6-23-13 Sunday (Lights Out For Me)

I went to a different podiatrist on Tuesday.  The part just below the pinky toe is swollen from an unknown injury.  I was given a cortisone shot.  Later that evening, it was nice not to have foot pain for a change. 

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On Wednesday I took a “comp” day, well half a day, in lieu of working Saturday.  I’m on a 10 week rotation for a 5 hour Saturday.  Since we can’t have overtime, I get to leave early during the week.  It was nice.  That evening, Beth and Jim went to see boy bands in concert. 

The Package Tour: New Kids on the Block with Special Guests 98° and Boyz II MenT460x279

On Friday night, they went to see another concert!

Heart with Jason Bonham’s Led Zeppelin ExperienceT460x279

That’s 2 concerts too many for my taste.  They enjoyed it though. 

On Saturday, while Jim slept in, recovering from his concert evening, I went to work.  The place is so empty on Saturday that the lights kept turning off.  There’s tons of windows around so it wasn’t dark, just not as bright as I’d like.  I had to get up often and walk near a sensor to make the lights come back on.  It was annoying.  In my area there were 4 of us.  3 at one end of the big room and me by my lonesome.  I actually got a lot of work done.  Go me.

2013-06-22 019Above: Hello?

After work, I met Jim at Red Robin.  I do like their burgers and we got free dessert with our frequent dinner or whatever club card.  We can be pretty high maintenance in a restaurant especially in Mimi’s and Red Robin.  Red Robin serves their burgers in a plastic basket.  They call themselves “gourmet”.  Your ass ain’t serving us $10 gourmet burgers in a plastic basket. We always add “on a plate” at the end of our order. During today’s visit, we were told that they’re dropping the baskets next month.  Our special request at Mimi’s????  When we get the French toast and eggs, we ask for the eggs on a separate plate.  We don’t care to have syrup on our eggs.  Shoot me.

My birthday, Sunday, you missed it.  That’s OK, put it on your calendar for next year and send me double gifts.

For my birthday lunch/brunch, we went to Union Street Bistro.  Love that place.  I think it’s in my previous blog entry.  The service started slow and remained slow throughout.  We need to find the name of the first server we had… she was awesome.  Jim had eggs/crab cakes Benedict and I had a chicken salad croissant.  Mmmmm.  Afterwards we walked around the downtown Concord area.

2013-06-23 003Above: Hey shopkeeper, have some pride. Fix the labels, the dust and the webs on your displays.

We went to Ruth’s Chris for dinner.  We bought gift cards on a deal of $78 for $48.  If you’ve ever been to Ruth’s Chris, then you know that’s quite a savings.  We bought 4 of those cards.

2013-06-23 020Above: If you’ve not been to Ruth’s Chris then you’ll be surprise to find out a filet is $40 and that includes NOTHING but the meat… but damn it’s good.

OK, the review: Service started slow.  We waited for our server to come to the table and introduce himself and take a drink order for what I was thinking to be a long time.  Now all of my complaints are geared around “for this price…” It’s lot of money to drop on a slab of meat so I’m gonna rant.  Not that a $5 piece of meat would shut me up either I suppose.  Anyway, we ordered drinks and crab stuffed mushrooms ($13).  The mushrooms were very firm.  The crab mixture had a definite kick to it.  It took a long time to get our salads. Jim had the wedge ($8), I had a chop salad ($8). Yum.  We decided to order a filet ($40) and a ribeye ($43).  It’s our first time ordering something different. We split each cut of meat so we could enjoy both. The ribeye was flavorful and I was glad we ordered it. The steak is cooked/grill in butter and served on a 500º sizzling plate.  For side we had Potatoes Lyonnaise ($8) which was boiled and then fried potatoes with onions.  Jim liked it, I didn’t.  Reminded me of undercooked potato chips. We also shared Asparagus Hollandaise ($10).  By the way, all prices can be seen on the local location website (non-corporate): http://ruths-chris.com/uptown/menu/dinner

Dinner totaled $150 for 2. I would have expected our drinks not to constantly go empty, table cloths without tacky creases (is that normal in a high end restaurant?), and my chair not to excessively squeak. 

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Oh and in case you wondered, Jim doesn’t do asparagus stems:

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6-16-13 Sunday (Powerless)

As you know from the previous post, we took Monday off to deal with Dasher.  For dinner that night we went to Cajun Queen with a Groupon.  We’ve been there several times and enjoy their food.  The service is never really that great and the place is so cramped, it’s ridiculous.  Tonight was the last straw.  We were seated at a 2 top and 12 inches away was another 2 top.  We waited for a server.  None.  Eventually another couple was seated next to us.  Wow, I hate being so close to strangers for dinner.  Oh well.  We waited for a server.  Eventually a server came and went to the couple that was seated several minutes after us.  We got up and left.  Groupon gave us our money back saying it wasn’t their policy to do so but because we were a good Groupon customer, they did it.

Tuesday was back to work.  They stopped overtime.  In fact, now there’s none permitted.  If I’m scheduled to work Saturday (5 hours) then I must leave early Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday.  Oh and Mondays and Fridays aren’t permitted as shortened work days.  I don’t mind the no overtime, but I just think they could have done a no mandatory overtime allowing some optional, and then eventually transitioning to none.  It’s such an extreme change. 

Here’s some photos floating around on my camera.

Box HeadAbove: While at BJ’s.  It was raining.

2013-06-10 012Above: “There, I fixed it.” Kinda. (Walmart)

HairAbove: Spotted in the middle of the road.  Yes, we pulled over so I could get out of the car and take a photo. It’s what I do.  We had a similar in siting Memphis in 2009.  I wonder if it’s related?

Dasher has been doing so much better.  I come home at lunch time to let him out.  Unfortunately, every day there’s been some sort of accident.  He needs to stop that quick because cleaning up pee is gross, tedious and most of the time it still smells until I steam clean the heck out of it.

The sprinkler guy came by on Thursday evening to collect the balance.  He “finished” last week but Jim asked for a few items to be corrected.  We had a wicked rain storm so when I got home I found we had no power.  We waited a while.  No power.  We went out to eat.  Olive Garden hit the spot.

Friday night we dropped off the Rav4 to Toyota for a general inspection and easy recall.  On Saturday morning, the asshole woke us up at 7:31am to tell us what was going on and that it was done.  I don’t know about you, but I would never call a customer that early.  9am would be my earliest just in case.  What do you think is acceptable?

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Jim’s Aunt Patty was going to come for the weekend so we decided to forgo Augusta for obvious reasons.  Later in the week she cancelled and we decided to stay home.  Saturday morning we met up with Deanna, Robin, Beth and David for brunch at Mimi’s.  We had a great time. 

This “there, I fixed it” moment, brought to you by Mimi’s:

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For dinner, Jim and I had a Groupon to Union Street Bistro.   <RANT>: Their website has music.  Autoplaying music on a website is dumb and annoying.  </RANT>  The inside of this place is pretty.  The tables are so spread out and not on top of one another that it’s awesomely awesome.  Our Groupon was for an appetizer and 2 entrees.  To start, we ordered:


This was so delicious, I would order this as a main entrée in the future. For our main entrée we had 12oz ribeyes.  Amazing flavor.  We didn’t think the potatoes Au Gratin were all that so I skipped eating mine.  The meal included bread service with ample butter that was at room temperature.  Don’t you hate when you get butter that is like a rock?  That sucks.  We both added salads to our meal. $1 for a garden salad, $2 for an iceberg wedge.  The prices were very fair.  This place rocked it.  Service started a little slow when we first got seated… no server.  After that, the service was spot on, we never had to look for our server.  Incidentally, this is the same place that catered Ruby and Jamie’s wedding.  We’d definitely go back.  After dinner we walked around the old Concord downtown area. 

6-11-13 Monday (Family Portraits)

I’ll spare you the details (you’ll thank me); I stayed home from work Monday with tummy issues.  You know, the kind that puts you on the toilet way more than you’d like?  As I felt better in the afternoon, I was able to take care of some things around the house. 

2013-06-04Above: Jim installed our family onto the RAV4 and the Mazda.

CanonThis week, I replaced our Canon camera with a new.  I bought it 4-22-12.  It wasn’t old but it was damaged several months back by dirt/dust while at Grandma’s 80th birthday party pony ride extravaganza.  I couldn’t get the dirt off the lens and I think I damaged it by trying to.  It caused halos on my photos too often.  I’m not gonna have crappy photos when we go to Alaska.  I checked Amazon, Walmart, etc for a replacement.  Amazon had the best deal.  Walmart.com was like $10 more but offered a 2 year oops I dropped my camera extended warranty for only $15.  They also shipped it to the house at no charge.  I did look into shipping it back to Cannon for repair but they wanted $180.  Since Walmart had it for $110 (red model only, but that’s OK), I’m assuming Canon was just going to replace it for the $180 with a new or refurbished unit.  I might as well buy a new one.  And so I did.

2013-06-03Above: A picture of Dasher for no reason.

Saturday night we went to dinner with Jeff and Paul to Farmhaus Burger.  Before I post my review, I have to tell you that I really don’t search for a better burger anymore.  I love Five Guys, Whataburger (not in NC) and Red Robin.  So I’ve reached a burger plateau.  When I do have a burger, I don’t expect much.  I must say, Farmhaus had a good burger.  A different burger.  The flavor was different and in a good way.  Maybe it’s the meat blend?

Our HAUSmade, dry-aged, double patty beef burgers are made from a custom grind of Chuck, Brisket, and Short Rib sourced from local Southeastern Angus Beef.

They had sweet potato tots.  Not like a standard tot but it was more like a sweet potato croquet.  It could have been better with a pinch of cinnamon and sugar.  The fries were OK.  The onion ring batter was more flour than anything.  Flavorless.  None of us were impressed with them.  But… they had a good burger and it’s a local, non-chain restaurant.

Here’s something we saw Sunday while out for lunch.

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Dasher was very ill this weekend.  Here’s the story in blue so you can skip it if you’re not interested, or if you’re like me and hate hearing about sick animals… it tugs at the heart.

On Tuesday, Dasher wasn’t eating much.  He had thrown up a few times around the house.  Wednesday he didn’t eat much again.  He crapped out in the back yard and Jim inspected and found blood in his overly soft stool.  Thursday morning Jim took him to the vet but they scheduled him for 10am instead so he took the day off.  The vet did some tests and gave him some meds.  Anti vomit, antacid and antibiotic.  He prescribed some prescription diet food.  Dasher wouldn’t eat it.  I gave him some puppy wet food which he did eat some off.  By Friday, he seemed to be doing better and with the vet’s blessing, off to Augusta we went.

In Augusta, Dasher wouldn’t eat.  Saturday morning I walked him and he pooped the color and consistency of ketchup.  Really.  Off to the vet we went.  Look at the bottom of Banfield’s board. 

2013-06-08 004Above: “Have A Awsome Day”.

Luckily we take him to Banfield (out of Petsmart) and his records are accessible at each store.  We also have a Wellness Plan for him that reduces fees, waives office visits, etc.  Anyway, the vet there said things looked normal.  He gave us a deworming treatment just in case.  He suggested mixing chicken broth in Dasher’s food.

Sunday at 3am Dasher had a grand mal seizure.  It lasted for a few minutes and was terrifying.  Drooling, kicking, etc.  At the end of it he was lethargic, out of breath and extremely disoriented.  I wasn’t even sure that he recognized us.  It was heartbreaking.  We went back to sleep and planned to take him to the vet again.  At 7am, he had another grand mal seizure. The vet opened at 9 so we got dressed and headed out a little early, stopping at McDonald’s for breakfast.  I sat in the back seat with Dasher.  We got some food and parked to eat in the car.  Dasher was restless and very clumsy/disoriented.  He grabbed at my food which was unusual and bold.  He actually managed to get a small bite of the bagel part.  He didn’t eat it.  Since he hasn’t been eating, I wanted to accommodate his appetite.  He ate a smidgeon of ham and egg.  I mean, a very small portion.  A piece you might give an infant.  I was still having hopes though.  I mean some food finally, yay.  He had another wicked seizure.  He peed in the pet bed.  We were thankful that we had a water proof pet shield of sorts over the seats.

We finally made it to the vet’s office.  During the exam, the vet left the room to get some IV stuff and anti seizure stuff.  While the vet was gone, Dasher had another bad seizure.  We got the vet back into the room.  During the seizure he was able to anally administer the anti seizure med.

We left Dasher for treatments with the vet.  The doctor said we could come back at four to discuss his current condition.  We went to a Laundromat to wash sheets and clothes in case we had to spend another night.

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The vet called us a couple of times with status’ which was awesome.  At a little before 4, he called to say he was doing great and back to normal. 

Dasher wasn’t back to his normal but he seemed generally OK.  He got restless in the car, then peed himself in the pet bed.  We think he had a minor seizure. We got back to the RV, packed up and hit the road.  It was about 6pm.  On the way home, he peed himself again.  We decided to stop and get a waterproof sheet for our bed as well as a shower curtain liner for the couch.  I also put pee pads under each one of his pet beds.  He wouldn’t eat.

