Tuesday, September 29, 2009

the mini-series.

I was about to start blogging, then I noticed that Coyote Ugly was on TV. Is it wrong that I really love that movie? Ummm...well okay then. Moving on...

So I have this running list of "blogs I'm going to blog" (because I prefer using the word 'blog' to 'write') in my brain. Each one is really important and comes with lots of pictures. However, they all happened in back-to-back really busy days, which left me no actual time in which to write them. Bummer. So I end up blogging none of them, which is sad.

So as a compromise with...myself...I decided to just mini-blog each of them. A mini series!! Everyone loves a good mini series, right? Except that some mini serieses (???) lie. Like Band of Brothers. That is not a mini series. It is longer than eternity, and more excruciating, too. I mean, if your eternity is full of hellfire and brimstones. More excruciating than that. But I think I've digressed. Band of Brothers is not included in this mini series. I just meant to say that I will try my best to stay "mini", but brevity of blogs has never really been my strong suit.

(All I can think about right now is Coyote Ugly. I forgot everything else I was going to write about. Note to self: get in shape, dance on a bar, cross that off the 'to do before you die' list.)

Episode One: The Gunn/Van Pelt Wedding
On Saturday Matt and I drove up to Rome (Georgia. Obviously.) to attend the nuptials of our old friend Sarah and newer friend Adam. Sarah was a freshman in the Freshman group I led back in the day...isn't that funny? We spent many evenings hanging out afterwards, which led to several years of being neighbors, which led to many years of cooking and eating way too much, watching countless hours of Gilmore Girls and Lost, and...um...eating and talking about boys. And eating. And trying new recipes. Anyway, we had a lot of fun at the wedding, despite driving through a flood to get there. In addition to seeing Sarah & Adam tie the knot, we got to eat, drink, chat, laugh, and dance with lots of old friends. All in all, an excellent Saturday. Photo evidence:

Yeah, it was raining a bit.

The kiss!

This cake was beautiful and delicious-- a carrot cake! Who woulda thunk!?!

My date for the evening. Yes, I purposely color coordinate our clothing. I'm not sure why that comes as a surprise to some people.

I got to see Jolene!! And her baby!! This was a high point, believe you me. I don't like when my best friends move a zillion miles away to the Texas/Mexico border! And have cute babies! Away from me! End rant!

Episode Two: Our Anniversary

Anniversary?? you might wonder. No, not of the wedding variety. This is the One Year Anniversary of Adopting Lola!!! Our beloved baby! A year! Ok, so I'll try to continue using less exclamation points. So Sunday was our official one-year day. I told Lola I'd write a blog about her...but I know she can't read, so I've slacked. Anyway, if she could read, she would know she is featured in practically every blog I write and that my "Lola" category is probably the most populated one of all! That's just because I love her so much and she brings so much happiness to my life. Matt & I ended up going "potluck" with a dog because we couldn't really agree on a breed or size or anything, so we just took a puppy of undetermined breed we were both in love with and hoped for the best. The best is what we got. I never would have dreamed I'd love a big ol' labby thing as much as I do, but now I'd never go back. However...there is nothing as cute as her baby pictures, so lets look at them, shall we??

Episode Three: The Pizza Eating Contest

Last night, Matt & 4 other guys from the bank participated in a pizza-eating contest at a local pizzeria. According to Matt, "it's for a good cause...like cancer?...or walking?...or something." As vague as he was with the details, he was pretty sure it was going to involve a mega-huge pizza, several teams, and a common goal to consume it as quickly as possible. I went to cheer the team on and watch the gorge-fest. Although they didn't win (much to the chagrin of his teammates, who grumbled about being under the impression the other teams would also be 'business professional' types and not the local high school's football team), they did a great job and nobody puked.

Well folks, that's all for now. Time to finish my cider and Shark Tank. That show is strangely intriguing.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

best thing ever

A quick blog in honor of a few of the best things ever.

1) Winning!!!! Unless you count the $5 or so I won gambling on the cruise 2 weeks ago...I don't usually win things. However, my luck seems to be changing...I won a David Crowder CD giveaway on Kelly's Korner yesterday! Not only did I win, but Kelly gave me a shout out/compliment on my choice of fave David Crowder song and how I used it (visit her blog to see it for yourself!). To say that this made my day would be a massive understatement. I take it as a sign of many many more great and surprising things to come. Plus, I get some new music! The last new music Matt & I acquired was...wait for it...the Once soundtrack we bought to celebrate our first wedding anniversary. That would be...oh, a year and a few months ago. Yeah, we're not really musically advanced. We listen to the same stuff over and over. :)

2) This:

A recent purchase at Sams...this cider variety pack has great promise. I'll admit I've only sampled two of the four varieties so far (Caramel Apple and Apple Pie), but nothing makes you feel quite as fall-ish as a big cup o' cider. I think it was only like $6 for 30something cups of cider...well worth it.

