Tuesday, December 29, 2009

TaaDaa!


Wow!  It is hard to believe that this is my 200th post!


Here is to exciting new adventures in 2010.
With the support and love of my family and friends, 
I plan on making my dreams become a reality!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

The Party is Over...


The presents are unwrapped and the cookies have been eaten,
stockings are empty and to Grandma's house we have driven.
The holiday madness is almost over,
but to say we are thankful, that is a given!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

MERRY CHRISTMAS!


From my family to yours
Hoping your holidays are merry and bright
And that Santa accepts your definition of 'nice'!
Merry Christmas!
Love ya' 
MonkeyGirl, Mr. MonkeyGirl and Skaterboy

Monday, December 7, 2009

Bad to the Bone!


We have a quirky tree.  Our ornaments are not matchy-matchy or color coordinated.  But they do tell our story quite well.  I had to smile when I put this one on the tree.  Coal is mesmerized by the tree and anything shiny or round.  That pretty much describes everything on the tree!  I have to put anything precious up high or else it is fair game to become a chew toy.  This little guy reminds me of what Coal would do if we left him alone - he would be running through the house with the lights, chewing holes in the gifts, and generally causing mischief.  The best part - the refrain "b-b-b-b-bad, bad to the bone!" when you press on the chewed up corner on the present.  It is soooo Coal! 

Sunday, December 6, 2009

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas


After a long weekend of shopping and decorating, it is starting to look more and more like the holidays around here.  We decided to go more a more classic subdued look this year on the outside and I have to admit that I like it.  I like icicle lights but they are *so 2007* and completely overdone in our area.  We wanted something that would stand out and weren't ready to make the commit that the neighbors did to blue (lights, garland, everything is blue!).


Let me know what you think!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Alvin?....Alvin?...ALVIN!!



Christmas, Christmas time is near,
Time for toys and time for cheer.
We've been good, but we can't last,
Hurry Christmas, Hurry fast.
Want a plane that loops the loop. (Alvin:) Me, I want a Hula-Hoop,
(Chipmunks:)
We can hardly stand the wait,
Please Christmas don't be late!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Coal


His coat is jet-black.  His eyes are the warmest brown.  He can give you a look with his head tilted that will melt your heart.  He snores when he sleeps on the couch.  He cries when his 'daddy' leaves the house and doesn't take him along.  He can sometimes be a pain about getting his way - but we love him despite his penchant for digging out our landscape lighting or his uncanny accuracy for delivering a gut (or a little lower) shot when you aren't paying attention.  

Saturday, November 28, 2009

No Peeking!

Just a friendly reminder to all - No Peeking until Christmas!!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Cha-cha-changing

The leaves have changed colors and have fallen from the trees. The Halloween decorations have been packed away and the Christmas lights are starting to pop-up all over the area. The warm weather is fading fast. Things are changing all over.

My blog is going to be under going a change soon too. After years of talking about it, I am finally going to try to do something with my love of photography. My recent photo shoot with my BFF and her daughter sealed the deal. Despite being nervous as h3ll, I got into it quickly and started to have fun with it. Having super models made it easier, but I was pleased with the overall results. And it seems like others were too. The word of the photo shoot spread around the office and I have already had several people approach me to take their photos as well.

So, I have been doing my homework - pricing, to have a website or not, model releases, to find studio space or not.... the list goes on and on. It is all a bit overwhelming when you try to take it all in, so I am going to take baby steps. My first "official" step is to redesign my blog around my photos and my quest to become the next Annie Leibovitz. Drop by every once in a while and see what is going on in my world.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Feeling Ducky

What a weekend! It was a long 3 day weekend for me so I was hoping to get all kinds of things accomplished. While I didn't manage to get my house sparkling Martha Stewart clean, that was a fantasy that will never happen anyway!

Friday's Accomplishments:
  • Steam clean the living room and dining room carpet. I wanted to do this for a long time and I always seem to get the living room done but never get to the dining room. I can't remember the last time we actual ate in the dining room but Coal's favorite spot to hang out is in front of the dining room window. He isn't a stinky dog, but you could definitely tell where he likes to hang out!
  • Steam clean the family room rug. With the unbelievably wet October we had, it was covered with dirty paw and foot prints. Thankfully, the pattern hides most of the offending marks!
  • Taxi service of my BIL. He had a doctor's appointment in the afternoon and I volunteered myself as his personal driver. Everything went great and his doctor took him off of his insulin shots and may end up taking him off the medication as well!
Saturday's accomplishments:
  • Hanging out with friends, chatting, laughing and planning for our annual escape in January. Oh, and we might actually crop a little too! I am working on a baby book for our granddaughter and the theme of the book is rubber duckies. I got a brilliant idea to create a Franken-duck (complete with stitches and a bolt in his neck!) and that spurred my creative juices! I also crafted a durkey (duck+turkey) and a pilgrim.
  • Deliver my MEF to her personal costume fitting. She had the greatest idea to dress as an elf for her annual holiday charity festivities and my momma agreed to craft her ensemble. She was amazed at how fast my mother sews - she took measurements in the morning before the crop and by the time we returned, she had finished the pants and had a partially finished jacket to try on. It is going to be so cute!
  • Mr. Monkeygirl took Coal to the kennel for a bath and a pedicure. He was so sweet smelling when he got home and looked dashing in his camouflage bandanna!
  • The most important thing we did was spend some quality time with our granddaughter. She was in a good mood and was awake and smiling for our visit. Of course we got some photos and snapped some pictures of her first bath in a kitchen sink! She is such a sweetheart despite the fact that she has a chest cold - poor baby.
Sunday's accomplishments:
  • Back to the duck grind stone! I was on a mission to finish the duck creations for the album today. I managed to create 8 tiny rein-ducks and ruddy the red-nosed rein duck, Santa duck in his sleigh, Frosty the snow-duck and his snow friend, cupid ducks, a lepra-duck and his luck friend, bu-duckies for Easter, may flower ducks, graduation ducks and patriotic ducks before I ran out steam.
All-in-all it was a good weekend and the next "weekend" will come quickly since I am only working one day this week! I promise to post pictures soon!

Monday, November 9, 2009

I need your opinion


I survived this weekend's photo shoot without breaking my camera or making my models cry. I did give myself a slight concussion trying to get some props out of my car. I need to be patient and wait until the door is completely open before I lean in looking for umbrella's stashed in the center console!


I have to admit that I am really happy with the results. It really helps to have gorgeous girls to shoot who love to smile! They made it easy for me and helped me calm down and get into the flow. We made the most out of our afternoon and a half-mile stretch of my hometown.

So let me know what you think.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Wish me luck

Overall I have been pretty pleased with my photos. I am so proud of some of my shots and completely embarrassed by others. But I am probably my harshest critic.

