7-26-14 Saturday (Werning: Speling Unda Construkshun)

This past week was Restaurant Week.  Oh, how we love it.  This year, we only went to Melting Pot with several friends.  Jim was funny this year.  I asked him about going to my favorite, Chima, or perhaps Ruth’s Chris.  He said that he was bored of those and wanted to try something new.  Neither one of us got what we wanted.  That’s fine though since we’ve been dropping $$$$$ twice a year on Restaurant Week for the past few year.  $30 a person plus tax, plus tips, plus drinks = a lot of money especially when we do 2-4 restaurants in one week.  Extravagant is what it is.  I mean, hey, we’re worth it though.  I digress.  So we went with Melting Pot since Beth and her family had never been.  Melting Pot is freakin’ fun.  Jim and I have been there many times.  There were 7 of us.  Jim and I, Jim’s coworker Ann, Beth and her siblings, David, Annie and Angie.  We were there for nearly 3 hours and had such a great time!

2014-07-21 008Above: An amazingly fun time!

Work wife, Jessica, found this recent news clip regarding a typo on a local interstate sign.  She knew I’d appreciate it and shared accordingly.  While I make my own fair share of spelling and grammar errors, “professionally” printed ones are always the best and always go noticed by me.

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Media excerpt:  BALLANTYNE, N.C. -- Drivers getting on the new Johnston Road flyover in Ballantyne will notice a spelling error.  The new sign on the flyover leading to I-485 has 'Pinevllie' instead of the correct spelling of Pineville.

Similarly in recent Charlotte news:

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Media excerpt: If you're traveling the Interstate-77 southbound off ramp to exit 28, you'll notice you can "NOLY" turn right.  After a weekend construction project, a right turn lane was incorrectly misspelled in permanent paint on the road.

We’re having Thanksgiving company this year.  The last time Jim’s family was here for the holidays was Thanksgiving 2011.  See here.  So far we have confirmations for Grandma, Jim’s Dad and Julie (favorite step mommy).  Jim has been approved the time off making for a 5 days weekend.  We’re waiting on his brother’s family to confirm.

This weekend we went to Augusta.  Shocker, I know.  We put the finishing touches on the motorhome and took it to CSRA Camperland for consignment.  The General Manager, Bob, was optimistic about the price.  He said it was in fantastic condition, and low mileage at 64k for a 1997 coach. The only con was that it will be hard for a buyer to get financing at this age.  We’ll leave it to the experts to sell it for us.  Send positive vibes… or money.  Money would work too.

Back in March, during our RV setup, Jim found a leak underneath.  It was purchased as-is but Jim gave it a shot and asked for repair assistance.  They kindly agreed adding to our already high opinion of Peco Campers.  It’s been an ongoing coordination for this repair since they’re a few hours away from us.  Late Saturday, a repair guy from Peco came to the campground and repaired the broken welds and reinstalled in underbelly insulation.  Yay! 

The last minute late repair ruined dinner plans but the new plans of chipping in with friends for pizza went well.  Again, we had a great time.

7-20-14 Sunday (Going Batty)

We spent this weekend at home.  I had to work Saturday.  This week, I put in gobs of overtime, 8.13 hours to be exact.  It’s a good thing I love my job.

On Saturday, Jim and I went out for lunch, did some grocery shopping, went to the mall and other boring activities. 

A part of our shopping was for shoes.  I got new work shoes and new sneakers.  I’m really picky/sensitive on shoe comfort since I tend to get a lot of foots pain.  Be it the way I walk, my posture, my right foot seems wider than the left, the Plantar Fasciitis that I’ve been diagnosed with and do nothing about or perhaps my huge belly/weight that puts strain on my feet?  I tried on a pair of Skechers gel top memory foam sneakers.  It’s like walking on a gym mat.  It’s sooooo cushy!   This particular line is called “This Way”.

