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Praying Mantis Rescue

August 28th, 2020 Comments off

We rescued a large praying mantis from certain death this morning. He was trapped under the plastic Home Depot has on their outside grills. I spotted him while walking past. Joe pulled up the plastic and got him to crawl on his hand. He wasn’t there long enough for me to get a photo before he flew away into a nearby tree. I’ve never seen one fly before so that was cool.

Interestingly enough, we didn’t end up finding what we came to the store for; I guess the universe just needed us there to help the trapped mantis.

Categories: Animals, Retail Experiences Tags:

Just Say No (To Starbucks)

August 21st, 2020 Comments off

Yesterday I was browsing deal sites and saw Starbucks was having a BOGO deal from 2-7 pm if you ordered via the app. Now, you have to know something – we rarely go to Starbucks these days. And by rarely, I mean the last time we went was in January to get my free birthday drink which I let Joe have because I was too sick to give a crap. I’ve spent more time in the local Starbucks’ parking lot meeting up with buyers from Offer Up over the past two years than actually buying any drinks.

But seeing that deal made me think it would be a nice treat, which was cemented by the fact that they now have a peach green tea lemonade. Chick-fil-a got rid of their delicious peach lemonade so I’ve been trying to get my hands on a good peach drink ever since (side note: Lipton peach iced tea drink mix is great. I call it tea kool-aid). Joe wanted to try their Chai Creme Frappuccino, so we decided to place an order.

Starbucks Order

I was perplexed why our local store wasn’t listed in the app, so I had to pick one a little further away. The app claimed our drinks would take 15-18 minutes to prepare and that it would take 13 minutes to get there, so I placed the order as we pulled out of the driveway. Mistake #1.

We arrived at Starbucks to see a huge line in the drive-thru, so we decided I would run in to get our drinks, but there were a bunch of people in line inside too, and we had brought Wookie, so we opted to get in the drive-thru line so we could be together (and also because I didn’t feel comfortable standing in line for god knows how long). Mistake #2.

Starbucks DriveThru

Wookie Waiting

We watched as people pulled into the parking lot and left five minutes later with their drinks while we slowly made it to the window 45 minutes after we got in line. My drink was watered down (although not too bad since I had requested light ice) and Joe’s was melted/liquid which we didn’t notice until pulling away.

I ran inside with his drink to ask if they could re-make it since it had clearly been sitting out for awhile and they said yes but it would be a long wait because there were other people ahead of me. Say what? I dunno, I think I should have gotten priority, but I wasn’t about to cause a scene – everyone was stressed out enough. I asked them to explain to me how mobile ordering works so I don’t get an old drink again and according to the barista they usually wait until you get to the order board to start your drink but when it’s busy they just crank out the drinks. That seems like a recipe for shitty drinks and angry customers to me, but what do I know?

I didn’t want to wait any longer (our little adventure took over an hour as it was), which I explained to the barista, so she gave me a gift card for $4. Not quite enough to cover Joe’s drink, but good enough. We took it home and stuck it in the freezer and it eventually firmed up enough to enjoy a little. Also, Wookie got a puppuccino which was nice.

When I placed the order, Joe was concerned our drinks would end up sitting out, but I really believed Starbucks would have a way to prevent that. Silly me. Lesson learned! I also found out that our local Starbucks, which is on a extremely busy major road, closes at 3 pm even though all the other stores in the area don’t close until 8 pm or later. WTF?

As for the drinks – the frapp was pretty good, but chai flavored drinks taste like Christmas to me, so it seemed out of place for this time of year. My drink was ok, even though I could taste more of the mint green tea than any peach or lemonade.

Peach Tea Lemonade

To add insult to injury, even though I only drank half of my venti around 4:30 pm last night, I could not sleep for the life of me. I didn’t fall asleep until after 2 am and only after taking a Midnite, which I haven’t had to do in four months. Then today I got bad stomach issues, if you get my drift, probably from trying Joe’s milk-laden drink. Ugh! I curse thee, Starbucks!

Overall, I don’t think Starbucks is worth the price, and definitely isn’t worth the hassle when they’re having what they call Happy Hour (or the baristas on the Starbucks subreddit refer to as Horror Hour). I have about $20 left in my account that we’ll spend on snacks and the occasional vanilla latte for Joe until we run out of funds. Then it’s hasta la vista, baby.

I much prefer Dunkin Donuts anyway.

Office Renovation & More Plans

August 21st, 2020 Comments off

In late July we decided to tackle a project we’ve been wanting to work on for awhile – updating K’s old bedroom and making it into a proper office / game room. Joe already got a new desk and moved the tv stand in there but the girly wall color and ugly blue carpet from when we moved in had to go. Even though he ran into an issue with some water damage to the subfloor, he was able to repair it and still got everything done in about two weeks time. Considering how many months it took when we renovated the kids’ bathroom that was super quick! And I love how it came out. The space is so much more inviting now.

New Office

Final cost: $500 for materials (paint & flooring) and decor (chair mat, rugs, bookcase, floor lamp, and futon). We came across the futon at Walmart (it was right by the entrance) right after he finished the room. It was $89 and while it isn’t comfy enough to sleep on (unless you’re Wookie), it’s comfortable enough for sitting while gaming.

Here’s a before photo for comparison.

Old Bedroom

We forgot to get a before photo with the furniture (including the old white bed frame because it sold quickly when we listed it on Offer Up).

We bought enough flooring and paint to redo the workout room in the same manner. That’s currently in progress and should take about the same time since there’s no subfloor damage. However, Joe worked on the office the week of his birthday which he had taken off from work. So he has less time to work on the next room.

I recently sold the big Critter Nation cage that used to be in the workout room to a teenage girl who wanted it for her rats. I sold the single-level one last year. I decided even if I have rats again it won’t be anytime soon. Wookie’s prey drive is too high so there was no point in hanging onto all that unused stuff taking up space. In fact, I no longer have any cages at all. I sold the old aquariums last year, as well as the cage I got with Templeton and Nutterbutter (our first rats). This year I got rid of the purple cage Winston came in and the other small purple cage we purchased when we got Peanut (our first pet, a hamster), eons ago. I also included supplies with each cage so I literally have nothing for any small critters. I even donated my old 2 gallon fish tank and sold the reptile equipment I had for Mrs. Toad. If/when I decide to get any other pets I will need to buy all new supplies. But honestly, I can’t see that happening in the next decade because I want to keep my focus on Wookie anyway. I don’t like the idea of dividing my attention between her and any other pets. But I digress…

We also sold the old elliptical machine for $50 because neither one of us was using it anymore. It’s so big and bulky, not to mention over twenty years old! I much prefer the inexpensive treadmill Joe purchased for me earlier this year to help me get exercise when I was too sick to do much else. Once the workout room is done it will only contain the treadmill, Joe’s weight bench, and a shelving unit for our overflow pantry, plus a few overflow items we don’t have room for elsewhere. I’m hoping I can reorganize the closet in there similar to how I did in the office to maximize the storage space. I feel like we still have too many things, but we’re running out of things to purge, although the kids’ old bedding and an old wooden toy box is going to be donated this weekend.

Wookie’s Sickness

July 24th, 2020 Comments off

Wookie is on the mend after having diarrhea for a few days.

Below is a screenshot of the timeline I put together for the vet (which we saw on Friday the 17th) since they’re still doing curbside service and you cannot go inside the building with your pet. They made a copy for her chart.

Wookie Timeline

They sent her home with medication and special canned food (which smelled bad because it contained liver; so of course she loved it).

Special Food

Her poop is still soft, but nothing like before, so I think it’s going to take some time for her to get back to normal even though she’s eating her regular food again.

We still don’t know what caused her to get sick, though. The vet felt the white item was a piece of rawhide. She also said the hostas weren’t dangerous, nor was the new floor cleaner. I’m a bit skeptical about the hostas, since many websites state they’re toxic to dogs, so I chopped the flowering part of them off so they don’t hang over the sidewalk by the front door anymore, and I swept up the remaining flowers.

Updated to add this story I can’t believe I forgot to write about:

At one point during Wookie’s sickness I took her potty pad upstairs to clean it from the runny diarrhea that had gotten on the plastic grates.

I was walking from the kitchen into the dining room when I slipped and fell. Luckily I caught myself and was not injured but my head got dangerously close to the corner where the kitchen and dining room walls meet.

What did I slip on? Dog shit. Apparently Wookie pooped on the carpet in front of the microwave and I stepped right in it. Her potty pad was upstairs drying, although the larger bin was still there with a pad in it but I guess it was too different for her to want to poop there so she chose the carpet. In any case, I had poop on my slippers, pajama pants, and all over the floors and rug. Yay! I threw the clothing into the washer and thanks to the miracle of Woolite pet stain cleaner, plus the Bissell Green Machine, I was able to get the poop out of the rug.

This was runny greasy poop too which made it even worse. Explained why I thought I smelled poop before I slipped though!

In hindsight, it was pretty comical how i slipped and fell, like that scene in Night At The Roxbury where Doug slips (which makes me laugh out loud every time even though I’ve seen it at least 50 times).

Categories: Pets Tags: ,

Bath & Body Works Shenanigans

July 16th, 2020 Comments off

I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with Bath & Body Works, as in I love some of their products, but I hate their prices and their practices leave something to be desired.

It’s gotten to the point where I am not interested in their lotions, body wash, or hand soaps, but I do still like the wallflowers and candles. I’m picky about scents, however. For the most part I like vanilla, marshmallow fireside, and a newer one my cousin turned me onto two years ago, heirloom apple. I was too sick last year to care about any of that stuff but now that I’m feeling better, and I’m down to my last wallflower, I went looking for heirloom apple only to be unable to find it. So I contacted B&BW via Facebook Messenger:

B&BW Message

I took to the internet to find out whether anyone could point me toward a dupe scent, whether that be from Bath & Body Works or another company. In the meantime, I got this Yankee Candle macintosh votive at Meijer to try out.

Macintosh

It’s ok, but not what I was looking for.

Someone online told me to look for B&BW’s honeycrisp apple scent, but when I checked online it was only available in a one wick candle for $10. No thanks. I don’t mind the occasional candle but I prefer how a wallflower tends to fill the house with scent.

We went out yesterday and I decided to stop in a Bath & Body Works store. I asked about the heirloom apple, or any apple scents, and they only had one and it didn’t smell at all what I was looking for so I quickly left.

I just so happened to be on their website today when I searched for apple again and this time a honeycrisp apple wallflower showed up in the search results.

Honey Crisp Apple BBW

I looked at the fragrance description and then googled to find out how heirloom apple used to be described. They were identical. Hoorah!

But then it got weirder when I noticed a scent called farmstand apple.

Farmstand Apple BBW

That too has the same description. Interesting…

So basically they retired heirloom apple and replaced it with two different scents that are actually the same as heirloom apple but never bothered to tell any of their employees so they could help someone looking for heirloom apple. Got it.

They annoy the hell out of me as it is by making certain scents only available during particular times of the year. I know it’s a ploy to drive interest and get people in their doors more than once a year, but it’s seriously annoying.

Right now the two scents I want (marshmallow fireside and honeycrisp apple) are only available online and I’m not buying $75+ of product or paying $6 in shipping. They will appear in stores at some point and then I will wait for another sale. Wallflowers are currently 5/$24 but it turns out they can get as low as $3 each so a better sale is due to come around soon.