Saturday, August 9, 2014

Our Big Road Trip

Last weekend I was able to do one of my favorite things: drive back to my hometown and stay with my sister. The last time I was able to do that was almost 2 years ago, when I was pregnant with Matthew.   Matthew was once again with me, but of course he is a toddler now.  I was slightly nervous about the two of us making such a huge trip.

Our drive there on Thursday went super smooth, and he napped for a nice chunk of it.  After crossing the Mackinac Bridge, we stopped in St. Ignace to fill up the car and grab some lunch.  I specifically chose where to eat based on the view.

Once we arrived at my sister's, Matthew was immediately smitten with her dog and cats.  Matthew had never spent time with cats before, but it was clear that it was love at first sight.  I'm also pretty sure that my sister's dog, Rusty, gained about 10 pounds that weekend.  He and Matthew were pretty much BFFs, especially when Matthew had food.  "Rusty" is Matthew's new favorite word.

The three of us enjoyed some time together.  We ate pizza, visited my sister's co-workers on their lunch break so they could meet Matthew, ate some more pizza, and basically just enjoyed being together and playing with Matthew.  Our parents joined the fun on Friday, along with their dog.  My sister was also dog-sitting for her friend, so we had a really full house.  It's very clear that Matthew is an animal lover!  I am getting such a twinge to adopt a second dog.  I know that wouldn't be a wise move right now though.

Saturday took us to Green Bay for a family reunion for my dad's side of the family.  It was Matthew's first time meeting just about everybody.  He was a little shy at first but definitely warmed up.  The reunion was at my cousin's house, and she has a beautiful home and yard.  Matthew had a blast, and it was great to have fun with everyone.

We were able to spend time with some relatives from my mom's side of the family.  One of my aunts had us over to our house and cooked dinner.  She had a couple desserts, and we opted to give Matthew the least messy choice: angel food cake with Cool Whip.  He loved it!  My aunt commented when I was a kid, I just called it Cool and would eat it with my hand.  I'm not surprised.  Matthew also got awfully close to my aunt's TV, but it was to watch the Packers, so I allowed it.

We were able to visit my grandma (my dad's mom) at her apartment afterwards.  Matthew got ahead of me and ran down the hall and was rattling every single door handle he could reach before I caught up to him.  Thankfully, they were all locked.

Then it was back to my sister's house for one last night.  She graciously let Matthew and I have her bedroom so we could close the door at night to keep the kitties from jumping into Matthew's pack 'n play and accidentally causing chaos.  Her bed was crazy comfortable, and I slept great every night, except for the last one.  The last night is always hard.  I hate falling asleep because I know that when I wake up, it's time to hit the road.  Being realistic with vacation days I have left for the year, I'm certain I won't make it back until sometime next year.  It's always so hard to leave.

The drive home went almost as nicely as the drive there, so I really can't complain.  My parents decided to take the long way home so they could drive through Michigan, so we left at the same time and traveled together for most of the trip.  Mom rode in the backseat of my car to spend time with Matthew.  He loved having her there.

By the time we got home, our trip odometer showed that we had logged 1,063 miles.  I can't wait to do it again!

Monday, July 21, 2014

Eventful Weekend

This past weekend gave us a few fun Matthew milestones:

  • Matthew's first camping trip
  • Matthew's longest road trip so far
  • Matthew's first night away from home

Matthew did awesome with all three!  We unfortunately experienced a lot of problems with our fifth wheel (a leaking toilet, a blown out tire on the freeway, and a hole in the roof, to name a few).  We also found out before we hit the road that my credit card number had been stolen.  How lovely!  Fortunately, our credit card company was suspicious of the card activity and contacted us.  The charges were at a local store that I shop at regularly, so I was really impressed that they were able to detect the fraudulent activity so fast.  

It was kind of funny because on our way up, Ernie had stopped to change a blown out tire on a horse trailer for two ladies.  We had left feeling happy we could help and also thinking that maybe that would give us good karma for the weekend.  Apparently not!

After Ernie finished changing our blown out tire, we continued on the freeway in silence for a little while.  I could tell that he was also exhausted and in disbelief over how much stuff had gone wrong for us.  I finally broke the silence by saying, "You know, someday we are going to look back at this weekend and laugh."

Ernie said nothing.

"I mean, that day is really far off, but we are going to laugh so hard someday."

"Well, at least we're all okay," Ernie said.  "That's what's important."


Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Road Trip

My dad's side of the family is having a reunion later this summer, so Matthew and I will be taking our first road trip together to go back to my hometown.  Aside from two of my cousins spending about 15 minutes with him, nobody on that side of my family has met Matthew.  There seems to be a lot of excitement about him coming, and I'm looking forward to having an adventure with him.

When I make the trip by myself, I can make the drive in less than 9 hours.  I make one pit stop to get gas, use the restroom, and grab a snack.  My drives back home have always been about (safely) making the best time possible.

I have no idea how the drive will be with a toddler in tow, but I know it's going to be different.  The drive will take longer.  There will be more stops. Matthew will need diaper changes, drinks, snacks, and time to stretch his legs and burn off some energy.   There are always such pretty and fun places that I blow past when driving home.  I sometimes, think about stopping, relaxing, taking some pictures.  Ultimately though, my desire to make good time wins, and I just keep driving.

I'm looking forward to having an excuse to enjoy the journey a little more.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

"I Want To Go Home!"

Last month, I received a recall notice in the mail for my car.  It sounded minor, so I wasn't overly concerned about taking care of it.  I called the dealership and arranged to drop off my car Friday morning before work. They would then give me a shuttle ride to work and pick me up once my car was ready.

After dealing with the service department, I was told to sit in the waiting area, and a shuttle driver would be there to get me shortly.  A few minutes later, one of my co-workers called my cell phone.  The girls at work knew I'd been planning to hit the dealership and then grab a shuttle to the office, but she wanted to make sure I was fine and didn't need a ride.  I thanked her but declined, since the shuttle driver would be there soon.

Pretty soon, a gentleman approached the waiting area and asked, "Did somebody need a shuttle?"  I said yes and stood up, informing him that I needed to get to work.  I thought we were going to leave right then, but an elderly man who was also sitting in the waiting area suddenly announced, "I want to go home!"

The shuttle driver asked him if his vehicle was in for a repair or oil change.  He replied that he his was in for the recall.  The driver explained that the gentleman would need to speak with his service adviser to determine how long the repair would be, as a shuttle might not be necessary.

An elderly woman who had been sitting with us chimed in, "I want to go home too!  Will you come back to my home and pick me up then?"

The shuttle driver, seeming a little flustered, politely responded, "Well, that is my job."  He once again explained how shuttle service had to be coordinated with a customer's service adviser.  "Okay, let's check!"  She got up from her seat, and we walked into the service area.

While the two people spoke with their respective service advisers, a customer next to them declared, "I want to go home too!"  A service adviser stated that he had a customer who needed a shuttle home, and then another person chimed in with (you guessed it), "I want to go home!"

I've utilized the shuttle service for this dealership several times, and I have never had this happen.  I was a bit frustrated because I was needing to get to work and getting held up by all of these people who just wanted to go home.  It was pretty funny though, having all of these people announce one after the other that they wanted to go home.  This seemed like such a novel idea to all of them.  I don't think most of them were aware that shuttle service was an option at the dealership.

With such a group forming, a second shuttle driver was summoned.  I ended up in the shuttle with the two elderly people who had been in the waiting area with me.  My destination was the closest to the dealership, so mine was the first stop.

I feel like I should send a letter of apology to the dealership for causing the daily fuel cost for their shuttle service to skyrocket.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Books and Puzzles

My mom is constantly on the prowl for goodies for Matthew.  She and my dad recently made an awesome score at a garage sale.  They found several great books and puzzles.

I've been keeping track of Matthew's book collection with an account at Goodreads.  After adding this latest haul, his total number of books owned is at 179.  Several of those books were ones that my sister and I enjoyed when we were kids.  I'm glad our parents kept them all these years!

The puzzles have been providing endless amounts of fun.  My favorite is the one with the pets.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Wish List: Being Selfish

Ernie and I lived together for several years before we got married.  We both pitched in financially but kept our money separate.  He had bills he paid every month, I had bills I paid every month.  Whatever money was left from each of our paychecks was our own respective business.

I really didn't buy anything too extravagant, but I did enjoy my disposable income.    I spent many Tuesday lunch hours driving out to Best Buy to load up on new release CDs.  I'd eagerly peel the packaging off in my car and pop in a disc to begin listening while I cruised back to work.  Every Saturday, I went to Barnes & Noble to load up on music magazines.  I browsed other magazines and books too and usually found more things to purchase.  On my way home, I'd often stop for a strawberry pop.  I loved going to the mall on Sundays.  Sometimes I just window shopped, other times I left with things like a lipstick, a skirt, or some fancy cupcakes to share with Ernie.

Once visions of having a child entered our heads, and we got engaged, my selfish lifestyle came to a screeching halt.  I realized that my $15 here, $40 there of fun added up, and our money was going to be needed for more important things.

Last year, I only bought one CD.  I also received one as a gift, so that doubled my haul.  When I do leave Barnes & Noble with a bag, it's usually filled with books for Matthew.  I swear my heart rate increases when I enter the children's book section, I could easily sift through books for an hour.  It's a magical place.

My priorities have changed, but I did enjoy my selfish single girl time.  I think if I could have a day to flashback to those carefree times, I would treat myself to:

Jack and Conor are two of my absolute favorites.  My CD rack is filled with material of theirs.  Well, my rack was before I packed my CDs up into empty diaper boxes to stow away in the basement to make more room in the house.  Back in the day, I would have been at the store the day these discs came out.  Now, I'm just patiently waiting until I can get my hands on them to load onto my iPod.  You'd think I'd just embrace digital releases by now, but I still love getting CDs.

3.  I love drinking out of mugs.  For some reason, it seems more leisurely.  I feel funny drinking anything but coffee or hot chocolate in a typical mug though.  I think this Tervis mug would be great for any kind of beverage.

4.  Last winter, I often borrowed (or, if you ask him, stole) Ernie's big, puffy slippers.  I want my own pair for next winter.  Until then, I'd love a lighter pair of some cute slippers for lounging at home.

5.  Summer is beautiful, but I don't handle heat well.  This time of year, I'm often pulling my hair back to help me keep cool.  I tend to be pretty sloppy with my hairstyle when I'm not at work because I'm usually too hot to be bothered.    This headband would be so fun for at home and running errands.

I love reading short stories.  My favorite time to read books is in bed before falling asleep.  Usually, I shouldn't be staying up too late, so to be able to complete a story start to finish in a small time frame is really satisfying.  It's also nice for those sad occasions where I put down a book and don't pick it up again for a few weeks and then need to be refreshed on what the heck is happening.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Brake Job

I had an oil change recently and was told that my brake pads and rotors were pretty worn and should be replaced.  Tears in my eyes (as there are any time large sums of money are requested), I texted Ernie with the info and the amount of the estimate.  He simply replied, "Nope."  Yes, I did need those things replaced, but Ernie was able to buy the parts and do it himself, so it didn't cost as much.  Free labor!  I love having a mechanically-inclined husband.  Matthew supervised the work.

A moth landed on one of my tires which, from the right angle and distance, made it look like I had a major issue with my tire.  I freaked out for a split second.

Last weekend, we got a few goodies from my cousin that her son had outgrown.  One of them was an awesome wagon.  Matthew and I had to take a couple of trips around the neighborhood.  He had a blast!  

Ernie took Chewie for a couple little trips too.  She loves riding in the truck.

On Sunday morning, I finally got to make biscuits and gravy for breakfast.  I had bought pork sausage earlier in the month with the intention of cooking this favorite of Ernie's for Father's Day, and then I got sick.  I guess it's not fair to say that I made biscuits and gravy; I made the gravy, and I threw frozen biscuits in the oven.  We can't all be Martha Stewart.  I made barbecue beef patties and mashed potatoes for dinner, but Matthew pretty much just ate a little bit of the potatoes and then scarfed a bunch of watermelon.  He's so appreciative of my cooking.