Sunday, February 18, 2018

How I Did With Doing Things In January

Since my goal for the year is to actually do things, instead of just talking about things I want to do and making plans that never happen, I thought I’d try to do a monthly post with how I did the month before.  Since February is more than halfway over it seems past time for a post on how January went.  I didn’t have a picture that really went with this post, so I thought I’d take the opportunity to share this one of Howard.  I think he looks adorable. 

I don’t think it was a stellar month, but since it’s my least favorite month and it was crazy cold for a large part of it, I don’t think it’s too bad.  That’s what I’m telling myself anyway.

On the blogging front, I did ten posts in January.  Considering the fact that I  only did twenty-five posts total last year, I think ten in a month was a definite improvement. 

For going and seeing new things, we finally went to see the Poinsett Bridge.  It was something we had been talking about doing for years, so it was nice to finally go out there.  That’s the only new place we went in January, but a lot of the places we want to see are outdoors, and it was just too cold to do much outside. 

On the getting rid of clutter in the house front, we did a Pantry Challenge.  We did really well in sticking to it, so we did manage to thin things down, at least in the kitchen, a little bit.  There’s a long way to go, but it’s a start.  I think that also counts toward the goal of saving money/getting out of debt, since it meant we spent significantly less than usual on groceries.

And that’s pretty much it.  I didn’t really do anything toward any of the other goals I want to accomplish.  I’m really not sure whether to call January a success, a failure, or maybe just a neutral.  I guess it depends on how you choose to look at it. 

So how about you?  Did you set any new goals for the year, or choose a word for the year?  How did you do with that in January? 

Saturday, February 17, 2018

It Was Nice While It Lasted

On Thursday we enjoyed temperatures in the mid seventies.  It was sunny and beautiful, and it was wonderful. 

I wanted to enjoy every minute of the beautiful weather, so I ate my lunch outside, and took this picture of these tiny little wild flowers that are blooming in the yard.  I was so happy to see something colorful and blooming.

After work Nick and I loaded the dogs in the car and went to the cemetery to walk.  It’s not as weird as it might sound, I promise!  It’s a really big cemetery; lots of people walk and jog there, and bring their dogs.  It was fairly crowded Thursday evening.  I think a lot of people had the same idea.

We also walked through the neighborhood near the cemetery, and Nick showed me the house his grandparents lived in when he was born.  They moved from that house when he was five, but he still remembers quite a few things from when they lived there.  It was fun to picture a little version of Nick playing in the yard. 

We walked until it started getting dark.  We knew the nice weather wasn’t going to last, so we wanted to take advantage of every minute of it.  I think the dogs enjoyed the long walk, too. 

Yesterday started off sunny and warm, but the temperature started dropping in the afternoon.  It dropped twelve degrees in between the time I went back to work from lunch and the end of the day when I left.  It continued to drop last night.  Today has been cold and rainy.  The temperatures haven’t gotten above the mid forties, and it has been raining all day.

Fortunately, it doesn’t look like we’re going to drop down to freezing, so hopefully the little flowers will survive.  The beautiful weather was so nice while it lasted!

So how about you?  Have you had any warm days?  Any sign that spring might be on its way?

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Thrifty Thursday - Send A Free Military Care Package

Do you ever have posts that you just absolutely have to do on a certain day?  Posts where everything just comes together in the right way, on the right day (or at least really close), and it’s the only post you could possibly share that day?  It doesn’t happen often for me, but this is one of those posts. 

Yesterday would have been my grandfather’s (a.k.a. Dad Dog) 89th birthday, and he was retired from the Air Force.  Recently I found an opportunity to send free care packages to troops.  I couldn't pass up the opportunity for a Thrifty Thursday post about sending a free care package to troops the day after his birthday!

Crown Royal has teamed up with Packages From Home to send packages to troops serving overseas.  You can access the site here.  You have to be 21 or older to access the site, you have to provide your date of birth, and you have to provide your email address.  However, there is absolutely no cost to you.

Once you’ve accessed the site, you can choose four items from the most requested list to be sent to troops.  I chose cookies, nuts, lip balm, and tea.  Of course I have to choose tea any time it’s an option!  Dad Dog was also a tea drinker, so it seemed like an appropriate choice.  Coffee, oatmeal, chips, and pretzels were some of the other options.

It takes less than two minutes of your time, costs you nothing, and maybe makes life just a little bit more pleasant for someone in harm’s way, away from their family and loved ones.  If you’re so inclined, please take the time to visit the site and select four items to send.   If you participate, I hope you’ll share your choices in the comments.  It’s always interesting to see what other people choose.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

We Went to Saint Augustine

I doubt anyone noticed I was gone last week.  I had a few posts scheduled, so things didn’t go completely silent here.  Thanks for all of your visits and comments while I was gone.  I am working on catching up with everyone’s blog posts.

As part of our plan to actually do more things, rather than just talking about things we want to do, we took a trip to Saint Augustine, Florida last week.  It had actually been in the works for a while.  Our neighbors go almost every year and love it.  Last year, they spent a week there in January.  It was their Christmas gift to each other.  Being the type of people to copy a good idea when we hear it, we decided to do something similar.

We made the decision not to give each other any gifts for our birthdays or Christmas last year, but instead to save the money up for a warm weather vacation during the winter.  We reasoned that we really didn’t need any more stuff, we want to travel more, and our neighbors seemed really happy doing that.  And if you’ve been visiting here for a while, you probably know that I absolutely hate the winter.  I don’t do well in the cold, gray months.  I’m mostly miserable during the worst of the winter weather, and unfortunately, I think I tend to make those unfortunate enough to be around me miserable as well.  Poor Nick.  So an escape to someplace sunny and warm was particularly appealing to me.  Nick tends to wilt in the heat, so is much happier visiting beaches in the off season when it’s warm, but not hot.  A winter getaway to a warmer climate seemed ideal.

We chose Saint Augustine based largely on the neighbors recommendation, the fact that it was reasonably affordable during the off season, the fact that it has a lot of history, the fact that it was less than a seven hour drive, and the fact that it would be warm enough to make me happy, but not hot enough to make Nick miserable.

We take the dogs with us on our Folly Beach, SC vacation, but chose not to take them to Saint Augustine.  Folly Beach works well for them; we go there often enough to have taking them down to a science.  We rent the same house every year, so we know what to expect, where we can take them, and where we can’t take them.  It’s much more difficult to find a pet friendly place to rent, especially a place that’s okay with two dogs, and one of them being over 90 pounds.  We’ve also learned over the years that some places aren’t as dog friendly as they claim to be, so it usually works out better not to take the dogs with us the first time we go somewhere.  Honestly, it’s also nice to have a little break sometimes, too.  The dogs stayed in the kennel at their vet’s office, and seemed to have a good time based on the pictures the vet sent while we were gone.

We rented a condo that wasn’t at all dog friendly, and took full advantage of all the amenities it offered including a hot tub, heated pool, and Jacuzzi.  I would have preferred the weather to be just a little warmer, but it was warm enough to wear shorts most days; we both came back with a tan.  We walked on the beach, did some tours, spent time in the pool, visited some museums, and ate a lot of great food.

We had a great time, but I don’t think Saint Augustine is a place that we’ll go back to every year, or over and over again.  A lot of it was much more of a tourist trap than what we typically like to do.  Some of the tours and museums felt more gimmicky than educational.  I’m not saying that we didn’t enjoy a lot of things.  We really did, and it was wonderful to have a winter vacation.  I plan to post about some of the highlights later on.  It’s just not a place that we think of as “our place”, like the Charleston area.

We’re definitely hooked on the idea of not buying birthday or Christmas gifts for each other in favor of a winter trip to somewhere warmer and sunnier than home.  There’s definitely something to be said for experiences over stuff.  At least for us, right now.  We’ve decided to start researching other places for next year.  Maybe another beach in Florida.  We’ve also heard good things about Jamaica.  If anyone has any suggestions for a place that’s nice and warm in January or February I’d love to hear them.

I’m working on getting caught up with all of your blogs as soon as I can.  I’m looking forward to catching up and seeing what I missed while we were gone.

Monday, February 12, 2018

We Slept Through All of the Excitement

Normally, not very much goes on in our neighborhood, and we’re very happy with that state of affairs.  We live at the end of a fairly quiet dead end street.  With one notable exception, most of our immediate neighbors are fairly quiet.  Most of the people on our block have been here for a long time, we know each other, and we tend to look out for each other.  I don’t think I’d describe anyone as especially nosey, but we all tend to notice if there’s a strange car or something unusual going on.  I know some of you probably think that sounds awful, but we’re very happy with it.  Maybe it’s a southern thing. 

Last night was apparently one of the exceptions to the “not much goes on in our neighborhood” statement.  Nick and I went to bed fairly early.  He has to get up at 5:30 in the morning for work, and I get up around 6:15 for work, so we’re usually in bed well before 10:00 most week nights.  We’ve also taken to silencing both of our cellphones before bed, which we did last night. 

This morning we woke up to various missed calls and texts from two different neighbors.  After texting different neighbors this morning, I found out about all of the excitement that we slept through. 

Apparently when our next door neighbor, Steve, came home from work last night (he works odd hours, so is typically coming home much later than the rest of us) he smelled natural gas and called the gas company.  His wife, Lori, sent us a text letting us know that the gas company was coming. 

The gas company sent one person who walked around the yards with a flashlight.  Deana, another neighbor a couple of houses down, saw a man outside our house with a flashlight.  She called us, but neither of us answered, and no lights came on.  She saw our cars, so assumed we were both home, so her next call was to the police. 

Meanwhile, Steve went outside to talk to the man from the gas company, who told him that there was a leak, and a crew was on the way to fix it.  While Steve was outside, he saw that Deana was definitely awake and about, so walked down the street to talk to her and let her know about the gas leak.  Deana was still on the phone with the police when Steve arrived, so she was able to assure them that all was well before anyone made it to our street to check on things. 

Lori then sent us a text that the gas company was sending a crew to fix the leak, and that’s what it would be if we heard any large trucks coming down the street.  She told me today that they did come and fix the leak last night.

We slept through all of it.  I’m not sure how, especially since the dogs were in the bedroom and usually bark at pretty much everything.  Maybe they were just really tired, and so were we.  Somehow we slept through all of last night’s excitement.

Of course we were very happy that Steve noticed the gas leak and called about it, and we were very happy that Deana cared enough to call the police when it looked like something was wrong at our house.  Like I told her, I’d much rather have a neighbor who calls the police when it turns out that nothing was wrong than one who doesn’t call anyone when something is wrong. 

With any luck, that will be all of the excitement our little section of the street has for a while.  Even if we did sleep through it.

So what about you?  Have you had any excitement in your neighborhood lately?  Or do you sleep through it too?