Thursday, July 31, 2008

Life As We Knew It.

I just finished this novel yesterday evening, and WOW! Is it wonderful! This novel is classified as Young-adult Fiction, but it's definitely a thought provoker for readers of all ages!

Told through the journal entries of a 16 year old girl's diary, Susan Beth Pfeffer's Life As We Knew It is about the girl and her family's struggle to survive after a nearly apocalyptic event. As the world watches, a denser than expected asteroid strikes the Moon knocking it nearer to the Earth's surface and wreaking havoc on the weather systems. Preliminary reports are heard of tidal waves that completely decimate the coastal states and sink entire countries, hundreds of thousands Americans dead, even more across the world, tornadoes striking, volcanoes never known to exist continuously erupting, and mass panic everywhere.

The family moves quickly and stockpiles food, clothing, batteries and First Aid necessities while stores are still open, but once the electricity never comes on again, the phone lines are down, and there is no gas to be had, the family is alone from May through the winter where they struggle hard for survival. They don't know who from their extended family and friends are alive, but they must stick together and save themselves.

This book is very intense. I was about 50-75 pages in, when I got so scared by the panic that I had to stop reading for a few minutes. When I explained to my hubby that I was scared he just kind of rolled his eyes and told me to quit reading. I couldn't just stop! The story is told so vividly, and the situation is so believable that it really did scare me for a bit. This is a wonderful read!

Operation: Kitchen Remodel update:

We went shopping for counters yesterday evening and it's hard! I know that I want something neutral and light, but not TOO light, but definitely not something dark. The hard part is that they have counter tops in every shade of color imaginable! It makes my head spin and it's very hard to pick out something so important, or at least, that's how I feel! Oh well, we are planning to start stripping the cabinets this evening, we'll see how this long process goes.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Operation: Kitchen Remodel.

Operation: Kitchen Renovation is officially underway.

I was sitting at work yesterday afternoon, letting my mind wander all over the place as usual (always a dangerous thing) when I decided that there is nothing holding us back from starting the Kitchen Project. I decided right then that I wanted to rip out that Gawd-awful faux-brick paneling that was (maybe?) meant to be the backspash in the kitchen. The faux paneling went from the bottom of the cabinets to the counter, and then along a tiny little lip of wall that houses the refrigerator. I have hated the existence of this faux-brick since we first toured our house while looking to purchase.

First, I despise faux-anything. I think it's cheap and tacky, this includes all faux-brick, tile, paneling (which we also had some of, ick), and the list goes on. I just can't imagine a moment in time when a reasonably sane individual could walk into a home improvement store asking where the particle board, cheap, faux-brick is. The only conclusion I could come to for the reason that this hideous junk was applied to the walls in our house is that they were able to get it for a cheaper price than paint. I'm guessing it cost about $0.02 per square yard. If the brilliant people who put it up payed more than that they were severly ripped off in my honest opinion.

So, I just up and decided that after work, I was pulling that faux-brick down! I texted my hubby of my grandiose plans:

Me: i want 2 rip down the kitchen walls 2night
H: ? why tonight?
Me: Bc im so tired of looking at that icky brick!
H: Lol. i can start when i get home.
Me: I can do it myselfs! When r u going 2 b home?

We arrived home from work at about the same time, and I'm guessing that Mark probably assumed (conservatively so) that I had lost my motivation to begin this DIY home project, but I was ready to go!

We ended up spending yesterday evening prying, pulling, yanking, and tearing all of that icky faux-brick down! (except for a small area that we can't seem to get out, but it's off to the side.) I swear, even though we are down to bare walls, two different shades of yellow, with stains, cracks, and nail holes, it still is a huge improvement of the faux-brick that used to be there. Our kitchen looks larger already!

Our plans are to paint the walls, purchase and install new counter tops (yikes!), and refinish the existing cabinets (double yikes!!). This is our first major home project other than painting when we moved in, and landscaping last year. It's very exciting.

I have some pics from last night, but they are at home, I'll try to add them later.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The Secret Life of CeeCee Wilkes.

This book was wonderful! I was completely engrossed after the first few pages. The story sucked me in right away and kept me interested through the very last page.

Diane Chamberlain's The Secret Life of CeeCee Wilkes opens with the introduction of the title character. She is 16, naive, and alone in the world, left behind by her mother who passed away of cancer when CeeCee was only 12 years old. CeeCee's path crosses with a graduate student in the diner that she works at near campus. This graduate student plays on her naivety, her loving spirit, and her need for love to talk her into doing his bidding on a kidnapping which he claims will exonerate his sister who is on death row for a crime she did not commit. CeeCee reluctantly agrees and her adventure quickly begins.

This story is exciting, and intense. The characters are richly developed and there is an underlying commentary on the love of a mother for her child and what it means to be a family. This is definitely a must read!

Monday, July 28, 2008

Dim-witted Moment of the Day.

Person calls in at 11.40AM.

Me: What time's your hearing?
Stupid: 11.45 Eastern Standard Time.

Me: Scans Hearings.
We don't have any 11.45s scheduled, are you sure that's when it's scheduled for?
Stupid: Yes.

Me: Okay, what's your docket number?
Stupid: Hold on.
Silence, Silence, Shuffle, Silence
Uhm.... (gives me the docket number)

Me: Looks up case in system.
Well, it looks like your hearing was scheduled for 11.30AM, not 11.45.
Stupid: Pause.
What do you mean?

Me: I mean that you hearing was scheduled to begin at 11.30, not 11.45.
Stupid: (starts getting very angry)
What do you mean!? Is this some sort of Time Zone thing? Are we in different time zones and you're trying to mess me up?!! It's 11.40 right now!

Me: Makes What-the-Hell-?-You-are-effing-crazy-face, which of course, he can't see thank goodness.
No. I'm not trying to mess you up, I'm just letting you know that your hearing was scheduled to begin 10 minutes ago and you are late calling in. If you look at the paper in your hand right now, you'll see that your hearing was scheduled to begin at 11.30AM this morning and you should have called in at 11.15, not 11.40 like you did.
Stupid: *shuffle, shuffle*
Oooohhh, yeaaaaah, it does say 11.30.

Yeah, no shit.

It's not a Time Zone thing, it's a 'you aren't reading' thing.

Surprising Rave!

I am so in love right now... with my car insurance company!

Seriously. Fifty buckeroos and some change is all I pay per month for a car that I do not yet own outright! (I'm working on that part...)

Why is this so exciting you ask? Well... I'll tell you... I used to pay $137 per month to my old insurance company! The insurance company which showed their true colors and made my life a living Hell when I got into a weather-related accident last Winter. Sheesh, like I didn't pay them really HIGH premiums every month!

The reason that my insurance was so high is that,

1) I was 21 at the time, their premiums don't go down until you reach the age of 25. This was The Suck.
2) I drive a 2 door car, a Mustang, which they consider high-risk and therefore is more expensive to insure.
and finally 3) I have to carry full coverage insurance because I still have a lienholder to answer to.

All of these things combined, despite the fact that I had a good student discount, a perfect driving record, and had payed them on time, every month since I was 16, came out to cost me $137 per month. Ick.

Well, after the Winter Accident fiasco, I decided to say Eff them!!!! and switched over to my now-hubby's insurance company (which I was planning to do in the Spring anyway once we were married to take advantage of the multi-car discount that we are now eligible for).

This insurance company (have I mentioned I love them right now?!)

1) reduces their rates at the age of 21 (as opposed to 25 like my old insurance company. Humpf!)
2) gives me a discount because I have Homeowner's insurance with them.
3) I am now married, which lowers my rate, and 3.5) because we are married we get a multi-car discount, which lowers my rate even further.

All of this combined equals a monthly payment of $50, which rocks my previous car insurance hatin' world!

I'm so happy... about car insurance rates... that's kinda lame, but oh well *happy shrug*

Magnolia Bakery's Oatmeal Muffins.