This afternoon I am about to embark on my first photo shoot for someone who specifically asked me to take pictures for them. I am a nervous wreck. What if they don't like the pictures? What will I do if my camera doesn't work? What do I do if some tree branch ends up sticking out of their head? AACCKKK!!!

I know deep down it will be fine. They are really good friends so there isn't that stranger factor to deal with. I'm doing this for free (no, you will not pay me!) so that eliminates a lot of the pressure.

Ok, gotta run now - I will let you know how it turns out later!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Check Please!

For the past two days, I haven't seen the inside of my office. I'm not sick or playing hooky, but taking part in some planning meetings for the upcoming year.

I have determined that whomever schedules all day meetings must think that the attendees are all 5 years old and need to have food every couple of hours to keep the attention on the topic at hand. Don't get me wrong, I love to eat and I am a bit cranky when I am hungry, but these hourly feedings need to stop!

I have eaten more junk in the past two days than I have eaten in the previous month. I am a carboholic. If there is any kind of danish, pastry, bagel, bread like substance around, I have to eat them. They sit there and call my name from across the room. "Please eat me, we long to be in your belly" they cry from across the room and I feel the need to comply with their dying wishes.

Then they have to give you some kind of decadent dessert with lunch. Cookies, cakes, pies fight to draw my attention away from any vegetable in the room. It is a sickness and I have to give in. Feeling stuffed to the brim and ready to explode after satisfying my sweet tooth, we head back for the afternoon sessions.

Of course, you need a boost mid-afternoon so they always offer some kind of mid-afternoon snack. Chips and cookies beg me to bypass the fruit and fill up on their caloric goodness. How can you resist the chocolate chip cookies sitting there giving you their sweetest smile?

After two days of meetings, I feel like Mr. Creosote in Monty Python's The Meaning of Life. A wafer-thin mint will do me in. Check please!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Firty-nine, Eighty

Attempting to pass the time on the way to gymnastics tonight, the M & M's decided to start counting as high as they could. Taking one number at a time, they started counting as high as they could.

. . ."Thirty-seven" rang out from the little man. His little sister answered back "firty-eight". "Thirty-nine" little dude confidently replied. "Eighty!" came the answer from the princess. Apparently 80 is her favorite number. A couple of weeks ago, I received a text message asking if I was free because the princess wanted to come over and stay only for "80 minutes". She got 80 pieces of candy for Halloween. Everything ends up being eighty with her.

As older siblings often do, her brother was frustrated with her obsession with the number 80 so he made her start counting all over again. They patiently took turns counting up one at a time. We got to a critical point - "seventy-niiiine" prompted the brother. We all held our breath waiting patiently for the princess to produce her favorite number. Silence. Finally, her little voice rang out - "Ninety"! Oh no, what happened to the most favorite number in princessland? We tried to get her to say it and she wasn't having anything to do with us. We finally gave up and told her the next number was eighty - her favorite number.

For the record, it takes counting to 200 to drive from my house to gymnastics. At least it passed the time without any arguments!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

What did you just say??

There are certain things that you don't want to hear when traveling.

  • "Uh oh, we have a problem" muttered by a gate agent as they run back to the gate just before your plane is supposed to start boarding. Yep, we were delayed. Then back on for the original time and then delayed again.
  • "My flight was cancelled!" exclaimed by the coworker with the rental car reservation trying to come in from a different city.
  • "I think this is the right way to go but I'm not sure..." insecurely voiced by another coworker who is trying to guide us through the maze of a skywalk system commonly referred to as gerbil tubes.
  • "Ladies and Gentleman, today is not a good day for flying" delivered by the pilot on my flight home. Storms plagued the entire flight path and it was rough and bumpy.
The good news is that I made it to my meeting up North and back without getting lost although I'm pretty convinced that the cab driver last night drove in a circle to jack up his fare. The meeting went relatively well considering how it could have gone and I made it home in one piece, safe and sound!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Ahhhh

This morning, my cell phone rang. It was the infamous dude from the car dealer - you know the one who didn't want to bother me with technical details. It seems that my car was ready. On Friday. WTF????? Didn't I get the message from them, he 'innocently' asked. Uhm, no I did not.

I called him on Friday. Not once, but about 5 times trying to get an update. I left him voice mail messages. He claims to have been surprised by my message when he got to work this morning. The story is that he was 'ill' on Friday and went home early. (Inconsistency #1 - He sounded fine when he left me a voice mail message asking me to 'call him back'. Wouldn't you mention an alternative contact if you were going to leave early because you felt like cr@p?)

His went on to claim that "Tom" called me to let me know my car was ready. I asked him what number they called because my cell phone never rang nor did my home number. He assured me that when I got to work, I would find the message from them about my car. I guess he didn't count on technology biting him in the behind. (Inconsistency #2 - We have this fancy thing called a 'call log' which records the time, date and name of every missed call. The last call from them was on Wednesday at 1:32 pm) I let him know that I specifically asked them to contact me on cell phone and that I wasn't at work for the past 3 days because I didn't have a car to get to and from work with.

He pretty much knew at that point he was busted and quickly made his exit off the phone. I wanted to wring his neck but I had to get ready for work. I decided to run over at lunch and pick up the keys. Of course, Mr. Inconsistency was no where to be found. I paid the bill (I did ask them to do some non-warranty work) and left.

I do have to admit that it stayed in 6th gear the entire time I was on the highway - yeah! I guess the brakes had been messed up for a long time because they definitely feel different - very smooth! The clunking noise that they claimed they couldn't find? I heard it at least 4 times on my way home and I still claim it is not normal. Did I mention that they fixed my tire? I knew there was a slow leak in one of my tires and apparently they put a plug in to fix the problem. However, they charged me $10 to do this and I have a tire hazard warranty from Dobb's. So they did me a $10 favor and never asked me if I wanted it fixed or not. It is obvious that the tires are not OEM equipment and have been replaced recently, but not one word was ever said to me about the issue.

It wasn't all bad news, I noticed that they used one of the coupons that I received in the mail. I looked through the remaining coupons and figured out that they used the "Student, Military, Senior Citizen" coupon. I'm not sure which one he classified me as, but I guess that was $45 less than I had to spend. I will never use this dealer again (psst, it rhymes with 'you lose'). Time to start shopping!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

All Better

I feel much better now. It is amazing what good friends, cold beer, and junk food can do for your mood and your soul!

We had a good night, met new people and did pretty good at the music trivia. I rocked in the "Christmas in October" category - see it pays to have a ton of Christmas tunes on your iPod! We probably finished in the top third - it pays to have two members of your team who are in a band!

I'm in a mood

I just want to be left alone. In peace and quite. I'm in one of those moods right now. Just leave me the @#&*^ alone.

But I need to put on a happy face. We need to be sociable and go out with friends. I'm sure that a beer or two will do wonders to alter my mood. But right now, I just want the world to go away and leave me be.

Sigh, it is so wonderful to be a woman, isn't it?

Wheel-less


My car has no name. I tried to come up with a name that fits, but I was left flat every time. So it shall remain nameless.

I've had my share of issues with the car. Within the first 4 days of ownership, the dealer chewed up the center console installing an after market part. As mad as I was, they did the right thing and apologized profusely and corrected the problem. It took some time because it is difficult to find interior trim pieces on a brand new car.

I also had recurring issues relating to the gas cap. They kept telling me that I wasn't installing it correctly. Honestly, I have been driving for a number of years and never had that problem before. After repeated trips to the dealer, they finally determined the true issue and corrected the problem for good. For the record, it didn't have anything to do with the way I put the gas cap back on!

Within the last week or so, the engine started to make a funny noise. It was hard to describe. The noise was worst when starting. Mr. Monkeygirl said it sounded like a diesel engine. I thought it sounded like someone sticking a pencil into a cheap fan. However you describe it, it wasn't right. I could hear something when I would drive it. It was subtle, but it didn't sound healthy.

Since both Skaterboy and I rely on my car for transportation to and from work, I decided to have it checked out at a dealer close to work. I dropped it off on Wednesday morning. It is now late morning on Saturday and I still have no wheels. My pleas to the dealer about having no way to get home fell on deaf ears. Unless I call them they aren't very good about letting me know what is going on. I realize that I don't fully grasp the internal workings of a combustion engine, but they could tell me something. Anything would be better than what I am getting now.

What I do know is that the engine problem requires parts that had to be air freighted in. I know it is a complicated problem to fix. And it is technical, so "we won't bother you with the details". Whatever! Oh, and was I aware that I had a brake issue as well? No, but apparently I do. The brake rotors are warped and need to be replaced. The good news in all of this is that both of these repairs are covered under warranty.

Maybe since they are paying for the repairs, they are not in any hurry to get it done. Who knows, but in the mean time, I am sitting around without wheels of my own.

In an effort to maintain full disclosure, I am not completely stuck. My wonderful mother, Sewwhat?, was sweet enough to let me borrow her other car for the week. I've had offers of rides to and from work. One of my co-workers even offer me one of her 'spare' cars although she refused to let me borrow the 'vette!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Scrap Happens

I have a problem. I am a scrapbooker. That really isn't the problem, the problem is that I am a perfectionist. I love to use the creative side of my brain. It is a welcome relief from the day to day technical stuff I have to deal with at work. But, I put so much thought into what I do that I don't get much done in one outing.

Today, I was psyched to meet up with my friends and to have 8 whole hours to devote to something that I enjoy. I had a general plan on what I wanted to work on and thought I had everything together. I packed up all of my stuff in my MEF's baby Pearl and we headed off to crop. At the end of the day, I finished one - ONE - page. Granted, it is really cute but it isn't complicated. Argghh, this book is going to take me forever to finish. There is good news though, I think I have a plan for the entire book and I have what I need so it should go much faster now. Or sat least I can hope!

I took a challenge to finish 240 pages in 2009 and at this rate, I figure I have to finish about 200 pages in December to finish the challenge. I doubt I am going to make it but at least I have something to do on all those vacation days I still have accumulated for the rest of the year!


Sunday, October 11, 2009

Into the Deep...

Over the past few days I have learned a few things. Some I knew, some others were eye opening.

  1. Mr. Clean Magic Erasers are really - well - magic. I have no clue what they are made of or why they work but whoever invented them should earn a Nobel Prize.
  2. I discovered something called "Mean Green" that is the liquid equivalent to Magic Erasers. *Don't tell the bald guy, but there are some times were this works better than the Magic Erasers.*
  3. Sometimes, no matter how hard you try, you have no choice but to get up close and personal with dirt. It can be gross and disgusting, but it is the only way to get the job done.
  4. The next time I need to fix something that breaks and Super Glue fails me, I am going to try to use Spaghetti sauce. Those little spats of sauce refuse to come off the walls, the tile, the stove, and any other object within a 25 yard radius of the pot. Or maybe spaghetti sauce could be used as an environmentally friendly dye-pack filling.
  5. If something is really dirty, you can clean it once and move on. But be prepared that when you walk past in a couple of hours, you will probably need to clean it again. And again. It is amazing what you don't see when you clean something the first time.
  6. When you start cleaning the cleaning supplies, you have officially met the criteria for deep cleaning.
  7. If done right, cleaning is an aerobic exercise. Up, down, squat, stand. Repeat 2,000 times or more and it is exercise.
  8. A career change to a cleaning lady is not in my future. I'm way too picky. Really, really picky. I must have cleaned the range hood 10 times over 3 days before I was finally satisfied. And I bet if I looked again, I would start cleaning it again.
  9. Buying a box of latex gloves is a life-saving move. And you can never have too many. Really, they are cheap and you can just grab another pair.
  10. The dog will still love you despite the fact that you have left him home alone for hours for days in a row. And you come home reeking of cleaning supplies and latex gloves. Even your husband understands!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

OMG!!

Some days things are good. Some days things don't work out quite like you planned. When I get up in the morning and head to the office, I normally have a general plan of what I need to do or accomplish in a day. Most of the time, my best laid plans get whacked by something unexpected that comes up. Oh, I get stuff done but not the things I was planning or counting on.

Today, the stars must have been aligned because I actually accomplished - count them - 3 whole things! I know it doesn't sound like a lot, but lately it seems like a major accomplishment. Better yet, one thing I did was mainly a "copy and paste" job from some information I got from multiple sources. You would have thought that I just sent the next best selling novel or blockbuster movie out based on the responses I have gotten so far.

I am going to relish in the fact that I got a few things done and made some people happy today. It doesn't happen often in my world. I'm generally the bad guy telling people they can't have what they want. Or they can have it but they have to wait until they are old and gray. Some times I write the most brilliant (ok I think they are brilliant) documents explaining the problems of the world and then no one reads them.

But today was a good day and I'm going to revel in it!!


Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Rumbling


As much as I want to blame my recent yearning on my inner child, I think it is more likely the beginning of a mid-life crisis. Over the past few days, I have encountered various forms of loud, rumbling muscle cars. Some new, some are classics, but the ones that catch my attention all have one thing in common - these puppies *growl* when you step on the gas.

I guess my love affair with grumbling engines started years ago. My dad had a growling truck that you could hear blocks away. It sounded so cool when you stepped on the gas (not that he was a stompin' on the gas kind of driver). I loved borrowing the truck just because of the way it sounded!

I know that the noise just attracts more attention to yourself - which isn't always a good thing. But, yet I want one! I know that to be cool, the growler probably won't have 4 doors, which is kind of a necessity. But I still feel the need! I know that trunk space might not be the most important feature, still I might be willing to overlook that fact for the sheer noise factor!

Mr. Monkeygirl claims that if I buy a muscle car, I will be driving his truck. Of course my counter is "she who makes the car payments, wins!" I know this is impractical. I know there is nothing wrong with my current car. I know as soon as I drive it once in the ice and snow, I will regret it. I know I shouldn't even think about it.

But a girl can have a *growling* dream - right??


Monday, September 21, 2009

Rain, rain go away


It's raining. For most people with allergies, this is good news because it knocks all the gunk out of the air. But me? No, rain makes my allergies kick into high gear. I feel like my head is going to explode. I have a splitting headache that is making me want to crawl into a hole.

I need to find some drugs and go to bed. Later!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Granny's First

I got to see my SweetPea again tonight! Her little dainty fingers were showing today and while I was holding her she actually opened her eyes and gave me a sweet baby smile.
(Sorry about the quality of the photo - I went to visit straight from work and I only had my phone with me. The room was pretty dark and I was holding the phone and the baby at the same time. But you all get the point!! She is sooooo cute!)

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Introducing....

My first Granddaughter! Ok, that was the weirdest thing I think I have ever written. In the relatively short span of three years I have gone from a divorcee, to being married to a wonderful guy and the mother of a teenager, and now a grandma.

No offense to the grandma's out there, but I figured I would be closer to retirement when I became a grandma and would be doing things like attending bus tours with my friends rather than hitting the local pubs and listening to alt rock. I don't feel like a grandmother, but I look forward to the spoiling and loving that grandma's are so famous for.

So without further ado, here is my precious little one - Jaden Isabella!

Friday, September 11, 2009

The latest demise.....

This just proves the theory that cell phones don't mix well with 4 lanes of traffic.


Don't worry, this isn't my beloved iPhone but Skaterboy's latest and greatest phone (which we just replaced due being unceremoniously dunked in the potty earlier this year). I'm not really sure insurance will cover this one.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Wiped Out

I am so tired that I can barely form a coherent sentence today. I know I am a good friend, but this is taking it too far!

Last night I got to enjoy a quite evening at home with the house to myself. Mr. Monkeygirl was bowling and Skaterboy was off somewhere. I was able to clean up some things around the house, pay some bills, and watch whatever I wanted on TV without complaints. Life was good.

Then I went to bed. I know that we all have certain connections with our "bestest" friends that don't always make logical sense. Sometimes we just know when they need us. We feel their pain when they are hurting and share their joy when they are estatic. My BFF is going through physical therapy for a knee injury and for some unknown reason, I think I was channeling her pain last night. My knee was killing me last night. I couldn't get comfy. I tossed and turned. Finally, I gave up and headed for the couch so the boys (Mr. M and the pup) could sleep. A few Excederin and several hours later, I was finally comfortable enough to try to go to sleep. The problem, it was around 5:30 am.

Normal people would have just skipped the bed and moved on with their day. Not me, I went to bed and was just getting settled in when the Mr's alarms started going off. All told, I got about an hour of sleep interrupted every 15 minutes by an alarm. The funny thing, when I got out of bed, I stretched my leg and my ankle popped. It was instant relief. I guess something was out of alignment somewhere and I needed to stretch to get everything back in place.

Thankfully, my BFF doesn't have physical therapy tonight so I should get a good night's sleep tonight! Wish me luck!!

Monday, September 7, 2009

Happy Birthday, Mom!

Today is the mother's birthday. There are so many things that a daughter could get for her mother as a gift to show how much she really cares.

One could purchase a cute outfit from the mother's favorite store. But one would need to guess at what is really the mother's taste. Although as I get older, I think our tastes are becoming more similar. Like today, the mother had on a cute pair of capris that are exactly the same as a pair I bought a few weeks ago. I guess the mother and I share the love of a good bargain and a keen fashion sense.

One could buy a fine piece of jewelry or craft one from the ever growing bead collection that is amassing in my craft room. But my mother can create the most exquisite bejeweled creation from her own collection. And she is much faster than I am at it! I have witnessed the creation of a new jeweled masterpiece in the few waking moments before work when she can't find just the right thing to wear with a particular outfit. How do you compete with that?

One could buy some fancy perfume or scented candles for their mother. However, my mother never has been one for fancy perfumes or foofy scented candles. She really is a practical mom. She doesn't need designer stuff - well, until I got her hooked on the lovelies at the Coach factory store - hey, a girl needs to have some addiction right? (ok, I know I have more than one - back off and no shoes will get hurt!!)

So what do you buy for the best mom in the whole entire world? You buy her the finest 20 pack of toilet paper that you can find to go along with her brand new toilets. Seriously! I am so lucky that my mom has an awesome sense of humor. First, she really did ask for toilet paper on her birthday list. Second, I am just crazy enough to purchase it for her! She got the biggest kick out of the gift but I think my poor uncle thought we had gone completely mad. I'm sure that will be a topic of conversation later in the week between the two.

Happy Birthday Mom - I hope you have may more years to enjoy your new toilets!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

I've been spotted

The rumors that MonkeyGirl packed her bags and ran away from home are partially true. Over the past couple of weeks, I have been traveling a lot. First stop, Tampa for 4 days then home for a couple of days, then off to San Francisco/Sacramento for 4 days followed by a quick getaway to the lake with Mr. Monkeygirl and some friends for some much needed R&R. It sounds glamorous and like fun, but I have to tell you this - traveling constantly S-U-C-K-S! Don't get me wrong, checking your e-mail from the beach or eating dinner at Fisherman's Wharf is fun, but after a while it gets old. The conversations generally revert back to work, the people you really want to talk to are in some different time zone, and you rarely get any puppy nuzzles while on the road.

In between my coastal trips, I decided that it was time for new luggage. My bags have seen better days and after years of travel, vital pieces - like the zipper pulls - where falling off or just plain missing. I don't know if any one travels much but have you noticed that everyone has a 25" black roller bag? It makes finding your bag on the luggage carousel a little challenging. Mr. M and I headed out one day on a quest for new luggage. The weekend ads promised 60-75% off luggage at one store so we had hope. I guess everyone else saw that this was a good deal so the selection was pretty picked over when we got there. My criteria was simple - sturdy wheels and something not black. We had no luck at stop one. So we headed over to the "butterfly" mall (a local 'outlet' mall that has a huge butterfly in one section so the M&M's dubbed it the butterfly mall). We looked at every possible store for a deal and we found some interesting selections but I couldn't decide. We got in the car and then I decided that I found something that I could live with and wasn't ungodly expensive.

I have to say that this luggage rolls much better than my old set. Spotting my bag on the carousel was easy-peasy-rice-and-cheesy. And the bonus - it is huge! I was able to pack all of my clothes for a 4 day business trip + 3 pairs of shoes with plenty of room to spare. On the way home, I was also able to stash my souvenirs for the boys, plus 2 new pairs of shoes (still in the boxes) in addition to everything I brought out with me. I have to say I was impressed with the space. So let me know what you think of my new bags! And yes, they are very me - aren't they?

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The Divine Miss M

Tonight was an oddity for Aunt Monkeygirl. My little Miss M was my only charge for the evening. Boy M is starting Kindergarden on Thursday (eek!) so he and Mommy went to meet his teachers. That just left Miss M and me to our own devices.

She was so excited when I pulled up. Partly because I was there but most importantly because she had to show me a "surprise". Grandma bought her a new "lead-i-tard" for gymnastics. Even better, it is one of her favorite colors - purple! I think she talked about it almost the entire ride home.

Normally, we have to rush to get home, eat dinner and get to gymnastics on time. Without the distraction of her big brother, Miss M ate her dinner quickly (ugh, Burger King again!!) and then we went to change. Once she put on her new duds she advised me very seriously "It's not a leaditard, it is my dress up outfit!". She even sat still long enough for me to put her strawberry blond hair in pig tails. She stopped in front of every mirror in the house and posed. She stroked the velvety soft, royal purple ensemble whenever she got a chance. She was so proud of her $3 bargain Grandma found for her (yeah Grandma!!).

She pointed out her new outfit to every person that she ran into after she changed and they all showed the appropriate awe for Miss M's new duds! The funny part was that tonight was "Cardinal" day and they were supposed to wear their favorite Cardinal's stuff. The Pujols t-shirt she was sporting was so big on her that you could only see the tips of the sleeves, but little Miss M knew what she had on underneath and was so happy!

Rock on, Little Miss M - you look mah-velous!

Friday, July 31, 2009

Someone is watching out for me

Someone has my back today. I put off getting my car inspected until the last minute. This means a long wait at the DMV to get the plates but I have no one to blame but myself. But today, some one was looking out for me.

In order to get the car inspected and still go into the office, took a tad bit of coordination. Skaterboy uses my car for his driving Mr. Daisy gig in the morning. In his defense, I agree that his 80+ yr old charge might have a bit of trouble getting in and out of SB's car. A friend offered to pick me up so I picked the repair shop close to his house. Luckily, it is also one block from Mr. Daisy's abode so I made a deal with SB.
  • SB drives Mr. Daisy to the donut shop in my car and then takes him home.
  • Instead of coming back to the house, I drive SB's car to the repair shop and leave it in the parking lot.
  • SB drops my car and keys off at the repair shop and drives his car home or wherever he wants to go.
  • My friend picks me up at the repair shop and then drops me back off on his way home.
The plan worked out perfectly. The car passed with flying colors (it better have - it is fairly new) and I got to squeeze in an oil change to boot. I remembered to bring all the necessary paperwork with me so I could just run by the DMV on my way home.

I walk into the DMV and there are people everywhere. I take my number and find a seat. I'm 044 - not bad right? Oh, they are calling 987 - this is going to take longer than I thought. Again, I can't complain because this is my fault for procrastinating. Figuring that I have a long wait ahead of me, I pull out my phone to play a game or something. I see a woman walking up and down the aisles asking people questions. She approaches me and asks if I have a high number. I'm not sure if I classify 044 as high, but I show her my number. Apparently she took a number for the wrong line and she offered me her old number - 005! Sweet - this is making my day much better!

Due to the kindness of a stranger, I was on my way home from the DMV exactly one hour after I walked out the door from work. On the last day of the month. Late in the afternoon. I think I need to go out and buy a lottery ticket because I am having an excellent day!

Note: I paid it forward by offering my line ticket to a lady who came in and sat down next to me. It wasn't as dramatic of a jump for her, but she had to wait for 12 less people because of the new ticket!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Yipee!

After a few failed attempts to connect, I finally got to talk to the Orthopedic surgeon's office this afternoon. The MRI shows no broken bones. It also confirmed that there are no torn ligaments in Skaterboy's wrist (yeah, no surgery!!). They did see that he strained the ligaments and he has some fluid build up but that is to be expected with this type of injury. Woohoo!

I'm not sure SB is convinced that the results are right but I know I feel much better!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The fine art of Procrastination

Ask anyone who knows me well. I am notorious for putting things off until the last minute. I get them done and everything is good, but I am really bad about stalling. I swear I'm going to change. I promise never to do it again. And yet, I find myself scrambling at the last minute to get something done.

The plates on my car expire on Friday. When I got the notice 2 months ago, I made a mental note to get right on the inspection and get it over with. Everytime I paid a bill or walked into my office, I told myself to make the appointment at the dealer near work. I put the coupons for that dealer in my purse weeks ago. I laid the coupons next to my phone at work for days. So when did I get my car inspected? I didn't. But it will be inspected on Friday. And the plates expire on Friday. And I am working all day on Friday. Hmmm, me thinks me might have a small problem....

Somehow I will try to get the car back from the shop, run over to the DMV, stand in line for hours and still make the deadline. If not, I guess I will be paying a late fee and running around on Saturday morning. Wish me luck!!

Update: I just figured out why I was putting this off for so long. Our great state decided to change the design of the plates. I absolutely despise the new design and think it is hideous. So deep down, psychologically, I am rebelling against some one's horrible idea of a great graphic design.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Woo Hoo!

The good news from the Orthopedic Surgeon today - no sign of any broken bones in Skaterboy's hand! Whew, that is good news for sure. Skaterboy has a lot of pain in his wrist so the Doctor sent him for an MRI to check for ligament or tissue damage.

The bad news? Skaterboy hated the MRI with a passion. For someone who is probably borderline ADHD, laying completely still in a giant tube for 50 minutes is pure torture. He said his back really hurt after his ordeal and it was obvious that he was ready to go home.

Keep your fingers crossed for more good news. We should get the results of the MRI later this week.

Monday, July 27, 2009

A Tale of Two Bones

Sometimes bones hurt. Sometimes bones are a treat. It all depends on who you ask in my house whether or not they consider bones a good story or bad.

First, the bad bones. Friday as Mr. Monkeygirl and I were getting ready to go out for the night, the phone rang. I could tell by the look on Mr. M's face that something was going on that wasn't good. Skaterboy called to ask us to meet him at the ER. This is never good, so Mr. M. took off to meet him. We have been through this drill before so we figured it was probably a sprain but better safe than sorry right? Well, this time they really do think he broke the bone in his left hand. Of course, with the swelling and the growth plates, they couldn't be sure so they put him in a half cast and told us to consult an Orthopedic Surgeon. We will know more tomorrow. I hope for his sake it isn't broken and he doesn't need a full cast. Summer in the midwest can be brutal when your arm is wrapped in fiberglass!

Now the good bones. In an effort to make life easier at home, we have been attending obedience classes with Coal. It is as much for us as it is for him. I have to admit, it is really working. As the instructor kindly put it, Coal is "goofy". He is full of energy and is a friendly dog. Sometimes he is just too friendly. The first week of class, we could barely contain him and he barked so long and so loud, I thought we were going to get kicked out of class. Now, he is calm, cool and collected. Well, sort of.

A few months ago, we couldn't have anyone come over because he was so out of control. Jumping, knocking people over, who knows what else he would do. Now - he still gets excited (stay out of range of his tail - it can be lethal) and is wiggly but he isn't jumping on people. He has changed so much that we have even taken him into public. He loves going to parties in the park and is very well behaved. He loves it when people want to pet him and I'm not fearful that he will jump all over them anymore. Tonight, he was spectacular in class. We do "recalls" where we go to the opposite side of the room and call our dogs to us. Coal is easily distracted but tonight, despite the 6 other dogs in our class sitting around and 5 new puppies to distract him, the instructor could hardly keep him from running to us immediately! I think he deserves a great big bone for being such a good boy.

Monday, July 20, 2009

I Still Have NV Envy

It's hard to believe that it as officially been one year to the day that I started to blog. I wanted to so be like my MEF NV. Her blog was so cool. So I took the plunge and started a blog of my own.

It has been an interesting year. When I started this I never thought that running out of vodka would be so funny. I never thought my Mom would become a blogger. I never thought anyone would ever read this. But I guess I was wrong.

I guess the best way to sum up the last year is to bring back the Wordle. Funny, not one mention of Vodka anywhere in this one!


Sunday, July 19, 2009

Too Pooped to Party

It was a busy week followed by a busy weekend, so I am completely exhausted. Relaxed, but exhausted. This past week consisted of:
  • 4 days of work where things are crazier than ever
  • One night of doggie school where Mr. M had a flat tire that had to be repaired before he could head home
  • One night of M&M duty which consists of a mad dash from work to the babysitters, run through a drive-through to pick up dinner and a toy, dash home to eat, let the dog out and change clothes before running off to gymnastics.
  • The M&M duty was followed by a quick shopping trip for the princesses 4th birthday.
  • Another mad dash home to pick up a few final gifts, a super delicious ice cream cake in pink and then a positively pink princess party. Of course, the one thing the princess wanted more than anything else was to swim on her birthday, so after dinner,cake and gifts at Grandma's we headed back to the house to swim. It was twilight and it was freezing!
  • As soon as the M&M's left, it was off to my home office to do production check out. That is a fancy way of explaining software system testing. Just my luck, there was some kind of issue and we didn't finish until early the following morning.
  • Less than 24 hours before the next party was supposed to start, I still hadn't cleaned the house, cut the grass or cleaned the pool. Unfortunately, it started to pour so the outside stuff would have to wait. Cleaning until the wee hours of the morning ensued.
  • Now it is finally Friday - I still had bathrooms to clean and floors to mop. Cakes needed to be baked and grass needed to be mowed. So what did I do? Went shopping, got a mani and pedi - oh, wait wasn't I supposed to be cleaning or something? We managed to get everything done before the first guests arrived, whew!
  • The Friday party was a complete success and everyone had a great time! The kids managed to convince some adults to go swimming with them (it was unseasonably cool for July). It was a late night - again.
  • Saturday was race day at Gateway. This is a 13+ hour party that includes enough food to feed an army, plenty of cold beverages on hand, some not so exciting racing, and an after race concert where some friends where the headliner! Again, it was a great day, but it was very late - or early when we finally got home.
  • Sunday is supposed to be the day of rest right? Well, not so much. We still had to unpack the truck and clean everything up and put it away. We had to go retrieve the dog from his weekend "spa" getaway. We had another family function to attend. And all we wanted to do was take a long nap.
After all of this activity, I can use a serious nap. Hopefully, this week will be a little calmer. I doubt it, but a girl can dream right?

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

All-Star Madness

Everywhere you turn you see something about the All-Star game. I have seen more Cardinals jerseys running around town than normal. I stopped in a gift shop tonight and they had the game on. Everyone is talking about the tickets that they have or complaining about the cost of the tickets they can't afford.

I don't have any tickets. I figure I have better things to spend $200-$1000 on. I'm not a big fan of traffic or crowds, so I'm not going to hang out outside the stadium downtown. I wasn't home tonight (M&M duty) so I missed watching the game on TV. My only connection to the All-Star game occurred on the way home from work tonight.

As I was driving home, I noticed a helicopter hovering on the horizon. Panic started to rise as I was on a deadline and that generally means some horrible traffic thing was brewing. I immediately started to lay out alternate routes in case traffic was at a complete stand still, when something else caught my eye. A distinctively painted airplane came into view. I quickly realized the police cars on the side of the road and the helicopter hovering meant one thing - President Obama was landing in AirForce One.

My route home happens to take me directly underneath the main runway and it was crystal clear so I got a very good look at the plane making it's final descent into Lambert. It was really an amazing thing to watch. Unfortunately, I was able to think or react fast enough to snap a picture or video. I can add this to one of the cool things I have seen in my life time. Maybe, someday I can snag a ride on that bad boy!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Cleaning and Preening

When you live in the hot, humid midwest and you are lucky enough to have a pool in your yard, you ineveitably become the central party spot for family and friends. this weekend will be no exception.

My uncle recently celebrated a birthday. So did my sister-in-law. My niece is due for a big princess party this week. My aunt and uncle from the west coast are coming in for a mid-summer visit. My brother and his clan are coming in for the weekend from farm country. This calls for a party. And we have the prime location given that we have room - and a pool.

This means I need to clean. Even though I was told not to worry about making extra efforts, it is in some strange genetic twist that I feel the need to clean. Of course, I can't just focus on the normal dusting, vacuuming and mopping. Nooooooo! I feel the need to clean things like the top of the refrigerator and kitchen cabinets. I haven't looked in my bathroom cabinets lately, but I felt compelled to purge and clean those (note to my guests, yes you can peek!) Mr. M spent his day off power washing lawn furniture and anything else that didn't move. Things are starting to shine around here.

I haven't dusted or mopped yet and the Animal (my beloved Dyson - not the dog) is still tucked in the closet. I work better under pressure so I'm sure it will all get done before Friday night's festivities! Let's just hope it doesn't rain so that we can enjoy the outside and we don't have to be stuck inside!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Running out of things to say

Maybe it is exhaustion. Maybe it is sharing the brain with too many people. Maybe it is just too nice outside to be indoors. Who knows, but I feel like I have run out of things to say lately. Every other day or so I think of a brilliant idea to blog about and then by the time I get to a computer, I completely forget what I wanted to say.

