11.23.2008

Shop til you Drop...literally

I know that Black Friday is 5 days away, but I am writing about this now for two reasons: I am really excited about it and I have been since September; I am going to be really busy this week so I need to blog about it while I can. 

Dictionary.com defines this wonderful day as "the day after Thanksgiving in the United States. Retailers generally see an upward spike in sales and consider this to be the start of the holiday shopping season. It's common for retailers to offer special promotions and to open early to draw in customers." 

Otherwise known as the day that Mom, Leslie (cousin) and I get geared up to do some serious Christmas shopping at the Galleria in Hoover. The preparation starts after our Thanksgiving meal on Thursday. We clear the dining room table and usually have ads from 2 newspapers spread across the table. Cardinal Rule #1 You may not, under any circumstances, look at the ads prior to the Thanksgiving meal. You will be forever shamed and disowned. During this time, we make a game plan. We decide what stores open first and who has the best doorbusters (we always get JCPenney's Christmas globe). We also pull together everyone's Christmas lists and decided what stores we need to go to to get the best deals on these items. You see, Christmas is a BIG deal for my family. My grandparents have always loved to give gifts to their grandchildren. Granny Rosie is unable to get out and shop all day long for her family, so we do it for her and do our own shopping at the same time. It takes 3 very fiesty and organized, yet absolutely crazy, women to accomplish this task. JC Penney and Sears tend to be hot spots for us...for the small kitchen/home appliances and the electronics. We never fail to spend hours in these stores because of the great deals and all the lines.  

The day starts around 3:00 am when the alarm starts going off. Time to wake up from my nap! I snooze for at least 30 minutes then I have to rush in and out of the shower, get dressed and out the door! Mom and I meet Leslie outside of Sear's or JCPenney (whichever is on the schedule first) around 4:30 am and wait in the freezing weather with all the other loonies for the employees to open the doors. Then we all fight to get through the door and the madness begins. After getting the necessary doorbusters we need at Sear's, we run over to JCPenney (the opposite side of the mall) to see if we can also get those doorbusters. Then, we get in line at Starbuck's for breakfast. This is the day that my mom has her Annual Starbuck's Drink. She hates anything coffee, but she does it for us and she knows she needs the caffeine boost. After that we continue with shopping. By 9:30 we have probably already made 2-3 trips out to the van to unload our bags then we come back in for lunch. We always have to sit in the floor because this is also the time that the casual shoppers (the ones who really get on our nerves) get to the mall for breakfast. We continue shopping, make about 3 more trips to the car to unload bags and around noon we have our mid-afternoon snack. Snack time is usually at Auntie Anne's Pretzels...the home of the my one and only public argument/fight, whatever you want to call it. I don't even recall the details, but I had a yelling argument for all to hear with a lady who took my table. I'm not proud of my behavior, but I did get my table back :) Around 1:00 pm we start to stand out among all the other shoppers. Most people shop in reasonable amounts of time. Those who get there when the stores open usually leave between 10 and noon. Then, the ones who don't really care about the deals, got to sleep in, and put on makeup and nicer clothes, come after noon. We, in the clothes we put on in the dark at 4 am, the bags under our eyes, no makeup, exhausted and frazzled, stay all day long. Our record is 15 hours and some minutes. That's 4 am to 7 pm. When we are finally done with our shopping brigade, we make our way back to Granny Rosie's for leftovers. Then, we unload the bags in the basement and inform Granny Rosie of all her purchases for the day. 

This day was not designed for the faint at heart. If you can't get out and get serious about some shopping, please spare my nerves and stay at home. This is not a day designed for children-- especially those in strollers, leave them at home with your husband. This is not a day to linger around and get all smoochy smoochy with your boyfriend/girlfriend. Any other day of the year...be my guest. But not on Black Friday. You must walk very fast, squeeze through lines of people and know exactly what you are looking for. Get it and go. If you are there for a splendid day of window shopping, save me the irritation and stay in bed. If you are there to fight with me over the last GPS at Sear's...I welcome you. I will be extremely annoyed with you if you get the last one, but at least we are united in purpose and have understanding minds. 

