Monday, May 30
The afternoon was a blur. It mostly involved cleaning various items (such as clothes, kitchen, and grill), napping, and riding motorcycles.
Luckily the weather cooperated this evening and not only were we able to have a cookout, we were also able to eat outside. What a treat! And speaking of treats, I tried a new method of grilling this evening called plank cooking. Basically, you soak a plank of wood (of which we have no shortage of around here) in some water, char it on the grill for a bit, and then cook your food on it over indirect heat. It was so good. We had oak-planked pork tenderloin with potatoes and some grilled corn on the cob. I'll definitely be trying that method of cooking again.
After supper, we spent the rest of the evening doing yard work (gardening included). We're hoping to get (mostly) caught up with that by the end of the week. There's always yard work to do if you're looking for it, but at least the bulk should get done by the weekend. The weather is supposed to be pretty nice all week and this week is the official kick-off of summer, so what better time to get the yard in shape?
Now, it's time to relax before returning to the old grind tomorrow.
Sunday, May 29
Today we went to my parent's for the annual "birthday dinner". The dinner was for both my brother and me. His birthday is on May 18, so we always have the "birthday dinner" at some point between the two birthdays (mine's on June 5). Usually we end up doing this over Memorial Day weekend.
Today, we pretty much had a Thanksgiving feast--turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, stuffing, etc. Everything was quite delicious. Oh, and my grandmother made a lemon meringue pie for dessert. Yum!
I got some cool gifts, too. I got a whole bunch of stamping supplies, some clothes, and a book about how dogs think (that should be interesting). All in all a good day. Except the getting older thing.
Saturday, May 28
I don't know what took so freaking long. I know it was a while until they inspected my RAV4. And then it was another long while until they cleaned the car, and then another 30 minutes were spent gassing up the vehicle. At this point, they realized that the car didn't have a stereo in it, so there goes another 30 minutes. I guess it all adds up. Brian and Jacob were getting antsy, but I guess that's because they weren't getting anything whereas I was getting new wheels.
The salesman must've realized that we were getting pissed by this point because he had them put in a 6-cd changer instead of the single cd player that they were supposed to install. Nice. I guess this is why this was my 3rd vehicle purchase in a row from Laurel.
Anyway, the car is great--it's loaded with every feature you could possibly want except 4 wheel drive and leather seats. Of course, there aren't any sports coupes with 4 wheel drive, but unfortunately leather seats are not an option for this car, so I guess I'll be stuck with dog hair all over the seats yet again.
Here is a good picture of the car. And here is a picture of Jacob demonstrating the proper usage of a sunroof.
This car certainly isn't practical for family use, but at least I got my mid-life crisis over with early.
I did learn one thing last night. In the days before television, apparently people sat in their living rooms--just as we do now--and stared at the drapes instead of the TV. Interesting.
Normally I am sad when the season ends for one of my beloved HBO shows, but another favorite, Six Feet Under, is starting up in a week along with Entourage and a new one called The Comeback (starring Lisa Kudrow). So, it looks like I'll have something good to watch all summer. Thank you, HBO.
Friday, May 27
This was our first time to Rehoboth. We stayed at a place called the Brighton Suites Hotel. It was pretty nice. I really like staying in suites. Having an extra room (and an extra TV) is ideal whenever you have a rugrat running around.
I think we're all caught up on our sleep (two naps a day definitely helps that cause). I don't understand how I go to bed early and get up early when I'm on vacation, yet there's no way I can do that when I have to go to work. Maybe it's because there isn't anything to do in the hotel late at night but sleep.
Besides the weather, the other bummer was that Brian lost his keys in the Atlantic Ocean. That really sucks, but I guess things could always be worse--at least I had my set of keys with us.
They have a bunch of shopping outlets down here. I'm not normally a shopper (that is, I don't physically like going shopping, but I do like to buy stuff on the internet), but I thought it would be fun to check them out. We bought a bunch of school clothes for Jacob and some other odds and ends, so it worked out pretty well.
We also went to a local brewpub and eatery, Dogfish Head twice (it was that good). They not only make beer there (which was pretty darned good according to Brian), but spirits as well. I had some of their vodka and it was so good that I couldn't finish my second drink because I spilled it all over the table. Highly recommended.
Anyway, that's our vacation for this year. Now it's time to start planning for next year...
Hopefully, you can view the pictures here.
Thursday, May 26
This was the third installment in my James Patterson marathon. The book was another early effort from Patterson. It took me forever to read this one. Normally I read his books in about 5 days. This one was more like 5 weeks. It's the first of his books to not hold my interest. I found myself only reading it when I took Jake to karate. Finally, before our vacation (which I will be writing about soon), I had to sit down and finish the story so I could take something more interesting to read on our trip.
The storyline sounds interesting enough--it was a story about a guy who was a contract killer and was hired to kill a black Senator from the south. It took place in the 60s/70s. It kind of reminded me of a combination of the assassinations of Martin Luther King, Jr. and JFK. It was told from the perspective of an investigative journalist who was writing a story about the assassination (definitely not Patterson's usual "formula"). That all sounds good, but it was a real chore to read it. Just not my kind of story, I guess.
Saturday, May 21
On the way home, I wanted to stop at the Toyota garage and look at the Corollas. Why is it that they put the cool cars next to the boring ones? Look, there's nothing wrong with a Corolla, but it's not exactly the most exciting car in the world. I happen to be a person who is into cars. Your standard sedan just doesn't do it for me. I know I should be happy that I can afford to buy a new car even if it is boring, but I'm not. Enter: Scion. Toyota has a new brand of cars out called Scion. They had some sporty little models parked right by the Corollas (much to my chagrin). However, a quick perusal of the invoice showed that they are in my price range. I suppose a two-door sports coupe doesn't exactly fill the "family car" roll very well. But damnit, I should get to buy a car I like. I don't know anything about these Scions, so I guess I have some research to do and then possibly a decision to make before next weekend.
Sports car vs. sedan. Maybe I'm having my mid-life crisis early.
Yeah, I'm still getting a Toyota Corolla. Just because I actually have to buy a new car now doesn't mean I have any more money for the deed. I'd like to go to the Toyota dealership and check out their Corolla selection this afternoon after they close. According to their online inventory, they only have one manual transmission in a color I don't like (of course). But, I think I might have to go with that because I really don't want an automatic. I guess that will give me bargaining power. I suppose I could have them bring in a car from another dealership, but I don't know if I want to go through the hassle particularly since my car is on its way out (there goes my trade-in value).
Thursday, May 19
I made an executive decision this afternoon and I've decided to get a new car. Financially speaking, I could probably find a better time to do this, but there's no reason that I should be driving around in a car that could break down any minute. It wouldn't be so bad if Brian worked in town--he's not exactly close by if anything bad happens. I'm leaning towards getting a Toyota Corolla because they're fairly inexpensive and I've had pretty good luck with Toyotas so far (at least ones that were under seven years old). I don't particularly want a Corolla (I was planning on getting another RAV4 for my next vehicle), but it does seem to fit the current bill:
1. the price is right
2. great gas mileage (guess what Brian's going to be driving to work?)
3. any problems with it for the next three years will be paid for by Toyota
4. that "new car smell"
I decided today that I'd much rather be driving around in a new car even if it's not exactly what I want versus my current car which might break down at any given moment.
Today's stress level=HIGH
Tuesday, May 17
Sunday, May 15
My grow lights were an interesting twist to this year's gardening plan. It, of course, is a lot more work to grow your plants from seed, but I find it a lot more satisfying as well. My first batch of plants didn't fare as well as I'd hoped, but I did manage to salvage a few plants from the bunch. I cranked up the lights for an additional two hours per day for the remaining batches and they are all doing well.
Last year, I put in a butterfly garden where my rose garden used to be. I was pleased to see how many plants survived the winter and how much bigger they are versus last year. Of course, many of the plants in a butterfly garden are closely related to the weed family, so it's no wonder they grow so well. But, I think it looks pretty nice and the fact that it's easy to maintain is a bonus.
I put in a new herb garden this year. I still don't have all of the plants for that yet. I also need to put some sort of a border around it. I think I'll use rocks. I'd like to replace a lot of the grass in the garden area with decorative rocks. Maybe someday... I doubt Brian will complain as he hates to mow the grass and mowing around all of the stuff in our back yard probably takes more time than when it was all grass back there.
That said, I need to get back to my garden!
Friday, May 13
This evening, we had a party in his honor. Most of the family came over around supper time and we ordered pizza and wings and had the requisite cake and ice cream. Batman was the theme this year.
