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Indiana Beach 2017

August 14th, 2017 No comments

This year we decided to visit Indiana Beach on a Sunday. Since the car rental places aren’t open on Sundays we opted not to rent a van and planned to take two cars. Brother # 2 contemplated coming along and would have driven me and Brother # 1 while Joe would have the kids and ES, but then my brother bailed because he found out he has Lyme disease, started medication over the weekend, and (understandably) wanted to take it easy.

The revised plan was for me to drive my other brother and myself but then Joe’s son, E, bailed as well. So that’s how we all ended up crammed into Joe’s Escape. ES sat up front since he’s the biggest of everyone and I sat between K and my brother. It wasn’t nearly as bad as I thought it might be although I’m sure the Xanax I took that morning helped. We were mostly right on schedule other than the extra wait at K’s place while ES tried to locate his missing annual pass.

Indiana Beach Sign

Even so we arrived at the park right before they opened at 11 am which is not easy when they are an hour ahead of us. We opted to park in the free lot since we didn’t bring food but just a cooler with drinks. We managed to sneak some water bottles inside and made the Taco Shoppe our first stop. Everyone had two tacos except K who got a walking taco.

Tacos

Rides I ended up going on: Den of Lost Thieves, bumper cars (twice), Growler, train, carousel, Music Express. The first ride would have been better had the “guns” worked. No fun when you can’t shoot any of the targets to animate them. The Growler would have also been more fun if our car was able to spin. I didn’t want to spin too much, but it wouldn’t spin AT ALL.

Rides I wanted to go on but didn’t because a) I was worried about my balance issues or b) I didn’t want to get wet: Scrambler, Flume, Bumper Boats.

Lame, I know. Know what else is lame? Finding out the old game tickets and Cool Cash cards from previous years were not accepted. Even lamer? The new Cool Cash card we purchased was only good for the season so we ended up blowing $11 playing Skee-Ball just to ensure there wasn’t any money left on it. Even lamer still? The dumb puzzle game I got just to use up our “tickets” (electronically stored on the card).

In between rides we noshed on some Pronto Pups (aka corn dogs) and everyone except me got ice cream as well. On the way out of the park (around 4 pm) we stopped at the Taco Shoppe and grabbed tacos to go which we ate back at the car so we could wash them down with water/pop from our cooler.

The weather was warm but comfortable the entire afternoon and for the most part I didn’t feel too sweaty. Didn’t get burned either since we slathered on the sunscreen when we arrived.

While the visit was more enjoyable than I anticipated, I doubt we’ll be going back next year. I’m kinda over that park. It definitely looked even nicer than last year because just about everything was freshly painted (lot of orange was used in particular), but the rides still weren’t operating properly and most were either too intense or too childish for my tastes. Perhaps Disney has spoiled me but the only really appealing thing about Indiana Beach for Joe and me nowadays are the tacos. Since they are now open on the weekends through the end of October we MAY go back one more time just to walk around and get tacos but for a 2+ hour drive I don’t think that it’s worth the effort. Hopefully the kids and my brother won’t pester us to go next year. The main reason we felt obligated to go this year was because we had last year’s season passes that were also good for 2017.

» All Indiana Beach photos

Interesting notes/observations:
This one kid promptly fell flat on his face after getting out of his bumper car. I felt bad for him but it was also funny.
We had to get off the expressway in Indiana and take the side streets through Gary (ew) since traffic was so bad.
After dropping Brother # 1 off we had dinner at Culvers. Apparently all that theme park food wasn’t enough for us?!?!
Total out of pocket for food: $100 (since Joe paid for most of it other than Brother # 1’s Pronto Pup, nachos, and Dippin Dots).

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Joe’s Birthday Weekend

August 8th, 2017 No comments

Thursday was Joe’s birthday so we had dinner at Red Lobster. Neither one of us was terribly impressed since the prices seem to keep going up while the quality goes down. I ordered the Sweet Chili Shrimp appetizer as my meal and it was way spicier than I remember. Even the strawberry lemonade that I loved so much last time wasn’t quite as good. WTH?

Friday we ate out again, this time at Red Robin so he could get his free birthday burger.

Saturday we ate out AGAIN! Sensing a theme here? This time we treated the family (my two brothers, my dad, and my brother’s g/f (my mom didn’t go)) to dinner at Warsaw Inn which is a Polish buffet that my family has been celebrating special occasions at for years. Last time we ate there with my cousin and her husband I wasn’t too impressed with the food but this time around everything was delicious. I wish my stomach could have handled even more food but at a certain point I was too stuffed to keep eating. The BBQ ribs were moist and saucy and even the stuffed cabbage was pretty decent. It had flavor at least, unlike what was served at Pierogi Fest last weekend. The pierogis were delicious too. The only thing I wasn’t too keen on where the blintzes so I’ll avoid them next time since they were dry. My only complaint was the tap water they serve – it tastes like someone bled in it. Must be well water or something.

Sunday we went to HOBO to buy transition pieces for the floor in the living/dining area and also a bag of grout since Joe is going to have to redo it in our master bathroom. It keeps cracking and pieces are coming out. We also took Wookie to the dog park where she had the place to herself for an hour which was nice. Also, she didn’t get stung which is a plus!

Monday I had lunch with a dear friend and then we did a little shopping at Half Price Books and Five Below. I got Wookie the cutest little emoji dog bed at the latter, as well as some gel pens and markers for my coloring books.

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Milwaukee Brewfest 2017

July 31st, 2017 No comments

Saturday my brother came over to watch Wookie so we could attend the Milwaukee Brewfest in Wisconsin with our friends KM and EN. We drove up together in Joe’s car and our friends were kind enough to treat us to lunch at Oscar’s Bar and Grill (which we first discovered back in February 2016). I was feeling off thanks to lack of sleep courtesy of a severe panic attack episode the night before so I ordered a grilled chicken sandwich and ended up eating it sans bun. They have awesome fries but I went easy on them since I didn’t want to trigger any issues. I felt weird enough having to urinate so often including making a pitstop on the ride up even though it only takes about an hour and a half. It was a little longer, however, since we ran into traffic jams like three times. Luckily we left plenty early enough and still arrived at the fest before it began.

The on-site parking was only $5 which is awesome. Even though KM and I had designated driver wristbands ($15) and mostly sat around chatting and people-watching, I still had a pretty good time. Joe and EN certainly enjoyed themselves and even though there were 100 different vendors there only managed to sample about twenty beers. They had food trucks there which was cool since KM and I weren’t keen on the hot dog meal that came with our admission and gave ours to the boys. I got a personal pizza from the Palermos truck and KM got some cheese curds. Both were good.

This is the souvenir glass they gave to everyone at the entrance

We ended up leaving around 6:15 since I still wasn’t feeling so hot and KM agreed to drive Joe’s Escape (I was supposed to). We stopped for even MORE food (LOL) at the Brat Stop since neither of our friends had ever been there before. I didn’t actually get anything to eat since I wasn’t hungry. I believe by the time we got home it was around 10 pm and Wookie had been by herself about 5 hours by that point since B took off just before 5 pm. I’m so glad he and his girlfriend are ok with watching her occasionally since I don’t like the idea of leaving her with a stranger or in a boarding facility. Not sure what we’ll do when we want to go on an actual multi-day vacation, though. I hope by then they have a house (they are currently looking) and their dog gets along with Wookie so she can stay with them. Fingers crossed.

One of the cool things about the fest is they included a free ticket to Germanfest which was going on just 2 miles down the road. We didn’t get to take advantage of that, but if the two fests coincide next year, the plan is for KM and I to have Joe and EN pass those tickets to us through the festival fence and take an Uber over there. We’ll come back to pick up the boys when their festival is over.

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Pierogi Fest 2017

July 31st, 2017 No comments

Joe took Friday off so we could take my brother to Pierogi Fest in Whiting, Indiana. Since we were going to be gone most of the day I arranged for B’s girlfriend R to watch Wookie. She arrived around 8 am so I could show her where Wookie’s food and water was, how to lock her up in her playpen when she was ready to leave, etc. Joe was teasing me because I had put together a 2-sided care sheet but what can I say? I was nervous having never left Wookie in anyone’s care before.

We all ate some apple fritters Joe brought home the day before before he and I left the house around 9 am.

We were very prepared this time around – I had extra plastic utensils, napkins, and salt and pepper with me in addition to our usual bottled water. The plastic knife in particular came in handy since they only give out forks. We arrived just before the official opening at 11 am and secured parking two blocks away near the church. Most of the main street where we used to park in previous years was already blocked by chairs people were using to hold their spot for the parade later that evening. Most lots were charging $20 to park which is just ridiculous!

We made our way through the fest to our first stop which, of course, was Dan’s Pierogis. They were woefully unprepared and despite getting there early and standing in a rather short line, we had to wait another 30 minutes for our food because most of the flavors weren’t ready yet. As if they don’t know they are the most popular booth there? They couldn’t have started preparing them sooner? Ugh. I ended up getting some taco pierogis from the Mendoza truck to tide me over while we waited. I love them! Even though they charge 75 cents extra for some salsa and sour cream it’s totally worth it.

We located seating in the shade by the nearby elementary school so that was nice since we spent a good hour, if not more, there. I ended up speaking to an older woman in a three person group who shared our picnic table. She seemed nice enough even though Joe indicated I may have offended her later when I loudly remarked that someone must not be able to read since I smelled cigarette smoke – apparently it was her and one of the guys. Oh well. It did say “non-smoking family seating” on the sign there. Ironic considering how she was remarking earlier about all the people who brought their dogs even though online it said no dogs allowed (they probably should have posted signs, though). Honestly, I don’t think she was offended, or maybe didn’t hear me, since when we left she was very friendly saying goodbye and wishing us a nice day and I didn’t detect any sarcasm.

We left the fest around 2 pm and stopped at the grocery store so J could get toothpaste, and then stopped for food at this little place called Chicago Pita Kitchen where we’ve eaten before. I did not care for my cheeseburger but the feta fries were delicious. Joe liked his Italian sausage sandwich but the fries in general there suck because they are undercooked. We played three games of Aggravation at my parents house and got home around 8 pm. At that point Wookie had been alone for maybe three hours so not bad at all.

Note to self: do NOT get the stuffed cabbage from Dan’s Pierogis. It is completely flavorless.

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Weekend

June 12th, 2017 Comments off

My off balance feeling came back with a vengeance recently so that sucks. The back of my neck is super sore and my head feels like it weighs twice as much as normal. Since I’m sick of going to the doctor and getting tests that come back normal I’m just waiting it out. At some point it will go away like my other transient ailments. 

Despite feeling like crap we still took Wookie to a pet wellness event at a local pet store on Saturday to get a bag of freebies.

Joe also shampood the living room carpet Saturday night since I’ve noticed the bottom of our socks getting dirtier quicker even though I clean the house more often and more thoroughly than ever. Having a dog just makes it get dirty faster. We used vinegar and got water to clean the carpet so it’s probably not as clean as a soap would have gotten it but I didn’t want to use the bottle we already had since there was no indication it’s pet safe. 

Sunday we were going to go to the Festival of the Fox but between me not feeling up to walking and how hot it was we opted to skip it. 
That afternoon I called Nicor about a possible gas leak. There was a strong mothball smell in the laundry room and kitchen and after some googling one person said it turned out to be gas. I only called to be safe and they sent someone out to check but everything is fine. This smell seems to materialize every year when we run the A/C so either it is somehow creating the smell or the neighbors are using mothballs. I suspect it’s the latter which sucks because I don’t know how to address it. I have to wonder if it’s the source of my headache and dizziness though. 

Sunday evening we treated E and his friend to dinner at Bakers Square since they were in the area. I haven’t eaten at one in a long time but it wasn’t all that. The reuben I had was pretty good as was the strawberry rhubarb pie but my stomach hated me the next day.  Plus the service was slow. 

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