Tuesday, December 22, 2009
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Right before we left on our boat trip I picked up a care package from my mom that was all homemade Christmas cookies and fudge (note to mom: chocolate does not make it in the mail, sorry!) as well as a few things she picked up for me. I left it in the car while we are gone but I did have oatmeal cookies for breakfast today. That has to count just like a bowl of oatmeal, right? Maybe a bowl of oatmeal sprinkled with a bit of sugar...
This morning I stopped by our PO Box and we had two more care packages from my mom, a small package from my friend Buxton and a BUNCH of Christmas cards. I was anxious to get home and open everything! I couldn't hold out on the small package so I opened it. When Chicago first got snow we asked Jen and Michael to send us some- so they did! It's in the form of a snowglobe with a picture of Chicago on one side and a picture of the four of us on the other. It literally about melted my heart. I wanted to laugh and cry at the same time. We have the bestest friends ever, I miss you all!
I waited until I got home to open the rest. Lots of cards from our closest friends and family plus those infamous Christmas letters. Normally I tend to skim these (sorry guys!) but this year I read every word- I didn't want to miss a thing. Tim's dad and stepmom sent us pictures from this years Thanksgiving at the farm. I'm not going to lie, it got me a little choked up. The kicker though was a music card from my parents that sings 'Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas'. At that point I did cry. It wasn't helped when I opened the care packages from my mom (thanks Uncle Larry for shipping them!) and found she had wrapped everything we asked for in Christmas paper. I really want to put on the slipcovers but I feel like I need to wait until Christmas morning to open them so I think we will! PS- that means you all have to wait for Thank You cards because I believe they are wrapped in one of the packages!
I love it here but I'd love it even more if we could have wrapped everyone up and taken them with us. Don't worry- I will be fine. Keep the mail coming- I've listed our address again in this post hint, hint ;)
9715 Estate Thomas, PMB #127
St. Thomas, VI 00802
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Monday we woke up and headed back to land to rent Jeeps so we could drive around the island. It's such a beautiful place- so much of it has been undiscovered and is just lush and overgrown. Or maybe it's because the US Navy had control of it until 2003 and used to bomb it! We ventured out to several beaches, trying to hit as many as we could in the time we had there. We had planned on leaving around sunset and getting back into St. Thomas around mid-night. While sitting at Lazy Jack's bar, we decided we really wanted to try the Bio Bay excursion. Basically, there's this bay there that glows. You can read more about it here- there's a lot of big words that I'd likely misuse and mispell!
Catch is that you have to wait until it is pitch black to go see it- the tour we were looking at would be over at 8:15 PM which wouldn't put us sailing until 10 or so, getting us into St. Thomas around 4 AM. We decided to go for it and I got Laddie covered (thanks, Amy!). The Bio Bay tour was amazing! I must admit, it was a bit different that I thought. I kind of pictured it Simpson-esque and glowing instead it glows when anything moves in the water. We kayaked out to the center and got out and swam for about half an hour. Poor Dawn got stung by a jellyfish :( That was definitely not mentioned as a possibility and likely a good thing I wasn't aware until then! The picture below was taken at night yet it looks like the water is clear as day- that's the organisms glowing!
After the tour we set sail home :( What should have been a 5-6 hour sail back hit a little snag when we snapped a chain that steers a boat. Luckily, Cameron knows his way around boats a little. He sailed the boat all the way from Maine to St. Thomas by himself. He actually knows more about his boat than anyone I've ever met (sorry, Mike!) and it's amazing. We finally pulled into Yacht Haven around 9AM - just a few hours late! We were certainly given the full sailing experience and I can't think of a better weekend here so far! Great times in great locations with great friends!
Friday, December 11, 2009
Tuesday, December 8, 2009
Saturday, November 7th: We land in STT and rent a Jeep to get all of our crap from the airport to Kates.
Sunday, November 8th: We return the Jeep and rent a bright blue Dodge Calibur for a week so we can run errands and look for cars. It is due back on the 15th.
Monday, November 9th: We drive past a house that has two Jeep Cherokees in the front yard for sale so we call the number on the car and are told one is a '99 for $5K and one is a '97 for $4500. We say thanks and ponder.
Wednesday, November 11th : We drive past again, pull over and call. Antonio says he can be there in 5 minutes, we wait 20 with the family that lives in the house- clearly not related to Antonio. He comes, tells us the '97 is alread sold but we can take the '99 out for a test drive. At this point he realizes he only has the keys for the '97 and we decide to meet the next day.
Thursday, November 12th: We drive to meet Antonio at 11 AM, he decides he can't meet us then, ,how about 530 PM? So we have 6.5 hours to kill... We meet him at 530 (correct keys!) and Tim goes to start the car and it won't turn over. Antonio goes away somewhere and returns with the keys for the '97, switches the battery and we drive the car. It drives just fine for an island car and we tell Antonio we will call him tomorrow.
Friday, November 13th: We call Antonio and ask him to meet us at the 'lot'. He pulls up in a green Ford Escort we had seen around the island. It is also for sale. Tim asks him how much he wants for it and he says $2800. Tim offers him $6K for both cars, he thinks for 30 seconds and says okay. There are a few things that need to be done on the cars- Escort needs a new tire and the Jeep needs a mirror. Oh- and let's not forget titles, plates, etc. Antonio says 3 business days- Wednesday- so we follow him to his shop and give him a $500 deposit. Then we extend our rental car through the 18th.
Wednesday, November 18th: First things first- we are trying to figure out how to drive three cars with two people and make it to our jobs when we need to. Guess it doesn't matter because when we call Antonio- he doesn't have the paperwork. Oooookay. So we call and extend the rental car until the 19th.
Thursday, November 19th: Yeah! We get the Jeep (complete with tags, plates and insurance) and I follow Tim to return the rental car. We leave the rental car place only to find that the car is pulling like we have a flat. Really? I've had this car all of an hour. Luckily we are right by a tire place so we pull in. He replaces the stem. Okay, $20 fix. No biggie. Oh yeah- and the Escort isn't ready yet. Maybe tomorrow.
Friday, November 20th: We go back to Antonio who gives us the keys to the Escort. While Tim is writing the check I happen to ask where the title is for each car. He said in the glove compartment. I go back and check the Jeep- yeah... it's in his name, not ours. So, we have to leave the Jeep with him and keep our check with us. At this point, you can tell he's getting frustrated with his guy who did the licensing. Luckily he gives us his Trailblazer so we have two cars and tells us to come back on Monday.
Monday, November 23rd: We call Antonio, not ready.
Tuesday, November 24th: Jeep is not ready still. Tim's car won't start. Buy a new battery and still won't start. Some cords are loose according to a guy Tim works with. They jimmy it as a quick fix.
Wednesday, November 25th: Jeep is ready! We give him the Trailblazer, have him fix the battery cord issue in the Escort, deduct the cost of the battery and are on our way.
Sunday, November 29th: Tim's car has a flat tire at work which he alleviates by filling with air from the golf cart air supply!
Wednesday, December 2nd: Busy car day! We drive to Stumpy Beach, rough road to say the least, and the same thing that happened to my tire (pulling right but not looking flat) happens again. It occurs to us this happens when you switch out of 4WD into 2WD- great. Put Fix a Flat in it and it's fine. Text Kate to get her friend's contact info who works on Jeeps. Take Tim's car to Western Auto for an 'inspection' of sorts to see if anything is wrong and to figure out his tire situation. He has a screw in the wall making it unpluggable. Buy tire. I go to work, security goes to move my car- it no longer reverses! Call Romeo, my new car guy, he comes up to me and magically makes it work. For now he says- transmission fluid was burnt. He will try and flush it in hopes that will fix it and I won't need to rebuild my transmission. We make arrangements for him to come get my car on Friday.
Friday, December 4th: Romeo takes my car and does a transmission flush. He said all is good and I tell him he can have the car again next week to look at the tire/4WD thingee, wondering if this will ever end!
All quiet on the car front.... for now!
Saturday, December 5, 2009
Friday, November 27, 2009
The day started off a little different namely because instead of 35 degrees it was a sunny, beautiful day. Tim had to work in the morning so I took advantage of the great weather and headed to Magen's Bay for a little relaxation. I laid out for a bit, read for awhile (Cheryl- your book may return to you with a bit of sand, sorry!) and swam some laps so I could indulge later guilt free. After leaving the beach I went home to make my standard potluck dish- cucumbers and ranch spread on individual multigrain bread- for the Thanksgiving dinner we were going to at Betsy's Bar. Yep- you read correctly, we were doing our dinner at a bar!
We picked up our friend Kate, who was returning from visiting family in Chicago, and headed to the bar. Betsy's husband spent all day cooking turkeys and there were plenty of people there bringing side dishes. The spread was FANTASTIC! It had all the staples: turkey, ham, 3 kinds of mashed potatoes, tons of different kinds of stuffing, green bean casserole, cranberry sauce and pecan pie. In addition to all that there were other things like cheesecake, pumpkin chocolate chip bread, cream cheese salami rolls and taco dip. I couldn't wait to attack those tables full of food. After ordering some wine and someone saying a short blessing we were let loose. I filled my plate with a little bit of everything- I wanted to try it all! Of course, we all overindulged a bit and had to wait to go get dessert. We filled that time with more wine and more friends met up with us.
After leaving Betsy's we decided to go out for some 'nice' drinks. We figured it was Thanksgiving and we should treat ourselves to a martini or two at Grand Cru. We had the bar to ourselves and filled the time with just hanging out talking. It was a very nice way to end the night.
Today, I spent two hours in line at K-Mart in order to get a great deal on a 32" LCD TV. Seeing that the line at the K-Mart here is usually 45 minutes I feel that I still won! It wasn't quite the Black Friday shopping I was used to but that's okay! I'm sad that we are missing the Soiree tonight but know that Shamel and Becky are being amazing hosts. We're laying low because tomorrow, you guessed it, we both have to work. I think I'll take making money over that drive from St. Louis to Chicago anyday!
It's the time of year to give thanks. I'm thankful for the support of our family and friends in our big adventure. I'm thankful for the great group of friends we have made here. Our island Thanksgiving gets two turkey legs up!
Sunday, November 22, 2009
Saturday, November 21, 2009
Career Then: Creating, Managing and Reconciling a Multi-Million Dollar Budget
Career Now: Counting Down the Drawer
I guess they both involve money. While the budget sounds like a lot more responsibility, I'm coming to think the drawer is. If my drawer is off it comes out of MY pocket. If my budget was off, I was always able to move money around to balance it.
Career Then: Business Casual with heels
Career Now: Short, T-Shirt and Tennis Shoes. Or flip-flops if desired.
I think this one is pretty self-explanatory!
Career Then: Never leaving work at work
Career Now: Always leaving work at work
My biggest worry about work now is do I have my schedule right and did I set the alarm correctly? It's an amazing feeling to not be tied to a Blackberry. I thought I loved it- the pace, the necessity of 'me', the job. Maybe I just needed something to do! Now I have plenty to do but it doesn't revolve around work!
Career Then: Busywork
Career Now: Sidework
Sidework- now THAT is a task I thought I'd never do again! I don't mind it though and would trade doing it anyday vs. doing busywork in order to do the 'facetime' of being in the office. After all, I'm a DAMN good silverware roller!
Don't get me wrong- I truly miss event planning. I loved the job, the people, the pace. I am enjoying my new role as a server and bartender though. I get to meet people who are happy because they are on vacation and drinking in an amazing environment. While my career changed was not planned, it is welcome and appreciated!
Friday, November 20, 2009
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
- Bruce Pearl does not like cheese
- The Tennessee players use Febreeze. I like it!
- The Northern Iowa people did not want to eat our corn on the cob. Apparently, living in Iowa the corn doesn't get much better than that!
- South Dakota State's Mascot is the Jackrabbit. I am rooting for them in the tourney purely for that reason
- One of the Eastern Carolina players didn't appreciate my answer to him telling me they play Tennessee in the first round. All I said was, 'Wow- good luck!' I'm guessing it was my tone...
I'm very much looking forward to going to the final round games on Monday! It was a fun night and I'm looking forward to next week when we do the same thing for the Women's teams. Again, I'm sure I'll feel very, very short!
Sunday, November 15, 2009
Saturday, November 14, 2009
We were leaving to go to a Belgian Beer Tasting Dinner at Pie Hole in Frenchtown. Tim got in to drive, I in the front and Tiffany in the back and we were on our way... sort of. As Tim got to the top of the hill and started the three point turn the wheels caught on dirt and, being a front wheel drive rental, spun until we were obviously very close to backing off the cliff. Oh- and did I mention I was on the phone with Tim's dad at the time? (Mike- if you are reading right now, this is why I abruptly hung up on you, sorry!) Getting out of the car, I see he didn't have much room- maybe 3 feet, but I gave him the go ahead to back up JUST a bit to try and get out of the dirt before going forward again. He did and then tried to go forward which just caused him to slide backwards and give himself about 1 foot to work with. At this point, Tiffany has fled the car and I can't say I blame her.
Tim's million dollar fix it idea? Let's put rocks behind the wheels to chalk the wheels. My answer? No way in hell. What's to stop the large, heavy metal car from backing OVER the rocks? While Tim gets to work on this idea, I ran into the house to get Raffi, a local who was tiling our shower, to come out and help. I figured that this was NOT the first time someone on the island had been close to backing off a cliff and I was right. Raffi put some more rocks behind the car and then told me to sit on the hood. Oh, okay! Wait, what??? Excuse me??? He said we needed to sit on it to put more weight over the front tires so they'd grip. All I could see was the car going backwards but figured I could bail before it went over the cliff and got on. Tiffany, likely smarter than I am, stood by and watched. Tim put the car in drive and up the hill we went, yea! Raffi saved the day and I am so happy he was here. Otherwise I can imagine the bright blue Dodge Calibur would have been front end up leaning on our shed.
We made it to dinner about 15 minutes late, which in island time is still early. Thank god it was a 6 course pairing- we all needed each and every one of those beers.
Thursday, November 12, 2009
Sunday, November 8, 2009
After a great night with friends in Chicago on Friday, we flew out bright and early on Saturday morning. A special thanks to the Hardwick's for letting us crash there and taking us to the airport :) By the way- I have a newfound respect for all of my friends with kids after travelling with all our luggage and the dog. How in the world do you get through security on a regular basis with all your stuff?!? Luckily the United people were (suprisingly) very, very helpful. Laddie got in her crate, we ziptied her in (quite an escape artist that one is) and was wheeled all around O'Hare. It was SO sad when we finally had to let them wheel her away and she pawed at the cage door like she was saying bye :-(
Anyways, we did the whole flight thing and landed in beautiful St. Thomas, collected 1, 2, 3, 4 bags but no Laddie. We waited a bit and the guy at the counter said they ususally bring them to him. All of the sudden we turn to the luggage conveyor and there was on dog riding on it!! She seemed okay so we cut her out of the cage and we were on our way.
We headed to Mojos, where our roommate works, and then on to our home! Honestly guys- I don't have much more exciting news to report! We did some K-Mart shopping, had dinner and came back to unpack.
Today we got Tim's job secured as the Assistant Pro on Mahogany Run Golf Course and drove around the island looked for cars to buy. We headed out after that to watch some football and are back at home for the night. Tomorrow we get to apply for our health cards and I don't even want to tell you what that requires. Let's just say I had to eat a lot of food today...
More to come!!!
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
We started her training with the top off the crate, a convertible so to say, and a blanket in the bottom. We put her food in the back of the crate expecting her to walk in and eat it. Not so much- she stood with her front paws in and back paws out, stretching her head to reach the bowl. Odd, but we weren't deterred. We started putting treats in the back and giving her another one when she went all the way in to eat it. Within a day she was getting in and staying in- making us think, "What's so hard about this?" Ha!
We wanted her to get used to it for nighttime so I decided to sleep next to her, in front of the crate 'door' (keep in mind there is still no top on her crate) so she can't get out. To be fair, this idea came to us after getting home from a bar. So Laddie falls asleep in the crate, I fall asleep outside the crate. Again- yea! I wake up three hours later to her jump over the side of the crate and right into my spot in bed. Boo. Needless to say we ignore the crate for the next two weeks.
We put the top on the crate yesterday and have been using treats for EVERYTHING. A treat when she goes in, a treat when she lays down, a treat when she stays in. Now, every time we head upstairs, she rushes past us to get in her crate and claim her treat. We are moving tomorrow, do you have any idea how many times we are up and down the stairs?!
We may have created a monster begging for treats every 3 minutes but at least she learned! She may not fit IN the crate by the time we leave though....
Friday, October 23, 2009
I've managed to get all my clothes in with just having to give up a few pairs of shoes to the STL boxes. I'll tell you though, when I got bag one done and looked in the closet at what I had left, I thought there was no way. Somehow, it fit! My carry on, right now, has all my clothes for the next 2 weeks in Chicago/St. Louis. Luckily I can leave most of those at my parents when we are there and transer some of my summer clothes into it so I have room for liquids in the checked bags! All in theory of course, I may end up losing some shirts to an express shipped box to St. Louis before we leave on the 7th!
The movers come in less than a week and, as I look around, I think we are going to be okay. Although we have yet to tackle the garage, storage closet or entire 3rd floor. Sigh... maybe we'll win enough money at the casino tonight for Beno's birthday to buy all new stuff!!
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
Last night I began packing. For three straight hours I wrapped and boxed up the bar, our china, DVD's and such. I was exhausted and still looks like I haven't touched a thing! I did discover while packing our wedding china that, somehow, I have 10 water glasses and 14 wine glasses when I thought I had 12 of each. How did that happen?? Hmm....
I'm extremely confused on how to pack my clothes. We are leaving on the 7th but moving out of the condo the 29th. We will be in St. Louis the 2nd - 5th and living with friends for the other days we are in Chicago (thanks Hardwicks!). So that means I need 10 days or so of Chicago/St. Louis that will NOT be packed for St. Thomas. Oh, did I mention we are going to the Bears game on the 1st? Please, please let the 15-day out forecast be SOMEWHAT right! Hmm....
On a bright note, our fantastic new roommate, Kate, got us our PO Box so you can send us mail if you want. Address is:
9715 Estate Thomas
St. Thomas, V.I. 00802
Okay, it's off to pack many, many more boxes and wait for moving companies to come tell me how much we get to pay them!!
Friday, October 16, 2009
Now it's on to pick up boxes and start packing. Not that we can set a move out date yet- we haven't heard anything from Nate about our condo and that makes me sad :( Keeping our fingers crossed that everything will be fine on that end and just plugging on down the to do list in the meantime!
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
It does occur to me that I have NO idea what our address is nor how to get to the house!
Secondly, we've shown the condo twice. The couple that came through today gave a verbal definite to their leasing agent for a 2 year lease! One catch- it begins November 1st! Can't decide if I should be jumping for joy or curled up in the fetal position with panic. If they can give us just a few more days- say November 3rd- we'd be in great shape. That way we can move out of here November 2nd and head to St. Louis for a few days before we fly out of Chicago at the end of that week. Granted, nothing is a done deal until the paperwork is signed!
It's actually all coming together!
Sunday, October 11, 2009
I love, love, love our condo. I always have and I always will- even when it's no longer ours. It's a great place to hang out with friends- especially in the summer. Such a unique layout for a place in Chicago. Tall and wider vs. the standard long and narrow. So many memories here- too many to even begin to name and I promised no ridiculously long posts!
There is so much that I have not done in Chicago in my 8 years here that I need to fit in over the next 3 weeks! I've never ridden the Ferris Wheel at Navy Pier, been to Brookfield Zoo, Chinatown, Greektown and so much more. Tim and I never biked down to the lakefront and took a picture of us with the city as a backdrop. We've done the ride and a picture but never them combined, not sure why! And why did I wait until it's 50 degrees to start doing these things?!?
And friends. Wow, not sure where to even start. I have the bestest group of friends- several groups actually! It's hanging out with them, doing things like we did today (Pumpking Farm/Apple Picking followed by making chilli, apple pie and carving a pumpkin) that make me realize how lucky we are to have such great people in our lives. I'm so bummed that I won't be to another Blood Thanksgiving or "First Friday of the NCAA Tourney" party again. No more Fernando's on Friday or McGee's on Football Sundays. It's weird to think about all the traditions we have been a part of up here!
I know, before I get too sappy, I have to think about this amazing opportunity we have. And whenever one door closes a window opens. So maybe I'll close the windows on Chicago so I always have a door to walk back through!
Friday, October 9, 2009
1) Yesterday we met Nate with TriView Property Management. He's hopeful he can have this place rented by December 1st which makes us very excited. At the same time we have friends that may want to move in AND have us leave some of our furniture! Either way, the place hit the rental market officially this morning. Check it out:
2) Laddie got to go to the vet (I know, like it's a privilege) and get shots that city dogs don't need to get plus flea/tick medication. We learned they highly discourage her being sedated (damn) during a flight and guess we'll resort to Benedryl to at least make her groggy. Now to find her a crate and get her used to spending time in it. I have a feeling that's going to be a lot easier typed than done...
3) We MIGHT have a lead on a place to live. No details, don't want to jinx anything!
Wednesday, October 7, 2009
Okay- deep breaths. What CAN I do? I can make to-do lists, I'm very good at those.
Tuesday, October 6, 2009
When this whole economic crisis thing happened, we felt very fortunate to have not been affected. We both had great jobs and nothing had changed in our lifestyle. Little did we know that over the next 4 months our lives were about to be very, very affected.
Late in March, my husband, Tim, lost his job. We decided to wait on the job search until we got back from a wedding in Cabo the second week of April. I mean, why bother to apply to jobs when no one can call you back because you're on the beach celebrating with the best of friends? We get back and I'm crazy busy with a program for work that is taking place in Dallas the last week of April so we push back any decisions until after I get back.
So here I am in Dallas, having a good time working (I LOVED my job) and get the startling news that my department is going to be evaluated and outsourced by the end of June. What?!? Seriously, my deparment was CREATED for the sole purpose of avoiding outsourcing. Guess some people will do anything to climb that corporate ladder. Anyways, I'm getting off track. Once again, we decide to wait until June when I find out for sure whether or not I will have a job.
During those 60 days, one of my friends at work and I begin joking that we should move to the islands and become bartenders. Her husband, a pilot, can fly puddle jumpers while Tim can work on the golf course. It made sense- it's a US territory, I had a good friend who did it and timing was perfect. I mean- why not take off for 6 months or a year? Eventually I sold Tim on this idea and, when the axe came down June 24th, we said we'd do it. But saying and doing are two very different things....
We enjoyed our summer of unemployment together- lots of pool time, golf and road trips. It takes us over three months to get down to St. Thomas to visit but we finally go for a 5-year anniversary/exploratory trip at the end of September. Armed with information and many people to talk to (thanks Billy C.!) we go visit the island for 4 days. I come back dazed, confused and unsure of whether or not I want to leave my security blanket that is Chicago. On the flip side, Tim was gung ho and ready to go! It took a few days, a few fights and a few promises before we were on the same page but on Tuesday, October 6th, we made our decision: we are moving to St. Thomas in 4 weeks.
Let the adventure begin!