Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Just chillin' - watchin' the tube......



Proof positive that Thalia watches TV with me.

Honest - she sat there for a good half an hour, just watching the tube with me. Milo even discovered the TV today - he chased a dog from one side of the screen to the other, then came and sat next to me on the couch. Of course, he's less inclined to stay intrigued with something like Thalia is - and if he sits in the same place for more than 2 minutes, he usually falls asleep - but I digress.......

My real reason for posting is because I would just love to give serious, mad, amazing props to PBS and their HD programming. Top Notch, all the way! The program we watched today was called "Nature: Dogs that Changed the World". Here's the synopsis from their website:

NATURE's two-part special DOGS THAT CHANGED THE WORLD tells the epic story of the wolf's evolution, how "man's best friend" changed human society and we in turn have radically transformed dogs. Part one, "The Rise of the Dog," premieres Sunday, April 22 at 8 p.m. (ET) on PBS. Part two, "Dogs by Design," premieres Sunday, April 29 at 8 p.m. (ET) on PBS (check local listings for both broadcasts).

Sweet lord - it was riveting! I just happened to stumble across it while looking for something other than American Idol to watch (with no Sanjaya, what's the point, anyway?), and I was engrossed from the beginning to the end credits. I guess I expect amazing things from Discovery with a big cable budget and all, but there are a lot of really great programs that PBS offers, and the HD stuff is right up there with the big dogs (pun intended). It makes me want to go to the website and make a big donation so they can continue to broadcast such quality programming, due to the generous contributions of viewers like me.

I guess it shouldn't be shocking, though. I remember watching all sorts of animal programs with my Grandpa Medel after coming home from school to their house. If Grandpa was out working in the yard, we could watch cartoons - but if Grandpa was inside watching TV, it was always on PBS. And, we never did mind too much watching those shows with him.......

Monday, April 23, 2007

Its Official!

Its official peeps!

29 1/3 years cavity free! I got my teeth cleaned this morning and they look (and feel) fabulous! Have I mentioned that my dentist rocks? Such a nice guy! And he made my yellow toof go away before the wedding (some kind of bonded veneer) so I don't look like a hillbilly anymore!

Its official peeps!

I am now Karin Therese O'Brien! I had my name officially changed and put on my brand spankin' new Illinois Driver's License. I have had driver's licenses in three states - Michigan, Colorado & Illinois. This picture is quite possibly the best one I've taken though - really fabulous dahhh-links. I had to surrender my old license, and also take a vision and written test. I was worried about the written test, but turns out I only missed one out of 35. I was bummed out though, even though the chick said "But you can miss up to seven". Well lady, let me tell you - I don't want to miss even ONE. Sub par performance I tell you. I guess I just didn't bring my A game.

There was a little bit of hullabaloo over changing it from Karin Therese Mayer Kelsey to Karin Therese O'Brien though. I shouldn't have changed my middle name in the first place - having two middle names just throws people off all the time. I thought having two middle initials would bring me fame and fortune - all the famously rich people do it. But really, over the past six years I've come to realize its totally not worth it. Most systems can't accept two middle initials. It just amounts to being a huge pain in the ass.

Anyway, after some consultation with the head honcho it was all straightened out. But now I have the pleasure of dealing with having an unusual last name. Is it O'Brien or O'Brian? Oh, we can't accept apostrophe's so should it be O BRIEN or OBRIEN? Top that off with having 1/2 in my address, and I'm making data entry just difficult! (yes, its 5926 1/2 - if your system can't accept halves, 5926.5 is fine - if not, just type out 5926 and a half) *sigh* my life is so hard.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Neighbors :)

Big weekend for me this week folks. I think I've been more productive in the last two days than I have in the past month.

**side note** As I sit here typing I'm distracted by a big giant orange fuzzy cat, who was rolling around on the new rug - but stopped mid roll and fell asleep. Its kind of funny. I always chuckle when he lays in this position. Its like he just doesn't have enough strength to roll over a bit more and sleep in a normal cat pose. He must. sleep. now.



