Ah yes, a vet bill, haven’t seen one of those in a while

I should have known something was going to pop up.  Saving money isn’t easy for me, as the owner of a dog, 2 cats, 2 horses, and a crappy car – something is always breaking.

2012 – squirrel puppy’s knees have always been bad, as she was born with luxating patellas in both. A month before our wedding, she woke up and couldn’t walk.  We ended up dropping about $3k on her, in between emergency vet visits (even drove 2 hrs to see a canine neurologist, didn’t even know those existed), the surgery to shave down a bit of her bone to make the “groove” deeper in her knee & screw it all back together, and then aftercare.  That was fun.

2013 – oh look, I got $1200 back from taxes. oh look, my car needs new tires and brakes all around, and the bill is exactly $1200.01. Awesome. Then it needed some kind of $300 sensor, and then some other kind of $300 sensor, and then the gas gauge went wonky to the tune of $275, etc etc etc.

Now that we’re crashing with our parents like teenagers and saving all kinds of cash (yay no rent!), it’s obviously time to get hit with something else major, right? Of course.

This time it’s major and scary and frustrating, mostly because it involves my retired 29 year old Arabian gelding, who, up to this point, has been relatively healthy his entire life. My old man, Kemo Sabe, has been dealing with cataracts and uveitis (aka moon blindness) for the last few months, and now his right eye has a fungal infection due to scratching the cornea in his attempts to relieve the pain/pressure during a flare up. Not only does he look his age (29!), but his eye has become all squinty and watery and seriously painful looking.  At this point, the cataract has grown large enough that it’s blocking sight, and the inflammation from the uveitis has killed what little vision he had, so he’s blind in that eye anyway.  But now with the fungal infection, the vet wants to remove his eye. Yup, remove his eye. REMOVE.HIS.EYE, people!

I don’t do well with unexpected news of any sort where I need to make a decision. Luckily, the barn manager is Kemo’s fairy godmother, and she called the vet out last week who made the call that his eye should be removed asap – fairy godmother sent me a very thorough, calm email laying out all of our options.

Commence freak out – I basically threw my phone across the room and pouted all weekend (but I don’t WANT to remove his eye…it’s so permanent! But it’s so painful for him, it’ll make him feel better…but I’m disfiguring him! etc), then did some research on Sunday night, and finally called the vet on Monday to get more details and schedule the enucleation (fancy schmance word for EYEBALL REMOVAL) if they still thought he needed it.

I met with them on Tuesday, they shined a flashlight in both eyes, peered into the icky eye as best as they could (Kemo’s in full-on “squint mode” at this point), and said yup, surgery is best option, and they could do it Thursday – aka tomorrow. Barf.

Technically, the vet said “If we knew he only had 6 months left, I would offer up different management solutions.  Enucleation is gruesome and I hate doing them, but he’ll be pain free in 2 weeks. It’s up to you, but I truly think removing his eye will be the most comfortable for him.”

yeah, he said “gruesome” – thanks, like I wasn’t horrified enough.

Before everyone jumps all over me, there is no question that I will do anything I can to keep him comfortable.  He is not comfortable now, he’s clearly in pain and has been for months with the uveitis.  He’s already blind, so it’s not like we’re taking out a functioning eye, and he won’t have a rough adjustment period like most horses if a seeing eye was removed suddenly.  It’s just hard for me to come to terms with removing an organ b/c it is truly permanent – there is definitely no going back from this.  Plus, Kemo has done so much for me and my family – he has “I’m a good boy” stamped all over him.  I just feel like this is a terrible way for him to spend his golden years, after being such a willing partner for 15 years.

<sighs and blows nose>

Ok, now that I’m over feeling sorry for myself, on to the interesting parts – they’re removing his eye while he’s still standing.  Just so you know, I’m no stranger to equine surgeries.  Luminaire, my other horse, has undergone two colic surgeries (I watched both – I came away from both thinking “wow, where do all those intestines GO in there? How does it all fit?”), as well as a laundry list of other injuries, so I’m fascinated with all things vet-related.  They are going to heavily sedate him so he’s chill but still standing, walk him into stocks, wind him up into a sling/pulley system in case he goes down, prop his head onto a tall table thing, numb his eye, and insert a ginormous needle into his eye socket in order to nerve block that area – and then, you know, get to the ick part. Then they’ll sew the socket closed and send him home once he’s awake – he doesn’t even need to stay overnight for observation!

