Monday, November 14, 2011

Welcome to 2011 Jessica!

I'm finally doing it, I'm trading in my LG flip phone for a smart phone. I really can't believe this day has come. I haven't had a new phone in about 3 years, and I have never had anything besides a flip phone with t9 texting which I have mastered. For a long time I didn't care what kind of phone I had. I hate phones with full keyboards, who can text like that? I knew my phone was old and that most people had moved on to bigger and better phones with internet and awesome picture-taking abilities, but I didn't care. I stood by my phone and said I would not get a new one until this one broke, because I didn't need a new one and quite honestly I get annoyed with people who stare at their phones all day surfing the web, checking their email or playing games. I did not want to become one of them. In full disclosure, as long as I kept the flip phone I would also stay on my dad's family plan which was a pretty good deal. But as time went on, it became more and more embarassing to talk on my phone in public. The less people I saw using flip phones, the more I thought hmm, I wonder if people are wondering why I am still talking on a phone model from the year 2000?

My phone showed the first signs that it is going to die the other day. Just out of no where the outside and inside screen went bright white. I am pretty familiar with flip phones and have experienced this problem before, so I knew it meant a smart phone was in my near future. Luckily the inside screen worked as long as I kept the phone in the open position. Lucky in that the phone worked, but unlucky in that carrying around an open flip phone is about the only thing worse than carrying a closed flip phone. The funny thing is that about 2 weeks ago I came to the realization that I should probably get a new phone before mine completely dies on me and I lose all of my contacts. Rob somewhat agreed with me, but asked how or why my phone would just up and die on me. I told him to trust me, it always happens like that, these phones just crap out on you sooner or later. And what do you know? Not more than 2 weeks later mine crapped out on me.

When my boss saw my phone one time she asked whose it was, couldn't believe I still used it and said it was "retro." That was putting it nicely. When I told one of my co-workers that I was going to join the real world and get a new phone she thought I meant I was going to be on the show the Real World, and after I explained myself she proceeded to tell me that she's happy I'm getting an iphone and that she has always felt bad texting me because she thought it might take me a while to respond using such an old phone. Seriously, who have I become? Somehow I have allowed myself to become that person who is waay behind the times. And I'm only 27, it's not like I'm an old lady who doesn't get it.

The other night Rob and I went to the Verizon store and made the big switch. In a day or so I should be getting my shiny new white iphone in the mail! It will be new and exciting, though I'm sure I'll be frustrated with it for quite some time until I get used to it. When the guy at the Verizon store told me that once I get the phone in the mail I just need to plug it into itunes on my computer and it'll be all set, my first thought was, "Well that might be a problem because I haven't had itunes since 2009 when my last laptop failed and I haven't re-downloaded it onto my computer since." Instead I just said. "Ok sounds good!" Looks like I'm getting a new phone and itunes.

And this concludes travel tour 2011

We did it! We finally reached the end of our 3 month weekend traveling tour. And don't get me wrong, we loved each and every trip and would do it again in a heartbeat (although Rob did once make the exact comment "we are never doing this again"), but all of the driving and time spent in airports does take a lot out of you. Since August we have been to MI, PA, Boston, Charleston, Clemson, NH, Washington DC, Greenville and we concluded with a surprise Naples, FL trip.

Every November Rob's company takes their employees of the month for the whole year (about 4 win each month) on a long weekend trip to Naples, FL. Rob won in 2008 and 2009, and since they are each allowed to bring a guest I got to go as well. They fly everyone to Naples, give them a rental car and everyone stays at the Naples Grande beach resort, which oddly enough I had stayed at before years ago with my family. It is a really nice time, and though it can feel somewhat like a work obligation for Rob, it feels more like a free beach trip to me. So last year around November Rob's boss asked him if he would see him in Naples and Rob said, "No, I didn't get it this year." His boss acted surprised (even though it is rare for someone to win it 2 times in a row, let alone 3 times) and said, "Well next year you will get it." Rob didn't put much faith in that comment, but I wanted to hold his boss to it. Each month I crossed my fingers and hoped he would win employee of the month, but he never did. So by August when our other travel plans picked up I stopped thinking about Naples so much and figured it's probably best we don't add on another trip to our schedule this fall anyway. Then, at the company meeting on October 3rd Rob found out he got employee of the month for September after all! I was so excited, more so than he was.

We ended up having a great time. The first night they had a cocktail/dinner reception outside by the pool and I got to meet some of Rob's co-workers I had only heard about. Everyone then moved the party inside to the hotel bar, like has happened every year we have gone. Friday we went to the beach, did some shopping downtown, walked the Naples pier and then went to the awards dinner at the Naples Yacht club. Everyone on the trip who works for Granite dreads the awards dinner, because for the first two hours the CEO talks and calls each employee up one at a time to get their award and picture taken. I like that part of the night though, because I think it's interesting to hear what he has to say about different employees. When he presented Rob with his award he said some pretty nice things which made me proud to be his wife. He said how they bent the rules for this employee so he could move to Atlanta and go to grad school because he was too valuable of on employee to lose, and he quoted some of the people he works with from other departments who praised Rob's hard work. Saturday we spent the whole day at the beach and the pool, and that night Granite's COO took us and 5 other couples out to dinner at an amazing steak and seafood restaurant, Chops, downtown Naples. Sunday we had time for a nice brunch and then we were off to the airport.

I say the travel tour is over, but really Rob is flying up to MI this weekend to go to a Michigan triple-header (2 Michigan hockey games and 1 Michigan football game in 2 days) with his dad and brother. Rob did invite me, but I decided it would be better to let the Porter men enjoy their Michigan sports weekend together. The Michigan football game would be fun, but I'm not sure I could handle the 2 hockey games on top of it. Plus this way I can watch Roxanne instead of taking her to the kennel she has grown to hate.

We will be in Atlanta for Thanksgiving day, but then Friday we are off to SC to visit my family and relatives that will be in for the holiday. Then we are done...until Christmas.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Greenville Marathon

One of the best parts of being married to a marathon runner is getting to travel to all of the different cities for the races. I get to be a tourist and a fan, without any of the pain that comes along with running 26.2 miles. Rob ran his 6th marathon a few weeks ago in Greenville, SC at the Spinx Run Fest. This marathon was similar to the marathon Rob ran in Burlington, Vermont in May 2009, which was one of my favorites. Both Burlington and Greenville are smaller but fun, walkable and unique cities with lots of little restaurants and shops. Very different from the huge Boston and NYC marathons, but to really appreciate those events I think you need to experience the smaller races as well. And when I talk about "smaller" marathons, I am not just focusing on the number of runners, but also how the race is planned/executed as a whole. For example, at this race we were able to drop Rob off less than a block away from the start about 10 minutes before the race started. After we dropped him off we waited by the start to watch him go by, and with less than 10 minutes to go before the start of the race, the 4 high school aged kids had not quite figured out how to raise the official Spinx Run Fest banner. Luckily they figured it out in time, or the runners would have all been ducking when they got to the banner.

Rob and I weren't alone on this marathon trip. My mom met us in Greenville Friday evening so that she could help cheer on Rob at the race Saturday morning. It was her first marathon experience and she loved it! It was great having another cheering buddy with me to keep me company during the race, and she was a big help when it came to directions and driving to mile 9/19 where we went to watch Rob go by because that is where the course made a loop and we could see him run by twice at the same spot. After seeing him at mile 19 we drove back into town and saw him at the finish line. One of the unique things about this race was that the finish was inside Fluor Field, Greenville's minor league baseball stadium that is a mini replica of Fenway Park!

Once again, Rob made me a very proud wife. Not just because I can't even picture myself running a 5k let alone a marathon, but because I see day in and day out all of the training and hard work he puts in in the months before the race. The 8:30pm dinners and 7am long runs on the weekends must have paid off, because he didn't just run the marathon, he dominated it. He beat his already impressive personal record by 3 minutes! He crossed the finish line in 3:05:35, finished 15 out of 436 runners, and got 3rd place in his age group. He is already planning his next marathon, which will probably be somewhere in Georgia this spring.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Happy Halloween

Back when we lived in our little apartment in Brighton that allowed dogs (which was a big plus when we were apartment hunting even though we never got a dog while living there) I would always talk about our hypothetical goldendoodle puppy and how I was going to dress her up in little dog clothes. The shirts, the rain jackets, the doggie boots, everything. Rob would just shake his head and say, "No, my dog will not wear clothes." Half of the reason I talked about it was to get a rise out of him and half was because I really think dog clothes are cute. Well, I'd say Rob (and Roxanne) have been pretty lucky over the past year. I can honestly say the only pieces of clothing I have purchased for Roxanne have been Halloween costumes. Last year she was a cute little pumpkin...

And this year a cute, much bigger (she needed an XL costume) bumble bee...

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Surprise DC weekend

I know my posts have been few and far between, and for that I apologize. I think I apologized in my last post for my lack of posting, but things have not slowed down since then. Since the first weekend in August Rob and I have been on the go 8 out of the 11 weekends, and only 1 of those 8 weekends was spent in Atlanta. There was Rae's wedding in NH, which was an absolute blast and just the Delta reunion/party I was hoping it would be. Then Rob's Dad and Kimberly came for the weekend and we had fun spending time with them going out to dinner, watching football, exploring Stone Mountain and the Zoo.

This past weekend we were on a "secret" trip to Washington DC. It was really only a secret from my mom, but in an attempt not to spill the beans I didn't tell a lot of people about the trip ahead of time. Yesterday was my parents 30th wedding anniversary. They had an aluminum association dinner to go to for my dad's work on Friday evening and they decided to spend the rest of their anniversary weekend in DC. It was my dad's idea to secretly fly me, Rob and my sisters into DC on Friday so that we could surprise my mom and have a fun family weekend together. Leading up to the weekend we had many conversations over whether my mom knew or suspected anything, but she didn't and it turned out to be such a great surprise for her.

Friday was spent checking into the Churchill Hotel, eating Mexican, figuring out the metro, walking all over DC, going to the Newseum, seeing the president's helicopter leave the white house after dropping him off and going out to dinner. Then, Lisa, Rob and I met up with Michelle at our hotel and from there we walked to the restaurant my parents had their dinner at. By the time we got there they had just exited the restaurant and were all talking outside. My dad told us to go say hi to my mom, so I went up behind her and tapped her on the shoulder. She turned around and just stared at me for a minute, and then was like, "What, hey, what? How did you get here!?" Her eyes went from each one of us to the next and when she realized all of us were there with her in DC she just couldn't believe it. It truely was a great surprise and my dad did a great job planning it.

All of us at Veritas Wine Bar after the big surprise...

The rest of the weekend was spent being DC tourists, going to the American History Museum, taking pictures in front of the Washington Monument, Lincoln Memorial and the WW2 Memorial, going to the National Archives, having a delicious and memorable Italian dinner at Filomena's in Georgetown, finding $5 on the ground and losing it in a bet/dare with Lisa, having breakfast at Teaism with my dad's half sister Breese, going to Georgetown Cupcake, catching up with Allie for 10 minutes on the street, and having lunch by the water. We had such a fun weekend! It had been 8 years since I was last in DC, so I forgot what a great city it is. I'm sure I won't wait another 8 years to go back.

Happy 30th Mom and Dad!!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Sammy Watkins is money

It's that time again! Our favorite time of year, football season. Rob and I met my parents in Clemson this weekend for the big game against Florida State. We had such a fun time. It was better than the game we went to last year because we had great seats in the lower bowl (thanks to Michelle for getting us guest tickets through her sorority!), it was a 3:30 game instead of a noon game, we dressed appropriately (shorts instead of jeans) and wore sun screen this time, and best of all Clemson won. My parents have season tickets this year and are tailgating pros from all of the PSU tailgates years ago. The tent was essential, which I didn't realize until it got to be 85 degrees out and it was hot even in the shade.

The game itself was a blast. It has been a while since I stood for a whole sporting event, but it was worth it for seats in the student section. It was a close game til the end and such a big win. Thanks for a great weekend Mom, Dad and Michelle!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

The return of peg leg

First I want to apologize for my lack of blog posts lately. With only 2 last month, and none in September (until now) I know it seems I've been slacking. I'll blame it on being busy, working a lot and not a whole lot that seemed worth writing about.

Things are good in the Porter apartment. We recently renewed our lease, so we'll be at the Nevadan for at least another year. There was some talk for about a month of possibly moving to a new apartment complex, but it really would have taken a lot of convincing for me to get on board with that plan. Moving takes so much effort and we're at a good location at a good price, so why not stay a little longer. Of course not long after resigning the lease the bird seed situation picked back up and I'm once again sweeping bird seed off of the balcony every day. My one hope is that the new people who moved in above us will start using their balcony and get annoyed by the bird seed as well and complain about it like I did.

Rob is back in school, taking 2 classes this semester. Luckily one is an online course so he doesn't have to go downtown for that one. When he isn't at work or school or doing school work he is running. The weather here has cooled off a little in the past few weeks, which is good for his training. He's preparing for his next marathon which is in Greenville, SC at the end of October.

Roxanne is back to her old tricks again. Up until yesterday I would have told you that she was doing great and loving life. She even learned to swim over Labor Day weekend when we took her to the beach for the first time. Here she is looking cute in the ocean and realxing on the beach at the Isle of Palms, SC.

Fastforward to yesterday evening. Rob got home from work to find a stinky, messy Roxanne. She never has accidents in her cage unless something is wrong, so we knew she wasn't feeling well. He took her outside and she immediately went to the bathroom, but along with everything else that came out of her was quite a bit of blood. It was pretty gross and scary, but we immediately knew what it was from. Two nights before that she decided to eat part of a rug in our living room. She nibbled on the rug once before when she was only a few months old, so we put it in the closet and waited a few months until we brought it out again. She hadn't even tried to chew the rug or anything else besides her own toys for quite some time now, so we were pretty surprised to find the rug destroyed the other morning. So we took her to the vet, who recommended we take her to the emergency clinic nearby so she could be monitored overnight. She had x-rays taken (which turned out to be fine) and was given fluids and medicine through an IV. I picked her up this morning and she seems to be doing better. Now she is eating a bland diet of canned food, which she loves, and is taking a few medications while she recovers. The worst part, besides the bill of over $700, is that her peg leg is back. They had to shave part of her leg fur off for the IV, like they did when she was spayed. So now she is peg leg again, and will be for a while. Last time it took months to grow back. Oh, Roxanne.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Roxanne turns 1

Happy 1st Birthday, Roxanne! Our little pup turned a year old on August 15th, and yes, I insisted she have cake with a candle. We do not give her people food, but I decided to make an exception on her birthday. Our family dog growing up, Allie, always got pound cake with whipped cream on her birthday (though she also got left-overs from dinner every night). So, Roxanne got the same...with a milk bone on top. She loved it and ended up pulling half of it off of the plate and onto the carpet while she was scarfing it down. Rob and I would both agree that getting her was one of the best things we did this past year. She is such a funny, cute, smart, loving, energetic fluff ball, we couldn't ask for more in a dog.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Hometown wedding weeekends

Rob and I are still trying to recover from all of the traveling and excitement over the past two weekends. We had back to back wedding weekends in each of our hometowns- Grosse Pointe, MI and Lock Haven, PA- which made for fun times with friends and family.

