1-30-10 Saturday (Adventures)

We awoke to ice pellets (aka sleet) dropping from the sky.  I call it sleet but some southerners and south westerners aren’t familiar with the term.  Ice pellets does sound more intense though.  Where was I?  Oh, so yeah, a wintery mess falling from the sky.  I stepped out in it for a moment or two and the snow was crunchy.  The snow had frozen.  Watching the news you’d think there was a blizzard or such but again, I guess that’s big here for a city that’s not accustomed to it.  With all the ice and such on the roads, we’ve opted to stay off them.  When we were in Portland, we did explore in the Jeep.  I think we did that because of cabin fever and we stuck to back roads quite a bit.

Clea runs out the door more often than I’d like.  This time, we let her go out to see what she’d do with the snow.  She didn’t seem to mind it. 

2010-01-29 04 Above: Last night: Here’s Clea being chaperoned by Dasher.

Below: Clea gets her groove on in the snow.

Clea1 Clea2 Clea3

I received my first Time-Warner cable bill.  Now remember I last told you:

“With taxes and all, my monthly bill will be $78.94 for at least a year! “


Jim and I decided to venture out.  The cul-de-sac was so iced. I got out of the Jeep when I saw water running under the ice.  It looked cool.  Meanwhile, Jim put the Jeep in park but it slid toward the driveway which is on a slope.  I couldn’t walk.  I was sliding all over.   Scary.  Yeah, we still ventured anyway. 

A short distance of driving took a long time.  We live deep within a neighborhood which was covered in a sheet of ice.  Once we made it to the main roads we were surprised to find the roads only partially cleared.  We witnessed several vehicles that had slid off road.  I think it’s going to take a long time for this town to get back to normal.  Ugh.

1-29-10 Friday (Freakish Paper Towels)

Since Jim has gone back to work, the weekend weather seems to be consistently crappy.  It’s either cold or rainy or both.  This weekend will be no stranger to mal weather.


On Tuesday the forecast for Sunday was for 14° but that’s now down to 9°.  I guess it doesn’t matter that it’s cold out.  It’s not like we had some garden party planned.

Has anyone seen these Bounty Paper Towels?  Probably not.  They don’t make them anymore.  They were paper towels in a tissue like dispenser.  They were discontinued.  Shortly after their demise, they were on the shelves of Big Lots.  So many a year ago, yes, many a year, Jim and I bought a 6 pack of them.  We still have them.  Do you know why?  Because.  I’m a freak.  I can’t get them any more so I ration them out.  In fact, over rationed so much that we never used them.  It was like we kept them for a special occasion.  I’m breaking them out.  I’m breaking all the rules.  Well, my strange rule I guess.  Am I the only one who does shit like this?


It doesn’t stop at the paper towels either.  Years ago I had an air freshener that took little cartridges that were a little larger than a cigarette lighter.  It might have been Glade, not sure.  This thing worked so well that one little squirt freshened a huge room for a long time.  I think the product worked so well that the manufacturer dumped it.  So I had the same cartridge for several years.  It lasted that long.  I used it sparingly too. 

I know our blog is usually cohesive – one thought that flows  smoothly through my sentences. 

IMG_0002 Above: Clea curled up for a nap.

More cohesiveness…

At about 4:30pm, the snow started falling.  From what we’ve been told, this is a rarity for Charlotte.  {evil laugh} Only we have the power to bring unseasonable weather.


By 5:30pm, it sure is sticking and it’s coming down much harder.



It’s 8pm and everything is covered in snow and it’s still going strong.  The news has been announcing closings for Saturday and Sunday.  This is big news here in Charlotte.  I think this will make for an interesting weekend.

1-28-10 Thursday (Womanly)

I think I’ll keep the current blog address and not start another.  I’ll make a new header photo, update our “story” and continue on from there.  Thanks for all the support (especially from those readers I didn’t know existed) and great suggestions. 

I’ve been watching RuPaul’s Drag Race.  We just completed season 1.  I can’t believe how great some of these guys look as women.  It’s amazing.  I stumbled on a website from RuPaul called the Dragulator. At Dragulator.com, you upload a headshot of yourself and then dress it up with eyes, hair, lips, etc.  Here’s me:

dragulator Full Body

And if that wasn’t scary enough… here’s a close-up of my scariness: 

dragulator Head Shot

We made it to the gym, then showered (separately), had left over bean soup which was quite yummy, and then watched some Desperate Housewives.  We’re now up to the part when Edie died and evil Dave has just discovered that Susan was the driver and not Mike.  Oy.

