Monday, September 29, 2008

He was a neat and organized man, that much we knew

Surprise, surprise, no flight delays! I think that may be a first. We did hit some turbulence, and other flights were delayed, but Southwest got three stars from me. I rarely fly them, but I’m happy we did this time.

So this weekend was kind of weird. Like I said, we went down South pack up Uncle SlickG's deceased friend's (Paul) townhouse. It was very odd to go through this man's personal belongings. Here we were deciding what was important to keep and what wasn't. It just got to me. I am a saver (I do try not to be, but it's in my blood) and J is definitely a saver. Someday, someone is going to be going through our stuff and saying, now why the hell did she save this essay from 6th grade? Or why was J saving all these cassette tapes when he can't even play them anymore? Granted, Uncle SlickG could probably have hired a company to go through his stuff and discard/sell, but I almost think that's worse. We actually walked away still with a ton of stuff (I hesitate to say crap, because to him it was the most worldly possessions) that is in storage at our house in Danville and Uncle SlickG will someday have to go through as he figures out Paul's estate.

Besides those deep thoughts, this whole experience has pushed J and I a little further along in our will-making process. Not that we've run out and made one yet, but it is creeping up on our to-do list. Paul had a will and made Uncle SlickG the executor. Lots of responsibility, but Uncle SlickG is taking his role seriously. Minor problem, though, no one can find the will. Let me put it simply, no will, lots of roadblocks.

But still, here's to Paulie. The man who loved outdoor adventure and road trips, Civil War and computer books and saving things. Thank you for being so clean and organized. Now if you could just send us a sign where your will may be (I swear, we've checked everywhere).

On a lighter note, we spent all of 5 hours in Danville unloading, showering, scarfing down pizza with friends and realizing the house next to us was broken into AGAIN in the past month (but not ours! ADT is built to protect!). Moonshine and his wife Prom Queen drove us to the airport and had us laughing the whole time. Many of you have heard stories of our friend Moonshine. Now we have some more.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Off to Dville

Do you think we could have picked a better weekend to fly down to North Cackalacki? I mean, there's only two hurricanes/tropical storms going on along the Eastern seaboard right now. So who wants to take bets on how delayed we will be tonight when we fly out and how delayed we will be when we try to return Sunday night?

Long story, but we're not really going down there to check on the Dville house, although that is a bonus. Uncle SlickG's friend used to live in Raleigh and passed away very suddenly a few months ago (very sad). So we're going down there to help him move all of the friend's stuff out of his rented condo and to our big empty house in Dville so Uncle SlickG can stop paying the $1100 in rent while he figures out the will. It's the least we can do since Uncle SlickG helped us move last summer! Come to think of it, we actually owe many people a hand in moving with all our moves over the years ...

On a completely different note, my niece CurlyLocks had her tonsils removed last week. She's slowly recovering and is a trooper, but can I just say stitches in the throat ... gross. I write about medical stuff, but I can't stomach looking at it.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Go farmers!

J is one my most faithful readers of the blog and he has been asking me to do my post on Farm Aid ever since we got home at 3am Sunday morning. So here goes.

Farmers are outstanding in their field. No really, people, they are. So support them. (PS SILAdventure, I got about 8 comments on your shirt and many more "aha" looks.)

We try to buy locally grown food because it's healthier and well, we have a thing for mom-and-pop businesses. But society makes it a little hard on the pocketbook sometimes. So we attended the Farm Aid concert on Saturday, an all-day event that has been going on for 20+ years around the country and raises lots of money for local family farms. That way we supported the farmers and got to hear some great tunes!

We thoroughly enjoyed the concert. We didn't tailgate a lot, but enough to watch some kids near us get busted for underage drinking (again, I feel old because we didn't get carded). Anyways, it was a great event with an incredible lineup. Here are just a few: Willie Nelson, John Mellencamp, Dave Matthews, Jerry Lee Lewis (man he can play piano like no other), Neil Young, moe., Nation Beat (a new band to us that I really liked) and many others. J and I liked Mellencamp the best. First time seeing him, which is amazing for J because he's seen just about everyone. The picture below, if you can see it, has all the artists on stage together at the end.

Sadly, our summer concert series is over (although J may have one other lined up in November). I know J can't wait to see who's up for next summer!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Ethan Allen, Ben & Jerry, Beer

What do all these things have in common? Well, they all represent Vermont!!!

J and I took a 3-day trip to the Burlington area and of course, made the most of it. Here are highlights in no particular order:

Ethan Allen’s homestead – If you are like me, you might think Ethan Allen was (and still is) a famous furniture maker. But, um, he isn’t at all. Here’s a little history for ya! He was a Revolutionary War hero who was basically the reason Vermont became a state. You see, New Hampshire owned all of Vermont’s land back in the 1770s and New York was trying to claim some it. So Ethan Allen instituted the “Green Mountain Boys” and fought to make Vermont a state of its own!
Lake Champlain – the plan was to kayak on the lake one of the days we were there. BUT, the remnants of Ike curtailed those plans as the lake turned into an ocean and kayaking was just not a safe option.

Ben & Jerry’s – You can’t go to Vermont without visiting the original site where the infamous hippies, Ben & Jerry, sold their ice cream in the 1960s (the gas station is no longer standing). We toured the original manufacturing site and sampled some of the delicious cream of ice. Very cool (no pun intended) and informative.
Mayor – We met the mayor of Burlington. Okay, he really isn’t the mayor, but this is SILAdventure’s buddy from college and he could be the mayor. That guy knows everyone and everything in Bton. He is by far one of the most interesting people I’ve met with his stories and crazy innovative ideas.

Beer – Burlington has 5 different breweries (um, there are only about 40,000 people in town). We pub crawled to 4 of them and J drank probably 13+ beers as a result. I’m sure he found a favorite beer, but does he remember? I don’t think so.
Mt. Mansfield – Staying true to our goal of hiking the highest peak in each state, we hit our 5th one. It’s just about at 4,400’, so we didn’t have to negotiate weather too much, although apparently the summit is generally without a view because of Vermont’s fog. The hike was a bit more crowded than we like (with lots of people from up North … Hey!), but the trail was nice in that it kicked our butts. When we were hiking the ridge above treeline, we even encountered a porcupine!!!! Man, those spikes are ginormous!!!

Camping – We ended up camping IN the city of Burlington. Usually we like to be out in the wilderness, but we wanted to be accessible to the city for the nightlife. Well, the campground turned out to be really awesome. And we didn’t even know we were surrounded by civilization. The nights were adventurous—we got hit with torrential downpours and crazy winds. J even said at one point he thought we should go sleep in the car in case a tree fell on us … we hoped for the best and did just fine.

Church Street – Burlington has an incredible pedestrian walkway and there seemed to ALWAYS be something going on. For example, while we were waiting to go to 80s night at one of the bars, we got to watch Sex and the City (again) on a big screen outside!!! J was so elated. In fact it may have been his favorite part of the whole trip.

PS – I still have yet to see a moose in the New England area.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

7 years

I can't believe it's been 7 years since the Sept. 11 attacks.

I was living in Phoenix at the time and getting ready for work. SmokinHotRoommate came out of her room and said we needed to turn on the TV because a plane just hit a building in NYC. What? What a freakish accident, I thought. We sat there and watched as the second plane hit. Then I knew something was clearly wrong. It was surreal. We both left for work shortly after still without knowing what was going on. I called my dad's office in NE NJ when I got into work and asked his secretary what was going on in NY. "What? What do you mean? Nothing that we know of. I hit a little traffic going to work, but that's not unusual." Shortly after, my dad called me back after he found out information and we just sat speechless on the phone at the dreaded word that has become part of our everyday vocabulary ... terrorism.

There are so many devastating events that have touched our country throughout history. Some are even forgotten as time passes. But this is one that can't even be put into words. For me, it did touch home. Not in the way it did for those who lost loved ones, of course. The NYC skyline was an icon from my childhood. I was living on the West coast and wanted more than anything to be back in NJ with everyone at that moment. I called friends who I knew worked in the city and worried sick until I heard back from them. I knew our country and world would be changed.

So we remember today of the lives lost and the impact the attacks left. I know I will be saying some extra prayers today. I hope you will join me. Take a moment and remember. Feel free to share.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

No, they aren't paying me

I have to give kudos to the company, Hydrapak. Back before I was a gear addict, I bought a Hydrapak. In fact, it may have been my very first piece of gear. It was 2001 and my friend alerted me that he was buying a Hydrapak for $14.99 because it was on sale. What's a Hydrapak, I (and probably you right now) ask? It's a hydration system, duh. Really, it's just a huge water bottle (or bladder, as they call it) that you wear as a backpack. My sister loves to make fun of me when I wear it, but I assure her all the cool kids have one.

Anyways, getting back to 2001. My friend convinced me to buy one too, as I had my first backpacking trip to Havasu Canyon and I needed a good supply of water for the hike. Cool. I purchased it and loved it. Took it hiking, backpacking and running many, many times since 2001.

So now it's 2008 and I actually have two such packs--the other is a Camelbak brand that J got me. I still hold my Hydrapak near and dear to my heart, but I have to admit I use the Camelbak one more only because it is more of a day pack with other storage options beyond water.

Anyways, the point of this very long, nonsensical blog entry is that recently I used my Hydrapak and realized the bladder mouthpiece was broken. Remembering that Hydrapak had a lifetime warranty, I looked up their Web site and sure enough, they still stand by their brand. I popped the bladder in the mail and not 2 weeks later, received a brand-new one in the mail!!! The bladder they sent was definitely an upgrade from the one I had. Yippee!!!

Yes, I am that person who takes advantage of warranties. Knock it if you will, but it has saved me tons of dough! My favorite warranty story is when I bought a shredder on sale (for like $10) and it broke 2 weeks later. I called the company and they said don't bother sending it, but they will send me a new one. What arrived in the mail was the super shredder ... I mean the one that does the fancy criss-cross and like 20 pgs at a time. All it took was that simple phone call.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Wastin' Away in Margaritaville

Thursday, J, theHoss (who was in town for a wedding) and I went to see Jimmy Buffet in concert! I was a Buffet virgin and J warned me that the tailgating was pretty insane. He wasn't kidding. Here was our setup.

But here's what other people had going on:

We had a good time drinking 'ritas and grilling up ...

But I must have drank too much because I needed a little break ...

I recovered in time for the concert, but some of us didn't ...

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Babies in NJ

J and I went to NJ this weekend primarily for my friend Hallmark4Ever's baby shower. It was supposed to be a surprise, but she knew every outing could be "it" as she is due in just 7 weeks!! We did surprise her Monday morning though with a belated bday celebration at her favorite diner (she just turned 30 also). I wish I caught a picture of her face when the hostess brought her to a table where theAccountant, her BF, J and I were sitting! It was great to see those girls again and Hallmark4Ever is just glowing beyond belief. I can't wait to meet her little one!!!

While we were in NJ, we went to meet AYB IV, who is just a doll. I think we might actually have more friends WITH babies than friends without now! Good gracious!

Double play, switch hitter, third-base rule

I always hated baseball until I went to my first Arizona Dbacks live game in 2001. Then I realized how fun they can be! Since then, I cannot even count how many games I've been to all over the country. Last week, J's cousin was in town playing. He is a relief pitcher for the Binghamton Mets, the AA affiliate of the Mets. We have seen him play a bunch of times in Virginia and North Carolina when we were living down there and he was playing for the Norfolk Tides when they were the AAA affiliate of the Mets. Anyways, we went to two of his games last week and it was the first time I realized how confusing the rules of the game are. Like how a fly ball is an automatic out if someone is on third? What the? J apparently knows all the rules, but I really wonder how many people watching actually know them or are just there for the hot dogs??