Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Uh-Oh Spaghettio

It was my 8th grade year and I was "volunteered" to waitress in our school's annual spaghetti supper fundraiser. Ever since I was a kid I have had a hard time with the word "no." I despise telling people no. To this day, this is one of those occasions in life that I really wished I would have found the courage to just say no.

It was the night of the spaghetti supper. Me and my friend Sonya were sharing a big table. Things were going surprisingly smoothly. That was until a certain little man walked in. He came all by himself. He had on a purple coat and the only way to describe him would be to say he was an "odd little man." And of course I bet you can't guess where he sat down! He waltzed in and sat down at my table on my side of the table. Just around the time he sat down we had a shortage of spaghetti. I brought him his drink and salad and kindly explained to him that the spaghetti would be out as soon as they were able to make more. He looked flustered and said,"Oh, alright."

Finally the spaghetti was ready and I knew exactly who would be getting the first plate! The strange little man with the purple coat. When he saw me coming I am pretty sure the "Chariots of Fire" soundtrack started playing in his head. I brought him his plate and his eyes lit up like a Christmas tree. I told him, "I finally have your spaghetti, sir!" His response? "Oh, wonderful" as he excitedly rubbed his hands together. He must have been really excited because he started grabbing for the plate of spaghetti. That is when it happened. Everything turned to slow motion. You could hear my "Noooo" in slow motion as the plate of spaghetti flipped over and covered him from his neck down. All I saw was Red! He was completely covered! And what did I do? I RAN!!!

Meanwhile Sonya was scurrying around trying to keep her side of the table happy. She was walking past the table when she heard,"Miss? Miss?" She looked over and the little man with the purple coat was covered in spaghetti! She said,"what happened to you?" His response? "That girl!" All that Sonya could think was,"Oh, Janel. I should have known!"

Meanwhile I had just made it to the kitchen. I ran in and found the head of the spaghetti supper. He could see I was nervous and asked me what was wrong. "I need help. I need alot of help. I. spilled...spaghetti. on..a man" was my response. He tried to stifle a chuckle and handed me a roll of paper towels and told me to go back out and help him clean up. "I'm going to need more than one roll for this mess" I thought to myself. I then told him"I am not going back out there."

Sonya being the wonderful friend that she is helped him clean up while I hid in the kitchen. Sonya, I am indebted to you for life for doing that for me.

Once the dust or should i say "spaghetti" had settled I went back out to apologize. He graciously accepted my apology. Let's just say by the time the whole ordeal was finally over my face was the color of the spaghetti he was wearing!

Moral of this story? JUST SAY NO!!!!!!!!

Washing Machine Woes

Daniel and I had been married about 6 months and were upgrading from our cramped one bedroom apartment to a more spacious two bedroom apartment(the extra space was much needed for the sake of our marriage and sanity). We also decided it was time to purchase our very own washer and dryer. After lugging all of our laundry to the laundromat for over six months we decided it was well worth the investment to purchase a washer and dryer.

Since we were newlyweds all that we could afford was a used set. We purchased the set and since we were too cheap to pay extra to have it delivered and set up we opted to do it ourselves. This was mistake number one. Daniel with the help of his brothers picked up the set and carried it up two flights of stairs and "installed" it in our apartment. We were so proud of ourselves. Our very own washer and dryer for only $130 out the door! Wow! Were we bargainers or what? Daniel had the washer and dryer all ready to go so that when I got home from work that night I could start on the bottomless pile of laundary that had accumulated.

I got home from work and went back to our utility closet. There they were! My very own washer and dryer. They might be mismatched. They might not be "brand" new.  One might be 5 years newer than the other one, but there sat the most beautiful washer and dryer I had ever seen!  And they were all mine! No more collecting quarters and lugging laundry to the laundromat for me! I was officially the proud owner of a "new" (to me) washer and dryer!

