1-28-12 Saturday (All You Can mEAT)

So. This morning at 7am, Jim and I awake to Dasher throwing up in the bed. Under the covers. Between us. When I heard it, I woke up and pushed the covers down. It was too late. Luckily it wasn’t very much. It was enough to get us out of bed and to go through the sheets to the mattress pad. It certainly could have been worse; it could have been 6am.

At about 8:30am, the drywall guy arrived. With his head up close to the ceiling holes, he realized that the insulation is missing. It was probably wet and thrown out by the plumber. The drywall guy wasn’t prepared with insulation so he’ll have to come back. It’s really not his fault. The builder doesn’t typically have insulation between floors, however, Jim and I paid extra to have that done.

Jim worked on taxes while I washed bedding and clothes, vacuuming and mopping, and all that fun stuff that you wish you were doing.

We’ll be partaking in Charlotte Restaurant Week tonight with dinner at Chima Brazilian Steakhouse. I’ve been wanting to go there and tonight’s the night. There will be a group of 8. Here’s tonight’s menu:


Fellow blogger and Carolinian, Flartus, commented on my previous post about our experience at Bonterra. Flartus’ other half is a chef at a restaurant that partakes in Restaurant Week.


The problem was that the place was empty… it was only 5pm. I was disappointed that Open Table only had that time open when clearly we could have been there later.

Thanks to Flartus,I do have a better understanding of what happens to the restaurant during Charlotte Restaurant Week (aka Queen’s Feast). She explains the behind-the-scenes info here. More about our Chima experience later…

We ordered blinds from American Blind and Wallpaper Company at the end of November. Jim had emailed them asking about the delay. They said Levolor was experiencing material shortages and they knocked off 10% from the price. It’s taken a long time but they arrived yesterday! Jim installed the five in the dining room and office. Similar to the ones in the bedroom, we ordered top down blinds. We like these the most because it allows for light and privacy during the day and privacy at night.


Mike and Billy met us at our house for the trip over to Chima. The plan was to meet everyone else at 8, go somewhere and have a few drinks and then return to Chima for our 9pm reservation. Everyone got stuck in uptown traffic so we ended up hanging out at the bar inside of Chima. Here’s some photos of the night:

2012-01-28-009_thumbAbove: Jim, Billy and Mike await the others arrival.

2012-01-28-010_thumbAbove: Erin & Josh

2012-01-28-012_thumbAbove: Ja-Nessa & Jason


Above/Below: Ja-Nessa is served lamb.


2012-01-28-015_thumbAbove: Billy & Mike.

2012-01-28-016_thumbAbove: Josh & Billy.

2012-01-28-017_thumbAbove: Jim & Garret

2012-01-28-018_thumbAbove: Erin & Josh

We had a lot of fun. The food was excellent. The salad bar was far from ordinary. It had many unique, if not strange, dishes. My favorite meats that I had was the flank steak and chicken wrapped in bacon. Delish. I didn’t even get to try some meats as I filled up fast on the salad bar. Trust me, this was a good thing. I left that place not feeling overly stuff like I’ve been known to do.

If you’ve never been to one before, a Brazilian steakhouse is a MEAT buffet. The appetizers and side dishes are brought to the table, family style. The salad bar is a get up and serve yourself type of thing as for the meat… servers (aka Gauchos) come around with meat on a huge skewer. The skewer usually has different sides with varying degrees to doneness. “Top sirloin?” “How would you like that cooked?” They start to carve it right of the skewer while you use small tongs to hold onto the piece which is being served like so:


Each person has a disk/sign that they flip according to: ready for more meat or on hold. The Gouchos look for the “yes” side and then offer up the meat they have.


Stock photos:

image_thumbAbove: Salad bar

image_thumb1Above: Alcohol bar

image_thumb2Above: Meat bar… Not really since they come to you.

It was yummy. I’m told that regular price for a place like this is typically $50-60 per person. Ouch. Thank goodness for Restaurant Week!

1-25-12 Wednesday (Calculate A Higher Return)

I swapped with a coworker to have the morning off so that the plumber, drywall people and trim/molding guy could make repairs. 

The plumber needs to fix the caulk (again) at the master tub spout.  I think the spout is too loose too.

The trim guy needs to replace baseboard from the floor repair a couple of weeks ago.

The drywall people needs to patch various holes from the previous water leaks and some nail pops.   Jim wants to leave the cut outs for the plumbing just in case.  He’ll later trim it out to make it more attractive in both linen closets.  In exchange for not fixing the 2 plumbing cut outs, we’ll have them fix the old dinette fixture spot as well as where Jim had to fish the speaker wires into the wall.

Everyone arrived just about at the same time.  That’s good I suppose, although I felt like a party host trying to juggle guests.  The drywall guys didn’t have any drywall.  Really.  Basically they “weren’t told about the size of the hole” so they left to go to some of the other construction sites on the block and see if there was any around.

The plumber accessed the pipes in the wall, made the spout tighter, I think he trimmed the pipe, not sure and then recaulked.


I’ve been kind of down on work lately.  Sometimes I feel like there’s so many obstacles at my job to make a sale or make incentive.  They calculated incentive for the past quarter and it didn’t look right to me.  With the help of my coworker, Ja-Nessa, I found about $800.  That’s a lot of money.  There’s so many of us that don’t double check and I wonder how much we’re losing as a result?  Unfortunately, I had no idea how to manually calculate my numbers which describes many of us on the sales floor.

It’s so important that we have great customer satisfaction surveys.  On a scale of 1-5, only a 5 counts.  A 4 or less = 0.  Do you know how many people don’t always give top scores?  Unfortunately, too many 4’s equate to 0 incentive no matter how hard I worked for it.  I call it “incentive control”.

Meanwhile, a wonderful panel of people sit around all day listening to some of my calls, waiting to score me down for missing a word in my script.  Maybe they’ll catch me forgetting some obscure ever-changing rule published in a database that’s difficult to navigate.  Another form of “incentive control”.  I often joke that I might get scored down if I wasn’t rubbing my tummy and spinning around while citing special disclosures to my client. Don’t laugh, I think it happens.

I try to think about the great aspects of my job.  Let’s see, having one to begin with is a plus I suppose.  I like that I don’t have to get all dressed up like I’m going to Walmart or something.


There’s other negatives that I can’t discuss here because they’d be to specific.

I can easily take time off of work.  I can leave early or come in late with little penalty.  The pay scale is fair.   I like my coworkers.  I’ve made friends at work.  It’s close to home.  Sure, there’s a lot of plusses but also a lot of room for improvement. 



Anyway, Saturday night is Chima Brazilian Steakhouse!  It’s the 2nd and last restaurant we’re doing for Restaurant Week.  Stay tuned!

1-22-12 Sunday (Bride Of Man Stuffing His Face)

Today is snow tubing day at Hawksnest in Seven Devils, NC.  Due to rain they were closed Saturday.  This morning we checked the website for updates several times.  Eventually this update appeared:


So with snow pants, gloves and hats packed, we drove approximately 2 hours.  We stopped off for lunch at Canyons of the Blue Ridge, a place we liked last year.  We liked the food and the view.  Unfortunately, there was so much fog, it was difficult seeing 20 feet out ahead.  I just imagined we were up in the clouds.  Smile 

I looked across the room and spotted this woman and her husband:


I thought of this:


What can I say?  Her hair was very tall, almost egg shaped.  Poor thing.  Bless her heart.

Onward to the snow tubing!  We arrived and were disappointed by the scene.  No snow.  Just the man-made snow on the actual course.

2012-01-22 002

We entered the parking lot and saw some people who were getting ready to leave.  We asked how it was.  They said it was getting slushy and people were getting stuck half way down but they had fun.  At $30 a person, Jim and I decided to skip it.  We watched some tubers and confirmed it wouldn’t be as fun.  Just to prove we were there (and because we’re a cute couple):

2012-01-22 004

We decided that despite the 2 our drive each way, the conversation and the scenic ride were worth it.  We managed to plan a vacation.  Virginia in May/June, details are being worked out.  Anyway, we stopped at a huge antique store and browsed.  We then stopped at a gay friendly campground called Starlite Trailer Lodge to check out their property.  We may consider it as weekend getaway in the future.  I’m not sure.

1-21-12 Saturday (Babies Make Me Sick)

It’s been a week since I last posted.  I guess with being back to work it’s the typical day.  Work, dinner, TV.  Maybe we need to get out of the house in the evenings just to be active or something? 

imageLast Sunday we went to see Twilight.  During any type of horror movie, I’m fine.  I like them.  I can separate fiction from non-fiction in my mind.   There was a birthing scene that made me feel ill.  The top of my head was covered in sweat and I got very nauseated.  The thought hadn’t crossed my mind to “think it through” to calm down and instead I was caught up in the moment.  The LONG scene was torture for me and eventually I was fine.  I told Jim about it afterward and we had a chuckle.  I’m not sure where all that came from.  Oh, and 2 large sodas, and a large popcorn was $18.75.  Holy shit!

We were supposed to go snow tubing on Sunday but with me having to work Saturday, we just had to much to do and figured we’d go this weekend.

On Monday, my second weigh in, I lost  2.8 pounds.  This weekend and next will be tough.  We’ll be enjoying Charlotte Restaurant Week once again.   Nom, nom, nom.  More details later after tonight’s visit!

imageWednesday, I swapped schedules with a coworker and went in at 11:30.  I had a dentist appointment.  As usual, problems were spotted.  I’ll be undergoing yet another root planing (aka deep cleaning, aka scaling) which will be broken up into 2 visits.  I’m so sad by this.  About 2 years ago I added flossing to my daily routine.  Because I went a while between cleanings and my condition is marginal, my doctor felt it beneficial to get a good start.  I also have a couple of front teeth with a 2 millimeter movement so I’m gonna need to see a periodontist who maybe able to help with synthetic bone or something.  I was so distraught.  What am I doing wrong?  Jim and I only used ADA approved toothpaste and brushes.  We floss.  The hygienist swears by Sonicare.  Anyone care to give me advice?  It looks like there’s a few kinds.  I’m gonna see if I can get a prescription from the dentist (Dave) and maybe I can use my Health Care Spending Account on it?  I started looking/comparing the models on the Phillips website.  So many choices, so much money.

imageWork has been good.  I’m definitely enjoying my new position.  I’m doing a lot more Home Equity applications with my clients as well as improving their return on deposits.  I don’t know much at all about investments, brokerage, etc nor do I need to in my current role.  I deal with CD’s, checking, and savings as well as loans and lines of credit other than mortgages.  Some of it is so easy some of it is hard or complicated due to state and federal regulations combined with various scripts I have to remember to read during certain situations.  Oy.

imageI forgot to mention, a couple of weeks ago, Jim and I booked flights to Florida for the end of February.  Separately.  It was his idea for he and I to do separate long weekends for a couple of reasons.  Someone would be home for Dasher and Clea.  #2 is so we don’t have to split our time there with our families but rather spend the entire time with our individual families.  I’ll see my mom and dad, grandmother, aunt, cousin and perhaps some other family.  In addition I’ll visit with Mike and Dave. 

imageWe met up with Deanna and Dave (my dentist) for dinner at Bonterra for Restaurant Week.  Below is the 3 course $30 menu we ordered from.  Jim had the mushroom salad, filet, and cheese cake.  It was OK.  I had the feta croquettes, pork tenderloin, and lava cake (I hate to think about how many points this was).  Jim and I split the meats so we could enjoy a variety.  When I cut into the pork it was raw.  I had to send it back.  It came back, mostly cooked.  There was a VERY pink area Jim didn’t eat.  It was not tender either.  We had a great time with friends but I’ll pass on the restaurant in the future.  We have one more restaurant to hit next weekend.  I’m so excited about it too.  Stay tuned.


And no, I didn’t ask Dave for a prescription for Sonicare.  Why ruin dinner with dental talk?  We did get to hear a few amusing stories from Deanna (The HR Lady).  I love her stories. 

DaveDr. Dave of University Dental

imageDeanna (The HR Lady) from Employers Advantage, LLC


DIH - Dasher Peeks 2009: Bums, smoking, littering, and chicken bones in San Francisco.

2010: Failed gym attempts, cupcakes, laziness.

2011: Sexist calculators, Restaurant Week.

1-14-12 Saturday (Scary Cutting Things)

It's my last Saturday at work and then I'm on the Monday to Friday 9-5:30 dream hour schedule!  I've been on the new early hours for a few weeks and now with the addition of the weekends off, it will be great.

imageOn Wednesday the carpet people, framers, and plumber came to the house to take care of a few things on our warranty list.  A major issue upstairs was that the hall floor squeaked and was sunken in a little.  It was actually a concern during the walk through and I convinced Jim to turn the other cheek... then it got worse.  So the carpet people pulled back the carpet, the framer - not farmer - pulled up the floor and had to shave down a truss or something so that the floor board could lay flat.  Using a noisy sawzall device, which scared the bejebus out of the cat and dog (and maybe me a little), they corrected the problem.  The carpet people came by a little later and all is back to normal.

2012-01-12 0292012-01-11 0152012-01-11 0192012-01-11 0202012-01-11 0212012-01-11 022
2 spots in the master bathroom creaked very loudly.  I was worried they'd have to tear up the linoleum but it turns out that the floor to wall moldings were too tight causing the creaking when the floor flexed.  Not that we feel the floor flex but I guess it's just enough.  I'm so happy that it was a simple fix but still amazed such a "stupid" thing could cause a ruckus.

As for the plumbers... oy.  All leaks have been addressed but the master shower temp control had some play so they replaced the valve.  They also had to fix the flange behind the temp lever in the guest bath.  I'm still unhappy with their latest and not so greatest caulking attempt.  Look at the caulk.  It looked bad the next day.

2012-01-12 028

Weight Watchers in going well; on my first week I lost 5.8 pounds.  Maybe water weight maybe fairy dust, I don’t care it’s an achievement and I’m happy.  It’s really not that hard.  A friend, Amy, is also on the diet and I was telling her about an Android app that you can scan barcodes and it calculates points.  It’s so awesome.  She immediately downloaded AN app and her and her husband went around the house playing with it.  Through conversation I found out she downloaded the “real” Weight Watchers app that allowed integration into the points tracker with her iPhone!  I searched the Android market and found the better app so Amy and I are grateful to one another.  What a find!

While I worked my last Saturday, Jim did a couple of projects around the house.  He installed a flexible track lighting in the kitchen over the bar area and a small chandelier over the dinette table.  The amber shades on the track lighting set such a warm tone.  I immediately loved it when I came home.  We have yet to find a dining room chandelier that we like for the price we want to pay.

2012-01-15 005Above: Chandelier-less dining room.  Well, there’s actually one that came with the house, isn’t centered and is pinned against the ceiling so we wouldn’t hit our heads on it during the move.

2012-01-15 001Above/below: Dinette light and ribbon track lighting.  Oh, and wonderful holes that will be patched in a couple of weeks, left over from the plumbing leaks.2012-01-15 002


2012-01-15 003Above: Jim buried the last speaker wire so we’ll sweet talk the drywall guy into patching it.

2012-01-15 004Above: The living room.

After running several errands (returns and what-nots) we went to the motor home to get our snow pants.  Snow tubing season is upon us!  We then went to a Red Robin for dinner.   It wasn’t our usual location and I’m glad for that.  Service sucked.  I went for a veggie burger on a whole grain bun with a side of steamed broccoli.  I thought the flavor to be, well flavorless.  The burger was way too thin.  I do admire Red Robin’s website.  The ability to build and customize your meal with nutritional info is fantastic:

image image

I chose their gardenburger although they also offered a Boca burger.  I don’t like Boca burgers all that much.  I love the Morningstar Farms varieties, especially black bean.  I LOVED the black bean burger I ate a Ice House last weekend.  Oh well, a diet is about sacrificing. 

1-7-12 Saturday (Santa And The Porta-Potty)

OK, so to catch you up, on New Year’s eve morning, Grandma, Jim and I went to Mimi’s.  The 3 of us enjoyed a delicious breakfast and a mimosa toast.


