December 28, 2018

Post Christmas Update

We had a lovely Christmas and hope you did as well, if you celebrate.  We are now eagerly waiting for the new year and, hopeful that it will be a good one.

Man-Child gave me the greatest surprise this Christmas.  I've only been asking for one every weekend (and EVERY gift-giving opportunity in between) from anyone who would listen for the past three years to no avail - he bought me a pressure washer!

Yes, I know.  It is generally frowned upon to give a woman an appliance or a tool - which may explain why I've not received one before now; but I maintain that if the item has been specifically requested by the woman; then, and only then, it is an acceptable gift.  And this one was - tears sprang to my eyes when he walked in with it.

Oh, the things that I can do with this machine!  I can't wait for it to quit raining long enough for me to try it on the driveway!  

And that is the point where we segue to the weather...

It's raining...AGAIN.  I swear this year has been the rainiest on record and I would be right.  The local newspaper just did a story about how we have broken the record for rain in a single year.  I am SO over the rain - but, of course, the forecast is calling for more on Sunday and Monday - with nary a sunbeam in sight tomorrow... *sigh*

I honestly didn't need the news story to tell me that we broke the record - just driving through the neighborhood this afternoon told me all I needed to know - what with all the flooded out yards and such.  Yes, I'm observant that way, you know.

This afternoon found me on a mission to "un-decorate."  Since I put very little up this year - other than the tree - it took no time at all.  Now, I will admit that our naked, pre-lit tree is still standing in all it's glory but that's only because The Husband remarked, as he does every year, that I was "rushing" it.  I told him the tree could remain standing and naked, but for the lights, until this weekend; but the rest was coming down because once I go back to work I knew I wouldn't want to deal with it.

*Let me butt in here to tell you, I bought these hooks last year for our ornaments and I seriously love them! (This isn't an affiliate link, I just seriously love these hooks - WAY better than the traditional hooks!).*

And then, I turned to continuing to wade through the MANY boxes and whittling things down.  I was able to pare the ten boxes down to eight.  That may not sound like much BUT those boxes were STUFFED with things that we never used.  So these eight boxes are MUCH lighter than they were before.  And, to be honest, if it weren't for the four ornament boxes (which I keep because I need one for red ornaments, one for silver, one for gold and one for "family" ornaments) we could probably whittle it down to six but I like to have them separate...because that's the way I roll.  

I did find it odd, considering we usually only decorate our porch with lighted garland (which we didn't do this year since I never did track down suitable garland - oh well, next year maybe), that we have an inordinate amount of lights.  We even have multi-colored lights - which we never use.  Since I was fairly certain Goodwill wouldn't accept the lights - even though I checked that they all worked - I boxed them up for storage.  I didn't know what else to do with them at this point.

Long time readers will recognize that December is usually the busiest this blog gets since I take so much time off.  Long time readers will also realize that The Husband and I rarely take vacation at the same time unless we are traveling together (which is also rare).  The Husband and I have been home together for the past FOUR days.  I now know WHY we are rarely home together for any length of time.

This morning found me ready to kill him for eating toast.  Seriously?!  How can someone make eating toast into a LOUD activity?  When I called him out on it he responded with, "Well, it's not like I'm eating celery!"  No, but it certainly sounded like it.

December 22, 2018

Spreading Christmas's easier than you might think.

Yesterday I was talking to my friend (two doors down).  She is a younger mom with younger children (all under 12 with youngest not even two yet).  With children who were out of school all last week thanks to the snow...and then were out again this week due to illness.  And will now remain out of school thanks to the Christmas holidays.

When we spoke she was overwhelmed.  She was behind on gift buying, gift wrapping, house cleaning...she was behind on all of it.  She wondered how I seemed to be ahead of the game.  I laughed and said, "I've been on vacation and don't have small children."  We chatted about other things and hung up.

And as I was telling The Husband about our conversation, I remembered how it was back in the day, with a small child.  Snow days, sick days, holidays,,,being stuck in the house for days with a child.  It could be SO overwhelming!  And here I was, with an evening stretched out in front of me and no small people under my feet and no one making demands of my time.

So I sent her a text right then and there asking if she wanted to sneak out of her house and come on down that I would help her wrap gifts.  She was amazed and grateful.  She came bearing various gifts, wrapping paper and ribbon.

We spread out on the living room floor - with Christmas music in the background - and wrapped, chatted and laughed.  When she left a couple of hours later, her relief was palpable - that one task was done.

And it's that simple...look around and see what you can do to help.  Buy food for the food bank.  Help an overwhelmed mother.  Open a door for someone whose hands are full.  Smile at strangers.  Slip a couple of bucks into the Salvation Army bucket.  It really isn't that hard.

And it really shouldn't only happen at Christmas...

December 19, 2018

"Over" you to give your child a complex in one easy step...

I was ready to send Man-Child a text when I realized I wanted to reference a previous text and came across THIS gem...

Over you much?! Thanks spell-check...that should have been "Love you much."  And I wonder why this child might need therapy...

December 16, 2018


I have been trying really hard to find the Christmas spirit - but I gotta say shopping or errand-running in monsooning weather makes that hard.  As does being boxed in to a parking spot - not once, not twice but FOUR times in ONE day - since the line of cars refuses to let you out...unless, of course, they want your parking spot.  Or the rude and inconsiderate shoppers that elbow you out of their way.  Or the fact, that my tree STILL wasn't up.

To be honest? By the other night (and again last evening), I was fed up.  As evidenced by this Tweet...

And that, pretty much sums up where I was last night.  Done.

I had asked Man-Child to help his dad move the heavy chair when he was here on Monday night.  Apparently, they forgot about it.  Which was understandable as there was SO much going on with the ridiculous amount of snow and The Husband being sick (he's a bit better - we'll give it few more days and see if those antibiotics kick in).  I had assumed that we would see MC at some point early this weekend.  He had a wedding to attend that I wrongly assumed was in Raleigh...turns out it was in the mountains instead.  I knew I couldn't help the sickly husband move the chair (the darn thing weighs a thousand pounds...what? No, I'm not exaggerating!)  Once I realized that MC wouldn't be coming here, I had decided that this would be the Christmas without a tree!  

Because, although I would like the tree to stay up after the new year, I know me.  I would rather have that tree down and out of the way before I return to work on January 2nd.  Otherwise, that tree could possibly remain standing until July (ok...maybe I tend to exaggerate a TINY bit...).  But seriously?  What would be the point of putting up a tree next week only to take it down the next?

The Husband, sensing my frustration called our neighbor two doors down (I'm thinking I should give them the acronym of ONTDD...nah) and asked if he could help.  He was willing and able.

And saved our Christmas.  Because, I wasn't kidding...if that tree didn't go up this weekend, it wouldn't go up at all.

As soon as our neighbor left, The Husband immediately put the tree up - which I then trimmed this morning.  That coupled with the return of the sun, lifted my mood immediately.

Sadly, our angel decided not to light this year - you'll note she's missing from the top of the tree.  I have The Husband on a mission to find fuses - I'm hoping to save her.  But have resigned myself to the fact that we may have to replace her.

But as I stood in the garage and looked at the TEN storage bins of Christmas decorations, I declared - out loud, so it would count - that this is the year I finally wade through and start donating.  I have said it every year (but not out loud) since we downsized but the task is a daunting one which falls by the wayside with the decorating, shopping, wrapping, etc.

