“Working on the tiny blueprint of the angle”

Oh I’m so far behind, I’m not even going to try to catch up. I don’t think I missed anything amazing. The horrible part is, I keep thinking about things I want to write about, but it’s like, while I’m drying my hair. I need to start keeping a little notebook with me so I can write down my ideas for later.

Another problem is that I’m crazy busy at work all the time. The group that I’m in 40% of the time (on paper) had their face-to-face meeting at our site, so I was with them for two days. And now we’re getting ready for our big learning event that starts on Monday. Remember last year when it was one crazy week and everything kind of went wrong? This year it’s three weeks, but hopefully we don’t have the problems we experienced last year. This past week was intense preparation, so I wasn’t even at my desk a lot of the time, and then next week I’ll be facilitating our on-site events and handling people’s questions that come in to the group mailbox.

Also remember my fruit-hating co-worker from last year? She’s in town for two weeks to help us out, so we came up with some weekend plans for her. Today GG and I took her into Philadelphia to show her some touristy stuff. We took the train in this morning and saw the Comcast Center (briefly – to answer my question, yes they do show other video things on the giant screens in the lobby outside of Christmas time), the Mutter Museum (which has changed a lot since the last time I was there, I guess due to its being so famous now), DiBruno Brothers, Chinatown, the Liberty Bell (we didn’t wait in the giant line to see it, there’s a window around the side where you can walk up and get a great view!), Independence Hall (from across the street because the whole area is chained off), and Reading Terminal Market before catching the train back home. Oh and we saw that new President’s House exhibit, which was very cool, and I was already familiar with Oney Judge from Drunk History.

So, tomorrow is my day to rest and relax and also do housework and watch Super Bowl commercials, and then the craziness starts Monday!

“Everybody’s so impressed, you’ve got ‘Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?’ under your pillow”

Last Thursday was like Friday for me and GG, because we were taking Friday off to go to the PA Farm Show. So I suggested on Thursday night that we go to the BBQ restaurant we went to before Christmas the night GG couldn’t eat because he had to fast. This time he could eat, and eat he did. Somehow I also finished my entire meal. The food was amazing, and the owner and everyone else who works there are so friendly. GG was just asking me today, what did I think would be a reasonable frequency for eating there?

So Friday we were off work but got up at our normal early wake-up time to head out to Harrisburg to meet L and S and go to the Farm Show. I think this was our third year going, and at this point we know what things we want to see and do, so we didn’t really waste time just wandering through. Also, we learned a bunch of stuff:

  • You can tell a male bullfrog from a female because the male’s tympanic membranes (the circles behind his eyes) are larger than his eyes, and a female’s are smaller. The male’s are larger because they need to be able to hear each other’s calls.
  • Cheese curds are pretty much the same as regular cheese, the difference is that it hasn’t been mushed into a block-shaped mold yet.
  • There was a new type of nut called the Hican. These are actually a naturally-occurring hybrid, in areas where Hickory trees meet Pecan trees and they happen to cross-breed themselves. But there can be variations where it’s a little more on the Hickory side or more on the Pecan side.
  • Flemish Giant and Angora rabbits really are that laid back.
  • The line for vegetables will always be shortest – even if they are deep-fried vegetables.

We also saw lots of animals (both cute and huge), ate lots of samples, and ended up purchasing a lot of food too. And then there was the food hall:

Morning – no lines, lots of space to eat

Lunchtime – no place to eat, lines literally across the room

This was also a very Janelle Monae trip. GG was interested in The ArchAndroid, so I brought it in the car and thought we’d listen to it once on the way out there, and then he’d want to put his CD or radio back on. Nope, we listened to the the entire way to Harrisburg and back, probably about five times! I’m super obsessed at the moment, I wish she were playing, or, anywhere closer than Arkansas (!) anytime soon!

The rest of our Friday was pretty much spent napping. Then Saturday we napped, and watched Twin Peaks (my goal is to finish season 1 over this holiday weekend, we only have an episode or two left), and watched SNL. And today I went food shopping and then, guess what, napped!

My pulled muscle is feeling better, though definitely not 100% yet. Pretty much any time I’m sitting, I’ve got the heating pad on my lap. (And the cats just figured this out tonight…) For the Farm Show, I wore one of those heat patches that stays warm for 8 hours, and it really did stay hot that long and I think helped a lot, because I was not uncomfortable at all despite all the walking around. I still see and feel a little swelling, though. And I have at least another week of “taking it easy” ahead of me.

Holiday Week

So then we come to that week between Christmas and New Year’s, where you’re basically just waiting for the year to end. GG and I started out with a completely free week, and then our schedule slowly filled up.

Monday: As I mentioned, we’d planned to go out and pick up supplies for our project of the week, but then we both ended up being lazy and besides doing laundry and changing the sheets on our bed, I didn’t even leave the sofa.

Tuesday: We went out and got those supplies. Then I think I went and did a couple more errands (using Christmas gift cards!). Then we went out to Shady Maple for dinner, where we met up with GG’s brother and his girlfriend, and their old family friend and his wife and in-laws, who live in that area, and who they were visiting for the week. Mostly it was important that I go because this guy never believed that someone would marry GG, and we had to prove that I existed. It was pouring rain, and everyone was running late, bla bla bla, but eventually we got in and ate way too much and hung out for a while and then came home.

Wednesday: The day of my much-anticipated big haircut! An old friend of mine is a hairdresser and said she would do the chopping for me. GG came with me, so they finally got to meet each other. I think they would get along really well, so we’ll hopefully all do dinner or something together soon. Anyway, I am super excited about my hair, and she didn’t have to cut off as much as I’d thought to get to the 8″ requirement, so it’s actually not as short as I was thinking it would get. It’s super cute. And I mailed my ponytail away to the wig people, so I’ll probably do that from now on when I do my big hair choppings.

Thursday: GG and I made our annual trip into Philadelphia to see the holiday display at the Comcast building. We took the train into the city, and that was quite a ride… We sat down in a nice quiet area, and then this kid and his mom sat behind us. He would not shut up. And he had a comment about everything he saw out the window, as well as everything inside the train car! (Funny example: there was a poster for the musical Jersey Boys, and he said to his mom, “Do you like the Jersey Boys? I don’t like that band. I think they’re heavy metal.”) Another amusing moment was when he started commenting about the graffiti we were riding past, and saying “graffiti is bad” and all that and the mom goes, “You shouldn’t say that too loud, what if someone on this train painted that graffiti.” Anyway, the kid never shut up, but at least we got off the train a couple stops before them. (Oh also, there was some random delay that caused the conductor to call all the train guys up to the front of the train, and then we drove backwards for a bit, and just sat for a little while. But we were only like 5 minutes behind schedule when we got to our stop.) We arrived right as the show was starting, and I was semi-disappointed to see that the show was pretty much the same as last year’s (and the year before, and the year before that…), they had just filmed a couple new scenes but they were pretty much the same thing. The new twist this year was that at the end, the audience is showered with foam “snow” spraying from above. Then we walked a couple of blocks to DiBruno Brothers for lunch. We went to the upstairs cafe, where we had sandwiches and a gorgeous charcuterie board. I could have eaten just that – it was a lot of food. Then we went downstairs and sampled some cheeses with a really friendly cheese expert. And bought a couple. Then we got back to the station just in time to catch the next train home (the return trip was much more pleasant). So it turned out to be a nice day out.

Friday: MB and A came out for the day. A wanted to show GG his new guitar pedal, so after we all exchanged Christmas gifts, they camped out in GG’s music room while MB and I made our way to the Brandywine River Museum with baby R. We were like halfway there and R was just super fussy. So we stopped at a mall and MB and I had some lunch and she fed R. Once she’d eaten, she became a delightful little girl again. We continued on to the museum, and when we got there we pulled her stroller out, got her all situated, rolled all the way up from the back of the parking lot, and came to a sign, “No strollers.” Would have been nice if that information were on the web site, which I checked in advance… So we rolled it back to the car and then took turns carrying baby R around. You know what? When you are carrying a baby, people hold doors for you, move out of your way, and generally smile more. And R is a nice baby to carry. We saw the whole thing: the doll collection (crrreepy), the model train (crrrowded), the Andrew Wyeth exhibit, the landscapes, the still lifes… Then we went out to the courtyard where they were selling hot apple cider, and walked to the river while we drank. Then baby R had to eat a little more in the car. We came back to the KoP Mall where we were going to meet the guys for dinner at the Cheesecake Factory to use up some of the many gift cards we’ve been collecting. When we got there there was an hour wait for a table, so I put my name in and told the guys to be there in 45 minutes. Then MB and I started rolling down the mall with baby R. She was very cranky, so MB lifted her out of the stroller and found… a wet spot. Back we went, to the bathroom for a diaper and wardrobe change! Then we were off again (after getting stopped by a cleaning lady exclaiming over what a beautiful baby R is). We walked to the other end of the mall and started heading back, but had to take another quick break to feed R a bit. Then it was time for dinner, and we were in a very dark corner of the dark restaurant, and there was a lot of food. At MB’s suggestion, I got the chicken lettuce wraps, which may be my new favorite meal there. After dinner, we said goodnight and everyone headed home. The moral of this story is, I love MB, and R is still my favorite baby, but babies are very time consuming.

Saturday: After running a couple errands, I spent the day napping in preparation for New Year’s Eve festivities. We had a very low-key celebration planned. We met up with another couple at this Greek restaurant for dinner, then returned to our respective homes to watch the ball drop on TV. Dinner was at 6, and we were there for a couple hours. We split a plate of hummus/baba ganoush/feta/etc., and then each got an entree (I had beef kabobs, GG had lamb, the other couple each got this seafood over pasta thing). Then the bill came. I wouldn’t usually write about something this mundane, but this was really a ridiculous situation and I’ve been thinking about it ever since. Since we’d all gotten about the same type of stuff, we decided to split it in half. Including tip, it came out to $63 per couple. GG put in two $20s and three $1s, and I put in a $20, and that was our half. The other couple had a $50 that they wanted GG to break, so he took care of that, and then they put in their portion and we counted it up at the end. They said they had put in $70, which actually would have put us $7 over, but instead we kept coming up $6 short. Since GG’s and my $63 was definitely accounted for, obviously they had just mis-counted or not put in what they had intended. And they just sat there looking at the pile of money. I counted it again – nope, definitely $6 short. They just kept looking at the money like, “Well, I don’t know what happened.” Finally, I just pulled $6 out, threw it on the pile, and stood up so we could leave. It was so weird. I have never been in a situation like that before. I don’t know if they didn’t have the money, or didn’t believe it was from their side that it was owed, or what, but it was really awkward. If I hadn’t done that, who knows how long we would have been sitting there, counting and re-counting. We were home by 9 PM, and put on New Year’s Rockin’ Eve. GG and I rang in the new year in our pajamas, with ginger ale, and went to bed shortly after midnight. It was the best New Year’s Eve ever!

Sunday: I’ve been working on little bits of my home project throughout the week, but today I did the major part of it, which took me all morning. I’ve spent the rest of the day relaxing. Tomorrow will be major part 2, and hopefully that’s it for home projects for a while. Maybe I’ll leave the house tomorrow, too… It will be my last day before going back to work, and I can already tell this is going to be a rough month…

“‘Tis the season for the giving and I give what I get”

My last week of work was crazy. People were trying to get stuff done by the end of the year, and what they don’t realize is that I am the last stop for a lot of stuff, and I need to do work before something is “ready,” so I was very busy trying to keep up with everyone’s requests. I actually was in the office most of last week, including Thursday, which was the last day my site was open. I’m technically off now until January 3, but I do have to check e-mail daily to keep up with stuff. Except Christmas – I did not check my work e-mail on Christmas!

On Thursday night, we were invited to hang out with a couple friends who are home visiting from Arizona. They invited a bunch of people to meet them at their favorite BBQ restaurant here (this place catered their wedding). Too bad GG was getting blood drawn the next morning and had to fast for 12 hours! It would have worked out fine if we’d been home for the evening, but it was torture for him to sit in the BBQ restaurant, which smells fabulous, and only be able to drink water! Then we all went out for ice cream afterward, which also smelled delicious, and which he also couldn’t eat. Don’t worry, I made up for him and ate quite a lot :o) The BBQ was delicious, but even better than the meat was their mac & cheese – I would go back just for that! And of course it was great to see our friends! Apparently they hadn’t told their families that they were coming home for Christmas, and surprised them by showing up on their doorstep. I wish they had taped that!

Friday was my day to do my final shopping to prepare for Christmas lunch (did I mention I had volunteered to host my family on Christmas?). There weren’t going to be a ton of people, and I had a little menu planned, but my mom kept asking if there would be enough food, so I sort of panicked and got a bunch more stuff. Then GG and I went out to dinner and picked up some more food while we were out. So I was definitely prepared for Sunday. On Saturday I did as much cleaning and advanced food preparation as I could – mixing up dips, chopping things, etc. Then Saturday night was Christmas Eve dinner at GG’s grandmother’s house. Dinner was good, and it was nice to hang out. Also, her enormous orange cat came out of hiding (he usually hides from strangers) and let me pet him (he usually growls and bites strangers). When I got home, I did a little more food prep before bed.

I kind of hate the actual day of Christmas. All the preparation and build-up, and then it feels like such a wasteful day while it’s happening. I make charitable donations for everyone as gifts, but then I feel bad that they won’t have stuff to open, so I get a bunch of little things, which feels like a waste. And I feel inadequate, like I didn’t spend as much on them, but really the bulk of the present budget went into the donations, that’s just not a tangible gift. Which is all to say… I was kind of unsatisfied with what I gave everyone as gifts this year. Except GG, I got him exactly what he wanted: a huge wide-screen monitor for his music computer. He’s so happy with it! And he says it’ll increase his productivity while he’s recording, because he can fit everything on the screen at once, and won’t need to switch between programs.

After we did our own presents at home in the morning, GG went to his parents’ house for breakfast while I finished cleaning and preparing for lunch. He got home around noon and helped me a little bit, then people started arriving at 1:00. Almost everyone had either been somewhere else already that day, or was going somewhere else afterward, but we all had a nice visit for a few hours. And there was way too much food! My main entree was a pasta salad, which I was really worried about because my mom kept pushing for sandwiches. But everyone loved it! And I made about three times too much, whoops. We also had a couple kinds of dips, with veggies and crackers; delicious crostini, which looked very festive with roasted red pepper on a white cheese topping; my grandmother brought potato salad; and my mom brought sausage balls, baked brie, and a couple of pies! Plus we had a wide selection of drinks, from beer to eggnog. Overall, it was very successful – despite the stress of preparing, I do enjoy having people over. I loved hosting Thanksgiving a couple years ago. I’d do this again.

After we had things pretty much cleaned up, and the food packed away (despite sending everyone home with something, there is still a lot of stuff left in our fridge!), it was time to head to GG’s parents’ house for more gifts and dinner. This was the Christmas of Scotch, that was all GG and his dad and brother exchanged with each other. There were also lots of jokey gifts, as well as lots of food items (GG’s parents know at this point that I don’t like getting “stuff,” so they always give me food and snacks, plus my mom gave me lots of fancy soup and dessert mixes, and GG gave me a bottle of white truffle oil).

So besides checking work e-mail and eating leftovers, we’ve got a full week of plans for our vacation. Today I was supposed to go do some shopping, but that didn’t happen. So on deck for the rest of the week is: the shopping that I’d planned to do today, having dinner with an old family friend of his (who apparently doesn’t believe I exist, because who would marry GG?!), my big haircut, our [somewhat] annual train trip into Philly to see the Christmas display at the Comcast building (plus lunch somewhere in the city), a visit with MB and baby R while GG and A play guitar for the day, and for NYE we’re having an early dinner with another couple and then going home to ring in midnight from the comfort of our own sofa. Plus there’s my home improvement project that I’ve planned for this week (because don’t I always plan a project for when I’m home from work over a holiday?). Hopefully I get everything done that I want to do.

“I think the rock ‘n roll girls in this world want apologies”

I took the day off work last Friday to do all my Christmas shopping. I went to a lot of places and did pretty well, but I’m not quite done. I’ll finish up this week, just need to get some little things.

On Saturday, we went to Harrisburg for our friends’ Christmas party. GG was all set to spend the night there, which was really stressing me out since I had so much I had to do the next day, but I packed some overnight things anyway. The party was lots of fun, and my worrying ended up being for nothing, because everyone left before 11 and GG was at stage 2 of his drunkenness, when he gets loud and annoying, and about to enter stage 3, when he gets sleepy, so I convinced him to let me drive home.

It was nice to be able to wake up in my own house on Sunday instead of waking up in Harrisburg and having to drive two hours to get home. I did a lot of errands and chores, getting ready for the week. I’m off to a busy start so far, because today I had to facilitate a big meeting at work, I had to get there at 6:30 AM! Luckily, we had a lot of support at our site so it wasn’t especially stressful for me once we got set up and ready.

After work I made the mistake of going to the post office to ship something – even though I’d heard on the radio this morning that today was traditionally the busiest shipping day of the year because it’s the last day you can send things to arrive in time for Christmas. I have never seen a line that long at any post office, ever. It was literally out the door. The whole time I was out in the lobby waiting, I thought, “Well it’s so busy, I’m sure they have all the registers open.” Once I got inside, I saw that no, the only had two of their four registers open! I’ve never seen more than two registers open there, no matter how busy it is. Not only that, every customer was trying to do something stupid. No, you can’t ship that printer in a box that’s falling apart. No, I don’t know what you’re sending, but if it’s insured you can’t have it rattling around in a huge box. If you’re doing something that requires two forms of identification, you need two accepted forms of identification. Sigh. I’d like to suggest that post offices have two lines: one for customers who are prepared, and one for people who are going to do something stupid.

I’ve decided I’m cutting my hair in January. I’ve been putting it off, for some reason. I wanted to donate it this time, so it’s currently crazy long. Some days it bothers me so much, there’s just so much of it and everyone comments on how long my hair is. But then other times, when it’s behaving, I think it looks really nice this long. It makes a nice ponytail, I can finally make a decent bun, and it’s almost long enough to do a hair bra (haha). But, I’ve always wanted to donate my hair, and it will grow back. So, a couple more weeks to go, and then I’m getting chopped for sure!

“It was sweet, like lead paint is sweet”

We had a fun and productive weekend. Jen kind of mentioned to me at work on Thursday that she was planning to paint at her house on Saturday, and I volunteered to help. After confirming with GG, I let her know that we were definitely on for Saturday. On Friday I worked from home, which is going to be part of my regular schedule now – yes, I will only be in the office three days a week now, woohoo. So Friday was a nice relaxing day at home. GG and I decided to see a movie Friday night, so we went out to PF Chang’s (he’d never been there before, so he had nothing to compare to when I made my version of Chicken Lettuce Wraps!), and then to see 50/50. The movie was really good. It wasn’t what I’d expected it to be like, but it was very funny and sweet. We laughed a lot and may have cried a little…

On Saturday morning we went out early to make the final payment on our new furniture, which will be delivered this week! GG wrote a check for the balance, and then we went to this diner because I really wanted some pancakes. I don’t like going to this diner, but I made an exception because I wanted those pancakes. After sitting there for 10 minutes without so much as acknowledgement from the waitress, let alone having our order taken, we got up and left. Just as well, because something happened with GG’s check and it was declined. So we went back, he paid with debit card (same account, somehow that method worked!), and we headed back home. On the way, we decided to try this other sandwich place, and guess what, they serve pancakes! But the menu is tjust this giant board of writing, and I read it wrong and accidentally ordered three plate-sized pancakes! And GG ordered two. So we had quite a few pancakes between us. There were some pancakes taken home.

Around noon we headed up to Jen’s place and somehow, the GPS took us some way we had never gone before. It was totally crazy, though it took the same amount of time. We got there, made an emergency trip to the hardware store for some more supplies, and then the four of us got to work and repainted their whole family room and adjacent hallway a nice beige color. Good thing I brought GG, we needed his height! We were also entertained by the three kids, who even GG enjoys. We had lots of fun, I really do enjoy painting, even more so when it’s not my house and I don’t have to do all the prep and clean-up myself :o) Plus, Jen made us a delicious Mexican dip for a snack, and we had pizza for dinner. After dinner, we had a little fire in the fireplace. I was getting pretty tired, plus getting a headache from the paint, and had an hour-long drive back home, so we left probably around 7:30. GG and I both fell asleep when we got home and pretty much missed SNL. I woke up for about 10 minutes of it, but pretty much gave up. Don’t worry, we caught up by watching the recording this morning.

Today I did a bunch of chores, food shopping, etc. I have lots of good dinners planned for this week. I set a goal of using the crock pot once a week, and so far that is going well. GG helped me take care of a big project in the house that I’ve been putting off for a long time, so that felt like a big accomplishment. I think I did everything I set out to do this weekend.

“I was lit from within, burning with means and ends”

This week went by too fast. I’ve been very busy with band, work, and fun stuff. I’ve been listening to a lot of Jets to Brazil this week, which GG thinks sounds too sad for my taste, but I still really enjoy that band (and there is enough happy stuff to keep my interest).

We had some work done at the house. It was noisy and expensive, but I think it’ll be a huge improvement. I haven’t seen it in the light yet, but so far in the dark it looks nice :o)

Tonight was our quarterly Girls Night Out dinner. Since it’ll be the last one before the holidays (though we may have a holiday get-together at someone’s house), I thought it would be fun to do some sort of gift exchange. We decided to do a “favorite things” exchange, where each person brings one of their favorite things (under $10) for each other person. So everyone leaves with one favorite thing from everyone else. It went so well! It was fun going around the table as we unwrapped each person’s gift and they explained what it was and why they chose it. One of the funniest things was that Jen gave everybody two different colors of her favorite lip gloss. The colors I got were Peach Moonstone, which I decided sounded like a p0rn star, and Rich Garnet, which sounds like her male co-star (and is also a nice color, I tried it when I got home!).

This weekend we were planning to meet up with friends at my alma mater for Homecoming, but that trip has been canceled, due to the impending snowstorm! The way it’s been messing things up already, we’d better actually get some snow in this storm! I’ve heard everything from half an inch of slush, to 10 inches of snow. So we’ll see what we get. At least I bought new snow boots just in time!

“This truck can practically find its own way without my help”

On Thursday I randomly decided to work from home the next day, so Friday was nice and relaxing (except for a lot of last-minute work stuff, as seems to be usual for Fridays lately).

GG and I went out to an appointment on Saturday morning. Then I came home and did some things around the house, before grabbing a nap, and then we drove 100 miles away to L & S’s place for S’s birthday party. Even though it was a long trip, it was a lot of fun. GG even behaved himself, for the most part. Or maybe it was that most of the guests were people who really appreciated him.

We’d been invited to spend the night, but we left sometime before 11 PM and got home sometime before 1 AM. I just didn’t want to wake up out there on Sunday morning and then have to drive all the way home, because I knew we wouldn’t feel like doing anything after that, and I had stuff to do on Sunday.

So Sunday morning we were able to wake up at a reasonable time. GG wanted to come out with me for errands – I don’t think he realized this was going to be a mega errand day. We were gone for hours, but it was a very productive trip. Then I spent the afternoon cleaning and organizing at home, and spent the evening catching up with my DVRed shows (it’s only a been a few months, but what did I ever do before DVR?), and watching TV with GG.

My “extreme couponing” moment of the week: Bottles of the vitamins I take were buy 1, get 1 free, plus I had a $1.50 coupon for them. So I got two bottles ($29.98 total value) for $13.49. My overall savings for grocery shopping this week was 22%, which is good, I like to be around 20%.

What I Did on My Random September Vacation

I had a bunch of vacation time to use up (still do, actually), and not much going on for the last week of September, so I took a week off work. Luckily, I didn’t actually go anywhere, since apparently I can just never take actual time off work. During this week I had to check e-mail every day, do a bunch of emergency stuff, and have another phone call with the people we’re training in China! I guess it’s good to be needed, but I need to train some back-ups, too!

Sunday: I’ll say my vacation started on Sunday, when GG and I went out to the PA Ren Faire where we met up with L, S, and E. We also saw J, who works there. It was a great day. I thought for sure it was going to rain, but it actually turned out to be warm and occasionally sunny. We saw a lot of shows, including acrobats, the mud show, the falconer (GG volunteered to be in one of the tricks and got slapped in the face by a Red Tailed Hawk!), a funny singing group, a cool band, and the human chess match. We also ate a lot, and the guys drank a lot, too. It seemed a lot better than the last time I was there, I think in 2002.

Pickles on sticks – my new favorite snack!

GG and the other volunteers with a hawk flying past!

A very cool acrobat couple

Relaxing on a rock with a drink and some snacks, watching the human chess match, was a nice way to wrap up the afternoon

Monday: I slept in a little on Monday, but not for too long, because I had a big day planned. GG and I were planning to go to this huge furniture outlet on Tuesday to look for a new sofa, so I wanted to go to all the local furniture places on Monday to see what styles were out there and get an idea of prices, so we’d know if we were getting a good deal at the outlet. I had four places on my list, but actually only ended up going to three, because one I’d checked out online and knew they were expensive and didn’t really have what we were looking for. The first place I went had a couple nice things, but when I made it clear that I wasn’t buying anything right that moment, the guy gave me this sob story about how he works only for commission, bla bla bla. I hate that pressure. At the second store I went to, they pretty much told me outright they didn’t have what I was looking for. The last place I went seemed to have a lot of nice things, but the saleswoman who grabbed me was utterly clueless (to be fair, the place had only been open about a week), and seemed fixated on this one designer line of furniture. I told her we were going to look at one other place the next day and then would be back. That afternoon, I had to pick GG up from the place where he’d dropped his car to get fixed. It was rush hour and I had a very limited idea of where I was going. By the time I got there and found him, I was hot and had a headache. I felt awful for the rest of the night, as I slept it off. I don’t think I even ate dinner.

Tuesday: This was the big day – GG had also taken the day off work, and we planned to drive out to the Morgantown Outlet Mall, basically a huge mall selling nothing but furniture, mostly sofas. That’s where we got our last sofa set, as well as our dining room table and chairs. You can spend all day just trying out sofas, and when you pick the one you like they will ship it to you. We got there, and huge banners announced that the whole mall was closing! To be replaced with an auto auction, we learned! All the remaining stock had been consolidated into just a couple stores. So even though there were some good deals to be had, we didn’t really see anything we liked. However, GG found a cabinet that was perfect for his scotch collection. He’d been looking for something for a while that would hold the tall bottles, his little glasses, and match our dining room furniture. So the trip wasn’t a total waste. Also, we went to the Sonic out there for an early lunch. But, they mixed up our drinks and I drank half of his low-cal cherry limeade before we realized that he had my strawberry limeade! (I thought the drink was just really bad…) On our way home, we stopped at the furniture store with the clueless lady again. This time, she came around with us while GG and I examined Every. Sofa. In the. Entire. Store. And guess what – we found exactly what we wanted! We were torn between the Summer Day line and the Coral & Sage line, but in the end went with Coral & Sage because the pieces were slightly larger, we liked the sofa cushions more, and the fabric choices were better. We’re getting the sofa, armchair, and ottoman in a tan microfiber. So excited! They should be here by Thanksgiving :o/ Then we went to pick up GG’s car (this time less stressful, since I knew where I was going), and went out to dinner, and then GG went to practice with his new (old) band while I stayed home for my second and final teleconference with China.

Wednesday: I went out to brunch with my old friend M. The last time I’d seen her was last summer, when she was pregnant. This time we were joined by baby J! (He is a good baby, and very cute.) We caught up over some nice french toast at this diner she’d always wanted to try. On my way home, I went to the outlets, where I picked up a bunch of clothes – so if I start complaining that I have nothing to wear, someone remind me of this! Then I came home and caught up on a little work before band practice. It was sort of weird going to band, since it was like the one thing I did all week that was part of my normal routine.

