Stranded by Hurricane Irene!

by Christine on September 1st, 2011

filed under Christine's Life Updates, General Information

I’m back home, finally, after being stranded out of town because of Hurricane Irene. I had left last week to do a long-weekend away, in order to attend a friend’s wedding. Plus, I got to visit my parents for a few days. Then Irene hit and devastated my hometown here in New York, and it was impossible to find a flight out until Wednesday (we were schedule to be home on Sunday)!  It was terribly inconvenient for me because of my work schedule, but at least we were in a safe spot. When we got home, we discovered that our cat was okay, the house was okay, the yard is mostly okay (just a few tree branches down). So we got off pretty easily, but not so much for the rest of our neighbors in Schoharie County and in Vermont….

I work for an engineering firm that, among other things, designs roads and bridges, and some of the counties affected by the storm are some of our best clients. I imagine we are going to be very busy helping our local communities rebuild after the storm. Today I am going to look into the possibility of me being able to get out there and to help distribute some clothes, food, etc., as a way for our company to “give back” to the communities.

Further bad news about my trip: my parents were sick, and I caught their cold, unfortunately. Boo!

I also gained 2 pounds while away, and that was entirely my fault. My parents apparently don’t eat on regular schedules anymore, nor do they really keep healthy food in the house. My meals consisted of either fast food, fried fish, ribs, and Chicago-style Italian beef. I ordered salads when I could, but overall the eating was less than stellar. I swam one day and went for a walk another day and danced at the wedding, but otherwise I didn’t get any exercise in, either. (And I packed gym clothes!)

The good news is that I got to spend time with my parents, meet a wonderful online friend for the first time, and attend a wedding filled with friends! It was a really fun time, and I danced my butt off! So here are some snippets from the week…

Here I am meeting my friend Sandy from Alabama in front of the “Married With Children Fountain” (aka: Buckingham Fountain in Chicago).

Me and the hubby at the wedding! I never in a bajillion years would have worn a dress like this when I was heavier.

The happy couple!

Getting my silly on at the wedding!

I got to meet one of my mom’s long-time friends (they were friends in middle school) Terry and her husband Eliot. What great people!We spent the day in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin and had lunch up there (greek salad, delicious) and walked around the main street shopping. Did you know that Lake Geneva is the home of Dungeons and Dragons (D&D)?  Of course, hubby was in search of D&D stuff, and we finally found a game store where he could buy a D&D book.

Now if you’re ever in the southern Wisconsin/Northern Illinois area, you really need to check out the House on the Rock. It’s one of my favorite eclectic museums I’ve ever been to!  I’ve been to the House on the Rock probably 10 times in my life. But I found a new eclectic museum even closer to my parents’ home. It’s call the Historic Auto Attractions in Roscoe, Illinois, and let me tell you, it’s freaking awesome!!  It’s just some rich guy that started collecting weird stuff, and he has it all displayed in a metal-framed building and calls it a “museum.” They have the weirdest assortment of automobiles, autographs, Hollywood stuff, historic stuff, etc.  But the items this guy has collected are really historic! For instance, the museum has:

  • A collection of old west stuff, including John Wayne memorabilia, Custer’s Last Stand stuff, old stage coaches, etc.
  • The actual clothes (hats) that the real Bonnie & Clyde wore when they got shot.  He also has the actual car used to film the Bonnie & Clyde movie back in the 60s or whatever.
  • John Dillinger’s 1932 Studebaker Commander
  • Al Capone’s delivery vehicle “Beer Truck” (1929 Model AA Truck)
  • Howard Hughes’s car
  • Colonel Sander’s car
  • Marilyne Monroe stuff, including the letter from the movie studio firing her for not showing up for filming, the dress in “Some Like it Hot” (I think) autograpsh, locks of hair, etc.
  • Laurel & Hardy’s car
  • Joseph Stalin’s 1937 Packard Super 12
  • Evita and Juan Peron’s Presidential Limo, 1950 Rolls Royce Silver Wraith
  • The Secret Service’s parade car that followed JFK when he got shot.
  • A bunch of Jackie O’s clothing
  • A part of the Grassy Knoll fence, a window from next to where Oswald shot JFK
  • The actual flag that draped Kennedy’s casket during his funeral. He also has Jackie O’s veil from the service, as well as a LOT of letters, documents, autographs, and other JFK assassination paraphernalia.
  • The fireplace mantel from the White House, where Truman signed the order to drop the first atomic bomb on Hiroshima
  • A ton of race car stuff
  • Movie car stuff, like the Delorian from Back to the Future, the Ghost Busters car, a couple of Batmobiles, the National Lampoons’ station wagon
  • A bunch of Gone with the Wind stuff, such as a mirror used in the movie, Clark Gable’s contract, Vivien Leigh’s clothes, original tickets and programs, etc.
  • A ton of Abraham Lincoln stuff, such as the chair he sat in, parts of the cabin where he grew up, the coins placed on his eyes when he died, part of the bloodstained bandages, locks of hair, clothing, his famous top hat, etc.
  • A couple of space things, like the Freedom 7 capsule that came back to Earth

Like…a lot of really awesome stuff for a museum stuck in the middle of nowhere. Well worth the money and the visit if you’re ever in that part of the country!

 

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Just another day!

by Christine on November 10th, 2010

filed under Christine's Life Updates

Just another day….

  • Weight was 127.0, but that was after 2 cups of coffee, it may very well be lower than that! I think I am going to hide the scale and have official weigh-ins until I reach my goal of 125. I want it to be a momentous occasion that it deserves to be! Official weigh-ins from here on out! I’m thinking of hiding the scale and pulling it out on 12-12-10, because it’s a nice even date.  Man, that would be awesome to see my final goal weight showing on the scale!!!
  • Today’s food has included 3 cups of coffee, a cup of yogurt, some leftover Reuben sandwich (minus the bread of course!), and a handful of almonds. Tonight I’ll have leftover cornish hen and some kind of vegetable. A fairly typical eating day for me.
  • Unemployment FINALLY got back to me after I’ve left my claims rep four messages. Apparently I was approved to receive unemployment weeks ago, but some asswipe put a hold on my account for no reason, which is why I haven’t been receiving any money for weeks and weeks. I’m told that because of how screwed up the system is that I need to file an all-new claim, but I am to tell the new claims rep to backdate my claim to October 18th so I can receive back pay.  So I go through the horrible “Press 1 for this, Press 2 for that” phone system and file a new claim, but there’s no option to talk to an agent! Fuckers! So I’ve been on hold for an hour waiting to talk to someone to try to clear this all up once and for all.  Now this claims rep says I have to go through a mandatory 1-week waiting period even though I’m due a month’s worth of back pay, but whatever, so long as this whole dirty mess is sorted out!
  • I got a call from the jobplace that they want me to come in for a second interview! Because the job description entails putting together Powerpoint presentations for senior management, I’m to put together a 10 minute formal powerpoint presentation about myself and why I am the best candidate for the position. The presentation needs to include one “technical data slide” (I think this means a chart or graph) as well as one animated slide. This will be fun to throw together. Only 10 minutes??? psssh piece of cake!! I’m feeling excited about it!
  • Today I emptied my savings account to pay for my COBRA health insurance. Cross your fingers that nothing disastrous happens, like with one of our cars or the hot water heater or anything, because I officially have no money to pay for it! LOL! Living on the edge monetarily is not something I’m used to, nor is it something I am comfortable with. In the last two weeks hubby and I have found a way to cut out about $500 or more worth of bills to our monthly budget, so I’m really hoping that will help us out. I miss having house cleaning though. A lot.
  • Hubby has the day off from work tomorrow, and we’re planning a drive to Vermont to a small town I’ve never been to. We’re going to check out some wild bird sanctuary, go to a Vermont Cheddar factory, and who knows what else. I’m looking forward to the drive-time!
  • I’m going to Boston this weekend for a game (Dominion) tournament. I do well playing Dominion against our friends, even hubby’s uber-geek friends, but I’ve never played in any kind of tournament before. It should be fun!
  • My parents were incredibly kind to pay for hubby & my plane tickets to visit them in Illinois for Christmas. Today I bought the tickets, and I’m really looking forward to seeing my parents!  It was really nice of my parents to pay for our airfare, and I hope that I can pay them back as soon as I get a little money rolling in again….perhaps if this job (interview #2) pans out.

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