I had my first load of laundry all ready to go! My palms were getting sweaty with excitement! I pulled the knob out on the washer so it could start filling with water. I saw the water start to fill the machine and I couldn't stop smiling! I added the detergent and then walked away to let the washer finish filling up and I started on some unpacking. I came back in to add the laundry and much to my astonishment...all the water was GONE! The water was gone, but the machine was making the sound like it was churning. "Hmmmm" I thought to myself. "That is strange... Oh well, I will try it again!" Me being the determined person that I am I filled her up again! I returned to more unpacking and came back and...the water was gone again! This time I was really perplexed so I tried something different. This time I tried changing the machine cycle to something else to see if that helped. I walked away and came back and the washing machine was empty again! This was mistake number two. Instead of telling Daniel what was going on I just tried to figure it out myself. I am not exaggerating when I tell you that I let the water fill up about 12 times, before I told Daniel that we might have a situation. Now, most prudent people who are reading this are probably thinking to themselves,"Well, if the water is not in the machine..where did it go?" The sad part is that this never crossed my mind. Until..

I was in the living room organizing my bookshelf when I heard a knock at the door. I gave Daniel a weird look like "who could that be?" He opened the door and there was our apartment manager Kim! Now, let me give you a quick description of Kim. She is 40 something trying to be 20 something with the thickest Southern accent and the worst smokers voice you have ever heard. Her skin looks like leather due to way too many hours in the tanning bed. She is blonde and weighs about 115 pounds soaking wet and she is as sweet as pie when she is trying to get you to rent the apartment, but the day you are an official resident of Oak Brook Apartments she turns into the wicked witch of the South!

There she stood. The wicked witch of the South at MY door! Daniel didn't even have a chance to say anything to her. "Y'all havin any water problems up here? The neighbors below you just came home to an eight foot waterfall in their living room." I thought to myself," I think I will let Daniel handle this one. Afterall, he is the one who "installed" the washer."  Daniel shot me an evil look and then told Kim that we just bought a new washer and dryer and maybe it was something to do with that. Kim walked back to our utility closet and took one look and said," Oh yeah, that's the problem. The idiot who set this up had no idea what they were doing and connected the hose wrong." Daniel said, " Wow, you think if you pay these guys to set it up they would at least do it correctly!" I tried so hard to keep a straight face. She left in a huff and I am assuming went downstairs to handle that situation.

For the next two weeks the maintenance men at our apartment complex were pretty tied up with the apartment below us. Our poor neighbors had to move out so they could put in new carpeting and paint. They also had to move out all of their belongings so that they could leave the doors open at all times so they didn't get any mold.

Moral to the story? ALWAYS pay extra to have it delivered and installed CORRECTLY!!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

For Better or Worse

I warned him. I promise I did. We had only been dating a few short months and I had already fallen completely and head over heels in love with him. I started to get nervous. I knew it was time for us to have "the talk". "The talk" being the conversation when I explained to Daniel that the beautiful, smart, funny, loving, caring, kind (I could go on and on) girl that he had fallen in love with actually had...a flaw. My exact words to him were," I have bad luck. I mean really bad luck." He chuckled. I don't think he truly understood the seriousness of it all. I went on to explain. "My bad luck doesn't just affect me. It transfers through to the people I care about." I gave him a few example stories of my previous "mishaps" and I watched as his eyes got bigger and his jaw dropped. "Oh no!" I thought. "He is going to run. I just know it!" But he graciously explained that while my stories were rather funny and entertaining he truly didn't believe that I could actually bring him bad luck. Oh, but love is blind! And stupid.

Our first year anniversary- I will not go into all of the details, but somehow on our first anniversary we ended up having a miscommunication that led to the biggest argument of our entire relationship! We were so upset with eachother that we didn't even sleep in the same bed! We eventually sorted everything out and planned for a better two year anniversary. Our plan was to go on a cruise the following year.

