Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween

Due to the ruralness of our home location, we do not get trick-or-treaters at our door.  So every year instead of staying in to hand out goodies, we go out to adult Halloween parties.  Last year we were Mr. & Mrs. Freddy Krueger.  I know, how unique with the last name of Krueger dressing up as The Kruegers.  It didn't win us any prizes, but we definitely looked good.

This year we ran into a little bit of a pickle.  The last few weekends were jam packed which left us little time to go to the store.  Instead I ordered Admiral/Sexy Admiral couples costumes online from Party City to save time.  Well, let's just say that their costume sizes are all over the place.  I ordered a medium and couldn't zip it up.  My husband's was a "one-size" costume which was more like a 2x.  Needless to say we had to return both and brave the stores the Friday night before Halloween weekend.  I can tell you this experience was almost unbearable.  First off, Party City stores don't take online orders as returns unless they are "corporate owned" (translate that as "a bunch of BS").  Aggravating.  Then we store hopped to find another set of couples costumes which actually fit.  Fortunately there are three costume stores in the Capital District.  Even though each were jam-packed and picked-through, we survived and came out with two decent Greek costumes so we could party it up on Saturday night.  This year we were invited to a friend of a friend's house and had a great time despite the snowfall in Upstate NY.  Next year I'll have to be proactive, maybe even host our own costume party.  Well...we'll see.  Sounds a little ambitious.

What are your plans for Halloween?  Do you do anything special?

Friday, October 21, 2011

Furry Friday: Ho Ho Ho

It's that time of year again that I start making a list of what to get folks for Christmas, my dog included.  Year to year I try to think of something creative for him.  Last year we bought him the Cave Bed, although I can count on one hand how many times he's actually used it.   One other year we bought him a Columbia jacket, which we really have gotten a lot of use out of (hello upstate NY snow!)  Of course we buy him toys too, but it gets harder each year to buy him something he doesn't already have.  Yes, he is spoiled.  And yes he is a dog, so as long as it squeaks he probably won't care what the heck I get him, but you know he is my fur baby.

On more than one occasion I have commented on how smart my dog is.  He is especially witty with his Kong treats (for those of you who don't know, these are tough toys that usually challenge your pet).  He has pretty much figured out how to get the bones out every time.  On more than one occasion he has climbed to the back of the couch with his Kong and dropped it so that the bone would fall out.  It's quite comical.  So this year, I think I will try to get him more items that test his skills.  Doctors Foster and Smith have a lot of toys that fit this category.   I think I'm going to get him the IQ Ball which will make him work for the treats.

As for the "boring" item which he'll care less about, he's getting a dental kit.  Nothing says "I love you" quite like a dental kit, but hey - dental health is important in little dogs.  I don't want him to have to undergo anesthesia to have the veterinarian do it, nor do I want him to have to have teeth pulled due to infection or decay.  He is getting older and as the years go by his chances of having to have a tooth pulled increase exponentially.  I'm just not so sure how good he'll be about having me brush his teeth, but he'll have to get over it.

Do any other pet parents out there brush their dog's teeth?  Any tips or tricks?

Thursday, October 20, 2011


When you hear "Tequila" what comes to mind?  A gold colored liquor?  Mexico perhaps?  At any time did it cross you mind that this was a great name for a child?  Probably not.  While I was driving into work I caught a snippet on the radio about a local woman by name of Tequila who was upon charges for an exorbitant amount of cocaine in her possession.  My first thought was with a name like Tequila, it's no wonder she's in trouble.  I know, I know... I really shouldn't judge someone by their name, but  in all honesty I do think her parents did her a disservice by pegging that name on her.  I mean, really, what parent in their right mind would think to name their child after a very potent alcohol? 

Let's discuss what other names could set children up for failure, shall we?  I played around on google and here are some odd ones I found:

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Craigs List

You'll be happy to hear that the Bottom-Feeder is no longer a headache of ours.  I finally convinced the hubby to unload the money-pit and use whatever money we get from it towards a household project or a down payment on a second snowmobile.  Less than a month ago we'd posted an advertisement with a few photos on Craigs List and were surprised at how many calls and emails we'd received (some were even from out of state!)

We'd never utilized Craigs List before and actually opted for this service first (since it was free) before moving on to a paid service such as the Want Ad Digest.  Fortunately no rendezvous with any Craigs List killers took place and a successful sale was made.  I can now attest to the saying that the two happiest days of a boat owner's life are the day you buy the boat and the day you sell it.  I'd even go so far as to say that the latter of the two is even happier.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Self Sufficient

Every day my husband and I become a little more self-sufficient.  Home-ownership, in all its glory, hasn't exactly been easy for two twenty year olds who have no prior background in home improvement projects.  Since we've bought the house we have become quite adept at wallpaper removal, painting and trim work, texturing ceilings, building mail boxes, installing sump pumps, and switching out electrical outlets.  We've dabbled in some light gardening, both flowers and vegetables, but haven't really enjoyed the weeding and upkeep. This weekend we have entered the uncharted territory of tree removal.

