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Internet Issues, Barn Owls & Pool Parties

September 20th, 2021 Comments off

Friday (9/17) we woke up and our internet was down. I don’t know if I wrote about it, but a few months ago after our Comcast contract expired, and they wouldn’t give us another deal, we switched our internet service to T-Mobile. It worked pretty well, although not quite as fast, but for $50 per month (no added taxes or fees), we figured it was worth trying out.

When Joe called T-Mobile they really couldn’t do much to help other than offer to send out a new device, aka trashcan (nicknamed as such by the T-Mobile internet community on Reddit). T-Mobile Trash Can

The problem? They estimated it would be a week. Unacceptable! Joe warned them that he’d be cancelling if it took that long and they called his bluff, so he immediately contacted Comcast and sure enough, we were able to get 200 MBS for $50/month for the next 12 months, so we signed up. We have our own router and modem so it was all done online, although Joe did have to chat with someone for them to do something on the account to get it to actually work, but we were up within a half hour.

A manager at T-Mobile called around that time to say they were expediting the device but Joe explained we were cancelling and not to bother. T-Mobile ended up giving us a $25 credit for our trouble anyway, and I guess they couldn’t stop the shipment because UPS is saying we’re getting something from them today. I guess we’ll have two devices to send back to them now.

If only Comcast had given us a better rate months ago, we would have stayed with them.

I feel like T-Mobile needs to do more work on their device/service before it’s a viable alternative to cable internet. Just like with their failed T-Vision streaming cable service, which they never invested in because the user interface sucked, they are rolling stuff out that is inferior to their competitors and consumers are paying the price in frustration. It could just be a coincidence, or Apple TV being particular, but we could never watch Ted Lasso on Fridays (the night new episodes are released) under T-Mobile because halfway through an episode it would lock up and crash the Roku. We tried it Friday on Comcast and had no such issues. I think it’s still partly Apple, since none of the other streaming services ever give us issues, but it’s also T-Mobile for being too slow as well. Perhaps in a few years it will be different. I hope so, since there are a lot of rural customers who would benefit from 5G internet and we personally do not like giving our money to Comcast.

Saturday (9/18) we decided to check out the local plant nursery’s open house. Not before stopping at White Castle for breakfast, however. I got a sausage slider, but also wanted to try the chicken and waffles slider based on the description on their website:

White Castle - Expectation

Imagine my surprise/disappointment when what I got was this:

White Castle - Reality

So of course I had to go online and air my grievance with them. We’ll see whether they reply back.

White Castle Feedback 20210920 - 2

(I contacted Meijer well over a month ago to complain about the quality of their broccoli and cheese stuffed chicken (the broccoli is really hard/sharp recently) and they never bothered to acknowledge it, so hopefully White Castle is more responsive).

Barn Owl (the nursery) wasn’t too crowded when we first arrived, so we ate our breakfast in the car and then took a look around. They had a whole building of just bird houses and bird food! I ended up getting this cute hummingbird palm feeder.

Hummingbird Palm Feeder

I doubt I’ll get any birds to feed directly from my hand this year, but maybe next year when I’m planning on putting everything up in April. As it stands now, we’re already seeing fewer visitors to the feeder as they start their migration south. *sad*

They had live owls on display which was really cool!

Yesterday (9/19) we decided to check out the community garage sale at the nearby park. They also had a car show and craft fair going on at the same time so we figured there would be a lot to see. Not so much. Joe wasn’t very thrilled with the cars, there were hardly any craft booths, and only a few garage sale booths. With the amount of cars parked in the area you would have thought more was going on than there was. Oktoberfest in a tent further back is going on right now too, but that doesn’t open until noon and we were there just after 10 am. Needless to say, we were back at home by 10:30.

At one of the booths the owner trapped me in an impromptu demonstration of her product and forced me to take a business card. I can appreciate people wanting to sell their creations, but I really think they should ask you first. I didn’t want to be rude by walking away, so it was very uncomfortable, not to mention a waste of her time since I wasn’t interested.

A good thing came of our little excursion, though! On our way back to the car we ran into our friend D who was walking over (she lives a few blocks away from the park) to check things out and she invited us to come over for a swim later. I enthusiastically agreed knowing it was due to be very hot that day and I have been wanting to go swimming one more time before it gets too cold to do so. We went home to do some light cleaning, ran to the store to grab some snacks to bring over, and took a shower. After getting everything packed up and ready to go I went to use the bathroom and BAM, the time of the month said “SUPRISE, I’M HERE!” It couldn’t have waited just a few more hours, right?

We still had fun hanging out with our friend, but I was only able to deep my feet into the pool. She made us some cheeseburgers and we lounged on her awesome patio furniture under a big tent away from the blazing sun. It really made a difference since my weather app said it was 85 and felt like 95 yet we were very comfortable.

We interrupt this entry to display pics of our friend’s two dogs who love getting pets, particularly the all brown one.

Dog 1

Dog 2

D’s ex, a guy we used to all go to Bingo with back when they were dating, hit her up later on since he was also at the nearby park, and she invited him to stop by, so we ended our afternoon chatting with him before taking off around 6 pm so we could walk Wookie before sunset.

Speaking of, she was so unbelievably excited when we go home she was literally vibrating and panting a lot. She’s been fine being left alone for hours but this was perhaps just a bit too long for her liking (5 hours). Usually she’ll sleep when we’re gone which is what she did most of the time since I checked in our her once in awhile via the cameras. About an hour before we came home I noticed her pacing around the house, however.

All The Other Things

August 19th, 2021 Comments off

Figured I’d post a mish mash of things that have happened recently. I really only keep up this blog for my own memories at this point so if you find this boring that’s why.

Sat 8/7 – We tried Wendy’s breakfast for the first time in years because T-Mobile Tuesday had a deal where you get a free breakfast sandwich with any purchase. I got the Maple Bacon Chicken Croissant and a small order of Seasoned Potatoes. I thought the sandwich was pretty good. Reminded me of a chicken version of McDonald’s McGriddles. So good, but not great. But those potatoes were amazing! They remind me so much of the potato wedges KFC used to have. It’s too bad you can only get them during breakfast. I might have to plan ahead so I can get some in the morning, grab some KFC in the afternoon, and reheat the wedges in the air fryer.

Fresh Picked Tomatoes

Sun 8/8 – Our neighbor came by asking if we’d like to pick some tomatoes from his garden since he had too many. Joe picked four and we used most of them to make the most delicious bruschetta.

Bruschetta

Wed 8/11 – The Woodman’s finally opened by us on Tuesday, August 10th, so we headed over there the next day around 8 am to check it out. Observations: there’s no deli (weird), they only take Discover (in addition to debit and cash), the liquor store has a separate entrance but can also be accessed via the store, but you have to pay for everything there separately, their selection is off the charts. Needless to say, we spent an hour going up and down the majority of the aisles. It will definitely be a place we shop at often, particularly because they’re open 24 hours.

Subaru Outback Outback Screen

Thu 8/12 – Took my Crosstrek to the dealer to address two recalls and was given an Outback loaner. Observations: I like the dual climate control but found the radio annoying to operate, and the fact that all the controls had to be done on the screen other than adjusting the temperature. The Auto Start-Stop feature to conserve gas is hella annoying because the car would jerk when starting back up. If my car had that I’d be disabling it real quick. I did like that the doors automatically locked once the car reached 15 MPH, though, and you could open the door from the inside without having to unlock the door first. That’s the single most annoying thing about my car and I still don’t understand how me having to manually lock and unlock the doors is supposedly a safety feature. It’s stupid!

Herrick Lake

Sun 8/15 – We got up early to visit Herrick Lake & Danada Equestrian Center in Wheaton. It’s been years since visiting either one.

At Herrick we saw a Tussock Moth caterpillar, a Cedar Waxwing, and heard woodpeckers and blue jays, which I was able to identify with the Merlin Bird ID app. They recently added a feature where you can have it listen to birds in the area and give you a possible match. It’s remarkably accurate.

Most of the horses at Danada were eating in a pasture not really accessible to the public (and had their eyes covered which I thought was interesting; I read it has to do with flies). There were two in the barn that we saw, and we were visited by two curious barn cats too, and saw some barn swallows, although I wasn’t able to get a good photo of them.

Vito & Nick's Frozen Pizza

Later in the day we decided to make one of the Vito & Nick’s pizza we picked up at Woodman’s and when I tell you that we were blown away by how good it was I am not exaggerating. We’ve never had a better frozen pizza. The amount of toppings they add is insane!

Pizza Slice

Each slice is very filling even though the crust is thin. We intend to keep one on hand at all times for lazy dinner days.

Tue 8/17 – I met my friend, C, for lunch at Culver’s to catch up. We initially sat outside, at my request, because that Delta variant of COVID has got me worried and I’m not really comfortable being indoors without a mask, and that’s kinda hard to do when you’re eating. Unfortunately, a few bees found our food very interesting, so we were forced to retreat inside to get away from their relentless buzzing around us.

Rueben

We were planning on visiting my friend, K, today, and we usually get Culver’s, so I decided to have something different than a burger during this visit, and got the Rueben. It looked better than it was, although it wasn’t actually bad. It was average, I’d say. I would eat it again, but I wouldn’t go out of my way to do so.

After we had been at the restaurant 45 minutes I asked my friend if we could go back to my place since I wasn’t comfortable being there any longer (it was getting busier) so we hung out at the house until she left around 3:15. Right before she left we were standing by the patio door hoping to see a hummingbird but none came by. I told her they’ll probably come right after she leaves, and that’s exactly what happened. Not only that, but I pointed out that they don’t seem to like the new red Pentas we recently got, and of course now they do! Are they trying to make me look bad?

Famer's Market VeggiesCinnamon Roll

Wed 8/18 – We decided to check out Warrenville’s farmer’s market and spent nearly $40 between blackberries ($4), veggies ($5.50), sweet cheese pierogi ($12/dozen), a gigantic cinnamon roll ($4.25), and two rolls ($12 total) from a food truck called Roll With It.

Rolls

The Oreo roll is on the left and a caprese roll is on the right. We really liked the Oreo one and the other one was ok, but not good enough we’d get again.

I made some icing for the cinnamon roll by mixing powdered sugar, milk, and a little almond extract. It came out delicious, particularly because Joe heated the roll in the air fryer before we added the icing.

We used the poblano and yellow peppers to make southwestern stuffed peppers for dinner. They came out amazing, particularly the poblanos.

Southwestern Stuffed Peppers

We are looking forward to making them again soon.

Today we were supposed to head to K’s house for a puppy play date but Wookie isn’t feeling well so we’re taking it easy and keeping an eye on her. I fed her some canned pumpkin mixed in wither her wet food, which she loved, so hopefully that will help her belly. She’s currently lying on the floor right next to my chair.

General Stuff

My left shoulder is still slowly getting better. I can almost raise my arm all the way up, reach behind my back again, and sleep on it with minimal pain. Crazy how long it’s been since these issues started – a year now, I believe.

We haven’t been using our master tub/shower in the last month because the drain hole is messed up and Joe is having a tough time removing it to replace it. We are planning on using this opportunity to redo the master bathroom. It’s sorely needed – the tub is old, the grout in the wall tile is falling apart and I fear water has gotten behind it and might be harboring mold, and the grout in the floor tile is coming apart even though Joe redid that a few years ago. Might as well do a full gut and install all new stuff. We’ve been dragging our feet on it though because picking out materials is stressful! I can’t decide if I want to do a shower surround or do tile again. Tile would definitely look better, but the wall surround would be easier to keep clean.

Pool Party of 3

July 22nd, 2021 Comments off

Our friend D invited us over to swim in her pool yesterday since she had the day off work, so of course it was the coolest day we’ve had in a long time. Luckily the sun did come out shortly after we arrived (3:30) and the water was very warm thanks to her heater, so we were able to get some swimming in before dinner. It’s been over two years since I last went swimming and I missed it so much! I wish we had our own pool.

I really don’t like going to our community pool, however, for a few reasons:

1) Covid

2) We have many more kids in the neighborhood now than we did two years ago

3) The heater has been broken pretty much since the pool opened Memorial Day weekend and they don’t seem to be in a hurry to fix it, despite them collecting fees for the pool last year and paying the pool company even though it never opened due to the pandemic.

At this point I would be ok with them closing it and reducing our association fees. They could turn that area into a small dog park or community garden.

Anyway, I enjoyed a cheeseburger, Joe had a brat, and we shared corn on the cob and a pork skewer. We brought watermelon and homemade Doubletree cookies* and fixings to make the Key Lime Pie Drink I wrote about on Father’s Day.

We stayed until almost 9:30 just relaxing and chatting. The nice thing is she lives very close so we were home in five minutes.

Wookie was not happy with us – she was yipping like crazy. I felt like she was scolding us for being gone so long. I think she has a touch of separation anxiety because unlike when we were gone for work (back when we had jobs), she doesn’t sleep while we’re away from the house. Every time I checked the cameras she was lying down, but in observation mode.

Once she calmed down I fed her and then she went to sleep. I took a shower to get the chlorine and firepit smell out of my skin and hair (later in the evening my friend’s daughter had friends over and they lit the fire) and then spent the next three hours decompressing before being able to go to sleep. Taking it easy today since I have an introvert hangover.

* When I first tried that recipe I wasn’t fully convinced I liked it, but unlike my famous oatmeal chocolate chip cookies, the cookie dough freezes quite nicely so we can bake a few cookies at a time. I whipped up a new batch on Tuesday and ended up with 34 cookie dough balls, 12 of which I baked yesterday morning, so we have 22 left in the freezer for when a craving strikes.

Categories: Food, Friends, Fun & Games Tags:

Puppy Playdate

September 29th, 2020 Comments off

Last Saturday (09/26) we had a socially distanced visit with our friend, K, in her yard since it was nice out.

Wookie nearly played with her dog, Teddy, which was exciting. I didn’t get any of it on video, unfortunately. I really think if they saw each other more frequently she would learn how to play like a dog. Wookie did drink from that water bowl seen in the photo, though. I was shocked because she has never drank from a communal bowl before. The most she will do is sniff it.

We only expected to stay for two hours but it turned into more like four. The time passed quickly, as it usually does when we spend time together.

They just built a new Dollar Tree right by her house so after we left I decided to run inside to check it out but it was so ridiculously crowded that I left. As we were leaving, this dumb driver went the wrong way to exit the shopping area and it was caught on my dashcam.

We decided to stop by Hamburger Heaven to grab some food and while I was waiting in the car with Wookie, a dog in the car next to us escaped by climbing through the window because they didn’t have him belted in like responsible drivers! He wasn’t even wearing a collar or anything. The dashcam caught some of that also, although not him literally climbing down the side of the SUV. Scary with that busy street right there.

By the time we got home I was exhausted from the people-ing and excitement. That’s probably the most that has happened in a single day since this whole pandemic started.

Categories: Friends, Pets Tags:

Good Deeds

May 18th, 2020 Comments off

After spending way too much time feeling like I wanted to die, just feeling a little better has made me so grateful and wanting to give back. These are the things I’ve done recently to try and be a good citizen. And yes, it does feel good, which makes the good deed not completely altruistic, but who cares?

Awhile ago I signed up with Be My Eyes which is an app blind people use to request help. Volunteers are sent a message when someone needs assistance and the first one to respond is connected to the blind person’s phone so they can be their eyes. I finally got a chance to help out a few weeks ago when I answered a call from a woman wanting to check whether her rice cooker was on.

While walking Wookie one day I spotted a pair of purple glasses in the grass near a bank of mailboxes in our neighborhood. They blended in quite well, and if not for keeping an eye on the ground like I do now, I wouldn’t have even noticed them. I didn’t touch them, assuming the person who dropped them would come back to that location looking for them. However, the next day they were still there, so I put them on top of the mailboxes and posted a message on Nextdoor in the hopes it would be seen by the right person. Luckily it was, because I received a reply not too long after thanking me. Apparently the glasses belonged to a neighbor’s daughter and were lost on a walk a week prior. Since they don’t live on the block where they were found they had no idea where to even look. I know from personal experience how expensive glasses are, so I’m glad they were able to get them back (luckily no one stepped on them). I wonder if the girl had to go without seeing clearly that entire week or if they bought a new pair. I guess at the very least they have a backup pair now.

We made a monetary donation to Feeding America after the Parks & Recreation special aired (which was really good all things considering).

We dropped off a full bag of unopened dog food at a local rescue’s donation area. Long story short, it was expiring in July which is before Wookie would be able to eat it all, but instead of shipping it back to Chewy they said to keep it. We bought a new bag with a better expiration date for Wookie so we donated the other bag.

I shipped a care package to my friend K weeks ago which included a toy for her dog and Idiocracy on DVD. (Side note: doesn’t it seem like it’s a prediction of our future?) Yesterday, Joe and I took a drive and dropped off a box of stuff for her by her door. Inside I had gift-wrapped our old copy of The Wedding Singer on DVD (since we now have it on Bluray) and some copied movies (shhh don’t tell on me) she had been talking about wanting to watch. I also gave her a container of Clorox wipes since she was running out, some homemade dog treats, some homemade oatmeal chocolate chip cookies I made on Saturday, and some dog toys Wookie no longer plays with. (Not everything is pictured below since I thought of the dog treats and toys right before packing up the box).

She was over the moon happy with the surprise and said it made her day, and that in turn made MY day. I know it shouldn’t matter, but I really love it when someone shows appreciation for something thoughtful I’ve done. Plus, it definitely makes it more likely I will do it again. My family (Joe excluded) doesn’t seem to get this and doesn’t really show enthusiasm for stuff so I feel let down. I love that my friend was so excited. If someone did that for me I know *I* would be thrilled too.

Categories: Friends, Life, Neighborhood Tags: