Funny stories... tales from the road... life with us.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

How do I get a do-over?

Last night was a less than stellar night for our household. Nothing major happened -- just a series of mishaps that left me wishing we'd stayed home on the couch instead of venturing out.

Rob is going to build is some shelves for our basement. I, of course, voted for the easy option of simply buying shelves, but Rob wants to take on the challenge. So, after lots of measuring and drafting and figuring (all by Rob, mind you, since I don't do numbers), we headed off to Lowe's to buy our lumber and try to look like we know what we are doing.

Rob even wore a tape measure on his belt to complete the look.

We get to Lowe's, load up 20 boards on our giant cart and head to the back of the store to get them cut to the right length. No Lowe's employee is to be found. I head to the checkout at the front of the store (down on the contractor's end of the joint; not near customer service) and asked for some help. The guy at the checkout asked me if I looked for someone in the back (yes, sir, I did), then proceeded to page someone.

Maybe it was just me, but he could have announced that the Queen of England was in the plumbing section for all I know. I couldn't understand a word he said.

I wandered back to where Rob stood with our stack of wood and waited. And waited. And waited.

The checkout guy could see down the aisle, and I heard him make another unintelligible helpful announcement for assistance in the wood cutting area. I finally walked up to the Customer Service Desk to patiently request again.

After a big awkward stare when I asked if I could get some help, the guy there finally paged the elusive "Josh", who was apparently at lunch. With no response to his page, I was finally informed that nobody was working in the lumber section, accompanied by a big shoulder shrug.

I then informed him that I was leaving a giant stack of wood in the middle of the aisle and taking my business elsewhere. When Josh finally showed up, he could put it away.

Off to Home Depot we go, where we found an excellent wood-cutting guy and boards of better quality. He sliced the boards, I found a bathroom cabinet, and off we go to the checkout.

After several attempts, we finally wrangled the 8' boards into my CRV (So they were sticking out the back window. It was dark, and we drove slowly!) and headed home. Rob unloaded everything, then decided to fit together how the shelves will be built.

Small problem. The boards were too short. Did you know a 2x3 board is actually 1.5x2.5?

Me, either.

While Rob stands there staring at the stack of incorrectly-sized boards, I decide to back the car in the garage. I never back the car in the garage. I'm rolling backwards, thinking about the wood, and BAM. I backed right into the bikes. The handle of my bike poked through the drywall, and the handle of Rob's bike made a lovely scratch on the tire cover on the car.


To good news is that Rob thinks the shelves will work. He might slice off an inch of something or another so it'll be perfect. He has a new circular saw to break in, thanks to his mom and dad.

As for the bikes, they'll be okay. Since I don't ride mine anymore (Kathryn + bike = broken ankle), and we are building garage shelves eventually that will cover up the new bike handle-sized hole, it'll all be fine. Could have been worse!

We finally called it a day and headed inside before we did any more damage. All in all, a banner night.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

One year ago...

At this time in the evening one year ago today, I was laying in a hospital bed waiting for the orthopedic surgeon to read my xrays and determine if I was having surgery that night or the next day.

What a difference a year makes!

This afternoon as Rob and I headed out on our walk, I commented that it was about that time that we'd been setting off on our bikes (my last bike ride, by the way) and on what would turn out to be the night of my big wipe out. Here's what I wrote about the accident last year.

My co-workers always remember that I had surgery on April 1 -- they thought it was a joke when I called in. I tried convincing them today that the whole bit has been an extended April Fools joke from last year -- the cast, crutches and scooter were all an elaborate hoax. ;)

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

New House!

Now that we'd found a place to move and all of the kinks had been worked out of the deal, we began the looooooong task of packing. My goal was to pack a few boxes every night, so that in the end, we wouldn't be rushed with trying to fill boxes at the last minute. I'm glad we stuck to the plan, because even with all the time we had, we still seemed busy busy busy.

Our first decision was that we needed to hire movers. Our friends will no longer schlep couches for free pizza, and our bedroom furniture and living room stuff were way too massive to move on our own. We interviewed three companies and chose one to do the work. BTW - moving is expensive.