When we'd moved in there was a beautiful Elm tree next to the house.  Unfortunately since we've moved in, it decided to die.  With the last few storms we've had and the sorts of winters upstate NY goes through, we opted to take it down prior to it taking out a portion of our roof.  A friend of my sister's offered to assist us in the removal as it's sort of his thing, and Saturday was slotted as doom's day for Mr. Elm.  Well, this tree didn't want to go out without a fight and decided to bend a few gutter clips on the way down.  I guess it could have gone worse, but now we'll have to add "mending gutters" to our repertoire of skills.   Justin purchased a chainsaw (insert manly grunt here) and together we managed to dismember the tree into firewood and dispose of the less useful branches in a matter of a few hours.  

As sore as I am today, it does feel good to look back on one more household item we've managed to tackle successfully.  Now to get the guts to demolish and reassemble the upstairs bathroom on our own.

Do you have any successful (or unsuccessful) home-ownership stories to share?  Any tips or tricks for do-it-yourself bathroom restorations?

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Midnight Train to Georgia

I hope you all had an excellent holiday weekend.  Mine was jam packed with multiple personalities, train stations, emergency rooms, four hour delays, and a wedding.  Sounds like a movie (Four Weddings and a Funeral) but sadly this is just my life.

6:55am -  my family and I board a train to Georgia for my cousin's wedding.  So far, so good.  No hiccups.  We have a two hour layover in Penn Station where we have Tim Horton's for breakfast and the kids get to experience the hustle and bustle of New York City.  Our train is on-time and we all find seats around each other and settle in for the long ride.  Somewhere around Virginia we pick up Creepy McCreepo who is high as a kite and carries a duffle full of vending machine items.  He tries multiple times to pass off candy and other goods from his bag to my nine year old sister, each time with us politely declining.  Sometime after dinner the train stops briefly to allow another train to pass.  McCreepo gets into a heated argument with one of the train attendants about needing a smoke.  Because we were not at a platform he was not permitted to leave the train and was told if he couldn't behave himself he would be ejected at the next stop (one could only hope...)  He proceeds to kick the door and mumbles obscenities and such directed at the attendant who has since left the car.  And it only gets worse.  Come 9pm it's as if a switch has flipped and he now has a direct channel to Satan.  He is having obscenity laced arguments with himself, turrets-like outbursts, grunting, and seemingly uncontrollable jitters in his arms and legs.  He proceeds to tell me my sister is his "buddy" and "she's in trouble".  Needless to say, I don't get to sleep the entire ride for fear he'll try something on one of us.  Instead I proceed to read "The Help" with one hand in my purse on a bottle of mase.

6:55am - we detrain in Jacksonville, FL.  My Uncle is already waiting for us and takes us to the hotel  in Kingsland GA which has agreed to check us in early free of charge.  We all cycle through showers, iron the wrinkles out of our packed dress attire, and then head to Cracker Barrel for brunch.  The wedding is at two o'clock and goes off with out a hitch.  Shannon and Joel are husband and wife in less than an hour's time and every one heads to the reception hall which is beautifully decorated.  After all is said and done, the family decides to meet at a local bar/restaurant afterward to continue the party.  Unfortunately my Grandmother takes a spill off the median in the parking lot and spends the next four hours in the ER (side note: she is fine aside from some bumps and bruises and a split lip).  The Bride and Groom, of all people, end up driving her there because she refused an ambulance.  I must say, Joel (the groom) is a really good kid.  In the moments following Grandma's slip up he managed to grab napkins for the blood and draped sweaters over each of our shoulders to keep the chill off.  He's really too nice for our family. 

After sleeping off the excitement from the day before, we check out of the hotel and chillax at my Uncle's house until it's time to head to the train station for the return trip.  Our train is scheduled to leave at 5:00pm and arrive in Albany no later than 3:30pm Monday which happens to be my two year wedding anniversary.  Well, we end up delayed 4.5 hours in the Jacksonville train station due to a fatality on the tracks.  The girls keep occupied playing skip-bo and other assorted card games that they packed.  The train does not pull out of Jacksonville until 9:30pm.  Fortunately there were no creepy passengers keeping us awake for this leg of the trip.  Upon arriving in Penn Station I quickly exchange out our tickets since we've long since missed the connection we were scheduled for.  The only train they can get us on for the return trip to Albany is the 3:15pm, so we hustle to find our gate and are excited to be only 2.5 hours away from home.  However, between Hudson and the Albany station we are stopped again for 1.5 hours due to an "obstruction" on the tracks (lord help me if another body is found on the tracks...)  We don't arrive in Albany until 7:30pm and meet my husband for a less than romantic (although delicious) pizza dinner by 8:30pm. Justin surprised me with flowers which provided a nice ending to an otherwise miserable day of traveling.  I must say, it was nice to finally be home with my boys.

How was your Holiday weekend?  Do you have any horrible travel stories to share?  Misery loves company...

Friday, October 7, 2011

Furry Friday: Well Traveled

I have reported before that Riley loves the occasional car ride.  He has a harness that works with the seat belt system and a travel duffel with mesh ends for breathability.  Unfortunately Riley is such a well traveled dog that his travel duffel has worn out over the past four years. The zipper along its bottom likes to unzip itself which could be problematic in the event that we are carrying Riley in it.  Truth be told, Riley may in fact be a little heavy for the duffel. He has come a long way from his 5lb puppy days. 

In deciding upon the purchase of a new travel bag for the Rye-guy a few things were quite important (especially since these things are not cheap): durability, construction, intended uses, comfort, and airline acceptance.  We went with the IGo2 Traveler because its base is solidly constructed (no zipper to come undone), it doubles as a carseat and/or backpack, it has expandable sides, it also has wheels and a telescoping handle much like luggage nowadays.  It's also accepted by most US airlines, a plus if we ever decide to fly with him.

I was a little nervous that he would not go in it because its slightly different than his duffel, but he's a smart little guy.  It didn't phase him one bit. He did have a slight challenge hopping enough to clear his back legs (remember he is a dacshund with 3 inch legs after all) but a few practice tries and he is now a pro.  I love this little guy.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Right, Wrong or Indifferent

I was reading "My Way is the Right Way" over at On the Edge, a Times Union blog kept by Kristi Gustafson Barlette.  I must say I was intrigued by the topic.  Kristi is newly married and sorting out nuances with the husband (i.e. which way the toilet paper goes).  It got me thinking of things Justin and I do differently and whether these things are right, wrong, or indifferent they can be frustrating at times.  

Toilet Paper.  I believe the roll should be installed so that the paper pulls from the top ("over") and Justin couldn't really care which way it rolls as long as their is toilet paper available when he needs it.  This have never been a heated item of contention in our household.  On the rare occasion the paper is installed wrong, I simply turn it back the right way. 

Socks & Undies.  My husband folds neither of these items and yet he insists on doing the laundry in our house.  I affectionately call him the Laundry Nazi because once he learned how to use the machines, he finds every excuse possible to run a load of laundry.  I'm one of those folks who folds the socks over and tucks them into one another, he leaves them loose which makes for a messy drawer.  He does put his laundry away though, so that's a plus.  Now if only he could slow down on the laundry cycle so I had less of my own to put away...

Cooking & Cleaning.  My husband and I have two different styles for each of these.  Justin likes to cook everything on high which doesn't always work out too well.  Justin also waits to clean up until after the meal.  I'm a fuss pot who puts everything away whilst I'm cooking.  When it comes to cleaning house, similar to his cooking style he does everything as quickly as possible, not necessarily as thorough as possible.  But he does help keep a tidy house, so I take what I can get.  I'm in charge of cleaning the bathroom and he helps with the floors and dusting.  It's a good trade off.

How to Make a Bed.  I was always one of those people who had to have the perfectly tucked sheets.  Justin would rather they not be. We have compromised and only the end gets tucked, the sides are left wide open.  I have converted to the comfortableness of loose sheets.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

TV Time

We all know that Superbowl Sunday is known for its awesome commercials.  Yes, I am aware there is a football game involved as well, but I today I want to focus on commercials.  I want to commend advertisers on stepping up their game to provide entertaining commercials year round and not just on Superbowl Sunday.  There have been some real laugh-out-loud ones that I dare say may be my favorite commercials of all time.

Allstate's Mayhem Series.  OMG.  Not only do I think Dean Winters is easy on the eyes, but these commercials are downright funny.  My favorite would have to be the one where he plays a raccoon.  "I've already had like four babies" - that line gets me every time. 

E*Trade's Baby Commercials.  I love the commercial where he's put in time out and sarcastically asks the dog for a warning bark. 

Geico's Rhetorical Question ads.  The best one yet I think is the "Do Woodchucks Really Chuck Wood?"  It cracks me up when the old man yells out "hey you wood chucks, stop chucking my wood!"

There are also commercials that just plain creep me out.  Burger King's "Big King" ads, which thank God have been discontinued, seriously gave me nightmares.  The newest ad that creeps me out is Toyota's People Person ad about their Prius.  It contains a bunch of contortionists hanging on to each other awkwardly to make up this huge creepy person.  I just get the heeby-jeebies watching it.

Let's share some laughs.  What are your favorite commercials and are there any you can't stand?

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Dear Reuben

I was reading online early this morning and happened across two articles that peaked my interest.  The first was entitled "The One and Only Reason" citing that sauerkraut was the only thing keeping the writer's husband from trying a Reuben sandwich.  The second article was called "5 Lessons Learned from 18 Years of Marriage" (title is self explanatory.)  I've decided to write my own article called "Dear Reuben" to describe how marriage is like that of a Reuben sandwich.  Reuben's made with pumpernickel bread, btw, are my absolute favorite sandwich.

Much like a sandwich, every marriage is in need of a strong foundation.  The perfect foundation for a Reuben sandwich is buttered pumpernickel bread placed butter side down in a frying pan.  The perfect foundation for a marriage varies by couple.  Family values, respect, trust, and honesty are pretty standard "foundation" items. 

Then you add in a bunch of other ingredients that make the sandwich what it's worth.  With a Reuben you add swiss cheese and let it get all melty; this is like the glue of the relationship.  Attraction, love, whatever works for you fits here as the "glue."  Then of course there's the meat and potatoes of the Reuben sandwich which are the sauerkraut and corned beef.  Communication, humor, common interests are the meat and potatoes in a marriage.  These are the things get you through day in and day out.  

And lastly, there's the dressing.  The silver lining.  The icing on the cake.  The romance.  Any proper Reuben sandwich is equipped with either russian dressing or, my personal favorite, thousand island.  When your significant other goes out of their way to do something nice, take you to a dinner or show, or even just help out around the house this can count as the "dressing."  It makes it all worth it, breaks up the monotony and makes you feel all warm and fuzzy.  I myself prefer my sandwich to have extra dressing. 

Monday, October 3, 2011


Today's title is a bit of a play on phonetics charades style.  One word, sounds like... you guessed it:  Catch Up.  Get it?  Ketchup = Catch up...

Anywho, this weekend was jam packed full of good things: friends, food, shoes and snowmobiles.  Not necessarily in that order but it sounded better that way.  Friday night the hubby and I had an excellent dinner out at the Reel Seafood Company.  We'd never been before and even without a reservation we had  absolutely no wait.  Unheard of in Albany, NY!  We should have bought a lotto ticket.  We enjoyed some fresh bread, adult beverages, fried calamari, stuffed shrimp and Alaskan Chicken (crab meat in a cheesy white garlic sauce over chicken). Delicious.  A little pricey though, so this will have to be something we do sparingly.

Saturday was the Big East Powersports Show in Syracuse, NY.  We went with friends of ours who share our affinity for snowmobiling.  This event features vendors from across the US who bring a butt-load of product with them at deeply discounted prices.  Deeply discounted must mean "jam packed convention center" in another language so I had to pretend not to be claustrophobic long enough to buy stuff.  I'm a bargain shopper and let me tell you...I was successful.  I got an entire outfit (Jacket and bibs) for $179.  Jackets alone normally retail over $300.  I also found Itasca snowmobile boots for $49.  At one point, though, I was trying on a modular helmet (since my current helmet is a hand-me-down that fogs up terrible) and was bumped from behind causing the face shield to slam down on the bridge of my nose.  I could have cried but I reminded myself this would all be worth it since we were going to Delmonico's for dinner afterward.  Delmonico's features their very own "Delmonico's Steak" which is a 24 ounce center cut seasoned angus rib-eye steak. This of course was the entree I ordered and subsequently ate the other half of for lunch today.

Sunday was a day of shoe shopping with my mom and sisters.  We have an upcoming wedding to look spiffy for, so we headed out to one of the malls closest to my house.  A new store had opened called Shoe Dept. Encore.  This store is like heaven for shoe addicts.  An entire room dedicated to clearance.  A tv and chairs over by the kid section.  Rows and rows of beautifully organized name-brand shoes with bargain prices.  Plenty of space so that you didn't feel overcrowded by other shoppers.  Plus the store was cooler on the temperature side of things, so that made it all that much better to shop there.  I despise shopping in a hot over-crowded store.  It makes me grumpy.  At the Shoe Dept Encore, I was far from grumpy.  I had more shoe selection than I could have asked for.  I probably tried on ten or so shoes that all could have been contenders for my dress.  I ended up with the black shoe pictured.

What did you do this weekend?  How do you feel about crowds?