Thanksgiving 2021

November 30th, 2021 Comments off

Thanksgiving was very interesting this year. Not only did the kids come over, but their grandparents (on their mom’s side) did as well because we invited them. I am not going to get into the drama, but suffice it to say that none of them speak to the kids’ mom right now thanks to her horrible personal/political views. I mean, Joe and I knew she was not a good person, but it’s kinda refreshing for others to see it too. And that’s all I am going to say about that. We invited her parents because they’ve always been very kind to us and we hated the thought of them spending the holiday alone. They were wonderful guests, too; I have zero complaints.

Everyone arrived just before 2 pm and we worked to get food on the table since they came with an appetite. Other than the mac & cheese which I messed up (I later realized I mistakenly added 2 TABLESPOONS of ground mustard instead of teaspoons), everything was delicious. We had the usual fixings – turkey, mashed potatoes & gravy, green bean casserole, cranberry sauce, sweet potato casserole, crescent rolls, and corn. For dessert we had homemade oatmeal chocolate chip cookies (which I may have to stop making as I burned myself on the cookie sheet and will probably scar, just like the last time I made those damn cookies!), apple pie from Costco, and pumpkin pie from Mariano’s (which no one wanted, lol).

After dinner we played a new game the kids brought – UNO Flip. It was really fun! They had purchased two boxes so they left one with us. I’m sure we’ll be playing it for Christmas too. We played a game or two of Aggravation at one point, but went back to UNO Flip because it was so much fun. Even the grandparents played even though they aren’t into games like we are.

We took a family portrait before everyone left just before 10 pm. Such a nice holiday, other than Wookie barking at the new people. She eventually calmed down but every time grandpa went to the bathroom she had to bark at him for awhile again. Luckily they took it in stride.

Categories: Family, Fun & Games, Holidays Tags:

2021 Nissan Rogue SV

November 17th, 2021 Comments off

Joe’s Escape was deemed a total loss by our insurance company so they cut a check for it, which frankly was more than either of us were expecting, but at that point Joe had already bought a new car anyway because we knew that was going to happen. It was close, though. We got slightly more than the collision guy told me it would cost to repair.

Anyway… originally Joe was looking at a Jeep Compass because he had driven one before (in Denver for work a couple of years ago). But when we went to look at one it seemed small in comparison to his Escape and we really wanted something in the same size range.

There was a Nissan dealer across the street from the Jeep one so we drove around looking at them (this was on a Sunday so no one could bother us) and decided to come back later that week so he could do a test drive. We both really liked the features, not to mention the price, but went and test drove a Ford Escape too just to make sure we weren’t making a hasty decision. Joe had hard time getting in touch with the sales guy the following day so we went back that evening and as luck would have it they had a brand new Rogue sitting in the lot that hadn’t yet been fitted with these ridiculously marked up extras that they claim they have to put on every vehicle before they sell it. Weird, because when Joe threatened to walk, they sold us the car without the crap (which normally is an additional $2500). They pulled this whole “you’ve gotten the best deal anyone has in months” and “I’m going to get in trouble for doing this” sob story. Didn’t work. If they weren’t making money they wouldn’t have sold it to us.

So anyway, here it is! A 2021 Nissan Rogue SV.

2021 Nissan Rogue SV

Joe originally wanted a white one, but after seeing it take on a yellow hue on under artificial lighting he decided to get the red one instead. Or as Nissan calls it, Scarlet Ember Tintcoat. Fancy! I really like the color and neither of us ever thought we’d want a “red” car.

The Rogue is actually slightly larger than his old Escape so we had to clean up the garage a bit to comfortably fit both cars inside.

I love all the features on it, most notably the dual climate control since my feet are usually cold and then Joe gets overheated trying to keep me warm.

I love my Subaru Crosstrek, but I am a bit jealous of some of the features his car has that mine does not:

Keyless entry & push-start ignition

Doors auto-lock once you go over 15 MPH but you can still open the front door from the inside without having to unlock it first

The cup holders have plastic that stick out and adjust to hug most size cups so they don’t jiggle around

There’s a huge lighted storage cubby underneath the cup-holder/shifter area in addition to the middle console storage & deep glovebox

His screen turns off completely and doesn’t automatically come back on when it feels like it

The radio doesn’t automatically come on when the car is started. Even if I mute mine before I turn Sophie (that’s my car’s name) off, when I start her she’s like “HI, WANT TO LISTEN TO SOME MUSIC!?!!” So annoying! You’d think with a simple software update they could fix that.

Joe was sad to say goodbye to his Escape but it’s nice having two cars with updated tech (like Android Auto and Apple Carplay) in them. The only thing his car is missing is heated seats, but it warms up quickly and with the dual climate control it’s not a big issue.

Looking forward to taking his car on vacation once the world stops burning.

Categories: Car Tags:

October Happenings (including Halloween)

November 2nd, 2021 Comments off

Sunday (10/10) we headed to St. Charles for their annual Scarecrow Festival. When we arrived at Lincoln Park there were no scarecrows to be found! We drove around the area but there wasn’t nearly as much as in year’s past, no doubt due to the pandemic so we drove to the other side of the river to Pottawatomie Park where they put up tents for the craft fair.

We parked in the lot by their community center and pool. There was plenty of parking since the festival hadn’t officially started yet. We didn’t end up staying long because there wasn’t much to see. Even the amount of craft booths was less than in previous years.

They did, however, surprise us with a new pavilion and area you can play cornhole near the miniature golf spot.

It looks really nice! I’ll have to keep it in mind for next summer when we’re looking for something to do.

Thursday (10/21) the kids came over for dinner. K had been talking about missing my spaghetti and meatballs so I made it for the first time in probably years at this point. E works two jobs so Thursday is his only day off. I put together a Halloween basket for them using these fake books I found at Dollar Tree.

I was happy they liked them so much! They only stayed a couple of hours since E was so tired. We sent them home with leftovers, cookies, fruit and veggies, along with the rest of my IZZE bottled cherry lime. They were getting close to expiration and I haven’t been drinking them much. I really prefer how it tastes in cans and now they are offering a 24-pack of them at Amazon I plan to order soon.

Saturday (10/23) We visited Sonny Acres and boy was it busy! The parking lot was packed when we arrived just before 11 am. They open at 10 but their kitchen doesn’t open until 11 am and I assumed that’s where they would be serving the hot apple cider I wanted to try. Turns out they have a special booth for it, and they were just bringing it out when we got there.

There’s second booth down by the kids’ rides where they have it too, so I will try to remember that for next year since it was way less busy than the main booth.

They have some of the best apple cider donuts around, but man do they keep raising the prices! A single donut will cost you $2.50 and they do get cheaper the more you buy but they are still very costly! The hot apple cider was just ok and it was annoying how the bees followed me around trying to get at it.

We enjoyed people-watching for awhile but there’s not too much to do if you don’t have young kids to take on rides.

The rides themselves are more plentiful than back when we’d take the kids there, and they even added a trampoline-like attraction that the kids would have loved. I read that the haunted hayride is $20 per person now which is kinda crazy. It used to be $10. I have mixed feelings about this. The new owners have definitely put more money into the place which is nice because the previous owners were ready to close the place down, but it’s so crowded and expensive it’s probably not as enjoyable to visit like it used to be.

Halloween (Sunday 10/31) was pretty interesting this year because we actually got trick-or-treaters, twelve in fact, which is the most we’ve had for well over a decade now. I’m glad I made up treat bags at Joe’s request even though I was certain no one would come. I’m happy to have been wrong, although with Wookie Crankypants in the mix, it was a bit frustrating as she does not like visitors to HER home.

Categories: Excursions, Family, Food, Holidays, Kids Tags:

Life Gave Us Some Lemons

October 30th, 2021 Comments off

The last few days have not been good in various ways.

I’ll start off with the biggest piece of bad luck – Joe was in a car accident on the way home from work last night. He’s fine! It was raining, so the streets were slick, and apparently an emergency vehicle pulled into the road up ahead and the guy in the lane next to him moved over into Joe’s lane without a signal. He didn’t hit Joe, but Joe rear-ended him because he slid when he hit the brakes. They weren’t going terribly fast due to heavy traffic, so the guy’s vehicle has barely a scratch, and Joe’s airbag didn’t go off, but the front end crumpled.

We’re expecting the extent of the damage, coupled with the Escape’s age (13), to result in it being totaled. This means Joe needs a new car, hopefully sooner rather than later because I am now stuck at home while he takes mine to work. Also, his dashcam wasn’t on because it doesn’t automatically turn on/off with the car like mine does, so he didn’t capture the incident. Therefore, he was deemed at fault and got a ticket. Our insurance rates will likely go up too. On top of that, inventory is low at dealerships right now which means he might not get the exact vehicle he’d prefer if he was buying a car on his own timeline.

I am very thankful Joe is ok! At the end of the day it’s just a thing, we should get some money toward the new car, and as always, we have money in the bank because we’re big savers. So things could be a heck of a lot worse and I’m grateful that this isn’t going to break us financially like it unfortunately would with many people.

That being said, here are the other things that went wrong yesterday.

First off, I went out shopping in the morning and one of my stops was Aldi. This guy in the checkout line couldn’t have been further up my ass if he tried. Like to the point that an observer would have thought we were together. I only got a few things, so I was moving them from the front of the cart (where the cashier had put them) into my bag and this guy starts reaching over me into the back of the cart. For what, I don’t even know, since it was empty because the cashier hadn’t started scanning his stuff yet – I was still in the process of paying! I said, “you could wait a little bit, dude” or something like that. No response. What the hell is wrong with people?!? What I really wanted to say was “get off my ass!” but I was alone and you just never know about people anymore. Bet he wouldn’t have gotten so close if I were a man.

Afterwards I stopped at Dunkin to cash in a free drink coupon and got home to find my drink was awful! I ended up sending this complaint to Dunkin corporate:

I requested 4 french vanilla swirl in my iced coffee and it doesn’t taste like there was any added whatsoever. The inconsistency at Dunkin is getting really aggravating. I usually go to this location because they typically have the best tasting drinks, but not today. I’m seriously considering taking my business to Starbucks if Dunkin cannot be bothered to a) give customers what they request and b) be consistent with their drinks. I wasted a free drink on something I had to go home and add cream/sugar to and it still doesn’t taste right due to the lack of vanilla. I am VERY disappointed!

A few hours later they emailed me an apology and put 200 points in my account which is enough for another free drink. I suspected this would happen, and I’m not ungrateful, but it bugs me that they don’t even comment on the issue. Are they going to speak to anyone at the restaurant or will this nonsense continue? I think after I get my fill of the upcoming peppermint mocha holiday flavor I will be going there less often. They did something to make the hash browns less appealing – they seem overly greasy – so there’s very little left on the menu I even like.

What’s funny, though, is I think my former work bestie might work there. I went through the drive-thru a week ago and the guy who handed me my drink looked very much like him but I couldn’t tell for sure since he didn’t speak and we were both wearing masks. He was very smiley toward me, though. I messaged him on Instagram a short while later and based on his reply I’m not sure whether he’s pulling my leg or what.

So after the whole car accident last night, I filed a claim online and we went looking at Halloween decorated houses like we had originally planned. Then we stopped to get food but due to the delay it was four minutes before our prefer place closed so that was out. We realized it once we got there and noticed their open sign was turned off even though there were people inside finishing up. We grabbed food from Wendy’s and my nuggets must have been sitting out because they were all dried out.

Oh, and this morning for some reason Wookie peed all over one of the throw rugs in the dining room which she has never done before and I’m having a hell of a time getting the smell out. I ended up taking it upstairs to give it a deep cleaning in the tub and the color of the water coming out was not great despite the fact that I had used the hand shampooer on it not that long ago (8 months ago, ok, so a bit longer than I thought). Luckily Walmart still sells the exact rug for pretty cheap ($25) so maybe I should replace both rugs from the dining room. They are over five years old and Wookie chewed the corners when she was a puppy. It’s time.

Anyway, let’s hope that’s the last of our bad luck for awhile!

Categories: Car, Life Tags:

Wookie’s Portrait

October 28th, 2021 Comments off

Isn’t this the cutest thing ever? It looks just like her! I am amazed by the talent of this artist.

So let me explain…

I heard that if you contact Chewy around your pet’s birthday to request a portrait they will send one for free, so I emailed them. Their response was friendly, but apologetic stating they can’t meet all requests, but to send a photo just in case, which I did.

A month passed by without anything so I figured they just weren’t going to do it, so I was intrigued when I saw that a package from them was coming in the mail as I hadn’t ordered anything. This showed up last week.

I posted her portrait to Instagram and Chewy responded!

Categories: Pets, Retail Experiences Tags: