Airing Dirty Laundry

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Calm before the storm July 28, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — airingdirtylaundry @ 5:02 pm

I’ve been quiet lately, I know.  Nothing all that exciting or extraordinary was happening.  And I was feeling lazy about blogging.

What have I been doing (besides dropping off of the face of the blog-earth)?  Going to the movies with friends (Sex & the City = awesome!).  Going shopping for a wedding dress with my sister-in-law.  Going to a Pirate game and staying to see Scott Blasey play afterwards (and drunk-dialing friends so that they could listen to him via cell phone).  Keeping my house relatively clean, which is always a struggle for me.  Reading a lot.  Playing Mob Wars on Facebook, which is surprisingly fun (maybe because I have a fake bank account with fake money in it).  Working on plans for the benefit for the American Cancer Society that Mike and I do each year.

This weekend, the quiet will end. 

My brother called me on Saturday night to tell me that a stray kitten had wandered over to my Dad’s house from the farm across the street.  Around twenty years ago, Giz (who we just had put to sleep at the beginning of June), did the same thing.  The kitten has markings similar to what Giz did, although he even more closely resembles Wrigley (one of Giz’s offspring that I had for 7 years before she had to be put to sleep due to kidney failure).  We’re not talking your ordinary run-of-the-mill tabby or calico cats–these cats are predominantly white with raccoon-looking tails, one dark spot on their back and markings on their face.  Very distinctive.  My first thought was that the kitten is some great-great-grandchild of our beloved Giz.

In my crazy little head, this is a sign.  I told my brother to do what he can to keep the kitten around for the time being (um . . .feed it) and I’ll make some kind of arrangements to come get it.  I hung up the phone and told Mike that I had an additional birthday present for him (his birthday was yesterday).

If it’s possible, he’s even more excited than I am.  Maybe because he’s never had a kitten.  I, on the other hand, distinctly remember the days of the heart-wrenching meows and the ripping and tearing through the house–all at 3AM of course.  We both hope this cat will be exactly like Giz realize that the chances of this cat having Giz’s personality and being as affectionate as she was are slim-to-none.  Giz was one of a kind and completely irreplaceable. 

So I called a vet in The Sticks that my mother had always taken her animals to, explained the situation (um .  . .the possibility of bugs or parasites to come along on the trip back to Pittsburgh is a “situation”), and made an appointment for Saturday morning.  So late Friday night I’m heading back there to meet the new member of our family.  

The kitten’s name is Forrest.  I’ve never named a cat before I got it, but when Mike suggested Forrest, I agreed immediately.  Mike loves that name and it drives me bonkers (my name is Forrest . . .Forrest Gump), so naming the cat Forrest immediately rules out the possibility of Mike insisting on naming a boy Forrest, should the day come that we have a baby boy.  Whew. That kitten has already saved us from months of fighting later on. 

My biggest concern is Guinness, our ten-year-old cat.  Until Giz was put to sleep, Guinness had never be an only child cat.  She was always timid.  Always hid.  Now she’s finally come out of her shell.  And by “coming out of her shell”, I mean sprawling across my pillow and kicking me in the head when I try to share it with her.  She has a stronger personality now.  She’s not the scaredy-cat she once was.  How is she going to react to having to share our affection with a kitten when she’s always been the youngest?

Another concern is the furniture.  With both Mike and I being gone most of the day, I shudder to think of coming home to see the loveseat we just bought in December being shredded.  Guinness still has her claws, which get very very sharp unless we cut them once a week or so (which we don’t–it’s more like every 3 weeks).  I can’t get the kitten declawed and leave him defenseless against a 12lb cat.  Not an option.  Besides the fact that we already have another cat with claws, I think declawing is cruel and inhumane.  There are many issues in life that I’m wishy-washy on, but this is one I realized that I have a definite opinion.  As an option, I looked into Soft Paws, and maybe we’ll give that a shot.  I figure if I was able to stick a needle in the scruff of Giz’s neck every week for a year and a half, I can glue some nails on a kitten.  Ha ha ha! 

Are you tired of hearing about the new kitten yet?  Just you wait until I go pick him up!  I think I’ll need a larger memory card for the camera . . . .

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One small correction . . . July 17, 2008

Filed under: random ramblings — airingdirtylaundry @ 9:55 pm

Mike read my last post tonight and corrected me on what OFS stands for–it should be Operation Financial Shutdown, not Official Financial Shutdown.  Something seemed wrong with the word “official” when I typed it, but I couldn’t figure out what the right word was, so I left it that way.  We’ve called it OFS for so long and never call it by it’s proper name.  Thanks for the correction, Mike!

