Stock, Spreadsheet, Board, Cheese

Our stock options were paid out today. I’m filthy rich! [/sarcasm] Actually, if I’d started here just a few years earlier, I probably would’ve made out a lot better. But hey, it’s money I didn’t have before, I’ll take it. It’s going straight into my House Fund (which at this point is the Potential Unemployment Fund).

I’ve been working on this spreadsheet project all day, which I’m beginning to feel is just busywork. Oh well, at least it’s something to do. I felt totally useless the whole beginning of the week.

Band is getting exciting. Half the board is retiring, so we will have a couple brand new officers next year, which will be interesting. We’re all running unopposed, so even though nobody’s officially been elected yet, I can safely say I’m going to be the VP of band next year! (I’m really looking forward to it – the VP oversees committees, and I’m excited to get them formed and more active than they currently are.)

Looking forward to leaving work in an hour and going to the gourmet supermarket across the street – I got a coupon book in the mail when the store opened, with coupons for each week, and this week’s coupon is for cheese! Humboldt Fog, here I come!

MU Homecoming 2009

Well, it did rain on Saturday, but at least not until the afternoon. GG and I woke up early and drove out to MU in time for the Homecoming parade. We actually got there a little early, and had some breakfast in the SMC. Then we got a good spot outside, right where the parade announcer was and where groups stopped to perform, so we got to see all the performances. There weren’t a ton of people there, but I guess it’s because the weather was so iffy. I got a lot of good pictures and some little video clips of some of the groups. And little by little, other friends started meeting us there.

The dance team did a really nice routine to Jai Ho from “Slumdog Millionaire”

Temple Guard Drill Team – we loved the little girl in the front of the group! (I took a video too, but there’s a better one here [different venue, same routine])

If you weren’t afraid of clowns before… you will be now!

“The Shriners loaned us cars. We raced up and down the sidewalk twenty thousand million times…”

Here come my Brothers..!

The best part of the parade, however, was when the mascots showed up. Our mascot is the Marauder. A few years ago they decided that a marauder is too scary for little kids, so they wanted to change it to some sort of parrot. There was a huge public outcry, petitions, etc., so the administration said they wouldn’t get rid of the Marauder, they would just give him a parrot sidekick. At Homecoming five years ago, the Marauder was accompanied in the parade by this big black trash bag thing that had a white crack painted on it, like an egg. At halftime during the football game, the “egg” hatched, and out came the worst [co-]mascot ever. So, during the parade, both the Marauder and the parrot were running around, we’re all standing there booing the parrot – GG was especially vocal about it. So the bird leaves the parade, comes up on the sidewalk, and gets all beligerent in GG’s face! It was awesome! I finally talked our way out of the confrontation by telling GG not to take it out on this guy in the costume, he had nothing to do with the decision to add another mascot, his real beef should be with the administration.

Later, we were all walking past the gym, talking about the mascot again, and this really sweaty guy walked out the door with a giant duffle bag. GG asked him if he was the parrot. He was! What an insane coincidence. So I think they made up. (But really that guy was probably hot and tired and just wanted to get back to his car so he could put down the bird suit.)

Anyway, after the parade we went to the school store because Lina wanted a new MU sweatshirt and everything was on sale for Homecoming. I have exactly one article of MU clothing, a t-shirt I hardly ever wear, so I didn’t really need anything. After the store, we happened to bump into a couple of Brothers (including my great-great-grandlittle), and we all decided to go to lunch together at a pizza place just off campus. I thought it might be packed (the last time I tried to eat lunch near campus at Homecoming you couldn’t even get a table), but there was hardly anyone there. So we all hung out and had our pizza and such. Later, GG and I visited the art building. Unlike many other buildings on campus, it hadn’t changed much though it does have a new turquoise railing outside and the doors were painted turquoise to match. However, I see that the Commercial Art program has apparently changed to Graphic and Interactive Design, and based on the projects I saw hanging around, it’s actually a useful major where you learn things! Darn, just a few years too late…

GG and I met up with the rest of our group at the football game, where it finally started raining. First hoods went up. Then the rain continued, and umbrellas opened. I don’t know how, but somehow some water was running off of me and directly down the waistband of my pants, which was not fun. So a bunch of us finally decided to leave.

We headed over to the library for a while (Lina and Steve used to work there – that’s how they met!). After killing some time there, we finally headed our separate ways. It wasn’t even 3 PM yet when we left! There just weren’t any parties or anything going on to stick around for, at least that we knew of. It was fine with me, because I was tired – we even stopped for coffee on the way home! The rain never really let up until we were close to home. And when we got back, I changed into pajamas and took a nap for a couple hours, while nursing my coffee-induced headache.

I hope it doesn’t rain too much tomorrow.

Guess I don’t have much to say this week. Work has been fluctuating between pretty much nothing to do and an overwhelming amount of stuff to do. Right now I’m doing these giant spreadsheets that I’m supposed to have done in an hour, but I don’t know if that’s going to happen. Actually… it could potentially happen. Some people now know that they’re definitely or potentially not staying here much longer, so it’s kind of a depressing atmosphere of late. The rest of us are hanging out to discover our fate. However, we did have a really nice October birthday party yesterday (we have one birthday party each month) with lots of homemade treats, so that cheered everyone up a bit.

Band drama season is in full swing, as it’s election time, and people are perusing our By-Laws and such. It’s so amusing to me, because in the past it was like pulling teeth trying to find people to fill the board positions we have, and now suddenly people are talking about creating new positions, like they all want to participate. Last year we created three band committees because people said they wanted to get more involved, and then only a couple people actually joined, and none of the committees have even done anything, really. If I get the board position I’m running for this fall, I’d be overseeing the committees, and I would really like to see them become more active.

Tomorrow is Homecoming! GG and I have a long day ahead of us (yes, he can come with me for once!), so we’re getting to bed early tonight for sure. I hope it doesn’t rain too much..!

Food, Beer, Hot Sauce

Time for an unprotected post, yay! Suffice to say, some wacky stuff has been going on at work. If you want to read about it, just e-mail me for the password.

So besides all that crazy stuff, Heather and I went out for lunch again on Friday to the new gourmet supermarket by work. When I got home, GG said he wanted to go there, so I went back with him for dinner and shopping. As I predicted, he was totally overwhelmed by the giant store and huge selection. We ended up using some of the promotional coupons I’d been sent for free stuff, and spent an inordinate amount of time looking at the alcohol, cheese, produce, and natural food sections. (Also, there was an hour-long wait to eat at the restaurant inside the store. An hour! It’s just a supermarket, people!)

Saturday was the day of the microbrew fest Brandon had invited everyone to attend. I did have a nice day (I went shopping with a couple other wives, rather than attending the brew fest), but it was sort of one mishap after another. To summarize:

  • MB and Alan arrived at my house about half an hour early and I wasn’t even dressed yet.
  • It was raining and horrible and I had to drive in unfamiliar territory to pick up Mandy and then to get out to the brewery.
  • We got to the brew fest early and killed time while waiting for the rest of the group by wandering around this creepy little food/antique store on the premises.
  • After dropping off the drinkers, MB, Lina, and I went to the nearby outlets, which were so gross and disappointing. It was probably a great place to shop in its heyday, but now it’s a lot of abandoned stores and closed-off areas in a huge complex. Even Lina, super-shopper, bought nothing! (I bought a can of stove cleaner, and MB got a wallet.) We had lunch and later a snack in the gross little food court.
  • We waited outside in the rain, by smokers, for the drinkers to emerge from the brew fest.
  • GG was incredibly drunk and annoying. I mean, they were all pretty drunk, but he was really bad.
  • Everyone wanted to go back to Brandon’s, so even though GG didn’t deserve it because of the way he was behaving, we went to Brandon’s place where they had even more beer and shots of Jagermeister!
  • Mandy was not feeling well driving home (we’d been told that she drank the most out of our group of friends – and she was the only girl there!), so we pulled over in the dark and the rain and GG walked her to a corn field where she made herself throw up. Then she slept the rest of the way home.

Well after that it was pretty smooth sailing. Besides driving in bad conditions, and not really knowing where I was going, we got Mandy safely back to her house and then came back to our place (where MB and Alan still had an hour’s drive ahead of them!). Amazingly, GG was pretty sobered up by the time we got back and was actually fairly pleasant at home.

On Sunday we went out food shopping, and then spent the afternoon at home. GG went to see a movie with some friends, and when he got back I asked if he wanted to go to the outlets near us for a second. (It would have to be a quick trip, because the place closed in a little over an hour.) So we did a little shopping. Then while we were out that way, we went to a Mexican restaurant GG likes because they have a zillion bottles of hot sauce you can try. He used at least ten different kinds with his meal, testing out varities he hadn’t tasted yet (yes, believe it or not, there are a few). Then we came home to watch the weekly freakshow on TLC (this week: something about giant blood-squirting tumors, and “Albino Island”).

So now it’s back to work… Day 2…

18 Kids and Counting: “Duggars at the Doctor” and “First Grandduggar”

First of all, can I just say “wow,” Anna Renee Keller Duggar, I am so proud you! I’m sure she’s been surrounded by pregnancy and childbirth her whole life, just living in that lifestyle, but she delivered her first child, at home, mostly unassisted save for a doula and a couple family members toward the end, and completely without drugs! Seriously, I am impressed by this girl!

So, the shows. The first episode was a regular half-hour episode they were obviously planning to show anyway. It began with Anna and Michelle having back-to-back OB/GYN appointments. How adorable. Anna: “It’s unusual having a mother in-law who’s expecting… and not as far along as you are.” Josh managed to drag himself out of bed to get his wife to her appointment on time, which was considerate. However, I have the feeling that when he moaned that “It’s really early in the morning,” it was probably like 7 AM. Josh called his parents and said he and Anna would pick them up because “we know you don’t have any vehicles over there.” I don’t know if that was sarcastic or not, considering we always see like 10 cars/vans/busses parked in front of the Duggar house. Anyway, remember back when Josh and Anna got married and I said there could potentially be a Father of the Bride II situation? I was right.

At the doctor, Jim Bob proudly announced to the receptionist that both his wife and his child were expecting babies. I don’t think she knew what to make of that. Even though the Duggar girls were praying hard for twin girls, this child is a singleton (which means Michelle will have to get pregnant one more time to get to an even 20). Anna got her exam first, then sat on her husband’s lap to do a little interview with the cameras, because even at 30 weeks pregnant, she cannot sit in her own chair or go without touching him. After her exam, Michelle shares her exciting news with Josh and Anna – they’re 9 weeks pregnant (Anna: “Oh neat!”). They got pregnant on Father’s Day. Do you know where the entire Duggar family was on Father’s Day? Touring around the country on a bus. Groooosssss!

In the second half of the episode, Jim Bob “held down the fort” while Michelle, Anna, and the older Duggar girls went to a giant kids’ consignment sale about an hour away. Anna needed to get some baby furniture and stuff, and Michelle apparently needed five more of those bouncy baby seats. Surprisingly, this group of women was allowed to spend a day out by themselves without any men to protect and supervise them! The mystery of whether Anna and Michelle share that same green maternity shirt was solved – they each have their own! Meanwhile, Jim Bob took care of the younger kids back home, which included letting them run around the house and get hurt every five minutes, and making his famous canned tuna + BBQ sauce recipe (it’s in their book). One of the boys was trying to operate a can opener with his mouth – was that the same boy who tried to adjust the crutches with his mouth a few weeks ago?! Jim Bob to Jennifer (or Hannie?) playing with a glue stick: “That’ll make a big mess, so we’re going to make it disappear. [Does some slight-of-hand move and glue is gone.]”

The second episode was an hour-long birth special they managed to throw together in four days. I have to say, as much as I love watching the Duggars, 90 minutes is a bit much. And First Grandduggar was mostly filler – they didn’t even get to the actual birth until like the last ten minutes! A lot of stuff in this show seemed to be a direct shout-out to the internet fans, however:

  • How do Josh and Anna have enough money from the car lot to get by?
    They almost don’t, and business this summer was slow (maybe because they were traveling on the DuggarBus most of the summer?), so they nearly had to dip into some savings, but then didn’t. Josh needs to sell six cars a week (a month? I think it said a week) to earn enough for them. I am also thinking this is why they chose to have a home birth – way cheaper than going to the hospital.
  • What do Josh and Anna do all day?
    From the looks of things, they wake up whenever, roll onto the car lot sometime after 10 AM, sit around all day, maybe pray? (Anna: “Once you get to the car lot, you never know what’s going to happen.” Yeah, it seemed really exciting there.) Anna is learning about selling cars – the problem is, I don’t think she can even drive. She doesn’t know the difference between automatic and “standard” (I assume she means manual) transmission, so I’m sure she really helps make those sales.
  • Does Anna really have a purse that says “JOSHY GIRL?”
    Yes, they zoomed in on it sitting there!
  • Isn’t Josh getting so fat?
    Yes, he knows it, and everyone else knows it. Their Bradley coach mentioned it (“Josh has gained a little weight, along with Anna…”), and Josh himself brought it up a couple times (“Anna’s gonna drop that weight, and I’m gonna be stuck with this – hopefully not for life”).
  • Did Anna get to see her family at all?
    Yes, her mom and sisters came for her baby shower, and it was the first time they’d all seen each other in nearly a year (except for sister Suze, who spent most of the summer with them). Her sisters seem pretty trendy, less plain and conservative than Anna, and definitely more fun-loving! Maybe Anna is just shy on camera, but her sisters seemed more like Cousin Amy (also, they love Cousin Amy!). Suze got a pretty rockin’ haircut since she’d returned home, and I wonder why – is it because she’s a celebrity now after being on TV, or maybe because she’s more “worldly,” having traveled around with the Duggars?

Other notable moments: Josh hosing himself down with a can of hairspray – just like his dad! Anna saying they’re not trying to set a record with having kids – woo hoo! Jim Bob saying that during the baby shower he might take the boys “someplace where kids eat free.” Jill and some little J’boy curling ribbons for shower decorations (Boy: “I do that with a pocket knife.” Jill: “Really?” Boy: “I cut myself.” Jill: “Oh.”). Joseph Duggar is growing into quite the cutie! Michelle corrected a potential cake wreck by correcting the spelling of her granddaughter’s bizarre name. Everyone freaking out over that chocolate-in-diaper baby shower game like they’d never heard of such an amazing idea before.

Finally, we get to the actual birth. Josh, in his “iPray” t-shirt, tracked Anna’s contraction times on an iPod. Anna is asked what is the most painful thing she’s ever experienced. “I haven’t had a lot of pain. I’ve had chicken pox?” It was ten days before her due date, so I guess Dr. Sarver, Cousin Amy, and the entire Duggar family thought it was safe to travel (doctor was “out of town,” Amy was in Disney World, and the Duggars were at ATI family camp in Big Sandy, TX). So with literally everyone away, Josh and Anna decided at the last minute to have a home birth with their Bradley coach as their doula. And this is where I’m so impressed with her. For most of the day it was just Anna, Josh, the doula… oh and a three-person TLC camera crew. Michelle and Jill (who I guess won the birth lottery and got to attend while her sisters corralled the little ones in Texas) flew home and arrived at Josh and Anna’s literally just in time for her to deliver. I have to admit, the delivery scene was pretty sweet, and it was cute to see Josh holding the baby, cutting the cord, weighing her, and all that.

And then they appeared on the Today Show! Just another normal family…

By the way, let’s add a new rule to the Duggar Drinking Game: take a sip every time Michelle mentions a “season of life.”

(Also posted at Media Sluts.)

Batteries and Bags

Several hundred dollars later… I have my car back. They confirmed that the battery was really low, so they replaced it. I kept saying it was only 3 years old and were they sure nothing was draining the battery, but they said they couldn’t find anything. They’re blaming the fact that I drive mostly short distances, instead of longer trips, so the engine doesn’t have enough time to charge the battery. They said if this happens again, they’ll investigate further. Sigh.

Also, I told them I’d noticed my car makes a rumbling noise when I turn right, and they said maybe the wheel bearings were going, but that’s an expensive thing to fix and there’s nothing noticably wrong at the moment. So I’m supposed to keep an ear out in case it gets louder, and they’ll look again when I take it back in a couple months for state inspection.

And they found my brake pads needed replacing (I was kind of expecting that, figured I’d get them done when I took it for inspection), and I needed new windshield wipers (I knew that, too), and there was a tiny lightbulb by my license plate that was burned out, which they also replaced. Even with all that, my bill was less than two months of car loan payments. So until the repair bills start costing more than monthly car payments, I don’t think I’ll be shopping for a new one.

Meanwhile, Heather and I went out for lunch at the new gourmet supermarket that just opened by our office. Everyone’s been freaking out about this place – when it opened on Sunday, there were people lined up at 6 AM to get in! Um, folks, it’s just a grocery store and it’s not going anywhere – you can go anytime. We did a little lap of the store; it’s big, and of course brand new and clean, but nothing I’d call amazing. They seem to have a lot of gimmicky things like this machine that cooks fresh tortillas and sort of pops them into the air when they’re finished cooking (then an employee packages them up right there so you can buy fresh ones), and some kind of meal-planning station. They also sell a large selection of wine and other alcoholic drinks, which I guess is cool if you’re into that sort of thing (for out-of-staters: you can’t buy alcohol in supermarkets in PA). The one thing that really did impress me was their cheese counter, which has a pretty huge selection. I got a little coupon book in the mail and there’s a cheese coupon that I think is good next week, so you know I’ll be back to use that one. Then we went to their food court area, which was pretty nice, but even at 11:30 some of the foods weren’t out yet, so I couldn’t get the burrito that I wanted. Instead, we both got some Chinese food from their hot food bar. It was okay, though I still prefer the Chinese place down the street from my house.

Also, I had a coupon for a free shopping bag (which I didn’t really need, but hey, free bag!). Heather was sad that she didn’t get one, because she lives outside their mailing radius I guess. So she came up to the counter with me while I was getting mine and said, “I don’t live here, but I work across the street and I have your club card,” and the lady was like, “Sure, you can have a free bag!” Haha, awesome!

Chocolate, Water, Car

Yesterday GG and I went out to Lancaster County to go to the Lititz Chocolate Walk with a group of friends. None of us had ever gone before, but it’s apparently an annual charity event. You buy a ticket ahead of time, and then the day of the Chocolate Walk you go to the designated stops in different shops throughout town and get a free chocolate treat at each place! Lititz is a chocolate town, home of the Wilbur Chocolate factory, and a lot of places proudly announced that they used Wilbur chocolate in their offering. We thought it’d be no sweat to eat a little chocolate something at each of the 29 spots, but after the first few, it was starting to get to us. Luckily, Brandon had planned ahead and we brought some baggies to carry extra treats home for later. It was a beautiful day, and we had a lot of fun going to the different stops. You can see by my card below, we went to almost all of them! There was no #30, and we decided to skip #19 because it was way out of the way, far from all the other locations.

After the Chocolate Walk, we went back to Brandon’s house where he celebrated his divorce being almost final with beer and hors d’oeuvres. It was weird being the only girl there at that point (the other women all ended up having to leave early over the course of the day). All the married (or practically married) guys wanted to live vicariously through Brandon, and they came up with a list of types of women they wanted him to be with. GG and I left a little after 7 PM, but we’d arrived a little before noon, so it had been a long day! We were so tired when we got home, and tried in vain to stay awake for SNL. I fell asleep during or shortly after the monologue. GG said he fell asleep just before Weekend Update. Too bad NBC doesn’t have full episodes online! We’ll never catch up!

This morning GG had to get up early to work. He went into the bathroom to get ready, and a minute later called in to me, “There’s no water!” Yes, the water was out, awesome. I called the water company, and not surprisingly got a message that “due to an unusually high call volume” there would be a long wait. Meanwhile, GG had to leave. I finally spoke to someone who said that yes, there was an outage in our area, they didn’t know where the problem was but they’d sent out lots of crews to try to find and correct it. Shortly after I got off the phone, I tried the water again and there was a lot of air coming out, but there was some water, with very low pressure. Eventually it was better still (still very low pressure), and I took a shower and headed out, since I had a lot of places I was planning to go today.

I sat out in my car for a minute and prepared a bank deposit envelope, then went to start the car up. The engine would not turn over! I freaked, made a couple phone calls, and while I was on the phone with someone the car started up, so he mentioned that while it was running, I should go straight to a gas station with a garage and have someone look at it. There are no such places right near me, but there are some in a nearby town, so I went to the first one I could think of, bought some gas, and then went inside to see if a mechanic could look at my car. Guess what – the mechanic is off on Sundays. So I went to another place. This one had a really friendly mechanic who stopped what I was doing and came over to check out my car. It had started up these last couple times, obviously, and he tried starting it again and said yes, the engine turned, but it should be much faster. (It really doesn’t seem to be taking any longer than it usually does, but maybe this has been a problem for a while?) I told him I just got the battery a little over three years ago (remember that day?), so he said it should still be good. So either the problem is with the battery, or with the charging system. He said it’d be fine to drive for today, and I have jumper cables with me so I should be good, so I told him I could take it to my regular car place tomorrow. So I did just a few errands, not nearly all the stuff I’d been planning to do, and came home. Tomorrow is actually not a good day for me, so if it starts up fine in the morning, I am just going to go to work and do the other stuff I have to do, and take it to the mechanic on Tuesday. But if I have a problem starting it up tomorrow, I guess I’ll take it straight to the mechanic then.

At least since I’ve been home, the water seems to be back in action. I’m a little nervous to run the washing machine, though, in case they’re still working on stuff, because the water’s been kind of in and out. So I might wait a while longer on that. In the meantime, I made chicken salad, and did a bunch of stuff for band. I might lay down for a little nap with the kitties now until GG gets home…