1-27-10 Wednesday (This House Is Clean)

Deanna Tonight we’re having dinner with Deanna.  She’s going to meet us at our place.  This is fantastic because while the house is clean, it could use some straightening up.  Having company always gives me motivation.  It’s those things that sit around the house that need a home.  The piles that are created.  The stuff that doesn’t belong but I become used to.  It’s there.  I see it.  I mean to do something about it but I don’t.  Eventually, it looks normal. 

One of the things on the list was to get a small pile of stuff to the RV.  It’s stuff we don’t need here or stuff I bought to replace what we took from the RV.  The poor RV looked so sad.  So lifeless.  Someday, we’ll be reunited… sappy, aren’t I?

Speaking of sappy, all 3 computers have screensaver slideshows that display our RVing photos.  Sometimes as we walk past a picture we stop and reminisce.  They also display on the digital frame.  I’ve been known to display them on the big LCD TV.  Nah, we don’t tire of them because there’s so many photos.  Someday, we’ll travel again.

Deanna cancelled tonight.  She hasn’t been feeling well.  We’ll reschedule.

Oh, I’ve complained a few times about not having sound on my laptop.  It works when it wants to.  I’ve replaced the sound card, installed new drivers, etc, etc.  For $1.99 which included shipping, I bought an external USB sound card!  $1.99.  What a bargain.  Works like a charm.  How does a charm work?   Magic I suppose.  Anyway, I present to you, the sound card.  {applause}


It’s about the size of my thumb.  Did you look at your thumb?  Why would you look at your thumb and not my thumb?  I said my thumb.  Sheesh.

I gotta go find something to make for dinner…

1-26-10 Tuesday (What’s a Lanai?)


So, are you sitting on the edge of your chair wondering about the interview?  Wonder no more.  That could be a cool band title.  Wonder No More.  I still like it.  OK, so I called the owner, he invited me in to talk.  I arrived, and I had to wait 45 minutes past my appointment time to see him.  He was so busy.  This makes me happy for several reasons.  #1 is he cares about his business, he works it hard.  #2 being busy in this economy is awesome!

Mr. Owner was working the place.  I was surprised and happy to see several people in the showroom working deals with salesmen.  This dealer is top in the country and had several awards and trophies to prove it.

prayWe spoke for a short time.  He asked me a few questions.  He gave me a tour.  To be honest, I’m not sure I did all that well during the interview.  When I interviewed in Fort Myers a few months ago, if you asked me, I aced the interviews.  I think I said all the right things at the right times.  I didn’t get that job because the guy hired his friend instead.  Now this interview today?  Not so much.  It’s just the way I feel.  If asked how I think it went, I’d say not too well.

The kicker is Mr. Owner said he’d like to meet with me again, and to contact him in a few days.  He said if I was still interested to call him.  I’m thinking if he isn’t interested then say something like “I don’t really have an opening right now but wanted to meet with you in case something comes up” or the like.  So maybe I misread how it went.  I’ll call him back in a few days because I’d definitely like to see if I’m a fit for this dealer.  I’ll keep you posted.

Garret Let’s talk weather.  Weather.com is showing a low of 14°for Sunday.  What the f___?  The worst is going to and from the car to the gym.  Brrrrrrr.

Speaking of the gym, we went tonight.  We’ve been doing elliptical for our cardio.  We’ve not ventured back onto the stair machine.  I glance at it but I think it might just be Satan in disguise.  What other explanation is there?

When we came home, we showered and then I started dinner.  Fresh broccoli, baked potatoes, and a steak.  We have a an outdoor electric grill that my parents gave us several years ago for a house warming gift.  It kept tripping the GFI outlet.  We tried a different outlet on a different circuit and the same thing.  I think the grill is having problems.  Even though it’s an outdoor grill perhaps something got wet that shouldn't have?  At our Florida house it was stored on the covered patio aka lanai for you Northerners.  I don’t know what it’s problem could be.  We don’t have a cover for it anymore.  I think we’ll just be getting a new gas grill.  Oh.  The point was that dinner took forever.  I eventually had to broil the steak.  It came out good but what a pain in the ass.

I’ll see you tomorrow.  We’re having dinner with Deanna so I’ll take some photos.

1-24-10 Sunday & 1-25-10 Monday

I need some suggestions.  I’ll continue to blog but wondering if I should start a new one.  The original purpose of the blog was to document our trip and stay in touch with our loved ones.  If you think I should start a new one, what do you think it should be called?  Please file this “needs a resolution” between world hunger and world peace.

I mailed my resume and a cover letter to a local dealership owner before Christmas.  In it, I stated I’d be moving to the area and would be available for work mid to late January.  No reply.  Today, I did some internet sleuthing, found his email address, updated the cover letter and emailed it out to him.  I got a reply that he’d like to talk.  The email was short yet just want I was hoping to hear:

“Garret,wonderful to get your email,lets try to get together…”

Later in the day I called him as instructed but he was busy so we’re going to talk on Tuesday.  Wish me luck.

In other dazzling news, I cleaned light fixtures!  I know, I know.  It seems like this information should get a post all of it’s own.

1-23-10 Saturday (The Twins)

What a joy it is to have pets… as Jim can attest to.  He awoke this morning in regurgitated cat food.  It could have been Clea but there’s a chance it was Dasher and you probably don’t want to know how.  Off came the sheets and mattress pad.

Well, it happened.  The damn stair machine put a hurtin’ on me.  Owwwwww.  I had issues walking up the stairs this morning.  It’s not the worst I’ve ever had my legs feeling and probably won’t be the last.  Of course it’s not just my legs.  As the morning as moved along, I can feel the soreness in my chest. 

With bitching about my aches and pains behind above me, I returned to the kitchen to make up breakfast sandwiches.  I went on to make up 7 salads, and 2 dinner side salads for the up coming lunch week.  It’s an uneven amount of salads but that’s just how it worked it.  Don’t worry about it… really… it will be fine.

I’m a fan of my childhood cartoons.  One of my favorites was the Super Friends.  Surfing around on Youtube I found this parody of the Winder Twins.  It’s 5 short episodes joined together and it’s hilarious. 

Last night we had the fireplace on.  The flame disappeared.  I could see the pilot light was still on.  I flipped the switch off and then on again.  It wouldn’t refire.  I tried several times.  I’m sad.

On the same everything-is-breaking-night-o-evil, I put a pot of water on the stove to boil.  At some point I looked over and a bright orange light lit up the stove top from underneath the pot.  It was as if someone was welding!  I turned off the burner and inspected.  Here’s what I found:


The coil partially melted.  It won’t work anymore.  I was worried it had damaged my nice cookware (not All-Clad nice).  All was A-OK. 

Here’s a few pictures I took of Dasher today:

IMG_0001 IMG_0002Above: Dasher was in the middle of shaking.

 IMG_0004Above: Little Red Riding Hood – ish.

1-22-10 Friday (No Butts About It)

This foggy, rainy, cold weather sucks.  At the end of last weekend the weather was perfect.  The sun was warm, the air was cool – it all just worked together.  The past couple of days?  Not so much.  We’re back to having the heat on.

I ran several shopping errands, including Big Lots.  You know, Big Lots has given me some fun photos in the past.  I’ll spare you the links to previous posts and just put the photos here for you:

image 9-26-08

image 10-7-09

Here’s my Big Lots photo of the day:

2010-01-22 01

If you don’t find the above photo humorous – don’t look at me to explain it.  You can certainly click here to see the sexual reference I’m making as explained by Wikipedia. 

Oddly, I stopped at Walmart and on my way out of the parking lot, I performed parking patrol.  I just can’t help myself.

2010-01-22 03 2010-01-22 02

I did other shopping excursions today and then went home to start our healthy eating habits.  I baked off a lot of chicken so that I can make salads which will be topped with my usual chicken, corn, chick peas, black beans, broccoli, and low fat feta cheese. 

2010-01-22 04

Some gets refrigerated and some will be frozen.  I love having normal sized fridge/freezer. 

While cutting up the chicken, Dasher and I snacked on cashews.

2010-01-22 05 2010-01-22 06

He’s so gentle as long as he realizes that the food is small.

Once Jim got home we went off to work out.  Core, chest/back and then some cardio.  We did the stair machine.  We did 25 minutes out of the 45.  That machine beat the piss out of us.  With the way we felt afterwards, we wonder if 25 minutes on stairs is the same as 45 minutes on an elliptical.  The calorie count on the machine doesn’t reflect that but how accurate is that anyway? 


I gotto go check on how the neighbors are parking…

1-21-10 Thursday (Slug Made Cakes)

I probably shouldn’t even bother with an entry today.  I was quite the slug today.  I started off the morning with some motivation.  I tried.  I organized and disposed of travel sized products that had been stacking up.  5 mini shampoos, 6 mini soaps, ya know that kinda crap.  I threw out the old stuff, kept the nicer stuff and I’ll eventually make some sort of guest toiletries basket with it.

I made carrot cake cupcakes.  I had bought the mix a week or 2 back during my red velvet cupcake stage of life.  I decided to make the carrot cakes now and get it over with since we’ve started the gym.

The office area of the house had shelves with lots of stuff on them.  Most of it is crap.  I tossed out quite a bit and organized the shelves.  The sad thing is that we have boxes and boxes of office related stuff that’s not been opened yet.  They’re the non-essentials that will stay boxed until we get a permanent home of our own.  Really, we have too much stuff.  It stresses me out that we have so many unneeded things.

Before I knew it, the afternoon rolled around.  I ate lunch, and then took a bath.  My second bath here.  It was nice to soak.  Some how I stayed busy for the remainder of the day by playing a video game, watching some TV and surfing the internet. 

Eventually, Jim made it home.  We changed for the gym, gathered our belongings, gave Dasher a treat, and off to the gym we went tried.  The BMW wouldn’t start.  We skipped the gym.  As Jim said, at least the car was considerate enough to die in the comfort of our home.  It was a stroke of luck really since it’s been raining all day and gotten cold again.  I started dinner, while Jim went to get a new battery.  $160 frickin’ dollars later, voila, a new battery.

After dinner we continued catching up on the previous season of Desperate Housewives.  That show rocks.

1-20-10 Wednesday (Humps Day)

I returned to Monro, the car repair place and waited for the Jeep power steering line replacement.  $130.  I walked around BJ’s again looking at the same ole crap as I tried to make the time pass.  No goofy people to snap a photo of.  No humorous products on display.  Uneventful.  Sometimes, uneventful is welcomed.

image Just to change things up a little – ya know, shake it up – I went to a different Walmart.  This location is also a new superstore and is located near the hotel we stayed at when we were here for the “recon mission” in December.  This Walmart was laid out almost the same as our usual store.  So much for shaking things up a little.  I tried.  I did think it would be fun to limp on the left leg up some aisles and then limp with the right leg on others.  Surely you’ve shopped a supermarket and seen the same people who walk up the same aisle as you but in the opposite direction?  Those would be the ones to do the different walks to.  That reminds me of the scene in Young Frankenstein (aside from Spaceballs, my favorite comedy movie (Mel Brooks is King)) where Igor is shown with a hump on one shoulder and then later on the other and is called out on it.  Fun stuff.

Jim and I are pretty picky about – well a lot of things – yes – but the topic at hand right now is shower heads.  We live for invigorating showers.  We hate the sissy water saving shower heads.  We want pressure and volume.  It’s no wonder I’ve already returned a couple of shower heads that failed our needs and have started a collection of others.

2010-01-20 04

Well now, just a minute.  Some of these belong to the rental property, some we found in storage and one goes to the guest bath.  I needed something I can use to give Dasher a bath with.  I returned a shower massager the other day and bought this one.

2010-01-20 01 2010-01-20 02 

Aside from being cool, it was only $60 less a $10 coupon and it works well.




Just a little hint…

We went to the gym for our first workout.  45 minutes of cardio.  The place was surprisingly slow being a Wednesday night.  Getting the machine of our choice was easy.

1-19-10 Tuesday (Deal Diving)

I made out a list of errands and hit the road pretty early this morning.  Well, maybe not that early.  One of my stops was to Ikea and I remembered from the other day that they don’t open until 10am.

After I made my 6 or so stops, I brought the Jeep to Monro, the place where a few weeks ago we had the brakes and shocks replaced at.  I needed to get an oil leak checked out and an oil change while I was there.  The oil leak is power steering, a high pressure line and will cost about $130.  I’ll go back tomorrow to have it replaced.

While I waited for the Jeep’s oil change I walked over to a discount store.  It’s called Garden Ridge.  I’d never been in one before and thought it might be a nice time killer while I wait.


Yes, 90% off Christmas stuff.  I spotted a woman on her stomach reaching deep into a shelf to get to garland.


By the time I got into position to snap a photo, she wasn’t laying down anymore.  It’s still funny though.  She’s got a frickin’ walker thingy!  Ahhhh the importance of a bargain. 

One of my stops today was for a bulb.  Several years ago we purchased florescent light bars to mount above each desk.


We have 2 of these with blown bulbs.  It’s a strange bulb.  An F20T10 in fact.  I can’t find them at Lowes or Home Depot.  I went to an electrical supply place.  They can get them for $25 each.  That’s way more than the fixture itself.  I found them online for $7 each + $10 to ship.  $22.87 for 2 bulbs total.

Well, it’s official:


Jim got his the other day.  Mine arrived today.