I have been busy lately. Home stuff is crazy and work is even crazier. I guess I should be thankful that I can even keep my eyes open when I get home.

Well, I just wanted everyone (ok, the 4 people who read this blog) to know that I haven't forgotten about you and I will be back - some day!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Just call me the Dog Whisperer

Is it a scent that only dogs can smell? Is there some invisible vibe that I give off to the canine set? I'm not sure what it is but it seems like dogs have taken a liking to me lately, specifically the large male black lab variety.

This past weekend, we joined some friends at the lake for a weekend away to drink, eat and unwind. The only way to beat the beastly heat and humidity was to soak in the lake. We were floating near the dock, when I spied something out of the corner of my eye. I love the water, but don't like things that share the water with me (fishies, turtles, snakes, eeek!) so I was a little wary. It was too big and furry for a snake and was moving pretty fast in our direction. As it got closer, I realized it was a dog. A big, black lab to be specific. He was worn out from his swim across the lake so we coaxed him into a raft to rest. We tried to get him to swim back from the direction he came from. No dice, he loved us and would just swim from one person to the next no matter how much we tried to convince him otherwise.

My friend D and I decided to swim him back across the lake to see if we could find his home. It took us awhile to figure out how to get him out of the water (who knew dogs could climb a ladder?) but we had to because he was getting very tired. Turns out, Jake belongs to a couple across the lake and he apparently loves to swim. We returned him to his owners and swam back to our side of the lake. About an hour or two later, guess who appeared again? Yup, Jake apparently got loose and decided we were fun so he came back to visit. This time Mr. M and I returned him to his owners. Swimming across the lake with a 80+ lb lab is a chore, but we couldn't just leave him. Jake's daddy swam over on Sunday to thank us for saving his dog - twice.

This afternoon, I got a call from Skaterboy. "Uhm, I went outside to check on Coal..." Uh-oh, this can't be good. "He was laying in the yard with a black lab. I was able to get Coal inside and in his kennel. But, the lab is just chillin' on the back porch and drinking our water. He won't leave and wants to go in the house." Great, apparently I am now the great Black Lab Whisperer. All black labs in distress must seek me out for help. I figured with Coal inside and Skaterboy leaving, he would wander back to his home. Wrong! I didn't see him when I got home so I let Coal outside. After a minute or two, I noticed Coal was super excited and there he was- Black Lab #2. They seemed happy to see each other and were playing together but without a collar, I'm not sure I trusted him completely. I tried to get Coal inside the house, which wasn't an easy task since the two dogs were generally rolling around each other. Every time I tried to move to the back door, both dogs tried impatiently to get in. I finally distracted BL2 and got Coal inside.

BL2 flopped down on the porch like he was at home and didn't appear to be in a big hurry to leave. Not sure what to do, I tried to call the local Animal Control. "Our hours are 8 am to 5 pm Monday through Friday. Please call back during those hours." Darn. I tried the County Animal Control. They are only open 9-5 but if this was an emergency, they provided another number to call. This didn't seem like an emergency so I waited for Mr. M to come home.

A quick thinking guy, he called the non-emergency police line and they contacted Animal Control. They were at our house within 10 minutes to pick up BL2. BL2 had no collar and didn't appear to have been roaming for long. He seemed to be a nice dog and at least knew how to sit. He let Mr. M slip a leash over his neck without a fight (note to Coal - see it doesn't hurt!) I hope that his family is looking for him and goes to the shelter soon. I felt kind of bad sending him to doggy jail, but I don't think I could handle two big, black balls of fur running through my house day and night.


Sunday, June 28, 2009

Ihadaphone....

I must admit that I am addicted to my cell phone. Completely and totally smitten with my little personal communication device. Remember all the hype about 2 years ago when people where standing in line to buy a fancy new phone called the iPhone? Yes, I was one of those crazy people standing in line (with some assistance from Skaterboy).

Something happened over the weekend. I can get incoming calls and texts. Some of the apps work completely, some partially and some not at all. For example, I can turn on the camera but I can't take a picture. The weather app works perfectly. But I can't make a call or look up a contact, listen to my iPod, check my mail, or surf the internet. If you send me a text, I can read it but I can't answer you. It was all very confusing until I figured out that it appears the bottom of my phone lost it's 'touch'.

I've always said I refused to buy a new iPhone until they came out with a 32gb phone. Guess what came out within the past two weeks? A 32 gb iPhone with 3Gs! So I guess I am going to be forced to visit the AT&T store this week. Like my good friend said "you need a new phone to go with your new purse"! Wish me luck, I've heard that they sold out of the presale phones before the launch date. I don't think I can survive very long without getting a cell phone fix.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Happy Father's Day


Today is the day that we honor our fathers. There are a lot of men in my life that deserve to be honored.

  • My father, God rest his soul, taught me more than I could ever learn from school or a book. He taught me to embrace the things that are important to you. Whether it is being green (Dad was embracing the green lifestyle way before it was trendy) or going the extra mile to get ahead in your career. He taught me the value of an education. It doesn't matter how many degrees you have, he taught me that learning something new - at any age - can be fun and personally fulfilling. He taught me to enjoy the simple things in life. Hiking, camping, or just "puttering and muttering" in the yard, I learned to enjoy those moments and look back at the end with a sense of satisfaction. He taught me that it is okay to take a chance to do something different. He taught me the value of family. I think he always made his decisions on not what was best for him, but what was best for his family. For all these reason and a billion - cagillion more, I will always love him.
  • My wonderful husband, Mr. M. He is a wonderful husband and a great father. He is patient and understanding. He knows when it is time to talk and when it is time to just let the boy be. I love to watch him with Skaterboy when they are in "the zone" - sharing something that they both love and watching them connect in only a way that a father and son can.
  • Skaterboy - the newest father-to-be. I wish him all the best in this journey that will last the rest of his lifetime. He is scared and yet, at the same time, he is proud to know that he will soon have a little baby girl in his life. This is a life changing event for him (and for the Mamma, too) and he could have taken the easy way out. But he hasn't. He is standing by her side and helping her through her pregnancy. He is a good kid and I am positive that he will make an excellent father. I love the boy as if he were my own flesh and blood and I'm certain that he will make me proud as he grows into his newest role as a father.
And to all of the other men in my life that have helped me to become the person that I am, thank you. Thank you all for passing on your love. I love ya'll!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Pickles, Dinos and Bob

This is the story of how a jar of pickles, dinosaurs and a little guy named Bob saved my Friday night. My sister rarely goes out. She asks for a sitter so rarely, that I try to go out of my way to watch the kids when she asks. Last night was one of those rare occasions. She apologized in advance because she thought it would be a late night so I promised to give the kids latte's and feed them cotton candy so they would still be wide awake when she got home!