I just got The Magnolia Bakery Cookbook. I thought that my beautiful new pink Kitchen Aid mixer deserved to have a baking book so that it will get lots of use. This was recommended to me by a friend of mine, and I was able to get it for about $15 on Amazon, so I figure what the heck it will provide me with lots of goodies to make. This book has so many yummy sounding recipes!

I made a recipe out of it on Saturday for Oatmeal Muffins. I usually have a bran muffin for breakfast during the week, but this week, I will have a delicious oatmeal muffin with blueberries instead. Yum!

Here is the relatively simple recipe:


2 Cups Rolled Oats (not quick-cooking oats!)
1 1/2 Cups Milk
1 1/2 Cups Flour
1 T. Baking Powder
1/2 t. Salt
1/4 t. Cinnamon
2 Large Eggs, Slightly beaten
1/2 Cup firmly packed Light Brown Sugar
1 Stick unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
1 t. Vanilla

*I also stired in about 3/4 - 1 cup of fresh blueberries because I had some on hand that I needed to use. It was a nice addition.


- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

- Grease a 12-cup muffin tin. (I used Canola Oil spray)

- Mix oats and milk in a medium-sized bowl. Sit to the side for 10 minutes.

- In a large bowl, mix together the dry ingredients, making a well in the center. Stir in the liquid ingredients and the oatmeal mixture until just combined. Be careful not to overmix!

- Fill muffin cups about 3/4 full, and bake for 16-18 minutes until golden brown and a cake tester inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean. Do not overbake!

- Let cool and enjoy!

Whistling in the Dark.

Lesley Kagen's debut novel Whistling in the Dark is a coming-of-age thriller told from the point of view of a 10 year old girl named Sally. The novel is set in Milwaukee during the summer of 1959 and follows Sally and her younger sister. A lot has changed in Sally's life recently beginning with a promise that she made to her father before he died that she would take care of her younger sister Troo who is 9.

Shortly after the death of their father, the girl's mother remarrys a not so nice man, becomes ill and ends up in the hospital for an extended period of time. The young girls are pretty much left to fend for themselves for the summer when there is a child molester and murderer on the loose. Over imaginative Sally believes that she will be the next victim and she might not be imagining it after all.

This novel is so wonderful because it is told through the naive and innocent eyes of a 10 year old. The frankness with which she describes topics such as the "fast" girl in the neighborhood "getting some sex" and the confusion of how baseball relates to what the older kids do in the backseats of cars is at times very funny. The characters in her neighborhood are richly developed and it makes the reader want to sit down with the women, have a cup of tea, and gossip with them about what's going on in the house next door behind closed blinds.

This novel is charming, full of heart, and suspenseful all at the same time. It really takes the reader back to a time of innocence and draws you into the story until you are with the neighborhood children running the streets and trying to solve a mystery.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

My Marriage Really Is Doomed!

One of the little diamonds fell out of my wedding band this morning.

I am always casually checking to make sure that all the stones are there because it's my biggest fear to look down one of these times and my main stone will gone. It's just my luck that this would happen to me even though I take it in fairly often to be checked over by the jewelery store to fufill the requirements of our warrenty agreement.

Anyhoo, I look down and I noticed that the band doesn't look right and upon closer inspection I realize that one of the diamonds is missing. I immediately come back out to the family room to report this problem to my hubby who must have thought I was joking since he just looked at me for a minute without saying anything and I had to repeat myself.

I thought about the last time I saw it, and realized that it must have just recently fallen out, so I began carefully looking over the couch cushions where I was sitting and I actually found it! It was in the crease of one of the cushions. I don't know how I even saw it because it's really just a tiny little diamond chip that probably wouldn't even cost much to replace, but at least now they wil be able to put the stone back where it belongs.

Now we get to make a trip to the jewelery store. Not fun when it's to get something fixed that you just recently purchased. I'm beginning to think that perhaps all of those untraditional things that I did for the wedding which broke some of the "rules" really have cursed my marriage. Okay, not really, but it does appear to have cursed my wedding band ; )

The Secret Between Us.

Barbara Delinksky is an author that I have recently discovered. My first experience was with her novel Family Tree, which is also a good read. She really focuses on family dynamics when confronted with a dramatic experience. I would compare her to Jodi Picoult, which is one of my favs!

In The Secret Between Us the protagonist's teenage daughter is driving them home on a rainy night when she suddenly strikes a runner. The victim turns out to be one of the daughter's teachers and because she is so upset, and the man is still alive, the mother sends her daughter home and she stays behind to deal with the police.

The police automatically assume that the mother was actually the one driving the car, and she does not correct them willing to bear the repercussions of the accident for their daughter, but when the vicitim unexpectedly dies, what follows is a full fledged investigation and a lot of drama.

The protagonist's relationship with her daughter begins to suffer greatly from the lie that she told about driving the car the night of the accident and interesting family dynamics and interpersonal relationships begin to surface.

This is a fast, easy, yet interesting read. It explores how one's life can completely change in a minute and the repercussions that follow.


H and I saw Waaaaallllll-EEEEE last night. He is the cutest little robot ever! Love him!

The movie wasn't the best thing ever, but it was very cute.

The story is set far in the future, where Wall-E is the last litle robot left on earth. He was left behind hundreds of years ago when the humans abandoned Earth to clean up the loads of trash which took over the Earth's surface.

Wall-E meets Eve, a robot who is sent to earth by the humans to do a routine check for signs of life on Earth. After meeting and forming a relationship with Wall-E, Eve does find a sign of life in the form of a small little plant.

Eventually, a spaceship comes back to retrive Eve and Wall-E, afriad to lose his new friend, hitches a ride and follows Eve to Outer Space. What follows is a very funny adventure, but also a surprising underlying commentary of our current society.

It's a very cute story, definitely unique, and can be enjoyed by people of all ages.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Big Reads, Big Books Quiz

Stolen from emilyreads

According to The Big Read, the average adult has only read 6 of the top 100 books on this list.

The instructions: Look at the list and:

Bold those you have read.
Italicize those you intend to read.
Underline the books you LOVE. (I seem to be having trouble underlining, so I'll turn them pink!)

1. Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen (This is on my reading list for the next month or so : ) )
2. The Lord of the Rings - J.R.R. Tolkien
3. Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
4. Harry Potter series - J.K. Rowling
5. To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
6. The Bible
7. Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
8. 1984 - George Orwell
9. His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman
10. Great Expectations - Charles Dickens

11. Little Women - Louisa M Alcott
12. Tess of the D'Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy
13. Catch 22 - Joseph Heller
14. Complete Works of Shakespeare (most, but not ALL)
15. Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier (I read this when I was younger, I'd like to read it again)
16. The Hobbit - J.R.R. Tolkien
17. Birdsong - Sebastian Faulks
18. Catcher in the Rye - J.D. Salinger
19. The Time Traveller's Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
20. Middlemarch - George Eliot

21. Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell
22. The Great Gatsby - F. Scott Fitzgerald
23. Bleak House - Charles Dickens
24. War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy
25. The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams
26. Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh
27. Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky
28. Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck
29. Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll
30. The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame

31. Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy (tried; failed; maybe I'll try again...eventually)
32. David Copperfield - Charles Dickens
33. Chronicles of Narnia - C.S. Lewis
34. Emma - Jane Austen
35. Persuasion - Jane Austen
36. The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - C.S. Lewis
37. The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
38. Captain Corelli's Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres (maybe)
39. Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
40. Winnie the Pooh - A.A. Milne

41. Animal Farm - George Orwell
42. The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown
43. One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
44. A Prayer for Owen Meany - John Irving (LOVED it!)
45. The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins
46. Anne of Green Gables - L.M. Montgomery (Again, read when I was younger, would like to read again.)
47. Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy
48. The Handmaid's Tale - Margaret Atwood
49. Lord of the Flies - William Golding
50. Atonement - Ian McEwan (Tried; failed; I don't get what what's so great about this book. Anyone?)

