Upgrading

So, since we moved into the new place, we’ve been going through and unpacking everything.  We were in a 3 bedroom with a two-car garage, then in my in-laws and boxes, and now we’re in a 2 bedroom with a small storage unit outside.

To say the least, we’re experiencing some overflow.  We’re also rediscovering the state of some of our possessions.  For instance, our dining room set.

My parents bought us a gorgeous dining room table and chairs back before we got married.  It’s a dark wood, pub height, enclosed leaf piece.  We love it.  It came with six chairs which looked like this:

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They have a cream ridged upholstery on them.  Unfortunately, we’ve now had them for about 7 years, and have a dog and a 3-year-old.  One of them lived under Dru’s highchair at the old place, and ended up having the seat look like this…

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Kris had some choice words to describe this chair…involving the phrase chronic diarrhea…so we realized we needed to recover the chairs.

We headed over to Joann’s this morning, as they’re the only retail place that we’ve found so far that carries fabric (I really want to find a mill store, but figured a Sunday in the South would not be the best time to try and locate one) and slogged through the markdown upholstery fabric.  We found a really nice sage microfiber that was already stain treated (and on sale for $9/yd) and snatched it up.  We then headed over to Lowe’s and picked up a staple gun/brad nailer and some 1/4″ staples.  Here are the results:

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It’s hard to see the color of the fabric here (the lighting is odd, plus the blue blanket background. So the full chair:
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Well, we really like it.  Kris has done most of the work, because I spent most of the week unpacking while he was at work, and managed to tweak my back.  It’s only taken a couple of hours total, and cost under $50.  The worst part is making sure that you follow the shape of the cushion, since it’s a bit odd.

We also hung some of our pictures, and picked up a curtain rod and blackout curtains for Dru’s room.  So we’re getting there.

I’ve got about 20 boxes left to go through, and some stuff that is definitely hiding from me (like my mixer and my toaster oven).  But all the essentials (other than those two) are unpacked.

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Looking…

Back…

2012 was not a good blogging year for me.  We had a number of changes occur in our lives which I could have blogged about, but I was wrapped up in living them, not writing them.  So here’s the year in review.

January – tutoring for the year begins.  Had a ton of fun with my students.

February – I decided to try my hand at becoming a health insurance agent.  I took the training and got licensed.  Then I remembered I hate doing sales.  That was a bust.

May – my car got totaled and we replaced it with a newer one.

June – one of our closest couple friends got married.  Kris was best man and Dru was ring bearer.  Much fun was had.

July – HamJam #10 and our decision to move to Michigan.

August – the move to Michigan and Kris’ aunt’s wedding.

September – school starts for.  First time working out off the house FT every day in almost 2 years.  Dry gets to hang out with his papa all day.  Kris begins working from home.

October – Kris’ birthday and our 5th anniversary.

December – lots of birthdays, including Dru’s 3rd.

…Forward

Looking forward to 2013, it also promises to be a busy year.  My sister introduced me to loom knitting, so I’m going to be trying my hand at that.  On top of that, school starts back up on Jan 7th.  It’s crazy how many times I see kids I know at the grocery store now.

Dru is getting bigger and smarter everyday.  Hopefully he’ll be potty trained soon.  He’s almost got peeing fully down, just not pooping.  We’re considering preschool of some kind just to give gin some socialization, but not sure yet where.

Kris should be finishing his degree in the fall and I’ll be going back to further my education at that point.

So big things are in store for this year, and I hope to be better about updating, but I make no promises.

Hope everyone had a happy and healthy year in 2012, and we’ll see you in 2013!

Settling in

So it’s been awhile again.

We’re pretty much all settled in.  We had a heck of a time with the move, and a big shout out to my Dad for being there to bail us out.  So here’s what happened.

We drove up to Michigan and attended Kris’ aunt’s wedding.  Had a ton of fun and took a number of pictures.  Sunday, we left Dru and Sparky with my in-laws and went back to the IL apartment.  We spent Sunday night packing, and Monday around noon picked Dad up at the train.  We then spent the rest of Monday (until we went to dinner at Texas de Brazil!!!!  YUM) packing and all of Tuesday.  Wednesday morning we drove one town south to pick up our moving truck.  Dad had reserved it for us back in June, and we arrived just after 8 to pick it up.  When we got to the location, we couldn’t see a truck at all.  In my desire to be done with the move, I managed to convince myself that they were somehow hiding a 20’+ truck around back.  When we walked in to the generic rental place, the guy behind the counter looked baffled when we said we were there to pick up a truck.  After some (SLOW) searching, he informed us that he had no truck, and didn’t know when the one that was supposed to be ours was going to be back. After a few choice words, Dad called Budget’s rental line.  The rocket scientist he talked to informed him that the reservation does not guarantee equipment, just a price, and that they reserve the right to substitute equivalent equipment.  Looking around the store, we wanted to know how a chocolate fountain and a brad nailer were going to help us in our 200 mile move.

So I got on the horn with Ryder and Dad called Penske.  Ryder apparently doesn’t do one-way moves at all.  So as long as Penske had a truck, they were automatically going to come out ahead of the game.  They did, and we ended up driving 20 minutes north of the apartment to get it, and then back south of the apartment to get the pads and hand truck.  BUT WE GOT THE TRUCK.  FINALLY.

We get back to the apartment around 10:30, two hours later than planned, and start loading.  By the time we were done loading, it was about 9pm.  But we’d packed all the lights and bedding, so we made for MI.  We got to MI around 2:30 (actually made pretty decent time) with only a small scare about 30 miles from the house, because the check engine light in the truck came on.  We stopped and let it sit for a few minutes and drove the last bit in.  The next day, unloading was a lot easier, and we had extra hands to help as well.

Friday, Kris and I decided to go and get our licenses switched over, because mine had expired on my birthday, and so I wasn’t able to drive.  We went down to the Secretary of State (SoS) and were all ready to go.  Upon arriving, we learned that the SoS only takes MasterCard and Discover.  We only carry Visa and AmEx.  So we spent a good amount of time getting that squared away, and finally apply for our licenses.  We couldn’t switch our plates over until we switched our insurance, so that would have to wait for another day.

Now since the Monday after the move, Kris has been working remotely, and it’s going great.  Well, he decides it’s probably a good idea to get a Michigan number for both of our cell phones, so he goes online to Cricket’s website to change the number.  We’d already changed our address.  When he does so, they assign him a new number with the old 224 area code.  So he calls them to find out why.  They explain to him that since they don’t offer monthly service in our area, they can’t assign him a local number.  And since our phones aren’t compatible with the service they do offer in the area (monthly prepaid) they shut off his phone.  When he asks them to turn it back on at the old number so he can finish out the workday, they say he needs to go to the closest Cricket store – in Michigan City, IN – about 2 hours from the house.  So he takes some PTO and goes to Best Buy.  We now have local numbers and Virgin Mobile.

About a week after all this, we get our licenses in the mail.  Everything looks great – except one thing.  They switched our signatures.  So Kris’ signature is on my license, and vice versa.  So we go in after work that week and file for corrections.  The lady at the SoS told us that we didn’t have it as bad as the gentlemen who’d come in earlier with an error on his license.  He’s an older heavily bearded man, and his license had “F” in the gender field.  Since we were there, and had gotten our insurance switched over, we took care of our plates as well.  Yesterday, we finally received our corrected licenses, and we’re all good to go.

Other than Budget and Cricket being stupid, it hasn’t been too bad.  We’re pretty much settled in and Dru is having a couple issues.  He keeps telling us he wants his old house back.  But it’s happening less often.

In positive news, Dru has been sleeping SOOOOO much better here.  Maybe it’s the lack of noise and light outside his window, maybe it’s the lack of stress on Kris and I manifesting, or maybe it’s the Brown Bear, Brown Bear wall decals that my in-laws decorated his room with.  Whichever combination of reasons has brought it about, I’m good with it.

In conclusion – I HATE MOVING.  And Budget sucks.  So does Cricket.

Moving pt 2

So phase 1 of the move is complete – Kris is in his last week working in the office, Dru and I arrived at the in-laws yesterday, and we’re getting all the small stuff taken care of.  Sunday, Kris and I head back to IL to pack up the apartment.  Daddy arrives Monday to help us out, and we’ll have all our crap with us come the end of next week.

Next phase:  find a place we want and can afford.

Moving

As many of you may have heard, we’re moving to Michigan right after my birthday.  This is happening for a number of reasons, and we’re really excited about getting to Michigan.  The biggest problem is that I HATE MOVING.  With a fiery passion.

Oh well, we’re in the process of packing up the apartment and getting it all taken care of.  Because the few weeks between now and then are going to fly by.

Have I mentioned I hate packing?

HATE.

So if anyone is willing to pack our apartment for us – I’ll pay you in baked goods.

Banking

So pretty much everyone in this country is aware of all the changes banks are making to their fee schedules, etc.  Well, Kris and I have been watching the commercials too, and are super glad that we recently made a change.

Up until the last month or so, we had been with Bank of America our entire married life (almost 4 years).  Before that, I had been with them since they bought my old bank (same account I’d had since I was knee-high to a duck).

Well, after many recurring issues with them, the most recent being that they froze our account when we were travelling to Michigan (which we do A LOT) and thusly bounced our rent check, we decided to switch.  It didn’t help that since we were on vacation that week, when the rent bounced, we had to pay an extra $200 in late and bounce fees to the complex due to timing and then the bank refused to refund us ANY of the fees, despite our long history with the bank.

So, after meeting with Jan, one of the ladies in my networking group, Kris and I decided to move our accounts over to American Chartered Bank.  They are a small Chicago local bank, but so far, they rock socks.  We have the direct line for Jan, so when we have an issue, we can call her directly.  They’ve already implemented the remote deposit thing that some of you may have heard of.  It’s the thing where you can take a picture of both sides of your check with your smartphone and have it deposited to your account.  Their accounts are free (unless you overdraft) and because you have a person you deal with regularly, if they see that you have your car payment about to come through, but are short, they’ll make sure it goes through (you will get a fee for that, but they won’t bounce it, which many of the big banks are now doing).

It’s been a great experience so far, plus we don’t have fees for our debit card (which BoA is about to implement) or our account.

With all of the announcements of banks screwing over their customers, we’re happier than ever that we’ve switched.

 

And as my little political rant related to this:  you want change, this is how to make it – move your business.  If you don’t approve of the way a business is being run, don’t give them your business.  It worked in the 60’s.  And despite the bad press that idiots gave the theory in the past few years by trying to convince people that refusing to buy gas from one company for one day would work (it doesn’t, it needs to be a long-term effort), removing ALL of your business from a company will have an impact.  And while I may not have a huge account with BoA, if many many customers move their business, it will have an impact.

Same theory applies to voting.  Don’t just vote for someone who is the big candidate.  Vote for the person you actually WANT to vote for.  As long as you cast your vote it isn’t wasted.  And the only way to make change happen is to ACTIVELY be a part of change.  Don’t just talk, DO.

Converting

Well, Kris and I have decided it’s time – we’re converting Dru’s bed to its toddler stage tonight.

This is spurred by the fact that apparently I wasn’t fast enough getting to Dru this morning, so he jumped out of his crib.  Now, for those of you who haven’t seen his crib – it’s a good height off the ground, and we’re not really sure how he even got out.  But he didn’t seem at all phased by the escape, and was giggling and waiting for me at my bedroom door.  So yeah, it’s time for the toddler rail.  Thankfully we picked that up a few weeks ago, so we’ve got it on hand.

So Dru will be going from this crib:

to this toddler bed:

This should be an adventure.