Wednesday, June 25, 2008

A lengthier post

Okay. So here's how the past few days have gone down:

Friday: Momlie drove Taylor and Rebecca out to meet us and the camper - this way she could say hello to the camper too. We got out of town around 3 and were happily at the coast and set up around 5ish. Good thing too cause it was C-R-O-W-D-E-D at the coast last weekend. It was the first week all of the Oregon kiddos were out of school. So we set up camp and then decided to do a few quick geocaches! We found 2 out of the 3 we searched for - the other was in a forested area and we couldn't get a good signal. The clue was something about a fern, which was quite helpful considering there were about 80962 ferns in the area. Oh well! We found the other two. Then we bought wood from the hosts (the retired-type camper folk who volunteer at the state parks in exchange for free campsites). Then we came back to the camper and got out the awning, put out the lights, and made some dinner. We had tacos - yum! It got to be around 9:30 and I was like "Let's have a fire!" Geoff was all "ohhh, but it's so late... you really want a fire tonight?" PREMATURELY OLD! Luckily the three of us convinced him fires are fun! We had a Marshmallow Throwdown (aka competition to see who could roast the *perfect* marshmallow). Rebecca won - Taylor and I were both DQed because we had some burnage. Geoff doesn't eat marshmallows. Taylor and Rebecca confessed to me that my previous marshmallow toasting perfection (a couple of years ago in the firepit at Geoff's parent's house) was one of the reasons they liked me - they were still deciding if I was "okay" or not and then I roasted the *perfect* marshmallow and that's when they knew I was alright! And even though Rebecca won this little duel, I am still the all time world champion marshmallow roaster!

Saturday: Saturday we slept in until 10 or so, then Geoff and I made our world-famous Camper Breakfast. I would tell you what it consists of but I will just have to surprise you when you come camping with us. And you should! :) It was invented by my mom approximately 20 years ago. Okay, maybe before that, but that's the first time I remember it. Then we sat inside and took turns showering and getting ready and stuff. Around 1ish, we did some geocaching - we did 3 quick caches and found each of them! After that we met up with my coworker Cindy and her family - she has two daughters that are within 1 year each of Taylor and Rebecca, so it worked out quite nicely. The 8 of us set off for 4 more geocaches. Fort Stevens is SUCH a cool place - it's an old military fort that was built to defend the mouth of the Columbia River, and was actually the only military installation in the continental US that received hostile fire during WWII (and the 66th anniversary of that was this past Saturday, when we were there). One of the cool caches we did took us to a couple of underground bunkers that you would have NEVER known were there if you weren't geocaching - very scary, they were so dark and we had no flashlight... creepy, even Geoff was scared. But that is one of the great things about geocaching, it takes you such cool places. As we were looking for our third cache in Battery Russell, we saw another dude with a GPS who seemed to be looking for something with a small group... and then ANOTHER dude with a GPS who was also looking for something. Soon enough everyone that was at Battery Russell was looking for this geocache - there were about 20 of us in all, all running around the place trying to be the first one to find it. FINALLY we hear a commotion, and someone has found the cache! We all pass around the signing log and one of the other cachers was nice enough to take this group photo of all 3 groups that were there during the find. That was by far the most fun cache I have ever found. Yaaay for geocaching! After the five hours we spent geocaching, we headed back home and had chicken caesar salad for dinner. I had barely pulled the chicken off the grill when it started drizzling - no fire for us, sad. We just stayed in and watched The Terminal (well, they did... I more puffed around and organized the camper and stuff). Then we played a couple of lively rounds of Mexican Train. I love that game. It's so fun! After that it was off to bed again.

Sunday: Geoff and I got up around 9 and went to Costco for gas. Then we quitely watched Friends so the girls could sleep... then didn't get up until about noon! Ahh, to be a teenager again. :) It was too late by that point for Camper Breakfast, so they had bagels and then we packed up and headed out. We got home by about 3:30 and took them back to our house for a while. We all showered and relaxed, then went to the 6 PM service at church. I used to always go to the evening service, but I really do prefer the morning service now. I'm getting old. But that's okay, I am thankful they have this evening service because it allows me to go even when we travel. After that we took the girls back to Geoff's parent's house - it's about 5 minutes from church (about 25 minutes from our house), so it worked out perfectly that they wanted to go to church with us. They LOVED the church by the way - we knew they would but we were really happy they liked it as much as they did! We chatted with the parental folks for a while and then went home. We watched The Next Food Network Star and then went to bed.

Monday: I woke up at 4 and woke Geoff up about 4:45 so he could take me to the airport. I slept through most of my flight to Phoenix which was very nice - that flight can be long and painful if you're not sleeping. Sky Harbor was PACKED so I had to just go straight to my gate (no time for lunch, grabbed some Cheez-Its... boo). My flight to Albuquerque was relatively uneventful - there is a lot of turbulence landing in these hot desert climates in the summer and my pilot had some sort of a problem so he had to swoop around and make a second approach before we landed, but all was fine. I grabbed my rental car (which you already know about!) and headed to my grandparent's house. I hadn't seen my grandfather since Christmas 2004 and have only seen my grandmother once since then (at our wedding last year). So it was REALLY great to see them. My grandfather has Parkinson's so I was prepared for him to be really bad when I saw him, but compared to what I was expecting he was much better (this is in no way to say that he was in good shape, but I was pleased to see he was at least making an effort to talk when he could and went to dinner with us, etc.). He was Col. in the Air Force so he has been mostly deaf for years - but again, I was surprised with how well he could hear. I was expecting to have to be yelling at him from about 6 inches away, but from 2 or 3 feet away he could hear if you raised your voice loudly and spoke towards his right ear, which is the stronger one. It was really good to see him. I also enjoyed my time with my grandmother and aunt who lives with them to help them out (bless her heart - I know that's such a Southern expression, but it just fits here. She helps them in more ways than imaginable and I just think it's a really good thing that she's there). My cousin is pregnant with her second baby and she and her husband just bought their first house. We went out for Chinese food at a really fun place and just had a great time visiting. After that I took my big truck to my hotel and enjoyed an evening all alone!

Tuesday: Tuesday was a great day at work. We got a lot done and I was pleased that I came down - this was a pretty effective session, much better than I had anticipated. After that we went to dinner at Sadie's per a coworker's suggestion - HOT!!!! Much hotter than even Los Dos in Arizona, where I always like to go with Patrick, Hart, and Becky when I'm down there visiting him. It was great. I'm really glad I have spent the last couple of years trying to work up my ability to eat spicier foods, it comes in quite handily on occasions such as this one. Very flavorful though, and a very tasty margarita helped reduce some of the heat! After that I talked to Geoff for a bit and then went to bed.

Wednesday (today): Wrapped up with work this morning - went really well again. Got some Chick-Fil-A for lunch - YUMMY!!!!!! I love Chick-Fil-A! :) Then I returned my rental car and am at the airport again. Happily, no problems with security coming or going. My flight to Phoenix leaves in 45 minutes and then on to Portland from there. National Weather Service has issued a dust storm warning in Phoenix - that should be fun!

I think that's about it peeps - it's been a busy week, looking forward to a low key couple of days (*ALLEGEDLY* the dishwasher man is going to come tomorrow - gotta blog about that one too) and then a nice relaxing weekend. Geoff will be at his motorcycle training class so I'm just going to sleep the weekend away. Okay, we all know that won't happen, but I do plan on getting some rest! :)

Monday, June 23, 2008

Travelin' week!

Had a FANTASTIC weekend at the coast, will have to blog about that another time (I'll try to do it soon so I remember the details), and now I'm in New Mexico. I saw my grandparents and Aunt Juli this evening which was really really great. We had a nice dinner at a fantastic Chinese place that they know the owner of.

The reason I HAD to blog tonight though is to show you that THIS is my rental car. That's right. The crew cab, short box version. It's manly and beefy and I love it. Wow I'm really not a Chicago girl anymore am I? (I kid you not, I had never even KNOWN anyone that owned a pickup before I moved to Oregon.)

Thursday, June 19, 2008

A sad shredder story

About 2 or 3 months after I graduated from college, I bought a shredder. It was a fine shredder, on clearance at Office Depot, marked down from $80 to $20 or $30. It would shred credit cards and 8 or so sheets at a time, and did a fantastic job. I remember the first time I used it, I had tons of papers stacked up and I just sat there on the living room floor of my apartment and shredded and shredded and shredded.

The shredder has served me well over the years. I shredded, Addy shredded, Christine shredded, Geoff shredded.