First, we went to Grosse Pointe for Hayes and Caroline's wedding weekend. Rob has been best friends with Hayes since they met in high school. We stayed with Rob's Dad and Kimberly at their home, along with Tom and Linnea. It's always nice to go back to Grosse Pointe, and I realized I hadn't been there since my bridal shower in May of last year. Friday we spent time with the groom and got some yummy bbq for lunch at Slows in Detroit. Since Rob was the best man in the wedding, we attended the rehearsal and the lovely rehearsal dinner that was held outside at Hayes's aunt's house. Following the dinner we all went out downtown Detroit for drinks.

The wedding was beautiful, from the old church full of stained glass windows to the reception venue on the water. Though it started raining just as guests started arriving to the church, it stopped by the time the ceremony was over. Rob gave a really nice best man speech, Hayes was rockin it to Miley Cyrus and Katy Perry, and a fun time was had by all.

This past weekend we flew to central PA for Megan and Robbie's wedding. Megan and I have been friends since we met in the 2nd grade at Woolrich Elementary school. It was great being back in Lock Haven since I honestly do not remember the last time I was there. Plus, it was nice to be able to show Rob around the town I grew up in. It was only his second time there, and the first time was back in 2006 for a PSU football weekend, so most of our time was spent in State College. Rob got to have lunch at OIP after hearing me talk about their glorious subs for all these years, I showed him where I went to high school and we went in the new football stadium that I had never even seen before, he experienced the Texas restaurant, drinks at Uncle Al's for the second time, we saw my family's old house in McElhattan and visited with old neighbors, and he even got some running in on the dike along the river.

We had the best time at the wedding with my family and friends. The ceremony was held in my family's old church, Great Island Presbyterian, and the reception at the new alumni center on Lock Haven University's campus. Megan was a stunning bride, everyone had a blast on the dance floor, and the PSU bus that took everyone to the after-party at a local bar was a great idea. Rob and I couldn't be happier for both of the newlywed couples!

Friday, July 29, 2011

A very BU wedding

This time last year we were enjoying our big wedding weekend in Boston. It truly was the best day of our lives. A year later and I still have not made a wedding album for ourselves, but a blurb on our wedding was published in the Bostonia, BU's alumni magazine, that we got in the mail yesterday. I thought I would share the blurb so family or people who are actually in the photo but threw out their copy before seeing the photo could have a look.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Summer travels

Rob and I both took some time off of work this month to go away, we just didn't go together. Rob made the 12 hour drive from Atlanta to Detroit to spend the 4th of July weekend with his Dad. Every year around the 4th they have the PFP (Porter Family Picnic) in Michigan, and since Rob didn't get to go last year it was especially nice that he could be there for it this year. I couldn't take the time off, so I held down the fort with Roxanne and enjoyed fireworks with Ann, John, Tom & Linnea.

Last week I took my vacation to HOT and sunny Fort Myers Florida to visit one of my long time best friends Lindsey and her family. Lindsey and her husband Dan had baby Savannah last December. I first met her when she was 2 months old, but boy has she grown in the past 5 months! It was great to catch up and spend lots of beach time with them, as well as Lindsey's mom and sister. In the 4 days I was there we went to 3 different beaches- Fort Myers Beach, Captiva and Lovers Key. When we weren't at the beach we were at the pool, so it was nice to be able to switch it up each day. I may have been spoiled having a house on the Cape all those years, but it just wouldn't have felt right to go a whole summer without seeing the ocean, so I'm glad I got my beach fix.

Next weekend we'll be celebrating our 1 year wedding anniversary- how quickly time goes by! Then we gear up for August which will be full of travel and fun. First up, Hayes and Caroline's wedding in Michigan. Hayes was the best man at our wedding and Rob is going to be the best man at their wedding. The following weekend we fly to central PA for Megan and Robbie's wedding. Megan and I have been friends since the 2nd grade, and I am so very happy and excited for her. Plus the wedding is in my old home town and the ceremony will take place in my family's old church, so it will be nice to be back. Finally, at the end of August I get to fly up to Boston for Miss Rachel Stalker's bridal shower/bachelorette weekend! Bring on the friends and good times.

Friday, July 8, 2011

The residents of the Nevadan

Our apartment complex definitely has some interesting characters living in it. For example, the man who lives on the 3rd floor one building over. He has apparently turned his balcony into a barber shop, equipped with an actual barber chair, where he cuts hair. When he isn't cutting someone's hair, he is often on his balcony yelling down to others who pass by, asking them if they want a cut or know someone who does. The whole thing is kind of amusing, except for the clumps of hair that can be found on the ground below where I walk Roxanne. As much as I can't stand the people above me with the bird feeders and the seed falling all over the place, I suppose if I had to choose I'd pick bird seed over hair on my balcony.

The other day I had one of the strangest encounters to date. I was walking Roxanne along the grass near the tennis courts, when a middle aged black guy with a crazy lazy eye and neon shoelaces approached us on his way to his building. The conversation went something like this...

Guy: There's that fluffy dog again! Man I see her everywhere, what kind is she?
Me: Haha, yeah she needs a haircut soon. She's a Goldendoodle.
Guy: Wow, she is beautiful! Just beautiful.
Me: Thank you! Her name is Roxanne. She's a puppy still, so she's full of energy.

(Up until this point the conversation is pretty normal and typical of what people usually say when they see us out walking. Here is where it got weird..)

Guy: Hey, have you ever seen the movie Burn Notice?
Me: No, I haven't. I've heard of it though (and I'm aware that it's a TV show, not a movie).
Guy: Oh you haven't?!? I think it's on TBS or something like that. Anyway, there's this character Michael on the show, and I could see his mom having a dog just like this! Yeah, like someone real cool would have a dog like this.
Me: Oh yeah? (Really I'm thinking HUH??? How did you come up with that? And it's not even like we are trying to figure out whose dog this is or who would own a dog like this...I am the owner! Are you saying I'm not cool?)

Luckily the guy's phone rang right about then and he said he really had to take the call, so he answered and continued on his way. Good thing too, because I really didn't know where to take that conversation next.

Friday, June 24, 2011

I'm not much of a cuddler

There have been many times over the past two years that I have thought to myself, "Yes, my best good night's sleeps are behind me." I am, unfortunately, a very light, very specific sleeper. If I am not laying straight, on my stomach, head turned toward my edge of the bed, with the sheet covering me, I will probably have a hard time falling asleep. I don't toss, I don't turn, and I don't cuddle unless I'm awake. I wish I wasn't such a specific kind of sleeper, but I can't help it.

Rob is a very different kind of sleeper, pretty much the opposite of me. He can fall asleep any time, any place, in any position. He tosses every which way, loses his pillow, talks in his sleep, grinds his teeth and he can sleep through anything (Really, you name it, he can sleep through it...the front door opening or closing, his phone, my phone alarm. How lucky is he and how unlucky am I, especially when babies come along). I have always been amused by people who talk in their sleep and will usually try to carry on a conversation with them if possible, so this doesn't bother me nearly as much as the teeth grinding. Though Rob doesn't remember, I have told him that whenever I hear him doing it in the middle of the night I make a humming sound to block out the horrible noise and give him a little elbow or kick. Rob has no tooth discomfort, but whenever he goes to the dentist I think surely they are going to notice he is grinding his teeth away and recommend a mouth guard...nope, hasn't happened.

Yesterday, I finally went to my first dentist appointment since moving to Atlanta. I had been putting it off and putting it off, but as my on and off tooth pain increased I knew it was time to make the appointment. Rob is a huge fan of the dental office he goes to, so I decided to go to the same place. Besides the dentist confirming what I knew was inevitable- I need a root canal- she also suggested something else. I almost fell off the chair when she said, "Do you notice if you clench or grind your teeth, maybe at night? I am seeing some breakdown and think a mouth guard might help." I wanted to say, "What?! You have got to be kidding me." But instead I said, "Ok, I'll think about it."

Friday, June 10, 2011

Roxanne passed the CGC!

Roxanne has graduated from Petsmart's puppy, intermediate and advanced training classes, but this past weekend she passed the big test. Roxanne is officially a Canine Good Citizen! Pictured above is Roxanne with the rest of the CGC graduates.

I'm going to bet that most of you don't know what Canine Good Citizen program is. Before we started taking Roxanne to trainings at Petsmart, Rob and I had never heard of it either. Here is a summary taken from the AKC's website...

"Started in 1989, the CGC Program is designed to reward dogs who have good manners at home and in the community. The Canine Good Citizen Program is a two-part program that stresses responsible pet ownership for owners and basic good manners for dogs. All dogs who pass the 10-step CGC test may receive a certificate from the American Kennel Club."

When we started out taking Roxanne to puppy classes at Petsmart, we really thought that was as far as we'd go with the training. But we ended up liking the classes and the trainer, and we knew it was good for Roxanne. Before we knew it we had completed all 3 levels of training. Plus, the trainer was very good at his job and convincing owners to register their dog for the next training course. Throughout all of the training classes the trainer continuously mentioned the CGC test and how he hoped all of the dogs would take and pass the test once they completed the advanced class. At first, Rob and I thought he was way too into the dog training thing and no way is Roxanne going to take some test to get a certificate. But after hearing about the test week after week, month after month, we realized that yes Roxanne was going to have to take the damn test and pass with flying colors to prove all of this time and money spent on training wasn't for nothing!

And Roxanne did just that, passed with flying colors at the top of her class. She made me such a proud puppy parent that day! We probably use the "CGC" phrase in our apartment more than is necessary. Saying things like, "Roxanne can you believe you are a CGC?" or "Stop biting your leash, that is not CGC behavior!" She may be a CGC, but she is still a puppy. Last week she destroyed and ingested a rope toy and one of my black Old Navy flip flops. She still hasn't fully recovered from those incidents.

Sunday, May 29, 2011


Two years ago tonight I was at Fenway Park rocking and rolling to DMB, completely happy and totally unaware of what was in store for me after the concert. That night Rob got down on one knee and proposed, the DMB show the following night was 10x more exciting partly because of my newly acquired bling and title of fiance, and for the next year, my life was consumed by wedding talk. And now I can't help but think how much has changed in those two years that seem to have flown by. A new city in a new part of the country, with the best dog we could have and did hope for for the past two years, I've got a new job, Rob's a kick-butt grad student, three marathons later, and my new last name has finally stopped surprising me. I'll always remember and celebrate this date, just as I do February 22nd and will July 31st, because it was the start of something good.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

What to do weekdays at 4?

Do you remember back in the days of AOL instant messenger and your individual profile that you would update every week or so? If you are older, maybe you never had AIM and do not remember those days, or if you are still using AIM then maybe you are thinking, "What are you talking about? I just updated my profile today." Either way, it does not matter, because this entry isn't really about AOL instant messenger. But I remember a reoccurring trend in AIM profiles where people would write a list of all of their favorite and most loved things. One thing you could always find on my list, alongside the beach, sour patch kids, DMB shows and dogs, was Oprah. More specifically, the Oprah Winfrey Show.

I remember coming home from school each day, getting a snack from the kitchen and sitting in the recliner to watch Oprah at 4pm. I loved her show and still do. I love her topical interviews with celebrities and people in the news, but more so I love her interviews with everyday people like you and me who have a story to tell. I love the makeover shows, the favorite things shows, the shows that reinvigorate you to get back on track with your efforts to maintain a healthy lifestyle, the crazy road trips with Oprah and Gayle, the musical performances, the shows where she makes the dreams come true for deserving people, and those where she sheds light on important topics like racism, abuse, transgender, lifestyles in other countries, addiction and education. I know many people who are not big fans of Oprah, for example- my husband, but none of their opinions or rants have ever phased me. I have grown up with her show, been entertained by it 5 days a week, and have learned from it as well. It has made me laugh, it has made me cry, and for the past few months has taken up precious space on our DVR. When I started working again and realized I was going to be missing many shows from Oprah's final season, I started recording each and every one of them so that I wouldn't miss anything. Tomorrow ends Oprah's long-standing spot on our DVR, because tomorrow is the last Oprah show EVER. I know it sounds silly to some of you, but I don't know how I am going to watch that final show. Part of me wants to save it and save it to make the show feel like it is not really over yet. I know Oprah has her own network now (I am already watching many shows on it) and that she is not going to disappear, but it is not the same. I honestly believe her show is and was one of the best on television, and I do not know if anyone will ever be able to match it.

If I have one regret today it is that I never got to sit in one of the coveted seats in the Oprah show audience. Though if that is my biggest regret, I think I'm doing ok.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

The pool is my new beach

I know summer is officially still about a month away, but it has been in the 90's all weekend, making it feel like summer is here already. I'm pleased to say I'm actually sitting outside on the balcony enjoying the sun as I write this. This weekend has felt especially summery. Friday night Rob and I went out for Mexican and margaritas and gladly waited the extra ten minutes or so for an outside table. Saturday morning Rob, Roxanne and I went to an arts festival, and my Saturday and Sunday afternoons were both spent at the pool. Getting a nice tan in May is great and all, but I can't help but think this isn't a normal summer.

A few weeks ago as Rob and I were driving somewhere he said, "You know what it feels like we should be doing right now? Going to the Cape for the weekend, because this is about the time we go down and open up the beach house each year." The thought hadn't even crossed my mind at that moment, but the more I thought about it the more I missed what we would normally have been doing; what we had been doing for years. Opening up the house and putting the outdoor furniture out on the deck, walking across the street to the beach to check out how many rocks had moved in or out of our section of the beach, buying some delicious food and drink at the DPM and firing up the grill, spending an afternoon on the beach even though the water was way too cold to swim in, and looking forward to a summer of weekends on 91 Shore Drive.

To give you some perspective, I have spent every summer since 1998 at 91 Shore Drive in Cape Cod, MA. Before 1998, my family vacationed there for 2 weeks out of the summer. The house is on the market now, so really it could sell at any time and not be 'my beach house' anymore, but until that happens it is very strange to me that it is sitting up there across the street from the beach and I am not there enjoying it. I do enjoy my new pool, and I'm sure I'll be spending many weekends poolside, but coming to the realization that this pool is my new beach is bittersweet.

Driving up to my parents house in South Carolina last weekend, I happened to stumble across something that just screams Cape Cod: CHRISTMAS TREE SHOP! Everyone who lives up North or who has vacationed on the Cape knows how surprised and excited I must have been to find this store in Augusta, Georgia! I wasn't looking for it; I actually got off at the exit to find the Chick-fil-a to stop at for lunch. I never found the chick-fil-a, but when I saw the sign for the Christmas Tree Shop I knew my 3 mile excursion from the highway had been worth it after all.

There was one thing I made Rob promise me before we made the move from Boston to Atlanta. I asked him to promise me that even though we were moving south, that we would bring our kids up to the the Cape sometime for a vacation (or two or three). He said, "Yes, of course."

Cape Cod, May 2010

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Banana Republic to the rescue on Benanna's wedding day

Now and then Rob will say or do things that I just have to laugh or shake my head at and say "Rooob." Sometimes right after Rob will say, "Do not put that on the blog" or "Let me guess, you are going to blog about this." Most of the time those incidents do not make it onto the blog, but this past Saturday afternoon in Banana Republic when Rob said, "Well this is definitely going to end up on the blog," he was totally right.

We were in Charleston this past weekend for our friends Ben and Anna's wedding. We stayed at my Mom and Dad's house with Lisa, and decided Saturday morning that we'd go downtown to walk around and have lunch and head back to the house later on to get ready for the wedding which was at 5pm. As I was about to wash my face in the bathroom Rob knocks on the door and tells me he accidentally brought the wrong garment bag with him. The one he meant to bring that had his suit, shirt, tie, etc. in it was back in our closet in Atlanta, and the one he did bring had his tux from our wedding in it! I just looked at him and, "You've got to be kidding me right now, well I don't know what to tell you," and I shut the door. I was thinking I guess he's going to have to wear the tux, maybe he can pull off a tux. Then I went to the bedroom and was reminded of how formal looking the tux really is and thought no, no way can he wear that. Of course some friends, after hearing about our dilemma, were pulling for him to wear the tux, but neither Rob or I could seriously let that happen no matter how funny/memorable it might have been.

So we rushed to get downtown to King Street, where all of the good shopping in Charleston is, and hit up Banana Republic, Jos A Bank, J Crew, and some other expensive custom suit stores which were not what we were looking for. I'm sure I was making the situation even more stressful, which is why Rob told me that Lisa and I could go shop and get lunch without him and let him go suit shopping on his own, but I insisted we go shopping with him. Luckily, Banana Republic was having a 40% off sale that day. Rob found a couple of suits that would work, tried them on, and Lisa and I both voted for the lighter suit which he ended up getting. Lisa and I knew we were going suit shopping, but we didn't know that meant we were also shopping for a dress shirt, tie, belt, socks and brown dress shoes! It was quite the shopping trip.

In the end it all worked out. We had time to have a great bbq lunch before heading back home to get ready, Rob looked handsome in his new suit, and we had a fabulous time at Ben and Anna's wedding with all of our BU/Delta friends.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

From bird seed to bees

So, you remember the issue I was having with my upstairs neighbors and their bird feeder, right? Over the past month many people have asked how the bird seed situation is going, so I know at least most of you reading this know what I'm talking about. Let me bring you up to date...

The bird seed situation is actually not so bad anymore. For a while their bird feeder ran out of seed, and I thought maybe they were choosing not to refill it because of the letter the apartment complex sent them regarding the issue. But no, they eventually refilled it. Then they moved it to a different part of their balcony, maybe because that is what the letter asked them to do. But then a week or so later it was back in its original spot. And then one day I noticed an even more significant decrease in bird seed on my balcony, and I discovered that they had moved their bird feeder off of the tall pole/stand it had been hanging on, and it was now sitting on the floor of their balcony. I believe the squirrels couldn't attack it while it was on the floor and therefore it didn't swing back and forth and spill seed ten feet in either direction. That also lasted about a week, and now the feeder is back where it started, hanging up and filled up. But I have hardly found any seed on my balcony for weeks! I guess the birds and squirrels are not as hungry as they used to be.

In the middle of my battle with the bird feeder two floors up, the balcony was invaded by pollen. Lots of it. We had pollen in Boston, but not like this. Maybe it is because we are surrounded by more trees and plants in this apartment than we were in Brighton. All I know is that I did not have an allergy problem until I moved to Atlanta. I was in denial about having allergies, but I finally decided that all of this sneezing, nose blowing and red eyes could only be explained by the massive amounts of pollen outside. And inside for that matter. Roxanne has so much fur and everything clings to it when she goes outside, so I'm pretty sure we have a big ball of pollen just constantly running around our apartment, jumping on our couch and bed.

The pollen isn't as bad as it was a few weeks ago, but of course our balcony problems couldn't end there. It's like they gave us the apartment with the balcony from Hell. Next problem? Bees...lots of big, fat carpenter bees. I saw them buzzing around the ceiling of the balcony now and then, but did not see a nest anywhere so thought we were safe. One day while sitting outside I saw not one, but two bees squeeze up into a crack between two wooden boards. I couldn't believe it. We definitely had a bee problem. We bought a few cans of the bee killer spray and Rob went to work, spraying up into the crack where the bees were living. A few fell out dead right on the spot, success! Rob sprayed again, and again, but still bees were coming and going. He tried swatting them with a broom, and even killed one or two. It was quite the sight, Rob out there standing on a kitchen chair, with bee spray and a broom swatting and spraying bees. Then Rob had a better idea, duct tape. He taped up the entire crack between the boards so no bees could go in or out. There were some pretty angry bees circling the taped off boards later that day. I'm not sure if the situation had been resolved yet or not. The tape just went up this past weekend. A couple of days ago I saw one bee creeping in through a spot where the tape had come a little loose. Rob secured the tape soon after that though, and I haven't seen any more bees since then. I wonder what will invade the balcony next? Stay tuned, I'll let you know.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Boston recap

We're back home in Atlanta after our weekend in Boston, and what a weekend it was. It was great to go back and get reacquainted with the T, take all of the touristy pictures we had no reason to take before, and indulge in all of our favorite Boston eats.

Not to sound too much like a ridiculous Southerner, but man was it COLD when we got there on Saturday! Rob in his Patagonia, me in my North Face- the warmest articles of clothing either of us have worn all winter long, and we were ahhh-ing and complaining all the way from the silver-line T stop to our hotel. In our defense it was in the 40s, even people who live in Boston weren't happy about the weather. Luckily the temps warmed up a little on Sunday and Monday.

Big thumbs up to our hotel, the Westin Boston Waterfront, by the way. We didn't know we were staying at the New Balance hotel (elevator doors and room key cards were covered in NB ads, some hotel staff sported NB gear), but it turned out to be a pretty great place to stay for Marathon weekend. Apparently New Balance and Westin have partnered to offer guests a new fitness program, where guests have complimentary use of NB gear (shoes and clothing), in-room fitness workouts, running maps, running guides, etc. They offered special breakfast items at their restaurant geared towards the marathoners, and after the marathon runners were greeted in the lobby with a snack/smoothies/drink bar.

So, lets see how I did on my 10 item checklist/wish list that I came up with last week:
1. Go to Sunset Cantina and have a coconut lime margarita- Check & check...and mmm was it good. Thanks for coming out to sunset with me like old times Rae!

2. Eat in the North End- Check! We had our pre-marathon dinner at our longtime standby/fav restaurant in the North End- Villa Francesca. I knew Boston's little Italy would be super packed the night before the race when everyone wants to fill up on carbs, so I actually made a dinner reservation before we left for Boston. I even got my favorite entree on the menu- fettucine con gamberi.

3. Get a cannoli at Mike's- Check...umm, we bought 8 of them, and the line down the street was well worth the wait.

4. Visit with my ladies from Osborne Path- Check...well, partial check. I got to visit with one of the ladies, Florence, at Dunkin Donuts for a while on Sunday. I would have liked to see all 4 of them at their house, but it was nice catching up with Flo too.

5. Walk through the Common and down Newbury St.- Yes to Newbury St., and No to the Commons...but honestly, it does not look like spring yet in Boston like it does in Atlanta, and I think I would have been disappointed in the lack of green in the Common anyway.

6. See my favorite Boston friends- Check :) It was great to see Rae, Jane, Chris, Millie, Jamie and Jenae this past weekend.

7. Have a beer at Boston Beer Works- Check...blueberry beer, my fav, to be exact!

8. Go to Marsh Chapel- Check- went to the Palm Sunday service.

9. Tapas at Tasca- No...I knew of all the things on my list that this was the most unlikely to happen, mostly because this place is out towards Brighton and not right downtown. But, we did eat at a place I had wanted to try for years- No Name Restaurant. It's an old seafood place hidden in the Fish Pier, in walking distance from our hotel. My grandma talked about this "No Name" place for years and how she had eaten there a long time ago and how great and cheap the seafood was. I'm glad I can finally say I have been to No Name!

10. Battle it out on the T on Marathon Monday and hopefully get a free ride out of it- Check & check! Got a free ride AND a seat, and on Marathon day, getting a seat on the T is pretty much amazing.

On to the more important recap from this weekend- Rob ran an outstanding marathon! He finished in 3hrs 9min 21sec! I am very proud of him. All of the long runs through the Atlanta heat and hills, and his dedication to his training even on early Saturday mornings and late weekday nights. I knew he had the potential to have a great run, but I was very impressed that he was able to shave over 5 minutes off of his finishing time in the NYC marathon this past November. Congrats babe! I don't think I'll ever know what it is like to run 26.2 miles, but being the proud wife of a marathon runner feels pretty good.

Monday, April 11, 2011

I love that dirty water

We're counting down the days until this weekend, because this weekend we'll be in Boston! It will be our first time back since the big move South, and the first time in the past 7 years that we don't have a home to go back to once we arrive at Logan airport. It will definitely be strange and bittersweet flying to Boston and not home to Boston, but also exciting. We started to take one of our favorite cities for granted after living there for so many yeas, and now we'll get to see and experience it from a new fresh point of view.

I've started a list of my favorite things that I would love to do while in Boston. Many of the items on my list involve food/beverages, but can you blame me?

1. Go to Sunset Cantina and have a coconut lime margarita
2. Eat in the North End
3. Get a cannoli at Mike's
4. Visit with my ladies from Osborne Path
5. Walk through the Common and down Newbury St.
6. See my favorite Boston friends
7. Have a beer at Boston Beer Works
8. Go to Marsh Chapel
9. Tapas at Tasca
10. Battle it out on the T on Marathon Monday and hopefully get a free ride out of it

Number 10 on my list brings us to the real reason we are going to Boston in the first place this weekend- Rob's running the Boston Marathon for the second year in a row! On race day I hope that the weather cooperates, Rob is feeling good and has a great run, and that his Dad and I can spot him twice (at mile 16 and 26) throughout the race. Go Rob! I'll be cheering for ya!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Move over Trader Joe's

We have a new favorite weekend dinner in the lineup since we've moved to Atlanta. Have you ever been to Fresh Market? I like to think of it as my much larger, upscale, chain store version of the Dennis Public Market on the Cape, with much, much better produce. Their deli is outstanding, bulk snack/sweets section always tempting, and the prepared foods section is a favorite. I haven't tried anything from their bakery yet, besides onion rolls and sesame seed buns, but I'm sure their desserts and pastries will be the bomb once I do try them.

The steaks and kabobs can get a little pricey, so for our casual weekend dinners we go with the prepared burger patties and pasta salad/veggie side dishes. I've mentioned Rob's love of mushrooms before, so it is no surprise that he always gets the portabella gouda burger. I have tried the bleu cheese burger (my fav) and the bacon cheddar burger. My favorite sides are the dilly cucumber salad, which I plan on figuring out how to make myself, and the cranberry coleslaw (I don't even normally like coleslaw). We aren't allowed to have a grill on our balcony, which I'm sure would increase the deliciousness of the burgers, but our Cruisinart griddler cooks them up real fast and within 10 minutes dinner is served.

Friday, April 1, 2011

A personal rant...

Two words. Opening day. I can't stand it. If there is one thing that did not get passed down from my Dad, it is his love for baseball and opening day. Pro and college football? All about it. Pro and college hockey? Thanks to Rob and going to BU where hockey was our main sports attraction, sure I like it. Basketball? On occasion I will watch it on TV, more so college than NBA. But baseball? I do not remember the last time I sat down and watched an entire game on TV from start to finish.

Maybe it's because I really don't have a strong connection with any one team. My Dad has always loved the Cardinals, and while I sported a Cardinals hat and t-shirt as a toddler, I cannot say my fan support of the team lasted more than a few years.

I spent 7 years in Boston and attended many Sox games during that time. I charged Kenmore Square in 2004 when they broke the curse and won the World Series, attended their celebratory parade downtown and got my picture taken with the World Series trophy. Did I like going to the Sox games? Absolutely! Fenway park itself is reason enough to go to a Sox game. The atmosphere and baseball food and drink and socializing at ball games is great, it's when I'm watching games on TV that I get bored.

My husband is a die-hard Tigers fan. More often than not I cheer for his team simply because I know he'll be in a much better mood if his team wins, but I do not cheer for the Tigers on my own. You can imagine how torn I was over the 2006 World Series with my Dad's Cardinals and Rob's Tigers both in it. If I'm actually at a Tiger's game then sure I'll cheer for them...unless they happen to be playing the Red Sox like they were on July 6th, 2007 the night before Rob's Dad and Kimberly's wedding. Though I was sitting with a group of about 30 other Tigers fans, I was secretly hoping the Sox would win. Didn't happen.

And now I'm in Atlanta, and while I plan to go to a Braves game at some point this season, I promise you I will not become a Braves fan any time soon. I'm really not in any rush to go though. The season is what, 6 months long? A half a year long season with games almost every day of the week? All of you people on my facebook news feed *cough Red Sox and Phillies fans cough* can take a chill pill. That win/loss you had on opening day? Doesn't mean a thing.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

March wrap-up

Things are good here at the Porter residence, though March seems to have flown by and I realize I haven't posted much this past month. April is looking like it's going to be a pretty fun, busy month though, so I'm sure I'll do better with my blogging next month!

A few weeks ago, Rob ran the Georgia half marathon. The race went through downtown Atlanta and ended in Piedmont Park. He did great! Roxanne and I got up early to go down to the park and see him run by at mile 10. It was Roxanne's first race day experience. She was unsure at first, with all the police on motorcycles and bikers with the wheelchair racers. But once Rob ran by and called out her name, she was all excited and became much more interested in the runners going by. Next big race for Rob is the Boston Marathon on April 18th!

Roxanne is doing well- very happy and healthy. She continues to make us believe that she is the funniest pup around, and she gets more treats than she needs just because she is cute. She has been on a path of destruction lately though. First there was the kitchen floor, then the living room rug, and this week she has pulled quit a bit of stuffing out of some of her toys. Now I understand why they make stuffing-free toys. Luckily, one of her favorite toys is stuffing-free. I will be buying more of these from Big Lots the next time I go! Here she is with it-

This past weekend Rob and I had a nice Southern dinner with college friend/sorority sister Cheryl from Texas. She was in town for work, so though it was a short visit, it was great to see her again. We tried Mary Mac's Tea Room, which I first heard about from a cookbook I got for my birthday. I had fried okra, mint juleps, fried chicken, mac and cheese, and squash souffle. Not quite a healthy dinner, but a yummy one!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

The balcony

Here are some pictures of my balcony & new furniture you have read so much about lately. It is a gorgeous day here in Atlanta, and after sweeping off the balcony and putting the cushions back on my loveseat, I enjoyed a magazine and a margarita outside. Roxanne enjoyed the warm outdoor balcony weather with me.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

This is war

Here we are a week later, and still no balcony photos to share with you. Our balcony was perfect for literally 1 or 2 days. It finally felt like a completed space to sit and enjoy, the love seat and table went well with the rugs, and I was happy. Well, my happiness was short-lived, because that's when the bird seed started appearing.

It started out slow- little by little I found seed here and there, and then the next thing I knew, the whole balcony was covered in bird seed. BIRD SEED, lots and lots of it. For once in my life I am pretty sure I hate birds more than Rob does, and that is saying something! The funny thing is that only a couple weeks ago I told Rob that I was going to get a bird feeder, and how funny would it be to watch Roxanne watch the birds all day? Rob pointed out that there probably wouldn't be any birds eating out of our feeder because Roxanne would scare them all away. He's right, even though part of him was probably just trying to put a stop to the whole bird feeder idea.

So I quickly got over not having a bird feeder of my own when I went outside the other day and realized my table, love seat, rugs and plants were covered with bird seed. The guy who lives 2 floors above us has a bird feeder on his balcony. At first I thought he was being really careless with his birdseed. Then I thought that the birds must really be going crazy with their eating up there. I even took into consideration that it had been really windy and stormy out lately so maybe the seed was blowing off of the feeder. Or maybe the 2 little child monsters that live directly above us were actually taking bird seed and pouring it through their balcony floor cracks onto our balcony. It didn't hit me until I saw the squirrel on our balcony that the squirrels are at least 75% to blame for the mess I am currently dealing with. They climb up 4 floors, attack the feeder, and make the biggest mess ever, those little devils.

I was so mad about it that I wrote the neighbors a note and taped it to their front door, explaining the daily mess I am dealing with and how my dog is trying to eat all the bird seed, and it's all over the furniture and can you possibly manage your bird seed better?!? Maybe a more mature, secure person would have knocked on their front door and talked to them face to face, but I couldn't bring myself to face that sort of awkwardness. I don't know who lives in that apartment, but I think I have narrowed down the possibilities to 2 men in their 50's. Though I don't really want to talk to either of them, I do hope that whoever lives up there walks by one of these times while I'm sweeping my rugs off so that he can see the situation firsthand, and just maybe start a conversation with me about it that we can have at a comfortable distance (me on my 2nd floor balcony, he on the ground level). Since I haven't received any response letters, the bird feeder has not moved/changed, and I'm sweeping the same amount of seed today as I was before I wrote the note, the future is not looking very bright. I have a real jerk of a neighbor on my hands here. This really wouldn't bother me as much if I didn't just buy new furniture that I would like to enjoy without having to pick bird seed off of my lap. Rob said it best when he said something along these lines, "It isn't going to be the loud, disrespectful neighbors that push you over the edge, or the continuously broken gate, or the people who drive 40mph through the complex with their music pumping, or the average/sub-average apartment amenities that make you want to move to a new apartment complex; it's going to be the bird seed on your balcony that does it."

And an update...since I wrote this post a couple days ago, it has gotten worse. Today when I went outside to assess the situation, I found 5 blobs of squirrel poop, more bird seed than ever, and it looks as though something has been in my plants kicking dirt around to get pieces of seed that have fallen into the plants. I faced my fears and knocked on apartment 261's door, but no one answered. So, I called the front office to complain to the manager...but she was in a meeting. Manager Nancy will be hearing from me today though, that is for sure.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

I'm glad Rob watches HGTV

What a wonderful husband I have. I critique and poke fun at him plenty in this blog, I know, but who in a relationship doesn't do that now and then? I just happen to be sharing my stories with everyone on the internet. It's only fair that I brag a little about him as well.

Since we moved to Atlanta, decorating our apartment really has not been a top priority of ours. Of course we would like it to be, but when it comes down to it, the money could be better used elsewhere. Our bedroom probably gets my vote for the least decorated room in the place. It is one of the larger rooms and all of the walls are bare. Not a single thing was hung up, until now.

Rob took it upon himself to decorate the space above our headboard, and I just love how it turned out. He used pictures that he took on the last 2 cruises we were on together (2 from Jamaica & 2 from St. Maarten), got them blown up and printed out in black and white, framed them and arranged them above the bed. I played no part in the project, so what a nice treat it was when Rob called me into the bedroom to show me the final product.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Patio furniture update

You may have read about my patio furniture I was pretty excited about a few posts back. Some of you have asked what it looks like, and I will surely be posting finished product balcony pictures soon enough, just not yet. We've have some difficulties with the furniture.

First, the table. While Rob was at class the other night, the UPS man delivered our 2 boxes of put-it-together-yourself furniture. Actually, the 2 boxes were delivered over 30 minutes apart from each other. Poor deliveryman had to come back to our apartment complex after he realized he forgot to deliver one of them. Anyway, I opened up the boxes and decided I would take it upon myself to put the small side table together. While the directions seemed simple enough, I knew it wouldn't be easy, but what literally went through my mind was, "What if I wasn't married, what if I was single living on my own? Then I would definitely have to put all of this together myself, so get to work!" AHH! I definitely don't have the do-it-yourself/handy woman/I own power tools trait that my Mom has. The table took me well over 30 minutes to put together, and even then it was not standing straight like a table should. I tried to loosen the bolts, rearrange the legs and shelf, and re-tighten, but I couldn't get it to look perfect. And a table is something that looks a little ridiculous if it doesn't stand up perfectly. Luckily Rob came home before I had to throw anything, and he took the table apart and put it back together so that I was happy with it.

Last night I came home from work around 12:30am and what did I find in my living room/guest bedroom? Rob had put the love seat together! And you can only imagine what a headache that love seat looked like to me after dealing with the little table. I was pretty excited about it, but I wasn't sure why the love seat was still inside. I just assumed it wasn't completely finished yet. This morning Rob told me the reason it's still inside is that it won't fit through the balcony door! The classic case of putting something large together in one room, only finding out you can't get it to another room because it's too darn big. It's the worst! There is a chance it will fit through the front door, and that we might be able to lift it onto the balcony once we get it outside. Otherwise, both the table and love seat will have been built not once, but twice.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Do you want to hide in the clothes?

I've been working at my new job for almost a month now, and so far so good. The girl I work with is great and fun to be around, and each day I get more familiar with how things run at the house. There is even a pet pig named Piggy that I get to help take care of, and today I popped her/him some microwave popcorn and threw it around the pen for it to snack on. Piggy has a pet bunny that lives with her/him, and it ran around eating the popcorn too. But if you can believe it, feeding Piggy and Bunny microwave popcorn was not the most exciting thing I did today at work.

I may be successfully avoiding the massive amounts of snow that Boston has been getting this winter, but one thing I never had to worry about while living in Boston were tornados. What did we get today in Atlanta? A tornado watch. I usually think tornado watches, or really any kind of weather watches, are silly. Until it turns into a warning or I see some evidence that the weatherman is for real, I don't even think twice about it. Well maybe that is because I grew up in PA and spent the last 7 years in Boston, where the likelihood of a storm causing any real damage to my apartment on the hill in Brighton was not too high. After today, I think I will take watches more seriously here in Georgia.

Around 4:45pm today my boss called to tell me she didn't think it was safe outside to be driving because of the storm/tornado watch, and that I should probably stay at work until it passed through. That, and also that I should seek help from some guys stronger than I am and move the girl I work with (her daughter) into her closet away from the windows. The rain, lightening, hail and strong winds seemed to be getting worse, so we did as we were told and moved to the closet. At first I thought her brother was kidding when he asked me if I wanted to hide in the clothes, but he wasn't. So in I went, and for the next 10 minutes we played Words With Friends on her ipad until the storm passed and we could get out of the closet. They informed me that it is normal to have 10 bad storms/tornado watches each spring, and I informed them that I just moved here in August and I was unaware of how frequently these things happened in GA. I ended up leaving around 6:30pm, and besides some heavy rain the drive home was fine. At least now I know what to do the next time we are under a tornado watch!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Shopping styles

Today Rob and I made two pretty big purchases- plane tickets and patio furniture for our balcony. Both purchases were equally stressful, and do you know why? Because Rob and I are two completely different types of shoppers. In a nutshell, I shop like my Mom and Rob shops like my Dad.

I am always on the hunt for deals, I look at the store sale ads, and I use coupons whenever I can. Before making a big purchase I do my research, go store to store to see what all of my options are, take time to contemplate what I like best and maybe even call someone for a second opinion before heading to the register. I like to think that I do all of this because I am a smart shopper who wants to save money and get the best deal that I can, but I will also admit that a lot of it has to do with me being very indecisive in general.

Rob is pretty much the opposite kind of shopper. I don't know if he has ever clipped a coupon, and he is definitely not indecisive. He can make purchasing decisions at lightening speed. No joke, I am almost positive that he decided on and bought his car in less time than it took me to decide which outdoor plant stand I liked best at Home Goods, and this was after I had found and narrowed the decision down to 3 stands. When he sees something he likes, he buys it, it's that simple. No running around town from store to store to see what else might be out there or waiting until something goes on sale to buy it. I've known that Rob shops this way for quite some time now, as we just hit our together 7 years mark, but it didn't matter to me as much when he was using his own money for clothes from J Crew or running shoes. Now it's our money being spent on bigger items, so it matters more.

I have wanted patio furniture for our balcony since we moved into our apartment last August. Patio furniture was not very high on Rob's apartment wish list, which is probably why we still don't have more than 2 outdoor folding chairs out there right now. I was too indecisive to pick something I was willing to spend the money on, and Rob just didn't care. Last November my Mom helped me pick out the plant stand, plants, candles and outdoor rug that are currently on the balcony, and I planted new flowers in the pots this weekend since the cold weather killed most of my November plants. All that is missing is a nice place to sit.

This week Target put their patio furniture in the stores, and I found an all-weather wicker love seat, chair and side table that I liked. Of course I was still debating the furniture options today, so I went online to look at the pieces again, only to find that they were on sale online and they qualified for free shipping! That was the kick in the butt I needed. I brought Rob to Target tonight to show him the furniture and he approved. All that was left to do was add it to my cart online and click purchase, right? Well, what would have taken Rob less than a minute to do, literally took me 30 minutes. To get the matching table, or not to get the matching table? Could I find one at Home Goods for less money that still looked OK? ( + Home Goods = 2 hours to shop for 1 thing) Should we splurge and get the 2 matching chairs, even though we only really need 1, because they are on sale too, or wait and just get 1 at the store? Ah they don't qualify for free shipping, now what? Rob was such a good sport, though I don't know how many more times he could have handled me showing him pictures of accent tables online and asking if he thought it would match the furniture or not.

All in all, I think it's probably best we are different kinds of shoppers, even if we stress each other out when it comes time to make a purchase. We balance each other out. I use my coupons and save us money at the grocery store each week by buying what's on sale, and Rob makes buying big items like our TV or blue ray player pretty easy and painless, which I could never do. Our patio furniture should be arriving in about a week...I hope it was worth the wait!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Week in review

It has been a pretty busy, exciting week here at the Porter residence. From jobs to cars, a surprise visit to a planned visit. Even the Super Bowl made for an exciting evening, but since it didn't end well I won't even go there.

It's been a long time coming, but I got a job and have re-entered the working world! I haven't blogged much about my job searching experience, but what can I say- it wasn't easy. Sure there was the move and settling in, the trips to Chicago, Florida and New York City, taking care of and training a puppy, the holidays, visits from family and friends, and the New Years cruise. Of course I allowed all of those things to take time away from my job hunting, but I think I would have gone crazy if I hadn't. I can't tell you how many jobs I applied to, hours and days were spent scouring the internet job sites, and how many places I didn't even hear back from. But I can tell you that from January 13-26th I applied to 41 jobs, from which I got a handful of calls and emails, and I started working as a caregiver last week.

Me getting a job meant one thing was certain. We needed a second vehicle. Since we moved to Atlanta, Rob and I have been sharing my Saturn Vue. It made sense- why make 2 car payments and pay for 2 insurance policies if only one of us was working and needed to be somewhere each day? It made sense, but it wasn't always easy sharing 1 car. Getting up early and fighting traffic to drive Rob to work, just so I could get to a 20 minute vet appointment, only to pick him up again at 5. Asking people (aka Tom) if he could pick me up from dog class at Petsmart because Rob had class on Tuesday evenings. Always asking the other person if they needed the car for anything before we made plans to go somewhere. Well, no more car sharing for us! This past weekend Rob bought a used 2010 Pontiac G6 and it has been great. Funny enough, I wasn't with Rob when he test drove the car and I hadn't even seen a picture of a G6 on the internet, let alone the actual car he was going to buy, before he bought it. Heck, Roxanne got to ride in the car before I did. I think I deserve some cool-wife points for letting him do his thing and not getting all involved and inquisitive over such a big purchase.

Last Thursday night I worked from 5-11pm, getting some training in before I started working on my own this week. Around 10pm I checked my phone because I knew Rob would be wondering where I was since I wasn't sure how late my training would go. I was pleasantly surprised to find texts from Rob saying my Dad was at our apartment. His flight was cancelled from Atlanta to Charleston that evening, so he got a hold of Rob and asked if he could stay at our place. I think Rob got to hang out with him longer than I did since I got home so late, but he did take me out to breakfast the next morning, so it was nice to be able to spend some time with him.

Tomorrow I'm flying to Harrisburg, PA to visit new Mama and Daddy Hagerman and the not yet 2 month old babe! I haven't seen Linds since my wedding, so it will be great to have some best friend time together, and of course I can't wait to hold little Savannah. Look how cute...

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Oh the irony...

No more than 15 minutes after I took this picture she peed in the living room. I don't think she has had an accident in the house since starting the intermediate class, and on her graduation night she decides to take a pee break next to the couch while playing ball.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

The new dog in the park

This weekend the temperature reached 70 degrees in Atlanta, both Saturday and Sunday! We had our balcony door open, I wore short sleeved shirts and flip flops, we had special Fresh Market burgers and zucchini for dinner because it felt like a warm weather meal, and we even fired up the margaritaville machine.

But the highlight of the weekend was walking around Atlanta's beautiful Piedmont Park and taking Roxanne to the special off-leash dog section. It was her first dog park experience, and mine as well. When I first saw how big it was and how many dogs were running around inside, I was a little nervous and honestly didn't know how well Roxanne would handle all that fun and freedom. Rob wasn't worried about her at all, and reassured me that she would be fine. So we went inside and I took off her leash, and after about a minute of trotting around and scoping the place out, she was off.

You would have thought I just watched my child get on a bus for her first day of kindergarten the way I reacted. I said, "Aw, Rob, I can't believe she just took off like that, without even looking back...she isn't even looking for us!" Rob laughed and reminded me that she is a dog and when given the opportunity to be off of her leash and around lots of other dogs she will take advantage of it and act like all of the other dogs. If she hadn't run off to go play, I would have been upset that she wasn't having fun like everyone else. She found little dogs to chase, got chased by big dogs, jumped over dogs, chased balls, ran around and around with packs of dogs, went up to strangers to let them pet her, rolled down the hill and got bark embedded in her fur, and she loved it!

She had such a good time at the park yesterday that we went back again today! We went in the morning, and Roxanne and I hit up the dog park while Rob went running. I'm sure Roxanne can't wait to go back.