Jacob got a ton of great gifts (the kid always makes a haul). And best of all, most of them are for the outside, so we won't have to cram any more toys in his already overstuffed bedroom.
Thursday, May 12
I can't say enough good things about Queens of the Stone Age's Lullabies to Paralyze. What an incredible album. I started getting interested in them after seeing their video for "Go With the Flow" (which was a really cool video done in vector art. listen to me--talking like a graphic artist!) from their last album. With their basic, drums-driven songs, it's no wonder Jacob likes their music. Best of all, there isn't a bad song on the album.
I've been anxiously awaiting the new Nine Inch Nails. I've liked them ever since Brian turned me on to Broken way back in '92. I was a little disappointed in their last album, The Fragile, but not disappointed enough that I wasn't looking forward to another album. Six years later, it finally arrived. With Teeth made its debut last week. I have to say, I really like this album. There are a few weak songs on it, but it's quite good otherwise--not as good as The Downward Spiral (one of my all-time favorites), but that's a hard one to top.
Sunday, May 8
Happy Mother's Day to all of the moms out there!
Saturday, May 7
Saturday is wash day. I sorted the clothes last night and was pleased to see that Brian started washing them before I got up. Five loads were washed today. Last night, we had to work on the playhouse, so we couldn't make our usual Friday grocery shopping trip. So, we went this morning after Brian finished assembling my mother's Mother's Day gift that he's been working on for the past week or so during breaks from the playhouse (it was a shelf for her closet. this was a request, of course. we don't normally go around making custom closet shelves for people for no apparent reason.)
After grocery shopping, Brian dropped Jacob off at his friend Jake's birthday party. We had lunch and then started working on the playhouse. Today was shingle day. I couldn't help much with the shingling because we only have one ladder and I don't like working up that high, but I did what I could and the job was finally finished this evening. Brian had to cancel practice so we could get the job done, but at least it's done. Mid-afternoon, I had to stop working for a bit and get my hair cut. After that, I picked up Jacob. He was tired from partying (the guest of honor got a trampoline for his birthday. apparently jumping up and down on a trampoline for 3 hours will make you tired.) and didn't interrupt us while we were working. Of course, it's hard to interrupt when you're passed out on the couch. Is he still up now at 11:18pm? Yes.
We broke for supper and completed the roofing job afterwards. After cleaning up, I planted some plants in my vegetable garden and some seeds in my butterfly garden. I am finally caught up with my gardening schedule until the 8th. Unfortunately, the 8th is tomorrow...
At this point, Brian took his bike out for another well-deserved ride. I made Jacob some popcorn and put the Scooby Doo movie on for him while I slapped two coats of shellac on my mother's Mother's Day gift.
Finally, at 10:30, I got to sit down--in the tub for my bath. Prior to this moment, I enjoyed a vodka and Squirt. I'm enjoying another one right now, for the record. Speaking of booze, Brian's new take on drinking is rather interesting. We both agreed that he wouldn't drink at all (not one drink!) before riding his motorcycle, so he's been abstaining so that he can ride his bike in the evenings. I'm anxious to see how long his current keg is going to last. I think it might end up being a world's record (in the Yuengling Book of World Records, that is). I guess we'll find out next month...
I think this playhouse might be killing me. Before we started on it, I had a cold. I've never quite gotten over it. I keep getting a sore throat every few days. So, if you see my obituary and the cause of death is "sore throat" you needn't be surprised. I think I just need to get some extra sleep and relax a bit. But, that's not going to happen until this playhouse is done. I don't imagine we will be totally finished by Jacob's birthday (May 13th), but I bet we're done by the end of next weekend.
Wednesday, May 4
The only thing that's keeping me going is the fact that once this playhouse is done, we don't have anything else pending for the summer (that is, since we decided to contract out the one major job that was previously planned). Sure, there's a lot of little stuff to do, but I can handle that. It's the jobs that take four weeks that wear me down.
And I'm still behind on my gardening and I'm still blaming that on the weather. The weather is supposed to get nice starting tomorrow so maybe if I can find some spare time this weekend, I can get caught up on things.
All I can say is that the little bugger better like the playhouse!
Monday, May 2
Sunday, May 1
Jake still doesn't have a clue. He sure is gullible. :) I really think he'll like the playhouse. I mean, who wouldn't?