Monday, March 31, 2008

Huh. I should leave more often.

It is AMAZING the amount of stuff my husband got done while I was gone! I actually doubt me being gone had anything to do with it, as Jere's usually on top of things as it is, but by leaving and coming back, I really didn't have to do the waiting and nagging part. Which is nice for both of us. No sooner had I stepped back into our hotel room did Jere have the lease ready for me to sign, the power of attorney finished, and the worksheets filled out for his part of our will. That's a lot of big steps in one week!

You know what's creepy? Doing your will. Especially when you're so young and you have no children to leave your money to. But we sat down and figured out exactly what we wanted for now, and who gets what, and everything's basically set to go. It's an unpleasant task, and the sooner it's over, the better. Luckily, we came up with some of the same ideas, and didn't have to debate anything.

Ginger, however, does not feel I should go away more often, even though she and Jere appear to have had a fine time together. She won't let me out of her sight, and yowls when I go into the bathroom. Right now she's camped out on the bed next to my desk, which is an improvement over her refusing to leave my lap. Jere got her addicted to ham while I was gone, so we went out and bought some more this weekend, because she's pretty darn funny. And vicious. Over ham. LOL.

This next weekend we start moving. I'm so happy! We won't be officially out of Washington until the end of next month, but we can start moving in our things. We've already contacted the people who move our stuff out of storage, so it will all get there early enough for me to sort through it. And the shopping spree that will follow, YAY! I'm ready to be out of this small space.
I'm already trying to plan my next big adventure, and the list of countries I'm considering is getting long: Japan, Iceland, Peru, Russia. All the options are making me crazy! I finally travelled enough to need new luggage (thank you, US Air, for putting the final nail in my pink suitcase's coffin), and bought something bigger, since airlines are charging for your second piece now. I also bought something cheap, because I really didn't want to be sad when it got beat up. I saw how airlines treat people's luggage while I was sitting in Philadelphia. It was pouring rain, and the ground was covered in puddles, and one of the luggage carts goes flying around a corner and dumped a whole bunch of luggage onto the wet ground. AND LEFT IT! Finally, some other cart notices the luggage lying on the pavement and picked it up. Seriously, how are you supposed to get things from one place to another when you know there's at least a 50% chance of the airlines breaking it? Why can't there be laws about this stuff?

Anyhow, Jere and I hung out yesterday and had a blast. We went to Michael's and bought scrapping stuff (he pretends he has no clue, but then manages to pick out the cutest embellishments because he knows they match what I already have), then over to Best Buy and Target before deciding we wanted TGI Friday's for dinner. Not someplace we eat very often, but the appetizers were calling us. We ate a huge meal, then dessert, and got dessert to go on top of it. And our waitress rocked. I love good waitresses.

Well, back to packing. I have too much to do to sit on my ass all day.

Today's lesson: You never know what people will do when they don't think they're being watched. There's a reason why your luggage goes back on that belt to the airline's secret place where you can't see it. Because if we all saw what they actually did to our luggage, we'd start smashing our things into our carry ons.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Typing quietly

Unfortunately, the walls are closing in again. I hate that. I didn't feel especially good the other day, so I missed out on grocery shopping. So I've been jammed into this since we got back from the cruise. And on there I was in an even smaller room.

My poor husband. By the time he gets home in the evening, I'm usually climbing the walls. Which makes me mean and punchy. So when I looked on Walmart's website and saw that my bedspread order had been delivered to the store, I was ready and waiting to go when Jere got here. So what happens when I get to Walmart? We wait, and wait, and no one can find my order. And the girl said it was my fault, because I was supposed to wait for an email from them. Excuse me? The website said "item ready for pickup." Doesn't that generally mean I can come and get it? So I asked for a refund, since the Walmart is toward a nastier side of town, and I'm the one on the order so Jere can't pick it up later. The girl went for a manager, and came back with an 800 number on a post-it. She told me that was how I could cancel my order.

So, while I was still steaming, I called the number, and the girl on the phone informed me they couldn't cancel an order once it had been delivered to the store. Even though the store claims they don't have it. At which point she heard herself saying it, stopped, and laughed. She told me to hold on, she'd call the store and see if she could get anywhere and fix it. After they bounced her around on hold for several minutes, someone finally gave her the code she needed and she issued my refund, apologizing and telling me that the store should have taken care of that on the spot while I was standing there.

You know, I had a whole list of things I needed to buy at Hellmart. But I'm done. This was the last straw. I don't think I can just bitch anymore. I'm boycotting. I don't care if I have to drive the 20 minutes to the Target when I move out of DC. I love the Target down there. It's clean, organized, and they have a lovely efficient Starbucks. Not to mention it's across from the spa. So screw the Hellmart that's only three minutes from me. Target rocks.

Tonight, instead of staying and picking up what I needed from Hellmart, we drove over to the Target in the mall so I could chill out. And you know what I found? An even better bedspread, that came with the bed skirt, for nearly the same price. Plus they had all the sheets I wanted in the perfect color, and all the throw pillows, all in store. And Jere bought me a vacuum cleaner (big point of contention there, as the man thinks it's perfectly fine to spend 45 minutes vacuuming a 1400 square foot apartment with a stick vac) and an ice cream maker.
The bedspread thing has been an issue from the beginning. Mom and I found the perfect bedroom setup at Ikea, but went down to grab the stuff for it, and they had sold out. Of it all. Seriously. So I looked on the website, and not only were they sold out, it was part of last season's line and it was long gone. I was crushed! So I went hunting the web in search of the perfect bedding, and found it on I don't shop at Walmart, but they have free site to store shipping, and so I ordered the comforter set. It was perfect, and then tonight the twit at the store couldn't find it. Crushed AGAIN! Thank you, Target, for saving me from insanity. It's like they copied the bedroom right out of Ikea. Well, almost.

Now imagine it with black and white prints on the walls of Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany's, and pink and black pillows, and the beautiful black striped mirror and lamp I got at Ikea, and you have my room. Which led Jere to asking, "Uh, whose room is all this pink stuff for? Not mine, right?" LOL! We're pretty excited about seperate bedrooms again. Our alternating hours are starting to bug one another.

Back to the walls closing in. It feels more crowded in here tonight. I found myself wedged between my husband and the cat, a Kristin Sammich, with Jere snoring in my ear. If one or the other would have moved, I think it would have been ok. I love cuddling with them both, just not at once. So I moved to the bottom of the bed and tried to sleep sideways. It was perfect. I could cuddle up to Jere, have a hand on the cat, and everyone's happy. I'm dozing off, watching TV...and the cable goes out. The only channel that works? The hotel preview channel for movies and porn. Delightful. And it's two in the morning, so you think they're going to bother doing anything about it? Fat ass chance.

Both cat and husband are sleeping peacefully. And I'm going bonkers. I hate nights where the insomnia gets me. Tomorrow I'm going to start packing a few more things to take to mother-in-law's this weekend. I'm sure she knows just how excited I am to come and sit in her big kitchen with all its space and the great big window. It'll be nice to see grass again. And I guarantee she'll laugh when she sees all the crazy stuff I bought. I never thought I'd say this: I NEED my mother-in-law. I wish we were staying overnight. :-( But then I miss the cat.

Cable's still out. Going to see if I can sneak a movie in without waking Jere or G.

Today's lesson: Ok, first thing. Kari, I know you've already fallen off your chair laughing that it was finally someone else's turn to have a crappy trip to Hellmart. So here's the lesson...Walmart doesn't give a shit about anyone. For all the wonderful things you can buy there for lovely prices, you pay for discounts with a lack of English-speaking competent customer service people.

So I came home tonight and watched the South Park episode about the evils of Walmart. And smiled.

I miss Meijer. *sigh*

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

There's just so much

I am never going on a week's vacation without my laptop ever again. Because when I am computer-less, I end up having to not only blog, but remember, the entire trip. Granted, there were computers on the boat and I hopped on to check in, but I didn't want to blog until after all my pictures were posted. So here goes.

For the first time ever, flying was fabulous. At least on the way down. We caught up with our transfer, the guy gave us a really good tip for our transfer at the end of the trip, and we were off and on our way. Easy getting onto the boat, though here is my advice for Carnival from the get-go: have a seperate check-in for people with kids. Maybe with a play area for while they're waiting. Because they give you a number, and you wait to be called just to wait in line, and all the excitement makes kids crazy! Though I also want to know what possesses parents to want a vacation in the middle of the ocean with ten kids. Some of the foreigners could breed, I tell ya! To be quite honest, I went the entire week never being annoyed by any kids. Carnival really caters to them. I was more annoyed by crazy, drunk spring breakers.

Now, the layout of the ship is crazy, and we spent the first two days trying to find our way around. This resulted in frustration, arguing, and a lot of cussing. And also had me ready to go running from the boat in Grand Cayman, which isn't possible, because you have to take a tender boat to the dock.

I think the worst thing cruise lines have done for these countries and cities is also the best thing. They've brought tourism, and the dock areas have turned into duty free shopping meccas. There's nothing tropical about cruising to these certain ports unless you find a way out of the port town. This is the reason I hated Nassau so darn much on my last cruise, and why I hated Grand Cayman on this one. Fortunately, we scheduled a glass bottom boat ride, and loved it. There were only about 10 people, and we had tons of room to spread out and hop from window to window. We saw two shipwrecks and Cheeseburger Reef and stingrays and lots of little fish. By the time we were done, I'd chilled enough to actually do a little shopping.

The next day, we arrived on the island of Roatan, Honduras. Much less touristy, very high security. We went out to the nature park to go on a kayak tour, where the only wildlife I saw was a teeny tiny jellyfish. Great. I have nightmares about jellyfish, and it's the only thing I see in the water while I'm there. As you can guess, there was no after kayak swim. But the mangroves and sea grass were gorgeous, and the excursion was fun, if not exhausting.

Our next trip stop was Belize. We are in love with Belize. The people were sweet, the rainforest was gorgeous, and the river tubing was, well, terrifying. You start off taking an hour and a half bus ride out of Belize City. When you arrive at the tubing place, the more adventurous guides (like ours) will take you over to a ledge from which you can jump into the Sibun River. Yes, I jumped, Jere didn't. Something about wanted to know what was beneath him. Then we hiked through the rainforest, jumped in the river from another ledge, and got in our tubes and went down the river. Did I mention this wasn't just river tubing? It was cave tubing, and 20 minutes of our trip was spent in total darkness. Not my thing. I flipped out and clung to Jere. Once we were out of the cave, it was fine. Except for the part where Jere abandoned me, I got stuck on a tree, and had to be rescued by 4 Villanova students, who latched onto my tube so we all floated down nicely as a group. 10 arms backstroking are better than 2. Of course, Jere was waiting to snap pictures at the end of the trip, at which point I told him the young Villanova boys had much better backstrokes than his old arms did. That's what he gets for leaving me behind LOL.

Our last stop was Cozumel, Mexico. Not my favorite port, this one. Touristy, again, but we had booked a snorkel trip, and the water was so unbelievably choppy that I stayed in for a minute and a half, swallowed a gallon of the Caribbean, and cut my leg open getting back into the boat. I'd feel like a wuss, except that nearly everyone had the same problem. Jere was the only one who stayed out there the entire time. The sail back to shore was nice, though. About 40 minutes of wind, salty air, and beer. Lots of Mexican beer and music. Then we shopped. And that's about it.

We got back to Miami, and took an excusion to the Everglades. Lots of gators and old French ladies. After that, we had a nearly 6 hour wait in the airport for our flight, and got stuck in front of these drunk New Jersey women who now hold the record for loudest people alive. They didn't even get the point when the man sitting beside them moved seats. And when people started complaining and the flight attendant asked them to please quiet down, they started yelling and asking who was complaining, yada yada, give them a piece of their mind, kick their ass when we get off the plane....all talk, they were too drunk to kick anyone's ass. The attendant was sweet and gave me a free glass of wine to take the edge off the nasal squealing. But I was more than happy to get on my very quiet flight from Atlanta to DC and go home.

All in all, Jere had a fabulous time. I'm going with so-so on this one, and I think it was the cruise line. It just seemed to me Royal Caribbean had so much more for us to do while we were stuck on the ship. What made up for Carnival's bad points was its staff. Our waitresses were phenomenal, our room porter was completely on the ball. The assistant cruise director was a bit of a whore (she needed a bra with her dress quite badly). And we never met the maitre'd, and were apparently expected to tip him. We took what we would have given him and divvied it up among our favorite staff members instead. We'll go again, but I'm guessing we'll try a different company.

I picked up Miss Ginger yesterday, and she was traumatized. She still won't let me out of her sight, and since I brought her in when Jere wasn't here, she walked in circles until he got home last night. She's laying here sleeping, but if I move, she'll follow me, guarding her mommy. I wonder how she'll do when I leave for Ireland next week. *sigh*

Today's lesson: Sometimes you should stick with what you know is good, even if it costs you some extra cash. Otherwise you might end up regretting all the money you saved.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

I don't want to leave my Sims and cat!

First off, I'm glad I'm moving. The cost of boarding my cat has gone bonkers. Some of you may remember that I hired an awesome petsitting service while I lived in Arlington, but they don't come all the way out here, so I had to resort to taking G back to the vet while I'm gone. She hates it there. She was due for her rabies vaccine, which I said was fine, but then they said they require her yearly exam to give her the vaccine. Which balloons a $19 shot into a $275 investment. On top of the boarding. I was pissed. I'm still pissed. I'll be even more pissed (and probably vocally so) when I have to go pay this stupid bill. In no world should my cat's yearly exam cost more than my own. Plus I have to pay for two extra days boarding because their office hours blow. Nothing like holding out that expensive information until the last minute when I have no other choice.

I've already found a vet I love down in Staunton. They have boarder pick up hours on Sunday! I love any clinic that has a well put together website, and they just look so friendly. They even have cat condos with outside views. Hopefully, G won't need another exam, and her records will be sufficient, as she has so many of them. That's one well cared for cat, I tell ya. But I'm going to need to get her in so I can make it back to Michigan in May. Holy cow, I'm busy.

I bought the newest Sims expansion pack today, and now I'm hesitant to leave my computer. I've gotten up to do laundry and finish packing, but I'm completely glued to the screen now that those things are done. Imagine that. I'm actually sad to leave behind my computer for the 84 degree Caribbean. LOL. Oh well. It won't be a problem tomorrow when I'm on deck drinking something sinful, pulling away from Miami.

Today, I retired Jere's scale. While wandering around the PX, I spotted the most gorgeous scale that measures not only weight, but body fat percentage. I got home, put lovely fresh batteries in it, and hopped on. Jere's scale lies. I'm not nearly as heavy as his scale made me, but I didn't believe it, so I swayed and hopped, and the weight only moved about half a pound (unlike the old one, which had at least a four pound margin of error). Didn't I say the scale could be replaced?
We have to leave here in just a few hours, and I'm so darn excited! I'm packed, I'm happy, and I'm ready for some fun in the hot hot sun!

Until then, I'm going to play with my Sims.

Today's lesson: Don't buy something fun the day before you travel if you can't bring it with you. Pretty obvious lesson.