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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.

RIP Rodman/Pirate

April 14th, 2021 Comments off

Remember this little cutie I fostered back in 2013? I just learned he passed away in July 2015 at the young age of two and a half from an enlarged heart that wasn’t detected on normal vet exams.

Here’s a photo of him full grown:

Pirate (formerly Rodman)

I’m so sad. I loved that little guy. He had the sweetest disposition and smelled so good I would bury my nose in his fur. His new foster mom, who ended up keeping him and his brother, said he was her soulmate. I’m not surprised; he was special. She renamed him Pirate and his brother Cheetah (formerly Pippen).

Categories: Animals, Pets Tags:

Easter Weekend

April 6th, 2021 Comments off

Spring Flower Show @ Wilder Park Conservatory

Saturday (4/3) we decided to pay a short visit to Wilder Park Conservatory for their one-week spring flower show which consisted mostly of white lilies and daffodils.

White Lily

It smelled really nice inside and we had the entire place (ahem, room) to ourselves. The building is actually quite large but the front room is for guests and the rest of the building is a greenhouse for staff only. I also learned that the Lizzardo Museum we visited many years ago moved to Oak Brook.

In any case, just being out and about made me wistful for the good old days. At least with the weather getting warmer we will have more things to do.

Since we rarely even leave the house on weekends, we maximized our trip by stopping at a few places:

» Mariano’s in Lombard to check for cherry lime IZZE – fail

» Dollar Tree in Villa Park to check for more metal carrots for the front – fail

» Sonic for an early morning soft pretzel (it tasted like half pretzel, half deep fried donut!) – success

» Speedway for a $15 Taco Bell gift card purchased with speedy points – success, and card depleted within a few days (damn you spicy potato soft taco!)

» Library to pick up holds – success – and we ended up with a huge pile now that they’ve lifted the 5 item hold limit

I also made my once a year carrot cake which came out a bit dry. I swear no matter how closely I babysit it that always happens. It always seems to take forever to make too since I make the frosting from scratch and powdered sugar got flung everywhere by the mixer despite me draping a towel over it. I may just buy a boxed mix and premade frosting next year. I like carrot cake, but not enough to go through the effort.

We had Culver’s for dinner since we were feeling lazy and didn’t want to make anything that would leave us with leftovers (as most dinners do when there’s only two people).

Sunday (4/4) morning we took Wookie to Northside Park in Wheaton for a lovely walk. Then I put her in the pet stroller and we sat in the driveway while Joe cleaned the inside of our vehicles and straightened up the garage a bit. We grabbed lunch from Taco Bell and opened all the windows to enjoy the fresh air. I noticed a lot of people in the neighborhood have company for the holiday. We opted not to do that since no one is vaccinated yet. We also opted out of a traditional Easter dinner (ham and sides) and decided to have steak instead. I grabbed some mushroom risotto from Target as well. It wasn’t great, and the steak took longer to cook than we anticipated, but overall it was still a very nice holiday.

Categories: Food, Holidays, Pets Tags:

Life Update

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: ,

September Happenings & Living Room Update

September 30th, 2020 Comments off

Ugh, I have been SO bad at blogging and for that I apologize. So much has been going on which sounds silly considering the only place I go is around the neighborhood to walk Wookie and to the store for groceries and home stuff.

In any case, here are the highlights over the past month. There will likely be separate entries to elaborate on some of these things in the near future:

Joe renovated the workout room. It looks much like the office – same flooring and paint color. Right now it has pantry backstock and the treadmill in it. We sold the elliptical and I couldn’t be happier. That thing was big, bulky, and I was tired of it. I like the treadmill much much better! I’m getting a storage cabinet delivered this weekend so I will post more about the room then.

On the 22nd, Joe tackled a project we’ve been wanting to do pretty much since moving in – replacing the ceiling fan and lighting in the living room and foyer.

The high ceilings had been stopping us. We ended up renting scaffolding, and a pickup truck to transport it, from Menards. The plan was to put up the scaffolding and move it between the foyer and living room area but it was so big Joe had to build it around the stairs in the foyer in order to reach the ceiling to swap out the chandelier. It was kinda nerve-wracking for the both of us, but it did work and he was able to install the new chandelier I got off Facebook Marketplace.

Old Chandelier

Old Chandelier

New Chandelier

New Chandelier

It’s actually the same exact light we have in the dining room and was only $25. It was disgustingly dirty and full of dead bugs before I cleaned it up though. People are so gross! Why would you sell it in that condition? I didn’t see any of that in the pictures. Plus they removed the light bulbs which is kinda false advertising, but whatever.

Joe ran into a snag once he was able to partially deconstruct the scaffolding and move it to the ceiling fan area. He was able to get the old fan down without a problem but the junction box was too small to accommodate the new fan. He didn’t feel comfortable trying to replace the box, so he packed everything up, returned it to Menards, and contacted an electrician we found via Facebook when I previously asked for recommendations for someone who could do the work (before Joe decided to try doing it himself).

The electrician’s inability to give us a time, or at least a window, for when he’d be over that Friday was a bit annoying, but overall we liked him. Not only did he replace the ceiling fan, he swapped the ugly mismatched recessed lights (which I referred to as boobies) over the fireplace with much nicer ones (he told us exactly which kind to buy). I mean just look at those fugly things; they aren’t even the same color. Lazy builders!

Old Recessed Lights

Old Recessed Lights

But oh how nice do the crisp white matching lights look! Too bad the entire ceiling cold use a cleaning/repainting. When Joe was up on the scaffolding he was able to remove some of the cobwebs where the ceiling and walls met at least.

New Recessed Lights

New Recessed Lights

We were originally quoted $450 for a two-hour job but it actually only took 45 minutes, probably because Joe had the ceiling fan already wired and put together. We asked if it would still be the original amount but the guy said no and charged us $300 instead.

How nice does the new fan look? Joe later admitted he wasn’t sure about the color of blades when we originally picked it out but after seeing it up he really likes it. I’m going to pat myself on the back and say I have pretty good taste.

Ceiling Fan - Before

Ceiling Fan – Before

Ceiling Fan - After

Ceiling Fan – After

The only downside, which wasn’t the electrician’s fault, was that the old fan had a built-in remote that was controlled by a switch on the wall and the new one does not (which we didn’t even consider). He had an on/off switch in his van, though, so he swapped that and set the fan on medium speed (which is what we use most of the time anyway) so it can still be turned on and off via the wall switch. We just can’t change the speed unless we get on a ladder to reach the chain.

On the plus side we should no longer run into issues with the fan turning on every time there’s a storm. The electrician explained it was interference triggering the remote in the fan. He said if it does it now he’d be concerned we have ghosts, lol. I guess we’ll find out. He was a very nice guy and I liked how he and his assistant both wore facemasks and booties without being asked. We’d definitely hire him again if we ever need work done. Bonus – he told me he’s friends with Julian Jumpin Perez. If you grew up in Chicago and listened to B96 you’ll know.

Good riddance to the ugly gold fixtures. Whomever decided gold was a good look is insane. One of these days we need to replace the gold handles on all the doors in here too.

Oh, and after all was said and done the entire project cost us just under $600. That includes fixtures, rentals, supplies, and the electrician. Not too shabby!

Ok, so what else happened this month? We celebrated Wookie’s birthday on the 21st by buying her presents from Petsmart and taking her on a long walk at the park.

We ended up returning to the same park later the same week to try out the drones we had purchased.

Yes, that is plural. Basically we have three, although only two of them work. The first one went haywire when Joe turned it on and it crashed into the living room blinds and stopped working. We contacted the manufacturer who sent us replacement motors but that didn’t fix it, so they sent us a replacement drone. In the meantime they went on sale so we bought another one so we could try it while waiting the month or longer it was going to take to get the new one from the manufacturer. Well, life got in the way and we never got around to flying either of them so they just sat in the closet for almost three months.

Anyway, it was only slightly breezy the morning we took them out but that was enough to prevent us from controlling the drone very well. Honestly, I’m glad they were inexpensive because they aren’t as fun as I thought they would be. I don’t know, maybe a better model would be, or if we could find a calm day with absolutely no wind. I’m just glad we didn’t spend a lot on them.

Categories: Fun & Games, House & Home, Pets Tags: