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Friday, August 28, 2009

In case you didn't think I was cynical before, here's some confirmation for you

News flash: Apparently if you spend 5 years of your life paying off a new car to the tune of several thousand dollars, that isn't enough to call it your own. Because when you put that last payment in the mail (they won't do you the favor of accepting your final payment over the internet or phone, obviously) and think that you're finally FREE from paying for the car, the state of Texas will then rain on your parade by charging you $33 for them to officially recognize that the car now belongs to you. Does this irritate anyone else?

Let's also not forget that you have to fill out a ridiculously complicated form, stand in line at the County Tax Assessor's Office, get rejected for not filling out said form correctly, and then come back to repeat steps 1-2 again once you've finally gotten it right.

I shouldn't complain, however, because (a) we are now officially debt-free, and (b) getting to stand in line at the Fort Bend County Tax Office with nothing to do but observe the general public is a blogger's dream come true.

Just a few observations:

1. In case you thought mom jeans were out of style, they are most definitely not. At least not in Richmond, Texas. If Brian hadn't been there to serve as my conscience, I would have snapped a picture on his iphone and posted it here. He informed me that such behavior would be tacky and shallow. But that apparently isn't stopping me from blogging about it- they were high-waisted, faded denim, and severely tapered. How can you NOT blog about that?

2. In case you thought making out with/groping your significant other in a very public government building was out of style, then once again, you would be wrong. And apparently the only thing that makes it better is if (a) you and your partner are both covered in tattoos, and (b) you display your PDA while standing in the middle of the room in order to draw as much attention as possible.

Warning: If you plan on keeping your breakfast down, make sure to go to the Tax Office before eating.

3. If I worked in that place, I'm fairly certain that I would be committed to a mental asylum by the end of the first day. With the constant "Now serving A-130 at booth number 11" OVER AND OVER AND OVER again over the loud speaker, along with the endless dumb questions coming from people who can't read directions (apparently myself included) or just plain can't read, I would not survive without injuring someone or possibly myself.

If nothing else, our trip to the Tax Office provided some comic relief and amusement. We ended the excursion with a trip to a local restaurant that shall remain nameless for lunch. It happened to be busy (even though it was after 1 pm), and although there are only 12 tables in the place (I counted during my fit of rage that I'm about to describe), there were only 2 waiters, and let's just say the service left a little to be desired.

Part of the reason I wanted to go to this particular lunch spot is because they bring out these amazing mini cheddar biscuits while you wait for your food. Well we sat down, got our menus, ordered our drinks, received our drinks, placed our order, and sat... and waited... and waited... and no biscuits.

If you have ever eaten with a Nelson twin, you know that when it comes to appetizers (ok when it comes to anything in life), our patience wears thin at a very rapid speed. Here is my issue- If I wasn't going to get the appetizer until right before my food arrived, I wouldn't have ordered it to begin with. And I can't really justify indulging in a basket of cheddar biscuits when my actual meal is sitting in front of me waiting to be eaten. So therefore, the longer we waited for the biscuits, the more firmly I became convinced that we either weren't going to get them at all, OR WORSE, we were going to get them at the same time that our food was brought out and I was going to feel torn between eating sensibly and having an excuse to stuff my face. UGH. I have a hard life, I know.

So of course, as we sat biscuit-less, a quiet temper tantrum ensued in which I declared to Brian that I would NEVER EAT AT THIS RESTAURANT EVER AGAIN. EVER. I then proceeded to make insulting comments about the waiter's intelligence, and craned my neck to observe every other table in the place to see whether or not they were being deprived of their biscuits as well.

Eventually- fearing for his life- Brian politely flagged the waiter down and asked if we could get some of the biscuits. The waiter was very apologetic for forgetting and brought them out right away. And they were amazing. And after popping 2 or 3 in my mouth, my rage had subsided. And we were even able to finish the basket before our food arrived. And to top it off, I had a cookie for dessert... and all was then again right in the world.

The moral of the story: if you are wise, you will NOT stand between me and my food. Best of luck to you, Brian, as you unfortunately most likely have a lifetime of these battles ahead of you.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Future father of the year?

I have recently noticed a somewhat disturbing trend regarding my husband’s views on parenting. Don’t worry—we don’t have any fundamental disagreements about how to raise children, but rather, I am somewhat concerned with his motivation for procreating. Also, in case you are jumping to any conclusions, let me once again clarify that we are NOT pregnant!

You see, Brian has declared (many of you have heard this firsthand) that he is excited for me to be pregnant for one reason: cravings. He has this romantic notion that I will wake up in the middle of the night demanding ice cream and/or food from various fast food establishments, and that he will “have” to come to my rescue by going to fetch the requested food. His thinking is obviously that, as long as he’s out, he might as well pick up some ice cream and a cheeseburger for himself.

First of all, let me say that I really hope that I am not the type of pregnant person that throws all food-discretion out the window and suddenly insists on only eating cheeseburgers and milkshakes. But isn’t it great to know that if I do lose all common sense and decide to pursue morbid obesity that my sweet husband will make sure my every food craving is fulfilled?

A more recent discovery about Brian’s secret parenting motivation came to light as a result of a scenario involving Baby Dinosaur. In case you don’t remember him from our imaginary friend recap, Baby Dinosaur is… well… an imaginary baby dinosaur that thinks Brian and I are his parents.

Well it just so happens that Baby Dinosaur went off to school for the very first time this past week. He is attending Jane Long Elementary and is very fortunate to have Mrs. Cruikshank as his teacher. To help cheer BD up (he’s having some trouble making friends because all the kids are scared that he’s going to eat them) I suggested that Brian take Chick Fil A up to him for lunch one day this week, because everyone knows that the peak of coolness in elementary school is having your parent bring you lunch from a restaurant. (And then you go to middle school and that makes you a loser, but anyway…)

So we were discussing this plan when Brian said something along the lines of, “I can’t wait to be a dad—this is going to be great! I’ll take food up to our kids at school like once a week… and of course I’ll have to get something for myself!” Isn’t he the model of selflessness? I think he gets it from me. :)

I can just imagine how it will be once I do get pregnant… I will spend my days fretting about the costs of diapers and formula while Brian will be silently rejoicing at his newfound 18-year-long excuse for going to McDonald’s. How appropriate.

And in case you were curious, even though Baby Dinosaur isn’t real, Brian most definitely followed through on his promise and went to Chick Fil A today to get himself some lunch. Now THAT is dedication.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Back to life, back to reality

As expected, our trip to Padre with the Olivers was a success. And in case you weren’t aware, the successfulness of Joiner/Oliver trips is usually determined by the amount of food consumed, the mood of the imaginary friends on the trip, and on this particular trip, the number of stupid “that’s what she said” jokes that were made. For the record, Wade was probably the least skillful at “that’s what she said” jokes, but that’s most likely because he has the least inappropriate sense of humor out of the 4 of us.

We honestly didn’t spend all that much time on the actual beach, which I realize is lame, but I also think 100 degree weather + sand + that sticky feeling you get after being in the ocean is also lame, so I refuse to feel guilty. But don’t you worry, Allison and I still ended up getting some sun (believe it or not), and although we “forgot” to wear sunscreen on the second day (sorry, moms!), the boys were still kind enough to at least feign pity for us when we complained about our sunburns at the end of the trip. Now that’s real love.

Some other highlights from the trip included pedicures (for the girls), dolphin watching, watching fireworks, and going to see “Julie and Julia.” And on that note, if you think that your local movie theater is sub-par, then you have not been to the Island Cinema. They—no lie—did not accept credit or debit cards at the theater, and the woman at the ticket counter was about as friendly as a prison guard. Thankfully, she accepted my check (who, besides alterations places, still prefers checks to credit/debit cards?!), so we weren’t turned away. And one more exciting tidbit—if you use the ATM at the theater, you can get a free popcorn! So I guess that’s their way of compensating for being stuck in 1993.

We reluctantly returned home on Sunday and parted ways in La Grange (where we met up to ride together), and Brian and I experienced our first “back to reality” moment just minutes later when one of his truck’s tires blew out on 71. Fortunately, unlike someone (cough cough – me – cough cough), Brian is capable of changing a tire, so he came to our rescue. Unfortunately (for him), it was 3 pm in August. By the time he climbed back in the truck, he was drenched in sweat and covered in all sorts of dirt. Meanwhile, I sat in the truck with the a/c on listening to the radio and sending text messages. Am I Brian’s 26 year old wife or 16 year old daughter? Sometimes it’s hard to tell.

Anyway, after finally arriving home and unpacking, we decided that a carton of expired eggs and 3 apples wouldn’t be enough to sustain us for the week, so off to the store we went. We hopped in my car, which had been sitting in our driveway for 4 days at that point. I noticed a strange smell when I got in, and briefly wondered if I had somehow left some type of food rotting in the backseat. Then I remembered that I am anal retentive, and quickly realized that something else must be responsible for the smell.

I turned around to scope out the backseat and noticed that the back floorboard on the driver’s side was soaking wet. And conveniently, I happened to leave my cd case—yep, you guessed it—on the back floorboard on the driver’s side! Apparently it rained pretty hard on Friday (I know—shocking!), and apparently there is some kind of leak somewhere in my car. (Either that, or Alex Mack was hiding in my backseat and transformed into a puddle before we got in. Anyone else remember that show?) Regardless, that would have been nice to know before SUNDAY evening, at which point my car had been sitting and no doubt molding in the hot humidity for 2 days.

Anyway, we vacuumed out as much of the water as we could and set my cd case out to dry—for the record, it is now Tuesday, and neither the cd case nor the floor mat are completely dry. Also for the record, they both smell distinctly like butt, which, by the way, is not exactly one of the preferred scents for cars.

But on a side note, wouldn’t it be funny if they sold those little hanging tree car scents with a “Butt” smell instead of “Clean Car” or “Tropical Paradise”? Maybe I will bottle up the current odor in my car and get a patent on it.

So I guess it’s back to reality for us… and thank you, reality, for also providing us with a dryer that won’t stop squealing like a dying cat and 2 computers that run at the speed of glaciers.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Somebody call PETA

So apparently Rich-Rose is moving up in the world.

As you have likely inferred from my blog this far, Richmond/Rosenberg isn't exactly the most modern or progressive "metroplex" around. We still have an old timey barber (red and white striped pole and all), family businesses still reign supreme, and our restaurant choices are for the most part limited to an absurd number of questionable local Mexican food establishments.

Until now.

After doing a little packing for our upcoming trip to Padre, Brian and I rewarded ourselves with a little trip to Chick Fil A for an Ice Dream Cone and a milkshake- only the necessities for us. When we pulled into the strip center, we noticed a new restaurant with a random Asian name. Upon further investigation, we learned that Rich-Rose is soon to be the proud home of a Sushi and Steakhouse restaurant.

Um. What?

If you are looking for an authentic breakfast taco or a Thug Passion snow cone, Rich-Rose is definitely the place to go. If you are looking for a shady pawn shop or a used car lot, Rich-Rose is definitely the place to go. But sushi in Rosenberg? Something is just not right about that combo.

Never mind the fact that the concept of sushi makes me want to vomit profusely- I just don't think that a town in which the most popular Mexican food restaurant is named LARRY'S is likely going to be the home of any award-winning sushi. But maybe that's just me.

And while we're on the topic of food- our dogs have developed a new habit which is both desperate and endearing. Noah has always enjoyed dumping the food out of their food bowls and dragging them to a random spot in the yard. And recently he has decided to splash the water out of their water bowls (smart move in August, Noah) and do the same thing with them.

While we don't really understand why he does this, we have come to accept it as normal behavior. What we have found amusing, however, is that in the past week or so, he has consistently been dumping them in the same spot in the yard:

Ok you probably can't tell from that terrible picture (in which Buster looks possessed), but the spot Noah has wisely chosen is the front corner of the yard, which just so happens to be the most visible spot for passers-by coming from any direction. We live on the corner, and you can see that spot in the backyard from any point at the 4-way stop by our house.

So out of the giant empty backyard, Noah has deemed the most appropriate spot to consistently dump the EMPTY bowls to be front and center for all the world to see. Pathetic. He might as well just hang up a sign that says, "ATTENTION: Abusive parents inside! Please rescue us from this starvation!"

Sorry, Noah, but something tells me that the neighbors aren't buying your act. Well, except for maybe the crazy lady on the bike that brings you treats on a daily basis. But then again, she also feeds the neighborhood squirrels, so she isn't exactly your sharpest ally.

Anyway, let's just hope our children don't resort to these same tactics if they ever want extra food. Somehow I get the impression that CPS takes those accusations a bit more seriously.

