Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Sharing some amusement

With apologies to everyone else, Austin, this one's primarily for you.


Those of you who know about my love of baseball might also know of my love of Bill Simmons, a writer for ESPN.com's Page 2. (He also wrote the hysterical "Now I Can Die In Peace" about being a Red Sox fan. One of the few books I actually bought in hardcover because I refused to wait until it was in paperback.) He's one of the few writers that can get me to gut-laugh out loud as I sit in my cube at work. Occasionally he posts snipits from e-mails that he gets from readers that share his sense of humor which are often just as funny as what he writes.

With that said, this is a quote from one of his e-mailers regarding the JD Drew grand slam last week that helped the Red Sox advance to the World Series:

"Jim in State College, Pa.: Bill, when Drew hit that grand slam in the first inning, I felt just like I did when I saw "Return of the Jedi" for the first time. After hating Darth Vader for nearly nine hours of the original Star Wars trilogy, he does that one great thing at the end and saves Luke Skywalker's life. We forgot all about how he killed scores of people, including the whole planet of Alderaan."

I was almost weeping. If you want to read the rest of the article:


By the way, what's more indicative of being a slacker at work? Being at work reading a sports blog online, or being at work and composing my own blog about the sports blog? I think I've reached a new level of unproductivity.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Warning: TMI potential

On Sunday or Monday I thought I got a bug bite. It itched like crazy, but I ignored it, heeding the advice that you shouldn't scratch something because it could get infected. The next day, it looked more like a rash. Itching continues. Next day - it spread. Um . . . . Ew! Then on Thursday I woke up in PAIN - the "rash" hurt. Rashs don't "hurt". It was like I had a huge, deep bruise there. Okay, time to call the doctor. (Thank you Kelly Law Registry for providing health insurance to its contractors.)

My appointment was this morning. Verdict? Shingles.


So I'm now pumping myself full of anti-viral medication. Gotta let it run its course. Too weird. The doctor said a few things:
  1. It's a little odd that I'm only 30 and got it, however,
  2. That works in my favor because I'm less likely to have any sort of complications or long-term effects from it.
  3. No one is particularly sure what causes it to "wake up" so there's no way to really know what caused it in me.
  4. It's possible I won't ever have it again, like chicken pox, because I'm having it now.
  5. But that's not 100%.
  6. I have to take horse pills five times a day for ten days. The pharmacist said, "You're going to feel like all you do is take pills." Five times a day? I would think so.

Anyhow, besides the occasionally intense pain and irritating itching, it's no big deal. At least it's something treatable. The body is a strange thing.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Ladies and Gentlemen . . .

We have a date. January 18.

Stay tuned to see what unfolds as a local girl tries to plan a wedding in 89 days. Updates at 5, 6 and 10.

In honor of our upcoming wedding, here's the very first picture of me and Zac taken together. The first of many, tho at the time we didn't know it.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Wedding dress shoppers - beware the Wedding Chapel in Crystal, MN!!!

Just a quick note to any girls out there thinking of buying a wedding dress from the Wedding Chapel in Crystal, MN.


They have terrible business practices and it is only by luck that I am not dress-less for my wedding.

I bought my dress at the end of July. I told them when I was looking at dresses, "I'm getting married at the end of October. I can only look at dresses that are available to be rush ordered so they will get here in time." (At the time we were thinking we were getting married in October -- yes that has since changed but it was the case at the time of ordering the dress.) I narrowed my selection down to my top choices on July 25th and my consultant had the manager, Diana, call the manufacturer the next day to see if any of the dresses could be rush cut.

Again, I repeat, I told them that I was getting married at the end of October. It says so ON MY ORDER FORM. I was informed that my number one choice was available as a rush, so I went back in on the 27th of July to buy the dress. I was told, in front of my Mom and Sister that my dress would be arrive at the end of September so I would be able to get the alterations done in time for my wedding at the END OF OCTOBER. I paid an extra $60 to have the rush order processed.

Time passes.

I called the Wedding Chapel on THREE separate occasions during the last couple months checking on the status of my order. Why? Because it was a rush order and it was supposed to be arriving at the end of September. The first two time they called me back assuring me that my dress was still scheduled to arrive "on time". I called on Thursday last week (the third time) because it is now WAY PAST the end of September. The woman who answered the phone said she'd have someone check on the order and get back to me. They called yesterday with this voicemail message:

"[super chipper] Hi, this is so-and-so from the Wedding Chapel! I'm just calling back with the status of your order. Everything looks good! It looks like it's still going to arrive on time, by October 31st. That should be in time . . . [I can tell she is now actually looking at my order form] . . .for your . . . end . . . of . . . October wedding. Oh. [pause] Oh dear. [pause] Um. Yeah. You might want to call us back."

OCTOBER 31st!!!!! EXCUSE ME?!?!?!?!?

So I called them back last night and the woman said that she didn't know what to tell me. I told her, "Well, I would like my $60 back since it has turned out not to be a rush order." She said that she'd have the manager Diana give me a call today to talk about it.

Well Diana did call me back. All I wanted was my $60 back for the rush order. I felt it was only fair since my dress didn't arrive when they said it would. I was promised a dress at the end of September in exchange for that extra fee. I did not get a dress at the end of September for that fee. Diana didn't see it the same way. After trying to be pleasant and respectful for the first part of the phone call, it started to go downhill. It went something like this:

D: "Well, according to our order form this dress has ALWAYS been scheduled to come in on October 31st. This dress usually takes six months to get here, so the 31st IS a rush."

K: "What does my order form say for a wedding date?"

D: "The end of October."

K: "WHY would I order a wedding dress for a wedding at the END OF OCTOBER if the dress wasn't going to arrive until the 31st???"

D: "I don't know. But our order says that we've told you each time you've called that it would arrive on the 31st."

K: "What? I can assure you the FIRST time I heard '31st' was two days ago. They have always told me that the dress was going to arrive 'on time'. TRUST ME when I say I would have called you sooner if I has heard October 31st at ANY other time."

D: "Well that's what it says here. And it says that the 31st was the expected arrival date from the time we placed the order."

K: "Again, I PURPOSEFULLY chose THAT dress because I was told that it would be here in time. I would NOT have purchased that dress if I didn't think it would be here in time. I would have picked another dress."

D: "Well, like I said this dress usually takes six months to arrive so this IS a rush so I don't think you are entitled to any refund."

K: "Well, there isn't much I can do about this because I have no way to prove that I was lied to. Any reasonable person would realize I would NOT have bought a dress that was supposed to arrive AFTER THE WEDDING.

D: "Uh huh." [At this point she's just waiting to get off the phone. I can see her rolling her eyes at her co-workers.]

K: "So I guess my only resort is to let people know what kind of business you run and how you treat customers. I ASSURE you I will tell my friends that are getting married that your business is not to be trusted and that customer service is your lowest priority."

D: "Uh huh."

K: "You are LUCKY that my wedding date got pushed back. I will be in to pick up my dress when it arrives, and I will NOT be using your services for my alterations. I will see you when it arrives."

D: "Bye." [click]


So . . . a-hem [clearing throat] . . .




Now if you'll excuse me, I'll be standing outside their store striking up conversations with people heading inside about what kind of service they can expect.

[I'm not really, but wouldn't that be FANTASTIC to do???]

Friday, October 12, 2007

My (dys)functional relationship with Epworth

Do you know what I have planned this weekend?


Blessed nothing.

I don't think I've had a weekend where I have nothing planned for a couple of months. It's like a state of 48 hour bliss. Sure I've got things I'd like to do -- laundry, vacuuming, crocheting, watching football, etc. -- but I don't have anything scheduled. It's lovely. Truly lovely. I may wear elastic waistband pants all weekend . . .

Last night was the Harvest Dinner at church. As usual, it was a lot of fun and a lot of work, and I know that I wasn't nearly one of the hardest workers. I worked for three and a half hours. Some people worked all day. Kudos to them for pulling it off once again.

Those of you that know me well know that I've got . . . er . . . "issues" with organized religion, and you may be a little surprised that I still help out with fundraisers at church, and even enjoy myself. But even as I've come to develop my own views on faith and spirituality that separate me from my church, I do still hold a very soft spot in my heart for it. Notice that I still call it "my" church, though I don't share its views on some of its fundamental beliefs.

It's an odd relationship I have with Epworth, and it is unique to that one church. I certainly don't feel any affinity towards any other UMC out there. (United Methodist for those that aren't familiar with the acronym.) I attended one Sunday service at Choctaw UMC while I was in Oklahoma with Zac. He occasionally attended and I thought it would be the right thing to do to try and stomach an hour of church for him. Once we got home he let me know that he'd never invite me to do that again. I was a little dismayed that I wasn't able to cover up my feelings better during the service. I hope no one besides Zac noticed me, because I certainly didn't want other people at church thinking, "Why did he bring her? - she obviously doesn't want to be here."

And I honestly don't think I should be attending services at a church. At the end of the day I think it's an affront to people that do believe (and to their version of God) to sit there with nothing but an overwhelming desire to roll my eyes as I argue against them in my head. It seems like the best way for me to respect their faith is to not pretend that I share it.

But then there's Epworth. I know the building like I know my parent's house. I know every square inch, the way different rooms and hallways echo, what drawers the plastic table clothes are in, how to correctly wash and sanitize dishes after a fundraiser, etc. I am completely comfortable in the building. Besides my parent's house, my grandparents' houses and Clara Barton Open School, it's probably the building I spent the most time in while I was growing up.

And then there's the people. For better or for worse, they're like family. Some of them I adore, other ones irritate the hell out of me. Like the guy who told my mom that he was pretty sure that I wouldn't make it through college and would probably drop out before I graduated. Yeah, he said that to my mom. (Note to that guy - have I showed you my law license lately? Screw you, you jerk.) But I care about the people there and I appreciate the fact that they don't point out my absence on Sundays anymore. They seem genuinely happy to have me there when I am, and we leave it at that. I honestly, I am genuinely happy to see them too. (Except that one guy.)

I don't feel like posting about all of my disagreements with the teachings of the Methodist church (and the Christian church generally). That would take days and days. But in the end, Epworth will always be my church. And though I don't believe in some of what the church believes, I do occasionally find some things from my Methodist upbringing that I do whole-heartedly believe:

Do all the good you can,

By all the means you can,

In all the ways you can,

In all the places you can,

At all the times you can,

To all the people you can,

As long as ever you can.

-- John Wesley

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Catching up on the weekend

This weekend was just nuts. For a few hours I thought I needed to plan a wedding in seven weeks, then 24 hours later the kibosh was put on that. I spent five hours with my Mom on Saturday making peanut brittle and I spent all day Sunday prepping and eating a Turkey Dinner at Sara's house with friends. I was beat by the time I got home Sunday night. Too much physical and emotional work.

Making peanut brittle with Mom is always fun. It's a sticky, greasy mess, but it's a blast. At the end of the day your feet hurt and your back is killing you, but it's only two days out of the year. My Mom makes the best peanut brittle you've ever had. Those of you who have had the pleasure of eating some - you know I'm right. Crunchy, buttery, peanutty goodness. She got her recipe from a friend many years ago and started making it to sell at out church's holiday boutique. Of course it sells like hotcakes and every year she has to make more and more to keep up with the demand.

For a couple of years when I was in high school, Mom started a business and tried making the candy commercially. It was a gutsy thing to do and I admire her for taking the shot at it. Starting a business is really hard. Ultimately it didn't work out the way she wanted, but it was a learning experience to be sure. I occasionally think about giving the business another shot, but that won't be happening any time soon.

So Mom makes copious amounts of peanut brittle for our church's holiday boutique in November every year. She also makes it for the "mini" boutique the church has in October. (This Thursday as a matter of fact.) We made 20 batches for the Mini Boutique. We'll make double that for the regular boutique. If you calculate it out that one batch makes about five half-pound bags, that's 2.5 lbs of peanut brittle per batch. 20 x 2.5 = 50 lbs of peanut brittle. If we make 40 batches in a couple of weeks: 40 x 2.5 = 100 lbs of peanut brittle.

Frequently she has to add a third day of making it for all the special orders she gets. I've also been giving out some as gifts the last couple years, which adds a few more batches. So maybe we do five to ten more batches. Another 25 lbs. 50 + 100 + 25 = A whole lot of candy folks. A whole lotta.

So in case you get to sample the peanut brittle produced by the Ayers Family Kitchen this holiday season, know that was the result of a lot of hard work led by my Mom.

Friday, October 5, 2007

In lieu of a post

A picture to tie you over until I have time to write something.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Back to MN


I don't even know where to begin. It has been a crazy last week and a half. I got back Sunday night and was back at my desk Monday morning. I don't want this blog to turn into a 10,000 word posting so I'll highlight a few events and come back to them in the upcoming days as I run out of blog topics.
  • Flight to OKC got cancelled because of weather
  • Bawled on my parents couch at midnight on Thursday while all three of us were on the phone trying to find a flight on Friday that would get me to OKC in time for the pinning ceremony.
  • Bawled in the OKC airport as I waited to see if my bags would arrive, as they were on a different flight.
  • Made it to the pinning by the skin of my teeth.
  • Nearly fell apart again when I saw Zac in his khakis up on stage.
  • Shook like a leaf when I tried to pin on one of his anchors. (A combo of very little sleep, stress, nerves, excitement, caffeine and no lunch or supper.)
  • Tackled Zac after the ceremony when I got to see him for the first time in more than two months. (Aside from the aforementioned moment on the stage during the ceremony.)
  • Basked in the glow of being with my boy again.
  • Fussed over him because he was too skinny, tired, and coming down with a cold.
  • Spent time with my parents and his parents and brother, thereby facilitating the meeting of the families.
  • Bid adieu to our families.
  • Spent a week living on Tinker AFB.
  • Had a young Air Force service member create an imaginary baby to allow us to live in family housing for a few days.
  • Due to a booking snafu, spent the last few days living in the officers quarters. Best snafu ever.
  • Spent time with friends.
  • Laughed with friends.
  • Grilled with friends.
  • Enjoyed the perks of government subsidized food in the galley. Seriously, I've never eaten so much food for so cheap in my life. Two cafeteria trays full of food and it came to something like $2.35. Ridiculous.
  • Fell asleep each night, curled up next to one another, just like we used to.
  • Made some preliminary wedding plans.
  • Cried at the airport as I said goodbye to him again. Realized that it will never get any easier seeing him leave. But that's probably a good thing, isn't it? Because I never want there to be a time where it's easy to say goodbye to him.

So that's a quick overview of the 10 days or so. I may flesh some of these topics out in future blogs. Maybe some of you will even be lucky enough to hear about it in person over a beer or something.

And lest I forget to mention a few major events that occurred while I was gone :

Happy Birthday, Autumn!

Congrats Austin and Kristi!