**end side note**

Saturday morning Pat left for the American Concrete Institute spring convention in Atlanta. He'll meet up with lots of our co-workers from across the US of A and officially start spreading the news of our expected bundle of joy :) That's pretty exciting!

The same time he left, I also left to go to our storage unit to receive the rest of my belongings from Mexico. Keith drove down also to pick up the couch and his bed to take it back to Saginaw. Amazingly, everything fit into our 10x10 storage unit! HOORAY! I was concerned, but it all worked out OK.

After that Keith and I went back to the homestead, and took our old blinds to the Salvation Army. Keith took a nap while I washed the windows and then started adjusting the length of the new blinds. Pat spent most of the previous week or so putting them up - and they look so smashing!

Anyway, after Keith left to head back to GR, I started to get ready for my big gig - meeting the neighbors! Our upstairs neighbor Kelly invited both of us to go out bowling with some other peeps in the area, and I gladly accepted (Pat of course, was far far away).

I had a great time! In addition to Kelly & I, we met up with two couples who live across the courtyard (Yvette & Shannon, and Sarah & Katie), one couple from the Apartments across the street (Kyle & Denise), Alicia who lives next store (and also who rescued Milo when he mysteriously escaped a few weeks ago) & Ryan who is a friend of Sarah's. We went cosmic bowling (I stunk huge) and then went to Katie & Sarah's condo for some board games and more drinks (O'Douls for me). Another couple that also lived across the courtyard met up with us there (Jen & Mary). *whew* I think that was everyone! Everyone was pretty cool, and I was having a pretty good time just hanging out and talking about my fabulous husband and impending pregnancy :) It was nice to make new friends, kwim?

I think Pat got freaked out when I told him one of the girls wanted to throw me an "alternative" baby shower. I thought it was a nice gesture to welcome the new breeder to the area :) They told me not to expect traditional gifts - maybe a rainbow onsie, a softball & mitt, and maybe an Indigo Girls tape....LOL...

Sunday was equally productive - I finished up the blinds, picked up the bedroom and cleaned out my closet so no clothing that no longer fits was in there. **side note** I had a minor crisis Saturday night when all I wanted to wear was a stinkin' T shirt to go out bowling, but didn't have ANY that even remotely fit me. So after going through half of my closet, I wanted to get rid of the evil clothing that made me feel like a sausage. They will have a new home in the storage unit. **end side note** Then I headed up to the mall to take back some jewelry that I bought for the wedding but didn't wear. I also made a stop at Mimi Maternity / Motherhood and Gap Maternity to beef up my ever decreasing wardrobe. There were only about 10,000 million people out today. It was gorgeous! At the end of my shopping spree I decided I needed to get a pedicure (cuz my feet were exposed, and they needed a little work).

Then, I was exhausted and came home and took a three hour nap!!

I still have to write out thank you notes - those HAVE to go out this week! But its already 9PM and I haven't eaten dinner yet, and to tell you the truth, all this productivity has made me sooooooooo tired. So I may just go to sleep.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

heh..

With the tragedy of Virginia Tech still fresh in our minds...there is only one option for us to heal.

Baby bunnies. Lots of them.



Feel free to watch, and rewatch as necessary!

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Adios, dear friend.....

We've said goodbye to two pieces of machinery that have played an influential part of our lives. The first, was Pat's Giant TV. We sold it on Craig's List for a mere $300, a fraction of the cost he purchased it for seven years ago. But, along with saying goodbye to that TV, we really learned life lesson #682:

NEVER - EVER - EVER buy a TV that two normal strength people can't carry up and down the stairs EASILY.

That means giant 36" TV's that weigh 500 pounds SHOULD be out of the question. I was very happy to get rid of that TV - it had an awesome picture but was just too big. It was purchased by a young girl who just moved here from Grand Rapids. She had two dudes who were helping her carry it up THREE flights of stairs. Just a note, Pat and Kyle almost dropped it while going down a half a flight of stairs.

