Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Christmas, etc.

Another Christmas has come and gone. This was probably one of the best ones for me.

Last Saturday was the Van Rooy family get-together up at Adam’s uncle’s house in Green Bay. The house was full of relatives and sugar-shocked children. At times the chaos was deafening - but in a good way. I got to meet some of the people I’d heard about but had never seen. Adam did his Santa Claus bit for his younger cousins and apparently even some of the adults had no idea it was him until we told them later! While at first I kind of felt out of place, I entertained myself by discussing wedding stuff with Adam’s mom and sister, talking a bit with his aunt, and then having a conversation about forensic accounting with his uncle, the detective. Many people were taking pictures the whole time. I’m not sure if I’ll be able to get my hands on any, but I’ll try and get the one of me sitting on “Santa’s” lap. :)

Sunday was Christmas Eve and the handbells were playing before the 10pm mass in a concert with the adult choir. It was packed up in the choir loft and Adam ended up sitting directly behind me for a while. That was kind of disconcerting, but I can adjust. The program went well. I was having temperature issues though. Playing bells is relatively physical and you can elevate your body temp just doing that. But when you have a break for a bit and the windows are open it can get cold pretty quickly. I was pretty wiped out and had a big headache by the time we left. We got home around 11:30 and headed directly to bed. Yay for drugs.

Monday morning we got up and had our Christmas at home before heading to Adam’s parents’ house. Adam was inspired to make waffles even though I told him there was only one egg left and waffles take two. In any case, they were still edible, if not aesthetically pleasing. We arrived at his parents’ right on time only to find out his sisters were at the hospital. His younger sister had apparently hurt her foot getting out of bed that morning but hadn’t gone to the doctor until his older sister looked at it. We watched Ice Age to kill time until they got back. We had a light dinner of sandwiches and cranberry fluff. When his sisters returned we exchanged gifts. Adam took pictures of this all and they’re posted on my photobucket site. His aunt and uncle showed up later on and we did some more gift exchanges. After that I was getting a headache again (I haven’t been sleeping very well lately and I tend to get headaches when I’m tired) so we left early. We took some cheesecake home with us though. :)

Tuesday was a holiday for me but Adam had to go back to work. I went grocery shopping early in the morning. Our little $20 weekly trips for the last month and a half caught up with us. I spent enough to get 4 scratch-off cards. And I didn’t even get everything I needed. They were in the process of restocking the shelves and I couldn’t find some things I needed. I ran a bunch of errands later in the day including Sam’s club, Wal-mart, the library, the bank, and Bed, Bath, & Beyond (thanks Evan & Jodi!) I made a slow-cooked spaghetti sauce that simmered in the crockpot all day. I also cleaned the house a lot in preparation for dinner with his aunt, uncle, grandma, and cousin. It was a busy day. I was in the middle of making dinner when Adam came home. The rest of the crew arrived a little early so I was kind of frazzled trying to finish everything while his aunt and uncle and grandma poked around the house. Everything worked out and the meal went ok. I made turkey meatballs and mashed potatoes (made from real potatoes.) (The spaghetti sauce I mentioned before was a backup in case what I intended to make didn’t work out.) We have lots of leftovers so I no longer trust Rachael Ray’s serving sizes. After dinner and dessert I banished myself to the kitchen to clean up the gigantic mess I’d made. His aunt kept me company while his grandma relaxed in the arm chair and his uncle and cousin discussed wireless internet and laptops and then set to critique our movie collection. They then began to watch a not-so-family-friendly movie. Thank goodness Grandma has bad eyesight! And his uncle is hard of hearing so he cranked that baby up. I took refuge in our bedroom with a book until they decided it was getting late and they should be heading home. The kitchen is still a mess, waiting for me to be motivated tonight after work.

The rest of the week should be relatively low-key. I mean, as low-key as year-end prep can be. We have a ton of file shredding tomorrow and then year-end inventory on Friday. Monday’s a holiday and then the fun begins. Yet another year-end in a different position. One of these years I’ll keep my job for more than a year!

Our open house in Saturday and while I don’t doubt people will come, I do doubt that Adam has informed them all about it. And given them the right times. He seems set on 1-5 when it’s really 11-4. But whatever. We’ll be there all day anyway. I’ve got one more shopping trip to make to get fresh veggies but other than that I’m pretty much prepared. I’ll be cooking Saturday morning. We’re trying to have a variety of things for people to eat. We baked and frosted cutout cookies on Monday morning and I plan to bake a few more kinds tonight and tomorrow. I got a box of different cheeses from work (that I’ve had to keep swatting Adam away from) that we’ll put out with crackers and summer sausage. I’ll be making the yummy spinach artichoke dip, Adam is making mini pigs-in-a-blanket, and I’m planning a little chicken appetizer, assuming I can find the wonton wrappers by Saturday. Some fresh veggies and lots of sparkling grape and apple juice should give everyone something to love. And if not, too bad. :) I don’t want to make all kinds of things I don’t like because I’m the one stuck with leftovers the next day. I’m stuck going to Dad and Cheryl’s open house alone since Adam works all day on New Year’s Eve. I still don’t know what we’re going to be doing at midnight. Knowing me, probably sleeping. I’m so pathetic.

After the new year, I should have my yearly review at work and then I can submit my vacation requests for the wedding/honeymoon and our two camping trips. I’ll also be able to revamp my 401(k) distributions. We just got moved over to JP Morgan so there are new funds to choose from. Adam looked at them last week and I’ll be moving my contributions around a little from where they mapped them. We’ll see how much I can accumulate this year. I really like the company match though. Free money rocks.

Monday, December 25, 2006

An IMA Xmas

Last Tuesday’s IMA Christmas party was… interesting.

I got to El Azteca around 5. I was the first person there and was led to the back area of the restaurant where our shindig was to take place. I sat around for about 20 minutes, bus boys leering at me and probably talking about me in Spanish. Finally some other people arrived and things got interesting.

I had set my stuff up on a big round table which I was later informed was supposed to be where they put the buffet. Oops. Then when I leaned down to pick up my plastic box that I carry everything in, my pants split down the back. So I spent the rest of the evening wearing the fashionable “coat around the waist” look.

Our speaker had cancelled because he had the flu. This frazzled Sheri (the president) a little, but everyone seemed ok with just doing the raffles, having some margaritas, and participating in some quick holiday trivia. Three people showed up without an RSVP (and it’s always the same rude guys who do this…I so want to not let them eat) but two people who HAD RSVP’d didn’t show so I guess it worked out. Adam made a killing on his raffle ticket sales (while wearing a nametag that said “Raffle ticket guy”) and we came out WAY ahead for the first time in my tenure as moneygirl. I suppose it helped that it was a relatively cheap dinner.

Raffle-wise, Adam got a box of pretty nice Christmas cards (too late for this year, but perhaps we can use them next year.) I got a frilly pink photo book (which was re-gifted to Adam’s cousin) and we also got a talking dictionary that Adam was pretty excited about.

Overall things went well.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

The End of a Computer Era

So last week the computer saga came to its highpoint. The desktop Adam built me almost 2 years ago flaked out one time too many so I kicked it (literally) and went and bought a laptop.

Adam pulled the computer out from its lair underneath the desk to take a look at it earlier this week. Turns out it was so dusty the motor couldn’t work, causing it to short out all the time (or something like that.) This is what I get for having it up against the wall and ignoring it I guess. He spent some time this afternoon clearing out the dust and it appears to function when clean. Since I had already bought the laptop and transferred all my stuff I wasn’t interested in battling with the computer anymore. So he took the hard drive out and sold it (plus the keyboard) to a friend on eBay for $50. Better than nothing I suppose. We’re keeping the flat-screen monitor for now.

I’m enjoying the laptop thus far. I rejected the idea of buying a separate keyboard and opted instead for a number pad. I am using my optical mouse still since I despise the stupid pad things that laptops come with. I also had to get a USB hub since the laptop only came with 3 and I need many more (printer, mouse, number pad, iPod charger, digital camera, scanner, etc.) I also hooked up the new speakers to the laptop. They’re pretty awesome but I’ve tried to limit my booty-shaking bass so I don’t annoy the neighbors. I’m toying with the idea of transferring my IMA stuff to the new computer so I can take it to meetings with me but I’m not sure about that one yet.

I (heart) my Crock Pot

During a recent phone conversation with Adam he asked me why I hadn’t gotten a crock pot sooner. I said it just hadn’t occurred to me. But now that I have one, I wonder the same thing. It’s so useful. I’ve already used it for pot roast, hobo meatball stew, a chicken and tomato dish, and right now it’s working away on a whole chicken with veggies. I like that I can take some time in the morning, hit a few buttons, and dinner is done (and the house smells wonderful) when I get home after work. This is so convenient since lately I’ve been coming home with a complete lack of motivation. This takes the work out of preparing dinner. Or, I suppose, transfers the work to the morning when I am apparently more motivated. In any case, everyone should own a slow cooker. There are tons and tons of great recipes out there and they’re all pretty much a “cut up things, thrown them in the pot, add broth/water, cook for X hours” deal. The one I got is a "smartpot" or something and has an internal timer. It switches to warm mode after the time expires. It's difficult to screw it up. So easy, a caveman could do it. (Bwahahahaha.)

Holiday Schedule at a glance

Thursday 12/21 – Holiday Dinner at Milprint. They’re serving spaghetti, which doesn’t really seem very “Christmas-y” to me, but whatever.

Friday 12/22 – Both Adam and I are on vacation. We have a flower consultation appointment in the morning. Afternoon plans are undecided, but Adam works at Wal-mart in the evening.

Saturday 12/23 – Adam’s family’s annual Christmas party up in Green Bay. Adam will be doing his Santa gig for his younger cousins. We missed this last year because he had to work.

Sunday 12/24 – Handbells play at a concert with the adult choir before the 10pm mass. Adam plans on coming with me.

Monday 12/25 – Christmas hoopla over at Adam’s parents’ house in the early afternoon. Secret Santa exchange, etc.

Tuesday 12/26 – I have vacation again. Not sure about Adam, but his aunt and uncle from Florida are coming over for dinner.

Wednesday 12/27-Friday 12/29 – Normal workdays. Boo.

Saturday 12/30 – We’re having our little holiday open house for a few hours.

Sunday 12/31 – Dad and Cheryl are having their open house. Not sure what we’re going to do in the evening. Last year we went up to GB and I sat around while Adam played Madden with his cousin and his friends. We’ll see I guess.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Driving is Dangerous

In a matter of about 15 seconds on my way back from lunch this afternoon I had 3 near-accidents:

#1 – ballsy PT Cruiser turned left directly in front of me. Had to slam on brakes to avoid collision. Proper horn and “wave” followed.

#2 – moronic pickup truck “went left to turn right” (damn, I hate people who do that) and almost side-swiped me. Luckily I was going pretty slow (see #1) so I just swerved a little into the turn lane to avoid him.

#3 – A completely psychotic, perhaps mentally impaired old man on a bike rode leisurely across the street AGAINST THE LIGHT AS THERE WERE CARS COMING. Luckily I was turning left and was going slow enough (see #1 and #2) that I hadn’t pulled out into the intersection yet. He barely missed getting smooshed by an oncoming car though (they got to do the brake slam and gestures this time.)


Sunday, December 17, 2006

My Housewares Addiction

So today I was on a mission to find a ginormous martini glass. I went to Wire Whisk. I went to Home Goods. I went to Pier 1 (which, by the way, I've never done before. I should probably never go again. It could be dangerous.) I went to Bed, Bath, and Beyond (which is always dangerous.) No luck with the martini glass, but I did buy this

at Pier 1 and this

at BBB.

These damn kitchen supply stores! They lure me in with their sexy spatulas and I'm defenseless against their shiny kitchen appliances and nifty gadgets. It's an illness I tell you!

In any case, if anyone knows where I can get a huge martini glass (30oz+) let me know!

Saturday, December 16, 2006

My Purse is a Curse

So, this is my purse:

It keeps getting me in trouble.

When I go to the grocery store, one of the baggers always seems to feel the need to comment on it. "Do you REALLY like nerds? I mean, REALLY? Do you mean nerds, the people, or Nerds, the candy?"

The cart pusher at Walmart has said "nice purse" about 5 times now.