Sometime in the last 6 months, the shredder got sad. It started slowing down... paper got stuck all the time... in the last couple of weeks it would take 3 or more minutes to shred a single sheet of paper because it kept getting stuck, you had to reverse it, then try again... over and over and over. Sad shredder. I thought "but this shredder is brand new! This isn't right! How could it be THIS broken?" And then I remembered... for the 263986th time... that I graduated from college FOUR years ago. I have been out of college for as long as I was in college. The things that were brand new when I graduated aren't anymore. Even my beloved Jake the Jeep. Geoff gave the shredder a thorough inspection Tuesday night and discovered that only one side of the blades were rotating, and so every time the other side of the blades rotated around, it got stuck. EVERY ROTATION. No wonder I had to reverse it every 1/2 a second.

So last night we went to Office Max, Office Depot, and Target to get a new shredder. I was looking for another lovely clearance deal at the office supply stores, but there was not (well there were some... like $200 shredders marked down to $100 shredders). So we looked at Target and there were several good looking and reasonably priced shredders. We picked one out we liked but then Geoff said "but that's light duty!". I said "what kind of shredding do you think we'll be doing exactly? If we're not light duty with our 2 or 3 pages a day, I don't know who is!" And he said "good point :)". So we bought the shredder.

We took it home, set it up, and tested it out. AMAZING! It would shred anything! Many sheets, VERY fast, and very quiet. I love our new shredder. We were both looking around for MORE things to shred (before we used to just tear our names and senstive information off of papers so we would have less to shred). It is just so fun. What a difference a new shredder makes.

And that, my friends, is the happy ending to a sad shredder story. (well, I guess it's still sad for the old shredder which will be going to the dump with our old dishwasher)!!!!

I have used in the past to check if I should buy a plane ticket now or later, and it's always said BUY NOW so it wasn't of a lot of value to me. Geoff and I have been keeping our eye on prices to go to Dallas to visit my parents the past couple of weeks, and they've been pretty flat at about $300. We were waiting to hear if my dad might have to be out of town on business the week we were looking to go, and last night my mom said that the times we had picked were fine, go ahead and book the tickets. I went online and they'd gone up to $350. BOO!!!!! I thought "hmm... maybe I should just wait until the morning, give it a little more time to see if this was just a temporary spike". I checked and it said "WAIT. Ticket prices are expected to go down $50 or more in the next 7 days. We are 77% sure of this." Wow. That's a pretty bold statement. But since they'd gone up exactly $50, I figured it was quite possible that they'd go back down another $50. So I checked about 30 minutes ago this morning - and they were at $300! I snapped them up, and then checked Farecast again. The new report said: "BUY! Fares are most likely to increase $27 - 71 within the next 7 days, we are 79% sure." Fascinating! I now love :) And I'm going to Dallas 3 weeks from today!


When people are trying to get into the elevator at work and the doors are about to close, they always do this sort of hop type thing to get in, instead of just walking in like a normal person. What is with that? Happens every time.

Since this was our first year being married the full year and the first year for Geoff in his new job, we took a VERY conservative approach to our payroll tax deductions this year. We both chose married, withhold at the single rate, with 0 deductions. I wanted to get a few months of paycheck data to plug into the IRS withholding calculator before we made any changes. It was down the first few months of the year, and then we ran the numbers in like April but it didn't recommend any major changes. Well then we ran it about a month ago and it said we're going to get like a zillion dollars back in our refund if we keep withholding at this rate, and that it recommends we change to withholding at the married rate and some nonsense like 11 allowances. I knew this was going to happen at some point, albeit not THAT drastically, and now it just means we get a "raise" for the second half of the year. Geoff made fun of me last night though: "Because of your strange financial strategy, first they took everything from us and then you say 'Oh... I was wrong...' and now we have to get everything back!"

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Prematurely Old Update - June

Please particularly note #14. It is my favorite! It stems from me being in 1st grade, my parents being on vacation, our grandparents taking care of us, and me falling off my bike. They took me to the hospital but there was some debacle with getting me treated - I don't remember if it was more the authorization for care or getting the insurance information, but I know that there was some difficulty and every time after that that my parents left us with our grandparents, they filled out an "authorization for treatment of minors" form.

1. We own a camper (think about when you drive by huge motorhomes, who do you see driving them? 75 year old men)
2. We use Lock N Lock
3. Geoff commented that the checker at Best Buy was "a nice young man" (see this blog entry).
4. We Grocery Game (aka match coupons with sales to get the best deal)
5. I didn't go to Vegas with Patrick, Hart, and Becky when I was in Arizona in March (to my credit, that was because Patrick and Hart decided not to go, not me!)
6. Shopping for a vacuum equals a 'grand' time at Costco.
7. We take our mother-in-law camping and think it's fun. Granted we see LOTS of mothers-in-law while we're at camp grounds but they are usually of the 65+ range.
8. We took it upon ourselves to coach a girls softball team. We have no children or grandchildren but care enough about helping kids who wouldn't otherwise get to play on a team.
9. Geoff being concerned about people driving too fast with their children in the car.
10. We are growing tomatoes and peppers.
11. We listen to and reflect upon the advice of our elders (even if we rarely take it).
12. When the weather forecast showed 3 – 6 inches of snow and severe winds (dangerous over the coastal pass!), we changed our camping plans and went to a local place instead of the coast.
13. We get excited about new dishwashers.
14. When taking our sister Rebecca and cousin Taylor camping (they are 15 and 17), we request an “authorization to treat minors” form from their parents. And actually send the form template to them.

I hate washing dishes

I realize the content of my blog has been kind of dish-heavy lately, but I have to express my disdain for washing dishes! I don't like anything about it. It's not fun and the water is hot and it's all around bad news. I miss my dishwasher. I think I have not fully expressed my love to my dishwasher before this point, but with this new one I will be completely appreciative. When it works. :)

Speaking of dishes, my LEAST favorite thing about camping hands down is washing the dishes. I would much rather empty the sewer hose and remove it than wash the dishes! Seriously, I dislike it that much! Happily, many of our lovely guests help in the washing of dishes, particularily my mother and mother-in-law. Recently Momlie and I figured out that I hate washing and she hates drying/putting away (and neither of us minds the opposite), so now that we both have dedicated dish-related chores our camping experiences are much better. Somehow, Geoff manages to completely escape any dish-related tasks. Hmmm....! We're going camping again this weekend and I'm not sure who is going with us yet, but I guess I should start conspiring against whoever may be coming and figuring out how I can trick them into washing the dishes for me!

Okay. In non-dish related news, here's a funny from a couple of weeks ago that I forgot to tell you. I think it was just last weekend (Sunday the 8th) that Geoff's parents came over to our house for lunch after church (we usually go to their house since it's about 5 minutes from church). This was the Sunday we all went RV shopping (hey, it's fun to look), and since the dealerships are all really close to our house, we had our house as "home base" that day. Geoff's mom had made a lasagna the day before in prepraration for lunch at her house before we knew we'd come to ours, so she brought it over. We set up a "buffet" area on the dining room table and were going to just eat in the living room. When Momlie was dishing up her lasagna, a small piece fell on the floor. Geoff IMMEDIATELY started running up the stairs, and I realized what he was doing and yelled "it's not up there!" and then burst into laughter. No one but Geoff could figure out WHAT wasn't up there and why I was laughing so hard... I finally told them that Geoff spills pretty much every day and I always tell him that it's no big deal to spill, you just have to clean it up right away so it doesn't set, and we usually do that with Oxi-clean. He had just spilled the day before upstairs and so the Oxi-clean was up there, but he didn't know that I had brought it back downstairs to the laundry room. So I immediately knew that he had thought of the Oxi-clean, remembered having it upstairs, and sprinted up there to get it because that's what you do when you spill! We retrieved the Oxi-clean from the laundry room and of course the spill came right out. It was just so funny to see Geoff whip into gear and start running up the stairs!!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Dishwasher Woes

Well, after Geoff pulled the dishwasher out and verifying that everything was connected correctly, I did some internet troubleshooting. I finally decided that since it makes noise (beeps) but none of the buttons or lights work, that our keypad itself is the broken part. Not a huge issue since it's all covered under warranty, just slightly annoying and frustrating with a brand new dishwasher. I'm a little concerned because there's still a possibility that something isn't installed right and therefore the fix won't be covered under warranty, but Geoff said he's 99% sure it is not an installation problem and even if it is, we can't figure it out so it has to be fixed. So Geoff called GE this morning and they are sending someone out on Thursday to fix it. Happily, I have no meetings Thursday afternoon so the timing is good - however, THURSDAY??? 4 days from now? I'm really surprised they can't have someone here sooner, although I am guessing it's because a GE person coming, not someone they contract with. When my Whirlpool refrigerator broke about 6 months into it (the thermostat was broken, so it kept thinking it was cold enough and switching off even thought it was NOT cold), Whirlpool gave me the names of about 3 local people they use and that person came out and then just billed Whirlpool. Apparently GE doesn't work that way. (I seem to have bad luck with appliances). Geoff said GE was incredibly apologetic that our new dishwasher was broken, which made me slightly less annoyed. Hopefully since he told them what we think the problem is, they will have the part with them when they come on Thursday. Until then, I suppose we are dishwasher-less...

Friday, June 13, 2008

Prematurely Old Reason #82598

Geoff and I bought a new dishwasher last night and were really excited about it!

Here's the story: After work we went to our friend's Kendra and Beau's new house - it is great! It's on a fairly large lot and only 2 miles from our house which is a lot closer than they were. Our friends Addy and Brett just moved to SE Portland (we're going to their housewarming party tonight!) so while we "lost" some friends we "gained" some other ones. :) I go to a girl's night at Kendra's house once or twice a month so it will be nice to just be able to ride my bike over there.

After that we decided to go dishwasher shopping. Our current dishwasher is reasonably new - no more than 10 years old and is certainly still functional. About a year ago, there was a recall placed on the dishwasher due to potential overheated wiring and/or fires. GE was offering 2 options: a serviceperson to come to your house and swap out a part, or a credit towards a new dishwasher. We did nothing at the time since we didn't really know if we wanted a new dishwasher or not. (yes - we have lived with the threat of a fire for a year) Well recently I've noticed some rusting in the dishwasher (like on the racks), just in a couple of little spots, but it was getting worse and about to start breaking through the rack. (like one part was so rusted that the metal of the rack was literally just hanging by a thread). So we decided now was the time for a new dishwasher!

We went to Home Depot and they were running some pretty good promotions and had some good prices - but unfortunately they had nothing "mid range". They had like the $300 - $450 models and then $1000+ models. We were thinking maybe something in the $500 - 700 range, that had a few options (mainly we were looking for a nicer interior - some are really kind of cheap feeling plastic and some are a little nicer... as best we could tell it's the nylon racks that seem to make it "nicer". Hopefully that means it won't rust through in the next 10 years. :) ) So we told the helpful man there that we'd thank about it. Then we went to Best Buy - we have a new one near us and we thought we'd try it out. Unfortunately, it's the smallest Best Buy in the world. I seriously think it is! It had 6 dishwashers, and none of them were GEs. So we went to the "normal" Best Buy (the one that used to be closest to our house). They had 5 or 6 GEs including a nice midrange one that seemed like it would be appropriate. But they weren't running any sales or special promotions or anything and since we aren't desperately in need of a dishwasher we again said we'd think about it. Then Geoff suggested going into Standard TV and Appliance since it was right there. It's a local joint so I figured it'd be expensive, but I'd never been and always wanted to, so I said sure. We went in and a salesguy immediately jumped on us. He kind of breathed down our throats but then said "actually, you should check out our Clearance center. most people think it's just this little nook, but look back here..." and it was a GIANT ROOM. They had about 4 GE "scratch and dent" dishwashers - including one that was black (the color we wanted to match the rest of our kitchen) and really fancy and nicely discounted. The man offered to check the price to see how long it had been there and if it was already near cost and all that. He came back with a little lower price and I thought "what the heck, I'm going to ask for an even lower price" so I did. It was already a little more expensive than we were looking at, and we certainly don't NEED the fanciest dishwasher in the world (this one was the 2nd or 3rd from the "top of the line" out of GE's approximately 50 different styles). So he went back to the manager and then asked us to come up $25 and we did. So now we have this dishwasher (well, the prior production run of it, but essentially the same thing). It's very fancy and pretty. AND we will get a $300 rebate from GE and a $10 rebate from our water company (because it's more efficient). Geoff mostly installed it last night, but the lights are not coming on so he's going to pull it out and make sure he has all of the connections tight tonight. And then I will post pictures of the installation process and the new prettiness!

Oh - and the "scratch and dent" part about it? There's a small dent on the little kick plate at the bottom - nothing on the actual door or anything, and nothing structural/mechanical. It has the full GE one year warranty with it. And it actually took us a while to even figure out what the scratch and dent was! The salesman finally saw it for us!

Monday, June 09, 2008

Shoe problems!

My favorite pair of shoes has breathed its last breath. They are kind of chunky heels, and the rubber part of the heel on the left shoe got loose this morning. It was only held on by one nail (are they nails in shoes? They must be) in the very corner, so it was flapping all around. I tried using scotch tape (hey, I have limited resources at work!) and walked to the bathroom like that. I was flapping like crazy plus making tape squeaks the whole way to the bathroom, and in an effort to cover it up I walked like I had a limp. Okay, so that wasn't going to work. So then I had these straight pins (they have an edge on the end, they're called T-pins, they are for hanging things on a bulletin board) that I tried to stick in there - only without a hammer I couldn't get them past the soft rubber part (like I couldn't get them into the actual hard heel part). So I finally just gave up and ripped the soft rubber part that was hanging by a single nail off. It had to be done. So now I'm about quarter inch lower on my left foot and I guess I'm still walking with a limp, but again, it had to be done! I couldn't flap around all day. Luckily I have a minimal amount of meetings today and don't have to walk around too much. I do have my running shoes in my gym bag in the car, but that just seems ridiculous. What drama.

Weekend was good - Saturday Geoff and I volunteered at a walk/run and that's about it for the day. Yesterday morning we went to church and then had his parents over for lunch and went looking at RVs! It was quite fun. I love RV shopping - it's like going to look at open houses on a Sunday afternoon. Good times.

Oh - and a highlight from church. Two Hawaiian brothers who do the children's music did a special song in "big church" yesterday. They played it on their ukuleles and it went something like this:
J-E-S-U-S Jesus is da best O
J-E-S-U-S Jesus is da best
Pray for your madda
Pray for your fadda
Pray for your sista
Pray for your brotha
J-E-S-U-S Jesus is da best O
J-E-S-U-S Jesus is da best
Pray when you're happy
Pray when you're sad
Pray when you're hungry
And even when you're mad
J-E-S-U-S Jesus is da best O
J-E-S-U-S Jesus is da best!

It was so excellent - we had so much fun singing it. These guys are PERFECT for the children's ministry!

Friday, June 06, 2008

Would you eat a weed?

We have this area in our front yard, kind of next to our driveway, that is just basically a strip of dirt. (there were some bushes in there but we pulled them out) So all that happens in this area is that weeds grow. Well a month or two ago I was pulling weeds out and in one small area it smelled strongly like mint. Hmm. Okay. Then again a few weeks ago, I was weeding and in the same area, I smelled mint. I called Geoff over and he was like "yeah, you're right! Weird!" So yesterday I was weeding that same strip and when I got to that area I looked for what I THOUGHT was the alleged "mint" and didn't pull it out. There were three "mint" plants, so I pulled one out and smelled mint again - confirming that the plant I thought was the "mint" was in fact that plant. I asked Geoff if he thought we could eat the "mint" and he said NO!!!! You can't eat a weed! But then I read on the all-knowing wiki about mint and it said that mint DOES in fact grow like a weed and I very scientifically matched a wikipedia picture to my "mint" plant. (my "mint" is spearmint) I consulted with a coworker this morning who said she would definitely eat the mint. So, would YOU eat a weed?

Thursday, June 05, 2008


Yesterday was a good day. After work Geoff and I popped into the grocery store, then went home, changed, and went out to the yard. Geoff mowed the lawn while I cleaned off the table and chairs on the back deck - degunkifying them from the winter. After that we put chicken on the grill and I set the table outside and we had chicken caesar salad. It was yummy and it was nice eating outside. It was a little chilly but we had been working so we were warm anyway and it was just nice sitting out there in the yard we have actually been putting some time into. We have never dined out there before! Well, I have, but Geoff never has. Seems like I had a BBQ once when we were dating, but I think it was chilly so we ended up having to eat inside anyway.

After that we spent a little time in the side/front yard and then I left for a tutoring gig! I was tutoring "Math 20", which is the class my coworker's daughter is taking at the local community college. I had such a blast - unfortunately she has a test today and I think we may have tried to cover too much material the evening before the test. But it was fun for me and hopefully she retained some of what we went over. I hope to be able to tutor her again in the future. I love math... perhaps I should have been a jr. high or high school math teacher. Maybe if I have kids that can be my "mom job". Or I could volunteer tutoring at a local school, I'm sure. I should look into that. I looked into becoming part time faculty at the community college (that would work perfectly with night classes), but you need a Masters in Mathematics or similar (engineering would work I'm sure) or 3 years of full time teaching experience. My BSIE is not going to cut it, but I'm not surprised.

While I was gone, Geoff went for a motorcycle ride with Eric and Trevor. They rode down to Bald Peak State Scenic Viewpoint (see it's not even a real state park - so we can't camp there) and around for a while. He said he had a fantastic time, and he got home only about 10 minutes before I did (and I was gone for almost 3 hours!). So all in all, a great evening.