Peace out, peeps!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Man, I feel like a woman

So I'm sorry for being a bad blogger this week. If it makes you feel any better, I have been suffering from immense blogger's guilt as a result. Because it's my favorite thing to do lately, I'm going to blame the summer. It's true- the sun has melted my brain and therefore left me unable to write.

Fortunately, a weekend of excessive amounts of sleep and time spent indoors has restored me. So I'm back... lucky you!

So I'm sure some of you ladies can relate to this, but I have been suffering from a serious hormonal imbalance lately. I'm not sure what the deal is (no, I'm not pregnant), but I have been moody like you wouldn't believe. (Well... if you know me well, you would actually not have such a hard time believing it.) But lately, it has not been unusual for me to go from raging (about something important like dinner not re-heating quickly enough), to crying (about something equally important, such as not being able to decide whether to go to the pool or go out to lunch), to laughing (usually at Brian's expense) within a span of 30 minutes.

For my sake, I hope you can relate. For your significant other's sake, I hope you can't. Brian has been coping well and has not yet accused me of needing some kind of medication or therapy, but I have definitely seen that "oh my gosh she needs to be sent to a mental hospital immediately" look creep across his face on more than one occasion. I guess it's at least good that I'm aware of my irrational behavior... do I get any credit for that?

So I have decided to share with you- from my recent experience- a list of things that do NOT mix well with a hormonally imbalanced female:

1. unlimited amounts of tortilla chips
2. seeing puppies up for adoption at the pet store
3. seeing kittens up for adoption at the pet store
4. going to the pet store... period.
5. making decisions about where to eat
6. making decisions about what to do in general
7. watching Animal Planet, especially if it involves baby animals in any way
8. confrontations at work
9. confrontations in general
10. summer - seriously, the heat and humidity enhance the moodiness 10-fold
11. computers that do not function properly or simply function slowly
12. Jillian Michaels
13. scales
14. going to the grocery store

Brian could probably offer up an additional 14+ items that should be added to that list, but he is smart enough to steer clear and pretend that my reactions are completely normal. Husbands, if you are currently reading, my advice is simple:

1. Don't point out that your wife is acting irrationally... she will figure that out on her own.
2. Have plenty of ice cream and/or chips and queso on hand.

Anyway, hope the rest of your hormones are behaving better than mine at present. And to those of you that are currently pregnant, my apologies, because I realize your imbalance lasts far longer than just a week or two per month.

Saying my prayers for a less emotionally unstable week ahead!

(PS- We are currently watching Animal Planet as I type this (mistake #1), and the show just described bull elk as "raging hormonally." Brian started to snicker and I saw him looking my way. Mistake # 2. Let's hope he noticed the evil eye that he received in return.)

Monday, August 10, 2009

Maybe Jillian needs to make a workout video called “The Move”

If you ever want to feel weak and out of shape, help your sister and brother-in-law move from their 3rd story apartment to a 2-story house. The number of stairs you will endure alone will result in muscle paralysis and exhaustion. It’s a shame they don’t move on a daily basis, or I can guarantee you I would have no need for tools of torture like “The 30-Day Shred.”

Meanwhile, Brian shared the bulk of the heavy lifting with Wade… you know, the FURNITURE and mattresses and what not. I think the heaviest thing I carried was probably a box of photo albums, and yet somehow Brian is not sore in the least… either that or he is just being a typical boy and not acknowledging that he is sore because that would be admitting weakness.

Brian is crediting his muscle stamina to his intense workout regime, which consists of 2 30-minute weight-lifting segments at the YMCA per week… at least 1/3 of which I am almost certain is spent sitting on the weight-lifting bench watching ESPN in a sleep-induced stupor. Oh well, as long as he is willing to carry the heavy stuff, I shouldn’t complain.

But the important thing is that we helped get them moved and somewhat settled into the new house. The other important thing is that I threw zero jealousy-related temper tantrums about the fact that their master bathroom has 2 sinks. But who cares about a large master bathroom when you have a collection of dead insects in your house so expansive that it would make any entomologist jealous, right?

And anyway, aside from the fact that it rained yesterday and is supposed to continue doing so throughout the week, the other exciting news is that we are going to Padre Island with the Olivers next week! We are staying in a condo and have big plans to lay on the beach all day and do our best to ensure that Allison and I stop looking like Casper the Friendly Ghost(s).

