Monday, December 31, 2007

Just kidding

After only two hours of having hot water, we left to run some errands and realized that , for the third time in 16 days, the pilot light was out on the water heater and it will not light for us. :(

What is going on?!?!?

HOT water

It is amazing how a little thing like not having hot water impacts your life. After 9 days of not having any around here, our water heater has been repaired and we have water heating up as I type. We will finally be able to take hot showers here as well as wash dishes and clothes without having to heat up pots of water on the stove.

We are very excited!

Friday, December 28, 2007

1 week of vacation gone

Justin has only one week of vacation left, I have 2 weeks until classes start.

Our vacation started last Saturday, getting ready to head up to the Dallas area to celebrate an early Christmas with my family. We also realized that the water heater was out again and although I kept doing exactly what the plumber did to re-light the pilot light it wasn't working for me. :( At least we were leaving that day.

We celebrated our first Christmas of the year on Sunday, the 23rd. It was fun to surprise each other - in my family there are usually not many surprises because people make wish lists of stuff they want. This year most of us shopped on our own - no wish lists. For our "Christmas" dinner we had beef fajitas and tamales - also something a little out of the ordinary for my family but very tasty!

On Christmas Eve we drove from my parents' (up around Dallas) down to Montgomery to spend Christmas Eve and Christmas Day with Justin's dad's family. We originally planned to drive home (about a 75 minute drive) Monday night, then drive back out to Montgomery Christmas Day. Then with the problems with the water heater, we decided to stay in Montgomery Monday night. However, Colby changed our plans for us once again. As he has gotten older and gotten used to being around people he doesn't know very well, he has also gotten a little more bold with them. Meaning that he was a little too bold with Justin's cousin's kids who are not used to dogs. And there were also a few people there who are allergic to dogs.

So - in spite of having no hot water at home, we drove home Monday night. Christmas morning we woke up early and headed over to our friend's (Melissa) house to shower. Then we left Colby at home for the next 15 hours while we spent Christmas Day with Justin's dad's family (good thing we have a doggy door for him). It was neat to have two separate Christmases, but also a little weird, because when it was Christmas Eve it felt like Christmas was already over with.

With one week left of Justin's vacation, we still have 2 more days of no hot water until the plumber comes out to do the repair. Justin wishes that he just didn't have to go back to work - maybe we should start playing the lottery to make that happen.

Monday, December 17, 2007

what timing!

Have you noticed that I have plenty of time to post to the blog now?

This past weekend a cold front has visited us in the Houston area. We don't know if it has to do with the cold snap, but our hot water heater also went out. We thought something was weird yesterday morning when the last half of my shower was quite icy. But it was hours later when we were back home from church and realized that we still didn't have any hot water that we knew that something was wrong.

The plumber is coming out tomorrow to have a look at it and in the meantime we have some great friends who are going to let us come over to their house tonight so we can enjoy a nice warm shower.

I would much rather have the hot water heater go out in the summertime than when we are having winter weather!

And now I can breathe

The last couple weeks have been super busy for me. I know that everyone is busy around the holidays but when you are either a student or a teacher they are even more so because of finals. Luckily I am not the one having to do the studying, but writing final exams, grading them and determining course grades is no picnic. But I was all done with this on Friday - YAY!!!

On top of dealing with finals I was way behind this year getting my Christmas cards out. I typically send them out around the 1st of December - this year it was the 15th of December. But at least they are finished. I guess I should say most of them are finished - I have a few more to do for some friends in our ward.

A couple more Christmas gifts to get and then we are officially ready for Christmas!

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Silly muddy Colby

It seems Colby enjoys mud baths. We took him to the dog park, after a long absence. He was pronounced cured from his hereditary mange two weeks ago, so that means he can get wet.

We had not taken him to the park because he likes to wade around in the pool there.

It did not surprise us in the least when he walked into the mud puddle.

But it took us off guard when he layed down and started crawling around in the mud.
He decided to inspect a few other mud puddles, and thoroughly enjoyed them.

We ended up at the pool, where he waded around and got most of the mud off. The arrival and interest in Colby of some larger dogs (Saint Bernard, Husky, etc) kind of freaked him out, so we left soon after.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

And we are calling the decorations done!

It has been a busy couple of weeks for us, but today we finally had time to get our tree decorated and put our lights up outside. Here are some pics of our living room where the tree is.

Since we don't have a fireplace with a mantel, we use a bookcase to hang our stockings.

You can see some cute throw pillows that we have sitting on the loveseat (I hate this loveseat, but I like the pillows). The Christmas tree on the table is one that Justin's mom made a long time ago.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Black Friday

In all the busyness of the past couple of weeks, I didn't get a chance to post about shopping on Black Friday. I typically do not shop on Black Friday, because I don't want to fight the crowds. However my older sister usually does the crowd fighting and I was caved when I thought of how many people Justin and I need to buy Christmas presents for.

If you weren't aware, Kohl's opened at 4am on Black Friday. Sherry and I got there a few minutes after 4 and ended up almost as far from Kohl's as we could have been and still be considered in the Kohl's parking lot. It was madness in the store. We waited in line for over an hour before we paid. During that time they didn't even have all the registers open at first. I made a comment to the people around us that they were probably were even letting people open credit card accounts at the registers as well. Turns out - I was right! When you open an account, you are given a certificate to save an extra 15% on your purchases for a day, so many people were taking them up on their offer to open an account. This means much more time in line. Kohl's is going to hear something from me about that.

After leaving Kohl's, we headed to Target. Luckily we weren't buying toys or fighting over the LCD monitors that they had. And we didn't have to wait in line there at all. From Target, we headed to Michael's. From Michael's we went to Bed, Bath and Beyond and from there we went to Joann's. We were back at my parents around 9am and ready for a nap!

I'm not sure if I will be out on Black Friday in the future, but it is nice to know that our Christmas shopping is almost done.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

So much going on!!!

Not that we have meant to ignore our blog, but we have just been super busy!

For Thanksgiving this year we headed up to the Dallas area to my (Julie's) parents' house. On the way we stopped at Justin's aunt and uncle's to see some of his dad's family and have a bite to eat. As much as Colby likes to chase after his cousin Baxter (who is half his size), he did not enjoy being chased by the Great Danes that his aunt and uncle have. I guess it serves him right, but by the next morning when he saw Baxter, he had completely forgotten how much he disliked being chased by a dog bigger than him and harrassed Baxter for 2 days.

Thanksgiving day it actually snowed!!! Of course the ground was far too warm for any accumulation, but it was the first time that I have seen snow on Thanksgiving day (even though I was at BYU for 4 years) and Justin hadn't seen snow on Thanksgiving day since his family lived in Idaho when he was a kid. Some of the flakes were super big, and Justin tried to get a picture for the blog, but I guess we needed a better camera than the ones he has on his phone or Blackberry if we had wanted to be able to see the flakes.

After Thanksgiving
We left to head back home on Saturday with plans to pull out the Christmas decorations. It rained the entire drive back and that meant no putting up Christmas lights that day. Plus I had exams to grade and Justin was busy working on something (probably Blackberry related). We did go out and get a tree though and it is still sitting undecorated in our living room. :(

Not that I hadn't been working on cards for the past couple of months, but with Thanksgiving weekend over, it meant the craft fair that my sisters and I were selling cards at was in less than a week, so I was super-busy working on cards for most of last week. Then we headed to Austin on Friday.

The Craft Fair
The weather for the fair was not good, however there were plenty of people that went to the Downtown Georgetown Christmas Stroll. It would have been nice if these people had gone to buy crafts. It was a very depressing day where we sold only about 2% of the cards we had made (not even enough to cover our booth fee). Not that we are happy for the other vendors, but it did make us feel tons better to find out that many of the other vendors were experiencing the same thing. It seems that people do not come to this for the craft fair (although they like to look at the crafts and not buy any), they come for all the free family activities. One thing that is most upsetting is that a couple different people walked past our booth, and then took pictures of our card displays! A few others came by, looked through our cards, told us how cute they were and then thanked us for the ideas before walking off.

Although we didn't sell much, we did have quite a few people pick up business cards, so we are hoping that we will unload more of this inventory that we have.

Everything else
Justin and I actually left the fair early to head back to Houston for PWC's Annual Holiday party at River Oaks Country Club. It was nice to get dressed up (in my new dress) and meet more of the people that Justin works with. But meeting everyone at once means that I won't remember or recognize any of them again and will have to be re-introduced next year.

We are hoping to get our house decorated for the holidays in the next few days, but since it gets dark so early lately, the outside lights will most likely have to wait until Saturday. I am in charge of the Enrichment Dinner at church tomorrow night (for those of you non-LDS, it just means for all the ladies at church), so that is my high-stress thing for the moment. Not to mention that I am trying to get my finals written since next week is finals week.

We are eager for 5pm or 6pm on December 21st, because it means that Justin will be off work until January 7th. Just a couple more weeks and then it is all about relaxing and getting things done around the house!

Friday, November 9, 2007

Ending the week with a bang

I think that most people know that I am a bum and do not have a full-time job. And since the classes that I was scheduled to teach this semester are afternoon classes, I sleep in practically everyday. Justin always leaves very early (usually between 5:30 and 6) and gives me a kiss when he is leaving (typically I am awake enough to remember this). Then he gives me a wakeup call somewhere around 7:30 just to insure that I don't sleep too late (this is at my request - I like to sleep in but I don't want to sleep that much).

Yesterday morning I was a bit surprised when he called me around 6:45am and even more so to let me know he had just been in a fender-bender on the tollway. Luckily neither he nor the other guy involved was hurt, just some damage done to their cars. And since Justin was at fault we have our fingers crossed that our insurance rates don't go up that much.

Both Justin and the other guy decided that their cars were drivable. I'm not sure about the other guy, but Justin's car just looked like someone rubbed some sandpaper over parts of his car (mainly the front). He drove on to his meeting in the Galleria area, after that on to downtown and then home at the end of the day. After speaking to the insurance claims people last night they recommended that he go ahead and bring his car in to a body shop first thing this morning before driving it to make sure it really was drivable.

Good thing - check out this picture he sent me of the rear driver's side tire! Clearly very dangerous since it is now slanted!

Good thing we have rental car coverage with our policy because it is no fun to be a one-car couple.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

The Vacuum Fairy

As opposed to other types of fairies, a vacuum fairy does not leave something behind after they take what you leave them. Last night Julie and I decided to take our old vacuum cleaner out to the curb with the rest of the garbage, now that we have our nice Dyson vacuum cleaner (see earlier post). We thought that someone might take it away before the sanitary engineers arrived this morning. Or, one of them might take it to use elsewhere. Anyway, when I left the house this morning, approximately 5:30am, the vacuum was gone! The Vacuum Fairy had come in the night! We were thinking it would have disappeared closer to 8am.

If only the fairy would have left us some money. :)
(We're just glad it is out of our house, and in the hands of someone who thinks they can put it to good use.)

Pet insurance vs People insurance

When we adopted Colby back in April we signed up for pet insurance. Now - I know that people without pets probably don't understand, but if you have pets you do. Your pet is part of your family. Don't get me wrong, I know that Colby is not my child. Besides dressing him up for Halloween (but how could we not?), we don't dress him up or take him everywhere we go. But because Colby is part of our family, we insured him. Our purpose in doing this was "in case".

In case of what?, you might ask. Well - in case of anything. What if Colby ate something he wasn't supposed to? What if he got hit by a car? There are any number of things that could happen to him that would cause vet bills out the window. Anyway - we signed up for insurance that costs us $27 a month. There is a complicated schedule of how much they will reimburse us for various things. We actually picked a more expensive plan because it reimburses part of what we pay for vaccinations (dogs need them every 6 months or year for their entire lives - not like people), heartworm medication and flea prevention.

Now - hopefully most people reading this have health insurance. For people, it is cheaper to have health insurance than not to. The reason why is that if you visit the doctor without health insurance your doctor visit could cost you anywhere from $100-$400 just for the visit depending on what type of doctor and all that. But if you have health insurance you get a discount at the doctor just for having insurance. This is regardless of whether you have an HMO, PPO or some other type of plan. So with health insurance that $150 visit doesn't really cost $150, depending on the type of contract your insurance carrier has with the doctor it is less than that - maybe the visit is really only $70 because you have health insurance. Then depending on your plan you may pay only a co-pay of that amount. But really this is a win-win situation. The discount you get for having insurance is typically more than what you pay to be insured. Of course, if you never go to the doctor or hospital for anything at all (unless you were dying) then it may be cheaper for you to not have any coverage.

We have learned that pet insurance doesn't work this way. Although the specific company we have insurance through is advertised at our vet's office, there is no discount for having insurance. Instead, you pay the bill when you are leaving and send in a claim form to the insurance company and hope that they will reimburse you for a good chunk of what you paid. We have learned with this company that we have - most likely they will not.

Case in point - I took Colby in a month ago for some vaccines and to get more heartworm/flea medication. While there he was diagnosed with a hereditary disease called mange which makes his hair fall out more than it should. Treatments are to be done every 10-14 days until he is cured (he has had 3 treatments, but this could take another month or so until we are done). After the one visit a month ago the bill I paid at the vet was over $200. Ouch. At least we have pet insurance right?

Wrong. We faxed in the claim form and got only about $28 back. Yes you read that right - only about 10% of the vet bill and just about the same amount we pay every month to have him insured. It turns out that this skin condition he has is not covered by the insurance and therefore none of the tests or treatments for it are reimbursable. That was only the first visit over the last month. Remember I said that he has had 3 treatments so far. Now, I know that it isn't just the condition that we have paid for on these vet visits - there have been vaccines and the cost for seeing the vet and all that too. But we have now spent $400 in the past month alone and out of that only $28 have we gotten back or will get back.

What is the point of having insurance if it works this way? I understand that (just like people insurance) some things aren't covered, but out of that $400 only $175 of it was for this condition that is not covered. How come out of the remaining $225 we have spent we only get $28 back? We would be better off to not pay for insurance at all and save that $27 a month to help cover the vet bills for when we do take him in.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

I guess I don't have someone to tutor anymore

I put my name on the school district's tutor list as a tutor for AP Statistics. Last year I tutored a kid from March through May and his mother told me that no one on the tutor list for the district was willing to tutor AP Stats, so I decided that it might be lucrative. I can charge between $25 and $30 an hour without debate.

I knew that it might take a couple months or so to get any clients - the students need time to realize that they are lost. Anyway - about a month ago I got a call from a lady in my neighborhood. Her daughter is taking Algebra 2 and even though it isn't statistics she thought it best to see someone in the neighborhood. So I agreed and met with the girl the next day. She is a sweet girl and catches on really fast - she just needs a little personal attention with her work that she doesn't get in school.

The last time I saw her was 2 weeks ago. I tutored her on Tuesday at 4pm and she said she had an exam in 2 days. When she left she said that she would see me the next Tuesday. I have to admit - I was a little surprised that she didn't show last week. But I was even more surprised that she didn't show up this week either - especially since she told me she has an exam every 2 weeks.

Hmmm - I guess I shouldn't make any extra effort to be here at 4pm next Tuesday.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Our weekend Part II (the bad part)

So, in the midst of preparing lots of food for our Halloween party, I wasn't feeling very well. Last year I came down with a cold the day before the party, this year I wasn't quite sure what was wrong. It put me behind schedule a bit in preparing the food.

Friday night I had a lot of pain in my lower abdominal and lower back. I finally fell asleep around 1:45am and then woke up in pain again at 6 Saturday morning. When I woke again I realized that I had felt this pain before just over a year ago. It felt the same as when I was diagnosed with a kidney stone. That's right - the stone that I was told would probably just sit in my kidney for the rest of my life and not bother me again.

Luckily I didn't have much pain on Saturday and was fine Saturday night until everyone left. Then I started to hurt just a little bit. But I woke up Sunday morning in intense pain and for about an hour, thought I could deal with it before breaking down and telling Justin that I needed to go to the ER.

Luckily for us, we went at just the right time because no one else was there. We didn't have to wait at all once we filled out an admittance form. They got me hooked up to an IV pretty fast and soon I was given a couple pain killers and an anti-nausea medication. Ah - pain killers are a good thing.

Last year when I had the kidney stone problem, Justin was out of town for work. I woke in the middle of the night and drove myself to the hospital. I had to wait for almost an hour before they finally called me back and got me some pain killers, but then they stuck me in a hallway where I would be "out of the way" and it seemed that everyone forgot about me. About an hour and a half later I had to ask someone walking by if I was ever going to see a doctor. The doctor came by, told me I had a kidney stone, gave me a prescription for pain killers and discharged me. No one actually checked me out or did any type of X-ray or scan to make sure that was what the problem was.

This time I got a lot of attention. They checked to make sure that I didn't have a ruptured cyst and then sent me for a CAT scan to see if it was a stone and if so where it was. It seems that the pain was from the stone moving from my kidney to my bladder. And lucky for me that Justin was home because the pain this time was far more intense than last time. It made me sick to my stomach and there was no way I could have driven myself.

Today I am home, taking pain killers and trying to stay very hydrated. Justin stayed home today too in case I need him (because he is so wonderful). My classes today were canceled and I don't teach on Tuesday so I have a couple more days to rest and (hopefully) pass the stone this time.

We are very glad that the pain didn't really hit too hard until after our Halloween party was over.

Our Weekend Part 1 (the good part)

Since this weekend was the weekend before Halloween, we had our 2nd annual Halloween party. Although I think that I did a better job planning the amount of food I always seem to make too much (better too much than not enough, though).

This year there were about 16 adults that came to our party and 11 kids so we had a good turnout. I think a party is all about good food and socializing, so I hope that people were happy with the food part. I made marinated wings (which were a big hit last year, but not quite such a big hit this year), pepperoni pizza twist (definitely a favorite - there was none leftover), graveyard veggie pizza, a cheese ball decorated to look like a face (it kind of looked like a face), and then sandwiches - PB and jelly, ham & swiss, and turkey with colby-jack and of course these were not normal sandwiches because I used cookies cutters to cut out the bread so they were shaped like witch hats, pumpkins and ghosts. There was also a plate that had the leftover cold cuts from making the sandwiches and slices of cheese.

For dessert, we had peanut butter eyeballs, nutter butter ghosts, a red velvet ghost cake and chocolate cupcakes that looked like spiders. We also set up a table downstairs with Halloween-shaped sugar cookies, frosting, sprinkles, and assorted candies to decorate the cookies with. The cookies were definitely a hit with the kids - more so than the cupcakes (we have a dozen leftover even after sending cupcakes home with a few different people).

For the second year in a row, I have learned quite a bit about throwing the Halloween party. What did I learn this year? That I don't think that I want to do all the food again. I started preparing food on Thursday for a party that was on Saturday night. In fact - I am already thinking that next year if we have a Halloween party it might be fun to do a potluck dinner where everyone brings something. Much less stressful for me.

The costumes were great for the 2nd year in a row. We had all the adults vote for the best costume. Colby got a vote for his "spider dog" costume and Justin and I even got a couple votes each for the frog and lady bug costumes we were wearing. But the runner-up was a dead-on-her-feet mom and the winner was a dead Chicago marathon runner.

Anyway - here are some pics from the party - looks like we didn't get any pictures of the food once it was all set up and uncovered. Oh well!

Sunday, October 21, 2007


Looks like Colby is ready for Halloween. Last night we went to PetSmart and then Target looking for a costume for him. There wasn't much selection at PetSmart, so we headed on to Target. It was hard to decide which costume to pick. We didn't want to get him something that would be bothering him a lot (where he'd have something on his head). As I am a Spider-man fan, I like this costume a lot.

We tried it on him today, and surprisingly he didn't fuss at it too much. So, I hope he'll be able to keep it on all night this Saturday at our Halloween party. I guess we'll see.

Friday, October 12, 2007

what a way to make my day

On Fridays I only teach one class - my statistics class. It is a little difficult to go up there in the afternoons for just this one class, but since I am quite a fan of stats, I don't mind it so much.

Today was like most Fridays, meaning that it seemed like most of my students didn't want to be there either. I kept asking them questions about stuff we had already learned and was greeted by blank stares. No one would answer the questions, so I continued and answered my own questions. Toward the end of class I told them that I'm not sure what to do when everyone just stares at me like that - does it mean that they are bored with it all, or so lost that they just don't know what to say? No one responded so I said, I have to assume that everyone is just bored. When I got home from class, I had this email:


I just wanted to write you to let you know that I really enjoy your class. You are probably my favorite professor, and I've taken a couple classes...or more. Some days in class I wonder if the room full of blank stares ever aggravates you. I hope not as your enthusiasm and energy help to liven up what could easily be an unending sea of boredom amidst the empty stares.

I decided to write in anonymity so as not to appear to be a brown noser.


PS--my real name is obviously not Neal N. Void

And yes - the email came from an email account belonging to Neal N. Void.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Our not so little puppy

Well, Colby is now about 7 months old. And Julie said he's more around 23 lbs. Oh how the times have changed. I think we can stop calling him a puppy when he turns a year old. So I guess we only have 5 more months of owning a "puppy".

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Please rain

I love being a homeowner. I love the fact that we don't have to worry about sharing a wall with someone else. I love that we don't have to carry groceries upstairs. I love that we have a garage to park our cars in. I just love being a homeowner.

However there are two things that I hate about being a homeowner, and they both have to do with yard work. #1 - I hate weed eating in the backyard all around the fence. I really detest that and if possible, I make Justin do it. It just seems like you either can't get the grass, or you are tearing up the fence.

