Monthly Archives: June 2006

Welcome, Molly!!

I’d like to introduce the newest member of our pack!!

WeedWoman adopted Molly last weekend. She’s sweet and lovely and warm and affectionate and I’m happy to have a puppy to love that I don’t have to walk in the rain and snow!

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A Decade of Love

My husband and I celebrate ten years of marriage today.

I am crazy in love with this man, and it just keeps getting better. I don’t just love him, I LIKE him – he’s my best friend, he makes me laugh every day, he’s an amazing daddy. I thought, when I married him, that I couldn’t love him any more than I did then.

I was wrong.


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Need I Say More?

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Vacation, Part Three

In which we conclude our Florida adventure and I load you up with far too many pictures….

Thursday was a pretty quiet day. We did a fair bit of swimming – all our fingers were wrinkly before the day was out – and we managed to get in a round of putt-putt before the four o’clock thunderstorm came through. It turns out, Beanie is a WICKED putt-putter. Who knew?

On Friday – our only “scheduled” day – we headed out early and got to Sea World JUST as it was opening. We met up with my Girlfriend and her older son and made a dash right for the sea lion and otter show. It was a lot of fun. I am particularly fond of sea lions and seals and once, when I was a little girl, I had fantasies of working with them at the New England Aquarium. My suckiness in science and my seafood allergy pretty much put the kibosh on that plan, so I get to shows whenever I can. Anyway, it was a good show and I got some decent pictures.

We continued on through the park, watching shows and taking in exhibits. The Shamu show was, I have to say, pretty disappointing, but the dolphin show was spectacular.

Daddy took Punkin Pie on the flume ride – Journey to Atlantis – and she came off crying.

The ride itself wasn’t that hair-raising, but the story creeped her out. You see, my eldest is enamored of mermaids, and I gather there’s one in the story that starts out all lovely and swishy, just like a mermaid should be, but reveals herself to be a spiteful sea witch when “someone” in the “crew” you’re on tries to take something out of Atlantis as a keepsake or something. She “chases” you out of her home, spits you out and then sucks you back in for a scary part at the end. I didn’t go on – Beanie was BARELY tall enough and the ride warned that “riders must have three functioning limbs to ride,” which kind of scared me off – but I was there when it was all over to hold my quivering and crying nine-year-old. Yay! Let’s go get some ice cream.

The girls had a fantastic time on the Shamu Express, which is a roller coaster designed for the little people in the crowd. By the time the evening was almost over, the lines had thinned and we got to ride on the thing six or seven times. The last trip around, I stayed on the ground while the girls waited in line for the first car. I got some pretty good pictures.

When we were done there, we realized that we’d spent ALL DAY at the park. Neither Husband nor I had expected we’d last that long, but we did, so we figured we’d stay the extra 45 minutes and see the park closing fireworks. While we waited, Husband went on the stupid, scary, twisty floorless roller coaster called Kraken. Punkin Pie was scared for Daddy, but Daddy was PSYCHED.

I’m here to tell you, that thing looked SCARY! The haul you up this ridiculously long hill, drop you a little bit, then throw you down towards a lake, whip you around a loop, twist you around for a couple of turns, flip you upside down again, throw you UNDERGROUND and twist you around a few more times. And it’s FAST. See that picture? That’s Husband going by. The car was too fast for my camera to focus.

And this? This is husband coming off the ride. Can you tell which one is him?

He’s SO sad that his twin brother wasn’t there with us. Usually, Bruder comes on vacation in Florida with us, and accompanies my husband on all those stupid, nausea-inducing rides. This time, Husband had to go on his own. I’m not sure that was such a hardship, though; do you?

If you go to Sea World, don’t bother staying in the park for the final show. They made the mistake of putting a story with it, which they project onto fans of water spit up from the center lagoon. The problem is, unless one is directly in front of the water curtain, one can’t tell what’s going on. You’d do just as well to sit in your car in the parking lot and watch the fireworks, which were pretty good. That way, you avoid the STAMPEDE of people leaving all at the same time and miss the crush of tired, cranky, disoriented people who don’t know which way to turn to get back to their hotel. Tired, cranky disoriented people in rental cars are just dangerous.

Saturday was a “stay at home” day for us. We spent most of it in the pool – again – and had a wonderful time. We broke for a late lunch at Macaroni Grill – our nearest one at home is an hour away – then came home and did another round of putt-putt. After that, we went swimming once more then came home and tossed the girls in the big tubby in the master bathroom (I can’t wait until MY big tubby is installed!) while we started the leaving process. We got a lot packed up ahead of time, which meant we were able to check out right on schedule.

After a quick stop to pick up a present for my sister, we were on our way to the airport. Unfortunately, we arrived JUST as the ugly weather did, and it took us far longer to get out than we’d hoped. Still, we made it home safely and are glad to be back.


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The Home Depot’s Reputation for Lousy Customer Service?

RICHLY deserved.

We’re in the home stretch of kitchen completion, People. All that’s left to be done is the installation of the countertops, the stovetop and wall oven, the assembly of two cabinets and the installation of three more, and a bunch of handles need to be screwed into place.

The problem, as far as the Home Despot is concerned, is that the stovetop and those three cabinets can’t be put in until the counter is installed. The week before we left for vacation, a guy came out to measure for the countertops and called us with an estimate for them. Do you think we’ve heard a peep from the boy since? No sir. So, I called this afternoon, hoping to find out where in the process we are and what it will take to scoot things along.

THREE phone calls and half an hour later, and I’m no closer to an answer. I was bounced around to two different departments, disconnected once and connected to a phone no one answered once (hence, the three phone calls on my part). When I finally reached SOMEONE who MIGHT POSSIBLY know SOMETHING about what I’m asking about, she told me to try calling someone else after three.

“The Home Depot. You can do it – and you probably should do it, because we’re useless.”

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Vacation, Part Two

Halfway Through

So, it’s Wednesday as I write this, though I have no idea when I’ll post it because I have no easy internet access. Husband had to make the last payment to the guy we bought the apartment from by pirating internet service in a Holiday Inn parking lot, but that’s neither here nor there.

We’re having a wonderful time doing absolutely nothing. Monday started out with (of course) swimming. The apartment we ended up with is almost directly across from one of the pool complexes in this resort, so we suited up and headed out. The girls are getting to be really good swimmers, and it’s far more fun now to have them in the pool than it’s been in recent years; while I’m still very watchful, I don’t have to be “Hyper-Hoverer” anymore – I pop some goggles on them and send them on their way. Anyway, we passed the morning in the water, then headed in for sun curfew by driving over to Downtown Disney and catching a matinee of Cars.

Neither Husband nor I thought we’d ever bother seeing this one – the previews were not enticing and the whole concept seemed lame to us. We needed to get out of the sun, however, and this was a good thing to do while hiding out, so we went, and I’m glad we did. It wasn’t Disney/Pixar’s best effort – that, in my mind, is a two-way tie between Monsters Inc. and Finding Nemo – but it wasn’t a waste of two hours. On our way home, we nicked some internet access in a hotel parking lot and then found an all-you-can-eat buffet for dinner.

Yesterday, we spent nearly the whole day at the resort’s newest water attraction, “River Island.” It’s a sprawling place with three, no, make that five different pool areas all connected by a meandering, slow current “river” that runs in circles through the place. For four dollars a day, you can rent a tube to ride the river. There are two giant water slides (that Beanie was too short to ride), an arcade, a splash fountain, several restaurants and a general store within the complex and it’s very easy to spend the entire day which, of course, is the point. About halfway through, a girlfriend of mine came to visit with her sons – one of whom I hadn’t met yet – and we had a lovely afternoon. I came back with a little too much sun, but I think I managed to escape a serious burn because my husband is so diligent about hiding between eleven and three. Still, the backs of my arms are hot and sensitive – I figured out that the odd burn pattern was thanks to my riding in the middle of the tube for most of the afternoon.

Today was another glorious “do nothing” day, though it’s one of two days where we have events scheduled. We started the morning with a Disney character breakfast at the Cape May Cafe in the Epcot Beach Club resort. I really like character breakfasts because, for the most part, they’re really low-key and the food is really fantastic, even if it is too expensive. The first time we came to Orlando with the girls, we only did a character breakfast – they were too little at the time to spend the money on theme parks they wouldn’t remember, but Punkin Pie wanted to see Mickey, so we figured the character breakfast would be a good way to break into the whole Disney scene. I still have pictures of Beanie – all of eleven months old or so – leaning WAY out of her high chair toward me while a character – it may have been Goofy – loomed behind her. She’s gotten over her fear of larger than life critters in clothes, though, because she nearly knocked Chip off his feet this morning going in for a hug. It was a lovely time, and I’m glad we did it.

After a quick trip through Target – I’m looking for light jackets for the girls and Husband wanted an s-video cable so we could hook the computer to a t.v. to show DVDs we’d brought – we headed back home. Wouldn’t you know it – NONE of the t.v.s in the place – there are three of them – will accept an s-video input, so the girls had to watch Ever After on my 12 inch computer screen (at least the computer’s good for SOMETHING – I’m still miffed about not being able to connect to the internet). While we hid out from the sun – the girls and Dad watching the movie, Mommy sacking out for a nap – a quick and pretty spectacular thunderstorm rolled through. Once that cleared up, we went over to the pool for our daily swim (having promised the girls that they could swim EVERY DAY, weather permitting). We went to the pools across from our apartment this time, though – River Island gets crowded in the afternoon when people come in from mornings at the theme parks. The girls had a great time swimming and playing on the water slide. Dinner was in our apartment – spaghetti and sauce with some veggies and ranch dressing – and I write this on the porch while Husband is playing nine holes just outside our porch.

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Vacation, Part One

I’m so sorry I didn’t blog on vacation – I had no way to get online. Here’s the first installment of what I wrote offline – I’ll post part two tomorrow!

After a really nice flight, the Chili family arrived at the Sanford/Orlando airport about twenty minutes ahead of schedule on Friday night. We got our bags, secured our rental car, and headed toward the east coast for the first bit of our trip.

The apartment where we stayed in Titusville was cute, though we spent more time on the screened porch than we did inside. We arrived pretty late on Friday night, so all we did on Friday was settle in and go right to bed. The next morning, we headed out to find some breakfast, then came back to the complex to play in the pool.

Young people aren’t allowed in the pool at this resort until ten a.m., and our arrival there lowered the average age to about seventy. It was kind of fun for me to watch the “water aerobics” class go on while we kept the girls at the far end of the pool. The instructor was kind of quiet, which is unusual for fitness instructors in general and water aerobics instructors in particular, and I’m pretty sure that it was far more of a social hour than an opportunity for exercise. I remember thinking that, when I’m an old lady, I could TOTALLY live out the end of my life in a place like this.

We headed in to the apartment for “sun curfew” between about noon and two. For those of you who don’t know the Chilis – we are white. About as white as people can be. With only one or two exceptions, all of our ancestors – and I do mean ALL of them – are Anglo. All of my people are Highland Scot, and all of Mr. Chili’s family hails from the British Isles. Essentially, this means that we turn into piles of ash in the sun. We are either white or red. White is good. Red is bad. The kicker of it is? If we get red, it doesn’t fade to brown. Nope – it peels off to reveal… more white! As a result, we institute a “sun curfew” between about noon and two where we head indoors – we go to movies, we read, we take naps, we play cards. Saturday, the girls and I played Skip-Bo on the porch while Mr. Chili watched the U.S. tie Italy in the World Cup.

When the game was over, we piled into the car and headed east! After a quick dinner, we ended up at the Space Coast beach and we had a FANTASTIC time.

If you want to see what pure joy looks like, bring a kid who’s grown up in New England to a Florida beach. Allow me to explain:

New England beaches have a few consistent qualities. The sand is almost always fine and gray. The shells found on New England beaches are almost always that of some sort of mussel – oblong and dark gray. And the water? ALWAYS cold. And I don’t mean “ooh – it’s kind of chilly today, isn’t it?” cold; I’m talking by the time you get to your knees (IF you can get to your knees) you can’t feel your toes anymore cold. Seriously.

So imagine the thrill the girls experienced when they ran to the water expecting to have to turn and run back. They hit the water, turned to me and yelled “HEY!! It’s WARM!”

And it was.

We played in the sand and surf until the ranger came to kick us out of the park (we were really close to the Kennedy Space Center and the state park closes at eight). It was a BLAST.

Sunday, we woke to rain, which was okay because it was a travel day for us. We packed up our stuff and headed for the Orlando/Kissimmee area, stopping to pick up a forgotten bag at the airport and for a late breakfast off the highway. We arrived at the resort little too early to check in to our apartment, so we dug our bathing suits out of the luggage and killed the couple of hours we had to wait in the pool. The girls are going to love it here. There are something like four different water areas within the resort – we could never leave here and the vacation would still be a success.

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