So I did a quick run through of all the boxes and was able to fill three grocery bags.  Later this afternoon - after discovering that my favorite lighted garland had also decided to die filled eleven more bags of things - bringing the total up to fourteen bags - including non-lighted garland, linens (SO MANY linens - linens I'd forgotten I even owned!) and knick-knacks.  All of this will be hauled off to Goodwill bright and early tomorrow.

As of today, I believe I have finished my shopping - except for the hunt for lighted garland for the porch and, possibly, a new angel.  I have one more package to wrap after it arrives tomorrow.

I have given up on the thought of getting Christmas cards out this year.  I had good intentions as we took family pictures over Thanksgiving - but unfortunately, NONE of them came out with a high-enough resolution for I have set that chore aside with absolutely no guilt.  Maybe next year.

So, finally...I am getting there...and finding that Christmas spirit.  Some years it takes a little longer than others, but eventually it always shows up.

December 13, 2018

The oddest gift for a child...

A few days ago, I asked my friend from two doors down what her children wanted for Christmas.

For the baby, I expected "busy" toys.  And was rewarded with that response.  For the oldest, I expected a request for a book and, was again, rewarded.  For the middle I expected a sports-related request.

This child gave me a surprise...

Instead of a football, soccer ball or other related sports equipment she informed me that he wanted an electric pencil sharpener.

An electric pencil sharpener???

Who buys that for a third grader?  What kind of crazy lady would even think that it is an appropriate gift for a child?

I asked her several times, "Are you SURE that's what he wants?"  And every time she responded with a yes.  Apparently, he only had three requests on his list and this particular electric pencil sharpener was on it.

I discussed this at length with The Husband.  How could I order a pencil sharpener for a child?  HOW could that be a gift  that child wanted?  The Husband finally looked at me and said, "Don't you remember the first time you came across an electronic pencil sharpener? And how cool it seemed?"

Apparently, I had forgotten.

And that was how I found myself ordering a pencil sharpener for a third grader.

When I informed her that I bought the EXACT model that he'd requested, she responded that he would be over the moon.

I hope she's right.  Because who buys a pencil sharpener for a Christmas gift?  Apparently, I do.

December 11, 2018

In exile, thanks to the snow...when does the South get THAT much snow anyway?

When I last left you, we were facing a monster snow storm.  And, boy, did we get hammered.  It started early, early Sunday morning and snowed steadily all day; by the time it stopped we had about 12 inches!!!

It was enough that my company, which has NEVER closed in its entire history, closed the office on Monday.

I have lived here in Somewhere, North Carolina for over twenty years - I have NEVER seen anything like this.  The Husband even commented that he hasn't seen anything like this since he moved out of New York state.

Yesterday, I spent the day listening to my husband hack and cough and moan while praying that a plow would come through.  Even if one did, we still couldn't have gotten out because The Husband was too sick to shovel the driveway.

Late yesterday afternoon, Man-Child slid down the street (how he made it through in that low car, I'll never know) and came to our rescue, shoveling most of the driveway and cleaning off the SUV - in the dark no less - which The Husband had planned to take to work this morning when his office opened at 11:00 am.  I begged The Husband to stop at Urgent Care because he sounded so awful.  He finally agreed before he left.  Both he and Man-Child left this morning and I continued to be stranded because the other car was still covered in snow.

During a text exchange with my friend two doors down, I learned that EVERY OTHER STREET in this neighborhood was plowed yesterday!  And? To add insult to injury those streets were plowed TWICE!

I posted on Nextdoor asking why and who should I call to get this street dealt with - utter silence.  In frustration, I used the "Contact Us" option on the NC DOT website - utter silence.  So I called the DOT; sat on hold for about 15 minutes and was finally dumped into their voicemail - which I did not want.  Mainly, because at this point I figured they wouldn't bother to call me back.  It's now been about 4 hours since I used the "Contact Us" option and still haven't heard a word.  I think that pretty much tells me that no, they wouldn't have called me back.

In other news, Habit for Humanity was supposed to show up today to pick up all that stuff in the garage.  Did they show up?  No and I was not surprised, nor upset.  Did they call to re-schedule?  No, they did not and that rankled.  At this point, I'm pretty fed up with any and all agencies.

My lonely exile wasn't long though - after The Husband went to Urgent Care he was sent home with a diagnosis of bronchitis.  They told him he was lucky it wasn't pneumonia; which is what I was worried about.  I told him that if he'd held off going he probably would have ended up with it.

Unbeknownst to me, The Husband had also posted on Nextdoor trying to find someone to clear his car and side of the driveway.  But he posted using my account; so imagine my surprise when I received a direct message from some random guy.  I was hesitant to open it because why would some random guy be sending me a direct message?!  Yes, I AM suspicious.  In this day and age, sadly, you kind of have to be.

This random guy turns out be a nice person, I assume, who offered to come finish the driveway and car - and when asked his price?  He responded with, "Whatever you think is fair." And just like that, he restored my faith in humanity...just in time for Christmas.

And yes, I wrote him a very generous check, am planning to bake some Christmas cookies for his family and am probably going to ask him (he owns his own construction company) about getting me a front door.

December 8, 2018

Christmas Prep....hahahahahaha

I knew that we should have pulled out the Christmas decorations last weekend.  I knew it...but we didn't - because those boxes would have cluttered up the already cluttered and over-stuffed garage and I was hoping that I could get Habitat for Humanity to come pick up the bathroom vanity, freezer, and dresser that currently calls the garage home.

Unfortunately, after I made this very important decision, Habitat for Humanity informed us that they couldn't get here until next Tuesday.... *sigh*

Man-Child came home one night this past week and helped The Husband pull the decorations down - which are now blocking all of the items Habitat for Humanity is supposed to pick up on Tuesday...but who knows if they will even make it now.

Why, you ask?

Because we are currently expecting between 10 to 13 inches of snow between tonight and Monday.  In the South.  Where we NEVER get anything more than a couple of inches.  If anything, we get more ice than snow.  So if this forecast bears out, I'm expecting complete and utter chaos.

Since I am woefully behind on my Christmas shopping, instead of using my day off Friday to decorate, I went shopping for gifts and baking supplies - for our annual treat week day at work on Monday (hahahahaha!  But, in the event the snow event fizzles, I still need to be prepared! *I* planned this, I HAVE to be ready).  And then wrapped - at least in this area I'm ahead of the game - kinda.  Instead of decorating today, I went out and did some more shopping - do you know what would make shopping easier (other than hitting the lottery)?  If my family would actually give me some ideas, that's what. And will probably do some more futile online shopping once I finish this post. 

Prior to sitting down to write this post, I tried to persuade The Husband (who is down with the dreaded Man-Cold; the symptoms of which are already getting on my nerves - God help us if we do get snowed in) to help me get the tree into the house and set up.  But before that can be done, the heavy chair needs to be moved.  He suggested waiting until Man-Child is here.  *Humph!*  We don't know WHEN we will see him again.  Definitely not next weekend, as he is in a wedding.  Perhaps, my time would have been better spent outside decorating...but to be honest?  A day with temperatures hovering in the low 40's does not entice me to spend time outside, wrangling garland around the porch rails - only to discover mid-wrangling that the pre-lit lights don't work or that I have put them on backwards, so that the plug is on the opposite end of the porch from the outlet (one or the other happens EVERY year, I swear).  I'm seriously beginning to believe that our only Christmas decorations this year will be our stockings.

