Wednesday, March 31, 2010

So, the Twin is coming to KC. Who wants to hang out on Saturday? :D

The Twin will arrive in Kansas City on Friday night. (I think it's only fair to let you all know that any severe weather that happens on Friday night/Saturday is her fault. It's just how it works, apparently.) (Oh, and Twin? We're expecting severe weather in the area possibly on Friday night, but definitely on Saturday. Are you surprised?)

She's looking to meet some of you fun and awesome local bloggers that make my comments such a lively place at times. Soooo, if you wanna join us on Saturday for lunch, I'm thinking we'll head to Waldo Pizza at about noon. It'd be a very special meetup. We'll be in the taproom. (Did you know they have a drink that mixes Framboise with Boulevard Wheat? Dude, it is delicious, and it will fuuuuck you uuuup! So fun.)



As a prep for my being out of the office next Monday and Tuesday, I sent the following calendar info to my team, so they would know what was up:

"My evil* twin is in town for a visit from the 2nd through the 6th. I'll be back on Wednesday, probably filled with stories about how the fighting started on Sunday, and she slept in the yard for the rest of her vacation. (It's ok…she likes camping. And also? I'll totally give her a plastic cup to drink her wine with. She'll be fine.)

I'll have email access through my Blackberry while I'm out, but contact [The Boss**] directly if you have any urgent meeting needs.

Thanks!


*The debate continues on whether she is the evil one, or if I am the evil one. We tend to disagree on the topic a lot of the time, for some reason. I blame our parents."

**No, I don't work for Bruce Springstein! Or DO I? ::raises eyebrow::

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Hmm...maybe not the most prudent of personalized plates, eh?

I hope they're planning on changing that plate this year when they re-register their car. Because otherwise, it's just in poor taste, man.

Update-a-mundo (because everyone needs a little Fonz now and then)

I've decided to hook back up with a trainer rather than to do a tummy tuck. Frankly, the surgery scares the bejeesus outta me, even though I know my doctor is good at what he does, and everything...I just don't think it's the right thing for me right now. I'd rather work my butt off twice a week for the next 3 months with a trainer, and see where that gets me. So I will.

Quick update on a couple of things...

- South Beach living. It's going well. I've fallen off the alcohol wagon a couple of times over the last 2 weeks, but I've been really good about sticking with my food planning, and while exercise hasn't been what I'd like it to be, it hasn't been as non-existent as it had been for several months last year, so I won't kick myself too much.

Started Feb 15: 218.5 pounds
As of March 29: 210.5 pounds

I'll take it. (Leo has, of course, lost almost twice as much as I have. I told him to stop talking about it, unless he wants to lose a nut. Fuckin' frustrating, is what it is...) (And before you go judging, it's not that I'm begrudging him his success...I'm happy for him, really. But the frustration outweighs the happy on most days, ok? Not gonna lie.)

It really is an easy way to live, especially if you're like us and tend to cook at home more often than you eat out, and you already avoid things like fast food and stuff. I recommend it to everyone now. I recommend it to YOU too, whoever you may be. It's good stuff. :D

- Kitchen remodel. We're done, almost. We're waiting on our contractor to put in the quarter round that finishes off the moulding around the cabinets, but otherwise, everything is all good to go.

As a reminder, here's basically where we began:
And here's what the kitchen looks like now:

LOVE. We are very happy. The only issue I have is that I can't tell when the countertop is dirty anymore! Until I put something down on it, and can feel grittiness or whatever under the object, I tend to not notice any debris or water or any of that. It's very camouflage, it turns out. Oh well! Could be worse. It's pretty camouflage, at least.

So that's what's new with me. I'm off to see what's new with other people now! ::waves::

Monday, March 29, 2010

That's why I don't get out much these days.

Did you ever find yourself in a social situation where you're telling a story, and suddenly you realize you have no point? Or maybe you had a point when you started telling it, but you can't remember what it was once you're into the story?

That's generally my clue that I've been talking too much. Unfortunately, I don't get that clue until after the pointless story has been told, and I've already embarrassed myself.

This is one of the reasons why I've become a hermit over the past several years. I always get the point of my stories in my head. OR I just don't care because, well...it's my head. I can do what I want to in there, and it's all cool.

(Sorry Cate! I hope I wasn't too annoying on Saturday. You really were sweet to invite me over. Thank you!)

I went to the plastic surgeon today to get my consultation for my bewbies being reduced. The costs are actually significantly less than I'd planned for, which was a nice surprise! And the doctor I was referred to is awesome. I totally think he'll be a good choice for doing this for me. Now I just need to decide on whether I want to do a tummy tuck, too. It hikes the price right on up into Oh Shit level, but it's still doable. ::sigh:: I just can't decide whether it'd be a total cop-out, or if it'd be a good thing over all for me to just go for it. I'll make sure to write about the decision I make. It'll be happening this week (the decision...not the surgery), so I'll update accordingly.

Being a human is hard, dammit.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Your mom's a hugger! (a.k.a. Twig and plums)

Last night, I was calmed only by the dulcet comedic tones of 30 Rock, and the silliness of crazy designers on Project Runway. (And then I got all fired up again when the dumbass designers sent home one of the coolest models EVAH! The one with the Irish accent? Who has an awesome body and a kick-ass temperament, and rocks the runway? Whatever, designers. What. ever.)

Oh, and a bottle of red wine. Duh.

This week started out rough, with the damned KU loss, and all. And then the Twin let me know that one of her puppies, Phoebe here...
...wasn't doing too well. She had an obstruction in her lower intestine that needed to be operated on. I prayed, and hugged my own puppies close, and was glad to hear when Phoebe pulled through the surgery ok, and Twin was trusted with watching over her during the crucial days following the surgery, to make sure infection didn't get her. (The obstruction wound up being a stone fruit pit, likely from a peach or a nectarine. Phoebe was famous for lots of things, but mostly for her tendency to eat anything and everything that was left lying around the house. This includes brownies, Snickers bars (which she had to climb a desk to get to, mind you), and whatever else she could get her cute-ass muzzle on. She often climbed to off-limits places - the counter top, the table, the desk, etc... - to get to these items. I seriously thought that eventually she would go retarded from all the chocolate she was able to get her mouth on. But she survived every time she ingested it! The Twin and her daughters had gotten to the point where furniture was skewed in funny ways throughout the house, just to ensure that they didn't give Phoebe an easy way to climb up onto the counter and scout out a snack.)

Here she is when she was younger, facing off with her ever-present nemesis (and lovah), Mr. Puppy:
Puppy and Phoebe both happened into the Twin's life through chance. Puppy was a gift from our brother, after he found him wandering around his house in Riverside one day several years ago. And Phoebe was found in a parking lot, under a car. The Twin's asshole ex-husband brought her home with him after he managed to coax her out from under the car with some turkey meat, which she then threw up in his car. (Hahahaha! Pointing and laughing at the ex is fun.) Puppy and Phoebe were good companions for each other, and remained pretty small dogs after they were full-grown, so they were perfect for the Twin's home.

Phoebe eventually dwarfed Puppy a bit, size-wise, but that was no matter. They managed to get it on, and created a pack of puppies that our Izzy was a product of...
Izzy is a pretty good mix of Puppy and Phoebe, but due to her shiny black coat and her larger size, she bears more resemblance to Phoebes.

So pretty!

Anyway, Phoebe started to decline a bit after showing initial signs of improvement after the surgery, and yesterday, she pretty well fell apart. The doctors said she was septic, probably due to the fruit pit ripping holes in her intestine as it travelled through. The Twin said she'll find out more later today maybe. Here's poor Phoebe yesterday before she was taken back to the vet to see if anything could be done to help her...

The Twin decided to put her down instead of putting her through any further surgeries, from which she'd likely only have a low percentage of surviving anyway. And if she did survive, she'd be unhappy and uncomfy and the Twin just didn't think it'd be anything other than cruel to keep trying to remove more and more of her insides in order to keep her here for a little while longer. She did the smart and brave thing, I think.

But maaan, are we saaaad! So. so. sad. The emotional tie between the Twin and I is one of our more obvious weird twin abilities, so her losing Phoebe is almost like me losing Phoebe. I feel stupid even typing that, but it's the truth. I also am sad for my Twin and her daughters, and for poor Mr. Puppy.

So here's to you, little mama! We will miss you so much, and we hope that you enjoyed your time with our family while we had ya. In parting, I offer the internets some proof of your love for all things Off Limits, Food-Wise...because it is funny. And we fucking loved it when you did shit like this, dammit.



Thursday, March 25, 2010

What is the male equivalent of an ovarian cyst?

I think I have a cyst in mah lady junk. I can't tell for sure. I'm going to the doctor tomorrow for a sonogram to see what's up in there, just to be sure I don't have anything major to worry about.

Why do the ladyparts need to be such a pain all the time? And do men have to deal with anything like this? Something prostate related, perhaps? Because it's bullshit...utter bullshit!...that I have to be on fucking birth control pills for however fucking long in order to make sure that I don't get tiny sacs of exploding nastiness on my ovaries every month, ok? That SUCKS. I can deal with the birth control for now. But how long can I go on taking it? Now that it's been 20 years, aren't we verging on the ridiculous a bit? I think we are, personally.

I just wanna know what men have to deal with? (And don't say, "The PMS. Ha ha ha ha.") We have monthly bleeding out of our vag, dammit. If we so choose, we have to grow the humans and push them out of a hole the size of a goddammed nostril once they're done cooking. We have these cyst thingers that are absolutely lovely to deal with, lemme tell ya. (Imagine filling your lower stomach area with teeny-tiny water balloons filled to their limit. And then imagine those balloons EXPLODING while they are right up against all your vital organs. It's like a rubber-snapping assault on your bladder, kidneys, and intestine, and it feels like hell, dammit. Now imagine having that all happen during your 4th period geometry class, which you hate more than anything else in life, already, and you really didn't need the exploding insides to accentuate the fabulous sucktasticness of it all, thanks.)

We have the bloating, and the cramping, and the mutherfucking MOOD SWINGS that make us want to quit our jobs for a week every fucking month, just so we don't have to sit/stand/dance around and pretend that we're actually hunky-dory, and everything feels fiiiine, thanks for askin'! BECAUSE IT DOESN'T!

So what, pray tell, do the men have? Because I sure as hell haven't been able to figure it out in my 36 years here on mother earth. And I give the serious side-eye to evolution or Adam & Eve or whateverthefuck it is that's in charge of making us as different as we are.

Oh, and don't even get me started on the fact that my husband is literally melting the pounds away on this South Beach thing, while I am still just trudging. along. losing. about. a pound. every two. weeks. GAH! I know, I know, I sound like that commercial with the lady complaining about how her husband stops eating bread and loses a bunch of weight, but she hasn't had bread in two. years. Guess what? I sound like that BECAUSE IT'S TRUE!!!

Whatever made us the way we are, they truly seemed to have hated females, and thought that men should have all the advantages. I'll tell you what...if it does turn out that I'm right, and God did all of this? He'd better pray I don't have PMS when I die. ::sign of the cross::

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Scissors for the kitchen AND the bedroom! Handy.

I totally bought new scissors to replace the ones that went missing last week. I never realized how much I use scissors before they disappeared, but it was kind of a pain in the ass not having any around at all! So I bought a new pair. And things were happy.

I honestly thought that once I bought new ones, the old pair would show back up. Murphy’s Law, right? But nope…didn’t happen. I even caught myself thinking last night that they must’ve gotten carried out with the contractors who’d been working in the kitchen, somehow. Because seriously…why would the damned house ghost take our fuckin’ scissors? And then not give them back? And THEN I caught myself wondering about the ghost all together, and why he does anything he does, and I started feeling mildly insane, so I stopped that. Because damn.

DA-AMN.

But it makes sense that Jeffers would be on my mind, because dude has been active lately. He took the blue ball on Saturday, and on Sunday, I found it when I moved a piece of furniture that I needed to clean under. (Because the construction dust went eeevveeryyywheeerre! FUN.) I swear, sometimes it’s like he reads my mind, so you can maybe understand why I’d be going a little bit insane with the whole ghost thing right about now. Could be worse, though. I could be super-crazy. But I’m not.

(I swear.)

And then he took it again sometime yesterday while I was at work. ::sigh:: Lord knows where and when it would pop back up!

I have a picture in our living room that Leo gave me for Christmas as a present. It’s actually an older picture that has been in the family for a long time, but it was given to us the last time we went home before my dad passed, and Leo had it framed for me, which was super-sweet of him. I actually don’t know how old my parents are in this photo, but they must be close to my current age, or a teensy bit older. How pretty were they, huh?


Ok, so mom's bang-roll was a wee bit on the ridiculous side, but look at the 'stach and collar my dad was sportin'! They liked weird shit back then, I guess. ::shrugs:: (Is his jacket velvet? Holy wow...)

Anyway, that’s where we keep the blue ball (when it’s not in a different dimension, with the house ghost…of course).


It’s easy to see in a spot like that, and so it’s either there or it’s off playing with Jeffers somewhere. And when it disappears, I do that thing where I look everywhere for it subconsciously.

So the other night, I’m headed to bed, and one of the spots I check for the blue ball is behind the picture frames that are up on the bookcase in our living room, which includes the picture of my mom and dad lookin’ all groovy, and shit. And last night, there it was! Back behind mom and dad. Yay! So I grabbed it and called to Leo (who was doing dishes) that the blue ball was back. But then I noticed it had been kinda wedged with something back there. And wouldn’t you fuckin’ know it? It was my damned missing pair of scissors. Hahahahahaha! Here’s a terrible reenactment of the finding of the blue ball and the scissors for ya…it somehow looked much less dark on my own computer at home, but what're ya gonna do? I tried!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Of course she's a good mother. Oh, wait...did you mean in THIS lifetime?

This story about the 31 year old "mother" that left her 6 children at home alone on Saturday to go off and do whatever it was she needed to do so badly without her children? Is disgusting to me. Abhorrent. Fucking RETARDED.

Here's my "favorite" part of the article from KMBC's report:
"Police officers who went to the home in the 3400 block of Montgall Avenue said the floor was covered in dirt, trash and food. The police report said there was very little food in the home, and what food there was appeared to be spoiled.

Two toddlers were soaking wet from urinating on themselves, police said."

And now HER mom is going on television, voluntarily, to say that she had those children because she wanted to. Because she LOVES her children. Not for any other reason like a higher gov't paycheck or anything. Naaahhh. She wanted those kids, apparently so she could specifically leave them in a filthy house, to fend for themselves when it came to safety and nourishment.

Fucking. Awesome.

Does that mother actually believe the words that are coming outta her mouth, I wonder? Or is she just really good at faking her conviction over her daughter's mothering abilities? I'd be inclined to think she actually believes her daughter is a good mom. She seems to think that the police and the media are twisting the truth in this whole case.

WTF is happening, folks? WHAT. THE. FUCK?

Monday, March 22, 2010

Yep...it's definitely THAT day again!

My head hurts. Again.

Jake has a cough that isn't getting much better, even though he's been on antibiotics for 5 days.

KU lost, and while most people are being respectful of the space a Jayhawk fan needs right now (because, let's face it, most people had them winning the whole shebang), all it takes is that one annoying coworker who likes to come and push your buttons. As you sit quietly at your desk, not bothering anyone. As you sit with a sincere hope in your heart that people will simply leave you alone today, anyway, because see above about the headache.

It snowed over the weekend, so all the green that had been blooming slowly and pleasantly is now covered in frozen water...albeit melting frozen water, but frozen water all the same. It's colder than I'd like it to be outside right now.

It is definitely Monday, is my point. I fucking HATE Monday. I'm going to try to make it a better day by eating a yummy lunch with my husband, and keeping my head down for the rest of the day. ::fingers crossed!::

Friday, March 19, 2010

I ate a muffin this morning.

I've been feeling stressed lately. Stressed about things that are so not usually stressful to anyone over the age of 13, probably. And when I think about them that way, it's supremely depressing. In that roll-your-eyes-at-yourself kind of way. Which then adds to the stress.

I think I just need to get out more. Like literally, get outside and enjoy the sunshine and nice weather and shit. And it will put eveything back into a normal, grown-up perspective for me.

The kitchen is pretty much done. Leo is home painting all the tiny, tough crevices around the edges of cabinets as we speak. It looks bright and pretty and fresh, and we love it to pieces. I'll be taking loads of pictures over the weekend, so be ready for that sharing on Monday.

However, in the finishing of the project, we managed to cover the entire fucking house in a nice coat of dust. So tonight, my workout will be to clean the mutherfucking house from top to it's damned tippy toes, because guess what's stressing me out the most? That's right. A dirty damned house is stressing me out. Must CLEAN!

We also just hired some painter dudes to come and re-stain our back deck again, too. I stained the thing for the first 3 years that I lived in the house. And it SUCKED. (If you've never taken up a task like individually painting about 1,234,987,807 spindles on a deck, I highly recommend it. Really. Do it. It's fun.) So now we hire Platinum Painting to come and do it for us when the time comes that it needs doing, and they whip it out in a day. They're awesome. This year, they will also be helping us replace the lattice around the base of our deck, since we have a dog (*coughdouchebagcoughcough*) that pretty well ripped all the lattice apart to get at the bunnies that house themselves under there now and then. (Stupid, stupid, dumbass bunnies...) We're replacing it with a vinyl material instead of wood, and we're reinforcing the way it's connected to the deck posts, so hopefully, said dog won't be able to get under there again. I hate when he goes under the fucking deck, bunnies or not. It's all gross and muddy and weird under there. Blech.

And then tomorrow, of course, it's going to snow, and shit. Because that makes sense.

So go KU, and here's to hoping that my East bracket saves my ass, and I actually might beat my boss and one of his managers in our brackets this year. Because even though Georgetown pretty much fucked me harder than ND ever could, at least I didn't also get fucked by Temple and Marquette. I gave up my whoring years ago, dammit. I'd really appreciate it if my bracket could finally figure that out...

This randomest of the random post was brought to you by the word "Friday." Hells yes.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Is this because I didn't have a beer on St. Patrick's Day?

Thanks Notre Dame. Thanks a LOT. Right outta the gate, you gotta fuck me, eh? Well, fuck you right back, dammit.

That's right! I said it! (But it's ok...I'm totally allowed because I'm Catholic.)


Anyone confused about what I'm referring to? You can go back to your knitting or watching daytime television now, or whatever. Nothing to see here. :P

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Maybe I should just work from home more often.

I got another voluntary comment about my beverage consumption in the break room again today. I was filling up my Bubba Keg, and a coworker walked in (this time, it was someone I don't even know...) and said something like, "None of us can go home until you finish all that!" And then she sort of laughed at herself, which made her even more endearing, of course.

I swear, I almost just went ahead and gave her the WTF face right then and there. But instead I just said, "I have 2 and a half of these every day. So you can go home by 5." And then we both sort of laughed, because that's how awkward random commentaries between coworkers who don't know each other end, and I went back to my desk, barely able to walk straight due to the fact that my eyes just didn't seem to want to stop rolling.

Why is it so hard to believe that I like water enough to drink it all fucking day? Is it the fat ass that throws people off? Because fatness doesn't necessarily equal dehydration, in case anyone was wondering. Jeeee-eeezY!

I wish it was full of beer, btw. Sweet, awesome, wheat beer of some sort. And to go with it? One of those fluffy sugar cookies in the shape of a shamrock, with green sugar crystals stuck all over the top of it. ::sigh:: Maybe I'll get some for the coworkers when I'm out a lunchtime, and treat myself to one, because it's a holiday, dammit. I should be able to properly celebrate the fucking holiday with a sugar cookie, if I so please. And if I don't get the cookies, then I'm likely to start Irish dancing all over the place, because the holiday needs to be celebrated somehow, and since I KNOW how to do Irish dance, then that's obviously how I should celebrate if there are no cookies about, right? I'm thinking this could also aid me in my desire to work from home more often, too. Depends on how loudly I blast the Irish jig music from my computer. This idea is getting more and more interesting by the minute. Pardon me while I develop it a bit better in my mind. (Happy St. Patrick's Day, btw...)

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Mind your own, my friends. Mind. your. own.

Coworker [after seeing me collect my Diet Coke from the vending machine]: Water is better for you!

Me: You know what would be good for you? A big glass of shut the fuck up.


Ok, ok...not really.

Me, in reality: That's what this (holding up 52 ounce Bubba Keg) is for. I drink 2 of these a day. The Diet Coke is just a primer.

You know, as if any of it is his business in the first fucking place. Jeezy...

Monday, March 15, 2010

Our new stove and microwave

Old stove and negative space above it...
NEW stove, and the lovely awesome venting microwave above it!
Pa-POW! :D

Sorry the picture sucks. I'll get better pictures uploaded just as soon as I sleep more than 6 hours in a row, I promise...

House ghost issues...

Jeffers took our only pair of scissors. ::sigh:: Not to mention that he took one of my favorite camis a few weeks ago, and I've been waiting patiently for him to return it but he apparently doesn't wanna. What is he doing with it? Where the fuck does he put that sort of stuff? It's all very intriguing to me, really.

I hope he doesn't put the scissors on my pillow though!

I hate today so far. People driving in with me on my way to work apparently had no place better to be than in my way. We've hit the season where Jake starts bringing slugs into the house with him after he's been outside in the morning. (They latch onto his fur super-easy. It is really unpleasant to deal with.) (Gah, I'm gagging even now, just thinking back to the one I dealt with this morning!) And I got all of 4 hours of sleep last night, for some reason. I slept from 11 - 2, and then I was just awake. I tried laying there and thinking pleasant, calming thoughts...didn't work. I tried taking some Advil...didn't work. I tried watching TV, and only wound up getting more stimulated, and wanted to buy things from infomercials I was watching to boot. So that really didn't work! Of course, I drifted off again sometime around 5-ish, and my alarm went off at 5:45, when I was headed back into a deep sleep. Fuck. Me.

So I'm going to try to keep my head down today. Wish me luck.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Ooohhh! I get it now!

Bwahahahahahahaha!

In case you aren't interested in clicking on that link, I just learned (via the Fug Girls, in a random aside on their post about Sigorney Weaver's Oscar outfit) that Lindsay Lohan is suing E-Trade for their latest "Milka-whaaat...?" commercial. For ONE HUNDRED MEEELION DOLLARS to cover her pain and suffering.

Um, honey. Honey Lindsay child. C'mere. ::puts a gentle arm around Lindsay's sad, saaad shoulders:: First of all, you're being a little ridiculous. You kinda have no legs to stand on here, sista. Because - and I know this may come as a shock to you, but - most of the world thinks of you as a loser, bat shit crazy, party-your-ass-off, bi-sexual dumbass who is drunk and high pretty much all the time. It doesn't matter how often you go through rehab, m-kay? It's like that person who captivates me every time I happen to see Mean Girls playing on TBS or what have you just simply doesn't exist anymore. And I'm ok with that, really.