Dinner was the first order of business and I figured they would want some kind of fast food, so that would be easy - right? Wrong! Apparently, Aunt Bonkeygirl is a gourmet chef and the little ones clamored loudly and clearly for the one thing they had to have - chicken dinosaurs and mac & cheese. Ugh, not again! In a fit of desperation we fixed this one time as a quick and easy meal and now it is the only thing they want to eat when they come over. I really shouldn't complain because it only takes 15 minutes to prepare, but I'm not a fan of the dinosaur chicken. If you are not familiar with the preschool set, you may not have any clue what Chicken Dinosaurs are. Simply, they are chicken nuggets shaped like T-Rex and a Stegasaurus. Half eaten dinos drenched in ketchup do put a new spin on Jurassic Park!

After dinner, they wanted to go back in the pool (as they put it "it's a beautiful day for swimming!") but I wasn't quite ready to swim again. I used the old "you have to wait 30 minutes after eating to swim" story and they bought it. While we were waiting, they spied lightning bugs and started chasing them across the yard. What's more fun than having your very own lightning bugs, so Aunt Bonkeygirl found an old pickle jar that would be a good home for some lightning bug flying too slow or too low to get caught. Fortunately for the lightning bugs, we could never catch any, but we have the jar for the next time.

Those two love the pool and I was finally able to convince them around 10 pm that it was time to put our PJ's on. We all changed into our PJ's and climbed into Aunt B's "ginormous" bed to watch Kung Fu Panda. But we couldn't watch the movie alone, we had to have all of the special Lego's with us. But we had to be very careful not to smash them. I think every little Lego person was on the Pirate raft - Spongebob, Patrick, the mechanic guy, and my two favorite pirates, Twinkie and Bob. That many squirming bodies and leaving enough room for Bob not to get squished didn't leave much room for me, but we managed to keep everyone fairly content until Mommy came to pick them up.

I'm quite sure they were asleep before they got home and will have some fantastic story to tell Mommy in the morning about dinosaurs, the green/purple/blue pool, where lightning bugs sleep during the day, and Bob.

Friday, June 19, 2009

It figures

I take 2 days off work to work on the bathroom mini-remodel and the glass people call.  Our special order glass is in!  WooHoo!  Oh but wait, they are completely booked this week and can't even think about an installation until next week.  Perfect (*rolls eyes sarcastically*).



Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Mis-Adventures in Air Travel

My MEF NV posted about her adventures as a pseudo travel agent today and I was reminded of a travel story from my past.

A few years ago, my very single, bachelor uncle passed away unexpectedly.  He lived on the East Coast so we had to make some hasty travel plans to tend to his estate. Being a seasoned traveller, my Dear Old Dad (DOD) took care of making the arrangements for us.  His challenge was to book one-way flights to DC for 5 people at the last minute.  If you ever met my father, you will know that he is extremely detailed oriented and liked to make sure that he got the best deal.  He poked around on the internet looking for the best airfare and finally came up with a flight that met his budget criteria.  Mumbling and grumbling about having to spend "that much" on a flight, he went to book the flights when he found out that you could only buy 4 tickets at one time.  He bought the first round of tickets for my uncle's siblings and himself.  He then booked my flight separately.  When the total came back, he couldn't figure out why there was such a difference in the price per ticket. He poured over the confirmations and checked and rechecked his calculations.

Now we already know that he is detailed oriented so we all assumed it was some glitch in the reservation system or a freak drop in the airfare.  Finally, we discovered that there were 2 flights to DC that left at or near the same time.  On in the morning and one at night.  I was the sole passenger booked on the AM flight.  He quickly called the airline to see if he could fix his mistake and they happily agreed to change his flights - for a slight rebooking fee that almost doubled the price of the original tickets.  There was no way that this was going to fly (no pun intended) with his frugal German heritage.  Thankfully, the reservation agent gave him a cheap option out.  She told him that historically that flight was rarely full and that they could try to fly standby to catch the morning flight.  Problem partially solved!

For as long as I can remember, my uncle had lived out of town.  None of us had an extra key to his house.  When we asked about how we should get in, the local officials said that we could essentially 'break-in' the same way they did.  In order to facilitate the illegal activity I was about to undertake, my DOD persuaded me to take a cordless drill in my suitcase since I was the only one confirmed to arrive in the morning.  

So we get to the airport and check in.  We definitely raised some suspicions as we had one confirmed one-way ticket and 4 stand-by one way tickets. Did I mention that we were flying to the nation's capital? About one year after 9/11 and it was near Labor Day? In those days, the security screening was done right at the ticket counter.  The agent asked me to open by bag and questioned what I had in a plastic grocery bag in the corner of my suitcase that had a vague outline of a huge pistol.  Not wanting to undergo a full body search, I opened my mouth to politely answer the agent when DOD appeared behind me and answered "Don't ask!".

I groaned as I envisioned spending the next 8 hours under a bare light bulb answering rapid fire questions from the good cop/bad cop trying to beat a confession out of me.  I decided that honesty was the best policy and while shooting DOD the dirtiest look I could muster, timidly replied "it's a drill, ma'am".  "Why on earth do you have a drill in your suitcase?" the agent asked.  Continuing down the honesty is the best policy path I blurted out "Well, I need it to break in to a house." DOH!  In hindsight, that probably wasn't the best answer considering the look on her face.  I swear she started to pull to pull out her walkie-talkie to call for back up and have me hauled off to the pokey when I quickly explained the whole story. While it wasn't really any of her business, I sure didn't want to go to jail for some suspicious terrorist activity.

Once she understood the situation and that I wasn't going to violate any national laws, she let me go after making me disconnect the battery from the drill. I lectured my DOD all the way to the gate and of course, he thought the whole thing was funny.  Sure funny for him, he wasn't the one who had visions of bright lights and rubber hoses dancing in his head! 

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Lessons Learned

He who landscapes part of their yard with rocks, and has a dog who loves to run through the rocks, should pick up aforementioned rocks before cutting the grass. Why, you ask?  Because when you don't you run the risk of seeing this scene out your window.


The scariest part? The rock chard that shattered the largest window in our house, missed my head by about a foot. I escaped unscathed. I can't say the same about the window. I think the glass splintered for 30 minutes straight before we took the preemptive measure to take it down before it fell on somebody or the poor dog.     

I wonder how much this is going to cost us?
P.S. It should be fun trying to keep Coal from jumping on the window when he sees imaginary bad guys in the back yard in the middle of the night until we can get the window repaired properly.