OK, you know what? I just looked more closely at the picture (I had just taken it from Google images) and it's not the exact same variety pack as I got. The one I got has the 2 I mentioned above and then McIntosh and Red Delicious. But it's the same idea.

3) NOT RAINING. In case you're not in the know...Georgia has been completely flooded the past week. Luckily our area escaped the worst of it, but we certainly didn't escape 8 straight days of pouring rain and storms. Yesterday, when the sun finally came out, it was like I could literally feel the life seeping back into me. I felt my personality come back. I kid you not. I may not be the sun worshipper I once was, but I do require SOME daylight to function well!!

Well it's time for me to head to bed. In case you were wondering, I retract anything remotely postive I might have said about Comcast in my previous post. After another phone call on Monday night, I've decided my initial feelings of they suck were more accurate and am currently looking for an alternate. All suggestions/experiences with other TV providers are welcome. As far as I know, my options here would be AT&T, DirectTV, Dish, and of course... Comcast. *shiver*

Sunday, September 20, 2009

customer "service"

It is really unbelievable to me how bad some companies' customer "service" is. Well, let me rephrase that. Really, the service itself isn't so bad-- the people are polite and do their best to help. It's just that the company sucks so much...it doesn't give the poor customer service representatives much to work with. Current case in point: Comcast.

I've only been a Comcast customer for about 2 months now. In that 2 months, their technicians have had to make four trips to our house to help with digital cable box issues. Despite their lack of convenient timeframes to come out ("oh, we can come out between 8 and 2 any weekday..."..great...since all I do is sit at home and watch my non-existent cable all day?...NOT) they're polite and helpful and eventually get to the root of whatever the current problem is. Personally, I feel that Comcast could save themselves some money by just not giving us crappy cable boxes that break all the time, but if you want to just pay people to drive out to the middle of nowhere twice a month, go right on ahead. [oh wait, I'm the one paying for that, now aren't I...]

Anyway, after our cable box got replaced on Thursday, we have TV again...yay! However, several of our favorite channels (read: Discovery Health, my reason for living) were no longer "available." This is not okay with me. I MUST watch I Didn't Know I Was Pregnant every time it comes on, and it is imperative I know about every single rare and freaky disease that exists. So tonight I log on to the oh-so-helpful "Live Chat with a Comcast Representative" to inquire as to why none of our low-100s channels were coming in. After a long and excruciating diagnosis that involved Matt and I checking EVERY SINGLE ONE of our 200+ channels against their master list to compare what we should be getting against what were WERE getting...and half their list didn't match up with what our TV showed... ol' "Lester" informs me that the problem is, they changed our channel line-up and so we were no longer getting those channels anymore. Huh? Let's take a look-see here:

Lester I have checked on these channels
Lester 113 Planet Green,121 DIY,103 Discovery Health
Lester And I found out that these channels are now part of a different package.
Erika oh, well isn't that interesting.
Lester Your current cable service is Digital Starter and I found the channels to be part of the Digital Prferred Package.
Erika so i continue paying the same amount, but don't receive the channels that were offered when i signed up for the package?
Lester I believe that's the case right now. I hope you were informed before the channels were actually transferred to a different package. I apologize for this confusion Ericka.
Erika no, i was not informed of that, otherwise I would not be sitting here in this chat room going through my channels with you!

Number two...WTF??? Sorry, Lester, and I know you probably hate your job and I hate it for you, but this is ridiculous. Sorry to be "that girl," but...

Lester I understand your concern, Ericka. I truly apologize for this. I will make a memo of this concern to have this communicated.
Erika thank you, i'm sure that will be very effective.
Lester I apologize Ericka. I know this is really bad for you to know about this just now. What I can do now is to make a memo of this issue and do all the possible steps for this not happen anymore. You always have the option to change your current package for you to have the channels that you want.
Erika well i'm sure that the package that has "all the channels that I want" would be more expensive than the current package I have.
Lester I understand and I truly apologize for this, Ericka. The system is the one who is actually responsible for transferring channels to a different package. If only I have control with this matter, I would really change your channel line up for you. I am really sorry.
Erika I appreciate that. Is there any way I can speak with "the system" about this matter? I just find it to be in poor taste for a company to behave in a manner like this without having an actual person that accepts responsibility for the situation.

I mean...I apologize, Lester, for the excessive sarcasm here, but really. "The system"?? Is that supposed to satisfy me?? Oh, well if the SYSTEM did it, that's fine. And really, people, it's just the principle. We're not big TV watchers. We've only had cable for 2 months...it's not like it's the end of the world when a few channels fall off. But it's the dang PRINCIPLE of it!! You just can't run a business like this...although I'm aware that pretty much every cable provider does and seem to get away with it just fine. But I'm not letting them off without a fight!!

Lester I truly apologize Ericka. May I please if you have been receiving that channel ever since you started your cable service?
Erika yes, I have been.
Lester I see. Ericka, I apologize for this sudden changes in your current line up. The confusion was because you were not informed about this change that's why you thought you are missing these channels. It is with regret that I say that the only way we can have the channels back to you is for you to change your package. I am sorry.
Erika Well, I certainly do not plan on changing to another package with Comcast. I will find another provider who can meet my needs. Thank you very much.
Lester Erika, we do not want to lose you as one of our valued customers. I really wanted to help you have the channels what you wanted with out changing your rate. Will it be okay if I ask you to make a call to this number to make some arrangements about your current plan to have your channels back <1-866-xxx-xxxx>?

VICTORY!! Let us note a few other things, shall we? He spelled my name right after I suggested I could find another provider. As Matt pointed out, at this point I was not speaking to Lester, I was speaking with Lester's supervisor. :) Lesson learned: always threaten to leave. Other lesson learned? Stay polite, but keep bitchin'. It gets you what you need: the phone number of someone who can do something about your problem.

In the end, I called the number and spoke with yet another gratuitously polite gentleman. He told me an altogether different story than what Lester had...he seemed utterly shocked that we would not be receiving Discovery Health et al. since we clearly were supposed to be getting them and they most certainly had not changed our channel lineup. After trying a few magic tricks with our box, he determined it must be an outside line problem that [wait for it] a technician would need to come over to look at. Another technician? Shocking. And let me guess, they can come over between 8 and 2. Perfect.

Moral(s) of this story: Be polite, but don't be a doormat. Sometimes sarcasm and (mild)bitchiness can pay off. Remember that your conversation/chat room interactions can and are being recorded, so be sure you don't say anything you can't defend later. And always, always be willing to leave. There are fifty other crappy cable companies (with their respective thousands of semi-competent customer service representatives) just dying for your business.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009



I dare you to look at this without drooling. Just try.

Can anyone think of any reason I should not make this as soon as humanly possible?? Anyone?


Thought so.

In other news....Mattissickwithafeverandisverymopey,thecarwillcost$1000tofixandtheyhavetoorderthepartsstill,myfootisswollentotwiceitssizewithanantbite,andit'sraining.

But I'd prefer to think about that apple cake.

Life can be really, really good. :)

Sunday, September 13, 2009

week in review

The cruise was awesome. Let's sum it up, list-style.

The Good:

1. Well, this list will be too long. EVERYTHING was awesome. Great ship, great food, awesome weather. Our room was fabulous-- with a huge window, on a nice high deck-- we couldn't have asked for a better room (in our price range, ha). This cruise rocked extra hard because the demographics were ideal-- there were hardly any kids-- just as I'd hoped!! Our last cruise was in July (2007) and there were tons of families and kids cruising. This cruise was right at the beginning of the school year and we only saw like 5 kids the whole week! I love kids and all, but I don't like them splashing me in the pool or making the line for the water slide too long. :) There also weren't many teenagers, for probably the same reason, and that suits me just fine too-- I don't need a bunch of obnoxious skinny 16 year olds to annoy me/make me feel fat! Give me a good ol' ship full of late 20s couples like us, couples all in their 30s-50s, and old people...perfect!!

My view for most of the trip. Bliss.

The ship had a mini golf course on the top deck!! We played almost every day. If I suck at mini golf normally, which I do, then you should SEE me on a rocking ship with 30mph wind! Woo!! My average score (on a 9 hole course) was about 10 over. :) But I did get one hole-in-one!

Wasn't this supposed to be in a list-style? I've digressed. Let's see.

2. Those prescription anti-nausea ear patch things. Best thing ever. Instead of debilitating nausea/seasickness, I was only constantly thirsty (and thus constantly peeing) and had dry eyes/blurry vision. That let me enjoy a whole lot more of the cruise. Wanna see some more pictures of me enjoying the cruise? Okay. :)

My view from my chair in Cozumel. :)

Eating in Cozumel

3. Mexico. Our days in Mexico were great. In both places we just took cabs over to the beaches and chilled, layed out, and browsed the shops. Great weather, beautiful beaches, and my Spanish gets better by the day.

View of Calica from the ship:

4. Gambling. I don't have a picture of this one (well, I do on my phone, but I have no idea how to get a phone picture onto the computer). There was a nice casino on the ship, and a little-known fact about me is that I love a little gambling. Slot machines and video poker only. I just love it. But I'm a very disciplined gambler- I have a set amount that I am willing and prepared to lose, and when it's gone I'm done. I think that for the whole week I spent about $7. I won probably that much back, but then spent all that, too, so there wasn't really any net profit. :) But $7 entertained me for almost an hour a day...so I was happy. For comparisons sake, a drink on the ship (your average fruity beverage) will run you $8. So I got way more for my money.

5. Everything on the ship was great. Food, service...loved it. Unfortunately, there were a few low points to the trip.

The Bad:

1. I was sicky sick the day we went to Calica. This sickness is the double-bad kind...the kind that informs you that you are once again not pregnant...and then adds insult to injury by making you feel like death the whole day. Ugh. So our day in Calica consisted of us getting off the ship, catching a taxi to Playa del Carmen, staying there for about 15 minutes, catching another cab back to the ship, and sleeping/moaning/popping Tylenol the rest of the day. Poor Matt.

2. The trip back. Oh Lordy. Since this blog is already too long and my laptop battery is low and I need to cook dinner, I'll sum it up by saying: Random things stopped working (speedometer...then the check engine light came on...then the Drive indicator was flashing...then we had no acceleration at very low speeds). We found a Sears auto center open in Montgomery, guy checked it out, said it looked like some electrical sensors were going bad, that's a dealership thing, we should be fine getting back to Athens just take it easy. 20 or 30 miles of taking it easy later the radio/tachometer randomly stop and start...stop and start...then the AC goes out...then anything else that requires electricity, including EVERYTHING. We coast to the shoulder of I-85 in Auburn, Alabama, on GAMEDAY. Yiipppppeeeee. We get towed, and have to CALL A TAXI to take Matt and I with the towtruck, since they wouldn't let us ride IN the towtruck. $26.75 to go 5 miles. This was THRILLING, and I mean that in the most sarcastic way possible. We get towed to the Auburn Honda dealership, which is closed (the shop part is...not the showroom). We decide we'll have to leave the car there until they open on Monday, since it would cost $700 to tow it back to Athens. We call Matt's parents who are generous and kind enough to come pick us up. Then we wait 4 hours, loitering in the Honda parking lot, the Mexican restaurant across the street, and an Advance Auto parts. Matt's parents come, we try various things to "fix" the car, nothing works, we leave Auburn at 10:30pm and arrive in Athens/Statham around 2am.

Now we are waiting to hear what is wrong with the car, decide whether we can afford to fix it or if we should call it quits on this car and find something else (this car has been a money pit in the year we've owned it...2000 Honda Civic, who woulda thought?) ...and naturally, go back to Auburn to finish up the whole business. *sigh*

So the vacay was great, but the return trip not so much. We're stressed and need another vacation.

But isn't that just how life is. I think I'll go look at my beach pictures some more and cuddle with my puppy. That will make everything better. :)

Sunday, September 6, 2009


Our day has finally (almost) arrived-- our long-awaited vacation embarkation day!! While we will all be enjoying Labor Day (and no work) tomorrow...I feel confident in saying that Matt and I may be enjoying it a little more than most. Additionally, we plan to continue having fun and relaxing for the rest of the week!!

Let's review, shall we? Tomorrow at 12:30 C.T. Matt and I will climb aboard the Carnival Holiday. It's going to look a little something like this:

We set sail at 4 p.m. I'd imagine that by about 4:01 or so, we'll be spending a little time here:

And when the water and sun get to be a little too much, we plan on eating a little something from here:

All in all, not too shabby. Our itinerary, in case you care:

Monday, 9/7- leave Mobile at 4pm

Tuesday, 9/8- Fun Day at Sea

Wednesday, 9/9- Cozumel, Mexico

Thursday, 9/10- Calica, Mexico

Friday, 9/11- Fun Day at Sea

Saturday, 9/12- arrive in Mobile, 8am

Feel free to reference this list often, like on Tuesday at 10:34am when you're counting the minutes until lunch, and Thursday at 1:42pm when you're praying for a time warp to make it be Friday at 5 already. You'll feel a lot better knowing my specific location in paradise at that moment. :)

Incidentally, if you notice any major hurricane activity taking place in the vicinity of where we'll be, you could pray for us.

While I am ultra excited about the cruise, I am ultra sad about leaving this one behind:

That soft black fur! Those big, expressive brown eyes! The floppy, velvety ears! The way she so obediently SITS when I so much as say the word (okay, about 12% of the time. If I'm holding a treat.) I'm having a little separation anxiety (for the last week)...but she will be in good hands staying with our friends and their own menagerie of dogs.

So I'm off to finish packing and taking care of other last-minute details. Enjoy your week!!

(us on a cruise 2 years ago. kind of like we will be TOMORROW!)