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Wednesday, May 27, 2009

All my bags are packed, I'm ready to go

Ok they aren’t totally packed, but close enough. As I have mentioned, Brian, Allison, Wade, and I are leaving tomorrow for a vacation to Plainfield (outside of Indianapolis) and Chicago. Because I have a condition that causes me to obsessively plan ahead (or because I’m a loser—it’s a toss up), I deemed it necessary to not only do most of my packing last night, but to try on everything I want to wear in advance. And here is where my evening became very frustrating.

Girls, I know you can relate to this. Guys (do any guys read this?), just pretend to empathize for a moment. I may have worn an outfit 8,234 times before and been perfectly happy and comfortable in it. This does not mean, however, that it’s impossible for me to try on said outfit for the 8,235th time and suddenly think it looks ugly/makes me look fat/makes me look pale, etc. Why is this?

I’m assuming this is all mental considering my body has not changed in 2 years, let alone in the 2 months since I probably last wore the outfit. Nonetheless, I found it completely necessary to huff and puff after trying on each outfit and boldly declare to Brian that, “I HAVE NO CLOTHES! I HAVE LITERALLY NOTHING TO WEAR!” At which time he rolled his eyes and went back to watching baseball. And this is marriage in a nutshell.

Regardless, I eventually (1.5 hours later) put together a few satisfactory outfits and decided I was done with packing for the night… minus a quick trip to Target to find some more flip flops because “all of my flip flops are ugly and they don’t match any of the outfits I picked out.” Brian, pretending that I am even remotely rational, kindly went with me and even pretended to be interested as I weighed the pros and cons of flip flop # 1 vs. flip flop # 2. I would like to pat myself on the back, by the way, as I showed great restraint and did not even STOP when we walked by the One Spot, and though I ogled at some new dresses that they have, I didn’t try on a thing. Now that is self-control.

To reward me for finally finishing packing and to reward Brian for putting up with me, we rounded off the evening with a quick trip to Chick-Fil-A where Brian ordered an Oreo milkshake and I settled on an Ice "dream" cone. And let me tell you, it was dreamy. Not as dreamy as an Oreo milkshake with whipped cream and a cherry on top, but certainly better than the Fat Free Snack Pack pudding waiting for me at home.

I think the most amusing part of the evening, however, was when Allison called me at 9 pm to inform me that she had just spent the entire evening trying on clothes and also had a hard time finding anything to wear. And she and Wade also made an impromptu trip to Target... cue the Twilight Zone music.

Oh, and just to clarify the purpose of this trip: we are first making a trip to Plainfield, Indiana, to visit our friends, Sara and Clayton Callen. Sara was a Chi Omega with Allison and me at A&M, and we also co-led a college Sunday School class together at our church in College Station. She is a great friend, and we were very honored to be bridesmaids in her wedding to Clayton last September. We have gotten to hang out with Clayton a few times and he is also wonderful… even if he declared that his favorite food is “beans.” Who says that?! Anyway, they are moving to Kansas City in a few weeks so we are glad we were able to squeeze in a visit before they peaced out of town!

So we are spending Thursday-Saturday morning in Plainfield, and then driving to Chicago (3 hours away) for the rest of the weekend. The Callens are going to join us for Saturday and then they have to leave to get back to the real world on Sunday. So we’ll spend the rest of Sunday (a very important day, don't forget!) and Monday solo in Chicago before heading back to Texas.

I assure you that fun times will be had by all. I likely won’t be blogging while we’re gone, UNLESS Allison and I get the urge to blog together at the hotel or something… you just never know! But seriously, don’t be disappointed if it doesn’t happen, because if the internet is not free at our hotel, it’s likely that these 2 frugal twins will not be connected. So just in case, try not to miss us too much!

And to close, here's a pic of us with the Callens at their wedding. Looking forward to seeing y'all tomrrow, Sara and Clayton!:

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Memorial Day weekend re-cap... how's that for a catchy title?

Ok whoa. Did anyone else watch the season premiere of Jon & Kate + 8 last night? They might as well have just flashed images of wounded puppies or hungry orphans on the screen for an hour, because it was about that depressing. I am kind of hoping that this is a publicity stunt and that when the season is over, they’ll come on screen and yell, “SURPRISE! We were just kidding about allowing a reality tv show to take priority over our marriage—fooled you!” But sadly, I don’t think that’s going to happen. Ok let’s move on to cheerier topics.

Emma’s ballet recital was hysterical—picture this: 7 or 8 4-year-olds wearing tutus and standing in a line on stage… for the duration of the entire song. The teachers were on either side of the stage doing the dance to remind them of their moves, but apparently they either (a) had stage fright or (b) decided to go on strike because they stood still the entire time. There was actually one little girl who was really into the dance and was following along with the teachers, so it was kind of funny to watch her bust a move while the rest of them just stood there paralyzed with fear. Don’t worry—Emma still received flowers and a great deal of praise for her impressive performance… it’s tough being the oldest grandchild and only girl :)

After our fun and food-filled couple of days in Austin, we came back to spend the rest of the weekend in Richmond, leaving the house only to lay out at the pool (refer to Allison’s post for thoughts on the love-hate relationship that I also share with laying out) and make a quick trip to Wally World. Only the essentials, obviously. Anyway, it was nice to have a couple of days to actually rest, especially because that meant I was under no obligation to fix my hair or put on makeup. Check plus in my book.

