Monthly Archives: February 2012

Happy Leap Day, everyone!

Everyone’s favorite extra day is finally here! Are you doing anything special? I drank my coffee with no sugar (a huge difference compared to my standard sugar-laden preference). Does that count as mixing up the routine?

Are you wearing blue and yellow?

Liz Lemon did! 🙂 Thanks for 30 Rock, NBC.

[View the whole episode here]

I think I’ll use the evening to have cereal for dinner while wrapping my head around the fact that it’s March 2012. Maybe I’ll do something spontaneous like go buy myself some school bus undies. Who knows, I’m wild like that.

Enjoy seizing your day!

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Duct disappointment

As we approach three years in our home, Jeremy and I decided it was high time to have our duct work cleaned. We received a coupon for a company that we couldn’t find any bad or good reviews about, so we figured we’d bring them out for a trial.

It was a whole house duct-work clean and AC unit handler inspection for $18. They were able to come out quickly, called 30 minutes in advance of the appointment to give us a heads-up and showed up right on time. The serviceman was very nice and quick to explain the process and start working. Great!

The first step is to cover one of the vents with this giant tube.

Then this huge vacuum bin gets attached.

And the action starts.

I was so excited to see what it pulled out of the ducts.

This sucker means business. 🙂

The technician assured me that seeing the results is a fun part and that we’ll feel better and breathe better. Excellent start!

As to be expected with a promo offer-induced visit, he tried to up-sell us to another package that included organic deodorizer and dryer vent cleaning, etc. for $54. We said thanks but no thanks. We just wanted a trial and if it went well, we’d consider more services from them in the future.

While the vacuum did its thing, he started the inspection of our AC handler. Once the cover came off, the dust, pet hair, green mold, rust and dirt was revealed. Yikes.

Oh my grossness.

The serviceman immediately said that we needed it cleaned and we promptly nodded in agreement while gagging. Ick. However, he was all too quick to tell us this cleaning would mean he had to extend his visit for hours longer than planned and would cost $600.We thanked him profusely for the assessment but politely declined the immediate cleaning. We told him we hoped that we could schedule it once our tax return came in and we had a chance to get other quotes.

Unfortunately, that’s when it all went down hill. Fast. He scowled and told us if we wanted to breathe poison, he guessed we could. Wha??? What kind of reaction is that?

He rolled his eyes and started putting our unit back together. I asked if we had a problem. I again thanked him and told him surely he could understand the need for us to process this new information. He made a remark under his breath and ignored me. Wow.

Since we didn’t want to pay $54 that day, why would he think we’d be okay with shelling out 12 times that amount?! Without any other research or quotes, no less. Just, wow. We were so ready for him to leave. I couldn’t believe what an attitude he had so suddenly.

It was time to pay. I offered him a check. He said he couldn’t take checks, just credit or cash. I offered him a credit card. He said he couldn’t accept American Express. I offered him cash (a $20 bill for our $18 charge). He said he didn’t have change. SON.OF.A.BISCUIT! How are you going to be rude AND make taking my money so difficult? Finally, we gave him a Visa and rushed him out.

Seriously, what a terrible experience. He also never showed me what the vacuum sucked out of our ducts, so for all I know, it was nothing. Weird, right? Such a shame.

But it was a great way to ensure his company never had to find a way to take our $600. 😉 And we did get a peek inside so we know what to look for with the next company. Does anybody has a good AC guy? Haha.

Hope you’re having a great week and breathing easy.

Slainte!

Most importantly, Saturday the 25th was my little brother’s birthday! We are far apart but I left him a rapping remix of Happy Birthday in his voicemail sooo…it all worked out. Ha!

I took this of him as he drove away to move out to Utah--lip out, waving bye.

I miss him terribly.

He and I go way back.

But he told me he had a great day so that was all that mattered.

After my call to him, Jeremy and I headed out for the plans we had for the rest of the day…

Slainte means “thanks!” or “cheers!” in Scottish and I can’t think of a better sentiment for my time at the Scottish festival over the weekend.

Welcome!

I told you last week I was so looking forward to going to the Northeast Florida Highland Games and they didn’t disappoint! A photo tour is the best way to share it with you. 🙂

The competitions started early.

Manly kilted displays of athleticism.

Disc-onnected Dog display.

I don't know how Scottish it was, but they were a crowd-pleaser for sure.

A herding demonstration used ducks and sheep. Ducks were especially challenging!

I told them they were next. "Wait, what?!" Hehehe

These herding dogs were seriously focused.

Jeremy was a warrior.

I was a dancer!

We made our way to the petting zoo. I heart pigs.

Jeremy made kissy noises to befriend a miniature goat.

I held a baby goat. It wasn't a big deal or anything...

We pet one of the Scottish Highland cattle on parade.

I think some of the vendors were confused...

We entered a battle axe throwing competition.

Neither of us won, but we DID hit the target and felt like badasses.

Even though there was a children's division, too, haha.

We watched guys chuck tree trunks.

I busted Jeremy being chosen by a border collie puppy. I had to check his shirt on the way out.

http://www.rathkeltair.com/

We rocked out to Rathkeltair, a Celtic rock band, and bought their Something Good For A Change CD to listen to on the way home.

I quenched my thirst with Doc McGilly's handmade soda.

And we couldn't leave without some grub--fish, chips and a bridie (meat and onions in a puff pastry). I couldn't bring myself to order haggis.

Then is was a relaxing 45-minute drive home. I was pooped…and truthfully, the tiniest bit sunburned on my face and chest where my sweater was open. That dang Florida sun will getcha even on cool days. 🙂

The view from one of the three bridges to get home. Jacksonville isn't called River City for nothing.

Hope you had a great weekend! Anybody brave enough to try haggis? Or throw a battle axe with children?

Fit Friday: 30-Day Shred Level 2

Happy Friday!

After a half-assed commitment to Level 1, I decided not to allow myself to get bored with the old routine or put off what I said I would do. Last Sunday, I officially switched to Level 2.

Oh.ma.goodness.

Level 2 uses the same 3-2-1 system: Three minutes cardio, two minutes strength and one minutes abs in circuits. This adds up to a 20-minute workout of using large and small muscles at the same time (it takes about 25 minutes if you add in her intro, warm up and cool down).

Also like Level 1, Level 2 includes standard basics that don’t need gear or skill like jumping jacks, push-ups and crunches. However, they are more than the standard moves you learned in gym class.

Instead, she has you do things like walk-out push ups…you bend to touch your toes then use your hands to walk out into push up position while keeping your knees straight, then do the push up and hand-walk back to touch your toes and stand up.

The combination weight moves are more technical. Well, maybe not hard technical but they do require more balance and form to do them correctly then some of the more basic stuff in Level 1.

These are the leg extensions with an Army press.

And it’s great because from the back, you can’t tell how red and panicked my face looks. 🙂 At one point near the end, Jillian’s demo girls are soaked in sweat and she says that she want you to feel like you are going to die so you know you’re giving it all you have. To her I said, “CHECK!”

But I do love (LOVE!) that they don’t make it look easy or pretty. It’s about getting yourself results and constantly pushing your body. This was such a weird/giant realization for me, although now it seems obvious, it has helped me be less self-conscious. I’m such a nerd–but that’s a post for a different day.

I have made myself do the whole thing and am working on mind over matter. Just breathing through and focusing on the movements really helps and makes me feel like I’m making good progress (as opposed to an out-of-place doughball).

I’ll let you know how this next level is are when I finish and introduce Level 3 when get there. I have it scheduled for 30 days from now. Please pray 🙂 . Have a fantastic weekend.

In case you want a reminder that not all people suck

Maybe you were sitting around today and are caught up in your own trials. Maybe you were just thinking, “I really want to cry…hard, like a little girl” Either way, you should visit this site. http://loveforlucas.tumblr.com/

Lucas is a 3-year-old Jacksonville kiddo who has a rare disease. His family had one shot at a cure so went to Duke hospital in North Carolina–quit their jobs and moved there. They’ll be there at least six months. That blog is their updates.

The summary is, they found out Lucas was sick and that they needed to get to N.C. + find a way to not live out of their car and rob vending machines (my words, not theirs! 🙂 ). If you’d like photos to tell their story, view their imgur post.

Their intro photo from the imgur site (!).

A family member (okay, technically it’s the mom’s sister’s boyfriend but after the outcome, I pretty sure he’s considered family) posted on Reddit about the need for money and people came out of the woodwork like no one could believe.

I think their comments are the best part, like these:

  • I only had $5.08 left in my checking account. There’s five more dollars coming your way.
  • I can go without my weed for a week. I donated my $100. Good luck Lucas. God speed.

  • Even though Im a poor college kid your little guy deserves my money more than me. Good luck!

  • Just sold some furniture on craigslist and was wondering what I would buy. I donated all of it to Lucas, you are in my thoughts. $250.00

Read them all here on Reddit.

Apparently, this was quite publicized back in December and I somehow missed it. If you’re like me, these two are good catch-ups:

Have a great Thursday! Power through and work for that weekend. Do something nice for a stranger. Pet your dog, kiss your kid and let your family/friend/coworker/mentor/mailman/whoever know how grateful for them you are.

 

 

My first oyster roast

My friend, who I co-threw a bridal shower for, and her groom-to-be were just celebrated at their engagement party. Her parents hosted an oyster roast. And Jeremy and I were there, of course! We’ll show up anywhere to try food so celebrating an awesome couple was just further confirmation.

They set up a cute bar station.

I loved the handwritten chalkboard signs. I think everyone started out with wine (except for Jeremy and me) but by the end of the day, we shifted to the left side of the bar. 🙂

Snacks and desserts were stationed inside.

It made for a casual grazing area while the open grill outside did its thing.

Everyone so enjoyed themselves, it was fun to witness!

But then I realized why they were all gathering around that table. The main food show had come out!

Like this huge pan of low country boil.

This low country celebration was perfect as the bride-to-be’s parents live right on the river and the couple is marrying in New Orleans. A festive, casual affair where everyone chatted while hovering around the pan made for an easy good time.

And, of course, the real stars...oysters!

I’d never had oysters…because they are slimy and disgusting. But I can now say that steamed, with datil pepper sauce on a saltine? Delicious! And let me tell you, that day, I think I made up for my almost-three, oyster-less decades.

And I wasn't the only one by far. Everyone WOLFED down each batch that came out.

It was messy and crazy but I had people I had never met before showing me tips to use the oyster tools and everyone laughing and trading places between the oyster half of the table and the low country boil half of the table.

Last shrimp standing.

Speaking of the low country boil, they caught the shrimp that morning out of the river! I love living in a water town. And knowing wonderful people who make delicious datil pepper sauce and welcome us to their dock. 🙂

Their view of the St. Johns River.

Jeremy tried to take my picture.

But it was so windy I couldn't stop laughing... getting whipped in the face by my own hair.

And because I’m a nerd, I figured I’d go back to the house and take more awkward photos with my dear friend.

We were primping.

Vogueing attempts were futile. We realized that our middle school selves would be very disappointed in us being so out of practice.

I think the dog was more vogue than us, haha.

But, I guess you don’t stay friends for this long without being okay with silliness.

We eventually got to this one. 🙂

Such good, casual, quality time. I love those types of events! Hmmm, now I wanting datil pepper sauce with lunch though…

Around the water cooler

Well, there seems to be a chatty bug in my office today and everyone is playing catch-up with each other and world news. Of course, I use the phrase “world news” loosely since topics are less Greece riots or political action and more Chris Brown at the Grammys and my cat has a bladder infection.

Riveting stuff, I tell you!

But I thought, for funsies, I’d bring you in on the conversation. 🙂 Warm up your half cup of coffee and stretch you legs by joining me. This is what lunch breaks are for, right?

First up: Chris Brown. Love him, hate or don’t care either way? Mostly it’s a hate him or couldn’t care less attitude from me and my coworkers. How about you?

Topic #2: OK, fine, it was me who has a cat with a bladder infection. Poor little guy! “Little” being a term of endearment, not an accurate description of our 18-pounder. He is on antibiotics that I get to toss down his throat twice a day. He is not a fan. On the upside though, he has discovered a love of his carrier.

Oh, sorry, did I disturb you?

This is a huge improvement over the previous running and hiding when it gets pulled out and crying and headbutting as we put him in. Hope your bladder is a-okay. Anybody else have overweight, stubborn cats who always win?

Topic #3: It’s Fat Tuesday!!! Mardi Gras, baby! And although, there is no bead throwing in the workplace–that’s inappropriate and frightening, there is plenty of talk about what we’d be doing right now if we were in New Orleans.

Surely, I'd be hanging out with Cyndi Lauper.

[LA Times Fat Tuesday article here]

Also, my immense love of King Cake is at its yearly peak. Mmmmm. So, are you partaking in any frivolities? Carb-loading? Preparing to give anything up for Lent?

Topic #4: The Northeast Florida Scottish Highland Games are at the Clay County Fairgrounds this Saturday, the 25th. Jeremy and I have our tickets and I can’t wait to see men in kilts hurl trees and battle axes to prove their manliness and listen to all the great music. Also, to eat, drink and visit the petting zoo! 🙂 Not to mention learning about the clans and watch the flag ceremony. I’m so excited. Are you going? Have you attended something similar? Do you love whiskey?

What’s going on where you are? What do you know, what do you say? Happy Tuesday!