Surprise!

So the Artist recently defended his thesis, with ease and great success.  I knew he would, he is very intelligent and extremely talented.  I had plans that morning, of which he was dropping me off, and then heading to his defence, and we would meet up later when we both got home.

But….

Secretly, I had arranged my plans to end short, and I took the bus home early to set up a surprise.  I hung streamers and balloons from the ceiling, a homemade banner on the fireplace mantel, set up a nice table with a little present, and champagne, and a homemade card.  I got in my best outfit and did my hair and makeup, and then baked a pecan pie from scratch- his favourite.  I spilled the batter everywhere, but managed to save it.  I did all of this within about an hour, and it was quite warm that day, which made it all the more difficult.  Meanwhile, the previous week, I wanted to get the supplies without him knowing, so every time he left the house, I would leave right after, get what I needed, and get home.  So really, it looked like I did nothing all week because every time he came home, I was just getting home too (secretly) and everything looked the same as if I didn’t even move, like I was a lazy slob all week.  And the store near by only had Happy Birthday streamers, and I didn’t have time to go elsewhere before the Artist got home, so yes, I hung Happy Birthday streamers.  I thought he would get a kick out of that little story.  As for the little present, it was some Ah Caramel snack cakes from home, because you can’t get them here, and they are also his favourite.  So I had my mom mail some, and intercepted the package while he was gone, because I know the mailman comes around the same time every afternoon, and I literally waited at the door.  Then I took it, and hid it from the Artist until it was time.  I didn’t make the pecan pie ahead of time, because he would know something was up, so I made it when I was setting up that the house smelled yummy, and it would be ready and cool later that day.

When the Artist got home, I greeted him at the door and made him close his eyes as I took his hands and guided him to the living room, where he was greeted with all of this:

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He was so surprised, and had no idea what I was up to, and of course, loved all of it.  Especially the pie 😉  Look at him all spiffy in his nice jacket!

We poured glasses of champagne and cheers’ed to a big accomplishment achieved, with many more to come.

Now that I have done all this within a month before his birthday, I will have to think of something creative, since I used all my best ideas on this surprise.  But I have a few tricks up my sleeve.

The little things in life are usually the best.  Cheap champagne, balloons from the dollar store, a homemade pie, and being together.  If that isn’t a wild party, I don’t know what is.

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All you need is love <3

Some people go through the processes of life seamlessly.  They progress through post-secondary school and graduate studies with no problems, and come out with no debts and even get a perfect job right away.  They somehow make and/or have a lot of money.  They have children.  They own a home.  They have pets.  They have nice, reliable cars, and more then 1 for the entire household.  They never have a single medical issue.

Not me.

I have completed undergraduate work, with mounds of debt.  Not just student debt, but personal debt with family, and with credit cards.  Student loans only cover so much, and I have to eat and pay the rent.  When we don’t have our heat on and live in a crappy apartment and use our credit card to buy only essential groceries, it is those purchases that add up to our credit cards.  But what is the alternative?  We already don’t have heat on, no cell phones, no cable, our bills are minimal and only essentials.  I have been trying to go to grad school, but I can’t afford tuition and am not eligible for student loans in the states because I am Canadian, and there is so little funding and scholarships for social work studies it is ridiculous.  And you can forget about stipends for social work graduate studies, they don’t exist.  Yet, social work strives for change for the greater good of society, so you would think it’s extremely crucial to get well trained individuals up and running….but it is impossible to get trained without funding.  Getting the perfect job after graduation?  Well there aren’t many social work jobs because of cutbacks, which reiterates my point above.  And the jobs are usually not in the high-paying category….but then how do you pay off the massive debts your have from just getting the education to get that job in the first place?  It seems I am always broke.  The Artist and I do not have children, unlike most of our peers right now.  How on earth could we afford to feed a child when we can hardly feed ourselves?  We do hope to be fortunate enough that in the future, having children will be possible.  We do not own a home.  Obviously because we can’t afford it, but we aren’t even sure if we would want to.  I think we would have children well before we owned a house.  And we like weird places, like lofts with concrete floors and brick walls, or warehouse space, etc., not necessarily a house, unless the house meets our weirdo-style- haha.  We do not have pets.  We are reallllly wanting a dog, we love dogs.  We have only 1 car between the 2 of us, and it is quite old and has seen a lot of mileage.  The Artist has had it for years, it is the first car he ever bought and it is still hanging in there.  Just 1 car between us is most inconvenient.  And I have a crazy thyroid issue, as talked about here: https://emilyandherartist.wordpress.com/2013/09/06/under-active-thyroid/