As crazy as it may seem, the 3 of us LOVE Black Friday! We have so much fun together and find something to laugh about the entire day...of course, sometime around noon, the laughter becomes a result of lack of sleep. This year, we have decided to wear matching pajamas. I am laughing out loud right now because I think this is the most hilariously ridiculous idea, even though it was partly mine. Mom bought us pink/gray pants and a hot pink fleece pullover. I'm sure we will get some funny looks, but this day is not about looks. It's about getting fantastic deals. And that we know how to do. 

11.18.2008

If I Only Had a Blog

Episodes in the Kitchen 

I have decided to expand my series to anything that happened before the blog. This one has to do with my best friend/college roommate, Allison. I was inspired by her blog post this week, you can read it here. If I get anything incorrect, Allison, feel free to fix it. 

Allison and I love to cook. We spent a lot of time learning to cook and trying to new recipes in college. While typical college students were eating All You Can Eat wings at Buffalo Connection, Allison and I were cooking meals your momma makes at 1602 N. Donahue Dr. Here's a few memories we share from our kitchen. Not all of them have to actually do with cooking. They might not be hilarious or even slightly funny to you...a lot of our memories are a "you had to be there" kind of thing. But I hope you enjoy anyway :)

1.  The Butter
We liked to buy in bulk when possible to be budget friendly. We always bought the huge tubs of Country Crock butter. I don't remember if we were unloading the groceries or if Allison was just getting the butter out of the fridge, regardless, the tub was brand new. It slipped out of her hands and she dropped the whole tub. The tub cracked all the way around, but somehow none of the butter was actually touching the floor. Allison just stood bent over saying, "What do I do?" I was laughing too hard to talk or think. We didn't want to throw away all that butter! We sat on the kitchen floor laughing (which was not rare for us) and finally came up with a solution. We put all that butter in a big tupperware bowl and put in back in the fridge. I remember it taking us FOREVER to go through that butter. 

2.  The Mice
Have you ever had a rodent in your house? How about 9 in 24 hours? Yeah...that's right. One day we saw a mouse run across the kitchen floor. We were really freaked out, but not to the point that we felt the need to call pest control. However, when we saw more than one mouse run across the kitchen floor, we became concerned and called. I made Allison call them...I wasn't going to tell them we had multiple rodents in our house. That's gross! Instead of putting out traps that kill the mice, they put out the stupid sticky pads that the mice run over and get stuck to it, then they just yip yip yip for help. I hated hearing that noise. It meant there was some nasty mouse trying to wiggle free in my kitchen. I am so thankful that our other roommate, Emily, was brave enough to deal with the mice. Allison and I would not go downstairs without her. And poor Emily, she had to take the trapped mice to the dumpster because we were not about to pick up that sticky pad! We totalled 9 mice in 24 hours. We (with the expertise of the pest control) determined that they were getting in through the openings for the water pipes that run to the sink, dishwasher and washer. So he had to come back and seal the openings with some kind of foamy stuff. Allison didn't mind him coming back...he was pretty cute! We were ecstatic to find out that the condo a few doors down was having the same problem. As a joke, I went the Pet Smart and bought a pet mouse and a cage. I left him on the kitchen counter for Allison and Emily to see when they got home. I bought this huge ball of food that was supposed to last for weeks. However, he died from dehydration because I never replenished his water supply. I didn't want to put my hand in his cage. I still feel bad to this day. I was a horrible mouse mom. I'm sure PETA is very unhappy with me. 

3.  The Worchestershire Sauce
Allison and I were making hamburger steak one night for dinner. I had the meat in a bowl and I was going to mix in a little worchestershire sauce. I guess by "a little" I really meant the whole bottle. I don't know what happened but somehow I got a little too happy with the sauce and before I knew it, the meat was covered in it. We were trying to not eat out, so I thought I would try to salvage the meal. Hmm...the meat is too liquidy, maybe I should add some flour. HAHA what an idea! Allison was skeptical, but she knew we really couldn't mess this up anymore. So, I mixed in some flour to thicken it up, made the patties, and placed them in the skillet. Allison had already made up her mind that we were going out for dinner, but I kept pressing on. I tasted the overly marinated yet floury-fried hamburger patty and thought to myself, "Well, it's still edible." I tried to convice Allison to taste it and she thought I had lost my mind. She grabbed her purse and said, "Let's go." We ended up eating brownies at bible study that night for dinner. 

4.  The Double Duty Pantry
Typically a pantry is used to store food. Ours did. One night it also served as a hide out from strangers. It was past midnight on a weekend night and our neighbors were having a wild n crazy party...like they did every night of the week. We were in the kitchen probably eating some kind of dessert when we hear this VERY drunk guy beating on our door. Not like a nice knock knock, but a very aggresive beating on our door. For those of you that don't know, I am a scaredy cat. I have seen one too many horror movies and the possibilities are endless. Who knows what this guy had in mind if we let him in? I certainly was NOT going to open the door. So, Allison just ignores it and starts her way upstairs. I, however, flip out and run into the pantry and yell for her to come back down and hide with me. I went straight to the pantry because the kitchen blinds were open, the lights were on, and there was a window in our front door that he could easily look into to see if we were home. The pantry was the only reasonably safe area at the time. He couldn't see us. And we weren't just in the pantry, we were crammed up by the door because if we had been too far to the right, he could have seen us through the window. We stood there for close to 30 minutes...no exaggeration. He wouldn't leave and I certainly wasn't going anywhere until I was postive he was gone. Allison tried to convince me to just take a run for it and get upstairs so we would at least be by our phones if something actually happened. I completely disagreed...I wasn't going anywhere and she wasn't going to leave me by myself. So, we just hung out in the pantry for a while until I felt safe again and could peacefully walk upstairs. 

So many wonderful memories. We talk all the time, reminisce and laugh as hard or harder than when it actually happened. I've never laughed so hard in my life (other than with my mother and Brent) than I did those four years at Auburn. I am so thankful and blessed that God allowed us to meet the very first day of classes in Mr. Blaufarb's history class. It's no coincidence that in a class of 300+ we sat next to each other. God knew we needed to be friends. 

11.14.2008

Nissan Island

Brent and I went to Linens N Things tonight. My brother is moving into a dorm room at UA next year and my best friend just bought a house, so I figured I could find some stuff for them. After walking around for 30 minutes and picking up a lot of things, I didn't buy anything. I didn't really like anything I saw, it was only appealing because it was 20-40% off. It became even more unappealing after Brent told me that he read on The Consumerist that businesses that have a "Going Out of Business" sale usually jack up the prices before they give a discount. Anyway, it was raining tonight. As we were walking to the car, Brent noticed that our car was lonely. No other cars were near it. As we got closer, we noticed why. It was an island. There was a huge puddle of water surrounding our car. The puddle was so deep that when cars drove by we had to back up because of the waves. We stood there, in the middle of the parking lot, getting wet, trying to come up with a game plan of how to get to the car. I just assumed we would tip toe to the car and if our shoes got wet, we would just go home and change shoes before we finished our errands. Brent thought he had a better idea. He found a buggy and decided he would jump on the back of it and give himself a good push to the car. He realized this wouldn't work...what if he didn't make it to the car or what if he pushed off too hard and ran into the car? We also ran into the same problems when we considered me getting inside the buggy and having Brent give me a good push towards the car.  I'm sure the couple getting into their car found this very humorous. Thankfully, we did too. Especially when we started arguing over just getting in the car vs. walking to Best Buy in hopes that the water would drain while we were gone. Hmm...who do you think had the second idea? Not me. I really did not want to walk over to Best Buy-afterall, it's not in the same shopping center as LNT and it was raining. But, being the submissive wife I am supposed to be, I walked with Brent over to Best Buy. I was actually ok with that because I really had to go to the bathroom after drinking 3 Diet Cokes at dinner. We stayed in there for about 10 minutes...long enough for Brent to point out all the things he wants for Christmas and for me to go to the bathroom. When we left, of course it was raining harder, which means the puddle was becoming an ocean. Unless the drain decided to work in the 10 minutes while we were gone. Not likely. Brent offered to let me wait at Best Buy while he went and got the car. I told him, "Nope, you got us into this together, we are going to get out of this together." So we made the trip across parking lots, dodging all kinds of puddles, back to the car in the pouring rain. You're right Brent, that was a good idea! Brent let me stand on land while he swam to the car. He had water 6 inches up his pant legs. Needless to say, we didn't finish our errands tonight. However, we laughed a lot. And in the end, that's what matters, right?

11.11.2008

Just like her momma

I took Sanibel to the vet today for her annual checkup. She usually behaves at the vet--always a little scared and nervous, but she cooperates. Today she decided she was going to be difficult. She reminded me of myself a while back. When I was six, I had to get stitches in my upper lip because my dog bit me. My family and I were taking a walk down the street and a bull mastiff caught a glimpse of my dog, a tiny yorkie, and attacked him. Once we got my dog loose from the others dog's mouth, I carried him back home. Little did I know that every single rib was broken and as I put him in my arms, I hurt him. In response, he jumped up and bit off a chunk of skin above my lip. That was traumatic enough for me. Then, my parents told me I had to go to the hospital and get stitches. You would have thought I was dying a brutal death. Not because I was in pain, but because I absolutely was not going to the hospital. I didn't win that argument and next thing I knew, I was in a hospital room. The doctor was trying to give me a shot of anesthetics so he could sew me up. I was so hysterical and volatile that the doctor had to put me in a straight jacket just to calm me down for the shot. Now, take that picture in your head of little me freaking out and apply it to Sanibel at the vet today. She was terrified to be there. She was shaking from the moment we got in the car. It's funny how she could sense we were going somewhere she didn't like. The nurse called us in to the room. She attempted to take her temperature (in the rear) but because Sanibel kept tucking her tail, she had to take the temp 3 times. Then, she pried Sanibel's claws off of me to go weigh her. She brought her back in the room and said the vet would be with us shortly. No problem...we are half way there. All that's left is 2 quick shots and we're out. The nurse came back in the room and told me it would be a little longer because the vet was with another patient. I asked her to clip Sanibel's claws while we waited. In the past, they have done this in the room while I held her. For some reason, the nurse took her out the room. For the next 5 minutes, all I hear is Sanibel crying and screeching. I had no clue what was going on, but I knew it had to be bad. The nurse came back in the room looking a little frazzled. Sanibel had pitched a royal fit so bad that it required a muzzle over her mouth. She was described as a "Tasmanian Devil". The nurse had red scratches that covered her arms and apparently Sanibel peed all over the floor. I felt horrible for her behavior. The vet finally arrived in the room. Sanibel had such a horrible experience getting her nails clipped that the vet couldn't even look at her ears, teeth, eyes, etc. Sanibel was being such brat. She turned her head away as if to say, "Umm, no. I don't know what you are trying to do, but it's not going to happen." At this point Sanibel had her front paws up on my shoulder and was clinging for dear life. The vet told me that the nurse needed to hold her during the shots for my safety...I guess she envisioned Sanibel lashing out on me. Sanibel starts to bark excruciatingly loud and bites the nurse. She has a playful bite...but this is NOT playful. She is 100% on the defense and that lady was not going to lay a hand on her. I didn't know what to do because Sanibel turned into a little devil and I've never seen that side of her before. I just stood there and let the trained professionals figure something out. The vet suggested they put the muzzle on her again. I'm sure Sanibel was thinking, "Oh, I've seen this before. You must be crazy!" Sanibel jumped up on my left shoulder. All four paws were on the top of my shoulder and her head was tucked in my shirt. How she stayed up there, I don't know. Obviously, she was making it impossible to get the muzzle on. The vet decided to put a leash on her and take her to the "lift table." She explained it to me and assured me that she was not going to harm my dog. I didn't really listen, but it was something like a short leash connected to a wall and some other stuff that would make this easier. I told her it wasn't a problem and she could do whatever it took to calm her down for the shots. I expected it to take a while to give her the shots. The vet and nurse were back in the room in less than a minute. They said that once they got her connected to the lift table, Sanibel was fine and accepted the shots with no problems. Apparently, Sanibel freaks herself out during the down time while waiting for the vet. They have now put an alert on her file to do everything at once to eliminate the violent anxiety Sanibel brings upon herself. After MUCH appology, we left. I dropped her off at home and went straight to the grocery store...which is another story in itself. I had to go to 3 grocery stores to find one can of chili beans. I guess tonight was chili night for everyone. 

11.05.2008

In need of rest

And I don't mean a good nap, I mean spriritual rest. Quality time spent with my Father. Sit at His feet and treasure His every word. I won't say that I have too much on my plate, but I definitely have enough. This is not a blog of complaint. I 100% LOVE every thing I am doing and all that I am involved in--teaching Sunday school, teaching Bible study, teaching Kindergarten, finding a curriculum for LLCA, helping the youth on Wednesday nights, going home to see family, Bunko, etc. But lately it has consumed me and I have had no time to just be. I can not tell you the last time I sat down with nothing to do. I don't have time for TV (which I really haven't missed, except for Jon and Kate and The Office), no time to cook good meals, no time to check email, no time to blog, no time for Sanibel, no time for laundry, no time to clean the house, barely time to go grocery shopping--you get the point. Even my quiet times in the morning are interrupted because Sanibel needs to go outside or she wants me to play fetch. Brent and I signed up for Netflix in September so we won't pay late fees anymore. So far we've watched one movie and I fell asleep because I was so exhausted. I get up at 5:15 am, and go non-stop until 5:30 pm and by 9:00pm my body shuts down and is ready to crawl in the bed. In that short 3 1/2 hours I attempt house work, errands, quality time with Brent, play with Sanibel, cook dinner, clean up the kitchen, pay bills, balance the checkbook, make lunches for the next day, check email/blogs/facebook, etc. And that's only on days when I have nothing to do after work. Brent is a huge help around the house, but there is always something else to be done even with both of us knocking out the to-do list. Lately, I've had something to do every night of the week except Thursday. But, Thursday is no time for rest because I'm cleaning the house and doing laundry because we are going out of town Friday after work. We have gone out of town the past 3 weekends and this coming one will be our 4th. Like I said, I am not complaining. I'm not asking for sympathy. I know it may be hard to see it that way, but I'm just sharing what's on my heart. Completely open and honest. And I know that every one else in this world has their fair share of being busy. I am in no way trying to say that I'm the only one that has a lot to do and has to be in a million places at once. I just wonder if that is what we are made for? Am I meant to have to cram everything that matters to me in the 3 1/2 hours between getting home from work and going to bed?  I do love work and I am blessed with the most wonderful assistant, children and parents, but it's not what matters most to me. I feel like so many times, work just gets in the way of living life. I know that God created work and even Adam and Eve had to work the land, but is there ever time to rest? I know, you're thinking Sunday, the day of rest. But even weekends get busy and provide no time for rest. There is a new song called "Whatever You're Doing (Something Heavenly)" by Sanctus Real that I LOVE and can totally relate to. The lyrics are at the bottom of this post. But, my most favorite line is "Whatever you're doing inside of me, It feels like chaos somehow there's peace." That is how a feel right now--pure chaos. I know God is working and I find comfort in knowing that God is everlasting and either allows or causes everything that I am doing. But no matter how chaotic my life is, I do have peace. I know that the things that are keeping me busy are things that God has called me to do. If I had to give something up, I don't know what it would be. I just pray for rest--spiritual rest. I am tired and weary and need some quality time resting in the arms of my Savior. I imagine sitting on my daddy's lap in the recliner when I was little and rocking to sleep with my night gown on that said "My heart belongs to daddy."  Let me sit in Your lap and find rest, my heart belongs to you Father. Rid my of myself, rid me of this world. Let me be all that you created me to be. 

It's time for healing time to move on
It's time to fix what's been broken too long
Time make right what has been wrong
It's time to find my way to where I belong
There's a wave that's crashing over me
All I can do is surrender

[Chorus]
Whatever you're doing inside of me
It feels like chaos somehow there's peace
It's hard to surrender to what I can't see
but I'm giving in to something heavenly

Time for a milestone
Time to begin again
Revaluate who I really am
Am I doing everything to follow your will
or just climbing aimlessly over these hills
So show me what it is you want from me
I give everything I surrender...
To...

[Chorus]

Time to face up
Clean this old house
Time to breathe in and let everything out
That I've wanted to say for so many years
Time to to release all my held back tears

Whatever you're doing inside of me
It feels like chaos but I believe
You're up to something bigger than me
Larger than life something heavenly

Whatever you're doing inside of me
It feels like chaos but now I can see
This something bigger than me
Larger than life something heavenly
Something heavenly

It's time to face up
Clean this old house
Time breathe in and let everything out 
 

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