A New Sort of Independence

Just for Fun

Not to beat a dead horse or anything, but we recently moved into a home we own (bank and mortgage notwithstanding) as opposed to renting and it’s kind of a big deal that I don’t think has truly sunk in yet.

Some people say the first time you make a mortgage payment is when it starts to feel real.

Nope. Made two of those already, not feeling any different.

I thought the actual process of moving would help it hit home (pun intended) but this week has been so hectic and scattered that nothing feels right, so that’s not it,  either.

Maybe I’ll “get it” once we’ve made a major change to the house without having to a) ask a landlord’s permission or b) know we have to change it back/take it down when we leave. Or maybe once we no longer have contractor’s traipsing through any given day and I sign over that last renovation check.

One way or another that’ll definitely feel good!

When I first spoke with the bank and got the pre-approval (not just a pre-qual) for the mortgage, man, that floored me. You mean I’m enough of a grown up that a bank is going to trust me with property?! (Because, no, being 38 is not enough on it’s own to get rid of the 18-and-clueless feeling of most days.) From there it was such a climb to get the particulars settled with the renovation and insurance that any “fun” of home buying went out the window.

Except not our windows because they’re still painted shut*.

Still, even if I haven’t connected emotionally with the new house as home, I know we’re about to enjoy these few freedoms and I’m definitely happy about it:

  1. Freedom from the landlord. I know I sorta mentioned this above, but it bears repeating. No more landlord–that’s worth a party on it’s own. It’s also directly related to…
  2. Freedom to make decisions on our own. Two weeks after we moved into the last rental the hot water heater went down. In December/January. And it took two weeks of the management company and property owner dicking around and doing nothing before we gave up and Todd replaced both elements himself. Then there was the month we were without a working oven because there were three entities involved in the decision process and we weren’t one of them. Or the 4 months of extreme water bills due to botched pipe repairs. Point being: we get stuff done much faster on our own.
  3. Freedom from debt. Taking on a mortgage isn’t exactly getting rid of debt, I know, but our mortgage–including insurances and taxes–is only 2/3 of what our rent has been, so now I have a little more room in the budget to get my credit card debt paid off that much faster. It’ll be another month or so before I know how much the Dollhouse’s utilities and the additional tanks of gas to and from work affect that, but I’m confident there’ll be something leftover to put towards the consumer debt.
  4. Freedom of distance. I’ve lived in Tallahassee for the last 32 years and have attempted numerous times to “escape” the city for somewhere, anywhere else. It never worked, I kept getting pulled back in. Eventually I made my peace with it, but still dreamed of retiring somewhere that wasn’t Tallahassee. When Todd and I hooked-up I started day-dreaming about him getting head-hunted for a cushy Controller position somewhere out of state that would force me to get out. Needless to say, I’m happy to be even as far as over the state line.
  5. Freedom of reinvention. Along with living in the same town I graduated high school from (thus increasing the chances of running into people I knew back then), I’ve either lived or worked with my mother continuously since birth. There were those few months I left to finish my culinary degree before the plantation went bankrupt and I landed back at the office I’d left forever, but I’ve always felt a little caged-in by the way those who knew me (or thought they knew me) growing up see me and the way I want to be seen. Between the person I’m perceived to be and the person I truly am. A new town with new connections to make holds a sense of promise for me that ignores the fact that, for the next couple of years at least, I’m still working with those same people I’ve worked with for (gulp) 20 years. It’s something.

The 4th of July has never been in my top three holidays, but this year is has a special significance to me. We just finished clearing out and cleaning a third of the Tallahassee house and brought home two more carloads of stuff. After we cool off a bit, it’ll be time to put some burgers on the grill and then, if we’ve got the energy, head downtown to see the fireworks.

Even if we don’t, just being home–really home–this Independence Day is good enough for me.

*Apparently the last item on the contractor’s to-do list is to un-stick all of the windows. We thought that was going to happen Thursday (because that’s what his Wednesday-night text said) but something must have come up because they are still firmly painted shut!

AlcoHOLidays | 4th of July | Patriot Punch



As promised, here is the second part of our 2-week Independence Day extravaganza!

This week’s cocktail comes to us courtesy of Kilbeggan Irish Whiskey (which we reviewed last month) and they are doing their level best to show us all the ways to include darker spirits in our summer entertaining. By combining the whiskey with juice and champagne is really a great way to lighten up a traditionally winter liquor.

Kilbeggan Patriot Punch

2 parts Kilbeggan Irish Whiskey
1 part DeKuyper Apricot Brandy
1 part Cranberry Juice
2 parts Champagne
Lemon Wheel (thinly sliced)

To Serve As A Cocktail: Build all ingredients over ice in a stemless red wine glass. Garnish with a lemon wheel.

To Serve As A Punch: Double the recipe and multiply by the number of guests you plan to serve. Add Kilbeggan Irish Whiskey, DeKuyper Apricot Brandy and cranberry juice to a punch bowl, stir and refrigerate. When guests arrive, add champagne and lemon wheels. Serve over ice in stemless red wine glasses.

Just do me one favor, okay? Promise you won’t mix cocktails and fireworks–designated drivers and designated lighters, too! Have a safe and festive 4th!


AlcoHOLidays | Independence Day | Cruzan Independence Sparkler



In honor of those founding fathers’ stand for freedoms from tyranny, we’re going to feature Constitutional cocktails for 2 weeks instead of 1.

We’re going short and sweet without any preamble this week! Courtesy of our friends at Cruzan, today’s cocktail features two of their rums because, hey, twice the rum, twice the fun, right?

Cruzan® Independence Sparkler

1 half of a Lime, cut into quarters
6 Basil leaves
1 Tbsp Sugar
1 oz Cruzan® Strawberry Rum
1 oz Cruzan® Aged Light Rum
Soda Water

Method: Muddle lime and basil with sugar in a tumbler. Add rums and ice, then shake 2 times to mix. Pour into a rocks glass and top with soda. Garnish with 1 basil top and a fanned strawberry slice.

I’m actually on the road this week, so I appreciate Cruzan’s timely recipe suggestion. And I’ll be bringing you a review of the Aged and Strawberry rums next week once I get back to my home bar.