We did have a bit of excitement yesterday when my sister called (she got back into the States on Monday) and Abel (her boyfriend) was stuck in Philly (thunderstorms and his flight was cancelled) and hadn't called. She was concerned because his visa doesn't start until late July and he was flying in on his passport (he will later exit and re-enter the country) and she thought they had detained him or sent him back! She said it was just very unlike him not to call. Geoff and I reassured her that he was fine (actually Geoff said they probably sent him to Guantanamo - she didn't find that very funny!), but she still worried. When I got back we called her again - it was after midnight Eastern and he got in around 3 PM Eastern. My mom had called the airport police, the airlines, etc. No one could give away any information, but they did say they'd only arrested one person all day and it was a female, and no one had been detained. The airline said that "he will arrive tomorrow morning" which was elusive and unclear. I decided to call the airline myself to see what they would tell me - but right then my mom called me back and said that Abel had finally contacted Christine on the computer. He had tried to call many times and for whatever reason couldn't get it to work. So he was safe and sound in a hotel and he got into Dallas this morning. Right after he arrived, my mom, sister, and Abel headed north to Iowa for a wedding that my sister is in this weekend. Poor thing is sleeping in the back seat as we speak. But at least he's in the US with all of his bags and everything! :)

Today we have our end-of-season softball party! Stay tuned.


Yay! Blogger is being nice to me today. Here's the picture of the camping sign I made. I love it! Excuse my unwashed camper hairdo. ;-)

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Things people sell cheaply to make money down the line

My sister was talking today about getting an iPhone but she said she was now leaning against it. She's thinking about getting a regular cell phone and an iPod Touch instead. I said I thought that was a great idea because it's not so much the base price of the iPhone that's so bad, but the service that goes with it. I find these things so fascinating (and brilliant), and kind of have an ongoing list in my head. Here it is:

iPhones (The $ are in the service - not that the base price isn't expensive, but they are really making their money in the service)
Razors (Companies OFTEN give these away free, or at least very cheaply, because the real money for them are in the zillon dollar replacement blades they sell)
Printers (Again, often very cheap because the money is in the ink cartridges)
Xbox (I don't know if this is true anymore, but Microsoft used to take a box on each unit they sold because they made their money in the software)

I just find these things so brilliant! Genius marketing plans. Just like the Chrysler $2.99 a gallon for 3 years on gas - best case (15 mpg and $5/gal gas) you're saving roughly $5000. Car companies give $5000 rebates all the time - so this isn't anything new or special, just a different spin. I should have gone into marketing.

More happy things

Lame as it may be, Flylady is great! Monday after work Geoff and I did our 15 minutes in the yard... and then wanted to do more! So we set the timer for another 15 minutes... and then another. So we both did 45 minutes in the yard. (I make it sound like we're "doing time" in jail or something). We pulled up a bunch of bulbs (they had already bloomed and were done for the year) that we're going to move from the back yard to the front yard and planted 2 pepper plants and 2 tomato plants in the raised bed the bulbs were in. My basil is still growing inside, it's thriving but not quite big enough yet to go outside. I did my 15 minutes on the front porch - I cleaned all of the windows on the outside. I haven't done that in the entire 3 years I lived there, it looks so much better now! I de-yuckified the outdoor furniture and swept the whole front porch including the little cobwebs up at the top. There is certainly still more work to be done, but I'll let it wait until next time we're in Zone 1! I did the Weekly Home Blessing and it was so easy to mop when the floor was just mopped last week and everything just went super fast. I also started moving our desktop computer from the bedroom to the office - I just think we'll use it more in the office. Very fun.

Yesterday I had Remicade - a couple of weeks ago this lady sat next to us at church and I couldn't figure out how I recognized her. I knew it wasn't from work or anything like that, and then I thought "a doctor's office?" (there just aren't that many places I go where I interact with older people) and then realized she was a Remicade nurse! So I leaned over and introduced myself and she remembered me and said "yes!! You're the one with two names on your chart!" :) Then this Sunday at church, she sat down right in front of us and I asked her if she was working Tuesday and she said yes! She has a great schedule - she just works 2 12 hour shifts a week. So sure enough, she was there yesterday. Another nurse (Phyllis) took care of me most of the time (she was so cute, she gave me a hug when I got there) but Karen (the lady from chuch) came over and chatted with us quite a bit. I was the last patient they had (which is unusual, normally it's busy when I get there) so they both spent a lot of time talking to me and Geoff. And when I got done Phyllis was in the other room so Karen took my IV out. After Remicade was over I was SO tired (I usually am). So I went home, had dinner, and then went right to bed.

