Saturday, January 31, 2009

Happy Birthday Chelsie Belle!

Today is Chelsie's 7th birthday...I can't believe I have had her for nearly 7 years! She was 9 weeks and 15 squirming pounds of black fur when I brought her home to Portland St. The first thing she did upon arriving in her new home was to jump up right onto the couch. :)

Despite our struggles early on (she was a TERRIBLE puppy to housebreak) she has matured into a wonderful adult dog, and is the best companion in the world. She knows what she loves, and loves what she knows...some of ther favorite things include:

- Her mom
- Timbits from Tim Hortons - she thinks every drive thru is Tim Horton's
- Extreme Ball Chasing - her red kong ball is her favorite, esp on Thursday nights in the spring and summer when the softball boys throw it for her (repeatedly, until she is about to have a heart attack)
- Going for a walk
- Riding in the car
- Swimming
- Her morning kong (I freeze vanilla yogurt in it)
- Putting on her red therapy dog jacket and going to "work"
- Agility (definitely the cookies she gets for doing a good job)

Some of my favorite things about her are...

- She is always happy to see me when I get home - whether I have been gone for 5 min, 5 hrs or 5 days, I get the same joyous reaction when I get home
- Her appreciation for the simple things in life - I walk her on the same route most nights (when it is not 3 outside) and she looks back at me as if to say "isn't this great mom?"
- Her exuberance for life in general - I tell everyone she is 60 lbs of pure exuberance
- How she does lab laps around the coffee table with a toy in her mouth when I get home and then abruptly sits down, a sign that she is ready for her breakfast/dinner

Some big milestones this year...

- Earning lots of agility titles - she finished the year with 184 MACH points and 8 double Q's
- Continuing to do very good work at Dodd Hall on Wednesday nights
- Being a very good girl at Aunt B's house when we go see Bryce and Teagan - you have learned to supervise bath time very well and are a very good girl around Bryce and Teagan

Two of mom's favorite memories of this year....hearing Naomi Monroe cheer for us at The Barn when we were getting ready to take out turn and a visit from Alexis Titas at your crate after one of your runs in Cleveland.

Happy birthday Bean!!! Mommy is so proud of the wonderful girl you have turned into and the good work you do - and coming home to you, anytime, from anywhere, is always a highlight in my day!

Friday, January 30, 2009


Well, some viral something or other has determined it was necessary to enter my body. I was not feeling well on Wed night or all day Thursday and today it exploded into ear ache, sore throat, cold, etc. The girl at Target looked at me when I checked out today and said "you must not feel well" - you think girlie? What gave it away? The Mucinex? The Nyquil? The Chloraseptic?

Just as a gauge as to how bad I feel...I did not even play soccer tonight. My game was at 10, my legs ached and my throat it made sense to skip. So the burning question is this....WHY THEN DO I FEEL LIKE SUCH A PANSY????

Sunday, January 25, 2009

The Basement Saga

So, all of my loyal blogging friends and Facebookers know that I have had some issues with my basement over the past few months. Brief recap was that I found moldy drywall providing a haven to termites (live ones) in the fall, the result of a crushed drainpipe backing up and running water into the basement.

The time has come to start putting the mess back together. I took advantage of the fact that the basement was going to be a mess and decided to pull off all the beadboard that really dated the room. Well, it proved to be the gift that kept on giving - when I pulled off the first piece, I found this:

Suspicious looking on a good day. Clearly, the drywall had been wet at some point - not shocking, given that there is no plastic for insulating purposes and the insulation they are using is STYROFOAM. The studs are 1x 4 (as opposed to 2 x 4 - proper code) and are not mounted to the basement floor, only to the floor joist above (in short, the whole wall moves in its current state) Freakin awesome. So after pulling off the rest of the beadboard, this was the only "suspicious" looking spot. Treatment? Pull off bottom half of the drywall in this wall. All appears to be ok behind it.
So then it is on to ripping the rest of the drywall down in the basement. Initially, we had ripped off to where we thought the termites had eaten. Clearly, you can see we were wrong. This is after we discovered mold in the drywall we tore out from under the window. The window leaking is no longer an issue, because there is glass block there now. I came in from carrying up a load of trash and this is what my brother showed me. NASTY. So, we had to go buy a wire brush to get all that nastiness off the wall. We also found cracks in the wall, which we closed up with silicone. It was determined a coat of Drylock was necessary, as depicted below.

Drylock is unlike any other type of paint I have ever worked with. Thick, sandy, gritty and gross...and some teenage sniffing freak's dream. Joe and I were definitely ready to leave that room when we were done. It gets all over you all over one of my favorite pairs of pants, so I got a link ball scraper to try and get it out. Sort of helped...and I took a lot of flack from it from my dad, who told me to go buy a new pair of pants. I informed he I liked these and would find a way to make them appropriate to wear in public again.
Funny aside...Joe was pounding nails out of the concrete, when I heard him say "Oh, expletive"...just as I felt something fly by my head. I chuckled out loud just thinking about it. He was not amused and said "Nicole, it is only funny because it did not hit you" - DUH????

This is a small piece of the mess in my unfinished basement. Those of you that have the pleasure of knowing me know that I can't stand a mess and have displayed OCD tendencies to avoid them. You all understand why I CANT STAND THIS....

End result of my brother's hard work last weekend. Properly framed and insulated. He framed, I insulated. It would take some effort to demo this...he properly drilled the base into the concrete.

And finally, to where we are today. Its amazing what proper insulation does to the temperature down there. The HVAC does not go in the basement, so the temperature moves with the weather. Already, you can feel the difference when you walk in that room....

I have to thank my dad and brother - esp my brother. Joe showed up at my house at noon on Saturday and left at halftime of the second football game. He worked his little heart out and really wants to make sure it was done right. My dad helped him drywall today, and my mom will have her turn on the action when she helps paint all the trim, chair rail and crown molding in the office. The ceiling in the office makes the crown molding a necessity. The chair rail in the living room area is also necessary - I had to apply a pretty heavy coat of paint to get it even at the beadboard. I am sanding away as much as I can, but chair rail will definitely take care of the problem. Carpet to match the upstairs will be the last part of this project.
This project has turned into WAY more than I wanted. I was very frustrated last week to find the additional termite damage....I work so hard to maintain my house, replace things as necessary, give it tender loving care and then to find that was a little upsetting. To all you DIY'ers out there - know when to hire out.
So...what have we learned from all this? Next house, I will pay a little more of a premium for a house that has been updated. I will still have plenty of opportunities to use my girl tools, but this pushed me over the home improvement edge...I will keep everyone informed as we continue to progress!!!

Friday, January 23, 2009

My Dating Pool

I am going to go on a rant here, and you are all just going to have to listen to me.

All of you married people out tell me all the time God has a plan for me, to be patient, that right one will come along. I listen and think to myself- easy for you to say. That very phrase absolutely causes my blood pressure to skyrocket - and I will have all of you know that I am not the only single person out there that wants to vomit every time someone says that. I had lunch with my friend Eve yesterday who said the very same thing, unprovoked. Had the both of us not been in a public establishment, it is likely we would have had a breakdown.

So, in my attempt to try and take the bull by the horns in the situation, I recently decided to try again...thank God I have only joined for one month. After getting a wink from a user named "pimponesmiley", I quickly decided that they had just cashed their last check from me. Seriously? Has it gotten down to the fact that my options are someone named "pimponesmiley"? And that this individual seriously thinks someone is actually going to respond to that??? I hope this is not the best the guy up there can do for me.

Go home and hug your husbands tonight and make sure you never, ever take them for granted.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Out of the House...FINALLY...

For the past week or so, it has been so miserably cold, snowy and icy here, I really have not been able to do much more than let poor Chel out to do her business. This has resulted in her going a little stir crazy - and who can blame her? What is means is that I have picked up several (MANY) of her toys just about once a day for the last week.

Finally, was Wednesday. Dodd and agility night - last Wednesday was the night we got our big snowstorm in Cbus - it took me 90 minutes to get home and we were not going anywhere after that. I think she was so happy just to get out - I picked up her red working vest and she got so excited....I felt bad for not being able to get her out.

I really could have stayed home tonight - it was a long weekend working on the basement (I know I still have to post about that but I am too tired) it is cold, my body aches and I am tired. But we went...and I am glad we did. It did not seem like we saw very many patients tonight...but we done good for the ones we saw. In the last room we were in, I thought one of the patients was asleep, but she wasn't...and she was just so darn excited to be able to see Chel and pet her for a few minutes. And she did so well tonight...we were in a few of the rooms for over 10 minutes, and she just sat there and was a great sport. She was asked to "shake" a lot tonight, which is not always her favorite thing to do, but she did it just about every time someone asked. Good job, Chelsie, mom is very proud of you.

After that it was off to agility. Agility did me some good tonight, I really like a few of the people in my class - Harriet and Stacy always make me laugh, and tonight was no different. We did have a little scare on the A frame...she must have slid going down it, and dragged one of her feet over the slats - made an awful sound. She seemed no worse for the wear and went right back on, so I will have to watch her to make sure she is ok. She is resting peacefully on her half of our king sized bed...

We hope everyone is staying warm!!!!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

If you don't have this, you need one

Ladies, how many times have you gone to war with the lid on a jar? All the while swearing at whatever MAN put the stupid lid on there? My coworker got married in Sept and had one of these on her register - being the BBB browser I am, I had never noticed it in any of the 1000's of times I had wandered among these gadgets. I asked Jaclyn what it was and she told me. Recalling that I curse the jars of salsa regularly as I open them to try and put them in my taco soup, I thought "What the heck?" and asked Santa for one in my stocking.
I used it for the first time this morning, and I tell you, it is the best $8 you will ever spend. My wrists did not have lactic acid burn up, my hands did not feel like they were losing the top layer of skin, my hear rate was steady and no beads of sweat were on my forehead. With your 20% off coupon and tax, your total should be less than $7.
Well worth it. In 2009, I am all about making my life simpler, and this is a good start.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Benefits of the Frigid Weather

If there is one good thing about the cold weather besides increasing my job security, it is that you don't have to worry about leaving groceries in the car. I had to go to Walmart before soccer (Chelsie was out of peanut butter cookies) and picked up some frozen food - I had no worries about it thawing out while I played two soccer games. I think this exact moment is the first time I have really been chilled and am having a hard time warming up....

How do people live in Siberia?

Minnesota? Wisconsin? North Dakota?

I understand the concept of layers, blankets, etc...however, I am not convinced that humans are meant to function in the cold we are currently experiencing!!! My car this morning on the way into work read -4 - yep, you read right. First time I ever saw my car thermometer read negative. My garage door gets crabby in the cold and sticks, so I have to get out of the car to open it and close it (just sort of help it up and down). The mileage on this tank of gas is blown, as I require at least 5-7 minutes of warm up in the morning, as my princess-y, thin California blood is not tough!! Today, I have on a wool sweater my parents brought me back from London (it is a Barney's - probably the only thing from Barney's I will ever own) and my Ugg boots....and my heater blowing on me. I could still stand to be warmer.

On the flip side, this is good for job bonus...etc. I think I will contribute to Columbia's usage numbers this weekend and turn my heat up - my thermostat is set to go to 63 when I am not home...but 63 when is below zero outside is not going to cut it. Our opps guys have repeatedly said "This will be a good test of our system" about this weekend - our systems are designed to be able to handle specified maximum loads, and this weekend, we will definitely be close to what are called "peak" loads. I am just glad not to be the house on the street that had the Buckeye Heating and Cooling van in the driveway this morning...what a mess that would be!

Stay warm every one!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Snowed In

I normally don't give into snow, however, tonight was a little different. It started snowing about 11 AM this morning and did not stop! Took me an hour and a half to get hour to get to Lane Av and then about 30 min from Lane Av mall. I opted to come north through Upper Arlington...the people there pay a lot of taxes and their roads are usually more clear then the City of Cbus. It ended up being a good theory. I still couldn't go more than 20, but the roads were much better.

Tonight is usually hospital and agility night, however, those were put on hold because of the snow. Before leaving work, I had already decided we were definitely not going to the hospital and then it turns out agility was cancelled. I ended up shoveling the driveway and letting Chel play in the snow for awhile. We had 2 victims in the process, her orange bumper and one of her black training bumpers. Based on the expected temps over the next few days, we won't find them in the near future, as it is supposed to be COLD at the end of the a high of 10 cold. I think I am going to have to turn my heat up!! Standing outside getting snowed on was worth it...Chelsie is in her doggie ball next to me on the couch. What am I doing? Working. Fun. NOT. But I won't complain...

So to the West Coasters that went back, tonight I am thinking you were very smart!!!

Monday, January 12, 2009


Nat, I changed my music for you - you scrapbooking, playdoh and cupcake making Martha Stewart GANGSTA YOU!!!

In honor of my friend, Natalie, self proclaimed "STRAIGHT UP GANGSTA MARTHA STEWART STYLE!" coming to us from Black River High School in Ashland, Ohio.

We all love you Nat!!!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Girls Night Out

Saturday night, the girls from my agility club has a girls night out. We went to the Shadowbox Cabaret at Easton to see a show called "Bringing Sexy Back". The Shadowbox is like a comedy type of deal, where they perform short skits, have a house band and all the performers are the wait staff. I had been there once before and had enjoyed it, and last night was no different. I was with a bunch of crazy ladies, and we had a really good time. The skits were absolutely hilarious.

Left to right - Janet, Sue, Kim, Diane and me
Me and Diane - this lady is absolutely awesome. She is living proof that sometime change is good - I recently started having her cut my hair, and ladies, all of you know what a big deal that is! She loves what she does - loves to make people feel great about themselves. She also shares my love for White House, Black Market...we are going down to the outlet this week. No, there was no memo about they leopard/tiger print shirt last night!

Janet, Sue, Diane, me and Jen - I used to work with Jen at Cardinal.
Girls night out part two commenced at 10AM this morning, at our building in Gahanna. We all worked our dogs for about 2 hrs this morning. It was great - we were able to work on specific things our leisure. We also ran a course at the end - and Susan, the training director, loaded it full of unique sequences, we will call them. Bean and I were a little off this morning, but it was fun and she was rewarded with timbits for her hard work.
I am ready for the next girls night out!!!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

The Ross Heart Hospital

Well, after nearly 2 years, we have finally been someplace other than Dodd Hall. I had all good intentions of going to Dodd when the evening started, but somehow, we just never made it.

While in the parking garage, I was unloading Chelsie and this girl pulled up next to me and asked me if I could go see her sister at Ross. I was a little hesitant at first - mainly because I had never been to Ross and was going in there sight unseen with Chelsie, which made me a little nervous. She went on to say she had been asking the nurses about getting a dog to visit, but that one had not been in yet - and they had been there for almost a month. Call me a sucker, but that did it.

So off we go to the Ross - very different. You actually have to buzzed in to see the patients on Ross 4, which immediately made me nervous. But we went right in, and there was a group of nurses sitting right there. I told them who we were and who we were there to see, and they pointed and said go ahead. This girl was thrilled - apparently today was the jackpot, because Chelsie was the third dog that had been in there that day. We never made it to Dodd, obviously, but we visited some more patients on that floor and they loved her. In fact, some nurses on the other end of the unit said they wished they had dogs there all the time!

It turns out the floor I was on was the Open Heart Surgery Recovery floor. In short, that means there were some very sick people on that floor - much sicker than we were used to seeing. Part of the reason I was nervous about going in there sight unseen was because I did not know what the environment was like in there. At Dodd, most of our patients are free from "gear" as I will call it - these people are not, by any stretch of the imagination. There are different smells, sights and sounds, very different from what Chelsie is used to. For example, many of these people have several IV's in both arms - I was a little nervous that one quick turn of the head could hit one of their IV's and jar it, causing the patient pain. Also, many of these people have beeping heart monitors, and on several occasions, she stopped and looked around to see what the noise was.

Overall, it was a very positive experience - just like every other week is. The families we saw were very grateful for the visit. The main difference between Ross and Dodd is that while many of the patients in Dodd I still consider to be "sick", the patients on this floor of the Ross are much more sick (still trying to decide if this is proper grammar). It was very hard for me to see people obviously in very, very bad shape...but Chelsie didn't care, she just went about her business, looking for the next person that would tell her how beautiful she was and how soft her ears were. Please give a prayer of thanks for your health and the health of those around you.

After the hospital, it was off to agility. We are in a new class that focuses on contact obstacles and weave poles - it should be called agility conditioning 101. The weaves are literally a 20 yard dash for the dogs..and we do short sequences designed for speed, so by the end of class, her tongue was hanging out of the side of her mouth. I love it...she is in bed cuddling with the teddy bear. Unfortunately for her, she drank so much water she is going to get one last trip outside so mom does not have to get up in the middle of the night to do so!!!

Hope everyone is having a great week!!

Burning Question of the day....

Do you suppose there is some sort of memo that goes the staff of these guys that says:

"For the lunch on Wednesday, please wear a dark suit?"

To be a fly on the wall in that room.....

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

UGH...The Agony of Defeat...AGAIN!!!

UGH!!! Seriously??? With 16 seconds left??? As usual, the entire game was a stressful experience. I think we lost because I ate a Buckeye sundae from Greater's before the game...ok, maybe not. :)

I still love my Buckeyes. They left it all on the field - what else can you ask for? No one gave us a chance...yet we proved them wrong. GO BUCKS!!! Eddie George was so cute on the immediate post game...he will never live down the phrase of "its a game of inches" in reference to the first down that Tressel challenged. What a game. By far the best bowl game to date - nothing else even close.

And folks at Fox, you need to be clear with Jimmy Johnson that a pink shirt and pink tie with a gray pin striped suit is NOT a look for him. I swear I have seen him in this get up more than once, and it has looked equally as bad every time....

GO BUCKS!!! My flag still flies proudly!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

My First Adventture in 2009

Prepare to laugh. Only I could do something so stupid.

Last night, I went to a party at my friend Sue and Diane's house. Great time - good people, good food, etc. I go to leave at 1AM, and as I am walking out trying to unlock my car, I note the lights don't start flashing as they normally do...and then the car would not unlock. Naturally, I put the key in the door and unlock it so I can get in the car, thinking there was a short with my key. This is very important later in this story.

Well, my car is deader than dead. I see the interior light on, and mumble things not fit to be spoken out loud. Head back inside, get someone to jump the the engine started, the panic button was going off - aka, the horn was beeping. LOUDLY, I might add, at 1AM in a very, very nice neighborhood. We consult the manual, try a few things...nothing. By this point I am just irritated beyond all belief - and frozen, as it was absolutely freezing outside.

Last ditch effort was to call AAA. I did not think they would be able to do anything for me because the car would start - we were looking to try and disconnect the fuse to the alarm, but there was no way I was going to be able to figure that out. So out comes this little old man at 2:15 AM. I explain what is going on, he says, stay here in the house, give me the keys and let me take a look. About 5 min later, Sue comes downstairs and says she heard the horn...I was like OMG...they live in a really nice neighborhood...and that stupid horn was so loud. About three min later, Sue goes to the window and says your car is in front of the house, running and quiet!!!

Turns out I had done something to the alarm when I manually unlocked the door. Apparently, I needed to manually lock the door to get the alarm back to where it needed to be. All he did was stick the key in the door, lock it and jump the car. SERIOUSLY???? So it was after 3AM when I got home...but at least I got home.

Moments like these are quite frustrating to me...I never would have had any idea that manually unlocking the door would have had such an impact (a loud one at that). Jodi and Megs and anyone else that has a Honda, take note of this in the event this ever happens to you, to spare yourself the embarrassment I felt last night. I should add this is the third time I have done this, so my poor battery is shot. It will get some new power tomorrow, she is getting her 60k tune up in the morning (aka - large dollar tune up, as all you Honda owners know) Hard to believe...she is 4 yrs old. Just means I recently celebrated the 4th anniversary of my 30th birthday...she was my 30th birthday present to myself...and for the most part has been a champ. Its just her owner that is suspect....