Hi my name is Cassi and I’m a tea and soda addict.

Seriously… But about 3 years ago, I made the switch to diet, that’s a plus right?

I try not to have more than one can of soda a day, but my husband and I polish off a 3 quart pitcher of iced tea daily. I have tried many times to stop drinking soda completely, but kind of gave up on that for the past year or so while I was quitting smoking after my grandmother was diagnosed with lung cancer. I was a smoker for 15 years and I have not had a cigarette since October 26, 2013. Now the smell of cigarette smoke makes me want to puke.

“Just drink caffeine-free!”

It doesn’t taste the same to me! If you can’t tell the difference, awesome! But I can! :( Especially in diet cola! It’s like comparing Kroger BIG K to Coke or Pepsi! Why not just drink water?!

So in an effort to get on the “healthy wagon” I am going to try yet another challenge throughout the month of October…

I think it was started by my OG, John Petersik over at Young House Love. (At least that’s who everyone on the web points to when mentioning “Aquatober”) I think it’s a pretty awesome idea…

“31 days of drinking nothing but water in an attempt to reset my body from all of the sugar, caffeine and other junk that I drink the rest of the year”

It’s just 31 days, and we love a good challenge at our house so I’m gonna give this a crack! Who knows, maybe it’ll stick?!

I am, however, going to ceremoniously drink tea and soda up until the stroke of midnight on October 1st!

Goodbye Summer of 2014

Last weekend was Labor Day weekend. The the official closing of summer, or Bummer City for just about everyone, unless you live near or south of the equator.

Cue the music… “Closing Time” by Semisonic begins to play in the background. Children all over the country are crying as their parents put away their slip-n-slides and kiddie pools. Beach towels are packed in storage. All public pools were drained simultaneously Monday evening. Summer camps everywhere have fallen silent, their occupants all returned to school/college/real jobs weeks ago. The summer cabins are boarded up, their plastic covered prison mattresses are stacked neatly in storage, eagerly awaiting the opportunity to be peed on again by little Jimmy during his first week at summer camp next year, which will be at least another 7-8 months. Deep depressing sigh.

I was a summer camp kid.

I loved packing up all my worldly belongings and stuffing them into my camp trunk and taking them away with me to the whole different universe that was sleep-away camp. (I still have that trunk. It still smells like camp fire!)

I grew up in the 90’s watching shows like “Salute Your Shorts” and “Hey Dude!” which were all about these kids getting to go away to summer camp and dude ranches for the whole summer. BY THEMSELVES!

The caption says it all.

The caption says it all.

So the summer when I was 10, when my mom asked me if I wanted to go to summer camp, I peed my pants. I was finally going to have my own adventures like Budnick, Donkeylips, Ronnie Pinsky, Z.Z., and the rest of the gang from Salute Your Shorts!

The particular camp I went to had several different “specialty” camps. Sports camp, band camp, fishing camp, horse camp… I was an “arts camper.”

The sports campers were the jocks. The band campers were local high school bands who spent their whole day practicing. Fishing campers for some reason always had the surfer/burn-out vibe. They had the coolest counselor ever, Tracy Ray, who reminded me of Morgan Freeman, and they pretty much did just about whatever they wanted – Including staying up really late and night fishing on the lake!

I went to arts camp every year for 5 years. I never really knew what the arts campers’ persona was… I guess we were the pre-hipsters?

Our area was in the walk-out basement of the conference building. There was a secret door that lead to the Nature Center next door, which we thought was amazing. That was where they kept the snakes and turtles. You know… naturey things.

A "baja hoodie"

The ol’ drug rug!

Our counselor was Phil. He was an early 20-something long-haired, Birkenstock-wearing, liberal arts college student. He greeted us each morning cheerfully wearing his baja hoodie (which I later learned were also called “drug rugs”) while clenching a Winnie the Pooh mug full of coffee. He was like the female version of Janice from the Muppets.

His favorite band was Phish. I know this because he wore a Phish t-shirt almost every day and the only cd we were allowed to listen to my first summer was Hoist. If you’re not familiar with Phish, they can be summed up easily in one sentence: The lead singer plays a vacuum.

Phil’s helper was Cindy. She was a junior counselor, and was probably in high school, maybe a senior? She also stayed in my cabin. She looked a lot like Angela Chase from My So-Called Life. But she didn’t take shit from anyone. If you acted like a butt hole, she told you. She wore cut-off jean shorts with leggings and flannel shirts. Her hair was fire-engine red. She had this dry, sharp wit about her. (Think Janeane Garofalo.) I was enamored with her.

Angela Chase

Cindy probably would have strangled Angela Chase with a friendship bracelet.

In arts camp we did just about everything. We made baskets, made things out of clay & popsicle sticks, painted, drew, made friendship bracelets, lanyards and key chains. We also tie-dyed everything that wasn’t nailed down.

By the last year I went to camp, my family no longer owned anything white that would accept Rit dye. I also had so many handmade lanyard key chains; I probably could have supplied a Chinese key chain factory through my college years. (My husband actually has one on his key ring at this very moment!)

I sported about 50 friendship bracelets on each of my wrists AND ankles. And before I started middle school, I had to cut out a chunk of my hair that one of my fellow campers had put one of those thread hair wraps in.

After lunch, during the blazing heat of the day, we were allowed to go do other activities if we wanted to. Things like shooting your fellow cabin-mate at the archery range… But we usually opted to stay with Phil and Cindy and lay on the cold cement floor, listening to Phish and pretend like we were cool.

The evenings were the best part of camp. This is usually when everyone at camp went down to the lake and went swimming.

The lake was massive and was really clean and clear. We even had a resident snake named Ethel (which I’m sure where in fact several different snakes). I imagine naming the snake was a way to take some of the horror out of the possibility of swimming with serpents. There were a lot of city kids that had never seen a snake in real life.

We even had a “Polar Bear Swim” at dawn every morning, which was probably the most fun!

