Thursday, March 31, 2011

Yoga membership!

So my 10-day $10 new student special is up. I did go to a class every day for 10 days! Six Flow 1 classes (all awesome), one power hour (meh), two Flow 2 classes (one was the ashtanga series with a sub, and the other was just okay) and one actual ashtanga class (also awesome). Now I have a 6-month membership!!

My general plan is Monday - Flow 1 with Kelli; Wednesday - Ashtanga with Elaine; Tuesday/Thursday - Flow 1 with Coleen; Saturday - Flow 1 with Tori; Sunday - Flow 2 with Billy. The Flow 1 classes are plenty challenging for me (I've actually been a little surprised at how much my practice has improved in less than 2 weeks). Coleen also teaches a yin yoga class about twice a month on Sundays after the Flow 2 class that I have been eagerly anticipating since we decided to move to Leesburg and I found Flow Yoga online. That should be almost 170 classes, give or take a few...I'm sure I'll miss a couple but I might double up once or twice (there's a deep stretch class Thursday nights after Flow 1 that I might give a try at some point) which works out to about $3 a class. I love it!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

New desk!

The entire time we've been married, M has always had a desk. I never had that much of a need of one in grad school (can't do lab work from home) and basically wrote my thesis on the couch when I wasn't in my Hopkins office. I can count on maybe one hand, definitely two, the number of times I've worked from home in my tech transfer career - which was really too bad since I can do at least 80% of the work from pretty much anywhere (a blessing and a curse?)

Well, I'm in the process of getting a teleworking agreement approved so I can work from home on Fridays. No more snow days for me, but I think it's a pretty good trade-off to get an extra 1.5 hours each week of not commuting. Plus I'll be able to have lunch with M.

Point being, I was finally in need of a regular desk. I got my office chair cheap when we were at Office Depot (discontinued, bought the floor model for $49) but it languished in the corner for the past few weeks. So I ordered a small one (only $35!) and it was delivered today. We put it together tonight, and I am writing this post from the new desk! It's not huge like M's corner piece, but on the other hand I could drag it back into the office single-handedly. I think it'll work just fine.

We also finally have a shelf and an extra towel bar in the master bathroom, hooray! On to curtain rods next...

We also had one box of our Groupon wine order (6 bottles - two chenin blancs, a chardonnay, a monastrell, a carménère, and a syrah) arrive today (M went and picked it up) and I ordered a Jade Harmony yoga mat that came yesterday. I was looking at the yogitoes mat towel (because the new studio keeps the temp at 85-90 degrees and I actually sweat), but it was just as expensive as a new mat - and since mine was starting to pit a little anyways, I decided to look at the Jade. It normally retails for $65 but I got it for $44, woo! I took the ashtanga class today with the new mat - it's way grippier than the old one! I also didn't really mind the rubber smell - some people said it was so overwhelming that after 2 or 3 weeks it was still giving them headaches. I left it unrolled overnight to air out a bit last night, and it was in my car all day, but I didn't think it was that bad by the time 6pm rolled around. I could notice it but it certainly wasn't offensive or anything (I actually thought it smelled a little fruity, even). The color is a lot darker than I had expected though - I ordered in 'orchid' and it looks like a medium pink/fuchsia online but it's a actually very deep reddish plum color. I'm happy with it though.

We have the carpet installation on Friday (royal we, meaning I), going to Let's Dish Saturday morning and then to KG for mom's birthday dinner Saturday afternoon, and meeting with Eunice to finalize putting our condo on the market on Sunday. And then it's a short week because we go to Boston for Steve's wedding next weekend! Jim's birthday dinner the weekend after that (massive quantities of meat), then Easter, then Bauers, then the Frederick 5K, then Emily and trip to the Melting Pot for Carly's birthday! Whew!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Prosciutto

Watching Iron Chef - Battle Prosciutto. Mmmmmmm. What I wouldn't give to be a judge on that episode! It turns out there is a highly-recommended wood-fired pizza place in downtown Leesburg that offers prosciutto as a pizza topping - I'm thinking totally yum with spinach and mushrooms.

Took an ashtanga class today, by accident. I was signed up for Flow 2, but there was a substitute teacher who usually teaches the ashtanga classes, and she led the ashtanga sequence instead of a regular flow class. It was tough, and I had to do a lot of modifications, but I made it through. I told her afterward that it was my first ashtanga class, and she laughed and said "Is it going to be your last?" and I laughed and said I didn't think so. I had planned on trying it anyways but I was kind of nervous about the intensity level so maybe it's a good thing that I just got thrown into it, as it were.

We had our carpet measurement on Saturday, and I think they're supposed to call tomorrow to schedule the installation. I am hoping it can be done on Thursday. We are due to meet with our real estate agent on Sunday to submit all the paperwork and do listing photos!

Planning on 3-4 more yoga classes this week. None Friday, because I didn't like the Friday evening class, and none Saturday because I have my Ashburn Let's Dish appointment and then birthday dinner for mom. New 6-month membership should start on Sunday, and I'm super excited because there's a yin class Sunday after Flow 2!

I have my first seedling poking through (oregano)!! Planting lettuce sometime this week, after it stops freezing at night (Tuesday or Wednesday?) Tomatoes probably won't be for a few more weeks yet.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Good thing we're not having dinner

Miss Manners says that money and religion are inappropriate topics for dinner. Here's one of each.

Seven myths about universalism - I have been doing a lot of reading and research on this, and this succinctly covers a lot of the basic misconceptions.

Down and out on $250,000 a year? This is complete and utter bullshit. I don't swear much on my blog, but this truly truly disgusted me. ANYONE can be "broke" if their expenses exceed their income, tax policy be damned. Just because you've accustomed yourself to a certain standard of living that you "need" doesn't mean that we should be setting tax policy on that basis. I have no sympathy for the hypothetical family (who I'm sure are probably all too real) that has more after-tax income than we have pre-tax, and I'm sure people who are making it with a tenth of that income are even less sympathetic to their faux plight.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Does anything rhyme with Thursday?

Matt and I both worked from home today, so we could go over to the DMV at around 10:30. My thinking was that 10:30 was late enough in the morning that the people who went before work had already finished up, but before people who were coming on their lunch break started to trickle in. Lo and behold, I was right - we went right up to the document checker and got numbers, which were immediately called. But it was not to be that easy, oh no.

DMV: Have you had a Virginia drivers license previously?
Me: Not since 2003.
DMV: And you've been married since then...
Me: Yes.
DMV: You're still showing up in our system under your maiden name, and I need to see proof of a legal name change in order to process you.

Funny, I thought I did that EIGHT YEARS AGO when I legally changed my name in Maryland. I was very annoyed, because a) I had to go back to the apartment to get our marriage certificate, and b) I had carefully researched the documents we needed (and even filled out the forms ahead of time) and it said you only needed a marriage certificate if you were changing your name. Which I did, EIGHT YEARS AGO.

And I was also annoyed because c) by the time I got back, it was after 11 and I had to wait another 15-20 minutes for my new number to be called. Because the lunch crowd had started to show up, exactly as I had predicted.

Side note: When I got to the waiting area, some guy hit on me. He said "You can sit next to me if you want!" but I must have had a soul-withering look on my face because he immediately followed it up by saying "I was just kidding..."

So we finally got both of our drivers license applications in, and I did both of the car titles and registrations (they couldn't process M's until I did my drivers license). I will have AGTHORN Virginia plates shortly! All that's left is to pay personal property taxes and get county stickers, and then I think we are done with everything documentation-wise.

I finished work, unpacked a few more things, and then went to yoga. I LOVE that the studio is only 5 minutes away instead of half an hour. When I got home, we hung shelves/rods in the bedroom closet so I can finish putting all my clothes away. Had dinner and a bottle of chardonnay in honor of Julie's 21st birthday (!)

Work tomorrow, and then we are back in Gaithersburg on Saturday for the carpet measurement. We'll be doing some cleaning in the kitchen/bathroom too, and Matt is going to take our old license plates back to the MVA and return a few things to Lowe's (I bought too many closet shelves). Sunday we *don't*have*to*go*to*Gaithersburg*!!

I finally ordered a desk for the office - it's just a small one, but it was only $35 and all I have is a laptop so I'm pretty sure it'll work for me:
If not, well, it was only $35... I also decided to order a new Jade Harmony yoga mat, since my old one was starting to pill and leave little pieces on me occasionally. Both should be here on Tuesday!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Groceries

Just deleted my peapod link, sniff. I had checked a while ago and the peapod website listed "Loudoun County" as one of their delivery areas. Apparently that only means PARTS of Loudoun County, because I tried to place an order to have some stuff delivered the day after we moved, and it told me there was no delivery to that zip code. I contacted customer service to confirm, but there was no hope.

I went to the Bloom last night, which is about a mile away from our house. Amazingly I didn't want to kill anyone at any point during the trip, and I actually left smiling. Other than having to carry the bags from the car to the house, it was survivable. And Bloom currently offers online shop and pickup from their Charlotte store, so maybe that will reach VA eventually. In the meantime, there's a way to sign up for a scanner so you can scan and bag your groceries as you go through the store, and then you just pay at the checkout line. I gotta figure out how to get in on that!

At least there's still Let's Dish...we might starve otherwise.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Final stats

Speaking of $ per X, I finished my 3-month membership pass to Sol Yoga yesterday. I took exactly 50 classes. Not bad, despite the fact that I missed at least five classes over two weeks because of being sick etc. After subtracting out the $5 classes, I ended up with an average of $6.20 for the rest. Pretty awesome.

I took my first class at Flow Yoga in Leesburg tonight on the 10-day-10-dollar new student special pass. I really liked it! Assuming the rest of the teachers/classes are as good, I'll definitely be getting a membership in April.

I started my herbs tonight! Very excited about this - I hope they grow!!

Excellent article: This is Why You Can't Make Money in the Stock Market. Hint - it's not the market, it's you. I left a comment about risk - they have a guy quoted at the beginning that moved into cash after the market drop in 2008, and is just now getting back into stocks after nearly a 100% increase from market lows. But the other kicker is that he's 48, and despite being a self-described "skittish investor" he bought back in at 85% stocks. Ugh.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

In vino veritas

Several months ago, we purchased two separate Groupons for online wine retailers, each offering $75 of merchandise for only $25. We couldn't use them until we moved to VA, since MD doesn't allow alcohol to be shipped.

We just ordered 18 bottles of wine (9 red and 9 white) for a total out-of-pocket cost of $8.08 per bottle :-) And our wine rack is being delivered tomorrow!

There are also about a dozen wineries within a 15-mile radius. I predict our wine glasses will be getting a lot more use.

100% painted

We need to do more unpacking. It's hard when we've still been focusing on the condo so much though. We did get the kitchen unpacked Tuesday night though, so that helped.

We spent all day Saturday back in Gaithersburg. Got there around 10:30am and started painting. Jim came over around 2 to help. He and M made a trip to the dump with the rest of the stuff we didn't want at 4:30, and then we painted for another 2 hours after that. Amazingly, we got the whole thing finished Saturday - though we did make an executive decision that the baseboard trim and closet doors in the guest bedroom didn't need to be repainted. We went to Longhorn Steakhouse in Germantown for dinner and got some fairly excellent steaks - filet with mushrooms for me, ribeyes for the guys. Got home after a 13 hour day (including dinner and driving).

Sore today, but not as bad as last weekend. Probably because I only worked one day instead of three.
We're going to see 'The Adjustment Bureau' in a couple hours, then I'm heading to Frederick for yoga, and then back to Gaithersburg to pick out the new carpet at the local Home Depot. We have the measurement scheduled for next Saturday, which I guess means it's not going to be installed that day (boo) but we'll figure it out. We are also going to get our new microwave and toaster oven today, and I ordered the kitty condo and a few small things for the kitchen from amazon. Pretty sure the only thing left to buy after that will be a mattress set for the guest bedroom, and maybe some curtains (I have to see how much of what we already own will work with the windows we have now). Oh and my desk. I keep forgetting about that.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

I need a new body

Moved on Saturday. Went to Home Depot Sunday afternoon, then back to the condo to start cleaning. Painted trim on Monday. Today, I feel like I can barely walk. Everything hurts....

We get to play the "What box was that in?" at least six times a day. I still haven't touched the kitchen, but I'm going to have to soon because we can't afford to keep eating out every night.

Time to somehow get myself off to work now. Oy vey.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Sweet sweet Virginia always keeps an open door

And I'm back! Back to Virginia, back online. The move went as well as could be expected. Got the truck around 10:15 yesterday morning, and peeps were all here by about 11-ish. It took us about four hours to load everything onto the moving truck. We drove over to the new place (M drove the truck on the toll road with Phil following driving M's car; I led the caravan down Georgetown Pike with Stacy hauling our bikes and MG following to keep an eye on the bikes). It only took us about 2 hours to unload everything. The guys putzed around on M's computer in the office while Stacy and I assembled our new bed headboard and platform bed frame (I still need to do the drawers) and then we went to Red Hot and Blue for dinner. M and I came back after dinner and took showers, watched Fringe from the new DVR, and went to bed around 11:30.

Pretty stiff when I woke up this morning. My cell phone said 9:30 when I woke up (I'm really convinced that I do need 9 hours of sleep a night; the problem is getting it during the week!!) I went to Starbucks and when I got back in the car, the clock said 9:00 and I was sooooo confused for a minute or two before I remembered that last night was DST.

More furniture assembly and a trip to Home Depot today, and then I head back to the condo to start cleaning and prepping/painting. Decided to nix yoga this afternoon, as I'm not even sure I could do a downward-facing dog right now.

The cats seem to be warming up to the new place. They certainly enjoy having all these boxes around to climb in and on and under!

Friday, March 11, 2011

OMG we're moving TOMORROW

Technically it IS Friday...though I still have to go to bed first (two 'sleeps' and one 'work' left!)

M took the cats, litter box, TV, computer, and PS3 to the apartment tonight. I stayed home and packed up the linen closet (5 big bags plus the two sleeping bags), a big box of stuff from the living room, a box of my shoes, and about 5 more boxes from the kitchen. I'm pretty sure I will still need three four five more boxes to finish that off.

Other than that, it's basically just clothes and random stuff - extension cords, slippers, stuff in the bathroom. We always end up with two or three boxes of random stuff that just gets thrown together at the last minute. I know this because I actually UNPACKED one from the last move and sorted through it about three weeks ago...

I have also found approximately 4,000 pens while packing and cleaning.

Okay off to bed. Peace out homies - next time I blog, I'll be a Virginian.

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

It's strongly worded e-mail time

1) Kmart.com customer service told me that UPS was supposed to pick up the damaged desk sometime between Monday and Wednesday of this week. They hadn't picked up by the end of the day today, so I called again. Turns out they meant to say "Someone will contact you by Friday to ARRANGE for pickup." And since UPS doesn't pickup on weekends, that means we have to leave the desk behind. I asked if I could at least bring it to a store and have it picked up from there, but was told no, it's an online-only item so the store won't take it.

2) I had called on Monday to cancel the other desk, because it was obviously not going to arrive before we moved. I got a shipping confirmation today for said canceled desk. Now I'm going to have to drive back to Gaithersburg to pick it up next week.

Sent an e-mail to Imran Jooma, the Senior Vice President of e-Commerce, letting him know I'm very disappointed in the outcome of all of this and don't plan on buying anything online from Kmart again.

Monday, March 07, 2011

But on the other hand

In addition to the herb garden, I am going to attempt baby lettuces and cherry tomatoes - did a little googling and both are easy to grow in small spaces. So I'm thinking I will end up with three containers - two larger rectangular ones (one for the lettuces and one for the herbs) and a big round pot for the cherry tomatoes. I am looking forward to some yummy salads this summer, and maybe some homemade pasta sauce?

But first, I have to get this kitchen packed...

Disappointed

We ordered two desks (M's computer desk and a folding desk that we actually planned to use in the kitchen to hold the microwave etc) and two bookcases from Kmart.com. We got M's desk and the bookcases a week ago, and took them out to the apartment on Saturday to assemble. It turned out that the top of the desk was cracked (!?!) I called a local Kmart to see if they had one in stock that we could exchange, but they said it's an online-only item and we'd have to call customer service. M assembled the bookcases while he was there.

So I called customer service Saturday afternoon and explained the situation. She processes the return, and asks if I wanted a replacement or a refund. I explain that I only want a replacement if she can guarantee that it would be here by Thursday. She says she can't guarantee it (note: Kmart.com totally offers expedited 2-day and overnight shipping...) so I tell her to do a refund instead. UPS is supposed to pick up the return tomorrow or Wednesday.

Then today, I realize that while our delivery estimate on the order was 3/4-3/8, I don't even have a shipping confirmation or tracking number for the other desk. I popped a quick e-mail to customer service to find out the status of the item, and they e-mail me back a few hours later: "I apologize for the delay you've experienced. I would like to inform you that it takes up to 28 business days for the item to get processed."

28 business days?? That's nearly 6 weeks!! Here I thought three weeks would be plenty of time, especially when I was expecting to have all my items at least 4 days before the move. So I had to call customer service again and tell them to cancel the item, since apparently it might not ship until APRIL. (It does say online that the item is in stock and available for ground shipping, so I don't even know what the problem is).

I also told them to cancel my free trial of their Shipvantage service (which I guess wants to be like Amazon Prime, but based on the service I got I wouldn't pay a dime for it, much less $79). After the return and the cancellation, they got $187 less from me. And I don't plan on ordering anything else from Kmart.com again.

Saturday, March 05, 2011

T-minus 7 days

Holy crap, we're moving in a week. I still have so much to do!! Got about 75% of my clothes packed tonight (four boxes and two bags) plus some random stuff in the living room (vases and silk flowers - another box and bag) and the random things of Christmas stuff we've accumulated over the years. Three more bags of trash going out tonight, and both of my donate piles are getting precariously high.

Still haven't touched the kitchen. At the rate I'm going, I'll be packing it at 1am next Saturday...

Better get to bed soon; have a busy weekend planned! Making another 2-car apartment run in the morning, then I have to leave Leesburg by noon to get to my 1pm yoga workshop. Back here around 3:30pm to run a few quick errands, finish class assignments, and get ready for dinner at 7pm. NOT at Buca (sniff) - I thought I made an online reservation a few days ago but apparently they sent me an e-mail, which I only saw at about 9pm tonight because it went to my spam folder, that they were completely booked for Saturday. Commence last minute scramble to get in touch with Fed and figure out a new game plan, which turned out to be Ziki's at the same time. I guess it's better than showing up at the restaurant and finding out we had no reservation.

Sunday is our last day at MHBC, afternoon yoga with MG and L, and then the night I've been waiting for - Chopped All Stars!! I actually wrote to Food Network over a year ago and suggested that they have Food Network celebrities compete on Chopped. I don't know if I was the specific catalyst for the 5-episode series, but I am beyond thrilled that they're doing it!!

(Update at 2am - I was so tired an hour ago, and now I can't sleep at all...)

Thursday, March 03, 2011

Another day off

I kind of feel bad that in the past two weeks I'll only have been at work for 5 days (Holiday, snow day, worked, sick day, worked; worked, worked, sick day, sick day, worked).

I did decide to stay at home another day today because I wasn't feeling back to normal. Still a little bit of a fever this morning (not as bad as yesterday, and it's gone now) and I was still tired and achy. I slept until about 9:45 and took a nap from 1-2:30, both of which helped a lot. I have a little bit of a headache now but I'm guessing that's from my lack of caffeine since Monday.

Besides watching Food Network, I did put a little of my time to good use and filed our taxes. I was expecting to owe a little bit but surprisingly, we ended up with a $455 federal refund. I suspect this had to do with the $800 'Making Work Pay' credit that I don't think I accounted for when we did our estimated tax worksheets last year. I totally nailed it on the state taxes though - $19 refund! Our federal return has even already been accepted (I love e-file).

So between the refund and the extra $330 in our 'taxes' savings account, that will more than cover our new bedroom furniture. The last piece of that was delivered from amazon today (footboard cubby bench) as well as our new comforter from Target. All of the old stuff (except our tempurpedic mattress!) is going into the new guest bedroom.

This is our new bedroom stuff (just the bed parts; we didn't get the dressers):


I did get a taller nightstand that has a shelf above the two drawers, but I will be using it as a vanity table with a silver rectangular mirror on the wall above it (from Lowe's). It doesn't make sense to put it where they have it in this picture, because you won't be able to open the third underbed drawer. We ended up getting this comforter (I really loved this one but I couldn't talk M into it). We will probably go with light blue in our bathroom; M wants a Hokie theme in the hall bathroom and I'm trying to figure out how to pull it together without it being overwhelming - or overly expensive, because college-branded merchandise is freaking expensive! So far I'm springing for $16 VT-logo shower hooks, but I refuse to spend $45-65 on a matching shower curtain. I actually like this one from Kmart instead - it has the orange tone but pulls in a few other subtle colors to soften it a bit (and it's only $12!)

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Bad timing

So as I mentioned below, I wasn't feeling well Monday night. I thought I was doing better Tuesday (actually ate dinner last night) but still wasn't feeling right. Today I went to work for two whole hours before I threw in the towel. I drove home at about 11:45, took some Imodium, and went straight to bed until 3pm.

I spent the rest of the afternoon on the couch feeling generally crummy, and just now took a shower - hot water helped with the body aches (so did the ibuprofen). I took my temp before I got in the shower - exactly 100.0 degrees :-(

This is going to sorely cramp my style if I'm not better by Saturday. We are supposed to make another apartment run in the morning with the new desk and bookcases, and then I have a yoga workshop (arm balances and inversions - 'for the adventurous yogi or yogini') from 1-3pm, and then dinner at Buca di Beppo with Fed and Brooke that evening.

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Garden!

I went to Lowe's for a few more things on the other coupon we had - patio chair cushions, shower curtain liners, painters tape, and another storage bin for Christmas decorations we've accumulated over the years. I also bought seeds for my soon-to-be herb garden on our balcony! I am going to plant chives, basil, oregano, parsley, rosemary, and thyme :-) If that goes well I might try cherry tomatoes too, in a stand planter.

Matt packed up our board games, and we tossed the DVD rack and bookcase that Max inadvertently ruined, as well as the shower rack from our bathroom that was starting to rust. Matt's computer desk and our two new bookcases (one for the office, one for the living room) were delivered yesterday. We will transport and assemble these, along with the other two dining room chairs, on Saturday morning - plus take over more clothes, the board games, and a few other things.

Finally ate some real food (Boston Market chicken pot pie) tonight after over 24 hours of nothing but soda and chicken broth. My stomach had a few intermittent pains throughout the day but nothing like last night. Hopefully after a normal night of sleep I will feel much better - so that's what I'm off to do now!

Not now...

Someone at church apparently has a stomach virus. Apparently I might too. Fabulous. Doubly fabulous because I was planning on using my sick time as my contingency plan if the government shuts down next week.

I'm not sure how I'm supposed to feel about the fact that, while my face is hovering inches above the toilet, my first thought is not "geez, I hope I feel better soon" but rather "geez, I need to clean the toilet."

Bonus irony: If there had been money in the budget, I would be in Vegas at a work conference right now. Just like I was at a work conference (and started getting sick on a Monday) during last year's bout of dramatic rending.

Update: 6am was the 'time to get medical attention cutoff' but the stomach pain finally stopped around 4:30am and I fell asleep. I live to fight another day.