Monday, May 02, 2011

2011 Thus Far

Sorry for the wonky formatting in the previous post, if it isn't obvious, I used the "post via email" option. I thought it would be easier, but probably won't do it again due to the formatting.

Ugh and I keep thinking of other things that happened - like in December 2009, Geoff and I took a whirlwind trip to Houston to help my borderline hoarder (like ALMOST could be on the show Hoarders, maybe not quite though) grandfather move into his retirement community. It was 5 straight days of 12+ hour workdays going through his house as quickly and efficiently as possible. My parents came down to help, and we had some help from my uncle as well. My cousin and his girlfriend innocently came by to pick up a fridge and some furniture on their anniversary - and ended up staying and helping us out straight up until they had to leave for their dinner reservation. It was SO kind of them (especially the girlfriend!! - now fiance!) to stay a disgusting, mold-filled house full of trash to help us sort through Goodwill/keep/trash/recycle/etc. It really meant a lot to me and Geoff. They apologized profusely for having to leave and for not knowing ahead of time (this was on Sunday, and they had to work the next day), otherwise they would have helped us out on Saturday as well.

Also at some point Patrick came to visit Portland - it was late 2010 because we went to bingo! But I have to stop thinking about what else happened last year otherwise we will never get into this year!!!

January 2011
Started off with a Murder Mystery Dinner Party at Dave and Busters with my sister and her boyfriend! The New Years Day we went to the Northwestern bowl game in Dallas!!! Yay for parents who live where your team's bowl game is! We were able to rearrange our tickets and because they actually cost LESS than our original tickets back did we even got a discount on our change fee! The Wildcats lost but it was still a great time and we got to see some college friends. We also got to meet up with my college friend Russ, his wife, and his new (probably 4 months at the time?) baby! They took us out for a fantastic lunch a Greek cafe close to my parent's house (so nice of them to drive out closer to us to meet us even though THEY were the ones with the baby!). 2011 definitely started out with an exciting bang!!!

February 2011
Ugh. February. We were planning a trip to Disney World with my friend/bingo partner/doggy daycare manager Chelsea and her boyfriend Peter. We actually DID go to Disney World, but two days into the trip I got sick. So sick. :( High temperature, feel totally rotten, stay in bed all day kind of sick. Yuck. Thankfully we were there with Chelsea and Peter so Geoff could go to the parks with them during the day. I was able to go to the parks Saturday and Sunday, but Monday (Valentine's Day - everyone went out to a romantic dinner but me!), Tuesday, and Wednesday I was in bed all day. Wednesday night I started getting concerned - we had to fly back Friday and I wasn't going to be able to fly the way I was feeling. So Geoff stayed home from a special luau dinner show even thing that we were going to go to in order to the doctor with me. A very nice man came and picked me up on a complimentary bus and took us to urgent care. We had to wait forever (like 2.5 hours?) but finally a doctor came in, said "you have some sort of tonsillitis, no strep test cause adults don't get strep, but I'll put you on an antibiotic". Fine. Happily, they had the antibiotic on site so we didn't have to track down a pharmacy. I started taking that and started feeling a bit better. Thursday I spent a couple of hours at the parks with everyone, just taking it real slow and easy. Friday night we flew home - with a stop in Dallas in which my parents were able to meet us at the airport and my mom brought me birthday brownies! - and then I slept in late Saturday, my birthday. Starting Thursday, I had NO VOICE. I have never had no voice like that before - I would open up my mouth to talk and words would not come out. I could whisper, but it wasn't until Monday at work (which thankfully was President's Day, so there were very few people at work), that I had any voice whatsoever to talk with! Even then it was awful. I would have had to miss a whole week of work, so I guess it was good that I was on vacation, but ugh!! What a vacation - sick the whole week!! So that next week I started feeling better and my antibiotics finished on Friday the 25th. By Monday the 28th I still wasn't feeling right, so I went back to the doctor. This doctor actually ran a strep test and SURPRISE - I had strep. He thought it was SO weird, because he had just been looking at my throat and saying "do you ever get acid reflux? because this looks more like some irritation than strep throat". The nurse then knocked on the door and said the strep was positive. He was shocked - they had only done the strep test because it's standard for them with sore throats. I asked what the percentage of tests are false negatives, and he said "are you an engineer? only engineers ask me questions like that." Why yes, yes I am. So he googled it for me - only 2% are false negatives. But we did a culture just to be sure - it really was strep, I found out a few days later. So he put me on a 2nd course of antibiotics - this one only for 7 days instead of 10 days. I got to feeling a bit better again (never 100%), and then again about 2 days after the antibiotics wore off, I felt worse again. Having been through this song and dance before, I went straight back to the doctor. Strep AGAIN!! It was so weird... they asked if I worked in childcare or was around kids or what. Nope, none of the above. She said "we never see antibiotic resistant strep throat!" She put me on a third course of antibiotics. I don't know if I had strep all 3 times, or if it came and went, or if I just kept having it... who knows. But that one finally did the trick and about 6 weeks after getting sick, I got fully 100% better. Thank GOODNESS!!! So half of February and basically all of March was shot.

The other thing that happened in February is my sister went to Afghanistan. After grad school, she started a program to be a Human Terrain Analyst. She trained for 6 months in Leavenworth, Kansas, and then left in February for Afghanistan. I am SUPER excited for her and proud of her.

March 2011
Since I was sick all of March (more or less... and I was able to go to work but just didn't have much energy for anything else), I decided to become the master of care packages for my sister!! I have sent her some themed ones - Under the Sea, Easter, etc. and some random things that she has requested (clothes, etc.) I am now a pro at filling out a customs form and mailing to APOs. I know everything you could every want to know about how the military mail system works and what to send, what not to send. In fact, I've had so much fun doing this that when she comes back, I plan to do an "adopt a soldier" program for care packages. It's been just awesome, and having her there helps me learn and appreciate a lot more about our military!

We also went to the Portland RV Show TWICE in March - this time it's not us in the market for an RV, it's my in-laws. They went from wanting a Class A (like a big bus type) to a travel trailer (pull behind a vehicle) to back to a tiny trailer (a really short one that you pull behind a vehicle). That's kind of what my MIL wanted all along, but my FIL wanted something a little bigger. But when push came to shove, he realized he doesn't go very often and it makes more sense for her to have something she can tow easily and setup quickly on her own. It did take 2 RV shows to figure it out, but now she's in the market for something like the Rockwood Roo 21BH - has bunks, a U-shaped dinette (more space), plus a fold out bed for when it's nice out. Really great little camper. So she is working on getting her beloved Mustang ready for sale - it's a new season of life and while she's loved the Mustang now she is ready to love a camper of her own! So that was fun too.

April 2010
April brought our first camping trip of the year - to the coast on what turned out to be the nicest weekend of the year!! It worked out nicely. The only bummer came when Geoff opened the emergency exit window, and it somehow slid off it's track and popped off. In the process of trying to put it back in, he accidentally shattered the window next to the emergency exit (they are adjoined). So our camper has been out of commission and we have been living at my in-law's house for the past two weeks. Luckily they have plenty of space and are kind enough to let us stay there. Also, my FIL is out of town for work for several months so it works nicely that we are at there to stay with my MIL and give her a bit of company (or, she is annoyed that people are invading her house during her special time alone!). Plus they have an extra fridge in their garage, which is great because there is a refrigerator recall that we decided to have done as well (might as well since they have our camper anyway). So that should be done in about 2 more weeks - the problem with such a high-end / specialized camper is that everything is custom and so service takes a bit longer. That's ok, I think it was still the right choice for us.

Which brings us to May... this weekend we are headed to Atlanta for my brother-in-law's graduation from Georgia Tech! We'll get to see Geoff's brother for the first time since right before Christmas, plus his grandparents for the first time sense then too. It will be a quick trip but should be a fun weekend.

And now you're caught up on my life. :)

Wrapping up 2010!