The swim system was pretty serious business. When you got out of the water, you had to take a little metal chip with your camper number off the IN board and put it back on the OUT board. This is how they kept track of how many kids were IN the water. Every so often, they did a head count to make sure everyone was safe and accounted for.

I remember once we were frantically all called out of the water. Someone was missing. We all stood on the beach for what seemed like forever as the counselors recounted everyone at least 5 times before they finally formed “the chain” and started walking through the water looking for the missing kid.

Later in life I realized that the counselors probably all had the scenes from Friday the 13th running through their minds that day.


Come on in, the water’s fine!

Right about the time all the counselors were in the water with their clothes on, the “missing” kid came skipping down the stairs from the commissary with a Drum-Stick ice cream cone and asked someone what was going on… He forgot to move his chip.

In the evenings, sometimes we’d have a big camp fire where we did skits, sang corny camp songs etc. Before it got too late, they’d ceremoniously extinguish the fire and usher us quietly back to our cabins where we had a little while to shower and wind down before lights out.

Actually sleeping at camp was always near impossible.

If you haven’t had the pleasure, thank your lucky stars that you’ve never had to experience the banter of 10 pre-teen/teenage girls’ banter at bed time at summer camp. No topic was taboo… it was kind of like a junior version of The View. I don’t know how the counselors refrained from strangling us with our own tie dyed shirts.

Eventually the lights would go out and each of us would lay quietly in the dark, sweating to death trying to figure out how to go to sleep with the sound of mosquitoes buzzing in our ears. (Our cabins were four wood walls with big screened windows on every wall.) Every night at camp for a lot of kids was like the night before Christmas, it was hard to close your eyes and block out the excitement.

I had a counselor one year who would play an Enya tape every night to help lull everyone to sleep. In 1994 I had never heard of Enya before in my life, and thought it was kind of weird.

At the end of that week of camp, on the last night we were all talking about our favorite parts of the week. We each agreed we liked listening to Enya at night. We realized each of us had been lying awake each night until Orinoco Flow came on. I would later hear that song on the radio in the car with my mom and she cracked up that her fourth grader knew the words.

Another sleeping adventure was the “Overnight” night at camp. One night out of your week at camp, you got to pack a bag, your sleeping bag, pillow and hike somewhere into the wilderness where you spent the night. There were a few different locations, the pioneer cabin, the back side of the lake, the frontier ranch… or simply just the damn woods.

Overnights were always interesting and were a guarantee that nobody would be sleeping that night. One time at band camp, in the woods, the counselors accidentally burned wood with poison ivy and sent some kid with a horrific allergy to the hospital after he inhaled the poison ivy ash into his lungs.

My overnights were just about anything but “fun.” My first one was in the woods. At the beginning of the evening someone ripped a giant hole in the side of our tent. Tough turkey! We had to sleep in it anyway. It was still about 85 degrees with 95% humidity than night and in the middle of the woods, there was no escaping the mosquitoes.

To top it off… the week before I went to camp, I made the mistake of watching an episode of Unsolved Mysteries about a serial killer who rode trains into a girl scout camp and murdered everyone then dumped their bodies in their sleeping bag in a ditch.

Good 'ol Bobby Stacks!

Thank you for years of trauma, Bobby Stacks!

Right about the time I recalled the details of that episode, a train horn sounded a few hundred feet away. I sat up and looked out our tent as I watched the train clickety-clack right on by…

I spent that entire night balled up in my sub-zero-arctic-grade sleeping bag, sweating and hyperventilating.

When I entered my teen years, I decided I wanted to be a counselor one day. So I started helping out as a junior counselor with day campers. It was a lot of fun, until one day…

We had a group of special needs kids at day camp. They were a lot of fun. Except this one kid. He was genuinely mean and hateful and would regularly beat the tar out of his day-care helpers. To avoid being maimed, I decided to just steer clear of him.

One day, everyone was swimming at the lake and he was just sitting on the beach. Everyone tried to get him to jump in, but he refused. Finally I felt bad and decided to go over and offer him some words of encouragement or whatever the hell I thought counselors were supposed to do.

When I got over to where he was sitting, he had his towel in his lap. I was all like, “Hey, buddy! What’s goin on? Swimming is super fun! Let’s go!” And then I realized he wasn’t wearing pants…

I don’t know which was worse; realizing what he was doing or having to explain to the other counselors why he didn’t want to swim that day.

Turns out I didn’t really want to be a counselor! That was my last week at day camp.

I went back to camp once more after that in 1998, which was the summer before my freshman year in high school. But we didn’t stay at the main camp. Two counselors loaded up about 14 teenagers in the camp van and headed for West Virginia where we went white water rafting, rock climbing and rappelling for a week.

This is really where I went rappelling. It was amazing. The bottom of this photo is the ledge we walked over and rappelled down. You could probably still see the trail of vomit I left when going over the edge! I should try to dig up some old photos!

I shared a one-man tent with another girl, Diane (who I actually kept in touch with until college). We floated down the New River in our life jackets. I free fell from a rope off a 200 ft cliff while rappelling with nobody below to belay me, I nearly crashed to my death due to the fact that the rope was burning me through my leather gloves because I was going too fast. Our counselor jack-knifed the U-Haul trailer attached to our van and busted out the back window of the van. We swam in some backwoods swimming hole on the river with a bunch of mountain hippies and their 200 naked children.

It was an amazing trip and was the first time I’d ever been out of the state without my parents. That was probably the grandest grand finale to my camp years.

But I tell my friends and family who have kids now, send your kids to camp! I learned to make a fire, put up a tent, to cook, to clean! I mastered a canoe, a kayak, a horse and even people… I learned how to make friends, how to fight fair and most importantly how to make up with them and move on!

I learned that sometimes life is dirty, covered in bugs and sweat and that there is no such thing as a “best” way to tie-dye a shirt do things!


But there is a best way to build a fire. And that’s to make sure you don’t let “former boy scout” friends named Edd touch them!

Basement Blues

I’m pretty sure I have mentioned before that the “utility” side of my basement gives me the jeebs.

Our house was built in 1971 as a one story sort-of ranch. Somewhere down the line, a previous owner hand-dug our basement. Hand. Dug. Our adorable neighbor, Fred and his wife were the first family to move into our neighborhood back in the day, so he knows just about everything about everyone in the area. He told us that the previous owner had brought the buckets of dirt up one at a time until it was all completed. I couldn’t even imagine… I would have stroked out!

So the finished part is just fine. Although it is a mushroomy-tan color from floor to ceiling (underneath all of the band posters that we’ve plastered on the walls as an homage to our youth), it is still a cool place to hang out when we have parties. However, due to our last party’s unfortunate turn of events, we decided we’ll probably be having wayyyy fewer parties. So we agreed that we’d like to start using the basement on a daily basis more.

We used to have “band practice” down there. Ha! That was back when we were all chain smokers so we didn’t even need a fog machine to feel like rock stars. You could actually go outside and see the smoke billowing out of the small window. EW!

There has never been cable run down there and the stereo sucks and the furniture is all old and college frat/crack house-ish, so we never really had much desire to spend any real amount of time down there. So before we do start chillin’ like bro-skies down there, we’ve got some work to do. And making the basement a crash-pad is kind of the last thing on our list of things we wanna/need to do right now. :(

I’ve sort of gone off on a tangent in the wrong direction. I have a bad habit of doing that, my apologies! Allow me to start over!

I’m pretty sure I have mentioned before that the “utility” side of my basement gives me the jeebs. And next on the Casa Awesomesauce DO-OR-DIE!-LIST (that’s what I’m calling our to-do list from now on – DOD!L for short) is:

To get the shelves in our laundry room cleaned up and to reorganize and streamline the crawl space.

We made the executive decision to push this task to the front of the Do-Or-Die! List so we can get all of the things that are currently living in my master bedroom into storage where they really belong! (Remember this winter when there was a lawn mower living in there?! Old post about that here.)

Basement Blueprint

Since I don’t have pictures (the lighting down there sucks real bad) I have made this festive blueprint for you . As you can see, we really don’t have a WHOLE lot to work with. The crawl space is about 7 ft wide (and full of broken glass!) and about 12 ft deep. Then there’s that weird L curve. What’s that all about? Note that the PINK LINE in the laundry room is only a half wall. It comes up to about 4 feet and that’s where the crawl space begins. You actually have to climb over our washer & dryer to get to it. (Ugh. Hopefully going to relocate those to the wall where the freezer is eventually.)

The crawl space is gravel bottomed and as I’ve referred to in a previous post (here) is my Kevin Bacon Stir of Echoes crawl space. It’s the kind of space that prevents me from doing laundry when Travis isn’t home (or without the shotgun).

Stir of Echoes

We even have one of these bare light bulbs with the pull string!!! $#%&!!! I’m never going to be able to go down there again without this image in my mind.

It also doesn’t help that Travis stores our Halloween props in the crawl space… Including this guy who stares out at me like a bastard when I’m trying to fold my laundry. Couldn’t have even found a box for that?!

Known as "the Fuming Rotter" or the "Thing that makes pants full of shit."

Known as “the Fuming Rotter” or the “Thing that makes pants full of shit.”

So last week, Hubster bought an 8-pack of 18 gallon storage containers so we could start cleaning up the shelves, which contained tons of crappy boxes filled with poorly packed hand-me-down dishes, old college art supplies, boxes of shoes and other random home goods. I ended up purging probably 4 utility-size trash bags of sheer trash! I have a big box of donate stuff and only have 2 small boxes of stuff to re-home! I was kind of awesomely proud of myself since I’ve always been kind of nostalgia crazy. (I am pretty sure I don’t need my college Nerf Gun foam disc collection anymore.) We’re now going to designate our shelves in the basement to all of our non-Halloween holiday, camping and painting gear!

I found this printable storage container label online that I’m going to use to label each storage container so I don’t have to dig through them to find what I need.

The eventual end goal (after we get the bedroom done) is to turn the laundry room into a more user-friendly, less scary spot where I can do my thing without fearing for my life by accomplishing the following:

  • Paint the floor using this stuff that a lot of people use in garages and utility rooms (currently the floor is brick red which is scraped up really bad showing this lovely hospital-gown-green underneath.) Anything at this point would be an improvement!
  • Enclosing the exposed joists overhead with bead board or something similar to finish the ceiling and cover up the 9 billion wires and pipes that run through the joists.
  • Finish the drywall on one small wall where the door is (about 4 foot of wall in total).
  • Paint the cinder block walls, shelves, pipes etc so they look nice and clean.
  • Install a glass block window to replace the current out-dated and not-so-energy-efficient louvered window that we don’t even open because it’s super gross dusty/cobweb/bug covered.
  • Use either shower curtains or match-stick blinds to hide the crawl space without lessening access to it.

laundry room inspiration

Hopefully in the end it will look somewhat like this photo above! I love how they just used a super-tall table over top of the washer/dryer for folding & storage! That would be a super easy hack to a thrift store or garage sale find, or make our own table top. We could just use modified porch balusters or something similar for the legs, I’d think. But Hubs doesn’t like how low our washer & dryer sit, so they may end up going on top of washer/dryer pedestals or something like that that we DIY ourselves. Those pedestals are like $100-200 a PIECE! But it all looks pretty cozy and not so zombie-infested, no?

My favorite decade

Unhipdotcom 10 Years

NOTE to ease your gag reflex, since some people hate reading about feelings and people who love each other and admit it out loud (were you not hugged as a child?)… This post isn’t all wishy-washy and gooey with sticky sweet proclamations of love. It’s a look back at all the crazy things that have happened in what we consider to be the beginning of our “adult lives”!

On August 1, 2004, I first met and immediately started dating my hubs, Travis. On our first date, we watched Jeepers Creepers 2 and I kicked his ass at Mario Kart!

