Monday, September 29, 2008

My Trip to Home Depot

This evening I went to Home Depot to pick up some paint for Kenji so he could finish up in the basement. If I'd gone to the one in Hanover I would have know right away where to find it, but instead I went to the Vauxhall store, because it is a bit closer to us. The Vauxhall Home Depot is HUGE! It's so big they put a map on the handlebar of their shopping carts.

So anyway, there I was, wandering around the paint section of HUGE Home Depot, looking for the basement paint. Then all of the sudden, ALL the lights went out! I'm not kidding, it was pitch black in Home Depot! About 30 seconds after all the lights went out, some backup lights came on. I was going to keep shopping, but then the lights went out again, just for a moment. Then they announced over the loudspeaker for all customers to exit the store.

I'm glad our car has the remote keyless entry. Outside the store the parking lot was dark dark dark. So I just kept pressing the lock button on my key and listened for the little honk of the horn and looked for the flashing lights.

Well I didn't get the basement paint at Home Depot. I was about to drive over to the Hanover store and get it, but then Sears was along the way and they had it instead. The End.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Diddy Kong learns a new trick!

The other Saturday ago, the day after the soggy Pirates/Cardinals game Kenji and I attended in Pittsburgh, we drove out to Ohio to visit our nephew, whom we shall refer to as Diddy Kong, for his first birthday. Kenji has already proven to be somewhat of an influence in his nephew's life, as evidenced by this face:

Yes, Kenji taught him to do that. Get'um started young... ;)

Consumer Comments

Today at work I was culling my rather large collection of consumer feedback that our company receives via email, searching for complimentary comments about our products that we can post on our site. The messages date back probably about a year and a half, and to be honest, most of them are complaints. Not that our products suck or something... I think it's just that most people aren't ever moved to send companies feedback, and if and when they are, it is because something went wrong rather than for a job well done.

However there are a handful of thoughtful people out there who take the time to tell you when they like what you are doing, and they write for no other reason than to let you know. Naturally it is a pleasure to receive these brief missives. One thing I noticed while working on this little project today is the people who tend to send these sorts of messages are women.

Of course there is no shortage of women who write to complain, but I'll be darned if I came across a single message from a man who wrote simply to say that in his book, we are on the right track. That's not to say men don't write nice things to us about our products -- they do -- but their compliments invariably are in the company of either a complaint or some other question. For instance: "I love your pies, especially your blueberry! But the last 2 or 3 pies were not so good! They seemed to not have as many blueberries as usual, just more saucy filling..." or "I love your crumblettes, they are a great product, but I don't see a recycling symbol on your packaging. Are the packages recyclable?"

Perhaps it's just a matter of statistics. I also noticed that far more of the feedback comes from women, and only a small percentage are straight-up compliments. Because significantly fewer men write to us, perhaps we simply haven't received that compliments-only message that will make up the percentage gap -- at least we haven't received it on my watch.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Best Baseball Park

This weekend Kenji and I drove out to Toledo, Ohio for our nephew's first birthday. To break up the 500 or so mile drive, we stopped for an overnight in Pittsburgh, where we planned to see a ballgame at PNC Park.

PNC Park is a relatively new ballpark, opened in 2001 or so. They did a really nice job of it, as it offers a really nice view of the city and its bridges from the infield, and has an awesome riverwalk built right into the park on the outfield side. Most importantly, PNC Park has relish, unlike some other stupid ballparks I can think of like, um, Yankee Stadium. ;)

When we got to Pittsburgh we though for sure the game would be rained out, as it had been raining pretty much the whole time as we drove through Pennsylvania. But since we already paid for the tickets we figured we might as well go and have a look at the stadium and eat hot dogs and have ice cream in a helmet. PNC Park has good ice cream too. You can get hard packed ice cream instead of soft serve if you want. And it's cheaper than the junky soft serve you get at Yankee Stadium. We had Moose Tracks, with chocolate syrup on top. :)

While we were eating out hot dogs, the rain seemed to let up, and the tarp guys started taking the tarp off the field. About an hour and half after the original game time the game started, and the Pirates whipped the Cardinals, 10 - 2. It was a really fun game because probably no more than 5,000 people were in attendance, so we pretty much had the run of the ballpark.

After the game, before going back to our car, which we paid a premuim of $12 to park in the garage right next to the stadium, we took a walk across the Roberto Clemente Bridge and back.

Most times when I hear people talk about Pittsburgh (except for my friend Thad), they don't usually have much good to say about it. But I rather liked it, at least what I saw of it.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Vet Visits & Dry Food Wet Food Dry Food

Around the beginning of August we realized that the possibility of Kenji's job being transferred back to Hawaii might be drawing near. As such, I began researching the regulations for avoiding Hawaii's pet quarantine. The two main things we had to do was 1) have microchips implanted in Spammy and Musubi, and 2) get a rabies blood test done.

At the kitties' first vet visit to get their microchips, the vet said Spammy was getting too fat from eating dry food. This was the second time that the vet told us we should switch the kitties to wet food, so the next day we went and did it. Some changes in the kitties have followed:

Before Dry Food -- Spammy would noisily beg and beg and beg for food. As soon as the food hit the bowl, he would gobble gobble gobble, and push Musubi out of the way if he wanted to eat from the bowl she was eating from. Musubi would eat, but in a dainty, little girl sort of way, and she would not overeat. Musubi would always ask us for water. She liked to drink water out of a running faucet. Musubi would often try to anticipate when one of us might be going to the bathroom and race in there ahead of us, hoping we'd run some water for her. Spammy loved to lick scraps of lots of different fruits like oranges, pears, nectarines, plums, etc. Also, the kitties would puke maybe 2 or 3 times a week (between the two of them), and oftentimes Musubi would clean it up.