#2 - I hate watering the lawn. It is such a pain to have to drag the hose out and get the sprinkler set up in just the right position. Such a pain to have to go out every 20 minutes and move it to a new location and it starts all over again. You set up the sprinkler, turn on the water and you realize it isn't quite right. So then you turn off the water, go out to adjust the sprinkler, go back to turn the water back on and hope that this time it is lined up right.

I see why people put in sprinkler systems. This past year we opted to buy bedroom furniture instead of looking into putting in a sprinkler system. I think it is creeping up on my wish list. It rained so much this summer that we didn't have to water the lawn until this month. This month there has been little to no rain at all, but we are still hitting the 90's everyday. Because we were so used to not having to water the lawn we didn't even think about it until we noticed how brown our grass was becoming.

So this is my plea to please rain. Mother Nature keeps taunting me by having it rain all around Houston the last couple of days, but not here. I guess I should go water the front lawn - that should guarantee some rain today, right?

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Just where are those promised pictures?

At the beginning of the month I promised pictures of our half-bath that we painted. Well - we are slackers and neither of us have taken any pictures of the bathroom yet. Maybe in the next few days (that is the motto of my procrastinators' club).

Last week Justin had a three day training where he learned how to be a senior associate with his firm. The big plus of this training you might ask? It was right here in Houston! With the exception of Justin taking a week of vacation in August, I really can't remember when the last time was that he was with me during the week. We were like a normal couple and got to do crazy things like eat dinner together, or do yard work together on a Tuesday. It has been the norm for us lately that Justin is out of town for work and he calls me when he is on his way to dinner and then again once he is done eating dinner. He gets to go to places like Outback Steakhouse (pickings are slim in Middle-of-Nowhere, Louisiana) while I eat whatever we have for leftovers from the weekend.

But last week we were able to put all that behind us and I actually cooked every night of the week. That is until Saturday when we ate some leftovers, but at least this time we were eating leftovers together (and that is all that matters, right?).

But sadly it was only a 3 day training and not a 3 week training which means that Justin headed back out to Middle-of-Nowhere again yesterday morning. The really sad part? I think that Colby loved having Justin home during the week just as much as I did. Last night he kept walking over to the door that goes into our garage and whining. I kept having to say, "He isn't coming home tonight." Then Colby would come back and join me on the couch, but he kept sitting on top of me. I think it was his way of saying, "Well if he isn't coming home, there's no way you are leaving without me too."

From my understanding though (I have been known to be wrong about these things in the past though), Justin will be working in town again starting next week! Let's keep our fingers crossed!

Monday, September 3, 2007

Where were you the first 3 quarters?

Tonight was the season opener for FSU - The Bowden Bowl (for those who don't know that means they were playing Clemson). As many of you know, this is where I got my masters and where I met Justin (he did both his bachelors and his masters there).

I have to admit that I was a bit embarrassed for the team for well over half the game. It wasn't until the end of the 3rd quarter that they finally made it to the game, but it was too late. Final score Clemson 24, FSU 18.

Here's hoping the rest of the season turns out better!

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Our Labor Day weekend so far

I think that we have stayed pretty busy so far this Labor Day weekend. On Friday evening after eating dinner we headed over to Lowe's to get new filters for our air conditioner - oh, the joys of having 3 different air intakes. However, before we left for the giant home improvement store I suggested to Justin that we maybe buy the paint we had picked out for our half-bath downstairs.

Over a hundred dollars later we were on our way home with the filters as well as primer, paint, painter's tape and various other things that we needed to begin our new "careers" as painters.

On Saturday we painted. We took the mirror, towel holder, toilet paper holder and everything that we could out of the bathroom and then covered everything else with newspaper. Then we put the painter's tape all around the floorboards, door frame and the counter. Once we started with the primer, we realized that some of the stuff we bought that was supposed to be helping us was not as great as we would have thought.

For instance - we got this thing to use to paint the corners. Maybe we just bought a crappy one, but it really didn't work all that great for us. The only way for it to really get the corners like it was supposed to was to put so much primer on the thing that primer was dripping down the wall. Then, of course, we were trying to spread the primer around so that there weren't streaks down the wall when we were done. Hmmm.

We finished the primer and went to clean all our stuff while it dried. Oh - did I mention that it is difficult for two adults to be in a small half-bath together trying to paint? Our half-bath is about 5' by 3' and has a 9-foot ceiling. Add in the toilet and sink and there isn't a whole lot of room in there. It is especially difficult when you are trying to get the high places.

Anyway - once we got our stuff cleaned and dried, we headed back in to do the blue paint. To be more precise, Water Fountain is the color that we chose. The primer seemed dry (notice the use of the word "seemed" here) and so we started painting.

I started with the easy part - using the roller on the large, empty places on the wall. We both thought it was much easier to use the paint than the primer. We had already decided not to use our useless thing that we bought to paint the corners, but Justin started with another thing that we got to do the edges. It seemed to work fine all around the floorboards, door frame and counter, but then Justin put it on the extension pole we bought so he could get the wall that meets the ceiling. I should preface this part by saying that this particular item has little black things (I know - I am so technical) to protect the edges and claimed that you didn't need painters tape. We didn't buy it and taped everything anyway but of course with a 9-foot ceiling, we could not tape the edges of the ceiling. Needless to say, we now have quite a few blue spots on our ceiling.

Remember how I said that the primer "seemed" dry? We realized when Justin was doing the edges around the counter, that the primer wasn't quite dry there. Oops. Oh well - what to do now, right?

When we were all done with the blue paint we were actually pretty impressed with ourselves, just knowing that once we removed all the tape and newspaper, we would be very tempted to leave our current professions and begin our new careers as professional painters. However, that would have to wait because we had a dinner date. :)

Anyone that knows us very well knows that we don't go out to dinner very often. But we were going out to celebrate Justin's promotion and passing his Certified Information Systems Auditor exam. We decided to go to Benihana in order to celebrate. We had a nice dinner and then decided to head home to bask in the glory of our beautiful painting.

We started removing tape from the door frame and realized that we needed to be very careful and even then we were having some problems. What problems? you may ask (or even if you aren't asking, you know that I will tell you). Well because the paint is a latex paint, it easily peels off the wall when you are pulling off the tape. Even when we were being extra careful, it was still pulling off some of the paint with the tape. We will be doing some touch-up tomorrow. It looks really bad around the counter and a little bad around the door frame.

The other problem we had is that somehow paint dripped down the corners back behind the toilet. Not just paint, primer had dripped too and it was pooled on the floor. Hmmm, looks like we didn't get things taped up and protected with newspaper was well as we thought we had. It also looks like tomorrow we will not only be touching up some of the blue paint around the edges, we will also be repainting the floorboards in the bathroom.

We will post some pics of the bathroom once we are all done. I guess the only way to learn is to practice, right?

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

This is nice. :)

Over the summer, classes that I taught met Monday through Thursday. For the first summer session I taught for 4 hours straight and the second summer session was for 3 hours straight. Each day I came home and had papers to grade and had to prepare what I was going to cover for the next day. It left little time for much else. And now that fall classes are here - my schedule rocks!

I have to admit that I would prefer to teach in the mornings rather than the afternoons like I am, but besides that fall classes are great! I teach statistics on MWF starting around 12:30 and then I teach business calculus right after that on only MW. I have to admit that I am already feeling the relief of not teaching again the very next day and also not having papers to grade every single night. Both the classes that I am teaching this semester are linked to an online program where they do their homework which means - no HW for me to grade. And I made the decision to not give any quizzes this semester. I actually did that in the hopes that there will be more time in each class to practice problems. Maybe I will just assign some problems to do in groups in class that don't count for a grade.

Another difference here is that I have taught each of these classes at this school before which means that I don't have to spend a couple hours everyday preparing for the next day - maybe about 30 minutes every other day (unless I have to write an exam).

Fall classes rock!

Monday, August 27, 2007

Justin is 30

"You look so old!" from My Big Fat Greek Wedding

Really, Justin looks anything but old. Actually, I think that neither of us looks old and I can say that because my students always think that I don't look old enough to be the instructor.

Justin joined me yesterday in the 30's club - I turned 30 back in May. We had cheese fondue and chocolate swirl cheesecake with some friends from our ward and a couple Justin knows from work to celebrate. We think it was fun - hopefully they did too.

Justin decided that the Dyson we got is his birthday present (we are not big on buying each other presents - I pick out my own presents and he picks out his and we are both very happy this way). We have both decided that we love his present. Totally worth the money, highly recommended.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

That sucks!

I am talking about something that literally sucks. We just ordered a Dyson Absolute Animal vacuum cleaner and are hoping that any minute we get the email telling us it is at the store ready for us to pick up.

When we got married (well before we got married) we had 2 vacuum cleaners. When Justin packed up all his stuff to move to Tampa, I suddenly had two in my apartment. Justin felt like his was better so we gave mine away and kept his. I never liked his vacuum. Mine was a lightweight and his was just too heavy to me (maybe I am a wimp). And as time has passed, it picks up less and less. You know that whole thing about vacuum cleaners losing suction.

Then when we got a dog that sheds we knew that we were going to have to get a new one. Once we knew what kind of a bonus Justin was getting it was decided. We found the best deal we could - ordering it online with a 25% code, but picking it up in the store so we wouldn't have to pay shipping.

Who ever thought I would be excited about a vacuum cleaner? A year ago I was excited about the fridge we bought, when I went back to school I was excited about buying a washer and dryer. My life must be a little on the boring side.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Good news got even better

Yesterday morning, I spoke to my "relationship partner" (the partner I can talk to about anything), and she gave me some great news. This was a tough few weeks to wait after the news that I was getting a promotion. She told me about my compensation and benefits...which I think are pretty decent. I was happy with the percentage raise and by bonus. It was my understanding that some of the associates getting promoted, that got rated the same as I did, did not get a bonus or did not get a great bonus. So, I guess I just consider myself lucky...and glad that I'll have the money to pay for the vacation we just took. :)

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

After the safari

We headed back to downtown San Antonio and headed to the Riverwalk for some lunch.

We saw the boat tours going down the river, and decided to go on one. We were not disappointed. The guide was really funny, and we learned a lot about the area too! I would recommend it if you are in the area.

Next we headed over to "Ripley's Believe It or Not!" museum, across from the Alamo. It took us over two hours to go through the whole thing. There was a lot of weird things, interesting things, and some just gross things. Was it worth over $15/ticket? That is debatable.

Then, we ate outstide next to the river at Casa Rio. The food was good, not the best Mexican food I've had, and the mariachi band was pretty good too.

Tuesday morning we headed over to the Alamo.

We started looking around the grounds and then heard an announcement that there would be a little Alamo history lesson. We decided to sit down and hear what he had to say. It was actually quite enlightening. Like learning what the "six flags over Texas" are. And that the battle there was not between the US and Mexico. (It was between the immigrants, brought to Mexico by the government, to settle the sparsely populated Texas region of Mexico, and the new dictator Santa Anna.) I always thought it was US vs Mexico....something which Hollywood has not helped in clarifying.

After we looked around the rest of the grounds, we headed to the IMAX across the street to see "The Alamo: The Price of Freedom". It was a good flick.

Then we left San Antonio to head back to Austin, by way of the outlet malls in San Marcos.

Good times, good times.

Julie was almost eaten by a zebra!

We began our vacation by going to Austin so Julie could do a card class for Sherry's in-laws. We left Colby with Rick and Sherry on Sunday evening to head to San Antonio.

Monday morning we decided to go to the Natural Bridge Wildlife Ranch. It is an African safari...Texas style. They provide one bag of animal feed (pellets) when you enter the park, but we bought another so we each had a bag.

There were two different paths you could go down once you got onto the trail. We decided to go the one on the right. At first we didn't see a lot of animals, but after a few minutes we began seeing quite a few more.

We saw lots of different types of animals:

Then came the Attack of the Zebras!

Julie quickly realized that the zebras were quicker than my car's automatic windows.

Luckily, she survived that most perilous ordeal intact.

They were perhaps the friendliest of all the animals. They held no reservations against sticking their heads into a vehicle to get some food.

On our second time around, taking the alternate route, Justin found a zebra that was very eager to get some food pellets.

Then we saw these guys:

The emus, ostriches, and llamas were next. The ostriches seemed nice enough, but when we did the safari again (to see other other route), one of the ostriches came up to our car and tapped it with its beak....I guess he was really hungry.

Those emus looked kind of evil...don't you think?

Most of the llamas were wading around in the watering hole, but when we approached, one eager llama headed on out to meet us.

He even posed for a few pictures. As you can see, he thinks his profile looks the best.

Not to be outdone, on the second pass around the park, his friend wanted to do some posing.

(Even posing with his mouth full.)

Then we met up with these animals:

Here is a nice shot of Texas hill country, from the safari trails.

We found another poser.

And even a longhorn.

These guys swarmed us...but we had enough food for them too.

It seemed as though he was saying "I am not amused. If you aren't going to give me all the food, don't waste my time".

Whereas his buddy really liked the food, regardless of the amount.

Here are some of the other natives:

Julie thought this one was soooo cute.

So much so that she tried to pick it up! ;)

And here are a few last shots: