Monday, August 25, 2014

i promise that most weekends are more exciting

I am sitting on the couch beside Matt, and he just sighed loudly and said, “Oh man, I keep forgetting to write that letter to Cheez Its.”

I know you’re dying for more information so I will tell you that Matt prefers his Cheez Its with slightly burnt edges.  And he thinks that the powers that be over at Sunshine should know that because his new thing is contacting customer service departments.  Thanks to his customer services reviews, over the past month or so we have received a free three pack of Jockey t-shirts, a Weather Channel baseball cap, a voucher for a free box of Famous Amos, and a coupon for contact lenses.

I realize that seems like the pastime of someone several generations above us, but wait until I tell you how we spent our Friday night.

We laced up our sneakers after dinner and went power walking at the mall. 

I am not kidding.

Actually, we spent several hours at the mall and stayed until closing time, because in addition to the walking we did a LOT of window shopping and spent at least forty minutes in a store that sells brain games.

It was in the brain games store where I learned that Matt possesses the secret talent of being able to separate a chain of solid steel rings that appear to the average person to be inseparable.  He is a magician. 

Also, color me impressed because I am the girl who cannot even separate the rings on her key chain, and those are actually meant to come apart. 

Saturday was rainy, so we decided to throw caution to the wind and do our grocery shopping that afternoon as opposed to our typical Sunday evening grocery shopping routine.  We are in month one of Operation New Budget, and so before we left we planned our meals and made a list, and I’m proud to report that we stuck to that list with the exception of an irresistible bag of Tostitos, and a container of fresh cheese curds that I discovered when I opened the fridge this morning.

And then right after we unpacked the food it started to rain outside.  It got dark and windy and we had the sliding patio doors open and could hear the rain pouring down.  I thought to myself, “self, you should lie down on the couch and close your eyes and take a nap.”

And so I did.  For three glorious hours.  And when I woke up Matt was STARING at me.  “I am SO GLAD YOU ARE FINALLY AWAKE,” he said.  “These past three hours I’ve had NO ONE to laugh at my jokes.”

It’s tough to be a comedian without an audience.

After the rain ended I went outside to pull all of the dead plants out of the garden while Matt got burgers ready for the grill.  Once I had most of the plants out, I started to turn the dirt over with a rake. 

And that's when I discovered that we were infested with snakes.

Matt was in the kitchen, so I screamed, “SNAAAAAAKES,” and I think he actually flew out to the garden. 

Much to my dismay, Matt enjoys a reptile.  In fact, he grew up with two pet lizards named Ozzie and Harriet and a snake that “somehow got loose” in his mother’s house and was never found.

I get shivers just thinking about that.

Well, my resident reptile expert told me that the snakes were actually earthworms.

In my defense, they were the biggest earthworms I have ever seen.

And after some (admittedly disgusting) research, I think the earthworms may be to blame for the sudden demise of my petunias and impatiens this year.

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I think we should write a letter to Lowe's about it.  Maybe they'll send us a coupon.

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Friday, August 22, 2014

i never did like small post earrings

So, my brother got married last weekend.

And then three days later, we all got together at my parents’ house to say goodbye to my sister because she left for college on Wednesday.

And in between those two Major Life Events, I turned twenty six and suddenly I feel like I have to cross all sorts of grown up things off my list because I’m basically staring thirty in the face and running out of time to do things like become a morning person and decide if I prefer white wine or red wine.

Basically, it’s been a big week around here.

Tonight is Emily’s first weekend night as a college student, which is really unbelievable because it was just yesterday that she was coming to Penn State with my parents to visit me and my brother, all the while vowing she would NEVER, EVER, EVER GO TO PENN STATE like the rest of us.

She was going to be different.

Break the mold in a family full of Penn State alumni.

But between you and me, I think she was destined to be a Nittany Lion from day one.

In honor of her new adventure and all of my nostalgia, I went through my box o’ important documents the other day to remind me of my youth.  And in addition to my diploma, graduation cap, and several English books, I found two documents that made me laugh.

Exhibit A:

When I was a senior, my parents brought a car up to Penn State near the end of the semester so that I could pack up and drive myself home as soon as I finished my finals.  Along with the car, my dad brought with him detailed directions about how to actually get myself home.  Back then I had absolutely no sense of direction, or a GPS.  And so I taped this piece of paper to my dashboard so I could look over at it during the journey.  

