Ice Skating Rink

Is that an ice skating rink in your back yard? Oh no, I'm sorry that's just my driveway trying to kill me.

So yesterday I walked to work in a heavy snow shower and walked home in pouring rain. What is this, Seattle?

Well, the newly fallen snow was washed away by the rain and unfortunately the temperature dropped below freezing last night so all the little droplets of H2O turned into ice. So like a scene out of a movie, I walk outside this morning to clear the ice and snow off my car to find the entire parking lot covered in a thick coat of ice. About an inch in most places! Not fun and not safe.

So I slip-slided to my car thankful that the only accumulation of snow and ice was on my windshield. As I scrapped my windshield my neighbor came down, we joked about not hitting the wall as you fishtail around the corner, made a little small talk, he put his windshield wipers down, and then hopped into his BMW and drove off. [If you aren't aware, wise people leave their wipers up when it snows so that they don't get frozen to the windshield or caked on with ice. I am not wise.] Well, as soon as he leaves I break my windshield wiper off. I don't know if it's broken, I don't know if it's fixable, I don't know how to put it back on, and I can't figure anything out with all the ice accumulation on it. (As a little background story: Andrew and I bought new wipers sometime before we drove the car out East. We purchased them at an Autozone or something and headed out to the car to replace them in the store's parking lot. They came with instructions and seemed simple enough to fix. Well, apparently it was so obvious that we were clueless and incompetent that the man who sold us the blades came out to help us. No big deal, they do that all the time at those places, right? Well, I should mention that he only had one hand. He had one hand and a hook on the other hand, but so easily did what Andrew and I's four hands couldn't do. Pathetic.)

So I took my gloves off so I could try to fix the windshield wiper. I dropped them and they slide across the ice rink. I then hobble over to them hoping not to pull a hamstring and angrily throw them into my purse. Needless to say, I chucked the wiper blade onto the passengers seat and hopped in the car. I was already late enough for work.

I then proceeded to back out of my parking spot...easier said than done. I got out into the middle of the lot and couldn't move. My wheels had no traction and wouldn't spin. My engine just revved. I was worried that I would wake my neighbors and then be embarrassed about being stuck in the middle of the parking lot so I avoided giving the car too much gas. I straightened the wheel and was able to inch forward. I started to turn to make the corner to exit the lot and fish tailed towards the building. I wasn't going anywhere. Not by automobile at least. I couldn't leave the car in the middle of the lot for the day so I managed to back it into the spot (as displayed in the photo above) and walked bitterly to work, frustrated and defeated. Not a happy morning:(


New Year, New You!

Those of you who know me, know all too well, that I've got OCD about organizing and planning. Well, this includes budgeting. As soon as I received an offer for my first full time job I decided that I needed to know how much money I would be making a month and how much it would cost me to live each month. Well, I made a ridiculous spreadsheet which has snow balled and continued as my monthly guide and tracker.

When I "budget" it's not so intense that I set a maximum and can't go over it, but more of a guide so I know how much I should be spending so I can be aware of how much more or less I spend each month.

I definitely take it to the extreme in that I input every receipt or online bank statement and track everything. This isn't really necessary, but it's the best way to ensure accuracy.

All that said, let's keep this CLASSIFIED. There are some things that should be kept to yourselves and some that should be shared with others (i.e. secrets are to be kept, good recipes are to be shared....you get the drift). Well, this is kind of a 'tweener. It's information that should be shared, but a compulsion that shouldn't really be revealed to the public. At the risk of people finding out that I make Monica Geller on Friends look disorganized, spontaneous, and less OCD, I'm releasing this information as "classified." So use it, learn from it, just don't reveal your source. People lose friends over issues smaller than this ;)

First of all, I love my Today Show. This is a short segment (my inspiration) explaining the break down of a budget: Staying on a budget

Summary from the show of your monthly spending:
Transportation -18%
Food/Toiletries-14 %
Household -7%

I've also learned to love Dave Ramsey. He's got great principles for money management, getting out of debt, saving, etc. He writes books, produces materials for church studies, and even has a daily radio show in many areas around the country. Check him out!

Well, with the aforementioned information as my foundation, I developed a budget. I never could do anything half-heartedly, so I made myself a spreadsheet, based on a modification of the economist on the Today Show. It has tabs that provide detailed breakdowns of spending in each category and tabs that add each category's totals together so I can determine when I am under or over budget monthly. I encourage you to make your own, sign up or download a free one online, use Quicken Online, anything, but there is no better time to get organized than at the beginning of the year, especially this year!

Happy Budgeting :D


Happy Saturday!

What better day to appreciate SNL then on Saturday?! Enjoy the Spartan cheerleaders:)


Happy Birthday Becka!

It's the big 2 - 5 and it's your day! Make it count:D Happy birthday pretty lady!!


Christmas Holiday-Part I

Wow, nearly three weeks ago, my whirlwind of a vacation ended and I've yet to find the time to write about it all, so here's a brief recap.

The vacation started off a little rough. Like something that only happens in movies, my luggage was lost on my Christmas Eve flight. I ran around Florida buying last minute gifts that were too large to take on the plane, in 85 degree weather, wearing long johns and a cashmere sweater, hoping my luggage would turn up! I was so frustrated and miserable and prepared to wear that same outfit for a few days:( Fortunately, my luggage was found.

I received a phone call at 1:00 AM on Christmas morning. A gentleman informed me that he was from United and would be delivering my luggage in about 10 minutes. What?! Don't they do that kind of stuff during business hours? Either way, I wasn't complaining, I would have my luggage for Christmas and my two-week vacation! At 1:30 AM I saw two headlights, but to my surprise it wasn't a United van with a UPS looking man. Instead, two men wearing sports jerseys and ball caps, blaring rap music, and driving an Impala arrived with my bag in their trunk. It seemed a little odd, but I didn't care. It arrived!! What a relief. I was so thankful to not be stressing about my luggage anymore. But seriously, who were they?!

I spent Christmas day enjoying great food, watching Mama Mia with my family, playing a little Wii with the sis, opening presents, playing with matchbox cars, and enjoying a break from my usual routine. Andrew arrived late that night and the chaos called "vacation" began the next day.

Andrew, my mom, my brother, my brother's girlfriend, and I set out for Orlando the morning of the 26th. We hit Celebration on our way in, walked around Rollins College, ate lunch in Winter Park on Park Ave, and then headed to our hotel, the Gaylord Palms. We relaxed at the hotel, ate dinner, and walked around the beautiful and decorated atrium. We hit up ICE that night--an exhibit made up off all ice sculptures. When Andrew told his family about it they just laughed and mentioned how only people where it's warm would pay to freeze in 9 degrees and ice! It's true. We made gingerbread houses, laid out by the pool, and visited with my cousins the next day. After a 2-day stint we headed back to P-county to spend a few days with the rest of the family.

Here's a summary of our Orlando trip in pictures:


This is when...

So many thoughts, and plenty of time to think them as you clean off and dig out your car.

This is when you say to yourself, "Who needs milk? Who cares about that recipe? Chips and salsa sounds like a good dinner to me. I'll just stay in."

This is when you realize the term "quick trip" will be anything but quick.

This is when you're glad you walked out the night before your big meeting and not late the morning of.

This is when you want to stay inside until the snow melts and then just drive your car out of its spot.

This is when you wonder how you graduated college with honors, when you didn't figure out not to leave the "digging out tools" inside your car.

This is when you pray the doors aren't frozen shut because you did, indeed, leave the tools inside.

This is when you hope you don't bury your purse in the snow as you try to dig to your door to put the purse inside.

This is when you understand why people put their windshield wipers up before the snow--so they don't get frozen to the windshield.

This is when you wonder if you're crazy or the people who didn't try to convince you not to move here are crazy.

This is when you understand why people invest in snow blowers.

This is when you encourage yourself saying aloud, "Hey, at least you don't have to workout tonight!"

This is when you understand how your toes can be numb while the rest of your body is sweating.

This is when you realize that going to the grocery story without a shower first may constitute a first degree misdemeanor.

This is when you realize why people delicately use the shovel to scoop snow off their car instead of a wimpy brush.

This is when you don't understand why you just dug a path to get to your car and then foolishly filled in with snow from on top of your car.

This is when you realize that wearing cotton sweatpants isn't the wisest choice, in fact, it's a terrible choice.

This is when you realize why others say the phrase "sucks to be you."

This is when you realize why people dangerously drive with only partially cleared off cars, with limited visibility and snow projectiles flying at your car on the highway.

This is when you wish the driveway to your parking lot, bordered by a rock wall and your house, was slightly wider.

This is when you realize why people call "dibs" on parking spots and reserve them with superfluous objects.

This is when you're thankful you signed a lease with a landlord that plows the parking lot and not the one that said "There is a shovel and salt in the basement, it's your responsibility."

This is when you wish you had a pair of ski pants and a couple crazy friends with you so you can play in the snow drifts.

This is when it hurts your heart as it starts to snow again right after all your hard work.

This is when you understand why people live in the suburbs with garages as you watch their dry, snowless cars whiz by your snow speckled, frozen, piece of metal on wheels.


Seriously, Old Man Winter?

Ok, this has gone from "kid in a candy store" to just plain inconvenient. I feel like I haven't been to my church since before Thanksgiving!

Does it only snow on Sundays in New England?

This scenario has happened numerous times to me: the snow is coming down heavily, the City hasn't issued a parking ban so church doesn't get canceled, my landlord hasn't plowed our parking lot yet, and I don't know if my non-4 wheel drive SUV can get up and down the hills on plowed or unplowed streets. It's quite the predicament to be in, to stay or to go?

Two quick snapshots as the snow just keeps coming and coming:



A high point of my week, occurred this afternoon. It was like a scene out of The Truman Show. I'm guessing you've seen the movie, but if not it's basically about a 24-hour show that follows a man's life. Since it never goes to commercial, advertisements or product placement occurs throughout the movie.

At one point the wife, holds up a package and says, "Why don't I make you some of this new 'Mococoa' drink? All natural. Cocoa beans from the upper slopes of Mount Nicaragua. No artificial sweeteners..."

Well, I had my own little moment this afternoon. Our admin/secretary emailed all the ladies at the office and said, "Does anyone have any nail polish remover at the office? I'm trying to get a marker stain off of Pat's desk." I'm not sure when or how I learned this, but I looked at my desk, my hand sanitizer looked back at me (I think it winked), and with that, I jumped up and headed for the reception area. I didn't have nail polish remover, but I thought I could help!

"Did you find any nail polish remover yet?" I asked.

"No," she said, "but I'm a little worried it may ruin his desk anyway."

"Well, maybe we should try this:" I said as I walked up Vanna White style displaying my Kimcare hand sanitizer. Yea, that's right. I received it as a gag gift one year and never knew what to do with it. Well, I keep it on my work desk now. Somewhere along the road of life I learned that alcohol takes marker or paint off certain surfaces.

"Well, you're coming with me as my backup, in case this ruins his desk," she informs me.

"Heck no! I changed my mind, let's not try it," I pleaded. Pat is no ordinary man, this isn't a co-worker or my supervisor, no-no, this is the guy, numero uno, the executive director, head honcho, you get it...the top. But it was too late.

I hesitantly walked into his office. He asked what it was and I explained that hand sanitizer is comprised of 62% alcohol and alcohol is a major component of many cleaners. He seemed confused, but went along with it.

I entered that office as a scared young lady, but I left there a woman. Yep, that's right. Kimcare took that stain off like it was it's job. I left with the confidence to take on any stain fighting challenge. KABOOM and Oxiclean have competition, well, at least until the first insurmountable stain that Kimcare can't handle. In the mean time if you need me, I'll be traipsing around my office, with my bottle of Kimcare and pretending to be Vanna White. Let's hope the big guy was as impressed.



Another reason why I love winter: "Dibs."

I had all but forgotten about this ritual since I now live in a city that does not permit on-street parking overnight, but thankfully my friends in Chicago and Boston carry the torch well. I have never heard of anything so crazy, with the exception of a similar tradition before the 4th of July in Evanston.

Apparently, for one season each year, people put aside their selfish tendencies and respect others' "dibs." Honestly, I think it's more out of fear of retaliation than respect, but let's give 'em a little grace. So for those of you who don't know, some cities have a tradition of staking claims to parking spaces. I'm not sure how it started, but people have developed a mindset that if they are going to do all of the work to dig their car out of the snow, they should be entitled to that spot until the snow melts or for the duration of the season, in some cases. Emy shared her entertaining story pertaining to her naivety about calling dibs on her spot and I challenge Emy to top one of these, take a picture, and post it on her blog. Until she does so, I encourage you to enjoy some of the finer things in a life, a little light-hearted humor:

Dibs Season in Chicago

Parking-Spot Savers in Boston

Need a little enticing?


Monday, Monday

Mondays are bittersweet. Like many people, I hate Mondays.

I lament the end of the weekend.
I mourn the loss of relaxation.
I yearn for a few more agenda-free days.

Unfortunately, unlike most of this planet, I have an extra hatred for Mondays. I detest going to bed Sunday nights because I know the misery that will come in a few short hours: garbage collection.

"No big deal, Kim," you say. "I too take out the trash. You'll live." Oh, but it is a big deal. For some brilliant reason the City of Providence's trash pick-up occurs before 6:30 AM. Yea, that's right. The City expects cans to be taken in before leaving for work, probably to alleviate rodents or something. Not only do they pick up trash early, but of course, the garbage company can't pick up recycling as well. Oh no, we need a separate company to do that. And if that's not enough, they can't even do both sides of the street at once! Oh, no. They do the entire north side. And then come back for the south side. Seriously? Is this necessary? Is it even efficient? Four separate wake up calls?! If it's not apparent, getting woken up multiple times during my last hour of sleep doesn't make me happy. It's one of the worst ways to regularly start my week. Perhaps having a room at the front of the house where the cans are literally 10 feet from my window doesn't help.

I hate trash pick up.

However, before a nice person (emy) points this out, I will say that I am very thankful that my trash is picked up. I'm thankful that I don't have to drive it in my car anywhere. I'm thankful that it's not filling the streets where I live or polluting my water source. I appreciate all aspects of trash removal, with the exception of the cruel hour in which it occurs.

This morning was an extra joy. I really didn't want to take out the trash last night. I never know if a certain amount of snow will prohibit them from picking it up since it delays schools and cancels churches and all. I don't want to look like that dumb girl from Florida who dragged the cans to the street to sit there for a week since she obviously didn't know they weren't coming. I decided that I would wait and hope one of the other 5 tenants would take it out. If the garbage hadn't been collected by the time I woke up, but my neighbors put theirs out, I would take ours out in the morning.

SO...as I drifted off to sleep last night I heard the rumbling of the wheels on the super sized cans. "Yes!" I thought. "Suckas!" Someone else takes it out every week and I generally allow this without guilt. Well, my delight quickly turned sour this morning when I woke up at 6 am (day 1 of my new plan to work out and do a morning Bible study before work) to discover that the cans I had heard last night were from my neighbors across the street and not my building. So with outside temperatures in the upper teens, I roll out of bed, throw on my winter crocs and grab my mittens. I'm certain it'll only take 5 minutes. No biggie.

Famous last words, ey? Well, to my surprise it's snowing a bit, I'm terribly underdressed, and I have on backless shoes while forging snow drifts! I start with the "easy" stuff: recycle bins. Do you have any idea how heavy recycle bins are when they are full of recyclables + ice + snow?! Not light, I'll tell you that much.

Then I turn to the cans. There are four large cans total, but my neighbors generally play the "I'm only taking out the cans I use" game. I decided to be a bigger person and commit to all four. This was before I realized that dragging 20+ lb garbage cans, uphill, on an unplowed sidewalk, with crocs on was an absolutely foolish idea. I might as well have been wearing ice skates while attempting this. I pathetically hobbled up the hill, inches at a time, backsliding with every step I took. And with each bin and can I placed on the curb, it required me to take the next one further and further up the hill.

I let my imagine run and was secretly hoping a neighbor was watching out the window. I figured one of two things would happen: 1) They would have a great start to their morning watching a hilarious, yet pathetic attempt by the girl across the street trying fruitlessly to pull garbage cans uphill in the snow OR 2) They would pity the pathetic dame and come out to help her. Unfortuately, I don't think either occurred. Anyway, 15 or so minutes later and 5 lbs of wet clothes heavier, I accomplished the task at hand: 4 garbage cans and 6 recycle bins on the curb! It took everything in me to not call that my workout and move on to the next item on my to-do list!

This post is a little lengthier than I had expected. I mean, who can really spend that much time describing garbage collection? Probably only me.

Anyway, I promised bittersweet. That involves some "sweet."

So, I must confess that I look forward to Mondays for one, undignified reason. I spent the afternoon today eagerly anticipating my evening of digressing to a 15-year old, sitting in front of the tv, and watching ridiculous teen-dramas and trashy reality shows. That's right. I'm coming clean. As of last week, I have embraced my homeworkless evenings and turned on my newly subscribed cable. It's the only night I watch TV, but I spend my Monday evenings flipping around between The Secret Life of the American Teenager, The Bachelor, Mama's Boys, The Hills/The City, and 17 and Counting. Not my proudest moments, I'll be honest, but I do look forward to a mindless evening once a week in front of the tube!:D



It's true. I received the email, sent at 6:24 this morning, informing me that worship has been canceled.


Good Diet

You know what a good diet is? Healthy food. In fact, it's a doubly good diet. That's right, it's twice as good. Once because it's healthy food and therefore good for you. And twice over because I don't want to eat it--it's healthy food.

So I'm not actually on a diet, but after 7 days on the road + 4 days of holiday food galore, I couldn't take one more southern fried meal, one more piece of processed food, one more restaurant, or one more holiday dessert. So when I finally got to the grocery store I bought tons of produce and proteins that my body had been denied over the past few weeks.

Well, detox occurred and I've made a 180 turn. Maybe it's withdrawal. It's nearly one o'clock and I've yet to eat lunch. Why? Because it doesn't interest me. Day 3 of Cesar salad, fruit salad, and a side of vanilla yogurt for lunch? No thanks. I'll just continue to sit here, hungry. However, if it was some leftover pizza, a nice ham & Havarti sandwich, or PB & J with some Sun chips and a chocolate chip cookie, I'd have been all over that lunch by 11:47 am!

Snow Day?!?

Times two!?!?! Never have I heard of this, but perhaps it's quite common in urban areas. We are possibly having our second snow day, FROM CHURCH, on Sunday!! That's right, snow day from church! Crazy, I know. Apparently, churches or other businesses located downtown can't really function on days with parking bans since downtown, which generally relies on street parking, has been prohibited from allowing parking. The city bans on-street parking to allow the plows to be able to clear the roads without obstacles. Plus, it's really unsafe for people to be driving as the snow is pouring down, the plows are trying to do their job, and cars are slip-sliding all over the place!

Well, now that I think of it, I bet this is a lot less common than I first hypothesized. If you think about it, Providence is not exactly the most urbanized city in the U.S. Most cities, like Chicago or New York City are comprised of residents who walk or take underground public transit to get around town. They can probably still go to church through mounds of snow.

But, then again, I guess it's not just cities that have this problem. Think about suburban Buffalo, NY. They regularly get feet of snow. Imagine the motivation and preparation it takes every Sunday to dig your car out and drive through possibly poorly-plowed local streets. Plus, the added work for churches to make sure that their parking lots are plowed and usable! Gives the term fair-weather Christian a whole new meaning, huh?

Okay, well I'm done over-analyzing this whole experience they call winter. Either way, it's crazy and exhilarating for me! We're only expecting 3-6 inches this weekend so it's unlikely that it'll happen, but exciting nonetheless (in an impious and rebellious kind of way :D)


1st Casualty of the Season...

It's true. I had my first casualty this winter season. My flight arrived late last night, I split a cab with a random stranger*, and promptly crashed into bed in preparation for my first day back at work.

[*Note: It sounds a little crazier than it actually is. I shared a cab with another young professional woman, headed the same direction as me. Students generally flock to other students at the airport to reduce cab fares by getting groups together to split cabs. So while students make taxi plans you just wait for an invite or strike up a conversation with the nearest, non-sketchy looking person you can find.]

My office relocated while I was gone so it was my first day at the new place. I set out on a new route for work. Literally, less than 20 steps into this new unknown territory--a.k.a. the sidewalk on the other side of my street--I fall. Fortunately, I didn't fall on my work laptop, I didn't drop the phone, and I didn't even fall on my backside. No. I am proud to tell you that I busted, in style. Well, as stylish as you can in work clothes, with a briefcase, on the phone, in front of dozens of commuters stuck in traffic along the road. In fact, my fall was almost even graceful. It took on a bit of a slide element, like dancers or ice skaters or Tom Cruise in Risky Business. One leg remained planted, while the other slowly glided forward until meeting its demise. If only all falls happened this gently and painlessly.

It looked...
Almost graceful

Almost without fear

Almost, intentional.

PS I realize I owe you a detailed and entertaining summary from my Christmas vacation. It is coming, soon, I hope. Between the unpacking at home, unpacking at work, grocery shopping and trying to catch up on sleep, I'm an overwhelmed woman!