Friday, May 27, 2011

Happy Memorial Day!

Can you even say that? Happy Memorial Day? Seems weird.

No big plans for the weekend, hanging out around town and trying to get our yard in order. My very nice, wonderful family has generously offered to join us in the backbreaking effort to landscape and mulch our yard this weekend. They may regret that decision next week. But for now, I am pretty grateful for the help. I will post pictures after the weekend.  It's going to be beautiful! And if you think it's ugly, don't comment.

Yea, I don't know - I'm sortof at a loss for exciting stories to tell today. I'm story-less.

Ohhh, I know what I'll do, I'll share some recent revelations of the week. They're pretty powerful. Just you wait and see.
1. My puppy Stanley looks like he is wearing a fat suit. He looks like a tiny dog, hidden inside a fake fat suit. It's kind-of hilarious. I don't have a good picture of this situation to share, but I will take one and post it soon.

2. My life will not be as full now that Oprah is off the air. Yes, I did cry during all of her last 3 shows. No, I don't ever cry.  Unless it's for Oprah. Or dogs.

3. I had an extremely socially awkward situation happen this week that made me question all of my social skills. Like truly, I stood in a corner thinking, "How have I ever, in life, made friends?" And then I realized it wasn't me. Maybe that is mean. But this was truly awful, everything I said was wrong, for example:
Kara:             "Where do you live?"
XYZ person:   "Out West"
Kara:              "Oh great, like California? Seattle?"
XYZ person:   "Uh, no, like west of here. Western Minnesota"
Kara:               "Ah, yea...right....a little less exciting"

Kara:               "What do you do?"
XYZ person:     "I'm into the arts, artists"
Kara:                "Oh great, what kind of art do you do? Painting, sculpture?"
XYZ person:      "Uh, I don't make art. I'm just into art. I like artists"
Kara:                 "Yea, right, cool. Okay now (and this is where I start looking at my feet and rambling on for an uncomfortably long time about something that likely makes no sense, simply because I feel really awkward. This is also where I thought I had poof...lost all social skills. And this back and forth of me asking questions, and them hitting a wall, happened for about 15 minutes until I was pulled away by a friend who noticed the train wreck that was this conversation.)
Does this happen to other people? You just have a moment inside your head where you are like, "How have I ever, in my life, made a single friend? I can't manage to talk to this person to save my life." That happened to me.

4. Minnesota has turned into the Arctic Circle. I'm keeping my eye out for reindeer. And Santa. His workshop must be around here somewhere. Maybe he visits the Jewish kids in the summer.

5. I still have not found appropriate footwear for gardening.

6.  Yea, that's all I've got for today.

Have a good weekend everyone! I'll be back Monday, hopefully a bit more exciting.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Gardening Fun

You know when old ladies retire and they say they like to spend their days gardening? Well I typically have an image in my mind of them sitting in a pink metal chair, drinking tea, with gardening gloves and a hat, and looking at beautiful flowers.
 That's just what I imagined.
Past tense.
Imagined until yesterday.

As I have mentioned ad-nauseum, we have no grass, landscaping, or semblance of a yard. We have had a landscaper working very hard to level out our yard, pull out dead plants, install an irrigation system and plant grass seed. Well now, it was our turn to plant plants and flowers in the beds he created.

Seems simple, right?

Until you go to the garden store. Everything has crazy Latin names. There are zones, and shade levels, and high sun, low sun, partial sun, partial shade, and things that made my head spin. So I did what I do best, asked for free advice.

I have a coworker who is a master gardener, and so I asked if she would help me design the plant beds. She told me everything down to the type and number of plants, and where to put each and every one.

Jeremy and I marched off to the garden store on Saturday to buy our supplies. We walk into the perennial area and Jeremy has a look on his face like he has just walked into the feminine products aisle at Target. Sheer panic and fear. He stops and says, "Let's find someone to help us and tell her what we need. She'll pick it out and put it in our cart."
"Uh, or we could walk through and find them and pick them out. We have a list of exactly what we need, and the quantity, I think we can handle this one." I respond.
Jeremy - Deer in the headlights.

Mission Impossible style, we search the garden store for about 45 minutes, and are successful in finding our supplies.

We leave, determined to plant our garden on Sunday. Yea, not so much. On Sunday a large tornado passed through our city. It narrowly missed our house, devastating the neighborhoods to the South and North of us.  We cannot help but think how lucky we were to miss the storm by just a few blocks. If you feel as lucky as the Franks, and live in Minnesota, we encourage you to bring household necessities to the Kare 11 station today to be distributed to those who lost their homes. We will be going over there tonight to drop off donations, if you would like to do so, but cannot make it over there, feel free to drop things off at our house, and will bring them for you. Or I can even do the shopping for you. How's that for ease!?

Needless to say, we couldn't plant our lovely garden, so we were put on hold until last night. We went out there, dug, planted and fertilized. Really, I had no idea how hard it is to dig a hole! We are fortunate to live in a house with some very, very mature trees, and apparently the tree roots extend quite far. We found ourselves trying to contend with some massive roots. We also learned that when you buy garden shovels in the $1 aisle at Target, they are $1 garden shovels. And they work as such. Two and half hours later, we had planted one and a half beds at our house.

Top 10 gardening discoveries, made by the Franks:
1. We would be horrible day laborers
2. We feel old
3. Digging holes is hard
4. Dirt smells like awful BO
5. Worms are still disgusting at the age of 27 and 29
6. Frogs are still adorable at the age of 27 and 29
7. I have a great sense of respect for those old ladies who retire and garden. I will no longer picture you sitting back, drinking your iced tea. Rather, I will picture you digging in the BO smelling dirt.
8. There is no appropriate footwear for gardening.
9. Plants should have normal names like, tall pink flowering thingy.
10. We are not quitting our day jobs.

Let us know if you would like to join in our gardening fun. We still have one huge bed left. Especially if you are an excellent hole digger. We need one of those.

And please, if you can, donate to the Red Cross or bring supplies to Kare 11 today. The neighborhood that was hit, was one which cannot afford this type of loss. Please, support your neighbors.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Happy Friday!

Well in case you missed the memo, today is Friday! And, based on the week I have had, this is a very good thing.

Since I know you were all on the edge of your update on our house shenanigans:

*Comcast fixed our cable, the sprinkler peeps cut the line. As we suspected.
*Hole remains in our trim/wall/floor.
*Gas leak gone. Woo hoo.

So, things are looking up! Grass seed has been planted...and they say we are about 2-3 weeks away from seeing some grass. I know you are SOO excited to hear the updates on the grass in our yard. This blog is so exciting. I bet you wish you had my life. Watching the grass grow.
Well here is what it looks like today....
I am going to spend some time with these two monkeys this weekend....
They're pretty cute. Stanley is getting haircut #2 this weekend. Please send your focus and attention vibes my way so we do not run into a situation like last time.

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The American Dream, Continued

The American Dream is downright stupid. There, I said it. Having a home, not all it's cracked up to be. Bold statement, I know. But honestly, I deal with people's broken things in their office/warehouse/retail buildings all day long. Therefore, when I go home at night, everything needs to work. It just has to.

It's like a tailor going home to find all of their clothes have fallen apart and need to be eintirely re-sewn.
Or like a lawyer being sued.
Or a trash hauler with garbage all over the place.

You get what I mean. And so here has been our week.

Monday, the plumber arrives to install the thingeymabob for our lawn sprinkler system outside. You know, the thingey that hooks up to the spigot, for the sprinklers. He hooks it up from the outside, while we are at at work. Lovely. Fine.
Event #1:
We arrive home from work that night, Jeremy walks into the family room and screams, "KARA, why did you drill a hole in the floor and trim??"   I look at him as though he has lost his freaking mind, and say, "Uh....huh? Drill a hole?"  And I look down. While the guy was out installing the thingeymabob, he inadvertently drilled all the way into the house, through our baseboards, and into our hardwood flooring. Thanks buddy. We have a hole in our house. So now we need to get a price to repair the freaking hole, get it approved by the plumber, who is sure-as-hell paying for the flipping hole in my floor, and then get the dumb thing repaired.

Event #2:
I was working late Tuesday night, attending a city council meeting, trying to convince this particular city to let us build a building a pharmacy. I arrive home to find Jeremy and my dad doing some tasks around the house. As I pull up, Jeremy comes running to my car to tell me he smells gas in the basement. I look at him, unamused, and thinking there is a 90% chance he is crazy, and it's just old garbage or something, but humor him and go in the house and smell for gas. Wowezowee. Gas smell. Not crazy. Quite correct.

We call the gas company. They come out within 30 minutes. During this 30 minute time span, I take many trips in and out of the house to get things (dinner, jacket, iPad etc...) while Jeremy sits on the deck, waiting for me to implode upon entering the house due to Natural Gas.

The guy arrives, and he and Jeremy go down to the basement where the smell is strongest (I stay upstairs...I hate the basement). While down there in the dark I shout down the stairs, "Hey guys, want me to turn on the lights for you??"  Woops, wrong thing to say to the gas company guy while examining a potential gas leak. Apparently that can ya know, like ignite things. He wasn't amused.
Gas guy says we have a gas leak in one of our pipes. Shuts off our gas. We are forced to leave and stay at my parents house for the night, to avoid sleeping in a house full of Natural Gas, and no hot water for morning showers. 9:45pm, off we go. To sleep at my parent's house. 2 people, 2 dogs, my childhood bedroom, full of cow stuffed animals.

Event #3
The sprinkler system was installed yesterday. We thought without a hitch. Finally, something went our way. The system was installed, functioning, lovely. I go up to our bedroom, to watch TV and fold some laundry, but the TV is just "Searching". Okay, whatever, aren't we all 'searching', I think to myself. It keeps searching. Dang thing still can't find itself. Jeremy comes upstairs with the computer, to search the internet for travel/airplane/hotel/Jeremy kind of things.  No internet.   I sense a pattern.  We check the downstairs TV.   No TV.  No  internet.  You have to be kidding me.   Yes, the sprinkler guys must have hit the cable line while installing the system.   Either that or someone, somewhere, thinks this is the week to completely test my patience. 

So, hole in the floor/wall.
Gas is gone from the house and broken pipe is repaired.
No TV or internet until Thursday at the earliest.

Here's to the American Dream. I'm going out to buy my condo back.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Stabbed on Friday the 13th

In case you were not paying attention, this past Friday...was Friday the 13th. Cue the scary music.

In most ways this was a normal average Friday, work, dinner with friends....until.....dun, dun, dun (that's the mood music). I was stabbed. Kind-of.

We went out to dinner with some good friends to a fun, upscale-ish restaurant downtown Minneapolis. We ordered our food, had a great dinner, and the busboy arrived to clear our plates.

I was sitting against a wall, empty plate in front of me, silverware to my right. The gentleman reached in on my left, and literally squished me against the wall to get my silverware. And this is not Kara-exaggeration. This was some serious body checking into a corner to get my silverware. I looked at him quizzically, wondering why he could not have reached from the appropriate, right side to clear my silverware, and not but 1 second later, I was stabbed. Stabbed by a fork on my sweater.
Stabbed Sweater
Above please find the evidence of the stabbing.

My "Cornell Hotel School" graduate husband, quickly flags over the waiter to demonstrate the evidence of the stabbing. He asked for a manger, and the waiter informed us that he was the manager. He apologized profusely and offered to pay for the sweater, which they will, and then wrote down his contact information.
"XYZ Restaurant Downtown Minneapolis
Signed, Hook"

Yes, the manager's name was Hook. Quite appropriate given I was stabbed. I'm guessing the bussboy's name must have been Smee. Captain Hook's cronie. 

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Hail, Hail, the gang's all here

Okay now that's a really bad joke my dad would say. But, last night was a very strange night.

The weather was a "super weird, but ya never know because this is Minnesota and thus the strangest weather place in the world" kind of day. After work we went for a run around one of the lakes and you could just feel a storm brewing. And now...this calls for my very favorite movie line ever...
From Mean Girls:

Karen: Well, I'm kinda psychic. I have a fifth sense.
Cady: What do you mean?
Karen: It's like I have ESPN or something. My breasts can always tell when it's going to rain.
Cady: Really? That's amazing.
Karen: Well, they can tell when it's raining.

Yea, it was that kind of night. We got home from the run and these two were acting bizarre...
Now that in itself isn't that odd, because they're normally fairly bizarre, but it was like weird bursts of calm and sporadic barking at nothing, for no reason. 

And then we heard the siren. I tried to convince Jeremy that it was the day when they test the tornado siren, but he wasn't buying it. He was convinced we should pack provisions and run to the basement. If you have seen our basement, you know why I was not so eager to do this. I let him know that he was more than welcome to sit in the basement himself if he wanted, but that I would wait upstairs and watch the news. 

To my dear, risk averse, husband, the sky was falling. Literally.
I can actually see Jeremy's face in Chicken Little. Is it just me? Even the outfit!

And so we sat upstairs, away from the basement, in a room full of windows, and watched the news. I was my usual skeptical self, assuring him that he had lost his mind, and that nothing was going to happen. He was his usual self....Chicken Little. 

And then the sky did fall. Sort-of. At about 8:45, these suckers started falling from the sky...
That is not just hail, it is a massive ball of little hail pieces wadded up into one that started falling from the sky, attacking our brand new house, with a brand new roof, and brand new siding. 

So maybe this time Chicken Little was right. But there was no tornado. And thus no need for the basement. Or provisions. But dang, that was some crazy hail!

Monday, May 9, 2011

The beautiful lawn

I have alluded to the lack luster state of our yard at home, however, I don't think you can truly appreciate it's true appeal until you see the photos. Now I'm sure most of you don't care two licks about landscaping, but you may enjoy laughing at our pain. It's okay.

Now before we started construction, the yard, like the home, needed some work. It was overgrown, in desperate need of some Round-Up weed control, a bit of fertilizer, and a lot of pruning and chopping.  Round-up people, if, by some miracle, you are reading this blog, feel free to send free samples our way. We need about two truck loads of the stuff.

Two photos of our yard, pre-construction (note the various lawn ornaments left behind by the previous owner):
View from Inside the dining room, pre-construction
Side yard, pre-construction

 And if you thought that was ugly....brace yourselves. This is the situation today, post construction.

Our rear door into the back yard...

Our side yard, esthetically enhanced by random pallets and bags of rocks, strewn through the yard.


Yes, these are real photos, of our actual yard. Try not to be jealous. It's pretty lovely. Want to stop by for a picnic?! And as it turns out, you actually have to pay for grass. And it's quite expensive. So we thought we'd just keep it looking like this for a while. Okay maybe not. Grass is on its way. And Round-up. And irrigation. 

I'm thinking we should try to get on one of those landscaping turn-around shows. Honestly, could there be a bigger before and after? So, if you have some free time, and want to come help with landscaping projects, let us know! It's totally exciting and thrilling.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Chilly Jay's

My family loves Ice Cream. Like really loves Ice Cream. And, I married a man who also LOVES Ice Cream. And this is not in your regular, run of the mill, who doesn't love a good ice cream cone on a hot day...kind  of love.

This is the, my mother's freezer is typically filled with no less than 5 varieties of ice cream, year round, followed up by no less than 4 additional, "Back Up" gallons in the auxiliary freezer. No lie. Couldn't make this stuff up.

On a recent trip to the University of Minnesota campus (where I very proudly attended college), I noticed a new frozen yogurt shop. Knowing the great love both my family and husband have for the frozen treat, I googled the new shop as soon as I got home.

Well...turns out this is a self serve Fro Yo shop with a plethora of topping options to help oneself.

I tell dear husband about the find that evening, and he insists we get in the car and go immediately. And so we did. And clearly, by the topic of this blog post, you know it did not dissapoint.

This place is AMAZING!!! So last night, we had dinner with my whole family and told them about this place that had just been open 3 weeks, and we had already been twice! My brother in law lead the charge to quickly get the dinner check and head out and try this place.

And after a full dinner...the photo above is of our dessert at Chilly Billy's. And my mom and dad loved it so much they asked to speak to the owner.

The owner walks out, looking as though he's prepared to meet an angry customer.

Not so much.

He walks over and my dear dad commences telling this ice cream shop owner his life story, including his college degree in speech communications, how he grew up in St. Paul, what school his daughters and sons-in-law attended, and his chosen profession. And in the end, tells this guy he wants him to open a shop closer to our house. And while eating said ice cream, we even found a location. And if not, my dad wants to franchise the concept and open his own. Yes, one bowl of ice cream turned into his next career.

And ice cream loving family is now convinced we need to open this Fro Yo shop on our side of town. But instead of Chilly Billy's....perhaps Chilly Jay's (my dad's name)?  Or Jeremy likes the name "Cow to Cup". My sister likes "Twin City Yogurt".

If you live in the cities, try Chilly Billy's - it's great. Or stay turned, there just may be a Chilly Jay's springing up around a corner near you!