September 2010

In September we met up with my sister and her friend Molly in Vegas to celebrate my sister’s birthday. We stayed in the Palazzo. The highlight of the trip (for me at least) was going to a live stage show of The Price is Right. It wasn’t the taped version, but it was a Vegas replica. In order to maximize the number of people that got to play, they called all new people up for each game (like the 4 people guessing the price didn’t get to stay up there, they had to go back to their seats each time). So the Showcase Showdown people were selected just for the Showcase Showdown. None of us had been selected throughout the entire game, and had pretty much given up hope. But then my sister was called to come on down!!!! I had read on Yelp that the Vegas Price is Right prices, specifically in the Showcase, were VERY LOW. The Showcase (there was only one, both contestants bid on the same one) contained a car, two vacations, 1000 shares of Yahoo shop, and a couple of other things. I showed her numbers on my hands, I think I had her bid $12K and the actual retail price was about $13K. Of course the other lady bid like $25K or $30K since it SEEMED very impressive, and my sister was the “big winner”. What the audience didn’t know, but they had told her in the 90 seconds between when she was called up and had to bid, was that she was bidding on these items but unless she came within like a penny (or who knows, maybe it was $100, I don’t remember), she would only win one. So they decided she won the Mexican cruise. She went for the cash out option and got $300. Certainly not bad, but it seemed like she was winning thousands and thousands of dollars, and she won $300. Lots of people kept coming up to her and congratulating her on her new car, and she was like yeah… I didn’t win a car. They were all mad! It was pretty funny. The guy who got to play Plinko (who was a really sketchy guy… he was in Vegas without his wife and gave a really sketchy story about where his wife was? But he didn’t speak great English, so that may have been party of the problem) won about $800… my sister was like how is the Showcase EVER worth less than Plinko?! Again, how can you complain about winning $300… it was just the whole ridiculousness/cheesiness of the whole thing that was funny!!!! Definitely a great time was had by all, in spite of or more likely BECAUSE of the cheesiness. I would recommend for sure! Other than that, we just had fun eating, hanging by the pool, and shopping. I probably played a few penny slots but none of us are big gamblers. Oh and we watched Iowa football (Christine and Molly both went to Iowa) – we couldn’t get anyone to tune to a Northwestern game (which was on Big 10 Network or another obscure network) without agreeing to spend like $100 on food and beverage. No thanks. All in all, a great weekend! (and I did get to spend my gift card that Geoff gave me on the most fantastic purse I have ever owned)

October 2010

October was the month of the cake! My friend Laura’s daughter was having her first birthday, so she asked me to do her cake. I hadn’t made a cake in a couple of years, so I had to “practice” :) First I made a going away cake for someone who was leaving our group at work. Then I made a birthday cake for a friend who invited me to a Girl’s Weekend at the coast for her birthday – that was tricky to keep a surprise! It was a three tier cake, and I had to drive separately because my cake took up so much room!!! Then I had to get some of the other girls to take Kim on a walk so I had time to assemble the cake!!! Then was Baby Claire’s birthday – her birthday is the day before Geoff’s and her party was on Geoff’s birthday. I decide to make Geoff a surprise cake that looked like a big plate of noodles with meatballs (chocolate cake mixed with chocolate icing and rolled into balls) and spaghetti sauce (strawberry filing poured down on top of the cake). So I spent a lot of prep time early in the week making what I could ahead of time for the cakes – one for Claire’s party, one for just Claire to eat, and one for Geoff. Luckily Geoff had class on Thursday night I made his cake and the strawberry filing, then hid the cake in the storage underneath the camper and the strawberry filing in the back of the fridge. Friday morning Geoff and I “moved” – aka parked our camper outside at Ryan and Laura’s house. We would stay there for the weekend to make it more convenient, since Geoff was smoking ribs and chicken for the party and I was doing cake! So Friday I took half a day off of work and went to Laura’s house to finish Geoff’s cake before Geoff got there, then start on Claire’s. I finished Geoff’s cake and hid it in Laura’s garage. Geoff also left work a bit early, but luckily I was done before he got there! Geoff, Laura, and I all worked on Claire’s cakes the rest of the day – instead of finishing them Saturday morning like we planned, we stayed up until 2 AM working on them. There are pictures of all of these cakes on Facebook. It was a lot of work, but we had a great time doing it!!! Oh, and Geoff was COMPLETELY surprised – his parents actually came to Claire’s birthday party so they could see him on his birthday, and I went out to the camper and got my strawberry filling, poured it over his cake, and brought it in from the garage to surprise him. I think a lot of people were more impressed with the spaghetti cake then Claire’s cakes – I assume because it looked like something other than what it was? It was about 239852398 times easier that Clarie’s cakes.

October also brought my high school friends Kathleen and Stacey visiting! They came to Oregon for a wine tasting trip. They stayed at our house Saturday night (we had agility class but just left the door unlocked for them and arrived home about 30 minutes after they got there). Then Sunday we all went wine tasting together and then picked up pizza for dinner. It was a ton of fun!!! It was the longest I’ve been able to really visit with them in about 10 years, so it was great! We went to some wineries I’ve been to before as well as some new ones, including one that had just opened several days before that they heard about in a previous winery on their trip. It was really fun to see them!

November 2010

When we were in Vegas, I saw that I was missing a fabulous Groupon – a 14 day trial membership to ClubSport, a gym I have always been interested in! I knew that it was nice and had a rock wall, but didn’t know too much else about it, so the Groupon would have been a perfect way to check it out. But I didn’t see it until the day after it ran. But in November, someone at work realized he wasn’t going to have time to use his, so he was looking for a taker. Lucky me, I got to be the taker! Geoff was super jealous… until a couple of days later when the guy emailed me and said that his wife also wasn’t going to be able to use hers, and was I interested in that one too? Yes please!!! So Geoff and I went and checked that out (ok, so we might have started in October, but most of the 14 visits occurred in November). WE LOVED IT. It was soooooooo nice and made working out so much more fun!!!! Each treadmill and bike (our primary cardio choices) has an individual TV, which is great especially for Geoff, who likes TV more than anyone I know (except maybe my mom!). I enjoy the TV too, but will often read instead, especially on the bike. There is an indoor pool, an outdoor pool that has a cabana so you can get lunch and drinks, 3 NBA size basketball courts, 2 smaller courts, racquetball, squash, the largest rock wall in the Northwest, a restaurant and bar, nice locker rooms with towels/shampoo/conditioner/body wash/shave gel/blow dyers/q-tips/you-get-the-picture provided (and the women’s has a lounge area with a TV, comfy couches, and lemon water), a spa/sauna/steam room in each locker room), 3 fitness studios, and I think that’s it. Actually there is other stuff like physical therapy, an “Edge” room for more intense classes and personal training, a small store with fitness clothes and stuff, and a spa area with massage and pedicures. They have all sorts of events and activities and parties going on all the time too. Anyway it’s a really nice gym!! It’s great for kids too, they have kid-oriented classes and camps, and for the smaller kids there is a GREAT kids club area where parents can get 2 or 3 (can’t remember) free hours of childcare a day. I have read yelp reviews from new moms that are like I LOVED that time to take a shower and just a bit of me time a day! Plus the outdoor pool is just a recreational pool (no laps or classes), so I imagine that will be a GREAT place for kids. It opens May 21st so that will be our first chance to see it in action. I’m super looking forward to it. Oh, so I guess I just gave away the fact that we joined – we got a really great discount through our company, and we got a lot of use out of our Groupon, so we decided to join. It’s more than our old gym was, but we have enjoyed and used it a lot more than our old gym too. I think it’s worth it – we look forward to going to the gym!

My sister came and visited us for Thanksgiving – it was the third year in a row she’s come for Thanksgiving, and it’s always so much fun. We got her passes to the gym (negotiated that when we joined!) so she was able to check it out. We also did some shopping, volunteered on Thanksgiving day, and some general hanging out. It was just kinda a low key fun weekend!

December 2010

I eluded to my online nail message board earlier in this “year in review” – well in December one of the gals organized a “Portland area meetup”. So 6 of us got together at a Starbucks to meet each other, chit-chat, and trade nail polish. It was quite a site to see us each with a box of colors that we didn’t love, and we swapped with each other for colors we’ll love more!! I know it sounds really really lame to first HAVE a nail polish message board and second of all meet up with them, but I don’t care. Nail polish has turned into an awesome hobby and it was fun to meet up with others who share the same hobby! The same gal is organizing another meetup as we speak!

December of course is also Christmas (stick with me, you’ll learn a lot – ha). We travelled to Dallas to see my parents and sister. It also worked out well because my aunt and grandmother came in from Albuquerque to visit, and my cousin came up from Fort Hood with her family! I had met her husband once before (before they were married), but had never met her little girls (almost 5 and almost 3 at the time). It was so much fun! We hadn’t spent any real time together in 10+ years so it was just great! The other highlight of the trip is that we took the dogs – that’s right, we got these carriers called SturdiBags – I found them on clearance at PetSmart (they are no longer carrying them) and had a 15% off coupon to go with it! So even though they are expensive, we got a great deal on them and everyone we asked about which carrier to use recommended a SturdiBag!! We got them about 3 months in advance and started throwing treats in there and getting the dogs used to them. They travelled like pros!!!! We had to take their collars off and pull them out of their bags to go through security, then stuff them back into their bags. No problema. A little fussing from Jax but really not a big deal. Overall they were VERY calm on the trip there and back. I would do it again any time. Oh, and they travelled under the seats in front of us as one of our carry ons, not underneath with the baggage. I don’t think I would do that. Yay for small dogs! It was a great Christmas with the family and our little dogs!

WHEW!!!!! 2010 is done – that is my year! I’ll start in on the first part of 2011 later today!!!