Thursday: I’d had nightmares since ordering that sofa on Tuesday that we chose the wrong color. I wanted something kind of similar to the color of what we have now. So when the furniture store opened in the morning, I went over with one of the pillows from our current sofa, to compare it to the fabric swatch. Yes, the tan color we’d picked (“Honey”) was kind of bright and yellow-y. The next shade lighter was way too light. But the next shade darker (“Coffee”) was almost the exact color of the pillow I brought. It took going through three different people, and calling back later in the evening to confirm, but I was able to change our order – phew! I am much happier with this color choice! After that trip, I picked up some food and went to my grandmother’s to have lunch with her. (I’d wanted to take her out, but she couldn’t leave since she was having some work done at the house.) We had a nice visit. Then I did a couple other errands before heading home.

Friday: After doing some work, I headed back out to the outlets to return something I’d bought on Wednesday. I justified the trip back there by also getting cheap gas at the new Costco next door. I picked up some lunch on my way home, then spent the rest of the afternoon on the sofa… working. That evening, GG and I headed out to see TMBG! That concert needs its own post, suffice to say Their weird fans have wrecked yet another show for us. A nice couple standing next to us helped restore my faith in Their younger followers, but maybe from now on we will stand somewhere other than directly in front of the stage, as that seems to be prime real estate for all the insane people…

Saturday: Heading out soon for Octoberfest with MB and A..!

Teeth, GNO, Baby, Boppy, Coupons

Friday was a long but fun day. On Thursday night, the bonding came out of my front tooth where I chipped it like seven years ago. And of course the dentist’s office had just closed. So I stayed home from work on Friday morning and called the dentist as soon as they opened at 8. They were able to fit me in at 8:30! The best part was that the woman who usually does bonding does not work on Fridays, so they asked if I would mind if a different dentist did it. That was fine with me, because I really do not like her, and thought she did a bad job last time! It turned out that my regular dentist, who also doesn’t usually work on Fridays, was filling in that day, and he did the bonding. He did a great job! It was a pain, but because of the timing, everything worked out great.

I got to work before 9 AM, and I bet nobody even noticed I wasn’t there because there were zero other people from my department in the office. After work, it was time for our 3rd Quarter Girls’ Night Out! This time around, we went to Benihana for a hibachi dinner. Dinner was lots of fun, except we like getting together to talk and catch up, and sitting around the table with a cooking surface in the middle, it was a little hard for people on the other end to hear each other. So after dessert, we walked across the parking lot to the mall, where we hung out in the food court and chatted until it was closing time.

On Saturday, MB and A came out to visit with baby R! GG and I went with them to Elevation Burger for lunch (it was either there, or Qdoba, but since they’d never tried Elevation before we thought we’d go there). Then we split up, to give A an “estrogen-free” day. GG and A came back to our place to play guitars and drink scotch, while MB and I took baby R to her first trip to the zoo. It turned out when we got there that the zoo was closing in a little over an hour because they were setting up for an evening event. But it is not a huge place, so I figured we could see everything by then. And we did! I got lots of pictures of baby R meeting the animals, because at 5 months old, she is never going to remember this. When we were done, we still had a few hours to kill before meeting the guys for dinner, so we went to the mall to shop and walk around. (And breastfeed in public. So much public breastfeeding that day!)

At dinner time, we met up with the guys at Rock Bottom and had a nice meal. Then MB and A got on the Turnpike and headed home, and GG and I went back to our place… where we saw that baby R’s Boppy pillow had been left at our house! This was enough of a tragedy that MB and A got off the Turnpike at the next exit to turn around and come back here to get it back. But once that was taken care of, GG went out to a comedy thing and I ended up falling asleep on the sofa.

Today while I was food shopping I made a real Extreme Couponing move. Keebler is making a new type of mint chocolate cookies. Because they are a new product, my store had them on sale for $1.99. And because they’re new, there was a coupon in my weekly coupon circular for $.55 off a pack. This was doubled at the store, so I got the package for $.89. And they are delicious. Overall, I saved 20% off my grocery bill today, which I think is a totally reasonable amount and is usually my goal.