Thursday, July 30, 2009

PR

I’ve had this particular post planned in my mind for some time because I’m just so proud. It’s about how J and I reached a PR. No, not a running personal record. But we’ve-lived-under-the-same-roof-for-more-than-two-years PR. We have lived here in the same NH barn/house for 2 years and 2 weeks. As in we haven’t had to move in more than 2 glorious years. A definite PR for both of us.

J & I apparently have what they call the 2-year itch. Let me rephrase that, I have the 2-year itch. J has something more like the 6-month-1-year itch. But we have been taking medication (topical) for it and it looks like it’s clearing up. Not only have we lived here for more than 2 years, but if all goes as planned*, we’ll be here another 2 years. In the same damn living space. Imagine that. GASP! You can almost write our address in ink instead of pencil.

Where we live has more pros than cons. Con exhibit A would be Hell’s bells, which are still ringing across the street like the Redcoats are coming. Exhibit B would be that sometimes when we have our windows open, “it sounds like the cars are driving directly into our living room,” as J would say. It’s just that our street has gotten progressively busier since we moved in centuries ago (okay, 2 years). And lastly, this is minor, but seeing that J saves every penny we have, it irks him that our city adopted a pay-as-you-throw policy. I didn’t think we could recycle and compost more than we were, but we’ve managed to get down to 1 bag of garbage every 2 weeks … you know, to save $1.

Some definite pros. First, the fresh garden. It’s not free-picking 24-7. Most of the time, I just sneak into the garden when the landlords are away and swipe a tomato or 2. No I don’t. Okay, yes I do. But sometimes, fresh fruit and veggies just show up on the doorstep. Second of all, ShortShorts came to us a few months ago and said, “I think I’m going to lower your rent.” And I was all, “is that Hungarian for ‘I’m going to raise your rent’ because in America, landlords generally raise the rent each year, not lower it.” Indeed, he lowered it. Must be our charm.

So in any case, we’d like to stay if possible. I can’t even begin to imagine what it would be like if we completed our entire tour de NH in ONE living space. Normally we purge our belongings as we move. We’re going to be chock full of crap in 4 years!

And lastly, just for snot and shingles, let’s consider my previous living situations besides my parent’s house (I had no choice in that matter, but as soon as I graduated to adult, I was outta there) …
Esseff Hall at King’s College (PA) … 18 months total
Union Street apartment at King’s … 21 months
Cambridge Avenue house in Phoenix (AZ) … 11 months
Apartment in Mesa … 1 year
Taylor Avenue apartment in Phoenix … 19 months
My sister’s spare bedroom (CT) … 4 months
Holbrook Avenue apartment in Danville (VA) … 16 months
Jefferson Avenue house in Danville … 19 months

That’s a whole lotta moving and shaking, but J’s track record is MUCH worse. In college, the dorm politely asked him to move as far away as possible within the first few months, then he slept on a few couches and finally paid rent using pennies and dimes somewhere. He lived in Phoenix for a grand total of 16 months, during which he lived in 4 different places (including my apartment on Taylor Avenue). He spent a great deal of his 20s driving around the country, so I think maybe he lived in his tent more than anywhere. He didn’t even live in our Danville house for as long as I have because his job required him to live in Alaska for 6 months or so!

If you look closely, you can see Hell's Bells to the left.

* As I post this, our landlord has a realtor appraising this house for sale. They are thinking of moving to Missouri. What? Who wants to move to a state that can’t decide if it’s part of the Midwest or the South? ShortShorts is sick of the snow, which I guess is a good enough reason if I had to spend every waking hour shoveling it off my roof and couldn’t wear my short shorts in the winter. Oh, and it’s cheaper down there. Right now, my salary probably equals what he pays in taxes here (he has a few houses). So who knows what the future brings for us. The bottom line is we still achieved a PR even if we have to move next week!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Great Scot! Great Brit!

This week is British Soccer Week in J's town. J has 8 coaches (some who are pro) from various parts of England and Scotland in town coaching 120 kids. It's a pretty awesome program and has grown every year since he's been the Rec Director.

Anyways, we went over to some good friends' (we call them the 3 Amigos) house tonight for a dinner party with the coaches.

I have a thing for British accents. And soccer. So I was drooling. I'll be honest. So was J. I'm about to watch Bend It Like Beckham to relive the memories.