Our second year anniversary- Our second year anniversary fell on a Sunday. It was Friday night and I had just gotten home from a hectic day of work and the plans were to start celebrating early by getting some half priced appetizers at our favorite restaurant. The reason we had to eat half priced appetizers was because we had just found out on Thursday night that we owed $3,000 in taxes! I pulled into our apartment after work and Daniel was there to greet me. He said, " I am just going to rotate your tires so that they wear more evenly." My response? " Daniel, you know our luck. Please don't mess up anything. I need my car for work on Monday." The reason Daniel had to rotate my tires was because I was in dire need of four new tires, but thanks to the good ol' IRS new tires were going to have to wait! A cruise was also going to have to wait until next year too.  So I hesitantly left Daniel to rotate the tires while I went up to the apartment to get changed. I was gone for five minutes..tops! I came back down and Daniel looked like he was going to cry. I knew there was something majorly wrong! I asked him what happened. Daniel said, " I can't believe it! I am done! I am done trying! EVERYTHING goes wrong for us!"  He looked so pitiful. I asked again, "what happened?" That is when the story came spilling out. He said that he used the jack that came with he car. When he started jacking the car up the jack shot straight out and the car came crashing down on the pavement landing on the plastic piece over the brakes! He thought for sure the plastic had cracked. So he retrieved the jack and tried again and this time the car fell again and almost landed on top of him! That is when I walked down the steps and found him looking so pitiful. So here we were with a car with 4 bad tires(one of the tires wasn't even on the car because the jack wouldn't work to put it back on), broke, hungry, and flustered. I walked away to leave him with the mess he made. The mess that I warned him not to make. 

A few hours later he called his friend who had a decent jack and he put the tire back on exactly the way it was before. The whole fiasco could have been avoided if he just would have listened when I told him not to touch the car! Since we were both too skittish to drive the car too far we ended up going to Mickey D's since it was right down the road. We were Dollar "Menunaires" that night.

On Sunday the actual day of our two year anniversary I woke up feeling awful! I had a terrible cold, but I was determined to not let it ruin our day! So we went to church and then we went to Olive Garden for our anniversary lunch. Daniel ordered the "mixed grill" thanks to my advice. All day Daniel kept saying that the "mixed grill" didn't agree with his stomach. Later that afternoon I really felt awful so Daniel took me to CVS to stock up on every cough drop, cough syrup, and nasal decongestant we could find! I also left the store with a "Netti" pot. Here I am supposed to be celebrating my two year wedding anniversary in a tropical climate like we had planned, but instead I am spending it pouring a disgusting salt solvent down my nose in hopes that I can breathe! So not how I envisioned spending my anniversary! The best part was when it kept going down my throat instead of out of my other nostril and then Daniel had to demonstrate how to use it! I don't know about you, but a Netti pot demonstration surely doesn't scream romance!

As the day wore on it was apparent that I was definitely not going to be feeling better any time soon so we went to bed early. Prior to going to bed I had taken several different cold medicines. As I was lying in bed I realized that the room had started to spin and I started shaking uncontrollably. I felt like I was dying. I stood up and almost fainted so I crawled on the floor to our balcony and opened the sliding door. I layed my head outside on our balcony for some fresh air and realized that I was losing all of my motor skills. I felt so sick to my stomach. Obviously my meds had interacted. I started crawling at a turtle's pace to the bathroom. As I was crawling I heard Daniel jump up out of bed, pass me like the hare, and run to the bathroom. I couldn't believe it! Here I was dying and Daniel just runs passed me!
Then I heard it. Daniel was throwing up! What in the world?! So I crawled to the guest room bathroom all the way at the opposite side of the house. While I was over there I also grabbed a washcloth out of the linen closet and held it up to the faucet and then crawled all the way back to the bathroom that Daniel was in. I gave him the washcloth for his head.  In between his puking he got these words out:"next year. we are. going. on a cruise."  As we held hands sitting on the bathroom floor both sick as dogs I thought to myself,"somehow in the past 72 hours we have actually lived through all of our wedding vows." "For better or for worse, for richer or poorer, and in sickness or in health."  Daniel gave me a weak smile and said "Happy Anniversary." In that moment I realized that although we were holding hands on the bathroom floor and we weren't sitting on a beach somwehere listening to the ocean with our toes in the sand it really didn't matter. We were together and in love. Just as in love as we would be anywhere else. And next year we would truly appreciate an amazing anniversary trip. The next day we both had to call off work so we spent Monday snuggling on the couch eating chicken noodle soup and watching cartoons.

