Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Mushrooms, Cubicals, and Car Sales

What a crazy day! It is only 10:00pm, but I am already so tired that I don’t know if I have the energy to brush my teeth.

I started my job this morning. I spent the day learning their database, sprinting to the bathroom on the other end of the building, running queries, and formatting reports. I am enjoying the job so far. Everyone is really nice. I got to see where they assemble some of the product and it was pretty cool. When I was waiting for an 84 page report to print, I think I watched a guy test an LCD screen. In the lunch room today, people actually talked to me. Being the new person can be stressful, but so far I have enjoyed myself. I have my own office with a window! That is more than Joel can say as he shares his office with another team member and they do not have a window. I think this job will be challenge, but a good challenge; the kind that keeps you on your toes and asking for more.

I got home from work today around 5:00pm. Just as I was putting the car in park, Joel pulled into the driveway next to me. This is not a good sign. His car stopped working on Friday night; we even had to leave it at his sister’s house. Since Joel normally doesn’t leave his office until 6:30ish, I knew it was something to do with the car. Joel told me that the timing belt had broken and as it whipped around in the engine cavity, it bent some valve shafts. The best case scenario it would cost $1,500 but if it went like the last three Jettas with this problem that the mechanic fixed, it would end up being more like $3,500. Ouch. We had four options; fix the car, fix the car and sell it, not fix the car and sell it, or not fix the car and scrap it. We did the math and some Blue Book research and decided not to fix the car and sell it. Joel put it up on Craigslist and within an hour we had offers. One guy wanted to see the car and was going to bring cash. So we met up with him, sold him the car, and took his cash. We asked $2,000 and got $1,800; not so bad for the situation we were in. So now we are researching new and used cars so Joel will have a vehicle. Right now, he is using his parent’s pick up truck which we borrowed over the weekend for our garden project.

Once we got home, I went to work putting together the dinner I had started before I went to work. I made my Spicy Chicken in our “make-shift-oven-crock-pot” (somehow my crock pot didn’t make the move from Bellingham…). I quickly chopped up from fresh Pico de Gallo, heated up some tortilla shells, opened up two beers and called it dinner. It was so delicious! This is such an easy meal to cook up and it tastes so good. With the left over chicken, tomorrow we are having Chicken Enchiladas for dinner. Yum Yum

After dinner, Joel noticed that mushrooms had started growing in our vegetable starts. There are three of them! I couldn’t believe it! Where on earth did they come from? Right in the middle of our Roma tomatoes are these mushrooms. I thought mushrooms needed the dark to grow, but they are sitting in the brightest spot in the house. This is the craziest day.

Well, Jack Rabbit is begging me for attention. I’m sitting in my office chair, and he keeps standing up on his hind legs, and pawing at my leg. I have never seen him like this before. I don’t think he enjoys me being back at work. No one is home to play with him and he is confined to a much smaller space. I tried to buy his love back with some cilantro but I don’t think he is falling for it. So I better go give him some love before I turn in for the day.

Monday, April 26, 2010

The Cutest Babies Ever!

Last Sunday we had the baby shower for my cousin Tiffany. She gave birth to twins, Farrah Ann and Porter James, on February 12th at 8:15pm. These babies are just the sweetest little babies ever. Farrah is a doll. She is so content to lay in your arms, stretching her arms and legs in all directions while making those cute little baby coo’s. Porter is a bit fussier, but according to Aunt Pat, so was Tiffany. The old saying “What goes around, comes around”, is ringing true for Tiffany! Porter, we discovered, loves to be naked or at least to have his pants off. A kindred spirit, as I too hate to wear pants. Maybe it runs in the family as Jackie doesn’t like to wear pants either. We much prefer trackies, sweats, or mom’s homemade pj pants. All in all, it was wonderful to spend a beautiful Sunday adoring the new additions to the James family.

Here is baby Farrah and Porter

I Got A Job!

I am very happy to share with everyone that I am now no longer a happily unemployed person. I am now a delightfully employed career woman! I accepted an offer from Maple Systems to start working as the Administrative Assistant to the Managing Director. I interviewed with her this morning, and she wanted me to start right away. Maple Systems, located in South Everett, creates touch screen automated controls for a variety of industries and purposes. For example, like the computers used in restaurants to enter orders or you can have an entire building’s heating and cooling controlled to ensure the most economical heating and cooling possible; nearly everything from refineries to the medical industry. The Managing Director needs help narrowing down, creating, and documenting the standard procedures for the company. She also needs someone to help organize and streamline operations. She could also use a hand with the day to day activities of running a successful business. I feel this will be a great fit for me. We really seemed to click right away. She was a warm and inviting person with a good sense of humor. If I can’t work for dad, I think this will be a good second place. I start tomorrow at 9:00am and I can’t wait. It has been a long time since I have packed my own lunch, so I am going to ask Joel for some help; he knows what is good in a bag lunch. My schedule will be Monday through Thursday from 8:00am to 4:30pm. I am really excited for a four day week. It will give me a day to catch up on house work, laundry, and yard work; leaving plenty of time to hang out with Joel on our days off. I couldn’t be happier right now; I just hope it works out.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Veggie Garden

Oh man what a day! Joel and I put together the boxes for our vegetable garden. We started around 10:30am this morning by heading over to Home Depot for some lumbar, screws, sawhorses, a triangle, and some weed-preventer fabric. We had to recalculate our shopping list as they didn’t have untreated cedar in a 2x12, so that took some early morning brain work, but we eventually managed. Once we got home, it was straight to work. We measured, sawed, drilled, and hammered to our hearts content. Thanks to our weeks of researching, planning, discussing, and designing, our boxes came together smoothly.

Then it was off to get some top soil. Lucky us, there is a place just down the road that had organic, top quality top soil. We had Jack and Judy’s truck and trailer, so it was easy to load up one and a half yards of top soil. Back at the house, we shoveled the dirt into a wheelbarrow, pushed the wheelbarrow up the hill, and filled up boxes. According to our calculations, we were going to need three yards of top soil. Turns out, we were wrong. We needed exactly one and a half yards! See, even when I don’t try I am still perfect! Ha ha ha…

Joel and I are so happy with how our boxes turned out. The spot where they are located is on the third tier in our backyard, which has a slight downhill slant. We even measured out the slant, in order to ensure every plant had plenty of root space, and they would look nice. We were both surprised we finished the project today. We projected to have the boxes finished and one load of dirt picked up, not unloaded. So we were very happy to see it all work out so nicely. All that is left to do is plant our little sprouts!

Whenever I would go into the house to refill a water bottle or something, Jack made it known he was not happy. He was cooped up in his cage while we were out working, as it wasn’t nice enough to let him outside with us. He would stomp as hard as he could as much as he could for as long as I was in ear shot. Ever since he has been out, it has been binky after binky (binky = a rabbits way of expressing joy by jumping up as high as they can while kicking out their legs or twisting around; really cute to watch). He keeps getting up in my lap as I type this to remind me of how he has been neglected all day and now needs some attention. So I better go apologize to him for being so cruel.

Here is Joel making sure the first box is nice and level.

Finished! Here are all three of our finished box gardens.

A lovely side view of a box.

All three of our beautiful boxes in the backyard behind the house.

Friday, April 23, 2010

A Typical Day

Here is my typical day as a happily unemployed person.

9:00am - Wake up. I usually get up when Joel gets up for work. Sometimes I lay in bed for a bit; sometimes I get right up...

10:00am - Breakfast. Time to fill up the hungry tummy, get my caffeine fix, let Jack out of his cage, and watch the morning news...

11:30am - Job Hunt. Time to find a job. I try to apply to three jobs every workday. Three jobs I wouldn’t mind actually having, not just any job. Sometimes this can take a while.

1:00pm - Lunch Time. Starting to get hungry again, time to eat. Jack is usually hungry too, or at least he eats the carrots I give him.

2:00pm - Exercise. Thanks to Jackie, I have been using the PX90 videos. Holy tough. I can hardly get through one video. Only been doing it for a week, but I already feel results.

3:00pm - Chores. There is always some house work to do. Laundry, dusting, vacuuming, bathroom cleaning, tidying up, mopping, windex-ing, on and on...

5:00pm - What to have for dinner. I have to start thinking about dinner, just incase I have to run to the store.

6:00pm - Making Dinner. Joel doesn't get home until about 7, so I don't start dinner until now.

7:00pm - Eating Dinner. Joel’s home, time to eat!

8:00pm - Clean up. Time to clean up after dinner, get the kitchen back into shape, finish up any projects I was working on, watch some TV, or grab my book and hit the couch.

11:00pm - Bed Time. Time to shower, brush my teeth, put on my pjs, and read in bed.

12:00pm-ish Joel Come to Bed. I can't sleep until Joel is in bed too, so I usually read until he comes to bed.

And it starts all over again.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Sloppy Joes

Last night Joel wanted Sloppy Joes for dinner. I was never very fond of them growing up, so I was nervous. I found this recipe online, and since we had all the ingredients I gave it shot. Joel loved it and I actually found I enjoy Sloppy Joes now. So I thought I would share it with you all. Enjoy

Sloppy Joes (from allrecipes.com)
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes

1 lb lean ground beef
1/4 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup chopped green pepper (I skipped this part, I hate peppers)
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon prepared yellow mustard (I used Grey Pupon, it was in the fridge)
3/4 cup ketchup
3 teaspoons brown sugar
salt to taste
ground pepper to taste

1. In a medium skillet over medium heat, brown the ground beef, onion, and green pepper; drain off liquids.
2. Stir in the garlic powder, mustard, ketchup and brown sugar; mix throughly. Reduce heat, and simmer for 30 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

A Dinning Table

Yesterday, around 5:00pm, Joel and I picked up our dinning table; another very satisfied purchase from Underhill's Furniture in Lynnwood. We purchased our king sized head board and foot board from Underhill's and we just love it. So I went back when our tax refund arrived in the mail to look for a dinning table. Our front room has been empty ever since we finished unpacking, and it desperately needed to be filled. Also our kitchen table only seats four, limiting the number of guests we can invite. We both enjoy having friends and family over, so we were both looking forward to have a space where we can enjoy the company of our friends and family.

When we got our table and chairs home, Jack was so excited to see what was going on. As we were taking the plastic protective covering off the chair pads, Jack was running all over the place. Smelling, climbing, jumping, hopping, and skipping; Jack was everywhere. Now he thinks he has a new hiding place. I am not sure he has figured out all the chairs move and I can still get a hold of him. Poor little guy, I just hate bursting his bubble.

So, now that the table is put together, the chairs are in place, Joel and I just can't wait to get busy inviting our friends over, serving up some good food, and enjoying our new dinning room.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Trading Spouses

One of the shows I like to watch in the afternoon is Trading Spouses. Just in case you haven't seen it, the basic premise of the show is they take a mom from one family and trade places with a mom from another family. They have to live with the new family for two weeks; the first week they have to follow the rules and routine of the new family and the second week the new mom gets to make new rules for the family to follow. To create television-worthy drama, the families selected for an episode are always stereotypical opposites. For example, a very clean and organized family trades with a messy and chaotic family, a farm family trades with a city family, a stay at home dad trades with a work-a-holic dad, etc. By the end of the show each family struggles to live with a person with different values and habits, but eventually everyone learns from each other. In a successful episode (in my opinion anyway) the families embrace something from the experience which betters their lives. Sometimes the switch is a disaster and nothing is achieved.

As I was cleaning up the kitchen today and watching an episode of Trading Spouses, I got to thinking "what if my family went on this show". What if when I was a kid, my mom traded spaces with someone else? Which stereotypical definition would be assigned to our family life? As sad as it is, I would have to say we would be the family where the mom does all the hard work, the kids basically do what they want, and the dad is the main disciplinarian. Don't get me wrong, we had Chore Saturday growing up, but my mom had to do a lot of nagging to get us to actually do our chores. I remember eating breakfast on Saturdays when dad would have a project in mind for the day. When we were finishing up our meal, with thoughts of barbies in our heads, dad would say, "go get your grubbies on and meet me outside". With those simple words, the attitude would come out so fast! Jackie would refuse to leave the table until she knew what we were in for. An argument would ensue between dad and Jackie; Jackie argued she couldn't put grubbies on until she knew what kind of work it was, and dad felt that the work didn't matter the grubbies were always the same. We would moan and groan, feeling that we were doomed for an entire day of boring, tedious work. We were sure our day was ruined. However, once we got over ourselves and put our attitudes away, we had a good time. Hanging out with dad and mom doing a project and working together outside turned into a great family bonding moment. With a family of six, everyone had to pitch in to make things work.

So if my family had to go on Trading Spouses, we would probably end up with a drill sergeant mom, or maybe a mom that never forced her kids to do anything they didn't want to. We may have had some elbow room with chores, but we did have to do them eventually. Maybe we would get a mom that forced us to act like little adults; making our own food, getting ourselves ready for school, etc. We were definitely allowed to be kids; running around outside, playing make-believe, just being carefree. I remember when we were little, in the summer time we would hate taking baths because it meant we would have to come inside earlier. So mom gave up the fight and told us if we ran through the sprinkler for a while we wouldn't have to take a bath. We thought it was great, while mom was probably tired of the fight and figured “oh well, at least they get rinsed”.

In the end, I'm glad we didn't go on Trading Spouses, my childhood was great. My family did the best they could, stuck together, and in the end we made it. No one is perfect; no one has all the answers. I would not change one thing about my family.

I love you all, just the way we are!!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Veggie Starts

Joel and I planted seeds in little containers the other day to get a head start on our vegetable garden. I thought it would be a group project, since Joel specifically asked for my help. So I went out the garage with him and we got all our supplies together. Then we sorted through the seed packets to see what could be planted early. Turns out it is mostly tomatoes, tomatillos, peppers, onions, and cucumbers. Joel said, (and this is nearly a direct quote) "I want to plant the tomatoes, the tomatillos, the peppers, and the onions; since those are my favorites." I realized that only left me the cucumbers. Don't get wrong, I love cucumbers. However, this only leaves me with about five minutes of work. Go figure.

So I got a glass of wine, my label maker, and some toothpicks. Why, you might ask. Well, the glass of wine is for me to enjoy while I sit and watch Joel plant our garden. The label maker and toothpicks are to make little signs so we know what is planted in each planter. So in the end, Joel got to plant his favorites and I got to do two of my favorite activities; drinking wine and organizing! A good day; a very good day.

They have to go in front of the deck door, because it the only place that gets tons of sunlight where I would allow a bunch of dirt to hang out. Jack loves it, he thinks it is his personal breakfast bowl.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Naughty Rabbit

So the other day, I was wondering where Jack had gotten off to. He had been really quiet and I hadn't seen him for a while which usually means trouble. So I went looking for him and this is what I found.

What a naughty rabbit! But who can get angry at that face??!

Weekend Project

Joel and I decided to finally tackle the caulking in our master bath. This really needed to be done. The caulking around the tub and shower in our master bathroom really need to be replaced, so this weekend, Joel and I answered the call. Of course, Joel decided the right time to start the project was around 10:30pm on Saturday night. I don't know what it is about computer programers, but they are all night owls. So spent the next few hours of the wee morning digging, scrapping, and pulling the old caulk off the bathroom floor. Then we cleaned everything with a bleach solution to kill anything that might be trying to grow. Then I forced Joel to go to bed. I figured 2am was not the time to start laying new caulk lines.

In the morning, I decided to research tips for DIY caulking and came across a brillant tip. I wish I could say that we thought of it ourselves, but unfortunatily, I hadn't had my coffee yet. The tip said to use painters tape on either side of your caulking line to help your line stay straight, to help with the mess when you smooth out the line, and ensure a quick and painless free clean up! I was sold. So it was off to the hardware store for some tape, while Joel stayed home to make some tuna fish sandwiches. (There is something about the way that Joel makes these sandwiches, that I can't match. He makes the BEST tuna fish sandwiches!). So we taped up the bathroom, put down some caulk, smoothed out the lines, pulled up the tape, and tah-da we have a beautiful new caulked tub and shower!

Here is Joel perfecting the tape lines.

And Joel finishing up pulling all the tape off.

Tah-da! Our finished caulking project. Probably not the best job ever, but we were very proud of our selves.