Alas, it is sold, a week after listing it, and I must say our new TV looks SOOO much nicer on the stand instead of on the floor :) Hooray for new TV's! Kyle has been hangin' with us since Friday-ish, and he agrees - its just awesome :)

Goodbye TV......

And, tonight, I signed the title and handed over the keys for my little vibe. I sold it to a really cool couple, Rhonda and Peter, and I feel like its in good hands. But man, it was tough to say goodbye. I feel like it was really part of my life! I know I'm not the only one who gets emotionally attached to vehicles......right? I'm not alone in this?

*sigh*

The best thing about it is how quickly it all took place. I posted the ad on Cars.com on late Friday night - April 6 - and essentially the car was sold a week later, although it took a couple days for all the paper work and such to be ready. Honestly, I was surprised about the response we got from the website. I signed up for the premiere listing ($55) but all and all worth every penny. Which reminds me, I have to edit the link as sold.......

I listed the car at $9995 and sold it at $9500, which is right about blue book value for the car. I originally thought I was going to lose $2000 on the car (seeing as how I still owed a considerable amount on the loan.......but I kept it under $1000 :) And now we can put that car payment and insurance to savings each month! WHOO HOOO!!!! GO ME!

Alas, without further adieu......I bid, Adios, mi carrito.....Que se vaya bien.....

Monday, April 16, 2007

Crap

I'm always full of good ideas.....seriously folks - really great, interesting ideas that would make for great, interesting blog entries.

Alas, those ideas are fleeting and I forget. Crap.

I will share this story with you from last week that I forgot to share.......

Pat and I pulled into a parking lot so I could run across the street to drop off a letter into a mail drop box. It was supposed to be quick, so Pat was kind of half assed blocking the entry to the parking area (it was a tiny, quick-e-mart type parking area, not a Target Mega Plex). When I dropped the letter off, I heard a loud "BUZZ BUZZ" honk of a cop car, and turned around to see a Police Car urgently sirening to make Pat move out of the way.

What was the urgency, you might ask?

Pat quickly moved to allow the officer to easily pass through, only to have him pull URGENTLY in front of the Dunkin Donuts.

How Cliche.

Friday, April 13, 2007

I have a new best friend.

And his name is Tide To Go :)

Sweet lord - that thing is amazing! A definite must for me and my messiness...and now that I'm driving more, eating more in the car, that means more Taco Bell red sauce drips.

So I'm driving, and even after I had devoured my bean burrito (minus onions) i noticed I could still *really* smell the red sauce - but I didn't have any on my hands and the bag was neatly tucked away in my car trash. Then a look down, and see my fate. A nice big drip on my shirt, and another on my jacket. Luckily, I had already seen customers for the day, and was on my way home. But still, I didn't really want to stain my new preggo girl shirt, know what i mean?

So, I remembered I bought the Tide to Go stick a while back and stuck it in my car, just for this occasion. So I used it, as I was driving - and at the next stop light I looked down - and it was gone! HOORAY!

*This Product Offically Has the Karin Seal of Approval*

Not much else new - The Massey Trio is playing tonight at The Note with special guest Singer Kyle Mayer. So Pat and I will go down there tonight.......I had a good OB appointment this morning, heard the little blob's heartbeat :).......and now I'm tired and hungry - so its time to stop blogging and go take a nap.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Lots O' Thoughts........

I can't seem to keep them all straight in my head, but I'll see if I can make this into a somewhat organized, coherent post. But if it goes off into a tangent, don't be offended.

::::::::::: WORK :::::::::::
I guess I'll start with work, since that is what I'm supposed to be doing right now. I had big plans to be out and about travelling today, but the weather is not cooperating and no one wants to meet up. This is getting tough - not having a routine, not knowing the customers well enough to just drop in. I have to have a plan to implement....like, visiting so many customers per day / per week, etc.