Our third year annivesrary- This year we actually got money back on our taxes! So there was nothing coming in between us and our cruise! We scheduled our cruise for the exact day of our anniversary. Our cruise destinations were Nassua Bahamas, Freeport Bahamas, and then to Key West, Florida.

 We were finally on our anniversary/ honeymoon that we never got to have! We were like kids in a candy store on that ship!

Relaxing by the pool

 Daniel trying out the waterslide

Daniel even participated in a trivia game! I was so proud of him! He won a medal!

Write your own caption...
Personally my favorite part of the cruise was the food!

It was the second day of our cruise and it was time for us to spend the day at Nassau. We disembarked from the ship and headed out for a day of adventures. We caught a cab to the beach.

We checked out the aquarium at the Atlantis Resort

We swam in the crystal clear water

After we spent several hours enjoying the beautiful pristine beach we decided to leave and beat everyone else back to the ship so we could enjoy the waterslides without wating in line.

We hopped on a cab and we were off! Now once we were in the cab Daniel started noticing some interesting details. Since he is a police officer he is always tuned in to what is going on around him while I am completely oblivious. He noticed that the cab driver had a sign that said "Peanut's taxi" inside the cab. He also had a dvd player mounted to the dash playing a black and white cartoon movie. His van kept stalling out when we went over a hill and he had to touch wires to honk the horn! Daniel also heard "Peanut" talking about how he was going home to put a new roof on his house.

Once he dropped us off we started walking back to the ship. We stopped by a few vendors on the way back through and just as we got back to the ship Daniel suggested we take a picture of the ship. I dug around my bag to find my camera. But to my horror...the camera was gone!! The camera we had been using we actually had borrowed from my mom. It had all of the pictures from our trip and we started to panic when we realized it was gone! I automatically blamed Daniel and he felt terrible. We retraced our steps and then finally remembered that we had taken a picture just before we left the beach. The camera had to be in Peanut's taxi! But where was Peanut?! Anyone who has ever been to Nassua knows what a chaotic mess it is. Taxis are everywhere and they all look the same! Except for Peanut's taxi...his just happened to be maroon! So we went to the taxi station and told the dispatcher that we needed to find Peanut. He had no idea who "Peanut" was until we described that he had a maroon van with a black and white dvd player. But he didn't have Peanut's cell phone and no one had seen him.  So we waited for 2 hours hoping to see Peanut. The dispatcher told us that our best bet would be to get another taxi and go back to the beach and look for Peanut. So that is what we did. We went back to the beach and waited again and still no Peanut. We asked around and one of the other cabbies told us that he knew Peanut. This cabby looked sketchy! He told us he knew where Peanut lived and he would take us to his house if we paid him thirty dollars. Me being the bargainer I am tried to talk him down to twenty dollars, but he started to drive off so I shouted,"Okay we will pay thirty!" He slammed on the brakes and I hopped in the back with a bunch of spring-breakers and Dan took shot-gun. The cab driver dropped the spring-breakers off by the ship and started taking us to see "Peanut".  As we drove farther and farther from the downtown and into the slums of Nassua I saw Daniel sizing up the cab driver in the front seat to see if he could fight him if necessary! We were literally passing by houses that looked like they had been burned down, but people were still living in them! I remembered thinking," We are so stupid! He is totally going to steal our money then beat us and leave us for dead! We are going to DIE on our third anniversary and I thought last year was bad! Someone probably already stole the camera anyway!"

