Friday, February 28, 2014

Our house

Now, this is the story all about how
my life got flipped-turned upside down.
I'd like to take a minute, just sit right there
I'll tell you how I became the queen of the fresh Benton air!
Iiiiiiin west Benton, Kansas I was born and raised.
On the playground is where I spent mosta my days.
Chillin' out maxin' relaxin' all cool or
 shootin' some b-ball outside of the school.
When the man of my dreams, who was up to no good,
married me and took me out da neighborhood.
I moved to west Wichita and I got real scared and said,
"I'm moving back east to the fresh Benton air!"
I whistled for my mom and when she came near,
she said, "I know a couple selling land with some deer!"
If anything, I could say that this chance was rare,
So I yelled, "Call them mom, we want those deer!"
We pulled up to a house about 7 or 8
and we yelled to each other, "It's perfect and great!"
We looked at our kingdom, we were finally there.
To sit on our thrones in the fresh Benton air.

You're welcome.
I know you loved that. And I know you'll be singing the Fresh Prince song allllllll day. This started with me wanting to write a post about redoing our bedroom. And that morphed into me wondering if I had ever shared how we happened to buy our house. And I don't think I ever have.
It's kind of an amazing story. We lived in west(ish) Wichita and I HATED it. Nick bought the house before we got married. He loved the price. I tried to tell him if you have to drive down a road between a pawn shop and a liquor store to get to your probably shouldn't buy the house. But I digress. We lived there for about a year after our wedding before we started getting the itch. He wanted land, I wanted a house without blood stains on the front sidewalk (true story).

We told my mom one day that we were going to start looking in the Benton/Towanda area. The NEXT day, she called me and said some people she'd cleaned house for for years were going to be selling a house on some land soon. I remember being slightly excited, but thinking there was no way we could afford it. It was 3 bedrooms, 2 bathroom, finished basement and 5 acres. We were young and poor (now we're just old and poor). But we started looking into it anyways. Within a week, we had talked to the sellers (who didn't want to use a realtor) and had been out to look at it. We pulled up, I looked at my husband and he knew I was a goner. We had been told due to recent EXTREMELY high winds, it needed some repair work so we weren't holding our breath. But when we pulled up and saw this........
.........done deal. Granted, this picture is newer--the garage needed a little love and the grass was a little higher than it is in this pic--but how could we not fall in love?!?
Long story short, we LOVED the people selling it (who were also going to be our neighbors--they own the adjacent lot) and ended up hand-writing a contract that all of us agreed on. They worked with us on closing costs and through a freak hail storm (that I prayed for to damage our car so we could get insurance money), we came up with a down payment. God had his hand in the WHOLE thing. From start to finish.
It took about 3 or 4 months for us to get all the paperwork done and some work on the inside done and then we moved in and have loved every second of it since then! It's quiet and peaceful. Our neighbors on both sides are amazing (although we've lost two now to cancer and while we're broken hearted about it, we are so, SO blessed to have known them and still know their families). We're far enough away from town that we can enjoy the country, but we're close enough to make a quick trip in for groceries. We live only about 4 miles from the turnpike, so we can both get to work quickly.
It's just truly the perfect location, the perfect size, the perfect neighborhood......PERFECT. I love it. And the view just can't be beat.

*I figured this post was long enough, so we'll get to the bedroom redo another day :)

Thursday, February 27, 2014

One year anniversary

February 5th, 2014, marked the one year anniversary of a day that forever changed my life. It's the day that Black Betty came into our lives. This little lady.........
.....has rocked. my. world.

She gets 31 miles to the gallon. THIRTY-ONE. The Blue Hag (my unaffectionate nickname for my 2005 Jeep Liberty) got 16. Needless to say, she's saved me an extreme amount of money in gas. I WAS filling up every four days at $60+ a tank. Now, I fill up every 4-5 days at $30 or less a tank. Amazing.

Besides the gas mileage, my other favorite feature is Lola.

Lola is my sync system. She allows me to use her to call people and be able to speak to them HANDS FREE through my car speakers (which is a huge relief to my husband because he knows my hands are already busy enough flipping people off communicating my feelings to fellow drivers). As much as I LOVE Lola, we get in a fight almost every day. She's been acting up lately and sometimes I have to threaten her to straighten up. While I truly enjoy all the phone and stereo options she has, there are times when I try to call people (like my sister Brooke, for example) and I'll say, "Call Brooke." She pauses for several moments and then says, "Calling Brandon." So then I usually say something along the lines of, "Um, I'm sorry Lola. Did I SAY call Brandon? Or did I say call Brooke? Because I'm pretty sure I said, Call BROOKE!" At that point she says, "Say 1 after the tone to call Brandon on cell. Say 2 after the tone to call Brandon at work. Say 3 after the tone to call Brandon on mobile. Say 4 after the tone to call Brandon at home."

Two problems with that scenario.

First one being, I only have one phone number for Brandon. So why is she giving me 4 options? Second being I WASN'T TRYING TO CALL BRANDON IN THE FIRST PLACE!!!!!! At this point, I usually end up calling Lola a hooker and hanging up and using my own two hands (imagine that) to actually dial their number on my phone.

I also like that Black Betty has a USB port so I can charge my phone. I like that I can use Bluetooth to play my music off my phone. I like that I can do a systems check to make sure nothing is wrong with sweet Betty. I like that it tells me how many miles I have left until I run out of gas (because this happened waaaayyy too many times in my other vehicles. Stupid and totally my fault, but I always misjudged how far I could get even though my E was lit up). I love that the trunk is gigantic and holds all my junk!

A few things I DON'T like (sorry Betty, but everyone has their faults).....there are no manual locks on the door. There's only one lock/unlock button in the whole car and it's on the front panel where all the stereo buttons are. And, once you go over 20 mph, it automatically locks. This terrifies me because I just KNOW someday we're going to drive into a lake and not be able to get out of our cars because all our doors are locked and the electronics have stopped working and there's no manual locks! How will we get out?!? What if we can't bust the windows?!? Can you see my panic building?

I also don't like the head room. It's good for me almost daily (unless I wear a high bun on my head and then I'm hitting the roof), but Nick's pretty tall so it doesn't leave much room for him. The leg room is also a little tight in the back. It's do-able, but not ideal. The Ford Fusion was roomier and I wish we would have just splurged a little to buy one. I think it would have been worth it.

I have a love/hate relationship with the sensors that tell you when a tire is low. I love it because it prevents me from getting a full on flat if it's a slow leak. I hate it because often times it comes on while I'm driving eighty-five seventy miles an hour down the highway. Nothing makes you slow down faster than the thought that your tire is going to blow out any second. The sensor comes on any time my tire pressure is below a certain amount. So just because it's on, doesn't always mean I'm getting a flat. It's always been a slow leak, but it still scares me!

So the low down is, although Black Betty could improve a little, she's still amazing and I'm so glad every day that we brought her into our lives. Here's to driving you until you fall apart, Betty!!

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Love Day 2014

Our Valentine's Day this year was busy and had an early start. Tessa was supposed to get ear tubes put in on the 7th, but she was sick the few days before, so we rescheduled to the 14th. We had to be at the surgery center by 7:30am. Not horrible, but a little earlier than we're used to. Tommy stayed the night at my mom's the night before because I KNEW waking him up at 6:30am would be a disaster. Nick is on 3rd shift, so he was just going to meet us there. Since it was just us girls at home, we did our nails, ate some chocolate and I let her sleep in my bed the night before. She was out in no time!

I got myself and Tessa up and showered and dressed and out the door by 7:00am. I waited until as late as possible to wake her up since she couldn't eat or drink anything, hoping she wouldn't have time to realize she was hungry or thirsty. Tessa was soooo sleepy in the back seat. She kept cuddling her baby and giving me the death glare. I was confident we'd be on time since we were leaving right at 7:00am.

However. The Center for Same Day Surgery has the most annoying parking/entry way ever. They told me to park in the parking garage. So I did and it was a mess. You had to walk all the way around the parking garage to get to the surgery center. And then when you get to where you THINK the entrance is, it's not the entrance. It's the exit. So you walk alllllll they way around the building to get to the entrance which is facing a main road where nobody can park. Makes perfect sense. And makes you 5 minutes late.

But we eventually got checked in. Tessa alternated taking little naps on the floor (which totally grossed me out but she was so tired, I tried to ignore it) and playing with all the animals they had there (which also grossed me out, but whatta ya gonna do?).

