Party like a college kid

December 27, 2009

After Christmas was the annual (although a first for Chris and I) Ugly Christmas Sweaters and Edward 40Hands Party. Here is how you play.

1. Find a safe venue with plenty of blankets and pillows so that no one has to drive home after the party.
2. Invite all your friends. Make sure they know that if they participate in the game they will be staying the night.
3. Beg, buy, or borrow an overly-festive sweater.
4. Purchase two 40-oz beers for yourself and any other players with whom you are supplying beverages.
5. Ignore the strange looks from the other people in line when you have to ask the gas station clerk to go in the back cooler for more 40's because you wiped out their selection in the front case.
6. Go to discount store and get duct tape, aspirin, and Gatorade.
7. Head to the party venue, put on your sweater, get out your 40's, and wait for the fun to begin.

Sweaters and 40s

You may notice from this photo that Chloe got to participate as well. She loved her sweater. Chris thought it robbed her of dignity, but I thought it was cute.  And festive.

Chloe 1

See how much she loves it?

Chloe 2

Yep, she just LOVED wearing that sweater.

Chloe 3

About halfway through the night, her sweater mysteriously "disappeared." I did not think she looked any more dignified, though.

It's Snowy in Iowa



Plus This:

xmas tree

Equals Christmas in Iowa.

Happy Holidays.

Product Advertisement Fail

December 25, 2009

On the drive from Kansas to Iowa, we stopped for gas and to pick up a little lunch.  See if you can figure out what is wrong with this picture:

signs 1

Got it yet? Here's a hint:

signs 3

That's right. For the low, low, price of just two quarters, you can get yourself an ice cream cone IN THE MIDDLE OF A BLIZZARD.

signs 2

Somebody at the McDonald's in the middle of Iowa must have had a sense of humor. 

(And yes, Chris said I was a weirdo for making him stop the car on the way out of the drive-thru so I could take these pictures.)

In Which we are not Smarter than a Coffeepot

December 23, 2009

Apparently my brother's coffee pot has "intelligent design."  I say this not because it is a special super-fancy coffee pot with lots of features, but because it outsmarted both myself and my husband.

It is in fact a pretty standard coffee pot, the only exception being that it is made by a different company than the one that made my coffee pot at home.  I stood in my brother's kitchen this morning, peering closely at the coffee pot, trying to figure out how to open the little compartment that you put the coffee grounds in.  After five minutes or so, Chris came over.  He couldn't figure it out either.

I gave up.  I figured if the coffee pot had outsmarted me, then I didn't deserve to have coffee that morning anyway.

My dad went over to have a crack at it, and of course figured out how to open the compartment within about 30 seconds.  At least Chris couldn't make fun of me, because he hadn't gotten the coffee pot open either.

Although when it came time to pour the coffee, I discovered its design maybe wasn't so intelligent.  In fact, it seemed to have the exact same design as every coffee pot I've ever encountered: leaky.  I don't understand why, but it is almost impossible to pour a cup of coffee from any coffee pot without losing a little to the countertop:


P.S.  Can you guess what company employs my brother?  Here's a hint: that's his coffee mug on the left.

Christmas in Kansas

On Sunday, we flew in to Manhattan (Kansas).  This is Chris's first visit to the city where I grew up, so I have big plans to show him all the sights.  So far we have seen the Kansas River:

Manhattan 2

We also saw the mall, downtown (all 4 blocks of it), and some of the new developments (we've now got a Bed Bath and Beyond, and a Best Buy).  Mostly, we have been hanging out with family and relaxing.

We did some Christmas shopping at the mall:

Xmas Tree Mall

And even got to see Santa while we were there.  What is it about Santa that seems to be universally intimidating to young kids?


I also took a trip to the local supermarket chain, Dillons.  Since we were buying a turkey, and having a Dillons card would save me about $8.00, I decided to sign myself up.  Even though I'll be here a total of 4 days and then never use it again.  Oh well, I'll just add it to my collection, I thought to myself.

As it turns out, the next day my sister-in-law and I had to run to the store again to get ingredients for Eggnog.  Actually, we had to run to three stores.  My sister-in-law was going all out, and she was making eggnog from scratch.  So we went to the Hy-Vee (Store #1).  The Hy-Vee had eggs, but they were out of heavy cream.  We stood there, looking sadly at the refrigerated display.  A lady standing next to us asked what we were making.  We told her, and her response was, "From scratch?  You know they sell that stuff pre-made?"

Pbbft.  Not as fun.  So we were off to Store #2, the Liquor Store (because FYI -- in Kansas you cannot buy liquor at the grocery store).  Liquor has its own special store, just to make sure you really have to go out of your way.

And then our eggnog-making trip was almost complete... we just needed some heavy cream.  So we went to the Dillons (Store #3).  As we were at the self-checkout paying for our heavy cream, I began digging around in my purse for the Dillons card.  The attendant approached us.

Attendant:  "Can I help you ladies?"
Me:  "Oh, I can't seem to find my Dillons card."
Attendant:  "Did you try putting in an alternate ID?  Your phone number?"
Me:  "Yeah, but it didn't recognize it.  I just got my card yesterday, so it's probably not in the system yet."
Attendant:  "Wait, you got your card yesterday, and you can't find it?"
Me:  "Um, yes."
Attendant:  "You're serious?  You just got it yesterday and you lost it already?"
Me:  "Yeah, what's your point?"

How to freak out your dental assistant

December 16, 2009

I had a dentist appointment today, and while I won't go so far as to say that I like going to the dentist, I will say that I don't mind it so much.  This is largely due to the fact that I have never had a cavity and therefore never been subject to the painful and tedious side of dentistry.

Everything looked good on my checkup, but I did need some work done to the sealants on my back molars.  The original plan was to sand down the sealants and apply new sealant without anesthetic.  This plan did not last very long.

So they gave me a shot to numb my upper and lower jaw and some topical stuff that they stuck into my mouth on Q-tip looking things.  And then we waited.

Since I've never had Novocaine before, I asked the dental assistant lady how long it was supposed to take.

"Your mouth will feel a little tingly, and when that subsides, then it should be numb."

"And what was that other stuff, the goo on Q-tips?  That was a topical anaesthetic?"

"Yes, that's a topical anaesthetic."

"It tastes kind of like air freshener."

She looks at me funny.  "You've eaten air freshener before?"

"Well, no, I mean... it tastes kind of coconut-y, but nasty, you know, like you would imagine air freshener would taste."

She is still looking at me kind of funny.

"You know, like those air fresheners that you hang in your car... at least it smells like that..."  This is not helping my case any.

"Pina Colada."  She takes pity on me and stops my rambling.

"Yeah, that's it."

There were a few moments of silence.

"Is it feeling tingly now?" she asks.

"Well, yeah, my jaw and chin on this side feel kind of tingly, but not completely numb.  Kind of like after you get punched in the mouth..."

She gives me another one of those funny looks and I hastily amend, "NOT that I've ever been punched in the mouth.  Or anything."

"I'm beginning to wonder about you," she says, and although her face was still smiling she scooted her rolly-chair a little farther away.

I decided it was best not to use any more metaphors to describe the level of effectiveness of my anesthetic, and kept quiet until the dentist returned to complete my dental work.

Would you like some cheese with that whine?

December 14, 2009

There is this commercial on TV now... I think it's for a discount department store?  It features a group of people drinking wine, eating hors d'oeuvres, laughing and chatting in their cocktail-party clothes, while candles on the table gently illuminate the fancy place settings. 

And every time I see it, I think, "I WANT TO BE AT THAT PARTY!  It looks like fun and it doesn't even involve objects that must be thrown, driven really fast, or smashed into each other."

(I don't know who these people are -------------------->
but they look like they're having a good time, except for those really uncomfortable chairs they have to sit in)

Don't get me wrong: redneck stuff is fun.  Well, the redneck stuff that I've done anyway.  Which is actually pretty mild as far as redneck goes.  I mean, NASCAR and country music and beer does not a redneck make.  You need to add a few things, like a mullet haircut and a t-shirt with the arms cut off, and subtract a few things, like, um, teeth, and then you get a redneck.

But I did live in a 38-foot fifth wheel for almost two years.

Let me repeat that.  I LIVED in a TRAILER for almost two YEARS.


You know that old saying, "You can live in your car, but you can't drive your house?"  Nuh-uh.  I could live in my house and drive my house.  

My husband did some fancy number-crunching with the budget and all the money we'd save, and how we'd be spending our living allowance on something we would eventually own instead of pissing it away on rent, blah blah blah.  I agreed to 8 months.

1 year and 8 months later, we finally retired the fifth wheel and moved into a rented house with some roommates.  I prefer to think of the fifth-wheel time as the "marriage test."  Because if two people can live together in a trailer with a dog and a cat, and then get up and go to work every day (at the same place) where our offices are so close they literally share a wall, and the husband can learn to deal with a closet allotment the size of a toaster (because, let's face it, the closet wasn't big to begin with) and the wife learns to deal with banged shins (because, let's face it, she's not graceful in normal-sized rooms), and these two people don't kill each other?  Ah, marital bliss.

The Price of Beauty

December 12, 2009

Q:   What is the difference between the $40 hair spray and the $9 hair spray?
A:   Whether or not you want to smell like a classy lady or a cheap hooker.

When one has to be at work at 6am to stand outside in the dark/early dawn for half an hour, having wet hair is a big downside (especially in the wintertime).  And getting up earlier to allow hair-drying time?  Ugh... I believe we've already established how I feel about the early morning hours.

So I have become a fan of the "dry shampoo."  It's basically really expensive baby powder in an aerosol spray can.  And for those of you not in the know, aside from its uses on baby's butts and making young actors look like old people in high school plays, baby powder is also good for reviving your hair to its freshly-washed look.  With the aerosol can, I can shower the night before, and just spray a quick pick-me-up in the morning.

The problem with the dry shampoo is that you can't find it in any old store.  And the only specialty stores I've found here don't carry the name brand stuff.  So I bought the knock-off stuff:


(Doesn't the pink-and-teal canister with the awkward flowers just scream class?)

Oh, boy, was that a mistake.  One tiny spritz of this stuff and the whole room smells like 20 teenage girls getting ready for their first prom.

Chris walks in the room and immediately asks, "Um honey, what is that? Did you get a new...um...perfume?"  And he says the word "perfume" with a kind of question in his voice and a pained look on his face.  I'm sure he is thinking something along the lines of please don't tell me you like that awful scent.  I reassure him that I, also, think it smells awful.  Kind of like somebody raided the perfume aisle at Wal-Mart, poured out the contents of every single bottle on to the floor, and then rolled around in the mixture.

Chris almost sighed in relief at this, since had I answered "Yes, it's my new perfume do you like it?" he would have been in a very tricky situation for any male: having to answer one of those lose-lose questions like "does this dress make me look fat?"  If he agreed, I'd be happy but he would have to smell that wretched scent for several days until the bottle "mysteriously disappeared", and if he disagreed, he wouldn't have to smell it but he would have to deal with a pissy wife.

I think we are both in agreement that the fancy stuff is worth every penny of that extra twenty dollars.

The Sniff Test

December 07, 2009

Chris and I have differing opinions on when food in the refrigerator is still edible.

For the most part, as long as the food item still passes the "sniff test," I figure it is still edible.  The only foods which don't get the sniff test: bread, and meat.  Bread does not get the sniff test because you can usually tell if it's bad long before you need to smell it.  It's either hard as a rock, moldy, or (if it's been long enough) hard and moldy.  Meat does not get the sniff test because the thought of eating rotten meat really, really, really, grosses me out.  Sometimes I throw away meat before the expiration date, if it's been open in my fridge long enough.

Chris openly mocks my "sniff test" but, hey, I made it through college without once getting food poisoning.  Although I hear that all it takes is one really good bout of food poisoning to change a person's mind about how soon is too soon to throw food away.

Chris, on the other hand, is a tosser.  If the food item is even slightly questionable -- in the trash it goes.  "Honey," he says, "we can afford to go to the store and buy more cheese.  You don't have to cut the moldy spot off and keep eating it."  And he then proceeds to throw away the moldy cheese, the bendable carrots, and the lettuce that was only slightly slimy on some of the leaves while I follow him to the trashcan wailing, "nooooo...I was going to eat those carrots, I swear!"

Okay, maybe it doesn't go down quite that dramatically.  But you get the picture.  So given our history, you would think Chris would've worked on his approach a little bit.  You know, try and let me down gently to expect that certain items in the refrigerator would be missing.  Nope, not my husband.  I walk into the kitchen tonight and am immediately bombarded with, "Honey, I cleaned out the fridge and I threw away EVERYTHING!"

Now, had he started with, "Honey, the fridge was getting a little crowded so I had to toss some things that were spoiled." I might have been a little more receptive.  But I was immediately on the defensive after hearing that he had tossed, as he put it, EVERYTHING!

"Like what did you throw away?"


"Um, okay..." since he won't give me specifics, I open the fridge and start digging frantically through the vegetable drawers.

"Where is my spinach?"

"It was slimy."

"No it was NOT.  I just bought it a few days ago!  I just ATE some YESTERDAY!"

"It was slimy.  Even our roommates saw that it was slimy."

"Whatever, so it magically got slimy overnight?  Hmph."

Chris holds up a tupperware container.  "How about this?  Can I throw this out?  It's been in the fridge forever."

I glanced at it.  "That's not mine.  I don't care if you toss it."

"Are you sure it isn't yours?  It looks like something you would eat."

It finally clicked, and I realized that was the Thai Stir-Fry Chicken that I cooked last month.  "Oh, yeah, maybe it was mine.  But you can toss it."

Chris laughed. "See, it's been so long that you don't even REMEMBER it."

I just rolled my eyes (because that last part was kind of true) and walked out of the kitchen, leaving him to his fun.  However now that I think about it, I don't recall seeing that half a red onion that was only barely dried out at the cut part and still good for dicing...

Why, oh why, do you taunt me food commercials?

December 06, 2009

So recently I joined a new gym.  I am super excited because this gym is very clean and does not smell like dirty socks, like my last gym did.  Also, I do not believe the homeless schizophrenic lady who dances at the corner of the AM-PM has a membership to this gym.  Maybe you think I'm joking.  No, there really is a homeless lady (at least, I think she is homeless since she spends 95% of her free time in front of the AM-PM) and she really is schizophrenic (it's like listening to a one-sided telephone conversation, only the other side isn't on the other line, it's in her head), she really does dance in front of the AM-PM (she wears her sports bra and shorts and has on headphones and dances to the music, on the sidewalk in front of the gas station) and she really is a member of my old gym.  As in, I hear her talking to herself in the ladies locker room and have to use equipment after her, member.

But enough about my old gym.  Let's talk about my new gym.  Aside from being clean, the people that go to this gym are a lot more serious about working out.  You see a lot of people who are in shape, and everyone who is there is actually working out.  At my old gym, there were a people who just wanted to say they went to the gym, so they spent their time wandering around amongst the equipment while texting on their cell phones.  My new gym is a lot more hard-core: they have this boot camp thing that's run by this guy who I think is super nice in real life but a total drill sergeant during boot camp time.  Boot camp involves very loud music and lots of yelling and really hard-core looking activities.  There is even one that involves shaking a large metal chain, which only adds to the noise and hard-core element.  Everybody is always sweaty and tired-looking, but they seem to enjoy it. 

I haven't needed to try the boot camp yet because I got myself a personal trainer.  My trainer is awesome.  He really knows his stuff, and he is dedicated to his clients.  Even if you are not there for a training session, he will help you with your workout at the gym.  He's "that guy" at the gym -- the one that everybody comes up to asking advice about working out and nutrition and stuff.  Even after my first training session when I was sore for two days and winced every time I had to sit down, I still thought he was awesome.  I have a lot a faith that this guy is going to help me get back in shape.

But you want to know what doesn't help?  Television advertisements for food.  Friday evening I was at the gym, and I had snacked before my workout but it was too early for dinner.  I didn't really think I was hungry... until the commercials started on the gym TVs.  Who would have thought that EVERY SINGLE commercial just had to be about food?  Like Pavlov's dog, not only was I now hungry, but I wanted those delicious looking meals they kept talking about on the television.  It was like the TV gods knew I was trying to eat healthy, and while I was at the gym working out they would taunt me with images of all the delicious, unhealthy foods I was not eating at that exact moment.

The upside to seeing all those commercials while you are at the gym?  You can remember exactly how hard you worked that day, and so you don't want to destroy all your hard work for a slice of pepperoni pizza or a holiday cookie or fried chicken.  It just doesn't feel worth it, somehow.