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Brother J Visits

November 12th, 2018 No comments

Joe was in Denver for work from Tuesday until Saturday night. I took Thursday (11/08) off from work and drove to B’s house to pick up J to come stay with me for a few days. We hung out for a bit at the house before partying ways – B to a doctor’s appointment and us to get lunch at Denny’s. I normally hate that restaurant but the one in question is actually pretty good and the only location at which I’ll eat. In any case, I had the Cali Club which was really good. J got chicken fingers and a bowl of cream of potato soup. I let him have the fries that came with my sandwich since his meal didn’t come with any.

On the way home I misinterpreted the GPS and got off I-88 at what I thought was the exit to 355 but wasn’t. I didn’t want to pay an extra toll so we took the scenic way home. Even though I knew we were heading the correct direction I still felt lost because we ended up on roads I have never driven on. We finally came across familiar territory, however, and made our way back home. Since it was relatively warm (42) we decided to take Wookie to the dog park before it got dark (sunset is now around 4:30 and I hate it so much). She was in rare form – jumping through the agility hoop with minimal prompting, and just running around having a good time. She had the park to herself the entire time and was loving it. She loves playing with her Uncle J so much, it’s cute.

We had tacos for dinner Thursday and watched Incredibles 2. I wasn’t really getting into it until the Jack Jack scenes. I think without him the movie would have been weak.

Friday (11/09) we hooked up J’s Super Nintendo and played some old games including F-Zero which was one of my favorites back in the mid 90’s. We couldn’t play any of the games that required pressing the start button first… that is until I cleaned the dirty controllers and managed to get one start button working again. Interestingly enough, the battle scene wouldn’t render correctly on Bomberman 2 so we couldn’t play that.

That afternoon we went to Target and then to Red Robin in the mall for linner. Our waitress was the woman Joe and I always ask for but never seems to be there – Angela. Love her! Joe teases me that I have a crush on her. He’s not wrong lol. I tried the MadLove Burger – ½-lb. Black Angus patty, a Cheddar-and-Parmesan crisp, Provolone, Swiss, jalapeño relish, candied bacon, avocado, citrus-marinated tomatoes and red onions with shredded romaine on a toasted brioche bun. ($14.49). It was pretty good but not something I’d want too frequently. I also finally got around to buying a bottle of their seasoning salt ($3) like I’ve been wanting for awhile. I used egift certificates from my Discover card to pay which was awesome. Our cash back balance was over $200 so I spent $40 of that for $50. They recently changed it where instead of using $45 to get $50 you use $20 to get $25 which is a better deal so I just got two to cover our bill and have money left over.

After stuffing ourselves silly we went to Bath and Body Works to smell alllll the candles. Lol! I saw a few things I wouldn’t mind getting so I’m going to put together a Christmas list for Joe. J bought four movies from the bargain bin at FYE and we watched two of them that evening – Shoot Em Up and Salt. Both were actually good but for very different reasons. SEP was so ridiculous it was hilarious whereas Salt was more intriguing.

My brother slept in on Saturday (11/10) so we got a late start and didn’t do much except play video games, go to Dollar Tree, and watch YouTube videos. Joe came home from Denver that evening and we all had spaghetti for dinner. For whatever reason Aldi changed the formula of their pasta sauce which we used to love but no longer do, so we tried a Ragu sauce instead. Didn’t really like it so the hunt continues…

Sunday (11/11) we went to Half Price Books and Costco before dropping J back off at B’s house. Joe and I then went to a wake for our good friend’s mother who passed away earlier in the week. Afterwards we went to Target and Menards before heading home.

Today (11/12) we did some early morning shopping at Walmart where we bought a red tree collar to replace the tree skirt that Wookie chewed up when she was a puppy. Since she likes chewing on anything that looks like a blanket getting another tree skirt isn’t a good idea. I think this might end up looking even more polished anyway, plus it was cheaper ($17) than most tree skirts we saw. I’m actually looking forward to putting up the tree this year because we have the 7 ft thin one we bought for only $15 after Christmas last year that shouldn’t take up as much floor space.

We also went to an afternoon showing of Bohemian Rhapsody which was so good. Rami Malek nailed the Freddie Mercury portrayal! I never really considered myself a Queen fan but the more I hear of them the more respect and admiration I have for their creative vision.

