Monday, May 31, 2010

The Polar Caves and Lost River

Hubby and I live in Southern New Hampshire, right at the base of the Beautiful White Mountains. We don't take advantage of this fact enough. So since we both had the three-day weekend off, we decided we should head up north and visit a couple of the attractions. The first one we visited was the Polar Caves. Neither one of us had ever been there. We kind of thought we'd be walking through some caves and looking at stalagmites and stuff. But we were wrong. It was an intricate system of caves that we had to climb and crawl through. This one was called the Needle's Eye.
The scenery was unbelievably beautiful.
We found out there is a "Lemon Squeeze" at both places. As you can tell by the sign, it's a tight fit. I took this picture for my Dad cause he loves the story of my sister when we were young. We'd gone to Lost River and she went through the Lemon Squeeze and came out with her tube top around her waist! I did NOT attempt to go through the Lemon Squeeze.
You really did have to 'bear crawl' to go through the Bear Crawl.
Almost every cave had the sign to "keep your head low".
We didn't take the camera into Lost River because the batteries were dying anyway, but it was pretty much the same thing. The idea of "lost river" is that it's partly underground so you have to go down into caves to see it sometimes. You walk along a boardwalk and there's places to go down and see the river. I only skipped one or two, including the Lemon Squeeze!
It was an absolutely wonderful time. The weather was gorgeous and perfect for hiking around caves and "spelunking".
Today is our designated day of rest and relaxation. Thank God, cause my body sure does need it!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

What will I watch?

All my shows are done for the season now. * Amazing Race - The straight brother and gay brother won. I liked the detectives. * American Idol - I really, really liked Lee. After the last night of singing, I was convinced that Crystal would win it though. But she didn't. Lee won. Sorry I doubted you, Lee. * Cake Boss - Love that show. Love Buddy, the cake boss and his big Italian family. Love when his mother yells at him. * Celebrity Apprentice - I loved Brett Michaels from the very beginning and wanted him to win even before he got sick. I really think they did a bit of slight-of-hand at the end there. They had to give the title of Celebrity Apprentice to Brett or risk pissing off millions of viewers. But they couldn't let Holly go home empty-handed cause - let's face it - she deserved to win. So they either got Snapple to donate another $250,000 so they could each have a prize, or they gave the money themselves and said it was from Snapple. * Marriage Ref - a new show that was on for 6-8 weeks. Absolutely hilarious. If it comes back as a regular show instead of a fill-in, be sure to watch it. * Survivor - I didn't care who won as long as it wasn't Russell. He didn't get a single vote in the finale. Doesn't that tell him something? Now there's nothing to watch on TV. I am looking forward to America's Got Talent. And last year I got hooked on Hell's Kitchen, which is coming back on. Other than that, it looks like it'll be a lot of Netflix.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Must I beg?

All I want is a salad. A salad from the salad bar.'d be great if I went out and spent $30 on ingredients to make the kind of salad I want. But then I'd make the one magnificent salad and the rest of the veggies would rot in my fridge. So I like to go to the salad bar. There's a Shaw's right across the street, and every once in a while when Hubby is out for the night and I'm not making dinner, I indulge in a salad bar for dinner. Now you might think eating salad is a good thing. Not the way I make a salad from a salad bar. Sure...I start out with a modicum of greens, some tomatoes and mushrooms and cucumbers. Even some carrots. But then comes the good stuff. The chopped dried fruit, the nuts, the cheeses (plural - after all, there is grated cheese and feta), the salami, the pieces of chicken, olives, etc. Those ingredients are the ones that make going to the salad bar worthwhile. Last year, I had to email Shaw's to let them know their salad bar was going downhill. There was no dried fruit, no nuts. And they responded to my email and the salad bar improved. I haven't been to the salad bar in a while. I don't know why. But tonight it's hot and I just don't want to cook. So I drove over to Shaw's after work. And I was soooooooo disappointed. Almost half the salad bar had prepared salads in it. Little plastic boxes with pre-made salads. Apparently for people who can't make a decision. Or maybe we, as a society, have just gotten so lazy we can't even put a salad together when everything is cut up and laid out for us. Whatever the reason, the salad bar was sad. Of course, they chose to remove all the good stuff to make room for the pre-made salads. There was only the basic greens, tomatoes and cucumbers. I was so disgusted I left without making a salad. Which left me with no supper. The chip crumbs from the bottom of the bag and the goldfish crackers probably don't count. Maybe Hubby will make me some popcorn when he gets home.

Monday, May 24, 2010 she is.

Here she is folks. Finally. I know she's not wonderful or outstanding or different. She's just a sweet little four-door sedan. But she's ours - no payments - and we hope she's around for a very long time. I'm pretty sure she's going to be named Sally. Sally Saturn. Hubby wanted an "uglier" name. He thinks cars should be named something like "Bertha". (No offense to anyone out there named Bertha who might be reading my blog.) But.......when someone mentioned "Sally" some friends sang, "All you gotta do is ride around Sally..........RIDE, SALLY, RIDE!" And I think it stuck. So say hello to Sally........our new friend.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Another Nasty road trip

Jamie had a football game in Connecticut yesterday. Hubby and I like to go to the away's fun to take a road trip. This road trip was.........not so much fun. We left at 2:45 to make the two hour trip to Hartford. The game was at 5:30. I'm one of those people that has a fetish for being on time for things. (on time meaning I have to be there early). We weren't two minutes down the road when Jamie called. One of the girls on the team had discovered she forgot her football pads. (are you freaking serious??? How old are you? How do you forget part of your uniform??) Would we be able to meet the girl's friend at the local mall? The friend would bring the pads to us and we could bring them down to Connecticut. I checked the time. 3:05. "We might be late for the game" I said to Jamie. "It only takes two hours to get here, and the friend will be there with the pads in 15-20 minutes." I wasn't all that excited about doing it........but.........I'm a sucker for my kids asking for help, so I said okay. Hubby and I turned the car around and went to the mall to wait. At 3:35, just as I was about to call the friend, she called me. "I'm about 45 minutes away from Salem. Can you come up and meet me at the Manchester Mall instead?" WHAT???!!!! 45 minutes????? I should have said no right then and there. Should have said there's no way I'm driving 20 minutes north to turn around and come south. But I pictured my daughter's face, and pictured disappointment when we showed up without the girl's pads, and foolishly said yes. We drove to Manchester. The woman showed up 10 minutes later. It's now after 4pm. The game is 2 1/2 hours south and starts in 1 1/2 hours. I had a hissy-fit and a pout-fest as my Hubby flew down the highway toward Hartford. Luckily, we were only scared to death by the sighting of one State Trooper. He was too busy chatting with another state trooper to notice we were 20 miles per hour over the speed limit. We pulled up to the stadium at 6:00 - only 1/2 hour late. We'd made the trip in two hours flat. As I ran into the stadium lugging the shoulder pads, I was happy to see it was only the end of the first quarter. And that the score was 20 - 0. Until I realized that the 20 was for the home team......and we were definitely the away team. Sadly, the game only went downhill from there. It kind of felt like New Jersey all over again. Terrible road trip and even more terrible game. Jamie told me afterwards that she'd only asked me to get the girl's should pads because she felt bad, but that the girl would have deserved it if she had to sit out the game. After all, she said, who forgets their shoulder pads?? She's more like me than she likes to think. The only saving grace for the trip was that we stopped at Rein's Deli on the way home. Hubby loves this place - in fact he ate more food than I've ever seen anyone eat in one sitting. He already has plans for what he wants to eat the next time he goes there. Thankfully, we have one more game to go see, and it's a home game. No more road trip games for us ...............this year.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The end is in sight!

The end of our car-quest is in sight. Hubby did a great job of talking with the salesman and got the price of the car down to $2700! Nice job, Hubby! Now we wait until Thursday night when everyone is available and sign all our paperwork and the Lovely Saturn SL1 will be ours! Hopefully, on my half-day Friday I can go get it registered and we will be on our way. Pictures will follow.

Monday, May 17, 2010

How do you haggle?

So the car we found is priced at $2995. The first thing the salesman said is, "Just want you to know, that price is firm. We bought it for $2100 and we put brand new rotors and brakes on. We can't go down on that price at all." Some see that as a roadblock. Others see it as a challenge. I'd personally like to see it as a challenge, but I'm not sure if I have the "cajones" to really haggle. Our mechanic said the car was sound, although it should have new tires. And he recommended we check the Kelly Blue Book value because he thought $2900 was a bit high. Hubby and I weren't sure what model this car was, so we did some "Hardy Boys-type sleuthing" and went up to the car dealership after they closed and used a flashlight to find the VIN number so we could check it out online. Turns out the Kelly Blue Book value is $2850 for the car in "excellent" condition. I say if it needs new tires, it's not in "excellent" condition. I say they've priced it $150 above the KBB value. I say we should offer them $2600. Of course, I say all that to myself. Now will I have the guts to say that to the salesman?

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Oh the JOYS of car shopping

Is there anything more fraught with anxiety than car shopping? No matter what, you always feel like you're getting ripped off. Hubby's current car is a (forgive me, Hubby) big piece of junk. (no need to comment, sweetheart - I know what you're going to say).

He bought it when we first got married for $500, put another $500 in to make it pass inpection and has managed to keep it running for almost 4 years.

I hate his car. It's rattly, and cranky and it's hard to open the doors. The paint is all flaking and it's all dented and beat up. You need a special key to open the trunk cause it's all smashed in.

And Hubby loves it! He wants to put the $1000 or so into it to make it pass inspection. Even his garage mechanic said he should, "Give up the ghost".

So we went on Craigslist to look for a car. Here are some actual listings:

I am selling a white 96' oldmobile Cutlass Cerria. 6 cylinder. For parts, repair, scrap, etc. I has a leak in the fuel line. body root mainly at rocker panels, stricky gas pedal. it will probally need brakes as well. the car will need to be put on a dolly and towed away. I have the keys and title in hand. Price is 150.00 obo. I want this car gone!

Of course he wants it gone!!

1996 Ford Explorer Xlt 160,000 miles 2 new tires automatic Needs: barttery 2 Tires, windshield Rust underneath doors Brakes are gone and the front passenger Side has locked up and not sure what is wrong. needs to be towed cannot be driven with no brakes unless you live close enough

Unless I live close enough????? Although.........with 2 new tires...........

We did find some possibilities today. We'll be back out at it tomorrow.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

What's a person to do?

"If the desire to kill and the opportunity to kill came always together, who would escape hanging?" --Mark Twain A very dear friend posted this comment on my facebook page after I posted, "Will anyone bail me out after I kill my co-worker?" Yes, it's been another rough day with the PITA at work. Another day of tattle-taling....another day of lies and backstabbing, another day of tires up my back from being thrown under the bus, another day of me getting my ##@ reamed. I'm just getting to the point where I don't know what to do. I truly believe I've been doing a good job of biting my tongue (which as we all know, is not easy for me) and keeping my mouth shut ( much as possible) and trying to mind my own business. But yet again, even though the PITA is the one acting unprofessionally, I am the one who has to change my behavior. Everyone in the office is up-in-arms over her behavior. Everyone is angry, agitated and ready to rip her head off. Yet, she is not the one being reprimanded. So what to do? How do we all get along? The answer is..........I just don't know. I put lots of thought into it, and this is the conclusion I've come to. I cannot let her suck the life out of me. I cannot let her suck the life out of the office. The other five or six people in the office get along great. And we should continue to do so. And she should be treated exactly for what she is........a child who cannot get along with the other children in the class. The trouble-maker....the one who makes it so all the other children have to stay in for recess. Who wants to play with this child? Not me. And so I won't. I will be professional. I will do my job. I will enjoy the other people in my office. But I will not treat her as a friend. I will not be kind to her, or include her or even talk to her unless it's about our jobs. Let her be that child who sits by herself at recess because no one wants to play with her. And let me be the one who enjoys my job and my friends and my customers. Any thoughts?

Sunday, May 9, 2010

How did I get such a wonderful Hubby?

Hubby knew what a difficult Mother's Day this was going to be for me. Since my kids had already given me Mother's Day cards when they came to visit with my Dad, we figured they weren't planning on coming over on Sunday. So I asked Hubby to plan something to keep me distracted on this day. He found a "Mother's Day Open House" at Jewell Towne Vineyard in Amesbury, MA. We went and did some wine well as chocolate tasting and cookie tasting. We found a nice red wine we liked and bought a bottle to bring home. There was also a woman there who made her own jewelry, so Hubby bought me a lovely pair of hand-made silver and pearl earrings.
The picture really doesn't do them justice.
After that, we went to our favorite spot, Salisbury Beach Reservation. It was extremely windy and cold, but we bundled up and walked up and down the beach. We always find nice shells, and this time I found an intact sand dollar.
Then we drove around to the center and got some fried dough. I think Hubby likes to buy me fried dough on a windy day so he can amuse himself and laugh when the powdered sugar covers me like a blanket.
Finally, we headed to Newburyport where there's a nice boardwalk to walk along the ocean. We stopped in the "Oldies Marketplace" (aka Junk Shop) to browse. But we didn't buy anything.
It turned out to be a pretty nice day. Hubby did a good job of taking care of me on this Mother's Day. I don't know what I'd do without his kindness and love and support.
I love you, Sweetheart.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

It's just a day........right?

I've thought so much about Mother's Day this year. Actually, I've been dreading it. Not that I don't think about my Mom every single day, but somehow, as Mother's Day approaches, I've thought about her so much more. And I miss her. More than I thought possible. I realize now that right after she died, I must have been numb. People asked about her, we talked about her, and I was okay with that. But now that time has passed, and I've experienced what life is like without her......I'm so sad. In past years, Mother's Day was a day for family. We all went over to Mom's house and visited for the afternoon. It was fun to be with my brothers and sister and all our kids, giving the proper respect to the woman who raised us so well. But now we've lost our center. I've lost my reason to celebrate this day. I just want to get through it and past it and ignore it. I don't want to feel the sadness I know I'm going to. I try to tell myself "it's just another day". It only has the meaning we, as a society, have given it. But I know that it's always been a very special day.......a day to show my Mother how much I love her. I can't do that in person now. I'll have to do it in the way I live my following her example and being the kind of person she raised me up to be. I hope I can make her proud. I love you, Mom. And as much as I'll try to avoid it, I'll be thinking of you every minute of the day tomorrow.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Happy Birthday, Dad!

May 7th is my Dad's birthday. He's 72 years young this year. We had him over tonight for a little birthday dinner and invited my kids over. Nick and Kelly brought him a Birthday balloon............ With some special advice on it...............
Happy Birthday to the most wonderful Dad ever. I love you very much!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Make that Three and LONG.......

Just got a letter from New Jersey. They would like me to send them a copy of my Insurance Policy Declaration Sheet (which I already sent). "We are in the process of investigating your claim, we hope (this was also underlined) to get back to you within 10-12 weeks." Besides the obvious grammatical errors..........10-12 WEEKS!???? Does that, or does that not, count the four weeks they already spent deciding I didn't send them my insurance declaration page? (which I did?)

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

One Down.....Three to Go

As an update to all the money chasing I've been doing......... I got semi-satisfaction on ONE item! I harrassed them long enough at work, and they finally looked into my commissions for my hotel room and car rentals, and I am getting SEVENTEEN DOLLARS! Yes, three months time I made a big $17 in commissions for my rentals. As I said before, it's not the money, it's the principle of it. And I intend to spend my three months when they add it to my next commission check! As far as the others go.........the money they were holding from the hotel was on our VISA Travel Money Card, not our own Visa Debit Card. The Travel Money Card is a product we sell in our office, and is especially designed for people who travel to preload and use like a debit card, thus leaving their own cards at home. It's supposed to be a safety thing. However, unbeknownst to me, when you use it at a hotel, the hotel can hold extra money in case you steal the pillowcases or something, and even though the hotel releases the money, the VISA Travel Card People hold it for THIRTY DAYS!! Yup, just holding my money hostage for no good reason. Needless to say, we won't be using that card on our trip to Pennsylvania. The pothole reimbursement....too early to start harrassing them yet. The recall reimbursement......I'll call and give them another nudge tomorrow.....then start calling twice a week, then every day until I derive satisfaction.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Let's drive for four hours to hike for 45 minutes

This weekend was hot. The weathermen said it was going to be hot, and was!
Saturday Hubby and I both worked in the morning. I had decided that if I paid the piper on Saturday, we could play on Sunday.
So I did all the wifely and shopping and laundry. We did buy another grill (#3) and got some yummy steaks and cooked out.
This way, I figured we'd be able to just go and have fun on Sunday.
We had just enough money left on the gift certificates the kids gave us for Christmas to go to Parker's one more time for free.
Since it was going to be so nice out, I looked up State Parks near Mason, NH, which is where Parker's is, and figured we could go hiking after breakfast.
The place I chose was Chesterfield Gorge Natural Area. This park was over an hour further west from Parker's.
It was a really pretty park with a nice hike down into the gorge and then back up.
It was so hot out, Hubby relaxed by the water while I took off my shoes and stuck my feet in. If I'd had a bathing suit on, I would have gone swimming!

The only problem was.....that's all there was. The hike down and then back up. Which took all of 45 minutes. Then we got in the car and drove home for 2 hours.

I didn't plan that one out very well, did I?

Saturday, May 1, 2010

I'm a money chaser

Seems like the past few months, all I've been doing is chasing money. In February we got a recall notice and we're still waiting to be reimbursed for that money. It's $700 and I want it now. It was supposed to be 6-8 weeks, so at the 8 week mark I called. They're still "looking into it". She made a note in my file that I'd called. I will call again next week, and then probably daily until I get satisfaction. At the beginning of April we had a situation with our car hitting an uncovered sewer in New Jersey. We are supposed to be getting reimbursed $250 for that debacle. Still waiting. Probably a bit too early to start harrassing the State of New Jersey. At work, I am supposed to get a "commission" for booking hotels and cars. According to the paper accounting sent me, there should be 3 cars I'm getting paid for this quarter. Those 3 cars were not on the list they sent me regarding my commissions. It's been hanging in limbo for a while now. It's probably just a few bucks......but it's my few bucks and you's the principle of the thing. And finally, when we went to Montreal the hotel "held" some money on our credit card and that is still "pending'. Again....only $65 but it's my $65. I called the credit card company yesterday and they said it could be held for 30 days!! Huh? I already got the statement from the hotel. There's no reason for them to hold my money. We didn't trash the room or steal the towels. I tried to call the hotel yesterday for them to release it but their accounting office was closed. I'll have to call on Monday. Sigh............