Being that neither of us really have the patience to endure scorching heat in the name of a tan, I’m not sure we will succeed in our mission. But I also have a feeling that laying out on the beach will be slightly more enjoyable than laying out in our driveway in the bed of Brian’s truck… so perhaps I will be able to handle the sun afterall. I’ll let you know how that works out.

Anyway, I’ll be sure to intermittently take a break from counting town the minutes until our vacation by blogging, so be sure to check back. Hope you are enjoying this rainy Monday!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Movin on up, movin on out

Tired of reading about our anniversary yet? Well too bad, because it would be unkind of me to not acknowledge both the beautiful flowers that Brian brought me at work AND the tasty steak dinner that he made for me. And as promised, we did head to DQ for our anniversary dessert, and it did not disappoint.

Ok well actually it did disappoint, because DQ’s latest e-mail communication informed me that the Tagalong Blizzard was SO popular that they were going to keep serving it for the month of August… unless, apparently, you are the ghetto DQ in Rosenberg, in which case you are going to ruin my life by no longer having it in stock. R-U-D-E.

We are wrapping up our week of romance by driving to Austin tomorrow to help Allison and Wade move into their new house. Let’s please note that this is the THIRD move I have helped them with, and they have, to date, helped us with zero. Not that I’m keeping track or anything. But seriously, we are happy to help and know that they would do the same for us now that they aren’t living 25+ hours of a drive away.

And speaking of moving, let me tell you a fun little story about Brian’s and my first move. Two weeks before our wedding, when we were both still living (separately) in College Station, a moving company was scheduled to come into town, load up our apartments, and take our stuff back to Richmond where we would be moving after the honeymoon. They were scheduled to arrive at my apartment in CS on a Sunday morning at 8 am.

Two and a half hours later, they still had not arrived. They also had yet to answer any of our calls at this point. Finally we reached the movers, and were informed that they didn’t have any record of our reservation, and that this likely occurred because their power recently went out. Um, last I checked, the power going out doesn’t delete all saved files in a system… unless we were recently transported back to 1985 without my knowledge.

They then optimistically stated that their closest moving truck was in Austin, and could make it there by 4 pm. Really? 8 hours later than you promised? That sounds perfect! Because we definitely weren’t interested in unpacking our house during the daylight. When we refused their generous offer, they did us one better and offered 10% off of our next move with them. Really? Awesome! Why wouldn’t the movers who no-showed on us be the first people we called next time we need to relocate?

Anyway, thankfully Uhaul and Brian’s wonderful parents came to our rescue and helped us do the move on our own, and for a fraction of the cost. And some of the members of the church we were moving to (where Brian now works) were kind enough to be our un-loaders. And in fact, my grandparents even showed up that day (they live nearby) with a fruit and meat tray. And nothing makes me happy like unexpected free food.

So as they say, all’s well that ends well. But as they also say, “Amanda is really skilled at holding grudges and not letting things go,” which is why—2+ years later—I am still stewing over the incident, and why I still grumble and shake my fist angrily when we drive by the moving company’s building in southwest Houston. That’s what I call reasonable behavior.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

It takes 2, baby... me and you

Happy 2nd anniversary to my husband and the love of my life, Brian :o) I love you and can't wait for the next 70+years together!! (Yep, that's right, we're going to live to be at least 96)

To celebrate, here's a (lengthy) photographic trip down memory lane of our 2nd year as husband and wife!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Think of this as an anniversary pep rally

Just in case you are all spending as much time thinking about Brian's and my upcoming anniversary (tomorrow!) as I am, I thought I would post a little something for your viewing pleasure to help get you more excited.

Because I don't live near all of you (and haven't actually met some of you), you sadly won't all get the chance to see my wedding album- and I know that pains you greatly. Well you're in luck, because thankfully our online album proof is still up and running!

Click here to see the online version of the album. Enjoy!

Also, I feel like I should do a plug for our photographer because she did a great job! Her name is Stacy Reeves and you can see her website here.

And by the way, let's not forget that today is Elizabeth's (my older sister) and her husband Ford's 7th wedding anniversary! And of course, Allison and Wade's 3rd anniversary is on Wednesday!