Weekend Recap

August 14th, 2017 No comments

Friday we had our friends EN & KM over for a movie night. We ordered deep dish from Lou Malnati’s and watched Grandma’s Boy which they both loved. Wookie was a bit apprehensive when they first came over but by the end of the night she was playing with them and actually wouldn’t stop going over by EN and getting in his face.

Didn’t do much Saturday except go shopping. We hit up Target and then later took Wookie to Petsmart (where we scored a free bag of food) and Petco looking for a new travel carrier since we’re flying out to Arizona soon and her old one is way too small. We almost got one at Petco but I’m glad we didn’t because I found the smaller version of the same carrier on their website for less and ordered it Saturday night. We also stopped by Chipotle to pick up food since I had a BOGO coupon.

Sunday, as noted in my other entry, was Indiana Beach.

Today we did a little more shopping and then went to the dentist for my cleaning which I had rescheduled from June because I was in too much pain at the time. Back then it was mostly my neck that was stiff and my top back teeth were sore and now it’s my teeth and I have ringing in my right ear. The x-rays the dentist took didn’t reveal a cause; he thinks it’s my sinuses even though I don’t have any drainage. I really should see a doctor, but I’m just feeling discouraged right now since when I saw my ENT two months ago he didn’t think any of my issues were in his realm. So I saw my primary care who gave me a steroid which helped resolve the neck issues but not the overall pressure in my face/head. I think I need to find a new ENT but I’m so tired of seeing doctors. At what point do I just give up, deal with the issues, and hope they eventually resolve on their own?

That being said, I’m contemplating being tested for Lyme Disease now that Brother # 2 was diagnosed with it since he’s had less symptoms than I have. A Google search has revealed that it’s possible my sudden increase in panic attacks and the ear ringing could be caused by Chronic Lyme. I was going to call the insurance today to try and find out how much the test would cost but at this point I don’t care because I need to at least rule it out as the cause of these mysterious ailments I’ve been having lately. I’m so tired of one medical issue after another. Rarely does a day go by that something isn’t feeling weird or causing me pain. It has made my already intense fear of dying worse than ever because I worry there’s something really wrong with me that no one has been able to diagnose yet and I’m going to die because it wasn’t caught in time.

Categories: Friends, Fun & Games, Health, Shopping Tags:

Indiana Beach 2017

August 14th, 2017 No comments

This year we decided to visit Indiana Beach on a Sunday. Since the car rental places aren’t open on Sundays we opted not to rent a van and planned to take two cars. Brother # 2 contemplated coming along and would have driven me and Brother # 1 while Joe would have the kids and ES, but then my brother bailed because he found out he has Lyme disease, started medication over the weekend, and (understandably) wanted to take it easy.

The revised plan was for me to drive my other brother and myself but then Joe’s son, E, bailed as well. So that’s how we all ended up crammed into Joe’s Escape. ES sat up front since he’s the biggest of everyone and I sat between K and my brother. It wasn’t nearly as bad as I thought it might be although I’m sure the Xanax I took that morning helped. We were mostly right on schedule other than the extra wait at K’s place while ES tried to locate his missing annual pass.

Indiana Beach Sign

Even so we arrived at the park right before they opened at 11 am which is not easy when they are an hour ahead of us. We opted to park in the free lot since we didn’t bring food but just a cooler with drinks. We managed to sneak some water bottles inside and made the Taco Shoppe our first stop. Everyone had two tacos except K who got a walking taco.

Tacos

Rides I ended up going on: Den of Lost Thieves, bumper cars (twice), Growler, train, carousel, Music Express. The first ride would have been better had the “guns” worked. No fun when you can’t shoot any of the targets to animate them. The Growler would have also been more fun if our car was able to spin. I didn’t want to spin too much, but it wouldn’t spin AT ALL.

Rides I wanted to go on but didn’t because a) I was worried about my balance issues or b) I didn’t want to get wet: Scrambler, Flume, Bumper Boats.

Lame, I know. Know what else is lame? Finding out the old game tickets and Cool Cash cards from previous years were not accepted. Even lamer? The new Cool Cash card we purchased was only good for the season so we ended up blowing $11 playing Skee-Ball just to ensure there wasn’t any money left on it. Even lamer still? The dumb puzzle game I got just to use up our “tickets” (electronically stored on the card).

In between rides we noshed on some Pronto Pups (aka corn dogs) and everyone except me got ice cream as well. On the way out of the park (around 4 pm) we stopped at the Taco Shoppe and grabbed tacos to go which we ate back at the car so we could wash them down with water/pop from our cooler.

The weather was warm but comfortable the entire afternoon and for the most part I didn’t feel too sweaty. Didn’t get burned either since we slathered on the sunscreen when we arrived.

While the visit was more enjoyable than I anticipated, I doubt we’ll be going back next year. I’m kinda over that park. It definitely looked even nicer than last year because just about everything was freshly painted (lot of orange was used in particular), but the rides still weren’t operating properly and most were either too intense or too childish for my tastes. Perhaps Disney has spoiled me but the only really appealing thing about Indiana Beach for Joe and me nowadays are the tacos. Since they are now open on the weekends through the end of October we MAY go back one more time just to walk around and get tacos but for a 2+ hour drive I don’t think that it’s worth the effort. Hopefully the kids and my brother won’t pester us to go next year. The main reason we felt obligated to go this year was because we had last year’s season passes that were also good for 2017.

» All Indiana Beach photos

Interesting notes/observations:
This one kid promptly fell flat on his face after getting out of his bumper car. I felt bad for him but it was also funny.
We had to get off the expressway in Indiana and take the side streets through Gary (ew) since traffic was so bad.
After dropping Brother # 1 off we had dinner at Culvers. Apparently all that theme park food wasn’t enough for us?!?!
Total out of pocket for food: $100 (since Joe paid for most of it other than Brother # 1’s Pronto Pup, nachos, and Dippin Dots).

Categories: Excursions, Family, Food Tags:

Samsung Galaxy Tab A 8-Inch Tablet

August 9th, 2017 No comments

I bought a new tablet over the weekend! I also bought a new water bottle, some lightning cables, and some dog repellent to replace the mace I was carrying on walks, but lets focus on the tablet, shall we?

My five year old iPad just keeps running slower and slower because as the apps are being updated to accomodate newer phones and iOS versions the device can’t keep up. It’s unfortunate because there’s nothing actually wrong with my iPad but it’s getting to the point where it’s becoming very frustrating to use. I’ve been waiting nearly a year to upgrade because I decided I wanted an iPad Mini which would be easier to handle and travel with. I was waiting for Apple to release a new version, but then they threw me for a loop when they didn’t release an updated Mini this year. Rumor has it they are phasing out the Mini completely, as are other manufacturers. Apparently that size is not as popular as I assumed.

In any case, once I learned this I almost ordered an Amazon Fire Tablet since for $50 how could you go wrong? I’m glad I did a little research first since it turns out the apps you can install on it are very limited and don’t include the Disney Tsum Tsum game I love. They don’t even have a YouTube app – you have to just use the mobile version of the site in the web browser! Plus after seeing one in action at Target I didn’t care for it. While there I spotted the Samsung Galaxy Tab 8.0 which was on sale for $160. After a little deliberation I decided I’d rather spend $160 on two year old tech than $400 on the equally old iPad Mini, so I went back to Target the following day to buy one. Unfortunately they only stock the white version which I really didn’t want since I was afraid it would yellow over time. I ended up ordering a titanium one from Amazon instead for the same price which I received the following day (Sunday).

While the Android experience isn’t nearly as bad as it was five years ago when we bought an Asus tablet, I’m still not loving it. I don’t understand why developers don’t make iOS and Android versions of the same app identical. The iOS versions are easier and more intuitive so it’s frustrating using the same app on an Android device. I also don’t like how the emojis look on Android, or how the notifications work since you can’t customize them to the same level of detail as you can with iOS. Overall I’m a bit disappointed but not so much that I won’t use the tablet for its orignal intention – surfing, YouTube, and my game – so I can give my poor iPhone a rest as it’s coming up on three years and the battery life is sucking. Speaking of battery life – the new tablet only gets 8 hours before having to recharge which rather sucks.

One of the things that really bugs me, but might just be an issue with the tablet size/resolution in general, is how images render on it. For instance, thumbnails in apps like Reddit and Flixster look absolutely horrible – very low res and almost out of focus, but once you click on it and it opens the main page for the article/movie it looks fine. It’s just odd, but again, I’m not sure if the same thing would happen on an iPad Mini. I suspect not simply because there’s usually iPad specific versions of the apps, whereas with Android they just make one app that is supposed to work on all size screens but in practice really doesn’t function well.

Surprisingly, most of the people who commented on my new purchase are big Samsung fans and hate Apple. That really blows my mind. I do dislike how expensive Apple products are, but I disagree with the naysayers who claim iOS is not as user-friendly as Android. iOS is easier to use and is far superior to Android in functionality. I do not plan on buying another Android device again. Next time I’m in the market for a tablet I will be getting an iPad even if I have to compromise on the size.

Categories: Tech Tags:

Joe’s Birthday Weekend

August 8th, 2017 No comments

Thursday was Joe’s birthday so we had dinner at Red Lobster. Neither one of us was terribly impressed since the prices seem to keep going up while the quality goes down. I ordered the Sweet Chili Shrimp appetizer as my meal and it was way spicier than I remember. Even the strawberry lemonade that I loved so much last time wasn’t quite as good. WTH?

Friday we ate out again, this time at Red Robin so he could get his free birthday burger.

Saturday we ate out AGAIN! Sensing a theme here? This time we treated the family (my two brothers, my dad, and my brother’s g/f (my mom didn’t go)) to dinner at Warsaw Inn which is a Polish buffet that my family has been celebrating special occasions at for years. Last time we ate there with my cousin and her husband I wasn’t too impressed with the food but this time around everything was delicious. I wish my stomach could have handled even more food but at a certain point I was too stuffed to keep eating. The BBQ ribs were moist and saucy and even the stuffed cabbage was pretty decent. It had flavor at least, unlike what was served at Pierogi Fest last weekend. The pierogis were delicious too. The only thing I wasn’t too keen on where the blintzes so I’ll avoid them next time since they were dry. My only complaint was the tap water they serve – it tastes like someone bled in it. Must be well water or something.

Sunday we went to HOBO to buy transition pieces for the floor in the living/dining area and also a bag of grout since Joe is going to have to redo it in our master bathroom. It keeps cracking and pieces are coming out. We also took Wookie to the dog park where she had the place to herself for an hour which was nice. Also, she didn’t get stung which is a plus!

Monday I had lunch with a dear friend and then we did a little shopping at Half Price Books and Five Below. I got Wookie the cutest little emoji dog bed at the latter, as well as some gel pens and markers for my coloring books.

Categories: Family, Food Tags:

Milwaukee Brewfest 2017

July 31st, 2017 No comments

Saturday my brother came over to watch Wookie so we could attend the Milwaukee Brewfest in Wisconsin with our friends KM and EN. We drove up together in Joe’s car and our friends were kind enough to treat us to lunch at Oscar’s Bar and Grill (which we first discovered back in February 2016). I was feeling off thanks to lack of sleep courtesy of a severe panic attack episode the night before so I ordered a grilled chicken sandwich and ended up eating it sans bun. They have awesome fries but I went easy on them since I didn’t want to trigger any issues. I felt weird enough having to urinate so often including making a pitstop on the ride up even though it only takes about an hour and a half. It was a little longer, however, since we ran into traffic jams like three times. Luckily we left plenty early enough and still arrived at the fest before it began.

The on-site parking was only $5 which is awesome. Even though KM and I had designated driver wristbands ($15) and mostly sat around chatting and people-watching, I still had a pretty good time. Joe and EN certainly enjoyed themselves and even though there were 100 different vendors there only managed to sample about twenty beers. They had food trucks there which was cool since KM and I weren’t keen on the hot dog meal that came with our admission and gave ours to the boys. I got a personal pizza from the Palermos truck and KM got some cheese curds. Both were good.

This is the souvenir glass they gave to everyone at the entrance

We ended up leaving around 6:15 since I still wasn’t feeling so hot and KM agreed to drive Joe’s Escape (I was supposed to). We stopped for even MORE food (LOL) at the Brat Stop since neither of our friends had ever been there before. I didn’t actually get anything to eat since I wasn’t hungry. I believe by the time we got home it was around 10 pm and Wookie had been by herself about 5 hours by that point since B took off just before 5 pm. I’m so glad he and his girlfriend are ok with watching her occasionally since I don’t like the idea of leaving her with a stranger or in a boarding facility. Not sure what we’ll do when we want to go on an actual multi-day vacation, though. I hope by then they have a house (they are currently looking) and their dog gets along with Wookie so she can stay with them. Fingers crossed.

One of the cool things about the fest is they included a free ticket to Germanfest which was going on just 2 miles down the road. We didn’t get to take advantage of that, but if the two fests coincide next year, the plan is for KM and I to have Joe and EN pass those tickets to us through the festival fence and take an Uber over there. We’ll come back to pick up the boys when their festival is over.

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