Monday, September 28, 2009

weekend in pictures


Sad veggie buffalo wings because I got to the grocery store too late

Lots of riding in rented mom-mobiles

Philadelphia Takes Boston

on travel

We travel quite a bit. Historically, more for rugby than for work or personal (not that rugby isn't personal but it's not vacation)...

When you travel for work, you expect decent hotels (even if they have weird features). For personal travel, its up to you. Generally, we go with cheapo places if we're only passing through - how much will you enjoy a hotel if you arrive at midnight and are leaving at 8 am? - and a nicer place on the rare actual vacation.

My last rugby trip was in March, to Nashville. We stayed at a Super 8. The sheets on my bed had a couple of holes, the kind of holes you get from wear-and-tear and excessive laundering. There was a bottle opener on the back of the bathroom door. But the hotel was clean and had a decent breakfast and I think even had a pool.

Then Princess Charming and I went on our belated honeymoon. On the way home, we spent a couple of days in Seattle and stayed at a lovely joint (free on my credit card points!). Remember my love of their bathrooms? All that sparkle and light. This was the sort of hotel with white linens, multiple pillows, and a separate seating area. And a closet with doors.

This past weekend, I traveled with my rugby team to Boston for a league match. After a few hours of searching - literally - I found a Travelodge about 25 miles west of the field, right on our way in, that had 10 available rooms for the low low price of $92.50/night. If we only had 1 or 2 people per room it would only have been $68/night. Why do 2 more people cost almost $25 more? Its not like they remove beds if less people are sleeping there...and we certainly didn't use $12.50 in electricity and water each, nor in free breakfast cereal. (Maybe next time I should fib when making reservations?) We didn't even use the back-of-bathroom door bottle openers.

I looked for perhaps the first time in my life with disdain upon the multi-color with no particular pattern bedspread. I briefly considered wearing sandals in the shower (I decided this was a level of paranoia I am not ready for). I complained at some length about our beds being made up with only bottom sheets, so that as I tossed and turned all night on the hard plank posing as a mattress, I eventually had skin to mattress contact (and probably woke up my roommates, causing their own noisy tossing about).

This hotel also had a Beary Sleepy Suite, which by amazing luck of the draw, became the coaches room. Why does this room even exist? Do people leave their kids in a first floor room of a motel with exterior doors and hope they'll be happy with the bear-themed curtains and bedspread, kid-sized chairs and cable? It wasn't even a connecting room!

I am also pretty sure that this hotel, nestled in the shadow of a Crown Plaza in the middle of a fairly nice suburban shopping district, is the locale of choice for locals soliciting ladies of the night. Why you ask? When I went to get a duplicate key, this is the conversation of the "gentleman" in front of me:

Man: Do you have any rooms for tonight? Blah blah blah, I'm paying in cash.
Desk Clerk: Sure Guy's Name. (He walked in right before me and had not presented ID).
Man: OK great. Sure is busy here tonight.
Desk Clerk: Blah Blah blah, I'll give you Room 115. I have a couple of customers who really like that room.

Hence my conclusion. If I'm wrong, then let's move to conclusion B...
He's a) having an affair (hence the cash payment) and b) is a cheap bastard. (If you're treating your spouse like crap, at least meet your mistress someplace nice.)

What I learned this weekend:
I am becoming a snob finding myself to be a more discerning consumer.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009


As I am endlessly proud of our kitchen makeover, I submitted it to The DIY Show Off. And I've been featured here! Awesome :)

Sunday, September 20, 2009

weekend in pictures

I saw this over at Life on 19th and love the concept. I'm going to give my version a whirl.

Friday night
couch & movie (& Wii) with Princess Charming

first game for the college team we coach (and more couch/Wii time!)

fundraiser at the football dogs, pretzels and bad beer galore for fans in bad outfits.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

ing distance run

I picked up my packet today. I last ran the Philly Distance Run in Sept. 07, and it is still my favorite of the half marathons I've run. Its a great course through Center City and around the river (which is a path I used to train on all the time when we lived there). My race packet even included a snazzy - and very orange - tech tee.

But sadly, no run for me in the morning. The tiny fracture from late June impeded my training, and I'm looking at a long run (prep for my Nov half) of 5 miles tomorrow, not 13.1. Since I can't run, I'm glad I had a coupon for the race fee, but its still an expensive tee shirt...though I got lovely new cranberry running shoes on sale at the expo too, so I guess its a wash! I often search high and low for a decent sale! Good, supportive running shoes are just never sold at places like Kohls that discount all their merchandise 50% every other weekend!

Instead of a nice run with 16,000 friends in beautiful weather and getting a new medal for my coatrack, I am spending the day at a rugby fundraiser. There is truly no way I'd rather spend my Sunday than inside Stand 134 of the Linc serving $4 popcorn that is delivered to us in trash bags and trying to pour $6 Coors Light drafts and get a cup full of foam. In fact, I think these fundraisers are so amazing, I wish I could work them every weekend. And, my teammates will join me for a broken pretzel and (that weird never solid) cheese (that no one in their right mind would every eat anyplace but a sporting event). Sadly I only have one more to work this year to fulfill my requirements - the Army-Navy game in December!

(shh, but I did kind of enjoy the Army-Navy game last year. Our stand is in the middle of the cadets, so it was entertaining.)

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

one month to go

Our big 3 day walk is in a month! I unfortunately haven't been training as much as I should due to a foot fracture, cold, and the onset of classes and rugby, but I am still 100% sure it will be an awesome experience! It will be an honor to participate in this event in honor of my mom (in remission for 7 (I think) years), my friend MR's mom (fighting again), and all of the other women out there with the disease.

I'm at 65% of my fund-raising goal. Want to chip in $23 (1% of my total goal?) or $60 ($1/mile we're walking) or some other amount? Click the widget below!

Help me reach my goal for the Philadelphia Breast Cancer 3-Day!

more proof...

...that being an "Ivy" student does not guarantee much.

This email was sent to me under an hour after I left the classroom where I gave a 15 minute presentation to clarify instructions the students received via email two weeks ago. No edits outside brackets:

I was wondering, you showed my [course XXX] class a lot of things to do on a website. Can you email me the link? I think if I see the site again I will remeber what to do. If I don't, I will be sure to email you. I eally just want to make sure I do everything I need to do.


Monday, September 14, 2009

its been a year

I last had a bad cold the week of September 14, 2008. This is, incidentally, the week we were on our mini-moon in Cape Cod. Today, September 14, 2009, I have a 101 degree fever. I can't tell you the last time I had a fever. I even called in sick to work today (not that that has prevented me from answering 17 emails already and I know I'll do more later).

Since our anniversary was yesterday and I spent the weekend at Pumpkinfest while Princess Charming spent the day laying our new floor, it would be nice if we had time off together not sick.

On the upside, here is a sneak preview of the awesome den floor:

Monday, September 7, 2009

Cooking for the Month

Since September is here, time is of the essence. We both work full time, Princess Charming does a 90+ mile one way commute 2-3 days/week (and is away for work the other ones), we both coach club sports, and I am taking two doctoral classes and playing rugby. We, clearly, are insane time pressed.

So we've decided to expand our Cooking-For-The-Week into Cooking-For-The-Month. This month is kind of an experiment for us. In the future, we'll need to be a little more careful about recipe sizes. I think we have enough though, and it should help keep our food bill down since we'll have plenty of lunches and dinners - less excuses for unplanned eating out. Everything we made is relatively low in fat and includes something from our garden too!

Big trays:
2 meat lasagnas (How is lasagna low in fat? Drain meat well and go easy on the cheese...and sub in cottage for ricotta (sad, and my nana is turning in her grave, but healthier - so I don't feel too bad about the AMAZING fresh parm on top!)
1 veggie lasagna

Small trays:
2 chicken, bean and cheese enchiladas
1 cheesy pasta

2 Greek Pasta (ground beef, green beans, onions, and tomatoes in pasta...with Feta!!)
2 Turkey Kielbasa and Peppers in Pasta
(and some extra sauce, oops)

Not pictured:
Greek pitas (a massive bowl of shredded chicken breast mixed with homemade tzatziki sauce with cucumbers and tomatoes to be (carefully) eaten from a pita pocket).

Total time: about 7 hours with prep and finishing up. I think we'll come out ahead, since our weekend cooking is usually 2-3 hours!

Ode to Carpet

(sing with me to Mary Had a Little Lamb.)
Old owner had a love of carpet, love of carpet, love of carpet.
Old owner had a love of carpet, love of carpet, love of carpet
and also of pads and glue.

We're a bit past midway through our budget facelift of our den. Originally we planned to drywall this room, build in a half bath (there is already a toilet...), and replace the funky acoustic tile ceiling.
(photo from our house shopping visit)

But like in the rest of the house, this renovation has been re-thought since we're looking to sell in the next year or so instead of next 5-7 like we'd originally planned (we've been here 18 months).

Thus far, we've replaced the lighting, painted, installed 3 new outlets, installed a door and rebuilt the rickety shelving. Today, we ripped up the carpeting. See that orangy carpeting above? Its not wall-to-wall, but what appears to be an edged remnant. Pulling it up revealed three colors of old paint (the old owner has shown us several times how he liked to paint AROUND things...) and a lot of decayed carpet pad. That stuck to the floor.

Moral of the story? Carpet isn't forever. And it is extremely gross upon removal.

While the pad in the main room came up pretty well with a broom, putty knife, and eventually mop, the stairs are another story. This stuff is glue. Princess Charming spent about 8 hours power washing the same unidentified carpet pad/glue/years of decay off the floor of our screened-in porch.

Coming soon...laminate flooring. A bit warmer than painted concrete, more practical for a partially subgrade & attached to the garage room than carpet, and a little more homey than the tile (matching our kitchen) we were considering), and more affordable than the cherry I really want!

Now to just find a free day...end of summer = work + rugby + school = the next free weekend day is October 5.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

kitchen makeover, 98%

Remember that kitchen makeover we started over the winter?

To refresh your memory, here's the kitchen from when we moved in:
Last summer, we painted and changed the drawer and cabinet pulls...

But the yellow floor and "wood" countertop remained, plus the lovely laminate, grease stained backsplash, and a tipsy faucet.

Our goal was to give it a facelift for under a thousand dollars. Its been mostly done for a while, but the details were slow to be finished, since right after we finished the floor, counters and backsplash the chaos of the spring rugby seasons began.

What do you think?

What all was changed:
  • Gone are the "wood" countertops with sharp, peeling edges. In are the new cut-to-fitIkea Countertops with a rounded edge.
  • Gone are the semi-gothic handles! In are sleek chrome ones!
  • Gone is the faucet that was falling into the sink. In is the faucet with a functional sprayer.
  • Gone (well, tiled over) is the vintage yellow pebble lineoum. In is the "luxury" groutable vinyl tile (photos of this job here)
  • Gone is the white-ish plastic backsplash. In is the tile. (This created a detail of time, as I then had to do outlet surgery to pull them flush, as the tile is much thicker than the plastic was!)
  • Gone is the wallpaper. In is the new buttery yellow paint. We also painted the (unfortunate) ceiling tiles Craft White to help brighten the room (and cover the effects of age).
  • Gone is the brown, not centered, room darking light. In is a normal light!

All in all, I believe we spent about $750 in supplies, well under budget. We also bought the little white cart to replace the table-for-not-really-two and an energy efficient and not hideous almond fridge (about $1100 total), but these items will come with us when we move, so I think of them seperately :)

Remaining details:
  • Buy a paper towel holder. I have no idea how we don't have one!
  • Hang blinds, purchased about 4 months ago :)