That was ten years ago today. TEN YEARS! That’s almost as long as I was in school! Longer than I went to college, longer than it takes to write a book or make a movie… LONGER than it takes to make a human being! If I would have gotten pregnant on the first date, I would now have a freaking 4th or 5th grader!

We met when we were 20 years old. I was living in an apartment in the not-so-nice part of the east side with my college roomie, and Travis lived with his sister right down the road! We were just about to turn 21 and neither of us really had any plans for the future. Aside from trying to figure out how to make a living and still have fun! I was in a boring part-time job right out of college. Travis was going to college and working as a nanny for his 2 year old nephew while his sister went to nursing school. We were just kids!

Us in August of 2004!

Us in August of 2004!

Because I LOVE to make lists…. Here’s a run down of our decade!

  • We turned 21 AND 30… yuck!
  • We have had 2 presidents.
  • We lived in 4 different homes in 4 different suburbs—in 1 apartment, 1 townhouse, 1 duplex and 1 house.
  • We bought our first house!
  • We have gone through 8 vehicles. 6.5 of those were Travis’ – this list doesn’t include the “loaner” vehicles or our boat!
  • We have had 2 dogs, 2 ferrets, 2 gerbils, 2 fish and 1 cat.
  • I fell down 2 flights of stairs, almost cut my pinky off and Travis has had 4 teeth and 1 gall bladder removed!
  • We collectively got 6 tattoos.
  • We visited 3 countries and 4 states.
  • We got married!

Some other memorable things that happened in 2004:

  • The movie Mean Girls came out! Which I always imagined to be the next generation’s Clueless or Romy & Michelle’s High School Reunion, right?
  • The Olsen twins turned 18. Ugh.
  • Janet Jackson had a “wardrobe malfunction.” Where has she been since then?! Miss Jackson, if you’re nasty?
  • Sex and the City ended… Good riddance!!
  • Friends ended. I was never a fan but I know this paired with the demise of Sex & the City, my college roommate was near-suicidal.
  • Facebook was invented. I’m not going to touch that one.
  • A whale explodes in the town of Tainan, Taiwan. A build-up of gas in the decomposing sperm whale is suspected of causing the explosion. Gross. I don’t know why I remembered this.
  • Google introduces Gmail, mail has never sucked so bad!
  • Oldsmobile builds its final car ending 107 years of production. :(
  • Martha Stewart is sentenced to five months in prison plus five months in home confinement for lying to federal investigators. Oh Martha, she probably slocked someone to get her linens starched and pressed.
  • Halo 2 a first person shooter first released on Xbox by Bungie Studios! This would be the video game that turned me into a “gamer.”

So that’s it, my favorite decade! Hoped you enjoyed that little hop into the Delorean for a trip down memory lane! That wasn’t so painful now, was it?

What was your favorite decade?

Summer Lovin’ – Lack of Progress

We have not gotten much of anything done this summer on the house. Womp-womp! :(

Not to be the excuse monster, but our funds haven’t been exactly liquid over the past few months due to the necessity in May to purchase a new washer & dryer after our 7 year old pair bit the dust.

We have also been saving our pennies for a new mattress! (In our 3 bedroom house we only have one mattress, which is a full size! We gave away our cheap lumpy king size, that broke our backs when we slept on it, in the 40 Bag Challenge that we wrote about here).

We also had a few plumbing issues (one being the leaky toilet we fixed pretty cheaply and wrote about here) and most recently we had a pipe leak in our basement. Or should I say all over our basement? We capped that sucker for now and will eventually get to fixing that. It’s a pipe that runs to our back porch faucet, which isn’t a huge necessity, but it would be nice for watering our tomato plants that are currently sucking up several gallons of high-quality H2O each day that we have to haul out from the kitchen in a pitcher! (Next year, I’d like to make a rain barrel!)

And last but not least, our dear pooch, Carli had a corneal ulcer which we had to treat.

I’m not complaining, I swear!

After having to buy a new washer & dryer the week we moved in because our old pair wouldn’t fit in the door, then the “new” refrigerator, air conditioner and the roof crapped out us at our house within the first 2 years, we learned and have come to peace with the fact that homeownership is like a f%#king box of chocolates, you just never know what you’re gonna get!

I just wanted to bring you up to speed on the current status of the fact that nothing is happening at ol’ Casa Awesomesauce! And not because I gave up!

BUT we DID get to do a bit of traveling this summer, which we both have vowed to do more of! (Read about our recent Florida extravaganza here!)

With all of that out of the way now, the hubster and I decided that we’re going to pick up the ball again and get rolling on our master bedroom next! We’d like to be in there by Labor Day, or at least by our FIRST WEDDING ANNIVERSARY on September 20th! We’re hoping this will be like a big honkin’ anniversary present to ourselves!

The master bedroom is going to be the absolute hardest room in the house because in it’s current state, it is a storage room. And it just so happens to be the largest room in the freaking house. At least that room no longer houses our lawn mower (read about lawn mowers in my bedroom here!) So we’ll have to do a lot of sorting and organizing before we get down to replacing the flooring (which is an absolute must!) and painting over the African safari wall border. Let me see if I can Google it…



The picture isn’t it exactly, but it’s pretty darn close. Now let me put a disclaimer on this… I am sure with the right decor, this would be adorable! But it doesn’t exactly go with my color scheme.

unhip palette!

This is what I’m twerkin with! I made several of these palettes to help myself find stuff to go in each of our rooms. Since we don’t have a lot of cash to splurge up front, I pin things that I can pick up over time!

Which brings me around to Pinterest:

For any of you Pinterest-ers, I started a whole board HERE a while ago for our master bedroom!

I realize a million people pin a million things per day on Pinterest and unfortunately sometimes Pinterest is  the place where dreams and ideas go to die.

But I’ve realized for me (a self-diagnosed List Nazi!!), it’s an easy list-making tool when I’m out and about or online shopping and I find things that I love! I just pin them so that way I can go back later when I have the time or money and buy the item, or do some hard-core online scouring to find something similar on the cheap.