So, as I type this, the house is bare of any Christmas cheer - instead it sits adding to the clutter in the garage - other than the gifts adorned with pretty ribbon.  And baking supplies at the ready for when I'm snowed in and can't do anything else...until we lose power.  Which is entirely possible.

November 28, 2018

I figured out what to get The Husband for Christmas...before I kill him.

I literally just Googled this...

Best Wireless Headphones for TV Before I Kill My Husband

Because, honestly?  I'm about ready to kill my husband.  We go through the same scenario every night...I log on to the computer (in the dining room) to see what y'all are up to and The Husband turns on the tv (in the living room)...did I mention that this house is an open concept home, which means the kitchen, dining and living room are all one big room?  The turning on the tv means that The Husband has the volume at full blast.  Which only gets louder when there is shooting, shouting or music of any kind.  And every time that happens I kind of hate him for it (kinda, I recognize that I still love him but that I also want to kill him - welcome to marriage!).

Muttering under my breath does no good - because, obviously he can't hear it.  Asking him to turn it down only works for so long before all the noise subsides to regular conversation that he can't hear has him turning it up again.  I have told him repeatedly that he needs to have his hearing checked.  So far, he is resisting this option (I think because he's afraid hearing aids may be in his future and isn't ready to admit that he is at that point in his life); much like he resists going to the eye doctor - even though I remind him constantly that glaucoma runs in his family.

So before I dive into an exhaustive Google search for the best headphones to keep me from killing him - is this a problem in your home?  Have you solved it?  If so, help a girl out, please!  If not, please start a Go Fund Me for bail money..

November 23, 2018

Sometimes Future-Gigi is pleasantly surprised by Past-Gigi...

Yesterday, I pulled open the drawer that holds the table linens prepared to spend far too much time ironing napkins.  Instead I was surprised to see that the napkins had already been ironed!  Apparently, after the last meal that I deemed worthy enough of cloth napkins (probably Easter, if I'm honest), I gave Future-Me a gift and ironed the napkins after washing them.

This made me very happy.

Except - for some reason, I ironed them in thirds - shaped like a rectangle.  This was only a minor blip though.  See, normally I iron them in fourths - shaped like a square and then proceed to do this very seemingly, complicated thing (it's really not) that my friend's son calls "napkin oragami."

But still - ironed napkins at the ready!  I did proceed with the napkin oragami and was done in more than half the time it usually takes me.  With this lovely surprise in the back of my head, today I presented Future-Me with another gift.  After washing those napkins, I ironed them - this time in fourths.

Future-Me won't be as surprised as I was yesterday since it will be about a month from now when those napkins get pulled out - but most likely it will remind Future-Me to treat Further-In-The-Future-Me to a nice surprise.

But you know what would REALLY be magical?  If I opened that drawer and found the table cloth was already ironed.  I know that won't be happening...especially since I skipped using it at all this year. Oh well, maybe by then the Future-Me will have figured out the easiest way to iron that stupid tablecloth.

November 19, 2018

Unspoken contracts...

All relationships have them...especially old married couples.  You know the ones I mean, he might loathe emptying the dishwasher, so it becomes her job.  She may need to be the first one in the bathroom every morning, so he uses the guest bath.  And on and on.

And then, occasionally, one might find that the other is overstepping his bounds in the unspoken contract...this is the dilemma that has recently presented itself in this house...enough so that the unspoken contract needed to become spoken.

The former owners of this house, created a "mini mudroom" in the hall from the garage to the house.  They did a board and batten kind of thing which I love and added five hooks from which you can hang purses, hats, bags, etc.

Note there are FIVE hooks.

Recently, I've noticed that The Husband has taken to using one or both of the hooks that I consider mine.  As our household has dwindled to the two of us, I had commandeered two hooks for my purse, reusable bags and jacket/sweater and left the other three for him.  And then, all of a sudden, random jackets, etc. began showing up on MY hooks.  I would move them back to HIS hooks, thinking surely that would be the clue that he needed.

This did not happen.

So finally, this weekend, I told The Husband that those were my hooks.  Twice.

And today, he had the nerve to lament that I dared to commandeer TWO hooks!  I looked him dead in the eye and said, "There are FIVE hooks; I have two and you have THREE."  And, lo and behold, today he left my hooks alone...

That unadorned hook? It's MINE!

As much as I like this little mini mudroom situation, it gets crowded, especially now in the in-between season where it's cold one day, warm the next, and then it rains.  In the summer, I try to keep all the hooks, except for the one on the end, clear. And to be honest, that in itself is a never ending task.

November 18, 2018

Old school blogging and missing the community we used to have

I've been hearing rumblings in the blogging world.  It started with this call to arms, which then led to the creation of this community.  Just Google the term "old school blogging" and you will end up with a myriad of results dating from 2015 to 2018 (and that's just the first page of results).  This tells me that there are plenty of bloggers/readers who are missing the community that old school blogging facilitated.

And then a few days ago, The Bloggess, wrote a post entitled Calling All Bloggers, which was inspired by this post (and when I dove deeper I found this post)...all of which highlighted what many of us have been saying...where did the community go?

I can't say for sure whether or not I am an "old school" blogger - but I've been doing this fly-by-the-seat-of-the-pants blog since about July 2009 (over NINE years?! Really?!  Somehow this amazes me),  I think that means I qualify. Here is what I remember about "old school" blogging...

Each blog had a community...people kept coming back for more because they loved the interaction.  I've written a million several posts about comments.  They were vital to blogs - back in the day...that's what kept us writing posts...because we wanted to connect.

I miss Texan Mama who wrote Who Put Me in Charge of These People? (which has since morphed into Gretchen Willis Photography (she is amazing with a camera!),  FourSons (which has completely disappeared from the amount of Googling can find her - sure I know where she resides on FaceBook, but I want to respect her privacy), Jerry from Gently Said was lost in the whole Blogger/Yahoo issue, which two years later is STILL NOT resolved (sending very disapproving looks to both companies along with a lecture to "play nice!"), From The Inside...Out - last I heard she moved to California and was loving it; Hyperbole and a half has also disappeared, as has Laundry Hurts My Feelings and Pearl...and many, many, many more.

If you look to your right, you will notice that I still have these listed on my "blog roll" (which is what we called it back in the day - these were the blogs that we loved and wanted to share) because I keep hoping one day they will pop back up.

We had a lot of fun back then.  We would share "awards" and tag other bloggers.  When someone new would pop up in the comments, the protocol was to go visit them and say hi - and possibly follow.  We would create tags, like the What's In Your Bag and tag other bloggers to play along.

I think part of the problem now is - people just aren't commenting as much as they used to - for whatever reason.  Maybe they are shy.  Maybe they are thinking, they don't know me and probably don't want to hear what I have to say.  Or, well, who knows why?

But here's the thing.  The person writing the blog is putting their thoughts out there; reaching for a connection.  Starting the conversation.  So it only makes sense that they would be delighted to get a response, right?  I mean, if the blogger wasn't looking for a connection they would either set their blog to private or not blog at all and just journal.

I know I haven't been the best at commenting lately but that changes now - I am going to attempt to comment on every post I read - even if the blog in question isn't one that I consistently follow - because, honestly?  I think that might be the way to find ourselves back to that community feeling we we used to have.

November 11, 2018

The cake that didn't want to be made...twice!

Yesterday was The Husband's birthday and we had planned to have our friends two doors down over for dinner and dessert.  The idea was to celebrate The Husband's birthday and Man-Child's birthday (which was a MONTH ago!).

