I’m still here (yeah, yeah, yeah…)

Not much new since Mom left on Sunday. We had a great time. Friday we shopped, Saturday we planted plants (yes, really, plants!) and had girl time that was sooo much fun, Sunday we made brunch and took Mom to the airport. I already miss having her here a lot! All in all, it was the best birthday ever.

Holy Cow!

OMG, you’ll never believe what happened. I got home from work today to be greeted by two beagles and a husband. Gene told me that there was a birthday surprise in my office. I sat down to play with the dogs first for a few minutes so they’d stop jumping on me, but Gene took my hand and took me into my home office to show me my surprise…



What an awesome surprise! We just got home from dinner at the Melting Pot and had such a good time. I just can’t believe she’s here. I always miss her so much when I’m not in IN.

I’ll write more later ūüôā

The Ohio Saga – Part V (Monday)

And, home….

Left Ohio about 7:30 Monday AM. Stopped for lunch in West Virginia at a place that claimed to be the “Best of West Virginia.” The best of WV is a food court. I think that means the WORST of WV is where you grill your own squirrel.

I drove a small portion of the way home, while still in OH. It was my first time driving the new car. It wasn’t bad to drive it. I think we picked well, considering that we’ve been car shopping almost our entire relationship.

Made it home by 4:30. Immediately left to pick up the dogs in my car. Betty was so happy to see me she immediately rolled onto her belly. I missed those dogs so much!!!

After the dogs and I got home, we went across the street to the sandwich shop for dinner, which meant :: Happy Dance :: that I didn’t have to pick up dinner. Ooh, was it nice!!

And now (Bonus: I’ll talk about today, Tuesday):

Today’s my birthday. I’m 28 years old today. Next year I’ll be 29 and the year after, I’ll be 29. I feel that 30 is too grown up and I’m a total fucking idiot so I’d better stay 29 until I actually look, act and feel 30 and then I’ll claim it.

The first person to wish me Happy Birthday: Gene.
Then the AA at work. Then my co-horts in the accounting dept. Then my Mom (By phone, from IN). Then my old boss. Then D at work (she may have been before the old boss, so I apologize if I’m out of order).

While I was typing the first Ohio post, my grandfather (dad’s dad) called. My feelings towards him vary a lot. He has given my family in general and me in particular some very big gifts. A lot of my good fortune is due to his hard work and his ideals. A lot of my beliefs and attitudes come from Grandpa and to an even bigger degree, his late wife, my Grandmother. So, all of that said, why can’t I like this man better? Why do I avoid calling him? Why did I play FreeCell while I was on the phone with him? Well, he frustrates me a lot. And he totally loves to make digs about the other side of my family. His opinions are completely valid and in a lot of cases, totally correct. He’s on the fence about going to Indiana in May for Bill’s graduation (sorry to spill the beans, Macaulay — but maybe you’ll win after all?).

Anyway, Gene just called to wish me a happy birthday again. He had dinner with Blanche and¬†the boy¬†so I guess I’m on my own for dinner. I shouldn’t mope about, though because we’re having a just us birthday dinner Friday. Mmm!

The Ohio Saga – Part IV (Sunday)

Ahh, finally…the thing we drove all this (freaking) way for. The Graduation. But really, so much happened Sunday even BEFORE the graduation. First, Al and the travelling bunch went to Panera for breakfast. Melissa had to pick up her graduation gown and post the grades for the class she taught. After breakfast, we met Melissa at the Old House and split up to go to the New House (thank God, we were in 2 cars so I wasn’t crammed in the backseat!). We finally got to see inside. Nice people owned it – they are originally from MD and designed the house themselves. It’s really a nice house, on around 2 acres.

After this we went to lunch (barbeque) and drove around the little town where the New House is. Then, off to the University for the graduation ceremony. Lots of rushing about, since everything was last minute. Someone gave Blanche a seat,¬†the boy¬†sat on concrete steps, Al stood for part of it and sat down who knows where for part of the ceremony, Gene stood until the PhDs were finished and then got the car and I stood…for…the…entire…thing. Augh!

I missed Al’s Ph.D graduation a year or so ago because I was out of vacation time, so this was my first exposure to an Ohio State graduation. I think going to OSU must be something that runs through entire families. Perhaps all major universities are like this. I know that my own alma mater wasn’t, but let’s be honest and admit that I graduated from a second-rate college (I had a second choice school, but that was mostly only if Ball State University mysteriously combusted or something).

Anyway, the graduation ceremony was very cool. I am so proud of Melissa and Al. Educational achievement always beats other kinds of achievement (relationships, babies, etc), at least in my opinion. I realize it sounds elitist. I’m a snobby bitch that way, so love me or leave me.

Interesting note: only the Ph.D graduates got called up on stage to accept their diplomas by name. After that, the master’s graduates and Bachelor’s graduates all stood when their school (discipline: fine arts, architecture, etc) was called. Then they all processed up to to the stage to receive their diploma, but their name wasn’t called. I think that must be the difference between my education and the larger state schools, since at BSU my entire name was called when I walked up to the stage.

Finally, everyone sang the Alma Mater, which ends with everyone spelling out “Ohio” in “YMCA” fashion.

The Ohio Saga – Part III (Saturday)


As I mentioned, somehow the logical plans that Melissa and I had put together had somehow been totally redrawn by Al and Gene. Strangely, neither of them are morning people, especially Al. (Clue: Al opened the door wearing sweatpants and no shirt. I think I’m now a) blind and b) a lesbian).


Anyway, then we break into two groups – guys and girls – for the drive to the crepe place. The food was OK but I don’t see what the hell the guys enjoyed about it so much last time. This time I was a crepe abstainer. Following crepes, Melissa took off to go grade some papers for the Art History course she was teaching, so the rest of us crowded in the Infiniti to go back to Al’s.

Now, the Infiniti is a nice car. I was very comfortable for the 12 hour drive to Ohio but for the short drive to Al’s I got stuck in the backseat with Blanche and the boy. Maybe it was especially bad because after my header at the gas station in Kentucky, my knee was sore and by this time it got stiff pretty quickly (it’s fine now). More annoyingly, we get to Al’s and get out of the car and he says, “oh, wait, get back in, I don’t have a housekey”.

::blink, blink::

Now….this man also has his Ph.D. He has an important job. He owns by this time two houses. He has a baby on the way. He…has…no…housekey. My SIL has a key. The people remodeling the old house have keys (alas, they weren’t there…). My BIL — the DOC-TUH — does not.

“Oh, fuck me!” I utter in a strangled cry as I refold my leg to prepare for pressing back into the car.

Upside: we went to a oh-so-hip coffee bar (which brought the total to 2 for the day), where Melissa was grading the papers. I got a caramel steamed milk. Mmm. Ooh, and two Ghiradelli chocolate squares as a “I’m sorry we didn’t buy the Toyota Avalon with the massive backseat” treat from Gene.

Then we went to see the outside of the new house. It’s a very 1970’s house, 5 bedrooms, 3 levels. Blanche will have a bedroom and a sitting room so I think it’ll be a great situation for her. She keeps talking about having a kitchenette, but I can’t see why: her bedroom is on the same floor as the real kitchen (complete with push-button electric stove), whereas everyone else’s is upstairs. Ehh, whatever.

Back at the Old House, Melissa’s home and informs us that we have been invited to dinner at a friend of their’s. Yes, all 6 of us. I managed to strangle my inner “BUT I DON’T LIKE NEW PEOPLE!!” and go. So did¬†the boy¬†and Blanche, which was surprising as I figured they’d bail. The menu was Mexican: salsa, guacamole, chips and tostadas as the entree. Very good! The big draw was that the men could drink and smoke cigars in the host’s sunroom, which they did.

The women finally bailed about 11. Melissa dropped us off at the hotel and Blanche says “Hey, I don’t have my purse!” It’s in the trunk of our car for, frankly, no reason I can fathom. We head up to our room so I can call Gene’s cellphone (also in the car) or Al’s house (to try to catch Gene to tell him to grab the purse before he valet parks the car). No luck. Unpublished phone #. Wahh-wahh-wahhhh. So instead of saying “Oh, what’s really the big deal?” Blanche and I end up sitting in the lobby of this very nice hotel and wait for the guys.

They finally arrive after a rockin’ 90 minutes of people watching. (Upside: getting to watch a bride and groom walk through the lobby. She was in a short white dress; I assume she had a regular wedding dress and had just changed to leave the reception because this dress was less fancy than her bridesmaid dresses, which were the David’s Bridal strapless wraparound kind in red). Another upside: Gene and¬†the boy¬†arrive with (wait for it…) TWENTY WHITE CASTLES.


I ate about 4 of them, the boy and Blanche had maybe 2 each and some fries and Gene eats an indiscriminate number (I was asleep!). We still had at least 6 left. What a waste of good White Castles. Mm, they were mushy and cheesy and onion-y and gooooood.

The Ohio Saga – Part II (Friday)


Woke up around 8. Mmm, delicious overpriced hotel breakfast. (Blueberry pancakes). Went to Al (BIL), Melissa (SIL), and Cletus (nephew, in utero)’s house (the old house — by bedtime Friday they all owned a record 2 houses). Blanche, Al, Gene all go to the bank so Blanche can open a bank account, leaving¬†the boy¬†and I alone in the house with 2 cats and a dog.

(Yes,¬†the boy is¬†still allergic to cats…furthermore, so is Gene…and furtherermore, so is Al. But I digress)….

It’s a pretty day so¬†the boy¬†and I hang out outside with Melissa’s dog Alice (she’s a bigger dog in size, maybe 50 lbs?). I was so freaking glad to see a dog! I whip out the cell phone and try to call D at work (voicemail :PPP) and decide, eff it, it’s vacation, so I call Brandy, my best friend. We chitchat for maybe a half-hour (BTW, she confirmed that long-haired Don Henley was the only time I had a thing for a long-haired man) when I decide that maybe I should put my Evil Stepmonster hat on and hang with the boy.¬†The boy¬†has had a little academic problem of late and cannot watch TV, so we have to amuse ourselves somehow. He also can’t play videogames (but the Game Boy was an exception because the TRIP TO OHIO IS LONG) but he can read. Ooh, but we didn’t bring our reading material to Al’s house. I literally have no idea how I made it through that long of a time without TV, the internet or the printed word. (Well, this was the home of 2 PH.Ds – there was reading, of course… if I wanted to read about U-Boats or old Porsches).

Eventually Melissa and Cletus came home (BTW, they’re not really going to name him that – I think they call him that mostly to irritate the grandmothers, a move I wholeheartedly support to the point where I will call the kid Cletus until he gets own damn PH.D) and we chit-chatted for awhile about anything besides the elephant in the room. (Melissa’s not an elephant, BTW, but I didn’t want to talk endlessly about the baby because Melissa was graduating with her FREAKING PH.D in two days and THAT IS DAMNED COOL). Trust me when I say that it’s difficult to talk to a 7 month pregnant woman about non-baby topics when you’re a non-pregnant woman who has read “Hello, My name is Mommy”, “The Mother of All Pregnancy Books” and “The Girlfriend’s Guide to Pregnancy.” Again, no clue how I did it. Rumor has it she’ll register this week.

Eventually, Al, Gene and Blanche return and the visiting contingent leaves for the hotel for a…ooh…nap. I napped. I took a nap. I rested. Mmmm, did I ever rest. Gollygeewillikers was it sweet! I was face-down-in-a-pool-of-drool asleep for at least an hour. Eventually Al and Melissa came by the hotel and we followed them to an upscale pizza place that I really like. Mmmm! Best part: Glass of wine. Maybe a glass and a half. Second best part: dessert, of course. Creme brulee.

On the way out, Melissa and I made plans to gather the group together the next morning around 11 to go to a crepe place that the boys really liked the last time we were all up in Ohio. Somehow, by the time we got in the car, our logical plan had turned into an excruciatingly early plan of crepes at something like 8 in the morning. Ummmmm….. whaaa?

The Ohio Saga – Part I (The Road There)

Hi everyone! I survived my trip to Ohio. Right now I’m alone in the house so what do I do? Clean? Cook? Read? (Mmmm, read….) No! Blog!

Eye doctor appointment was a bust because Gene’s vision insurance is quirky. I need to investigate it but Thursday wasn’t the day. Dropped the hounds off at the kennels, complete with big bag of dog food (5 or 8 lbs – hey, it’s big for OUR dogs). Savored what would be my last real time alone until…oh, Christ. Right now.

Got on the road around noon. Stopped for lunch at a restaurant located next to one of my company’s restaurants. (ooh, so badass, not going to a company restaurant!) Made it to the boy’s around 3 and Blanche’s soon after. Stopped for dinner at Cracker Barrel in TN. Bitchfight over the check ensues (this was the first of many such bitchfights).

Did you know Tennessee smells? I noticed this when we went to Knoxville in February and it’s still true!

The funniest thing I saw — and sadly, it was at night so I have no documentation, was the GIANT (maybe 6 stories tall?) cross next to the Adult Entertainment store.

At one point we stopped for gas at a BP station somewhere (Kentucky?) and I took a header over a cement block. Nothing like looking like a bufoon in Kentucky to make a nice girl proud!

Made it to the hotel in Columbus about midnight. Parked the car (valet – only option! ridiculous!). To bed. Zzzzz.

Between now and leaving…

Need to:
1) Drop dogs off at doggie camp
2) Go to eye doctor
3) Pack stuff to take in car for fun (reading, Game Boys, etc)
4) Clean out my car
5) Charge my cell phone, pack charger
6) Tidy up house a little bit as MIL will be with us when we return from OH
7) Other tasks to be named later by Gene

Oh, yeah — I ended up packing for him. That really annoys me!

well, the good news…

…is that my guess earlier about the husband was spot-on. He’s getting snotty w/ MIL now…

And on we go.

I’m packed for my exciting trip to OH. (In the background, imagine my MIL bickering with Gene re: the hotel…ahhhhhhhhhh). I need to pack for the boy, which is always a chore because I never remember what he owns that fits anymore. Freaking growing kids…