But Friday's episode took the cake. I had a grand time running some errands on my lunch hour. I went to the post office and there was no line! I went to the bank and there was no line there either! Then I stopped by Burger King to pick up some food before heading back to work. Not only were there a lot more people there than usual, but there also happened to be not one, but two screaming children. One of whom's parents didn't have the common sense to remove them from the restaurant for a good 10 minutes. Anyway, I sat down at a table near a couple and their grandchild. The only way I can describe them is "white trash." And considering I'm apparently a "hick" because I like my Spongebob pjs (which Adam picked out, by the way), you can only imagine what these people were like. Anyway, their grandson, who was named Dante (I kid you not) ran around the restaurant with abandon while his grandparents ignored him. As they were leaving, the man came over to me and tapped my shoulder.

"It is true?" he asked me.
"Do you really love nerds?"
"Uh, yes?"
"I should introduce you to my son. He's a nerd. He works at McDonald's."
(trying not to laugh in his face) "No thanks (shameless flash of the ring), I'm taken."


The (Controversial) Christmas Letter

I read this article about Christmas letters over on the other day. I found it interesting. I certainly hope my letters aren't full of bragging and I hope those who receive it aren't offended that I sent it so impersonally.

For my part, I look forward to getting Christmas cards and the potential update letters. We don't keep in touch much throughout the year, being so far away, each so busy with our own life. I enjoy reading a (usually very brief) synopsis of the past year. Some people are apparently uninterested in this. I hope if someone gets a letter from me and they hate it they just throw it out.

I also took a peek at the related message board. Some people are way to sensative about this kind of thing...

So far this year I've received 2 letters. And I happened to be mentioned in both of them. Score! :)

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Sunday, Lively Sunday

It wasn’t a busy weekend, but it was a good one. Adam returned from California late Saturday night. Even though we didn’t get home until around 11:30 and didn’t get to sleep until much later (for some reason he wanted to unpack and show me everything he had bought) we still got up when the alarm went off at 7. Kind of.

We had some shopping to do so we headed first to Menards to find our yearly ornament. We didn’t find exactly what we wanted but we did find an ornament. We chose a gas camping grill to commemorate our camping experiences this summer. After some other random stops (like Office Max and a scrapbooking store) we headed back to the highway. As we were waiting to turn onto College Ave, Adam spotted a big cloud of smoke. He deduced that since there was smoke, there was probably fire, and who doesn’t like to see things burn? So instead of turning left, he went straight and parked the car in the parking lot of the bank across the street from the burning building. The firemen and all the necessary public workers were already on site hooking up their hoses so we just watched the flames shoot out of the roof until it collapsed. It was fun. I eventually convinced him we needed to get going so we could stop at Walmart on the way home. We did just that but discovered he had failed to edit the engagement picture he had sent to be printed online so they were junk. After spending a mere $68 of the $216 I have left in flex spending, we headed home so I could get dinner started in the crockpot.

While at Walmart we had also picked up some new speakers for my computer. I have the same dinky ones Evan gave me back when he sent me the original computer. Not that there’s anything wrong with dinky speakers…we were just looking for something with a bit more oomph so we could properly blast our Christmas carols. When Adam plugged them in, my computer (once again) freaked out and crashed. He thinks there’s something loose in the wiring or something like that. This is (at least) the third time that this kind of thing has happened. Every time I buy some new thing for the computer it dies. That ungrateful piece of crap…Fortunately this time my hard drive wasn’t erased (yet, at least.) But I had the chance to move my money files and the all important wedding stuff over to his laptop. I’ll try to get the rest of my stuff off before it self-destructs but I have a feeling that might be difficult. Anyway, this whole thing will result in me buying a new computer. Most likely tonight.

Anyway, I got dinner all ready and we decided to tempt fate and try and run back up to Bed, Bath, and Beyond to get some big bowls before my dad and Cheryl showed up. Luckily, they called as we got off the highway to tell us they were running late. Score. We got the bowls (and, through Adam’s impulse buying, some really yummy candy-covered pretzels) and made it back home with plenty of time to finish vacuuming before everyone showed up.