51. Life of Pi - Yann Martel
52. Dune - Frank Herbert
53. Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons
54. Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen
55. A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth
56. The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
57. A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens
58. Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
59. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon
60. Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez (tried; failed; didn't love)

61. Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck
62. Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov
63. The Secret History - Donna Tartt
64. The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold
65. Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas
66. On The Road - Jack Kerouac
67. Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy
68. Bridget Jones' Diary - Helen Fielding
69. Midnight's Children - Salman Rushdie
70. Moby Dick - Herman Melville (This is probably the only novel that I've ever hated; TERRIBLE)

71. Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens
72. Dracula - Bram Stoker
73. The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett
74. Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson
75. Ulysses - James Joyce
76. The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath
77. Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome
78. Germinal - Emile Zola
79. Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray
80. Possession - A.S. Byatt

81. A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens
82. Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
83. The Color Purple - Alice Walker
84. The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro
85. Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert
86. A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry
87. Charlotte's Web - E.B. White (One of my all time favs!)
88. The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom
89. Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
90. The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton

91. Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad
92. The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery
93. The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks
94. Watership Down - Richard Adams
95. A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole
96. A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute
97. The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas
98. Hamlet - William Shakespeare
99. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl
100. Les Miserables - Victor Hugo

Looks like I've got some work to do!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Sucking At Life.


I feel like I've failed at life this week because it's Wednesday and I have not yet been to the grocery store. Not only have I not been to the grocery store, I seem to be avoiding it like The Plague for some reason. I have also cooked no real food since last week.

That is all.

Furniture Shopping.

My H and I got engaged about 3 months after purchasing our house in August 2006. Once we got engaged we began manically saving every bit of extra money that we could to pay for the wedding. Because of this, other than a few minor changes like painting the walls in a few rooms, we have not done much to the house since we have moved in. We didn't have the extra money to do so. However, now that the wedding is over, paid for, and we came in under budget (thank goodness!), we have some extra money to play with as far as updates for the house.

One of the first things that we want to do is purchase some new furniture, which entails replacing our very tired, worn out couch, and investing in a bedroom suite to go with the wonderous mattress that we have recently purchased - another much needed, and appreciated, upgrade.

Last weekend - while shopping for our mattress set!- we started looking around for furniture that we like. Of course we have been to discount places because I'm thrifty and can't stand paying full price for something like this. We've seen some things that we like, but something that I've realized - Furniture is EXPENSIVE! Even at the discount places! I don't know how anyone can afford to furnish their house.

By far, the best deals that we have found are at American Freight - an overstock, unclaimed merchandise sort of store - the next best is Value City Furniture, but they do not have as good of prices as they used to, which is, of course, a bummer. We also went to the Ashley Furniture Homestore, which is supposed to be cheaper than the regular Ashley Furniture stores. I am not impressed.

First, they have the store "conveniently" laid out so that nothing is grouped together and, while wandering around the entire store as you have to, you become slowly moving prey for the salespeople who rush you to give their rehearsed spiel about "fine quality leather", "durable craftsmanship", and "the best financing of the year", blahblahblah. Let me look around people!

Needless to say, we didn't stay long. The place is a rip off. Everything is individually priced - right down to the side rails of the bed - and priced much too high at that. Yeah, like I want to purchase only the top half of an armoire for $700 + tax. What the heck would I do with the top half of my armoire with nothing to place it on???

Anyway, I think we will end up back at American Freight making the purchase. I'm excited, but sometimes I question whether we need to make this investment or not. In my mind, I know that we do, but I hate spending this much money on something.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Time Traveler's Wife.

Yesterday evening I finished reading Audrey Niffenegger's The Time Traveler's Wife.

One of the main characters that the story follows is Henry. Henry is a time traveler. In the novel, he is the first human to be diagnosed with a strange genetic disorder in which he travels randomly through time without being able to control it. He shows up at places that he has once been, or has yet to be, and at times even encounters himself at various points during his life while traveling. He also exists in "the present".

Henry meets his wife when she is 6 years old, but he is traveling to her from the future where they are already living together as husband and wife. He is in his late 30s at the time.

What follows is a unique love story, richly developed characters, and a seamless yet non-chonological plot. The novel is narrated at times by Clare (the female in the story) throughout the years, and also by Henry. Their lives together, strangely, inexplicably intertwined, unfold before the reader.

It took me a while to get into this book, much longer than it usually does. Before I reached 140-150 pages, my mind was having trouble comprehending a story about a nearly-40 year old time traveler meeting his wife, and getting to know her when she is a young girl and into her adolesence. However, once I got to about page 140, I became very interested in the story, and by about halfway though I couldn't put it down!

I would recommend this book. There are a few discrepancies and questions that arise, but overall, it's a really wonderful read and it's different than the traditional love stories that we are used to.

::Pats Self on Back::

I accomplished a lot yesterday evening, and it was a Monday. This is nearly unheard of in our household : )

First, I had to break the news to Mark that we - emphasis on the 'we' part - were going to tackle the messy spare bedroom that has been taken over by wedding items as of late. Not wedding gifts - that's what the office is for - but decorations, glassware, empty boxes, etc. etc. Also a spare coffee table and end table.

We ended up straightening everything out, neatly stacking all of the empty boxes - I need to keep them as I am still selling some of my wedding items and may need them for shipping purposes - throwing out all of the trash, and condensing all of the remaining wedding items into one "Super Box" - as dubbed by H - and one smaller box. I think we did very well.

I also let Mark talk me into putting the coffee and end tables out by the curb with the trash. I wanted to save them for the end of summer garage sale that we are contemplating having, he said it's not worth the storage and just wanted to pitch them. We compromised and I allowed him to put them to the curb, but I said that if they didn't get picked up by morning, then he had to bring them back in the house. I wasn't going to let them go to waste at the dump. They ended up getting picked up within the hour, so we are both happy. I know they will get some additional use, Mark doesn't have to cart them back into the house.

Once everything was straightened, we manuvered the remaining items around so that we could get our old mattress, box springs, and frame into the room. They aren't actually set up, they are leaning against the wall, but at least it's the wall in the spare room instead of the wall in our bedroom. It's an improvement. Once we can get rid of the Fooseball table, we will then be able to actually set up the bed.

Next, we - a grumbling Mark and I - moved on to the office which has been commandeered by wedding gifts since my showers back at the end of April. I took everything out of the gift boxes - which I wanted to keep for Christmas present-wrapping purposes, but Mark talked me into getting rid of - Mark broke them down so that they could be recycled. We got rid of all of the ripped gift bags, threw out all of the trash and tissue paper, recycled some old wedding mags that I unearthed from underneath the gifts, and then my husband so nicely offered to stack up all of the gifts neatly. So now, they only take up about half of the office, instead of all of it, and they are ready to be put away as soon as I make some storage room in the house. That's the next unfortunate step towards my goal.

When everything will be accomplished for Goal: Re-organization has yet to be determined.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Weekend Recap.

We had a very full weekend and I can't believe it's already Monday again.

Friday, I went to dinner with my lovely Ohio girls. We had a wonderful time! We laughed a lot, never ran out of things to talk about, and I really enjoyed their company! We will have to get together again soon. Not to mention, the surroundings weren't too bad either since we ate at the Cheesecake Factory, yum! That "Random Cheesecake Guy" in the pic, was our waiter, he put up with all of our shenanigans very well.

Saturday, we had a pretty lazy afternoon, then we went out to dinner with friends and over to their house to hang out and play Wii. We also discussed the Book Club that we are trying to start. Right now, there will be 4 of us, and we are planning to meet once a month. Our first book will be Stephenie Meyer's Breaking Dawn since we have all been following this series and we are all planning on reading it when it comes out on August 2nd. Seemed like an obvious first choice. Our first meeting is on August 21st, and then we will present other ideas for future books, but we have already discussed reading Pride and Prejudice since not all of us have read it. Anyway, it was a nice night.

