Saturday, December 27, 2008

All I Want for Christmas...

is a new kitchen floor. I've been wanting a new kitchen floor since we moved into this house six years ago. The flooring was old linoleum that just would not come clean.

I had hoped to have the new flooring installed several months ago, but we ended up waiting until just before Christmas to get the project going.

The new flooring is 12 x 12 composite tile that required special pre-mixed grout. Problems working with the grout made the two-day project last four days. But, the end result is quite nice.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Trouble at the Border

The guy at the Taco Bell drive thru is quite the joker. Watch this video for a few laughs...

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Christmas Decorations

After Bruce got the Christmas lights up on the front of the house, I was thinking of ways to jazz up the empty flower boxes. A quick shopping trip to Big Lots and 10 minutes of arranging and the boxes don't look so empty any more.

Monday, December 1, 2008

More Christmas Fun @ CVS

Buy three American Greetings cards at CVS and you earn the privileged to buy these singing Christmas Bears for $4.99 each (see video below). Not sure what the big deal is... they don't even move.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

I'm Not A Computer Expert

I know how to surf the web, send email, use a few computer programs, burn CDs, resize photos and a few other things that may make me seem like I know a lot about computers.

But, other than using a computer, I don't know much about computers. In fact, when my computer gives me the blue screen of death or similar error messages, the only thing I know to do is to shut it down, shake it and then turn it back on.

So, if anyone out there in computerland knows what this means, let me know.

Critter Cam

The back yard was full of critters today.

Squirrels eating bird food...

Birds patiently waiting for the squirrels to get their bellies full...

Squirrels eating squirrel food...

It's The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year

Fun at CVS...

I never heard of Mitch Hedberg before today, but I like his sense of humor

Mitch Hedberg jokes:

I was at this casino minding my own business, and this guy came up to me and said, "You're gonna have to move, you're blocking a fire exit." As though if there was a fire, I wasn't gonna run. If you're flammable and have legs, you are never blocking a fire exit.

I saw a commercial that said, "forget everything you know about slip covers!" So I did. And it was a load off my mind. Then the commercial tried to sell me slip covers, but I didn't know what the heck they were.

I wanna hang a map of the world in my house. Then I'm gonna put pins into all the locations that I've traveled to. But first, I'm gonna have to travel to the top two corners of the map, so it won't fall down.

You know when a company wants to use letters in their phone number to be catchy? But often times they use too many letters. "Give us a call down here at 1-800-I-Really-Enjoy-Carpeting." It's too many letters, man. "Hello?" "Hold on, I'm only on 'Enjoy'! How did you know I was calling?"

I like escalators, because an escalator can never break; it can only become stairs. You would never see an "escalator temporarily out of order" sign, just "Escalator temporarily stairs... sorry for the convenience.

I wanna get a job naming kitchen appliances, that seems easy. Refrigerator, toaster, blender... you just say what the thing does, then you add "er". Kitchen Appliance Naming Institute... "What does this thing do?" "It keeps stuff fresh." "Well then that's a fresher! I'm going on break."

I opened up a yogurt, and underneath the lid it said "please try again." Did I opened the yogurt wrong or was Yoplait trying to inspire me? "Come on, don't give up... please try again." A message of inspiration from your friends at Yoplait. Fruit on the bottom, hope on top.

I had a bag of Fritos, they were Texas Grilled Fritos. These Fritos had grill marks on 'em. Reminds me of summer, when we used to fire up the barbeque, and throw down on some Fritos. I can still see my dad with the apron on... "you better flip that Frito dad, you know how I like it."

2 in 1 shampoo... 2 in 1 is a bogus term, because 1 is not big enough to hold 2. That's why 2 was created. If it was 2 in 1, it would be overflowing... the bottle would be all sticky.

I called the hotel operator, she said "how can I direct your call?" Well, you could say "action!" And I will begin to dial. And then when I say goodbye, you could yell "cut!"

I order the club sandwich all the time, but I'm not even a member, man! I don't know how I get away with it.
"I like my sandwiches with three pieces of bread."
"So do I."
"Well let's form a club then."
"Okay, but we need some more stipulations."
"Yes we do. Instead of cutting the sandwich once, let's cut it again."
"Yes, four triangles. And we will position them into a circle. And in the middle we will dump chips."
"Or potato salad."
"Okay. Lemme ask you a question: how do you feel about frilly toothpicks?"
"I'm for 'em!"
"Well this club is formed. Spread the word on menus nationwide!"

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Making The Most Of The Weather Reprieve

The outside temperature was 28 degrees Saturday morning, but the sun came out and it warmed to about 45. That's considered a heat wave this time of year in northern Indiana.

We took full advantage of the break in the weather to take care of a few outside chores.

Bruce carried about a cord of firewood from the woods to the patio and stacked it into the log racks he built.

Then, he hung the Christmas lights on the front of the house.

I planted the tulip bulbs that I had meant to plant about a month ago. And, did some final outdoor and garden cleanup -- washed windows, put away the garden art and hoses, cleaned out the trash cans and emptied the planters.

Bring on the snow... we're ready.

My new favorite website...

Let me Google that for you is the perfect website to look up answers for people too lazy to do it for themselves.

Ever been on a message board and seen someone post a question that they could have easily answered for themselves with a quick Google search? Instead of answering the question for them, head on over to and type in the search query and generate a URL and then send them that URL.

It will help teach them how to find answers online and you'll get the satisfaction of being a "helpful" smart ass.

Here's an example:

Q: How do I start my own blog?

A: Follow this link, it will help you start a blog:

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Guitar Hero Battle

After Thanksgiving dinner, I played Guitar Hero with brother Mike and his girls Caitie and Jessica. Look for Jess on a stage near you soon -- she rocks!

Happy Thanksgiving

Not only did we make homemade stuffing (instead of using Stovetop) and homemade gravy (instead of using store-bought gravy in a jar), Bruce cooked one of the turkeys on the Weber grill and deep fried the other turkey. A big thanks to my friend, Cheryl, for the excellent cooking tips!

Here, Spike watches Bruce prepare the grill.

Here's a photo of the turkey, fresh off the grill.

And, here's Bruce carving the fried turkey. It looked very crispy on the outside,
but it was very moist on the inside.

We Are Thankful For Grandma

We were blessed to have Grandma join us for Thanksgiving dinner. I can remember many dinners around her table and she was an incredibly good cook. Now it's nice to have her over to dinner around our table.

Macy's Rick Rolls America

There I was in my kitchen mixing up the yellow stuff for deviled eggs, with the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade playing on the TV across the room, when all of a sudden I was Rick Rolled.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Whooo Hoooo -- We Won The Lottery

Going through some old papers, we came across a lottery ticket that had never been scratched. Turns out it was a $100 winner. What a great way to start off a long holiday weekend!

Monday, November 24, 2008

I'd go broke if my job was flipping houses

I've noticed, in all of the Flip This House episodes, that the key to a successful flip is working fast. That way you get the work done and the house sold before the first mortgage payment is due.

Around our house, home improvement projects move in slow motion. I really don't think it's because we're procrastinators. More likely it's because we're unsure of ourselves when it comes to such things and rather than jumping right in and doing something wrong, we tend to spend a lot of time online researching exactly how to do it right (and checking Fark and updating our Facebook pages...).

Last winter, after watching a few hundred hours worth of home improvement shows on HGTV, I had this idea that it would be nice to epoxy the garage floor and paint the walls. We bought the epoxy kit back in April and finished the first half of the garage floor epoxy project in mid-September.

Then, Bruce decided he wanted to put in a couple extra electrical outlets before we finished the other half of the garage.

We bought the electrical supplies and Bruce even cut out the holes for the outlets. Then, he ran into a big problem. There's a large amount of wood at the bottom of the garage walls, inside the drywall. And, he'll have to drill through that to run wiring down to the power box in the basement.

It took a couple of weeks to find a three-foot-long drill bit. And, now that we've got that, Bruce has been dutifully Googling for tips on how to drill horizontally inside the walls to connect the two outlet boxes.

Not sure if we'll ever get the electrical outlets finished, but we did go ahead and finish the garage floor epoxy last night. Plus, we rehung the dartboard with a new frame around it to protect the newly painted walls.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Fun in the Christmas Aisle at Lowe's

We had to go to Lowe's this weekend to pick up a circuit breaker. Not much fun to be had in the electrical aisle so we headed over to Christmasland to check out the holiday kitsch. We were not disappointed.

Guitar Hero Christmas Edition

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow...

It's snowing yet again here in northern Indiana. This is the 4th snowfall of the season. Total accumulation as of Tuesday was four inches. It did warm up enough on Wednesday that most of the snow had melted and the grass was visible again. But, tonight it started snowing again. It's going to be tough going bringing up the split firewood from the woods to the patio this weekend.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Everything Is On Sale... Nobody Is Buying

Seems like I get about 10 emails a day from every major retailer with coupons and incentives to buy their stuff. Well, listen up guys, I don't need anything.

I need to pay my mortgage and utilities and buy food and gas for my van. Other than that, I'm not spending unless it's something I really, really need. And, it's very doubtful that something I really need is on sale at Macys or JCPenney or even Kohls. My next major purchase will be a root canal and I'm even planning that out to coincide with the availability of my insurance benefits.

I really don't have any idea how the US economy is going to improve. It seems we've reached a point where we need to reinvent ourselves and redefine our way of life.

I saw a segment on the news tonight about unemployed RV workers being retrained in the information technology field. That makes sense to me. But, where are all these newly trained IT executives going to work? Many of the large corporations in this area are now out of business.

I'm pretty sure that the Big 3 automakers are in real trouble because they were still geared up to make and sell gas guzzlers to over indulgent consumers, without anticipating that fuel-efficient cars would be needed sooner rather than later.

I don't have any answers... for now I'm just squirreling away my pennies and hoping for a brighter tomorrow.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

So Cute It Will Make Your Head Explode

Enjoy the Shiba Inu Puppy Cam

Free video streaming by Ustream

Friday, November 14, 2008

The Last Package of Cookies

I haven't been keeping up to date on news from the cookie world lately. Apparently the company that makes Archway cookies has filed bankruptcy and has stopped production.

It's been a while since I bought any Archway cookies, but when I saw there were only two packages left on the shelf at the grocery store, I snatched up both of them. One package of Windmills and one package of Coconut Bars.

I cracked open the coconut cookie package today, but I'm reluctant to open the Windmills. Maybe if I save them for a while, I can sell them on eBay as "the last package of Archway Windmill cookies in the world" and make a bundle of money.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

All ( Catholic ) Dogs Go to Heaven

A friend emailed me this series of photos documenting a church sign debate between Our Lady of Martyrs Catholic and Cumberland Presbyterian, a fundamentalist church.

I realize this was the product of a creative soul, using the Church Sign Generator, but I still liked it. You'll have to click on the photo to see it large enough to read.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

New Camera Arrives Today

I finally got my new Canon camera today. The poor FedEx guy was here three times but couldn't leave the camera because nobody was home to sign for it. Yesterday I was only out of the house for an hour (at the dentist) and FedEx came while I was gone. Anticipating that would happen, I left a note for the delivery guy to let him know I was letting him off the hook and he could leave my camera at the FedEx office and that I would make the 30-mile journey to pick it up.

Long... boring... verbose... yea, I know. I've used up all my creative juices preparing for a meeting with Google tomorrow. And, after tomorrow, I'll be starting every conversation with, "I've met with an actual Google employee, and thanks for asking, but no I'm not giving out autographs today." It's hard to explain, but try to imagine meeting with the most important person or company in your line of business and you can see where I'm coming from.

So, back to my camera. I had some photos on my card when the old camera broke so tonight was my first opportunity to transfer them onto my computer. Here's a cute one of Spike helping me hand out candy on Halloween.

And, here's a photo I took of the cup holders in a Saturn car I rented recently. Yes, both Diet Cokes are mine -- 12 ounces isn't enough to get me from South Bend to Chicago.

Anyway, I can't figure out what the Micky Mouse-shaped hole is for. It's too small for a water bottle or a cell phone. Any ideas???


I popped over to and saw they had a live chat feature. I love live chat customer service on the web -- instant satisfaction. So, the nice Saturn customer service rep (Marianne is most likely a made-up name because I'm pretty sure these reps are in India), told me that the mickey mouse-shaped cut out in the cup holder area is actually ....

a change holder!


Monday, November 10, 2008

Thank a Vet For Your Freedom

Sunday, November 9, 2008

King Size Coke

We have a local television station that plays retro shows like the Brady Bunch and Leave it to Beaver and during the breaks they play old-time commercials. Today we caught a commercial for king-size Coke. I joked to Bruce that king-size, back in the day, probably meant 16 ounces. A quick Google search proved out my theory.

Wonder what the 24-ounce Diet Coke I'm drinking now would have been called had it existed in the 70s -- giant size?

Looking at the glass Coke bottle took me down memory lane to the Coke machine at my grade school. For 10-cents it dispensed a glass bottle of Coke with a metal bottle cap. The trick was to use the on-machine bottle cap remover and catch the cap before it fell inside the Coke machine. All of the kids had to save up as many Coke caps as possible to cash them in for free ride tickets at Columbian Park during Coke days in the summer.

I was trying to remember the rides at Columbian Park, without much luck.

I do remember there being a giant slide, a merry-go-round and a train among the rides that required a ticket. I'm sure there were more, but I can't recall what they were.

Columbian Park had paddle boats, swings and a curley cue slide, an awesome swimming pool, lions and monkeys. The swimming pool was a huge round cement pool that started out shallow all the way around, with the deep water and diving boards fenced off in the center.

My brother, sister and I would start bugging mom early on summer mornings to take us to the pool. We knew it didn't open until 1pm, but we were very anxious to get there. It cost 25-cents to swim until 5pm. It was the best way a kid could spend a hot summer afternoon.

If you have memories of Columbian Park as a kid of the 60s / 70s, share them with me and help me remember the other rides they had (and the name of that big slide).

Wednesday, November 5, 2008


Dinner in High Point, NC tonight was wonderful. I'm here in North Carolina meeting with the National Home Furnishings Association and they treated for dinner at the Blue Water Grill.

I had a house salad (see below) and shrimp and scallop dinner. Very tasty and beautifully presented.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

We're Screwed

I really have a hard time trying to figure out why so many people are voting for Obama. Well, this news clip solves the mystery. Seems someone spread the word that Obama is going to be making mortgage payments and buying gasoline for all Americans.

I had a brief conversation with a friend over the weekend and, after he told me he was going to vote for Obama, I asked why. He said he thought Obama was going to lookout for the little guy. I told him that I hope he enjoys his $1,000 tax cut when he's on the unemployment line because Obama's Robin Hood economic policies have forced his employer to close their doors.

What ever happened to personal responsibility? Why do so many Americans think that a president can really affect their personal finances?

Monday, November 3, 2008


Driving back from the Chicago office this evening I passed an Indiana State Police car that was parked in the median trying to catch speeders. My backseat passenger (my boss) pointed out the cop and I assured him that I was driving the speed limit so there were no worries. Yes, I was driving in the passing lane, but that was only because the right lane was filled with semi trucks driving at their slower posted speed limit.

A couple of minutes later, I noticed a car right on my bumper. I thought he was being impatient because I was still driving the speed limit while passing all of the semis and he probably wanted to go faster. I told him (although he didn't hear me, I'm sure), "Hang on a second buddy, I'll get over as soon as I can." He wasn't very patient -- he flashed his headlights at me.

At the first opportunity, I moved back over to the right lane and as I did I could see my tailgater suddenly had red flashing lights.

I really couldn't imagine why I was getting pulled over. I know I was going exactly 70 mph.

Turns out I was driving without my headlights.

My excuses were:
1) It was light out when I started driving.
2) Wow, the dash is so lit up, I just assumed my headlights were on.
3) This is a rental car and I thought all new cars had headlights that turn on automatically.

Apparently one or more of these made sense because I was able to drive away with only a warning ticket.

Just before all of this happened, I had made a comment that this would be the time of day to expect to see deer running across the road. My front-seat passenger (a co-worker) said he could shut down his computer if the screen's light was distracting. I assured him that it wasn't a problem, that I could see the road just fine. How in the heck could I see the road so well with no headlights???

Sunday, November 2, 2008

New Camera - Part IV

Once again I've broken my camera. This time it's totally not my fault (at least I don't think so). I got my camera out of my purse tonight, to take a photo, and the little screen display told me it had a lens error and that I should restart the camera.

A quick search on Canon's support website told me that it probably happened when the lens tried to extend while it was being blocked (most likely when it was inside my purse).

I called my friends at Canon (I have them on speed dial). And, after a brief exchange of information, they agreed to FedEx a new camera to me.

So, until it arrives, this blog will be pretty dull ;-(

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Marsupials Scare Me... Because They're Fast

Kevin Pollak does a great Christopher Walken.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Lunchtime Visitor

This cute little chipmunk was looking in as I was heating up leftovers for lunch today. Just like Spike, he was on standby, hopeful that I'd share my food.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

A Sign of a Civilized Society

The shopping carts at Martin's Supermarket are always lined up nicely in the cart rack. I take that as a sign that the shoppers at Martin's are a bit more civilized than those at Wal-Mart or Meijer.

We have one grocery store in the area, Aldi's, that charges 25-cents to use their shopping carts and you don't get your quarter back unless you line your cart up neatly with the cart in front of it in the cart rack.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Let the Christmas Season Begin

I stopped by CVS this week for Halloween candy and saw they already have their Christmas lights out on display. They were squeezed between the fake pumpkins and the turkey basters.

First Snow of the Season

Monday afternoon we had rain and hail. The weathermen said it wouldn't stick, but when I woke Tuesday I had to hunt down my snow scraper.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Working from Home Rocks

It was really cold here in Northern Indiana today. I'm too cheap to crank up the furnace so I was wearing a jacket and wrapped up in a blanket, doing my work from my comfy chair in the family room.

Bruce came home from work at lunchtime and brought in some wood and made me a fire. Sure made for a nice working environment.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Why Does Being Healthy Hurt?

We took advantage of the drive-through flu shot clinic at the Elkhart fire station this morning. Luckily we had cash on hand because the Health Department wasn't sophisticated enough to accept my HSA debit card for payment.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The Beauty of Fall in Northern Indiana

A showy display on the Indiana toll road, as seen on my way back from Chicago today.
My passenger took the photos -- my hands were on the wheel and my eyes were on the road.

~~~ The sassafras tree in our back yard is the most colorful spot in the yard right now. ~~~

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The Garden - Pre Frost

We had our first frost last night. The remaining flowers in the garden are now frostbitten. Here's the last photo of the garden pre-frost.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Freecycle Rocks

It's a well-know fact that most Americans have too much stuff. We buy Rubbermaid boxes to hold all of our stuff. We have space bags to store our stuff in less space than it would normally occupy. We have attics, garages, storage sheds and closets full of stuff.

When you're ready to purge, visit

Most people who know me know that I hate clutter. A few years ago I stopped buying stuff. Sure I buy groceries, some clothes and toiletries. But, gone are the days when I add unnecessary stuff to my shopping cart. Occasionally I will buy functional stuff for the house or landscaping products... hard to totally detach from consumerism ;-)

Instead of buying unnecessary stuff, I periodically go through my house and gather up the stuff that, for some reason in the past I felt I just must have but have found that I no longer need. Then, I get rid of it. Either by donating it to Goodwill, selling it in the annual neighborhood garage sale, or posting it on

It's hard to believe that someone would want a 27" TV with great audio, but no video, but someone in the Freecycle community took one off my hands this summer. And, that metal computer desk that was gathering dust in our basement... no longer there thanks to Freecycle.

Last week, after I finished painting the garage, I thought I should get a smoke eater or air purifier for the garage so I wouldn't have to repaint after the walls soak up more smoke. (We don't allow smoking in our house -- only outside or in the garage. And, the smoke out there gets really thick when we have parties or card nights.)

I did some research on and found the air purifier I wanted to get. A few online price checks turned up an average price of $300. Dang, that's a lot of money. On a whim I posed a request for an air purifier on Within a week I had a free air purifier with a hepa filter from a lady in South Bend that no longer wanted hers. Seems to be brand new and the filter wasn't even dirty. Rocks. Check it out and sign up in your community. Warning: Sign up for the digest version so you don't get 20 emails a day.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Still Making Progress

One of the boards on our deck has been warped for the past several months. One item on our fall chores checklist was to replace that board. We did have an extra board to use, but Bruce found that a few screws solved the problem.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Have You Carved Your Pumpkin Yet?

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Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Newfound Respect for Pork Steak

During this past weekend's freezer inventory project, we came across a few pieces of meat that have been in the freezer for a long, long time. I know why they've been in the freezer for so long (because I didn't want to cook or eat them) and I wasn't anxious to thaw them out.

1) Bag full of cut up fish chunks (not sure who gave this to us, but definitely not store bought).
--I knew Bruce would want these chunks fried and I don't like fried food.

2) A bag of chicken leg quarters.
-- Wasn't sure what to do with these other than put them on the grill and I'm not the griller in the family.

3) Pork steak.
-- I hate pork steak.

Well, Bruce thought we should either throw them out or thaw them out. Seemed a shame to toss out (good?) food so my evening projects this week have been coming up with ways to cook these foods.

Monday night I fried up the fish in our electric skillet. It was a very mild fish and Bruce liked it, but I didn't think it had much flavor and the house smelled like old grease for two days.

Tuesday night I oven fried the chicken leg quarters with a dusting of flour and cajun seasoning and a stick of butter. Tasted pretty good, but it was too greasy. I should have waited until I had some Pam to spray on it, rather than using butter.

Tonight I cooked up the pork steak. Actually, I found a recipe online and mixed it up on my lunch hour and it cooked itself in the crockpot for the rest of the day. It was delicious. I guess the trick to making it edible is to cut off as much of the fat as possible. When I've had pork steak in the past, it was so greasy I couldn't stand it.

Here's the recipe:

Pork steak (cut into portion size chunks)
1 teaspoon oil
1 cup ketchup
1 cup water
1/2 cup Balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup Worcestershire sauce
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 1/2 teaspoon paprika
2 large onions -- sliced thin
Salt and pepper

Season pork steaks with salt, pepper, and paprika. Place steaks in crockpot with oil, turning to coat. Slice onions very thin and lay on top of meal. Mix other ingredients in a bowl then add to crockpot. Cover; cook on low for a few hours. The longer you cook it, the thicker the sauce gets.

Note: The recipe didn't actually call for Balsamic vinegar, it just said vinegar. I wondered what kind -- white vinegar (I had some left over from coloring easter eggs) -- cider vinegar (I had some left over from making cukes/onions this summer) -- rice wine vinegar (I had some left over from a recipe I had 20 years ago) ??? Then I came across a bottle of Balsamic vinegar in my pantry. Seemed like a safe choice so that's what I used.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Spike Loves Grandma

We had Grandma over for dinner this evening. It was nice for us to take a break from the fall chore list. And, it was a relief for her to get out of the institution for an outing that didn't involve a trip to a medical facility.

After dinner and pumpkin pie, she snuggled with Spike for a bit. He had been a little miffed that after all of his begging during dinner, the only handout from Grandma was a dry little piece of pie crust. And, it didn't even have Cool Whip on it.

Halloween Decor Gone Horribly Wrong

In December I wrote a blog post about the house that threw up Christmas. Turns out that as the seasons change, so does the color of their vomit.

Worried About Our Economy

As Cheryl and I were finishing lunch Friday, Bill Moor, a columnist for the South Bend Tribune, stopped by our table and asked if we would comment about how the free falling stock market is affecting our lunch conversations and our everyday lives.

We've actually been talking about this quite a bit lately and we were happy to share our thoughts with Mr. Moor. My 401k statement had actually arrived in the mail just before I left the house to meet Cheryl for lunch. I thought about opening it, but I didn't want to bring down my mood so I set it aside.

I had a hunch they'd use some of what we said in the paper, but I honestly didn't expect that we'd be on the front page of Sunday's paper -- both online and in print.

Here is the part of the story that included our quotes:

Market has many on edge


By BILL MOOR Tribune Staff Writer

"It's just hard for people to have rational thoughts in such an irrational time."

Sharon Gillis says she is afraid to open the envelope with her 401(k) statement inside.

"It scares me," she says.

Her friend, Cheryl Seitz, feels the same way.

"Sure, it is weighing heavily on me," she adds.

Sharon, who works for a website development company, has decided to put off buying the new car she had her eye on.

"I don't want to go into debt at this point in time," she says. "I don't want that kind of stress, right now."

As friends, Cheryl and Sharon never thought they would talk about the economy so much.

"Last week, we were trying to figure out the bailout and just not coming up with answers," says Cheryl, a residential account representative for Old Fort Building Supply.

Both in their 40s, they figure they will see the stock market get better before they start thinking about retirement.

Cheryl even made her first online stock acquisition this week.

"Part of me just thought it would be a good time to start buying," she says. "I think you have to continue to believe."

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Crossed Another Fall Chore Off My List

Wow, what a difference this stain made on the cedar fence. We just put the fence up this spring and it had really faded quite a bit over the summer.

Someone that lives in a nearby neighborhood had such a beautifully stained fence that I knocked on their door to find out what they used on it to get that color. They happily shared the info with me and I picked up two gallons of the stain at the Osceola hardware store.

On Friday, it took me six hours to stain the front of the six panels of fence. Bruce helped me stain the back side on Saturday and it only took three hours.

I absolutely love Hardware Plus -- the Osceola hardware store. Their prices are competitive and they have knowledgeable employees on standby to answer any questions. In fact, they intercept you as you walk through the door and guide you through the store picking up everything on your list.

Mystery Frozen Food

I had planned to get an early start staining the back of the fence this morning. But, I found a few distractions along the way.

I conned Bruce into helping me take inventory of the food in our freezers (both the chest freezer and the refrigerator's freezer). My trick is telling him that I need his opinion on something. And, as he gets out of his easy chair to come give me his opinion, I spring the task on him.

He pulled everything out of the freezers and I made a list of their contents. In theory, this should help me do some meal planning for the next few weeks, and save some money buy not buying so many groceries.

There were a few oddities in the freezer that neither of us could figure out what they may have been. There was a Ziploc bag filled with something that looked like chicken gravy. I thought I could toss that into the chicken and noodles that I have cooking in the crockpot. After the gravy thawed, I asked Bruce to taste-test it to make sure it was, in fact, chicken gravy. Turns out it was apple sauce.

I can't wait for the frozen mess in the Tupperware bowl defrosts so we can figure out what it might have been.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Never Buy a Used Rental Car

Today was the first day of my new twice-weekly schedule of renting a car to drive into my work's Chicago office. I've driven Fords for the past 20 years so when I do rent cars, I spent the first 15 minutes trying to figure out how everything works.

Today's rental was a 2009 Nissan Altima with .5 miles (not a typo -- it had one half of one mile on it). The rental car guy told me how to start it (step on the brake and push the start button), but he didn't mention there was anything out of the norm about the gear shifter.

I put it in drive -- take a close look at the photo above. The shifter moves down and then to the left and down. I assumed this was some way to lock it into the drive position. So, I pulled out of the airport car rental area, and drove about a mile toward the highway. I could see, hear and smell that the transmission was burning up. It wasn't shifting. I had it up to about 40 mph, the tachometer was up to 6 and still it wasn't shifting out of first.

Before I got onto the highway I stopped, pulled over and called Enterprise and reported the problem. I figured I'd have to go back and get a different car. The rental car guy told me to move the shifter over to the right. Apparently, the right position is for automatic transmission and the left position is for manual transmission.

No where near the shifter did it say anything about automatic vs. manual. And, who's ever heard of a car that has both automatic transmission and manual transmission.

Seems to me like a lot of rental car companies are soon going to be selling very, very low-mileage Nissan Altimas with burned out transmissions.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Have You Decided?

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Saturday, October 4, 2008

Garage Revitilization Project - Phase II

I've finally finished the first half of the garage make-over project. I finished painting the ceiling today and then touched up the top of the walls with the wall paint color. Then we moved all of the cabinets, freezer and everything else over to the finished side so I can start in on the other side.

Unfortunately, as we moved all of the cabinets back to that side of the garage, we gouged the new epoxy floor coating. I'll have to touch that up.

If things go good this week, I'll paint this week, each evening after work, and then next weekend epoxy the floor. Then, it will be completely finished.

Bruce Makes Progress on Fall Chores

The neighbor behind us played the "bitch and win" game and won! He'd been complaining about our bushes making it hard to mow the back of his yard.

Today Bruce gave the bushes a major trimming. When he finished, I mentioned that if we put edging down around the bushes and filled in with mulch that the area would look a lot better. He suggested I invite my friends at HGTV over to take on that project.

Spikes Loves Sarah Palin

HGTV Makeover - I Want

I got stuck in the HTGV mode Saturday morning. This front of house makeover was particularly interesting because the house has the same basic shape as ours and their Craftsman makeover is exactly what I want.

These people had a huge budget though. They spent $2,000 on four light fixtures. $18K on stone and $22K on the stamped and stained concrete driveway. We don't need new windows thankfully -- theirs cost $36K. No mention on the show what the porch with gable cost.