For dinner we went to Olive Garden.  That was the extent of our New Year’s eve celebration.

Jim’s grandma left on New Year’s Day.  Jim and I spent the day shopping, browsing, and whatever.

Monday a few things happened.  It was my first day in my new position.  The place was so empty though.  All of the people in my previous department had the holiday off.  I got double-time-and-a-half so I can’t complain although it’s my nature to complain so consider it a complaint.  That was all tongue-twisty wasn’t it?  Anyway, I would have preferred the time off.  My first day went well; we weren’t terribly busy but thankfully not slammed with calls either.

I also started back up on Weight Watchers.  I am the heaviest I have EVER been and I’m embarrassed about it.  Enough so that I wasn’t going to post the details but then decided that perhaps it would be best to.  I mean, then I can gloat about all the weight I lose.  I am 214 pounds.  Size 38 pants.  It’s all in my belly.  I get out of breath.  I look terrible.  I can’t bend over to tie my shoes.  I have constant indigestion.  My feet hurt no matter what shoes I wear.  My back hurts 80% of the time.  There’s just so much to it.

When I first started Weight Watcher’s I posted what I ate and such.  I won’t be doing that.  Honestly, I don’t have the time.  I’ll definitely be bragging about any milestones.

On Tuesday night while cooking, I found some drops of "water" here and there on the dark wood floors.  I thought it odd and wiped it up only to find that it was "muddy".  Long story short, as I cleaned up various spots I found it to be diarrhea and later discovering it also had blood mixed in.  It was from Dasher.  I stopped everything from cooking and Jim took Dasher to Banfield (out of Petsmart).  They ran some tests and such and diagnosed it as irritable bowel for the moment.  He was prescribed an antibiotic, and some special soft food.  He came home with Jim that night and we continued dinner.  Later, I thought about what he had been eating.  I've been giving him some rawhide sticks as treats.  Small ones.  Plus he has a large rawhide that he chews on from time to time.  Facebook friends agreed that rawhide is evil and can tear a dog up so it's all going in the trash. 

Disgustingly, for the week I've been inspecting his poop and it's solid so I'm hoping all is OK.  We have a followup appointment for next week.  The day after the event, someone from Banfield called to check up on Dasher.  I was very impressed with that level of care.  I'll be sure to let them know that too.

A couple of weeks ago I won a bid on a video game through eBay.  I checked on the tracking number through USPS and it was “delivered” on the 29th.  While researching, I didn’t realize eBay had the old address and Paypal had the new one especially since eBay owns Paypal.  After work I went to the rental house and spoke to the new renter.  Here’s the conversation (I recorded it with my phone):

I sound like a dork and I’m even more of a dork for making it into a video (which was a lot of work).  Did the guy seem to hesitate a little?

It’s been a couple of days and I haven’t received any mail or cards that had previously written “not at this address”.  Why didn’t my forwarding order take care of this?  I guess I’ll stop by a post office since I can’t get a human on the post office phone number.

I stopped at the post office near my house and she tells me to go to the post office near my old house.  I hate the post office.  It’s about even with DMV.  I go to the other post office and they tell me the item was redelivered yesterday and that they don’t show a forwarding order on file for me.  Really?  I did it online in September.  You charged me $1.  I’ve received mail with yellow stickers.  You people suck.  Why doesn't the online tracking show it being redelivered.  You told me it would reflect and changes when a postal worker touches it.  I stopped by the rental again and the wife answered.  The husband came to the door as well and said they had it.  Yay!  I guess I was wrong about him.  Smile

Above/Below: Jim wanted my to take a photo of the Christmas lights before he took them down
 Saturday morning (1-7-12), Jim opened the bedroom blings and spotted 9 deer at the lot on the other side of our drainage ditch.  They went to the lot across the way and later back into the woods.  We enjoyed watching them and a couple of them played here and there:


I took several photos from the bedroom and utility room.  I love this stuff!

I posted the photo on Facebook this morning and someone wanted to know where Santa was.  I laughed.  I think he was using the porta-potty.

By the way, after all the hassle for the video game, it's not all that great... sigh.