Sunday, we ended up purchasing a new bed - well, not really the bed as in the frame, but a new mattress and boxsprings - this is so exciting!!! If you don't already know this, we have been sleeping on a crappy full-sized mattress for the nearly 3 years that we have lived together. It was okay, but it was old, and it's time to upgrade!

So, first we went to a discount, unclaimed merchandise kind of store. They had a decent selection, but I don't think H was really into it.

Then, we went to a real mattress store, and it turned out feeling like we were in the market for a used car! Those guys are smarmy little salespeople! We tried several beds while we were there, the whole time we were looking, the salesman was constantling blabbering on in our ears about the 'superior craftmanship', 'how popular that mattress is', and so on. I was ready to throw something at him.

We ended up finding a matress that we really liked, but it was waaay more than I felt comfortable with paying for a bunch of cotton to sleep on. The sales-dude starting giving his spiel about how it has the lowest movement transfer in all of the industry, the mattress is made from cotton decended from royal fields in Ireland, each hand crafted coil is wrapped up in the finest of Australian latex to prevent the bed from catching STDs, blah, blah, blah. I don't know what he actually said, because I was too busy thinking about how much he was annoying me, while I was trying to decide what we actually were willing to pay for the bed.

H and I quietly talked over our plan of action, and I got to be bad cop, which I so happily play. After quite a bit of haggling and B.S.'ing, we ended up paying 65% of what the mattress was priced at, and we even got him to come down off of the price of the frame nearly 50% - the price that he COULD NOT budge on because it was the finest frame on the market, American made! That's why it's so expensive. Right. Which translates as, "if I come down off the price anymore, I'm going to be loosing the majority of my commission".

We ended up getting what we wanted and left happy, but we decided that we would drive out the other side of the city to pick the bed up, instead of paying for their "Red Carpet Delivery Service". What a scam. It ended up being quite the adventure.

After determining that the mattress and boxspring would most likely not fit in the back of Mark's Explorer, we rented a pickup truck from Lowe's. You pay $19 for 1 1/2 hours, and $5 for each additional hour after that. First the old lady taking care of the rental took forever to get out to the parking lot to check it over. Then, she walked right past the truck that we were renting, which was sitting right in front of the store, and led us out to another truck because "she didn't see the other one, hehe!". Once we get all set up, we take off and realize that the air conditoning barely works and only when you are pressing on the gas and are going at least 45 miles an hour. Too bad it was 90+ degrees with high humidity. It was terrible.

We make it to the mattress place, get the mattress loaded up. Then, the smarmy salesguys at that location try to pawn off a used bed frame with missing parts on us. I think not. Good for H for straightening that out. We ended up with a new one.

We made it back across town and hurridly pulled into the Lowe's parking lot right at our return time. It all ended well, thank goodness.

Once we got home, H got everything all set up, we put the new sheets on from a quick run to Bed Bath & Beyond, and, let me tell you, the craziness was well worth it. Sleeping on this mattress is like sleeping on a puffy, white cloud in Heaven. It's so wonderful, and a definite improvement from what we had!

Now, I need to get the spare room cleaned out so that we can move our old mattress, frame, and headboard - currently located against a wall in our bedroom - to the spare room where it belongs. I'm not looking forward to this task, but I do want to old stuff out of our room!

Friday, July 18, 2008

Dim-witted Moment of the Day.


The rudeness always surprises me somehow.

Stupid: I lost the number that I need to call later this afternoon.
Me: mmmmkay... you mean for your hearing?

Stupid: Yeeeah.
Me: Okay, where are you located?

Stupid: It's for a telephone hearing.
Me: I understand that. Where are you located?

Stupid: Oh. Cincinnati.
Me: (starts reading number to her)


Stupid: Okay, go 'head.
Me: Excuse me, ma'am, are you pressing buttons in my ear?

Stupid: Well... yeeeeah, I'm putting the number in my phone.
Me: You're going to need to get a pen a write this number down. You can't press buttons in my ear.

Stupid: (pause.) Oh. Okay.

Honestly. As if she had no idea that it's rude to press buttons on the phone in someone's ear. It's amazing to me that people not only act like this, but they don't even realize that it's inappropriate.

I vaccillated between wanting to cuss this woman out, and feeling sorry for her ignorance.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

I Feel So Accomplished for Mid-Week.

Yesterday, we had a very full evening.

First, I took all of the items that I have sold to the Post Office to be shipped out. I spent more on shipping than I thought I would, but oh well. It's better than the stuff taking up space in my house. So, ladies that have made purchases from me, you got a discount on shipping!

Then, I ran by the library to drop off books. Uneventful.

Then, Mark and I went to the bank to straighten out all of our account info. We finally figured out a system for the finances that will work for us. Step one of Goal: Financial Revitalization!

We opened up one joint checking account, into which our paychecks will be deposited. We each also have a personal checking account where I will transfer a bi-weekly "allowance" that will be our own individual money and we can use it however we wish. I will also transfer out a set amount to put into our savings account, which we just opened with ING Direct (I highly recommend after hearing great reviews from current customers and because of their awesome interest rates - 3%!), and then the remainder of the money in our joint checking will go towards bills, groceries, etc. I think this will go a long way towards really getting the most out of our household income.

Initally, I was weary of combining our finances at all. I'm very strict with my money, Mark is a little less so, but he has more to play with because he makes more than me. I was worried about not having MY OWN money, but I think that the set up that we have will allow us to have the best of both worlds.

The only hiccup that we experienced was that they were unable to change the name on my existing personal checking account to my married name, and we had to open the joint checking with my old name, because I have not yet gotten a new driver's license. For cereal. This is so stupid because I brought along my new Social Security card, which I just received in the mail. Whatever, dude. Now, I have to go pay to have my license updated (when I just got a new one last year, and I like the picture bytheway!), then, make a trip BACK to the bank to have them switch everything over to my married name. THEN, I can order new checks with the proper name on them. Ugh.

After we got home, we grabbed dinner, then I was going to read some and ended up falling asleep after about two pages. Mark woke me up around 10PM to get in bed, I got up, got in bed, and went back to sleep. Apparently, my body needed some extra sleep.

Dim-witted Moment of the Day.

So far, it has been a very trying day on the telephones. Trying not to cuss someone out mostly.

Here's a little gem for ya:

Me: What telephone number would you like to be reached at for your hearing?
Stupid: (provides number)

Me: (reads back number, stupid confirms)

Me: Okay, they will contact you back to begin the hearing.


Me: Okay?
Stupid: Okay.


Stupid: Wait! Ma'am?!?!!!
Me: Yes?

Stupid: I'm on this phone.

I don't know that 'this phone' refers to! Am I psychic or something and I just don't realize it yet?

I finally deciphered that Stupid had provided me with the incorrect telephone number and I'm supposed to understand that he did not follow the written instructions or my verbal reinforcement of said instructions.

This is not that complicated people.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

For Sale!

Step one of Goal: Re-organization is to get the all of the wedding items that I no longer have any use for out of my house. I'm not going to organize things that I don't need to keep!

This weekend, I took pictures of all the items that I would like to pass on to other brides. I found secondhand wedding items to be very helpful while I was planning our wedding on a budget, and I hope that I can pass that on to another girl who is planning her wedding.

I put my "for sale bio" out on The Knot yesterday and I've had a really great response so far, I've sold the majority of my glassware, all my leftover candles, and a few other small items. I spent yesterday evening printing shipping labels, and packing these items up for shipping. It was a much bigger job than I thought it would be! First I had to haul everything out, then I had to find a box that it would fit in, then I had to wrap everything and get it wedged in there so that it would be safe to ship. I'm so glad to be getting this stuff out of my house! I feel like I'm heading down the road to completing my goal.

Here is my For Sale Bio if you're curious.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Certain Girls, Jennifer Weiner.