We decided to move some stuff on our own, like our china and lamps. I figured if the china got busted, I'd have nobody to blame by myself. And, the movers charge $35 per lamp to box it up and move it, so we figured we could save some money there. We got the keys to the house on Sunday, moved small stuff all week long, and the movers took almost nine hours to pack the truck, drive to the new place, unpack and set stuff up the following Friday.

I'm glad we weren't doing it. I was exhausted just watching them!

During the week before we moved in, we also had some painting done and I replaced all of the liners in the kitchen drawers and on the pantry shelves. We ordered a new refrigerator and figured out what was going to go where.

We've been in now for a little more than two weeks. We are still unpacking stuff, but it's livable and we are really liking it! Our parents came down last weekend to see it -- we are glad they did!

I'll post a picture or two when we are all set up and there aren't moving boxes lining each wall. Thanks for reading along!

Monday, March 29, 2010

House Search

(Sorry for the lag in telling this story!)

Since our house sold so quickly, we accelerated our new house search. We honestly thought we'd have a little more time to really look!

Our real estate agent connected me on the Web service that updates the MLS listings all day long. Every morning I would get an e-mail of new houses on the market that fit our criteria, info on open houses and news on price drops or increases (yes, believe it or not, there were some increases!).

I had my heart set on a particular neighborhood, and every day I'd look for something in that area. Nothing! After a few days I conceded that we better widen our search or else we'd end up putting our stuff in storage and renting. That was really not an ideal option.

On a Sunday afternoon, we went with our agent to see two different places. One was way below our price range, but I could tell from the listing that it need a lot (A LOT!) of work. The second was a bit above our price range, but the realtor thought we'd have some wiggle room with the sellers.

First we went to the lower-priced one. I knew when we pulled up that I hated it. Turquoise shutters, a plain cement porch, no landscaping, etc. The kitchen needed gutted and floors replaced, there wasn't a window blind in the place and the basement was a weird mish-mash of discounted tile all slapped together. It was terrible! Rob tried talking me into seeing what we could do to fix it up, but all I saw were headaches and dollar signs floating out the unblinded windows. After I agreed not to rule it out completely, we moved to the second one. I admit, that agreement was a total lie. There was not chance I was buying the turquoise-shuttered house. ;)

We'd looked at the second house online back in December, but it was out of our price range. And, we'd actually driven by it when we went to look at another house in that community for sale. I'd commented then that I really liked it, and lucky for us, the sellers had lowered the price.

As soon as we walked inside, we both were impressed. Wide crown mouldings, nice glass doors to the library, high ceilings and a huge kitchen/living room combo wowed us. My only concern was the bedrooms -- I thought they were a little small, but not terrible (I grew up in a house with big bedrooms and have a slanted view). We agreed to think about it and talk to our realtor the next day.

We ended up meeting her back at the house that next day (Monday) and decided to make an offer. We did, the sellers countered, we re-countered and so did they. After four attempts, we came to an agreement and signed the paperwork. Hooray! The timing was great and we'd be able to move from one house to the next.

A few days later, it all started to crumble. I won't go into specific details (you never know who's reading!), but the sellers wanted to back-out of the deal. We said no to canceling the contract and sat on pins and needles while they came to peace with their decision to sell. Our realtor said she'd never seen that happen after paperwork was signed -- lucky us! It was stressful and I had quite a few nights of worry, but it all worked out for everyone.

Moving dates were set in place and we began packing, packing, packing!

Next up: the actual move. To be continued!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Moving On....

... to a new house! Yep, that's what's kept me too busy to faithfully blog the last few weeks. We are up to our ears in cardboard boxes and newspaper, and every afternoon and evening has been devoted to packing up our lives into approximately 150 boxes.

Let's start at the beginning.....

Last November, we started talking about whether or not it was a good time to look for a larger house. Our townhouse is terrific (and the location can't be beat), but we definitely could use more closet space, a bigger kitchen, a two-car garage, etc.