Today I was reading one of my 2369876 Flylady emails and some woman was talking about how she was inspired by Flylady to go through a box she'd been avoiding that was stuff from her wedding that never happened with her ex-fiance. She finally went through it all and threw away stuff, gave stuff away, etc. Well the best part was that she donated her wedding dress to Brides Against Breast Cancer. I had heard of this before but forgot about it. I put my wedding dress up on Craigslist a few months ago and it didn't sell - I suppose I could try again now that it's summer but I think I'm going to do this! I'm so excited. I went to their website and was reading about donations, and my favorite part was when they ask for only 2000 and newer dresses. This is the kind way they explain why: "Unfortunately, the limited size of our present distribution facility complicates the processing of our often-delicate retro and vintage gowns. We recommend all generous potential classic era donors withhold their contributions until our updated headquarters is operational, at which time we will again be capable of handling these treasured gifts with the respect they deserve." Isn't that great? Hehe. :)

Monday, June 02, 2008


Blogger has been weird again today - today it acts like it's going to let me post a picture and then does not. So you still get no pictures, I'm sorry! Maybe one day. Also, Blogger was entirely down earlier - I went to go post and not only could I not post, you couldn't even read anyone else's blog.

So my new thing is FlyLady. FLY stands for "Finally Loving Yourself" - lame. The whole thing is kind of based on / made for mostly stay at home moms who have a hard time keeping their household clean and running efficiently and are down on themselves about it. So it doesn't EXACTLY fit my personality, but it still has some fantastic ideas! I first heard about FlyLady years ago and checked it out, but it seemed a little weird so I ignored it. It is still definitely a little weird, but I decided to pick and choose my ideas and try it out. So I started last week and I'm actually quite enjoying it. The way I see it, it's split into three main parts:

Daily Tasks
These are things you are supposed to do daily - "Shine Your Sink" (keep your sink clear of dishes and clean, this is just a simple task so you feel a sense of accomplishment), "Swish and Shine" (quickly wipe down your bathroom counter and toilet so it doesn't ever really get icky), pick out your clothes the night before, etc. You in theory have a "morning routine", "after work / afternoon routine", and "bedtime routine".

Weekly Tasks
Each day of the week has a different "theme" - Monday is "Weekly Home Blessing Hour" (quick vacuum, quick mop, change the sheets, take out all of the little bathroom trash, throw away old magazines, etc.). There's a day for outdoor work, a day for errands, a day for paperwork, etc. I modified some of her days to better fit my schedule. Oh, and Friday is like date night, Saturday is family day, and Sunday is renew your spirit day.

Monthly Tasks
Each month is broken up into 5 "Zones" - so since we're in the first week of the month, we're in "Zone 1" - front porch, entrance to your home, and dining room. Instead of doing a big spring cleaning once a year or every few months, you do a little bit of a "deep cleaning" each day. There is a list of things you can do as part of the deep cleaning, and they also send out emails with "Missions" that you are supposed to do each day. They are supposed to take no more than 15 minutes (you're supposed to set a timer). Today's mission is "Today you are to sweep your front porch area around your front door. Shake out your welcome mats and wipe down your front door. This makes a huge difference in how your home looks. We have a tendency to neglect this area and yet it is the first thing that people see when they come to your home. " So they are part of the zone work.

She also has things like the "27 Fling Boogie" (take 5 minutes, run through a room and find 27 things to throw/give away). And there is a new "habit" you form each month - so in June it's "drinking water every day", so they send out emails as a reminder to drink water. She says you can do anything for 15 minutes. On Saturday I started spending 15 minutes a day in the yard and it's amazing how much better it looks already! Geoff has spent my 15 minutes with me too - we set the timer, work for 15 minutes, then quit. It's kinda fun... you work fast so you get as much done as possible because you know you only get so much time, but you keep up the maintenance and get a lot done. We're going to spend 15 minutes "flying" in the yard again today. After that I will do the Weekly Home Blessing and my mission for the day! :)

I do NOT recommend anyone joins this thing - you get like 15 emails a day from them. I kind of enjoy the emails (some of them anyway, not so much the testimonials), but I think 99% of people would get very annoyed very quickly. I send them to my "junk email" address so they are not trashing up my real email.

Anyway, it's kind of cheesy (okay, VERY cheesy), but it's really fun for me and I'm enjoying myself. Plus the house is SUPER clean and I've already thought of more "projects" that I can do 15 minutes at a time.