When Dad and Cheryl got to our apartment we headed up to Kaukauna. We actually passed Adam’s parents on the way and they followed us the rest of the way there. I had this bad feeling that we were going to get to the store and they were going to be closed. I thought perhaps I should have called them to let them know we were going to be coming up. Luckily we got there right as they were going to close up shop. They are open 12-4 on Sundays but apparently no one had come at all until we showed up around 3 and the salespeople were getting restless. Whew! What luck. So we all swarmed into the store. I believe I referred to the crowd as “my entourage.” I took Cheryl and Adam’s mom with me back to the dressing area where I showed off my dress. It really is a beautiful dress. While Adam was busy picking out tuxes we stole my dad and his dad away for a minute so they could peek at it as well. I don’t have to do any alterations or anything until about June so the dress will be hanging out in their vault until then. Adam decided what color and style all the tuxes will be so his job is pretty much done. (heh) I also placed the order for the Catherines’ dresses. I have no idea how long they’ll take to come back but I highly doubt they’ll be as quick as mine was.

After thanking the ladies for sticking around for us, we all headed back to our apartment. Dinner still had about 45 minutes left to go so we just settled in to watch the Packer game for a while. Dinner went well. I was kind of nervous since this is the first time I cooked for 6 people. It worked out though. The Hobo Meatball Stew was yummy and Adam’s choice of cheesecake was a hit as well. After dinner we watched the rest of the game, opened some gifts from Dad and Cheryl, and then everyone went home. And I left the mess in the kitchen until last night.

We went to bed totally early. I think we fell asleep during Family Guy even. Kind of sad, but it was a long day.

Guinea Pig Crisis

I kind of completely forgot to mention something important last week.

Last weekend (or, I suppose, two weekends ago now) I finally got around to doing some online research about our two guinea pigs. Mo had developed some nasty scabs and Einstein started to lose his hair. From a few different resources I determined it was probably mites. The only thing we could do was take the boys to the vet. Unfortunately, the closest exotic pet vet is in Hortonville. So on Monday both Adam and I took off from work early and we loaded the guys into carrying boxes and headed to the vet. The doctor examined them both and did skin grafts to see if she could see any mites. She found them. The treatment for mites is in shot form since the mites burrow underneath the skin. So both Mo and Einstein got a shot. Einstein was really good about it but you could hear Mo scream throughout the clinic. Poor guy.

I had to get to handbell practice so Adam dropped me off at the church and he went home and cleaned out their cages. Fortunately they don’t seem to have a very good long-term memory and they don’t hate me. I only cuddled with them once since then though since I don’t want to spread anything around. Einstein is definitely looking better and Mo seems to be improving as well. On the downside – the treatment is a series of 3 shots, each a week apart. So tonight Adam will be taking them in for shot #2. Hopefully it will all be taken care of after the third shot. Otherwise we’ll have to decide if we want to do a round of antibiotics. There comes a point where you have to do a cost analysis but hopefully we won’t have to get to that point. They both seem happy enough. They’re definitely eating and playing around.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Earning Interest

Savings Accounts earn 4.5% APY @ and 5.05% APY @

How is it that I was completely unaware of these banks? It’s kind of annoying to think of how much more I could have earned if I had put all my individual and joint savings into one of these accounts rather than let it all sit at Capital earning a measly 1% APY. Grrr. Live and learn I guess. At least I still have 8 good months to let it make a little more for me.

Reading various personal finance blogs has educated me.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Xmas Overachiever

I am SO on top of things this year. Right now all my Christmas cards (including tons of Save-the-Date cards too) are sitting on the ledge, waiting to be taken to the post office tomorrow. Yes, my tongue is totally dry and tastes like nasty minty stuff, but it's done and I can let the papercuts heal. Ok, so there weren't really that many. We are sending out a little more than 50 cards. Even so, it was a good two or three hour job to get them all assembled.

So glad it's done. I can't wait for invitation time!

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

The 12-1-06 Post That Was Forgotten

Here is the long-awaited post mentioned here

It’s pretty cool how quickly time goes when you’re actually doing stuff.

As expected, this week was pretty eventful. So much so that I only got to torture Mo once. And not for very long (although that was more because he peed on me than because I didn’t have time for him…)

On Monday I had handbells and I was no longer the newest member. That didn’t last long. :) Another woman showed up at the practice. She apparently had been a member previously and had been part of other groups as well. But she hadn’t rung in something like 10 years. But she wanted everyone to know that she had done some shelly-ringing (where you ring two bells per hand – it’s complicated and requires much more coordination than I possess.) That said, (and with no snooty overtones at all) she kind of sucked. With all her experience, I had high expectations. And she had the teeny bells I originally was going to take. The ones that play like 5 times each song. Or not at all. Anywho, I don’t know when I last played handbells (in high school sometime… probably at least 6 years…) but I seemed to be able to pick up and go. Maybe I’m just packed with musical talent. Woo. Uh oh, I’m getting snooty. Better move on. In addition to the previously mentioned Red Hatters concert we’re also doing a program for Landmark Staffing in mid-December as well. Luckily this bumped a Saturday night mass that was on the schedule for the same night as my next UWO Accounting get-together so now I don’t have some major moral dilemma to struggle with. (Oh, come on, of course I’d choose the handbells.)