Jennifer Weiner is one of my favorite authors. I always get on the waitlist for her novels as soon as possible. She has a witty, sharp humored writing style that I really enjoy, and all of her characters are filled with personality.

Certain Girls is a flash-forward 13 years sequel of one of her first novels (maybe her very first? I don't remember) Good in Bed.

13 years later, Cannie's daughter is on the eve of her Bat Mitzvah and is going through a lot of changes in her 12, nearly 13 year old life. Not necessarily life changes per se, but more like changes in awareness about herself, her family, and her life in general. Cannie's daughter is rebelling against her "overbearing, smothering" mother and the novel is told from both the mother and daughter's viewpoints. This is a very unique oppurtunity for the reader to see both sides of a situation, experience both character's feelings, etc. It makes for a very well rounded novel.

I really enjoyed the story, the characters, and everything about this novel. I have not yet read a book from Jennifer Weiner that I did not enjoy, and this was another great read.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Dim-witted Moment of the Day.

Appellant calls in for a 9AM hearing at 10.15AM.

Me: Good morning (agency name), what time is your hearing?
Stupid: 9AM.

Me: (knowing that it will have already been dismissed)Have you already called in for the hearing?
Stupid: No. I'm calling in right now.

Me: Okay, well the case was dismissed at 9.15AM because you didn't appear for the hearing.
Stupid: But, we're in a different time zone. I'm in Georgia.

Me: ... No you're not. You're calling Ohio, we're in the same time zone.
Stupid: Oh... okay, thank you.


For serious? This was the employer. You are high enough up in a company that they trust you with these matters and you don't know that Ohio and Georgia are in the same time zone?!! Not to mention, even if we were in different time zones, the hearing would still have been scheduled for 9AM our time.

I had to double check with someone that Ohio and Georgia are in fact in the same time zone because I thought maybe I was forgetting something. I'm not. Employer is just stupid.

Ice Cream, I Lub It.

This year, for Mark's birthday, I bought him an ice cream maker. He's hard to buy for, and I usually dread figuring out something that he will like that isn't out of my price range, but this year, it just came to me - ice cream maker! Ice cream is definitely one of his favorite foods and I knew that he'd really love to make his own. So, I stole him one. Okay, I didn't really steal it, but that's what everyone who thinks they are oh, so funny tells me.

I went to Linens and Things near my house, which is currently having a going out of business sale. I was hoping to get a deeper discount than the 20% I could get at Bed Bath & Beyond. Turns out, their kitchen appliances were only 20% off at LnT, but I got deals on a few other things so it didn't turn out to be a wasted trip. According to the price tag and the sales chart, the Cuisinart Ice Cream Maker that I was going to purchase was 20% off the $49.99 retail price.

Weeeeeell, when I got up to the register, I watched the salesperson scan all of the price tags, but I wasn't paying complete attention to what was wringing up because at the time, I was trying to organize several large storage bins in my cart. My total was around $48, and I figured something had a deeper discount than I had originally thought, but I didn't really think about it. Once I got home and checked the receipt, I found out that the $50 ice cream maker rang up at $14.99! Steal!
I don't know how I ended up with that price! All the sticker on the box says is "Linens and Things, (barcode), $49.99". I'm not sure if the tag got switched with something else that had a deeper discount, or what, but I sure benefitted! I'm so excited, it's so much more fun to use knowing that I got it for 70% off the retail price! Woohoo!
So, anyway, Mark made ice cream for the first time, yesterday evening. Coffee ice cream, or course - it's his favorite. It turned out VERY good, much better than what you purchase at the store, but there was a little bit of a mishap.

Here, Mark is joyously waiting for the ice cream to be ready.

We each treated ourselves to a bowl of ice cream while watching TV before bed last night. We got into bed around 10.15PM (this is about when we go to bed every night, and we're usually asleep by 10.30 - 11.00). Well, by the time 12.30AM rolled around and we were both still awake, not just awake, but WIDE awake, not even tired, we finally figured out that it was because we had eaten the coffee ice cream which had caffeinated coffee in it. I didn't get to sleep last night until after 1AM, then had to be up for work today by 6AM. All of the sleep that I caught up on over the weekend has been wiped away, I'm so tired this morning, I could use some of the ice cream to wake me up!

Moral of the story... when making coffee ice cream, use de-caffeinated coffee unless you intend to use it as an energizer.

And the final product. Yum!

Coffee Ice Cream

Source: Cuisinart Ice Cream Maker Recipe Booklet

Prep: 5 mins, plus 20-25 mins chilling time; optional 2 hours to ripen. Makes ten 1/2-cup servings.

1 Cup whole milk, well chilled
3/4 Cup granulated sugar
2-3 tablespoons instant espresso or coffee, to taste
2 Cups heavy cream, well chilled
1 Teaspoon pure vanilla extract

In a meduim bowl, use a hand mixer or a whisk to combine the milk, granulated sugar, and espresso powder until the sugar and espresso are dissolved, about 1-2 minutes on low speed. Stir in the heavy cream and vanilla. Turn the machine ON, pour the mixture into freezer bowl and let mix until thickened, about 25 - 30 minutes.

Nutritional Analysis per 1/2 cup serving:
Calories - 241 (67% from fat)
Carbohydrates - 18g
Protein - 3g
Fat - 18g
Saturated Fat - 11g
Cholesterol - 69mg
Soduim - 30mg

Sunday, July 13, 2008

New Format...

For my hubby who did not like the pink on pink. He said it is too hard to read.

Weekend Recap.

We had a very nice, relaxing weekend. I didn't really want to do anything planned since we had such a busy weekend over the 4th. We ended up just hanging around the house and then doing all of the usual chores on Sunday (i.e. laundry, cleaning, grocery store, etc.).

Here are a few pics:

This is Mark in his Hoggy's shirt that he "won". Here's what actually happened, we went to Hoggy's the last weekend of June for dinner. They have a huge meal on the menu that's like $25 and if you eat it all, they'll give you a free t-shirt. Mark is always joking around that he's going to get the big dinner so that he can get a free shirt.

Well, for summer, Hoggy's is running an "All American Meal" special. For $15 you get 1/3 rack of ribs, 1/4 of a chicken, a 7" pulled pork sandwich, corn on the cob, and a square of cornbread. Well, H said that he wanted to get that meal, and I told him no-way would he eat all of that. He bet me that he could eat it, and eventually we decided that if he ate everything, I'd buy him a Hoggy's shirt.

He ended up eating it all (with the exception of the corn bread, which I ate), so he won his shirt in the bet. It's his favorite shirt now.

This is StealthKitteh, she's hiding under the lip of the rug, getting ready to stick her little Kitteh paw out and scare the puppy after she comes in from outside. It's funny!

This is Belle looking at me like, "Mama, why you takin' mah picture?".

Coconut Cake with Cream Cheese Icing. YUM!

Source: Barefoot Contessa.

This cake is dense and yummy!

For the cake:

- 3/4 pound (3 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for greasing the pans
- 2 cups sugar 5 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
- 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 teaspoons pure almond extract
- 3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting the pans
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 cup milk
- 4 ounces sweetened shredded coconut
For the frosting:
- 1 pound cream cheese, at room temperature
- 1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon pure almond extract
- 1 pound confectioners' sugar, sifted
- 6 ounces sweetened shredded coconut
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Grease 2 (9-inch) round cake pans, then line them parchment paper. Grease them again and dust lightly with flour.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar on medium-high speed for 3 to 5 minutes, until light yellow and fluffy.

Crack the eggs into a small bowl. With the mixer on medium speed, add the eggs 1 at a time, scraping down the bowl once during mixing.