And until I saw this lawsuit, to be honest, I didn't even remember the name of the baby. I never even thought about a connection being there, much like the ladies on The View mentioned. Maybe your "friends" made the connection, and mentioned it to you, and that in turn made you all sad face and sour puss over the whole thing? But again...see above about how most of the world thinks of you, sugar. Mm-hmm...it's that whole past (and likely the present, let's be honest!) comin' back to haunt ya thing that your agent might've warned you about a while back!

So now that you've made an ass of yourself to the point that the women on The View are making fun of ya...maybe it's time to crawl into a hole, and just stay there for a while. There's this rather nice-looking one in the Adirondacks for sale, and it could be perfect for you...

SALESMAN! [said in PeeWee Hermanesque scream]

I totally forgot to put on socks today. I put on a new pair of pants, and tried on two different pairs of shoes to see which ones had a high enough heel so the pants wouldn't drag, and decided that while the sandals were cute, the weather today is not. So I put on closed loafer-type shoes instead, and the heel was fine, so then I kissed Leo goodbye, and walked out the door. I was almost to work when I realized the funny feeling in the shoe? Was because I totally forgot the socks. OOPS. I hate the feeling of loafers without socks. And the funny thing is, I lived in this sort of shoe arrangement for most of high school and part of college. So WTF? Why am I so bothered by it now? This should be old hat for me! But it feel squiggy. I hate it. Blech. I was stupid in high school, dammit.

Oh, and the new pants? I got them back before I started the South Beach thinger, and they were a bit too tight. Today, they are perfect and comfy, and yay! I've only lost 5.5 pounds so far, but we didn't really finish phase 1, and gym visits haven't exactly been super-regular over the past few weeks since our kitchen is a plastic bubble much of the time. I know those two things don't seem like they should be correlative, but believe me...THEY ARE. When the kitchen is a fucking mess, EVERYTHING in life is a fucking mess. We're slowly putting everything back together, and able to clean things up between messy bits, but somehow, the messy bits keep happening. And everything gets thrown off kilter again, and AUUGH! Construction sucks!

Earlier this week, Leo and I took a fun trip to the bank. We had to get a safety deposit box, so it was a necessary evil...but damn, I hate the fucking bank. And had I known that it was going to take FORTY FIVE fucking MINUTES, I might’ve put it off to another time, really. But I didn’t. ::sigh::

The guy we met with had a name that I would totally make fun of right now if I wasn’t sure that he was the type to Google himself, and find his way to this post eventually. And since he has access to my money and all, it’s just a risk I’m not willing to take. Suffice it to say, it was hard to take the dude seriously. We’ll just call him Silly Name from here on out, to make it easier.

Then, it turned out that it was training day for Silly Name. Or maybe he’s been working there for a while, but he’s never opened a safety deposit account before, or something. I dunno. But he had to be guided through every little step by bank assistant manager dude after we sat down. UGH! It just took forever, it seemed like. We had to sign our names around eleventy billion times on several different pieces of paper to get it all rolling, and just when it seemed like we might be done, Silly Name would have yet another computer portal that he needed to enter even MORE information into. GAH!

Finally, we were able to put our stuff into the box, and thought we were done with the process. But no…bank assistant manager dude told us as we got up from the desk to head into the vault that we’d be coming back there when we were done. Oo-kaaay. So there’s even MORE shit we need to fill out? Fuck. Me. Sideways.

So we come back out of the vault after putting our stuff in there, and go back to the desk, and Silly Name turns his screen to me and asks me if the accounts I have open are correct. I told him that they looked fine, but that I was surprised that the savings account was still listed, since I closed it a long time ago.

“Oh?” Fuuuuuck! That’s what this was about, wasn’t it??? Goddammit! “Do you mind me asking why you closed it?” Well, do you mind me answering in a super-sarcastic manner? I mean, I’d been working really hard to be as nice as I could the entire time we were dealing with this dude, and NOW he wanted to push me to the bitchy side? I did my best to hold it together…

“No, it’s just the interest the bank offers isn’t worth me putting my money into it at all. It’s pretty much a total waste.”

He looked a little taken aback. Again, I guess they’re used to dealing with total idiots in there, or something? I’m not sure. “Have you heard of our Keep the Change savings plan?” I don’t know, dude…the commercials were pretty much run 24/7 on every goddammed channel around 2 years ago when you started it. And every couple of months, I get an invite to start one up when I login to my online banking, but I’m an idiot, right? So you’d better tell me what I’m missin’!

“I have a savings account with ING online. They’re able to give me far more interest than you guys have, even with the decline in the economy. Sorry!”

“Oh, is that one of those internet banks?”

“Yeah. One of those.” Trying. not. to let. eyes roll…And doesn’t he work in a place where it’s a good idea to know who the competition is? It’s shocking to me that people don’t know what ING is, at this point. I’ve been with them for 6 years now. So it’s hard for me to keep perspective on it all.

“They don’t have any overhead, so they can do that sort of thing,” Silly Name said. Justify it however you want, buddy…they’re still able to give me exponentially more in interest every month/year, so I don’t care what you tell yourself to help you sleep at night.

“Mm-hmm…no overhead. Ok, so there’s nothing else we need to sign here?”

“You can get the Keep the Change account for free, because of our agreement with your employer…” Good GOD. He’s still trying? “And we’ll match up to $250 in deposits per year.”

“Wow…$250, huh? Ok, something to think about. Thanks for the tip.” I admit, I was being sarcastic at first. But then I started actually thinking about how taking any money from my bank for free is kinda stupid to pass up. Maybe I should join the program after all! I like round numbers in my checkbook…

So Silly Name sort of succeeded after all. But I finally told him I really needed to get back to work, and if he would please let us escape from torturous bank hell, it’d be smiled upon by Jesus, no doubt, and we were able to leave.

Fucking salespeople.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

It must be so much *fun* to be a fraud. /sarcasm

Last week, I was reviewing my Amex bill online through a small space in my fingers (I was scared of the total I had racked up in February, thanks to the Vegas trip and all!), and I found a few random charges that were from Amazon.com. I had ordered my South Beach Diet books from them at the beginning of the month, and when I did that, I entered the Amex number into my account for easy future ordering. It didn't seem like a big deal to me...I've had multiple Visa numbers in there over the years without issue.

But then I saw those random charges from Amazon for amounts totalling over $240, and I was all milka-whaaah...? So I called Amazon, and they told me that some dude I do not know in San Diego was using my card to have shit shipped to him. I told them I didn't authorize that at. all. and they said they'd launch a fraud investigation. (I also took a moment to delete all the card info I had saved in my Amazon.com account. Just in case.)

Then I called Amex, and went through the same discussion, and they reversed the charges and launched a fraud investigation of their own, and we cancelled the card it all happened on. The reversal happened pretty much immediately, which was nice to see.

Today, I went in to pay my February Amex bill, and saw that yet another charge from Amazon had been made at the end of February, but for some reason, it didn't show up until this billing cycle. It was for $230! FUCK to the NO! So I sent a note to Amazon this time, because getting things in writing is pleasing to me, and then I called Amex to have them add that charge to the investigation. (Unfortunately, someone also reversed the charge from Amazon for one of the books that I ordered back at the beginning of February, so I need to have that corrected too, I just realized. Shit.)

::sigh:: Where do people get off, is all I wonder. Criminal minds confuse me.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Updated kitchen pics, anyone?

Last I posted about the kitchen remodel, we had just started with the 1st coat of stain, and were trying to pick a new paint color for the walls. (Post is here.) I also did a teensy update when the countertops went in. (That post is here.) We've moved on from there, with the final coats of stain on the cabinets, new lighting installed, and floors installed as of yesterday.

Here's what the cabinets look like in their final coat of stain. I think they look pretty nice, but I still would advise against using birch for a project like this. Too much inadvertent striping is involved.
In this photo below, you can see the pantry that was installed and stained back when we did the addition on the house a year and a half ago. I think we used oak or maple for those cabinets. I can't remember. The lighting isn't helpful in this photo, because it makes them look like a bad match, but they actually look pretty good all together in real life.
After they were finished with staining the cabinets, it was time to replace the countertop and sink.
I loooooove it. Seriously, it's hard to describe just how awesome the sink is. It's really deep, and I love the black, and the fact that it's compsite granite means it really durable, and happy, happy, happy!

When they were done there, it was time to cover everything up, and start the ceiling. They drilled holes for the lighting, and put them in a really weird spot in the room, IMO. Two of them were fine...they're over by the oven and the sink, and look great. But the other two were on either side of where we're going to put our fan, which is a 52" number. So if we left them there, and had the fan on, it would create a strobe effect in the room. Nuh-uh. Not cool.
You can see what I'm talking about better in this photo. It was really hard to get good pictures of the lights due to the angles of the doorways in the room.Anyway, I felt super-bad about asking for them to be moved, but the contractor said it was no big deal. He drilled new holes exactly where I was picturing them to be in the first place, and now the lighting is perfect! We're just waiting on our pendant light we ordered for over the sink to be delivered this week, and we'll be good to go. (We were going to hang them ourselves, but the assistant to our contractor wound up asking if he could have our old oven when he found out we were planning on buying a new one after all. So in exchange for that, he's hanging the pendant and the ceiling fan for us now. Yay!) (I think he got a pretty good deal there, personally, but I was glad we could help him by giving him the oven...it was ugly, but it still worked just fine.)

This is the world of plastic that we've been living in for the past week...
It been very hard to prepare foods in that kitchen, lemme tell ya!
Then we had the floors installed yesterday! There was hardwood under half of the kitchen, which was weird, but apparently it was the old dining room in the house. Huh.
And here's the new floor! We love it!
As do the dogs!
Ok, Leo's coming to meet me for lunch, so that's all I have time for right now. Can't wait to update more as we get the backsplash in...it's happening today, apparently. Even though they aren't quite done with the ceiling. Whatever...I'm just happy with progress, dammit. :D

Monday, March 08, 2010

Can you beat the music?

Watching the Academy Awards last night, I was reminded of one of the things I hate about watching the awards ceremony every year. When groups of people were given awards, like for art direction or editing or what have you, and they all got up on stage to participate in the thank you speach, some of the groups would have a designated person speaking on behalf of the entire team. Which you've gotta love, because being prepared is a very important quality, I've found. It makes a person suck so much less when they're prepared, dammit.

But then there were the teams of people that, after the one person who got to the mic first was finished, would try to give their own little speach? Like with the best documentary winners? After Fisher Stevens had finished, and some other dude tried to say some words, and then there was an awkward 30 seconds where the Academy folks tried to usher them all off stage, and that dude continued to try to speak into the dead mic?

Really? Have they not watched the awards ceremony for the past, oh, 30 years? And seen that only ONE of them gets to talk? And that is IT? Because I know that, just as an observer every year, it's a trend that I've been able to pick up on pretty well myself. So should I ever be a part of a winning team at the Oscars, we should be on top of knowing how to handle the thank you speach, thanks to this little pet peeve of mine.

Also, Jeff Bridges? A little less pot, man. Just a suggestion.

Oh, and Sandra Bullock? Thank you for reminding me why I like you so damned much. MWAH!

Friday, March 05, 2010

That's one for the Baby Namer...

I just looked at my receipt for my salad that I picked up at Chipotle today for lunch, and saw that the check-out chick's name was Ludmila.

That's just mean, yo.

One more about Vegas...

Emaw has a post up right now about his overall hate for Vegas, since he happened to be there at the same time that I was last weekend. Weird timing, but he wasn't the only person I knew that was there the same weekend...I ran into a coworker and her husband returning from a trip they took out there to celebrate her husband's birthday, too. What can we say? It's a popular getaway for people from Kansas City.

I think this was my favorite part of his post:

"But the sight of bleary eyed, hungover, newly broke frat boys is comical compared to the poverty that you see if you drive 10 minutes from the Las Vegas strip. There, are people living in concrete block hovels (in the desert, mind you) just a mile or two from ostentatious water displays."

I think very few people take random side-trips off the strip, or off the 15, or any of the other main highways, to see how the people who basically run Vegas actually live. My family and I were out there to meet and discuss the family business, and in doing that, we had a chance on Friday afternoon to check out a couple of shopping centers that we own out there, about 15 minutes from the downtown/strip area.

I've been to Vegas and it's various surrounding parts many times in my life, since my older sister and her ex-husband used to live there when he was a marketing manager for a local casino many years back. It's no different from the area of California that I grew up in, and what it turned into in the few years after we moved away from the place I was born. Parts of it are very nice...million dollar homes are successfully sold with relative speed, while other newer construction can be found (according to the Pesimistic Cabby we had on Saturday afternoon) for rockbottom prices on one side of town. There's also a fair amount of rundown housing, old shopping centers, and houses surrounded by odd little gates that apparently are built to make it hard for a little person to rob them...it was all very normal to me, so I wasn't all that surprised by it.

The first property my brother took us to was kind of a mess. Tenants are moving out in the middle of the night to escape their leases. The cameras that were set up on the building to deter criminal activity were stolen within a week of being placed there. The back alley is full of tumble weeds, and I feel really sorry for the person that has to clean them up, because they have those thorny things on 'em, and they were half the height of the building, and that's just gonna suck. We're on our way to being rid of that location, though, so hopefully, the new owners will be able to bring it back to it's former glory. (Eh-em. Whatever that may be!)

The 2nd property we went to visit was much more bustling. Mostly full tenant-wise, it has a grocery store, and a large well-known retailer in it as anchors. And a Taco Bell on one side of the parking lot, which generally guarantees a level of success in an area of town like that.

But it's located directly next to a park that has a group of drug dealers/users and homeless people living in it. People who, before we put up a fence, would routinely manage their drug deals on the edge of our parking lot, and would use the bushes and dumpster by Taco Bell as a toilet. According to my brother, the fence he installed stopped all that from happening. Which is nice.

We have 24 hour security on the premises, because it's simply required there. Unfortunately, that security can only do so much, and other precautions need to be taken with regards to the dumpsters around the back of the buildings...when we were there, there were 4 of them in various locations around the rear of the stores. Our brother explained that when they keep them within the confines of the secured dumpster corral walls, they have dead bodies dumped in them. After the 4th body was discovered, they went ahead and rolled the dumpsters out into the open. No more dead bodies! (Which is a nice change, if ever there was one.) (Kinda makes me wonder where the bodies are being dumped now, though. Hmm....)

It's an ugly part of town, but every town has one. Hell, there are even parts of Overland Park that manage to surprise me when I run across them!

Vegas isn't all pretty, that's for damned sure. And I agree with what Emaw says about the overwhelming amount of ridiculous architecture on the strip, and how crazy it's all gotten over the years. My sisters and I were remembering our trips out there years ago, when it seemed like the drive to the airport took quite a while because it was so far from everything. This trip, the room I stayed in on Thursday night overlooked the runways.

But people need and want a place like that to visit. I'm not so keen on the gambling aspect of it all, but the nice rooms, spas, and restaurants are definitely welcome in my world! I'm not sure it's the worst city EVAR, though, is the thing. I can see why someone would feel that way, but still...it just isn't. (Maybe a visit to Bakersfield, CA, or someplace like that might help put some perspective on that view!) It's just another place where people go to play. And that, in turn, leads to commerce and jobs and a churning economy. It is what it is. I don't think it's as evil as Emaw makes it out to be...

Maybe he shoulda come over to our hotel for the spa treatments on Saturday morning! That could've changed his mind, I bet.

Happy weekend, everyone. I'll post more photos of the kitchen progress next week. This week, there just wasn't much going on. Hopefully, that's being remedied today, and on Monday, the floors are getting done! WOOT!

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Being grumpy doesn't count, right?

Last night, I had the opportunity to volunteer at an event that hosted Dr. Benjamin Carson as a guest speaker for the evening. He was warm and funny and very interesting to listen to...I'm really glad I had the chance to be there.

Unfortunately, one of the things he made the entire room promise to do was to make an effort to be nice to everyone, in every case, for the next week.

My coworker was standing next to me...I looked over at her with a scowl on my face and whispered, "How the hell am I gonna do THAT?" I didn't raise my hand to take the pledge, but then Dr. Carson said, "If you're next to someone who doesn't have their hand up, kick them!" My coworker hissed at me to put my hand up, and pulled back her foot in preparation...so I went ahead and pledged to be nice. (Dammit.)

Once my hand was in the air, Dr. Carson said, "You need to be nice to your spouse, too..." Aw, MAN!

I warned my coworker on the way out to the garage that I would be venting any frustrations that get built up on her, since she was witness to my pledge. She said she could take it! I hope she knows what she's getting herself into.

So if I'm nicer than usual around here or on your blog for the next week, don't worry...I haven't been body-snatched! I just took a pledge. To be nice. (Ick! Blech! Ptoo!!! GAH!)

Maybe you should, too. Go and check out Dr. Carson's website. Truly an inspiring, smart, caring man. (Maybe if I donate some money, I can be mean again starting on Saturday...hmm...)

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Did we eat Vegas, or did Vegas eat US? You decide...

While we were in Vegas, it was more important to us that we get to eat at some amazing restaurants than it was for us to do anything else. I looked up some places on LasVegasRestaurants.com, and found the list of the top 20 restaurants according to their website, which is based on feedback from the diners that ate at them. A few weeks ago, Fleur de Lys was #1 on that list, so I checked it out. It’s Hubert Keller’s restaurant (the original is out of San Francisco, apparently), and I loooove Hubert. Love, love, LOVE. So that was an obvious choice.

I didn’t make any other reservations ahead of time, because I just couldn’t decide where else to go. My family and I were planning on eating at Mesa Grill (Bobby Flay’s restaurant) on Thursday night, so that got crossed off my list. But besides that, and my reservation for Fleur de Lys, I left everything up to a more fly-by-the-seat-of-our-pants philosophy.

We wound up eating at Border Grill on Saturday for lunch, and then that night, we went to Rick Moonen’s restaurant rm seafood for dinner. (Oh, and on Friday, we ate at a little random café in the hotel called Red, White, and Blue, where they had a relatively run of the mill turkey burger, but some of the BEST tater tots I’ve ever had. YUM!)

So here’s a little play-by-play of the restaurants, and what I personally thought of them…and just to warn you, I am a wordy bitch, especially when it comes to one of my three favorite loves (food, sleep, and television, FYI). This is not short and sweet, by any means...

Mesa Grill – Thursday night

Basics: This restaurant is located in Caesars Palace, off of their casino floor. It was full up with everything from the average tourist, to the Ed Hardy t-shirt wearing toolbags that had a piece of scantily-dressed arm candy hanging off of them. We were seated at a table next to a server station. You would think that might’ve garnered us some pretty decent service, but…

Service: Sucked a lil’ bit. We sat there for a good 5 minutes looking over our menus before we called out to a manager-looking dude leaning on the server station, and asked if we could please get some water. A couple of minutes later, our server came and took our drink orders. Apparently, they must contract out the drink order work to a different person who gets them from the bar. It took a good 10 MORE minutes for me to get my vodka soda, and my older sister to get her champagne. In the meantime, someone that appeared to be a sommelier had come over to help my brother and other older sister to pick a wine. They apparently thought they had chosen a blend. But when she brought it to the table, it was a straight up cabernet. Huh.

When they brought our appetizers (the Twin and I had ordered a standard baby romaine salad that had chorizo in it, and was really pretty tasty), the waiter or expediter who brought my brother’s soup and our older sister’s salad was distracted by another server walking by at the same time. The Twin and I watched in horror as he almost dumped the soup on our brother, but managed to get it to the table just in time to save us all from that kind of mess. And then he set my sister’s salad off to her right, on the edge of the table. And walked away. Again…huh. The Twin leaned over to me and said, “Did you just see what happened there?” I said I did. It was a little disconcerting, is all.

Food: Again, I started with that baby romaine salad, which was pretty darned good. The only issue I had was when I ate some of the chorizo, I was all, “Are there cut up hot dogs on here?” The Twin reminded me of the chorizo. I don’t remember chorizo tasting like hot dogs the last time I had it, but whatev. Over all, it was a decent salad.

For dinner, I ordered the grilled lamb porterhouse chops, and it seemed like I made one of the better decisions at the table. They were fuckin’ AMAZING. Cooked perfectly, deliciously seasoned…I was very happy. I can’t remember what my siblings ate, aside from my brother getting a side dish of Brussels sprouts. (We’re a big Brussels sprouts family…not sure why!) They were fabulous. He was nice enough to share with all of us, which was awesome of him.

Overall Score: B+ Had the service been better and more on point, I’d have given the place an A. But service is big for me. I don’t think I’m alone on that one, either.

Fleur de Lys – Friday night

Basics: This restaurant is located on a quieter side of the casino at Mandalay Bay, where a bunch of other higher end restaurants are also located. It is really beautiful, inside and out. We had earlier reservations, so the place kind of filled up around us. But we were still able to speak in relatively soft voices throughout our meal. (Unlike the more boisterous atmosphere in Mesa the night before.) We got a little dressed up for our dinner there, and we fit in pretty well with the other diners.

Service: Our waiter was effing awesome. It was like we were the only table he had all night long, he paid so much attention to us! We took a little while to decide on our order, and when we were ready he appeared as if from no where, all set to get our order from us. He advised us to order a soufflé in advance if we were planning on having it for dessert, since they take a bit to make. And he was really well-timed with our wine, both with dinner and dessert. He deserves a round of applause, really. ::golf clap::

Hubert Keller happened to be at the restaurant that night, so that was fun to see. He visited a couple of tables, but mostly stayed in the kitchen while we were there. He was in a chef coat, and had his hair back, so maybe he was even doing some cooking. Maybe he made some of OUR food! ::gasp!:: That’d be so freaking cool.

Food: Ok, we were planning on splurging for this dinner, mind you. The prices aren’t listed on their online menu, so I’ll try to ballpark it for you guys, in case anyone plans on going there in the future and gets sidelined by the cost of the food. On their website through the hotel, it averages the dinner prices at about $82/person. That makes sense, I guess, IF you don’t have any wine or drinks or dessert at all. I don’t know about you all, but we like to have wine when we go out for fancy dinners. (Hell, we like to have wine at un-fancy dinners!) That said, I think the cheapest bottle of red on their menu ran about $45? Maybe? Anyway, we ordered an $80 bottle, I think it was, and we were very happy with it. But there goes our average right there.

We started with the braised veal and Yukon gold potato ravioli. It was the perfect starter portion, and it was so, soooo good. (I think it was about $18.) We also had the trio of Hudson Valley foie gras, which included a seared piece, a smoked duck terrine, and a “cappuccino” of foie gras, which, I don’t know how they pull it off, but is basically liquid foie gras in a glass. Topped with a foie gras foam. And then gently sprinkled with some porcini dust, I wanna say it was? I can’t remember exactly what kind of mushroom it was. Just, I wish I could drink that every day for breakfast, dammit. That is all. (Oh, and it was $32, if I recall correctly.)

Leo then had the chorizo wrapped Suzuki sea bass. It came with a barley risotto, and a flavorful sauce. He seemed to enjoy it, until I mentioned my chorizo tasting like hot dog at dinner the night before. After that, all he could taste was the hot dog smokiness. (I’m such an asshole!) But he finished his sea bass, and I had a bite that was absolutely delicious, so it was definitely a good dish. ($47? I think…)

But nothing could measure up to the wonderfulness that was my surf & turf I’d decided to order. They had a butter poached lobster on the menu, and that was going to be my choice until I saw that the surf and turf paired some butter poached lobster with a filet. It also came with asparagus, which isn’t my favorite, but I was willing to give it a go for ol’ Hubert. ::wink wink::

Dear LORD, my food was amazing. I can’t even describe it properly with words that exist. It was fabuliciousderfulgasmic, if that helps at all. The steak was cooked perfectly to my medium rare request. The lobster was buttery and sweet and savory yumminess all rolled into a nice little bit of claw and tail piece. The asparagus was peeled and even I liked it the way it was prepared! And it all came with a delicious mushroom sauce and a potato puree that was creamy and smooth and helped perfect the plate.

Did it cost me $79? Why yes…yes it did. AND IT WAS WORTH EVERY PENNY, GODDAMMIT. I would pay for it weekly if my checkbook and my cholesterol could handle it!

Then we had the chocolate soufflé for dessert, which was served with a hot chocolate ganache poured into the center at our table, as well as a small scoop of mocha ice cream. A wonderful way to finish off a perfect dinner, IMO. I cannot remember how much it cost, for the life of me. I didn’t see it on the menu, though…the waiter mentioned it, and it was what we wanted for dessert, so that was that. It was probably $20? Or so?

Oh, and that waiter got a 23% tip from me, dammit. He was awesome, and deserved it.

Overall score: A+, no question.

Border Grill – Saturday lunch

Basics: Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger are the Too Hot Tamales, originally made “famous” around the country because they were a couple of the first personalities to have a show on The Food Network. I knew them before that, because my oldest sister liked to get our family out and about to different random restaurants when I was growing up, and a couple of them were Mary Sue’s and Susan’s. My all time favorite was called City, which was a big warehouse type place, if I’m recalling it correctly, and I just felt so grown up and fancy when we went to eat there. (They also served their dry condiments, like salt and pepper, in little flat dishes on the table instead of in shakers. I liked to collect those as momentos of our trips to City back then. Yep…I was a klepto. I blame my parents. Because…why not? Likely it was their fault somehow.) We also used to go to Border Grill back when it was on LaCienega, or somewhere. Now it’s in Santa Monica. Whatever. Places move. It’s been 20 freaking years, so I guess a level of change should be expected.

This Border Grill is in a spot overlooking the pool area at Mandalay Bay. The hosts were quick to seat us, which was a good thing, because we were both ravenous after a full morning of spa treatments that hadn’t allowed time for breakfast. I’d managed to chomp on some of the mixed nuts and raisins they had offered me in the spa while I waited for my pedicure, but other than that, I was on empty, and I was verging on the Evil Bitch coming out for a visit. They delivered some chips and 3 kinds of salsas to our table right away, and we commenced with the food plowing.

We had decided to sit outside, though, which turned out to be a mistake. There were these little birds out there that were hopping around, twisting their heads to look at us as if to say, “Please sir, I’d like some chips. I’m so ‘ungry and pitiful, you see.” (They had a cockney accent, like most cute, little birds do.) Leo was calling them rats, and shooing them away, but initially I was all, “Aw! Lookit the cute!” But there were only 2 of them then. As more people arrived to sit on the patio, so the birds multiplied as well. Pretty soon, we had a little symphony of the chirping going on, and they were wandering around seeing if anyone was dropping food on the floor for them.

Unfortunately, Vegas is filled with idiot tourists. And some of these idiot tourists, as luck would have it, were dining with us that very afternoon. A couple of dudes at the tables around us started tossing the birds food. (Why is it always the stupid men? What is WRONG with you guys, anyway?) Things like sugar cubes, and whole chips that were the size of the freaking birds themselves. I guess they thought it was funny? They might need to get out more, is my decision on that matter.

We happened to be sitting right under a little ledge where these fluffball flying mice liked to sit and watch for food to grab at, and they had apparently spent a lot of time up there…a lot of time shitting. On a fan. (Heh.) Which, when they fluttered around it, would drop all the dried bird shit onto our table. So we moved over to the table next ours instead. It was a table for 4 that could be split into a table for 2…so we were just taking advantage of space that was ours already, anyway.

This managed to keep us from getting flakey bits of bird shit in our drinks and on our food, thank goodness. (Because THAT’S not unsanitary at all, Milliken and Feniger! C’mon!) But about halfway through our lunch, something suddenly fell from above, directly into Leo’s water glass. Someone behind us called out, “Oh my God, it dropped the sugar cube into his water! Hahahahaha!” Yeah, funny. But seriously, one of those little buggars had totally managed a direct hit into Leo’s water with that fucking sugar cube. It was nuts.

That’s what lunch was like, on the basic level. ::raises eyebrows::

Service: The server was great. No complaints, except for their not noticing the fact that a mountain of fresh and dried bird shit was located above our table, and probably isn’t the best place to serve people food.

Food: We started with a smoked chicken tamale, because Leo couldn’t stop salivating over it when he saw it. It wasn’t big enough for an entrée portion, the server warned him, so we ordered it as a starter, and shared it. It was very good.

Leo ordered the Tecate Carnitas for his entrée, and it came with a giant flour tortilla. I suggested he tear it off into pieces to eat with bits of the carnitas, but instead, he wrapped all his plate components into a tight burrito. It was cool!

I ordered the chicken chilaquiles. I thought I knew was a chilaquile was, but it turns out I was wrong. It was basically a plate full of nachos drowned in (delicious, but very rich) cheese sauce and what seemed to be a tomatillo salsa. YUM! But, I was already full from the chips on the table. Because I’m an idiot like that. But hey, at least I wasn’t stupid enough to feed the damned birds. ::gives side-eye to stupid, stupid tourist men and their wives that clearly have no control over them behaving like 10 year olds::

Overall score: A-, and we’ll sit INSIDE next time we’re given the option, thanks.

Saturday afternoon, after watching KU bite the dust against OSU (::cries::), we decided to walk around and check out other hotels and parts of the strip. My pedicurist had suggested we get over to something new called the City Center, where they have a few hotels all linked together by shopping and stuff. We walked through the mall walkway thing between our hotel and Luxor before getting in a cab, though. The mall was fine. I bought a couple of cute scarves at Urban Outfitters, but they didn’t have any jeans that would fit Leo, so we headed back out and into the other hotel, where we were physically assaulted, just about, by the salespeople they have trolling the floors there. GAH. I HATE salespeople! The crowds on Thursday and Friday were much more manageable to my semi-agoraphobic nature, so by the time the people-explosion happened on Saturday, I had been lulled into a false sense of “wow, Vegas is really pretty cool, and not like an amusement park at all!” It was disconcerting, and it only got worse at the lower end hotels we visited. So we high-tailed it outta Luxor, grabbed a cab with Smokey Joe, a.k.a. Depressed Cabby with a Crappy Outlook on Life That He Wants to Share With Passengers, and headed over to the high end mall there called Crystals. It had a Louis Vuitton, Tiffany & Co, Bally, Bvlgary, Cartier, Tom Ford, and a place called Assouline, which just seemed like a really stupid name for a place if you assk me, as well as loads of other places that normal people can’t afford to shop in. But we didn’t feel stupid just wandering around (ok, a little stupid in Louis Vuitton, but at Tom Ford, the salespeople were really nice to us!), and having a looksie at the prices on stuff. It was fun. Then we wandered over to Aria hotel, and found our way to a restaurant there called American Fish to sit at the bar and have a glass of wine. I was kinda sorry I was still so full from lunch, because I’m betting a snack there would’ve been delicious. The service was great, and the wine I chose was perfect. Happy and rested, we headed back to the hotel to relax and change for dinner.

Rick Moonen’s rm Seafood – Saturday night

Basics: Rick Moonen was a contestant on the 1st season of Top Chef Masters with Hubert Keller. He didn’t go as far as Hubert, but he seemed like a great, inventive chef, and we really liked his overall personality on the show. So seeing that he, too, had a restaurant in the Mandalay Bay hotel really was a pleasant surprise. We wound up eating in the more casual part of the restaurant (there’s an upstairs level that’s more dressy, but the lower level is more jeans and a nice shirt kinda place) because I was craving sushi, and Leo wanted a bunch of oysters. The lower level menu was perfect for all that.

Service: The service sucked. It was just plain bad. The waiter was nice, when we saw him, but he didn’t get out to our table to greet us until we’d been sitting there for about 5 minutes. And then it took FOREVER to get the wine served. And even though there were different people who brought out the food to our table, apparently the waiter was too busy to check on us at all throughout our meal. When we were done, he asked if we wanted dessert. We were much too full, so we declined, and told him we wanted to just finish our wine as dessert. Then he disappeared again. For like 15 minutes. ::raised eyebrow:: At this point, Rick Moonen had emerged from someplace, and was visiting tables around us. He was over at a neighboring table when our waiter reappeared, deciding it was time to visit them again, shaking all of their hands. (???) Then he came over to our table and asked us if we wanted coffee or anything. Um, NO. We kinda already told you we’re done. Please bring our check! (But we were nicer about it, I swear. This is just how frustrated I was about it in my head.) So he left again, and brought out the check…for the table NEXT to ours! AUUGGHH! Will we EVER be allowed to leave rm Seafood??? GOD! Finally, we were allowed to leave. We were walking out the door at the same time that Rick was walking to the hostess area, so we told him we really enjoyed our dinner. He appreciated us coming, he said. He was nice, but I think he’s one of those people that don’t know how to handle the fame they brought upon themselves. Oh well…at least he wasn’t a dick.

Food: (Seriously, this post is LONG. I’m very sorry!) One of the reasons why we liked the idea of this place for dinner was because of the incredibly wide-ranged menu offerings. It was still a small menu, but it had everything from a raw bar selection to a great selection of seafood and meat dishes for dinner, along with an awesome sounding collection of side dishes that could be ordered. And then there was an entire sushi side to the menu…I had some of that. It was very good, and totally hit the spot. I ordered standard nigiri sushi, and then a special garlic tuna nigiri, along with a roll called the “futo-fireball roll”. It had a really perfect amount of heat to it through the spicy tuna it had on top. I loved it!

Leo started with the oyster menu sampler, which allowed him one of each of the oysters on their special oyster menu. Then he moved on to have the wild cobia and Niman Ranch pork belly, which was served with braised white beans. I’ve never had pork belly, so that was fun to try. The cobia had a texture similar to halibut. Very mild fish, and it was perfectly cooked. Leo really enjoyed it.

Overall Score: B- That waiter just sucked so, so much, and for no apparent reason. The food was outstanding, but the service just wrecked it for us, unfortunately.

Sunday, we flew home after eating breakfast in our room. Mandalay Bay serves an authentic and homemade corned beef hash, in case you’re wondering. That’s what I had before leaving. Leo had a brioche French toast, and wished he had ordered hash, too, because he’d had it on Friday morning when he arrived, and had loved it a lot! Funny thing is, I think I prefer the kind out of a can! Hahaha! I offered him my leftovers, because I didn’t eat much other than my eggs and toast, but he didn’t want it. Whatever.

We really enjoyed our eating tour of Vegas. I think we need to make a go of doing something like this every year, actually. Last year, we spent a few days of eating and visiting in San Diego in February. This year, it was Vegas. Maybe next year, we can hit up New Orleans, or something. That’d be fun!

Let me know if you have any questions. If you’ve stuck with this post this long, that is!

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

NASCAR weekend + Vegas = pretty much the best peoplewatching you'll ever get a chance to do.

So. Vegas. Or really, VEGAAAASSSS!!! It was a fun trip we had. We would go back again, gladly. Most everyone there is striving to make you happy, no matter what, and I tend to like that attitude in a person.

I flew out on Thursday…barely. Leo and I had gone to work out in the morning before my flight, and my reward for working out was a Diet Coke from Quik Trip. I slid my wallet into my pocket of my coat for easy use, and then left it there when I popped the coat in the closet once we got home. After a whirlwind of showering, finishing packing, and making sure I remembered my birth control pills (a Vegas baby is NOT on my “to do” list right now!), we were out the door in relative good time. I got to the airport about an hour before my flight, which was perfect. I went to check in, and…oh shit. Where’s my wallet?

Um, that would be in the CLOSET in my mutherfucking COAT POCKET, thankyouverymuch!

FUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUCK!

So I call Leo. He wasn’t flying out to join me until Friday morning. I told him to speed up, and get my wallet from the closet. He did. I called every 10 minutes to ask, “So where are you now?” because I just couldn’t stand around and do nothing while I waited. Reading didn’t work. Playing with the internet on my phone didn’t work. NOTHING WOULD GET MY MIND OFF THE FACT THAT I WAS A ROYAL DUMBASS. I hate being a royal dumbass!

Leo made it with 5 minutes to spare. I raced through security as well as anyone can “race” though security, and got on the plane, which it appeared they were holding for me. Nice!

A middle seat in the exit row was available, and I sat in it, baby. I was next to a pretty young dude who was in the window seat, and who turned to me after his 2nd vodka drink in 1.5 hours to alert me to the fact that “it’s getting warmer out there!” as he held his hand to the window. I told him that it must be the sun on it, because it can get pretty cold at 35,000 feet! (And also? We were likely over Utah. Not much warmer there than it is in Kansas, really.) He was sweet. His breath? Was atrocious. Gah. (Tip to those of you who like to substitute food with a vodka/Red Bull, or even just a Coke or a plain ol’ Red Bull, or whatever: that makes your breath smell AWFUL. Srsly. Get some gum if you do that. Or, I dunno, EAT A SAMMICH! FFS…) I have to admit there was a teensy part of me that worried he might throw up all the liquid he was ingesting as he downed a Bud Light that capped off our flight together, though. He’d been given drink tickets by the airline, for some reason, and by gum, he was gonna use them! ALL AT ONCE!!! In less than 2.5 hours! Crazy bastid…

We stayed at the Mandalay Bay, which is a really lovely hotel. They pipe in some gardenia-type scent throughout the lobby, which made me love it more. The views we had from our suite made me love it even MORE more. And the fact that pretty much every restaurant I wanted to eat at were on the casino level? Topped off the icing on the hotel cake. It was perfect, really.

The only issue was that this one weekend that we chose to be there…this one time in many, many years that we chose to visit…also happened to be the only time of the year that a big NASCAR race is happening in town. Awesome in some ways, and not so awesome in others. Unfortunately, the only pictures I managed to get were boring ones, and I didn't get any of things like the NASCAR fans who thought that letting their 3 year old push the buttons on the slot machine would be fun, or the couple that we saw walking through the casino in matching NASCAR jackets, or the women dancing in one part of the casino in sparkly and oh-so-skimpy bikinis…so I suck. Sorry!

I’ll post more tomorrow about the food experiences that we had while we were there. They truly deserve a post all their own. Because Leo and I weren’t into seeing any shows, or even gambling much at all. What did we want to do? EAT. And eat we did. Can’t wait to tell you all about it!

Monday, March 01, 2010

NEW COUNTERTOP!!!

Sorry for the all caps, but I'M TOO EXCITED!

::runs around in circles, squeeing for joy!::