in all my karma chips or something, because lately I have been feeling like I have won the lottery. How could life get any better?

Friday, February 06, 2009

Rings I Like

Y'all, I don't know why you even read my blog. Seriously. I never get around to read anyone's anymore, it seems. I feel really guilty about it. I promise I will get to it soon!!!! My life is just really bonkers right now!!!

Ok, so CN had major sticker shock when I sent these to him, but I figured I could at least show him my dream rings, right??? OMG I am beyond in love with Tacori on "multi-view" to get a better look.

Like this one.

And this one.

Or this one.

But I think this one is probably my favorite!!! Yeah, it's pretty safe to say that I'm obsessed with Tacori. Unfortunately, I will probably never get one. :(

I'm hoping we can find a Tacori-look-alike for a much smaller price. I know there are some Scott Kay ones out there that are similar and more affordable. And there's a jewelry store in town that is going out of business, so we are going tonight to go check it out. They are having a lot of great deals. (If anyone has any tips for buying good rings at a discount, please let me know!)

Basically, I want either a round or oval diamond, either a solitaire or a 3-stone, and I want an intricate band of some kind. I really like that Art Deco 1920s look. I want my ring to look antique. I don't care so much if it's white gold or platinum. Does that make any sense?

Also, to my female readers -- do you have a ring that has diamonds all the way around the band, or carving around the whole band? Because I really like the look, but I'm worried that it will irritate the insides of my fingers, and maybe I should have a band with all the stuff just on the top, so the underside of the band is smooth and non-irritating. I'm thinking long-term comfort, you know. :)

I didn't realize it, but it turns out that CN's mom doesn't have an engagement ring. She and her hubs just went and got married. But I suspect it may have been because it was the second marriage for both of them. Anyway, CN is so funny. He honestly thought engagement rings were like $800, including the wedding band and a decent-sized diamond. I guess you can tell he's never been engaged before, huh?

Poor CN. He had major sticker shock! LOL He was like, "That's the price, just for the setting???"

"Well, babe, you're supposed to spend 3 months salary, is what I've always heard," I replied.

"That's like.....a car!" he exclaimed.

"Yes, but I think that this is a much better investment, don't you? I mean, look at what you get!" I replied, trailing my hands over my body like a product model from The Price is Right. "It's a steal, really, if you think about it."

"Babe, I hate to tell you this, but it might be awhile before I can get one of those for you," he exclaimed. "With us moving...I'm going to have to save up for a while to get that."

After making some self-depricating jokes about how I guess I'm not worth it, he started laughing and telling me I'm crazy and silly. I told him that I will take whatever he can afford and that we can probably find something similar at a lower price. (My mom had the idea of maybe getting a big gemstone ring instead, which is an idea I like. I kind of want something different anyway. I saw a girl on tv once who got a pearl engagement ring. It was pretty cool.)

"Babe, the cost of the ring is not what's important to me. As long as it's a style I like, I'm good. I dont' want you to buy a big ring and then resent me for it later. I'll take what you can afford," I explained.

"You will? Cool!" he exclaimed. "Cubic zirconia from K-Mart it is!"

"That's not funny, CN."

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Ring in the New Year?

Update: CN's job transfer to Savannah isn't finalized, but his boss said it looks "promising", whatever that means. He and I did some number crunching, and it really just makes so much financial sense for us to go ahead and shack up, dammit. We both have mortgages and we may not get renters for a few months. There's no way I could afford rent AND a mortgage on my own. (I am not getting that big of a raise!) Besides, we all know how bad I am with money. *ahem* So I am going to have to suck it up and hope that CN will eventually buy the cow, instead of only enjoying the free milk, if you get my drift.

And I am not 100% comfortable with it. I know what you are saying/thinking: "I did it with my man, and now we're married! Don't worry!" or "It's no big deal. He loves you. You will totally get married, so just chill and go with the flow." or "You never really know someone until you live with them. This will give you insight into your marriage!" or "Marriage, schmarriage! You need the 2nd income! Be glad you're on such good terms with your future roommate!"

Which are all valid comments. But I worry. What if one year of living together turns into three...five...eight...and I turn into Little Miss Where Is My Ring??? I don't want to be that girl. With the bitching and the nagging and the ultimatums. But I will eventually get there, I know it. I already have days where I want to scream at him, "What are you waiting for???!!!!" And I always joke that I am free on Saturday afternoon if he wants to run down to the courthouse.

Also, what if we break up? (Ok, at this point, it's extremely unlikely-- laughable, actually -- but still. It could happen!) Then I am stuck with a 12-month lease on my own. Ouch.

My point is, I want some security. Preferrably in the form of a large gemstone on that all-important finger. I want him to put his money where his mouth is. I have been trying to stay calm and trust that he will do it one day like he says he will. I have made him promise that it will be before my ovaries shrivel and before my boobs are down to my knees. But that's about as much as I have said. Deep down inside, I am scared of being left high and dry or turning into a shrill bitch.

And living with a man is something I always imagined doing after I got married. I guess I'm just old-fashioned. CN thinks shacking up is a no-brainer and he's not getting why I'm freaking out about it. I tell him it's because he doesn't have a uterus. Which puts a puzzled expression on his face.

When CN asked me a few weeks ago, "Could we live together if we got engaged? Or does it have to be marriage?" I didn't really know what to say. I hadn't thought about that option. But that's a decent amount of commitment. I know, in the logical part of my brain, that he's not going anywhere. He's in it for the long haul. But that lobe in my brain, the one in charge of "What if?", is buzzing with paranoia, and I can't shut it up. Triggered by his question, that worrysome lobe began quivering, and I almost blurted out, "No! Marry me, you commitment-phobe! What the hell?! We are perfect together! Stop stalling!"

But then I remembered: moving to Savannah was my idea. Not his. And he's totally down for going, no questions asked. Moving farther away from his family. Selling or renting his house. All the personal, financial and material upheaval that comes with living in a new place. He's down for it. Because he knows it's what I want and that it will make me happy. (It will make him happy, too, don't get me wrong -- he wanted to move there, too. In like 3 years. Not 3 months. LOL)

So I said, "Yes. We can live together if we are engaged."

And then I let it drop. I didn't push it anymore. In fact, with all the talking about moving, I kind of put it in the back of my head and decided that I would worry about that later. If we got engaged first, great, if not, oh well. In other words, I was totally caving on the issue. (Shhh! Don't tell him that.)

So imagine my surprise when last night, as I was cleaning up after our dinner of bean and cheese quesadillas. CN grabbed my hands and said, "Are you ok with living with me?"

And again, I didn't really know what to say. I was....mostly. I said, "Well, I mean, yeah. But it's not really the way I had planned it. But I don't see how else I can afford it. It just doesn't make sense for us to both move there and not live together."

"Would you feel better about it if I got you a ring?" he asked.

Well, duh.

"YES!" I shouted.

"Ok, well, we can go ring shopping. Email me some photos of what you like tomorrow when you get to work." [Note: At last count, I emailed 8.]

"Can we do that this weekend?" I asked, jumping up and down.

"I thought we were going to drive down to Savannah and look at apartments," he replied.

I reminded him that we don't even know what our budget is yet, and that we might as well just stay here and go ring shopping. He agreed.

WOO HOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!