We discussed the royal family and the Spice Girls and ate an all-American treat ... S'mores! How bloody brilliant! Cheers!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Kayaking 101

We've been teaching a lot of beginner classes in outdoor adventure lately ... hehe. Good practice for our future B&B, where we will offer all of that!

Anyways, we visited J's dad (MartiniShaker) and wife (GottaMove) on the coast of Mass this weekend and took MartiniShaker on his first kayak trip. He loved it and is definitely hooked! Because we were in such a rush leaving on Friday to beat the Boston and Cape traffic (which we didn't), I did not bring my camera to document the memory! At least he didn't flip over like some other first-timers ...

I did take a picture of something else though. How cool is this bracelet?
I was writing a story about a local gift shop for a freelance gig, and they gave me this!!! Apparently it's a pretty popular jewelery line (Trollbeads??), not that I would know. If I bought it myself, it would have cost me about $100 ... nice tip, huh?

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The Leaf

Before the invasion of the children this past weekend, J and I saw our favorite band, Carbon Leaf, in concert at Tupelo Music Hall in Londonderry (it's an awesome, intimate setting). One of my favorite songs is the namesake for this blog!

Live a life less ordinary
Live a life extraordinary with me
Live a life less sedentary
Live a life evolutionary with me ...

video

Another song I love "What about everything?"
In search of some rest
In search of a break
From a life of tests
Something's always at stake
Something's always so far
What about my broken car?
What about my life so far?
What about my dreams?
It's school, then work, then life

that just sharpens the blade
I think about time for fun
I think about time for play

Then I think about being done with the resume video

Peeee Esss ... I have a serious crush on the man to the far right, Carter. I want to marry him and have his babies. Oh wait. I'm already married. And I don't even want to have babies with my own husband. So shhh Internet, don't tell.

Peeee Esss, Peeee Esss ... This is the first time I'm uploading video, so hopefully it works!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Camping/Hiking 101

In addition to the tourist attractions, my sister's visit to NH included a little of what J and I do regularly ... camping and hiking.

I had taken my nephew Bones "camping" in his backyard once, but for everyone else, this was pretty much a first. Truth be told, J and I were more worried about the adults than the kids. Everyone survived, but QuickQuestion and Yankee would probably rather get a colonoscopy without anesthesia than go camping again. As for the kids, they gave it a thumbs up and we will be taking them again, sans parents.
Bones gathering kindling for the fire. Roasting mallowsEating mallows
Eating breakfast at camp

On Sunday, we did a local (easy) hike to a small waterfall and swimming hole. Again, the kids LOVED it, especially using the "hiking sticks." I envision lots of outdoor adventures for these kids.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

The Perfect Form of BC

How do you parents do it? Seriously? How? How? How? Am I asking too many questions? Because everything that comes out of my 7-year-old nephew's mouth is a question?

We just spent 3 days with my sister and her family (QuickQuestion, Yankee, Bones & CurlyLocks) and now we need 3 days of recovery!

This is their 3rd visit to NH and every time they come, we try to do something different. This year we tackled some major tourist attractions.

Cog Railway ... Bones is obsessed with anything trains (since infancy and he's now 7), so this was definitely up his alley. The rickety train takes you up to the top of Mt. Washington (highest point in NH) at a 75-degree angle. I did enjoy it, but agree with J that it needed a little more narration. Or maybe I needed to pay better attention ... it's hard to pay attention to anything with kids around. Is that an acquired talent parents? Did I get off-track? What was I talking about? Do kids make you this forgetful?

Don't they look like angels? Looks can be deceiving. Don't call child services, we weren't throwing her off the mountain.
Storyland ... I thought this was different from your typical amusement park. It's based on nursery rhymes, do kids really read these anymore? I mean, come on. The Big Bad Wolf. Three Little Pigs. Reading Steven King may be less frightening. In any case, Bones and CurlyLocks really loved this place. And it was well worth the money ($25/person), I thought. A good variety of rides and shows (the 30-minute circus was pretty awesome!). It was wall-to-wall kids, which according to J, was a glimpse of what hell would be like for him.


Stayed tuned for part 2 of their visit!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Numero 95

J and I enjoy living in NH more and more every day, so I was pleased to see my opinion validated when Concord made the 2009 Best Places to Live list. Of the 1,800+ towns (populations from 8,500 to 50,000) evaluated in the report, Concord was numero 95.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Now this is summer …

J & I just got back today from a 3-day kayak/camping trip to Squam Lake in NH with DogLovers and UncleSlickG. It was fantabulous!!!This is a trip we attempted to do last year, but were thundered/rained out. Surprisingly, not this year!! We only had rain Saturday night. When you have a good tent and rainfly, unlike DogLovers and UncleSlickG, rain at night is pretty awesome. Even better than rain on a tin roof …

Squam is the second biggest lake in NH. Although it seemed less populated by motor boats than Lake Winnepasaukee, it was a still busy, especially on Saturday when we were making the 2-mile paddle to our island to camp. J tried to warn me that this would be hard, especially with our kayaks loaded down with supplies for 3 days/2 nights. He wasn’t kidding. I felt like we were in the ocean with how choppy and windy it was. This was certainly not for the faint of heart, nor the beginner.
Before leaving Arriving at our island

The trip started out with a bang because UncleSlickG was a few hours behind us on the road. We thought we left him pretty good instructions about where to park and how to get to the island, but apparently no and no. After he was 3 hours late, J decided search and rescue was in order. Thankfully, it didn’t turn into a search and recovery. J found him wandering and lost about a mile from our island.

The only drawback were the skeeters. J ended up with 25 mosquito bites just on his back!!!On Sunday, J, UncleSlickG and I took a 9-mile paddle to explore a little more of the lake. We probably only hit 15%! We went in and out of coves, taking a peek to see where the rich bleed money. I’ve heard of 4-car-garages, but I have to say it was my first time seeing a 4-boat-garage.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

The bell tolls ...

37 times at 8am and 19 times at noon. Anyone know the significance of that?
Back in May, J and I started hearing church bells. We put two and two together and realized they were coming from our Catholic Church across the street--the church where Eugene Levy is the pastor. How nice, we thought, they must have fixed their bell. Now 2 months later, we realize the bell-repair-person must have experienced a layoff, or maybe we missed a class in Catholic School.

The bells might just be possessed. We've been scratching our heads trying to figure out the bell patterns. The bell dongs at 8am 37 times. Yes, 37 times. That's not even military time. That's simply 37+ seconds of sleep that I miss out on. The bell also seems to dong around 19 times at noon. The dongs do not really follow a consistent pattern, so I always lose count. Just when I think it's over, here comes another DONG.

The bells also play nice church songs, like Amazing Grace, but that's random too. Then one time, we thought we might have heard a Pink Floyd at 6pm. This really can't be right.

Maybe if I attended the Church of Eugene Levy in the past 2 months (I've been to church, people, just not that church), I could figure out the mystery. But until then ... dong ... dong ... ... ... dong ... dong ... dong ... ... ... ... ... ... dong. You get my drift?

Monday, July 6, 2009

Hell froze over

What did you do for Independence Day? Did you help your husband with his big community event that required manual labor, willingness to get up close and personal with garbage and about 20 hours of your time?? I did! I did! Though it was all tiring, I'm not complaining really. J does a great job and I love to see him in action in his job. The community loves him and you can tell. I don't blame them ... And of course the weather didn't cooperate, but we all made the best of it.

We got to recuperate on Sunday by boating on Lake Winnipasaukee. Every time we go out on the lake, it's a different experience. Sunday was no exception. We had blue skies and no rain during our 30-hour reprive of crappy weather, but it was still super windy and choppy. We were glad we weren't driving the boat this time.

So who were we out on the lake with??? NHBound and Mouth, who are newly engaged!!!! I know, I know. It's only been nearly 8 years since they've been together. I think it must be a cold day in hell.

Mouth was the only "brave" one to get in the water. J was considering it until he heard Mouth scream like an 8-year-old girl when he jumped in. That sealed the deal for him ...

And J and Mouth insisted on cuddling in the front of the boat on the way back home. They just about froze their nuts off!!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Phoenix Wrap-up

I survived the heat, and the best way to describe the visit is with a mosaic! Lots of GNOs, work stuff, babies and tortoises! Did I mention it was HOT???


PS - Happy Birthday America!!!