And, since interest rates are low and housing prices have dropped (although they are still RIDICULOUS in the D.C. area), we thought the timing was right. The only catch would be selling our place. We've had friends who have had condos and houses on the market for weeks and months, so we were a little hesitant.

Our first step was to meet with our realtor (the lady who helped us find the townhouse) to see what she thought we needed to do to our place to make it the most attractive to buyers and what was available on the market in our price range. We ended up visiting about five or seven houses in December, just to have a feel for what was out there.

In January, we decided to test the waters and put our house on the market. Our house really was in good shape, so we only had to do some general clean-up and pack up a few boxes of stuff. We went live on the market on Friday, January 29.

We got two offers on Saturday, January 30.


We had about 15 people come look at the house and got a total of four offers. One dropped out at the last minute, so we had three to choose from. We couldn't believe it!

Next up: our house search. To be continued!

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Catching Up

My pledge to be a better blogger was short-lived, I'm afraid. I promise to try harder!

Lots has been going on here with us -- so much so that it all deserves its own post. I'll get to that soon. I know I promised that last week -- stay tuned!

I don't know about the rest of you, but I'm ready for spring. This winter has been Most of our 30+ inches of snow is melted, although there are some piles that I think will be here until June!

In the meantime, I spilled coffee grounds near my laptop and now my keys randomly won't work. I think the grounds that slipped in between the keys are wreaking havoc!

Are you watching American Idol this season? I'm not impressed with anyone, really. I keep waiting for someone to pop out at me, but nothing yet. I guess my favorites are Katelyn and Alex.

This was a totally random blog!

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Big Winner!

I won a $25 Target giftcard today at work! I've been cranking out calls for our membership team during our annual renewal time, so hard work pays off, huh? Whoo hoo for Target!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

What will people remember?

I've been really moved during the last few weeks by Jenny's story. I didn't know Jenny or anyone in her family, but we have friends in common and the news about her sickness has infiltrated circles in blogland and Facebook.

Jenny died this week following a two-week battle with sepsis, which developed from a strep infection. Her family and friends are crushed, naturally, and she leaves behind a husband and young daughter. She was my age.

My age. How could someone my age pass away from such an illness? How does this happen a healthy, happy wife and mom?

In reading about Jenny on friends' blogs, it's evident that she was a wonderful daughter, sister and friend. She put others before herself and was the kind of friend a friend would like to have. I'm 100% sure she wasn't perfect, yet the joy in her heart is obvious in her photos and in her own words.

That's what people will remember about Jenny. They'll remember the happiness. The love. The JOY.

It got me to thinking: if the unimaginable suddenly happened, what would people remember about me? Would they remember times of laughter? Years of good and loyal friendship? Cheerfulness in times of trial?

Or would they remember hurtful words said in haste, or moments when I didn't have time to be a friend?

I want to live the kind of life that lets people remember me with joy, too.

Jenny, you'll be missed by many, but the story of your life has made a difference to at least one.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Recipe Sharing: Fool-Proof Popovers

I'm a big fan of Melissa d'Arabian on the Food Network. She won the last season of The Next Food Network Star and has a show on now called Ten Dollar Dinners. Her recipes are fantastic, and she definitely shares some good tips.

On a recent show, she made popovers. LOVE popovers! I think the best I've had were at Jordan Pond House on a trip to Maine with my parents.

Anywho, I made her recipe tonight with our dinner. They were simple and turned out great. Enjoy!

Fool-Proof Popovers

Yield: 8

3 tablespoons melted butter, divided
2 eggs
1 cup milk, warmed for 30 seconds in the microwave (should be lukewarm to warm)
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Using a pastry brush, coat 8 muffin cups with 1 tablespoon of the melted butter and put the tin in the oven for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, mix the eggs in a blender until light yellow. Add the warmed milk and blend. Add the flour, salt and remaining melted butter, and blend until smooth. Pour the batter into the warmed muffin tin and return it to the oven to bake until golden, about 35 minutes. Remove from the oven and serve warm.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

30-second snowfall

Since are getting yet ANOTHER snowstorm (and this time, we are actually under a blizzard warning!), I'm sharing this cool video. Enjoy!

Tuesday, February 09, 2010


Monday, February 08, 2010

Favorite Superbowl Commerials

As someone in the communications field, I actually love commercials. As convenient as it is to skip right past them on the DVR, I try to watch any new ones (but feel okay about skipping some of them!), and, of course, enjoy the Superbowl ads.

There weren't too many that I really liked this year -- how about you? There were too many about "men being men," and waaaaaay too many about men with no pants. Seriously??

That being said, here are a few of my favorites:

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Recipe Sharing: Pizza Bubble Ring

Who doesn't love a pepperoni roll?? I am making this recipe for us to enjoy tonight during the Superbowl. Thanks to Tessa for passing it along!

6-8 tablespoons Land O' Lakes Butter, melted
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
2 cans (12 oz each) Pillsbury Grands! Jr. Golden Layers refrigerated flaky original biscuits (I used Giant brand cheepie biscuits)
40 small slices pepperoni (about 3 oz)
8 oz. mozzarella cheese, cut into 20 pieces (I used shredded)
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 1/4 cups pizza sauce, heated

Heat oven to 350°F. Spray 12-cup fluted tube pan with Crisco Original No-Stick Cooking Spray.

In small bowl, mix melted butter, Italian seasoning and garlic powder. Separate 1 can of dough into 10 biscuits; press or roll each into 3-inch round. Place 2 pepperoni slices in center of each biscuit round. Top each with piece of mozzarella cheese. Bring dough up around filling; press edge to seal and shape each into ball. Roll in butter mixture; place 10 balls in pan.

Sprinkle dough balls with Parmesan cheese. Repeat with remaining can of biscuits, placing balls over balls in pan. Pour remaining butter mixture over top.

Bake 33 to 38 minutes or until deep golden brown. Cool 5 minutes. Gently loosen bread from sides of pan. Place large heatproof plate upside down over pan; turn plate and pan over. Remove pan. Serve warm with warm pizza sauce for dipping.

Saturday, February 06, 2010

Snowpocolypse 2010

I'm sorry I've been a bad blogger! When I finally get around to recording everything that we've been up to in the last few weeks, it'll all make sense. Maybe I'll get started on that today.

To tide you over, here are a few shots from what those in D.C. are calling the Snowpocolypse... or Snowmaggadon... or SNOWtorious B.I.G. :)

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Hello, out there....

January has not been a good month for blogging. Work picked back up, crazy as ever, and we've been doing some stuff around the house. Busy!

I'm glad to say that my back is doing much better. It's still not perfect, but at least I can move without wincing. Rob thought for sure that our neighbors were going to call the police since I was practically screaming every time I tried to stand up. It was terrible! I've been trying to take it easy, but stuff still has to be done. Ugh.

I don't think I mentioned that Rob and I went to see a play in D.C. during our time off from work. It is based on the C.S. Lewis novel, which is actually the first gift Rob ever gave me! To be honest, it was really weird and kind of dark, but it was really fascinating, too. We both liked it, although it kind of haunted me for awhile. It made me want to read the book again, so I need to dig that out.

Nothing more to update from my end. I'll try to be a better blogger!

Saturday, January 02, 2010

Holiday Wrap Up

I've been slacking on posting on the blog, since Rob and I took off from work this week and there's been much to occupy my time. We had a nice holiday visiting with both of our families and friends.

Among our top favorite gifts was a food processor. Rob's delighted that I can now make a pie crust from scratch, and he used it last night to slice up the onions for his famous French Onion Soup. Both were delicious!

Unfortunately, I irritated my sciatica a few days before Christmas and it's only gotten worse (maybe I shouldn't have been moving heavy boxes or a dresser, but whatever). Anyway, it was so awful yesterday that I went to urgent care, they xrayed to make sure that a bulging disc wasn't pressing on any important nerves, put me on some muscle relaxers and pain killers and ordered me to rest. That is VERY tough for me! But here I am, sitting on the bed with my lazy cat and trying my best not to think about everything that is unaccomplished around here....

Hope your holidays were happy!