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Showing posts from August, 2010

Gatlinburg Recommendations

If you plan on visiting Gatlinburg in the near future, I thought I would toss out a couple of recommendations based on Daniel's birthday weekend.
First of all, we got a smoking deal on a cabin through We have been using Vacation Rental By Owner {VRBO} for the last 5+ years and always manage to find excellent places to stay. This year we discovered that you can get some good deals by waiting until the last minute and then requesting a discount. Another reason we like VRBO is that you can search for pet friendly places to stay.

This past weekend we stayed at the Apple Tree House in the Arts and Crafts area of Gatlinburg. It was $75/night plus a cleaning fee which brought our total to $206 for two nights. This is a one bedroom cabin that sleeps six {there is a king size bed, a futon and a pull out couch}. This cabin also boasts a game room, kitchen, hot tub and two full bathrooms {more than we needed}. It is a kid and pet friendly cabin. We would definitely recommend it. …

Project 52 Date Nights: Four Wheelers

A few weeks ago, I asked Daniel what he wanted to do for his birthday {we generally skip on presents and like to make memories instead}. The first thing Daniel said he wanted to do was to go ride ATVs in the mountains. He had been looking for a place to rent decent sized four wheelers and the only place he had found was in Knoxville. It was expensive and we would actually have to haul the ATVs to whatever trail we wanted to ride on. Considering the cost, Daniel was almost ready to just buy a used ATV off of Craigslist.

So I did a little research and came across Bluff Mountain Adventures in Pigeon Forge. They offered a variety of guided rides for a good price AND the vehicles were 4x4 Yamaha Kodiak 450s {more than big enough to make Daniel happy}. In addition, they were really cheap. Our options were to do the Mountain Trail Adventure Ride {easy with lots of scenery} for $60 or the Ridge Run Ride {some good views, lots of technical maneuvering} for $70. Daniel wanted to do the technical…

Recipe for a Happy Birthday

1. Rent a cabin in the woods.
 2. Fulfill a lifelong dream.
3. Eat at good restaurants {those you love and some new ones for good measure}.
4. Take a hike.
5. Or two.
6. Meet friends for dinner followed by coffee and dessert. 
Dinner was at Tony's Pasta Shop & Trattoria – our only complaint is that we wished we had ate outside. The food was excellent. Afterwards we went to Rembrandt's Coffee House for coffee and dessert – definitely our favorite coffee house in Chattanooga.

Happy 30th Birthday Daniel! I am so thankful that I am a part of your life.

The House Hunting Continues...

Last night, Daniel made my day. He called me on the way home from work and asked if I would be opposed to eating out. Are you kidding me??? After being cooped up all day, I am always ready to go out.
We decided to go try Mr. T's Pizza and Ice Cream in St. Elmo. It had good online reviews and it did not disappoint. The only negative was that it didn't offer outdoor seating, but we sat by the window and watched the coming and goings of everyone on the street.

Food was good. Price was cheap. We give it a thumbs up.
Mr. T's Pizza and Ice Cream. A medium pizza and drinks was less than $10.
Before we left our camper, we wrote down addresses to 9 houses so that we could do a drive by to see if we liked their locations. One was in NorthShore – this is a transitional area that looks to be a fave with the hipster crowd. Like all transitional areas, you can be one street off the main area and feel like you are in the ghetto. The house we looked at felt like it was in the ghetto.

Decision Making is Hard

It feels like fall is starting to make her appearance. The temps have dropped off over the last couple of days and we have been able to sleep with the windows open. I was actually cold last night.
The moon was brilliant last night, almost like the sun. We went outside and talked under the light of the full moon. We are seriously unsure about what kind of decision to make regarding where to live. Deciding to buy our first home was such an easy decision. This time around is a lot harder. 
TVA is supposed to make the decision in June about whether or not they will fully fund Bellefonte. We really want to be in a house soon... but in some ways it seems like the best decision would be to stay in a camper. But June is 10 months away and I don't know if we can do the camper thing for that long.
Living in a 170-sf camper has taught us that you really don't need a lot of stuff to be content – we only have 1/10 of our belongings with us and I don't miss the rest. The first night i…

Project 52 Date Nights: House Hunting

We didn't have a "real" date this week, per se. But if you count spending time together {just the two of us}, then I would have to say this week was the first of many House Hunting dates.
We just began our fourth week of living in a 170-sf camper. We chose to live in a camper while we waited for TVA to make a decision on funding for the Bellefonte plant {where Daniel works}. August 20 was the decision day and we found out that instead of fully-funding the project at this time, they are going to fund it for a year. They will reevaluate the decision in June of 2011.
This was not an unexpected decision, but it is not a particularly helpful one. We are ready to live in a house again, but are unsure of where we should buy. We could buy in Chattanooga and Daniel can commute {1 hour each way to Bellefonte} OR we could buy closer to the plant {but if they pull funding next year, we will own property that may be difficult to sell if we end up having to move}. 
And then there is deci…

52 Books in 52 Weeks: Book 31

When I was growing up, the Anne of Green Gables stories by L.M. Montgomery were some of my favorite. We must have watched the movie a million times, but I don't recall actually reading the books.
My mom was so appalled at the thought that I had not read the book that she sent a copy home with me after my last visit to my parents house.
I have not lost my love for the story of the orphan Anne and her journey to Green Gables. Siblings, Matthew and Marilla Cuthbert, are expecting a boy to arrive to help them with their farm. Instead it is talkative Anne that shows up at the train station. Matthew and Marilla both grow to love Anne as their own child, even though she manages to get herself into the most ridiculous situations. The movie really does follow the book nicely. This will always remain one of my favorite stories.
Excerpts from the book: "Well, that is another hope gone. My life is a perfect graveyard of buried hopes. That's a sentence I read in a book once, and I say it …

My Saturn Won't Start...

I was able to visit with 12 relatives this weekend. whew. Actually it has been really nice to be able to buzz over to the Nashville area to meet up with family. 
I was planning on running over to Nashville to visit my brother and sister on Saturday because Daniel was going to take a class that would last all day Saturday. Then Thursday night my sister called to catch up and ask for some advice about their Saturn {the key wouldn't turn in the ignition}. After talking with her, Daniel and I decided to go to Nashville together {Daniel could take his class in Nashville instead of Chattanooga}.
My sister commented that she was a bit shocked at how easy it was for us to get together... she called on a Thursday and we were there on Friday. It is really nice to have this luxury after living 10 hours apart for the last 5+years.
{via} Anyways, Daniel was able to get Angela and Robert's car to start... with a screwdriver. He showed Robert how to use the screwdriver to start the car so that t…

Quotes of the Week

"I would rather drive an old crappy car for the rest of my life than HAVE to work on a PC."– Cheree commenting on whether she should use a PC or a MAC to do freelance work.
"Life is a balance between happiness and being cheap. Some people are not willing to spend money to have fun."– Daniel to his intern.The intern's response to Daniel – "I think you are already there Daniel."Earlier that day, Daniel had told his co-workers that he wasn't willing to pay $1 to dry his clothes at the laundromat since he could air dry his clothes for free.
"I have a lot of weapons." – old man in campground relaying to us a story about when a repo man came to his house in Florida at 2AM to repossess a 5th wheel camper. The repo man was pretty dumb since the old man owned a motorhome {an RV that you drive} and NOT a 5th wheel camper that you pull behind a truck. Because the old man was hard of hearing he didn't understand that the trespasser was a repo man …


Poor Sophie

Sophie has been having a rough time lately. 

First of all, she is living in the same 170 square feet as we are. I'm sure that has been as much of an adjustment for her as it has been for us. Lucky for her, we have been pretty relaxed about letting her get on our bed {mostly because we feel bad that her space is limited}.

Second, she has to rely on us for her outdoor time. Since we don't have a fenced yard, we don't have the luxury of just letting her run off leash. Not to mention the fact that there are stray cats around that she thinks she should chase when she is off leash. This also means that if we get lazy or don't want to take a walk in the rain, she suffers. In turn, she might wake us up at all hours of the night whimpering. Which means I get to take a late night {or early morning} walk. Last night it was raining, so we skipped her evening walk. Four AM rolled around and she whimpered and gave an insistent bark. So I got out of bed and took her for a walk. She did…

Project 52 Date Nights: Double Feature

Daniel and I haven't been to the movies very many times this year {possibly ZERO}. We are too cheap to go regularly and were lucky enough to live close to a dollar theater in Charlotte. Unfortunately, living in two different states and trying to sell your house did not make it conducive to going to the movies together in the last six months.
Now we live in the same place again but we don't have a dollar theater. 
Out of curiosity, I googled theaters in Chattanooga. I wanted to see what was playing and maybe, just maybe, I could convince Daniel that we could spend $20+ to go see a movie.
Lucky for me, I discovered the Wilderness Outdoor Theater, located in Trenton, GA, 11 miles from our campground. They claim to have the largest screen in the world {100x50 feet} and offer double features for five bucks! They have two screens AND you can bring your dog! The only bad thing is that the movies didn't start until 9:15 PM {you have to wait until it gets dark to view a movie outdoors…

52 Books in 52 Weeks: Book 30

Little Bee, by Chris Cleave, is a look at humanity, a tug-of-war between sacrifice and selfishness. It is a commentary on refugees seeking asylum because their worlds are being destroyed by greed. 
Told in alternating first person accounts, the book tells the story of a Nigerian refugee {Little Bee} and a British woman {Sarah} whose lives cross on a beach in Nigeria and then again in England. Little Bee escapes the brutality of her country, only to be put in asylum in Britain. When she is finally released, she seeks out a couple {who saved her life in Nigeria} and discovers that all humans are faced with decisions about whether to help themselves or to help others. In the end, she is deported. You will have to read the story for yourself to learn the ending and decide whether or not you like the book...
I enjoyed the narratives, especially that of Little Bee's. My perception of Sarah is that she is an exaggeration of the selfishness that exists in the western world. The story was in…

the good. the bad. the random. (Camper Living, August 2010)

The Good. We had a busy weekend that ended with a beautiful sunset on Sunday night {in my unbiased opinion, Tennessee has some of the best sunsets ever}. The Bad. One of the campers next to us had come up from Mississippi for the week hoping to get away from the heat. Too bad for them, the mountains are no cooler than anywhere else in the US.
The Random. The weather in the mountains is amazing. From our mountain {Raccoon}, we watch the storms roll in on Lookout Mountain {about 4 miles away} and it can be completely clear on Raccoon.
The Good. We discovered the world's largest drive-in movie screen {more about this in tomorrow's post}. The Bad. It doesn't get dark until late, so the double feature starts at 9:15 PM.
The Random. Random thing about downtown Chattanooga: in some places you back into the street parking. I have never seen this before. It makes it possible for more cars to fit on the street and it is much easier to pull out into traffic when you are ready to leave. I kind …

The Terminal

Since Daniel typically works a four-day work week, Thursdays are Daniel's Friday. Over the last couple of weeks he has been working overtime, so this is the first three-day weekend we have been able to share together.
To kick it off, we made a last-minute decision to go out for dinner. Thanks to Google, I was able to find reviews on local restaurants and we made our way to The Terminal Brewhouse, located in downtown Chattanooga right next to the Chattanooga Choo Choo, about an 8-minute drive from our camper.

This restaurant is worth a visit just to experience the architecture of the building. It is a multi-story structure with seating around the perimeter of each level and an open atrium in the center that is the full height of the building. It is a pub, so the interior was loud and boisterous, even at 8PM on a Thursday.

We opted to sit outside in the beer garden – located over the kitchen on a grass covered, sustainable rooftop. The biggest complaint we read in reviews is that …

Wild Goose Chase

Today I went on a bit of a wild goose chase on the search for the book, Little Bee. It really should not have been that big of a deal, but being new to Chattanooga, I am bound to experience some moments of wandering.
To start with, I checked the local library {online} to see if they had the book I was searching for. They did, but all copies were checked out AND since it is a current best seller, there is a long wait for the book. In addition, I do not have my Tennessee driver's license yet, so I cannot yet procure a library card. This is a sad situation for me {especially since I am behind on reading my 52 books in 52 weeks}.
Next I opted to search for local bookstores in the Chattanooga area. Among the bookstores that came up were Rock Point Books and All Books. Both were located downtown. I checked the Rock Point Books web site and it had Little Bee listed online. I tried to call to verify that the book was in stock, but could not get through. 

With further research, I found that A…

Project 52 Date Nights: Discovery

One of the best things about living in a new city is that there is so much to discover. We get to search for our new favorite Mexican restaurant and decide who serves the best barbecue or desserts and where the best coffee house is. We get to explore and try out new eateries and find new haunts. 
Monday night I had a headache and did not feel up to the task of cooking in our itty bitty kitchen, so we opted to go out for dinner. Since we live at the Lookout Mountain exit, we chose to look for a restaurant on the mountain {with the back up plan to go down to St. Elmo's}. 
I googled "best places to eat on Lookout Mountain" and Cafe on the Corner and Guthries Chicken popped up. Guthries looked like a local version of Zaxby's so we decided to go with Cafe on the Corner. This was a good decision since Guthries closed at 8PM.
Cafe on the Corner was quaint. We wanted to sit outside and the early evening temps were conducive to that. We decided to get the Grouper sandwich with …

52 Books in 52 Weeks: Book 29

When I visited my parents a couple of weeks ago, my mom gave me a copy of Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. This is one of my all-time favorite love stories. I don't recall reading this book before, but I do remember watching the 1983 BBC version of the movie {starring Timothy Dalton} with my parents. This version of the movie is a very good representation of the book. 
The tale follows the orphan, Jane Eyre, as she grows up and becomes an independent woman {in spite of the many obstacles in her life}. The story is filled with the unexpected twists that keep you engrossed until the end.
Some excerpts from the book: "If people were always kind and obedient to those who are cruel and unjust, the wicked would have it all their own way; they would never feel afraid, and so would never alter, but would grow worse and worse." - Jane Eyre"Would you not be happier if you tried to forger her severity, together with the passionate emotions it excited? Life appears to me too short …

You don't fully appreciate what you have, until it's gone.

This past weekend, we made a last-minute trip to middle Tennessee to put a final load of our stuff in storage at Daniel's dad's house. The Subaru was tightly packed... As in we had to cram our laundry in the cracks and crevices around all of the stuff. As in Sophie had to ride in my lap, in the front seat, for the entire two-ish hour drive.
Daniel dropped me and Sophie at his Grandmother's house {to do laundry} while he went to unload the car and run some errands. While he was out, several family members dropped by. Then we went over to Josh and Emily's for dinner. After dinner, we headed to Daniel's mom's place to spend the night.
The thing we realized that we missed so much was... the shower. Ok, we have missed our family and friends as well, but a good shower seems like such luxury at this point in our lives. It was quite shocking to shower in a bathroom that was a fourth of the size of our ENTIRE camper. To shower with hot water that did not run out. To showe…