Heck, I even use Pinterest as a wish list! I pin things we need at home or things that I’d like (you know, for when holidays and birthdays roll around!) Travis swears it has made Christmas and Christmas shopping his “favorite thing in the world,” and that’s a pretty big deal coming from someone who was never really a fan of holiday celebrations and hates gift shopping!

But back to the board: On my Master Bedroom board, I made a palette (above). I did that with all of the rooms that we’re giving a facelift so I have something to go by to virtually build each room before I even pick up a paint brush or start droppin’ cash! I actually own that comforter! I snagged it at Target last year sometime and I’ve used it from the beginning to make my palette and find things that “go” with it but aren’t matchy-matchy. As my darling Sherry over at Young House Love has said before: “Matchy Matchy Tacky Tacky!”

SO… Like I said, with this room there is a lot to do, but no real time frame. Other than we would really like to move into that room by fall since it tends to be a bit cooler, and we love sleeping in a chilly room so we can burrow under big fluffy blankets with our dogs without sweating to death! It also has french doors that lead out onto our patio, which makes taking the dogs out to do “their business” in the night or in the morning much easier. Especially if we have house guests… Our dogs are “morning people” and tend to prance through the house early in the morning, which sounds a little bit like a bull in a china shop!

And we would really like to have more house guests, and moving back into our master bedroom would obviously free up the spare bedroom which we’ve been occupying!

Well that was a bit of a long-winded post! My apologies on that! Congratulations and thanks if you made it to the end!


Florida in a very small nutshell

Damn, look at that calendar, July is almost over! Where has this summer gone?

I had meant to post an update on our St. Augustine trip back in June with photos etc., but my husband dropped our camera in the Atlantic Ocean… I’m sure it’s in Bermuda by now after that Hurricane (or was it just a tropical storm?) blew through.

Since I don’t have a lot of photos* to illustrate our trip… Our trip in a nutshell:

  1. We learned not to ever use Budget rental cars ever again! Ugh.
  2. Discovered that Florida drivers are NUTS. And that you will sit at a traffic light for 3-5 minutes. AND that there are a LOT of toll booths! We went through 5 tolls in about 20 miles!

    Phantom Tollbooth

    Does anyone else remember the movie “The Phantom Tollbooth”? Travis has never heard of it! I loved that movie, it was illustrated by the same guy who did all the Dr. Seuss stuff, no?

  3. Experienced Florida’s summer heat! Most days we were there, the mercury soared to 100! Throw in that 98% humidity and you have the perfect recipe for swamp ass! How did people live in that before air conditioning?!
  4. OUR FAVORITE PART: We swam in the fresh water springs at  Salt Springs in the middle of the Ocala Forest! It was kind of amazing. We had tons of video and photos on our camera… but sadly, those are gone to the sands of time. We loved the springs so much, that we vowed to return to FL and have a spring-hop vacation and visit as many as we can in one week! There are also some really awesome videos of the vents in the springs on YouTube! Here’s one of them.
  5. Drank from Ponce De Leon’s Fountain of Youth!
  6. Saw an exact replica of Michelangelo’s David.
    Travis & David

    Hidden in a hedge row because in 2014, the world is still not ready to see a 17 foot tall man’s penis. Travis, however is!

  7. We learned at a pirate shooting gallery that I’m a better shot with a rifle than Travis is!

    Shooting Gallery

    My score (500) on the left, Travis’ (425) on the right! Who do you want on your team in the Zombie/Pirate Apocalypse? Not that guy!

  8. Got stabbed by a pirate while viewing THE REAL One Eyed Willie prop from The Goonies, and got to see an original Jolly Roger flag (one of only two left in existence) at the St. Augustine Pirate and Treasure Museum.
  9. Visited Ripley’s Museum in St. Augustine (the first Ripley’s Museum!) – Saw mummified cats, licorice-made Freddy Kreuger, the Fiji Mermaid…
  10. Learned that we are most definitely Bed & Breakfast fans after we stayed at the beautiful Peace & Plenty Inn!

We had a great time, got to do a lot of touristy things, which is normally not our forte, but since we only had a little time to spend, we wanted to get the best bang for our buck and signed on for some cool tours (like Ripley’s Ghost Train Tour) and rode the Red Train the whole time we were there because it was just so convenient.

The only thing we were disappointed about was the food! We thought with a place older than New Orleans, with Spanish roots (we love us some Spanish noms) and and a direct line to fresh seafood… how could it NOT be a mecca of delicious dishes?! The best meal we had (other than our AMAZING breakfasts at the B&B) was at the Chili’s at the airport in Jacksonville right before we left. Boo!

But still, if you ever get the chance to check out St. Augustine, do it!

*More photos on Facebook

Exercising the demons!

“Our daughter Carol-Anne is in the television…”

Do you remember the Eddie Murphy skit about the movie Poltergeist?
Eddie Murphy: “Oh what a lovely home!”
Poltergeist voice: “GETTT OUTTTT!”
Eddie Murphy: “Too bad we can’t stay!”

This is probably similar to what has gone inside my bedroom at night for the past 25 years or so.

When I was a little kid I always fought going to sleep. Once I tell you a little bit about my nocturnal habits, you’ll probably see why… But since I fought sleep so much, once I finally did fall asleep, I was usually in a coma-like state and waking me was near impossible.

I guess where it really started was talking in my sleep. My mom would walk past my bedroom to go to bed and would hear “chattering.” The first few times she was kind of mad because she thought I had somehow managed to smuggle the cordless phone into my room and I was talking on the phone. So she’d whip open my bedroom door and I’d be laying there 100% oblivious to her and the hallway light streaming into my room… yammering away, clear as day. I would tell her nonsense things like where my in-my-dreams-only pet squirrel was going and point the little fella out to her as it “whizzed by her head”…

Then it progressed into me getting up and going to the bathroom in the night. Mom would usually be in the living room watching TV and would just assume I got up and went and did my thing and would go back to bed. But when she would go in to check on me, she would find that I was asleep and would be in the middle of disassembling the toilet paper rack in our bathroom. All while still sitting on the toilet.