After what seemed like an hour we finally pulled up to a very modest home. There were mangy dogs running around everywhere and then I looked up and couldn't believe my eyes. There was Peanut standing on the roof!! Our cab driver told him that we left the camera in his van and Peanut said "no camera." Daniel jumped out of our cab and ran to the van with the dogs at his ankles and there was the camera on the seat right where we left it! We were his last run of the day. Had someone else been in there after us it definitely would have been stolen! Thank goodness Peanut decided to only work a half day and go home and put a new roof on his house!!

This is the first time I am making this confession. Daniel, if you are reading this I am so sorry for blaming you. I am the one that actually left the camera in the taxi. I just couldn't admit that I had gotten us into another fine mess! I feel so much better now that this is off of my chest! Please forgive me...perhaps you could even laugh about it now? Or not. That's fine too.

We made it back to the ship and we FINALLY got to take this picture:

Looking back on all of the ups and downs of our anniversaries I am so thankful that whether we are on the beach in Nassau, on the bathroom floor of our apartment as sick as a dog, or in a sketchy cab in the slums of Nassua we are always in it together. There is no one else in this world I would rather go through these adventures with and I am so thankful that he didn't run when I tried to warn him.

That being said, I can't help but wonder. What will our fourth year anniversary bring??

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Good Directions

It was a typical weekday morning. My alarm went off at the same time that it goes off every morning...at exactly 7:13 am. That means that I have exactly 18 minutes to pull myself together before I leave my house at 7:31 to fight the morning traffic to get to work on time at 8:00 am. A "typical" morning for me usually goes something like this: I jump out of bed like a pop-tart when my alarm goes off.  I then take three dogs down three flights of steps for their morning potty break. Since I am too rushed to have time to put their leashes on I usually end up chasing them in my pajamas and fuzzy slippers all over my apartment complex's grounds because they happen to see someone on the complete opposite side of the parking lot that they want to chase. I finally get them all rounded up and back into the house to feed them their breakfast. It is now about 7:24 and I only have seven minutes to dress myself and make myself look semi-presentable for work.  As I open my closet I realize that every work outfit needs to be ironed so I throw something in the dryer and hope for the best when it comes out! I decided on my typical black dress pants and white shirt(my basic work wardrobe consists of black, white, and tan..it makes mornings much easier when deciding what to wear). As I get ready to put on my trusty charcoal gray flats I happen to catch a glimpse of my brand new hot pink stilettos peeking out of their box.  I was so torn...trusty flats or racy stilettos? I had the professional workplace angel on one shoulder telling me," Although they are cute, are they really work apporpriate, Janel?"  The racy footwear devil was on my other shoulder telling me,"You could die tomorrow. Do you really want to die having never worn your hot pink stilettos?"  That was it. Hot pink stilettos it was. My reasoning being that I would just be sitting behind my desk all day anyway. Noone else had to see them but me. It would just be my little secret.

I fought the morning traffic and miraculously made it to work on time. I dodged everyone on the way to my desk and slipped those bad boys under my desk before you could say," You just commited business wardrobe suicide!" Just as I was getting situated my co-worker Brandi said," Did they tell you what you are doing?" To which I replied," Who? What?" Brandi notified me that I was asked to drive to our other office in Kinston to help with chart reviews. I coudn't believe it! Never has this happened before and NEVER have I worn hot pink stilettos to work!! I printed out my mapquest directions and headed for the car.

I was on my way to the gas station to fill up my little Beemer with gas before my journey. I was feeling so frazzled. I was irritated that I had to drive all the way to Kinston, I knew my stilettos were not going to be comfortable, and I was nervous about filling up the gas tank. For those of you who are wondering why I would be nervous about filling up my gas tank..please refer to blog post number 2 entitled "Gas Pump Botch!" My husband always fills up my gas tank for me..not because I am spoiled..well maybe partially because I am spoiled. But mostly for the safety of others and myself.