On Tuesday we got in the Christmas spirit along with Tina and Jeff (my co-worker and her husband). We went to dinner at (where else) Good Company and then headed to the PAC to see Lorie Line. We had good seats. Box seats - meaning my butt could fit in them and I didn’t have “obnoxious drunk lady” elbowing me the whole time. I wasn’t sure what to expect since I had never heard of Lorie Line until Tina mentioned her. Apparently she’s really big in the Twin Cities (where Tina’s from.) Anyway, I’d describe it as Manheim Steamroller-ish. Ms. Line plays her amped-up piano in conjuction with her mini-orchestra and occasionally a vocalist. Each year there’s a theme and this year was the Traditions of Christmas. Meaning, the story of Christ’s birth. Yay. But there were some funny moments. Mr. Line (that is, Lorie’s husband) played all the narrative characters ranging from St. Nick to Charles Dickens to King Herod. Either it was completely improvised or he was having a really hard time remembering his lines. In any case, he was hilarious. I think my favorite part was when the children in the audience were herded out and then herded onstage in costumes. The camel cracked me up.

Tina says this was one of the worst years she’s seen (and she’s seen many) but it was still enjoyable. We even got a bell ornament and 3 fake candles in the deal.

I don’t even remember what I did on Wednesday. I know I went shopping and did some cleaning. Other than that I must have zoned out in front of the tv. This is when the aforementioned guinea pig peeing happened. I had him on my stomach on the couch and all of the sudden I got really warm. I almost dropped him while running him back to his cage. And I had just put the last load of laundry in the washer. Little bastard. LoL. I don’t think he did it on purpose. I had him with Einstein in their play pen and he tends to relieve himself in there all the time. I guess I took him out too soon. Oh well.

Yesterday we had our engagement photo session. We had fun contorting ourselves into strange positions to get good poses. At the end of the day we had about 70 pictures to choose from. We’ll be sending out Christmas cards next week sometime with our favorite. I’ll also be posting some of my favorite outtakes on the wedding website. There are so many of me looking stoned or with my tongue out. I’m so not photogenic. Also, Adam’s mom has printed and cut all our save-the-date cards so those will be sent out soon as well. It looks like we’ve adopted a “build-a-bear” bride and groom theme. It’s somewhat appropriate since we own so many of their products and have bride and groom bears for the reception.

This weekend will be pretty low-key. I don’t have anything planned (that I can remember anyway) and Adam will mostly be working. His stint as Santa Claus will begin soon. Then next week he’s in California for 5 days, leaving me to my own devices. Muahahahaha. (Yeah, right. We all know I’ll sit around doing nothing all week. Or maybe I’ll go on a list-making frenzy. That sounds fun.)

So, I’ll be updating the wedding website soon. I’m considering adding a blog there. I’m not completely sure yet but it’s a distinct possibility. Other than that I’ll be sitting at home with hot chocolate, mourning the end of the warm fall days.

Wedding Weirdness

I’m a little bit in shock. I got a call today from Bridal Staircase, the place where we’re getting all our wedding apparel. Apparently Alfred Angelo had the dress I ordered in stock in the proper size so today, a mere 23 days after I ordered it, I got a call telling me my dress has arrived at the store and I can come try it on and ogle it whenever I’d like. What happened to the “you must order 7 months in advance or else you’ll be walking down the aisle naked” thing? Strange…

Friday, December 01, 2006

Wedding Blog

Since I moved to Tripod and they have a blog function on their website I have started a special blog over there. URL is

I just posted our Engagement photos over there so check it out.

Also, I wrote a totally long and developed entry while at work today and forgot to email it to myself so I could add the pictures. I'll post it on Monday. If I remember.