Monday, September 30, 2019

Fall Bucket List and Roadside Weekend Round Up

Good Monday morning, everyone.  I hope you had a good weekend!  It's the last day of September.  Unreal.

Friday night, I mentioned possibly road-tripping out of state the next day, but the weather wasn't going to cooperate.  I was in the mood to find some apple cider donuts.  I know I've had them at some point in my life but finding any that match up to my memory is near impossible.  We found this orchard that got rave reviews about an hour away, so we decided to go there for breakfast.  We started laughing when we realized it was a place we stopped last month on the way home from our marriage retreat that we weren't impressed with.  We did say we should probably come back in season and it was in season, so it wasn't a waste, I guess.

It's so hard to find glazed cider donuts over the sugar-coated ones.  While the apple donuts were good, we both agreed it was because they were warm over them having any real flavor and I certainly wouldn't have said apple if I was blindfolded.  We had the same issue with a place in Vermont that is in Stowe Waterbury who claims to have "legendary" apple cider donuts, so we always get a few of those.  We take them to the cabin, and I make a glaze with powdered sugar and their apple cider, and THEN they taste like apple cider donuts to us.  So technically we crossed one thing off of our Fall bucket list but not with the flair I'd hoped.

We went to a place in the small nearby town for lunch and for me, at least, it tasted like a small town lunch.  No flavor at all.  The Mr seemed to be happy with his, which is usually the case, so I don't know if my culinary standards are too high or his are too low.  (I'm going to say both.) 

We did have fun watching this pup intently watch each train car go by while we were stopped.

We knew there was this roadside cheese place not too far from there that we'd passed by for 27 years always said "we need to stop there" on road trips and never do.  So the rest of Saturday became about stopping at three of said roadside attractions.  Honestly, all three were disappointing, but it was a fun way to spend the day, especially when you found some stuff that made you smile.

Given the lack of activity on a Saturday, I'd say a few might have their days numbered so it would've been a bummer to finally say we were going to stop only to find an empty building even after decades in business.  We ended up getting stuck in a massive traffic jam on the way home, but we just chatted and listened to the radio and hoped our quarter tank of gas held out.

We swung by a store and grabbed a pick up an online order.  I got two shirts for my mom. I hope she likes them, but I'm not counting them toward her Christmas gifts since she didn't ask for them.  She just mentioned she liked mine when I wore it but lamented they didn't carry her size, but you can order her size online.  I'll put the receipt in there since they have a one-year return policy on their clothes.  I've also been looking for a Fall oriented wall hanging to go behind the couch, but I haven't found anything that strikes my fancy.  I was disappointed that this was the only wall hanging at Home Goods and everything else was wreaths:

(Funny but not what I'm looking for)

We were both pooped pups since driving, and even bad food puts you in a coma, so we napped for about an hour.  He wanted to catch up on some football while I started looking up a few things for some out of town shenanigans next month.

Sunday I got up and got to listen to the Mr playing his Atari emulated games.  I am curious how parents didn't throw Atari's and other gaming systems out the window just from the noise alone.  Yes, I'm aware that I sound 89 years old, and I know that my tolerance level for certain noises is way lower than it used to be when I was 8.  Last week he took to playing them right after workouts while I was making dinner and all of my endorphins flew out the window with each beep.  For now, I'll need to turn on the vent or something to cover the noise while I'm in the kitchen.  😂

I know, just call me Joe Bear from the Tex Avery classic, Rock A Bye Bear.

"Don't like NOISE...caint stand NOISE!"  (source)

Then it was time for brunch, I made a breakfast burrito, toast, and cantaloupe.

We watched CBS Sunday morning and enjoyed some of their features including this great one on Olivia Newton-John.  The Mr got the laundry done and then wanted to stop by Lenscrafters to potentially replace his glasses with a new prescription.  Oh, my Lord.  1)  They're out of network, so they only pay $47 toward the frame and lenses.  2)  The guy who was waiting on us was exactly like Olivier from Six Feet Under (affiliate link) and if you watched that show, you know what an annoying prospect that would've been to spend any time with him.  So we left then headed to pick up some produce and food I'm cooking up for meals for a friend going through some medical issues.  We got home, and I went straight to making her spaghetti she requested, got it in the containers and into the freezer before we headed downstairs for a much needed workout.  Unfortunately, I had a horrible migraine so that was fun.  We rented The Hustle with Anne Hathaway and Rebel Wilson to round out the night.  I really wanted to like it but it was kind of awful.  I'm hoping today is a better day.

How was your weekend?

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Friday, September 27, 2019

What I'm Reading This Week #39

Happy Friday y'all!   I am ready for the weekend as I'm sure you are too.   The last weekend in is that possible!?  I feel like I just celebrated my birthday, but then it also feels so far away.  You ever get that, how something can feel so close but so far away time-wise?  It feels like I haven't gotten to enjoy one Fall oriented thing yet.  I enjoyed snuggling up in my Great Pumpkin sheets which sadly was the highlight of my week.  

Now let's snuggle into...

Why Worrying Does More Harm Than Good   (Tell that to my brain.)

These Women Didn't Lose a Single Pound, but Their Transformations Will Amaze You  (Pretty awesome)

How Much Epsom Salt Do You Put In Your Bath To Fight Anxiety & Pain?  (Good to know)

Weight Loss Doctor Says ‘Eat Less, Move More’ Is Awful Advice  (Correct but the answer is also not necessarily jamming meds down their throat either.)

This Is What Happens to Your Body When You Lose 50 Pounds   (I can vouch for some of these)

'Women have no idea it's coming': What to know about perimenopause 

If You Have to Choose One, Should You Sleep or Exercise?  (Why can't sleep exercising be a thing?  Wake up and take a shower and be done for the day.)

If You're In Need of a Pick-Me-Up, These 100 Happy Facts Might Do the Trick  (#2...awwww)

Losing an Inheritance Is Easy Because Saying No Is Hard   (No is a complete sentence.)

Nancy Hughes, inspiration, trusted adviser and wife of filmmaker John Hughes, has died at 68  (Aww)

1980s blockbusters that are being resurrected — whether you like it or not   (I DON'T like it, thankyouverymuch.)

Squirrel stops woman in park, leading her to its injured baby  (Courtesy of the Mr)

A few weeks ago I was looking forward to this weekend for a potential paddle but the temps are going to be in the 90's where I wanted to go so, nope.  Bleh.  Therefore, no plans that I know of.  I need to clean the house but what fun is that?

Got any plans for the weekend?

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Thursday, September 26, 2019

Holy Sheet and Premiere Week

Happy Friday eve everyone!

I hope the week is treating you well and you're ready to slide into the weekend tomorrow.  It's been a somewhat low key week.  After last week's push to finish the flooring, it sucks all of my energy and I need a week to recoup.  I hate that I'm like that but it's like clockwork.  That means my next push should come any day now.  

(For your convenience, this post contains affiliate links which means, if you click through and make a purchase, I may receive a small commission, at no additional cost to you.)

I treated myself to an electric kettle instead of boiling water for my green tea the next day in a saucepan.  We had one at our place in Montana and I really liked it.  It has different settings based on what kind of tea you're brewing and it has a keep warm function too.  I think it'll also come in handy for winter wassail to keep warm as well when the season kicks into gear.  There's a recipe I want to make that a place we stayed in Maine made and I'm looking forward to trying it in there.

I got myself in trouble when the Vermont Country Store catalog arrived.  On the back were the new flannel Great Pumpkin sheets and I had a gift certificate for $50 so I was done for.

Here's a closer look at the pattern...

They make me ridiculously happy.

It's premiere week so the DVR is starting to fill up.  We watched This is Us and they'd better step it up.  I didn't care for last season and I don't feel like they've told enough of their story to be adding so many new characters.  I can't stand American Horror Story the past few years but the 1984 theme drew us in.  I wasn't impressed with the first episode and we're waiting until today to watch the second one since the Mr had to do training for second and third shift.   We watched the new Goldbergs and that was nice to see some of old the cast from Vacation though also a little sad too.  I saw we have a Masked Singer to watch too. 

What premieres did you watch/are you looking forward to?

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Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Hump Day Poll

We are smack in the middle of apple picking season.  I haven't made anything yet which is tragic as my baking gene has not yet activated and it's basically 4 weeks late.  Maybe soon.

Do you go apple picking?  What's your favorite dish to make with apples?

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Monday, September 23, 2019

Where'd the Weekend Go Recap

Howdy do, all?  It was quite a week last week.  I did the vinyl tiling for the second half of the basement and I never thought I could feel so broken.  Friday I worked from 10am to 10pm before I was done with two one hour breaks for lunch and dinner.  I never wanted to see that space again after that.  It was all I could do to clean up the paper backings from the vinyl tape and tiles.  When it was done, a storm had just wound down so the crickets were out and it was quite peaceful.  The Mr was kind enough to massage the back of my thighs and hips so walking would be possible the next day and it did help release things.

The weather forecast before bed was totally clear but hot in the afternoon.   As we got on the road, we saw the skies get darker and darker until we were in the middle of a total downpour for about an hour.

You can imagine how an antique show in the soccer fields was going to look after that.  Not fun.  Probably half of the vendors had their stuff either undercover or underwater so we felt a little gipped.  It finally cleared up but we'd gone through the other stuff since we brought umbrellas.  I wasn't impressed.  Either the hipsters have bought everything worth buying or my creative eye has changed because I used to get all kinds of ideas at these things and now all I see is junk.

It was nice to see some items from my childhood...

I thought it was funny this is what I saw given I just ordered a real one the night before.   I've always passed because I never had a place to store it but now I do so I guess I should learn how to sew.  I wish Grandma was still here to teach me.

Walking around for two hours on uneven mud/grass and asphalt did a number on us both.  We did end up getting two crystals to sit in the gym on one of the shelves for good prices.  Otherwise, nothing really wowed us but it was still nice to be out of the house.  Afterward, we went to an Italian restaurant for lunch then to Christmas Tree Shops and picked up a few things.  I found a good deal on Fall flowers for Grandma's grave.  We went to Joann's and I got some scrap pieces of fabric so I could test the machine.  Of course, their scrap pieces are kind of hideous.  I got a few that didn't make me want to hurl and we got on the road back home.  The Mr flipped on the game he taped and I zoned out and nursed a bit of a was a long day.  To make it even longer, at 8:10pm, I was like "want to get Trader Joe's out of the way?"  So we hit TJ's, Target and two other stores for a few of their specialty items before doing produce the next day.  It was nice that most of it was done but it stunk that it was 2 hours out of our night on top of it all.

Sunday morning was not a great one.  Lots of emotional crap with zero solution so it's not even worth going into.  I'm sure being at the end of my cycle didn't do me any favors on the weepy front but that was a minute fraction of it.  There's nothing I hate more than when as women it's assumed or we excuse real emotions, for being on the rag.  I had to just get through the morning silently wiping away tears knowing nothing I rationalized was going to make it better.  It was one of those lowest of lows where I wanted to burn it all down and nothing meant anything anymore.

Sudden and sweeping depressive episodes are the best!

We stopped by the post office then Grandma's and changed out her flag and flowers for the season.  Then it was off to the final grocery store where I counted on both hands how many people were racking up bail money in my mind.  I needed to get out of there because it was not good for my mental state.  That put us squarely at 4:30pm and I had to get up the motivation to workout.  I had zero desire but I'd somehow managed to stave off the "it's the last day of summer we should get ice cream" monster so I guess I owed it to myself to get down there.  It's irritating when you're both on the same bad page but I think given the way I was most of the day, he was going to err on me going through some self-loathing rather than me taking out my fury on him for saying no.

We did a new to us Power 90 and weren't impressed and followed it up with the Burn Fat Faster kettlebell workout.  It handed us our butts.  I craved comfort food for dinner so we had a grilled Cotswold cheese on 9-grain bread and Healthy Request soup.  Chicken and Rice for him and Tomato for me. 

I'm readying myself for a new week and am hoping to be productive.

What did you do this weekend?

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Friday, September 20, 2019

What I'm Reading This Week #38

Happy Friday all!  I hope everyone has had a good week.  (I accidentally typed wee but I hope you had a good wee too if you needed one.)

I spent all of yesterday ass up installing tile on the basement floor.  I was so broken by workout time, I had to roll just to stand properly.  We did Walk Away the Pounds and LIIFT 4 Chest and Tris.  Anything beyond that was not going to happen.

Now let's get ass up into...

26 Awesome Ways to Cook a Chicken Breast  (In case anyone else is in a chicken rut too)

This Is What Happened When I Stopped Using Exercise as a Way to Lose Weight  (Preach)

20 Healthy Foods You Should Eat Only in Moderation  (Puts down the jar of peanut butter and spoon.)

70+ Life-Changing Organization Products That Will Transform Any Small Space (Some really awesome stuff in there that shall be mine.)

My Doctor Misdiagnosed Me With Anxiety and PMS Before I Finally Discovered the Real Problem  (Another reason to be your own health advocate!)

I'm Already Thinking of All the Things I Can Eat With Trader Joe's New Cinnamon Bun Spread (Welp, scratch lose weight off the list.)

Macarons: Don't Confuse Them With Macaroons   (The Mr can attest this is the fastest way to get me screaming at a TV is for some dipshit to call the delicate pastry goodness of macron a MACAROON!  I literally had to stop watching baking shows due to this very thing.  I have issues.)

Friday the 13th, or, How to Start a Franchise with an Ad  (Pretty interesting!)

Grandparents Never Die, They Become Invisible  (I'm not crying...)

Fall TV 2019: Premiere Dates for New and Returning Shows  (Finally some good stuff on the DVR again)

Can you believe it's going to be Fall Sunday!?  WOOT!  I'm super sad that September has swirled down the toilet but we're going to an antique show this weekend and it feels like the first time we haven't had to stick close to home for a Home Depot run.  I hope to finish the floor on that side today so I can have the weekend to not think about it for the first time in 2 months.

What are you into this weekend? 

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Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Hump Day Poll: Temp Check

Fall starts in 3 days but you'd never know it around here.  We're tippin' 90 this week again and I'm OVER. IT.  My house is typically decorated and all of the baking starts happening come September 1st but I don't have a single pumpkin in sight.

So temperature check, does it feel like Fall in your area?  Have you decorated your house for Fall-idays yet?

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Tuesday, September 17, 2019

The Creep Continues...

Yesterday I was thinking about the grody rough-in pipe that runs straight through the area where my new craft table sits.   I had some leftover marble contact paper from the shelf for the TV and I wrapped it around the pipe to see if it would make it look better.  It would have, but the sheet is so wide that it would warp and crimp as I wrapped it and honestly, it looked like a steaming pile of dung.  I could bear thinking we'd go to all of this trouble to lay flooring on both sides and get everything gussied up to still have this phallic obstacle in our sight path on the regular. 

(For your convenience, this post contains affiliate links which means, if you click through and make a purchase, I may receive a small commission, at no additional cost to you.)

I started looking up "how to cover ugly pipes" and came across some solutions that weren't geared toward our situation.  Then I stumbled upon Pipe Wrap.

I saw that it came in a few different materials, including MDF and oak.  They're basically thin strips of whichever material you choose mounted onto paper, you cut to fit your pipe, put construction adhesive on the back and glue it to the pipe.  You can stain it if it's wood or poly it to bring out the natural color or you can do what we're going to do which is paint it so it can kind of blend into the background.  If it didn't have a huge pipe sticking out from the middle of it too, we'd probably stain it, but it's just ugly, and I can't look at it anymore.  When it was surrounded by Trash Heap from Fraggle Rock, it was fine, but now it's just yo face.

Home Depot sold it, so the Mr went over and grabbed it for an after workout fun fest.  It's setting, and hopefully, I will get it all painted today.  As I type that, I'm trying to remember if I have a paintbrush anymore or if I burned through them during the reno.  I guess I'll find out.  I think I might have two foam brushes but not my first choice by a longshot.  The tiles are scheduled to arrive today, so I'm hoping they get here earlier than later.  I just want to be doooooooooooooone!

Obviously, the scope creep continues.

On another note, we had our first workout in the new space, and it was nice to christen it with Shaun T and Joel Freeman.  It was a pretty low burn for us, so I need to get a calendar together soon, and having a headache didn't help.  All tension in the shoulders and jaw.  Pfft.  I did have my first Honeycrisp of the season and man there's just nothing like it.

Sorry if there are a lot of typos, my editor hit the hay for a work project he's on all week.

How have you camouflaged something ugly in your home?

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Monday, September 16, 2019

Scope Creep Weekend Update

Happy Monday everyone.  I hope you had a good weekend full of fun and mischief.

First off, the Mr. passed his test!!

Thanks to all of you who sent good vibes! 

(For your convenience, this post contains affiliate links which means, if you click through and make a purchase, I may receive a small commission, at no additional cost to you.)

I had this grand idea that while he was off taking his test, I would lay the foam flooring and surprise him.  The surprise was on me because I laid two rows and then went to remove the old foam tiles we put down with double stick mounting tape.  When I was finally able to wrestle one halfway up, it took concrete with it!


Yeah, so that was a fun Saturday surprise.  I got most of his off and scraped until I had three blisters with a bonus callous from cutting the foam.  Then he got home with lunch so we did that and I showed him what I'd done and said he could do the other one.  He quickly learned how I spent the morning and why I was in such agony.  The sheer amount of force it took to get the adhesive leftover was just jarring to the whole body.

As he would finish some of it, I would clean the floor and install the next rows of flooring.  When we got to the natural stopping point, it was glaringly obvious that we couldn't leave the rest of the floor the way it was with our new floor installed.  It was 20-year-old paint and chipped, not too much different looking than above and it would suck to look over at that whilst standing on our new space.   The Mr laughed and informed me this was something called "scope creep."  Scope creep is defined by Wikipedia as "Scope creep (also called kitchen sink syndrome) in project management refers to changes, continuous or uncontrolled growth in a project’s scope, at any point after the project begins.  This can occur when the scope of a project is not properly defined, documented, or controlled. It is generally considered harmful."  I literally cracked up laughing at the last line.  We are in full scope creep.


Now we had to figure out how we were going to fix the other side.  Paint?  Order more foam flooring?  Peel and stick tiles?   I didn't want to paint it because I'm so done with painting right now and I know it eventually chips like what we were dealing with.  I went to extend the flooring over and while I like the way it looked, we have two saddle stools on the way for the craft table and they would puncture the flooring or at least seriously dent it in a few places.  I had no desire to deal with that.  So some kind of linoleum it was going to have to be.  I searched all night and picked something that I'm likely to regret but is our best option right now for the price.  If we had a budget to begin with, we're like double what I was figuring.


Sunday we went out to lunch with my mom for our birthdays.  It was a nice time and good to get out of the house.  The Mr rewarded himself for passing his test with finally watching Stranger Things since he knew getting involved earlier would detract from his studying so he wrapped that up last night.  That was about it for us this weekend!

What did you guys get into?

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Friday, September 13, 2019

What I'm Reading This Week #37

Happy Friday everyone!  

It's been a productive week around here and I think we might be in the home stretch on the basement.  The Mr has been a furniture making machine and everything is looking good.  Hopefully, we get the flooring in this weekend and can be done.  

You're about to get floored with...

FDA Warns About What Fluoroquinolone Antibiotics May Do To Your Aorta  (A MUST READ!  These class of antibiotics can also rupture your tendons, cause peripheral neuropathy but are especially dangerous for those with conditions like the Mr.)

If You Have a Slow Metabolism, Here Are 5 Doctor-Approved Ways to Burn Belly Fat  (Nothing Earth shattering but still)

Mouthwash Cancels Out Key Benefits of Exercise, Study Finds  (Courtesy of The Mr and seriously...WTH!?!)

When You Lose Weight, Your Fat Cells Don’t Just Let Go of Fat  (No they don't because they're jerks.)

9 Drugs That Could Lead To Memory Loss And Dementia   (Check your meds!!)

Here's How a "Sleep Divorce" Can Improve Your Relationship  (Gotta get them quality zzz's.)

30 Things Every Homeowner Should Know How to Do  (Truth)

3 Keys to Resolving Conflict  (Better than bail money)

The Little-Known Muscle That's Probably Making Your Back Hurt  (Yep, that's the one!)

13 Best Boots for Plantar Fasciitis to Wear This Fall  (Some really cute ones!  And some atrocious ones as well)

How Jason Mewes went from New Jersey stoner to Hollywood icon  (To see him now as a father is the sweetest thing.  So glad he made it through the hard times with his drug addiction.)

Young moose tries to play with a deflated basketball  (Oh my goodness...SO cute!  Mr, I want a baby moose.)

If y'all could send out some positive vibes to the Mr for his big test tomorrow, we'd appreciate it.  It will be nice for him to take a breather before the next test.  Sunday we have a combo birthday lunch for us with my mom.

What do you guys have on tap for the weekend?

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Thursday, September 12, 2019

What My First Crush and My First True Love Have in Common Pt. 2

If you haven't read the first part of the story, go here and come on back.  Oh, and there will be saucy language because frustration with the healthcare system is strong in this one.

It was three excruciating months of waiting just to get into a cardiologist.  We had been restricting the Mr lifting, and I wouldn't even let him carry heavier grocery bags.  Since we didn't have answers specific to his case, I wasn't taking any chances, and thankfully, he didn't give me any problem with that.  When we finally got in to see the cardiologist, I knew immediately this man would not be part of our team for long term care. He was very matter of fact, spoke so quickly that he was three sentences ahead before you could process what he'd just said but more alarming was he lied.  I asked if I could record our conversation for note-taking purposes and he said no, that he didn't mind, but HIPAA laws do not allow it.  That is a lie, and I confirmed as much when we left the office.  We are also in a non-disclosure state in which I did not need his permission to record the conversation which my friend who works closely with HIPAA informed me of after the fact.  He also spread gross, and frankly, libelous information about John Ritter.  He said that most people know about this condition because of John and that he (John) knew he had the condition and chose not to treat it, so it was his fault he died.  It is a well-documented fact that John did NOT know he had this condition, and the attending doctor even said it was not in his records.  His wife has confirmed in numerous interviews that he was undiagnosed and that when you are having heart attack symptoms, you must specifically ask them to check for an aortic aneurysm because normal tests for heart attack will not catch this!  The Mr thought I was going to explode, but I didn't.  But in my mind, I was already moving on to the next doctor because I know enough of the story from advocacy posts to know he was grossly misinformed and spreading that information to other patients.  At this point, we just wanted the MRI we'd asked for done, but we weren't getting that either, he wanted to do a cardiac CT scan at the local hospital.  Whatever, just get it done please, it's been three months!

They called in the pre-authorization to our insurance company, and the Mr got a notice it would cost us $650 out of pocket.  Ouch.  A few days later, our insurance company called us and said we could certainly go to the hospital to have it done, but they wanted us aware of our option to drive two hours away and get the exact same test for $77 out of pocket.  Well, what would you choose?!  He called the doctors office, and the nurse spoke with him, and they gave the okay to have it done there, and they'd worked with that company before, but there would be no doctor on staff to go over the results.  Um, that's YOUR job, dude.  We don't necessarily need same day results if it means we save almost $600.  We've waited this long!  The Mr takes off work, I drive us down since he has to be on heavy duty heart meds to dilate the vessels, we get the scan done and get a copy of the disc.  We stop at home to make a copy of said disc with the entire radiated scan for our records and then dropped it with the docs office.  A few days later, they call us back and tell us that the disc is not compatible with their software, and it needs to be sent to their IT people to convert it.  Whatever just get it done.  A few more days and he has to follow up and "oh, we can't read it, and the doctor has no way to get the measurement we needed.  You really should've gone to the hospital."  Oh, you mean the hospital that you get a kickback from for referring patients and making them pay obscene amounts of money for the exact same test?!  We were LIVID.  He'd been radiated unnecessarily, and his father passed from a cancer that is susceptible to radiation so needless to say, we don't want to be taking that risk.  We felt like we were being punished for not bending to their will, and we could even see right on the images that there was, in fact, a measurement tool right on the screen.  Maybe it's not the one they're used to, but you charge $330 for 15 minutes of your time, do your GD job!!!

The next step still was not the MRI we originally asked for but a TEE which is basically an ECG down the throat and under sedation.  REALLY!?!?!  You're subjecting him to more crap that he doesn't need to be subjected to just so you can get him into the friggin' hospital!?  We were glad another cardiologist was going to be doing the procedure, but once I heard the date they scheduled it, I knew it was the same date she said his doc was at the hospital and somehow I knew we'd get stuck with that asshat.  We did.  Not like he actually wanted to do it though.  The Mr could hear him getting pissy with the nurse that he wasn't on his schedule and she said the other doc could do it and he reluctantly agreed to just take him.  Seriously!?!?  This is your patient!!  Why would you not want to do this yourself?  Oh, that's right, because you want someone else to do your job, so you just have to check a box saying you read the results.  Jag off.  He went into the room and began ranting at the Mr about how his insurance company was running his health, and he'd never seen anything like this...blah, blah, blah.  Shove it down his throat and be done.  After he did, when I could hear him coming, you can bet your sweet ass, I recorded that conversation, especially after extensively reading that I had every right to according to law.   He again began ranting about insurance to me as I looked through him and did not utter a word.  When he saw he was getting nowhere, he basically confirmed that everything the stress test told us back in March was accurate.  We asked questions and felt we got zero answers.  Actually, he was literally checking his cell phone and inching out of the room and audibly sighed when we asked questions.

The Mr was told, "go live your life."

(If the Mr hadn't been laying between us, I would've gone here.)

Grandma must've been holding me back from the other side because all I could fantasize was myself lunging over a groggy Mr's body to strangle the arrogance out of him.  I got the Mr loaded into the car, and we both said: "we are so done with this asshole."  The Mr has had his father, and his grandmother both directly die from medical malpractice, and both were "too nice" to sue with legit cases.  That is skipping this generation.  I refuse to let anyone touch him that I don't trust.  This guy was a means to an end and with no more answers than we had four months earlier.

At that point, we began searching for a new cardiologist, and when we told some friends of ours about his situation, the guy said his dad had an amazing heart doc and gave us his number.  The Mr called the following Monday to make an appointment to establish a relationship and was told he couldn't see  Why you ask?  Because they were in the "same practice."  I'm not talking a small docs office of family doctors that all pass patients around if one is booked out, I mean, a network of 115 doctors that fall under the umbrella of the largest health care company in our system were now not options for him.  So basically, if you had to go to a specialist and picked a doctor based on his resume and then found he was an incompetent shit, you are stuck with him.  If that isn't proof the health care system is big business and utterly and completely corrupt and broken, I don't know what is.  We only had one other option, which was another university/teaching hospital.

It would be another friggin' month before we could get in there, so we printed out the questions we had originally...again and went in for the appointment.  We had a resident do the initial consult and asked and answered a lot of questions.  Again, we had to fill her in that he's lost 150 lbs, exercises and eats right 6 days a week and has perfect blood pressure, bloodwork and even this condition is often diagnosed with athletes due to exceptional heart performance.  The doctor came in, and he was nice, more willing to listen to our questions and when it became apparent that they do not like to give specific numbers when it comes to exercise limitations, I said "look, he's got 35 lb dumbells at home for strength training, can he lift those or not?"  "Yes.  Just don't become a meathead."  Seriously, this is the second doctor that equates strength training with training for Mr. Olympia.  WTF?!  I asked if this could be caused by trauma because the Mr took a hard blow to the chest 7 years ago and kept wondering if he did this to himself.  The doctor said no it's not which took some relief off of the Mr.  (To be clear though, I've done extensive research since that appointment and it can, in fact, be caused by trauma to the chest but we have no way of knowing if that is the case.)  The doctor actually said that given the "surface area" (aka his size), his reading is actually the high end of normal.  This is a question we specifically asked the other guy, and he scoffed at it and said no.

Our plan of attack is to do yearly checkups, alternating with an ultrasound next year to make sure the size is still the same and the following year an MRI like we asked for in the first place and alternate.  He said only if a CT scan is absolutely necessary will they do one.  There is obviously some of that God complex thrown in for good measure which I think is a prerequisite, but so far we absolutely trust that he's the right person to move forward with.

This is how we've spent March through August of this year.

We are lucky that the Mr is in a low-risk category for now and it may never turn into anything that needs to be addressed.  If it grows, heart surgery may be in his future especially if the small leak they found gets any worse.  At this point, we are considering this discovery for the blessing that it is because 90% of the people diagnosed with it are post mortem.  Aortic aneurysms and dilation can lead to dissection if a large amount of pressure is thrust upon the heart such as heavy lifting from bodybuilding to helping someone move furniture to car accidents.  Dissections are almost always fatal if the doctors don't know to look for aortic aneurysms which is why it is critical you tell them to check for it in a heart attack situation as it considered a life or death trauma.

This post was not only to bring awareness to the importance of asking yours (or a loved one's) doctor to check for an aortic aneurysm if heart attack symptoms arise but to again, stress the importance of being your own health advocate.  For all that is sacred, do NOT blindly put your trust in doctors.  Do not be afraid to ask questions or insist on what you have read is the right protocol because I've seen dear people I loved pay with their lives because they were too nice to say anything.  Never go to an appointment alone if you can help it and fill the other person in on your thoughts and how you want to proceed with your care.  The Mr has a habit of totally freezing and kind of zoning out in appointments.  I will give a pause and a look at him, and if it's something I know we have a question about, and he's not triggered by the topic, then I speak up.  That happened with three different things at the last appointment, and they were big ones.  Some people just don't process appointments the same.  Find the type A person in your life and ask them to come with you to something important.  My aunt had us there along with her husband for her cancer diagnosis 10 years ago to take notes, and he had zero problems with me recording the session, and I transcribed the notes.  Check your local laws regarding recording doctor conversations and HIPAA laws, so you go in informed.  It's always good to have a recording just so you can go back and really hear what was said.

The Mr is still restricted for some things, but he was a happy boy when we went to Trader Joe's after the doctor's appointment, and I said: "do you want to carry the heavy one?"

With a smile, he said, "yes, I do!"

To learn more about aortic aneurysm and dissection and what tests to ask doctors for in a perceived heart attack situation, please visit the John Ritter Foundation for Aortic Health.

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Wednesday, September 11, 2019

What My First Crush and My First True Love Have in Common Pt 1.

If you've been here for any length of time, you know I choose this day every year to bring awareness to aortic dilation/dissection which is the heart condition that took John Ritter on this day 16 years ago.

(via John Ritter Foundation)

He was on the set of his show 8 Simple Rules when he fell ill.  He began to complain of nausea and chest pains.  They treated it like a normal heart attack, and 4 hours later, he was gone.  He had an aortic valve enlargement that eventually manifested in a thoracic aortic dissection.  If the doctors had done an MRI or CT scan (the only way to detect it clearly) or knew of this condition ahead of time, he could have been saved.  Because of John's death, his brother, whom he looked out for his whole life, was able to be saved after having a scan.  The likelihood of finding this condition before a catastrophic event is rare as it is not something they specifically look for.  If it is ever found, it is usually found by accident...just like the Mr discovered his.

That's right.  The Mr has the same condition that took John, and our lives have not been the same since hearing this news.  He found it by a fluke.  It all started the week I made some habanero salsa.  I was adding it in everything, quinoa, tacos on top of fish because I made a big batch.  The Mr isn't a spicy food guy but loves that salsa.  When he had a weird pain in his chest, he mentioned it to me, and I asked if he wanted to go to the doctor.  He said no, but we'd go to Urgent Care if it gets worse.  This was less than 2 weeks after Luke Perry passed away and we also had Kevin Smith on our minds who suffered a heart attack the year before.  The next morning he was still feeling it a little but thought it was gas, and I didn't question him but was keeping my eye on him.  At 4pm, he said, "can you please take me to Urgent Care?"  I still wasn't worried about him having a heart attack because there weren't any other symptoms, but I wasn't going to mess around with his health.  They took him in immediately and couldn't do anything but refer him to the ER up the street.  They called telling them to expect him, and they got him right in.  They did an EKG, took all vitals and got him back for an x-ray.  He was not having a heart attack and based on where he was saying the pain was, the doc assumed heartburn but wanted him to do a stress test to make sure.  He did the treadmill stress test, and two hours later they were leaving a message on our machine confirming he had a good strong heart and oh, by the way, this aortic root dilation of 4.2cm but no biggie just watch it yearly.  The way it was mentioned so cavalierly on the voice mail, 90% of people would've assumed it was no big deal but just follow up in a few days with the family doc.   We both began furiously looking that up online, and it was quite the big deal.  I looked up cardiologists that got the best reviews on as well as our insurance company and wrote down my top three that specialized in his condition.  We made an appointment, and it was two months away before we could get in which was devastating.  So many questions and only "Dr. Google" to confer with.

When I saw it was the same condition John had, the same thing that took Alan Thicke (also undiagnosed) and knowing what could happen I nearly passed out but went straight into research mode. But I can only imagine how he felt.   We followed up with the family doctor, and she was also very blase about the finding, but we should probably "touch base" with a cardiologist to establish a relationship.  We looked up a lot and found that finding this out early was indeed a blessing because that meant we could watch it and prepare for the potential of heart surgery down the road if need be.   We saw that in 20% of cases, it can be genetic and while we don't like people all up in our business, we felt we needed to tell his immediate family.  He particularly wanted to tell his one sibling with whom he shares a very similar vascular makeup.  He told his mom and she told his other sibling to get checked.  At that point, he learned that his "no heart issues" family actually had a long line of heart issues including a self-healing heart attack his mother had that she didn't tell anyone about when she found out.  Heart issues go back several lines of generations (thanks to one family member being into genealogy) though not this particular issue.  That really threw the Mr for a loop because this whole time, he'd been lead to believe at least there were no heart issues and they actually had this info for 10 years.  He said it almost felt like a kick in the gut and like he was damaged goods because he'd always been told he came from a line of "good, strong hearts."   Denial ain't just a river in Egypt, folks.  We also learned this can be caused by chest trauma.  The Mr has taken several hard falls over the past 6 years and he started wondering if he did this to himself.  There is no way to know and it wouldn't matter anyway.  We had to deal with the condition, not the cause and answers were not going to be in our grasp to his particular situation in quite a while.

We researched and found out that there were potentially restrictions for him especially with the hard workouts we do.  Some doctors told people online absolutely no full push-ups or pull-ups, no sit-ups, no heavy lifting which varied from no more than 50 lbs to half of someone's body weight.  Because we weren't going to have answers for at least 2-3 months, I immediately put the smack down on him with that.  No lifting over 50 lbs and this meant loading stuff in the car, the huge, heavy umbrella weights, no helping me move the Grillzilla out back that weighs 150 lbs like he did 6x the previous summer.  (My mind went to the worst places thinking about what could've happened when we didn't know.)  Crunches only, push-ups against the wall and burpees done off of folding chairs, so it only uses a small percentage of his body weight.  He told his remote co-worker about it who is a ski patrol EMT and he made no bones about it that if it dissects, it would not be good (he was more graphic--a-hole) and he needed to touch base with the EMT's on-site at work to let them know, which he did.  He told his boss and supervisor about it.  I printed a note that said, "aortic aneurysm, take to cardiac hospital" in case he went down when I wasn't with him and the same on his phone.  He used the opportunity to get an Apple watch as it does heart monitoring, has fall detection that notifies ER contacts and 911 if no response is given and can do on the spot ECG's if he feels weird.  We got him a more modern looking medical bracelet, and I am thankful to say he didn't give me any issue with any of it. 

If I could've put him in a big bubble and pulled him everywhere we needed to go, I would have.  I tried to be strong, but sometimes that just wasn't in the cards.  I went to dark places and trying to hold it together often ended in tears in private and in front of him.  Trying to say the right things but saying the wrong thing would leave me with immense guilt.  He was my rock.  I couldn't and didn't want to live without him.  Then I noticed when we would go out anywhere on the weekend, I began getting panic attacks because what if we were in a car accident?  Chest trauma can cause dissection and an airbag hitting your chest at 100-220 mph could be a death sentence.  Some car rides, especially early on, I would sit with my sunglasses on, tears streaming down my face terrified.  A few times I had to even sit on my hands to stop them from shaking.  I found these seat belt covers which have 3 1/2" of cushion and double as neck pillows when you're pulling over for a nap on long road trips.  They were irritating at first but we got used to them and even if it was a false sense of security, I felt better knowing there was a little something extra to take the potential blow of an airbag.

We'd done all we could do to protect his life and now we had to wait and like Tom Petty said: "the waiting is the hardest part."  Come back tomorrow for part two.

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Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Belated Weekend Recap

By the time Sunday evening hit, I had zero interest in hopping online to blog about our weekend.  Not that y'all were waiting with bated breath anyway.  😂

We're in between workout calendars since Joel Freeman and Autumn Calabrese weren't releasing their hybrid calendar until Sunday.  We've been doing a few 80 Day Obsessions last week and I wasn't pleased with the calorie burn because she doesn't have real cardio in her workouts.  We've been used to doing a 20 minute HIIT beforehand that really carries the heart rate into strength training afterward.  Hers is all strength and body weight/band workouts, which is fine but not enough for me, I'm afraid.  So I randomly chose a Power 90 on BOD (Beachbody on Demand) that I thought would be good but that mook just kept going from one yoga thing to the next after the warm-up and I got irritated and flipped over to a Shaun T week workout Ripsanity that I was pretty sure we'd done before.  We got in some compound strength moves and then the moves just got ridiculous and hard to follow and in a rage I switched over to reliable Turbo Fire and we did that.  When Sunday's hybrid did come out, I knew it wasn't for us so I'll need to come up with a calendar this week since random doesn't work well for us and just gets frustrating.

The Mr didn't get his pumpkin cheesecake donut he wanted since KK sucks and always overadvertise and never deliver past two days into their promotions.  They didn't have in their pumpkin spice cake yet either until later in the day but I'm going to give it a week or two so we don't burn out on pumpkin spice in the 2nd week of September.  Saturday was the day of utter BS when it came to getting our blinds replaced.  Between the slats being too wide on one, another being cut like a beaver chewed through it, me trying to fashion our old ones using tin snips and two different major home improvement stores not having blinds in stock, it was an exercise in frustration I'm sure the Mr never wants to repeat.  We did go to second home (HD) and get the wood for the laundry center I wanted to build.  (The Mr chuckled at that line.)   The woodpile was a pathetic mess of mismatched boards.  When we finally got the ones we needed, one 2x12x10 and one 2x12x12, I told the Mr to have them cut them exactly in half while I looked for L brackets.  That should be super simple, right?  Cut the boards in half.  Well, it is if you don't have a moron running the ripper.  While the boards say they were 2x12x12, the measurements are actually 1.5 in. x 11.25 in. x 12 ft.  I'm not thrilled to be losing 3/4" of width I needed for my shelves but the length is actually the same...12 feet.  This should mean two 6' boards, yes?  Yes.  Same with the 10' but two 5' boards.  I got the boards home, sanded and stained and polyed them and then we were ready to get to work on Sunday.

(For your convenience, this post contains affiliate links which means, if you click through and make a purchase, I may receive a small commission, at no additional cost to you.)

Sunday, I ordered the stuff we needed to do an IKEA hack I saw online a month ago.  I always tend to take up our only space which is the dining room table and let's just say after doing headers on it, we need a new dining room table.   Then I made brunch and it was time to get to work.  We got some furniture levelers because we knew we'd need them on the bottom of our laundry center since our poured floor is uneven.  What I didn't know we'd need them for is because that rat bastard kid at Home Depot cut BOTH boards off by 3/4".  You know, the ones I need to be the exact same size to be the support of the project?

At this point, I said eff it and we drilled into the bottom, leveled the short one out and moved on.  We picked up our craft table crap and got everything unloaded.  Now I said earlier that the Mr giggled that I said I wanted to build the laundry center because somehow he ended up building it.  I mean I was there with him, bent over and holding stuff so it didn't move and such but he just kind of jumped in and I didn't stop him.  This was after he put up a valiant fight in replacing our dryer vent hose that left him a drenched mess as I was dismantling the 23-year-old wire laundry center we were replacing.  We got as far as we could until we realized that I didn't account for the width of the boards that the old center didn't have.

Back to "second home" we go where we waited for 20 minutes for the only dude with the code to cut lumber.  We measured it so it would be exact...62 3/4" please.  Then back home where we moved the IKEA stuff to the basement so it's at least down there and ready for him to assemble because I don't even know how people read their instructionless instructions and not metaphorically kill someone.  The Mr seems to excel at them so I get all of the screws and dowels in their proper places and hand them to him as needed because I'm a good helper like that.

You can bet your butt we put that new piece of wood on top of the project to make sure it fit properly.   Thankfully, it did.  The poor Mr was doing all of that in addition to taking practice tests.  To reward him for it all, I made a big honkin' turkey burger and baked fries for dinner Sunday night.

Monday morning after he left for work, I sanded the new piece of wood and got it stained and polyed so we could hopefully attach it later that night.   We did attach it but it needs to have some braces on the side for it to be as stable as I'd like.  Off to Amazon I go.

How was your Monday?  

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Friday, September 6, 2019

What I'm Reading This Week #36

Happy Friday to you!  I am so ready for the weekend.  I'm sure it'll be filled with doing some "have to do's," but I would like to get the heck outta the house as well at some point.  The jerkwads canceled the driveway sealing for the THIRD time with no reason given, meaning we rescheduled the window installation for nothing.  Speaking of which, I finally got to go out back and look at the slider from the outside and was horrified.  The caulking job the guy did was atrocious, and I have zero problems telling them that on the customer service survey when we get it.  I know they had some crap to work with from the previous botched job but smooth it out for God's sake!  I painted it, so it's not quite as heinous as when I went out but still.  They come out Wednesday to take the screen door to re-screen it the right way.  I'm sure because it's us, they'll hang onto it for longer than most people have to wait especially since we're starting a streak of cooler weather. 

But enough of our string of home projects shenanigans...let's get to...

10 Effective Ways to Find Lower Back Pain Relief, According to Doctors  (Mine's been a real a-hole lately!)

No More Excuses: New Study Finds You Can Benefit From Exercise No Matter When You Start  (Get off your booty!)

10 Creative Ways to Save Money You Haven’t Thought of Before  (Not sure I agree with the concept of #8, but the rest are good)

What REALLY Happens to Those Airplane Blankets and Pillows?  (Haven't used them in over 10 years.  Totally gross!)

50 Best Fall Crafts to Help You Celebrate the Season, DIY-Style  (SO ready!)

Getting To A Healthy Weight Before This Age May Help Prevent Alzheimer's  (Good to know)

I’m The Star Of That ‘She Shed’ Commercial. Here’s How Going Viral Has Changed My Life  (Someone went and burn down my she-shed!)

30 Genius DIY Storage Ideas Your Home Needs Now  (I don't know if these are DIY per se so don't be afraid of that term!)

Olivia Newton-John's Cancer Journey  (It will emotionally break me when she passes...whenever that is.  She was my EVERYTHING as a kid and got me through my parent's divorce.  Her voice makes me sob; it is so angelic.  Very emotional interview, especially in the things unsaid but written all over her beautiful face.)

The 33 Best Pumpkin Farms Across America  (Road trip!)

I really wanted to go to this one lake this weekend to paddle since the weather will be impeccable but its the last weekend the Mr has to study for this first test so womp womp.  I'm sure we'll find something to do to enjoy the weather for a little bit.

Anything planned for the weekend?

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Thursday, September 5, 2019

Window Installation in GIFs

This is the equivalent to a "latergram"...we'll call this a "laterblog" as I am currently live blogging our window experience...two days ago.

They showed up on time, which alone is a miracle these days and got right to it.  Then we heard "awww, shit!!!!!!"  Not quite what you want to hear when people are tearing apart your house.  Then one of them ran downstairs and asked if we had wasp spray.

Apparently, there was a nest "as big as his head" under one of our shutters.   The Mr ran up the street to grab some, and they saturated it and got back to work.

As of right now, they're pounding out the trim frame on the bedroom one.  I think the weekend is catching up to me because I'm super tired and there's nowhere to escape to for a nap. 

They took the shutters down, and one was totally saturated.  As was our outdoor art, which the Mr sprayed off because that stuff would've eaten through it if it sat on there.  At $200 a pop, I would not have been a happy girl.  I was kind of irritated at how much was dripping down all over the slider screen and clogging it up, and then I remembered, "Hey, I don't have to clean that...they're removing it!"  That's one way to get out of cleaning. 

It was about 3 1/2 hours before they had both upstairs windows out.  The music they have playing is quite interesting.  A mash of rockabilly, country, classic rock with an Appalachian backwoods flair.

The amount of crap raining down from the upstairs window over the patio was seriously stress-inducing. Oh God, it's still happening.  What IS that!?  I keep looking at the Mr with wide, horror-filled eyes.  He's looking now...he said it looks like caulk and/or trim.

Now they're doing the reciprocating saw on the kitchen window.  It is truly terrifying.  Caulk raining on one side of me and shims and a window about to drop out on the other side.

They got the kitchen window in and out pretty easily.  When he brought the new window in, he remarked how heavy the window was for something so small which is what we paid for.  Thankfully, they weren't as dark as I feared.  We got triple-paned, double strength glass windows.  Triple paned doesn't really do much energy efficiency-wise but makes a huge difference in sound which is what we need then you do the double strength and it's like the mac daddy window.  For $730 per window, that's a bargain.

Then they pulled out the slider that Lowes installed 8-9 years ago.  They said we had that replaced just in the nick of time.  1)  They didn't install flashing around it at all and they tried to level it using caulk which is no bueno.  2)  We didn't know there was something wrong until 8ish months later when it began raining INSIDE of the door during a bad storm because they didn't smooth out the caulk they put on top.  Just zig-zagged it and left it there.  3)  There was the beginning of rot happening from water sitting behind the sheeting which we'd just seen the damage that could do on a recent episode of Holmes Makes It Right.  It basically disintegrates the house.  This is not Lowes fault as a company, it's the piss poor subcontractors they hired.  Lord knows how many people are stuck with similar results while they were under their employment.  The one guy explained all of it to us and said we probably wouldn't have lasted another rainy season without damage starting to eat away at it.  We also got the delightful news that when the subcontractors cut the siding for the old slider, they cut it crooked so there's a crap ton of caulking that has to fill in the gaps because it wasn't big enough to replace the wood there.  So now we have to paint around it.  I'm hoping the paint we already have that is supposed to match our siding actually does because I don't have it in me to do one more friggin' paint match round at Home Depot.

They just brought the slider around back.  Two skinny dudes and they're like "we might need to check the foundation before we install this thing!"  It is quite a monster but we at least feel like it's being done right this time.

They've gone to lift this thing 4x now.





They finally got it in place and thankfully we didn't even have to move the beastbrella.  I wasn't moving that thing for the 7th/8th time this year unless they begged me to.  They were able to maneuver around it and the guy is putting up new interior trim as I type as well as outdoor flashing that should've been there the whole time.

The indoor guy was jamming to our Music Choice 80's station as he was caulking.  He took us on a tour of the new windows and doors feature-wise and all of that.  The sound dampening is pretty good.  We don't hear most cars driving by and the wind was gusting pretty hard but we'd never know it.  Even the yappy dog across the street that must aggressively announce when it has entered the outside realm wasn't audible.  I'm sure we won't luck out as much with the neighbors bigger dog when she gets home.  There was a car with the boom that went past and unfortunately we could still hear it but considerably less.  The only downside is I can't hear the UPS man pull up anymore until he gives a limp attempt at a knock...if he bothers so I'll have to keep the door cracked on the days we're expecting packages.

We seemed to get out completely unscathed with this project!

Then the Mr went to put the kitchen blind back up.  It didn't fit.  They added decorative trim to the inside of the window (that wasn't needed) and ended up taking away almost 2" we needed to put the blind back up!  We just bought this blind last year so I feel like that amount should be taken off of our total since it fit fine prior to that and I've now had to live with a towel over the new window for the last two days.  You would think they'd know that adding trim would take away from that area but I don't think we should have to pay to replace a perfectly good blind because it wasn't thought through on their part. 

When I relayed this to The Mr, he looked a little horrified at my suggestion.

I'm sorry but the owner dude measured 2-3x when doing the window dimension estimate with all of the blinds up, never said "hey if we need to add trim you might need new blinds" and the blind is basically brand new.  He also found that the screen door on the $2700 slider was loose-ish and possibly ripped in the lower corner.  The Mr emailed them and let them know of the issues so we'll see.  As of now, we haven't heard back but they don't have the rest of our money yet so...

We rounded out the evening by getting in our final Dance Dance Revolution session with our huge metal mats.

We just don't have the room to store them anymore and I've used them as my "mirror" to check my form as I worked out.  It also has our dog's paw prints on them so it was kind of hard to give them up, but it was time.  Also, the next day we found out the hard way why keeping them isn't practical for our old asses.  Sigh.  Hopefully, someone will get some use out of them in a wave of nostalgia.

Have you had a big ticket item replaced recently or have it on the to do list?

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