I managed to develop a master task list a couple of weeks ago so I can keep on top of the administrative part of the job, and it is working very well....but I don't have anything similar for customer visits, and I know I'm not getting out there as much as I should.....so, that is Priority Uno today - make a plan to get out visit customers and implement it by the end of this week. Got it? Good. Me too.

::::::::::: ARE WE SURE ITS APRIL? :::::::::::
Ugh. This weather SUCKS MY ASS!!!! I can handle a cool spring, but waking up to snow and sleet in APRIL just is NOT cool. NOT AT ALL. You hear that GOD - NOT COOL! I just want a nice spring like any other normal person on the face of this earth. If April Showers Bring May Flowers - what do April Snowstorms bring? Huh? Does anyone have an answer to this????

::::::::::: MORE TV NEWS :::::::::::
So, we're still trying to sell our ginormus old TV...therefore the new one is not set up in the appropriate position yet. But, do you think Pat could leave it in the box until we got the other one moved? Nosirreebob. The new TV is out and on the floor, all hooked up. Seriously, though, it is amazing. HD is amazing. We were mesmerized....the dishes didn't get done - we went to bed super late. I'm a huge fan of the Discovery channel in general, but the programs they have for HD are just, well, amazing.

The most hilarious thing about it - is the cats like to watch it too. No joke! Ok, not both - Milo is too lazy to really notice anything, but the minute we turned it on Thalia was sitting right in front of it WATCHING TV. She sat there with us all night the first night - eyes always on it - following the waves - the fish - the birds. Even when Pat was watching basketball (or maybe it was sportscenter?) she was plopped on the couch watching it. It is kind of hilarious!

::::::::::: CAR SELLING :::::::::::
Well, it turns out this process has been more promising than I expected. The car has been on the market for 5 days or so, and I've had a handful of inquiries. We actually showed it to a guy and his mom last night, and they made an offer, which we accepted. It is a bit less than we listed the car for, but a tiny bit more than our lowest acceptable price, and its almost sold, which is great.

However, there are some caveats to take into consideration when selling or purchasing a used car from a private party. Basically, I've taken the stance that EVERYONE could be out there trying to scam me....and I think these people feel the same way. What that means is that everyone is a bit jumpy about everything - which makes me even more uncomfortable.

The situation is this - I still had a loan on my car, so the title is not mine, free and clear. In order to give the title to the new owners, I need a lien release from the bank which holds the loan (in this case, Chase). This process takes a couple of days AFTER the vehicle loan is paid off. So, this would mean withholding the title after the purchasers give me the money. This makes people nervous. Understandably so! If I buy a car, and I give my money to purchase that car, I would want everything I need so it is mine free and clear too.

Thankfully, we had our tax return and bonus money available to pay the car off. So what we ended up doing is paying the car loan off last night in order to expedite the lien release process - with the intention that we would have the new owner's money in hand the day the lien release is here. Which should be Thursday or Friday. Hopefully. But, each time I talk to the potential owners, it just seems like they are skeptical about the whole situation. Again, understandable I guess.

If the whole deal falls through I know I'll be able to get other offers on the vehicle, it would just be nice if this whole thing was able to be done and overwith this week....you know? And even if it does fall through - the next process will be easier because we'll already have the lien release and everything taken care of.....and we should be able to survive until it is sold. Hopefully.

The other issue I ran into unexpectedly was telling the new potential buyers that I had the car with me when I was living in Mexico. That automatically sets off red flags (again, understandably, I guess). People just automatically have visions of "The Three Amigos" and chickens & donkeys running around in a barren desert front yard. I guess the common misconception is while there are many things that are different in some parts of Mexico - for the most part, at least in Toluca and Mexico City, its just as industrialized as it is in the US. The guy called and asked if they used the same octane of fuel and vehicle care as we do in the US. I told him yes, and assured him I took care of the car at a very reputable US trained mechanic shop, but I have no idea if he believed me or not. Just one more thing for them to be wary about.

::::::::::: BASEBALL :::::::::::
Last but not least, baseball. I have't been able to get into it much lately, and I'm not sure why. I'm getting much more coverage than before - but maybe its the overwhelming presence of Cubbie and Sox ball that makes me miss my Tigers even more. And, man, the Tigs aren't doing so hot.......I'm not sure what happened to our bull pen, but its not clicking....at least not yet. I still have hope that it will.

Of course, it could be that maybe, just maybe, its the weather.

I remember a few years ago (1998? 99 maybe?) around this same time I took Karli and our cousin's Janelle and Nikki to a Tiger's game at old Tiger Stadium in the cheap seats. They didn't have much interest in the game - but they did like being outside in the sunshine and blowing bubbles. It was gorgeous outside - mid 70's - not a cloud in the sky. The girls also took the cutest picture in the universe that day....I don't have it handy now...but I'll have to find it to show you....

OK, thats all for now. I've got to get to developing my big work plan.......

Monday, April 09, 2007

Selling Something?

Well, I finally dragged my feet long enough. Keith brought my cute litte vibe back to Chi-Town for the wedding, and I finally had to face the facts. I MUST SELL THIS CAR. *sigh* Its so adorable, so fun, and been through so much with me in the past 18 months, that I'm seriously sad to see it go. Alas, paying $400 for the payment and insurance just doesn't make any sense when its only parked on the street.

So, Pat and I went out this weekend, cleaned it up a bit and took some photos at the back of the Target parking lot - and I listed it on Cars.com. If you're interested, take a look at the Ad. I also put it up on Craig's List - and probably will look into placing an ad in the Trib or Sun Times in the next week or so.

*sigh* poor poor car. I wish I could keep it. *sniff* *sniff*

Also up for sale, our TV. We put it out on Craig's list today - its a 36" Sony Wega flat screen.....but it is GIANT. Like, 500 pounds giant - and a huge pain in the ass to move. Pat wanted to keep it for our future basement, but its such a pain to find someone to help move it, I think he realized that selling would be the way to go.

His consolation? A new 52" Flat Panel Sony Bravia HDTV.


He deserves it though - he wanted to buy one back in February in time for the super bowl, and I almost had him talked into it, but we decided to wait so we could use the $$ for a nest egg instead. Well, turns out we should still have enough for the TV, to pay for the wedding, and still have some leftover to add to the nest egg fund. He used his bonus money from this year - and got a great deal on it from Circuit City - 10% off! No small amount when you're talking $475! And, because we also just got our tax returns back, we'll still be able to get a new mattress as well :) So everyone is happy!

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Monday, April 02, 2007

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Wedding Spectacular on Ice

OK - not on ice...but it sounded like a good title. Well, its official :) I’m Mrs. Karin O’Brien :) and I’m very smiley about it :)

The wedding went very well, and aside from a few check in issues (and one other issue that I’ll discuss later) the weekend went off without a hitch. The weather even decided to cooperate, which was nice…..it was threatening to rain pretty much all day, and was relatively chilly (in the 50’s or so) – but much nicer than the rest of the strong Thunderstorms that traipsed through the area last night.

Basically, here’s a breakdown of how the day went…..since the family was staying at the Hilton Garden Inn, we started there with a Chicago Trolley pick up. From there we headed to the Downey Mansion at Berger Park for the Ceremony in the sun room. After an awesome, short but sweet ceremony given by Seth Fisher, we loaded the trolley up and rode around Chicago, stopping at a couple locations for bathroom breaks and a few photo opportunities. Then, the night ended with a fantastic dinner experience at Fogo de Chao – one of our favorite restaurants in Chicago.

I don’t think I could say enough good things about the professionalism, promptness, quality and just plain awesomeness of all our vendors…..I say vendors – but they were really much more than that! Sharla, the assistant in our office, made our bouquets and boutonnieres because she’s taking a floral design class….they came out exactly how I had it in my head! Seth delivered a fantastic ceremony, and I must say – he’s got such a great presence and voice – it was exactly what we were looking for. Just an all around nice guy! Victoria, our photographer, was just so stinkin’ adorable! Very flexible, friendly and attentive to our strange requests :). I can’t wait to see our photographs! Carla was the girl who came to the hotel to do our hair (me and Karli’s…..that is) – I found her at the last minute (on Wednesday) and she totally was awesome! Our hair rocked :)

Then there was Paul. Now, this guy was GREAT….he was the trolley driver. The kids wanted to sit right at the front of the trolley, right next to the driver and he was just chatting them up like they were old friends. And they were so well behaved up there too. Every request we had, he was just so, I don’t know……..Friendly? Courteous? Accommodating? I guess all those, and more. We even added another $20 to his tip…..we were very happy with his service.

So what are we going to do now? Nothing :) We’re taking a couple of days off of work just to relax…..we may go play some golf tomorrow if its nice, but aside from that we have no plans :)

:::::::::: POOP IN A BOX ::::::::::

So here is the part about the hotel stay that I didn’t go into detail before…..

But before I do that I think you all should watch the clip from when Justin Timberlake hosted SNL last year. Its not X-rated or anything….but if you have issues with the word Dick you probably shouldn’t watch it. I guess you might classify it as raunchy – but its pretty hilarious, and tough to get it out of your head once its stuck in there. Pat frequently gets it in his head…..his favorite part is the, uh, well….”instructions”.



Funny, eh? OK – now just keep that in mind.

One more preface…..I was pretty happy with the service the HGI gave us – it was a fantastic location right in the heart of downtown, and the sales group gave us a great price to boot. They worked with us for the various changes we had, and distributed most of the guest baskets that we made for the rooms (all six of them - LOL). There were some things, like the check in thing, and our suite didn’t have towels right away……but that could have been any hotel at any given time.

Last night, HGI also happened to host a Fraternity Formal for Alpha Tau Omega from Purdue University…..after their festivities some of them headed up to a suite down the hall from us for an after party. Yes, they were a tiny bit loud, but really nothing obnoxious – and we were so exhausted that we didn’t even really notice for long anyway. I was pretty understanding since it hasn’t been that long ago (hasn’t it?) that I was doing the same thing…….I do recall before drifting off to sleep there was some walkie-talkie noise, and then silence…so I’m guessing someone called security and they broke things up.

So we thought nothing of it….

We woke up this morning and were getting ready to take our stuff out to our car. I was standing by the door, my hand on the handle, and I smelled something a bit funny. Kind of like a poopy diaper or something, which I found to be odd. I opened the door – and found a nice log of human shit – in an open box – in front of our door.

Nice. Very nice.

I’m not sure if it was just an April Fool’s Day prank, or because they thought we were the ones who called security, or just because we had a “Do Not Disturb” sign on the door….but I guess it doesn’t really matter. There’s not even any way to prove that it was an attendee of the ATO Formal…..I suppose it could have been some other rogue band of teenage to early 20’s boys (although I don’t recall seeing any throughout the weekend). So aside from that, who else would you peg it on? The family with three kids under the age of 10? How about the two couples in their mid 40’s away from the kids and out for a night on the town? Or the group of four women who just returned from a day of shopping their feet (and credit cards) off? My brothers? OK – don’t answer that one….I already asked them just to be sure and they assured me they didn’t.

Or, do you think it was the really drunk fraternity boys, ticked off because the suite party was broken up?

It takes a lot to disgust me (well, not now, since I’m much more sensitive to smells and sights now that I’m pregnant) – and I’m all for pranks now and again……but that was just plain ol’ GROSS. I called the manager and explained our “present” – and he proceeded to apologize profusely and comp all the charges for our stay. I wasn’t mad or angry at the hotel – its not their fault that drunk kids do idiot things now and again……and I wasn’t mad in general – just really grossed out. I was pretty happy they gave us a free room, know what I mean?

Now I think about it and really it’s kind of funny. At least they had the common sense to put it in a box as to not tarnish and stain the carpet, and for ease of cleaning. And, I can thank them for putting “Poop In A Box” in my head all day, sung along to the JT classic posted above….and a free honeymoon suite :)