Friday, August 03, 2007

No words can explain this...

Yesterday, Sonny had to work late so he got the morning off. We decided to grab advantage of the morning off to boot Ashton in preschool and go looking for computer armiores. We need one that can shut and lock so the kidlets can't get in. We drove off towards Pinellas Park in search of the perfect computer armiore.

We drove to Wood You and found out it doesn't open till 10 so we decided to drive looking for another furniture supplier for the time being and we drove past Ashley Homestore. We looked at eachother and YEAH! Lets go in. We drove, parked and went in. We found the PERFECT computer armiore. Get this, I found the exact same one online but I just found out that the shipping cost was a whopping $375 and I couldn't justify the cost. It was absolute FATE that we found the exact same one and the delivery is only $80. Nope, I'm not gonna tell you how much the cabinet itself costs. Lets just say that I'd have to give up my bi-weekly (or quad-weekly) iced lattes from Starbucks and Dunkin' Doughnuts.

I went out to the car to nurse Ella while Sonny does the transcation. He joins me some time later and we gloat over our amazing find. Suddenly, Sonny spies something odd... and my heart goes up in my throat.

Now I should explain something, it was a nasty thunderstorm outside, it was POURING. Streets were flooding, etc. It was so wet, we get drenched the minute we step out of the car. It was a small shiny black wet 'moving' thing couple of feets down the parking lot. It was moving forward. I told him, oh it's a giant slug.

Sonny HAD to drive up and take a look. He opens the door and turns to me. "It's a catfish?"


Sho nuf, it's a catfish. It was propelling itself forward with its little flippers. It was like seeing evolution at its' worst.

Today, I was checking out one aquarium website to find the location so we can go there tomorrow and I clicked on one link "Invaders" Apparently, that particular catfish was brought here and it really belongs in Asia. It is called a 'walking catfish' and it uses it's little fins to walk to the next pond if their pond dries up.

Here's a wikipedia link - it's not a hoax from yours truly.

Ok, now I feel a lot better. I was starting to think that there's something nasty going on in Florida what with the cat-sized rat in Lowes and now a walking catfish.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

What's with those H2 Mamas?

Ash goes to a preschool in a very upscale neighborhood right next to the ocean. The preschool is at a Espolician chuch and the district is the Harbor Oaks district. Its gorgeous and I'd love to live there. It is also close to where Hulk Hogan and his family used to live. Yeah, we drove past his house! It's selling for 25 million! They moved to Miami and are currently selling the house. If only I had the money, I'd buy it in a heartbeat, it is gorgeous!

Anyways, the mamas who sends their kids there doesn't drive minivans, they drive hummers! Some have custom designs on the hummer like flowers and so forth. I have to admit that I don't like vans, they're too big and clunky but they have benefits to offer compared to smaller sedans. I feel a bit imitiated. They come rolling up in those big shiny hummers with shiny grille and wheels and hustle their kids in. They're very tanned, wear big dark sun-glasses and have their cell permanently attached to their heads. Oh yeah, those mamas. Their kids are adorable anyway. Ash seems to have a new friend already. Now I didn't approve of this but I thought it was cute.

The preschool has a small parking lot where we come in, park the cars and pick up or drop off the kids. When I was picking up Ash and starting to strap him in, the lil' guy came running up and started talking to ash, It was so cute but where's his mom? His mom is talking down the parking lot with another mother and a little 2 year old boy is running around the parking lot. Their car was parked next to mine but my point is, what if I didn't see the little boy and backed over him? I couldn't leave him standing by the car. His mom saw me and waved that she'd be over soon but she didn't run over right away. I guess she thought that since I'm there, I'd keep an eye out for her boy.

Well , yeah, of course I'd keep an eye out for her boy but that's only because I don't want to accidentally run over the little boy if I just decide to leave him and drive off or even worse, another car runs him over. I stay by the car letting the little boy talk to Ash. She finally runs over and thanks me but still... keep a grip on your kids. Seriously. In a parking lot? *shakes head*

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Path to Enlightment!

Guess what! I've registered for a marathon on January 13, 2008 at Disney World Orlando! I decided to take a huge step and just start training for the marathon. I've always wanted to begin exercising and get back in shape. I decided that now is the perfect time to begin because we're in Florida, we decided not to have any more kids, and we've already set on our trek to the path of enlightment two years ago.

Path to Enlightment - what the ever am I speaking of?

Sonny and I wanted to better our lives so we took small steps just to improve the way we live our lives. It has been a very rocky and hilly path the past two years but it has been worth it all the way. We begun with:

1. Improve the way we eat. Our shame was portioning. On 'According to Jim' comedy T.V. show, Jim's brother in law admitted a secret. He has a 'shame stick'. It's NOT what you think! His 'Shame Stick' was a stick of butter on popsicle stick and rolled in sugar and he would eat it like icecream or a corndog! Our 'shame stick' was the amount of food we were eating years ago. One of our favorite meals are fried potatoes with sliced hotdogs.d We used to throw in 4-6 sliced hotdogs with about 5 chopped potatoes. TODAY, we only fry with canola oil (heart-healthy) with only 2 chopped potato with 3-4 sliced hotdogs. We also add less salt and more tasty spices. Well, we've admitted our 'shame stick' story, what's yours?

My most major success is quitting Mountain Dew over three years ago! I quit it cold turkey one day and never looked back. My kids are NOT going to touch soda at all until they are old enough to make the concious decision to choose milk or water over soda. Sonny is 'working' on quitting coca cola. Pop and candy is just as addictive as cigarettes.

2. Improving finances! We wanted to pay off our credit card debt and improve our daily household budget. We wanted to end this year with ONLY school loans to pay and pay for everything in cash plus have savings for retirement and emergencies. We are very soon well on our way to acheiving that goal.

3. Saving the Environment (and save money) - We decided to reduce electricity usage throughout the house. We replaced light bulbs with energy saving flourscent bulbs. We bought an energy efficient washer and dryer. We've also begun to RECYCLE!!!! I'd encourage you guys to recycle. It is so much more statisfying! We consider it a continious goal to preserve energy and save the environment.

4. Finally, improving our health by exercising and setting a committment to encourage our kids to exercise. Amercia is considered one of the highest population of obese people and we didn't want to be part of that statistics plus heart disease and cancer runs in my family. I wasn't really encouraged to excercise growing up, I was encouraged to read more books to improve english skills plus improve speech skills by attending speech therapy. It was all education but no extracircular activities until I attended SDSD in high school and joined basketball. By then it was too late. There has to be a balance somewhere!

NOW... my running goal:
I joined a marathon to motiviate myself plus lose weight. I have begun to run in the mornings before Sonny and the kids wake up. Sonny is going to begin biking again. We are looking around for a road bike for him plus new gear. I've bought new running gear for myself and today I gave myself the day off from running after 1 full week and I have never felt that bad before. I usually run at 6 a.m. and I woke up at 8 a.m. and wanted to sleep more and my ears were ringing so bad and I was just feeling blah. I perked up after I walked around and made french toast. It is hard to exercise around kids because we don't have the gear to take the kids along but hope to buy them SOON. By 8am it was already too late to go running but I made it up by taking the kids to a nearby park after lunch. I am avoiding running in direct sunlight until I can get used to running long distances and getting used to the heat and sun. In September, I'll begin serious training by running more than 13 miles in 1 day with my buddies. The marathon is about 26.6 miles.

I've hemmed and hawed about posting my running plans on this blog because I consider myself a 'quitter' in the areas of exercising. I've tried to exercise before but always gave up after a few days. 1 full week of running is the longest I've ever had and the benefits of running is tremendous. After I go running, I'm awake and ready for the day! That was surprising to me. I hope to keep it up and suceed with the marathon. Before I die, I'd like to be able to say that I actually completed a marathon to add to my very short list of acheivements.

We have more goals to complete but will begin later once we've established our active lifestyle pattern. One of the goals is to save up some $$$ and go to Europe when the kids are older and can stay with grandparents. Anyone want to help us go to Europe? *winks* Sonny's dream is to backpack or bike throughout Europe. Not a bad idea but I gotta have a few hotel stays along the way. :)


Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Note to Self:

Do not leave potatoes in plastic container in a dark cabinet for 3 weeks. *retches*
Saying Goodbye...

Jo is an inspiring woman. I know her from when she interpreted for me at various appointments and I've always had a blast with her. She is easy to talk to and she has a lot of enthuasim for her job as an interpreter. Actually, she has a contagious enthuasim for everything - her family, her job, and life in general. Her memory continues in all of us that have known her. She has kept her faith and joy in her battle against cancer when most would've lost. It really isn't fair that good and inspiring people like her get sick and pass away when we have so many bad people out there. She is a wonderful example to others, she kept her fighters gloves on and a upbeat attitude. She found out she had cancer in the spring, I believe, and she quietly passed away on June 10th at the hospice in Sioux Falls. The cancer advanced quickly and when they found out, it was probably too late. She has a wonderful husband and has two sons which she had late in life and loves dearly. She has a great enthuasim for life that she has passed on to her boys. Her youngest has downs syndrome and is adorable. He's much like his mama with the infectious personality. She is truly a wonderful person and whereever she is now, they are lucky.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

my little monkeys!

Becoming a Floridian!

Well, as of 11:30 a.m. today, we're now officially a Florida resident! We got our drivers license from SD converted to FL and I have to tell you, our photos look a lot better than SD license. :) Interesting thing about the DL place, they do appointments! We can go online and fill out the application and schedule an appointment thus saving ourselves a long wait. Why don't SD do that?

Anyhoo, we went in and was served by a nice older lady. She's awesome but tries to talk to us before writing notes. Let me tell ya, it would save all of us a LOT of time if you just write it down instead of 'trying' to talk. It's just not worth it. Funnily enough, I asked her if I could keep my SD drivers license for memory's sake and she said this "You could but in Florida, it is a FELONY (with a big emphasis) and it is FIVE (with all 5 fingers emphasis) years in jail and FIVE (another 5 fingers emphasis) thousand dollar fine. She said it pretty good. Ooookayyyy, thankyouverymuch, you can keep the SD license!

She did offer to cut out the photo for me but I told her no. I just want the SD logo and all that but really honestly, if you think about it, what can I do with it really, put in a photo book? After I die, what will my heirs do with a measly drivers license?

Oh! Another thing, I decided to be an organ donor. They have three donor options and I decided to donate my body to science! I thought it would be fun and educational for future doctors. Afterall, I'm dead, it's not like I'm going to stick around with my body watching the doctors mess around with my corspe. I don't really want to know what they'll do with the corpse, I've seen too many movies. Why not?

Here's a photo of our licenses!

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

I was going to post a blog after I took a picture of Ash in his t-shirt he made in preschool but he was such a BEAR and I've been waiting few days to post. I promise, when he gets into a better mood, I'll take a picture of him in his adorable outfit. :) I'm not telling you what and you'll have to wait! LOL I just want him smiling in the picture. He looks better that way. ;)

Anyhoo, things has improved. There are less roaches however, the past two nights, I SWEAR I felt a bug crawl across my arm and face. I can't sleep anymore. Roaches gives me the shivers. I have a spraying scheduled for July 9th. Die Roaches Dieeeee!

Remember the stove fiasco? We couldn't cook a hot meal since Wednesday so we've been eating sandwiches and eating out. We tried several new restaurants especially Boston Market. Boston Market rocks! George stopped by yesterday with a contractor and they ripped out the old stove and put in the new stove. The new stove is verrryy nice. It's some sort of a convection stove where it has two baking option - normal way and convection way. I have to research what's the difference but I'm sure I'll figure it out eventually. I'm just happy I have an honest to goodness stove in my kitchen that I actually can cook. I baked chocolate chip cookies last night and I'm tellin' ya. Those cookies were damn good!

I enrolled Ashton in a preschool environment at a church. It is very nice and fun environment and I'm totally wanting to live in that neighborhood. The Oak Garden district is a better version of the Mckennan Historic district in Sioux Falls. I'm betting ya, those houses there are probably half a million or more than a million in value each. It's that nice! The preschool is cute, they have those classrooms that open to an outdoor courtyard. Ash is in a class full of little kids, all 2 year olds. Today was his second day and he loves it there. He went in his classroom without a backward glance. Ashton spends a lot of time in the sun in South Dakota but it's funny, he's the palest kid in class. All other kids are tanned. You can really tell who's from South Dakota!

Things here are so different from SD! We drive on Lakeview Rd. to drop Sonny off at CSDVRS and there are several places along the way that strikes me funny. Most common names for family businesses are 'Rasmussen & Son" or 'Ellman & Son". This particular business is "Bob & Daughter' - you really don't see that in SD! I should take a photo but we drive too fast, it'd be a blur.

Another place had me taking a double take. I had to look twice to read the sign. There is a trailer park with a sign that says "Adult Park'. Ahem... you get my drift? Don't ya? Actually the sign says "Adult Park +55" for senior citizens to live there. It's true, the young is discriminated in Florida! I called many rentals and about half of those is only for 55 and up.

Perhaps I should send the photos to Jay Leno? :)

Ella is doing great, she is a happy and easy baby. She actually slept from 11am to 6:30 this morning. She probably would've slept longer if I didn't wake her up. She likes to be held all the time so we've been using slings a lot. Ashton is a regular 2 year old. He's definetely into his terrible two's. He likes to make messes and likes to challenge his parents' authority. I keep telling Sonny, he's two and manipulative. He's so smart that I don't realize I'm being manipulated until Sonny tells me and same to Sonny. By that time, it's too late. :) He's a great kid and likes to ride his little bike. He also really likes trains right now. I'm considering buying him a wooden train set but first I need to buy Ella some toys. She has no toys but she has tons of clothes though, really adorable ones. Ash also likes to help out on his own terms. He'll help unload the dishwasher but wont' pick up his toys.

Well, I better go boot Ash to nap-time. Hope he sleeps away his grumpiness and I get a good photo of his cute outfit, stove, and washing/drying machines. (Yeah, I got new machines and they rock! It's in my favorite color - RED!)


Friday, June 29, 2007

National Lampoon's Move from Hell

Well, what to say? So much $**t has happened the past week! My friend calls it freak occurences but I call it a definete snub from Florida!

To begin with: The plane ride went VERY well! Once we landed and picked up our car, thats when it went downhill. The GPS system (Global Positioning System) went wonky and led us in wrong directions twice and we ended up stopping at a gas station for a map. Luckily we were in the right direction but we were lost! I fiddled with the GPS and finally got it working.

The hotel we stayed in had two fights and police cars, fire truck, and ambulance with sirens going. My in-laws were like - leave the adjoining door open so they can hear if something happens in my room. Plus - the hotel was crappy.

We left the next day and arrived to our house in Clearwater. The landscaping were in progress but the landlord, George, did not mow the backyard so everything was overgrown! The house was filthy and he proceeded to tell us that the house is infested with cockroaches! What? Roaches?!?!? He told us the house was sprayed already and will have more sprayings to reduce or eliminate the roach problem. I was so angry, I cried. He said, that's Florida. Roaches are common in the south. Right... but not in MY house!

We hadn't seen the inside of the house because the tenants were still living there and they were going to be evicted but we saw photos of inside the house. The house is beautiful, yes, but everything was old and the tenants broke a lot of things. They didn't maintain the house and lawn. They left junk in the backyard and parked multiple cars in their driveway and didn't clean up after themselves - hence the roaches. George tells me that supposedly, roaches are clean. I told him off. Internet shows that roaches cause allergies and athsma.

Everything in the house is really old, even the stove. If I calcuated right, the stove was manufactured in 1959 and is 48 years old. They have a really old intercom system which I don't even know if it works. The orginial central vaccum canister, hose and parts are still there with the original box! All light switches are orginial which means the electrical system is old too. The bathrooms are old, with pink toliet, tiles and everything.

Anyways, back to my move. The night we were getting ready for bed and I was in the living room with Ella, Sonny comes and screams at me where's the plunger. I said that the plunger is in the bathroom where I put it there. He says it's not there and I'm like - if it's not there then I don't know where it is. He's screaming at me to find the plunger and I'm wondering what's going on. Apparently the toliet backed up and was overflowing and would not stop overflowing. Bob and Dale is trying to get the toliet stopped and vaccuming up the water. Sonny is trying to stop Ash from splashing in the water - ew! Ash succeeds and we have to get his clothes off and diaper changed and I have to hold Ash back in the living room while they clean up. I tell Sonny to check our bathroom in the master bedroom and he says no. A while later, we find out that the toliet in the master bedroom is also overflowing. Sonny, remember that your wife is always right!

Oh by the way, the afmetioned plunger was in the bathroom the whole time like I said it would be.

Both toliet and bathtub was backed up and Kim makes an emergency call to our landlord. He gets a plumber out and sends us to the hotel. The guys did not get to the hotel until 2am! I choose a good hotel, that's how mad I am! I was also ready to rip up the lease and move to another house. Sonny wants to stay. The main line was clogged and the plumber had to snake it out. We return the next day and continue to kill more roaches.

We finally stay in the house through the night on Friday night and saturday morning, Sonny goes to the bathroom and he runs back and says that the toliet is backed up again. Ends up the master bedroom toliet is backed up too. We've been avoiding using our toliet because it drains incredibly slowly and always look like its gonna overflow. It's about 8am and again Kim makes the call to George.

Kim and Bob leaves for the airport and we battle more roaches. I'm even more upset and fed-up. I'm ready to yell at George and get my deposit back and find a new place. George shows up with a septic tank drain company when they proceed to drain the tank. First, they had to dig up the new landscaping that George worked so hard on to open the cement lid to the tank. Sonny tells me that the tank is FULL. No wonder the toliets and tub backed up! They finish in a hour or so and they said that the main line is still clogged so George still has to call a plumber over to clear the line. So far, we hadn't showered or went to the bathroom. Eventually the plumber shows up and start working in the hot florida sun and it's about 90 degrees or more outside. The plumber has this cool machine where he can send a camera down and see what's in the tank or the line. It looks like a baby bottle. George proceeds to accuse us of flushing the bottle down the toliet.

Whoa, George! We told him a emphatic NO! I breastfeed and the sippy cups that Ashton uses will no way in the world fit down the potty. Must be the previous tenants. George forgets that he told me that they have two small children. Well, duh, children do flush things down the toliet but comeon! Don't accuse us! When I told him that I felt bad his hard work on landscaping is ruined, he walks away waving his hands and muttering. He's gay and also very mad. That's not a good combination but funny to watch. He's a interior designer and teaches design at a college in California. He specializes in retro design, hence the 1950's house.

Get this, the plumber finds THREE baby bottles clogging the main line. He clears it up and checks both toliets to make sure they're running. George and his sister explains to us about RID-X and needing to use it i the toliet and no harsh chemicals. I've already researched on it before we moved because I knew the house is on a septic system. The septic is a tank underground where everything that goes in the drain goes in the tank. There's bacteria in the tank that 'eats' everything in the tank where it naturally seeps out in the yard, I think. Occassionally, you'd have to drain the tank every 1 to 5 years depending on the size, etc. I think the previous tenants treated the septic tank as 'garbage' and tried to flush anything down including harsh chemicals that killed off the bacteria and causing the tank to fill up with water and waste. There wasn't enough bacteria to process the waste. Now we have to flush those little packets of enzymes to feed the bacteria and grow. Think of it as baking bread vs. septic tank. Weird thought yeah but erriely similar!

We don't go to the bathroom or shower until 3pm! That night we go out to dinner with friends at a greek restaurant. Their food is so good and authenic! Thursday night ,we went out to eat with friends at an organic mexican restaurant that's to die for. Florida does have great restaurants!

We continue to battle roaches.

Today is Friday and we've battled roaches the entire week. We have a sprayer coming on July 9th to spray again and I've been working hard of depriving roaches of food and water and researching of ways to repel roaches. Apparently catnip is one of them! Many websites suggest buying a few geckoes (lizards) to let loose in the house and let them eat the cockroaches. They say that you won't see the geckos until they've eaten them all and you'll have to put them in a cage and feed them crickets. Fascinating!

Anyways, the problems hasn't ended. You would've thought the problems would be done now but it has not. The house almost got on fire this morning. That 1950's stove I mentioned earlier, has electricial problems or something like that. We had not used the stove since Wednesday night and this morning, it started smoking between the counter and side of the stove. I opened the cooktop and found that the burners are still cold. We weren't sure if it was still on or something and when I closed the cook-top, sparks happened! Sonny immediately went to turn off the electric going to the stove and called George. George can't have anyone come out till Monday and he proceeds to accuse us of not using the stove right. Yes, we have an angry gay landlord. I explaine to him exactly what happened. More likely they'll just replace the stove and put a new stove there. Last night we were talking about replacing the stove because some of the burners weren't working and he said that he's getting a glass cooktop stove but NO PROMISES. The thing with the old stove - it sits on cabinets, it's weird looking but to put a new modern stove, he'd have to tear out cabinets. Smoke has certain smells and this one smells like a electricial fire. It makes me nervous because we haven't bought a strobe system for deaf people because it's expensive. I've already gone online to research on those equipment. Living in a old house with apparent electricial issues, not easy.

Well, that concludes the hellish week we've had. Sewage problems, Roaches, and Kitchen. *shivers* Yes, we're still battling roaches but haven't seen that many today. They're nocturnal and comes out at night. Die Roaches Die!

I'll send you more photos later of the house and the stove plus kids. I'll also post an update with better stuff hopefully including our territorial lizards and our neighborhood gray squirrel.

Oh by the way... we saw a huge RAT the size of a cat or a small dog climbing the rafters at Lowes last Friday. What a nice welcome to Clearwater!

Here's a few photos to hold you off. :)

Ashton's train! He actually built this himself and tells me it's a train. It looks like a train and I'm so proud of my little boy. :)