8.29.2011

The Garage: Step 1 & 2

When you become a homeowner you go to Home Depot a lot more then you ever thought you would and you do things you never thought you'd care about like pay good money for rocks and paint floors.  I've been dreading the day we'd face the garage for a while but it's one of those projects you just have dive in and do at some point like it or not.  If it were up to me I'm not exactly sure when this would have happened...if ever!  I came home from work Friday exhausted.  All I wanted to do was sit down and watch TV but Mj was already out in the garage working so I did what any good wife would do.  I dragged my tired butt out into the heat, complained about how hot and tired I was and then joined in the fun.
Boring old concrete floor
Step 1:  De clutter the garage.  It's really easy for the garage to become the dumping ground for all things you don't know what to do with.  We can't get too out of hand because we park our cars in there but there was a lot of junk accumulating and it was time for it to go.  We went through the various bins and boxes and loaded up the car for a trip to Goodwill the next day.  On Saturday everything that we were keeping went outside overnight and it was on to step 2.
Sweep, squeegee, scrub, squeegee...then we finally got to paint
Step 2Epoxy the floor.   A lot of dust accumulates in the garage and this is a good way to help cut down on it and make the garage floor look pretty.  As if it really needs to look pretty...but whatever.  This was an all day affair and we sure picked one of the hottest weekends ever to do it.  It's quite the process.  You start by washing the floor.  We swept out over a years worth of dirt and cobwebs.  Yuck.  I made Mj do the corners.  Then, we wet the floor and went over it with a giant squeegee mop.  Then we wet the floor again and scrub a dub dubbed it with a scrubbing brush using soapy cleaning concoction from our epoxy kit that sizzled.  Then we wet the floor and did the squeegee thing yet again.  By this time the garage floor was cleaner then any floors inside the house and clean enough to eat off of.  We waited hours for it to dry out and then we could finally start the painting.  Mj painted with a roller and I artfully sprinkled the pixie dust decorative chips all over like a little Fairy Epoxy godmother.  It's a big job and I imagine we saved a ton of money in labor by doing it ourselves.  We were able to put our things back in the next day but we can't park in there for 3 days.  I love the way it looks.
Stylish epoxy-fied floor
The decorative chips really make it pop
Step 3:  Buy shelves, bins and hooks as needed for organizing.  We've got our eye on some heavy duty shelves at Lowe's.  I parlayed my credit card points into a $100 gift card from there so I think we'll get them next week.   We'll use bins to organize everything and hooks to hang up bikes and tools.

Step 4:  Move some of the things in our storage closet under the stairs out into the garage.  This closet has has also become a dumping ground that could use some organization.  Some of the things in that closet can go into our newly re organized garage so we can organize the closet and make room for other things in there.

Most of the indoor house projects I've been wanting to do have come to a screeching halt so it was nice to get something accomplished even if only to the part of the house where our cars live.  A garage has always been sort of a scary place for me.  It's dark, dingy, dirty and creepy crawly things hang out there.  Ideally, our garage will feel a lot less like something out of a horror film once it's clean, organized and user friendly.  How can you be afraid of a room with a shiny pretty floor accented with blue, black and white sprinkles?


8.25.2011

Back to School

I graduated College with a B.A. a loooong time ago and didn't look back.  I enjoyed my four years in College but was really happy to get my life back and move on from the poor College student lifestyle.  Without any specific career goals in mind and an unwillingness to take on any more student loans then I already had Grad school wasn't something I wanted to pursue.  The loans are long since paid off but I'm still not interested.  So why do I find myself looking at a College campus map to find my class room and the bookstore where a teenager informs me that I need to leave my purse at the door and then I drop $115 bucks on a giant used book?  It's so weird.  Back in the day when I was a student who wore jeans, tennis shoes and a UCSD sweat shirt to class every day we didn't have online registration.  I don't even know if my College had a website back then 'cause I didn't even have a computer.  You had to wait in really long lines for a really long time to pay all of your fees in person and we registered by phone.  I used a word processor to write my papers and Wikipedia didn't exist.  Now I can register, pay fees, drop classes, and order books online.  Do people still go to the Library to do research?  Is it biologically possible that my mind has turned to mush after all of these years?  Times have changed and so have I. 

Life just feels busy enough as it is and I truly value my free time outside of work to relax and take care of business.  It was hard enough for me to add the gym back into my life let alone school.  At my job we get a pay bump if we earn 12 units of college credit.  I've known this but have been too lazy and unmotivated to do anything about it.  We even get reimbursed for it so I really should've done it a long time ago.  I'm not trying to push it so I'm only taking 2 classes this semester and then I'll take two the next.  I've chosen classes that I have a real interest in so that hopefully I won't hate it.  I'm taking an Introductory Paralegal course and planning to take Nutrition which doesn't start until October.  Only the Paralegal course requires me to physically attend and the other will be online.  It sure makes my day long working from 8:00-5:00 pm then going to class from 6:30 to 9:50pm.  I went to my first class and got my first homework assignment Tuesday night and I'm already tired.  At least I wasn't the oldest one in the class.

I think it'll be good for me to do this.  It feels productive.  If it means less couch and TV time then that's probably a good thing but I definitely see it cutting into my gym time.  It's just one night a week so I need to stop being a wimp and deal with it.  Plenty of people have been working full time and going to school full time for years.  Some of them even have kids to juggle.  My very own husband is taking a full time course load online.  Surely I can handle 6 measly units at Community College.  That's what I'm telling myself anyways and I hope I'm right.

8.22.2011

Visa Gymnastics Championships 2011

Jordan Wieber wins it. Photo Source:  Universal Sports
This past weekend was Visa Championships.  I excitedly watched Women's Prelims on Thursday night.  The finals were on Saturday night but I didn't get to watch it until first thing Sunday morning.  Prelims were kind of a mess.  There were so many falls and mistakes-which isn't too surprising when you consider that these girls are doing things that people shouldn't physically be able to do.  These athletes are incredible, but even still if Team USA gymnasts were to perform that way at Worlds OR the Olympics for that matter there is no hope for a medal.  There is still time to improve and the final day was much better.  It seemed like everyone got the jitters out.  With Marta Karolyi watching it was their last chance to show her something good and so they did.

Jordan Wieber basically blew out the competition.  She is the only gymnast who hit 8 for 8 and did solid routines over both days.   It is a testament to her good gymnastics but also a testament to the fact that most everyone else performed miserably.  She won by 6 points!  She could have fallen 3 times off of her last event, the beam and still won.  She's been American Cup Champion twice already and now she finally can add National Champion to her resume.  

Rebecca Bross had a really bad day one and an even worse finals.  She was actually showing some improvement but after a falling on her beam dismount again and a bit of a sloppy floor routine she twisted into the ground on an under rotated vault and screamed in pain as she landed and grabbed her knee.  I feel so bad for her.  She was fighting so hard to get back in the game and now this.  That's the harsh reality of gymnastics and as the camera panned around the arena it looked like you could cut the silence with a knife and people were shaking their heads.  What is there to say?  It's a terrible thing and it could happen to any gymnast at any moment.  She won this meet last year, placed 2nd All Around at World Championships in 2010 and 3rd in 2011 (six world medals all together).  She was basically on her way to the Olympics.  Then she had to have leg surgery but she recovered and during her comeback is slammed with another injury.  As they carried her out of the arena I couldn't help but wonder if she should have been competing all four events.  Her gymnastics was looking a little rough up to that point-maybe she tried to do too much too soon. 
Ally Raisman [Photo Source:  Universal Sports.com]
McKayla Maroney was all over the place on day one but she really improved on the second night.  She is so graceful and has such beautiful form.  Her Amanar (2 1/2 twisting Yurchenko) vault was the highlight.  It's the hardest vault being done by anyone in the world right now and she just about stuck it.  Jordan Wieber uses the same vault.

Ally Raisman was one of the few that was solid on day one and she was solid on day two as well until the half way point when she went to beam right after Bross got injured.  She seemed really rattled by what happened and actually put her hands down on the beam (which counts as a fall) but she came back and did great on floor.  That one mistake edged her out of 2nd place which is unfortuanate because she one of the most consistent out of everyone and I thought she deserved the Silver. 

Chelsie Memmel did very well but on her last event after falling, re mounting then falling again on bars couldn't finish the routine.  She spent the remainder of the night with an ice pack on her shoulder.  I REALLY wanted to see her in the top three so I was disappointed to see her falter but she did a great job.  She showed everyone that she is back and a serious contender.  Her dance on floor could definitely use some work.  She basically does a series of connected poses and doesn't really seem to dance through the floor movements as she should.    Her strength is her consistency and power.  

Sean Johnson definitely improved from Cover Girl Classic.  She looked so much more confident and solid.  She still needs to add in floor and get her difficulty level up but I'm much more impressed with what I saw at this meet and glad that she's on her way.  I love her attitude.  She realizes that she may never again be the Sean Johnson who won a gold medal on beam at the Olympics and almost won the All Around.  She is Ok with that and just wants to compete and be in the mix again.  She didn't stop smiling the whole night.  She and Memmel were both named to the National team along with Alicia Sacramone who had a good meet as well.  Her 2nd vault was low, and she had a few balance checks on beam but overall she was solid as usual. 

Final results listed here at Inside Gymnastics.com.  Jordan Wieber 1st, McKayla Maroney 2nd and Alexandra Raisman 3rd.  I can't wait to see who makes the World team.

8.21.2011

He's 1 Years Old!

Such pretty eyes on this kid

Finishing touches on the cake

Saturday was my nephew's Birthday party.  When you are 1 years old and there are people standing in a circle singing and staring at you chances are you have no idea why or what is even going on.  You don't even know what a party is let alone that it is for you.  The cupcake is whatever and you are more interested in playing with the tissue paper then the present that your mom keeps pushing at you. 

Clearly Birthday parties for one year old's are more to celebrate the parents for surviving that long with a new baby then the actual child which is why my sister kept it low key and simple.  Just family and pizza, pasta, bread sticks and wings.  My sister decided she wanted to make Red Velvet cake that wasn't really.  She frosted it with chocolate and put chocolate chips inside.  I'm not really a big fan of the cream cheese so I liked it.  We all had a great time, including little DJ.   Every time I see that kid I want to have a baby of my own...and then I come to my senses.  He's such a little busy body now that it's even harder to get a picture with him looking at the camera but we kept trying.  He was so not into getting all messy with his little cup cake.  He poked his little fingers in it and when he saw that chocolate all over he just wanted out.  He did let my sister feed him a little but he wouldn't touch it himself.  
Uh, what am I supposed to do with that?

Ewww....it's messy mommy.  Help.

Tissue paper is fun

Me and my mama
I was there pretty much all day and a good time was had by all.  I always have fun with my family.  DJ and his parents have made it to year one and now he is well on his way to the terrible two's.

8.16.2011

Dream Cars of Years Past

Dream Car #1: Chrysler LeBaron[Photo Source]
Mj got a Kia Sportage for his rental car while he was out of town a few months ago.  He started to tell me what it looked like and I stopped him.  I know what a Kia Sportage looks like because it used to be my dream car.  Odd as that may sound.  He laughed because a Kia Sportage, while a decent car is not necessarily dream car material.  Don't people usually aspire to such things as a BMW or a Lexus?  But that's not even the worst of it.  I sat there and thought of all my dreams cars of the past and it dawned on me that I never really wanted for much when it came to a car.  My dream car list is an assortment of so so economy cars that most people settle for and don't actually consider their dream. OK, well maybe all except for the Lebaron.  That was the first dream car I can remember (I was only 10) and that's a pretty snazzy car.  It was the car you could be lucky enough to win if you were the grand prize winner in Ed McMahon's Publishers Clearing House contest that I used to dig out of the trash after my parents tossed it.  I could never make them sign up for magazines but it did say no purchase necessary to win so I'd tear out the little stamp of the Blue LeBaron and assemble our official entry.  We never won.
Dream Car #2:  Geo Metro [Photo Source]

Dream Car #3:  Kia Sportage [Photo Source]
After the LeBaron my next dream car when I was in high school was a hatch back Geo Metro.  I loved the ones with the cool little stripe down the side and how it said "Geo Metro."  It was just so cute.  The next and last car I can recall dreaming about was that Kia Sportage when they first came out.  I found the body style adorable and I liked it that it was like a mini SUV.

What I ended up with as my first car was a brand new Red Ford Escort.  By that time my dream was really just to have my very own car so I was thrilled.  Did I mention I hate red cars? Don't ask me why 'cause I don't know but it was the only automatic they had on the lot besides White and beggars certainly can't be choosers so I drove it home.  My parents put some money down on it and made the payments while I finished up my last year in college.  I took over about the same time my student loans payments kicked in and as soon as it was paid off at just five years young it promptly broke down.  After that my dream car was one with automatic windows, locks and a working AC Unit.  I briefly admired the Acura TL's but they were super pricey and I thought an SUV might be cool so I ended up leasing two Jeep Liberty's in a row.  Never thought I'd lease but it happened.  I loved the leather seats, sunroof, automatic everything and being up so high.  It was about as close to luxury as I'll probably ever get in a car.  It sure was a cute little SUV but  how much it was costing me at the pump was not cute in any way so my next dream in a car was good gas mileage.  After the lease was up I focused my energies on getting a sensible, dependable, fuel efficient Pre Owned Honda Civic with low mileage.  Heaving myself in and out of a lower car was annoying at first, I missed my cool rear limo tint windows but I still had a sun roof so I got over it real quick.  I even got GPS for the first time.  Filling up for $44 bucks totally made up for not having leather and I was able to pay in full so I wouldn't have a car payment.

My First Car [Photo Source

My luxurious Liberty.  I leased two of these in a row-Silver then Blue
My trusty Civic.  I plan to drive this car into the ground
I've never much been into having a luxurious car.  I don't want to drive a beater but for me it's mostly been about getting from point A to point B in a well kept car with as little money wasted as possible.  I don't plan on buying a new car ever again.  I've had my fill of new cars and I'm not so sure it's worth the extra money.  My jaw drops when I  hear that people are paying close to $1,000 a month in car payments.  That's rent or a mortgage.  And remember when rims were all the rage?  They could cost thousands and for what?  I probably won't be able to buy it outright but I at least hope to have a hefty down payment for the next car I get.  I've had my Honda for 2 years now.  I have a near nervous break down every time I purchase a car so it's not something I'm looking to do any time soon.   My only dream now when it comes to cars is just to drive my cute little Civic for as long as it will let me.

8.11.2011

Delaware Vacation

Why oh why, must they make airports so cold?  I froze my butt off through a 4 1/2 hour flight, 2 hour lay over then another 2 hour flight before we finally arrived in Delaware.  All three airports had the thermostat set to arctic freeze.  I brought a blanket from home for exactly that reason.  The first leg of the flight was terrible.  My seat wouldn't recline and there was a kid behind me kicking the back of my seat.  It's so hard to sleep sitting up and my neck was killing me. 

Our first stop after we got off our red eye flight was Cracker Barrel for breakfast.  I HAD to squeeze that one in because it'll probably be another year before I taste it's goodness again.  I love their perfect crispy edged pancakes and everything I tasted off of Mj's plate too.  After traveling all night we got there Friday morning and literally crashed on his mom's couch.  We were just laying there and next thing we knew we were both knocked out.
Enjoying my pancakes  (A rare shot of me in my glasses)
 We stayed Friday and Saturday night at his Dad's house.  Mj wanted to have some good East coast seafood while we were there so Friday night his dad took us to a seafood restaurant where you sit on wooden picnic style benches and they cover the table in brown butcher paper and clear it out after each party.  Now I can see why.  Watching him eat those Crabs was not a pretty sight.  I DO NOT do Seafood and this only solidified my distaste for it.  By then end of the meal there was a nasty pile of shells and discarded meat.   That's a lot of dirty work for a little bit of meat.

He plowed through 1/2 dozen whole crabs.  Ewww!!
Saturday was his family reunion and we were there all day long.  It was so hot and muggy.  This Cali girl is not used to all that humidity.  I'd put on my shoes, walk out the door and feel my feet sliding down my wedges within seconds.  We had a good time though.  It was really nice to meet so much of his family although I'm sure I don't remember half of their names.  There was tons of food and it was really well organized!  It was at Killens Pond which a really nice park with a lake, water park and camping among other things.   I don't like to get all hot and sweaty unless I'm actually working out but that's exactly what happened when we went paddle boating.  The only relief was when the sun slipped behind the clouds and we caught a cool breeze, which didn't happen often enough.  It was fun though.
Mj and his Mom at the reunion

Such a beautiful park.  So much lush greenery


First time paddle boating. Fun!!
Sunday and Monday there was more visiting with his family and more eating out.  We spent those last two nights at his mom's house.  She is so sweet and you could just see how happy she was to have her son around.  We went out to dinner on Sunday night and had fun just hanging out with her at the house before bed.   Monday we went to Rehoboth Beach and walked on the boardwalk.  We got ice cream for the second day in a row just because it was so darn hot and it tastes so darn good.  Dover is a small town and you can get a new house for less then $200,000.   I love the the greenery, the look of the houses and how they are so spread out.  Aside from the ridiculous weather I don't think I'd mind living the small town life there.  Of course, I'd never convince Mj to move back considering he left as soon as he turned 18.  The end of our trip came so fast!

At Rehoboth Beach

On the way back we stopped at the USO (United Services Organization) location at the Houston airport and relaxed during our lay over.  It's basically a lounge area for military and dependents to use while traveling.  It was so nice.  They have munchies, books, comfy couches and flat screen TV's to watch.  It was like having your mom there asking you what you want to eat and making sure you have enough snacks for the road.  We watched Source Code on his i Pad during the last leg of the flight which made the time go faster.  I love taking trips with Mj.  He's fun and he always knows just where to go and when to go there so I basically just follow him aimlessly around the airport.

The last thing you want after a long trip is any delays in getting home but when we got to our car the battery was dead!  We left one of the interior lights on and it drained the battery.  AAA was super fast though and it didn't take us too much longer to get home.  We got home around 8:30pm and what do you think was the first thing I did?  Sleep?  Unpack?  Nope.   The first thing I did was put on my work out clothes and go out for a 45 minute run/walk.  I was already crashing for the 2nd time that day and I knew if I waited it would never happen.  We ate out every day.  Sometime twice a day.  After all of that vacation eating I couldn't wait to get my body moving again and start burning it off.  After my emergency work out I got back I unpacked, showered, then went to bed not too long after.  I had a great time in Delaware but there is nothing like being home sweet home in your own bed.  And what is it with those darn bugs on the East coast?  By the time I got on the plane Tuesday morning I felt like I'd been eaten alive!  It's so nice to be back in our perfectly mild weather minus the bugs on steroids.