I should also share with you that I received a very important e-mail this weekend regarding my upcoming birthday. Any guesses on who (or should I say where?) it was from? Yes, that’s right, Dairy Queen. I am the proud recipient of a buy one Blizzard, get one free coupon simply because it’s (almost) my birthday. Now if that’s not a good reason to sign up for the Blizzard Fan Club, then I don’t know what is.

Ok and that’s all I have for today. As promised, I’ve added a few pictures from the weekend… and no, they are not from the messy hair/no makeup portion of the weekend. Sorry!

Brown flashing his pearly whites

Chunky Baby Sayers with his mommy

Hanging out with the Olivers before Emma's recital

Emma with Bond, one of her friends and adoring fans

Me with the slightly uncooperative but still adorable birthday princess

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Most popular post ever!

Based on your comments, I think it’s safe to say that yesterday’s boring post ended up being the most popular post I’ve ever written! Ok that’s not really true, and if a post devoted to cockroaches and foreign objects that my dog eats was the pinnacle of my blogging career, that would be quite a disappointment.

I was glad, however, to see that so many of you were willing to share your favorite breakfast cereals with the world wide web- so thanks to each of you for providing material for today's blog. For those of you that are bored at work, er, I mean, those of you that are interested, I have made some conclusions regarding your cereal preferences below:

First of all, I find it interesting that out of those of you that responded, only one person actually picked their favorite. Everyone else listed at least two. Desiree, however, left no doubt that Honey Nut Cheerio’s are her favorite. Good call… those are timeless.

Second, apparently most of my readers are elderly people parading as young 20-somethings. The majority of the cereals were something I would expect to find in my grandparents’ kitchen (shout out to Jean Mom and Roy!), and at nursing homes worldwide. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, however, considering the fact that I eat Raisin Bran on a daily basis. Just call me “Nana.”

Here were the top winners (aka: the cereals that got more than 1 vote):
Cinnamon Toast Crunch (3 votes)
Cracklin’ Oat Bran (2 votes… seriously?! I’m surprised “All Bran” wasn’t also a big hit)
Quaker Oatmeal Squares (2 votes)
Kashi also got 2 votes, but for 2 different flavors, so I’m not giving Kashi any awards just yet.

Angela also gets a shout out for suggesting the most “kiddy” cereals—Rice Krispy Treats being my favorite throwback that she mentioned. Coincidentally, she is pregnant right now, so I think it’s safe to say her child will approve of her taste in cereal.

Oh, and I have to give Allison a special mention because she is the ONLY one who listed Raisin Bran as a favorite. She might just be sucking up, but still a wise move if she was wanting to gain points. Do y’all like how I’m treating this like the Cereal Olympics?**

Also, I would have to agree with you all (all 3 of you) that Cinnamon Toast Crunch is one of the greatest cereals (and inventions, for that matter) ever created. It’s excellent with and without milk, and is great for breakfast OR for a snack. I know this because the first house mom we had at the Chi O house kept nothing edible in the house except cereal, so Cinnamon Toast Crunch basically provided the bulk of my diet for a year of my college career. Model of nutrition, I tell you.

And speaking of the Chi O house, my good buddy and fellow Chi Omega, Risa, declared boldly that Oh’s and Cracklin’ Oat Bran would change our lives if we ate them. So there’s a challenge for all of you.

But the final (and most absurd, mind you), challenge came from Kara, who said: “Now, I think you should have to try at least one new type next week :) I know you can do it!”

Kara, how very optimistic of you to think that I am capable of change! Thanks for believing in me, even if the odds are against it ever happening :o) I’ll tell you what—I will add ONE new cereal to the mix in the next couple of weeks and see how it goes. If it’s a positive change, then I’ll consider expanding my horizons further. But don’t be surprised if I quit after one attempt for the sake of being stubborn and predictable.

I’ll keep you posted!

**Brian and I have always thought it would be great if someone would make a cartoon that features all of the cereal mascots battling it out for the title of Supreme Cereal Mascot… much like the Cereal Olympics. Personally, I have always thought that the giant sunshine man on Raisin Bran box would win, both because I am loyal to my food, and because, hello? HE’S THE SUN.

Who do YOU think would win?

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

I apologize in advance for this waste of a post

I turned my seat heater on this morning in the car. In May. In Houston. And not because I like to sweat on the way to work. The temperature was legitimately in the 50s outside. My friends, that is nothing short of a miracle. Now if I could just get such miracles to occur on a regular basis… or maybe I should just go into hiding for June-September?

To follow up on my post about Buster’s strange eating habits the other day, I think you should know that while we were eating dinner last night, I glanced out the window only to see Buster (repeatedly) pull some low-hanging leaves off of a tree in the backyard and munch on them. Mind you, there was still dog food left on the porch at this point, so he certainly isn’t being deprived of food. Homeboy is just STRANGE.

I am also very happy to report that the doodle bug population has drastically decreased in the last few days at the Joiner house. Maybe it’s because Buster is eating them all before they have a chance to break in, but I’m holding out hope that they are on summer (or permanent) vacation. I did, however, spy a cockroach in the dining room this morning while I was doing my workout video. I’m pretty sure he was alive, but because my knight-in-shining-armor was dead to the world in our bed at 5:30 am and therefore incapable of rescuing me from an attack-roach (not to be confused with a roach attack), I was not about to march over and check it out up close. But let’s just all pretend he quickly got sick of being inside, found the closest hole, and trotted right back outside.

Ok this is unfortunate, but I really can’t think of a single interesting thing to say right now. And I probably should delete this rather than publishing it, but because my boring 8 things post yesterday got zero comments, I feel the need to compensate by giving you something else to read.

So how about you all leave a comment sharing with other readers what your favorite breakfast cereal is? I think we all know mine is Raisin Bran. And by the way, “eggs” or “I don’t like cereal” are not acceptable responses. Thanks, and have a great day.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Eight is enough

Thank you, Angela for giving me (a) something to do and (b) a blog post that requires far less effort than actually coming up with a topic on my own!

Here are the rules:

Mention the person who tagged you. (done and done)
Complete the list of 8's. (wait for it...)
Tag eight of your wonderful bloggy friends! (we'll see)

8 things I look forward to:
1. Birthday dinner/Emma’s ballet recital in Austin this weekend
2. Going to Indinapolis/Chicago to visit the Callens/play in Chicago next week!
3. My birthday (May 31st—mark your calendars and send cookies! Was that shameless or what?)
4. Having Allison and my mom come visit while Brian is out of town next month
5. 4th of July with some fun peeps!
6. Anniversary trip to South Padre in August with the Olivers (because apparently we don’t do anything without them… and I like it that way!)
7. Visiting Andrew & Kelly in Vermont in the Fall!
8. Christmas—because it’s never too soon to start being excited about it :o)

To sum: Looking forward to traveling!

8 things I did yesterday:
1. Tortured myself with level 3 of “The Shred”
2. Shockingly, did not die as a result of #1
3. Survived the work day
4. Ate out for lunch for a change… potato soup from Black Walnut Cafe, if you’re interested in the details
5. Ate a healthy version of a chicken chimichanga for dinner... that word makes me laugh
6. Took the pups on a walk
7. Watched The Changeling—thanks, Netflix!
8. Did NOT watch The Bachelorette—I refuse to get sucked in this season. Refuse.

8 things I wish I could do:
1. Work from home
2. Or not have to work? :)
3. Eat unlimited amounts of Mexican food and not gain weight
4. Go with Brian on all of his trips/events this summer (goes along with # 2?)
5. Get paid to write
6. Get a new laptop that doesn’t ruin my life on a daily basis… for free
7. Run a half marathon without actually having to train for it
8. Live in Texas without having to experience Texas summers

8 shows I watch:
1. Desperate Housewives
2. Grey’s Anatomy
3. The Office
4. 30 Rock
5. American Idol
6. The Biggest Loser
7. Jon & Kate + 8… although the last couple of seasons have been far less enjoyable for me!
8. Law and Order

8 bloggers I tag:
1. Anyone
2. who
3. wants
4. to
5. do
6. this
7. tag
8. :)

Monday, May 18, 2009

Apparently I have a death wish

And I say this because today I decided to give Level 3 a try on “The Shred.” And I emphasize the word “try.” I’m not sure which was worse—the pain or the embarrassment. I consider myself to be in decent shape, but when I find myself collapsing in a pile on the floor during the plank exercises, I start to think I might be wrong. But on the bright side, if you start your Monday morning off by being beaten down and yelled at, the rest of the day can really only get better… right? Here’s to hoping.

We had a fun weekend with the Olivers and even got to hang out with our friends, Lauren and Drew, on Saturday for a bit. As usual, we were not ready to say goodbye when the weekend came to an end. Fortunately, Allison and Wade are clinically insane, so they left yesterday at 7 am. (They had some urgent cupcake-baking to attend to in Austin, of course.) Being the polite hosts that we are, Brian and I opted to sleep in rather than waking up to see them off, so it turns out we didn’t have to say goodbye after all. :o)

The pups also had a fun time playing together, although Rocky got a little (majorly) filthy during the process of Romp Fest 2009 in the backyard. I’m sure Allison will put up some pics if she hasn’t already. It’s funny because Noah (the bigger of our 2 dogs), loves to wrestle and play with Rocky, and is surprisingly not overly rough or aggressive. Buster, however, tries to show off and acts like a bully. Within a minute or two, however, he quickly steps aside and spends the rest of the time avoiding the wrestling in favor of pursuing head scratches and affection from the on-looking humans. Smart? Perhaps. Pathetic? Most definitely.

And speaking of pathetic… we have been taking Noah and Buster on a lot more walks recently since it stays light long enough at night to do so now. The other day, we had just gotten them outside of the backyard and into the front yard when Buster noticed a piece of poop (from another dog) lying in the grass. He sniffed for a second, and then proceeded to take a bite. He ate the poop. Seriously. Why would your first logical thought upon seeing a piece of feces (a foreign one, no less) be to EAT IT? I understand that he is a dog, but Noah is too, and he went nowhere near the poop. It makes no sense—not to mention that it’s disgusting to think he has probably licked me 100 times since then.

And then on Friday, after Brian had given the dogs a bath, Noah was shedding big time—I’m talking clumps of hair flying left and right. So Brian decided to speed up the shedding process and pull some of the clumps off of Noah. Seeing the discarded clumps of hair on the ground, Buster, of course, had no choice but to go over and eat some of it. Yes, he intentionally ate a clump of Noah’s hair. And acted like it was completely normal.

So of course I really shouldn’t have been surprised (and wasn’t) last night when we brought them in to go to bed and, upon noticing an intrusive doodle bug in the kitchen, Buster ate it. Oh, sweet, loveable, mentally-challenged Buster.

This weekend we are headed to Austin for two BIG events—my niece, Emma’s, 4th birthday AND her very first ballet recital! Don’t worry, I’ll be sure to take pictures. We are also going to have dinner with the fam on Saturday night to celebrate her birthday as well as Allison’s and mine, so it should be good times. Then the week of birthday celebrating will have officially begun! Hooray!

Friday, May 15, 2009

It's time to invest in a GPS

Which of the following would you find to be extremely frustrating?:

a. getting hopelessly lost in the Houston Medical Center
b. getting flicked off on the highway
c. finding a giant spider on your shower curtain, shortly after finding a cockroach in the very same bathtub?

Oh, all of the above, you say? I’d have to agree.

Throw in a night with no real dinner, having to miss the much-anticipated season finale of Grey’s Anatomy, and a somewhat overwhelming 3-hour orientation for the Junior League, and you have pretty much summed up my evening.

One of my requirements as a provisional joining the Junior League (did I mention I’m doing that?) is volunteering 36 hours (12 3-hour shifts) at Texas Children’s Hospital. So last night, all 235 of us had to trek it to TCH for orientation to learn about the hospital and about our specific volunteer placements. All of this is good and fine, and I am definitely excited to get started with my placement. However, the orientation started at 5:30 (read: I had to leave work at 4:45 to get there on time), and wasn’t scheduled to be over until 9 pm. What does this translate to in my brain? NO DINNER.

Fortunately, I thought about this in advance… weeks in advance. This is one benefit of having an obsessive personality—you consider almost every angle of a situation in order to adequately prepare for it—lucky me! So I packed a peanut butter sandwich, which I stuffed in my face around 5 pm on my commute. They had a tray of cookies there as well, and while I was tempted to shove 18 of them down my throat, I restrained and only had one, as I wanted to make friends rather than scare people away… although we all know that in a room full of 235 girls, I wasn’t the only one wanting to eat all of the cookies.

Anyway, to sum, my dinner at this point consisted of a measly peanut butter sandwich and a cookie.

So the orientation went well, and we wrapped up early—hallelujah—at 8 pm. I exited the parking garage, excited at the thought of making it home in time to catch up on the Grey’s finale.

Now, let’s please review this post where I informed you all that I get turned around easily. I think I forgot to add parking garages to the list of places that cause me to become directionally disoriented, but they should definitely be on there. Because hello, a parking garage is like a black hole of confusion meant only to test your sense of direction and your sanity.

So anyway, I exited the parking garage and started going in what I THOUGHT was the direction that would lead me back to the highway to take me home. I was wrong. VERY wrong. Let’s just say that there was an unfamiliar fountain, a round-about or two (did I somehow drive to Europe?!), and a jumble of one-way streets. And to top it off, I ended up on some very horrible road that ran parallel to a train/rail, had a stop light at EVERY block, and for at least a mile or 2, had a no right OR left turn sign at every block. I was trapped. With a name like “Main Street,” you would think this would be a fairly simple road. But you would be very mistaken.

I called Brian to help navigate me through the area, and quickly resorted to tears that I blame on exhaustion and frustration. I said some unladylike things, and might or not even have insisted that “we have to move out of this horrible city,” and might or might not have threatened to throw myself out of the car and run myself over. At least I was being rational and not over-dramatizing the situation.

Finally, by some miracle of God, Brian got me to the right highway and I made it safely home. And because my husband is a saint, there was a DQ Reese’s blizzard awaiting me when I got home. So to re-cap, my dinner was a peanut butter sandwich, chocolate chip cookie, and a DQ blizzard. I am the model for healthy eating.

Let’s please not forget to take note, however, that once I got on the highway, a man who was frustrated with my speed (70 in a 65 mph zone in one of the right-hand lanes, mind you) deemed it necessary to flick me off as he passed me. Because it’s not like the night was going poorly already.

After I inhaled my blizzard and mentally decompressed for a few minutes, I decided that I most definitely needed a bath. And what attempted bath would be complete at our house without a creepy crawler standing guard at the tub? This time it was a friend of the 8-legged variety hanging out on the shower curtain, and he was no small spider ("itsy bitsy," if you will). Granted, he was not as big as the tarantula that once plagued my dreams, but he was certainly big enough to instill fear and warrant screaming. Thankfully, as the story always goes, Brian put an end to his life.

So that, my friends, was my evening. And therefore, I feel completely justified in the fact that I did not work out or shower this morning. My co-workers may disagree, but they’ll just have to cope for today. Here’s to hoping that today is a better day!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Possibly the most anti-climatic before/after ever

Ok folks, per your requests, here are the before and after pics from our little garden. The before pics don't really accurately portray how gross it looked, but you can at least get the idea that it was dead and boring. Anyway, enjoy!

Before pic # 1

Can you see those annoying weeds toward the right? They were a pain to dig up.

After pic # 1 - close-up of the sago palm

Our new little flower bed... and the hanging flower pots as well!
Oh, and we have yet to clean up/trim those bushes in the back, but that's this weekend's project!

