a weekend of things we don’t usually do

May 3, 2009 at 9:23 pm | Posted in Silly | 6 Comments

alternatively titled: why it is not fun to live 4 states away from your husband.

I really wanted pesto on my pasta tonight.

I couldn’t unscrew the lid.  I was really hungry and even a little hangry*.  Thank goodness there happened to be a needle nose pliers nearby.  This was one of those times when I was NOT loving living on my own (also?  one of those times I was psyched to have tools laying around the kitchen).

You’ve already read about how I single-handedly defeated the water heater.  This weekend, I also cleaned the garage, mowed the lawn, and played with tools (I’ll show you what I did tomorrow!).  All-in-all, it was all sorts of fun with things I usually don’t deal with because I usually make Jason do these sorts of “boy jobs” (I would much rather stick with laundry and vacuuming).

Barley thought he’d contribute to the fun by doing a few things that he’s never done.

First, he dug a hole.  (He’s not usually a digger).

This wouldn’t have been noteworthy, except that he kept sticking his head down in the hole and sniffing.  It was pretty funny (which is why I got out the camera instead of yelling at him for digging holes in my garden).

A few minutes and a bit of scampering later, Barley introduced me to his new friend.  He tried to get the little guy to run around and play with him, but the little guy just laid there, so Barley lost interest.  Then, I got to dispose of the little guy – another piece of fun I would likely not have partook in had Jason been here.

Yep.  3 weeks of long-distance marriage down.  Hopefully we’ve only got 3 more to go!

*hungry + angry = hangry

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Cold Shower

May 2, 2009 at 5:48 pm | Posted in Silly | 3 Comments

I took a cold shower this morning.  It was not intentional.  I was not happy.  I was also not warm.

And, the reason I am telling you this is that I solved the problem myself.  Dealing with hot water heaters is generally Jason’s territory, but seeing as he’s a long 9-hour drive from here, I was flying solo.

At first, I freaked out.  I did NOT want to replace a water heater that I’d only be using for 3 weeks.

I checked the pilot light.  Nothing.  (I think the mold remediator may have accidentally blown it out yesterday when he used a leaf blower to stir up the dust/dirt/mold in the air so that it would go through his HEPA filtration system).

I went outside to see if one of our neighbors was out and could bail me out.  No luck.

So, I grabbed my flashlight and my cell phone and headed to the basement.  The flashlight was to illuminate my surroundings.  The cell phone was to talk to Jason so that he’d know if I exploded while attempting to re-light the pilot light.

I did not explode AND I have hot water! Success!  (Although, as proud of myself as I am, I would have MUCH rather had Jason here to deal with it!  Ha ha!)

Also?  I spent some time today posting more pictures on our wedding website.  I didn’t expect it to take this long to recap the whole thing, but it takes quite a bit to download all of the pictures, edit them, choose my favorites, upload them, and then stick them in the right order in a blog post!

Another post in which I reveal exciting news.

March 3, 2009 at 7:24 pm | Posted in Lesson Learned, Miscellaneous, Moving, Silly | 7 Comments
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We are now the proud owners of our very own 2009 Toyota Highlander!  Yay!

Jason managed to finagle quite a deal, so we headed down to the dealership, and bought this beast this afternoon:

And since neither one of us has purchased a car before, we just assumed we could put it on the old credit card.  Mmmm.  Not so much.  Note to selves: still bring checkbook for all major transactions, even if the credit card limit is more than you make in a year.

We hope to pick her up on Friday…  After the dealership installs the heated leather seats that I insisted on.  (And after we return with a check, because of our credit card fiasco).  Because that’s how we roll.

Now, all I have left to do is persuade Jason to take the camry to Michigan and leave me with our new baby car when he moves in a month.

choose our next adventure

February 19, 2009 at 7:15 pm | Posted in Frustration, Minnesota, Silly | 13 Comments

Do you remember reading Choose Your Own Adventure books when you were younger?  I used to love them, and would read them over and over and over until I had read all possible combinations of the story.

Anyways, we’re faced with some big decisions here, and we’ve decided to leave it up to a vote.  You choose, and we’ll do whatever you tell us.*  So, read our dilemma below, vote in our little poll on the sidebar, and leave a comment with your thoughts and/or questions.

Remember how I mentioned that Jason was away on business last week?  Well, he actually flew out-of-state for a job interview.  No, he was not necessarily actively looking.  But a few months ago, he was actively looking and posted a resume on Monster.  A recruiter found his resume and applied him to some jobs.  He agreed to go along with it, but wasn’t seriously looking for a job (at least not one that would move him long distance).  Then, 2 weeks ago, he had a phone interview.  Then, he was asked to do an on-site interview.  And, today, his awesome offer package showed up at our door via FedEx.

This is Jason’s dream job.  It’s one of those rare opportunities that doesn’t come along very often.  Jason would get to do exactly what he’s been training and preparing for over the past 9 years, and I know he would be successful in this particular position.  Jason said his colleagues there would be top-notch, and he’s really excited about the possibility of working with them.  To top it all off, the compensation package is ridiculous – Jason would earn more than the two of us combined earn now, and he’d get 6 weeks paid paternity leave (handy if we decide to reproduce), as well as amazing prescription coverage, and health, dental, eye, and life insurance.  He’d get a decent amount of vacation time.  And a very nice relocation package (so we wouldn’t really have to pay to move our belongings, and they’ll reimburse us any money lost on the sale of our home).  All around, this position is MUCH better than his current one.  Fantastic – right?

The catch?  We’d have to move.  Out of state.  To a small town.

A town where I don’t necessarily have a job.  There are job possibilities, but nothing definite.  (Although, I should note that my job here is only guaranteed until October 2010, and then there is just a small chance I could stay.  So I would likely have to begin a job search next winter anyways.)

If we moved, it would mean that my career would likely take a hit.  You know, that career that I spent extra years in school preparing for?  That career that has been the main motivating force behind everything I’ve done for the last 8 years?  The career that I’m really questioning right now – am I really even doing something I love?  Sigh.

We have a house here.  And I love our house here so, so much. The thought of selling the house that we’ve been dreaming about fixing up for the last year and a half is heart-wrenching.  Oh!  The projects that we didn’t get to start, much less finish!

If we moved, our house here would be the second house we have on the slow, slow, slow housing market (anyone want to buy a cute little bungalow in Kentucky?).  And, if you haven’t taken our home tour yet, check it out – because I’d imagine that very few people would be willing to buy a home in this condition.

The thought of packing up all of our belongings for the third time in 3 years makes me want to puke.  It seriously makes me feel sick.  Then again, we’ve still got quite a few boxes still packed from our move to Kentucky in 2006.  Can you believe I haven’t lived in a house that’s been fully unpacked and furnished in over 3 years?  It’s disturbing, really.  I just want a neat home with no cardboard and everything in its place.  Is that too much to ask for?

I love living here.  Our location is perfect – in the city, yet near a few of the city’s billion parks and lakes.  Central to everything.

Some of the most awesome people I know also live here.  I would miss them.

I think I would have to rename the blog if we moved.  Our home in small town America, perhaps?

If we moved, we could support our family on Jason’s income alone.  (Meaning: When/if we have kids, I could be a stay at home mom, or have the freedom to only work part-time since our family wouldn’t rely on my salary.  I think this would be a plus.  Any mamas out there have thoughts on this?  I’m told that having kids changes your life, so I have no clue what I’ll think when/if we actually have kids in tow).

If we moved, we’d be closer to both my family (4 hrs via car) and Jason’s family (11 hrs via car).

If we moved, we’d have a 1-2 hr drive to the closest major airport.  We’d be back in small city America.  There’s no Chipotle there (almost a deal-breaker for Jason, but there is a Q-Doba in town, so he would be able to get his mexican fast-food needs satisfied).  At least there’d be a Target there?  And they get snow?  I love snow.

We’d end up living in different states for at least 6 months, if we move.  This is less than ideal, but we did spend the entire first year of our relationship in separate parts of the country (MN and NC), and when we moved back to MN, Jason lived here by himself for 3 months before I moved back.  So we can do it, and we have done it, but it’s just not really very fun. 

Why is it that the older we get, the tougher these decisions seem to be? This is probably our biggest decision to-date and I’m glad we’re making it together.  Talk about putting our marriage to the test right away…

Although my stomach is churning with nervousness about making the right decision, I am so grateful that Jason has had this opportunity, and so proud of him for nailing the interview!  I’m trying to keep it all in perspective by remembering that Jason choosing between 2 jobs is much better than him having no job at all.

*unless we decide otherwise.

Tuesday Photos

February 10, 2009 at 10:08 am | Posted in Photography, Silly | 3 Comments

I think I’m going to start sharing my new photography hobby with you on a regular basis. Every Tuesday, maybe? Why not?

Anyways, here’s what we saw on our most recent doggy-walking trip…

Love the “no fishing” sign in the foreground, with the ice fishing hut in the background…

Jason stole the camera from me and snapped a few shots…

Barley found the only patch of mud in the park – he was a really dirty dog by the time we got home.  Fortunately, he’ll sit there and let me towel him off before heading in the house…

This homeless-looking man is my husband.  The unkempt beard isn’t really my thing, but I’ll keep him anyways (he does the dishes).

No snow day for me!

January 28, 2009 at 9:36 pm | Posted in Silly | 5 Comments

Some of our friends and family in Kentucky and elsewhere were lucky enough to have snow days today…  (although, not so lucky to have power outages).  With only 5 days left until my big project is due, I found myself daydreaming about what I would do with a snow day (if my laptop was also disabled, thus rendering work an impossibility).  After putting in long, long days for the last few weeks, I am totally ready for a break.

So here’s what I’d do with my snow day:

  • wake up late and lounge around in my pjs ’till noon, sipping on a starbucks caramel macchiato and eating waffles, which my husband would pick up/make/serve.
  • take a long walk with Barley and J, taking pictures as we go (it is strangely warm on my snow day – at least 30 degrees!).
  • come home to find that the entire study has been primed and painted, so all I have to do to make it pretty is hang photos and arrange furniture (because we all know that’s the most fun part!).
  • also, the house is amazingly clean when I get home.  hmm…
  • drink hot cocoa.
  • take a warm bath in one of those tubs that has jets (no, we don’t have one).
  • drink wine and eat thai takeout by the fire with friends.

Yes, I’m clearly dreaming.  But… you gotta dream big, right?

And now, it’s your turn to daydream a little… what would you do with a snow day?

The new camera is put to good use.

January 20, 2009 at 11:09 am | Posted in Miscellaneous, Silly | 3 Comments
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We’ve been using our new major award camera to take pictures of our favorite subject: our boy dog, Barley.  None of them are professional quality yet, but I thought I’d share them with you anyways…

A close up of Barley’s nose.

Bath time! I like how you can see the drops of water coming off of his belly. And check out his big ole tongue licking the water off of his face.

Doggy doesn’t like water. I like how the water turned out in this picture…

Again, the drips on this one are super-cool. Yay for fun camera settings!

I think this one is my favorite bathtime photo, though. This one really captures the anxiety on his face. Poor doggy trembled through the entire bath! After we brought him home from the pound and tried to bathe him, he freaked out and escaped from the tub. So we gave him sponge baths on the deck for a little while (when we lived in Kentucky), but it is far too cold for sponge baths now. Fortunately, his freaking out and escaping has turned into freaking out and shaking but letting us clean him anyways.

I let him try my scarf on. He does NOT look impressed.

This is how doggy spends most of his days… sitting by the window, checking stuff out. The window sill is just the perfect height for him to rest his chin on.

I think this is my favorite picture of the set, though. I dig the lighting in this one. It was an accident… I haven’t learned to specifically light things this way yet…

Back to Normal (well, almost)

January 14, 2009 at 9:35 am | Posted in Our Home, Our Living Room, Silly | 1 Comment

Over the weekend, we cleaned up most of the Christmas decorations in the house. Sigh. I still can’t believe it’s over… But, now we’ve got new resolve to start our kitchen remodel and continue our work on the study (also, I’ve got a huge project on my desk at work that is due in 3 weeks! So now I’m going to throw in some pictures and you’re going to pretend it’s actual blog content. Sound good?).

We are totally those obnoxious neighbors that leave their lights on entirely too long. But I love how they look under a fresh coat of snow (even if we only have 1.5 trees worth of lights. Yep. One-and-a-half. Because that evergreen next to the stairs is half dead.)

Here’s the fireplace. I left my apothecary jars filled with pinecones, berries, and fake snow on the mantle. I figure they’re good for another 2-6 months (depending on when it stops snowing, and when I find motivation to put something else in them. Because, let’s face it: with the condition of my kitchen and bathroom, these are the last of my worries).

Besides making me want to paint and decorate the living room, this picture reminds me to mention that the one bit of Christmas that I left up was this Santa riding a giant sheep.  It was a present from my Gramma, and it seemed unfair to pack up after spending only 5 days on display.

I know, I know.  You’re all like, “What?  A giant sheep?  Seriously?”

The back story is that when I was 14, my Gramma and Grampa took me to England! (I know! I am a lucky girl!)

Here is my 14-year-old self enjoying the English countryside (yes, I’m holding a ferile chick, but remember that these were the days before bird flu). One day, my grandparents took me to Wales. We saw tons of sheep woolies. Everywhere we looked – woolies! When we stopped for lunch, we saw woolies… wherever we were that day, there were woolies! And, then, we all went to my grandparent’s friend, Sheila’s house for dinner. AND DO YOU KNOW WHAT SHE SERVED FOR DINNER!?!? Woolies. I cried. And that is why my gramma buys me woolies. Cute, no?

Ode to DIY Network

January 3, 2009 at 4:13 pm | Posted in Silly | 2 Comments

JT and I rediscovered DIY network while at his parent’s house. Their show Renovation Realities might be my new favorite.

We’ve been into home improvement shows since TLC’s Trading Spaces became popular in the late 90s, but they always feature professionals who know what they’re doing.

But not Renovation Realities. Oh no no. This show is a series of documentaries featuring real people doing their own home improvements. We watched a guy cut a gas pipe without turning the gas off first. And then another guy mounted kitchen cabinets to the walls without using anchors. The cabinets fell off halfway through the episode and he had to buy new ones.

I’m pretty sure we could have rocked this show a few times with our own home improvement snafus. Like the time we bought 60 bags of insulation to blow into our attic and then determined that we only needed 22 of them and had to return the other 38 bags. Or the time we failed to get the gas lines marked before installing fence posts. Or the time we had to run out to get more sand for our brick paver walkway because we accidentally used too much at the beginning of the project.

Shoppers and Listers

December 23, 2008 at 10:15 pm | Posted in Holidays, Silly | 4 Comments
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A coworker recently sent me an online magazine article about 4 types of Christmas gifters – name drawers, card givers, listers, and shoppers. I kind of loved it.

Here’s an exerpt:

THE FOUR FAMILIES

In my experience there are four types of families: Name drawers, list makers, carders and shoppers. These groups do not play well together.

My husband comes from a clan of name drawers. In theory, I’m all for drawing names. Buying a single, more substantial gift seems easier than purchasing a bunch of smaller ones. But in practice, at least for me, it’s actually much harder.

My in-laws and their families are lovely people, but distance and duties mean we see them only once or twice a year. It’s hard to shop for someone if your most recent conversation with that person was about the weather.

Take, for example, Bill’s nephew — a guitar-playing, beach-dwelling, thirty-something sous chef with whom I exchange a few pleasantries about every third Christmas. (He doesn’t get home much.) What on Earth am I supposed to give such a person? A lifetime supply of guitar picks? An extremely nice whisk? Sunscreen? The women are easier — clothes can always be returned — but I’m never sure of size, and giving an XL to a M does not a festive Christmas make. What I wouldn’t give for a wish list.

I was born into a clan of list makers. Folks like us leave nothing to chance. No sooner has Thanksgiving ended than we’ve each jotted down our heart’s desires and sent them off to my mom. Then the phone calls begin.

“What should I get Jennifer?” I ask my mother. “Let’s see,” she says, no doubt scanning a clipboard. “Why don’t you do the gold earrings? Hoops, no wider than an inch-and-a-half. Not too shiny.” I hear my mother snap the lid back on her pen. “Good,” she says. “Your sister’s done.”

While I think lists make Christmas mistake-proof, my husband considers my family’s approach a bit too much like filling orders at the Amazon warehouse. (He’s got a point. Sometimes I can almost hear a voice yelling, “Hey Joe — shoot me a Paula Deen cookbook and that Simpsons calendar, and we can ship this box off.”) As far as he’s concerned, my family might as well exchange checks, go buy ourselves exactly what we want and meet for a nice lunch afterwards.

My older son, Bruno, takes after me. A confirmed list maker, he even provides Web site links to the exact items that will make him happy. “Remember,” he says each year. “No surprises.” I fear what will happen if Bruno falls in love with a shopper.

Shoppers buy into the romantic ideal of Christmas. They see themselves as Santa Claus. They spend December afternoons going store-to-store and Web-site-to-Web-site searching for the perfect gift. (Sometimes they get it right. Sometimes, like a tone-deaf singer, they’re about a half-step off.)

Shoppers think list makers are major buzz kills. We deprive shoppers of the chance to exercise their creativity. Shoppers are equally horrified by name drawers. Buy for just one person? You’ve got to be kidding. If Santa had that attitude where would we all be?

Nor do shoppers approve of carders — those folks who stick cash in a Hallmark or a gift card in a festive little folder and call it a day. (Carders, on the other hand, think all the rest of us are nuts.) Frankly, if you are a shopper, you really should stick with your own kind.

I’m a shopper. Jason’s a lister. Enter: two totally different approaches to Christmas.

I *LOVE* finding someone the *perfect* gift for Christmas. Something they’ll be surprised by, or something they will find really useful. I get just as excited – or, probably, even more excited – about giving out these sorts of gifts as I do receiving gifts of my own. I dislike buying gift cards, but would rather guess at what someone might want (and give the gift receipt in case they don’t like it).

Jason, on the other hand, not so much.  Gift cards = great! to this one.  Which is fine, but I’m not quite used to the buy-everyones-Christmas-gifts-in-30-min approach.  We finished his shopping today, and after only one short trip to Target, I found myself a little lost – like, wait!  this is really everything?  Whoa. So, I guess this approach comes in handy when one waits until the last minute to buy Christmas presents.

So what about you?  What’s your shopping strategy?  Start months in advance?  Or wait until the last minute?  I am loving our discussion of holiday traditions and strategies…

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