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Friday, July 31, 2009

True Life: Brian and Amanda

So in honor of our upcoming 2nd wedding anniversary, I have posted the answers to your questions below. Thanks to those of you that participated!

Make sure not to read this right now if you have anywhere to be in the very near future, because I'm afraid it's not so much on the brief side :o) Anyway, hope you enjoy!

Allison asked:

When are you moving to Austin?

That’s a great question. I would love to move back to Austin some day to be near my fam, but for now and the unforeseeable future, we are planted in Richmond. So have no fear, readers, my townie tales won’t be disappearing any time soon.

When are you planning on having kids, and how do you plan on naming any and all of them after me?

Great job pretending that (a) you don't already know the answer to this and (b) don't have the exact same answer yourself, sis! We are thinking in 1.5-2 years. My preference (and by default, Brian’s as well) is Spring 2011 for the arrival of baby # 1. But I guess we’ll just wait and see!

And as for naming them after you, I just don’t think “Butt Face” and “Stupid” are good names for children, do you?

Gary and Allison asked:

Do you fart in front of each other?

Only Gary would ask this question. And I am pleading the 5th primarily because I just never know who is reading this thing… and my mom would die if she knew this was discussed on my blog for all the internet to read. I will, however, say that this was one of my biggest fears about getting married/living with someone!

What's your favorite part about being married?

Having someone fun to hang out with 24 hours a day! This probably drives Brian insane, but I like having someone around to keep me constantly entertained. Deep down, he likes it too… he just pretends that he needs alone time so that he can play video games.

What's your least favorite part about being married?

Having to share the money in the clothing budget. HA, kidding, I pretty much hog that every month anyway.

But to actually answer your question, there is nothing in my life that has ever made me as aware of how selfish I am as marriage does. I know it’s a good thing for me to be made aware of my shortcomings, but that doesn’t mean I enjoy it!

Risa asked:

Who cooks the most?

Probably me, but Brian also does his fair share. Actually, I typically do most of the cooking, and he does most of the re-heating… which he does very well, with the exception of the great Tex-Mex Calzone incident of 2008 in which he re-heated our calzones in the oven for AN HOUR.

And just in case you were curious, we generally cook dinner for the week (something that makes 4-8 servings) on Sunday night, and then eat it throughout the week. And no, we don’t mind eating the same meal 2-4 times in a week... or at least I don’t mind and Brian pretends not to mind in order to maintain peace in the house. :o)

What has been the most pleasant surprise about being married...something you weren't expecting?

This is so not the romantic response you were probably looking for, but I have been pleasantly surprised at how un-messy Brian is! I totally expected to be picking up after him all the time, but that really is rarely the case. Now don’t get me wrong, he doesn’t always meet my anal retentive standards of cleanliness, but thankfully I don’t spend my days picking up rogue socks on the living room floor like I anticipated doing. Again, Brian maintaining peace in the house… do you see a trend here?

Angela asked:

Who does the paying of the bills or is this a responsibility that you share?

Any bills that are auto paid come out of his checking account (just because we keep more money in his checking account—we move most of mine to savings), but any bills that have to be manually paid on a monthly basis are taken care of by yours truly. Let’s just say that one of us has a slightly greater ability to remember things than the other. And I’ll give you a hint and let you know that her name starts with an “A”… unless you are talking about useless information or sports trivia, and in that case, his name starts with a “B.”

Leah asked:

(Apparently on the same wavelength as Gary) Do you go to the bathroom in front of each other?

No, and not so much because we are modest, but I think we just both close the door out of habit? I'll tell you who has no shame in going to the bathroom in front of us, however- Noah and Buster.

Do you split the chores/who does what?

Yes, thankfully we split them! There are some things that Brian typically takes care of (taking out the trash, killing the bugs, feeding the dogs), and some that I typically take care of (cooking, laundry, meal-planning). But we pretty much divide and conquer with the cleaning… although he typically vacuums and mops because vacuuming makes me sweat profusely, and I HATE MOPPING with a fiery passion. I honestly would rather clean toilets than mop. And similarly, Brian for whatever reason has no interest in dusting, so that one always falls on me.

Desiree asked:

What do you guys argue about the most?

What makes you think we argue? HA! But seriously, I would say that 98% of our arguments stem out of Brian accidentally forgetting to do something and me majorly overreacting about it. That pretty much sums up every argument we have.

Specifically, the number one topic that has produced arguments for us is Brian’s reimbursements at work. They are the bane of my existence—seriously. This is how it normally works:

1. Brian spends money on something that he needs to be reimbursed for (this usually occurs every week or every other week).
2. I begin hounding Brian about keeping the receipt and submitting the reimbursement.
3. Brian forgets.
4. Brian finally gets the reimbursement and I begin hounding him about depositing it into this account AND making note of it in our budget.
5. Brian forgets.
6. I scream and yell and act like I am mentally unstable. Brian is offended by my rage.
7. We make up.

Repeat 2 weeks later.

What do you do to make sure things stay fresh and romantic?

Ha ha I am laughing at the thought of describing our marriage as “fresh and romantic”… although in its own way it is, I just think of us more as “weird and amusing.” But on that note, I think the most important thing for us, personally, is to always be able to laugh, and fortunately we do a lot of that. It keeps us (me) from taking life too seriously.

Annie asked:

What was the biggest shocker you faced once you were married? (You can name several if you so desire.)

So this is kind of similar to Risa’s question, but I think I can dig up a different response :o)

Ok so this sounds strange, but I think one of the biggest surprises was that not much really changed after we got married. Ok so yes, we were married and moved in together and there were a lot of external changes, but our relationship didn’t really change that much. I think I had this notion that once we were married, we would automatically be much more grown-up and have a totally different relationship. But the reality is that we still act like 12-year-olds most of the time (that’s probably being generous), still have the same arguments, still go on the same types of dates, and I still feel like we are just “playing house” most days!

What's your favorite memory since being married?

Going on vacations together! Since we didn’t live or really travel together before we were married, I was really excited to be able to do that once we got hitched. It makes me feel like a grown-up when I check into a hotel with my husband and not my parents—ha! So far we have been to Mexico, Washington DC, San Antonio, Santa Fe, Chicago, and a few other Texas road trips in between.