Keeping up with the mutts

So this nice woman (whom I have seen in the neighborhood once or twice) happened to be walking her dog in front of our house when I was leaving for work this morning. We said, “good morning” and smiled at each other, and I started to get in my car. She then said to me, “I’ve seen Noah running around the yard lately, but haven’t seen Buster—is everything ok with him?” I informed her that yes, Buster is just fine, but that he is the lazy one and prefers to lounge in the shade on the porch rather than patrol the yard like this restless older brother.

It was very sweet of her to ask, but what I found amusing was that she knows our dogs’ names and has no clue what my name is (nor do I know hers). And there are probably 4-5 other women in the neighborhood that also know Noah and Buster by name (at least 2 of which give them treats on a daily basis!), but likely don’t know mine or Brian’s names. So props to you, pups, for being way more popular than your owners.

I am going to (try to) be brief in summarizing my thoughts on last night’s (far too lengthy) finale of The Biggest Loser—how many weeks do you think it has been since Helen last ate? Because I’m going to guess she hasn’t eaten since she left the ranch with the exception of an occasional carrot stick here and there. I mean seriously, lady, props to you for losing that much weight, but I think most people would agree that you achieved more of a starved orphan look than a healthy weight loss look. Or maybe that’s just me.

And yes, Mike, Tara, and Helen, we are all very proud that you lost so much weight, but being skinny doesn’t mean that you have to wear clothing that looks more like it was painted on than put on. No wonder they all had to rush over to a team of helpers to assist them in changing into their weigh-in clothes. And while we’re on the topic of weigh-in clothes, don’t most people realistically weigh themselves in little to no clothing? At least I’m assuming that’s the case with girls, because hello, we all know that the t-shirt, shorts, and occasional earrings or watch add at least an extra 15 pounds.

Anyway, it was a good season but I’m glad it’s over so I can have 2 hours of my life back on Tuesday nights, because everyone knows I need 2 more hours to lounge around surfing the internet without having to bother paying attention to a tv screen. I have such a busy life.

And in other news, our plants seem to be surviving, although our friend, Kristen, informed me last night that the sago palm we purchased and planted (with no help from Houston Garden Center) is apparently poisonous to dogs—not cool. The good news is that the pups rarely go in the front yard, and because of their inclination to escape, they are always on a leash. But STILL, shouldn’t the plant come with some kind of warning label?! And I suppose the employees might have mentioned that to us if they knew a little more English or knew anything about plants. Oh well- at least we know now, so thanks for the tip, Kristen!

And I might add that they are surviving with no help from me, by the way. Brian has been very responsibly watering them on a regular basis, while I give them an occasional head nod to acknowledge their presence when I walk in from my car after work. Let’s just hope that this is not reflective of what our parenting styles will be like!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Knowledge of your trade not required

You know you’re an adult when spending your weekend running errands, cleaning the house, cooking, and gardening makes you feel satisfied rather than totally lame. Well… I still feel a little lame, but it was well worth it to have a smaller “to do” list, a clean house, brunch for the in-laws, and pretty planted flowers in the front yard. All this productivity came at a price, however, and I was not a happy camper when Beyonce woke me up with “Halo” at 5:18 this morning. That song drives me insane, by the way.

Poor Brian must think that getting married was some kind of permanent punishment—back in his bachelor days, it would have been a miracle if all of the above mentioned tasks were completed in a year, let alone one short weekend. But let’s be honest, it’s generous to suggest that Brian cleaned his house on a yearly basis :o)

Gardening was a new venture for both of us, and one that was long overdue. Because the church owns our house, it can sometimes be hard to get motivated to do things like landscaping, much like in a rent house, because we know we won’t really see a return on our investment. However, it seems that 1.5 years of our bushes/shrubs/plants in the front yard looking like an overgrown rainforest finally got to us, and we decided to take action.

So we headed to Houston Garden Center (read: the Walmart of Houston nurseries) to get the party started. Don’t get me wrong, they had quite a selection, and it seemed to be well-maintained and well-organized. The employees, on the other hand, were another story altogether. First of all, if you're going to be dealing primarily with English-speaking customers, I think it’s probably important that your employees speak English with a fair amount of fluency. And secondly, if you are going to be dealing primarily with customers who want to buy PLANTS, I think it’s probably important that your employees have at least some knowledge about plants. Here’s why:

Brian: Excuse me, can you answer a question for me? Do you know anything about sago palms?
Employee: Uhh… no—here. (points to another employee)
2nd Employee: How can I help you?
Brian: We were wondering if the smallest sago palm is going to grow to be about the same size as the biggest one you have for sale, or bigger? How big do they get?
2nd Employee: Ok… (waits an awkward 30 seconds or so and looks around the room, as if the answer to this tricky question is hidden somewhere)… yes, the plant will grow bigger.

Wow. Do you mean to tell us that plants grow? Genius advice. Thank you!

We then proceeded to call our moms, because clearly moms know more than paid employees in most situations.

This is not totally unlike the time we went to Best Buy, by the way, and upon asking the difference between 2 different brands of wireless routers, were informed that, “the one that’s more expensive is better because it costs more.” I’m pretty sure that’s called circular logic, or maybe I made that term up, but either way, it was amazing to me that someone was being paid to be so completely unhelpful. Then again, that’s what we get for soliciting a part-time employed teenage girl for technology advice.

Anyway, the important thing is that we got the plants we needed. And if you are lucky, I will make the effort to upload the before/after pics at some point in the near future. And if you are really lucky, I will make the effort to upload them onto the blog. But don’t hold your breath.

In the meantime, I’m going to get back to counting down the seconds until Saturday, when I can sleep past 5:18 am again. Hurry up, Saturday!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Stop the madness

36. I hunted through our house this morning and THAT is the number of doodle bugs I found (dead and alive) in just the front half of our house. THIRTY-SIX DOODLE BUGS. And those were just the ones that were visible… granted, most of them were lurking (dead) in corners so I really had to take a good, hard look to see them, but there’s no telling how many there are hiding underneath the furniture.

This begs a few questions:

1. If I have enough free time to go doodle bug hunting in the morning before leaving for work, then why don’t I just wake up later?
2. Where are all of these doodle bugs coming from?

Yes, I understand that doodle bugs eat poop. (And here’s an interesting tidbit for you—my nephew, Brown, likes to eat doodle bugs. Yum, right?) Anyway, I know that we have 2 dogs that produce plenty of poop. However, the dogs don’t poop inside (or even in close proximity to) our house. And last I checked, neither Brian nor myself has been gallivanting around the house spreading poop in remote corners of rooms and on our kitchen floor. And Brian, if you have been doing this, I am disgusted for obvious reasons, but also impressed that you’ve been so discreet.

Fortunately, unlike cockroaches and spiders, doodle bugs don’t really gross me out or scare me. They are harmless, really. In fact, I think they’re almost cute. But when I am having to tiptoe around my own kitchen to avoid stepping on them, it starts to be a bit bothersome. And also, when I do my morning workout videos (hello, 1980s), it’s like a doodle bug mass transit highway system underneath my feet. And I have enough to worry about with The Biggest Loser trainers and Denise Austin taking turns kicking my butt without having to worry about killing one of the mommy doodle bugs.

How many times can I say “doodle” in one post? So far, 10.

So my quest today is to find out how to keep them out of our house. And we have already tried pest control—somehow they still make it into the house and then just die after they’ve found the most inconvenient spot to do so. Wish me luck, and if you have any suggestions, they are welcome!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Confessions of the directionally-challenged

It has been a long-running joke in my family that I have a horrible sense of direction. It seems that while in most areas of my life, I am fairly resourceful and can “find my own way,” apparently I am somewhat incapable of literally finding my own way. Don’t get me wrong—I am great at reading maps (and thoroughly enjoy doing so, for some reason—ask Brian), and I’m pretty good at following directions. But I simply have a hard time orienting myself and getting my bearings… and please don’t even get me started on my inability to figure out reverse directions (aka: once I’ve arrived at Point B from Point A, I have a hard time figuring out how to get back to Point A).

I have recently realized, however, that my habit of becoming directionally disoriented is not limited to driving. Because it’s my blog and I can talk about whatever I want, I am going to subject you to briefly reading about the other factors that also result in my disorientation. Enjoy!

Malls – for some reason, every time I go into a store at the mall (no matter how many times I’ve been in it, or how briefly I’m inside), I simply cannot remember which way I was walking before entering once I leave the store. When I walk out, I have to rely on the person that’s with me to lead me in the right direction. And if I’m alone, I try to act confident and just pick whichever direction seems best, and then try to look smooth 20 steps later when I realize I picked the wrong way and have to turn around.

Elevators – I think I have discussed this before, but every time I get off of an elevator (specifically when there is a group of elevators facing each other and halls/offices on both sides), I don’t know which way to go. There is a model rig outside of my department that I can see when I get off of the elevator at my office, and if it weren’t for that landmark, I can guarantee you I would turn the wrong way at least 50% of the time. Something about the up/down movement apparently puts me in a tailspin?

Cities that are gridded/shaped like a square – Have you ever been to Santa Fe, New Mexico? Well just to describe it for you, the “downtown” area is basically a giant square with vendors on each side. I have probably been there 20 or more times in my life, but to this day, I still cannot remember which stores are on which sides of the square. The fact that all 4 sides are the same (aka: the definition of a square) really throws me off. For this same reason, I had a very difficult time getting my bearings when I moved to College Station for college. There are 4 main streets in the city (which happen to surround the campus), and still to this day I sometimes can’t remember which street is which.

Does anyone else have this problem? I’d like to think that I am somewhat intelligent, but something about repeatedly walking out of the GAP and going, “Where am I? Which way do I go?” really makes me question that :o)

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

How to ruin a bath... and your appetite

Ok so I realize that baths are primarily intended for small children that are incapable of bathing themselves. But if any of you are like me, you still enjoy a good bath to unwind from a long day. I read recently that part of the reason baths are so relaxing is because they simulate conditions inside the womb. Rather than justify my love of baths, however, this only resulted in creeping me out. Personally, I think I prefer life outside my mom’s womb, but maybe that’s just because it was a little crowded last time I was in there :o)

So anyway, last night I got home from Bible Study and prepared to take a quick bath before bed. I pulled open the shower curtain and heard what sounded like something falling into the tub. I hesitantly looked inside and what did I see? A giant, squirming, LIVE cockroach. Sick. Sick. Sick.

I did what every capable adult woman does and screamed for Brian to come take care of the problem. He promptly gave the roach a burial at sea (why do I feel like I have told a story similar to this on many occasions before?), and told me I was good to go.

Good to go? I’m sorry, but did you not just notice the flailing roach INSIDE the bath tub? No thanks. And because I’m not one to exaggerate, I very calmly and reasonably informed him that I was never going to bathe in there again. Sweet husband that he is, he then proceeded to pull out the 409 and scrub down the tub.

Satisfied, I decided to give the bath another shot. Everything was going just wonderfully until I noticed that a bug of the flying variety had taken a suicide mission right into my bath. And at that point, my hopes of a relaxing bath were pretty much shot. Woe is me.

And because everyone loves a good townie tale, I have one more thing to share with you:

There is a local mini mart within a mile from our house. I’ve never actually been inside, but because I stop at the stoplight next to it at least once a day, I have had time to make observations about it from time to time. I noticed, for example, that the “port” covering their lone gas pump was blown over after Hurricane Ike. I have also noticed that, like many other mini marts, their building has a sign on it advertising the essentials: milk, beer, cigarettes, and bread. Why go anywhere else?!

So yesterday I stopped at the stoplight next to the mini mart and a new, large, bright yellow sign caught my eye. I expected it to be advertising lottery tickets or something of the like, but no, what I read instead was the following:

Dread Locks
Oil & Lotion

Ok, so “human hair” wasn’t actually capitalized… just added that for dramatic effect. But hello? What? First of all, since when did a store that sells discounted cigarettes offer salon services? And WHO would decide to go to a mini mart for said salon services? And last, but certainly not least, WHY ON EARTH WOULD SOMEONE NEED TO PURCHASE HUMAN HAIR?!

Only in Rich-Rose :)

Monday, May 4, 2009

Brian turns 26, Part II

Well so much for suspense, considering it's been less than an hour since my last post. Consider it a favor that I'm letting you get this all out of the way in one day :) See below for Part I!

So we woke up on Saturday morning and hit the road back to Richmond. Actually, first I went to the hotel’s weight room to try and undo some of the damage done with the previous evening’s binge eating. And as a cruel form of punishment, I deemed it necessary to then take the stairs (rather than the elevator) up to our hotel room… on the 14th floor. Somehow I survived and we made it out of the hotel alive.

After a stop at Starbucks, a few hours on a very boring stretch of I-10, and a stop at the world’s largest (in my opinion) HEB in Katy, we made it back home. As usual, the dogs were very excited to see us, and while I like to think it’s because they missed us terribly, it’s most likely due to the fact that it was noon and they hadn’t been fed yet. Poor underprivileged dogs, I know.

As I mentioned last week, we then went to the church to kick off their 150th birthday celebration. After the ice cream social and 2 of what felt like the longest church services ever in my life (the music was slow, I was tired, and one service consisted entirely of chanting), it was finally time for the release of the butterflies. So I DID read the newsletter correctly! We all got little packets with butterflies inside and were instructed not to smush the packets. I’m sure the butterflies that ended up in the pre-schoolers’ hands were really feeling good right about that time. Not to worry, though, the butterflies were successfully released and only one butterfly kind of flopped around on the ground rather than flying away. No need to call PETA, I promise.

Then it was time for Brian’s birthday dinner with his family at the Ragin Cajun. The restaurant did not disappoint, as sea creatures abounded and I felt fairly out of place. Brian, along with his parents, put on a gigantic bib and proceeded to stuff his face with crawfish like it was going out of style. Shannon and I, however, moved our chairs a safe distance away and enjoyed our chicken. Meanwhile, I tried to stifle the urge to scream in terror every time Brian or his dad tossed the crawfish remains in their buckets, as I was in the direct line of fire should they have missed. It was a delightful experience, as you can imagine.

But seriously, it was not bad, and Brian seemed to really enjoy himself. And more importantly, the restaurant did not reek of sea food as I had expected, so my clothes left without any permanent smell or damage. Oh, and when I say that I ate chicken, I mean to say that they gave me 4 servings of grilled chicken (no lie, if you consider that half of a chicken breast is 1 full serving!), so I got to leave with leftovers. Added bonus!

After dinner it was time to open presents, and most importantly, eat cake. Brian got a couple of new pairs of shorts from his parents as well as the Metallica version of Guitar Hero for the Wii. And while I will admit that I did suggest this gift idea to them, I secretly wish I had suggested something like a new omelet pan or a car wash gift card instead, because neither of those things would make me wish that I was deaf. Don’t get me wrong, Metallica is totally awesome, if you are depressed and living in the 90s. But personally, it kind of makes me think I’m bleeding from the brain. Or wish that I was anyway.

(Ha ok so I know that I sound like I’m being very negative, so I feel like I should clarify that I’m just kidding around. Brian really likes the game, and I really like that it makes him happy, and I admittedly even played a song on it yesterday! So please forgive the sarcasm.)

So anyway, Shannon and Terrie made Brian a very tasty cookie cake (can you sense that the theme of the weekend is food-related, as always?), which we all enjoyed together before the (senior) Joiners headed home and retired for the evening. Brian played a few rounds of Guitar Hero and we called it a night.

And while I’m tempted to drag this into another post, I respect you all too much… and I don’t want to lose readers, so I will try to be brief and finish off the post with Brian’s actual birthday.

I made Brian French toast and scrambled eggs (I’m overflowing with domesticity, I know) for breakfast before we headed off to a long morning at church. After Sunday School and an old-timey church service (which was basically the same as a modern-day Episcopalian service with an added “thy” and “thou” here and there), we had an indoor picnic at the church. And because I am the model of healthy eating, I feel it necessary to share the menu with you: chicken tenders, biscuits, potato salad, watermelon, and brownies. And both because I don’t like watermelon (gasp!) and I didn’t feel like breaking my unhealthy eating streak, I made sure to eat everything except the fruit. And it was all quite tasty.

I also made Brian wear a sign all morning that said “Today is my 26th birthday!”—he acted embarrassed, but I know deep down he loved it. And I know this because I have a deep need/love for attention and can’t understand why anyone wouldn’t?! So the whole church actually sang happy birthday to him, which was fun. Meanwhile, a mariachi band played in the background, which didn’t really fit with the theme, but considering the church was actually founded on Cinco de Mayo, it was apparently appropriate.

The rest of the day looked something like this: Brian played more Guitar Hero, we went to Chill Out to get snow cones (no, neither of us ordered the Thug Passion), Brian went to youth group, and last, but certainly not least: I made an apple pie. From scratch! And unlike the key lime pie I recently made, this one actually involved baking and the use of my brain! Well, the use of measuring cups anyway.

It turned out quite nicely, if I do say so myself, and Brian seemed to agree. So to finish off his special day, he enjoyed apple pie and ice cream while we watched the latest episode of Desperate Housewives. Because if you were a guy, is there any other way you’d rather end your 26th birthday? I didn’t think so.

Happy birthday to you, Brian! And here’s to many more :o)

Brian turns 26, Part I

Hold onto your horses, readers, because we have a lot to re-cap!

Brian and I kicked off his birthday weekend with a trip to Fiesta Texas in San Antonio on Friday. For some reason, going to theme parks always reminds me of being in middle school. I remember so vividly the anguish I experienced when trying to decide if I should wear jean shorts or actual jeans… yes, I, too, used to sport jorts. But the difference between me and most townies is that I have moved on from that unfortunate fashion trend. I also remember how important it was to claim riding partners in advance to make sure you weren’t left riding alone. But then again, that preoccupation pretty much sums up middle school in general, doesn’t it?

The park was not very crowded, thankfully, because it was a school day, and maybe I’m crazy, but I don’t think many adults consider paying an arm and a leg to stand in lines and eat expensive food in a theme park as the best way to spend their day. Good thing Brian and I have buy one get one free admission, and managed to only spend $22 on lunch… let’s ignore the fact that parking was $15.

Regardless, we did get to do plenty of people-watching. There were a few high school groups there on field trips, so of course we got to watch the scantily clad (am I 60 years old for using that term?) girls make every effort to impress their sleezy male classmates. And just FYI, girl with writing on the butt of your shorts, pretending you are really scared on a roller coaster is not going to make any of those gross boys fall in love with you (fortunately for you), so get back to playing with your iphone and quit squealing like a toddler.

Anyway, we didn’t have to wait in line for most of the rides, so that was nice, and fortunately the sun wasn’t out yet, which meant we weren’t drowning in our own sweat. And for this I was very grateful, because there is nothing quite so disgusting as climbing into a roller coaster seat that is coated in sweat by the person who sat in it before you. Although that does present a good “would you rather”: Would you rather have to lick a sweaty roller coaster seat clean, or eat a piece of chewed bubble gum that you find under a theme park picnic table? Something to ponder.

I will admit that while I do love a good roller coaster, my body can’t handle them quite like it used to. I’m not sure how I was able to spend an entire day riding roller coasters as a child without wanting to vomit or having to take multiple dosages of pain relievers to ward off the headaches that resulted from having my head banged repeatedly against the seat back. And if it’s this bad now, I can’t wait to see how I feel 15 years from now when I’m taking my own kids to Six Flags!

So yes, Fiesta Texas was a success. Allison and Wade joined us for the evening on Friday for dinner and some impromptu shopping… which might or might not have been on the birthday boy’s original agenda, but he was still a good sport. We were going to end the evening with a trip to Shake’s (you other Aggies will appreciate this magical establishment), but unfortunately when we pulled up to the building, we found that it was closed. So we decided the next best choice would be to hit up the neighboring A&W (like the root beer, not like Allison & Wade) for dessert.

I think our first warning sign that it wasn’t going to be a fine dining experience was that it shared the building with Long John Silver’s. Just typing that out kind of makes me want to throw up a little. Also, when Allison and I went to fill up our cups with water, we noticed that the water was bubbly and not exactly what I would call clear. And personally, I like my water to be transparent. Call me picky. Anyway, our desserts were fine—nowhere near the quality of a DQ blizzard… definitely would not have passed the upside-down test, but still edible. And let’s be honest, I’m not usually one to discriminate when soft-serve and Reese’s peanut butter cups are involved.

Allison and Wade then headed back to Austin, and Brian and I rounded off the evening by getting in bed at 8:30 and getting way too attached to/involved in an episode on Dateline called “The Surfer and the Bird Rock Bandits.” The lights were out (and so were we) by about 9:30 pm. I know, I know—we are wild party animals.

And because I feel that I have rambled enough already, I am going to wait to re-cap the remaining 2 days of Brian’s birthday festivities until a little later. For now, I will just have to leave you in suspense. But just as a little teaser, sea creatures and baked goods were involved. Peace out, trouts!