New Car!

Sorry we haven’t posted in nearly a month… we are so lazy. Well, actually, we are pretty busy with mundane things all the time and there isn’t much to post about. But today there is news!

We have been talking about getting a new car for a long time. Or more precisely, Sean has been talking and I have been avoiding a car payment. Somehow in the past couple weeks he managed to convince me to look at cars. That lead to us driving and researching several cars like the Murano, FX35, RX330, Edge, and then just looking at several others. In the end, we settled on a Rav4. Honestly, they aren’t ugly anymore! At least I don’t think so.

Fred Anderson had a few 2008 models left, so we decided to look at those to save money. Of those there was only one V6 AWD model. Luckily we liked both the interior and exterior colors, and when we drove it we became immediately attached to it.

We let it sit a few days, and then went back this morning to strike a deal. I think we did pretty good at negotiating, and managed to get it for less than invoice and a bit less than our online research had suggested it was worth. So, I think it worked out well! We are both very happy with the new car and keep finding excuses to go out and drive around.

After (finally) getting away from Fred Anderson Toyota we ran up the street to grab a bite to eat… while leaving it happened that the people parked next to us needed a jump start. So, after owning the car less than two hours we were already helping someone out with a jump!

From there we went to Rapid Fitness, where we signed up for gym memberships and personal trainers. We also met a human version of Eddie, which was entertaining. There was this 20 year old kid that worked as a personal trainer. He was small/compact and was stuck wide open, literally bouncing around in place because he couldn’t be still and his typical mode of transportation was running full tilt from one place to another. Both of us quickly decided we would not be able to handle him in large doses, so hopefully the other trainers aren’t quite so bouncy.

I have no idea if this is going to be a waste of money, or if we will be able to force ourselves to go. We both obviously need to, it is just so hard to find time and energy these days. At least they have some classes at convenient times for us, and the personal trainers will help us learn how to do things on our own outside of classes.

Tomorrow I will have to find a pair of gym shoes I guess, since we have our first “PT” session Monday night. During this first meeting it would seem the goal is for the personal trainer to try to kill us just to see what our fitness level is and then design a plan to get us in shape.

Ah, homeownership…

We have been even busier than usual this past week. As I posted before, we went to Ikea last weekend. Since then we haven’t slowed down. Monday night we cleared out the computer room, Tuesday we primed, Wednesday we painted, Thursday we painted some more, and Friday we assembled our furniture and put the room back together. It is so great to finally have it done! Well, close enough to call it done.

The new furniture and lighter color has really helped this tiny room feel bigger. It is still a bit tight, but not nearly as bad as it was before. There are still a couple small things left to do, like putting up shelves. But that can wait for another day. Or another week preferably. I am ready to just relax and enjoy the work we have done.

The relaxation probably won’t last too long though. I am itching to start our next project. The accent wall around the fireplace is still the red color the previous owner put up. It is really out of place with our furniture and new curtains, so it has to go! We also need to give the neglected yard some attention as soon as it stops raining. And once those things are done maybe we will finally tackle the task of refinishing the deck.

An Ikea Adventure

We have been wanting to go to Ikea for a while now, but wanted to wait until it had been open a while first. However, we ended up being impatient as always and tentatively planned to go Saturday. We found ourselves wide awake pretty early in the morning so we decided we might as well go.

The plan was to buy a couple desks and a few other furniture items, so we decided to rent a van to get it all back. Unfortunately we soon found that car rental places didn’t open until 9, and then we ended up having to do a few things… so we still didn’t get on the road until around 11:00. That was the start of a long long day.

Aside from seeing a dog on the back of a motorcycle (with a helmet even!) it was a pretty uneventful trip down. I think the drive to Charlotte is one of the most boring ones you can take actually, unless you plan on shopping along the way… which I never do. I always end up feeling like it takes much longer than it really does for some reason… but we eventually found ourselves at the Ikea exit.

On the main road they have cops standing by to direct traffic, but luckily the traffic wasn’t that bad while we were there. As you pull into the parking lot there are attendants that direct you along and help you find a parking spot. It was very orderly and we got a spot very close to the door despite a huge parking lot that was packed as far as you could see… made me wish every parking lot had people to direct us to a spot!

That was where the easy and smooth ended though. Ikea is two floors, and has set up a route through all the sections to keep you from getting lost and keep the traffic flowing in one direction. The top floor is a showroom of the furniture, with only a few places to pick up items for purchase. The top floor has little example rooms set up all along the path, some of them a little hidden as you have to walk through others to find them. The other areas are filled with all the different options for individual items. The bottom floor has no show rooms, just tons of things to buy. The warehouse for large items was also located on the first floor… self serve so you have to be prepared for some heavy lifting.

Normally that set up would have flowed nicely and been pretty easy, but the place was PACKED with people. If they were not all moving in the same general direction it would have been chaos. Trying to look around some of the more closed off example rooms was a pain, having to maneuver around people, and sometimes having to wait to squeeze into a tight area to check a tag for information. And with the mass of people around we had to stick together so we weren’t separated.

While I loved Ikea, the experience was very tiring. Not only did it take hours to just get through the place, but we felt rushed the whole time because we were trying not to get trampled and we needed to get back home to the dogs before too late. The swarm of people was another added stress, that just made the whole experience much more tiring than it should have been. I really hope it calms down after they have been open a while. Maybe our next trip will have to be on a weekday, and not for another few months.

Because of the people it was nearly impossible to backtrack. There were a few things we saw as we walked through, but didn’t decide to buy until later on. For instance, when we bought something farther down the line that something we saw an hour ago would have been perfect with…. or things that we were iffy about in the 30 seconds we were looking at it but decided we liked it later after having time to think about it. We decided that it wasn’t worth it and if we still want it later we can always go back.

By the time we made it to the checkout going back for any reason was just unthinkable. It felt like climbing a mountain and making it back, just to realize you left something on the top. There was no way we were going back!

We ended up with a ton of stuff…. two desks, file cabinet, comforters, duvets, a chair, desk lamps, wall shelves, and various odds and ends. Check it out!

It was a long long day, we finally got home shortly before 8pm. The day was not over yet though! We still had to put together our new bed (from Overstock) and put our new comforters in the duvets. We also had to find dinner and return the van.

It was a long, but rewarding day. The best part for me was getting to go to sleep at the end of it I think… in a new bed with new comfy sheets and the most comfortable alternative down comforter I have ever had. The best part for Sean was getting to rent the van. He fell in love with the fold-flat seats. I have been teasing him about how much he liked the van. He is such an old man!

It was quite late when we finally got to sleep, so we slept in this morning and are still being lazy around the house. I am hanging out in the new bed with the laptop, Eddie, and kitty. The plan was to not let the dogs on the bed anymore, but I just didn’t have the heart make Eddie get down… it only took the poor dog about fifty tries to finally make it up here with the added height.

Well, it is past time to start our day… there are so many things to be done. We have to bathe the dogs, pick out a new paint color for the computer room, clean house before mom gets here this evening, do laundry, and hopefully squeeze in some yard work.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

We had a great day, I hope everyone else did too. This was the first year we actually did something to celebrate Valentine’s Day. In the past we always stayed home and avoided the over-crowded restaurants, but this year we decided to celebrate since it was our first married Valentine’s Day. Several weeks ago I made a reservation at the Melting Pot, and we were so lucky to have called just when someone else canceled… otherwise we wouldn’t have gotten a table. It turned out to be a great plan though! The meal was great, the service was awesome, and we didn’t have to deal with crowds or a waiting list. On the way home we passed Crabtree and it was shocking to see how many cars were waiting to turn in. We definitely made the right choice in restaurants!

Oh, and guess what I got as a gift… a guitar! I know, that seems random right? Well, the guitar thing mostly started with iLife ’09 really. You see, Garage Band has a “learn to play” section that had intrigued me since seeing the program announced. I have always wished I could play a musical instrument, but never tried. Garage Band coupled with fiddling with Sean’s guitars a few weeks ago kindled the interest in learning guitar.

A few days ago we dropped Sean’s electric guitar off to have a switch repaired, which meant the only guitar in the house to play with was his acoustic, which was too big for me to play easily. Somehow I then got it in my head that I wanted to learn to play on an acoustic, but needed one that fit. I thought about ordering a cheap one online, but Sean said I should get a nicer one since he wanted a second acoustic anyway. So, today we went to Guitar Center just to see what size of guitar would be best for me. We ended up finding a little Yamaha APX500 acoustic-electric cutaway that fit me pretty well and went ahead and picked it up. It is actually sized like a classic style guitar, and the body is pretty slim so it is easy for me to hold.

So far I have made it through two lessons (well, almost) and my fingers are quite tender! We decided I would do the 9 Garage Band lessons and see how that goes, then look into actual guitar classes.

-Robyn

Snow Day!

So last night we thought we should probably go to the store and pick up a few things, but decided we didn’t feel like dealing with the crowds. Now we are kind of wishing we did though because it is still snowing! We are unsure about trying to back down our crazy driveway, so it looks like we are stuck in the house.

We have plenty of food, but it is pretty much breakfast foods and some random stuff in the pantry. Right now I am really wishing we had some veggies for curry! That would be an awesome meal on a day like this. It is tempting to shovel the driveway and run out for provisions, but we only have small shovels and it would probably be more trouble than it is worth. Oh well, at least we get to watch the inauguration!

I feel sorry for Eddie though. The poor guy was nearly up to his belly in snow this morning, and now there is even more out there. After the initial foray we decided to shovel him a little path, and try to uncover some grass for the little guy. Unfortunately, that is all covered up again now, so we will have to do that again soon. After the first tentative steps Jack didn’t seem to mind the snow at all though. He wanted to run and play, while Eddie was just looking miserable.

Sea Kittens Sure Are Tasty

Today I put aside the iPod and decided to see what was on the radio. I ended up listening to 101.1, which is evidently a talk radio station. The host seemed to mainly complain about things, and still hadn’t gotten over Obama’s victory. I had mostly decided I should go back to my iPod when he started complaining about PETA.

I couldn’t believe what they had come up with this time! It was so ludicrous that I really hoped it was a joke. PETA, who is of course the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, is now trying to defend fish. Their plan? Changing their name… to Sea Kittens!

I kind of forgot about it until just now, when reading an article on CNN about some restaurant releasing a 140 year old lobster thanks to PETA’s request. I never thought I would find myself on PETA’s website… but I just had to see if this Sea Kitten thing was real. I was half convinced it wouldn’t be true.

Well, not only is it true, but they have a whole campaign set up for it. You can get web graphics, wallpaper, make your own Sea Kitten, and buy Sea Kitten merchandise. You can also sign a petition. Over 2650 people have already signed! And the best part? The Sea Kitten stories. You can read sad tales of happy Sea Kittens that are driven insane and murdered by evil Land Kittens. I am not making this up.

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year, everyone! Yeah, I know I am a little late on that… but we have been pretty busy lately. I am a little sad to say goodbye to 2008. While the year kind of sucked in many ways, there were also many good things that happened. 2008 was the year we were married, the year we bought our first house, and the year we spent a month in Japan. I will fondly remember 2008 for many years to come, but I look forward to seeing what this new year will bring.

Our Christmas was great, although very busy. Sean racked up with a new iPod Nano, a 22” widescreen monitor, and a few other things. For me, my main gifts were a stand mixer and a video card. We also spent lots of time with the family, and even found some time to relax at home.

Today it is back to the real world though. The holidays are over and everything is getting back to normal. I feel sorry for little Eddie, this is the beginning of him spending all day in his crate without humans around to let him out to play. At least Sean will be able to run home and let him out during the day, since his little bladder isn’t quite up to a full day alone yet. Poor Sean though… he is going to be spending his lunch break to let the dogs out over the next couple months.

Things are going better with Eddie all the time. He is turning into a good little dog, but it is going to take lots of time and patience to get him there. Last night we even succeeded in getting him to fall asleep in Sean’s lap for nearly an hour… and then after a potty break he came back in and slept on mine! I cannot explain how miraculous that is. This dog did not have an “off switch” two weeks ago! He still isn’t capable of be calm on his own, but we are working on that. We are still working on the potty training as well, but he has made great improvements there too.