But I have also really enjoyed just the “everyday” of our lives—taking the dogs on walks, eating dinner together every night, decorating our house for Christmas, going to the grocery store together… or at least I’ve enjoyed going to HEB with him, not so much Wal-mart.

What's the hardest part about being married?

Continually showing mercy and grace. I am bad at both of these, as indicated above by my short temper. It is really hard to forgive someone for the same thing over and over and over again and not hold it against that person. AND it is very convicting when that same person is constantly forgiving me and not holding a grudge… it makes me feel like a real jerk when I don’t return the favor :o)

How do y'all make sure you are communicating effectively and efficiently? (Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus. We will never master the art of communication. But any tips help!)

Hmm… well that would be assuming that we do communicate effectively and efficiently—haha! This sounds very simple, but I think the main thing is making sure that we DO communicate! We have run into some real trouble when I have thought things were going to go a certain way but never communicated it to him (ie: plans for the weekend, or an errand that needed to be taken care of)… apparently he can’t read minds? Who would have thought?

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

The usual DQ rambling + a chance to pry into my life!

I haven’t blogged about Dairy Queen in at least a week, so I think a DQ report is most definitely overdue. Due to my recent decision to only eat one blizzard per month (trust me, this is a necessary regulation for the summer months), I haven’t had a second Tagalong blizzard since my first encounter over the 4th of July weekend. I know, I know—that was FOREVER ago.

Well good news, folks. Apparently I just celebrated one whole year of membership in the Blizzard Fan Club, and apparently DQ’s way of thanking me was to send me another buy-one-get-one-free coupon. I think this is the 4th or 5th coupon they have sent me in the past year. Seriously, WHY have you not joined this Fan Club yet? And just FYI, “I don’t want to become some psycho blizzard addict that devotes all of her blog entries to Dairy Queen” is not a valid excuse.

Anyway it just so happens that another—and slightly more significant—anniversary is taking place next week, and while we are planning to eat dinner out somewhere, I think it’s safe to say that our anniversary dessert will be courtesy of DQ… well, half of it will be anyway. It’s not quite wedding cake, but I think it will do. We live such a glamorous life, don’t we?

And because I am now consumed with the thought of eating a blizzard, I can’t think of anything else to write about. As such, and in honor of our upcoming 2nd wedding anniversary, I am now giving all of you readers the chance to ask some questions. Is there anything you have just been dying to know about the marriage of Brian and Amanda that hasn’t already been discussed on here? How we met? Who hogs the covers? Which one of us is more needy and co-dependent (hint: it’s me)? Well here’s your opportunity to find out.

So ask away. And I will be offended if no one asks any questions, so please do your part in maintaining my average self-esteem by asking something. I’ll post the answers once I feel that I have an adequate number of questions, so there’s your motivation!

Ready... set... go!

A few fun facts for you

No, these are not townie fun facts, so I apologize if I got your hopes up. And actually these are more like tidbits than fun facts, but the term “tidbits” sounds too much like cat food.

1. Brian and I were not yet married in the new header picture (above)… I kind of feel like it would be dishonest not to disclose this information when the phrase “a glimpse into the life of your favorite NEWLYWEDS” is written underneath it. I feel much better now that I have that off my chest.

2. Brian is gone this week, and I have made absolutely zero plans while he’s away. And I am actually pretty excited to be able to eat at home and go to bed early every night… I’m aware that I sound like a boring loser. If the shoe fits…?

3. Let’s see how many facts I can begin with the word “Brian.” Oops. Only two.

4. Kristen and Bryan’s wedding was wonderful, and a good time was had by all! Brian and I spent the majority of the evening dancing (ok, we did some eating as well), and I’m crossing my fingers that some of our amazing dance moves make the final wedding video cut.

5. The other highlight of my weekend was eating at Freebirds. A solid attempt at ruining it, however, was made by the incredibly irritating man that sat 3 feet from us and proceeded to SMOKE (we were outside) throughout our meal. Mmm, nothing makes a burrito tastier than the smell of cigarette smoke.

6. I have really been hating on Houston lately… not so much on my blog or in public, but more so at home. Poor Brian has had to hear a lot about it, with my top complaints being (a) the heat, (b) the distance between our house and EVERYTHING, and (c) the heat. Also, I have a grudge against the fact that Houston people have a grudge against Dallas people. Dallas has many wonderful qualities, my friends, not the least of which being that it is the place of my birth.

7. I am expecting Disc 1 of Season 2 of Dawson’s Creek to be waiting in my mailbox* when I get home today, and I am really excited about it. *We don’t actually have a mailbox… we have a mail “slot” in our door, so the mail sits on the floor. Regardless, I’m still excited.

The end.

Friday, July 24, 2009

This is what happens when I don't get 8 hours of sleep.

So it's Friday afternoon, and while most of you are still at work (oops, am I rubbing my half-day Friday schedule in?), I am proud to report that I am sitting on the couch and doing absolutely NOTHING. Well... nothing other than blogging.

Our friends, Bryan and Kristen, are getting hitched tonight (hooray!), and as Brian is a groomsman, he is currently tied up with important pre-wedding activities, ie: eating at Larry's. Therefore, I am left to my own devices, and because re-runs of Wife Swap and Full House can only keep me entertained for so long, here I am. If tonight's wedding attendees are lucky, I may even add showering to my busy Friday afternoon agenda.

Being that it is the end of a long week, my brain has turned to mush, and therefore I have come up with a list of disjointed thoughts for your reading pleasure:

1. If you haven't heard of the "Hamster Dance" song (by the Hit Co.), you need to get on iTunes and download it immediately. Just be warned that shortly thereafter, you will want to take a hammer to your head.

One of Brian's favorite perks about being a Youth Minister is the privilege of getting to control the music played on youth group trips. They are taking a LONG road trip to Florida for a conference/retreat next week, so as tradition dictates, he created a new cd consisting of 19 of the most irritating songs he could come up with. And because he was so kind to play it for me, I now have the "Hamster Dance" permanently stuck in my head. Just passing along the favor.

2. I ate my weight in pasta last night. No lie. We went to Bryan & Kristen's Rehearsal Dinner at Sweetwater Country Club, and I consumed a plate of pasta that was seriously bigger than my face... before then inhaling a second plate full of chicken parmesan, salad, and garlic bread. Let's not forget the fact that I then proceeded to eat off of Brian's plate. Or the fact that I also had dessert(s). And to answer your question, no, I am not pregnant. I'm just a firm believer that carbs can solve the world's problems.

3. Brian and I are about to celebrate TWO years of wedded bliss! A month or so ago, in a moment of budgetary panic, I declared that we shouldn't do presents this year. A few days later, I compulsively bought Brian a present, only to come home and declare that he still wasn't allowed to get me anything because I didn't want him spending the money. How's that for putting a husband between a rock and a hard place?

4. I dated a big loser in high school. For 2.5 years. Ok I know it's mean to call him a loser, but isn't that what you're supposed to say about your high school boyfriend? And besides, I think anyone who knew him would agree. Anyway, I have often thought (especially recently when I lightly delved into discussing high school on here) it would be amusing to share stories about our train wreck of a relationship with you all, but realized that (a) Brian probably doesn't have any interest in reading about boys from my past on my blog and (b) you all might not be as amused as I would with a basic plot line of "I dated this jerk who cheated on me and made me cry a lot and then we broke up."

But I will just tell you that for my 16th birthday, he gave me a polka tape and matching t-shirts for Allison and me that said, "Is it just me, or do I look a lot like her?" (Except the printing company messed up so it said "do I I look a lot like her?") Really sweet and thoughtful, I know.

And because I feel kind of guilty for being so harsh, I will at least make sure to mention his redeeming factor: He worked at TCBY, so I got a lot of free yogurt.

5. I don't think I actually have anything else to say, except that I haven't showered in approximately 36 hours and I think I'm starting to smell. My mom would be so proud that I not only committed this horrible act, but also admitted it to the internet.

Hope you all have a wonderful weekend!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Appropriately nicknamed or unfairly judged? You decide.

Although I have never been a big fan of nicknames, I have had a number of them over the years. My mom used to lovingly refer to me as “Jane Jane” (Jane being my middle name), or predictably as “Amanda Jane!” when I did something inappropriate. My soccer coach called me “The Admiral,” after Admiral Horatio Nelson (Nelson being my maiden name). One friend called me “Manda Panda,” and another referred to me as “Mandy Mae.” I will clarify, however, that “Mandy” was not, nor ever will be, a suitable nickname for me on its own. I am so not a Mandy.

And so it seems that my readers have taken a particular interest in the nickname I alluded to in my previous post: “Fire-breathing Dragon.” Now in my defense, I don’t think he referred to me by this name on a regular occasion, but I think you would all agree that being called that name once is enough. But anyway, because you are interested in where I got this label, and because we can’t ask Tyler directly (well I suppose I could, but that would be an awkward topic to bring up after not speaking to him in 5 or so years), the best I can do for you is speculate:

1. First of all, he was Allison’s on again/off again boyfriend, so that alone warrants him receiving some of my wrath. There is a hard and fast rule between Allison and myself: We can be mean to each other and hurt each other’s feelings, but no one else reserves that right. And anyone that assumes that right will incur double the rage.

2. The group of guys that we hung out with in high school (Tyler included), though loveable at times, was fairly irritating. They had a habit of video taping stupid pranks that they pulled, and most of the time we (their female friends) were on the receiving end of those pranks. They also decided senior year that they liked the junior girls better than they liked us, and therefore treated us as their back-up options for the duration of the year. Point being, I might have taken the liberty a time or two to put these boys in their place and remind them not to get too big for their britches.

3. Believe it or not, I used to be a bit on the bossy side. I know, I know—this is SO hard to believe, and Brian will be shocked to hear that this used to be a personality trait of mine. But it’s true… I liked to plan ahead, and liked it even more so when others agreeably and obediently went along with those plans. That may or may not be why I received a similar nickname during Spring of our Senior year… the “Prom Nazi.” Oops.

I am sure that this list is only a small part of the rationale behind bestowing upon me the label of “Fire-breathing Dragon.” Thankfully, I am not aware of any other reasoning, which is probably to everyone’s benefit, as I have been known to hold a grudge on occasion. Again, I know, you’re shocked!

But don’t worry, I wouldn’t dream of believing that my Fire-breathing Dragon days are behind me, as my sweet and loving husband has come up with a new, but curiously similar nickname for me: “Scorpion Woman.”

As you might imagine, this title is tossed about any time I lose my temper or act like a psycho. These times are not to be confused with my hormone-induced irrationality, however… Brian knows way better than to refer to me as “Scorpion Woman” when hormones are involved. And for that, he is a very smart man.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Just a little embarrassing story to brighten up your Tuesday morning

So I’m really not sure what brought this story to mind, but nonetheless, I’m going to share it with you, because who doesn’t love a good embarrassing moment from high school?

When we were in high school, I had the privilege of chauffeuring my lovely twin sister to school every morning somewhere around 3 am. Ok it was probably closer to 7, but regardless, it was way earlier than school actually started. You see, Allison was a member of the high school’s drill team, and because high school drill teams in Texas are nothing if not unnecessarily hardcore, their practice started almost a full hour before school actually started.

And in case you have forgotten, Allison and I are twins, and therefore shared everything short of underwear in high school… and I wouldn’t be surprised if a few laundry mix-ups resulted in that happening as well. So of course we shared a car, and unless I wanted to catch the school bus (and I think you would all agree that one would rather die in high school than take the school bus), I had to suck it up and get to school early with her.

Typically I would spend the remaining hour sitting at my locker, trying not to fall asleep and intermittently greeting the cleaning crew as they arrived at the school. Let’s all acknowledge that the logical thing for me to do would have been to wait and do my homework in the mornings before school started. Now let’s all acknowledge that realistically my anal retentive ways would not allow me to procrastinate homework until the morning before it was due… so typically I sat there with nothing at all to do but stew over high school drama.

Male readers: this is where you will want to stop reading.

