Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Bedtime Tales

One of the biggest purchases we faced as we became engaged and now head into marriage was finding a bed. The Boy and I discussed what we do and don't like, and we listed a few must-haves: a firm mattress, a quality brand or very good warranty, and a low price. We, along with my parents who are giving us the bed as our wedding present, went bed shopping several times. We visited mattress stores in a few cities, never really finding a bed that seemed to fit our criteria. On a whim one Saturday afternoon, we trudged (it was hot) into a local furniture store for what we thought would be an idea-gathering spree. It turns out they sell mattresses, and the woman who helped us was quite knowledgeable about her products. We told her what we wanted and gave our budget, and she whisked us (like an egg) over to the "perfect" bed for us. We laid down on heaven itself. I was sold. The Boy was sold. We didn't let it show, though, as good consumers never let on that they're totally suckered into the deal. We had her put the price down on the back of her business card, and we said we'd keep shopping. A day or two later, we discussed our options. Nobody else had comfortable beds in the area, and nobody else could beat the price. $780 for a mid-range Englander bed? That's awesome! But delivery wasn't free even in town, and we still felt like we had some more shopping to do.

Here's the catch: we researched Englander mattresses. Mom researched them, too. Each store selling Englander mattresses has the ability to name the mattresses whatever name they want. If one store likes selling the super-firm-with-pillowtop-and-green-edges version as the "Madison," another store might call the exact same mattress the "Symphony." When trying to price-shop mattresses, it's impossible to compare Englander mattresses. But we knew we wanted to stick with Englander as they have a reputation for high quality, great warranties, and sturdy extra-thick steel springs. They even put in foam padding between the springs to keep motion transfer to a minimum.

We went to Mattress World in Salem one afternoon and discovered that they, too, sell Englander mattresses. We walked down the whole row of beds, prices ever-decreasing from the $2000s to the $1000s to the $800s... and at the very end of the row, we found a bed for $700. We sat on it. Negative. Too... not good. And we went like Goldilocks up the row until we found a bed that both fit our budget (sort of) and wasn't awful. After browsing a few other brands, poking a few memory foam beds (hehe), and generally wanting to get out of the store and go home, a nice saleswoman came over to help us. We told her what we were interested in, and we mentioned we had a quote from another store for a bed. She took the card, verified online the quote, and came back to us. She pointed over at a bed, a nice bed. She said, "The best we can do is the $1400 bed, the third one in from the front end, we can do it for $710."

Holy. Freaking. Crap.

The Boy and I looked at each other. We didn't even touch that bed since it was so expensive. We walked over to it and fell onto the bed side-by-side. Ahhhhh, comfort! Firm mattress with a memory foam pad on top, and within our budget, sweet sweet victory was ours! Again, not wanting to look like idiots with that grin we could barely keep off our faces, we said we'd come back later after thinking about it. We left the store, walked down the sidewalk about fifty feet, talked it over for about a minute, retreated, and went back in the store. Decision made. BUT! I had talked to a manager previously on the phone who said we'd get 5% more off if we wore OSU gear into the store. We did. The saleswoman agreed to take an additional 5% off our already discounted price. She started ringing up our transaction with the craziest questions:
"What kind of sheets would you like, percale or Egyption cotton?"
"What kind of pillows would you like?"
"What kind of mattress cover would you like? Can I suggest this one?"
"Where would you like the bed delivered?"

My heart started racing as my head was figuring all the math. Sheets, $100, pillows, $50, mattress cover... yikes! So one of us asked, how much is the extra stuff? FREE she replied. FREE. FREE sheets, FREE pillows, FREE delivery. We did opt to pay a little bit for a nicer mattress cover, but it has a 10-year warranty so that if the mattress cover ever fails, then the mattress cover company will replace the entire bed set (yeah, the whole mattress and box spring).

Holy. Even more freaking. Crap.

When the entire bill was written up, discounts taken, and delivery arranged, we ended up getting $1600 worth of merchandise for $730. The bed should be in the process of being constructed this week with delivery early next week. We bought our first bed! I get to sleep in a big person bed FINALLY!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Twin Bed: SOLD

A long, but productive day, I guess... After visiting the dentist, getting my hair cut (not at the dentist's office mind you), and then shopping, I feel accomplished and poor. No new cavities, but I still have a few tiny ones that could use a quick fill sometime (like when we're double-covered by insurance, ouch). I had my hair trimmed about an inch to get rid of split ends and even things up before the Big Day. Shopping could have been considered fun if I liked trying on clothes that don't fit, but I don't so it really wasn't fun. At least I didn't spend money on clothes, right?

I sold my twin bed last night to a nice kid. Hopefully he'll be sleeping well as he got quite a bargain on all the stuff I gave him. Wasn't doing me any good, though, keeping twin-sized sheets as we're going to be getting a queen. I have to make room for queen-sized sheets and new fluffy towels, two things we need as we move into married life.

In case you were wondering, I'm still not a fan of going to the dentist. Ugh.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Rrrranty

I can't wait until it starts raining every day and I don't have to listen to people's music blaring and thumping from their rolled-down windows. Seriously, a car stereo that whumps and beats so hard that the entire vehicle shakes is turned up WAY too loud. Why does the music have to be that loud anyway? I'm not harping on people listening to music in the car, but I don't really appreciate the volume penetrating my car as I travel down the road.

There should be a law against talking on a cell phone while riding a bicycle. In fact, the law should include mandatory cycling lessons, passing a "rules of the road" test, and confirmation of common sense. I'd also like to see a signed statement, "I will not be an idiot and ride into intersections when cars are oncoming, especially during rush hour." Drivers have to pass tests, so why don't cyclists? Bike riders certainly go fast enough around here, not to mention their complete disregard for lanes of travel, not stopping at intersections, and not stopping for pedestrians...

There should also be a law against having dark orange skin and bleached blond hair (posted clearly in big letters inside every sorority and fraternity in Corvallis), but that simply offends my visual sense and gag reflex, so I guess no law there. Dangit.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

What Happened to September?

Seven weeks, six weeks, five weeks, and holy crap, September went where again??? Three weeks from today, I'll be a married woman. MARRIED. wow. I knew we'd be busy during September, but I had no idea how fast the month would go. June took forever, and July was almost as long. August slogged by, though it took it's hot, sweet time. This week ushers in our wedding month, and I am so incredibly thankful the day has almost arrived.

People ask me, "are you ready for it to be over?" In a way, yes, but other times I enjoy it. I remember when we transitioned from dating to being engaged and how much that changed our relationship, not necessarily between us, but in how people perceived us. When a couple becomes engaged, it opens up their relationship. Everyone wants to know details and plans and goals, all the little stuff that used to be private. But I think once a couple gets married, the intrusiveness dies down a little (except for the whole "when are you planning to have kids" part, grrr). In my experience, most people try to give the couple a little privacy for a while, as I think they should. For that, for the privacy of having a relationship with someone without the world glaring or beating down the door, I can't wait to be married!

For the endless planning, decision making, date moving, and reprioritizing, I can't wait for the wedding to be over. For the experience of getting married, for having The Boy here at my side to help with anything that arises, for waffling over which type of linens to purchase... those are the things I don't mind so much. For having BOTH sets of supportive, agreeable, helpful parents behind us, I'm deeply, deeply thankful.

Three weeks. :D

Friday, September 25, 2009

Friday: Not-so-Fun Day

After taking yesterday off due to a headache, being up most of the night before, and not wanting to be sick and at work, I figured Friday would be easy. No. Wrong. So wrong. I woke up this morning (at 4:00am, lucky me) with a gnawing UTI. Ignore, drink more water, drink pop, drink anything liquid, continue with day, right? HA! By noon I realized something was wrong, and by 5:00pm, I was sure I needed a trip to the doctor. Boo to peeing on my hand (again) as I tried to pee in the insanely small cup. Hooray, antibiotics! Boo paying $4 for the thing that makes me better and $400 to the doctor for diagnosing me. Thanks to Mr. Wonderful for sitting at the clinic for two freaking hours with me while all the rich doctors ate dinner and schmoozed, or whatever it is they do when they're not seeing the only patient in the waiting room.

Tomorrow is Saturday. Tomorrow will be a better day. Tomorrow I get to drink looooots of water, cranberry crap, take pills, sit on my hands and wait, and maybe, just maybe, I will feel better. Ugh.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Twin Bed for SALE

I'm selling a Sealy twin mattress and box spring, metal frame, and beautiful (and cared for) wooden headboard. Mattress set is ~20 years old, but it has almost no body impression. $50, cash only, you pick up. I'll include two free sheet sets, navy and dark green 300-thread-count, both sets barely used. I cannot deliver!

Craigslist advertisement here.

I'd much rather sell the bed to a faithful blog reader (or friend/family even) than to a stranger, so commenting here that you're interested and willing to pick up the set ASAP earns priority.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Wedding Guest Photography Etiquette: A Response

I got a comment recently from a guy who agreed with me about how wedding guests should behave at weddings. It's rare that I get post comments with properly formatted grammar and punctuation (except for MissKris who rocks writing), not to mention such content. I wholeheartedly agree to not allowing guests to take photos before, during, and immediately after the ceremony, and I wish you the best of luck accomplishing that, Brad! We'll see how it works at our wedding...

"I will second the post and disagree with Snookie's comment. This will be the most heavily documented day of the bride and groom's life, and likely the only time they will pay a professional photographer thousands to take pictures of them. The chutzpah of guests, family or no, who believe they must step in to capture the perfect moment at the ceremony, is overbearing, to say the least.

Snookie doesn't consider the potential pro photos ruined by eager shutterbugs whose flashes go off just as the pro is metering that once-in-a-lifetime shot. If the pro misses key shots, it's an issue for the bride and groom to handle with their photog, not for guests to pass judgment and take on themselves. Remember, it was the couple's decision--not yours.

The fact that Snookie's sister hasn't bought a CD from the photog yet doesn't change the rules of etiquette. These are photos for posterity, not immediate gratification. A lot of this probably comes from guests' fear that the only photos they'll ever see from the wedding are the ones they take. A good remedy for couples who can afford it is to buy all rights to their photos and promise guests in advance and in writing that they'll receive copies, and then to make sure they do. My fiancee and I plan to do just that, and to request that guests not take pictures before, during, or immediately after the ceremony."

Monday, September 21, 2009

It's called cheating!

I'm going to start this blog post with two very important notes:
1) I have been ballroom dancing almost five years, so I know how difficult dancing can be.
2) I do not watching Dancing With the Stars (though I guiltily admit tuning in a bit for the third season to see Mario Lopez battle Joey Lawrence--I am a child of the 80's).

I recently found out that Donny Osmond has been picked to dance this season. I have nothing bad to say about him as a person, and I think he's a pretty good entertainer overall. He understands show business, and he knows what hard work is.

The problem I see is a horrible advantage. If a dancing contest were to be fair, the contest would pit individuals or couples of the same dancing ability and background together. Though Mr. Osmond may not have waltzed competitively, he has spent his life learning song and dance routines at breakneck speed and under intense pressure. For him to learn a few new steps is nothing! His background as a life-long entertainer gives him a sharp edge over the competition.

Imagine an analogy: take a few regular ten-year-olds and teach them to dance. Put them in a competition with another ten-year-old who has been in ballet, jazz, tap, and the chorus line, a kid who understands how to put in full days of practice, and then guess who will win.

PLUS! Mr. Osmond has his entire family (and church) voting for him. I'm not sure what percentage of the voters that will be, but statistically... unless he blows it and drops his partner, he's going to go really far in the competition. It's unfair.

I don't think I'll be tuning in this season for Dancing With the Stars Donny Osmond.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

This Veteran's Day

Yesterday, I was shopping for some picture frames at Michael's. I had been hemming and hawing over two different frames for quite a while when an older gentleman joined me in the aisle. I could tell he was searching high and low for his perfect frame, so in my typical fashion (that tends to drive The Boy crazy), I spoke, "with so many options, they don't make the decision easy, do they?" The man turned to me and agreed. He stated that he was dismayed about the quality of the work. He wasn't looking for any particular frame as much as one with tight corners and no dents (good luck). We chatted for a few minutes, smalltalk mostly, and he said he had an autograph to frame. I'm not sure if it's because I was being nosy or if I just wanted to keep talking to him, but I asked whose autograph he had. He launched into a story about his days in the Korean War and how he fancied a pilot who worked his way from private to colonel over the course of three wars. A fantastic storyteller! As the conversation wound down, I paused. I asked the gentleman, "sir, can I shake your hand? I'd like to thank you for your service." He smiled, took my hand, smiled, and said, "you're welcome, dear." We went our separate ways, him with an unblemished frame, myself empty-handed.

Never forget: every day is Veteran's Day.

I am really glad I started that conversation. Hopefully I made his day, because talking with him certainly made mine.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Damask Love

SEE?! I told you I'd eventually get around to updating my sad little bloggy. I didn't like the way my previous layout stretched all the way across the screen: it became difficult to follow the lines. My new layout makes shorter posts look a little longer, too, so I don't feel like I have to write a freakin' book just to make a dent.

Between the wedding website's damask pattern, the shower invitations we sent having a damask border, and this new site, I think it's safe to say I'm officially in love with bold damask patterns. Not that I'd want a whole couch covered in the print, but it's nice to accent some plainness with some traditional patterns.

With every new layout comes new intentions. This blog layout is the final combination of my original blog, "Uniquely Normal," and my newer (but now defunct) blog, "It's not about the answers..." Both blogs have been rolled into one, and I am only failing to update the single blog instead of both of them. The header combines both blog titles on a background of the Prayer of St. Francis (a favorite that I have partially memorized).

Though I have some minor tweaks to do as I adjust to the new layout, I feel confident that this look and feel should remain for a while. Comments/suggestions/kindly worded criticism appreciated.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Revenge of the Thank Yous

I consider myself a creative person, but when it comes to writing thank you notes, I feel as though I fall flat. SPLAT. Please don't get me wrong, I am NOT complaining about receiving gifts or having to write thank you notes. My purpose in writing this is to see if anyone has hints, tips, or tricks for writing dozens of thank you notes. Is there a faster way than slogging through one by one? Is there a better way than a fill-in-the-blank format?

The rest of this post will now be taken up with my sentiment for this past week: AHHH!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Showered with Happiness

Last weekend, The Boy and I attended two wedding showers thrown in our honor. The first was with my family, and the second was with his side. We received so many thoughtful and creative gifts, and we're now in the process of writing our thank-you notes. Again, extra special thanks to our mothers for hosting the parties and for the delicious treats and cozy gifts. For some reason, moms (and grandmas and special aunts) always know the perfect things for their kids. I hope I get that skill some day.

Life has been a bit busy this week. I took yesterday off so Mr. Wonderful and I could run errands all over the valley. I took my dress to get it altered (my ribs expanded, not my belly... go figure). We exchanged some duplicate gifts, bought some new stuff, had a fun lunch out, ordered our sheet cakes, browsed one of our favorite Catholic bookstores, and even had time to have dinner with my sister and her boyfriend at the end of the day. Phew!

The day probably would have gone more smoothly if either of us wasn't in a pissy mood, but we had a humdinger of a day snapping at each other. No actual fighting, just that annoying and awful nagging, whining, misunderstanding, petty crap. After the whole day was over, we sat down and aired the laundry, got over ourselves and each other, and made up. Before sleeping. Very late. But we feel so accomplished for bickering and surviving it!

Lots going on still, but I hope to have more time for blogging soon. We're getting close with ONE MONTH TO GO!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

"You Hope"

I was recently in a conversation with another woman. She likes to give me advice (unsolicited) about marriage (she's unmarried), especially advice about married life and what to expect (ha!). Our conversation led to the fact that I'm about to change my name. I expressed my frustration about how many documents I have to get in order before I can even attempt to go to the government, which I'll have to do before the DMV, the bank, even my Safeway card. It seemed so easy to get the driver's license in the first place, but to change one little part of my name is like going to war. I pronounced, "I'm never doing this name change thing again." To which the woman replied, "you hope" without so much as a hint of emotion or jest.

I brushed it under the rug. No sense making waves over something that probably wasn't meant to mean anything in the first place. Later, thinking on it, I realized just what an awful thing that is to say to someone who is about to be married!

OF COURSE I hope I never have to change my name again. I am not walking into my marriage with the hope that I'll cheat or lie or be greedy. I don't want my marriage to fail. What kind of person would I be if I wanted to change my name again, to end a marriage? And then there's the even worse idea that something might happen to Mr. Wonderful... I can't even bear to think about it. Yes, things happen, but I think that loving him with all my heart, losing him, remembering him, and possibly learning to love again would be the only reason I'd "want" to change my name.

"You hope." No shit, lady. I hope there isn't one day I live without him, nor he with me. Isn't that the point of getting married? To be in it for the long haul, to want to be together through the bad times and the good? And you know what else? I don't just hope. I don't merely hope that we survive together.

I PRAY.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Unit-less

Yesterday I blogged about the cancellation of one of my favorite television shows, Life. Late last night, I found out that CBS has canceled The Unit, my other favorite show. Suffice it to say that I am not pleased, nor do I have a single show to look forward to this fall.

The Boy recently discovered The Unit. I have two seasons on DVD (recorded from live TV myself, so shush), but he's still missing out on half the wonderfulness. He was really looking forward to both of the shows like I was, and now we're not sure what we'll do on those nights.

I don't know what to say. Two well-rated shows with several accolades each, good acting (Life had excellent acting!), and some good old-fashioned weekly ass-kicking... it's like a real TV show doesn't matter now as much as "reality" TV.

The Duggars are fine, and I'm down with Jon & Kate Plus 8 (or Kate & 8 Minus Jon, whatever they're calling it these days). I'll watch Food Network most of the time (except when Bobby Flay is on). Sometimes I want fake TV. I want to be taken on a ride that I know isn't real. I don't want to think, but rather I want to be absorbed into a deep plot or follow a character's development.

Goodbye, The Unit. You will be missed and will be very hard to replace.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

The End of "Life"

Kind of depressed today. Nothing exciting going on, no caffeine in my veins, and no boy to come home to see. I was going to start on a project tonight after cooking some new red potatoes. Had cold cereal instead. Project remains before the start line.

I contemplated doing another Facebook purge and defriending all of those people I really don't talk to anymore. At the same time, I guess I don't care much about who can or can't see the tiny bit of information on my profile. Yes, I love watching TV, so what?

Speaking of TV, I found out today that my favorite show on NBC has been canceled. Life will not air again. NBC, what were you thinking? Damian Lewis rocks, and if you can't see to it that he receives a show pronto, I might boycott your network altogether. I was sad when ER was finally canceled, but a fifteen-year run was awesome. Taking Life off the air is almost too much. Jeez.

Blah day.

Monday, September 07, 2009

Shopping, Cooking, and a Hint of Love

The Boy was here an extra day this weekend to spend time with me, thus the total lack of blog posts lately. We've been busy! But we also took some time to relax together since the next few weekends are crazy with so much happening.

Yesterday, we drove to Eugene to look at clothes and mattresses. Though we didn't find many things to buy, we agreed on what style furniture we both like. We discussed wood colors and drawer faces and foot boards: the trip was educational and fun for both of us. I did manage to find some clothes on a huuuuuuuuge sale that couldn't be passed up, but otherwise the drive was all we paid for (oh, and a delicious lunch at Olive Garden).

Today, we visited a few more mattress stores in Corvallis. As we're getting married soon and both still have *gasp* twin beds, we're both finally getting to move into a real-sized bed. It's not that twin beds aren't "real" sizes but we're just moving up in the world! So many people have told us all sorts of different advice about beds. Get firm, get soft, get foam, get plush, get a pillow-top, don't get a pillow-top, get a good box-spring, forget the box-spring... the list goes on and on. We know that a Tempurpedic bed is out of our price range, so we won't consider those. Plus, the memory foam beds are insanely heavy (we moved one twice recently), so we know we don't even want one at this point in our ever-moving lives. Sure, we'd love a great bed with a $5000 price tag on it, but realistically, no way, won't happen. We've heard bad things about Simmons consistently. Serta seems to be all advertisement and little to back it up from what I've seen. We found an Englander that we really like, but no decisions have been made.

Last week's shoyu chicken recipe turned out deliciously. I did a quick internet search for "shoyu chicken" and chose the recipe with the fewest ingredients (so now you know). I think less vinegar next time and a tad more brown sugar. But the recipe was so close to Local Boyz' chicken that I don't think I'll ever have to go back there. Serious yumminess! Oh, and I could get into the crock pot cooking thing. Having dinner ready when I get home? AWESOME!

A little over five weeks to go to our wedding day! We're slowly finishing up those last little details. We really enjoyed our loooong weekend together, complete with movies and hand-holding. It was all gushy and mushy and wonderful. :)

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Nothing New Here Today

What new is there to discuss on the blog when I wake up, go to work, get home, eat, sleep, and do it all over again? The Boy surprised me by visiting a day earlier than I planned yesterday. *Insert mushy statement here about how much that meant to me.*

I do not like my blog layout, but I haven't found the motivation to make bloggy look pretty. Blah.

We met with our liturgical coordinator today and realized how well-planned we've been about our wedding. Though we still have bits and pieces to fit together, we are on top of things, yay!

Other than that, my life has been pretty ordinary lately. I like it that way.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Caffeine Freedom (I hope, again)

I am so tired of migraines, and I know the first thing any doctor is going to tell me to do is cut out caffeine. Today marks day one of being caffeine free. I've gone a full 24 hours now after weaning myself off over the last three months. Yeah, it's been a slow "wean" with ups and downs. If this works, poof! problem solved. If my migraines don't go away entirely but are less intense and easier to medicate, I'll be thrilled. In any case, all that caffeine isn't really good for me (or anyone). I'm trying to replace pop with water and juice. So far so good!

In other news, I defrosted a refrigerator at work today with a hair dryer. You know that section in a job description that includes "other duties as assigned"? Today was one of those days. I managed to not electrocute myself... that's always a bonus. The dryer was loud, though, so my ears are sort of ringing. A quiet apartment tonight should help.

Found a new recipe for some yummy Hawaiian chicken that I can't wait to try over rice this weekend. Hopefully The Boy will enjoy it too.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

So much for shopping!

My sister came over tonight to help me go shopping. We quickly got hungry and gave up. After an eternity at WinCo, we were finally able to get home and make homemade mac and cheese. We even whipped up a batch of oatmeal chocolate chip cookies.

I could sit here and blog about how wonderful dinner and dessert was, but I think I'm just going to go eat another few bites instead. YUM!