We were told to check in at 7:30am and when we got there, they got all our paperwork done and got her all checked in. And then we waited. Until 9:15am. So irritating. Working for a doctor (especially one who runs late all the time), I understand that things happen and I never expect to get into ANY doctor on time. But almost two hours was totally pushing the limit. We were just praising God that it was Tessa getting this done and not Tommy. She's so much more relaxed than him. He would have been screaming for food and a drink by the time we left the house and the 2 hour wait would have done him in. But luckily, she was content to just play the whole time. They finally took her back (and although I'm 100% aware ear tubes are a totally common procedure, it was really sad to see them carrying her through the OR doors and seeing her little face just staring at us). The actual procedure only took about 15 minutes. The doctor came out and said everything went well. They did notice her left hear had some really thick "yucky" drainage (his words, not mine) that didn't look right, so they put her on some ear drops three times a day and we have to go back in 2 weeks to make sure the thick drainage isn't clogging her ear tubes.

Then he took us to our girl. She was NOT a happy camper. She cried and cried and cried. She was so out of it she just kept throwing her body around and wailing. Poor thing.

We got her to the car and went to get her something to eat. It calmed her down a little to have something in her tummy and she passed out in the middle of her meal.
 I took her to Brooke's and hung out there with her for the next few hours to make sure she was doing okay. And she was! She was back to her normal self in no time and running around like crazy. I dare to say I think she's happier AFTER the surgery than she was before. I think it's already making her ears feel better. Around 12:30pm, I went back to work since she was doing fine. I worked until 5:30pm and then headed home to spend time with all my loves. These were the beautiful flowers my hubs had waiting for me. And my sister got me the milk glass bowl (which I collect) filled with Candy Cane kisses (the BEST candy ever!).

We just hung out at home the rest of the evening and relaxed together. It was a perfect Valentine's Day! 

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Red Stripe recollection

So this morning I saw a Red Stripe beer delivery truck. And it brought back one of the most awkward memories I have. Don't you love how one smell or sound or beer truck can make your mind flood with things from the past? It took me back to the days of duplex living........

My friend and I used to live in a duplex in a semi-shady part of Wichita. Not the most horrible place to live, not the greatest place to live. But the rent was like $350 a month, worked! We lived in the back part of it, so every time we wanted to get inside, we had to drive past our neighbor's door or walk past it. His name was Brock and he was a nice enough guy, but our living room wall was the other side of his bedroom wall. And let's just say that Brock got a lot of....action. A LOT. Awkward. He was okay to talk to occasionally, but we were VERY different people.

One day, my roommate was out of town working and I had just gotten home from work at like 10:00pm. I pulled into the driveway and he saw me, so he came out to say hi. I hadn't felt good at all that day and was reeaaaaallly looking forward to going to bed and didn't have the desire to make polite conversation with Pimp-daddy Brock (my affectionate nick name for him). But I tried really hard to be nice and I stopped to talk for a minute. Now, at the ripe age of 22, I didn't quite have the guts to politely tell people no. I was a people pleaser and really wanted to avoid hurting people's feelings or confrontation at any cost. And that night, the cost was high, my friends. I can't even tell you how it happened or what kind of conversation transpired between us, but he ended up telling me he was going to run back to his house really fast to get some Red Stripe beer and he'd be right back.

I prayed in the two minutes he was gone that he would change his mind and not come back. But he came. Holding a case of this........

Yuck. I hate beer. I hated it even more in that moment because I didn't feel good. But it gets worse. He was also carrying this.....
That's right, folks. Your eyes are not deceiving you. A karaoke machine. In my mind, I was all like, "What the whaaa....?!?" But did my gutless 22 year old self say anything that I was thinking--like, "Take your case of Red Stripe and your fancy singing machine and get the crap outta my house!"? No. My wimpy 22 year old self did NOT say that. I sat with an aching stomach, a burning throat and an INSANE amount of awkward tension in the air and endured TWO HOURS of disgusting Red Stripe and Brock singing karaoke by himself. Alone. And he was actually using the microphone. In my living room. With just me as his audience. And he was getting SO into it. He was singing county and dancing and playing air guitar. I have truly never had a weirder night in my life.

And the weirdest part was that I could tell he didn't think it was weird at all. Here were two people who barely knew each other and I can honestly say I don't think I said more than five sentences the whole night. How could I talk when he was karaoke-ing the WHOLE NIGHT?! How was he NOT picking up the vibe from me that I didn't want him there?!

Now that I look back on it, it's hilarious! I see the whole scenario in my mind and can't help but laugh. Back then, I would've given anything to have my roommate home because she would've told him to get out.......and I wouldn't have had to endure his weirdness by myself.

Anyone else have any awkward memories they want to share?