Monday morning we stayed home from work.  The bed was dry!  He went outside and peed.  He was looking for food.  I gave him a 1/4 can of the prescription food.  He gobbled it up.  I gave him more.  He didn't want it.  I gave him boiled chicken, nope.  I gave him 1/4 can of Iams.  He ate it.  I gave him more, nope.  I’d say he ate about a 1/2 can.  That made me happy.

We took him for his vet appointment.  They checked his glucose level and he was a little low. The doctor said he was doing fine though.

In the evening we gave him another half a can which he gobbled up.  We added Nutri-Cal that our vet gave us to help with caloric intake and vitamins.  I think he’s back to normal!

6-2-13 Sunday (Feminine Shapes)

A couple of weeks ago they started installing the sprinkler system.  They ran into lots of issues.  The ground is filled with rocks, stones and clay.  They needed to bring in some machinery to get into the ground.  First they called to have the utilities marked.  On Thursday, they had to bring on one of these.


The owner guy said that usually he doesn’t have these issues but our ground is tough.

Thursday night our cable, phone and internet didn’t work (all through Time Warner).  I’m sure they severed a line.  They said they didn’t but we’ll found out after Time Warner sends someone out Saturday (we’ll be in Augusta). 

On Friday, I came home to see this.


No workers present.  I emailed the photo to the sprinkler dude with “they left my yard like this?”  Tools and parts all over.  He emailed back an apology stating that a father and son team was working and the son fell ill, the father took him to the doctor.  I don’t know what happened.

I loaded up the RAV4 with the last minute stuff, grabbed Dasher, picked up Jim, we ate some Publix subs and made it to Augusta.

On Saturday we got up late. I have to tell you, that over the past few visits, we’ve been darkening the bedroom.  We bought truck size reflective sun visors to put in the bedroom windows.

Having it nice and dark and cold has been awesome.  Maybe too awesome.  We didn’t wake up till 11am.  I felt like a teenager.

We went to lunch with Jeff and Paul to Nacho Mamas.  This was one of the places that was closed last weekend.  Jim and I both has quesadillas.  Jim’s was a custom order veggie combo of mushrooms, spinach, and zucchini.  Mine was pork and black bean. We also all shared guacamole and a queso dip.  Both very good as well.  It was pretty good food, we’ll be back.

When we got back to the campground, we headed to the pool.  The water was much warmer than last week.  The sun was strong, the water cool, it made for a nice time.  Afterwards, it was nap time! 

I’m not sure how long we slept but when we woke up we lounged around, eventually got dressed and went to a Chinese restaurant, New Ming Wah.  We ate there last year.  We had a family platter and we took home 3 large containers of left overs.  It was tasty.


On Sunday, we readied the RV for it’s week without us. We close the blinds, vacuum/mop, empty the black and gray tanks, collect the towels, drain the ice maker, take out the trash and cut off the water supply.  We then went to the Boll Weevil for lunch.  We enjoyed our meal, returned to the RV to finish up last minute stuff, collect Dasher and then hit the road for the 3 hour drive.  That’s much different from a 3 hour tour. 

I need to catch up on some photos I had in my phone.  Ready?

2013-05-03 044Above: This was in the hallway of my office building.  I really wanted to cap it with an electrical wire nut and write, “there, I fixed it.”

2013-05-04 045Above: Really?  Are you too stupid to boil pasta and open a jar of sauce?  I can’t even imagine this tasting any good.

2013-05-05 046Above: Meanwhile at Walmart.  American Crown, made in China.  Face palm.

2013-05-07 047Above: Everyone at work got a Dixie cup with soil and wildflower seeds to support a slogan/program they had going on.  Mine sprouted in a day or two.  A coworker’s did not.  She just about obsessed about it.  One night (mine had several more sprouts by this time) after she left, I took mine and swapped it with hers.  She came in the next morning and was thrilled and told everyone all about how it came to life with a vengeance.  I never told her.  It’s kinda funny.

2013-05-25 050Above: Mmmmmm a 3.5oz steak for a dollar from the Dollar Tree will go nicely with your Hamburger Helper Spaghetti. 

2013-05-25 051Above: Ladies, this just in… also at the Dollar tree.  Keep in mind they create a more feminine shape… as opposed to ?

WoodyAbove: A woodpecker screwing up our fence.

5-27-13 Monday (Girls Just Wanna Have… Makeup)

Having a long weekend was nice. Thursday night we packed up the car as much as possible. On Friday, after work, I went home, loaded up the remainder of things, grabbed the dog and went South to pickup Jim for work.  Pretty much our usual I guess. Jim leaves his car at work and we continue onto Augusta.  Our new norm is that Jim orders Publix subs via the internet and then we pick them up several miles down the interstate in Tega Cay, SC.  The store has a great outdoor table area that is always shaded at our time of arrival.  One of us goes inside to pick up the subs and the other waits with the dog.  We love their subs!  Yum!  Roast beef and cheese for Jim and the Italian for me.

We arrived at the campground at about 9ish, unpacked, relaxed and went to bed.  Saturday we shopped, socialized and went to a place in downtown Augusta called The Cotton Patch.  Cool building.  It may have been an old mill.  There’s so many old mills through the Carolinas.  I had a club that was quite tasty.  It’s actually hard to find a decent club sandwich!  We spotted a Saturday Market on the River event that we were going to walk through after lunch but by the time we finished… it was gone.  We found that it’s a weekly deal so we’ll go next weekend.  *unfortunately, I’m typing this post from August the following weekend and we’re not gonna make it there.  Maybe the next time?

We went to Walmart.  I spotted a Walmartian.


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She reminded me of an old Cyndi Lauper groupie.  She had lots of things strapped to herself, gobs of excessively applied makeup, and luggage that she wheeled around.  Homeless?  I wouldn’t think so with all that makeup on so perhaps just a sick woman.  As they say in the South, bless her heart.

Saturday night dinner was at Joe’s Underground Pub.  The place was empty.  I guess it was a little early for their bar business?  We went in with a Groupon.  We both ordered chicken salad sandwiches.  The chicken salad is made in house and was pretty good.

When we’re at the RV, Dasher sits in the booth with us.  He could barely fit up there with the cone on.  We couldn’t really lift him because he had stitches everywhere we’d normally brace our hands under to lift him.  His cone isn’t a good fit because he’s small with a long snout so the vet always has to tape the cone closed rather than the snaps that are provided.  We decided to buy Velcro and attach that to the cone so that we could take it off and reinstall easily.  Unfortunately he’ll have to wear it in bed so that he doesn’t lick at his wounds while we’re sleeping.  Unfortunately while Jim was showering I wasn’t watching Dasher and he removed the stitches from a wound.  Luckily it was healed enough to not bleed but still look raw.  I’m a bad parent.

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Sunday afternoon I went to the pool while Jim finished up a project at the RV. There were absolutely no available chairs.  No one was in the pool, and with one dip of my foot, I could tell why.  It was too cold.  The thing about the chairs was that way too many of them had towels on them with no people.  If they weren’t in the pool then where the hell were they?  That really pissed me off.  It’s very inconsiderate.  In just about a tizzy, I turned around and walked back to the RV.  Jim had just gotten ready to come meet me so why nixed the pool idea and went to lunch instead.

We grabbed our campground friend, Paul, and headed to lunch at The Garlic Clove.  This is our second visit to this yummy Italian eatery.  I think we finally found a non-Olive Garden yum yum spot.  The night before we went there just for take out of cake.  On Facebook, they posted this:

It was a peanut butter cake and unbelievable moist.  Social media worked.

For dinner, one of the residents in the campground hosted a BBQ.  It was huge.  There were more people than their huge tent and site could handle so we spilled out onto some of the other sites.  It was a great time, great food.  We brought spinach dip. 

Monday it was time to depart, but first lunch!  We attempted to eat at a few local restaurants in downtown but our first and second choice place were closed for the holiday.  We settled on Mellow Mushroom pizza.  It’s yummy but it’s a chain and we wanted to eat local.  Oh well.

When we got back to Charlotte, we traded Jim’s 2005 BMW in on a RAV4.  He’d been eyeballing this vehicle on the internet.  Years ago we had a 2002 Toyota RAV4.  It was a 4 cylinder but we liked it.  This is a 2010 RAV4 with a 6 cylinder and an incredibly powerful engine.  It only has 15,000 miles on it.  It was several thousand dollars cheaper at Parks Chevrolet than Jim had seen elsewhere.  We negotiated a little more but they wouldn’t come down on the price.  The best we could do is negotiate on the trade in value.  We did and arrived at a fair deal.

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I will tell you that I received an email from our insurance agent:

James & Garret,

The dealership called to day to change out the '05 BMW with the '10 Rav 4.

I have attached a temporary id card to use until you receive the original in the mail.

I have never had a dealership do that.  How awesome!  Now that’s great service.