Monday, August 31, 2009

The Biggest Douche Bags Work at The Hilton

I'm going to try and make this short.

Scout and I are going to Chicago for the long weekend to see my grandparents (on my stepdad's side). However, before we drive to the tiny town of Sandwich, Illinois, we'll be staying in a hotel for two nights.

Hotels in Chicago are ridiculously expensive. A one-star rated Days Inn with terrible customer reviews is $93 per night. No thank you.

I called the Hilton because 1) It's in the airport; we fly in at almost one in the morning. I don't want to do any more traveling (shuttle bus/taxi/hitch hiking, etc) with a sleepy baby once I'm off the plane. 2) If I'm going to spend almost a hundred bucks for a hotel with rats and mold, why not upgrade to something that has a generally good reputation?

When I got a quote online at The Hilton, two nights came to $298. Normally that would make me ill, but after seeing the pieces of crap hotels for $250, the sticker shock wasn't as bad as I would have expected.

So I called to see if they offered military discounts. Santeesia (I'm totally guessing on the spelling of THAT name!) told me yes. Yay for discounts!

Okay. Ready for this? 

Price before military discount: $298. 
Price after military discount: $436.
Asking to speak to a manager: Pointless.

After being transferred twelve times, the phone was answered by yet another non-manager, but he wanted to see if he could help. 

I pointed out that a discount isn't a discount unless it's less than the regular rate!

"Yes, I understand that ma'am," he said, "but the finance office comes up with the rates based on information I'm not privy to".

I smartly replied that I always appreciate military discounts, but that asking a service member to pay more, regardless of who comes up with the rates, is a slap in the face rather than a benefit.

He offered to take twelve dollars off of the first night as a first-time courtesy. I looked over at my husband and said, "Hey babe! All your hard work has paid off! You've saved us $12! Hooah!" 

He raised his fist in victory and said, "Just book the room, babe."

The guy was completely irritated with me by the end of the call, which was never my intention. But really? He was a douche. And so are the finance guys at The Hilton who are privy to the information that determines "military" rates.

For the Grandparents

Drinking the dog water and saying, "Mmmm!":

Fishing with Dad (have I mentioned how beautiful it is here?):

Pure terror, due to an unfortunate event with a bird over the summer:

I can't even form words for this picture:

And I promise, he has more than one outfit; he's always wearing this one when we decide to take pictures:

Military Monday

One of the many things I love about Colorado Springs is the plethora of thrift shops. Sure, there were a couple of Goodwills in Killeen (and a great thrift store that ABW introduced me to, although 40 minutes or so away). But Colorado Springs has it all: Goodwill, Salvation Army, and ARC. 

On Mondays, ARC gives 50% military discounts, so we've been making a habit of going there (at least) once a week. Thrifting has become an obsession (in a healthy, rational way, of course).

A few weeks ago, Scout got a '63 record player in awesome condition for fifteen bucks. So now when we enter a thrift store, he heads right to the record section; he's gotten some awesome records for fifty cents!

Here are some of his finds from today (for a buck each!):

This one isn't too exciting, but I've been looking for one like it ($1.25 - heck yeah!):

And additions to my new collection. I jacked my mom's calendar hand towel from her Camp Fire Girl days, and since then I realize that I smile when I see them. When I found a jillion of these the other day, I bought them all. Then today, I found a few more (fifty cents each!):

I didn't find these today, but I've been scouring thrift stores for apothecary jars. I got all three of these for less than nine bucks total! I plan on doing something like this for for Halloween and Christmas. I'm still looking for more:

With tax, we spent $5.05 tonight and had a blast. It's the small things, really. 

Thursday, August 27, 2009

My New Love Affair

Are you in the market for new pots and pans? If so, I've got a recommendation for you.

We were in WalMart the other night when I saw these beauties. They are Paula Deen Nonstick Cookware. And they were under a hundred bucks. I have this new thing for anything blue, and thinking about all the crappy pots and pans (minus my two lovely Calphalon pans from my parents) I had to unpack made me sad. I figured I'd give them a shot, although I wasn't convinced they would be what I wanted (especially considering the price). Paula Deen has to be bad at something, right?

Well, she's not bad at pots and pans; these things are awesome! I haven't been cooking anything "real" yet, just Reubens, macaroni and cheese, and soup. But these pans cook evenly and clean up easily. When I actually get everything unpacked and I'm really cooking again, I think they will be just as wonderful.

But don't take my word for it. Read all the other reviews!

Hello and Growling

I always love hearing about the crazy things that other peoples' children do and say.

I often refer to Tucker as a mini crackhead; he does things out of the blue that make no sense and often make me laugh my guts out.

Just now, he was climbing all over Kansas. She lovingly growled at him, as if to say, "I will never hurt you, but I really want you OFF of me!". But Tucker stood his ground, stayed on top of her, and growled back. Sounds like someone else I know.

And then, when the phone rang right after that, Tucker looked over at the phone and said, "Ha-woah?".

I also found him washing his hair in the toilet the other day. And when his bowels exploded in a camping chair, I rushed off to get towels. I came back and he was finger painting with his poop.

I laugh. Even when there is poopy finger paint. I can't imagine life without him. 

Wednesday, August 26, 2009


Did I get your attention? I thought so.

Scout and I bought our lovely little house on a quiet little cul-de-sac. We have (mostly) elderly neighbors with beautifully manicured lawns. Our house is the worst on the block, which I love; it has a lot of potential and I get to see beauty from my front steps no matter which way I turn. 

However. However.

When we first moved in, all of the neighbors just about sprinted to our driveway to scope us out. We sat outside and talked a while when one of them said, "Well, as long as you're not a prostitute or a drug dealer, we'll get along just fine."

After giving her a perplexed look, she explained that the man that lived here before was a drug dealer, the woman was a prostitute, they caused permanent brain damage to their little boy by being negligent, and lit the backyard on fire (among many, many other things).

I was actually relieved to hear that we had very small shoes to fill as far as neighbors go (hey, maybe they'll overlook our boisterous dog collection!).

But the story doesn't end there.

The other night, Scout looked out the window and said, "What the (expletive)?" 

There was a fat Samoan dude walking up to our house. When Scout answered the door, the man asked where Angela was. Scout said, "We don't know an Angela."

He looked at me as he closed the door and we rolled our eyes at each other, imagining what the man must have been here for.

Then last night, a balding man with very few teeth, apparently having recently smoked crack, came up to the house. Scout didn't answer the door, so the man just yelled in at us through the closed window, nervously pulling at the collar of his t-shirt. He yelled, "Is Angela here?"

The (yelling) conversation sounded something like this:

Scout: No, Angela doesn't live here.

The John: Where is she?

Scout: (tossing his hands in the air) I don't know an Angela, dude.

The John: Where did she go?

Scout: I don't know, man.

The John: But she doesn't live here anymore?

Scout: No, man. Angela doesn't live here.

The John: Ok.

After the man walked away, Scout looked over at me and again said, "What the (expletive)?"

We'd like to come up with a funny sign to put on the door to explain that services are no longer provided at this address. Give me some input, if you so wish.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Settling In

We are finally in our house! Yay!

Now we're focused on getting eleven million boxes unpacked. I have no idea how we've accumulated so much stuff.

Our first order of business after we settle in will be to put in a dog-proof run. Five out of six dogs have already escaped from the backyard. Daisy is the only dog that is a) too content b) too dumb or c) too lazy to escape. I love her.

Other than that, things are good. Our house is getting more livable as each box gets unpacked. Once I get to a real stopping point, I'll post some pictures of our new home.

Hope all of you are doing as well as we are! And thanks for all of your encouraging words along the way.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Knee Deep

We're at the last leg of the race. We're supposed to close earlier than expected - tomorrow (keep your fingers crossed).


We came home Saturday evening from a good day with friends in the mountains to find a mess. Actually, that doesn't begin to describe it. Disaster. Chaos. Stench. We were knee deep in shit.

Let me back up a little bit. Late last week, I got a really bad cold. I was miserable and wanted a hot bath (note: hot baths are not available at KOA). Scout left me a note before he left for work that said, "Pack your bags - we're going to a hotel." Our time was up at the KOA anyway, so we loaded up the Airstream and left. We parked the Airstream in the parking lot and decided to have a dog-free weekend, leaving them in the trailer. (We let them out three times a day. They have water, food, and treats. And they have new people to bark at.)

Well, Saturday. We approached the trailer after parking the truck and since I was congested, I couldn't smell anything. But Scout got a look on his face that I know very well - before we opened the door to the trailer. The look said, "Oh, no. It smells like shit."

There are no words to describe the mess. One dog shit all over the trailer (diarrhea style), and Kansas, who we have to keep in the kennel because of her chewing habit, shit all inside of her kennel. And then she rolled in it. And rubbed it all over her face.

By the end of the clean-up, my nose had completely drained and I could smell everything. My eyes were watering. I've experienced my fair share of dog messes, but his one was bad.

It's been an adventure to say the least. 

If for some reason you see a realtor held at gunpoint by some crazed lady on the evening news, it's because I've been told that something has postponed closing tomorrow. Let's hope it doesn't have to come to that.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Nothing Much To Do

You know how they say that you only appreciate what you have until it's gone?

Well, I'm realizing all the things I miss, and I'm also realizing how grateful I am to have those things, even if I don't have them right now.

I miss my bed. My washer and dryer (I fantasize about doing eleventy loads of laundry without needing quarters). My backyard. My crappy bathtub. My Dyson. My tiny kitchen (I'm realizing now that it wasn't all that tiny). Bark collars (I refuse to buy new ones). Tucker's books. My sewing space. My stash of yarn.

We'll have those things in a few weeks, but I'm having a hard time seeing the light at the end of the tunnel when we've already spent five weeks here. 

On August 27th, I'm sure I'll look back and think fondly of the times we had here. But for now, I just want my crap.

What would you miss most if you had to go two months without it?

Oh, and to fill my time when Tucker is sleeping and the Internet isn't working (after I've cleaned our 150 square foot living space, of course), I've been editing pictures like a mad woman. It's become an obsession, really.

Tucker and Butterball:

My stunning sister and her beautiful babe:

"Do you see that, Mom?":

Tucker and Grandma Seattle's feet:

Pissed off about something. Not sure what: