30 March 2008

Have you ever "wooted"?


For those NOT in the know, there is an unusual website that offers ONE deal per day until they are all gone. Go to www.woot.com and check it out. Woot explains their company here. Go to wikipedia and read about Woot as well - it's hilarious! If you can't work for Google, I'd say working at Woot has to be a close second. They are out of the DFW area and have one single deal per day except when having a "woot-off", when they clear out their leftovers at even cheaper prices. If you see a little rocket ship, that indicates the product offered is new, never sold anywhere before, and is being "launched" on woot. But BEWARE of the WootOff - they last anywhere from 24 hours to 48 hours - once even for 72 hours - and you have to check constantly to see what the next "woot" is - and they are ADDICTIVE. During my first WootOff I was glued to my computer the entire time and drove everybody nuts. So don't take it too seriously! (unless it's before Christmas and you're still needing more gifts and stocking stuffers - where else can you get Motorola Bluetooth ear pieces for $7.99 each??) And everybody is waiting for the BOC (literally "Bag of Crap") which is a grab-bag of junk with some odd bits of clearance items thrown in - you might get something really good or not much at all. But they are $1/bag, max of 3 bags and the best part is EVERYTHING you buy is $5 flat shipping rate - even a 50" plasma TV.

As a "for instance" of what they have, on the last WootOff, they had 50" plasma HD TVs for right around $1000 - with $5 shipping! Some items are refurbs, some are new, some is just older technology but still being sold on Amazon or in Best Buy. I got my first JBLiPod speaker base set from the Apple store for $100. Soon after, they had them on woot.com for $49! I got my 23" Vizio HDTV last summer for $239. And I got a refurb HD Tivo for $179 a couple weeks ago - they retail for $299 (it was the 20 hour one, not the $699 - 300 hour one before you freak). Sometimes the offering is just stupid - like 3 sets of ethernet cables what light up on each end. Something we've all mentioned wanting ("Wow, I wonder where I can get me some ethernet cables that light up at both ends even though THEY ARE IN THE COMPUTER AND THE WALL??") Wooting! You never know what will be offered.

New offerings start a couple minutes after midnight each night. You must register first and be logged in to order. You can buy 1, 2 or 3 of the item but if you order 1 and decide you want another one before the 24 hour selling period is up, you're out of luck - ONE order per account per selling period. Then you'll need to get your husband to open an account and order through his (which I did once to get 6 of something...)

Anyway, wanted to give you all a Woot shout-out and introduce you to an interesting way of buying online. Returns are allowed ONLY if the item is defective. But I figure that if I get it and don't really like it, I can just eBay it...which has never happened. Just be sure to read the details - is it new or refurb? how many per order? warranty period?

Today's offering is a Toshiba 1080p upconverting DVD with HDMI cables for $39.99 plus $5 shipping. It's a refurb with a 90 day woot warranty. I did a google check and they run new from $71 - 101. You can also click on "discuss this product" and read what others have to say about that woot - there are usually price comparisons, opinions from people who have the item and other random comments. During a WootOff, I've found the discussion boards to be crude - boredom has set in among those waiting soley for the BOC and they get rude. Be warned.

Happy wooting!! And may you find your perfect deal!

It's over!!!

As of Friday morning, I FINALLY got the stuff to the CPA to do taxes. It feels as it a huge weight has been lifted from my shoulders. Now I have the responsibility to (a) enter 2008 data in Quicken this next week and (b) make sure I file stuff away on a regular basis so I don't have to do this all over again next March!

We had our Ladies Retreat this past weekend in Brenham and the theme was "Sweet Friends" encompassing our need for girlfriends, our best friend - our husband, and our ultimate friend, Jesus. It was a lovely weekend, in a gorgeous country environment with the retreat being led by two precious sisters who used to attend the Katy congregation but have now moved to Round Rock and Salem, Oregon. It was great to visit with them and 'catch up' as well as have the time with our sisters in Christ. The facility was excellent - when I walked back from the chapel where our retreat was held to the house where my room was located on Friday night, I could hear the lowing of cattle in the distance but not another single sound. It was wonderful!

One thing I brought back with me, however, was a not-so-lovely croupy chest cough. Humid night air?? How knows - it might even be Jason's flu from last weekend catching up with me. So I am hoping, hoping, hoping that THAT is something I didn't share with everyone else this weekend - especially my friend Marilyn who is due to go to Nashville for her grandson's 1st birthday end of this week! :(

So today I'll "hole in" and rest, sleep and catch up on my backlog of "Househunters", the show that Mike just does NOT get! ("How can you watch it time after time?? It's just the SAME thing over and over??" - hmmm, sounds like sports to me - same thing over and over....)

Have a pleasant and PRODUCTIVE week, ya'll!

24 March 2008

My new husband...

Venice - June 2003
Disney - Nov 2006
Keller - March 2008

Those who have read Jen's blog know that Mike shaved off his mustache. But she didn't post the "after" photo. I am here to oblige the Public with this spectacle.

Mike grew the mustache in the summer of 1982, right after we'd moved to London the first time. You must understand that until about 15 years ago, Mike looked like a teenager for the most part (yes, now he looks like an adult finally...) When I was pregnant with Tim, the Avon Lady (remember her??) came to the door - Mike answered and I heard a sweet voice say, "Hello, is your mother home?" He was 25 years old then, father of one with another one on the way. And what did my lovely husband reply? "Mom! It's for you!" (after she left, I smacked him)

Isn't it amazing how men can look younger as they grow older while women...well, that's an entirely different posting.

So, here's to you, Babe. And thanks for the memories...

The dark, seamy side of shredding...

Further to my ongoing attempt to organize the papers in my office, I am aware that there are certain documents that are no longer needed and should be disposed of. Anyone who reads any news these days is aware that PROPER disposal is a MUST unless you want Billy Bob and his mates to buy out Joe's Hog Shop on your credit card (or, as was the case for us, Dr. and Mrs. N buy two tickets on Aeroflot for a flight to Moscow)! I had such a pile of paper to get rid of, I thought perhaps I should burn it in the outdoor kitchen fireplace. So I start putting bits of paper on the grate, "flame" it, let it burn a bit and then add more. Hmmm, taking a very long time to do so decide perhaps the trusty shredder is the way to go after all.


Now, first you have to understand that we are talking a LOT of paper - small town in Texas landfill size pile of paper. Not for sissies. Not for Mondays either, evidently.

Shredding commences. Shredder basket fills up. Cheri takes shredder basket to trash in kitchen. Okay, so a little "debris" is left behind and I'm a little aggravated that even more "debris" floats outside the bin in the kitchen. Clean up as best I can and go back.

More shredding. I let the basket get a bit too full. Pull basket out and a huge "WHOOSH" like snowfall comes out after removal. Onto the floor. Sighing heavily, I decide perhaps I should get a large plastic bag and bring it into the office. But do I leave the FULL shredder basket in the office? Why NO, of course not. Because I have a death wish.

To the utility room to fetch large black garbage bags. Empty shredder basket into bag. Did not properly open black garbage bag before commencing Project Shredder Basket Evacuation. Debris goes everywhere - in the utility room. At this point I'm wondering if there are any local celebrities needing a ticker-tape parade - I could kill two birds with one stone, I'm thinking.

Back to office. Back to shredding. Back to not paying attention and letting basket get too full again (I burned out a motor on one of these things before by letting it get too full). So I gently - I promise you - GENTLY pull the basket out, pulling debris out of the shredder on top and what happens? I accidentally hit the basket on the desk nearby and debris goes flying everywhere. At this point, I'm saying things no Christian woman should know, let alone think or worse, say out loud. Shelby the dog shoots me a disgusted look at the poor example I'm setting.

Finish shredding, tie up bag and discover a hole in the side. So now discover I've been Hansel and Gretel of the Office Fairy Tale and have left my (literal) paper trail - I assume so the paramedics can find me when I collapse do to a serious case of apoplexy.

So what was supposed to be an easy task that I THOUGHT would spur me on to more "good office works" turned into a cleaning nightmare that I am just now recovering from. Recovery took:

1) 2 hours
2) Oreck vacuum with empty bag to start with which is now full
3) Dirt Devil hand held - emptied multiple times
4) One large trash bag - defective at that
5) Much remorse and guilt for swearing

And I still have to clean the ashes out of the fireplace.

20 March 2008

The girl's got HAIR!

I was looking through photos I'd taken (or stolen from cameras of my kids) and realized that Mirai, #5 grandchild, has really gotten a head full of hair! When I was last in Keller a couple of weeks ago, Chris, Jenjer and I went to The Cheesecake Factory for supper. By the way, as an aside, evidently this is one of the ONLY restaurants that does NOT give free dessert to the birthday honoree as I was shocked to see when $6.95 sowed up on the bill at the end of our celebration - what a way to grind a party down fast...but that's beside the point here. Mirai has that rare combination of dark hair and blue eyes. With a mama and daddy with brown eyes, it's very unusual to have blue eyes, especially ones that are like blue sapphires (deep blue with a hint of pewter - very usual and very pretty). I hope they "stick" but Jennifer's eyes were blue until she was 6 and then changed to hazel so who knows. She's a very pretty girl just like her mama!

Mirai is a little monkey - she has abs of steel (she's been doing her own version of Pilate's since she was 2 months old), was the first to crawl of this 2nd batch of 'grands' and my source informs me that she 'cruises' now and doesn't want to crawl anymore. She'll walk around a room, holding onto furniture, for about 10 minutes at a time. I shall verify this myself this weekend as we are driving up to Keller this evening for the Easter weekend - yeah! And her cousin Ben thinks the world of her - she's the only other grand that I am allowed to call "Butter Bean" (which is my pet name for him).

But I thought I'd do a little "hair progression" montage here. Reminds me of Kennedy in so many ways - in fact, often we'll say, "WOW! That looks JUST like Kennedy when she was that age!" Now Kennedy has a long mane of brunette hair and we figure it won't be long before Mirai has one too. And Kennedy has the blue eyes too. Gonna be some protective daddy's hovering around in about 12-14 years not to mention Ben being protective I'm sure! Watch out guys!!

18 March 2008

Drat you, Uncle Sam....

Yes, I've been conspicuously "absent" in my blogging efforts these past 10 days. Getting old will do that for you (51st b'day on the 12th - yea, me....) but I have been engaged in that Solemn Right of Spring called "gathering tax records". And believe you me, with blessings come responsibility. I'm (almost frantically) trying to locate the original closing papers from when we bought our condo back in Aug. 2000 - that we sold in March 2007. Trying to find receipts we need for deductions. Trying to find specific slips of paper in, I KID YOU NOT, a closet FULL of papers that I have jammed in there, helter-skelter for the past 2 years! I, the "Organization Queen", lauded by my peers for the past 3 decades, have a dirty little secret - ever since we moved back to the US in Dec. 2005, I have had a terrific aversion to anything remotely resembling office organization.

Now, my office itself would make great print in one of the decorating magazines.
Thoughtfully arranged, lovely new desk to fit the smaller space I now have (since we have "his and hers" studies in this house - lah, tee, tah and I'm puttin' on the airs!), carefully selected artwork displayed in the LATEST fashion of "propped up" on my computer armoire - all that jazz (see above and click to see photos) - but try to FIND a receipt for any of this stuff - well, it's like trying to find the proverbial needle in a haystack. As the little shrimp in "Finding Nemo" announced when caught cleaning the aquarium, "I am so ashamed" (think French accent here).

So I've gone through three huge boxes of receipts, utility bills, insurance policies, mortgage receipts (yes, they are all paid - otherwise I'd be blogging from another "big house") and still have more to go. I have a huge pile of receipts destined for the shredder (I should make it a party) and have three piles of other papers - "Income Tax 07", "To File" and, last but certainly NOT least, "Put Into Quicken". Then I should follow Jennifer's lead and head to Ikea and get some shelves to put in said closet of doom to keep this from happening again (famous last words). I'm afraid to look in the closet worried that, like coat hangers, the remaining boxes of paper to sort through have mysteriously multiplied and the level not decreased at all. I'm convinced we have not added to the landfills at all because it's ALL IN MY HOUSE! Sigh...

Somehow, going to visit the children and grandchildren is just WAY more enjoyable than doing something so mundane as to keep one's life in paper organized. But I guess I'll have to work it in somehow. I can't handle going through this again. Denial has given way to reality.

Have mercy.

08 March 2008

Trying new foods...

Last Monday night, we went to an awesome restaurant, Taco Diner (in Southlake), and met with Chris, Jenjer and Mirai, Jen, Jason, Ben and Luke as well as Pete and Peggy (Mike's folks). It was the first snowstorm of the week and we had the restaurant almost to ourselves.

Jenjer decided to let Mirai try some of the black beans they served with my dinner. Her reaction was hilarious - I wish I had a better picture of her face but be sure to concentrate on it - it's so funny! (for everyone except her of course)

07 March 2008

Snow - Wonderful Snow!

It may be March, but north Texas got a load of snow yesterday that was GORGEOUS! I don't want to hear any whining from my friends up north who contend with this phenomena on a daily basis 3-6 months out of the year (or longer) and I promise not to gritch about the heat and humidity come July either. It is such a rare thing that we delight in it when we ever get any. And get it we did. From about 2p.m. till 5:30 or 6p.m. it fell in huge, fat, wet flakes that made for great snowman construction (and I hope Jen will post a photo of the fantabulous snowman they made with Ben last night). Ben was one frozen Popsicle when he came in - his little hands were red and cold even with the mittens. So I put warm water in the sink and he put his hands in, chattering away about the snowman and the snow - it was so cute. Then I frothed some of his chocolate milk with the expresso machine steamer and he drank it out of the same Bunnykins two handled mug Jenny, Tim and Chris used when they were growing up. It was one of those "full circle" kind of feelings and really took me back - it was a sweet moment for me.

Shelby had seen snow before - we had it some when we lived in London. But this was a first for Izzie who didn't quite know what to make of it. For a dog who usually dashes off when the front door or garage is open, giving the neighbors entertainment as I first yell my head off in typical "irritated mother" style then giving chase (yes, I can run...it's not pretty), she was strangely hesitant to even walk on it. Call of nature finally won out (thank goodness - for my carpet's sake) and she did go out and walk on it, but she was clearly perplexed initially. I put their winter coats on - I'm not a "dog dresser" typically, but hey, if it's snowing, and you have these adorable Burbury coats you bought for a song in the U.K. several years ago, you can handle being accused of spoiling your dogs for a day. You'd be cold too without a coat in 29F weather! :) And they were so cute.

So I put a fire in the fireplace (which means I lit the pilot light - really tough...), nestled down in front of the TV and caught up on some of my TiVo'd shows (yes, I admit I watch American Idol - that 17 year old guy is really someone to watch out for - and the gal from Ireland, well, I'm ready to buy her album!) and enjoyed the beauty of the day.

Other nice things from yesterday - I went to see a cardiologist at Baylor Grapevine - figured I needed one in both Katy and here since my time is divided between the two locales - and he took me OFF the Coumadin - yea!! That means I'm not on any of the meds anymore that I was put on following my 12 hour a-fib episode. And I had my first cup of caffeinated coffee this morning (probably explains the verbal deluge you are being subjected to via blogging) as caffeine had been verboten for the past few weeks. So I feel like I've been given a warning and need to take advantage of my second chance and get moving, lose some weight and try to improve my health so I'm not "ripe" for such things to occur. They say it was probably a side effect of the albuterol, but why chance it. Just don't expect to see me jogging or joining Tim in marathons. But you might see me at the mall with Marilyn and Carleeta doing "the rounds". Don't worry, I won't be in white tennis shoes, wearing Koret City Blues and a white jacket - I'm not THAT old yet! :)

Mike called me last evening from Saudi - it was morning for him - and as I answered, he said, "Just a minute, Cheri - May I have an Americano, please?" I asked him where he was and he said he was between rigs and they'd stopped at a Starbucks! Man, they're everywhere I guess! I remember the days when he'd be out on rigs in Brazoria county and there wasn't even a Dairy Queen in sight, let alone someplace like Starbucks. And I would have thought that in the Middle East, an Americano would be called something else given we aren't the most popular folks in the world over there. But I guess no one would go in and say, "Yes, I'll take a Venti Infidel, please" - just doesn't have the same ring I guess.

That's it until my second cup of coffee I guess. Which may be tomorrow - better take it slow or you may indeed see me jogging!