For those of you who want some sports-related background behind “operation shutdown,” a few years ago there was a Pirate–Derek Bell–that wasn’t playing very well despite the Pirates dumping a bunch of cash in his pockets.  He basically didn’t want to play for the Pirates anymore and went on what he called “operation shutdown” to the media and just rode out his contract until the Pirates were able to release him.  I had to have Mike repeat the Derek Bell story to me about six times before I could succinctly write a few sentences about it . . . sometimes I’m totally dense about all of the inner workings of contracts, free agency, etc.  I just think all of those guys are out there because they like to play ball.  Mike, on the other hand,  remembers who did what, when, and where, and where he was at the time, what he was doing,  and even what T-shirt he had on.  When it comes to sports, that is.  When it comes to remembering where we keep the floor cleaner or where the laundry basket is for his dirty socks, well, that’s another story.

Back to baseball.  In Mike’s words, “Derek Bell was a fucking scumbag.”  Obviously, Mike’s still a little pissed off over the whole situation.

 

Lead me not into temptation July 11, 2008

Filed under: books,secrets — airingdirtylaundry @ 7:51 pm

When Mike and I were trying to save money when our house was being built, we started referring to it as OFS.  OFS stands for “Official Financial Shutdown”.  OFS meant that there’s no frivolous spending–no take out food, less nights out with friends for drinks and/or dinner, no unnecessary expenditures.

Over the past few years, OFS has been kind of a running joke with some of our friends.  If we’re not going out with them, they’ll ask if we’re on OFS. 

Since we just took a somewhat-unplanned, somewhat-spontaneous jaunt across the country, I said to Mike that we need some OFS time to recoup.  We need to cool it for a little while and let the balance on our savings account get back to where it was, and sock some more cash away for emergencies (although I counsider a trip to Vegas to be an emergency!). 

The thing that’s hardest for me to not spend money on while we’re on OFS is shoes is books.  I love books.  I love to read.  I somehow accumulate books.  I walk into a bookstore and walk out with a big bag.  I open the newspaper and my eye is drawn to an announcement for a used book sale.  I walk into Target and walk out with 2 books, but not the toilet paper I went there to get.  It’s like I go into a trance or something.  Maybe I can blame it on alien abduction?

Mike was going to the Pirate game tonight with a friend that’s in from out of town (Pirate games and other sporting events are exempt from OFS, by the way.  They are NECESSARY).  I offered to drive him to the game and then pick him up because I knew that there was going to be an excessive amount of hops and barley consumed.  The stadium is about 45 minutes from our house in stop-and-go traffic.  That would mean 45 minutes there, 45 minutes back, and then repeat a few hours later.  A big waste of gas and time.  So my thinking was that since Mike wass having some “guy time”, I would have some “me time” and do something by myself close to the stadium instead of driving back and forth.  Healthier for the environment, healthier on my bank account at the gas pump, and healthy for me mentally.  So what did I choose to do?

Why, I went to a shoe store bookstore of course!  I actually thought about it earlier today, when I agreed to the drop-off/pick-up arrangement.  I scoped out two potential bookstores (both with adequate reading areas and comfortable chairs), looked them up online to see how late each was open, estimated the drive time and ease of access between each one and the stadium, and made my choice.  I grabbed the laptop, thinking it would be a prime opportunity for me to catch up on all of the online stuff I fell behind on in the past week.  I even brought MY OWN BOOK with me to read.  How wrong is that, to take your own book to the bookstore to read!?! I wasn’t going to the bookstore to BUY, I was going there just to vegetate and hang out and at the same time be in an atmosphere that I love.  I’m sure the bookstore would love to know that there are non-revenue generating patrons just milling about.

So now I’m here.  Surrounded by books, all of which look more appealing to me than the one I’m reading or the 258 that I own and haven’t read. Oh wait, two more came in the mail today thanks to bookmooch.  260 books?  Yup, I counted.  I counted because I wanted some justification other than OFS for not buying any new books.  And isn’t it enough that I have hundreds of books at home to read?  Isn’t that enough to keep me in my comfy chair in this bookstore, reading my own book, or stalking people catching up on my blog-reading?

No.

I want to check out the sale books, the newly-released books, the “look what’s hot now” section.  I want to get up out of my chair, and browse.  And browsing leads to buying.  And buying leads to me walking to the car with a bag of books.  Or two.

So instead, I’m typing this long rambling post about my bank account and my book addiction.  It’s keeping me in my seat.  Away from all of the books that I want to explore.  I feel like Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden.  Maybe just one bite book won’t hurt . . . .

 

Unimportant July 10, 2008

Filed under: secrets — airingdirtylaundry @ 3:38 pm

Therese at Musings of a Mom tagged me for a meme last week, and I’m finally getting around to doing it.  Here we go!

The rules are:
1. Link back to the person who who tagged you.
2. Post rules on your blog.
3. Share 6 unimportant things about yourself
4. Tag 5 other bloggers to participate.

Here are my 6 unimportant things:

1. I can’t stand butter or margarine. Looking at it makes my stomach turn.

2. My lucky number was always 28.  But after hitting on the number 20 3 times at roulette over the weekend, I’m seriously considering a change. 

3. I always hated my name when I was growing up because it was different.  Now I like it because it’s different.

4. My blood type is A+.  That’s not important right at this very minute, but that little bit of information comes in handy every once in awhile.

5. I love to paint.  Walls, not masterpieces.

6. I always put my left sock and/or shoe on first.

That’s 6!  Thanks for the tag, Therese!

In lieu of picking 5 others (since I’m a big lurker and that would totally “out” me), feel free to do it if you’d like!

 

Our trip July 9, 2008

Filed under: Vegas — airingdirtylaundry @ 6:42 pm

We started off with dinner and a few Guinness at O’Briens at the Pittsburgh airport.  After checking to make sure that our flight was still on time, we stopped at a bar right by our gate and had another beer.  I knew I was at my limit for pre-flight alcohol consumption, so we headed back to our gate.  While we were waiting, I called my friend Amy and congratulated her and her husband on the birth of their daughter.  Welcome to the world, little Phoebe!  I can’t wait to meet you!  I also rubbed it in that I’ll be partying in Vegas while Amy is trying to figure out how to take care of a newborn, but she took my teasing well.

Our flight was uneventful and I was even able to catnap for an hour or so.  We got to Las vegas around 10:00 PM Pacific time, got our luggage, and headed to Planet Hollywood.  When we checked in, we were asked if we wanted to be upgraded to a larger room facing the strip.  Um, sure!

Our room was bigger than what we had the last time, and did have an awesome view of the Bellagio. 

Bellagio at night

Bellagio

We headed back downstairs to the casino and walked around, checking out things that had changed since we were there last in November.  Our typical tradition is to go to P.F. Chang’s for dinner, but since we got in so much later than we had on our previous trips, we decided to save P.F. Chang’s for later.  The casino is busier at night than it is in the daytime, which makes it harder for Mike and I to find slot machines that are away from smokers.  But there’s a section of machines on the mezzanine level overlooking the casino floor that we really like because there’s hardly ever anyone up there.  There’s also a bar area that stays open because the high-limit room is on that level, so we even end up with dedicated waitress service.  We headed up there and proceeded to drink and play the slot machines until after 4AM (7AM Pittsburgh time, so we had been awake for over 24 hours!).  We fell asleep quickly once we got back to the room, but got up again at

two and a half hours sleep

For some reason, only 2 1/2 hours sleep in Vegas doesn’t bother me like it would anywhere else.  We had a nice big breakfast at Planet Dailies

Planet Dailies

and then hung around the casino for awhile.

Anxious to get our day going, we showered and wandered up the strip, carefully watching the clock to make sure that we were back at Bill’s for the Big Elvis show at 3:00.   The lounge area was packed, but we were able to get a spot on the fringe, right at the bar (of course).  Despite the number of people there for the show, no one was quite as anxious as I was to volunteer to be part of the show.  I had done this on our November trip and it was a lot of fun.  Elvis sings “Viva Las Vegas” while another girl and I shake maracas, and then they dress up the male volunteer in Elvis gear and give him a blow up guitar to play.  I don’t mind being the center of attention when I don’t know anyone around me other than Mike!

Big E show

certificate

Afterwards, we got pictures taken with Big Elvis (Pete) and Conway Twitty (Chuck). 

kiss from the king

Mike\'s Elvis sneer

Mike with Conway Twitty

Me with Conway Twitty

We wandered around some more and then headed back to Planet Hollywood for a sandwich at Earl of Sandwich (the Ultimate Grilled Cheese rocks!).  I was in bed that night before 9:00, finally worn out from lack of sleep, my cold, dancing with Elvis, and all of the walking.  Oh, and all the drinks I had!

Mike stayed up after making sure I made it into bed and was fast asleep.  He woke me up at 2:30AM to tell me he was bored and wanted me to go back downstairs with him.  We went downstairs and he got a big meatloaf and mashed potato dinner to go that he ate while I was winning money on a slot machine 🙂

We went back upstairs around 4:00, but I was restless and couldn’t sleep very well.  I wanted to go back downstairs, and Mike decided to come with me.  We wandered around for awhile, but Mike wasn’t feeling very well, so a few hours later we found ourselves back in the room for a nap. 

After naptime, we headed out into the heat to walk down the strip to New York New York.  Neither of us was feeling up to having a Guinness at Nine Fine Irishmen, so we skipped that and opted to play some of the different slot machines that our hotel doesn’t have.  I actually hit for $95 on one 30 cent spin on a Star Wars machine!  We played for awhile longer and then walked across the street to the MGM Grand.  

New York New York from the walkway

We hopped on the monorail and headed up the strip to the Sahara.  We stayed there for quite awhile before heading back to Bally’s and walking back to Planet Hollywood from there.  Mike was exhausted by this point and wanted to go to sleep, so I stayed downstairs in our casino and he met me there a little while later, although by that point I was starting to conk out.

The next morning we awoke refreshed and well-rested.  We anxiously waited for P.F.Chang’s to open for lunch and had a delicious meal before catching a cab and going downtown to Fremont Street.  So many people think that the downtown area is dumpy and not worth the trip, but we had a fun time the last time we were there, so I insisted that we go again this time.

We wandered around to all of the casinos and had a lot of fun playing roulette.  At the one table, I walked away up $135!  We ate at a seafood buffet, where Mike discovered crab legs. 

crab legs 

We saw an awesome band playing on the street and stopped to watch them.  I was dancing like a crazy person.

dancing

And then the light show started.  The first one we saw was a tribute to Queen–the lights and the music were fantastic!  And the second one–an hour later–was a Vegas montage.  All of the casino’s outside lights go out and the only lights are on the canopy overhead.  It’s quite an experience!

Let me preface this next sentence by letting you know that I was quite drunk by this point.  .  .Mike and I went into the Glitter Gulch. 

Glitter Gulch

humph!

Yes, a strip club (although just topless–not the whole shebang.  I don’t think I could have handled that!).  It wasn’t nearly as skeezy as I thought it would be.  Some of  the girls that were dancing were very beautiful.  I wasn’t the only female patron there, and I didn’t feel awkward or out of place.  The way I look at it, they don’t have anything different than what I have.  It’s just that mine’s not on display.  It was definitely worth the experience, and from what I understand it was much cheaper to go to a downtown strip club than to one on the strip (would that be called a strip strip club?).  Just a little tip in case you want to save a few dollars.

And thus, our adventure came to an end.  We headed back to Pittsburgh worn out and ready to come home.  A few days in Vegas is enough.  But by the time our plane landed and we walked out into the oppressive humidity, we were ready to go back.

The good news?  I’ll be back there in a month on a girls-only weekend with 3 friends.  It will be a much different trip–going to clubs, spa treatments, and sipping fruity drinks by the pool–but I’m definitely looking forward to it!!!

You can see the rest of the blurry pictures here if you’re interested.

 

Wow

Filed under: Uncategorized — airingdirtylaundry @ 8:04 am

Wow. What a crazy, wonderful weekend we had!  Despite waking up with a cold on Thursday morning (boo hiss!) and Mike having a rough day on Saturday after drinking Heineken AND Absolut Mandarin with Sobe all day on Friday (beer before liquor, never sicker . . . ), we had such a fantastic time.

We made a point of doing some of our favorite things while we were out there . . .seeing Big Elvis at Bill’s Gambling Hall, eating at P.F.Chang’s, taking the monorail to the other end of the strip and wandering around, and going downtown to Fremont Street.

It was HOT.  VERY HOT.  Like, 112 degrees hot.  But it felt so good to have the sun beating down on me (and drying out my sinuses–I swear the desert heat works better than any OTC cold remedy).  When we walked out of the Pittsburgh airport last night to 80 degrees and 75% humidity, I wanted to turn right around and get on the next flight back out west.

This was my fifth time to Vegas, and definitely my favorite trip yet.  Mike and I made a point to leave all of our emotional baggage behind and to turn this past weekend into a party–to be carefree and not think about work or about anything that happened in the past month.

It worked.  I do feel better.  A weekend in Vegas is certainly no consolation for losing the baby and Giz, but it was healing to get away and to focus on the two of us as a couple.

Pictures later, I promise!

 

Vegas, baby! July 2, 2008

Filed under: daily grind,Vegas — airingdirtylaundry @ 7:43 pm

We’ll be boarding our flight in 24 1/2 hours and I have a ton of stuff to do between now and then, so I just wanted to write a quick post to say goodbye!  Of course, everything at work exploded this week and I’m back to 10 and 11 hour non-stop days and feeling stressed out.  Just the thought of this trip is getting me through this week.  I’m looking forward to it now even more that I was before!

Hope you all have a nice weekend and a Happy Fourth!