Having a blast

Soo, my dear blog, I have neglected thee. How can I get back in your good graces? 🙂 Well, by crafting an incredible well thought out blog post. Or just rambling, we’ll see how this goes.

Matt & I finally took a break from working and decided to do a mini-vacation thingie. We had this planned out months in advance and I use the term “planned,” loosely. 😀 Then, issues with the ‘new’ used car starting popping up and finally, it was determined that the car would need a hefty infusion of cash before it could be road-worthy. Our second car would not be a happy camper if driven like we wanted to ride with the other car. Well, talk about a bummer! However, when life gives you lemons, you make lemonade!

So far, we have managed to make a serious dent in our summer cleaning-of-the-house plans. lol. We also hung out on the boat with Margie, Mike & Big John. It was a fabulous ride and a very interesting and scary incident occurred which I shan’t discuss. Nevertheless, all’s well that ends well and we retired back to M & M’s for the night.

We were able to use some of the vacation funds to sponsor the purchase of a laptop for my little brother & internet connectivity for the house. So who knows what tomorrow will bring? Right now, I’m content with relaxing with my husband and having a little TLC time. Cheers!

My birthday! :)

I’m in a Floetry state of mind today i.e. rather introspective, but in a very good way. I turned 24 last week and I had a special day with my husband. I felt thoroughly pampered as we went through the day. We went to the Goodwill store to pick up some crockery and clothing (3 shirts) for me (for under $30).  For the uninitiated, Goodwill is a thrift store that has everything except groceries. Their merchandise is from donations by people so they sell secondhand clothing and secondhand items. If you are looking for a recession-friendly budget, Goodwill is a place to check out. The Dollar store was next for some cheap & much-needed hangers for our closets. Then, we went to dinner at Ryan’s which is a kickass buffet-style restaurant. We gorged ourselves (literally) and had fun people-watching. I used a buy-one-get-one-free buffet coupon so our meal came down to $12, but we ended up spending close to $20 because we tipped our waiter pretty heavily. He was a good sport and made our time there very enjoyable. We also felt slightly guilty for the sins of another party of over 10 people that trashed their area. It was unreal. Granted, that party had kids with them, but couldn’t the parents or adults pick up after the children? Do you want to bet that that same party gave a shitty tip? I have just one word for people who abuse the generosity and good nature of others: Karma.

In retirement account news, I’ve have nothing to say other than constantly checking my portfolio is a bad thing. 🙂 Thankfully, retirement is a long way off so I’m not too bothered. Matt’s accounts have also taken a hit, but not as bad as mine (his rate of return is in the negative single digits while mine are in the negative double digits. Ouch!). Our emergency fund is slowly, but steadily creeping upwards. As you know, a good emergency fund should be good for, at least, 3 months of all living expenses. We’re making some progress, but car troubles have put a dent in the growth. It’s somewhat depressing to keep troubleshooting problems that never seem to be solved. We recently purchased a used car from a friend of ours. We knew the car had had some serious trouble i.e. the owner even got the transmission replaced at one point, but because it was a solid car (Chevrolet Impala 2000), we went ahead and paid the asking price of $1,200. To date (and to my knowledge), we have put over $500 into that car and that amount looks to be growing. I know nothing about cars so I’ll defer to Matt’s knowledge & trust when he says it is a solid investment. 🙂 It should be obvious that I hate spending money on anything except electronics. LOL.

That’s it for now. Have a great week!

Being bold and beautiful

I got back home from work with a heavy heart, despairing of ever getting my work done and done right. Then, I watched the movies (Rocky III and Rocky IV) and spoke to my husband. My world stopping spinning crazily and now, I’ve mapped out a strategy for conquering the work place chaos. As it has been written in the Good Book, if God is for me, who can be against me? (Romans 8:31). Speaking of the Good Book, Windows users are in luck because I found this program (The Sword Project by the CrossWire Bible Society) that installs the entire bible on your PC and gives you the options of installing a myriad of alternative bibles (English Standard Version, King James’ Version, Authorized King James’ Version, International Standard Version, et cetera). Check it out and you won’t regret it. I don’t and I intend on making use of it. I’m rejuvenated and ready to do my J.O.B. 🙂 What can I say? Life? It’s looking pretty good right now. Not because I’m making any “special” moves. Life is simply … good. I’m healthier than I have been in a long while. I am in love with the dearest man I know. I am surrounded by positive people and I am just thankful.

Last week, my theme song was Eminem’s “The Way I Am” and it fit my black mood because for some reason, I felt really angry. If you read the lyrics to that song, you’ll sense his mounting anger and at times, I felt like belting those same words out loud whenever I would encounter the source of my anger. Here are some choice snippets: “If you tip me, my tank is on empty. […] I’m tired of arguing – I don’t mean to mean but it’s all I can be, It’s just me […]” et cetera. Just to be clear, my angst was not directed at a person. Let’s say I was having some existential discussions with myself. lol. In any case, this week, I’m all daffodils and butterflies. I have caught myself humming Christmas melodies and I’m mulling on the purchase of a Christmas greatest hits CD. lmao. I can just hear Matt cringing already.

Well, gotta run. Happy Friday, y’all!

Feeling pretty cool

Okay, I had one of the best weekends yet. I got to do a lot of sleeping in with the hubby and that is no mean feat. 🙂 Three day weekends rock and I fear that my laziness may have cost me brownie points with the parents. Well, work starts tomorrow and with it, the sights & smells. Last Friday, I had the privilege of performing the interesting task of splitting embalmed dog heads along the longitudinal axis using the band saw. Everyone who works there is deathfully afraid of using that instrument, but being the laboratory coordinator, it’s part of my job to be unafraid of such tools. In a nutshell, I go where angels fear to tread. Thankfully, my supervisor stayed with me while I worked just in case I accidentally sawed something off and lost the ability to dial an emergency number. Tomorrow, I’ll be sawing through the rest of the heads (38 total) and wish  me luck!

In other news, M’s friend recently got a car and his old car would have been traded to the dealership, but it’s beginning to look like we might just get his old car instead. Of course, we’re paying for it and I don’t want to jinx the deal just yet. The car’s been pretty well cared for and I’m confident that we aren’t getting a lemon although the car has been to the mechanic’s quite a bit. Nevertheless, it’s a 4-door car and we’re both pretty psyched about it. Ordinarily, I’d like to work out a payment deal versus paying all that is due (price) upfront, but he needs the bulk of the money upfront so M’s dad is kindly loaning us some money to help with that. As for M’s current car (Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme), we just might hang on to it because I’m kind of attached to it seeing as there is a lot of history there. 🙂 We’ve slept in the car, fought in it, yelled in it, done terrible *cough* things *cough* in it, et cetera. lol.

In yet other news, someone’s birthday is coming up. That’s right: Matt’s!! He’s turning 29 and I’ve decided to go lowkey for his birthday. I’m definitely taking him out to eat and I’ll tell y’all the rest after it’s happened. With that, cheers and a belated happy Hallo’ween!

Simply addicted

Oh. My God. Is this blog still alive? 🙂 Sorry, bad joke. Mea culpa because I have been bad about updating my Facebook page & my blog! Well, the title of this blog post refers to my current addiction to the show, The Office. Holy Jesus, it’s sidesplitting-ly funny. Thankfully, John (Matt’s friend) has 4 season DVDs and you bet I scored 2 of those from him. I can’t believe it took me this long to get into it. Dwight is simply ridiculous and Michael is just plain crazy. lmao. Okay, enough of that.

It’s Fall Break and the nice thing about being part of the school system is that I get to taste a little bit of the Fall Break fun. lol. This means I’ve got a 3-day weekend and I’m really happy because I can start planning  my mini-vacation. It, of course, helps that payday coincides for both of us so Matt & I might finally treat ourselves to something. Matt’s kvetched about my techy talk on this blog and that got me thinking that perhaps it was time to start a separate blog dedicated to talking about my trials with my computer software and hardware. Courtesy of Microsoft DreamSpark, I’ve currently got Microsoft Visual Studio 2008 and the Microsoft Expression Studio group of programs on my laptop. I am looking forward to learning about designing and coding which will be difficult because I’m somewhat horrible at learning new hobbies. So, here’s to self motivation. 🙂

A day of many firsts at Unicoi State Park.

Wow. Where do I begin? My Saturday began as I groggily stumbled out of bed and hopped on my computer. 🙂 As I began my daily ritual of checking my various e-mail accounts and bank accounts to make sure no overdrafts had miraculously occurred, I heard Matt’s phone ring. Normally, my first instinct is to not answer his phone, but when I saw the caller ID, I knew I had to take the call. It was Julie and she pretty much said, “We are on our way to a quaint little town called Helen. Wanna come?” My response was, “Hell, yes”  because I’m up for seeing Benjy and his parents any time! 🙂 Besides, I like to try new things no matter how dangerous they may seem as you will understand later. lol. Unbeknownst to Julie and Jonathan, I had to do the unthinkable by agreeing to head over to Helen with them: I had to wake Matt up. lol. Thankfully, he was a good sport and as it turned out, his chauffeur services weren’t needed anymore as they (J & J) decided to come pick me up instead.

The ride to Helen was fun as always. Julie, Jonathan and I have a good rapport and similar tastes in humor so there were no awkward silences, etc. It’s always fun to watch them around their little boy. Anyhow, we got to Helen after a few false alarms a la getting lost, etc. Apparently, it’s not just a Banick thing to get lost on the high ways. lol. The Wilsons suffer from that predicament as well. At least, I don’t even claim to know my bearings so I’m pretty much useless in these situations. lmao. Anyhow, we got there and it was all thanks to Matt’s dad, Bill. He’s cool to hang with because he has so much background knowledge. Back to the story, the event that drew us all (yours truly, Julie, Jonathan, Baby Ben, Bill & Bill’s friend) was primarily an outdoor festival (not in the Nigerian sense of festivals). The event was billed as the Outdoor Adventure day at Unicoi State Park in Helen, GA. Helen, the town, was simply breathtaking. It felt as if I was in a fairytale where the houses were made of gingerbread or some other edible substance. I felt like a kid in a candy store and I was really glad I went. The town is actually modeled after a Bavarian town (Munich) in Germany and they were preparing for Oktoberfest in Helen. I definitely intend on seeing more of North Georgia because of the gorgeous vistas (Cloudland Canyon State Park, etc), the general atmosphere and other attractions. Many thanks go out to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources (GADNR), GADNR volunteers and the many other organizations (.PDF) that were present. As I visit more of Georgia’s State Parks, I grow to love Georgia more and I’ve come to understand (hat tip to Bill) that due to the projected budget deficit in Georgia, some state parks will be closing. Cloudland Canyon is apparently on the chopping block along with 12 other state parks. Please take the time to fill out this petition to urge lawmakers to keep at least 6 of the parks that are on this list. Some of the events that were going on included: skeet shooting which is an Olympic sport also, trout fishing, police dog demonstrations, et cetera.

Continue reading A day of many firsts at Unicoi State Park.