The reason we hadn't celebrated MC's birthday yet was because getting him here to actually do so has been impossible with his schedule of late.

At any rate, I planned to make a praline cake - yes, not a traditional birthday cake, but a cake that Man-Child loves.  The Husband, who typically doesn't eat many of the sweet treats I make, scoffed at that cake.  I offered to make something else but he said no.

Then, as I pulled out my recipe binder, I remembered I had his mother's recipe for his all time favorite dessert; the one he always requested for his birthday when he was younger - and just like that I was making two desserts.

With relatively no issues, I whipped up the base for the "pudding pie" for The Husband and set about to making the praline cake while it cooled before finishing it up.

Truly, I can't even call this recipe "baking" as you use a boxed cake mix but it is - usually - incredibly easy.  I am sharing it here both because I think some of you might like it and because it will help to explain what happened in both instances.

Praline Cake

1 cup coarsely chopped pecans
1/2 cup packed brown sugar (as always, I prefer dark brown sugar)
1/3 cup butter, melted
2 tablespoons dark corn syrup
1 pkg SuperMoist Butter Pecan cake mix

Heat oven to 350.  Mix pecans, brown sugar, butter and corn syrup in small bowl, with a spoon.  Spread on bottom of un-greased rectangular pan.  Prepare cake mix as directed on package.  Pour batter carefully over the pecan mixture.  Bake as directed on package (35-40 minutes).  When done, run a knife around the edges of the pan to loosen; immediately turn pan upside down onto heatproof serving tray or wire rack.  Leave pan over cake for about 5 minutes; remove pan.  Serve warm or cool.

When the praline cake was finished baking, I pulled it from the oven, ran the knife around the edges, and prepared to turn the cake upside down...

 ...and promptly lost my grip and the entire cake exploded onto the stove top.  Ruined.  The entire cake was a total loss and the incredible, sticky mess was, luckily, contained to the stove top.  Thank goodness I was home alone as I may have let a few unladylike words fly.

I threw the ruined cake in the trash, cleaned up the sticky, gooey mess and headed to the grocery for supplies - this cake was going to be made come hell or high water.

Upon returning home, I started the whole process again.  While the cake was in the oven, I finished off the pudding pie.  And, in the event that anyone wants that recipe, I'll share it here.  Also, not really baking.

Pudding Pie

1/2 lb butter (2 sticks of butter)
1 cup chopped nuts (pecans is my preferred nut for this recipe)
1 1/2 cup flour
1 cup powdered sugar
8 oz cream cheese
1 cup Cool Whip
2 4 oz packages instant chocolate pudding
3 cups of milk
1 chocolate bar

Mix flour, butter and nuts with a fork or pastry blender.  Spread in 9 x 13 pan and bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes.  Set aside to cool completely.

Beat together cream cheese, powdered sugar and Cool Whip.  Spread over the cooled crust.  Mix up instant chocolate pudding and milk.  Spread this mixture over the cream cheese layer.  Spread the remaining Cool Whip over the last layer.  Grate the chocolate bar over the top.  Refrigerate for four hours or overnight.

As I was finishing up the pudding pie (which The Husband was delighted to see), The Husband was hovering around the kitchen waiting for me to finish so we could go to lunch.  And, as he told me repeatedly, he was starving.

As I pulled the cake from the oven, I thought it seemed a little jiggly but the toothpick I had used to check for done-ness came out clean.  The Husband flipped the cake for me, as I had told him about the first cake.  In my rush to wrap up this process, I neglected to leave the pan over the cake for the required five minutes.  Turns out, this step is pretty crucial to the recipe.  It doesn't ruin the cake, but it helps to firm up the topping (which was in the bottom of the pan).

We left for lunch, only to come home to discover that a lot of the praline "juice" had run off the sides of cake - once again leaving a sticky mess on the stove top. *sigh*  And, even worse...the center of the cake had collapsed!  Despite the toothpick being clean, the cake clearly could have done with another ten minutes in the oven.  Luckily, it was only that one, small part - the rest of the cake was fine.

You know what is next to impossible to photograph?  The collapsed part of the cake.  The topping serves as a fine camouflage...

This angle kinda shows the collapse...but also shows what happens when you neglect to leave the pan on for the required five minutes.

At this point, there wasn't time to make it again, so I called it "good enough."  I also neglected to take a picture of the pudding pie...I am clearly failing as a "food" blogger. ;-)

Despite, the collapse, this cake was a clearly a hit.  Man-Child took the rest home and will, hopefully, share with his roommate...but I have a feeling he may hide it.

The pudding pie was also well received, I did notice that The Husband didn't offer to send any of it home with MC though...

November 4, 2018

A weekend of purging...

Next week, we are having a business dress clothing drive at work to benefit those who are in need of nice business clothing in order to interview for jobs, etc.  As I have been meaning to clean out my closet of some of those now, unnecessary clothes this was the prod I needed.

Yesterday, I waded into the closet and was able to fill four bags of clothing and shoes that I do not need anymore.  I did save a few favorites because you never know when I might need some "grown up" clothes.  But now, the majority of my closet is fairly casual.

A little over two years ago, when we moved in, I knew that I would need to go through the dresser that landed in my dressing room when we discovered that all of our furniture wouldn't fit in our bedroom and move some of The Husband's clothes to his closet.  But then life got in the way, as it always does, and this project was put off.  Mainly, because the system I had in place was working...kind of.

Today, I dove in to that dresser.  There were two drawers of The Husband's old socks and two drawers of old tee-shirts.  He has not wandered into that room to look for any of these clothes in well over two years.

Because I am a kind wife who wanted him to know what I was about to do (since he's accused me of taking his clothing and giving it away before without telling him; which I have never done!), I walked into the living room and informed The Husband (aka The Hoarder) that I was sending all the socks and tee-shirts to Goodwill.  He agreed - and then it dawned on him that I wasn't talking about sending MY socks and tee-shirts; because why would I announce that to him?

Then he said, "Do you want me to come look through them first?"  I told him no, because then he would want to keep everything - despite not missing those clothes for over two years.  Surprisingly, he didn't argue.  So I packed everything up, along with a few items of my clothing that weren't business, and some of my costume jewelry that I never wear, into six bags, put them in my car and carted them away - before he could change his mind and take a peek!

When I came home, I was then able to rearrange all the drawers in a way that actually made sense and was able to find a home for my socks and tights that had been living in tucked away bins.

Now, the dressing room, is far from where it needs to be - as I have stuff that was under the extra vanity in the guest bath living in there (we FINALLY had it removed AND had the Amityville Horror paint job fixed!  Now we are waiting for our friend to find the time to help with building the shelves - baby steps), but it's getting closer.  And I know it will get worse before it gets better - because Christmas is coming...and guess where all the gifts get hidden prior to being wrapped?

Speaking of which, I guess I better get started on some serious Christmas shopping because, holy cow, HOW is it already November 4th?!

October 26, 2018

A post about water fountains...yes, really.

Life in Corporate America - umm, I mean Casual American Business - has changed in many significant and insignificant ways.

First to fall was the dress code...this has it's good points and bad.  I'm looking at you, young man with the graphic t-shirt that was clearly visible under your button down...although you do get a gold star for trying.

Then came the efforts to make the company more appealing to the younger workers that we are trying to attract.  Wear your favorite team jersey to work day!  Purple shirt for Alzheimer's awareness day!  And, most recently, an email blast was sent out encouraging us to wear a costume to work for Halloween...kinda makes me wonder if we are working at a business or attending elementary school.

Truly, I don't mind - I can see what they are trying to do.  Merge the two different cultures into one and make the workplace fun...which may be a culture that some of the younger potential employees would consider a good fit.

Then, in a move I did not see coming, we got new water fountains.  I was puzzled when I noticed they were installing a new one in place of a perfectly fine, albeit 20 year old, water fountain.  I remember thinking that maybe they should be replacing the one in the main hall as the water from that one doesn't come up high enough to be hygienic.  In other words, you would actually have to put your mouth ON the fountain in order to get water.

And, as most of us (readers of a certain age) were taught; that is something we should NOT do - ever.  The more I think about it, I have to wonder do any of these children that work here even KNOW what a water fountain is?  Have they been wandering the halls ogling these ancient things hanging on the wall and wondering what they are for?

Well, if so, no more are they wondering as we now have these beauties...

Now, if THIS doesn't attract the younger set, I don't know what will!

I kid.  This is actually kind of cool.  That screen on the upper right tells you how many bottles you have saved every time you refill a bottle or insulated cup.  And?  I can now actually fill my cup to the tippy-top since I don't have to hold it at an angle while trying to fill it from the spout.

October 20, 2018

Difficult conversations...

About a month (?!really?!) ago we were at my mother in law's for her birthday.  Where The Husband had to reiterate what his brother and sister had already told her - she has mold.

We took the bull by the horns and found a company that can remediate the issue but now Mom keeps saying that the house is too much for her to handle...which I totally understand although if she were willing to spend the money to have people in to keep up with things, it wouldn't be an issue - but I also understand that issue - because $$$.  But at the same time, I worry that moving her - whether to Connecticut, Florida or North Carolina (where all the siblings live) - will change her quality of life.

Currently, she is a very active 87 year old.  Regularly, she bowls with gusto, she has a "lunch club", there is the monthly trips to the casino, etc.  While we were there she mentioned, that if she were to move, she would give up driving.  Mom has never been a big driver, as she didn't learn until she was in her forties.  To move her now, would put the nail in that coffin...that coupled with losing the close group of friends she has makes me worry.

I would LOVE to have Mom come here and we have the room for her...but I don't think she would, Connecticut or Florida.  I've checked, there isn't any place where she currently lives that would satisfy all of our requirements for her or us.

Ultimately, she will make a decision and we will have to live with it...and I'm not happy with that.

October 14, 2018

An Awkward Wardrobe Post - I Need Your Opinion

Before we get to the "wardrobe" portion of this post, I wanted to share this picture I snapped at my mother-in-law's house while we were there a week or so ago.

I opened the back door and stepped out, expecting that they would bolt...they didn't.  Instead they looked at me with a "What? WE belong here; you don't." kind of expression.  And proceeded to stay there until I went back in.  The deer in the Poconos have ZERO fear.

And here's a requisite shot of a beautiful sunrise on the beach from our trip to attend a wedding in Hilton Head that immediately followed the trip to Pennsylvania.

That was a great, but long, week with too much time spent in the car!  Now that we've got all that out of the way...

As I've alluded to in other posts, our company has adopted a "casual" dress code.  This has meant that I've been slowly adding a few things to my closet while simultaneously removing things from the closet destined for Goodwill.  This is because I have a new policy regarding my closet - I refuse to buy any more hangers - so if something comes in and there are no available hangers, something must leave to make room.  Besides, I really don't need all the "corporate" clothes anymore.  So slowly, they are going away.

And I am training myself to stop heading to that section of the stores.  Part of the problem is that I am very particular about my clothes and I generally avoid any patterns or florals - of course, I make exceptions for polka dots and stripes.  As a result, a lot of my casual shirts are solids - and are mostly darker colors.

Back a few weeks ago, when Hurricane Florence was flirting with our area, I wandered into a store and bought this shirt.  I can only surmise that the dreary weather made me even consider it - but I do love the square-ish neckline.

The shirt that started it all

And this is where the "awkward" part of this conversation makes an appearance.  Trying to capture a shot by myself.  It's hard to keep it in focus, show the neckline and not have a weird look on my face.

The Husband has RAVED about this shirt.  Every single time I have worn it, he has commented on how much he likes it on me.

A pink(!), striped button down that I bought has also brought compliments.  I forgot to mention that I generally avoid pink - why I don't know.  But it has never been a color found in my closet.  Ever.

These two events got me to thinking...maybe I need to add a little more color and pattern into my wardrobe.

With that in mind, I headed to the store this afternoon - a store which a friend's college-age freshman has declared a store for "old ladies."  But, to be fair, this store was my best source for my "corporate" wardrobe.  But when I take off my "corporate" blinders, I don't seem to find much that I care for - lots and lots of wild patterns and florals.  But I thought, if I was really careful and thoughtful, I might find something.

I added another pink shirt with a scoop neck.  I'm not quite sure what I've had against pink for all these years.

I have to admit, it was still difficult for me to select this shirt over a black one.  But I think I'll like it.

And here's the one where I need your opinion.  I will admit, I accosted a random lady outside the fitting room to ask if she thought this shirt screamed "little old lady" - she said she didn't think so and thought the colors would work well with my dark hair.  Could I rely on the opinion of a complete stranger?  Maybe; maybe not.

I bought the shirt and carefully folded the receipt into my wallet in case I decided to return it.  My plan was to ask The Husband for his honest opinion. He did say that asking a husband for an honest opinion strikes fear into his heart - because what if he hated and I loved it?  I told him, I definitely wanted his honest opinion because this was so far out of my comfort zone.  I tried it on and showed him.  He liked it and said it reminded him of the floral.  So here's where you come in - should I keep it or return it?

Again - what IS that expression?  And what is my hair doing?

Completely honest opinions please.  I am just not so sure this is for me.  But maybe I just need to get used to it?  No comments on the awkward faces or crazy hair, please...  ;-)

September 22, 2018

How to break a husband's spirit...

Months ago we had planned to see my Mother-in-Law for her birthday (this coming Monday).  Then we had the unexpected pleasure to be invited to a wedding that we had assumed was going to be "family" only...which happens to be next Saturday.  After determining that we would do both - because honestly, we can't NOT go see my MIL NOR can we decline this wedding invitation.  She is in her 80's, healthy but still...

And the groom is a child we've known since he was teeny, tiny...

So both are TOTALLY necessary.

Despite The Husband's misgivings (insert eye roll now, we all know how he can be sometimes...God love him.), I told him that it was non-negotiable; we would be attending both - I promised him that when he gets to be 80 he won't look back and say, "Boy, I really regret that we went to that wedding so soon after going to see mom".  To his credit, he is cautiously optimistic that both events will be fun (they will he will discover once we get there).

Knowing we had all this coming up, I have kept a running list of what needed to be done.  At the top of that list was purchasing shoes for The Husband to wear at the wedding (because God help me, if I have to hear him complain about his dress shoes ONE more time...).  Back in the day, I would have just bought what I thought best and brought them home for him to try.  But lately, he has decided he has an "opinion" when it comes to what he wears (I have informed him that's fine but I have final veto power - he has yet to question my power, thank God) so he wanted to come along. 

Except that was a dirty lie!!

I've been asking him for the past three weekends to join me in a shoe search.  And every weekend he has declined.

So guess what we had to do today?  In addition to laundry, packing, watering plants, etc.  If you guessed, find shoes, you get the gold star!

As we both had errands to run this morning we went our separate ways and then we met up at one store.  No luck. 

So went to the next...(he refused to pay THAT much for a pair of shoes.  Despite me telling him that this would probably be the last pair of dress shoes he'd ever buy - apparently, he took that to mean I was declaring him at death's door!  But what I really meant was, that as rarely as he needs to wear dress shoes these shoes would last him for YEARS...he wasn't buying it)

And then the next. 

And then the next.  (Is it my fault that department stores cater to women and have a very slim selection when it comes to the men's department?! Or that he decided that he NEEDED to be involved in the selection process?)

Took a break for lunch and then hit the next store - success!

Although, to be truthful, I think he was just so worn down from the process of looking at and trying on shoes, that he just caved...on it all.  He didn't care how much the shoes cost (but we DID luck into a great deal!) or what they looked like...he just couldn't bear the thought of going to one or more stores. 

Now we are home - one of us is finishing up the laundry and packing her stuff (while simultaneously crafting this post).  And the other might be napping on the couch with nothing packed...

It's gonna be a fun week...if we make it!

September 16, 2018

Florence Update.

As you all know, Hurricane Florence slammed into Wilmington, North Carolina last Friday and thoughts and prayers are with those that were affected.  Man-Child and I were in that area recently and are heartbroken at the devastation.

Then we were told to brace for the after effects that we would feel inland.  And the hype was/is getting us all very nervous.  Knowing that we had a few trees that are "iffy" on one side of our house...the side our bedroom is on, of course.  I determined that I would be sleeping on the other side of the house for the time being.

We've had rain but, so far, not nearly the amount that we were told to expect.  We've also had some wind but, again, not nearly as strong as what we were told to expect.  But yet, the news reports keep telling us to be on alert.  I can honestly say that I don't think we have too much to worry about at this point but who knows?  They are the ones with the education, tools and experience.  So we shall see.

I grabbed this screen shot from this afternoon and was relieved to see that we aren't in the direct track and wondered why local new stations were still issuing flood warnings.

Then I saw this screen shot (also taken from and it became clear...

Probably because the storm (now a tropical depression) is SO big!  As you can see, it is covering both North and South Carolina and is overlapping into Virginia and Georgia as well!  So although we aren't in the direct path we are getting hit with the outer bands - which explains the hype.

And as I was typing this a tweet came across my feed stating that there is flash flooding in Charlotte...which, as you can see, also isn't in the direct path.

I do have a funny story to share - although, especially to my husband, it wasn't funny at the time.  Friday evening as we were battening down the hatches in preparation for the worst, I asked The Husband to bring in the chairs from the front porch.  At that time they were calling for really high winds.  He told me that there was no need but I insisted.

Being the great husband he is he acquiesced.  But, for some reason, rather than carrying the chairs down the steps and around the house into the garage he decided to carry the chairs through the house and into the garage.  As he was carrying the second chair in he felt pain in his finger.  He put the chair down and that's when he noticed he had just carried a wasps nest INTO the house!  The sneaky buggers had made a home under the chair.  Then he began trying to kill all the wasps.  Luckily, there were only a few of those wasps so he was able to dispatch them fairly quickly but, I have to tell you, having wasps flying around in the house led to a bit of hysteria.

We put some baking soda on his swollen finger and once the pain and swelling from the sting subsided even he had to admit it was kinda funny...who brings a wasps nest into the house?  Especially, given with his history with bees.  Apparently, it is his destiny to spend his whole life having run ins with wasps and bees.  I've lost count of how many bee stories he has under his belt now.

So that's the update.  Currently, we are safe and most likely will not be in any danger...but I will still be sleeping on the other side of the house until this storm has passed because I still don't trust those "iffy" trees...and we will be getting someone out here to assess those trees sooner rather than later!

And, of course, as I was just getting ready to hit "Publish" both the wind and the rain has stepped it up quite a bit.  I still think we will be okay but will be keeping an eye on the news...

UDATED: It's REALLY pouring now and we have a bit of standing water...but we are going to be okay. I just hope we don't lose electricity...

September 8, 2018

Despite my fears, these two knuckleheads pulled it together enough to get the lights and internet turned on before today...

Today was officially "move in" day for Man-Child and his buddy.  And although, I had my doubts as the title infers, they did manage to get the basics set up.  AND, as a bonus, were able to wrangle some extra bodies to help with the actual move; thank God because The Husband and I are way too old to be wrestling furniture up three flights of stairs.

To be perfectly honest, I carried one VERY light box and was finished with the actual "moving" part quite early on in the process.  From there I moved on to the emptying boxes, washing dishes, finding homes for said dishes, arranging furniture and buying a few necessities that the boys surely never even thought shower curtain liners and toilet paper.

Of course, being the tornado that Man-Child is he has left a swath of destruction in his wake...along with a great deal of stuff that he didn't think to bring with him.  Which means that I will be packing up the detritus and hauling it over to his apartment sometime in the near future.  Then I get the joy of cleaning out and rearranging the rest of it.  A mom's work is never done.

Dropping him off at college was probably the hardest thing I've ever done but this?  This is the weirdest.  When we dropped him off at college I knew he'd be coming back home eventually.  But now...we won't be waiting for him to come home and that is a little unsettling but I am excited for him.  He's moving into adulthood officially.  And while I still sometimes miss that sweet, little guy I am so extremely proud of the adult he has become.

Of course, he still has one foot still in the door as he has already informed me that he will most likely stay here most Friday nights during high school football season as our house is closer to the school where he coaches.

And then, of course, the lure of food will be strong...since I'm not confident that these two guys can actually cook anything as tasty as The Husband.  And I'm sure the promise of some of mom's baked goods will bring him running.

August 25, 2018

If you give a husband an inch; he'll take a mile.

In my ideal life, most of my counters would be clear of clutter.  But I live with two other people.

This one corner of our kitchen counter has been taken over by The Husband.

It all started because The Husband insisted that this was THE perfect area where he could charge his phones.  I said fine; I will find you a box to store the charging cables when not in use.  So I bought a nondescript, little box to sit on the very end of the counter...and, as you can see, we ended up with this mess...which is slowly creeping further and further out onto the counter.

The Husband, God love him, doesn't see this as "clutter."  Much like he doesn't see the olive oil, the spice grinder, various spices, oven mitts or the NutriBullet (that no one uses) left out on the counter as "clutter."  He is of the mind that he will need it again eventually anyway; so why put it away?  Here's the answer - because it MAKES. ME. CRAZY.

After looking at this mess all day, and because The Husband is gone until tomorrow afternoon, guess what I'm doing tomorrow?

Yep, dealing with his clutter.

And when he comes home, I will show him where his "stuff" belongs and he will agree to keep his "stuff" where it belongs...until, ever so slowly, it will begin to creep back onto the counter.

It's a never ending cycle people.

August 23, 2018

Instant Karma - how sweet it is

We've all heard of karma; but generally we aren't around to witness it, which is SO unsatisfying.  Instant karma; though rare, sometimes happens and when it does, it is VERY satisfying.

One of my biggest pet peeves is people who tailgate...well, it's a toss-up between that and people who don't use their turn signals.  And I don't know about where you live but here we have a flat out epidemic on our hands with tailgaters and non-turn signal users.  It's really crazy and drives me batty.  And no one seems to realize how reckless and dangerous both of these things are; and day by day it seems to be getting worse.