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Mickey_Mouse.svgDisney update: Nothing really new.  They send us a lot of stuff in the mail.  Most recently was a magnet with customized important dates to remember for our trip.  We’re flying my mom and Aunt Donna up here from Florida for a visit and to dog/house sit while we’re gone.  It’s kind of the same scenario as when we went to Alaska.  Mom and Aunt Donna came for 2.5 weeks, one of which we were in Alaska.  It’s a vacation for everyone! 

Jim is setting up his typical spread sheets in Excel to keep us organized.  We’ll typically have our day planned out.  Some people like that, some don’t.  Obviously we do.  It really helps to avoid the “what do you want to do?” “I don’t know, what do you want to do.”  It’s worked for us in the past and should be just fine.

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Bat_little_brownbrown batSometimes while letting the dog out back, we stand outside and watch him run around, or watch the rabbits hopping along our back gate or listen to all the night critters (frogs and crickets) make noise from the depths of our heavily wooded back yard.  The other night Jim came in and yelled for me to come out and see something.  Bats.  About 10 bats intermittently flew over the house and back yard.  It was well into dusk with just enough light to tell they didn’t have tail feathers and their wings had that unique bat shape to them.  It was really cool!  We watched them for a while.

7/18 >>> back to Augusta.  On Saturday we worked on replacing the motorhome’s awning fabric.  I was the lovely assistant, fetching things, holding things, etc.  It was raining on and off all day.  Several times, it poured on us but we kept working.  Eventually, after being drenched, we were done.  We got cleaned up and headed out for dinner.  It was 9:30 at night so options were limited. 

We got back to the RV and pretty much crashed.  We went to bed at about 11 which is early for us when we’re here.  We had a full day.

Next weekend we’ll need to get the RV to CSRA Camperland for consignment.  We might just sell this thing eventually.

2 pictures I’ve been meaning to post:

2014-07-09 066Above: Does anyone really like this song? 

2014-07-06 060Above: Wabbits in our back yard!

7-6-14 Sunday (Butter My Butt)

On Tuesday, the 24th, my Aunt and Uncle cooked us an awesome meal.  T-bone steaks, baked potatoes, fresh broccoli, biscuits and a side salad.  Yum!

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On Wednesday, the 25th, I took my Aunt and Uncle to the airport.  I only had to get up 30 minutes earlier than I normally do for work so it wasn’t a big deal.  I dropped them off, came home, took a shower and got ready for work.

As you may remember, my birthday was on the 23rd.  Here’s what my zany friend Alix made for me.  She’s been obsessed with making goofy videos.  Enjoy.

Wasn’t that a hoot?  She’s crazy.  She used a picture of my friend, Carolyn and me.

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I keep forgetting to mention… DISNEY.  This years big vacation is for Disney in the fall.  Even though we lived 3 hours away from it, Jim has been wanting to go.  We haven’t been to Disney in several years.  What do I think?  Sure, sounds fun, count me in.  Jim worked on planning it our.  We were going to get a travel agent to plan everything but he didn’t want to wait and he wanted to coordinate it all himself.  So… that’s what he did.

We wanted to be able to stay on property.  We’ve never done that.  Our first choice was The Contemporary.  The one with the monorail right through it.  That place is way expensive.  A no go.  Jim looked at some other options, and some available deals.  We thought about staying off property.  Pros, cons.  What if…  Well, we settled on Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort.  The price was OK but they had a meal package deal going and we signed up.  A free counter service, 1 free table service and 1 snack per day on Disney property reeled us in. Hey, we like to eat AND Disney food is crazy expensive. 

Disney sure goes out of its way to make the experience awesome.  We get customized mail, DVD’s to review, and eventually some bracelet thingy that I’ll mention again later.  I’m sure I’ll mention lots of Disney stuff later.

Grandma left the weekend of the 28th.  She wasn’t feeling 100% so she decided to skip her class reunion and head back to Georgia and then eventually home to Florida.

For July 4th, which was on a Friday, Jim and I took a half day Thursday to get a head start on the 3 day weekend!  Off to Augusta.  What an amazing weekend. 

We were having a great weekend and then Saturday, this happened:

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The right side tires lost a duel with a curb.  2 tires popped, $275 later.  One rim is chewed up a little on the edge.  We’ll worry about that later.

We got the RV cleaned on the inside.  I vacuumed, wiped everything down and then steam cleaned the carpets.  Here’s the last personal thing we removed.

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This was given to us at our send off party in August of 2008 by our friend, John Anderson.  It was sad to part with it. 

6-23-14 Monday (New Car(s))

OK, just deal with the boring text.  There’s a lot of great photos in this post!

276666040_1401213136After our recent trip to Augusta, we unpacked, and settled in.  I decided to look at the Pep Boys receipt.  I was surprised.  They charged for 32 ounces of R134A Freon at 3.25 per ounce = $104.  I thought that seemed high from what I could remember from my automotive biz days.  I went online to Pep Boys and found a 12oz can for $15.  Doing the math… I would need 3 cans = $45 Freon.  $45 vs $104.  I called the store.  I spoke with the service manager.  I asked for a $59 refund.  He turned me down.  I called corporate.  I opened a case.  Someone was to call me in 48 hours.  I called back after 4 days and bitched up a storm.  I was told it was escalated to district manager.  The next day I got a call from the service manager who said he would just give me a refund since no one called me back.  I’m guessing he was told to call me once it escalated to the District Manager.  Be careful out there!  Damn crooks.

Our Mazda 6 lease is up at the end of the month.  The plan was to turn it in and just use our free/clear Jeep.  For trips to Augusta we’d use the Rav4 but those seats kill my back and Jim also feels uncomfortable in it.  We scratched the plan and decided to hunt for a new car.  Jim has been reading his various car magazines and narrowed it down to a new revamped Mazda 6 or a Hyundai Sonata.  Jim sent out various leads to several Mazda and Hyundai dealers via dealership websites.  He laid out the deal we wanted.  Some gave prices and others wanted to see the car.  We have a lease-turn-in inspection report, why do we need to run around down to make a deal?  Anyone who couldn’t accommodate us via emails was crossed off the list.

Getting discouraged, he decided that since we go to Augusta so often, we’d check that area as well.  He filled out an online form for Taylor Hyundai in Augusta and instantly received an out of office email (strange, I know) from Todd Torchia that directed us to David Nabel and Paul Schaefer in his absence.  Funny thing?  I’ve worked with all three of these guys in Florida!  It’s a small world!  The following weekend, the 14th, we were again in Augusta.  We went into Taylor Hyundai, got a great deal and drove away with a 2014 Hyundai Sonata. It’s a pretty blue-silver and seems to change color depending on the lighting or angle. The seats are comfy!  It connects to my phone and streams mp3’s or Pandora.  I love it.

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It’s got a back up camera…

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Also this week, we picked up the fender.  It looked awesome.  Jim installed it.

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During the next week, Jim’s Grandmother, uhhhhh, Grandma, came for a visit.  I won’t reveal her age but she’s up there.  She drove from Fort Myers, FL to Atlanta to see Jim’s brother's family, then some other relatives in the area.  While vacuuming Grandma’s mini van, they discovered the passenger front carpet was wet.  Unsure if it was a water leak, a/c leak, or heater core leak, she made it over to Charlotte to see us. We discovered coolant leaking at the front of the van, under the radiator.  We brought it to the dealer and they diagnosed it as needing a heater core AND a radiator.  $1900.  To fix or not to fix?  After much deliberation, a new vehicle was sought.  Jim did the research.  Grandma is very very short and needed something she can see over and reach the pedals comfortably.  90% of the vehicles out there don’t make the cut for her.  They settled on a Honda CRV.  It’s a great fit for her.

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Next trip for Grandma?  A high school class reunion in Pennsylvania.  No, really.  Grandma had some sort of cold and went to the doctor twice while here.  She decided to skip the reunion and just recover.  She’s staying with us longer.

In the meantime, on the weekend of the 21st, my uncle Joe and Joyce fly in from NY to help Joyce’s brother, in Charlotte, with some issues.  We had a full house but had a great time though.  On Monday it was my birthday so the 5 of us went out for Sunday brunch to pre-celebrate with mimosas and Bloody Mary’s.  There were major issues with our orders which resulted in a total visit time of 2 hours!  The manager comp'd all of our meals… we just paid for alcohol. Monday’s actual birthday dinner was at Olive Garden.  Funny, when we walked in, they were singing happy birthday at a table and someone commented on how they were going to tell the server it was my birthday.  When we were seated and the server came over for drink orders, I told him it was my birthday.  I just burst their bubble.  During the visit there, including mine, there were 6 Happy Birthday songs sang by staff at various tables.  I guess the OG is a popular birthday spot?

OK, now to catch you up on photos:

miniAbove: My work wife, Jessica’s Mini Cooper.  I couldn’t stop laughing at the MINI’s HUGE speedometer.  Look at that thing!

2014-06-08 001Above: Walmart.  This place gives me so much material.

2014-06-08 002Above: Dasher buried his head during a recent trip.

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Above/Below: While at a Mazda dealer, we were waiting for the salesman to work some numbers.  This was the keyboard on his desk.  There, he fixed it!

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The end.

6-8-14 Sunday (Transporting Boobies)

5/23 – 5/26 = It’s a holiday weekend!  Jim and I both left work early to get a jump start a the long weekend.  We made it to the campground by about 5.  During these temps, it’s normal for the interior of the RV to be at about 90°.  We forgot to call ahead and ask a friend to get the a/c running for us.  By the time we unpacked, the temp was at 84° and then the power went out.  It turned out to affect several sites.  It looked like it was going to take a while to repair.  The temp climbed quickly.  Dasher was already panting (unusual for him) after a walk and never had the chance to cool off.  We took Dasher and headed out for dinner.  We locked him in the car with the a/c running while we ate dinner.  I’d text a campground friend “do we have power” from time to time.  We killed some time by touring some local neighborhoods and took a long walk at a marina.  When we returned to the campground at about 8:00 still no power.  One of the owners was at a store buying a new part.  We took the golf cart and drove around the campground.  It wasn’t till about 8:30ish that we finally had power.  We showered and headed out to socialize. 

We had some rain this weekend.  On Sunday it poured and poured and, oh yeah,and poured.  Once the rain subsided we saw several police cars in front of one of the sites.  Once we did the nosey neighbor thing, that’s when we got the full story from the other onlookers.

One of the RV park residents has his camper down on the lower level near a drainage ditch.  When it rains a lot, the ditch fills up to the top and sometimes floods the lower level a little.  Well, apparently he didn’t have his awning pitched right so water built up and sagged the awning.  He had to move his convertible Jaguar out of the way and while doing so a wheel slipped off the edge of the embankment and devoured his Jag.  In it went.  He could barely get the door open to get out.  Water rushed in.  He got the window down (unsure of the exact details) and was able to force the door open.  The current carried the Jag several lots down. Only the antenna was visible.  As the water subsided, the roof peeked out.

jag1

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The owner wasn’t very happy… as you could imagine.

During the week, here’s how a trip to Walmart went:

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That was on line in front of me at the service desk…  Ewwwww.

5/27 – 5/29 = The following weekend was pretty laid back.  We went to Augusta as typical.  We attended a potluck cookout.  The host made a huge brisket in his smoker.  It was so good.  We brought baked beans with ground beef.  It was yummy.  Lots of food and extra awesome friends to share it with.  We also picked up the RV after having some battery and generator repairs done.  Next we brought it to a fiberglass repair shop for the shower/tub to be repaired.  Another guy took a fender to duplicate for the other side (broken off) where he’ll fabricate a new one.

On the way back from somewhere, this is what we saw:

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Weekend #3 (June 6th – 8th) off to Augusta we went yet again.  We picked up the RV from the fiberglass guy.  He did and awesome job!  You can barely see where he refinished it.

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Next up we took it to a Pep Boys to have the dash a/c looked at.  It was low on R134A although they couldn’t find a leak.  This worries me.  The R134A had to have went somewhere.  Maybe it’s a very small and slow leak?