So anyway, one week I happened to be in need of some feminine products and for whatever reason, I found the idea of asking my mom to add them to the grocery list even more embarrassing than having to go to the store to get them myself. Don’t get me wrong—I also found the idea of having to go purchase them in public to be particularly terrifying, just less so. But I think you will probably all agree that (at least in high school) the only thing worse than having to put those feminine products up on the conveyor belt in front of a cute male check-out guy (because all of the hot guys work at grocery stores), was to be spotted purchasing them by someone you knew.

Enter my perfect plan.

I decided that I would capitalize on my normally useless early morning hour of freedom by going to the grocery store to discreetly make my potentially embarrassing purchase. Surely there was NO way that anyone I knew would be at the grocery store at 7 am… right?

So I walked into the grocery store, realizing that I was gloriously alone in the store, and cruised on over to the “Feminine Hygiene” aisle (next to the diapers for old people, of course) to grab the goods. I made a bee-line for the check-out area, breathing a sigh of relief when I realized that the only check-out person available was a woman. Hooray! Success on 2 counts! Right? WRONG.

Just as I set down my purchase (at the check-out line closest to the front doors, mind you), I hear, “NELSON! YO! What’s up?! What are YOU doing here at 7 in the morning?!” I turn in slow motion, only to realize that it was none other than Tyler, my sister’s (obnoxiously loud) boyfriend*.

I was caught. How was I supposed to respond? I tried desperately to stand in his line of vision to block his view of the feminine products, but it was too late. I could tell by the uncomfortable look on his face that he had already seen them. I think I stuttered something smooth like, “Oh, you know, just doing a little early morning grocery shopping!” and held up the gummy bears that were accompanying my other purchase as proof.

I then quickly diverted his attention by asking what on earth he was doing at the grocery store at 7 am. I don’t remember his response. I didn’t care, because at that point, I was too busy being mortified that a boy knew that I purchased and therefore needed feminine products.

Thankfully, he didn’t broadcast our encounter to anyone else, at least not that I recall. But you better believe it was all I thought about for a while when I saw him. And I’ll be the first to admit that even 10 years later, I am still a little self-conscious when I have to buy those things at the store. Except now I’m worried about running into our priest, or worse, my male boss. Am I the only one that worries about this kind of thing?

*On an unrelated note, that very same boyfriend of Allison's used to refer to me (for reasons I was not but probably should have been aware of) as the “Fire-breathing Dragon”… and maybe I’m wrong, but I don’t think that was a compliment.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Back to life, back to reality

So there were a few events that occurred this weekend that were so unusual that they made me wonder if I was, in fact, dreaming up the entire weekend. And because I like to share (my thoughts, that is… I’m not good at sharing anything else), I will relay these events to you below:

1. It rained. More than once. I’m not lying—I used my umbrella out of actual necessity rather than just wishful thinking.

2. I stayed in bed on Saturday until 11 am. I didn’t work out, and I even ate my breakfast in bed while watching some cheesy movie with Brian. We had big plans to not get up and dressed until lunch time, but around 11, I started to feel sorry for our hungry dogs and abandoned ship to go feed them. But still, I was impressed with my ability to be intentionally lazy!

3. Brian suggested that we go to the outlet mall to go shopping. Seriously—without any prompting. Guess he was still trying to make up for the great cookie disappointment that occurred on Thursday :o)

4. The Comcast repair guy (a) showed up for his appointment to fix our DVR box, and (b) it was during the actual specified time frame, and (c), he actually fixed the problem. This might have been the most shocking event of them all.

There were some other very believable events that took place which assured me that the weekend was not entirely imaginary… including the consumption of sweet potato fries, frozen yogurt, and a pizookie from BJ’s—3 things I would definitely remember.

This week, however, promises to be depressingly realistic, as evidenced by the fact that my alarm went off at 5:17 this morning. Such is the life of a working woman, I suppose.

Ok that’s really all I have for you on this lovely Monday… hope your weekends were equally hard to believe!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

The good, the bad, and the ugly

The good: Our new Dyson is so powerful that it sucked a nail out of the ground!

The bad: That nail was apparently holding down part of our yucky kitchen floor (think: yellowed fake plastic tile)

The ugly: (In addition to the flooring itself) There is now a gaping hole where the nail once was.

Cheers to living in a old house with lots of "charm."

Friday, July 17, 2009

How to make your husband think you’re insane

So yesterday went a little like this:

8:45 am—I was ravenously hungry for some reason, and ate my morning snack 45 minutes early.
10:30 am—I e-mailed Brian to let him know that my stomach was bothering me; received a quick response from him asking what would make me feel better; I responded immediately with, “cookies.”
11:30 am—I then e-mailed Brian the following:

Secretly I want to ditch my lunch and go out to eat, but that would ruin tomorrow’s plan to go out to lunch, so I am going to have to suck it up and stay here. Woe is me.

Pause: Girls, can any of you translate this thought for me? In case you need some help, here is a loose translation: “I feel too guilty to admit that I would rather go to Pappasito’s and stuff my face than eat my boring turkey sandwich, so please pretend that it was your idea and come ‘force’ me go to out to eat.”

And this is where things went horribly awry. Rather than responding as the translation above suggests, Brian replied to tell me that he did, indeed, feel very sorry for me. The end.

12:15 pm—I received an e-card from Brian sent in an effort to appease my irrational behavior, but still no cookie.
1-4 pm—I then spent the remainder of the day pouting and not-so-subtly guilt tripping him for not taking me to lunch or bringing me a cookie… all the while secretly hoping that he was going to surprise me by showing up with a treat.
4:15 pm—After a phone call from a clueless Brian about our DVR box, I realized that I would not, in fact, be getting a surprise visit… or a cookie. A mild, passive-aggressive temper tantrum ensued.
5 pm—A thoughtful friend coincidentally dropped by the house to drop off a treat that she picked up at the bakery… 3 cookies. I was not home yet, so Brian intercepted. You can imagine the guilt he felt at this point.
6 pm—I arrived home from work to find 3 cookies from my friend…

… and flowers from Brian.

7:15 pm—We took a trip to Chick-Fil-A and I had an ice dream cone while Brian enjoyed a milkshake. All was once again right in the world.

So thanks to Brian’s impressive husbandly maneuvers, he has temporarily been spared of my irrational PMS-induced rage. Unfortunately for Houston drivers, anyone I encountered on my commute this morning was not. I mean, I’m sorry, but GET OUT OF MY WAY.

Here’s to being shamelessly irrational and blaming it on hormones!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

I'm almost certain this post will end up in the next issue of Consumer Reports

Well for those of you that have been wondering, we did successfully pick up our new Dyson last weekend, and we were delighted to find that it was, in fact, a vacuum and not a mattress. I would love to rave about how wonderful and life-changing it has been, but the sad fact is that I have not used it so far.

Brian, however, seemed to be pretty impressed, although not as impressed as I might have preferred considering its cost. But then again, I can understand why a vacuum wouldn’t send him shouting with glee from the rooftops… a new video game or the start of one of his imaginary sports drafts (he loves it when I call them that!) would be far more effective in accomplishing that.

He actually tried to give me a little tutorial on how to use the Dyson (because apparently my feeble female brain can’t figure out how to operate a vacuum without instruction :o), but I am pretty sure he interrupted my facebook-stalking at the time, so you can imagine how short my attention span was. All I remember is him saying something about a wand, at which point I started thinking about princesses and was too distracted to continue listening. Ok I’m kidding, I’m not 4 years old—I went back to thinking about facebook.

Anyway, about 10 minutes into his first go with the Dyson, I heard him turn it off and start groaning in agony. When I (after abandoning facebook for the 2nd time) ran to his rescue, I discovered that he had learned lesson number one with a bag-less vacuum: If you suck up a roach, it will smell like burning, rotting cockroach. Which, in case you have no brain, is disgusting. And all in one fell swoop, my dreams of owning a vacuum that was capable of eliminating my mortal enemy were crushed. Apparently we (Brian) will have to continue killing the roaches ourselves. Bummer.

And that’s really all I have to say today, so if you were expecting more dollar store ranting, I apologize for disappointing you.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Youth group kids and pregnancy tests... fortunately not even remotely related in this post

ETA: Just to clarify, I am not pregnant, nor have I been taking pregnancy tests, contrary to what the title might suggest!

Buenos dias, amigos. Well, “amigas” would probably be more accurate, being that my only male reader is Brian, and I’m pretty sure he reads more out of obligation than anything else. He’ll argue otherwise, however, because that’s what good husbands do.

And anyway, I won’t go into much detail re-capping our rather uneventful weekend, but I did want to share some of the highlights. So sit back and pretend to be interested.

We bought new tires for my car! Ok, that sentence doesn’t really deserve an exclamation point, but the amount of money spent does, so I felt it was necessary. It actually wasn’t that bad, but it’s always hard to dish out hundreds of dollars on ugly pieces of rubber when that money would be so much better spent elsewhere… like on a lifetime supply of ice cream.

We also spent a lot of time in the kitchen. Don’t get me wrong, we usually cook and eat at home throughout the week, but usually on the weekends we like to pay someone else to prepare food for us… especially if that involves tortilla chips and anything with cheese on top. This weekend, however, we made cookies, muffins, scrambled eggs (twice!), and dinner for the week. Ok that doesn’t seem like much now that I’m typing it out, but trust me, we were in the kitchen way more than normal.

And why were we being so domestic, you ask? Well I’ll tell you. In case I haven’t mentioned this before, I spent a little over a year working as an intern for the Student Ministries Department (fancy term for “youth group”) at my home church in Austin. It was a wonderful job, minus the fact that it paid almost nothing and resulted in my gaining 10 pounds.

If you know anything about teenagers, you know that they like to eat… a lot. And therefore almost all of the “ministering” that I did included food. Hence the 10 extra pounds. That also happened to be the year that I traveled for Chi Omega, and because the easiest way for a chapter to impress an intimidating National Consultant was to stuff her with food, I will also blame that job for the extra padding that I put on.

So back to the point—the group of girls that I happened to get the closest to in my time as an intern was the (at the time) freshmen girls. When I started at the church, they were actually fresh out of 8th grade. And now here we are, 4 years (and lots of high school drama that I admittedly love to hear about) later, and they just graduated from high school. Thankfully I have kept in touch with some of them (thank you, facebook!) and we are still good buddies today.

So two of them—Sarah and Amy—took a mini road trip on Friday night to the wonderful town of Richmond to visit! Fortunately they were only here for around 15 hours—8 of which were spent sleeping—which is exactly the amount of time it takes to see all that Richmond has to offer. Ok I’m kidding, we didn’t have nearly enough time to go get Thug Passion snow cones, hit up the dollar stores*, or take a swim in the Brazos Swamp/River. We did, however, have enough time to eat Mexican food and catch up with my living room.

Another fun fact—remember when I wrote this post about my friend Beth, the Dietitian? Well she also interned at the church with me, and happens to live in Houston (and happens to have been raised in the Rich-Rose area!), so she joined us to hang out as well. She was also kind enough to buy our dinner, so thanks, Beth!

So yes, we had a fun time catching up on where everyone is going to college, who is dating whom, and all of the other important scoop. I was sad they had to leave so soon, but I’m sure we’ll reunite some time soon.

*Ok and I just have to mention one other highlight from the weekend: Brian’s sister, Shannon, is at Camp T Bar M for the summer, and as is tradition, we decided to send her a package of random crap that she doesn’t really need. So where better to go than the Dollar Store, right? So after we picked out the necessary items (finger puppets and giant purple sunglasses, to name a few), we stood in line to check out. And that is where I noticed (where the gum and candy usually are) pregnancy and ovulation tests, each on sale for—you guessed it—only one dollar.

I’m sorry, but seriously? Though I may be frugal, I am aware that there are some occasions in life which warrant spending an extra buck or two, and a pregnancy test most definitely falls on that list. Why don’t they start selling HIV test kits for a dollar as well? Because who needs to be sure about something like that? Listen, peeps, if you can’t afford a pregnancy test anywhere except the dollar store, you are going to be in some big financial trouble when the baby comes. I’m just sayin'.

I had big plans of devoting an entire blog to the topic of “Things you probably shouldn’t purchase at the Dollar Store,” but am not feeling motivated enough. So instead, please feel free to comment and leave your suggestion of what might go on that list. And if you’re lucky, I just might copy and paste them all into a list and make it into a top 10 list.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Do you remember the time?

(That's right, the title is another nod to MJ... I'm on a roll.)

I am posting this picture to remind people (me) that at one point in time, the temperature was (consistently) below 100 degrees in the Houston area. I was wearing a turtleneck, and I’m pretty sure I was still cold. Those were good times.

(This picture also provides proof that my eyes stay red pretty much from November until February… guess it’s the cold/dry combo?)

And I know this is really terribly wrong of me, but when I was watching the weather forecast on the news this morning (summary: unbearably hot from now until eternity with no rain in sight), I found myself wishing for another hurricane. Don’t judge me—you know you’ve thought the same thing.

Also, I wanted to share a fun Friday fact with you: I ask (read: force) Brian to read every blog that I write out loud to me. And then I usually get frustrated because he is not using the proper intonation when reading my writing, but that’s beside the point. Do any of you do this to your husband/significant other, or am I insane?

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Customer service at its finest... again

I have had the lyrics to assorted Michael Jackson songs stuck in my head for days now. Is anyone else having this problem? I shared this with my co-workers this morning, only to have them sing new MJ songs that are now stuck in my head. No one wants to beat it, beat it… I wanna rock with you (all night)… it’s after midnight…

Ok moving along.

So we went to the Y this morning (despite Brian’s sincere suggestion that we give running another try… unfortunately I’m not interested in trying that again until October) and I hopped on the treadmill. I started my warm-up and, as it always does, the treadmill prompted me to enter my weight and age. And because I pride myself in my ability to follow directions, I did as instructed and entered “105*” and “26” accordingly.

*105 might or might not be a total and complete lie.

And the response, as it always does, stated that my weight and age were accepted. And my question is this—does anyone ever enter his/her weight and age only to have the treadmill reply with, “WRONG! Rejected! Try again.” Or, “Whoa, you are way too fat to be on here—get off or make up a new weight.” Or maybe even, “16 years old and you’re working out? Go home and mindlessly stuff your face with Cheetoh puffs while you can still get away with it.” Orrrrrrr maybe I’m the only one that thinks the treadmill telling me my weight and age were “accepted” is weird.

And on that note, I have always thought it was amusing when the little credit card swiping machine asks you if the amount you are being charged is acceptable and makes you click “ok.” I understand that they are just making sure you know what the amount of the charge is, but still, every time I read that, I kind of want to respond with, “No! This is not acceptable!” and start bartering for a lower price. Somehow I don’t think it would work…

And just an update on the Dyson for those of you who are interested—I should have clarified that we (Brian) paid for it and ordered it at the store on Monday, but we don’t actually have it in our possession yet. We are actually going to Conn’s to pick it up tomorrow, so I had Brian call today just to confirm that it had arrived to the store as scheduled.

And apparently the reason that Conn’s has low prices is because they don’t exactly employ the sharpest tools in the shed to work there if you know what I’m saying. Brian said he was put on hold 4 or 5 times, each time with a new employee picking up the phone minutes later to ask whom he was holding for, and at one point was informed that yes, the mattress he ordered had arrived. Well that would be great if the mattress had an amazing ability to suck up dirt and leave our carpets looking like new.

Anyway, he finally spoke with someone who confirmed that our Dyson had, in fact, arrived, but informed him that he “had better hurry up and come get it.” Um, excuse me? He politely reminded the employee that not only did we specifically place the order for that particular vacuum, but that we also had already paid for it in full. Apparently they reluctantly agreed that this was a fair argument and said they would “make a special mark on it so no one would take it.” Well that’s comforting.

So we may or may not be picking up our new Dyson tomorrow. Or coming home with an extra mattress—it’s anyone’s guess at this point.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

A tale of two cheapos

Once again, we are overjoyed to be getting some RAIN here in the H-town area. Our nearly dead plants are equally grateful, though it’s hard to tell that by looking at their wilted leaves and brown coloring. Oops. I guess our first attempt at gardening would have been better attempted in a season that didn’t consist of record high temperatures and a drought. The extra great news is that the temperature is not supposed to go above a chilly 96 degrees today- break out the winter coats, everyone!

Brian and I made a very pathetic attempt to go running outside this morning rather than make our normal Tuesday pilgrimage to the YMCA. If you consider running for 5 minutes and walking the remaining 25 minutes to be a success, then I would say that our efforts were quite successful. We really did have good intentions, but I’m telling you that the humidity was so thick that it made normal breathing difficult, so you can imagine how running-breathing was working out for us.

The upside is that Brian felt so sweaty and gross after our (fake) run that he decided to shower before spending the morning lounging on the couch and watching Man vs. Wild. I have no problem with him spending his morning that way, but I will say that I would prefer him to lounge on the furniture when he’s freshly-showered versus fresh-off-of-the-used-gym-equipment-at-the-YMCA. I have a feeling most of you would agree.

And my last rambling for the day: Because everyone loves a good “stick it to the man” story, I have to tell you all about our recent vacuum purchase. You see, we have been using the same Dirt Devil that I purchased at Target for the past 3 years. This Dirt Devil is terribly ineffective, and has a habit of just kind of moving the dirt around rather than sucking it up. And don’t even get me started on its inability to eliminate doodle bugs. So we recently made the decision that it was time to replace our crap-vac and go with something that would actually make the house feel clean.

My parents are proud owners of a Dyson, and I have seen its life-changing effects firsthand. I have also seen its price tag firsthand. But after much debating and consulting of the all-knowing Consumer Reports, we decided that a Dyson would be a worthy investment and well worth every penny… or so we hoped.

So when we were in Austin this weekend, the boys meandered into Best Buy while Allison and I were shopping. We met up with them when we were finished, and after Wade and Brian finished a rather embarrassingly loud round of Rock Band in the store, we wandered over to the vacuums.

To make this unnecessarily long story short, we ended up buying an “Open Item” Dyson that was discounted from the original price. Basically an “Open Item” is supposed to be an item that was opened and returned to the store, but NOT one that is broken or otherwise defective.

So we excitedly took our new Dyson home and Brian opened it up as soon as we made it back to Richmond on Sunday… only to find that it was BROKEN. Hmm, I wonder why the people returned it in the first place? So anyway, he took it back to Best Buy only for them to say, “Ok we’ll take it back, but if you want to exchange it, you’ll have to pay the full original price.” Um. No. It’s not our fault that you tried to sell us a broken vacuum.

So what did we do? Took our business elsewhere. But here’s the best part—the cheapest price we could find online was at Sears, BUT we wanted to use a $50 discount card that we recently received in the mail from Conn’s. So because Conn’s does a price match guarantee (so does Best Buy, but too bad, suckers, we already wrote you off), we were able to get it at the Sears price PLUS we still got the $50 discount off of that. So BOO-YA, Best Buy, and your defective merchandise.

I realize this is possibly the most boring story you have read on my blog, so I hope you’ll forgive me. But be prepared soon to read a blog about how amazing the Dyson is and how much it has changed our lives. In the meantime, I expect you all to be on the edge of your seats in anticipation.

Monday, July 6, 2009

God bless America... land of peanut buttery ice cream treats

Fear not, my friends, for Dairy Queen has fallen back into my good graces. As indicated in my last post, I only thought it would be fair to give DQ a second chance after they tried to ruin my life by robbing me of the new Tagalong Blizzard. So on Friday night, we hit up DQ with Allison and Wade and were relieved to find that, unlike in Rosenberg, Austin follows the Blizzard-of-the-month protocol and did indeed have the Tagalong Blizzard in stock.

And let me tell you, people—it was amazing. I will warn you that this is not the blizzard for people who don’t like peanut butter. But if you don’t like peanut butter, I probably don’t even want you reading my blog, so I’m not sure why I even bothered warning you. The Tagalong Blizzard was indeed peanut buttery, and I enjoyed every bite. Brian was nice enough to share one with me because maybe I’m alone here, but 2 full blizzards in a 24-hour period seems a little excessive to me. Anyway, let it suffice to say that the Tagalong Blizzard did not disappoint, and I highly recommend that you race to DQ immediately to try one.

The rest of our trip to Austin was equally enjoyable, minus the multiple occasions where I cursed the heat and insisted that we move to Colorado as soon as possible. I did happen to forget my makeup on this trip, but thankfully Allison and my mom were kind enough to let me borrow theirs. But now that I think about it, not wearing makeup in 104 degree heat probably wouldn’t have been such a big deal. It actually might have been a wise decision, but it’s too late now.

But on that note, makeup is probably one of the number one things I do not want to forget when traveling. It’s not that I wear a lot by any means (just enough to distinguish myself from Casper), but it’s much easier to get by without a toothbrush or deodorant than it is makeup. And I say this because those are easy and cheap to buy, not because I don’t highly value hygiene. Makeup, on the other hand, is expensive to replace, and especially if it’s only for a 2-day stint at home in Austin. And I have now devoted way too much text to makeup.

We had the pleasure of going out to lunch with the Olivers and Duncans at Hula Hut on the 4th of July. If you have never been there, you need to go. And you need to eat the Chicken Pipeline Enchilada. And you need to be brave and eat the whole thing rather than wimp out and share one with your husband... not that I am speaking from experience. But seriously, it is one of the tastiest things you will ever put in your mouth.

We also got to spend some quality time with our friends, the Liechtys, for the majority of the 4th, so that was fun times. They recently moved back to Texas after a 4-year stay in Atlanta (has it already been 4 years since we graduated from college?! Eek!) so we were excited to catch up and hang out with their 2 cute little ones, Hannah and Mary Kate.

Ok that’s enough re-capping for one post. I hope you all had a very happy 4th and that unlike yours truly, you aren't still feeling like a zombie on this lovely Monday afternoon.

PS- Here's a fun fact for you that I just remembered: One year for Halloween in college, Brian dressed up as Burger King and I dressed up as Dairy Queen. Sounds like foreshadowing of my future obsession to me...

Thursday, July 2, 2009

"Disappointed" would be an understatement

Disappointment of the century: we drove to Dairy Queen tonight with the intention of having blizzards for dinner... because what else do you eat for dinner after eating a huge Mexican meal at lunch? So after a trip to Wal-mart (might as well make it a townie night, right?), we drove to the DQ.

The first clue that something was awry was when we did NOT see a Tagalong Blizzard of the Month sign on the window where the BOTM is normally featured. Nonetheless, we drove onward. We pulled up to the window and Brian asked if they had the Tagalong Blizzard. Her response? "No... not yet. But we'll probably have it tomorrow."

Ok thanks, that helps me out a great deal right now while I'm sitting in your drive-thru lane ordering my "dinner."

So I settled on a Reese's blizzard, and while it was delicious as always, I couldn't help but leave feeling (a) somewhat enraged with our crappy excuse for a Dairy Queen and (b) justified in going out for another blizzard outing in Austin this weekend. That's totally reasonable... right?!

And PS- I might or might not have written a comment to the Blizzard Fan Club President letting him know about my disappointment... looks like Allison's confrontational tactics with Starbucks are rubbing off on me!

How to look stupid in front of aforementioned friends

So I’m sure you’re all wondering how the night of wedding reminiscing went. Let me first say that SOMEONE (cough cough KATIE cough cough) did not wear her wedding dress as promised. So you can imagine how cool I felt spending the evening in my “going away” wedding dress, wedding jewelry, and heels while they lounged comfortably in shirts and shorts. I really didn’t mind, but I did look pretty silly. And to get revenge, I ate all of the tortilla chips that Kristen so kindly put out so that no one else could have any. So take that, girls! :o)

We did have a fun time going through our wedding albums and chit chatting—such a fun time that we actually didn’t end up having time to watch our videos. Technically we did have time, but being that we didn’t decide to watch them until 9:15, this grandma had to peace out and insist that we watch the videos another time. I know, I know, I need to get over my curfew. But there is just no way that I can go to bed any later than 10, wake up at 5:15 the next morning, and still function properly. Which is precisely why I turned off my alarm this morning, re-set it for 40 minutes later, and went back to sleep. I know, I am SUCH a rebel!

Oh, and I also need to mention that Kristen and Bryan’s house is really cute, and I came very close to dying of jealous when I went into their master bathroom only to find that they have a separate shower and tub and TWO sinks. TWO SINKS PLUS SINK SPACE. And they had a really sweet new washer and dryer set. I started to throw a tantrum but the girls quickly reminded me that my housing—though somewhat outdated—is free, so I stopped. Isn’t it funny, though, to think about the things you get jealous of as a young newlywed—bathrooms and home appliances? Whatever happened to the days when you would die of jealousy over your friend’s Barbie Dream House or her totally awesome pink 10-speed Schwinn bike? I miss those days.

Ok and lastly, on a completely unrelated note, there is this incredibly annoying commercial for Moody Gardens in Galveston that has been playing lately during the morning news. Basically they are showing off all of the cool educational activities you can do at Moody Gardens, and so they show a few clips of kids at the end to prove their point that learning is fun (right). And at one point, they show a clip of this little girl who YELLS, “DO BUTTAHFLIES LIKE BUTTAH?!”

Besides the fact that she can’t say her “r”s, there is really no need for her to scream at the tv like that. It leaves my ears ringing with that phrase all day long. And also, I don’t think I was ever so young or unaware that I thought butterflies actually had anything to do with butter. Yes, I’m aware that I am currently criticizing a preschooler… I’m going to be a great mom, right? Anyway, if you ever want me to do my impression of the little girl, please let me know and I would be happy to assist.

And just in case my motivation to continue my daily blogging streak ceases over the next few days, I wanted to make sure and wish you all a very happy 4th of July! Make sure to eat a lot so that we’ll have something to talk about when I get back on Sunday. Oh, and in case you are dying to know our plans—we’re headed to Austin for the weekend. Hooray!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

My life will never be the same again

Today I received an e-mail that will change my life forever… or at least for the month. My good pals over at the DQ Blizzard Fan Club Headquarters sent me an e-mail notifying me of the new Blizzard-of-the-month. Nine times out of ten, the BOTM is disappointing—it’s usually something way too out there for my taste, or worse—it involves fruit. I am a fan of (some) fruit, but I think it has its place, and that place is not mixed into a tasty ice cream treat.

Ok so are you ready for this? This month’s BOTM is the TAGALONG Blizzard. YES, as in the greatest Girl Scout Cookies EVER created. I don’t think I’m going to go tonight, because I will be busy with the aforementioned wedding festivities, but you better believe I am going to hit up our local DQ in the very near future to try this new magical creation.

My only fear is this—what if I love the Tagalong Blizzard so much that I’m not able to go back to the Reese’s Blizzard and be satisfied once July has come and gone? I just need to get into the mindset now that the Tagalong is temporary, and Reese’s will loyally remain a DQ fixture forever. And if it doesn’t, then you better believe you’ll be hearing about it here first.

I’ll leave you with the truest words ever spoken (other than the Bible, obviously): “DQ… that’s what I like about Texas!”


Believe it or not, we have friends (besides the Olivers)!

I am excited to report that we went out to dinner with some of our favorite (and only!) Richmond friends last night. No, we did not eat with “Walking Lady” or George Washington (although that would have been interesting…), so I apologize if I got your hopes up. Instead we ate with 2 other couples—Katie & Stephen and Bryan & Kristen.

You see, Rich-Rose has an abundance of many things—shady Mexican food establishments (the term “restaurant” would be generous), Dollar Stores, and sketchy pawn shops to name a few (ie: “Cry Baby Pawn Shop” which features a creepy drawing of a crying baby on the front of the building). What the area does not have an abundance of, however, is young couples for us to hang out with… and no, the pregnant teenagers at Lamar Consolidated High School do not count.

So of course we were excited when Katie & Stephen moved to a neighborhood just 5-10 minutes away, and equally excited when Bryan & Kristen recently moved into their same neighborhood. Brian actually knows Bryan, Katie, and Stephen from growing up at Calvary (the church where he now works), and Kristen by association, as she and Bryan knew each other growing up but didn’t date until after college. They are getting married later this month and actually recently started a blog, so you should check it out here.

These are actually the same friends that we had the puppy play date with back in January. So not only do they happen to also be young couples living in Richmond, but they, like us, also suffer from the same condition whereby they have no children and consequently treat their dogs as if they were their children. It’s helpful to know that they won’t judge us when we ramble on about how the dogs don’t eat as much when they miss us, or when we share stories about all of the interesting things Buster likes to eat.

So anyway, dinner was great, and tonight we are going to follow things up with a segregated boy/girl hang-out. The boys have big plans to engage in some male bonding that most likely will include a trip to see the latest Transformers movie. Meanwhile, Katie and I are going to bring our wedding albums and videos over to Kristen’s house to peruse together. And we may or may not be wearing our wedding dresses… don’t judge. Actually, my wedding dress is sealed and packed away in a box, so I will likely wear my “going away” dress (pictured at the top of this blog!), but still, you get the idea.

Yes, I'm sure it will be much like that episode of Friends where Phoebe, Monica, and Rachel sat around the apartment wearing wedding dresses, and don’t act like you (girls) never thought about doing that when you got older. Well “older” has arrived, so here we go.

I’ll be sure to report back and let you know how the evening goes—Katie is a self-proclaimed crier, so I am anticipating a few tears while we self-indulge, er, I mean, reminisce about our weddings. And hopefully we will come out of the evening having assured Kristen that standing at the front of the church saying your wedding vows in front of hundreds of people can, in fact, be done without suffering from a panic attack. But then again, that’s easy for someone who loves attention to say, now isn’t it? :o)

And just to close, since I have yet to give MJ (RIP) a shout out, I thought I would share this with all of my Houston readers. For those of you that are too lazy to click on the link, basically they are holding a Michael Jackson Tribute Dance Party tomorrow night at Discovery Green, a park in downtown Houston. Sadly, I will not be attending. But I think you would all agree that a Michael Jackson Tribute Dance Party can be held anywhere, any time… so I’m not too broken up about missing it.

Peace out, peeps!