It’s OK To Not Be OK

I’d be a liar if I said that I was happy all the time, but one thing I have learned how to do is to reach out to a select group of people who I trust to confide in when things aren’t going how I’d like. In the past few weeks I’ve seen a few people I care a lot about going through some tough times and while it’s certainly their right to internalize their struggle it’s painful to watch them hurting.

When trying to discuss the problem it seems that a common theme among some is that they feel that it’s not OK for things to not be perfect. For some reason they’ve gotten it in their heads that if it’s not good news that it isn’t worth sharing with another person. They feel like they’re bothering someone by discussing how they’re unhappy or that things aren’t going well.

I’m not a mental health professional but I can say from experience that keeping hurt inside doesn’t help, and in many cases can make things worse. It can be scary to open up, even to someone you trust, but it’s OK to not be OK. The people who know you and care about you can tell when something’s wrong and you aren’t fooling anyone by pretending that things are fine when they’re not. No one is trying to push you to open up when you’re not ready, but know that when you are, there is someone willing to listen.

Anxious To Get Started

To say that I’m anxious to close on my new house is an understatement. It’s gotten more intense as I’ve essentially completed everything that I need to do before the closing date. With just about all of the paperwork stuff done I’ve been putting together a post-closing to-do list.

I’m sure that my list will evolve as time goes on, but so far I’ve identified a few things that I’ll want to address:

Get all the locks rekeyed
Even though the owner should be handing over all of the keys at closing there’s no way to know if there are any copies floating around that were given to a neighbor or relative. Better safe than sorry.
Buy an American flag
This one should be self explanatory. The only reason I haven’t picked one out yet is because I have to figure out where I’ll want to mount it.
Get asbestos removed
The home inspection turned up some HVAC lines that were wrapped with an asbestos covering. I want to get that removed before I go moving things in.
Replace all receptacles and switches
Most of the house is 2-prong receptacles and the light switches are mismatched. I want to switch to 3-prong outlets and if nothing else it’ll help me figure out what circuit controls what, because the circuit breaker panel is currently labeled with faded pencil.
Address code-related issues
The city code inspection requires carbon monoxide detectors and GFCI outlets. It also mentions extending the hot water heater overflow pipe to within six inches of the floor and grounding the water meter. Those are inexpensive, easy fixes so I didn’t ask the seller to fix them.
Run RG-6 and Cat 6 cable to all rooms
Even though I only currently have one television and a lot of network-related things are wireless I’d like to be prepared for adding more TVs and while wireless is great, a wired connection is faster and more secure. With digital media becoming more common, being able to transfer large files between rooms will eventually become more important.
Remove funky carpet
The house has hardwood flooring under the living room, hallway and bedroom carpets. After talking with a few people I’ve decided to reveal the wood flooring in the living room and hallway and leave the carpet in the bedrooms. The den is currently clad in a high pile red shag-esque carpet that may be a great conversation piece, but it’s not for me.
Add insulation to attic and crawlspace
To make the house more efficient I’ll be adding more insulation to the attic and to add insulation in the crawl space under the living room and kitchen where there currently is none. That should help keep my utility bills lower.
Look into adding soffit venting and an attic fan
At one point there was a functioning attic fan, but as of right now it’s not functioning. I’m going to want to see if it’s something that can be repaired, and if not, I’ve priced out a replacement which is pretty inexpensive. I’ll also want to look into adding some soffit venting so the attic can breathe properly. Can you tell I’ve been watching too much HGTV?

There are bound to be more things that I’ll discover after I move in, but that should be enough to keep me busy for a while.


Today was the inaugural Bethlehem VegFest which took place on the Bethlehem Greenway on the South Side. By all accounts the event was a huge success. It was filled with vendors, demonstrations, musical acts, speakers and thousands of visitors. I was lucky enough to work with some great volunteers and saw a number of friends show up to support the event.

With VegFest taking place on the South Side a number of people were questioning where to park. According to the VegFest website:

The whole day features free parking courtesy of the Bethlehem Parking Authority. There are nearby garages as well as metered street parking

It was heavily promoted that patrons should park in the nearby Comfort Suites parking lot, on the street in any metered space or at the Starters Riverport parking deck and that while they may receive a “courtesy ticket” to thank them for coming to the festival, it would merely be a reminder that on a normal day they would get a real ticket if they didn’t pay. Unfortunately someone at the Bethlehem Parking Authority forgot that they agreed to this because numerous people received very real parking tickets at the Starters Riverport parking deck.

Downtown Bethlehem responded to the tweets about the parking mishap saying they would look into it and Jaime K of Save the Kales, one of VegFests organizers, posted on her blog today that she’s also aware of the problem and that she’ll be posting updates on her website as soon as she hears something. Hopefully this will get resolved quickly because short of this mishap, Bethlehem VegFest was a tremendous success.

Update: After tweeting out this post I got a direct message from Downtown Bethlehem which will be helpful to anyone who got a ticket today:

Sorry about any mistake with tickets on sside today-plz send ticket # to and it will be taken care of!

Here Comes The Sun

As just about anyone who lives in Pennsylvania can tell you, we’ve gotten a lot of rain recently. So much rain in fact that areas that haven’t flooded in decades are now deep underwater and the waters aren’t expected to recede below flood stage for a few days. While I’ve been fortunate enough to escape direct flood damage I have been affected by the rain in another way, it’s been an excuse for me to exercise less and eat more.

I haven’t been out for a walk during my lunch break in over a week and the dreary weather has had me feeling less than wonderful and when I’m bummed I tend to medicate that with eating. I’m not eating anywhere as much as I used to, but I have noticed I’m snacking more than I’d like. The scale has crept up a few pounds and I’m just feeling sluggish. All this after only a week or so.

Today the Sun finally peeked out from behind the persistent clouds and things are looking good for the next few days. Tomorrow I’ll be volunteering at Bethlehem VegFest, so hopefully that will have me doing quite a bit of walking around and any eating I do during the day should be healthier since it’s a vegetarian/vegan festival. The trick will be getting back on the healthy eating and exercise routine next week when I head out of town for a few days on a business trip where I’ll be dealing with larger restaurant portions the entire time.

One Thing I Won’t Miss

Even though I don’t really keep up with professional football there was no doubting that today was the start of the season. How did I know that? It wasn’t because I happened upon a gam on TV or that I heard about it on Twitter, no, it was because a neighbor who lives a few houses down had the entire block parked up and was having a loud drunken party in his back yard like he does every night during football and hockey season. I’m not sure what he does for a living, but clearly entertaining is a priority in his life with a flat screen TV and a bar on his back porch and parties a few nights a week with dozens of guests.

If sports are your thing and you enjoy having people over to watch the game that park up the street a few nights a week I have no problem with that, but what is beyond annoying is the constant loud drunken hollering that comes from his back yard. There will be things that I will miss when I move to my new house in a few weeks, but the sounds of loud obnoxious parties coming from a few doors down a few days a week will not be one of them.