At any rate, on my way home from work this evening, a car being driven by a very road-ragey person raced up behind me and attached themselves practically to my bumper.  Now, I don't know about you but generally I have an urge to S.L.O.W.  D.O.W.N.  even further but, as usual, I resisted that urge because honestly, you have no idea what the road-ragey types are capable of or if they are carrying a gun and are willing to use it - such are the times we currently live.  And really, that is the better strategy and way safer than engaging or even prodding their rage.

As soon as practical, I pulled into the right lane and this person sped on by.  Earlier in my commute, I had noticed an marked police car travelling the same route.  I had no way of knowing if this police car was still on the same road or not.

A couple of minutes later, I saw flashing lights up ahead and I muttered, "Good.  I hope it's road-ragey person!"  And it was!!!

I don't know if they got pulled for tailgating or speeding but either way, I felt vindicated.

Now, the odds of being pulled over rectifying this person's behavior is slim - but still...instant karma.  Can't deny it - I drove by with a huge smile.

August 21, 2018

A Wedding Dilemma...

We have a wedding to attend.  This is momentous only because it coincides with a trip up north to visit my beloved Mother-In-Law.

Let us ponder why is this momentous.  Because I have managed to convince The Husband that BOTH events NEED to happen.  Will it be inconvenient?  Yes.  Will it be expensive?  Yes.  Is The Husband's anxiety ratcheted up beyond his normal levels? Yes. Do both need to happen?  Yes.

We have watched this boy grow up since before kindergarten.  His family considers us family.  The trip up north is important because The Husband's mother isn't getting any younger (thank God, she's in good health, but still...) so it is ALL important.

At any rate, we are going to the wedding.  Usually, I know the etiquette for these types of things...but this one is stumping me.

The (church) ceremony is at 2:00 pm - which denotes a certain type of dress.  The reception isn't until 5:00 pm - which gives a little more leeway regarding the dress.  The Husband, bless him, is stuck in a suit either way.

So what do you think - do I wear one dress for the church and another for the reception?  Or do I need to find that ONE (elusive) particular dress that works for both situations?

August 16, 2018

The Patron Saint of Liars by Ann Patchett...a book review

Generally, I don't read via Kindle unless I'm caught somewhere where I don't have a book or something else to do.  Not because I'm a Luddite; but more because I prefer the heft of a book in my hand.  And, to be perfectly honest, I haul around enough crap every day that I don't want to add a book to that equation.

Nevertheless, I found myself in that exact situation the other day (i.e., book-less and nothing else to occupy my time), so I utilized my Prime Membership and downloaded this book from Prime Reading.

The synopsis from Amazon:

"In 1992, celebrated novelist Ann Patchett launched her remarkable career with the publication of her debut novel, The Patron Saint of Liars.  On this 25th anniversary, read the best-selling book that is "beautifully written...a first novel that second-and third-time novelists would envy for its grace, insight, and compassion" (Boston Herald).

St. Elizabeth's, a home for unwed mothers in Habit, Kentucky, usually harbors its residents for only a little while.  Not so Rose Clinton, a beautiful, mysterious woman who comes to the home pregnant but not unwed, and stays.  She plans to give up her child, thinking she cannot be the mother it needs.  But when Cecilia is born, Rose makes a place for herself and her daughter amid St. Elizabeth's extended family of nuns and an ever-changing collection of pregnant teenage girls.  Rose's past won't be kept away though, even by St. Elizabeth's; she cannot remain untouched by what she has left behind, even as she cannot change who she has become in the leaving."

I can see why this story was a best-selling one (and can't believe I haven't found it before now); as it was very compelling and kept you guessing.  I thorough enjoyed this story though I must say that simultaneously I was and was not surprised by the character, Rose.  Without a doubt, this character is an enigma and by the end of the story you will find that she remains an enigma.  This isn't one of those stories that is formulaic or one, where from the very beginning you know how it will end - all tied up in a neat, little package.

Since this book's debut 25 years ago, this author has gone on to write nine more books (not all novels; from what I can surmise); most of which seem to have achieved the NY Times Best-Seller status.  When I chose this book, I knew the author's name sounded familiar but I couldn't place why it sounded so familiar...until I looked at the author's website...apparently, one of her later novels was on one of Man-Child's summer reading lists in high school.  He enjoyed it well enough (even though it really wasn't his "thing") that he passed it on to me - I only have a vague memory of reading the book and enjoying it (such as it is when one is BOTH aging and a voracious reader - unless I do a review on it, I generally only remember vestiges of the story).

After perusing her website, I feel sure that I could enjoy reading other titles by this author.

August 12, 2018

Scrolling through Twitter yesterday...

...and then this happened.

To which I replied...

And then I said...

To which she replied...

And my final reply...

I am forever grateful that my backyard is secluded so that no one was witness to my VERY sloppy cartwheel...back in the day they were kinda graceful.  And now I can feel it in my right thigh.   But, I CAN still do a cartwheel...but that may have been my last one...

But now I'm wondering if I can still do a roundoff...

Hmmm...better not chance it today.

August 11, 2018

A beach trip mainly summarized by where we ate...

I just searched my archives and yes, apparently it has been THREE years since our last one...that is too long between beach visits, in my opinion.

Man-Child and I decided that we needed some time away, since it's been "a while."  This is a big year as he has secured his position, an apartment that he will move into next month (apparently, I didn't post about that - so yes, he and a buddy are moving into an apartment next month - the first real step out of the nest).

Usually, when we head to the beach we go to Myrtle Beach, SC - mainly because when he was smaller he just wanted to see and do all the things and not just spend a day at the beach.  This time, he declared that we needed to go somewhere new.  I decided upon Wrightsville Beach, NC for two reasons.  One friend regularly goes there and recommended a hotel/motel and because another friend's father lives there - so she was able to give me two pages of restaurant long time readers might remember...Man-Child likes to eat on the regular.

The hotel/motel (truly more of a motel) was nice.  While it is an old building they have kept up with the renovations AND every single unit is an ocean front suite, which is key (in my opinion) for visiting the beach.  I have no desire to stay in a place that requires me to hire a pack mule to carry all the necessities down three blocks to the beach.  Nor do I want to try to navigate public parking at the beach - that is just a recipe for tears.

Now I will say, Wrightsville Beach does not seem to have all the distractions of Myrtle Beach.  I could have happily sat on the beach all the live long day.  Man-Child?  Still gets antsy after about  two hours - that coupled with his need to eat ALL THE DAMN TIME - meant that our actual time on the beach was limited.  But, this was fine, since I was able to spend ample time on the balcony looking at and listening to the surf all without getting too much sun - which we can all agree is a good thing.

Technically, we were there for four days and three nights.  We arrived mid-afternoon last Sunday - and though we couldn't officially "check in" until 4:00 pm they graciously considered us "registered" so that we could park and spend a few hours on the beach before check in.  This may have been the most time that was actually spent "on the beach."

After officially checking in we discovered that my request for two queens meant that one of us (me) got a king size bed in the bedroom while the other was expected to sleep on a queen size pullout in the living room/kitchen area that lead to the balcony.  In light of the fact that one of us (me) gets up much earlier than the other, I offered to sleep in the living room/kitchen area - it was vehemently declined...apparently, chivalry is still a thing.

Also, he claims that the pull out was not uncomfortable and it should be noted that his ability to go back to sleep after I tripped over his shoes in the room and I started the coffee maker is uncanny.

