April 23, 2017

At Home....aka Garden Ridge

Seriously, Garden Ridge?  What could have possibly been the reason to change your name?  Particularly to something so colossally ridiculous?

Surely, someone involved in this decision had to have had the same conclusions that I have as to why this was not a good move.  Instead of pooh-poohing that person's protestations, y'all should have given them a raise and a promotion; because they knew what they were talking about.

Yes, I've known about the change for some time now but considering today found me at your store TWICE - which, in and of itself, isn't a big deal except for the fact that the drive from here to there is approximately an hour long round trip.  So, in doing the math, I spent about two hours pondering your name change.

Make no mistake, I love your store.  The only reason I don't haunt our local store more often is because of the location - the most congested part of town.  So, if I don't get over there early, early (and I do appreciate that you are open early, early on Sundays), I usually don't go.

But we got up and out fairly early this morning (yes, I was able to drag The Husband along) with the intent of purchasing some outdoor furniture for the front porch.  Unfortunately, we were unable to fit both chairs into the car at once.  Thus, necessitating the second trip back, which I made solo.

And that's where I really began pondering on the ridiculousness of the new name.  As I was thinking if this whole adventure was blog-worthy, it occurred to me that if I had to type the line, "I purchased these chairs at At Home." for a post I would hate myself for the remainder of my life - even doing so as, I did here for an example, I feel dirty.  Of course, I could leave the first "at" out altogether but then it would sound like the name of the store was just Home.  Ludicrous.

Then, of course, my mind kept going - as it does.  And I imagined a scenario where someone called me while I was at your store - most likely, this would be The Husband wanting to know where I was and if I wanted to have lunch and I would have to say, "I'm At Home."  And he would say, "Well, I'm here and can't find you!" because he would be at our home and I would be at the store and then confusion would abound.

All in all, it's ridiculous.  And that's why you will always be Garden Ridge to me.

April 15, 2017

I guess they get brownie points for trying...

Today was shaping up to be an extra busy day - as most of my chores for the Easter holiday need to be done prior to the big day.  Particularly any of those that need to be done in the kitchen as The Husband will take over the kitchen bright and early tomorrow to create his culinary delights.

So I was up and at 'em bright and early.

Unfortunately, no one else was.  Finally, in a fit of frustration to start the day, I tiptoed back into the master bedroom, past The sleeping Husband, into the bathroom to get ready to leave the house.

While I was getting ready, Man-Child apparently woke up and was lounging on the couch when I tiptoed out of the master bedroom.  I informed him that I had a lot to do today and was headed out.  As I was heading out the door, I mentioned that it would be helpful if someone would mop the kitchen and bathroom floors while I was out.

I never expected that it would actually get done...kind of.

While I was browsing the grocery store for the necessities I would need for my baking spree, I received a phone call asking where the mop might be located.

Here's where you should be aware that we have a complicated mop.  A mop I fully intended to blog about - and never did, which I totally should have because now I can't remember which mop to tell you to stay far, far away from and which one I totally love*. *sigh* Yes, I am a terrible blogger.

At any rate, we have a mop that can wring itself out AND has a detachable mop head that can be washed.  This works for me on SO many levels - because honestly, who wants to touch nasty mop water?  And having the detachable head that can be thrown in the washing machine is an added bonus.

The problem with this?  I am the only person who knows how to re-assemble the mop.

So I explained, as best as I could, how to locate the various pieces and re-assemble the mop, hung up the phone and figured I'd be doing the mopping later today.

You can imagine my surprise when I came home and discovered that the kitchen floor was mopped.

When I expressed my delight, Man-Child proudly admitted he had done the floor.  When I asked if they were able to figure out the mop he said no and that dad (The Husband) had gone out and bought a Swiffer.  I asked why - since we have a Swiffer and he said....wait for it....

"We couldn't find it."

It was sitting in his bathroom.  The bathroom he uses EVERY SINGLE day.  Multiple times.

Now we own TWO Swiffers and a mop that only I can assemble.  And?  The bathrooms weren't touched.

But on the plus side, I was able to get two desserts made and deviled eggs.  I guess the bathrooms just get added to tomorrow's outside the kitchen list.



*I found it!  Sort of.  The mop I hated was the Clorox Twist Mop (sorry, Clorox, it was impossible to figure out).  The mop I have, I think, is the Libman White Tornado Twist Mop...all I know is that I bought it at Target and it wasn't the Clorox Mop.

April 9, 2017

That damn blackberry bush has risen from the dead...dammit!

I knew it would.  In fact I predicted that I would be fighting that bush for the rest of my life.  Also, according to that link I was supposed to have relocated several plants by now...and I did move a few irises a while back - but I have not relocated and/or disposed of the rest of them.  So much for that feeling of accomplishment I was enjoying for a short moment.

I declared that this weekend would be a productive one.  Immediately after uttering that statement, The Husband muttered, "God, I hate when she says that..." and then hid from me for the remainder of the weekend.  I kid...or do I?

My thought was that this would be the perfect weekend to weed the beds - in hopes that would be the incentive I needed to finish relocating/discarding those other plants.

As you may recall, that back bed which housed the god-awful blackberry bush, is HUGE.  So yesterday, I attacked the top half - which was relatively easy.  And I am happy to report, I didn't see any trace of those morning glories, which I feared would make a reappearance this year.  Mainly. all I had to deal with was milkweed and other random weeds.

Today, I spent about two hours tackling the bottom half - and to be honest, I'm STILL not done - but I had to give up and call Uncle.  The blackberry bush had sent out many offshoots - all of which are connected to HUGE roots, which I was attempting to pull up of much of it as I could possibly manage.  It is back-breaking work.  I had hoped to attack all those offshoots today - but it just wasn't meant to be.  Now, I'm going to have to talk myself into finishing the job next weekend somehow.  Hopefully, Man-Child will be home next weekend (actually, he'd BETTER be home, I just realized that's Easter weekend!) and can convince him to use his muscles to pull on those roots.  I should reap the benefits of his weight lifting, right?!

I would love to know whose bird-brained idea it was to plant that bush right smack in the middle of a garden bed?  Anyone with an ounce of sense would have placed it at the wood line if they truly felt they had to have a blackberry bush.

In fact, if I could figure out whose bright idea it was, I would have half a mind to go find them and force them via a shovel to get out there and dig and dig and dig until all the roots are gone.

But even though I wasn't able to finish weeding that bed this weekend, I feel pretty good about this being a productive weekend.  Although tomorrow, I won't be able to move.

Which is another reason to curse both that bush and the person who thought it would be a good idea to plant it.

April 3, 2017

Amazon Prime Pantry - it's becoming a game really

I simply cannot tell you how much time I have spent adding items to the Prime Pantry box, only to delete and add something else.  All in the quest to fill this box - and ONLY this box - to the perfect limit in order to qualify for free shipping.

It's an art.  One that I have not yet honed.

Currently, my box is 98.2% full.  According to the helpful note under this statistic, I need THREE more qualifying items for the free shipping (is this that Common Core Math they keep talking about - it seems to me that only one item would do the trick?).

Here's the deal - I have added and subtracted fifteen thousand different ways and have yet to hit upon that magic number.  At this rate, I'll either have to get in the car and drive to the store to get what I need OR I'll have to attempt to fill the second box to perfection; which between you and me?  I don't like my odds on filling that second box considering how difficult that first box has been to fill.

Yes, I realize this could be considered the epitome of lazy BUT I figure I have been VERY busy this weekend helping our dear friends move to the house two doors down, VERY tired from said weekend AND I'm paying for the membership to Prime, so why shouldn't I take full advantage of my membership?

Besides, I'm thinking this will surely help me work on my math skills; which are sorely lacking...obviously.



Do you Prime Pantry?  If so, what is the trick to filling that ONE box?  C'mon, be a pal, help me out.

March 29, 2017

Going home to Texas...trip re-cap.

I finally came home to North Carolina yesterday.  Considering I came back with just a smidge more than I left with - and everything I left with ALSO came home with me - I consider this trip a success.

There were only two, small hiccups during the trip.

The first involved the hotel in Austin. The hotel was GORGEOUS and I can highly recommend the Hampton Inn & Suites in downtown Austin (I'm only linking it for anyone looking for accommodations, not because I'm being asked/paid too).  It's not an inexpensive hotel but the stay was worth it - particularly since I wasn't paying for it.  The room/suite was HUGE and beautiful.  They also offer a complimentary breakfast and a "social" hour for all guests; not that I took advantage of those amenities.  This hotel was perfect and the hiccup was of no fault of the hotel or staff.

No, the fault lies with me.

The first time it happened was a total accident but by the third time....

I think this sums it up quite nicely. *sigh*

You'd think I would have figured it out after the first time, when the person at the front desk said, "You must have gotten the card key too close to your phone."  Did that register with me?  No.  No, it did not.  Because I repeatedly shoved that card key into my back pocket.  The same back pocket that held my phone.

The second hiccup involved the parking lot at the Charlotte airport long term parking.  No, I didn't forget where I parked.  I wrote it down, remember?  The shuttle driver dropped me right where I needed to be - but despite all my best efforts, I simply could not find the ticket stub that clocked me in.  I panicked just a little because all the signage led me to believe that this was a fully automated parking lot so I couldn't suss out how I was going to get out without that ticket.  

I finally chased down a shuttle and the driver informed me that it WASN'T a fully automated lot and the attendant would be able to help me out - so crisis averted.

And?  Guess what I found today?  That stupid ticket.  And it was in the most obvious place.  Of course.

The rest of the trip was wonderful.  I learned a great deal during the training (which totally justified the cost - which I will share with my boss over the coming days - once I get caught up) and had SO much fun catching up with my oldest friend.  It was during the course of our visit we realized that we've been friends for over 30 years - this shocked both of us. We simply couldn't figure out where the time had gone since we are both still SO young..

We stayed up late into the night talking and binge-watching season one of  This Is Us (if you haven't seen it, I highly recommend it - as long as you have a big box of tissues with you).  We both felt a little guilty spending so much time with the television but believe me, we still had plenty of time to catch up and have fun.

The majority of the nights found us up until 2:00 am (yes, ME, up that late!).  On Monday, we both decreed it an early night so I could get up to fly home only to find ourselves going to bed around 12:30 am.  That's what the power of a friendship separated will do to you; it will force you to stay up far too late, for far too many nights trying to eke out every last bit of time you have together.

I met her brand new grand-kids - they are SO cute - and marveled over the fact that her sons are old enough to have babies of their own.  We hit Galveston for a few hours.  We shopped.  We ate.  We had a wonderful time.

We agreed that we need to meet up at least once a year.  But we both know - as you probably do - that life will most likely get in the way of that; so we will settle for whatever time we can take.

The only thing that I didn't like?  The traffic.  Austin traffic was bad but compared to the Houston traffic, it was nothing.  The morning I was to leave we were up having coffee, saying our goodbyes, and glancing at the local news.  It was 5:30 am and the traffic report showed the Gulf Freeway in bumper to bumper traffic - AT 5:30 IN THE MORNING!

I remember traffic being bad when I lived there but I don't remember it being as bad as it is now.  I have since vowed to never, ever complain about the traffic here again.

And despite what life may throw at us - and the traffic, I'm hoping to get home again soon.  Maybe next time, I'll actually be able to see a few other people too...I doubt it though.  She is one of my favorite people that I want to spend time with...

March 22, 2017

Austin, TX...

I am currently typing this on a tiny tablet in a GINORMOUS hotel room in downtown Austin, Texas - so please forgive any and all typos and formatting issues that may ensue...


Remember that work trip I told you about, WAY back when?  Well, it's now.


Yesterday, I drove to Charlotte to catch a direct flight.  Charlotte's about an hour and a half away from home.  The drive was ok, I've done it before but I was nervous.  I couldn't put my finger on it for the longest time and then I realized...this was the first time I've flown out of Charlotte.  I've flown THROUGH Charlotte, but never had an originating flight from there.  As I pulled into the airport, I became a little overwhelmed.  It also dawned on me...this is the first time I've ever gone completely solo.  Usually, Man-Child is with me or I'm headed directly to people I know.  This time...I'm on my own.  At least until I hit Houston, sometime Friday afternoon.


Usually, when I fly out of our airport, I have someone drop me off and I know exactly where I need to go and what I need to do.  Yesterday, I was a bit at a loss.  I parked in long term parking since I will be gone for a week.  If I'd thought it through a bit more, I might have parked at the closer long term parking.  Lesson learned.


I caught the shuttle to the actual airport and the driver was extremely helpful.  She reminded me THREE times about where she picked me up and where I should be to catch the shuttle back to my car.  Being the forgetful diligent person that I am, I wrote it all down.  I successfully checked in and yet somehow completely botched tagging my bag.  At my airport, they do it for you.  Luckily, the charming guy that checked my bag was able to fix it.  After I apologized one too many times he replied, "If this is the hardest thing that happens to me today then it will be a good day."


With baggage and security behind me, I settled in to wait for my flight.  This time was completely uneventful.  I boarded my flight and settled in for the trip.


I was saddled with a mother and child for seat mates.  To be honest, I really can't complain.  The child was very well behaved, as was the mother.  But after being without a small one in the house for a VERY long time, the constant questions from the child became a bit tiresome.  BUT, she was well behaved.  And seemed to be a very bright and inquisitive little girl, which speaks well of her mother - but again, the sing-song way she responded to the child also got tiresome after awhile - but I'm NOT complaining, because it could have been SO much worse.


The one thing I CAN complain about...the guy across the aisle?  He decided to watch a movie on his phone.  Which was fine.  Except he didn't have headphones.  Now, while the noise level wasn't excessive, I could hear most of the dialogue and background noise - which didn't really become an irritant until the end of the flight.  I felt more sorry for his seat mate who finally gave up trying to read her book and just played solitaire on her computer.  Manners and consideration, people...they mean more today than ever before.


Upon landing, I thought "Ahh, I'm here!"  thinking I could relax.  Hahahaha.  I forgot about the navigating around a strange city.  I found my rental car with only a little difficulty.  I looked at the directions to the hotel and immediately got a tension headache.  Finally, I just typed the address into Google Maps and followed the voice...tell me, HOW did we exist before our current technology??!!


After fighting and cursing through the unrelenting 5:00 pm traffic I ended up at this gorgeous hotel where I settled in and relaxed a bit before heading out to dinner.  I made a beeline for the Mexican restaurant on the corner to enjoy a margarita and what I hoped was some good food.  It wasn't the best but it was good and the margarita was perfect.


Since there was still plenty of daylight, with lots of people around, I decided to walk around the block to see what is around here.  Once I turned the corner, it was quiet and empty.  As I kept walking, I noticed a young man turn the corner ahead and began walking toward me.  I didn't think to much of this until - after he passed me - I had a feeling and turned back to look - sure enough, he was now walking back toward me!  I didn't panic but was concerned enough to pick up my pace AND kept an eye on him until I reached the corner where a restaurant's patio seating was full of people.  He walked quickly past me and off into another block.


At that point, I figured it was time to get to my room and hunker down for the night.  Which I did, until 1:00 am.


At almost exactly 1:00 am the fire alarm began to go off.  Up until this point in my life, I'd always wondered whether I'd sleep through a fire alarm - turns out I won't.  Particularly, this one.  It was crazy loud - which I imagine it has to be to empty a hotel.  How I managed to grab my robe, my purse and my room keys, I'll never know.  It was SO disorienting.  As I staggered out of my room, a young woman came charging out of her room asking what we should do.  I responded by pointing toward the emergency exit.  Just as we hit the door, a policeman came barreling through it.  Presumably to get people out.


It's a strange thing to be milling around outside, in the middle of the night, disoriented and sleepy while in your pajamas with complete strangers.  All of which seemed to have the presence of mind to have grabbed their phones.  The young woman beside me was concerned because her friend was housed several floors above us and she didn't see her in the crowd.  I pointed to her phone and asked if she'd tried to contact her.  We drifted away from each other as she tried to contact her friend.  I'm sure she was probably in another group similar to ours on the other side of the hotel.


We all watched as the fire trucks came and the firemen headed inside.  We noted that one window on the 8th floor had a flashing light and assumed that whatever had triggered the alarm came from that room.


We were in the street for maybe twenty minutes before they gave us the all clear to head back in.  I have to tell you, prior to the alarm, I was out like a light.  But after?  My sleep was fitful at best.


Of course, after such a poor night's sleep, I found myself up WAY before I needed to be this morning - not even taking into account the time difference.  My body was still on East Coast time.  I found an endless supply of coffee and caffeinated myself accordingly and headed over to the Boot Camp/Conference, which was fairly uneventful and would be totally boring for you, so I shall refrain from submitting you to that - you are welcome.

 Now here is where I mention the most important part - I simply CANNOT wear my hair straight here.  It does what it wants, which means today was a frizzy, wild hair kind of day.  Tomorrow, I will acquiesce and let the curls take over.  I should have known.

Now that I've experienced creating a post on the tablet, I can promise, I won't  be doing it again. What a pain!











March 17, 2017

The great ketchup (or, catsup, IF you insist) debate...

It all began as I was describing to a co-worker just how badly a local fast-food restaurant completely messed up my order.

I will admit, I went there under duress, as I've been avoiding fast food but I had spent the majority of my lunch hour snuggling my friend's brand new baby (love!) and needed a quick meal before returning to work.  I ordered a bacon cheeseburger, no onions, no ketchup (hey, if I'm going to eat crap, I reckon I should enjoy it).  Instead I received a cheeseburger - sans the bacon - slathered in ketchup.

I declared to said co-worker, that ketchup on a hamburger is a total abomination to which she replied, "Really?"  I looked at her in horror as it dawned on me that she is of the "ketchup on a burger camp."

I asked her, "Do...you eat your hamburgers with ketchup?!"  She replied that she did - but preferred just a little on it.  I was horrified.

I looked at her and said, "What about hot dogs?  Please tell me you don't put ketchup on hot dogs."  To which she nodded again, qualifying that she only wanted a little.  But, apparently, her husband and daughter love the stuff and coat everything in it.

In my mind, hamburgers should be eaten with either mayo or mustard - alone or together.  And hot dogs get mustard period.  The only things that require ketchup is meatloaf and occasionally I'll use just a dab for french fries.  And my little family agrees with me.  Neither The Husband or Man-Child put ketchup on anything else.

Considering I've known this woman for 16 years this was quite the revelation.  We've had lunch together many times and I'd never known this about her.  Apparently, we don't eat hamburgers or hot dogs at these lunches - come to think of it, it's usually Mexican food.

After this conversation, it occurred to me, surely I can't be the only one who has firm beliefs about the use of ketchup.  And surely, her family can't be the only one who uses ketchup so indiscriminately.

Where do you fall - in the ketchup should only be used in conjunction with meatloaf and french fries camp or the ketchup on everything camp?