We were supposed to go to the gym tonight but Jim stayed late at work to signup for health benefits.  Well Fargo offers domestic partner coverage just as CitiGroup did.  The coverage seems great and a lot less money than Citi which is a plus.  Maybe that will offset some of the high taxes we have here in this state? 

When Jim came home we had some bean soup that he had going in the crockpot all day.  He makes an awesome bean soup.  It was delish. 

1-18-10 Monday (Erik’s Gym)

Since Thursday, the weather has been much warmer lately.  It rained a bit Saturday but other than that it’s been great weather.  In fact, I’ve switched to Polo shirts this weekend, dropping long sleeves and undershirts.  Yay!

image Close to us is the YMCA.  They want $90 a month for 2 of us.  While they do have lots to offer such as a track, pool, etc, those are things I’d rather not use and therefore not pay for.  We got the tour and was left feeling that the place was crowded.  Our tour guide Ashley asked for our names.  After I said Garret, I SWEAR she said “Erik?” (notice the spelling smile_regular) to which I replied “yes”.  Jim and I almost busted out laughing.  I guess not making eye contact with one another avoided that situation.  Perhaps it’s the gayness that courses through my veins, but I just can’t help but to think of the Village People’s YMCA song. 

We went to Lowe’s (sorry Scott), to return shelving that didn’t work for us.  The shelving system is awesome though.  It’s all by the piece and can be wire, glass, or wood toned shelves.  Everything screws together.  Jim installed an audio/video shelf last night.  It looks much better but we need some creativity to hide the wires. 

image As we departed Lowe’s, Jim spotted another gym (Lifestyle Family Fitness) we didn’t realize was there.  We stopped in and asked for the tour.  It was feeling a lot like a used car lot again.  We sit down and are asked our goals and what nots.  I’m short with the guy.  I’m annoyed.  Let’s get to it.  We take the tour and then return to the desk to discuss pricing.  Naturally the sales guy… sales guy?  Yeah, that’s actually what they’re called… anyway naturally he doesn't tell us the price yet but rather tells us about all the locations for the value.  Not only locations here but in other states.  I’m so sold.  Not.  Why does every gym think we might decide to go to different locations?  Can I just pay for 1 location?  Anyway, finally, the price.  No contract, month to month, waived the startup fees, comes with a full refund if we’re not happy within 30 days, etc deal for $70 a month.  Actually the gyms are very smart for getting info to tailor their presentation to your needs.  Very crafty.  Anyway, this place wasn’t the best in price but with no contracts AND the gym is much nicer than others we’re seen, we’re done.

Funny, the guy wanted to do our sign up packet and initial consultation but we were so hungry and this stop wasn’t planned.  Where are we going?  The Mexican buffet – Cinco De Mayo.  We love the food there.  Only we could go to a gym, sign up, act serious about wanting to be fit but then go to a buffet and overeat.  {sigh}

 2010-01-18 01 Above: A chocolate filled Churros.  Yum!

2010-01-18 02 Above: Icing glazed plantains.

Perhaps Mexican food brings out the thinker in me.  I started thinking about all the time we had off and perhaps instead of blogging or surfing the internet, we should have better ourselves with online classes or learn a second language?  Did we waste a year and half?  Nahhhhhh.

Jim says maybe we should have worked out more.  Then, it got me thinking.  I just wish we’d be one of those gym fit people who look at junk food and think of it as ewwwww.  Can we be hypnotized to think fattening food is gross?

Next we went to Ikea for some cord hiding stuff.

2010-01-18 10 Above: Jim hid the cables/wires as best as possible.  See the new shelf too?

Sometimes, in different cities or states we notice common things amongst the peoples of the region.  The people here?  They can’t park.  For the past few weeks we’ve notice the poor parking but I’ve finally snapped about it.  If I had a photo of every bad parking job we’ve seen, you’d need hours.  Here’s photos from just 1 row in the Ikea parking lot. 

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What is wrong with you people?  Again, this is just one row.  One row. 

When we got home today, Jim worked on reorganizing the garage a little more while I went on a cooking mission.  I cooked up some sausage for tomorrow’s bean soup.  I made a pan of lasagna.  I made a batch of meatloaf.  I cooked off meatballs. 

2010-01-18 07

Jim took the empty boxes we want to reuse when we move again and suspended them overhead in the garage.  He used hinges (we had a bunch of them) as brackets.  Well, it was certainly better than buying more stuff but I commented “what an interesting use for door hinges”.  Overall his project made a lot more room in the garage!

2010-01-18 08 

After my whirlwind dinner creations, I assembled a desk char we bought at Ikea.  It’s a biblical chair.

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