Sunday, September 28, 2008

Biking For Groceries

Well the good news is that we finally were able to fill up the car with gas this morning. Daniel got up at 6 a.m. and rode his motorcycle around town until he found a gas station with gas. He then got in line and called me to come join the frenzy so that we could have full tanks in both of our vehicles (the car has been empty since last Wednesday). I had to wait 20 minutes to fill up, it would have been a longer wait but Daniel called to let me know that I could bypass the line I was in to get in a shorter line.

Being the wonderful guy that Daniel is, he also took the time to push the car of a woman, whose battery was dead, out of the craziness. After both Daniel and I had filled up our tanks, we were able to jump start this woman's car for her.


Now on to grocery shopping with a bicycle. After having to survive from Wednesday night to Sunday morning sans a car, Daniel and I decided to try an experiment to see how well we can function not driving a car at all.


Even though we have gasoline now, we want to test our limits as to how much of our lives can be lived without a car. This experiment will not include me driving to Rock Hill, SC for class - unless I get comfortable on the motorcycle again by myself. This means that for now, the two nights a week I teach will be the only time we will use the car.


For our first major test, we realized that we needed a week's worth of groceries. So Daniel and I got our bike's out. Daniel put his trunk with panniers on his bike rack while I added a pannier to mine as well as carried my 40 liter, internal frame pack on my back.


We got to WalMart and Daniel sat outside with our bikes and packs so that we would not have to waste time locking everything up while I went inside and did our weekly shopping. I also purchased a bottle of water and a candy bar for us to split before we rode home. $70 worth of groceries later, I was back outside helping Daniel transfer all of our groceries to our various packs. Then we were on our way again.


We definitely received some strange looks, but we are not wasting gas and we are getting our exercise at the same time. I did have one guy hit on me - probably b/c of the spandex biking capris I was wearing. The entire ride, round trip, was 8 miles and took a total of 2 hours. With a car, grocery shopping on a Sunday can take me 1.5-2 hours.


Me carrying my internal frame pack and pannier full of groceries.
All of the packs, full of groceries, once we got back home.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Gas Situation

One of our current alternative forms of transportation while we are out of gas. 
We biked to Cotswald for lunch today.
This past Wednesday the reality of the Charlotte gas shortage hit home. I usually fill up in Rock Hill, SC when I teach because gas is 20 cents cheaper per gallon than in Charlotte. This past week I expected things to be fairly normal and drove to SC for class with my tank close to empty.

Once I was in Rock Hill, I quickly realized that there were very few gas stations that had gas and the ones that did have gas were back up considerably. Not wanting to be late to give a test to my students, I went on to the school. I asked my students for suggestions on where to get gas in the area and then adjusted my route home to see if I could find anywhere to fill up.

Unfortunately every station I passed was a repeat scenario of earlier in the day. Not wanting to get stranded at night in a different city, I went home, praying that E would last me to the house.

Thursday morning Daniel rode his motorcycle to work and I rode the bus downtown. I would have ridden with him, but one the pegs to rest my foot on was busted so I resorted to the bus. The bus dropped me off at Starbucks in Gateway Village, so I treated myself to a Vanilla Latte and then walked the rest of the way to work.

Thursday night Daniel fixed the peg on his motorcycle and then we rode in together - it was misting, but thankfully not a full blown rain. After work Friday was a harder rain, but thankfully not too cold. We rode past several gas stations to see what our options were and continued to see no gas or long lines.

This morning, Daniel ran out on his motorcycle to see if he could find gas, but to no avail. For lunch, tired of being cooped up in the house, we opted to ride our bicycles 7 miles (round trip) to Cotswald for some Chipotle. We also picked up some milk for breakfast while we were out.

For now, we are getting by. They keep saying there will be more relief and we keep wondering when. I am guessing part of the problem is everyone who feels the need to top off their partially full tanks.

We can continue to get by using our bicycles. Trying to get groceries may prove to be more of a challenge, but something we can do if we need to. Hopefully this gas crisis will sort itself out soon. Until then, we will be riding our motorcycle, bicycles or the bus.

Friday, September 26, 2008

What to say...

Have you ever had a day that was somehow both amazing and horrible all wrapped into one?

Today was like that for me.


It was a great day because we spent the day celebrating a great boss. It was awful because it was his last day as our boss.


We surprised him by showing up at his house, bright and early and making chocolate chip pancakes. We showered him with going away gifts of the nature that only employees that truly love their boss can give. We went to a go cart track where we raced to our heart's content (for 8 minutes). We ate, played Wii and shared jokes for the last time as a cohesive team.


Hopefully Ron will always be in our lives, but probably never in the same way again. I feel so blessed to have worked so closely with such a talented group of people, being led by such a great leader. I know we will all miss him terribly. Monday will be a hard day.


"But the only way of discovering the limits of the possible is to venture a little way past them into the impossible." - Arthur C. Clark

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Worry

This is not normal to my nature, but definitely how I have been feeling all week...
 

Monday, September 22, 2008

Unexpected Change

Change is not always fun, but unexpected change is always much worse. This morning, after our staff meeting, our creative director announced that Friday would be his last day. This CD has been the best boss that I have ever had and I will be sad to see him go. I was definitely shocked at the announcement - the bagels he brought in were of little consolation (even if they did taste good). So now we are looking at a significant change to our team.

After the meeting, I checked my email and had a message from Daniel asking me to call him. I gave him a call to find out that his company just had another round of layoffs. Thankfully he was spared, but this is the second such round of layoffs in the last couple of months.


This was definitely not how I expected my Monday to go. I am somewhat overwhelmed by all of these sudden changes...

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Camping

  
This weekend we headed to the North Carolina mountains to camp with some of our friends. As we headed out of town we had a brief moment of wondering if we were nuts to be heading out of town when gas supply still seems to be sketchy - my brother called on Friday from Nashville to say they were out of gas. Our concern lasted all of two minutes... we went any ways.

  
As we get older, most of our friends have kids, so camping has begun to take on a new meaning for us. We will always love our backpacking trips, but we are adapting to the kid-friendly camping experience.

 
 
It was nice to be able to relax in the woods and catch up with friends. I can never turn down a campfire, hot chocolate and smores.

 
  
The highlight for me was getting to be a part of Andrew Reynold's first smores experience. Daniel helped him roast his marshmallow and then we all enjoyed watching him bit into that first goodness of eating a smore.


 
  
Kid-camping involves a lot more catering to kids - we did a lot of reading to kids and watching the kids play, but it was a nice weekend. Thankfully there were no full-blown melt downs. I think the kids all did great.


 
  
It was the first weekend of perfect camping weather. Cool, but not too cold. No bugs. Just perfection.

 
 
We stayed at Turkey Creek which was a really great campground. Daniel and I generally try to avoid campgrounds, because we find them loud, but this was quiet and relaxing.

 
  
After breaking camp down, we headed to the Panther Creek Trail to do a little hiking... it was a lot of creek crossings, but fun. Afterwards we headed to eat lunch at NOC at the River's End Restaurant - it is always a treat to get to watch the kayakers and rafters float by while you eat.

 

I am looking forward to more camping trips in the future (as soon as the house is finished).

 

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Weekend Recap

So, here we are, almost the middle of the week and I am just getting around to posting about my weekend. Julie and Luke came to visit for the weekend. I always forget how much I miss having my friends around. Granted, we have new friends, but it is somehow not the same as seeing your old friends.


For fun, we stayed up until after 1 a.m. (both Fri and Sat) - this is extremely late for me and Daniel, by Sunday night we were both exhausted.


Saturday morning, we all slept in (except for Luke who got up to do his marathon training). After we were all up we got ready and headed uptown to the
Blues, Brews & BBQ festival where we were able to get some pretty decent BBQ. After BBQ, the guys went to the gun show while Julie and I hung out. Saturday night the Irvine's went to a seminar downtown, while Daniel and I were able to get caught up on some things.

Sunday we slept in, went for breakfast at the
Not So Original Pancake House followed by church. Then finally we came home, hung out and then grilled out before Julie and Luke headed home to Richmond. After they left I ended up crashing on the couch for a 2-hour nap and I still managed to sleep all night.

Overall it was a nice, catching-up weekend. Wish we could have these types of weekends more often.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

This makes me feel old...

Last night we were invited to dinner with a bunch of "young adults" from our church. We were sitting across from a couple and the girl mentioned something about being from Searcy.

I didn't recognize her, so I said, "Oh, I'm from Searcy too." We discovered that she went to Harding Academy and that I went to SHS. We both went to HU for college.


We proceeded to talk about when we graduated... she said she graduated in "2003." So I say, "That's weird, I graduated in 2002." At this point we start to try to figure out if we have any mutual friends.


So I say that from Harding Academy, I was friends with Alicia T. At this point she says, "Oh, Alicia is way older than me, I went to school with her younger sister, Andrea."


The
awkward, I feel old part happened when at this moment it dawns on me that when she said that she graduated in 2003, she meant from high school. When I said that I graduated in 2002, I meant from college.

Anyways, she is the age of my youngest sibling and I definitely am feeling like we are no longer "young adults." Overall, It was a good meal and we met some really nice people that we had not had the opportunity to meet before.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Confessions About the Dentist

Here is my big confession: I am almost 28 and I have never really been to the dentist before today. Sure there was the one time when I was 10 to have sealant put on my molars, but other than that, this was it.

To be honest, I was a little petrified of today's visit, but it went really well. My dental hygenist did a great job of taking care of me and my dentist was very frank with me.


My dentist told me that as far as he was concerned I could walk out and not come back and I would be fine. He had some minor concerns, but my teeth and gums are in really great shape (especially for never having really been to the dentist before). He did recommend that I come back for more regular cleanings, but that was up to me. I will be back just so the cleaning takes less time and so that I will be more aware of the health of my mouth.


There was one area of concern, there was a white spot on my x-ray (probably a calcium deposit on my jaw). This makes me nervous. He said that it might be nothing, but we will have an oral surgeon review the x-ray just to be sure.


And then there is the whole case of my jaw. I once went to an orthodontist who told me he couldn't help me and that I would have to seek advance treatment. This was not an option at the time due to finances... it may still not be an option. However he suggested I at least consult with a surgeon to see what my options are. Mostly I need to find out what the ramifications of leaving things the way they are... there is a possibility of arthritis in my jaw (long term).


Anyways, the consultation is a little overwhelming, but the actual part where my teeth and gums are healthy is good news as far as I am concerned.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Thoughts on Women

When I was in high school, I remember one of my guy friends asking me if I was a feminist. At the time I was offended and thought he was making fun of me. For some reason, being a feminist seemed to carry a stigma.

In college, I had a group of guy friends who really knew how to goad me. They would make comments like, "Get in the kitchen, where you belong." They said these things knowing they could get a rise out of me. I am sure they thought it was funny. Looking back, it was funny at how they could get me (a calm, peace-loving human being) so riled up and angry.


Anyways, I am beyond those phases of getting angry about comments and snide remarks. I am married now and I actually spend a lot of time in the kitchen - because I like to, not because I have to.


If by feminist, you mean that I think women are capable human beings and should be treated as such, then yes, I am a feminist.


The reason for this post is that I am really frustrated with the comments I hear about Sarah Palin needing to spend more time taking care of her family and less time focused on politics. You would NEVER hear that expectation for a man. A man is never told that he needs to go home and take care of his family.


While I believe family is extremely important, I believe it takes two parents to adequately raise a family and to put that burden solely on a woman's shoulders is ludicrous.


Many of my roll models in life are capable women who are very able to do it all. I have an aunt who is in her 40's, who has 4 children. The youngest has down syndrome AND she works outside of the home. She is a fantastic mother and great at all she does. She has a wonderful husband and has surrounded herself with a good support system to make her world function.


My mom is another roll model for me. She chose a different path. She was a stay-at-home mom. I love her decision to be home for me and my siblings. This is the greatest thing about America (and Canada)... if as a woman, you want to stay home, that is OK. If you want to have 4 (or 5) kids and hold a job, that is OK.


In the six+ years that I have been out of college, I have only had one female department head and she was amazing. I have also had an incredibly inept male boss (I have had several great male bosses). To me, positions should not be assigned because you are male or female. You should never receive a position as a handout. You should have people in the positions they are in because they are capable human beings. Period.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Laboring on Labor Day

So who labors on Labor Day? We do, of course. On the national holiday from taking a break from labor, if you visited us we would probably put you to work as well... you may think I am kidding, but Daniel's dad is visiting and replacing our fence for us.

This particular weekend, you would find us: replacing a squeaky floor... installing sound proofing between two walls... installing fresh drywall to finish a room... tearing out part of an old fence and installing a new one... There were probably other things, I just don't remember them all. So much for a reprieve from labor.
 
Me cutting styrofoam insulation for sound insulation between the two bathrooms. If you look at the next pic, you will see that I am standing over the section that we replaced - the one where Daniel is sticking his head through the floor.
Daniel below the bathroom floor, reinforcing beams before replacing the floor.
Daniel's dad, Wesley, tearing out the privacy fence (behind him). We are going to put in a split-rail fence in this section to match the rest of our fence around our yard.

Grayson Highlands, 2017

I'm so thankful we were able to spend last weekend as a family, tucked away in the Virginia mountains, just the four of us. It was a ...