So I have been navigating through life much less then seamlessly.  There is always some ridiculous barrier happening to cause us more struggle.  It is exhausting.  It tests our patience.  It tests our faith that it will all come together in the end.  But, we can always find a way to get around the roadblocks, and we never lose sight of what we want in education, careers, and our ultimate goals.  We are hanging in there, and not giving up on them.  I can only do my very best at everything I embark on, and sometimes, after that, things are out of my hands.  I did my very best on my scholarship application and sent it in, now it is up to others to decide if I get it. I can’t control what others think and do, so I try not to worry myself with it.  I concern myself with putting my best effort forth, which is something I can control, and avoid concerning myself with things beyond my control.

Yes, this is stressful.  Yes, I want to get paid to work and not just volunteer.  Yes, I want to go back to school but can’t afford it.  But at the end of the day, I have a loving family, and a great husband.  When I lay my head on the Artist’s shoulder as we get into bed, and he wraps his big arms around me- that is all I need.

I believe in the butterfly effect, that if I changed even 1 thing I wouldn’t be where I am today.  If I didn’t choose to attend Georgian College I never would had met my Artist, for example.  So if I had to go through some craziness to get here today, then so be it- because happiness and love are priceless.  And if the Artist and I have to continue through more craziness to reach our goals, then fine- why should we settle for anything less then exactly what we want?

I may not have much aside from struggle and debt, but I do have the most important things- great love, and indescribable happiness.  And without that, everything else seems pointless.  ❤

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Tacos and Funnel Cake.

Recently, the Artist and I went out for late-night tacos.  There is a place near by that does crazy cheap tacos after 10pm, and they are SO delicious.  The Artist has tried lots of the menu items, but for him, nothing beats the fried fish taco.  He just loves them, and are his favourite taco by far.  Now for a little context… the Artist has a pattern for going to Costco and choosing a treat for himself to try, like a fancy salami or something.  But of course, at Costco, he has to buy a massive amount of it.  Then, he ends up not liking it, and is stuck with eating this copious amount of something.  Every time.  Or if we go to a restaurant, he asks me what he got last time, and if he liked it.  Then ends up panicking, and ordering the same thing that he specifically did not like last time.  He frequently panics when ordering food, and ends up saying the wrong thing, and then not correcting it.

(at the taco place)

Artist: What are you getting?

Me: A chicken taco and a pork taco.  What are you getting?

Artist: 4 fried fish tacos (face beaming with excitement).

Me: No more screwing around, eh?  You’re done with trying the other ones?

Artist: (nods, face beaming with even more excitement)

Waiter: What can I get for you?

Me: I will get a chicken taco and a pork taco.

Artist: I will get 2 carne asada, and 2 fish.

Me: (a snort of laughter briefly escapes) What happened?

Artist: I panicked.

This might as well be a scene from The Office starring Michael Scott, because it reminded me of the scene when Pam is telling Michael in an elevator that he cannot tell Dunder Mifflin that Michael Scott Paper Company is broke, and when the elevator opens, he is hunched over, breathing as if he was going to vomit, saying he is afraid he is going to say it.  The essence of this scene was present when the Artist ordered his tacos.  The stress, the I’m-going-to-vomit style breaths, and the absurdness of the entire thing.

I have come to the conclusion that we are a unique mutation of the human species.  What else would explain our weirdness?  LOL!

On a sweeter note, the Artist came home from work one day, famished, as always.  He goes into the kitchen and starts clanking around.  I am thinking to myself, what on earth is he doing in there?  Clearly, he is not re-heating leftovers or eating lunch meat right out of the package over the sink.

So I go in.  What is he doing?  Making funnel cake and donuts, of all things.  But look how delicious:

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It was seriously amazing.  Moving, in fact.  I have never been so grateful for my Artist’s love of pastries, because this was genius.

Basically, he took pancake/waffle mix and put it in a bowl with an egg, some milk, a sprinkle of sugar and a splash of vanilla, and mixed it up.  You don’t want the batter to be too thick or too runny, sort of like the consistency of brownie batter.  So he kept adding more pancake/waffle mix until it got to a good thickness, and then fried it.  Another important thing; be extremely generous with the powdered sugar topping, and the ice cream works better if it is really soft so you can dip it.  The batter also works good to “plunk” in little chunks to make sort of a larger “Tim Bit’ type donut instead of a funnel cake shape.  But be certain not to do it too big, or the inside will be raw.  They should only take a few seconds to brown, so the outside will burn before a larger sized middle will be cooked.

What a wonderful life ❤