After checking in, we cleaned up and headed out to purchase our "supplies" (which may or may not have included the purchase of a wine bottle opener since "someone" forgot she'd already packed one).  It should be noted here, that this was a totally unnecessary step since there were no beach "days" in our future.  No, our beach time was counted in hours...i.e., an hour here and an hour there - not that I'm complaining.  The balcony, remember?  It counted.  And I had many, many hours on that balcony.

And after purchasing said useless supplies, we looked for a place to have dinner.  And, coincidentally, found ourselves at one of my friends recommended places (we didn't know this until later; as we had left her list at the motel); a local hamburger joint where enjoyed, of all things, some petty good hamburgers FYI, I am making note of all the places to eat because Man-Child complained that we NEVER remember the places we loved) before heading back to the motel for the evening.

Rather than recount every single day without further ado these are the restaurants that we visited and LOVED - in the event you find yourself at Wrightsville you will probably not be sorry if you dine at these fine establishments.

  • PT's Old Fashioned Grille - a local hamburger joint (I believe they also served hot dogs and some sandwiches), very tasty.
  • Causeway Cafe - We actually ate here twice - once for breakfast and once for lunch.  For breakfast I had the Crab Benedict - utterly delicious!  One word of caution; they ONLY take cash.
  • Bluewater Waterfront Grill - this place was our very favorite!  A bit expensive but worth every penny.
  • Oceanic Restaurant - this place was tasty and expensive but I preferred the Bluewater.  With this restaurant you can eat on the pier.  If you opt to do that, try to get seated in the portion of the pier that has a roof.  Why?  Seagulls.  We had seagulls hovering over our heads the whole time.
  • King Neptune Restaurant - Based on the meal I ordered but didn't eat, I wouldn't recommend it BUT Man-Child's meal looked and tasted (he claimed) delicious - so I would try it again but just stay away from the biscuits and me.
  • Paddy's Hollow - it should be noted that this in not in Wrightsville but in Wilmington about 10-15 minutes away.  It is located at The Cotton Exchange, which is chock full of cute shops and some restaurants.
While we were in Wilmington we decided to do an Escape Room.  Have you heard of these?  It was SO much fun!  I would recommend it.  I think it would be even more fun if there was a group of us.  The coordinator claimed that we escaped with three seconds to spare - I have a feeling she fudged the time, but we decided that we would claim that three second victory.

My friend whose dad lives in Wrightsville said that we should try paddleboarding.  I was not keen on this as I can't really swim and I don't like water in my face (should I fall off).  Man-Child was so eager to try it that I eventually gave in...which turned out was a bad idea on my part.  Even though we were paddling in the Intercoastal Waterway and NOT the ocean - it had never occurred to me that there would still be a current that I had to battle against and boat wakes.  Needless to say, I quickly gave up and headed back to shore where I kind of had to be rescued because I just couldn't make it all the way to the shore.  Needless to say, I was quite shaken but kind of proud of myself for having at least tried.  Man-Child, on the other hand, had a grand old time...but then again, he can swim.  And he has arm muscles...whereas I have noodles for muscles.  Would I try it again?  Maybe.  If we were on a lake and I could just paddle in the shallow area.

As usual, just a couple of days away worked out perfectly for us.  The traffic is crazy - which meant that I was always driving past our destination and having to turn around.  By Tuesday, every time I had to turn around I would hear a heavy sigh from the passenger seat.

All in all it was a successful trip.  And I had the foresight to take Thursday and Friday off as well.  I needed this time more than I realized.  I haven't had any significant time off since Christmas and I truly needed some downtime.  Plus, with all the upcoming changes (i.e., Empty Nest), we needed this time to connect.

I think I'm ready for, I'm really not...just trying to talk myself into it!

July 28, 2018

Remember that door I was SO excited about?

If you don't, you are forgiven since that post is about two months old.

The door - after a SIGNIFICANT delay finally showed up four weeks ago (and it's taken me this long to calm down enough to post about it).  But due to conflicting schedules was not able to be installed until the next Friday.  As you might imagine, I was SO excited.  I should have known...

The installers showed up on time with the door (at this point, I can only assume it was the door I ordered, since I never saw it) only to inform me that it wasn't measured properly.

Are you flipping kidding me?!  I specifically told my husband that I was willing to pay for them to come measure because I knew the measurements had to be EXACT.  And it's a good thing I did...I guess, since this is on them.  But now we are back to square one.

After the installation fiasco, we were told that the store would contact us - they never did.  So we drove to Lowe's that Saturday and cancelled the order.  The store manager was very apologetic and blamed the delay and the incorrect measurements on the vendor, which tells me they need a new vendor, and that someone needs to address the very serious lack of communication with the customers.

All that aside, I still don't have that door that I was ridiculously excited about...and I have to start over - minus the big box store - speaking of which...where does one go to get a door after deciding that big box stores just aren't up to the task?

And seriously?  Who would have thought that a simple, freaking door would be something to be so difficult to get?  AND be ridiculously excited about AND be heart broken over?  That's the true hallmark of being an adult I suppose.

July 24, 2018

I have the weirdest co-workers....a mystery.

As a company, for some reason, we seem to be bringing on some really weird people lately.  Yes, we had weird people before but the number seems to be growing exponentially ever since The Transaction a couple of years ago. 

By way of example, from what I am hearing the great coffee saga continues.  One person makes the good stuff, the jack-ass comes along and pours it out and makes the swill.  Luckily for me, I have removed myself completely from this situation by having my own coffee maker at my desk - that in a nutshell is office life; in order to keep from completely losing your mind or hurling disgusting coffee at the offensive co-worker(s) is to remove yourself (as much as possible) from the situation.

And then, of course, there was the one who either refused to come pick up, clean and remove the disgusting dishes from our Christmas Treat fest, or completely forgot about them and will freak out when they can't find them about six months from now.

You know, I can't remember now how long it took for those dishes to disappear...I just knew I wasn't going to be the one making it happen.  Word is someone picked them up and shoved them in a cabinet somewhere...sanitary, I know.

And then there was yesterday.  For every floor, we have two sets of men and women's restrooms.  One is closer to me than the other; so, as I'm sure you can reasonably conclude that the one I venture into most often is the closest one.  And you would be correct.  Except yesterday, I happened to be nearer to the other one when *ahem* I needed to visit said room.  I walked in only to be stopped in my tracks. 

There, in the handicapped stall at the far end of the room, sat a recycling can in the corner.  Puzzled, I went into another stall to take care of business.  While washing my hands, I could see the recycling can in the mirror.  Intrigued, I walked over as I was drying my hands and looked in...


I left the restroom and went to find a sane co-worker to ask her what was up with the recycling can in the bathroom.  She had no idea.  She theorized that maybe, with the recent heavy rains a leak was discovered?  A plausible theory to be sure...except for the fact that the can was completely dry.

I asked another sane co-worker and she too had no idea what was up with the can being in the stall.

Today I made a point of going to that restroom just to see if the recycling can was still there.  It was.

I know the evening cleaning crew has a policy to not touch or move anything unless there is a note labeling it "trash" or whatever - so I'm fairly certain they did not put it there and they won't remove it until they are told to do so - which means that from now on there will be a random recycling can in the handicap stall of that restroom until the end of times.

What in the actual hell?  Why would someone put a recycling can there?  Just to make us all wonder?  I wouldn't put it past some of these people.  Now I will always wonder...who did it and why.