Leave it all behind

In less than 24 hours I'll be in a car going south. And yes, it will be extremely warm where we're going but we'll deal with it.

I'm really looking forward to our trip, we haven't seen the relatives we are going to see since our wedding five years ago. Plus, St. Louis is a fun city to explore.

It's also nice to just get away from it all, shake it up a bit.

I'm sure I'll have stories to share when we return! As Tigger would say, TTFN, ta ta for now!


Too hot to run

Well, yesterday was supposed to be the Torchlight 5k. And of course for days the forecast kept saying that yesterday was also going to be the peak of the heat in this latest heatwave. So, as the day got closer, we knew we'd likely be walking the duration of the race instead of running. And then yesterday hit and after all we've been dealing with at home with issues and just overall feeling kind of heat sick yesterday we decided to pull out and just lose the money.

But then the organizers of the event did something awesome - around 4:30 they just simply announced that the 5k would be postponed to another date. So, in the end, we haven't lost out yet, if it's rescheduled to another date that we can still do, we won't lose any money! The rescheduled date has not been announced yet. I think that was a smart choice on the event planners part - however they maybe should have made that call before so late in the day yesterday, but either way, it was probably a good thing, I think they would have had a bunch of heat related sickness and problems if they had held the race as it was.

So, since we weren't running, we instead got to take advantage of some generous friends who have access to an awesome swimming pool.

Look out below!!

This was a great way to beat the heat and really, tons more fun than running would have been last night. Capped off the night with some Dairy Queen. Swimming + ice cream = bliss.

Of course today is much better, the air has changed, the humidity has dropped. Makes me almost rethink my breaking it off with summer completely. To quote Ross from Friends, maybe summer and I were just "on a break." Then again, next week's St. Louis trip could force the break to be back on, we'll see!


This is more like it

Finally things are looking up!

Our air conditioner is all better. Apparently there were two "conductors" that were bad. The technician (who I think is a superhero - A/C Guy to the rescue!!) replaced both of them and ran a bunch of test cycles and had it all up and running in about an hour. It took a little bit to get the house cool again since it was so hot outside, but when we got up this morning it was finally down to a nice comfortable 71 degrees. Now that's what I'm talking about!

You could tell the cats were feeling much better too, Pippin was all full of spunk this morning before I left for work. What a relief.

The basement is getting much better too. The carpet is more or less dry, the air is a bit on the musty side yet yet, but we're hoping the dehumidifier will keep helping with that. And it doesn't appear that anymore water got in when the big storm came through yesterday, so the sealing work Nate did seems to have helped (even if it doesn't look terribly attractive at the moment, my house looks like it's oozing foam in spots! He needs to trim it back).

I'm slowly getting ready for the trip and now that these issues are resolved and better I think I'll be able to focus much more on preparations over the next couple of days.

Happy and content sigh.


The hits just keep on coming

What is the single worst thing that could happen on one of the hottest days of the year?

As if I didn't have enough to deal with in airing out the basement and trying to get ready for a trip this week, our two year old air conditioner decided to crap out on us again yesterday. Yes I said again - we had this issue last week too, but that was before it was in the "waytoofreakinghot" category of heat. They came out and did some work (under warranty, thank the Lord) and it seemed to be fine.

Yesterday, I came home from work and was doing some normal evening type chores - emptying the dishwasher, picking up a little bit, nothing terribly strenuous, but I realize, gee, I'm working up a sweat here, that's odd...checked the thermostat and discovered the error message was back and it was nearly 80 degrees in the house. Awesome.

I do want to apologize here for whining - I know many, many people who do not have air conditioning at all, some of whom are probably reading and saying "you're preaching to the choir here, try living that way all the time." I am spoiled - but darn it, I want to be spoiled. We payed good money for that unit and I want it to work, especially on days where I am about to re-enact the Wicked Witch's "Melting" routine. Oy.

The good news is the technician who came out last week should be able to get to us today, so I'll cross my fingers he can figure this thing out. And I pray my cats are semi-intelligent and just go hang out in the basement if they get too warm today.

Yeah, remember my "love affair" with summer? It's done. I'm breaking up with summer. Summer, you and I are through. It was fun while it lasted.


Water is good for...

We fashioned this contraption out of a pitcher from Pampered Chef, ice and water to chill some beer faster to have with dinner last night. So, water is good for something. Ha.

Water, water, everywhere and not a drop to drink

Water. Oh water. It is so good when you are thirsty or when you want to use it to cool off in a swimming pool or a beach. It is an essential part of life.

It is not so good when it shows up somewhere it doesn't belong!!

We have a sump pump in our basement, it's in our laundry room and earlier this summer it wasn't working right, but Nate fixed it and it works great now. And with all the rain we had on Friday night, it was certainly working overtime to keep the water out of the basement. I am thankful for that. But apparently, it can't fix everything.

I had mentioned in my last post about looking forward to a "me day" on Saturday. And it certainly started out that way! Nate got up early to go work on the car and I took my time getting up, getting ready and going about my day. After coffee with my parents I came back home and started some laundry. I noticed in the most northern part of my laundry room that there was a little bit of water along the edge of the wall - this does happen from time to time because the yard in the back needs some attention, we need to get it flowing away from the house, right now it flows toward the house. When we get a little water in that area, it's not too bad and it is concrete at least so it dries and all is well.

After seeing that though, I figured, I'd better check the northeast corner of the basement too. The first summer we lived in the house, we had a bad storm like the one on Friday and ended up with water in that area of the basement. There are some horrible cracks in the foundation right above that spot, where our front steps are and part of the driveway. This is something on our list to fix when the magical money fairy gifts us some more money. That first summer it was pretty bad, but we used a dehumidifier and it took care of the problem in about 48 hours. Knock on wood, it hasn't really happened again. Earlier this summer that area got a tiny bit damp, but not too bad, some Damp Rid (major product plug - this stuff works wonders, I'll be their spokesperson, seriously) took care of the issue. So,I wandered over to that spot and it seemed dry.

Satisfied, I went about my day, hung out with my mom for a bit, had some lunch, was gone maybe two hours or so. Came back down to switch my laundry around. The water in the laundry room was a bit worse. But I figured, the ground is soooo saturated out there and it's probably slowly sinking in and can't help but end up in the house a little bit. And again, this was just the concrete area of the laundry room, so I threw some crappy old towels down and freshened up the Damp Rid (seriously, Damp Rid people, your product rocks, hire me to pimp it for you!) and figured, all righty, problem solved. It was still early enough in the afternoon and I wasn't expecting Nate for hours so I decided, it was chick flick time, and headed back into the main room of the basement to watch a movie.

I was barefoot and as I approached the TV I discovered the shag carpet felt a little...odd as I was walking on it. Cold. Squishy. Wet. WET? Oh crap.

Further investigation proved that we had water - quite a bit of water - in that same corner from the first summer. Now, I give myself a lot of credit here, the Beth of five years ago would have freaked out, probably started bawling and swearing and more or less throwing a tantrum. No joke, I am not proud of past behaviors! But the Beth of Today said, ok, well, we still have a dehumidifier but I don't think it works. I will call Mr. Nate and see what he thinks.

So I called him and he said I could try the old unit, but my best bet might be running to Home Depot and getting a new one. I decided that would be best as well and set out. Man, I was lucky to get one - the cashier I went to said he had sold 18 Dehumidifiers and 37 Shop Vacs that day. Almost comforting to know we were in somewhat good company I guess with a damp basement!

Got home and set it all up and then just waited for Nate to come home. He made it home around 7:00 and assessed the situation and decided we'd let it run all night and see how things were come Sunday. It was still a bit squishy on Sunday, so after church he got the Shop Vac out and sucked up a bunch of it. Between that and running the new dehumidifier non-stop, we're getting it most of the way dry. I would say in the next day or two it should be better.

Then he did something that makes me love him even more - he went out in the soup yesterday and sealed up some of the cracks in the foundation so we can hopefully limp through the rest of the summer without replacing the steps just yet. Cause unless the magic money fairy comes to visit, we'll probably need to save a little bit over the winter and then replace all of it next year - hopefully.

So, there you have it. I'm thankful for the sunshine today - I really hope it dries up the water outside! I also hope this humid heatwave doesn't last terribly long. I'm still keeping it all in perspective though - I have air conditioning and at least it wasn't 12 inches of snow that we had to dig out of or something!!


Watch out, it's getting personal

I had the best intentions of blogging about interesting things this week. I wanted to finish up my "summer job" series and write about a few other topics, but I just haven't been motivated to write those things.

Truth be told, I just haven't been up to blogging period. I like to keep this blog mostly positive, upbeat and light - because it really is a "friends and family" blog so I don't really get too deeply personal or negative or down and I don't really know why other than I guess I never want anyone reading to get worried about me when I'm not my usual perky self. So, when I get in a "mood" so to speak, sometimes it's easier to keep the blog quiet during those times.

I decided though, that it's time to allow myself to be more open, more candid and more honest. If I'm in a down mood or a bad mood or whatever, it is ok to say so. I'm human, I'm allowed to have a bad day every now and then. So here we go.

