Friday, November 30, 2007

Lessons from the Couch

I'm feeling better today - nearly human in fact, following 48 hours of feeling completely unhuman. Last night I actually slept pretty well but couldn't breathe after about 5:30 so I sadly watched old episodes of Family Matters and Saved by the Bell:The College Years which do NOT get better with age. At all. With that said, here are the lessons I've learned while being an American Couch Potato for the better part of the week:

1) Oprah, who was born and lived in the South for many years - including here in Nashville where her career started, does one HORRIBLE Southern accent. Unless you've not been in the world then you know her Fave Things show was in Macon, Ga last week and she did a follow-up show this week. Basically during both episodes she tried to talk like a Southerner and we all know that woman can't act. In a lot of ways I find it pretty friggin' offensive. I'm not walking around trying to talk like her. Most of the time when people try to imitate the way we talk down here they're doing it to make fun of us, so the lesson for the day: leave us alone or we just may get our coon dog after you.

2)Watching hours and hours of Racheal Ray and Oprah from TiVo is exhausting. Possibly more so than strep throat.

3)I have the best husband, ever. He ended up going to the doc yesterday because he wasn't feeling so hot himself and got some anti-biotics as preventive measure. He came home a bit early with arms full of flowers, food and all MY fave things and has been taking care of me non-stop. He even made me a massive breakfast this morning.

4)An insane number of parents eat lunch with their kids everyday! We're right across the street from a K-4 school and it's nonstop parents coming and going all day long. And garbage trucks. Tons of garbage trucks go by.

5)Chicken fried rice is the best food when you're sick and Sprite is the best beverage, hands down! And somehow I've managed to lose 3 pounds, sweet!

6) There is a complete and total lack of anything good on TV, at any time of day, but especially during the day!!! I've watched some seriously horrible TV the last few days. I'm also convinced that old reruns of friends are playing on some station at any moment of any given day.

Ok, I think it's time to dig up some soup or something for lunch! Have a great weekend and good luck to everyone running Memphis!!! Too bad we can't be there this year, I was looking forward to some Pancho's cheese dip post race since I can't find anywhere to buy it here anymore. =( Have a great weekend everyone!

Thursday, November 29, 2007


Oh yeah, does anything cap off a long holiday weekend with the fam besides bringing back all their germs? Mmhhhmmm. It started Sunday with a scratchy throat. Monday - more scratchy - to the point I wanted to claw my throat out. Tuesday - more scratchy and congestion. Wednesday - all hell broke loose. My voice was gone and I felt like crap. I tried to make a doc's appointment but I couldn't get in until this morning. I've got some sort of viral infection, possibly strep throat. I'm not exactly the being gagged so she didn't get a great test sample from me, but all my symptoms pointed to strep so she's treating me like I have strep.

Blech. I've been so achy all week and had a raging temp. Last night I could hardly sleep and every time I move around I end up absolutely exhausted. I did make it to the gym Mon and Tues but I just did the elliptical because that was really all I could manage. Yesterday there was no way I would've made it, so I went to Walgreens at lunch and bought some over the counter meds instead.

So, if you need me, I'm gonna be on the couch catching up on some TiVo and napping with Pippin, who literally won't leave my side.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Thanksgiving 2K7

Yeah, I know I still haven't typed up a marathon volunteer report. Oh well, I'll eventually maybe get around to it. Thanksgiving weekend was way too much of a blur to spend any time on lappy and opening up my Google Reader account gave me absolute chills. All the naploblo whatever that I'm not even participating in makes my Google Reader absolutely explode.

Anyway, here's on Thanksgiving by the pictures......(All nieces and nephews are numbered by arrival. I have 3 nieces and 2 nephews and this holiday we saw nephew #2 and niece #3 at Brent's parents and nephew #1 and niece #2 at my parents.)

Thanksgiving morning "wog" with Brent's nephew. He wanted to take Pippin for a walk from the minute we got there Wednesday night and asked again as soon as I got up Thurs morning so after breakfast we headed out. We did about a mile, walking half jogging half. A cold front had moved in and Thanksgiving day here was coooold. A huge contrast from the mid and upper 70 degree temps we had been enjoying all week. It had been so nice to have the back door open while I was making all my Thanksgiving goodies.

(Contrary to pictures I also played games, read books etc with nephew #2 but Brent didn't take any pictures of that. But it happened, really.)

Brent and I in our Thanksgiving best....At this point Pippin was pretty much already zonked from a day of family and waking up early to play with kids. He's been asleep ever since we got home last night, absolutely dead to the world. I had to pick him up last night to go outside!

Pippin's new best friend..niece #2...until he ate one of her "Chicken Nuggies" that I accidentally dropped on the floor. She had taken one bite and wandered off to play. When I was cleaning up one hit the floor, Pippin ate it, and all hell broke loose resulting in a nap - from which she woke up 3 hours later STILL mad at Pippin. But they eventually made up and she was back to licking him, chewing on his toys and trying to ride him like a horse. Thank goodness he's calmed down now and can take this sort of attention in really good stride.

Brent's favorite series: Aunt Rachel the horse being photographed, getting tired, and becoming a general jungle gym.

Does light saber fighting count as cross training??? I think so...... (and somehow nephew #1 managed not to break anything....) I guess Pippin classifies as management here since he just enjoyed watching....

And here's Brent slipping into a photo of Niece #2.

I think we have some "fun pics" of the classic TN past-time of riding 4-wheelers but I'll have to see where they may have been dumped at. Anyway, we're zonked and glad to be home and have one day before it's back to work again to recover and enjoy a nice QUIET house. Last night after we got home we made some spaghetti and curled up on the couch to enjoy a quiet evening. We started watching White Christmas until we got too sleepy to continue so we TiVod the rest of it. I think this holiday season I want to watch more of the classics. (I watched Deck the Halls on the ride back yesterday and that movie was so dumb.) I'm trying to convince Brent we need to learn some of the dance moves from White Christmas but so far he's not biting. Oh well, how many more days until Christmas for me to convince him???

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Marathon Sunday

Oh, I hurt. It's been another insane weekend for us consisting of working well into the night by worklights getting the fence conquered. About an hour ago we drilled the final screw in, praise the Lord!!!! And thank goodness we have neighbors who have been through plenty of their own remodels in this rehab neighborhood and who really don't seem to care or complain when we're outside drilling, hammering and pouring concrete into the wee hours!

Friday night and all Saturday were full of fence and gate building, and Brent's parents were able to come back again and help out. His mom and I got a fresh coat of paint on most of our front picket fence before I ran out of paint! After they left we made another run to Home Depot and worked into the night.

But this morning was all about volunteering at the Flying Monkey Marathon. I really am a little sad I didn't run it this year, but we certainly wanted to help out. And once again it was AWESOME. I stayed up late to make choc chip cookies from scratch, and you would have been AMAZED by all the homemade goodies that were brought! The food table was literally not large enough - pies were stacked three and four deep and you could have eaten for days. Those are things that make this home grown Tennessee marathon so incredibly special. Anyway, we were the second water stop so we saw runners at mile 2, 13, and 24 as they twisted and curved amongst the three way park road intersection we were at. It was AWESOME. It was a long day as we were there from about 6:15, but it was totally worth it.

I'll have a full volunteer report later with pictures (shocking, right??) but for now I am propping my feet up with some well earned Papa Johns pizza. I just wanted to pop in and congratulate all my fellow new Monkeys! That's one medal you can't wing or pull out of your ass, you earn it. And volunteering was great - literally I couldn't sleep last night I was so nervous about it, but I plan to do a lot more race volunteering in the future because it was just so fun!

Have a great week ya'll!!!!

Volunteering at the Monkey! Mile 2 13 & 24!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Picture Time

Mt Juliet

All of those cities are places I have been today. Lord, what a long day. Today was "field trip" day at work where I got to go out on site visits with some of the people I work with, to "surprise" several of our stores and see how the stores are looking, how Christmas product has been merchandised, etc etc. It was a lot of fun, but one very, very long day. We met at work at 6 am and got back at 7. But it was a lot of fun and certainly a good day. I am ZONKED though. We visited our store in Mt Juliet, then two stores in Knoxville, stopped and had lunch and then visited two stores in Chattanooga. We were supposed to visit Murfreesboro on the way back up I-24 but luckily we decided it was getting late so we should save it for another day.

Anyway, fence building went pretty well on Sunday. It was another long day and we were able to finish the bulk of the fence, but once again we were working after dark by flashlight and streetlamp. We weren't able to do the gate at all, so that will have to be done this weekend. It really looks SO nice. I can't wait for it to be totally finished, but at least everything is secured enough where we can send Pips out to the front yard without having to have him on a leash. Hopefully by the end of this upcoming weekend it will all be finished. With it being dark during all waking hours we can't get much done in the evenings. I'll post a link to my Flickr when we're done for full before and after pics but here are a few for now. I don't have a final cost on this project, but I estimate that by doing it ourselves we're saving approximately $3-4 thousand dollars. A neighbor told us she had a quite for a 300 linear foot fence, where an old fence would be removed for $4,500!!! This project will cost us less than $2K (prob closer to $1,500 when we've made all our returns) and we're doing 2,100 linear feet of fence, including 3 gates. It's very physically demanding but it is not rocket science, AT ALL. I'd rather have that money for trips and clothes and furniture!

Fence Before: Old, rickety and junky. Really not secure for Pippin as it was patched a million times.

New Fence (in Progress). It's 8 feet vs the old 6 foot clunker.

And this is what Pippin did while we worked all weekend. He's quite cozy being a couch climbing monkey. Most days when I get home from work he's perched precariously on the couch arms.

Other than the fence and the work trip the only excitement this week has been yesterday's Veterans Day parade. Brent and I ran to it last year, but this year the parade was Monday so I walked down from work. I decided to skip the gym and just walk the parade route a few times to get some exercise in, support the vets and enjoy the nice fall temps. Here are just a few pics from the parade:

Tiny car, Big Horses. I would hate to be in that little car if one of those horses got sick....

Ahhhhh, parades in the South. Southern Pride.....Holla!!!

A different tank ran down Broad at about a million miles an hour getting jiggy all over the road which made me super nervous. This one just went slowly down raising its crazy arm. It was very odd to see all this militia coming through downtown.

And is it even a parade without Abe??? His comrades shot off a musket right next to the downtown High School, giving about a hundred high school girls + me a near heart attack.

Have a great rest of the week!

Saturday, November 10, 2007

No more mending fences

Oh I hurt. I hurt everywhere. My fingers hurt to type so I won't be typing long. This is "raise a fence" weekend. We got started yesterday and have pretty much worked every minute since 6:30 am yesterday. Yesterday we had all the panels from the old fence knocked down by 8 am, much to the delight of the elementary school-ers across the street from us. We got several "Whoa's" as they walked up to school and our disaster of a fence was gone. I had a few people ask me what was if all the panels and posts everywhere weren't a giant clue. One kid even asked her mom if we needed help. Why yes sweet child, stay a while...... One kid tried to take a limb we had cut with him to class. The best one of the day: one of the desperate housewives said to Brent "Wow, this looks like a big project for today." And he said "Well, this might take a couple of weeks." Her reply:"Well, you make sure you charge them by the hour." HAAAA! She is obviously not a do-it-yourself-er like we are. The fence isn't even something we considered getting quotes on. Disaster #1 came quickly with a corner post that snapped during removel, requiring some major digging. We're replacing the old rickety 6-footer with a Fort Knox 8 foot-er, so we're using the same post hole but larger posts. Disaster #2 came when Lowes didn't show up and we only found out because we called to see where they were. Long story short, Lowes of Smyrna sucks and couldn't care less about customer service. So don't shop there. Our wood came today at around 9:30 am. Not yesterday between 8-12. Or this morning at 8 am, the second time they promised after they weren't able to deliver the date or time we had set up on TUESDAY. I-D-I-O-T-S. I am seriously thinking of opening my own home improvement warehouse because the two giants (home D and Lowes) suck. I only shop there because we have to. Any investors want to help me out???? But ANYWAY, because of idiot Lowes we had to rapidly develop Plan B. Brent's brother came over during his lunch hour and brought a tool to help us make fast time of post removing. Then we borrowed our next door neighbor's ancient truck and made a run to Home Depot to buy posts and lumber to get us through the day. Brent and I driving down I-65 in a sputtering farm truck, floored at 50mph with 500 pounds of concrete and about 30 large boards/posts: Priceless. But we HAD to get posts set and concrete drying before the fence posse was set to arrive on Saturday. Our friends S & L periodically checked on us to see if we needed food or anything. Neighbors stopped by to tell us how great it was looking and share encouragement and thanks for making the 'hood nicer. The crossing guard told Brent to be sure to take me out to dinner since I had worked so hard all day. =) My next door neighbor said "I am a woman not afraid of a shovel" and brought over the most enormous post hole digger I have ever seen.

We worked until 8 pm when we ran out of concrete so we made another run to Home D and then got some Chinese take out. I seriously thought about attacking two overweight people for their food while we were waiting. Brent advised against it since they were a)enormous and b)there were 3 cops eating there. So we waited and then devoured some Chinese donuts on our way back home, where we stuffed ourselves with Chinese. We got back out from 9:30-11:30 to finish setting posts. We mixed concrete by flashlight, headlamp, and streetlight. I also used the flashlights to impersonate the spotlights at the Sommet Center during a big event. If you can't have fun with a project then what fun is a project? We had a neighbor stop by today and ask us if we ever stopped last night. We were there when he left for work and there when he got home, then we had been out working with our flashlights when he had gone out later.

We started back up before 7 this morning, there's just not enough daylight. My parents arrived around 8:30 and my dad started attacking the remaining posts and trouble spots. You wouldn't know he is 67. At all. He was doing things that would take us hours in 15 or 20 minutes. I'm pretty sure I know where I have inherited my inability to stop. Our wood finally showed up at 9:30 and we had the entertainment of watching it all be carefully maneuvered into the yard, between our posts. He did a really good job considering the tight space. Brent's parents arrived an hour or two later, and had stopped at the HD to buy a few more of the longer cross-beams. We worked all morning digging the remaining holes, setting posts and getting a game plan together for how to assemble the fence and make it look good. The house flippers behind us put together a fence that the entire neighborhood makes fun of and we don't want to be in that same boat. We had a short lunch break and then back to work. Brent's brother came up to help and we started getting the pickets up. The fence looks GOOD. We were able to only get a few panels up before dark but at least Brent and I know we know how to finish it and what to do.

The elem school across from us has been getting ready for their big annual spaghetti dinner all weekend. One of the parent organizers came over while we were working late this afternoon to invite us to join them and tell us how cheap it was. I'd already spied several people leave with to-go boxes so I had thought it was a viable dinner option. It was really nice for him to come over and invite us in our dirty, smelly state but that's sort of what I love about this neighborhood anyway. I don't even know how many people have remarked on how good it's looking, and you really get a lot of appreciation in this neighborhood for your hard work. It's hard to believe that back in 1998 this neighborhood was basically crack dealers and hoodlums. Every time we're working in the yard on a project we have neighbors stop by and thank us for fixing this place up. (On a side note we're working on a before and after album and OMG when I look back at the before pictures I have to ask WHAT WERE WE THINKING??? Hilarious.) Anyway, we ended up taking them up on the spaghetti dinner and for $32 I was able to buy dinner for our entire crew of 7 people! Drinks, salad, bread, spaghetti with meatballs and dessert! Our families weren't able to stay for the outdoor singing performance put on by the kids but we went over for a while, and had another person tell us what a great job we're doing with the fence. Can't screw it up now......

So, it's been a long day but it would be even longer if we hadn't had such good help. Sometimes when I think there are no longer any worthwhile people in this world, and that it's turned to a mush of bad drivers on cell phones I'm reminded there are a lot of really good people in this world. People who help you build a fence, people who encourage your fence building, and people who just want to help even though they don't know how to build a fence. So thanks to all the good people. You make me want to be a better person. =)

We have loads of fun pictures but I don't have the brain function to manage that tonight. My boys are waiting on the couch with a blanket for me. And Ninja Warrior, whatever that is. And tomorrow is another day of fence building, hopefully by the end of the day we'll have it secure enough where Pippin can roam free once more. We'll still have the other side of the yard to do, but that's just a gate and a small alleyway that we're saving for next weekend because we knew this would be PLENTY to tackle.

Oh, and we graduated swim class this week, with certificates and the works! Go us! =)

Monday, November 05, 2007

Mags, Rolls or Fluids?

Ok bike people. I'd like to get a trainer so I can get some bike exercise this winter on weeknights now that's it's dark before I even get home. My primary goal is to burn some calories on the bike - so should I go with magnetic, fluid or rollers? I was pretty set on fluid until I started reading some reviews and a lot of people recommended rollers for people looking for a good workout. And I'm saying the look of the rollers is pretty freaking intimidating - I can see myself absolutely breaking my neck on that thing, maybe. So, if you have a trainer what do you recommend and why??

I hate Daylight Stupid Time. It's dark now at 4:45. Ugh. When I left today it was dark but also stormy. Lightning was all around and by the time I got home it was a full fledged severe thunderstorm. Not good. Of course Pippin was freaking out as I tried to get him outside and then the tornado sirens started at the school across the street. Really not good. We got inside and I checked on Brent, who was still stuck on the interstate pretty far from home in a hail storm. I called our swim coach and told her Brent wouldn't make it in time, and she told me the pool was closed due to the lightning anyway (not sure why....maybe all the windows??) and we would probably have had to cancel anyway. So, our swim finale was postponed 'til later this week, which was fine. The time change has me all "winter depressed" and I needed to sort through our insurance packets tonight anyway and sort out of insurance choices for next year. Another strong storm came through around the time our class would have ended, so moving to later this week was probably a great thing.

In workout related weirdness, they had a DJ at the Y today "spinning tunes" in the cardio/weight section. For some reason it just kept cracking me up while I was working out today. He played good music but not good workout music. Once it was swing, then it was Superstitious (Stevie Wonder) and although it made me dance it wasn't the right music for me to run to. They also had sandwiches and chips for us. You just never know what excitement is waiting at the gym. And since you get "reward points" every time you go I am RACKING UP the points. It won't be long before I have enough points for the awesome sleeping bag I have my eye on.

Alrighty, I am slleeeeepy today! We put our electric blanket back on our bed a couple of weeks ago and I am in hog heaven! I crank that puppy up every night and just stretch out like a lizard on a rock in the desert.

Have a great night!

Sunday, November 04, 2007

More Couches, Yes Please!

Guess who is getting even more couches!! WE ARE!!! Yup, we finally found a new living room couch, chair, ottoman, side table and coffee table today. If you've been to our house before, especially around Halloween, you would have already seen our "Hall of Abandoned Couches: Abandoned, Scary, For Sale" and wondered, why do they need MORE couches??? The den has 3 couches, 2 of which we don't want, we have a couch and loveseat in the living room AND another small couch in our room because it won't fit anywhere else. Out of ALL those couches we only want one of them (the antique yellow one in the Hall). We space our furniture purchases out, and now it's living room time. Our cheap blue sofas have got to go. The stuffing is literally starting to come out of them and I will never, ever have another sofa that is basically only made up of pillows. They just don't last. And this go around as we're buying furniture we're buying NICE pieces. Classic pieces that are pricey, but built to last. So today began living room shopping and after several stores we found a great leather sofa that we loved. We didn't have any luck finding an armoire large enough for our TV, but we'll keep shopping and there are some great antique stores around we're going to check out.

Here's a chair that made me feel like a midget, but it was really a fun chair:

This is what we ended up getting: the sofa, a chair, the ottoman, the coffee table and the side table in the back. Everything is in the brown color of the chair - not the reddish color of the couch.

They've got to make it, and it should be 6-8 weeks before it's here, so that will be a nice Christmas gift for us! Maybe by then we can have the armoire and also have curtain fabric picked out. Then the living room will be done!

It's been a great weekend here. Friday night we did some clearance Halloween shopping and got a fog machine (woo hoo!) and Saturday we spent all day in the yard. Mowing, trimming trees and things around the house, I got half of the picket fence out front painted and we got all the Halloween decor down from indoors and out. A block party benefit was going on one street over so we enjoyed listening to the bands all day while we were outside painting and working in the yard. We also did final measurements for our new fence and visited some lumber places today to work on the pricing there.

It was a great weekend, Pips and I had a long walk yesterday and a nice jog Friday, and Brent and I did some swimming today. Tomorrow night is our last swim class!!!! I am SO glad! I'm really glad we did the lessons and know how to swim now, and I also realize that swimming laps over and over is not a big love of mine! Our plan is to continue swimming twice a week and work on speed/endurance but that's about it. Distance swimming is not in my future, but fitness swimming is! I also got a new pair of running shoes today that I look forward to breaking in this week! YAY! I've worn the Mizuno Wave Inspire 2's for years and now they've upgraded to the 3's, so I am a little nervous.

Have a great week everyone!