Tuesday, May 31, 2016

this is for the birds

Well, last weekend we visited Hell, but on Friday we felt like we were actually living there because it was a zillion degrees in our house.

It's one thing to buy a house in December and say, "No air conditioning? No problem!  We love the fresh air!" and it's quite another to try to sleep on May 27th when it was 94 degrees all day with 74% humidity and your bedroom will not cool down past 86 degrees.

Our house has one air conditioning wall unit in the family room and a very old one in the kitchen.  And by very old I mean it was manufactured during the first Regan administration.  

And it has wood paneling on the front.
However, it still works like a charm so obviously the GE engineers of 1984 were doing something right even if the decor and style were questionable.

Matt and I went to Wal Mart on Saturday to buy an air conditioner for our bedroom because we are weak and high maintenance and I'm a bear if I don't get 8 hours of solid sleep, but they only had one model left and it cost $400.00.  That's a high price to pay for a cool bedroom.

A Wal Mart employee told us that they restocked 260 air conditioners on Friday night and all but 4 were gone by Saturday morning.

We went next door to Lowe's and they had a plethora of appropriately priced air conditioners.  We bought one and also breezed through the lumber department for some more chicken coop supplies.

When we bought our chickens someone told us that our first dozen eggs will cost us a thousand dollars, and she was right.  This chicken coop is quickly approaching the short but prestigious list of valuable items we own, including my pearl necklace and our wedding rings.  I think we need to add a line item in our will for this chicken coop.

Luckily it's almost finished, because the girls are still in a box in the garage, but they're getting big. 

We came home from running errands a few weeks ago and Daisy was standing outside her Rubbermaid container looking in.  

She had literally flown the coop.

I bet she was too hot and looking for the land of air conditioning.

Friday, May 27, 2016

michigan part 2

We drove our Nissan Rogue back to the hotel on Friday night.  Also, if we had a dollar for every time someone said, "You're driving a Nissan in GM country?"  we could have afforded to buy the nicest GM vehicle in Pinckney.

Matt and I woke up bright and early on Saturday because apparently when you turn 27 you can't sleep in anymore, and decided to go for a walk in the hopes of finding some picturesque Michigan scenery.

This was the best we could do.

However, we did find a Dunkin' Donuts where I ordered an iced caramel coffee, so all was not lost.

We got back to the hotel and prepared for the main event.  Let me just tell you, there was no humility in that hotel room.  Matt and I kept walking back and forth past the mirror and complimented ourselves every single time.  We did one last mirror check before we left and Matt sighed and said, "It's just a real bummer I couldn't dress like a Secret Service agent."

Yes, because that's an appropriate getup for a casual backyard wedding.

We arrived to the wedding a whopping 45 minutes early, but thanks to the google we were able to discover that in just 5 minutes, we could go to hell.

Hell, Michigan.

And so we did.

And now I can officially say I've been to hell and back.  And hell consists of a gift shop, a saloon, a a surly biker gang.

I'm not kidding.  We left the car running while we literally ran out and took this picture because those bikers didn't look thrilled to have a car full of out of towners descending on their space.

The wedding itself was lovely.  The weather couldn't have been more perfect and it was small and simple.  Once the sun went down we sat around the fire and had s'mores.

We headed home on Sunday, and everything was going swimmingly until the TSA agent flagged me because my driver's license had my maiden name, but my boarding pass had my married name.  I have the license update card that reflects my name change, but the agent said anyone can make a piece of paper with a different name and they had to verify my identify.

And let me tell you.  That process took every bit of 45 minutes and by the end of it I was questioning my own identity.  A supervisor came over and called some phone number and I had to answer crazy  questions about myself for the person on the other line.  I don't know who the heck was on the other end of that phone call but they sure had an awful lot of intel about me.

If it hadn't been a rather serious situation I would have asked if they'd called my mom.

After the phone call, I had to go through a private screening, got the major pat down, and then they went through every single item I had with a fine tooth comb.  They even turned every single page of the books I had with me.  My only regret is that I forgot Matt had thrown his diabetes supplies in my purse, because it doesn't exactly look good when you assure the TSA agent you don't have anything sharp in your purse and she pulls out a bag of needles.


I have to say that every TSA person that screened me and my belongings was super nice, but super not messing around.  Luckily I was finally cleared and we headed home to Philadelphia.

I just bet the whole screening process would've been a lot faster if only Matt had been wearing his secret service agent outfit.

Next time.

Monday, May 23, 2016

hello detroit

One of Matt's close college friends, Ron, got married in Michigan this weekend, and we made the trip out for the occasion.

We left bright and early on Friday morning, and were through security and eating breakfast  sandwiches and drinking Dunkin' iced coffee by 8:30.  We were traveling with two other friends, and our flight was on the prestigious and luxurious Spirit Airlines.  The seats were tight, but the plane was nice enough and I resisted the urge to ask the pilot the date of the last major engine inspection and if he was prepared to respond appropriately in the event of a bird strike.

I wouldn't say I hate the whole flying experience, because once we are at cruising altitude and the plane is level, I'm a happy camper.  But getting up there?  I cry REAL TEARS.  It is completely ridiculous but I cannot help my terrified self.

I've never liked roller coasters or amusement park rides for the very same reason.  The descent isn't the bad part, it's getting to the top that does me in.  The last time I rode the log flume I almost climbed out of my log halfway up.  I hate it.

Anyway, we survived the flight (no bird strikes!) and we landed in Detroit around 1:00.  We took a shuttle to the airport Enterprise location and as we pulled in, our shuttle bus driver proudly announced, "Welcome to Detroit! To thank you for coming to our wonderful city we are offering all Enterprise customers complimentary, one of a kind, Detroit hot dogs!" 

And she was right.  They were grilling right there in the parking lot.

I'm sure all that jet fuel and car exhaust gave the hot dogs some extra flavor, but we passed.

Instead we stopped at the CVS across from our hotel to pick up some snacks, but what to our wondering, Pennsylvania eyes should appear but liquor! And beer! And a whole aisle of wine ON SALE.

In Pennsylvania you can only buy alcohol at a state store, so seeing it in a CVS was like seeing a unicorn and obviously we indulged.

The bride and groom invited us to their house for pizza and wings on Friday night.  They have a beautiful piece of property in an itsy bitsy, teeny tiny town called Pinckney, Michigan.  It was about 40 minutes from the hotel, and for the first 35 minutes of our drive, we saw nothing.

Literally, nothing.

 No grocery store.  No gas station.  No police station.  No Target.

Just flat land and trees.

And the four of us pretty much talked about "Where does Ron buy food?  Where does Ron get gas? How does Ron get cold things home from the nearest grocery store?  What happens if Ron forgets a dinner ingredient? Do they even have police where Ron lives?"  By the time we got off the exit we were almost ready to stage an intervention and bring Ron back to civilization/suburban Philadelphia, but at that moment we drove past a Kroger, a gas station, a McDonald's, and a chiropractor, and what more could someone really need?

The wedding was happening AT THEIR HOUSE the next afternoon, so we ate our pizza and wings in the tent they had set up in the backyard.  I'll tell you what I wouldn't want to do at my house where I would be throwing my own wedding the next day.

Host a bunch of out-of-towners for pizza.

But the bride and groom were so laid back and we had so much fun and I mostly just laughed the whole time because there's not much funnier than a bunch of guys telling college stories.  I learned that Matt's buddies didn't believe that I existed at first.  They thought Matt made me up to impress them.  I also learned he scored a 42 on a Music Listening exam once and may or may not have illegally transported a construction barricade in the backseat of his 1996 Chevy Prism.

We left around 9 so we could navigate back through the Michigan wilderness to the hotel before it got too late.  We made it back safely even though the GPS was giving directions like, "In .2 miles, turn left on Plant Trucks."

Michigan is strange.

I'm going to continue this in a part 2, because evidently I have a lot to say about Michigan.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

anyone have a good quiche recipe?

Well, tonight I'm coming to you live from Noah's Ark.

I am not kidding.  My laundry room is flooded and there are three chickens in my garage.

Let me back up.

From the beginning of time, Matt has been talking about how he wants to get some chickens to raise in the backyard for a hobby and eggs.  My long-standing counter argument was that we don't really eat eggs, but several months ago he launched a strong chicken campaign and started eating egg salad for lunch and making me eggs for breakfast on the weekends.  He has not let up on his egg consumption for MONTHS.  

In addition to eating eggs like crazy, he's been researching backyard chickens and even has a few books.  Last Saturday we went to a party at his aunt and uncle's house, and they just so happen to have some chickens.  

And on Wednesday I was driving to Moyer's Hatchery to pick up our very own chicks.  They are the prestigious (sarcasm) breed known as Brown Egg Layers and cost a whopping $2.70 a piece.  I know an elephant at any price isn't a bargain, but I'd say a Brown Egg Layer for two bucks MOST CERTAINLY IS.   

Since the chicks were only going to be one day old, I brought a nice basket, a towel, and some hand warmers to keep the delicate little things toasty warm on the drive home.  And then I walked into Moyer's Hatchery and was handed a brown paper bag with three chickens inside and sent on my way.


Either I'm high maintenance or this was going to be easier than I thought.

Once I got home I got the chickens all set up in their bed, or if you want to use the technical farm term, their "brooder." Which is actually a bright pink Rubbermaid container.  They settled right in and mostly cheep and eat and sleep, but they seem happy, as far as chickens go.  

We cleaned out their bed on Saturday and put them in a cardboard box temporarily.  I stayed in the garage with them and made sure they didn't fly away while Matt washed out their food and water dishes.
And then on Sunday evening I ran a load of laundry, and when I went to switch it to the dryer I walked into a pond of water on the laundry room floor.

Matt immediately jumped to the worst conclusion, and while he fiddled with hoses and pipes and started hypothetically comparing repair costs versus buying a new washer, I stood off to the side by the wash tub sharing positive sentiments like "It could be worse!  It doesn't seem to be leaking ALL the time!" and "Hey, at least I got that last load of undies done!"  

And it was then that I noticed that the drain of the wash tub was filled which pine shavings from the chickens' bed, and that the newspaper that was wrapped around the red maple tree sapling that has taken up residence in our washtub (don't ask) was completely soaked, leading me to believe that the pine shavings clogged the drain, causing the wash tub to fill up and overflow when the washing machine drained into it.

I ran my hypothesis past repairman Matt, and we did a little test run, and that's exactly what happened.        

Luckily it was an easy fix, and I've done two more loads since Sunday with no problems, but I'm here to tell you I won't be sad when the chickens graduate to their outdoor coop.

It was totally bizarre but he was famous on campus until he unfortunately received a disorderly conduct citation for bringing a farm animal into an academic building, and had to retire the Chicken Man persona.  

But now it's like I have my very own chicken man.

Or, Noah.

Now I just need an ark.