I was nervous about making the drive, and my dad even sent me an email the morning I left, encouraging me to “Just remember, once you make it to 83 south, you cannot go wrong.” 

Guess what.

I went wrong.  In fact, I went wrong all the way to Grantsville, Pennsylvania.

In the past four years I’ve developed a (slightly) better sense of direction, and I’ve acquired a GPS.  And, in a twist of what I’d venture to call irony, the home office for the company I work for is halfway to Penn State and I have to take these very same highways to get there.  Every 45 days.  

Oh Life, you are funny.

And now for Exhibit B.

My Penn State student ID.

Could I possibly look any less thrilled?

The answer to that is no, no I could not.

I’m happy to say that not only has my sense of direction improved since college, but also my ability to smile appropriately for identification photos.  Take my recent drivers license picture, for example.
I’m so happy to report that a fairly normal smile made an appearance.

It’s just a shame that I couldn’t find a pair of large earrings.

Dear Emily, smile in your ID photo.  And if you need a pair of earrings to wear, just let me know.  I can be there in three hours, I still have the directions.


Saturday, June 28, 2014

it's a wonder we keep going back

Since I've last written here our baby robins have left the nest and it was a very emotional time.  I've gotten myself a promotion at work. And our condo complex pool opened.  Basically, BOY HAVE I BEEN BUSY.

Also, we bought two more new tires which brings our tally to $ix new tire$ in just shy of four months of marriage, for those keeping track at home.  

Matt and I have also been keeping up with our gym routine on a fairly regular basis.  I wish I could say we've come a long way from our slightly awkward gym beginnings, but that's not exactly the case.

On our first visit to the gym, I approached a weight machine and took a seat.  I set the weights to a whopping 15 pounds and started lifting, but it felt awkward.  After my first set of reps (I totally have the gym lingo down) Matt came over and informed me that I was sitting on the machine backwards, which explained my difficulty.  I thought the part where you lean you chest/stomach was a backrest.

Evidently the focus of the gym is not on comfort and relaxation. 

Our routine includes a half hour on the treadmills, and we always try to get two next to each other so we can mouth things to each other like "what do you want to do for dinner?" and "I could really go for a blueberry pie" mid workout.

When thirty minutes is up, Matt turns his machine off and as it slows down, dramatically slides to the end and leaps off to go get paper towels to wipe off the treadmills.  Well, the other night he forgot to hit the stop button.  And so when he returned with the paper towels, he hopped back up on the STILL MOVING treadmill to wipe it off and took himself QUITE the tumble.  There was a split second of terror but after we realized he was okay we I had a good laugh.

And for the past several days I've gotten a lot of mileage out of his little mishap.  I've brought it up several times, but that ended yesterday.  

Because, pride. It cometh before the fall.

I was strolling along at an impressive speed last night when a message started scrolling across my treadmill screen.  "NEED HEART RATE. PLACE HANDS ON SENSORS OR USE TELEMETRY METER."

I was familiar with the hand sensors, but a telemetry meter?  Now that sounded new and interesting and fun.  I scanned the machine and on the side saw a small red disk attached to the treadmill with a cord, so I figured, HELLO, TELEMETRY METER.  

And so I proceeded to grab that little "meter" except IT WAS THE EMERGENCY STOP BUTTON.  The treadmill stopped immediately but unfortunately my body kept  moving at a 3.9 speed setting and I almost flipped right over the front of the machine.

Thank you, inertia.

Once I got my bearings I looked down at the treadmill screen and what I saw was even more embarassing.  The screen was flashing:  "MACHINE STOPPED.  NEED MANAGER RESET."

I abandoned that treadmill in no time flat and took off to the weight machines.  

At least I know how to use those correctly.


Sunday, June 22, 2014

why i love june weekends: in (mostly) photos

Eating every meal on the patio with my main man.

(We also had brussels sprouts.)

 Afternoons at the pool.
 Weeds in the woods.  Pretty ones.
 Drinking an extra cup of coffee so I can admire my gorgeous garden a bit longer and congratulate myself on my very green thumb.  And my humility.

 New Pandora stations, inspired by seeing Jersey Boys this weekend with my mom and sister.

And finally, finding a random car magnet on the street (aka STRIKING GOLD) and secretly sticking it on Matt's car.  And then waiting to see how long it would take him to discover it.

Spoiler alert: he discovered it when he took the trash out after dinner, less than three hours after I stuck it on there.  Because on his way out the door I told him it would be in his best interest to examine the back of his car.  So basically I cannot keep a secret.


Monday, June 2, 2014

things are a little fowl around here

About three weeks ago, I discovered that a bird had built a nest in the gutter between our condo and our neighbor's. A few days later a robin started to sit on the nest, and naturally I kept a very close eye on things and didn't even sweep that side of the patio or weed that end of the garden lest I disturb her.

The babies finally hatched last Saturday, and I've become borderline obsessed with the whole situation ever since.  I check on them every morning before I leave for work and immediately when I get home.  I sit outside at our picnic table and watch the mama bird fly in with worms and feed her cheeping babies.  I've done exhaustive research on baby robins.  I worry when it rains hard, or when the carpenter bee that's also taken up residence on our patio flies too close to them.  I've taken countless photos of the nest and yesterday I even took a three minute video of the babies.

Last night I HAD A DREAM about our baby birds learning to fly.  Even I know that's a bit unusual, and a sure sign that I need to REIGN IN THE CRAZY because I am officially losing it.

And then I was emailing back and forth with my dad this morning and he told me that he and my mom got four little tadpoles for their backyard pond this weekend. 

And my mom named them. 

Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young.

So evidently the apple doesn't fall far from the tree.

I got home from work today and when I walked in, I saw Matt on the couch.  He looked awful.  He was sneezing and sniffling and his eyes were red and watery and swollen.

I asked him what was wrong and he said, "Well, my allergies are acting up.  I knew I shouldn't have followed that turkey."  

Hmm.  Now that's a statement that's going to require a bit of clarification.

Evidently when he pulled into our parking lot, he spotted a turkey.  So he got out of his car and sneakily followed the turkey into the woods because he wanted to see where it lived.

His search was unsuccessful, but he has big plans to hit the woods again, WITH A TURKEY CALL, to see if he can find the turkey homestead. 

Where do we sign up for a our birdwatcher's memberships?


Wednesday, May 21, 2014

i also used a weight machine backwards, but that's another story for another time

Well, Matt and I joined a gym last week.

That's noteworthy because I am not the least bit athletic and/or all that interested in fitness.  When I was a senior in college I had a knee issue that, according to my doctor, could be cured if I spent 40 minutes a day on a recumbent bike.  So I got myself a gym membership and rode that recumbent bike for the prescribed 40 minutes a day and not a second more.  And I didn't dare venture to the treadmill or the rowing machine or, heaven forbid, the stair stepper.  And then I graduated and that was the end of my gym experience.

Until last Wednesday, when Matt and I laced up our sneakers and joined Planet Fitness.  In the last seven days we have gone to the gym five times, which is more than I've gone in the last five years, so basically we have already gotten our money's worth.

On our first day we rode the bikes, but by day two I was drawn to the glamor and apparent grace of the elliptical machine.  So I climbed aboard, started elliptical-ing, and lasted four painful minutes until I determined that my sweet spot at the gym is probably on the treadmill, speed: 3.2, incline: 0.

After day two I was feeling fantastic and full of energy, so when we got home I decided to do a little apple cider vinegar hair treatment because it makes my hair so shiny and smooth and who doesn't want their hair to look healthy?  I wet my hair, soaked it in apple cider vinegar, and then folded some laundry and straightened up a little bit while the vinegar worked its magic.

I hopped back in the shower to rinse it out, and when I walked back out into the living room, Matt was just walking in the front door.

"Where'd you go?" I asked him.

"Something really smells weird in here and I cannot for the life of me figure out what it is - so I cleared the leftovers out of the fridge, and then took all of the trash out."

Well, mystery solved my friend.

I have half a bottle of apple cider vinegar on my head.


Not only do I want my hair to look great while I stroll on the treadmill, but obviously I need the right wardrobe.  So this weekend I got some fancy new fitness-style yoga capris, and last night I hit the mall to got myself a new pair of sneakers.   I've read it takes 21 days for something to become a habit and while I'm only a third of the way there, I figure I may as well look adorable for the next 14 days while we see if this gym thing is going to be a long term commitment or a flash in the pan.

I wore my new workout gear to the gym tonight for the first time.  I walked faster and with so much more pep in my step.  And after the treadmill portion of the gym experience I pranced around from weight machine to weight machine in my fancy new shoes feeling like a million bucks.

And then we got into the car and I crossed my legs and I spotted this.
 I had forgotten to take the tags off of my new shoes.

Listen.  I keep myself humble.  And marginally embarrassed.

Although if this gym thing doesn't turn into a habit in the next two weeks, I could still return the sneakers.

Silver lining.

Thursday, May 8, 2014


Well, Matt and I have been married for two months today.  And in those two months of marriage we have purchased four new car tires which, let's be honest, is a pace we cannot keep up. 

On Tuesday I drove to a meeting about an hour and a half away.  The drive to the meeting was uneventful, but as I approached my highway exit on the way home, the low tire pressure light on my dashboard started flashing.

I guess I should have known something was amiss when I was singing along to the radio several miles earlier and it sounded like someone was pounding on my chest as I sang.  Here I thought I'd finally perfected my vibrato a la Carrie Underwood, but in reality it was a sign of a flat tire.  

Hindsight is 20/20.

I got off the exit and pulled right into the parking lot of an office complex.  I called Matt, and when he answered I said, "Hey, my low tire pressure light came on.  So I got off the turnpike and I'm now parked in a parking lot.  What do you think I should do?"

And he said, "Well, do you have a flat tire?"

"I don't know,"  I said.  "I didn't get out and look at the tires."

Note to self: When your low tire pressure light comes on, the first step is to get out of the car and actually look at your tires.

I performed a full four point inspection and while I didn't see an obvious flat, I heard what I thought was air hissing out of a small hole in the driver's side rear.  Matt wanted to come and change it but since he was an hour away and we pay for roadside assistance with our insurance, I called roadside.  And while I waited for the mechanic to arrive, I watched my tire flatten into a pancake.

And half an hour later an ancient, white, dented, beat up van that said "Home Improvement, Inc, NEW YORK" came pulling up to me and my little Ford Focus.  It was like the start of a horror movie, because 1-beat up white van, and 2-I was expecting a tow truck from Pennsylvania, not a home improvement truck from New York.  But the man in the van was very nice and had a tire jack with him so I guess he was legitimate.  He told me I had a nail in my tire, so he put my spare on and I headed slowly off to Pep Boys for a plug.

At Pep Boys, I told the man at the desk I wanted my tire plugged and handed over my keys.  And ten minutes later one of the mechanics came into the waiting room and said, "Hello miss, I looked at your car and I actually recommend four new tires.  The ones you have are six years old."

Little did he know that I am NO EASY SELL.

"First of all, the car is only five years old and these aren't the original tires.  Second of all, I'm not here to buy new tires today.  I don't understand how everything was going along fine and I hit one nail and suddenly all four tires are bad.  I'd like the tire plugged and that's it for today, thank you."

Well, Mr. Mechanic came back in a few minutes later and told me that due to the way the nail punctured the tire, a plug wouldn't hold.  Half of me thought he was telling the truth and half of me thought he was trying to make a few hundred bucks out of the deal, so I called Matt again and he told me to just go ahead and get the two new tires because MY SAFETY IS PARAMOUNT.


And that's how I became the owner of a lovely set of Hancook tires for the moderate performance driver, because apparently the tire salesman and I have differing ideas of what constitutes a high performance driver.  

I naturally consider myself a very high performance driver because I have an almost perfect driving record and I use those turn signals like a boss.  The salesman considers a high performance driver someone who drives at speeds in excess of one hundred miles per hour on a regular basis in a car with sport handling.

Tomayto, tomahto.

And so instead of a fancy dinner date for our two monthiversary, we gazed out into the parking lot at all of our new tires, and had a music night where we played all of our favorite songs and made a giant batch of chocolate chip cookies.

And when I went to light the candle for dinner, I saw this written in the wax.

The best things in life are free.

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