The Longest Week of My Life

Can I just tell you that I am glad last week is over? I can breathe again. Not that I didn’t have a nice holiday. I did. My whole family got together at my sisters for Thanksgiving and we had a great time. See?

(You can see the rest of the pictures over here.) But the whole holiday ended up with a black cloud hanging over it. My dad called me last Wednesday to let me know he couldn’t make it over that night, like we had planned. He sounded kinda weird so I asked him if he was ok, to which he replied he didn’t know yet. So I asked him where he was and he said in the hospital. Hello?! In the HOSPITAL?! Apparently his arm had been going numb (yes, the left one) and his chest had kinda hurt him a little. He didn’t think anything of it, but passed it off as indigestion and sleeping on his arm wrong. In a normal situation, this would be understandable. Except this situation is far from normal. Several years ago my dad had a major heart attack which ended in a quadruple bypass. Now ya see why I was worried?

So everyday Simeon and I went over and spent a few hours in the hospital sitting with my dad. And when we weren’t at the hospital we were calling to make sure he was ok. He didn’t need a bypass this time, but they did go in via his leg for a little “look around” in his heart. He ended up having an angioplasty and they placed a stent in his heart. For my dad, this was an old hat. This was his fourth stent. But it all worked out for the best. He was released from the hospital on Sunday and we took him home to rest. He was forced to take the week off from work and I loaned him a lot of DVDs to keep him busy.

Whew. On top of all that, Simeon and I had decided to paint our kitchen/dining room/entry area. Remember back in July when we did the new flooring? Yeah, well we have yet to put molding back up because we wanted to paint first. So this weekend was suppose to be that time. It was the first weekend, not to mention four day weekend, where we didn’t really have anything planned. Boy, did that not work out! I guess that old adage, “when man makes plans, God just laughs” really fits here, eh? So in between frantic calls to/from my siblings, trips to the hospital, and unexpected visits from our friends, we managed to paint.

But as bad things tend to happen in groups, we ended up not liking the paint color. We picked “Covered Wagon” as the color because it was a warm neutral color that wasn’t gonna show dirt or puppy evidence, plus it matched our existing stuff. But once we got it up, it looked like a totally different color on every wall we painted. Seriously. It was brown in the dining room, pink in the kitchen, and orange in the hallway. Not. Cool. So I called in my big sis for some decorating advice and she helped me pick a couple new colors that would tie it all in together. Here’s to hoping it works. Since the color we painted was so dark, we needed to primer the walls before painting the new colors. And the tinted primer was, or course, a lovely shade of pink. But I think Sim said it best, “At least it’s not orange anymore!” So I get to live in chaos for a few more days while the painting wraps up. I’ll post more pictures when we finish. In the mean time, enjoy the transitions from white to pinkish-brownish-orange to purpley-pink over here!

Oy vey. So the stress of the last week finally caught up to me yesterday and landed me in bed with a migraine. I guess some things just can’t be avoided. Oh well, I have to say I really enjoyed the 16 hours of sleep yesterday. Now I hope things settle down for awhile. Knock on wood for me, ok?

The San Francisco Treat

Ok, so we made it back safe and sound. We even had a really great trip. Sorry to leave you with all the bad images in your heads. But by the time I wrote that last post all the misery was basically forgotten. Now on to the good stuff:

When in San Francisco one must do all the fun touristy things, right? Absolutely! Despite the fact that I was flying solo during the day, I decided to be a big girl and go adventuring on my own. It’s not so scary in the nice parts of town!

I walked from our hotel down to Union Square (there is a mall there, how scary could that be?) and hopped on the Trolley. I toured San Francisco’s infamous Nobb Hill and winded my way down to the pier. It was the most beautiful day, like 80 degrees, with no wind or clouds in site. How unSan Francisco is that? I packed sweaters because, hello! it’s late November and it is suppose to be windy in the Bay Area. Yeah, not happenin’ while I was there.

Then I needed to slip in some shoppin’ so I went to Ghirardelli Square. Yeah, as in the chocolate company. Mmmmmmm. Free samples never tasted so good. I loaded up my purse with all the candy I could hold and swore I would not eat any without Sim (you better believe I made him sit down so we could devoured some as soon as he finished training!) and tried to decide what to do next. I pulled out the handiest tourist map EVER and realized how much ground I had already covered. And it was only noon. So I decided I wanted to walk across the Golden Gate Bridge.

So I took a bus all the way to the point and wandered around the Golden Gate Park. Then, after grabbing a bottle of water (and a quick trip to the restroom), I set across the bridge.

Then I was totally exhausted (not to mention very hot), so I decided to call it quits for the day and head back to meet Simeon. The next day I ventured out and decided to take the trolley again, with every intention of getting off and exploring China Town. But for some reason I couldn’t resist the pull of the pier and headed down there for lunch. While I was eating I kept looking towards the bay. Finally I decided to buy a ticket, jump on a boat, and take a tour of Alcatraz.

There is far too much to tell you about here, because I get so excited and go on and on and on. But all I can say is I highly recommend it. I had a blast and thought it was the most fascinating place. Even by myself. And that is saying a lot. So if you are ever in San Fran and have a couple hours to kill, do the tour. You won’t regret it. (But if you are really curious, I took a million pics to share with Sim cause he couldn’t go with me.)

That evening I took Simeon out to share a little bit of San Francisco with him. I couldn’t let his entire vacation be inside a classroom. So I made him ride the trolley with me. All the way to China Town….

…which was quite creepy. So we only walked in a few blocks and decided that was enough for us. And we got back on the fun, touristy trolley.

During the couple evenings we were in San Francisco we met up with some local friends of ours (thanks Rob and Kristen!!) who took us out to dinner at the Fisherman’s Grotto and for drinks at the Buena Vista; birthplace of the Irish Coffee. We even caught a show while we were in town: Cirque Du Soleil “Corteo” which Simeon was dying to see. You can check out the rest of the pictures from our trip in the San Francisco and San Francisco II galleries. Sorry there is a ton, but I hope you can enjoy them and, if nothing else, live vicariously through me!

God Bless the Ramada Inn

So here I am bloggin’ from San Francisco. Pretty cool, huh? While Sim is geeking it up at a training-something-or-other, I am being a little princess and doing absolutlely nothing. You all envy me now, dontcha? Well, don’t turn into a green-eyed monster too quickly, it didn’t start out this good….

Let me go back to the beginning. Sim and I had a great flight; quick, early even and most importantly, uneventful. Just the way I like it. Then we got onto the SF version of the monorail (not sure what the call it exactly, but you get the point) to take us to BART. So far so good. We took BART to the exit nearest the hotel we were staying in for the next few days. At this point both Sim and I are starting to get tired (travelling, no matter how far, really wears me out) but still in good moods. The night is warm, the air is crisp, and we are on vacation, dammit! It doesn’t get any better. Yeah, well, as it turned out, we thought it too soon. We knew the BART stop is only a few blocks from the Howard Johnson we reserved. Down two and over three or something simple. Not far enough to worry about getting a cab or anything. Except that once we went “down two” we were suddenly in not the best neighborhood. And that is putting it nicely. I think the highlight of the walk was navigating my rolling suitcase around a used maxi-pad on the sidewalk. I kid you not. Ewww.

At this point I am starting to look at every person as a mugger and wonder if, presented with the situation, I could take ’em. Drunk people are staggering by and I swear I saw an actual prostitute. It’s right about this time that Sim mentions he doesn’t have the actual address for the hotel and wanted to make sure we are on the right street. He tries to call Nick to pull up their website because Sim’s Internet-accessible phone doesn’t want to load the hotels page. No answer. I ask him to call 411. After a few moments (and several would-be-muggers passing me by) they connect him to the Howard Johnson near the airport. Yeah, NOT the hotel we are staying at. Sim asks if they have the address for our hotel and they say no and hang up on him. Grrrreat. So back to 411. Only this time Sim mentions specific streets and asks by location. They tell him they have no such listing and good-bye. Once again, great customer service.

I am now trying to breathe and Sim is telling me he loves me. Not the best indication of things going well. So we back-track a little ways to a Starbucks which happens to be connected to a gas station. Pure class. Here, Sim whips out his laptop and connects it through his phone. Praise the Internet and all things holy, it WORKS. We pull up HoJo’s site and we are only a block and a half away.

So we drag our scared, grumpy asses to the hotel to find it is just about the worst dump I have ever seen. The lobby is locked and we have to be buzzed in. We open the doors and are over powered with the strongest, cheap cologne I have ever smelled. I think I literally gagged. The clerk mumbles a few words I can barely understand and we head up to our room. It’s up three flights of stairs and there is no elevator. Lovely. So I drag my bags behind me and open the door to our room. I think Sim mutters “the Motel 6 in Bellingham was better than this” and that is saying something. I sit on the very edge of the bed and do everything in my power not to cry.

Sim looks heart-broken and tells me to just tell him what I am thinking. So I say “we are in the ghetto, this place is a dump, and my skin is crawling. What do you want me to say?” (I know I am a total bitch. But what do you want from me?) So Sim once again busts out his laptop to check the cancellation policy for the hotel. If anything, we are resourceful. Since we didn’t book through the hotel, we weren’t sure what to do. Sim calls Alaska Airlines (we are on their frequent flyer plan, which includes hotels and such) to see what we need to do. They say they will take care of everthing and move our reservation to a different hotel. They ask if we have any in mind. I think of several we passed along the way before we got into the scary part of town, but we decide to go with the Ramada his friend recommended before we booked the trip. Why, oh why, didn’t we listen to him then? Because I am cheap and wanted to save a few bucks. Never again I tell ya. So the lovely people at Alaska saved the day and it only ended up costing us a lowsy $24. Can you believe it?

We ended up staying the night simply because it was too late to do anything else and Sim needed to be up in a few hours. This morning Sim went to his training and I check us out of the piece-of-crap hotel. I called a cab to take me to the Ramada because there was no way I was walking through the ghetto alone with all the luggage. Trust me, it was worth the $5 cab ride.

Now here I sit, surrounded by crystal chandeliers, marble pillars, Victoria furniture and all the free Wi-Fi I can handle. There is a doorman and a bell-hop for crying out loud. They have a restaurant AND a Starbucks in the looby! I ate brunch in their lovely bistro with crystal glasses and cloth napkins. All I can say is God bless the Ramada Inn for enabling me to be a total princess. But in all honestly, don’t you think I deserve it?

Happily Ever After

Yeah! Megan and Jason are married! Can you believe it? It’s been a long time coming, but they finally tied the knot. And it was absolutely gorgeous.

The ceremony was beautiful. Megan looked as stunning as ever and Jason was quite handsome!

Following the ceremony we all headed down to the Acadian Ballroom for the reception. When the newlyweds arrived they were announced as “Mr. and Mrs.” for the first time. Awwww.

When no one was looking I snuck over to the head table and snapped a couple pictures of the bouquet. It was just too pretty NOT to capture.

There were some lovely toasts made in Megan and Jason’s honor; the story of how everyone knew they were meant to be together before they even knew, about Megan and the infamous flowery shorts, and Jason’s father reading his tear-wrenching poem about how he finally got the daughter he always wanted.

The cake was absolutely amazing. It was beautiful, delicious, and poppy seed (which was fabulous, Megan, just like you said!). They were even very sweet in feeding each other .

But I have to say, my personal highlight of the evening was watching Megan and her uncle cut it up on the dance floor. Man, does that girl know how to shake that thang!

Just look at how happy they are! It is so perfect. So now they are married. And now they get to start on their “happily ever after.” Welcome to the club guys, being married is the best! You can see the rest of the pictures from their wedding in the gallery: Megan & Jason’s Wedding.

Things that are making me smile today:

1. This fabulous fall day. The air is crisp, the leaves are falling, and the sun is shining. It just doesn’t get any better than that.

2. They are actually moving back. For real. No joke. I am SO freakin’ excited!

3. The deck was a little icy today and my dogs ran out the doggy door and instantly looked like little drunken ice skaters. Very cute. (And no one was hurt, which is even better.)

4. It’s Wednesday, which means we are halfway through this week. It also means my friends are coming over tonight. I’m making calzones if anyone is interested.

5. Simeon and I are taking a little mini vacation next week to San Francisco. Leaving Monday, coming back Thursday. I think getting out of town for a few days is just what the doctor ordered.

6. Our friends Megan and Jason are getting married on Saturday and I am so excited for them to start their life together. That and I am really excited that we are gonna have more married couples in our group. Being married rocks, didn’t you all know that?!

7. Another one of our couple friends recently told us they are gonna have a baby (not sure if they want the whole world to know, or I would mention names)! And while I am insanely jealous, I am also very, VERY happy for them. I cannot wait until we ALL have babies! Yeah for babies!

Hmmmm….is there anything else I am forgetting? Probably. But I don’t want to scare the five of you that are actually reading this off with all the happiness. It’s just so unlike me to not be complaining. But don’t worry, I am sure it will pass….

Harry Potter Halloween Party

In following with my obsession with Harry Potter, and being heavily encouraged by all of our friends,
Simeon and I threw our Second Annual Harry Potter Halloween Party. It was a smashing success! I decorated the house in typical Halloween fashion, allowed the only source of light to come from candles, and made recipes inspired by the books. We strongly encouraged our friends to put on their finest Wizarding Robes and join in the fun.

Simeon was Igor Karkaroff, the Head of Durmstrang AND a former Death Eater. And I was the clumsy Auror, Nymphadora Tonks, who is a member of the Order of the Phoenix and just happens to also be a metamorphmagus (can change her appearance at will).

Heather came as Madam Rosmerta, the barmaid at the Three Broomsticks. She brought her adorable little pumpkin Emery with her as well. But don’t worry Emery, you won’t be used to make any Pumpkin Juice!

Megan and Jason came dressed as Ron and Hermione. Quite the perfect fit if you ask me! And what a cute couple they made at that!

Megan dressed as the drunken house elf, Winky, while Nick chose to be the sock-obsessed house elf Dobby.

Phil and Chelle decided to be visiting professors at Hogwarts; Marge & Homer Dar Vader (spoken with a German accent, of course) parents of little Darth Jacob.

Chloe dressed up as a funky witch and was rarely seen without her little pea-in-a-pod, Ayden.

Aaron was Stan Shunpike, the conductor of the Knight Bus.

Mitch and Jen came cleverly dressed as muggles so that no one would notice them. Mitch is a “personal trainer” and Jen is a coach. Well done on the disguises, guys!

And last, but not least, Little Miss Lindsay was dressed as an adorable little pig. You can see the rest of the pictures from the party in the gallery: Harry Potter Halloween Party. There are also a couple other new galleries. One of Megan’s HalloWEENIE Bachelorette Party and one of the Trick or Treaters from last night. Enjoy!