Categories: Family, Fun & Games, Holidays, Movies Tags:

Three Weekend Catchup

August 4th, 2018 Comments off

Friday (7/27) we saw Shinedown and Godsmack live. I was wise to the venue’s shenanigans so I hid two extra water bottle caps in my bag so when they confiscated the ones on our bottles we were able to reseal them and put them back in our bags so they’d stay colder. We had a quick dinner at home before leaving but stopped at Target by the venue to grab a few snacks which we enjoyed during the show. We had seats but didn’t care for their placement so headed up to the lawn area like last time. The bands were much louder this time around so it was a good call. Shinedown put on a good show even though the actual sound seemed a bit distorted. Godsmack was much better, though! I really enjoyed their energy and wasn’t even mad that (I think) they played Whatever twice since I love that song. I’ve been trying like hell to find either a review or a recording of the full show to validate this, but haven’t had any luck. We did take off during the last song so we could get out of the parking lot with ease. There were definitely twice as many people in attendance than when we saw Poison but luckily even though the far away bathroom had a line it moved swiftly. They have about 40 stalls in there with workers directing you to open ones by calling out the number painted on the outside of the door which is very helpful to keep things moving. Standing on the lawn made my feet sore, though, but the show was too good to sit through.

Saturday (7/28) we relaxed since Sunday (7/29) was Pierogi Fest day! We picked up my brother around 10:30 and made it to the fest right around official opening. We headed straight to Dan’s Pierogis like we always do and spent about 25 minutes in line. We shared some sweet cheese plus Joe got a meat one and I got cherry. He let me have a bite of the meat and I liked it so I’ll be getting some of those too next year and skipping the cherry. I didn’t get as many piergois as I normally can eat because I was saving room for a taco pierogi from the Mendoza truck, only to find out they no longer make them because the owner sold the truck but not the machine that makes the pierogis. That was a pretty huge disappointment. Joe got a polish dog, J got a corndog, and we shared some mini donuts that could have been better (first time even getting mini donuts that were not that good). We ended up at the White Castle just outside the festival grounds to get a couple of sliders before dropping J off and heading home. So I guess this year was a bit of a flop, although the weather wasn’t terribly hot like most years and despite the crowd being bigger (we usually go on a Friday) we were able to find parking nearby and a place to sit as long as we shared a table with others. So all in all not bad, but because of the timing we had to skip the Milwaukee Brew Fest this year. It would have been too hectic plus there wasn’t anyone to watch Wookie. That’s probably the only one thing I don’t like about having a dog – not being able to just do stuff without worrying about who is going to keep an eye on her. We let her roam the downstairs when we’re not home and she pretty much just sleeps the entire time but I would feel awful leaving her home alone any longer than 8 hours at a time.

This weekend was spent with Joe’s dad who is visiting from Arizona. Joe picked him up on Thursday (8/2) after work while I was at home tidying up the house and preparing a surprise dessert – chocolate peanut butter pie – which ended up being a hit with both of them. I also made beef stroganoff for dinner.

Friday (8/3) was their birthdays so we went out for breakfast, drove around the arboretum for a bit (his dad cannot walk long distances), and stopped for gelato on the way home. We originally planned to have Red Robin for dinner but his dad slept so late (he takes daily naps) we decided to order deep dish from Lou Malnatis instead.

Saturday (8/4) we went to IKEA for breakfast and spent a little time in the pool (his dad just sat in the shade). After Joe’s dad’s nap we went to Red Robin for dinner.

Sunday (8/5) we had a light breakfast at home because we had lunch at The Pit Ribhouse in Hickory Hills at 1 pm. The kids both brought their significant others which was fun. They were late to arrive (no surprise there); E and his girlfriend (who we met for the first time) had to leave early as it was so they didn’t get to visit too long.

After lunch we dropped Joe’s dad off at Joe’s aunt’s house. We visited for a bit and fixed her computer’s wifi connection so Joe’s dad could get on Facebook. We also left with two pieces of homemade pineapple upside-down cake which we didn’t get to enjoy right away since Joe wasn’t able to eat on Monday due to a colonoscopy on Tuesday. He ended up doing the same prep I did since it was cheaper than the prescription. The doctor said the prep was good and he didn’t have any polyps. We’re both free from this nonsense for five years which is good since it’s going to cost us about $1200 out of pocket, thank you crappy insurance. It used to be only $250 through Blue Cross Blue Shield but they haven’t been an option with Joe’s recent employers. We have Aetna which I don’t like as much.

Friday (8/10) I did a deep clean downstairs since I hadn’t cleaned in almost two weeks! I also reorganized the laundry room and guest bathroom cabinets. Once Joe got home we headed out to Dollar Tree and Costco. We decided to get a couple of hot dogs before shopping and just as we were finishing up I spotted friends of ours in the checkout line. That’s the second time in about two months that we’ve run into them at Costco. We chatted for a bit and then did our shopping. We also took Wookie to the dog park that evening. I got the pass last month since it’s half price after July 1st.

Saturday (8/11) we had breakfast with Joe’s dad, aunt, and cousin and then visited with his dad and aunt at her house for a bit since his dad was flying home that afternoon.

We decided to visit Lake Katherine and The Little Red Schoolhouse before heading home. I brought my camera and got some nice shots. We didn’t stay long at either location very long since it was around noon and already very warm and humid outside.

That evening we took Wookie to the dog park again where she almost played with this cute white Bischon named Luna. She (Luna) was egging Wookie on but I think she’s still not sure how to dog. That’s totally our fault for not socializing her enough as a puppy. I hope after more trips to the park she’ll figure it out because I think she’d enjoy herself if she realized the other dog isn’t trying to hurt her. I plan on taking her to a local daycare next week after our neighbor sang its praises. It would be good to have a place close by we can take her in a pinch. Their rates are not much different from what my friend charges and Wookie could play with other dogs (assuming she wants to do so).

Sunday (8/12) we ran more errands and I got a bunch of different colored leggings from Walmart as well as two shirts that go well with them (and are long enough to cover my crotch which is perfect for wearing leggings outside the house).

I’m also still dealing with the whole glasses/frames fiasco. I really wish my eyes didn’t get so dry and itchy with contacts so I wouldn’t even need to worry as much about finding a comfortable pair of frames.

Categories: Excursions, Family, Food, Fun & Games Tags:

Summer Party & Being Excluded

July 16th, 2018 Comments off

Yesterday (Sunday, July 15th) was our friend’s annual summer party. We met with our mutual friends (K, E, and S) for lunch beforehand at a place they suggested called Charkies which is really close to our house, and then arrived at our friend’s house around 3 when her party started. We wanted to get there earlier than we usually do because we couldn’t stay late to watch the fireworks because we needed to be home for Wookie who has developed a fear of them. Last year they, and thunderstorms, didn’t really phase her but now she paces and pants trying to get away from the noise. We’ve tried two different doses of Xanax which hasn’t worked so we just stick around so she’ll feel safe.

Things are also really busy for Joe right now at his job after his company was purchased by another much larger one and he was promoted, so he had to work the next day. He also worked Saturday from 3-midnight which really bummed me out especially because I found out Brother J and my mom went to Brother B’s house to visit. Granted, they didn’t stay long because my mom is too sensitive to everything, but considering she’s only come to my house twice in fourteen years and has already been to Brother B’s house 3+ times, it bugs me. When I mentioned that to Brother J he said “move closer” which aggravated me because while I am further away than Brother B, I’m an hour’s drive so it’s not like I’m across the country. It’s not my fault both my mom and Brother J refuse to drive on expressways. I understand being scared to drive them when the experience is new but you quickly adjust. Their problem is they refuse to even try, much like other things they are completely stubborn about. It’s really getting to me that every single holiday requires us going to my parents’ house vs them coming over to mine occasionally. Needless to say I ended up crying myself to sleep because I was feeling really unloved and lonely. Hanging out with friends Sunday kinda helped get me out of my funk at least so the weekend didn’t end on a low note.

Categories: Family, Friends, Fun & Games Tags:

Brother J Visits

July 9th, 2018 Comments off

I took last week off from work because they are renovating the office which includes redoing the floors and installing new cubicles with much shorter walls (which I’m seriously dreading). I didn’t want to spend all week displaced so I decided to use some of my accumulated time off to hang out at home. Since I only work Tue-Thu and Wednesday was a holiday, I only needed to use two vacation days.

Monday (7/2) I went out to lunch with my friend C and cleaned the house Tuesday (7/3) to prepare for my Brother J to visit for a few days.

Wednesday (7/4) morning Joe and I drove to my parents house to pick up J. We stopped at Savers on the way back and then came home to start grilling some ribs we purchased at Costco over the weekend, as well as burgers. Wookie was thrilled to see J and was comfortable enough to let him rub her belly. It was really cute. She also would run over and lick his face at random times throughout the week. He’s become a lot more comfortable around her (he’s always been a bit fearful of dogs in general) which is nice because we might be able to have him dog-sit for us occasionally as long as we’re willing to do a bunch of driving since he’s not comfortable driving on expressways and taking side streets from his house to ours would take over two hours.

Anyway, here’s what we basically did the rest of the week:

Wednesday night – Watched Maximum Overdrive. I stayed up until midnight with Wookie until the fireworks stopped and she calmed down. Joe had to get to sleep since he had work the next day.

Thursday (7/5) – Joe at work. Called around to check on driveway progress, of which there was none even though this project was due to be completed on June 28th. Played Wii games (Mad World & Simpsons). Took J to Half Price Books and Chick-fil-A for lunch. Played Jeopardy & Song Quiz games on Alexa. Had baked spaghetti for dinner. Watched Dead Snow (so, so bad) and then Blockers (which was much better, but we had seen it before).

Friday (7/6) – Went to Taco bell for breakfast. Saw Antman and The Wasp at theater. Awesome movie! The trailer didn’t do it a lick of justice. Took Wookie for a walk at Armstrong park. Watched Pacific Rim: Uprising.

Saturday (7/7) – Joe made Waffles for breakfast. J and I played Wii (Donkey Kong and Raving Rabids, then Let’s Tap). We all went to McDonald’s for a late lunch, and then visited Brother B for an hour and a half before we dropped Brother J back at home.

Sunday (7/8) – Joe and I went on a morning bike ride at Armstrong park. After coming home and showering we ran to Kohl’s where I paid $3 for a pair of shorts since they gave me $15 in Kohl’s Cash. Then we did a little grocery shopping before coming home to relax.

Today (7/9) I’ve just been cleaning and calling around trying to find out when the hell our driveway apron is going to be filled with concrete. The village informed me that the concrete company had inspections scheduled but they were cancelled since they haven’t paid the village a re-inspection fee. I called the association and demanded to speak to the property manager (who never gets back to us when we call) and of course she wasn’t available. I was at least given her voicemail and left one for her that I am hoping she returns. I think at this point they need to fire these idiots and get someone else to finish the work. What a nightmare.

My boss texted me this morning to let me know the renovation at work is behind schedule so I’ll be sitting in a conference room tomorrow, and possibly Thursday, until our new cubicles are set up.

I like things neat and orderly and I have neither of those things at home or work so I’m feeling very stressed. On top of that my new glasses are too heavy and despite multiple trips back to the clinic to have the nose pads and temples adjusted, they are still hurting my face. I am going there today to have them put on the new silicone nose pads I ordered from Amazon as a last ditch effort. If that doesn’t work I’m going to have to pick out a different pair of frames which sucks because I really grew to like the ones my optician had chosen for me. They look much nicer on me than my old glasses. Too bad they aren’t comfortable, ugh!

Categories: Family, Fun & Games, Health, House & Home, Work Tags:

Memorial Day Weekend

May 29th, 2018 Comments off

Saturday (5/26) we hosted a game night with our friends B, C, and T. B&C are married and big Disney fans like we are so there was no shortage of conversation topics. Interestingly enough, Joe was having a convo with C and the same time I was speaking to B and we were essentially talking about the same stuff! I learned they watch the same podcast as I do of this couple who live in Florida and have season passes to all the Disney and Universal Parks. Too funny. The last time this group got together was in May 2013 so it’s been a long time! We had way too much food (veggie tray, chips, tortilla chips, frito dessert, and brownies) so half didn’t get touched. B&C brought a nice party tray with salami, cheese, and crackers plus an angel food cake. Will need to make a point not to go overboard when only inviting 3 people over next time! The evening was fun, though, even if we only played one game – Taboo – because we were talking too much. Everyone left a bit before midnight and the night flew by.

Sunday (5/27) – Joe washed our cars while I washed two welcome mats, then we organized some of the garage, and I organized the spare bedroom and moved perishables in there from the garage. We were dying from the heat after that and later in the evening we visited the pool which had just opened for the season the day before. Not to self – just before 6 pm is the perfect time for a swim because it’s not very crowded. We actually had the pool to ourselves at one point and this male ducking kept flying overhead. I made a joke how he was scoping out the pool and no sooner had we gotten out did he and his wife come flying into the area, landing in the pool. The lifeguard tried chasing them off but they refused to leave until some kids got in the pool.

Monday (5/28) – We got up early to beat the impending heat (it had been in the 90s for days) to scope out the location for a wedding I’ll be photographing on Saturday for a friend. I’m really not thrilled about doing it because people photography is not my jam but it’s low-key and I’ll make some extra money so at least there’s that.

Afterward we went to Savers where Joe got some shorts and I got a green tank top, a white tank top with green and purple pattern on it, and a Blackhawks t-shirt. We also went to Kohls and I ended up getting a pair of grey addidas running shoes, grey shorts, and two Marvel t-shirts – Deadpool and Groot from Guardians of the Galaxy.

For lunch we ended up grilling a rack of pre-seasoned ribs we picked up from Costco on Sunday. They came out amazing and were only $10! So that might become a new Memorial Day tradition instead of burgers and hot dogs. I’m not a huge rib fan but these were so good I wouldn’t mind having them a few times a year, in fact.

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