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December 22nd, 2020 Comments off

Yikes, it’s been awhile, hasn’t it? I’ve been so busy, haha!

Ok, the crappy stuff out of the way first –

Unemployed
As of January 15th Joe will be officially unemployed. We knew this was coming for months since his company decided to eliminate his department. He will be getting a generous bonus for staying until the end, plus severance which includes his company covering our insurance premiums through May. His company has been good to us so he’s been looking internally but so far nothing has come up. He is also looking externally but between COVID and it being the end of the year he’s heard nothing back from anyone at this point.

Left arm issues
A few months ago my left arm started giving me trouble. Mostly it would just hurt if I tried to grab/reach for something. I figured it would just eventually go away on it’s own. It did not. In fact, it slowly lost it’s range of motion and now I can’t even lift that arm up past my chest or put it behind my back. This has made washing my hair or shaving my armpits difficult. I saw my doctor (really the nurse practitioner since the doctor is always so busy) and she determined it was likely a rotator cuff issue which could progress into frozen shoulder syndrome. Yay!

I’ve been going to physical therapy since the at home exercises I was given by the nurse weren’t making any noticeable difference. PT has been good, especially once another therapist started dry needling the area. The pain is much less since then and even my range of motion has improved ever so slightly. It still blows my mind that I just can’t move that arm normally anymore. Hopefully it’s just a temporary issue. I have to wonder if moving a bunch of cases of water to prep for our spare room makeovers is what started all this.

Ok, now on to the positive stuff –

Master Bedroom Renovation
Our bedroom makeover has been “done” for awhile but I haven’t posted it because we were on the fence on whether to replace all the furniture. It could use a refresh, as it’s 16 years old at this point. Many of the clips in the dresser drawers have long since broken, so if you pull the drawers out too far they fall out of the track. We are tired of how high up the bed is in the frame, plus I am really starting to hate the footboard. We went to IKEA weeks ago but nothing really struck us, nor did Ashley furniture. So we’re at a standstill right now.

We did get a beautiful shag rug and matching runner and small rug for inside the closet. Speaking of, Joe still needs to install our new mirrored closet door. He’s going to install molding around the opening first, though, because the builders left it rough and just did a really crappy job. It will look much nicer when he’s done. I don’t think I have a before photo, though, which is a bummer. We didn’t put the bed back into the frame so that is hanging out in the loft right now. Wookie can get on and off the bed easier with it being closer to the ground which is nice. I predict the bedroom won’t be fully finished until spring. In the meantime, I am loving the lighter colored walls (we went with Sandstone Cove by Behr, which is the same color in the loft). The bedroom is just way more inviting now. During the day it’s so nice and bring in there, particularly because we haven’t put the blackout curtains back up. I tend to wake up at sunrise anyway so there really isn’t a need for them now.

Wookie’s Health
Wookie has had this bile vomiting issue for as long as we can remember. It usually occurred in the mornings and the vet suspected it was tied to her having an empty stomach and the digestive juices upsetting her stomach. We’ve tried changing dry foods and limiting her treats to narrow down the culprit since some things seem to trigger it more than others (such as dental chews, of course). When she had two bouts of mysterious diarrhea this year we noticed when she was on the special canned food diet her vomiting stopped. So we’re in a trial run right now to see if it was a fluke or not. Unfortunately the food is hella expensive (a week’s supply is $23) so if it does the trick we’ll have to see whether it’s just the dry food that’s the issue and see whether we can find a more frugal food. It would be nice to no longer suffer from the anxiety of worrying she’s going to vomit on the nice new rugs or damage the new flooring if she vomits and we don’t notice right away. She seems not too bothered by the vomiting but I’m sure she too would be happier if it stopped.

Categories: Health, House & Home, Life, Pets Tags: ,

Don’t Shop At WishDOTcom

November 19th, 2020 Comments off

Just don’t. Unless you like being robbed. They are shady!

I heard rumors about them before so when I placed my order it was for very low value items: two decorative pillow cases. The first arrived no problems. Actually looked like the photo even. The second one, however, just sat in limbo. I placed the order in late August and it estimated the item arriving in late September. That date came and went with no update to the tracking info. It kept saying “arriving September 23” even well past that date. I figured it was delayed due to COVID and coming from China.

Finally around Halloween I decided to pursue it further, only to find out that their “return” policy includes items not even sent, and you have to request a refund within 30 days of the estimated arrival or basically they will (attempt to) keep your money. WTF?!? I called them, but it’s an automated recording saying they offer no phone support, and it refers you back to their website. Everything on there is automated too, and when it tried to offer me store credit instead of a refund (because they charge you immediately instead of when your items ship), and I refused, the system told me to have a nice day (basically F off) and stopped the “conversation”.

Wish Message

I found an email address so started dealing with them, but they only gave me the run-around, asking me to “open a support ticket” via their website, which I attempted to do several times to no avail. I even sent them screenshots showing this. I told them the other day if they didn’t open the ticket for me and/or issue a refund I would be reporting them to the Better Business Bureau and disputing the charge with my credit card company.

They had the audacity to respond again telling me to open a ticket, and I told them no, I already explained everything to them and since they weren’t willing to help I would be doing as I said I would, and then I opened the dispute with Discover and included all the emails and screenshots as my backup.

This past Saturday I got the notice from Discover of my credit, as well as ANOTHER email from Wish telling me I was opening the ticket on the wrong item, which is FALSE. I don’t know if their customer support is really that inept, or it’s just a tactic to stop people from getting their money back, but I ignored it.

Discover Dispute
I’m sure I spent more of my time than is worth $4.52 but it’s the principal of the thing. You don’t get to take people’s money and then not send them the product and create a ridiculous policy that doesn’t allow them to request their money back. That’s called stealing!
Long story long, don’t do business with wishDOTcom.

Categories: Retail Experiences Tags:

Nintendo Switch

October 12th, 2020 Comments off

Earlier in the year when my health started improving (pretty much magically without any doctors’ help, which I really should write about at some point), I started talking about buying a Nintendo Switch. I was conflicted though because I get tired of games pretty quickly. We both have a Nintendo DS and a library of games we rarely play. Regardless, whenever we’d walk buy the Switches at Target I would consider buying one. Well, Costco then had them on sale but I hesitated too long and they sold out. Suddenly they weren’t available anywhere and of course at that point I decided I really wanted one!

Fast forward to the morning of September 22nd when I saw a deal site advertising Switches back in stock at Walmart. I went to their website but didn’t see any available. Then I had an idea: maybe if Walmart had some, Target would also. Sure enough, they did! Not at my local store, though, but to order for delivery. Joe was at Menards picking up the scaffolding to do the living room ceiling work so I decided to order the Switch without discussing it with him first (so it could be a surprise). It felt wrong because we always discuss large purchases. Luckily when it was delivered a few days later he was just as excited as I was even though I’m more of a Nintendo fan than he is.

Nintendo Switch
Since the system didn’t come with any games we immediately headed to the library to see what they had and wow, was I impressed with their library of games.

Switch Games - Adult Section

Switch Games – Adult Section


The kids’ section is where all the really good games were, however.

Switch Games - Kids Section 01 Switch Games - Kids Section 02

We came home with the maximum number of games we were allowed to borrow at one time.

Switch Games

By far my favorite game was Penguin Wars. I have the same game on my original Gameboy. Joe and I had fun battling each other. So much so, in fact, I wanted to buy a copy but it’s already out of rotation. Instead of paying $20+ on ebay, I ended up buying a digital copy for $7.50 since it happened to be on sale. So that was my first actual purchase.

I also liked the Tsum Tsum game and Bubble Bobble. The rest I could do without.

A week later we got another batch of games, mostly Mario related.

More Switch Games

I didn’t care for Mario Party, or the Rabbids collaboration, but I really liked Super Mario Odyssey and Paper Mario Origami King. And of course, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe which we’re going to have to buy at some point because it’s a Nintendo staple. You can modify the settings so you’re not able to die which makes it more fun. Nothing is more frustrating than flying off the edge of the track.

We also borrowed Burgertime (not pictured), but it was terrible. As was LEGO City Undercover which I was hoping to like.

Here’s our recent batch of games which are due back tomorrow:

Even More Switch Games

I haven’t tried them all yet, but so far I am surprised to like Untitled Goose Game. I got it because it sounded so ridiculous, but it’s fun and I spent awhile playing it yesterday while lounging on the couch. I’m enjoying the Switch even more than I anticipated which is a relief.

Since none of the libraries in the area carry them, and they were on sale, I bought two games from Walmart that were delivered yesterday:

Purchased Switch Games

Bomberman R ($15) (for the battle screens, of course) and South Park Fractured But Whole ($20) because it sounds funny. I’m sure these games will keep us entertained through the cold, lonely winter.

Categories: Fun & Games Tags:

Vinyl Addict

October 9th, 2020 Comments off

Near the end of August, I started thinking about how crazy it was that I had an entire box of records, mostly from The Cure, but no record player. I have never owned one despite acquiring the majority of my collection in the mid 90’s, one of which was new and unopened (Mixed Up).

Cure Vinyl - Albums

Cure Albums

Cure Vinyl - Singles

Cure Singles

This train of thought was prompted by this year’s Record Store Day special picture disc releases of Seventeen Seconds and Bloodflowers which I learned about the day before RSD. I decided I’d like Seventeen Seconds, but was on the fence about Bloodflowers since even though I don’t own a copy on vinyl, it’s really not my favorite album. It was a moot point, however, when we arrived at Kiss The Sky in Batavia and were told all the copies had sold out, and quickly, according to the owner.

Before we arrived, my attitude was it wasn’t a big deal if I couldn’t get my hands on the special releases, but once I was told they were gone I was surprised at how sad I felt. As we drove home, Joe suggested I call a record store closer to us, Mile Long Records, in Wheaton. I hadn’t even considered them because of how busy they get on Record Store Day. Plus I read some negative reviews about the owner. But I called anyway, and was pleasantly surprised to learn that they had several copies of both albums still available even though it was noon by that time.

Record Store Day

At Joe’s urging I ended up getting both albums.

Record Store Day Cure Picture Discs

I shared my excitement on social media and a couple people questioned why I would get them if I had no means of listening to them. I’ve fielded that question before and stated I like collecting the records for the artwork, which is true. In fact, I had no plans to ever open those two records. But then I started reminiscing about the records we’d listen to all the time growing up. I decided I didn’t want my collection to turn into that situation where you have special dishes no one ever uses because they’re too “special”. So, I started researching turntables. After a week of looking at used record players, I decided to buy a new one from Target. Nothing fancy, mind you, but one with a built-in preamp so I could hook it up to our existing stereo system.

Turntable

I’m really liking it, and don’t think I’ll really need anything fancier in the future, but you never know. It looks good in our existing audio cabinet. I removed our old Disney honeymoon memorabilia and shifted the PS4 down a shelf so the record player could go on top with plenty of room to lift the cover up.

Audio Cabinet

After that it was off to the races. Over the course of two weekends we visited a few record stores because I missed the thrill of the hunt like back in the day before Spotify let you listen to whatever you wanted at any time.

At Mile Long Records again I got No Jacket Required by Phil Collins (which was the first CD I ever purchased) and The Head On The Door by The Cure (new), which the owner put aside when I messaged him on Facebook letting him know I was searching for it. Turns out he’s actually really nice and a Cure fan himself, which is why he had so many copies of their releases on Record Store Day.

At Algonquin Records we found multiple gems: Michael Jackson’s Thriller (new), Sports by Huey Lewis and The News, and We Are The World, and I got the Big Time single by Peter Gabriel from a shop called Record Wonderland in Roselle.

New Albums

They also had the pink/purple vinyl of Friday I’m in Love single by The Cure for $40 (which I already own).

Since then I’ve only picked up one more record – Dancing On The People by Sofi Tukker, which was another Record Store Day release recently (there are three RSDs this year). Mile Long Records didn’t order that one, however, so I ordered it directly form the artist’s website.

Dancing On The People by Sofi Tukker

It was only $18 which was nice since the other RSD releases were $27 (Seventeen Seconds) and $37 (Bloodflowers). I also got a copy on CD because I have their other albums and I want to support them.

We haven’t gone to any record stores since mid September because it was quickly adding up. We did peruse the available LPs at Half Price Books recently, however. Shockingly, they did have a Cure title (The Top) but it was $30 and the jacket was in poor condition. I already own it anyway, and my copy is in much better shape.

Speaking of jackets, however – I don’t plan on buying picture discs in the future if I can help it. I love The Cure’s album artwork and the picture discs just leave a hole in the jacket. I dunno, I like the classic record look better. In any case, I only need the following albums to complete my Cure collection now:

Wish (1992)
Wild Mood Swings (1996)
The Cure (2004)
4:13 Dream (2008)

I’m not a big fan of those last two AT ALL, so it will be awhile before I get them unless I find them for a good price used. Wish is currently out of print so that’s going to be a tough one unless Robert Smith decides to finally do a reissue. Fingers crossed! I have a soft spot for that album since it was their first new release after I got into them.

Categories: Music Tags:

All The Recommendations

October 2nd, 2020 Comments off

I’m sure we’ve all been watching a lot more shows and whatnot since being on lockdown, so here’s some particular great stuff I recommend.

Amazon Prime
Upload – IMDB synopsis: A man is able to choose his own afterlife after his untimely death by having his consciousness uploaded into a virtual world. As he gets used to his new life and befriends his angel (real world handler) questions about his death arise.

Instagram/Twitch
If you don’t know who Sofi Tukker is, then I don’t know you! They are only one of the greatest music-producing duos I’ve ever heard, and they’ve been performing a live DJ set of amazing music (theirs, and other songs as well) every day since the lockdown started over 200 days ago. I’ve been tuning in nearly every day because they never cease to put a smile on my face.

Sofi Tukker

Sofi Tukker


Netflix

High Score – Did you know Space Invaders were based off sea creatures? It makes so much sense in retrospect. This documentary about how video games came to be is fascinating, particularly from someone who grew up with Atari and the original Nintendo.

The Last Hangover – if you’re religious and take it too seriously than this might not be for you, but I thought it was hilarious.

The Last Hangover

Ozark – We kept hearing great things about this series and it had been languishing on my watch list for a very long time. Too long, in fact. Once we got past the second episode it was off to the races and we blew threw three seasons in about two weeks. It really sucks you in!

The Umbrella Academy – Same situation as Ozark, although not quite as good, but still very binge-worthy despite my deep distaste for Ellen Page. I can’t even tell you why I hate her, I just do. I’m not really a fan of the character Luther either, but Number Five makes up for any other flaws in this series.

Podcasts
Fake Doctors, Real Friends – If you watch(ed) and loved the series Scrubs, then you must check out this podcast! They go off topic a lot but it’s always quite entertaining. Both Zach Braff and Donald Faison are endearing. I’ve started re-watching Scrubs for the umpteenth time so each episode is fresh in my mind when I listen to the corresponding podcast EP. I forgot how great the show is and it nearly always tugs at my heartstrings. It’s also very homophonic though!

FDRF

The God Pod – I swear God is actually Seth Rogan, but I can’t prove it. In any case, it’s pretty entertaining listening to him rip on stupid humans and our embarrassing president (who just announced he has COVID but will probably be fine which will just reinforce in his mind that it’s not a big deal).

TikTok
Ducky the Yorkie – This is one of the cutest dogs I’ve ever seen in my entire life. If you’re having a bad day just watch one of his videos and if you’re not smiling afterward you’re dead inside.

General Music/Movie Recommendations

New Order recently released a new song, Be a Rebel, and I’m loving it. Takes me back to their earlier work, or more specifically, to their side project, Electronic, whom I also love. I hope they release more new material soon!

Speaking of sound-alikes, if you’re into The Cure, and their album Faith in particular, then check out The Bleak Engineers. They only have one album out so far, but what a great one! I have listened to it several times since stumbling upon it.

The Room is a Shudder (a horror movie streaming service) original movie that was quite enthralling to watch Tuesday night. Probably less scary than the presidential debate, that’s for sure! We don’t have Shudder, btw, but found the movie at the library of all places. This makes me hopeful they’ll also get Host at some point because it sounds good!

Categories: Media, Music, TV Tags: