Tuesday, May 31, 2022

Memorial Day Weekend Recap

Aloha you sexy beasts!  I hope you were able to enjoy a nice three day weekend and getcher grill on!  Last Thursday we went to a mom and pop place for flowers and their prices were shockingly high.  I had the Mr check at the other local nursery (but has several locations around town) and they were $5 less per flat.  Sorry peeps...mama's gotta save some dough given the price of gas, groceries and well, living.  I got a few flats of schtuff to plant and decided to get on much of that Friday.  

I ordered some new galvanized steel hanging planters to replace the older ones we had that were rusting at the corner welds.  I got two sets of them even though I only needed three total but that was what I was working with so we'll see if I find a use for the fourth smaller one.  Of course they don't have drain holes but nothing a drill bit couldn't fix.  I planted some vincas and got them hung just as the heavens opened.  I did manage to get my impatiens planted in their planters around the base of the big umbrella and the window box planter geraniums in place.  I'll be honest, I hate geraniums but we had to get a new outdoor pic this year since the old one was faded so bad and this picture just seemed to scream that was the flower it needed.  Who am I to deny the picture what it wants?

Thankfully Friday the second arbor arrived that the company re-sent because FedEx lost or damaged the first one according to their case worker.  Jerks.  I had hoped to get basically everything planted before the Mr came home but only got most of the way there and putting together the arbor put the nail in the coffin that is my body.  It's not that it was particularly hard but awkward to do with one person though it could be done.  I just didn't have it in me to go there and whip pieces over the fence in frustration solo given all we went through to get it.  I was kind of irritated there was no real bottom to the planter boxes so I had this leftover plastic shelf liner that I cut for the bottom so we could put some rocks on there before putting in organic dirt for the trumpet vines.  Hopefully that will help anchor the arbor even more.  We haven't had any wind yet but I'm sure it's coming to give it a proper test.  Of course, I had special sized coconut liners I had to buy so those weren't coming until Sunday so the whole patio couldn't be "done done" until then.  But we did get stuff transplanted to their new homes and cleaned off pretty much everything.  I was going to wash the cushion covers since they smelled a little eau de mildew but he unzipped them and said while the foam was in good shape the Dacron covering has disintegrated.  I was going to just order new cushions from Lowe's since that's where we got the set but every review for the ones similar to ours 1) looked puny because ours are nice and tall and 2) had reviews from skinny people saying they were flat within a week.  Well, I'm not paying $400 total for new cushions for them to be shite.  So I ordered some Dacron wrap that will arrive sometime this week and we'll have a NEW project ahead of us.  Yay.  But until that comes, we have the basically finished patio to enjoy.

The wisteria bloomed this year which made me very happy!  Now we're hoping those get some umph and climb to the top as well as the clematis and trumpet vines so we can eventually have full coverage on it.

Saturday was glorious weather wise.  It barely kissed 70 and was overcast with a slight breeze.  We hadn't set up the stuff so we could eat outside but I'm not a fan of bugs trying to dive bomb my food and we hadn't treated with the flea/tick repellant yet which many reviews claim also keeps flies and skeeters at bay!  I surprised the Mr with a delivery of a Maxwell Street Polish kit from Portillo's in Chicago.  So we had that, crockpot corn on the cob, chips and beans for our first 'summer' grill out of the year.  Then we napped because that's how we do.  Mine was that in and out kind of nap where you swear you haven't slept but it's suddenly two hours later.  Whoops.  We washed down the pollen covered crap on the furniture/covers before I grilled up some smash burgers on the grill with leftover sides from lunch and settled in watching a few episodes of The Affair to relive our time in Montauk and watch their webcams from the lighthouse since it somehow feels like we've been back for two months instead of three weeks.  The Mr treated the lawn under the cloak of darkness with the flea/tick repellant since we're going to have a few non rainy days.  Hoping to see a decrease in flying skeevies as well as spiders because those effers were EVERYWHERE Saturday.  I feel like we sent four or five different species to the other side.  I didn't get any grilled outside food pics but I did manage to capture Sunday's Montauk special of lobster grilled cheese.

We finished off the chips and had some pesto corn on the cob on the side.  We worked off a little bit of it doing Juice and Toya's strength/endurance workout an hour beforehand.  The day seemed to fly by between finishing up planting, working out and stuffing our gullets.  

Monday was a very chill day.  Caught up on the DVR a little, got in an early workout of old Tae Bo Get Ripped then had turkey sloppy joe's for lunch and dinner.  Other than that, nothing doing because my body was tapped.  Well, I did put together a workout calendar for June which took some time but it'll be nice to not have to think about it everyday and just do it.

How did you spend your weekend?

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Monday, May 30, 2022

Happy Memorial Day

Wishing you all a Happy Memorial Day.  Celebrate and honor those who gave the ultimate sacrifice.

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Friday, May 27, 2022

What I'm Reading This Week #21

Happy Memorial Day long weekend Friday to you!  I hope you're ready for what everyone calls the unofficial kick off to summer despite it still being almost a full month away.  😝  It's been a LONG week and I originally wrote that on Monday.  The Mr asked for the link to a place we're staying and it wasn't coming up.  After checking with the owner, it was "oh, we sold that property; the moose out front (VRBO) should've told ya."  Scuzi?  So we were just going to show up with our crap to new owners without a word from anyone and they got to keep the $2000+ we already paid??  Then it was a mad scramble to find a new place on short notice.  By the skin of our teeth we found a place but it was a solid 24 hours of crap we didn't need to deal with.  The arbor, of course, did NOT get delivered Monday as it said it would.  That's okay, our entire patio is just in a shambles while FedEx literally sat on it for more than a week.  The company said they were sending out another one so who the hell knows when we're going to get stuff set up.  I just know it's not going to be in the cooler temps like it would've been if it was delivered on time.  You all know how I love the heat.  😠

Now let's love...

7 Foot Mobility Exercises To Help You Move With Ease  (Trust me, just do these so they don't end up being part of your PT therapy anyway down the line.)

Tea is the 'optimal beverage' and slashes cancer, heart disease and dementia risk  (Good to know as I have an entire cupboard full of tea!  I keep Harney and Sons in business!)

The side you sleep on makes a difference to your health - so which is best?  (Whew!  Anyone else use a side sleeper pillow?  I keep eyeing some but never pull the trigger because I'm cheap and need something soft.)

40 Small Habits That Make A Large Impact  (In case you need to shake things up)

The Best Marriage Advice From Couples Who’ve Been Together 25+ Years (Very good tips!  If I had to add two as someone with 26 years of marriage under the belt, I'd say 1) work on your own crap early on so you can grow together and learn how and why your partner reacts the way they do.  Often the reason they react a certain way is because it reminds them of something from their childhood that triggers similar emotions even if they don't realize it.  2)  Keep a clean house.  We don't do this and we mentally pay for it.  When the house is clean, we are less tense, more relaxed and just feel better overall which spills over into our relationship.)

These All-Natural, Homemade Weed Killers Actually Work  (I'll be keeping a jug of the first one on tap then next season follow up with the newspaper trick.  The front space is a weed magnet.)

How to Put Life on Easy Mode  (#4 has really helped me in the kitchen for sure over the past 2 months.)

8 Money Saving Tips for Planning Your Next Vacation (Gotta save every penny especially these days!)

The “Most Eighties” ’80s Band (A pretty interesting read even though I'd pick Duran Duran.)


We're doing our mandatory inaugural grill sesh and try not to melt. If the arbor arrives, we'll hopefully be putting it together.  Otherwise, nothing planned.

Any plans for the holiday weekend?

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Thursday, May 26, 2022

My Experience with a Grounding Mat


First the serious stuff.  I am not a doctor.  I am relaying my personal experience with grounding and what it has done for me.  This does not mean you will have the same results.  Do your own research before considering grounding and speak with your doctor before starting any kind of new medical therapy!


You know that feeling you get when you walk on a sandy beach with your shoes off, barefoot through soft grass or the lapping of water on your feet at the shore?  You just instantly feel better.  That's not just because it's a simple pleasure most of us rarely do for ourselves but it actually has a name...grounding or Earthing.  If it sounds woo woo hippy dippy, it's because the hippies were smarter than the rest of us by embracing it.  

I never really gave it much thought until a few months ago an Instagram friend was talking about the grounding sheets she got.  Her family wasn't sleeping well and a friend of hers was raving about the sheets and what a difference it made for her.  So she gave them a try and found that they did work for them.  Her three boys who notoriously took forever to calm down enough to get to sleep were asleep within 5-10 minutes.  Her and her husband were always restless and those put them both to sleep within minutes.  Given I am a chronic mind racer, I looked into it more because it sounded too good to be true for me.  The sheets I link to are less expensive than the ones she tried and I didn't get sheets because you have to use a special detergent to keep the silver intact and knowing myself, I knew I would consider it too much work for something unproven for me.   (Well, you don't HAVE to use that detergent but you can't use a whitening or essential oil based detergent or you could block the conduction capabilities.)

I didn't want to throw money away so I did some research from trusted sources to see what they said.  This article explains some of the benefits including chronic pain and fatigue (which I was experiencing at the time of purchase in January), anxiety and depression, sleep disorders, inflammation, muscle soreness post workout and cardiovascular disease are all issues that seemed to improve with grounding in small studies.  If you want super science-y stuff, this article of a study is really fascinating.  But if you want the coup de grace evidence of a science article backed with thermal imaging pictures as well as one pic that is a little icky of an 8 month old non healing wound on an elderly woman that western treatments did not help that actually healed within two weeks of a 30 minute grounding session per day, then this is the one you want to read.

I saw that there were grounding mats that work similarly to the sheets but only take up a small amount of space.  I read one review that a woman's husband was diagnosed with cholesterol levels similar to mine, not high but borderline and to the point the doc started talking about meds.  The doctor actually suggested grounding sheets or mats and said to come back in a few months and they would run more tests.  They literally made no other changes than grounding and his cholesterol went from 220 to 170.  I'm not saying that's what would happen for me and I'd already made dietary changes at that point but if it could do more for me on that front, I was down!

 So I asked the Mr if he was in for the experiment and he said yes so I got this two pack.

It comes with a meter to check that your outlet is grounded properly, two mats and the plugs to use (though you just use the center hole of the plug- it's never electrified) and a book about Earthing.  You can use it under your feet or on your chair while you're working, on your bed, laying down on the couch watching the tube, etc.  While I got it for the sleep aspect, I was really hoping the inflammation would be the kicker as I am very susceptible to sodium and on higher calorie days or heavy exercise can leave my legs a puffy mess for up to three days.

I will start out by saying I firmly believed we were throwing our money away.  Any miracle products never work for me so I have zero expectations and thought it was utter BS.  What can I say, I'm a realist?  So I went in as a skeptic for sure.  When they came in we started using them that night.  We both decided using it overnight would be best for us after trying it for an hour in the living room with no effects.  (Some people need to gradually work up.)  It can take up to a month for you to feel the full benefit while others feel the sleep or pain benefit almost instantly.  I didn't feel the sleep benefit for about two weeks and was about to call it a day but the Mr said he slept better and didn't know if it was placebo or not.  I was happy for him and he found it worked better under his sheet because he didn't like the texture of the mat on his bare legs.  I didn't either but I didn't feel anything with it under my sheet, so I slept with it connecting with my bare ankles/feet.  While I didn't stay asleep longer, I went to sleep quicker.  Most times I could be awake for up to an hour after going to bed with a racing mind.  Now, I'm lucky to make it 15 minutes, if that.  I didn't notice any real improvement in muscle soreness because my muscles are tight, hot messes.  But what I did notice from week two on, was a drastic improvement in my leg inflammation.  

Let's say I had a harder night's exercise or restaurant levels of sodium and just before bed my legs were ballooned up and feeling super tight.  In the past, I would've had to take two magnesium pills, slather on Epsom salt gel and hope it was reduced by half in the morning.  If that worked, on good days my legs would feel, for lack of a better term, 'baggy' meaning ALL edema was gone.  (But that only lasted until I got up for the day and sat on my rump and the fluid build up would come back by at least 25-40%.)  With the grounding mat, my edema is drastically reduced on a daily basis.  The real test for me was going to be on vacation.  I purposely prepare our meals like I'm on a cardiac diet because my mom has high blood pressure and I never wanted to be on meds or have the symptoms she had.  That helps keep my sodium side effects at bay physically but one high cal day or a burger and pizza and I would be bloated enough to float down 59th Street for the Macy's parade.  Now imagine eating out pretty much every day and what that does to someone who is sensitive to sodium.  I actually had to find compression sleeves from a sporting goods store when we were in the Outer Banks several years ago because my leg skin felt like it was going to split from the water retention and water pills weren't working.  I was in tears and always take them with us on vacation in case it ever gets that bad.  

When we went on vacation in the Spring, it was going to be the first time I could truly put the grounding mat to the ultimate test.  Lobster rolls, a burger and pizza here and there so way more sodium than I'm used to on a regular basis.  Every single day for 8 days my leg edema was back to my new normal.  Not a single sign of bloat or tightness.  Come day 9, we refer to it as the "turkey timer" popped meaning we could actually feel the weight gain.  While by the time we left day 10, my legs were slightly tighter they were no tighter than a hard exercise night or single high sodium day which was a miracle.  We had an 11-12 hour car ride ahead of us which always wreaks havoc on my legs.  When we got home, I plugged in the mat and collapsed into sleep.  The next morning I woke up with totally 'baggy' legs; not a single inflammation related symptom to my legs like I've had for years!  (Now my legs muscles were a different story but I digress.  It always takes about 3 days of foam rolling and Graston/gua shua scraping to get my leg muscles back into working order after a long road trip.)  After checking with the Mr (who did not bring his on vacation) he said he definitely feels like it helps him stay asleep.  He was tossing and turning much more whereas I was not.

The only downside to this is that you don't want to use it during a thunderstorm.  While it doesn't use electricity, it uses the grounding from the electric plug so you can get shocked if lightning hits your home during a storm.  Some mats/sheets claim they have fail safes for that but this girl ain't trusting it!  I keep an eye on the weather and if it looks to be clear overnight, I'll plug in.  There have been a few times though that distant thunder wakes me up and I'll unplug us.  You don't have to sleep with it on all night to get the effects so if you're not comfortable sleeping with it, just use it during the daytime if you work from home, after dinner or anytime you're awake so you have control over that potential issue.  

Because the mat has worked so well, I have considered getting the sheets as well especially if the cardiovascular benefits are so good.  I admit that I might save that to use during the fall and winter when there is basically zero probability of a thunderstorm just because I'm not risking it.  I've also considered getting a grounding pillowcase for the winter that I saw wondering if it could help where dementia or those with family history is concerned.  While there's no evidence of that yet, a quick search showed a hospital in Taiwan is doing a clinical trial this year regarding that same thing.  There are other grounding products that could be beneficial to your lifestyle like this grounding yoga mat which I have to imagine helps greatly reduce inflammation after a workout when you start your stretch session.

Now, you may be asking "do I really need to spend money to do grounding?"  Nope.  If you're able to commit to 20 minutes a day of being in direct contact with the Earth whether it's walking on the beach, being in water outdoors or having your feet on the grass or in dirt, you can ground.  If you live in colder climates, a grounding mat might be beneficial when it's too cold to put your bare tootsies out there for any amount of time.  I would only suggest if you're going to ground in the grass in the summer that you treat your lawn with a natural tick repellant and/or use a natural tick spray because the ticks are just BAD everywhere.  No one wants to ruin their grounding experience with Lyme disease or a red meat allergy!

Whether you think grounding products are a load of crap or not, you can't deny the positive effect putting your tootsies into nature can bring.  If you're unable to consistently ground outside, these products may be a way to supplement that feeling and do your body good.  Again, see the disclaimer above and talk to your doctor beforehand.  I wouldn't have believed it until I saw it for myself but my legs thank me!

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Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Hump Day Poll: Stop and Smell the Flowers


Or at least plant them!

What flowers are on your "to plant" list every year?  Or do you have a bunch of perennials and if so, which ones?

It's a guarantee we'll buy impatiens for the patio because it doesn't get a ton of sun and those always do well back there.  I tried snapdragons last year and they just got out of control and too tall for my liking.  I think I also got dianthus and I let them stay in the pots/planters and those are seeming to come back this year so that's cool and makes me feel like I'm getting free flowers.  (Remains to be seen if they'll bloom just yet so we'll see.)  I hate petunias but somehow always end up buying them because we have very few interesting choices for annuals in my zone unless you go buy seed and we're always on vacation at the prime time to care for them and I don't want to come home to a house full of gnats.  I planted cosmos out front last year and they were nice but I think I'm just sticking with what comes back and saying screw it to annuals out front since we're never out there.  I'll just have to weed every few weeks since those have taken hold early.  Lord forbid it's something pretty!

I feel like I've tried every perennial there is.  Our side yard has always had a lot of clay and I've mixed in every kind of soil and tilled it but to no avail.  The only thing that keeps coming back are the phlox, lavender and the rosebush I decided to give a go in 2020.  That's going to have to be enough because it's just too much to try to remember to go out and water.  Hydrangeas can take a flying leap.  I can't count how much times I've tried that.  It does look like after 4 years our lilac bush is ALMOST ready to try to bloom.  I'm not holding my breath but my Lord it's basically been two green sticks all that time.  

Safe to say I have a green thumb when I want it but by July my resolve taps out.

What flowers are on your "to plant" list every year?  Or do you have a bunch of perennials and if so, which ones?

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Monday, May 23, 2022

Our Spring Vacation Recap

Last year, we chose our vacations very carefully for this year as we knew this virus wasn't going anywhere.  We've been a lot of places and to me it didn't make sense to explore a new place that we couldn't 100% enjoy and explore freely so we decided to go back to places we've enjoyed.  Five years ago we went to The Hamptons/Martha's Vineyard for the first time and said of the two, we wouldn't need to go back to the Hamptons.  Well, guess where we went anyway. 😆

Martha's Vineyard doesn't open up until after we were leaving and we felt like it would be more frustrating than anything to go there.  We saw some of the Hamptons last time but stayed in Westhampton so going anywhere like Sag Harbor or Montauk was going to end up being a road trip.  I found a place in East Hampton that looked like a good jump off spot so we booked it and I honestly didn't plan a friggin' thing until about a week before we left which would horrify the traveler in me 25 years ago.

So if you're one of the few weirdos like me who actually likes looking at other people's vacation pictures, settle in.  If not, see ya Wednesday!

Our place was right up the street from Green River Cemetery where several famous artists, writers and actors are buried.  Jackson Pollock's grave is particularly interesting.

Lots of paintbrushes, shells and stones left and his wife is buried in front of him.   We also paid our respects to Peter Boyle from Everybody Loves Raymond/Santa Clause, etc

One day we drove over to a shop I've been following in Southold NY for about 3 years.  

While there were a few cute things, homegirl knows how to work the angles on IG to make her store look WAY bigger than it is.  It's the kind of store that if there are four people in it at once, it feels crowded.  I bought a few things but not nearly what I thought I would.  Crossed off the list.

We spent much of the vacation geocaching which is something we got into when the 2000's came along.  Like pretty much everything we do, it peters out but given NY was just starting to get into skeevy territory on the Covid front, being able to do something fun and away from people was high on the list.  You don't realize how many you pass every single day.

I'm hoping we get back into it regularly since we're going to need stuff to do.

For our anniversary we found an afternoon tea place on LI that was willing to do takeout so we were able to enjoy it in the comfort of our rental.

They even had our favorite, Harney and Sons tea, so we were happy campers.  We got catering lasagna from an Italian place we dreamed about when we had it last time.  It was only $30 more to just get a pan of it instead of paying 2/3 of the price for 2 servings.  This way we had 6-8 servings for the extra money but I'll tell you after day three of the lasagna I thought I could eat everyday...we were over it.  (Still a good call though because every place bends you over on the price)

We always like to find movie/tv locations on vacation if we can and this was no exception.  Fans of The Affair will recognize the Lobster Roll aka Lunch.

We were also able to find Gabriel's cemetery and the tree on the right is where Allison parks her bike when they show it the first time.  It was a nice cemetery to walk to burn off some afternoon tea on our anniversary.

East Hampton loves its windmills and so do we.

Someone loves walking the beach when he can.

I, on the other hand, can't even stand on a beach properly because I ended up ass and back first in 35 degree water when the sand melted under my feet.  The Mr was mortified (for me, of course) but I just chalked it up to that is my life and of course that would happen when I try to look nice.)

Luckily, a nice dog named Toby came over to say hi before we left.

Every night on vacation, we always journal and have done that since 1999.  (The only exception being 2002 when we took my friend to Hawaii for three weeks and would've had some not so nice things to write about her attitude for a basically free trip.)

If we find some fun shells, they always go in my pocket.

We love watching rough and mean seas.  Of course you have to have a permit to do so but we snuck it in where we could.  Places with their private beaches can shove it.

Thank God we didn't discover Buongiorno Bakery in Montauk until the last three days of our trip.  I know no one else here likes Nutella but we do and are going to be working the multiples we got off for the next week or three.

I love that when we travel in spring that pretty much all of the trees are in bloom and geocaching took us to another beautiful spot.

We spent as much time as we could soaking in the beaches.

It was kind of sad to see Gosman's Dock area as it looks like the pandemic has hit it pretty hard but I always love being dockside.

So do these dudes.

We enjoyed sitting on a cold day with the wind whipping on a blankie at Kirk Park Beach in Montauk, which became our favorite spot just like last time but we were thankfully closer to go a lot more.

The Montauk Lighthouse will always make my jaw drop.

It was sad to leave and I could've done with another two days or so but for the most part, it was the bit of sanity we needed since we've been surrounded by construction on all sides for a year and every person with a loud muffler has moved in over the past two years.  We do wish there was more than one main drag to get to the end because traffic is a nightmare sometimes and we had to turn around once because we just did not have the patience.  A few days in there were boring but boring anywhere but home is something I'll take.  As I wrote last week, our vacation vibes were killed pretty quickly but it's always nice to look back and try to imagine the sounds of the raging seas, rain hitting the metal roof, fire crackling and the sound of cracking open your wallet to pay $40 for a friggin' lobster roll.

Any trips planned for the summer?

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Friday, May 20, 2022

What I'm Reading This Week #20

Happy happy Friday everyone!  I hope you've had an awesome week and are ready for some tomfoolery to get into.  We slowly got back into formal exercise this week after taking vacation off and my body is none too pleased.  I originally intended to exercise while we were gone but honestly felt like my body just needed a break from it all; plus the 'walkable neighborhood' had no sidewalks and we did not feel safe walking the roadside.  We haven't weighed in (that comes tomorrow) but I have "vacation boobs" which means instead of looking like balloons 10 days after the party as usual, they only look two days after the party so I have to enjoy that while I can.  But definitely have some chub rub in places I didn't before so we need to get back on the horse full blast.  

Now let's blast into...

How Exercise Improves Your Gut Health—And the One Thing You Need To Know To Take Advantage  (Good info to know if you're trying to craft a routine to maximize results!)

How To Do Good Mornings Correctly, For A Stronger Core & Lower Body  (Honestly, I will take 100 of these over 20 squats any day!  I don't know that I would want to do them the way the chick in the picture is though, I'd probably use these instead.)

3 Ankle-Strengthening Exercises for Happy Hips  (These are so interconnected and it really does make a huge difference keeping up ankle mobility!)

Changes to Make in Your Marriage, According to Experts  (We can vouch for pretty much all of these now, though we certainly haven't perfected them.)

Dri-Pak Soda Crystals for Cleaning Coffee Stains on Mugs (I will save you money and time because it's something you probably already have...MAGIC ERASER!!  Swipe, swipe-done!  No need to let anything sit for any amount of time.  Or sprinkle some baking soda on a sponge and swipe it before putting it in the dishwasher!)

Renter-Friendly White Kitchen Redo for $180 - Before and After Photos  (I'm always looking for ideas for my mom who is in an apartment with limited funds.  I LOVE this look and for a great price too!  Personally, I would go with this more 3D version of peel and stick tile backsplash.)

‘That’s it? It’s over? I was 30. What a brutal business’: pop stars on life after the spotlight moves on  (This is a friggin' AMAZING article!  If you're into 70's-90's music and you read nothing else, read this one.  We got the audiobook to listen to on a future road trip.)

50 Heartwarming Posts From The 'Wholesome Meets The Internet' Account To Lift Your Spirits Up  (Your heart needs this right now.  Also, #5, so sweet as well as many others.)

Well, our arbor was supposed to arrive Thursday but since the label got ripped off of it at FedEx on Tuesday, it won't be delivered until Monday.  Sounds logical.  *hard eye roll*  It's going to be a hellscape weather wise so it wouldn't have been a particularly fun build out there anyway.  I suppose at some point we should make a flower run but it'll have to be during the week since the weekends are a madhouse at every nursery in a 30 mile radius.  Therefore I suppose our only plans are not melting.

Any plans for you this weekend?

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Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Hump Day Poll: To Dunk or Not to Dunk?

Cookies- Dunk into milk?  Chase with milk?  No milk.

I don't have cookies much except around Christmas but for me, anything dry like an Oreo or these one cookies we like from Hawaii are dunkers.  Anything else is a chaser but only when I'm done, not like chew, drink, chew, drink.  (That just seems like a waste of cookie to me because you're immediately rinsing it off of your tongue.)  Sometimes no milk but I'd say 70% of the time with milk and only 1/2 cup because I can never finish a full glass for some weird reason.

How about you?  Cookies- Dunk into milk?  Chase with milk?  No milk.

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Monday, May 16, 2022

Welcome Back Suckers Weekend Recap

Howdy y'all!  I hope you had a great weekend.  It was our first weekend back from vacation.  I'll do a separate post about that.  It was hotter than hades to welcome us back after having been in our ideal weather of 55-60 degrees and breezy which was literally not cool to return to.  Neither of us were ready for that and it looks like we're in it until winter, just like I said we'd be.

We were thrown back into adulting by having had an issue with our network on day two of leaving so we were getting no security updates because there was no internet.  This affected several things that made you just want to scream.  Nothing you want to do more than deal with a network problem after an 11 hour drive.  We checked the radon monitor and yep, the initial home test I recommended that everyone do whether you think you have radon or not was confirmed after a full month's worth of data at 5.8.  We had to get paperwork submitted to the HOA to get that ball rolling which will be about $1100.  The Mr had to take in his car to Hyundai to FINALLY get a fix for his 'hey your car could randomly catch on fire' issue they've known about for three months and they came out with a laundry list of stuff he should get done.  Funny how we have a dirty air filter when it was just changed.  They did recommend the brakes getting done and we thought the price of almost $1000 sounded insane and called around and it was pretty much the going rate.  The knocking hot water tank after a thorough flushing is going to have to wait for replacement next year.  (FYI- a "no flushing needed" hot water tank is a load of sh*t.  Flush the hot water tank once a year)

That birch arbor we put up in 2020 to keep us entertained and we hoped one day covered in shade, needs to come down since it caught a lovely case of varnish fungus rot or some nonsense.  

It was a jerry rigging kind of year so we did what we thought would last and it didn't for as long as we hoped.  I ordered a metal one that looks like it'll just fit the loveseat and we'll have to start over.  The wisteria came back but the jasmine they said would if I kept it protected, didn't.  Lucky for us though because the wisteria isn't super established and I had to hack off all of the dead jasmine.  Of course the arbor isn't set to arrive until this week or next depending on when they decide to ship it.  Obviously because we are us, we'll need to loosely assemble it to make sure the loveseat fits because if we put it together completely and it doesn't, I'd be taking a long walk off of a short pier.

Then the Mr decided he needed some kind of switch for his new ceiling fan since the installation basically killed one of the two working light switches from having to cap it.  Well, it was basically a two hour ordeal and having a color blind man working on electricity doesn't fill one with confidence especially when he didn't take a before pic of what it looked like if he'd have to go back to the original.

Vacation vibes...killed.  

At least it wasn't as stressful as this time two years ago.

That moved us into the weekend.  It seems like every year there is some big undertaking needing done on the patio to get it together.  We've already had to replace the furniture covers this year and they weren't that old.  I guarantee in 6-8 weeks, we won't even go out there if this heat keeps up the way it has and any flowers we buy will be crispy.  Tale as old as time...

Sadly, the arbor didn't take much to come down.  We were both sad to see it go because it was done at a time when we needed some hope (and everyone else got to the metal arbors that would fit before we could) so it kind of symbolizes something to us.  We also had to put it together in the garage so we weren't on full display, a piece was cut wrong and thankfully I had a spare birch pole randomly hanging around to cut to fit and then we had to carry the fully assembled arbor under the cloak of darkness around to the back patio hoping our nosy neighbor wouldn't catch us.  Always an adventure. It's weird to see the space without it now.

But we're looking forward to getting the new one up and giving the vines a spot to establish.  Fingers crossed.  It was a two shower Saturday for sure and the Mr promptly napped after his and thankfully my headache went away.  We did a few random geocaches that evening and weirdly enough found the future grave of my 3rd grade teacher at one of them.  That was a trip.  On Sunday, we did a little more work on the patio.  If you have cedar fencing, you know they gap over time.  Well, when you have nosy neighbors who we've literally caught peeking through them, you make a solution.  This backer rod foam is perfect to go between gaps and I use these pot scrapers to work them in without damaging the wood.  So that was my fun for Sunday.  The Mr did some patio work and got our pics hung up out there.  I'll take pics of it all when we've got the patio together and hopefully done.  

We got a month of Peacock Premium Saturday night so I could watch Maneskin's performance on Eurovision (heal up soon, Damiano!) so we had streaming access to Firestarter with Zac Efron which we watched last night.  I only saw the original about 5 years ago but still didn't remember enough to know if it was close to the original movie or not.  It was okay.  I wouldn't necessarily recommend it but wouldn't steer anyone away from it either especially if you read the book or want to see how it stacks up to the original.  I will say John Carpenter's scoring skills are still on point.

That was that.

How was your weekend?

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Friday, May 13, 2022

What I'm Reading This Week #19

Howdy do all!  I hope you had a good week and are ready to party hardy this weekend.  (Okay, us either.  I don't know the last time I partied hardy.)   It's probably gonna be a bummer weekend for us because we're home from vacation and back to reality which is neighbors we want to smack (but jail is a deterrent) and construction on all sides of us we hoped would be further along than it is.  I'll likely do a recap next week when I've got my brain settled back into a routine.

Now let's settle into...

5 Simple Hamstring Exercises (Plus 2 Great Stretches) to Strengthen and Lengthen the Backs of Your Legs  (Great stretches!  My hammies seem to always be super tight no matter what I do but these slant boards help for sure with that and ankle mobility.)

Is Ultra-Filtered Milk Actually Better for You Than Regular Milk? (We get it for more protein and less sugar.  Never tasted any difference.)

My Nonnegotiable Daily Nature Practice For Stress & Anxiety Relief  (We've got these mats and I have to say it does help with inflammation that I can visibly see.)

Are Expensive Eggs Actually 'Better' for You?  (I've started getting organic eggs through Aldi which are $2 cheaper than at big box stores and only $.20 more than the eggs we used to buy.)

Here's How Plant-Based 'Meats' Stack Up, Nutritionally  (I can't do the jackfruit thing but you'll have to pry Gardein's meatless meatballs from my cold, dead hands.  The Mr has several times asked "are these beef or vegan?"  Pretty good coming from a formerly picky eater!)

15 Slow Cooker Seafood Recipes for a High-Protein Dinner (OMG, some of these look sooo good!  Time to bust out the slow cooker.)

10 Ways Women Can Advocate for Themselves at the Doctor’s Office  (It is IMPERATIVE for anyone!  I don't go to a doc's appt (especially a new one or for a new issue) without notes regarding symptoms, how long they've been going on, what I've done to treat up to that point.  Not only does it help them but it's something in writing they can refer to for future appts.  I can't tell you how many have said they LOVE it and wished more patients did it.  If a doctor is offended by that, leave.  They aren't going to give you the care you deserve.)

How to Keep Your Sense of Humor As You Get Older  (It's REALLY hard but I need these tips for sure.)

30 Times People Were Saddened And Disappointed By Celebrities, Shared In An Online Thread  (#14 doesn't surprise me at all.  I bet the people who passed by Betty White are kicking themselves now.)

Not sure if we've got anything on tap for the weekend since we spent so much time in the car coming home.  Maybe we'll start to get the patio cleaned up and ready for planting.  I should probably consider bulbs because I truly hate wasting so much money on annuals but then again I want blooms all summer.  Something to ponder but if anyone has suggestions on long flowering plants, chuck 'em at me in the comments!

Whatchu got going on this weekend?

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Wednesday, May 11, 2022

Hump Day Poll: Let's All Go to the Movies


What could movie theaters do to improve the experience of going there?

My answer will tell you why I don't go to them anymore:

1)  Cell phone jammer.

2) One of those clear igloos so you don't have to hear or be near other people and watch your movie in peace.

3)  Duct tape ushers for the mouths of those who insist on talking the whole time or if you're seeing an old movie in the theater from saying out loud every line of dialogue until I have to give you the death stare so hard that you physically get up and move.  (It's happened and that's the last time we went pre-Covid.)

Hence a few of the reasons we rent.   Cheaper than bail.  😁

What could movie theaters do to improve the experience of going there for you?

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Monday, May 9, 2022

Things to Check When You Rent a Vacation Home

We have rented private homes direct and through the main vacation rental companies you've seen on TV.  We've rented well over 50 homes from Hawaii to Maine in price ranges from $150-700/night and the more you pay, the more expectations you have of cleanliness and general upkeep.   Regardless of price, there are some issues you are likely going to run into no matter how much you paid for it.  I've got some tips for you on what to look for when checking in and what to potentially expect so you can get to relaxing sooner.  I'll warn you that this is going to sound like I'm ragging on cleaning crews/property managers and I suppose to some degree, I am. I have yet to rent a place in the past 10 years that hasn't had cleaning issues or general issues of some sort that had us unable to enjoy the place for the first night or two except for one and thankfully that was the place we rented for our 25th anniversary last year.

Here are the things we do now the second we walk through the door because we'll either be pleasantly surprised or grossed out and I'd rather get the grossed out stuff out of the way.

1. Check the sheets

One thing we've learned over the years is more often than not, cleaning crews wash sheets in the most harsh, perfumed detergent out there.  If you are sensitive to smells or prone to itchy skin from strong detergent, you need to bring your own detergent, strip the sheets (and towels if need be) and get them in the washer as soon as you check in so they'll be ready for bedtime.  I asked for and received this awesome sleeping bag style bed liner.  So many hotels have horrible scratchy sheets or the aforementioned harsh detergents in rentals and this makes it so even if the texture is horrible, I know I have a set of sheets that I can sleep on that have been washed in my free and clear detergent.  I hate that we have to bring an extra bag for these but it's that or break out in hives.

2.  Wash the dishes

If you think the heathens before you didn't just do a rinse on their plates the morning of checkout and that the cleaning crew checked to make sure that wasn't the case, I've got a bridge to sell you. Grab at least 4-8 plates, bowls, glasses, mugs and silverware and run them through the dishwasher the first hour you're there so they're ready for dinner.  (This is of course assuming you don't open the dishwasher and either see a load of dishes for you to put away or even better, a load of the previous renters dirty dishes.  It's happened.)

3.  Check your network

If the homeowner has video cameras on site, they are supposed to tell you.  (It can go against some rental companies terms of service if they don't.) This article tells you how to do a quick sweep of the network to make sure you're not being watched or digitally spied on without your consent. 

4. Look in nooks and crannies

Check in corners, behind furniture, etc for mouse traps, ant traps and similar items.  This means they aren't likely keeping them at bay but have an active problem especially judging by the age of said items to make it LOOK like they're addressing it.  A place we stayed had ancient looking ant traps but very alive and modern large ants in the kitchen.  Terro ant traps are the only things that work pretty quickly and they take it back to the colony to spread the love. I should just buy them before every trip just in case and will do so especially if we're staying in the country.  We also had a wasp infestation there which was fun.  Bring some painter's tape with you (it doesn't stick when you peel it off) so you can temporary fill any gaps while you're there and remove before you leave.

5. Locate the cleaning products

Nothing is ever cleaned to my satisfaction, okay maybe like three homes we've rented.  This is from a woman who is not a great housekeeper herself.  But I resent paying $100-500 for a cleaning fee to come into a place with cobwebs clearly visible in common places, surfaces that look like they were barely wiped and my biggest pet peeve, grubby little handprints all over the windows.  I know you see them, cleaning person!  I should not have to spend a second of my vacation washing windows, spraying down tubs, etc and yet regardless of the nightly rate, I still find myself doing at least some light house work which is not the way to kick things off.  So locate the cleaning products as soon as you get there, if they aren't locked away because chances are, you'll need at least one.   If they're locked away, run to the store and grab a good multi purpose wipe, cleaner and paper towels just for cleaning.

6. Bring earplugs

Earplugs are a must!  The last place we stayed had me in tears and was NOT the way to round out an anniversary trip.  One thing listers are really good at are angles, especially if they're right on top of other neighbors.  These people also added other pictures to the listing just before we rented that, had I seen them, I NEVER would've rented the place.  I know they weren't there because the Mr reviews my rental selections for his stamp of approval and he agreed, some of the things were not shown.  The thing about older homes is many keep the original glass in tact for either historical or financial purposes.  This allows several issues from easy pest entry to my favorite... hearing the neighbors screaming demon spawn (kids) and their devil hound which barks in a way that makes you feel it's being rewarded to be that annoying.  You could also be in a flight path, have neighbors that don't appreciate dealing with renters in their neighborhood so they purposely rev engines or other less than idyllic behaviors that will spoil your chances of a relaxing time or good night's sleep.  At least you can be prepared while you furiously search for other accommodations and pray you luck out. (We, unfortunately, did not.)

These are annoying things to have to check especially when you're spending your hard earned money on a rental but if you address them as soon as you drag everything in and before settling in, it will make your first night that much easier.  As someone with high rental expectations that is constantly getting let down, just assume you will have to do some light cleaning and be prepared because sometimes it's heavy cleaning.  Also immediately alert the renter to anything within the first few hours of check in because they can try to blame broken ANYTHING on you if you don't tell them.  I can't count how many reviews have property owner responses being snarky and nasty saying "if you had told us, we could've rectified this!"  (But also be prepared to have your vacation interrupted unless you don't mind service people being in the house when you're not there.  I'm not one of those people and we lost 2 hours last year to 100 years of calcium build up being chiseled out of our quarantine rental on our last full day.  Good times.)

Did I miss something that you check when you check into a rental?  Feel free to share what helps you too!

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