Right now, I am just a little overwhelmed and a little stressed. It's hard to believe summer is half over already. I feel like life is on fast-forward. I love our activities and the things we do, but sometimes it can lead to me feeling like I have no time to catch my breath and re-charge. We go on vacation at the end of the month for a week, and while I'm looking forward to it, I feel like there is so much to do before we go, it's really kind of snuck up on me.

I'm trying to plan for things in the future too - a month from now, a couple months from now, even six months from now - fun things too - but when I get to the kind of point that I'm at right now, I have a hard time even seeing past tomorrow.

I feel bad and that I've been nothing but cranky with those around me and I apologize to anyone who has possibly been a victim of my funk. I have a running joke with a friend of mine that when I get in this kind of mood, I just want to go home and be a "friggin hermit" and then somehow I came up with a character I call "Hermit the Frig". (He's Kermit the Frog's super crabby cousin if you didn't know). Lately I have just been feeling like Hermit the Frig.

So what do I do to help myself and make things better? Well, for starters, I have a full day tomorrow all to myself, Nate will be working on his car and I have nothing to do - and I will be keeping it that way. I just need that kind of day. It will help big time. Tonight I'm crazy busy and Sunday I'm crazy busy, but Saturday is just for me.

Secondly, I am figuring out that I just need to slow down a bit and maybe say no a little more if I need to. Last summer it took me getting super sick and knocked down for a week to figure that out. This year I won't let that happen again, so I'm glad I'm figuring this out now. This isn't to say that I am truly going to permanently become Hermit the Frig, but I just have to work on balance.

Thirdly, I love making lists - so I need to make lists for my upcoming vacation, once I do that and have a way of crossing off my needs and "to-do's" it makes the whole thing seem much less daunting!

Finally, allowing myself to just lay it all out here on my blog and what not has helped immensely. I will continue to blog without fear. Like I said, I'm human, I'm not without faults and you know what, there is nothing wrong with that!

I think things will be better from here!


Running on empty

So as you all know, we triumphantly finished our "walk to run" program about two weeks ago or so, having hit that coveted "30 minute mark" that we needed to hit to finish the whole thing. And it felt awesome and we were excited and pumped. But we were finished with the program. So, we decided to try a different program to keep up on our running and chose a beginner 5K training program from Nike's website.

We're not even the whole way through week two and today we realized something.

It's far too intense for what we're ready for.

It didn't look like it would be that bad when you read the program online - but it has us running just about every day and has also added fun things like strength training and we both realized we are just beyond wiped out already.

I mentioned recently that we are not morning people. Yet, we get up early enough so we can do this running. If we keep up on this program right now, in a few short weeks we could be looking at getting up even earlier than we already are. I can be like an old lady to a point, but I don't want to have to start going to bed before 9:00 either!!

We're also both just feeling stressed and even a little burned out. We have other things going on in our lives besides running and already on week two of this program, it feels like our life is only about running and nothing else. We're not enjoying it anymore. We're running on empty.

So, where does that leave us?

We are not quitting. We still want to be runners. We still enjoy a good run in the morning - but right now, we're going to go at our own pace. We're still proud and pleased to have completed our "Walk to Run" program and the fact that we're choosing to not move on to something else doesn't lessen that accomplishment in anyway.

What about the Torchlight 5K? Or the fact that I wanted to do a 5K this fall? For the 5K next week, we will run as much of it as we can and if we walk some, we walk some. This fall? Probably more of the same. I don't think either one of us will ever be "marathon" runners.

It was a hard decision to come to, but I think we're both going to feel a lot better because of it. Our health and well being is important after all!


Another full weekend

Whew, another weekend gone by too fast. It was another busy one!

Friday of course was the Josh Groban concert. And it was AMAZING. Hands down one of the best concerts I've been too - he managed to make an arena type venue feel like an intimate theatre. There were two different stages, one was out more in the center of the arena and from where we were sitting, we had a great view! He sang for a full two hours too - so you really got your money's worth out of the show. He talked a fair amount too, but he's quirky and funny. I really had a good time and I know I'll be catching him every time he comes back from now on. I've sealed my status as "Grobanite." Yep, I said it. Make fun all you want! Here's a picture from the show - him singing my favorite song I discussed on Friday in fact!

Saturday was a full day, we had some errands to run and I cleaned the house a bit. Then we had a church gig in the late afternoon, but it was over early enough for us to go out for a nice dinner and come home to watch a movie, so that was good.

Sunday we got up and attempted to run - man it was warm and humid though and it made it a bit challenging. We managed to do a mile and a half. I don't have huge expectations for our 5K next week honestly - we are going to just run as much of it as we can and we'll keep training through the rest of the summer and probably run another 5K this fall as well.

After running we headed home and then met up with my in-laws to go celebrate my sister-in-law Ali's birthday. We had brunch at the Red Stag Supper Club. I've been wanting to try it, so I'm glad we had a chance to go there. We were going to do Psycho Suzi's on the patio, but it was just too darn hot. We had a nice time with them and then headed home again for a short break. Nate and I played some cribbage to kill some time before we went to his cousin Maggie's open house. It was warm in their backyard, but we did have some shade so that helped. Visited with some of the extended family for a bit and then came home, took the easy way out by ordering pizza and proceeded to watch about three hours of TV. Yeah, lazy bums, but it was so needed at that point!

Then the storms rolled in. Ick. Kept us awake and then we were one of the lucky ones to lose power around 10:30 or so - which meant no air conditioner and no ceiling fan. But then somehow we were fortunate enough to be of the first ones to get power back at around midnight. It was still a long night though. I think I'll be dragging a bit today!

The calendar is so full before we go to St. Louis I kind of want to cry - but we'll get through it somehow! I'm going one day at a time right now!


Why I love Josh Groban

Tonight my mom and I are going to see Josh Groban in concert.

I am beyond excited.

This might seem odd - as Josh Groban isn't exactly the type of music one might expect me to really like although I have a pretty eclectic taste in music. But I really do like his music. His voice is like butter, I think he could sing anything and I'd still want to listen. He isn't bad to look at, even for a happily married gal like myself.

The biggest reason I love Josh Groban and his music though is this - one simple song of his became a lifeline for me quite a while back. Flashback to 2006.

2006 was a big year - it was a wonderful year in that we got married and we bought our house, I landed a good job and all seemed like everything was falling into place. But 2006 had it's downs too. We lost my uncle and also a friend of mine only about a month apart to horrible diseases. Two people close to me ended pretty serious dating relationships and went through some tough times. But the biggest thing was, not even four months into our marriage, Nate was laid off from work.

I.Was.Scared. I hid it well, most around me didn't know I was crumbling inside - but man alive, I was so young, I was still adjusting to marriage and being a homeowner and when that rug was pulled out from under us, I panicked. How were we going to make this work? I spent many sleepless nights just agonizing over our situation. I was a newlywed, I was not supposed to be dealing with these kinds of things.

One night after it had been a month or two, Josh Groban was featured on the American Music Awards. I was watching and feeling depressed as usual. They were talking about a new album he had coming out and he played a song. And the song just spoke to me. The song is called "You Are Loved". In the song he sings about not giving up when times are tough, that there are people that love and care for you no matter what.

I sat there and thought, this situation sucks, but we have family and friends who love us and are willing to help us if we need it. And, we have each other. We still have our love. That song pulled me out of my funk and got me through the rest of that difficult time. I downloaded it and had it on CD that was always in my car and I'd play it whenever I needed a boost.

When the same situation hit us again a little over a year later and Nate lost one of his contract jobs, the same song got me through the darkest of days. It served as a good reminder that even when the hard times come "You are loved."

So, I love Josh Groban most of all for helping me through some of the most difficult days of my life and reminding me that no matter what, I am loved. And even though times are very good now, I still listen to the song with a smile on my face. It's a good reminder even on the good days!

Tonight I will see him in person and I hope to hear him sing my favorite song!

If you have never heard it, here is a link to a video for it:

Don't give up
It's just the weight of the world
When your heart's heavy
I...I will lift it for you

Everybody wants to be understood
Well I can hear you
Everybody wants to be loved
Don't give up
Because you are loved
-Some of the lyrics from You Are Loved, Josh Groban


My Summer Jobs Part Three: The Library

My third summer job was the BEST JOB EVER. I'm not kidding.

I had always shied away from applying to be a library page at the library because I was warned that the boss was kind stickler about schedules and maybe wouldn't want to work around school related things and she never hired for "just the summer". And I had a pretty full schedule of activities in high school so I said, ok, fine I won't apply there even though it sounds lots of fun and Nate's mom was an evening supervisor so I would've gotten to work with her.

Then the summer after I completed my first year at St. Kate's I was again in the boat of "gee I wish I could make some money." Nate had a great job by now as a technical assistant at St. Odilia's school, so he was busy during the days with that. I had a piddly little on-campus job as the women's choir librarian - but really that only took a day or two a week to organize and pull music for the director. And it wasn't going to extend into the summer. So I needed something. My previous summers working retail pretty much turned me off from going that direction at all.

I talked it over with Nate's mom and she said "you know, give it a try, apply for the job and maybe you can work it around your schedule this fall, the boss might feel differently about hiring a college student versus a high school student." I interviewed and really hit it off with the boss - and she actually was willing to work with me on a schedule when school started again.

The downside was, they had a month's worth of training for the pages and it didn't even start until August - so most of that summer I didn't end up working at all. But once I did start in August it was steady work five days a week for the whole month, that was a nice paycheck to start out with!

I did keep that job through the school year - and would end up keeping it for three years total. It was the best job, I enjoyed working with the patrons and helping them find materials. I didn't mind checking in books, shelving books, or shelf reading to make sure the books were all nice and where they belonged. Eventually I was given additional responsibilities like emptying the night drop on assigned Sundays or days the library was closed. I was able to work quite a bit the summer between my second and third years at St. Kate's and most weekends during the school year. The hours weren't bad, I still had free time too. I didn't work as much the summer between my third and last years at St. Kate's, but we'll talk about that in the fourth and final installment of "My Summer Jobs".

Overall though, I loved the library. I have often thought of getting a degree in library science - but even with a degree, it's a tough field to break into full time, I watched my mother-in-law go through it, it's a challenge. So for now, I'm looking fondly on those days. Best part time job ever.

Stay tuned for more adventures!


Holiday weekend recap

We're back at it after a lovely long weekend. When is a long weekend ever bad? Seriously though, this was a good one!

Friday I took a half day, didn't do anything terribly exciting with it, mostly got my weekend chores out of the way. We went to Punch with my parents for dinner and then out to Psycho Suzi's to celebrate a good friend's birthday. Sadly we didn't stay too late because Nate got overheated and it was kind of stuffy in the upstairs bar there. With the storm there was no way we could've sat outside, which was too bad. So we headed home so he could cool off.

Saturday we slept in, I met up with my parents for our usual coffee and then Nate and I took the rest of the day to just chill and it was really nice. He even went to Lush with me - what a nice guy! We had lunch outside on our deck. Nate got a hair cut. We ran to the grocery store and picked up fixings to grill some steaks for dinner and then we enjoyed said steaks with a nice bottle of wine that we had picked up when we visited the winery on our anniversary. Finished our evening with a movie. It was probably my favorite day of the weekend just because sometimes we need that kind of time just the two of us.

Sunday we met up with my parents for a round of golf and did nine holes at the course where we play our family tournament every year. I am proud to say I did pretty well - I shot a 47, which is actually decent for nine holes at this course. I even beat my mom who gets out much more than I do! I'm excited to go again, golf is more fun when you are playing well! Nate did pretty well also, my dad said that perhaps Lasik is helping both of us with our games!

After golf we went home to veg for awhile, which mostly consisted of us playing video games - I know, so lame when it was so nice outside. But it was fun. Mindless. You can't beat that. Then in the evening we went to the Black Keys concert. I enjoyed the Black Keys. I did not enjoy Cage the Elephant, the opening band. They were loud for the sake of being loud. When the music is vibrating in my chest, it's too loud. I don't care if that makes me sound like an old woman at the ripe ole age of 29, you know what, my hearing is valuable to me and I don't care to lose it too early! I was nervous about how the whole show would go when those guys were performing, but when the Black Keys came on it was much better. And they were pretty awesome!

And then that brings us to Monday, the actual holiday. I got up and went to this awesome boutique sale that I went to last year - Cliche in Minneapolis - they are kind of a spendy place during the rest of the year, but every year on the 4th they mark stuff way down - you can get things for as cheap as $5.00. I'd like to thank Miss Jes for introducing me to this shop, I got some awesome deals. And now I lock my wallet for the rest of the summer because I need to have money for our St. Louis trip and other things!

Went back home after the sale and went for a run with Nate, we've started the Beginner 5K program, so now it's no longer about the minutes run, but instead the distance. Kind of exciting. After that we made some beans to bring over to my parents house for a picnic there. We had a great time playing Bocce Ball and eating food with my parents and some Praise Project friends. Headed back home and crashed. Skipped fireworks this year and that is ok with me.

Overall it was a good weekend and I feel much more rested coming back to work than I did last 4th of July. Last year I did a lot and ended up getting very sick the week following the 4th. I don't think that will be the case this year! Knock on wood, but I'm feeling great, especially with the running and taking better care of ourselves we've been doing!

This week will be pretty quiet. Mom and I go see Josh Groban on Friday and I'm soooooo excited for that. Otherwise life will be pretty tame until we go to St. Louis at the end of the month. I'm getting excited for that trip as well!