Eventually when I got a little older and didn’t require bathroom supervision, I would find myself waking up in the night standing in front of my bedroom window staring out. Which was probably the creepiest it ever got for me. I even had to pull open curtains and raise the shades to accomplish this, so I apparently still had very good motor skills while unconscious! We lived out in the boonies, so who knows what I was looking at or for!

I had a friend sleep over once and she woke me up yelling at me for standing in my closet. I probably would have punched me in the face if I were her…

No matter what/where/when I have always (even still to this day) had a thing about turning my bedside lamp on in my sleep.

My nocturnal habits seemed to settle down a little bit through college and through my early 20’s. They didn’t really seem to start happening again until we bought our house that we live in now.

Pretty much right off the bat, I started in with turning the lights on in the night. Travis would wake me up in the night telling me to shut it off or by him walking over to my side of the bed and shutting it off himself.

It eventually turned into me waking up standing beside the bed, lights on, sometimes off. Then it slowly morphed into something new. I started screaming about things being in the room.

Ha! Poor Travis, if the tables would have been turned I probably would have thrown him down the stairs or locked him in the basement Evil Dead style!

We switched bedrooms (for no reason related to my night habits lol) and that seemed to make it ten times worse!

I woke up one night screaming about the pipe cleaners coming out of the ceiling. Once rubber spiders were dangling in the closet. We promptly had to hang curtains in front of the previously open closet. But then it turned into me screaming “Who’s in the closet?!” and “WHAT THE F#&% IS THAT?!?”

Sometimes I get up and follow Travis to the bathroom and just end up standing in the doorway of our bedroom or in the hallway. Which I’m sure is a lovely surprise when you open the bathroom door and see someone standing in your path in the pitch black. I’m really surprised I haven’t been shot or punched yet. In my defense I usually am just trying to go to the bathroom too.

A few months ago Travis awoke with the light on to me loudly mumbling something to him. At first (as he usually does) he thought I was awake and talking to him, so he asked “Huh?”

“Mumble mumble… How are you going to have a party… mumble mumble… WITH ALL OF THESE LAMPS ALL OVER THE PLACE!?” At this point I grabbed my bedside lamp and ripped it off the table and turned over and started shaking it over his head.

Luckily, he found this to be hilarious! (Again, I would have punched me in the face) So he immediately began cracking up. Which woke me up, and realizing what had happen, I also started cracking up. We laid there in bed at 4 am for probably ten minutes laughing so hard we both had to get up and go to the bathroom before we peed our pants!

Then there was last week when I seemed to cross that creepy line for Travis.

We have a 10 year old Boston Terrier, she currently has an ulcer on her eye. She normally sleeps in bed with us at the bottom of the bed near our feet, but Travis is notorious for kicking her in his sleep. (Yes, he’s a sleep FLAILER…) So while she is on 3 different kinds of antibiotics, pain med and anti-inflammatory meds which are hopefully putting her on the mend, Travis has been a champ and has been sleeping on the floor next to the bed so we hopefully won’t have to pay the $2,000.00+ for surgery to remove her eye after Travis kicks her in the face.

Travis was laying there, nearly asleep, long after I was sawing logs when he heard me say:

“What the hell is that in here?”

I think he knew I was asleep because he didn’t respond.

“Well.. WHATEVER it is, I just pray to God it doesn’t start moving under the bed…”

At which point the hair on the back of his neck stood up as he glanced beside him into the darkness, which of course happened to be under the bed.


Luckily nothing ate him or dragged him under there… but he definitely told me about it with a slightly disturbed tone in his voice.

I’m not sure what the deal is with my night time activities. And as a friend pointed out the other day, it is totally weird that it’s different in different places. Like how it seems to be the worst in our spare bedroom. I mean it’s not like my head spins around and I spit green pea soup all over the place, but it would probably be pretty disturbing. 

Anybody have any sleep walking/talking stories?

Leavin’ on a jetplane

So we’re getting ready to do a little traveling next week. The wheels go up first thing Thursday morning, on a big ol’ jet airliner headed towards Orlando, Florida! Travis is meeting with a few people he does business with on Thursday, Friday and Monday. But Saturday and Sunday are all ours to spend as we please!

We decided to hit up as many fun places as we could think of on our adventure, since we don’t get the chance as much as we’d like to travel. It will be a work hard, play hard sort of situation and I get to play Lovely Assistant and keep us on schedule with a semi-nazi-esque itinerary that I pulled together over the course of a few weeks we had to plan the trip!

Strangely, one of the things I’m looking forward to most is checking out are Florida Orange Juice some of Florida’s natural springs! There are apparently hundreds of them throughout the state, most of which are on private property. But there are several that are state parks! I watched a documentary-type video a long time ago about the Mermaids of Weeki Wachee! Weeki Wachee is a natural spring that they built a glass wall into the side of, that allows people to sit in an underground amphitheatre area and watch “live mermaid shows!” How could the little girl in all of us not be totally into that?!

Weeki Wachee Mermaids beckoning travelers in off the highway like Sirens of the deep to come watch the Mermaid Shows

According to the Weeki Wachee website, (which I couldn’t get to load at the time of this posting) the girls who performed as the mermaids back in the day were like celebrities! Everywhere they went, they were treated like movie stars! The spring is sort of off the beaten path, so the girls would go out to the highway road and stand near the sign and beckon travelers in for the show and then quickly run and jump in the spring for a show! There’s even video on YouTube of live wild Manatees who swim into the show area. It’s pretty rad!

Vintage photo of a Mermaid Show from the early days


Unfortunately, we won’t be in the Weeki Wachee area so we had to suck it up and check out Rainbow Springs instead. Which in my opinion is a little more awesome because we will actually be able to get in and swim and enjoy the springs first hand.

For those of you that don’t know a whole lot about me, I am a water person. I usually prefer a river or a lake. I like the ocean but I know that most things in the ocean can and will kill me. I am cooler with the ocean for some reason if I can see what’s possibly going to kill me. But I am not a major fan of raging rip-tides and angry waves that beat you down and force dirty-tourist-butt salt water up your nose. I want to swim, not fight that fierce bitch Mother Nature to survive!

I grew up on a lake, and I was the first one in the water in the spring and the last one in out in the fall. This was usually not on purpose – I had a bad habit of playing too close to the water and usually fell in, fully dressed while chasing bugs or just being me, and generally in near-freezing temperatures.

We swam at night, swam in the day, in the rain, in the cold, in the blazing heat when the water felt like someone’s old bath water. We jumped off the top of the dock and nearly killed ourselves. Stuck our toes in the mud on the bottom and picked it up and threw it at each other… The lake was the last thing I saw before bed while we sat out on the porch and talked about the day. It the first thing  I saw in the morning while we ate our toast and coffee on the porch and watched the mist over the water roll out.

The lake was my place. There’s just something about the water. It’s peaceful and makes me feel at home.


But I’ll take this place! This is Rainbow Springs… That’s fresh spring water, not sea water!


I’ll only get a few hours to enjoy it, but that should be enough to appease my water-loving soul! Then a few days later we will be spending a few days in St. Augustine right on the Atlantic coast. St. Augustine seems BAMF because it’s the oldest continually occupied city in the WHOLE COUNTRY! I’ve only passed through Miami, Florida on the way to other places, so I don’t know what to fully expect. The water in St. Augustine is pretty and the sand looks soft and the tide doesn’t look brutal. I guess I will have to just wait and see!

St. Augustine Beach, Florida


Traveling gives me a little bit of anxiety. It’s not the fear of actually the mode of traveling (you know, the plane ride…) it’s the fear of “OMG! What happens if my house catches on fire while I’m gone!!” Or “OMG!! I forgot my ID or my Credit Card or My Pants!!” or “OMG! We missed our flight!!”

… ok so I’m not really concerned that I’ll forget my pants…

Basically the fear of anything and everything going completely wrong or terrible things happening, like the things that always tend to happen to me and my family such as:

  • My mom and I nearly missing a cruise ship once due to a delayed flight. Note to anyone else out there… ALWAYS fly in the night before your cruise sets sail…
  • Travis and I flew to New Orleans on whim when he worked at the airport and got free flights. We didn’t have a hotel or anything booked before we left, so naturally we ended up spending the first 6 hours in New Orleans walking around looking for a hotel.
  • On the first day of our Bi-Annual Family Vacation to Myrtle Beach, my mom slipped on a puddle of dish soap in a grocery store and fell down and broke her arm.
  • Our freaking boat almost sank on a trip to Lake Cumberland, as told here.

I guess I’ve got to learn to relax. Hell, if it’s gonna happen, it’s gonna happen. But I’m going to be like Aunt Bunny falling down the steps, I’m not going down easy!


A letter to my 16 year old self

Beginning way back in 1995, the year I started the 6th grade and entered middle school, I began a tradition with of writing a letter to myself the night before the first day of school. I would then save it and open it the night before school started the next year. I kept up the ritual all the way through college. I usually included things like a bucket list of things I wanted to do that year, my favorite song, favorite band, who my friends were, who I had a crush on. (That name was usually the same name like every year. Sigh… teenage-hood really was a miserable, cruel joke!)

Luckily once I got into highschool, the letters started to become a little less boy crazy, which meant no more “I <3 So-and-So” scribbled down the side. The letters started becoming kind of motivational. I always had serious anxiety about going back to school (because I sucked at school). So I started writing things like:

Dear Future Self,
Remember, you always shit your pants the night before school and then the whole year goes by and nothing different ever happens! It’s going to be the same thing this year. So suck it up and force yourself to get up on time for once because you promised you wouldn’t spend another Saturday morning in detention for being late every day of the week.

This is NOT The Breakfast Club.

I know, I know, a little over-enthusiastic for the first day. So… enjoy your first detention of the year on Saturday!

(Insert number here) years until FREEDOM!
<3 Past Self

Luckily I survived high school, went on to college where I learned that school isn’t really all that scary. I got a job in my field two months out of college and the rest is history. And today I decided to turn my little tradition around and write to my 16 year old self!

Here it goes…

Dear 16 year old self (1999),

Look, being late is kind of a thing that you do… we both know you try, and people will hate on you for it, but just smile and tell them you had to poop. Because you probably did.

I’m going to let you in on a little secret. “Love” at 16 is like a tornado in a trailer park. Don’t take things so seriously and learn to be real and realize that your judgement of the opposite sex at this stage in your life is extremely clouded (and will be for many years to come)… Like for instance that kid that you’re dating now is a douchebag and will eventually impregnate one of your family members. True story. So while you’re practicing being real, also practice patience, because like a non-curable STD, he will always be around… FOREVER!

Your pink Geo Storm will be the stuff of dreams. Literally. Even when you’re 30, every dream you have where a car is involved, it will be that car. It is the car that all subsequent cars will be measured against. Yes, we know it really isn’t that cool, but you will have some amazing memories in that car. That car will give you your first taste of adulthood and freedom to go wherever the mood takes you. When you’re older, gas will be almost $5.00 a gallon and you will sit in traffic for nearly two hours a day and miss the days that you enjoyed driving around just for the sake of going somewhere. Try to always remember, adventures really aren’t about the destination, but about the journey in getting there.

It’s fuschia, bitches! Everyone who took a ride in this fine piece of machinery was immediately cooler for it.

Speaking of dreams, you will eventually meet the man of yours. He won’t come in the form of a knight in shining armor high upon on a white horse, but rather a 20 year old boy in a white 1983 Chevy Celebrity wearing Harley Davidson boots. He won’t want to meet you at first because he’ll claim he’s “too tired to hang out” but you’ll eventually convince him you’re the coolest shit since sliced bread and then he’ll cave like a 14 year old at a N’Sync concert (in your day) and then he will never go home. I’m not going to lie, shit’s going to get rough. But I promise, eventually one day a man who looks like Kenny Rogers will officiate your marriage. Again, true story.

16 Year Old Self, I know you think you know everything, but you don’t. I’m 30 now and still don’t know everything. But in the future, you will be able to end every debate in mere moments just by simply Googling things on the internet with your cell phone. Your phone will become like an external organ that you will practically be required to have to function normally on a daily basis. But rest easy, cell phones now are nothing like the one step up from Zack Morris things you folks have now.

You’ll also be happy to know, dial-up internet will eventually be replaced by wireless technology. No more tiny velociraptor sounds coming from your modem!

Maybe you could use these phones in the future as paper weights? They’ll be nostalgic one day.

Also, be glad you were young and dumb before the invention of Social Media. Now, safely planted in 1999, you can pull off some shit without feeling compelled to post pictures of it online! You will learn that social media is an public online diary that allows you to look back and see how stupid you were, but with pictures! Unfortunately, so can friends, future romantic interests, employers, in-laws, etcSo BEWARE! A thing called MySpace will take off in 5 years or so, and then it all goes downhill from there.

I wish I could tell you when the time is right to invest in Google, Apple or something worthwhile to prepare for the even farther future, but you still will not have any money. You won’t be hookin’ it on the corner to make ends meet by any means, but we’re definitely not “making it rain.”

Oh, that’s a future saying! You could use it now and trademark it… that might work out for you!

But even though those clouds of Benjamins haven’t rolled in quite yet, you should be proud to know that you’ve made it this far without borrowing a dime from anyone and you haven’t completely destroyed your credit! Except for that outstanding medical bill when you almost chopped your pinky finger off!
(Note within a Note to self: As tempting as it may seem, for the love of God, don’t use a broken mirror to do your hair trying to save time while sitting on the porcelain throne! Yet another instance where you were in a hurry to get somewhere… See what I’m saying here! Being on time is a hazard to your health!)

Some tips to prepare you…

  • Stop buying VHS tapes. When you’re 30 you won’t even own a VCR, so all of those music videos you spent 4 years taping off MTV will be useless.
  • For that matter, stop buying DVDs, too!
  • MTV, VH1 and CMT will no longer play music videos… wtf!
  • Video rental stores will all go out of business!
  • You will have to start scanning and bagging your own groceries but grocery prices will always go up!
  • You will never get lost again, everyone now has a thing called a GPS system! But just to let you know, you will spend most of 2003 lost somewhere in Columbus.
  • Everyone can reach you at any time via your cell phone by calling or texting… which can be a good or bad thing depending on how you look at it.
  • You still have the same cell phone number in 2014 that you had in 1999! Read previous bullet point…

I could go on for days about how much the world is going to change in the next 15 years of your life, but I want there to be some surprises… The main point I’m getting at is that you should just be you. Always do what makes you happy, no matter if it’s “cool” or not.

<3 Always,
30 Year Old Self

P.S. The world does not end at the stroke of midnight on New Years!
So don’t spend 12 hours backing everything up on your computer preparing for the “impending doom” that is foreseen for the year 2000.

Office Space

I have worked in a “professional” setting as a graphic designer for over 10 years now. Which basically means, I’m a cubicle dweller and I have to share my work space with dozens of other people on a daily basis. I had my own office for six months once, but then my company moved out of that building and I was forced back into cubicle slavery. I think those six months of joyous personal space ruined me for life.

Let me tell you, in those 10+ years I have worked with some of the nicest people in the world. I have made some great relationships, some of which have lasted for those 10+ years! But on the flipside, I have also worked with some of the strangest people in the world. I’m not exaggerating or being dramatic to have something to talk about…

One girl brought a gaggle of stuffed animals with her to work daily. Each day at the end of the day, while having a cigarette I would watch as she was leaving. She had to meticulously buckle each of them into their seatbelts before pulling out of the parking lot. I’m not really sure what was going on there… Safety first I guess?

Another woman’s desk was such a war zone that the management had to send her home early once every few months to clean her desk for her. The paper clutter was the least of people’s worries. The ants and other bugs that were attracted to the things inside her desk were what people were freaked out about.

We had another guy who got a kick out of stealing people’s lunches out of the communal refrigerators. Nobody knew who the sticky fingered noms-bandit was for the longest time. People’s food went missing for years… people just thought it was some cheap asshole stealing their food so they didn’t have to go buy a lunch. However, everything came to a boil one day when someone went into the cafeteria and caught the guilty party popping ketchup packets all over the lunch room. During the task of cleaning up the ketchup that covered every surface, the janitorial staff moved the refrigerators and other appliances away from the walls and,  Surprise! All of the missing food was found thrown behind the refrigerators, pop machines and vending machines. All of of it was completely unopened, untouched. He apparently just got a kick out of squashing people’s hopes and dreams of enjoying their ham and cheese hot pockets for lunch by throwing them behind the appliances. He quit shortly after that… possibly out of fear of the owners of all those hot pockets?

I’ve dealt with 20-something dudes who had never met Mr. Soap or Mrs. Shampoo. A guy who chewed tobacco and spit into a pop bottle at his desk. A guy who “broke wind” as if he were at home watching The Fast and the Furious with his pals over a beer in his Lazy Boy recliner. A lady who used to eat her lunch in the bathroom stall. A girl who slept at her desk to recover from the alcoholic benders she partook in the night before. A lady who clipped her fingernails at her desk and sent the clippings onto neighbors desk, keyboard, drinks etc…

But hey, no judgements! I got along with them all just fine! I just can’t imagine some of these people in job interviews…

Which brought me my little art project of the day. It’s an infographic on how NOT to be a JERK at the office!

How to NOT be a Jerk in an Office Setting!


This was intended to be purely for entertainment purposes only! I’m not posting this on my bulletin board or passing it out to new hires or anything.

It’s a joke… kind of…