After Dry Food -- Spammy still begs for food, but he's much more patient about it. When I put the food bowls down for the kitties, Musubi is the first one to the bowl, going gobble gobble gobble. Now that Spammy is used to the wet food, he chows down a little bit too, but he usually has had enough well before Musubi is satiated. Musubi no longer begs for water. Spammy no longer cares for his favorite fruits. Oh, and Spammy has lost a couple pounds and the vet says he's a good weight now. Musubi gained a little weight, but she is still not overweight. At first the kitties puked even more than they did on dry food, but now they haven't puked at all for the last week or so.

So anyway last Wednesday we had a second vet visit to get the blood samples drawn for the rabies test. I also had the kitties get updated rabies shots, just so they could have the shots done post-microchip. When I brought the kitties in the second time, Kenji and I seemed to think that it was more likely that we would not get transferred before January, at which time Kenji would temporarily take his name off the list for going to Honolulu. But as it turned out, later that afternoon Kenji got the call that he's being transferred. So now we are all busy getting the house all fixed up looking nice for potential buyers...

But in addition to looking nice we want the house to SMELL nice... and, well, wet cat food does not smell nice. At all. So we're thinking maybe we should switch the kitties back to dry food temporarily while we are showing the house. I know Musubi won't be happy about that. I wonder how Spammy will feel about it.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Catch Up

I've been woefully negligent on keeping up with my blog. So, I will try to do some updates tonight. But the pictures won't be very good because all the good pictures are on Kenji's new Nikon D80, and he hasn't put them on the computer yet. So you're stuck with my grainy iPhone photos.

Perfect Way to Cap Off Labor Day Weekend

In addition to letterboxing and lobstahs, Kenji and I had plenty of fun in Maine with Heather², Jon, Patti, and Keisha, and all the many many kids! We had campfires in the yard and on the beach, s'mores, sparklers, silliness and even a couple of hours of kayaking on Sunday.

Monday morning, Kenji and I got an early start, leaving Kennebunk by 7:30am. We stopped in East Hartford, CT to check out Cabella's, and then stopped in West Hartford to have some Harry's Pizza. Except we never made it to Harry's. As we turned the corner from Park Road onto South Main Street, we suddenly had a flat!

We pulled over onto a quiet side street and parked under some shade. A flat tire normally isn't such a big deal, except the wheels all have locking lug nuts on them... and as I removed the donut and tools from the back of the car, it became apparent to me that we did not have the key. The nice folks whose house we parked in front of graciously tried to help us by lending their Honda's wheel lock key... it seemed to fit but as soon as we applied any pressure to unscrew the nut, the key popped off. So finally we gave up and called a tow truck to haul our butts over to Pep Boys. Fortunatley they were able to take care of it. All in all the whole fiasco ate up 4 hours and about $250. But I can think of many worse things that could have happened, so I'm not going to complain.

Now I know you're wondering why on Earth the key was not in the car. Well, when we bought the car, Honda put the locking lug nuts on the car for us. They took the original lug nuts off and placed those back into the package that the locking lug nuts came in. Then they taped the package back up with some nice fat green tape that you can't see through... When I brought the car home, I thought the package contained only the original lug nuts and not the key, because I couldn't see it through the green tape. So I stored the package in the house, thinking there was no need to keep the old lug nuts in the car.

Well, we made two changes right away when we finally got home that night. 1) The lug nut key is now in the car, and 2) we got AAA.

Supper Saturday Evening

'Nuff said.

Moxie in Freeport

Our Saturday in Maine was mostly spent letterboxing with high school friend Keisha... the crazy girl who drove all the way to Maine from North Carolina! We found 5 of the 8 boxes in the Postal Heaven series. I'm not too sure why the series is named Postal Heaven because the underlying theme seems to be more about cemeteries. Oh wait, I get it now... the letterboxes are mostly planted next to or in cemeteries... it's like they're dead and gone off to letterbox heaven. Heh.

Ohyah so anyway, after finding as many of the boxes we could, the three of us continued up the Maine Turnpike and hit Freeport, where we happened to find some Moxie. My friend Robor (his name's not really Robor, he just goes by that on the intarwebs) had a conversation about Moxie about six months ago, and I'd mentioned that the one time I tried it when I was a kid, I thought it was disgustingly vile and tasted like drinking medicine. I also said I was willing to give it another try as an adult to see if my opinion had changed. Well I didn't think it disgustingly vile, but it still had a bit of a funky aftertaste that I didn't really enjoy. I'm not a big soda drinker anyway but I managed to make it through an entire can and still had a smile on my face. But that doesn't mean I'll buy another can ever again.


Ok, so I lied. I have one picture that was taken with Kenji's new camera.

This cute little chipmunk was sitting on the stone wall outside my mommy and daddy's house on the Friday morning before Labor Day. Kenji and I were on our way up to Maine to visit with some of my old friends from high school... sort of a 20 year reunion of close buddies only. Anyway Kenji and I drove up to Massachusetts on Thursday evening and spent the night at my folks' house. Then we drove the rest of the way to Kennebunkport on Friday afternoon.

When I was a little girl, I always wanted to catch a chipmunk and make it my pet. I would try to do that by slowly and quietly approaching chipmunks sitting on our stone wall. Well it never worked. Kenji only managed to get within about 15 feet of this guy, but I cropped out the rest of the photo so it looks like was right up close. :)

The Green Room

Kenji and I have been wanting to brighten the walls in our house for quite some time, especially the living room. However since we haven't had much practice painting, we thought we'd start by repainting the smallest of our bedrooms. For this I chose a crazy happy bright green! I think it's called Citrus or something like that.

So anyway, it wasn't much time after we finished that we learned that we are being transferred back to Hawaii! So we won't have much time to enjoy our new green room. But I guess we'll get over it somehow. ;)