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:

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:

Red Robin Shenanigans

September 1st, 2020 Comments off

Saturday (8/29) we went to Red Robin for lunch. We had to drive out to the one in Warrenville since the one by us in the mall is temporarily closed. The food was actually pretty good, albeit not fun to eat in the car (still not comfortable eating inside restaurants), but it would have been very cold if we took it home to eat. The way we were charged is suspect, though. I submitted feedback through their site, posing as Joe, since this all occurred on his account:

My wife and I ordered curbside recently so I could redeem my free birthday burger. I ordered the mushroom swiss and she got the banzai. We also ordered the chocolate fruffles.

The initial total over the phone sounded accurate ($20+), but at the car they told us it was only $12.63 which seemed odd. After we paid we looked at the receipt and we noticed my burger was free (as expected), and hers was a discounted price ($4.52). We didn’t understand why, but thought maybe there was some special going on. I logged into my Red Royalty account later that day to see the restaurant not only redeemed my birthday burger but my free 10th item. Except it wasn’t free! We were charged for it, just not regular price.

This is very confusing and I would appreciate someone explaining what happened and why we weren’t given the option to save the free item for later if we weren’t going to be given the burger for free. No one told us it was being redeemed and we’d still have to pay a reduced price for the burger.

P.S. We were also disappointed that the chocolate fruffles came with sliced strawberries floating in water instead of the berry ketchup we’ve come to love. Strawberries floating in a liquid isn’t even a suitable replacement and is not berry sauce (as described on your website).

I also attached a screenshot of the redemption info. I would have included the receipt too if you could attach more than one thing.

Red Robin Redemption

Red Robin replied asking for a copy of the receipt so we emailed them a picture. They then apologized and stated (what we already knew) that only one reward could be redeemed at a time and what happened was a mistake. They didn’t address the comments about the chocolate truffles at all. Oh well, I guess they don’t care. They applied a $15 reward to Joe’s account that is good until November 1st. Our local restaurant is still shut down, but maybe if we’re in the area we can grab an appetizer or dessert so we can use it up and then be done with them. Honestly, I prefer Culver’s burgers now anyway. And they’re cheaper!

Categories: Food, Retail Experiences Tags:

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.