Add the vanilla and almond extracts and mix well. The mixture might look curdled; don't be concerned.
In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. With the mixer on low speed, alternately add the dry ingredients and the milk to the batter in 3 parts, beginning and ending with dry ingredients. Mix until just combined. Fold in the 4 ounces of coconut with a rubber spatula.
Pour the batter evenly into the 2 pans and smooth the top with a knife. Bake in the center of the oven for 45 to 55 minutes, until the tops are browned and a cake tester comes out clean. Cool on a baking rack for 30 minutes, then turn the cakes out onto a baking rack to finish cooling.
For the frosting:

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine the cream cheese, butter, vanilla and almond extract on low speed. Add the confectioners' sugar and mix until just smooth (don't whip!).
To assemble, place 1 layer on a flat serving plate, top side down, and spread with frosting. Place the second layer on top, top side up, and frost the top and sides. To decorate the cake, sprinkle the top with coconut and lightly press more coconut onto the sides.

Serve at room temperature.

I made this for my mom's birthday and it's one of the first things I've made with my beautiful KA mixer!

Friday, July 11, 2008

And Kitteh's Official Name Will Be.... ::drumroll::


We decided to go with the original name that I picked out. It seems to fit her well. Thank you for all of your suggestions and help. Naming a kitteh is harder than I would have originally thought.

In other news...

Well, there really isn't any other news. It's been a fairly uneventuful week to be honest.

I got my car back on Tuesday. It has been out at my parent's house since Friday the 4th because it was slowly leaking something from the rear driver's side tire, which is never good. It has also squeaked a little bit since I first got it back - Note to those who are unaware - I got in an accident in December, on what happenend to be the first snowy day, and the roads were very bad. I slid on some ice while entering the the freeway from the on-ramp, whipped completely around facing the wrong way AND slid my entire driver's side into the guardrail while I was saying, "oh no, please don't hit the guardrail, oh no!". Yeah... I just purchased the car last Spring. I was not a happy camper. Anyhoo, I started driving my car again AFTER winter ended because I didn't need to play slip n' slide anymore. Then it started leaking, which brings us up to now - So, my Dad very nicely fixed the leak for me. Apparently, it had something to do with the shock.

The bad part is, when he was fixing the car he noticed that the poo-heads who aligned my tires - Ahem, TIRE KINGDOM! - didn't do a very good job of aligning the front tires, which means I've been driving on very poorly aligned tires - that I paid $60 to get aligned! - for the last few months, which means that my front tires are now worn out on the inside. Again, this does not please me. I may have to replace the tires now, but first I'm going to have to call up Tire Kingdom and give them a piece of my unhappy mind. I don't understand why a place that sells and puts on tires couldn't handle aligning the tires that were already attached to my car. Only I would encounter this situation.

We got our professional pictures back from the wedding in the mail on Wednesday. We *LOVE* them! I'm so excited that we have them now. If you would like to see a few you can go here.

What else... *thinking*

Oh, I finished a book last night and I really, really liked it! The novel is Ami McKay's The Birth House. At first, I wasn't sure how much I would actually get into the book, but I ended up very pleased. The novel is set in Nova Scotia predominately taking place during the first World War. The story centers around a young girl who has the practices of midwifiry passed down to her from the old local midwife. Although the locals of the village are heavily reliant on midwives for maternity needs, and also any other ailments, they are weary of their skills and "tricks" and often believe that they are witches.

The drama begins to unfold when a doctor, and outsider to the small village, sets up a practice in a nearby town. He builds a birthing center and feels that women should not be allowed to home birth, but should instead pay for the newest technology and travel to the center when their time comes. What follows really revolves around a woman's right to have control over matters related to her health. The women of the village would rather give birth in the comfort of their homes, with someone they feel comfortable with, than make the risky trip to the neighboring town, be drugged with Ether, and have their infant forcibly removed.

The novel is written in a very unique "scrapbook style", and includes not only writing in the first person, but also local newspaper clippings, advertisements, letters back and forth between the village ladies, and important conversations from local ladies gatherings to help the story unfold in a direct and frank manner. This novel really is a very worthwhile read, and gives a unique perspective to the struggle for women to have control of their health and wellbeing. I very much enjoyed the story.

Also, as my darling husband just pointed out, I initially forgot to mention that HE is the one who suggested this book to me. We were standing in the book section of Target and he decided that the cover looked like something that I would want to read. I suppose it worked out, but I don't see it. Thanks for the suggestion!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Dim-witted Moment of the Day.

::bangs head on desk::

Me: Are you the claimant, or the employer?
Stupid: Wha?

Me: Are you the claimant, or the employer?
Stupid: The plaintiff?

Stupid: Employer.

Please keep in mind, this is all clearly listed on all of the previous paperwork this person has received.

Me: Okay, what's the claimant's name?
Stupid: The plaintiff's name?

Me: The claimant's name. What is the claimant's name?
Stupid: (gives name)

Me: ::look up hearing:: Of course it's not for the time that he said it was.
Okay, what company are you with?
Stupid: (states name of company)

Me: Could that be listed under (gives parent company name)?
Stupid: Yes.

Me: (thinking we are actually getting somewhere) Okay, what is your name?


Stupid: What? I'm sorry, I couldn't hear you.
Me: What. is. your. name!?

Stupid: (Says claimant's name again)
Me: (Silence) YOUR name, what is YOUR name?

Stupid: (states claimant's name again)
Me: Is that your name?

Stupid: Yes.
Me: You're the claimant.

Stupid: Yeah, I'm the claimant.

Why, why, whhhhyyyy?! Things could be SO. much. easier!

The next call:

Me: If I could have your name, please.
Stupid: (provides name)

Me: (thinking everything is going swell so far.)
Okay, if I could have your number please.
Stupid: Oh! (pause) I had no idea you were going to ask that! Hold on.

Right, what would give you that indication? Perhaps, the letter that we sent out that had instructions telling you to call the number you just called and give us your TELEPHONE NUMBER?!?!

I'm beginning to think that people intentionally overlook big important things. Like instructions in bold!

Mid-year Resolutions.

I didn't really get to make any resolutions in January, because my only goal for that time was to get through the next few months and have a successful wedding. Mission accomplished. Now that all of the wedding related things are wrapping up, and the thank yous have been sent, and we've made it through the mad rush of birthdays in our family during the end of June/beginning of July, I'd like to lay out a couple of mid-year resolutions to accomplish during the next 6 months.

1. Get control of our finances.

Not that they are currently out of control, actually, they are pretty stagnant, which can be a good thing when compared with the sliding downhill option, but I would like to get them to the point that our money is working for us. We are taking this oppurtunity, while everything is getting messed with to change my name, to sort out all of our banking needs, combine, separate, and delgate as needed. My pet project is to make us Millionaires over the next 6 months. Okay, maybe not Millionaires, but I would like to start out 2009 being able to look back and this year, and identify right where we started to really take firm control of our financial situation.

2. Organize the house.

Ugh. This is really something that I need to work on. We moved into our house two years ago next month. We still have unpacked boxes stored in closets. Long story short, if we haven't needed these packed items in the last 2 years, we don't need them taking up space in the 2 spare rooms that we have.

Currently, our spare rooms look like a disaster area. The closets are both packed full of crap we don't need, the office floor is completely covered with shower and wedding gifts that I have no place for because I need to organize our storage space, and the other spare room is packed to the hilt with all of our wedding crap that I need to dispose of ASAP! I'm planning to sell everything, but again, there's where organization rears it's pretty little head, first I need to go through it and figure out what the heck I even have.

We have plenty of room in our house, more than enough storage space for the two of us. We just need to properly utilize it. If we do, we will be much happier on the storage front.

So, these are my goals for the next 6 months, I hope to accomplish these things which will obviously benefit us as a household.

LOADS of Asshattery (a.k.a Dim-witted Moment of the Day)

There were so many "moments" today, that I don't even think that I can bring myself to give a full recap.

However, here are a few highlights...

1. Muryha = Mariah.

On what planet?! Why GAWD why do parents do this to their children?

Not only is 'Muryha''s name spelled terribly, she had to struggle to enunciate anything, which made our phone conversation consist mostly of "Fai (I used my super sleuth skills to determine that this means 'five') one, threeee, *mumble, mumble*" *sigh*"I'm sorry, what did you say? You're going to have to repeat that again".

2. I got a call from a lady hours before her hearing was scheduled to begin. I asked, "You do know it's 10.15AM right now?". She replied, "No, I wasn't sure of the time difference".

She's in the same state as I am. It is fairly well known that all of Ohio are within the same time zone. No variations. Not hard.

3. I had someone call in, give me one number, change it at the end of the call because she didn't read instructions to begin with, THEN even though she was already late calling in, after we hang up, she calls BACK! "Oh, I gave you the wrong number, let me get you the correct one."


She then proceeds to put me on hold for 2 minutes, with music! This should never happen.

The list could continue, but I'm annoying myself again.

Monday, July 7, 2008


On Saturday evening, after Mark's dad and step-mom treated us to Cheesecake Factory for our birthday (it was delicious of course) we decided to be grown ups and catch a late movie.

Now, if you know us, you know that we both have to get up very early for work, and because of this, we keep the same hours as the individuals who frequent early bird specials. It's very sad that we often have to turn down invites from our friends because we don't know if we will be able to make it through a "late" movie awake, and you can't chance it since it costs nearly $20 just to purchase the actual movie tickets.

So, being that we had an extra day to catch up on sleep thanks to the three day weekend, we decided to attempt a movie after 9PM (yes, laugh allll you want, a movie after 8.30PM is late in my book!). We decided that we would like to see either Wall-E, Hancock, or The Happening. We haven't seen a movie since Made of Honor in very early June before we got married.

When we got to the theatre, we decided on Hancock becaused it had a show starting the soonest, and we actually ended up being able to make an even earlier showing without missing the previews, or having to sit in too bad a section! Score!

I usually really like Will Smith movies. He's one of my favorites, but this movie was lacking in my opinion. The story line of Hancock was imaginative enough, a known superhero, who is disliked by the public, hooks up with a PR rep to improve his image, there is a twist, which wasn't that thrilling, in my opinion, and that's about it. Will Smith was funny as always, but not as funny as he usually is. The movie wasn't too bad overall, but if you're thinking about seeing it, I would recommend waiting until it comes out on DVD to save a few dollars. Now, I wish we'd have seen Waaaalllllll-EEEEEE, he's cute!

The story ends well, we were both able to stay awake for the whole show, we of course went straight to bed after we got home around 11.30, but it was a fufilling Saturday for us.

Dim-witted Moment of the Day.

8.20AM Monday morning after the long holiday weekend.

Me: What time is your hearing?
Stupid: 8.30AM.

Me: What's the claimant's name?
Stupid: (states "claimant's" name.)

Me: ::scrolls through 8.30 hearings::
Hmm... I don't see it, do you have the docket number of the case?
Stupid: Let me see.

The individual on the phone now proceeds to shuffle through papers and breathe heavily into my ear (one of my biggest phone pet peeves) for the next 1 1/2 - 2 minutes, which is a very long time for a call that should have taken about 30 seconds.

Me: Do you have the social security number? I can pull it using that.
Stupid: Hmm... *shuffle*shuffle*

More breathing...

Stupid: Oh, here it is!
Me: ::looks up docket number provided::
Wait... this is for (different claimant's name than lady originally provided).

Stupid: Oh! Heheheeeee! Yeah, I guess I was wrong the first time! Heheee.
Me: Well, that's why I was unable to find it on the schedule.

Ugh! If this lady could just do her job and know who's case is being heard then I wouldn't have to log out of what I'm doing, wait forever for her to get the needed info, and look up the case.

This does not please, nor sparkle.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

I Don't Like Bedding.


So, you would think that when you want to buy new bedding, you just go to whatever store sells bedding, choose the one you like, bring it home, and that's it. End of story. Well, not so much if you're me.

We have had the same duvet set since we moved into our house nearly two years ago. It's a light tan color, with a white outline on the top of the bed. The set is okay, but it's not something that I love, and I think by switching it out, it will spruce up our bedroom some. So, we started looking around for a new bedding set.

About 2 weeks ago, we brought home a chocolate comforter that we thought would look nice. Turns out, being that our bedroom walls are a plum color, the brown looked too dark in my opinion. We returned that and ended up purchasing another duvet and a quilt yesterday. The duvet is solid khaki, and the quilt is about the same color as our walls. My theory was that we could use the quilt to break up the plainness of the khaki spread. Again, not so much, it's too plain in my opinion. Still don't like it, so now both the duvet set and the quilt will be returned.

Ugh, I'm so annoyed that I can't just find what I want. I have literally not seen anything that I love. I'm just not sure what the heck to put in our bedroom!

Any ideas?

This is what we currently have, the walls are a deep plum color, they look more purple in this pic than they actually are:

On another topic, yesterday, I finished reading Sarah Strohmeyer's, The Sleeping Beauty Proposal. This novel was total chick lit, but it was nice and upbeat, as well as an easy read. It was kind of a far fetched story about a woman in her early thirties who fakes her own engagement after her butthead of a boyfriend proposes to someone else on national TV after 4 years with her. Instead of explaining to everyone that the proposal wasn't actually meant for her, she rolls with it and starts accepting congratulations, gifts, and other things that happen to come her way now that "her life is just beginning".

One thing that I really liked about this novel is that the author explored expectations that society has that every woman wants to get married and that their life doesn't truely start until they are someone's wife. The heroine of the novel goes on to improve her life based on the ring on her finger. She gets in shape, purchases a house, gets a promotion at work, all because she is now going to be a married woman - or, so she thinks.

Eventually, she figures out that she doesn't need a husband to be a successful woman in her thirties. Of course her lame-o boyfriend comes back to beg her forgiveness and offer a real proposal, which she turns down, and of course she ends up with the right guy in the end, but this piece of chick lit actually makes you think a little about societal expectations.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

July 4th Recap.

As some of you may already know, both my husband's and my birthday is on July 4th. Everyone always asks what that's like, or gets all excited and says, "wow, that's neat!", or something to that effect. Let me tell you, it's just kind of weird. I mean, I don't really mind sharing - it's kind of a running joke that I am not okay with sharing my 'special day' - but it's just strange. Not that big of deal, but at least we get both birthdays out of the way at the same time : )

Thursday evening, our friends Mark and Carrie took us out to dinner at Bravo! (also the location of H's and my very first date!) in honor of our birthday. Dinner was very good. We were then going to go to DQ to get some dessert once dinner settled, once we got there, it seems that they close early the day before Independence Day. Greeeeat. We ended up getting Frostys from Wendy's though, so I suppose it ended up alright.

We went to my parent's house on Friday to do the whole family birthday thing with my side. Mark's mom came out too, which was nice that he got to celebrate his birthday with her. We watched fireworks from my parent's backyard that their neighbors were letting off. These people must be more than a little insane, I'm fairly certain that they spent at least $1000 on fireworks.

This evening, we are supposed to meet Mark's dad and stepmom for dinner in honor of our bithday at The Cheesecake Factory ::thumbs up:: . I'm happy with this, and I'm ready for some cheesecake!

All of our social events are making for a very busy three day weekend. Hopefully we can take Sunday kind of slow, besides all of the usually domestic things that have to get completed for the week to come.

Also, I got Mark an ice cream maker for his birthday. Interesting story, I went up to Linen's and Things to get the ice cream maker because they are having a going out of business sale and all of their small appliances are currently 20% off. So, the ice cream maker is normally $50, it would have been about $40 with the discount. I got up to the checkout line, and I had a few other things that I was purchasing, but my total ended up being like $45. I'm thinking to myself, hmm... that's not right, something must have been on sale, because I had watched the cashier scan all of the price tags.

I needed to get home so I didn't bother checking the receipt, but once I got home and gave Mark his gift, I looked at the receipt and the ice cream maker had rung up as $14.99! Score! I don't know if it had the wrong tag - all the tag says is "Linen's and Things (barcode) $49.99" - or if something else happened, but I sure benefitted. Oh well.

Mark got me a lounger for the deck, once we figured out that I had some extra money leftover from his gift, we decided that we are going to take back the lounger and upgrade for a little patio set with 2 chairs, foot stools, and a table to go with our table and chair set so that we can have extra seating. I'm excited.

Overall, it was a good birthday, it only rained half the day, we got nice gifts, and didn't have to work on our birthday, I am pleased.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Dim-witted Moment of the Day.

This happened at 9.15AM.

Me: Will you have any witnesses, or representatives today?
Stupid: See, what happened was, I went down here, to the building, I talked to someone when I got the paper, and they said I was going to have a hearing, so I thought it would be here.

Three things: a) clearly, this is not the question I asked, b) the "here" she is referencing is on the other side of the state from where I currently am, and c) of course all instructions are clearly spelled out on the paperwork that she received, which of course, she didn't read, ever.

Me: Okay... any witnesses, or representatives today?
Stupid: Well... how do I get witnesses?

Again, please keep in mind that ALL OF THIS is addressed on the relatively simple paperwork that we sent out, which she most likely "round filed" shortly after receiving!

Me: All you have to do is give me their name and telephone number right now. As long as they are available during the time of your hearing, the hearing officer will contact them to get their testimony.
Stupid: So, I have to have them with me then?

Me: No, if they have testimony to provide, the hearing officer will contact them at the number that you provide for us. Would you like to list anyone?
Stupid: Well see, what happened was, I contacted them and they said just to do this today and then if I still needed the letter then I could have it afterwards.

Me: Ma'am, I don't know who 'they' is, are you talking about your previous employer, or someone at the department?
Stupid: My co-worker.

Me: Oh, okay. If they have something that you would like the hearing officer to know, then you'll need to provide it today. They won't take any documentation after the hearing is completed, and they won't contact anyone for testimony afterwards.
Stupid: Oh... I guess they should participate today then. They will call them on the phone?

Me: Yes. If I could have their names please.
Stupid: (gives me their names and numbers)

Me: Okay, the hearing officer will contact you back at your designated hearing time. In the meantime, you may want to review all the documentation we sent you, and contact your witnesses to make sure that they know the hearing officer will be contacting them this morning.
Stupid: Oh, okay, what documentation?

Me: (gritting teeth) the paperwork we sent you about the hearing.
Stupid: Okay.

Me: The hearing officer will contact you back.
Stupid: Wait, they're going to call me back???

Me: Yes! To do the hearing.
Stupid: What time?

Me: (gives hearing time)
Stupid: Oh, alright then.



Day 7 of Operation: Socialization

The integration of Kitteh situation is going well. Kitteh is hardly ever afriad of Belle anymore, it only happens if Belle rushes up on her with all 55 pounds, and then Kitteh gets scared and runs away. Other than those times, they are starting to play together, Belle nudges Kitteh with her nose (like she does when she's playing with other dogs), and gives her kisses all the time.

I think Belle's over-attention towards Kitteh actually can annoy her at times, but mostly, she plays back also. She turns over on her back and bats at Belle with her paws (without her claws, of course), and rolls around. She seems more comfortable playing with Belle when she's on her level, which means, when Kitteh is on the couch. I can understand this, I'm sure it's intimidating to try to interact with a large dog when you're a tiny little 5 pound cat.

Anyway, we are very pleased with the progress so far. Kitteh has only been in the house a week and she and Belle seem to be becoming friends. I hope that eventually, they will be very happy together.

We still haven't officially named Kitteh, however, Mark has decided that we should call her "Cheesy Tot", why, I don't know, but I think not.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

More Stupidity -

This happened around 11AM.

Me: Good Morning, (agency name). What time is your hearing?
Stupid: Uh, 8 o' clock.

Me: As in 8AM this morning?
Stupid: Yeah.

Me: Well, it's 11 o' clock right now... have you already called in for your hearing?

Please, keep in mind, parties are supposed to call 15 minutes PRIOR to their hearings, and his hearing should have been completed at this point because the majority of them are scheduled for 45 minutes.

Stupid: What do you mean?

Me: Have you already called in today to participate in the hearing?
Stupid: (silence) Yeeees. (said slowly)

I look up his case.

Me: Sir, no, you did not call in for your hearing this morning. Your case was dismissed at 8.15AM because you failed to appear.
Stupid: What do you mean?

Me: I mean that your appeal is no longer going to be heard, and there will not be a hearing today. (I then go on to explain the appeals process for dismissals)
Stupid: But... I thought they were going to call me, they aren't going to call me?

Me: No. All of the instructions as to what you should have done to appear for your hearing were on the ONE PAGE sheet of info where you got this number from.
Stupid: Oh, okay. (said like he doesn't even care)


He hung up! Stupid!

Dim-witted Moment of the Day.

Just shy of 9AM. Too early for this sort of thing.

Me: Are you the claimant, or the employer?
Stupid: Uhm... uh... uh... Employer!
::thinking in my head, of course she's the claimant::
Oh, wait, NO! Claimant! Claimant! Claimant!
I used to work there!

Me: ::internal sigh::

I then proceed to get her info.

Me: Do you have any witnesses?
Stupid: Yeah.

Me: If I could have their name please.
Stupid: Oh... okaaaay... *shuffle*shuffle*
Uhm... let's see here...
Okay, (gives 1st witness's name - it's a difficult one).

Me: Can you spell the last name please?
Stupid: No. (silence)

Me: Okay... how about (offers suggestion because it's really hard to decipher what a name even really sounds like over the phone if it's a difficult one).
Stupid: Okay, sounds good to me.

Me: Any others?
Stupid: Yes. *shuffle*shuffle* (Gives really difficult African sounding name)

Me: Okay, I'm going to need you to spell that one for me.
Stupid: Uhm... oooh... I really don't know... let me see here... (starts sounding it out). Uh, I guess I would just spell it, like, you know, knock on the door?

The name that she provided sounds like "E-knock".

Me: Uh, okay. You want me to put it down as E-k-n-o-c-k?
Stupid: I guess, that sounds about right.

Me: Okay then.

I don't think that that's most likely how he spells his name, but whatever.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

You know you've read a good book when you turn the last page and feel a little as if you have lost a friend. ~ Paul Sweeney

I have very few hobbies that I make time for and enjoy doing in my down time. I like to cook and bake, and most importantly, I enjoy reading.

I have read just about everyday for as long as I can remember. I usually average about 1 book a week. If it's been a good week, I may finish reading 2 or 3, that gets expensive, and you run out of room quickly if you are purchasing the books, so I take advantage of one of the only free things in our society - the library. I'm very grateful that we have such a nice, well established library system where I live. I know that not all places are like that.

I read just about everything, Best Sellers, Chick Lit, Classics, Science Fiction (I've just recently ventured into this genre), basically anything that's recommended to me, or anything that I'm interested in trying because it strikes my fancy. I have favorite authors that I've read everything they've ever written - Danielle Steel and Toni Morrison, to name a couple, but often I just jump from novel to novel. I always have a book that I'm working on, it's what I do in my down time, most nights I try to read before bed, at least for a little bit, and I know that my husband enjoys my reading time because that means that he gets control of the remote and then some sporting event, or other, takes over the TV for the time being.

Anyway, that's a little bit about me.

I just finished reading James Patterson's, Sam's Letters to Jennifer yesterday. It was an easy read and a heartwarming story. Unlike other Patterson novels, this is a love story. It's a novel about a woman who returns to her Grandmother's home because her Grandmother Sam is in the hospital ill. During the weeks that she is there, she spends time reading through a stack of letters addressed to her, written by her Grandmother about an untold part of her Grandmother's life, the story of her greatest love. The story is about the importance of embracing love. It was a good read, nothing super-special, but it's nice just to read an easy story with a happy ending sometimes.