Thursday, February 26, 2009

New Chicago Apartment

Last weekend, Michael and I moved out of our small, noisy old place, into a bigger, quieter new place. I flew home Friday evening. Michael went to pick up the keys, which Christy got me from the airport. When I got home we started packing up the remaining few items and decided to go check out the new place one more time. When we arrived at the new apartment, we learned the keys they gave us were the wrong ones. So we went to the office expecting to find a maintenance number or someone to let us in. We finally talked to the maintenance guy on call and it was going to be an hour before he could come and let us into the apartment. The guy had to cut us a new set of keys altogether. By the time we actually got into the new place, we had to turn around and go back to the old place to finish packing.

The next morning we woke to find snow on the ground. Not just a little snow on the ground, several inches of snow. We drove to go pick up our Budget Truck. I drove the truck back to our place to load the many boxes and tons of furniture. Thank goodness we had assistance for loading and unloading the truck. Michael had a guy from his office, Justin, and I had a girl from my office, Christy, to help us out. If it hadn’t been for them, Michael and I would still be moving in.

It took all day to get everything into the apartment, and took through Sunday to get everything out of the boxes. Finally we are settled into the new place and we love every second. It is nice to finally have a place for all of our stuff and a place for people to stay when they come visit. It has 2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, large closets, dining area, large kitchen, computer nook, porch, and a fireplace.

I have included pictures of the new place, mainly because it is nice.

The Computer Nook
The Living Room and Porch View
The Living Room
Master Bathroom
Master Bedroom
Dining Room
Kitchen with Michael's Lava Lamp
Guest Bathroom
Guest Bedroom
Guest Bedroom Kind of Girlie
Front Door

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Granny Allen

While skiing in Colorado, I found out that my grandmother passed away. She was a very exceptional woman, strong, and very opinionated. She had lived a long life, passing away at 85 years old. My grandmother had been married to Jack Allen for 57 years before he passed away almost 11 years ago. During her life she enjoyed many things not limited to her family. She had four children, two boys and two girls, seven grandchildren, and several great-grandchildren. (There are some step grandchildren and great-children, too)

She loved to tell you whatever she thought no matter how mean or rude it came across. Whenever I would tell her that she said something mean I would always get, well someone should tell them. One thing that never failed was that she loved to tell people they were overweight. I used to joke with her that at least I could count on her to tell me if I gained weight. She loved to play jokes on people, especially around the holidays. One year she found the largest pair of jeans imaginable. I believe they were a 60” waist. To describe how big they were, the year she got them, over 11 years ago, my brother, father, and I all climbed into the jeans at one time. A year ago at Christmas I took a pair of 50” pants from where I was working and gave them to her for Christmas. I don’t think she liked that I did it, but it was a joke. I remember her and her sister, my Aunt Teenie, when they got together were funny. They had tons of stories, but they would always pick on each other. Teenie was two years older than my grandmother and when they got together they would compare who had more age spots or who looked older.

Over the years, she had been in and out of the hospital several times, bi-pass surgery, broken hip, strokes, and the latest falling and hitting her head. No matter what she was in the hospital for, she would always talk about the nurses and how they would beat her and stick her with needles constantly. She was always complaining about how mean they were, and trust me she was mean back. We were reminding her all the time that they were helping her.

She was the strongest woman I have ever known. She fought through tough times throughout her life, from the Great Depression to her final days. I will remember her best for many things. She was stubborn, hardheaded, full of energy, she loved her dog and her family. I will miss her personality, humor, and her strength. I will miss most Christmas and Thanksgiving cooking her white bread stuffing with her every year. Hopefully I will be able to carry on that tradition without her.

She held this family together for years and she will be missed dearly. We all loved her.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Ski Trip

We arrived in Denver late Thursday evening. The drive to Colorado Springs was entertaining. My friend, Veronica, picked us up at the airport and we immediately got Sonic and gas. Sonic, since we don’t have a Sonic in Chicago. When we were almost to Colorado Springs, it started snowing so hard we couldn’t make out the lines in the road and we could barely make out the vehicles around us, as well. Our hour and half drive turned into a two hour drive not because of the snow, but because Denver police decided to shut down part of the interstate, for unknown reasons.

Friday morning, we slept in a little and then headed to the ski slopes. We thought we would stop at the Royal Gorge, but then decided we would rather have more time to ski. We drove on through Monarch Pass to the Monarch ski mountain. Monarch is the smallest mountain I have ever skied on, but the main goal for skiing there on Friday was to help get my knee acclimated to skiing. The last time I went to Monarch I was nine years old and just learning how to ski. This time I was overly cautious, not wanting to make the first place I skied also my last. I really wanted to take Michael to the top of the mountain. When standing on the top of the mountain, we were actually standing on the Continental Divide. For those who do not know what the Continental Divide is, it is a line in the mountains that divides all the rivers to flow either to the Atlantic Ocean or the Pacific Ocean. The top has amazing views of thousands of mountain tops as far as the eye can see. Since Monarch is so small, we skied the same runs over and over. But it was a sunny day and it definitely helped my knee.

This was the first time I have skied since both of my knee surgeries, and I thought my knee did fairly well. It was a little swollen and hurt, but I took some Aleve and felt much better by the time we got back to Colorado Springs.

Friday night, the group went to a game place. It is similar to Chuckie Cheese but has games for adults, too. We went to celebrate Veronica and Shane’s birthdays. We played for hours. The boys shot basketballs and the girls did the kite flying ride. We had so much fun, just acting like we were kids again. Plus we won tons of tickets.

Saturday morning, we decided to go to the base of Pike’s Peak. When we woke up it was very fogging and we couldn’t see very far in front of the car, let alone the mountains. We waited and went to brunch. By the time we finished, the fog was beginning to lift. The whole gang headed to Pike’s Peak where the fog was still hovering at the top of the mountain. It was very beautiful. There is an incline at the base of the mountain that will take one up 2500 feet in one mile. The incline is made out of old railroad ties for the steps. There were people out on Saturday walking and running up the incline. Michael and I decided to go up just a little bit to see the view and to see how difficult it would be. Michael ran up most of the way while I walked slowly. There was a change in altitude just in the little ways we went. I thought my legs were going to give out on me and I definitely had to use the good ole inhaler.

After we left the incline, Veronica and Shane took us to see the Garden of the Gods. It was amazing. It is a rock formation and there are many rocks and caves. Veronica told us that there are several hiking places within the area. We walked around the park taking many pictures of the rocks. Veronica even showed us a bobcat cave that was a little off the beaten path. Lots of people had been to this cave but it was still fun. Michael wanted to go inside the cave and see where it went but didn’t make it too far into the cave before he said it is too dark. We got lots of shots of the cave and all the different rock formations.

Saturday night, of course, was Valentine’s Day. The four of us went to eat dinner at this steak place in downtown Colorado Springs called MacKenzie’s Chop House. The food was awesome. Michael got the seared tuna, Shane got pork chops with a great cheese sauce, Veronica got the buffalo, not buffalo wings (chicken), real buffalo. I have to say that the buffalo was actually very good, it tasted a lot like steak. I got the seared scallops with lobster mac and cheese. We all really enjoyed dinner, but all headed to bed early.

More skiing on Sunday. We woke up at 5:00 am and drove to Copper Mountain. Copper is my all time favorite place to ski. The mountain is stunning and set up perfectly. The blacks are on the left hand side of the mountain, the blues are in the middle, and the greens are on the right. We got to the slopes early and stopped in at Tucker’s Tavern for some breakfast. We went with a large group of people, about 10. After a couple of times down the mountain, Michael and I broke off or got lost from the group. We went all over the place. Copper is a large mountain with 134 runs, but Michael and I stuck with the blues and greens. Michael is very good at skiing, extremely good considering this was his third time to ski ever. I think he is sold on the Rocky Mountains.

We could not have asked for better skiing weather. It was sunny and not too cold; we had fresh powder with a little wind. Michael and I had lunch at this great place up on the mountain; it is an outside grill that I ate at the last time I was there with my Dad and some other people. While at the grill, Veronica called me and told me she fell and busted up her knees and that Shane and her would be staying at the base the rest of the day. Michael and I skied a few more runs before heading to the base to check out the damage. She wasn’t joking when she said she busted up her knees.

Whenever we got down the mountain, my knee was aching and so I was ready to call it a day. We headed back to Colorado Springs for the evening. We all had a wonderful time. The long weekend could not have been better. I would love to make it a regular trip.

About Us

My photo
Michael and I have been together since 2006. We met in college at the University of Arkansas and began our life together. We bought a house and moved to Fayetteville from the Chicagoland area in November 2009. We were married in 2010 and had our first child, a boy, in 2013. Our favorite thing to do together is travel and we have gotten the opportunity to go to lots of fun places. We are working, breathing, playful parents. Our fur baby and child are the center of our crazy life, but we wouldn't have it any other way.