30 November 2012

This Post is Irrelevant

It's that time of year!  Time for our annual trip to Vegas. Also: time to obsess about packing.

Once again, I am building a mental packing list in my head.  We are staying an extra day this year so that's fun. And requires an extra set of clothing.  As a chronic overpacker, this is a bit of a challenge.  There is a weight limit and I usually get awfully close to it.

Overpacking was a great thing when we got stuck overnight in Portland two years ago so I am sticking to my overpacking ways. Also, it's not like I have a train-like series of suitcases, I only bring one large one and no carry-on.

This what I've decided thus far:
I am only bringing one extra pair of shoes because as we've talked about before, I only can wear certain shoes.  That makes that part easier, I guess.

I think I might pack my Dockers instead of jeans, that will help.  But they wrinkle so badly in suitcases and i hate that. (and ironing)

I usually don't take a bathing suit or track pants but I need to try to do my physical therapy while I'm there so I need to add them. (did you just laugh at me? Okay. Fair enough.)

The most challenging part is the toiletries.  We're there a week so travel size isn't quite enough but it's too much to pack full sizes.  I have some larger containers I found last year and I'm going to get creative with some tupperware containers and ziplock bags.  I am TSA's dream.

I've considered just buying what we need when we get there but then I have to bring it back anyway.  Plus, Kevin will buy t-shirts, I will buy another Vegas sweatshirt, and who knows what else. Our bags are always heavier when we return home.  I think it's the dirty laundry. Dirty clothes are heavier. Fact.

Somewhere I saved a helpful packing list from Real Simple, I need to go find that again. Not that it will purge the obsession, that's just silly talk right there.

*Jeopardy Music*

Guess who forgot to click "Publish"  *THIS GIRL!*

I was on a quest for a purple, zip up Vegas hoodie but alas, it was not to be found. Instead I compromised with a white & pink striped hoodie that Kevin loves.  Again, it's kind of Ed Hardy style so there's that.

And I bought it to prompt the elusive purple hoodie to show itself. Not so much.

I packed my p/t clothes and you guessed it: totally didn't use them.  I did use the giant jetted tub in our room so I get a half-point there.

While we were there, we ran out of Listerine and hair spray.  Not crisis situations but will be noted for future reference.

We did have our checked-in luggage searched.  Both ways.  Thankfully, they were gentle.  I believe it is the black Clinique bag that triggered the search.  (for those of you who have those...don't use them, TSA does not enjoy.)

I was momentarily glad to be overpacked as the airplane had to make two loops around before landing here at home.  I just knew we were flying back South for the winter.  I don't think I would have minded though.

See, sometimes good things can come from being like I am.  Sometimes.

28 November 2012

Television Died. Thus: Remodeling.

It turns out that our television was not haunted by my dad but was instead on the way to obscurity.  We were watching a movie and *blink* off it went.  Not to be turned on again. Ever.

Perfect timing, I might say, two days after returning from our trip.  However, we didn't spend as much as usual so we had a little change left over.  Also, perfect timing in the sense that everything, especially televisions, are on sale right now.

In the youngest-child like way, we headed into town even though Kevin had plans in an hour-and-a-half.   I did a brief internet search before we left though.  Four sites, five minutes, and we were out the door. (the frugal amongst you just groaned, I heard you.)

Believe it or not, we went to Best Buy even after the two nightmares we have had.  Partially because they eventually resolved the issues we had and they also had the consistently lowest prices.

Strangely, we managed to get the store manager as our salesperson.  The strange part being that he had the same name as my eldest brother and no one has that name under the age of 75.  Even then, it's the kind of name that old people flinch at.

He was very patient with us old people.  This is the first time that I've honestly felt old in a situation.  Technology changes so quickly and I've never been one to keep up with it until I have to.  Then to add insult to injury, a woman in her sixties asked Kevin a question then proceeded to know two times more than we did.

A few minutes later and off we went with a new 46" LED television.  It was on sale at about 30% off so well done us, considering our impulsiveness.

Again, Kevin had plans so I dropped  him off with his brother then I went home to the broken television, with a new television that I can do eff-all with. So I watched Glee while sitting on our bed and eating pumpkin pie, as is reasonable.

The next morning, Kevin and I woke up, got coffee then proceeded to join the current century. Kevin went out to get the television from the van then came in from outside and said "Dad is coming over."
"I expected as much. No problem." I say.
"...and Mom is coming too."

His mom is sweet but tends to wander.  Wander as in wander into the master bathroom because "I don't remember what it looked like."

I sat her in Kevin's recliner with their snorty, overweight, annoying, "little" dog and a photo album. My work here is done!

We set up the television, which went relatively smoothly, until it didn't. More on that in a minute.

But first:
Kevin arranged our furniture when we moved in about six years ago.  We've exchanged a love seat, at least one recliner, and added the world's ugliest table.  (I'll try to take a picture. It kind of defies photography in its awfulness)  Despite the furniture swapping mostly everything is where we put it when we moved.

We have an entertainment center with an attached bookcase that Kevin's dad built.  It was built specifically for our old television so the new one wouldn't fit.  This makes Kevin happy as he has been itching to be done with the entertainment center. In his defense, it does take up a lot of room.  But it's a corner unit so *shrug*.  And it has a bookcase.  Bookcase. No need for further discussion. Bookcase.

An hour later and we've rearranged the bookcase part of the unit so it can stay, exiled the big uncomfortable recliner that I only sit in if I have broken bones, and scooched every piece of furniture inches this way and that.  Decluttering also occurred along the way.  Kevin gets to hang more pictures! His favorite (shaking my head, not so much)

Now the room feels too big and the television feels like we have a Broadway show in the living room.  The dog is very appreciative of having more space in which to distribute her never-ending shedding.

We sat down to enjoy the movie theatre and whilst playing with television settings we noticed that the sound kept disappearing.  Because it's new technology, we pushed buttons and frowned. Turned it off and on. Pushed more buttons. Frowned more. 

Finally I went on the interwebs and GUESS WHAT!  The television has a hardware issue that includes disappearing sound.


4:00 pm on Sunday and we disassembled everything, loaded it into the van, then returned to the store.  We didn't even bother changing out of our track pants & hoodies, that's how dejected we were. We were willing to go full redneck.  At least we wore sneakers.

Our new best friend the manager with the old-as-Moses-name exchanged the television with no hesitation whatsoever. With A Better Television at the same price so that's good, I guess.  All said and done, we were back within the HOUR.  It's a twenty-minute-one-way drive so Us=winners, other than the whole defective television thing.

I guess this is one way to remodel, get rid of your 36" monolith of a television and viola! living room transformed like a Jetsons episode.

Thanks, Dad (?) (you never know)

26 November 2012

Some Days It Breaks Your Heart

I am back to work after having almost two weeks of holiday.  It nearly feels as if I've never left.

Working in social services has it's ups and downs. It's challenging at best.  Today, I've had my heart broken twice.  It's only 3:30

While taking an appliance repairman upstairs, an elderly woman who lives here stepped off the elevator before us.  She's an ethereal beauty - a classic grandma-esque lady whose mind is starting to wander.  I watched as the repairman saw her, registered who she was, and saw his heart break into many tiny little pieces.

Just now, as "River" by Joni Mitchell (one of my faves) plays on the radio, a woman came to the front desk.  Looking closer at her, she has a new black eye and accompanying scratches.  It is clear that she is distressed and lost.  Lost as in "how did I get here?" versus "I have no idea where I am."

My role in this situation is always that of a guide.  "Have you called here? Did you do this? Here, try this".  With this poor soul, the lost feeling overwhelmed her and she began to cry.  This is where I just want to lie down for a while. 

I'm always tempted to give them whatever is handy...kleenex, bus tickets, chocolate, $5, a puppy. Whatever, something, anything, to make them feel just a little bit better.

Some days it breaks your heart.

23 November 2012

The Lights Went Out

We went as a group to the Mob Experience at the Tropicana the first night we were in Vegas.  The Tropicana is one of the oldest casinos left in Vegas and a person can feel it while being inside.

The Mob Experiment is much like the Titanic Exhibit in the idea that you are immersed into the way of life.  The exhibit is decorated in Prohibition time with dark alleys, barrels and artifacts. 

There are occasional live actor "guides" that talk you through the next step.  They sound and appear straight from The Untouchables.  There were also holograms/videos of known mafia actors that continually told the story of the mafia and gave instructions as to how to proceed.  So, a good mix of role-paying and passive interaction.

We were stopped by a wiseguy in an alley.  We were given instructions to make a drop with a gangster in a sidewalk cafe.  The wiseguy asked us to repeat the instructions and everyone was quiet.  Reflexively as a nerd-girl, I repeated them.  "Ah, Blondie here was listening.  You look like a good girl, you take this envelope and make the drop."

We continued down the street and was approached by another wiseguy.  He asked who had the goods and I had to step forward.  This is where I say that I do not enjoy role-play.  But I somehow managed to do it without giggling.

I was lead over to the cafe and seated with the mob boss.  Again, referred to as "Blondie" he gave me/us an explanation of what to do next.  I completed the drop and then we were instructed to continue.  I will say that it was difficult not to giggle or sass.  Also, my mouthy friends became quiet.  That was kind of weird.  

We were then taken to the cop shop and interrogated as a group to give up the goods on the mob boss.  He was actually pretty funny.  I kept wondering if any of us were going to cave in.  We didn't have an opportunity to discuss it beforehand and somehow we all decided to lie to the police officer.

After that, we were guided  through the museum part of the experience.  My only complaint was there was too much reading and not enough interaction.  This is where we lost the boys. 

The last part was a mini-documentary on the making of the Godfather.  This was very interesting.  All but one of the boys had seen the movie so they all sat in rapt attention.

Finally, we were led into a backroom. We were instructed that we were going to appear in front of The Boss and our fates would be decided.  We were then led out to another back alley and loading dock where the final hologram greeted us. 

To be honest, I can't even remember exactly what was said.  It was very intimidating as the hologram also had two enforcers with big effing guns in their hands.  It was cold and creepy.   The hologram told us that while we did successfully manage to complete the drop, we didn't measure up.

The boss told the enforcers "Take care of them, boys" and walked away.

The boys looked at each other then faced us, lifted their guns and SHOT US.

The lighting changed, there was a wind effect that buffeted you to simulate the bullets hitting you. The noise was incredibly loud.  I don't remember even hearing anything from our group.  It was surreal and a little upsetting.

We walked out dejectedly wondering why we got whacked.  Of course, the brother-in-law got a tremendous amount of sh*t for wearing that g.d. safety coat. His wife is certain that he is the reason we were whacked.

22 November 2012

~ Happy Thanksgiving ~

I wish a healthy, happy day with those you love!

15 November 2012

Adventures Thus Far

My brother in law chose to wear a construction green, reflective, work coat to Vegas. So you can imagine the massive amounts of teasing that he has received since making such a poor choice.

Total strangers have commented on it but I believe the best one of all was at the airport in Vegas when the gentleman from the shuttle bus asked if he was parking enforcement.

We visited Pawn Stars again. It is cool to see items that you saw on the television show.  There is a guard/bouncer at the front door. He had an ornate walking stick and I asked him if it was a whacking stick or a walking stick.

He told me a story about a nun in his school that gave it to him after he threatened to take it from her after she threatened to hit him. He said it keeps him humble. Funny how a simple question can turn into an interesting story.

Then we went to the Mob Experience  at the Flamingo Hotel. This rates an individual post.

Because it's Vegas, after that we came back to the hotel, had dinner then went up into the tower to watch all the crazy people on the rides and jumping off the building. Something I feel confident in saying I will never never never do.

Our friend Mikey  did not convince me this time to lay on the floor and look over the edge. That was a one time mistake that makes for a good story.
( Imagine being 855 feet in the air, laying on the floor and looking over the edge straight down. Enough said)

Today my sister in law and I returned to the CSI experiment to solve a murder. This case was more difficult than last years but it's still one of the most fun things we have done here.

Then we went to the Paris Casino which is absolutely gorgeous. we went up the Eiffel Tower replica at 800 something feet in the air, with a glass elevator that looks out over the strip. This was another example of how I shouldn't be in charge of my own life. I don't usually mind Heights but this was definitely a test of my courage.

After stopping at a souvenir shop we returned to the hotel where I took a nap, watched daytime television, and ate ice cream.

Ahhhh...Vacation adventures.

08 November 2012

Knock It Off, Dad

So the dog has been doing that wake up out of a sleep and come to attention thing lately.  Or the staring intently at a wall/door/window/space.  I don't mind admitting that it freaks me the eff out.  She did it last night right before we went to bed. Thanks for the nightmares, dog.

On Halloween I watched a 20/20 episode about the paranormal.  I am a half-believer in all of this stuff, one reason is that it's just fun to think about.  Add to that my recent obsession with the Ghost Whisperer and Long Island Medium and hello, overactive imagination!

One segment on 20/20 featured the Ghost Hunters, which I've never seen.  Having grown up in the 80's, my immediate perception of ghost hunters are the Ghost Busters.  But these guys are serious.  The segment had a very Blair Witch/Paranormal Activity feel to it.  I don't think I could watch this show.

One of the guys uses his dog as a spotter. On camera, the dog did what Missy does: stare intently at a wall on high alert.  They showed on the video replay that a voice can be heard that seems to say "The dog can see me."


Even Kevin was all "That's just Effed Up."  Then looked suspiciously at Missy.

And then our television shut off the other night.  No reason.  Hasn't done it since.  Just shut off.

Kevin just looked at me and wistfully said "Remember when your dad didn't live with us?"

Because my dad would totally eff with us like that.

PS...while I was writing this, I realized that I had a few past posts that were along this topic.  I looked them up and thought it would be fun to re-post them via links.  Enjoy!


07 November 2012

I'm Not A Streetwalker

I don't carry a purse.  I really dislike them.  I don't like having things hanging off of me and I worry that I will leave it behind because I have no attention span.  I want to be able to put my id, money and lip balm in my pocket and be done.

When I have to carry something, I have two bags that I use.  One is a miniature backpack that I had Kevin cut off the straps.   The other looks like a little doctor's bag.

What do I keep in it?  My ID, a brush because I have baby hair, fingernail clippers, lip balm and Tylenol.  So it's not like I need a huge bag.

The newest idea I had was using a small makeup bag to store my ID, etc. It's perfectly sized and it's brightly colored so I don't worry about losing it.  I can slide it in my pocket and I'm good to go.

When I've traveled I hated having carrying a purse.  It's a necessary evil because you want to have stuff with you in the airport, plane, etc.  I use my Dooney & Burke satchel for that. 

But once I'm where am I am going, I'm over it.

Then our friend said that the best way to figure out who are hookers in Vegas are the women that don't carry purses.  Yikes.  That's awkward.

05 November 2012

He Put a Ring On It

The nephew and his fiance have been talking about marriage for over a year now.  They were originally going to get married on 11.11.11 but the loss of their lease took that opportunity away.  We've referred to her as his fiance this whole time, knowing that it was inevitable and being very hopeful about it.

It is with great joy that I tell everyone that he formally asked her and she said yes. It's not like there was any doubt but you know, a person always worries.

I haven't heard the proposal details but he planned it out. I imagine it was very sweet.  No grand gestures, I'm sure. He's not that guy.

Now I'm going to be the mother figure sobbing in the audience as they get married.  He's the closest thing we have to a son.  And this means that the kids are our forever family as well.

Now the fun of planning a wedding.  A wedding with five kids to consider.  A big family wedding, maybe even here at the house.  I can hardly wait.

04 November 2012

Screw Heads, Screw Head, Roly Poly Screw Heads

Did any of you sing along with the title?  It's kind of an obscure reference.  Dr. Demento has a song that is called Fish Heads. I was going to add the link but hooo boy, is that some bad 80's video.  (save yourself, don't look it up)


I bought new sneakers today!! 

I didn't get the pretty, pretty purple ones that I've been coveting because they're ONE HUNDRED AND FIFTY DOLLARS for the love of sweet baby jesus.

But I did get a pair of ASICS on sale at the Fred Meyers.  Instead of $75,  they were $55.  Hooray.

I wear a 8.5 size shoe now.  I used to wear a 8. They warned me that this would probably happen. As luck would have it, I only tried on two pairs of shoes. The first were $75 and I liked the colors better but the curve of of shoe by the ankle bone *just* missed the screw heads.  I guessed that the moment that the shoes wore just a little bit, then the seam of the shoe would rub.  *shudder*

What a problem to have, really.  I really have to get over my squeamishness about feeling the screw heads & plates.

The second pair fit better, a little further curved down as to avoid any contact with the bumps, we shall refer to them now.  But the color is predominantly black with purple trim.  I decided that fit was more important than color, which is very mature but doesn't leave me not pouting over the pretty, pretty purple shoes that I really really want.

I know that I've mentioned this before but it bears being mentioned again: WTF with all the wildly colored sneakers?  I grew up in the eighties for goodness sake and I am surprised by the wild color combinations.

So, there is one more step (see what I did there?) toward normalcy.  New sneakers!!  

02 November 2012

Random Item of the Day

Here is the lamp that my Aunt gave me after she redecorated my mom's bedroom during her last visit.  "Your mom said you would like to have this" she whispered conspiratorially.  As I mentioned before, When I Was Six. 

It's ceramic with a hand painted rose.  The base is gilded and is chipping away.  I'm scared to clean it for fear of washing the rest of it off.

I replaced the shade with another one.  My mom has a knack of having lampshades that are too big & heavily decorated.  (fringe, edging, etc.)

I know the picture is a little dark but I liked how it turned out, so there.

01 November 2012

Casting a Vote

This weekend I sat down with my ballot & the voters guide to vote.  I do try to know a little bit about the candidates and issues but will admit to voting party line by default if I am unsure.  I also rely on the voters guide that one of the progressive organizations here in Washington State provides because the official state voters guide might as well be written in Japanese.

There were two referendums on the ballot this year that are Big Issues.  One I knew immediately how I was going to vote and the other I really wondered about.  I am still not certain about my decision.

It is a black & white issue.  There doesn't seem to be much middle ground to find, even though that's the whole point of a vote, I realize. There's not a "maybe" category.  I really leaned toward voting against it even though Kevin, my coworkers, and many others are in support of it.  Everyone seems definitive about it, actually. Except me.

I thought perhaps I was being overly-whatever about it, as "everyone else" is for it.  Then I thought Well, following the crowd blindly can be bad as well.  I thought about a similar law that is in effect in British Columbia and how my Canadian friends would feel about it.  They too would be in support of it.

But I still don't feel good about it.  I voted in favor, reasoning it by "it's better for the greater good".
It's just bothering me, the lingering doubt about my vote.  I know that it's nothing that is going to negatively impact the world as we know it  but still.  Sigh..............

Being a grown-up is hard.