I filled up the gas tank without any explosions, ripped gas hoses, or drive-offs and felt my confidence building. I remember thinking to myself,"see? that wasn't so bad. Maybe with age your bad luck is getting better." I set off for the highway feeling much more positive. I was on the highway for about 40 miles before I followed the directions which indicated to turn off to a tiny town called "Chinquapin." As I followed the directions I noticed they were taking me further and further away from civilization and closer to what could be the middle of nowhere.I had no cell phone service and just when I thought I was as far out in the middle of nowhere as I could be I then saw the dreaded words that every person traveling alone with no gps or cellphone service hates to see: Detour. I will say that in that moment I realized that my bad luck definitely HAD NOT dimished with age and I was preparing myself for the worst. I traveled along and realized after passing several turkey farms and actually seeing a cardboard sign that said"we have collard greens" that someone had forgotten to put the next Detour sign up!! I was wandering aimlessly along the countryside of North Carolina in my shiny little Beemer wearing my hot pink heels wondering how I was going to get myself out of this mess. I finally found the first sign of life..it was a junkyard but I saw a beatup old truck out front so I hoped there was someone inside who could point me in the right direction. By the time that I saw the truck out front I was almost past the entrance so I slammed on the brakes and skidded in...

The junkyard parking lot was not even with the road I was driving on so my car went KABOOM as it hit the dirt parking lot. My little Beemer was literally invisible for at least 30 seconds before the dust settled! I whipped through the parking leaving a trail of dust behind me. I jumped out and tried to find the door to the place, but all the while my shiny little stilettos got covered in dust! I threw open the door and stormed in there like a bat outta hell. I then surveyed my surroundings...There was country music blaring from an old radio.  The place was all concrete and there was a man chewing tobacco sitting in an old desk on the phone. He was wearing coveralls and was about as country as they came. He took one look at me in my dress clothes and pink high heels and tried to stifle his smirk. He pulled the phone away from his mouth and said in the most southern accent I have ever heard," Kin I heelp you" To which I replied," Yes, I am lost." To which he replied," Ya don't say?"

After trying as hard as I could to translate the southern gobbledygook directions he gave me I was back on my journey. I had to keep my eye out for things like" the turkey farm or the piggly wiggly" as landmarks. After taking over 2 hours longer than anticipated I finally reached my destination..feeling extremely frazzled! Not to mention my feet were KILLING me! As soon as I got there the person I was assisting in chart reviews announced that it was time for lunch. She asked me to go with her to a place called "King's buffet."

"King's buffet" turned out to be a famous North Carolina barbecue joint. It had every vinegar based barbecue you could imagine and collard greens, and turnips, and okra, and bread "puddin." Yet again I was "one of these is not like the other" in that place! Can you say"fish outta water?!" as I tried to carry my tray without tripping or wiping out in my pink heels! Definitely a spectacle.

After my chart reviews were complete for the day I set back out on the long journey home. Of course I had to come the way that I came and try to retrace my steps back through the turkey farms and piggly wiggly which proved to be no easy feat. As I zoomed through the countryside I barely noticed the police checkpoint that was set up in the absolute middle of NOWHERE! What in the world were they doing setting up a checkpoint here anyway?!  I slammed on my brakes and my purse went flying!! The sheriff deputy came up to my car and asked for my license and registration. At this point I was past the point of irritated. I filched through my purse and tried to find my license and then dug through my messy glovebox to find my registration. By the time I found everything he needed he could sense my extreme irritability. "Rough day?" he asked.. I replied, "Oh, I don't know I am wearing extremely uncomfortable high heels, I have basically been on the road for 6 hours, and I AM STILL LOST!!" He laughed and gave me written directions back to Wilmington.

Two hours later I made it back to Wilmington..much wiser. I learned to never listen to the racy footwear devil again, to always wear my trusty charcoal gray flats, and to invest in a GPS!