It’s beyond crazy to me that eye removal = day surgery.

Also, I think Kemo will be ADORABLE dressed as a pirate for Halloween this year.

Oh, and to tie this post with its title?  Surgery will cost about a grand, with probably another $500 going towards meds and post op visits.  Yay for $$ shooting out of my pocket like it’s on fire.  Oh well, I guess this is what money is for, right?

Househunting Adventure #3…4? Something like that

Ok, so, we’re still househunting…and still haven’t found anything.  EXCEPT WE MIGHT HAVE. We aren’t sure yet.  But b/c the # of houses we’ve looked at is now into the 20′s (and we’ve looked at hundreds online at this point), I’ll provide a nice little recap (mostly to remind the two of us what we liked and didn’t like, b/c it’s legit all running together).

Oh, and before you think I take all kinds of good notes to remember these houses by, I don’t. toootally don’t.  Our realtor/angel/marriage counselor Linda puts together these super adorable and super functional binders with all kinds of fun information and pictures, including maps and satellite imagery, IN ORDER OF WHERE WE’RE GOING, omg, it’s amazing, I can’t even handle it andjustdroppedfromhappiness. I write notes in chicken scratch upside down and sideways once we’re back in the car and heading to the next house (sidenote – I get seriously car sick, and yet I have no trouble reading or writing in the car, ever. Odd).

House #1: We actually liked it! Halfway between far and really far away from Tampa, the neighborhood was decent (looked like everyone had 5 acre chunks of land) and grass was everywhere. The current owners were outside doing lawn work, which was great except we managed to track in blobs of dewey, freshly mowed grass all over their house. House had a front porch (omggggg, be still my Southern heart), open floor plan, and rear screened in back porch that ran the length of the house. Good so far.  Rooms were big, house was clean, garage was attached, and workshop on the property could easily double as a temp barn until we build one – still good.  The house needed a bit of updating but nothing we couldn’t live without for awhile – apparently the owners LOVED the color blue b/c it was everywhere. E.V.E.R.Y.W.H.E.R.E.  Don’t get me wrong, I love blue – but matching blue tile/kitchen and bathroom countertop/curtains/mats/tablecloth? no thanks. The property was completely fenced but we would need to re-do it to keep the 6 lb dog squirrel in our property (plus section off pasture), and the rear of the property dipped down into the beginnings of a creek – while investigating that, I managed to lose a flip flop in the muck.  I actually heard a “sluurPPuck!”, looked down to see my flip flop disappear into mud, and almost fell over.  Poor Linda and her adorable little SUV – she tried to hide her dismay as I walked up to her cute little Ford and started wiping my feet onto the grass to get rid of the mud (but I saw your ick face, Linda, I totally did).  Note to self – bring baby wipes on the next trip.  So, this house sounds well and good, so what’s wrong?  Wellllll, they’re asking $360k.  Which is about $100k more than I’m comfortable with. Also, we were able to chat to the home owner for a few minutes, and she casually mentioned that they’d like to move North eventually but aren’t in a hurry and figured they’d just put the house on the market “to see what they get”.  Mmm, no thanks, I like a little negotiation room. Scrape off the feet, back in the car, and head to house #2.

House #2: ohh, what a gem.  The realtor warned us before we even headed over there that this house may not fit our needs – and we’ve worked with her enough now that we’re able to interpret that as “no way in hell are you going to like this”.  She was right.  It was a big blue house, set in the woods – it was complete heaven for a four wheeler or a hunter, but for a horsie girl and a computer geek? no thanks.  Plus, I couldn’t hold it (ahem, venti iced green tea from Starbucks 3 hrs earlier = I was dying) and had to try out the facilities on the first floor, and hubbie said you could hear everything even with the bathroom fan.  NOT COOL, BATHROOM.  Next!

House #3: This house was a contender.  Absolutely in our price range, on 4.9 acres, already fenced w/ the tiny mesh fencing for squirrel puppy, the back half was cleared and looked ready for a few ponies to plop in, and the trees SCREAMED tire swing and climbing adventures.  Plus, the current homeowner had a super cute American FoxHound that followed us around “chatting” and led us into each room – we were sold.  Until we left and took off our rose colored glasses.  Actual concerns are distance from work (50 minutes), right on a busy road, and reduced square footage – possible concerns were comments from current owner like “We screened in the back porch which is really nice, keeps the bugs out, but then we put metal grates up b/c the cats kept climbing the screen…and it’s nice b/c it keeps people from slitting the screen and breaking in.” and “The solar powered gate is new. Some kids from church installed it for me, and I just love it b/c I don’t have to get out when it rains, and it’s so much safer at night – I never have to get out of my car.”

Say what?

We patted the dog, made note that we got full bars on our cell phones, and put this house down as “a total potential”.

House #4: OH LORD, WE FOUND OUR HOUSE.  Ok people, I know I can stretch the truth on occasion and the hubs refers to me as The Exaggerator, but guys…no shitting around, this house and property were AMAZEBALLS.  For example, they originally listed the house for $550k (barf). Now it’s down to a measly $350k (ha! still so far away!), and we’ve got Linda working on the comparables to see if we have any wiggle room (c’monnnnn wiggle room). Anywho, house is gorgeous – exterior is a soft gray and white, wide front porch, beautifully manicured lawn, and gravel driveway. Hello classy, this must be what rich feels like. Ceilings are high, floors are wood (real stuff, not that laminate shit), floorplan is open, and kitchen is OMG GORGEOUS – granite everything, room to put a cart/island thing, beautifully detailed cabinets, and plenty of room for a legit dining room table in the breakfast nook – the master bathroom is equally droolworthy with his/her sinks, more granite, a claw footed tub (me!), and a lovely tiled shower (hubs!).  The three bedrooms are all very similar in size (no master suite here), but the kitchen/living area make up for it.  Screened in back porch looks out of the rest of the property (5 acres), and it’s already partially fenced.  There are empty lots next door that I’m already scheming to buy (with my empty wallet), and all the other houses in the neighborhood are big and pretty and new.  Walking around outside just makes me sigh and picture hammock naps with freshly squeezed lemonade.  Hubs liked the garage with the extra storage (“um, does the Mercedes come w/ the house?”) and was even complimenting the drapes – yes, the drapes. “These are really cool and make the house look…rich.  I wonder if they’ll leave these?”.  Clearly, we’re sold.  However, I’m concerned that we’re going to be THAT couple – the couple that really doesn’t belong but somehow managed to scootch our way into the neighborhood.  We brought the yappy dog and put up ugly fencing and OH GAWD how tacky, a pole barn!

The logical part of my brain knows this house is too far away and too expensive.  The emotional part of me says “BUT BUT BUT, did you see the laundry room? it has RAINBOW TILES!  I want to hug every single tile!!”

Like I said, we sent the realtor off to do some homework regarding deed restrictions and comparables – don’t worry, I’ll keep you posted.

Houses 5-8 were duds compared to the magic of #4.

#5 reminded me of the Brady Bunch House.  Homeowners were very sweet (hello sugar daddy, you married young) and were in the middle of renovating, but no matter what they told us, the house was wierd.  It had a cool carport that linked the ginormous garage (3 garage doors!) to the house, which reminded me of hotel entrances, so that was cool. But nothing else was – OH, they had a little guard house up by the driveway. We thought it was quite pretentious to put a guard house up on a property that clearly did not need guarding, but then we realized it was covering the septic pump or water thing (as we drove out).  Ok, now I get it, but I still didn’t like the house.

#6 – didn’t even get out of the car.  The neighborhood was not very nice, and while the property looked quite large for only 2.5 acres, two acres was completely under water.  Also, Linda put it quite well when she said “Not to be crass but…you have to think about who your kids will be friends with.  Do you want your kids to be friends with this neighborhood?” No, I want my kids to play with the rich snobs in the amazing neighborhood, thankyouverymuch.

#7 – was actually really interesting, and if it weren’t surrounded on all sides by properties owned by a single family, I think it would still be in the running. From what we understand, the large piece of property was owned by one family, and they “sold” chunks of it to their children.  Now, the adult child with the middle portion (literally, right smack in the middle) wanted to move with her family. The house was adorable but a little on the small size – impeccably clean (we found out later she had 2 children and 2 LARGE dogs, but you’d never know) and organized, and super updated.  Our realtor put it really well (again! Damn Linda, you’re like a wise oracle) with “Well, this is definitely a starter home. It’s beautiful and I think you’ll be happy here, but you’ll outgrow it in 5 yrs, just like the current owner did.”  Yuppers.

#8 – no thanks, drove right past it and explored the neighborhood with the 20 spare minutes we had.  Ick – the pictures looked ok but were taken very sneakily. What looked like a large front pasture was actually a 10 ft wide chunk of grass – that hadn’t seen a mower in months. We think there was a Toyota Corolla hiding in all that underbrush but we aren’t positive.

SO – we ended the day with 4 possibles, removed the first house b/c it was the most expensive and we liked another house better…removed the tiny house surrounded by family b/c we liked another house better…and removed the possible house b/c of all the random safety comments made by the current homeowner. Looks like the amazing expensive house is the winner!

Just for logic’s sake, I searched for houses in our price range that were closer to hubbie’s office (minus the property), and I only came up with 6 potentials.  Four were short sales that already had contracts on them  by the time the realtor pulled up their info, one INCREASED their price the next day to officially $no way in hell, and the other? HAD A SINKHOLE.  and we still lost it b/c someone else put an offer on it as we were driving over to see it. What the househunting hell?  So again…looks like the expensive house is the winner!  I wonder if any of our friends and family in Tampa will drive an hour to visit our mini mansion?

Oooooh, look, a new app. Aka, lamest post ever. Seriously, if you value your time, don’t read this.

Soo, this is awesome. I have finally finally finally graduated from blogging with my laptop to creating posts with my ipad. Not only that, but I can take pictures and video with the ipad and upload them directly into a post – how schnazzy is that? and yes, I’m fully aware that everyone else who has ever blogged ever already knows how to do this, but what can I say? I haven’t blogged regularly…ever.

To celebrate, I cracked open a bottle of my second favorite sparkling wine – Rosa Regale by Banfi. Yum!


In other news, we suffered a major blow this week in terms of house hunting. I’m exaggerating only slightly here. As CT’s* employer is providing relocation services (which includes a realtor lady and a mortgage guy), he has been doing all the communication with the mortgage dude – after weeks of unsatisfactory answers to all my questions (you know, run of the mill ones like “So, what are we approved for?” and “Sooo, how much money do we have to put down?” or “Are we paying for closing costs or are those included in the relo package?”), I finally had enough and called Mortgage Man myself. The conversation was quite short, and this guy is as dry as sandpaper – zero humor – but at least I got some firm answers on my questions. Bad news bears…our loan is about $70k LESS than what CT thought we were approved for. Wonh wonh.

So 90% of the houses on our list were removed. However, my dream boat of a short sale fixer upper is still in the game (…”So you’re telling there’s a chance!” – name that movie!), yay! After pouting for a week, CT has perked up a little, realizing that we could potentially have a new house and a new car for me (b/c we both loathe the crappity crap crap car I’m rocking now).

Plus, we’re doing fun stuff this weekend like…researching hardwood floors (engineered and/or interlocking is hot), looking at different types of tile (travertine is sexy), and playing with different budgets. Can you tell we live on the edge here?

I also made brownies today, from SCRATCH. This is the first time I’ve legit baked in probably a year, and luckily, this attempt was a success. Even CT agreed that these were better than boxed brownies, and that’s a monstrous compliment. If you want to blow everyone’s minds by your serious baking skills, head over to Mel’s Kitchen Cafe for the recipe.


One final note – if you’re a fan of vodka, you should really try 3 Olives “Dude”. It tastes like Mountain Dew, and if you mix it with Diet Mtn Dew, it’s like, virtually calorie free…or close enough.

*CT = Champagne Taste = the hubs’ current nickname. This is subject to change at any time, but it makes me giggle AND reminds me of CT from a season of The Real World from a bajillion seasons ago.

House Hunt Day 2 – warning: long post ahead

House Hunt Day 1 was a few weeks back, and it was an utter flop.  Well, maybe I’m exaggerating.  It did serve a purpose, which was to show us that the areas we were house hunting were wayyyy too far from work.  After 6 months of an hour long commute each way, I just can’t buy a house that far from somewhere I have to go daily.  Plus, the nearest Publix was MILES away – nope, can’t do that.

So Day 2 – well, Day 2 was much more successful.  While we didn’t end the day high-fiving and mapping out where we’ll put our furniture, I DID wake up this morning thinking about one house in particular and all the projects I could do to it.  What, me?  A project undertaker?  A house renovator?  Whoulda thought.

Unfortunately, though I am Ms. Independent, house hunting is a 2 person adventure, and the hubs (need to figure out a good nickname for him asap) ended the day cranky, overheated, and hungry.  Next time I’ll pack snacks and a change of clothes.  Tromping around 3-5 acre lots investigating foreclosed barns in the Florida heat, in August = continual bug check and swamp ass.  Sexy.  Thank God our realtor is game for the adventure.

Ready for the recap?  Ok, let’s do it.  We’ve looked at 16 houses so far.  We didn’t actually go IN to every house, because some were too disgusti–I mean, not our cup of tea, and we couldn’t figure out how to even get in to a few others.  Yesterday we drove up to 8 different homes.

House 1 – gorgeous.  The fanciest schmanciest house we looked at all day – and at the top of our price range (let’s be real, about $50k higher than we’re comfortable with, but the hubs has champagne tastes, and my mom’s been pushing the neighborhood like nobody’s business), and oh, it’s a short sale with zero negotiation room. However, while it was on over 3 acres, it was all wooded and completely under water.  The entire neighborhood is in a flood zone, and the home requires flood insurance.  No thank you, moving on.

House 2 – our realtor warned us ahead of time that after the first house, this one would be a total let down, but it had a few things going for it – fencing, cleared pasture, under our price range (yay, we can save some $$), decent size.  Unfortunately, we couldn’t figure out how to get IN to the property, so we trespassed the church next door to survey from over the fence.  Champagne Taste said hells no and I even got a look from the realtor that said “nope, don’t even try”, so we bounced and went on to house 3.

House 3 – interesting. It had a small pond in the front yard (pasture? cleared area? the front was about 3 acres) but was cool looking – for some reason, the house reminded me of the homes in Beautiful Creatures (a terrible, stupid movie about witches in the South that I tried to watch w/ my brother for sibling bonding, but I couldn’t sit through it). Anywho, the owners had clearly put a lot of TLC into the home, but to put it tactfully, “it wasn’t for us”.  The driveway was up on a hill that sloped down on both sides about 4 feet (not comfortable driving a horse trailer on that), there was no area to build a barn, no fencing, and the lake creeped me out.  Not a fan of standing water.

House 4 – omgomgomgomgomg this house was amazing.  The owner was there to meet us, and unlike previous owners, who exuded a desperate air of “please oh please like our house, please”, this guy was a trip, and he’s moving his family of 7 to Michigan to open a maple syrup farm. He built the house himself with his bare hands, and prior to that, he built custom kitchens, so needless to say, the house was amazeballs.  I’m still drooling over the kitchen, gah, amazing. Unfortunately, the house is in the middle of nowhere, it’s not cleared for pasture, and we definitely saw an alligator in some standing water. No thanks.  Kinley is a tiny little chiweenie, aka gator food, and I want to be comfortable letting her outside and not being eaten by our yard friends. Moving on. <side note – seriously, the owner was hilarious.  By the end of the tour, he was giving us parenting tips and helping me convince the hubs/Champagne Taste/Terrified of Monsters known as Babies that babies were actually awesome and we needed at least 10 of them. no joke. Hubs just stood there awkwardly – way to give me hope that we’ll have kids one day, sir, well played>

House 5 – ooooh.  ooohhhh.  yeahhhhhh.  This is the house that woke me up dreaming of projects this morning.  Absolutely adorable, recently built, brought to shambles by the last owner who is currently squatting w/ his dog and his lazy boy after what looked like a nasty break up (I shit you not, he was living in his garage on a couch and a suitcase). Upsides – well below the top of our price range, on 4+ FENCED acres, has the skeleton of a barn already built (concrete is already laid and has a roof, but roof needs repair and walls need to be put in), did I mention how adorable the house looked from the outside, and had overall “good bones” (whatever that means, but I kept repeating it as I walked into each room).  Downsides – short sale, so cheaper price may not be accepted by the bank.  It’s in a city I never thought I’d live in, one neighbor looks icky (aka mobile home, random crap all over the yard, etc – you know, “those neighbors”), the house needs a LOT of work, and oh, the previous owners smoked in the house, so the house stinks. However, Hubs was actually excited about this house too.  The fencing needs some work, but it’s functional, and we can make do with a string of electric fence around the top to keep the ponies off of it until we get around to replacing the whole thing.  Whoa…see?  I’m already thinking about it like I…ahem, we, own it.  I need to investigate how to remove cigarette smell from a home, yank out all the carpeting (and pls pls pls let’s get rid of the awful tile), repaint, demo the kitchen a little (who needs that 4th wall), clear out the a/c and heat ducts to remove ciggie smell, and roof/screen in the patio…oh, and fix the roof on the barn.  and mow…a LOT (note – price out riding lawn mowers).  Ooooh, and the driveway could use a load of gravel too.  Omg, I want to do before/after pictures so bad, I can barely stand it!

Homes 6-8 were let downs after #’s 4 and 5.  Hubs got attacked by a flying frog in the barn of House 6 and RAN out of the house itself b/c it’s a foreclosure and hasn’t had a/c. Plus, they had a wierd mother-in-law suite built in the backyard where a pool should have been and a mobile trailer (hitch still attached) behind that, so he was just too icked out to look at the place with an impartial eye. Also, super wierd but there was barbed wire all along the top of the fence line between us and ONE neighbor, and they didn’t appear to have livestock.  Who puts barbed wire up on top of decent fencing in a residential neighborhood? creeeeeepy. House 7 was actually pretty awesome but the owners are firm on the price (about $30k more than we’d EVER pay), and since it’s been on the market for 3 years, I don’t think they’ll ever move. Plus they shared their loooong driveway with a neighbor, which bothered the hubs – “Well, the neighbors are nice NOW but what if they move and crappy people move in who throw like, big parties and drive in our yard? No, no no”. Okeydoke, moving on to the last house of the day, which was my “get me the hells outta here” house – super cute barn that we never even went into because the house was just ick.  They were calling it a 4 bedroom/2.5 bath, but the half bath was in the garage (in case you just can’t make it inside?), the master bath was the main potty room of the first floor, and 2 of the 4 bedrooms were not actually bedrooms. One was a slanty closet (think Harry Potter’s hellhole underneath the stairwell) and the other was a loft.  Our realtor told us that to be considered a bedroom, a room needed 4 walls, a window, and a closet. Major fail.

Apologies for the ridiculously long post, but whatever, I don’t think people actually read this blog, so no big deal.  I’m off to research “cigarette odor removal in homes”, “riding lawn mowers”, and “how to demo a kitchen – do we need permits to destroy our own home?”.  YAY house hunting!


For those of you playing along, if you guessed Florida, you’d be right!  After 4 years, I’m finally back home in sunny Florida, and I am over the moon.  I knew I was a little homesick, but I didn’t realize just how much I missed my family and my home state.  The husband got a lovely little promotion with required relocation down here (“oh gee, you want to pay me more but we’d HAVE to move to Fl? wellllll, I guess we can do that, if we have to, ugh” <while high-fiving each other gleefully>).  Though my company wasn’t necessarily happy to see me go, they’ve been quite generous in allowing me to go remote on a trial basis – so basically, if I can keep on selling, I can keep on working – yay!

So yeah, I’m pumped.  We are currently house hunting, which is less fun than I thought it would be.  I thought I was beyond prepared with my previous experience as a real estate rental agent and all the hours spent watching House Hunters, but I forgot that a 3 bedroom/2 bathroom move-in ready mini farm on 5 acres is pricey within city limits.

In addition, the hubs and I are having to take a little break on the whole wedding bliss thing.  He’s four hours away staying with relatives and working, and I’m crashing with my parents.  On one hand, it’s awesome because I get to hang out with my mom, live rent free, and basically pretend I’m 16 again.  On the other hand, it’s like I’m 16 again – bleh.  I need to find friends and rediscover the joys of happy hour again, stat!

Speaking of friends, if you’re reading this, please know that I miss you all SO much – but not enough to stay :)

and now it’s August

I have decided that I don’t like the format/layout of my blog.  I haven’t actually logged in since April, but in that time, this color scheme has morphed into…something gross.  Trying to update it via my trusty iPad is not working, which is making me more annoyed (I have a short attention span, so when I want something fixed, I want something fixed *now*).

However, I have lots to tell you – lots and lots and lots.  Like…I have a new zip code, and it’s so awesome, I couldn’t remember it at the gas station today (another hint – gas is way cheaper down here — oooh, “down”, a 3rd hint?).

Cheese fries and scratch offs

It’s been so long since my past post, I forgot my password.  I actually managed to get locked out of my account, but luckily for me, my husband is a computer whiz so he fixed it.  Yay him.

Now I’m back in business, sweet!

Today is Easter, and I’ve spent the day cleaning, blech, and helping the husband pack for some upcoming work trips, double blech.  However, to reward myself for all my hard work, we met up with some friends for some cheap pub food (because how else are you supposed to celebrate Easter?  We don’t know anyone with small children for an egg hunt, and I’m too lazy to set up an adult beer hunt).

What I wanted was lobster bisque.  However, they were out (le gasp!).  So I defaulted to my next favorite – cheese fries.  While they didn’t have cheese fries on the menu, they were happy to oblige, and I got a MONSTER sized plate of delicious French fries smothered in cheese and bacon…for $5.30.  Happy Easter to me, indeed.

To top it off, the classy joint we went to has a scratch off ticket dispenser in the corner, and because I was bored, the husband bought a few tickets to entertain me while we waited for our food (I wish restaurants would bring back the paper table clothes and cup o’ crayons that were all the norm in the late ’90′s.  Those were the best).  Guess what, guess what?  I won $165!!

I’m never buying scratch off tickets from a gas station ever again, and my new 2013 goal is to win $5000 a week for life.  I’ll keep you posted.

Also, while searching for my dream horse online, I stumbled onto this video, and it’s amazing.  I’m officially sold on this mare, and I want to buy her.  I sent the seller an email but haven’t heard back yet, so keep your fingers crossed for me!  Check out the goat chilling by the fence about 5 seconds in (I missed it the first 3 times I watched the video), and watch the mare not bat an eye around the 50 second mark.  Amazing.

Horse jumps goat

Happy Easter, everyone!

Buffalo Chicken Dip…the big reveal!

Nom Nom Nom

Nom Nom Nom


I might be a little obsessed with appetizers.  If we go out to a restaurant, I rarely order an actual entree — sharing 10 appetizers is always so much more fun!  Give me a dip and chips, and I’m happy as a clam.

Whenever we’re invited to a party or bbq, I try to bring stuff I’ll eat; you know, just in case the hostess chose poorly or invited salad lovers.  I mean, really, who wants to be known as the “salad bringer”?

Ingredients shot, and um, go Gators!

Ingredients shot, and um, go Gators!

But this dip?  Oh em gee.  This buffalo chicken dip is hands down my most requested dish to bring to a party, and oh btw, it’s so freakin’ easy to make too.  I’ve held the recipe close to my heart for the last few years, but as I’m feeling generous today, here you go.  You’re welcome.

an artistic and edible drizzle

an artistic and edible drizzle

Ta Dah!!

Ta Dah!!


Buffalo Chicken Dip…the big reveal!
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Hands down, the absolute BEST buffalo chicken dip around.
  • 8 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 2 cups cooked chicken (or all the white meat from one rotisserie chicken)
  • 2 tbsp butter, melted
  • ½ cup Frank’s Red Hot Buffalo wing sauce
  • ½ cup ranch dressing
  • 2 handfuls shredded cheese
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Spread softened cream cheese on the bottom of an 8×8 baking dish (sprayed w/ PAM). Free free to use your (washed) hands for this, as cream cheese rarely likes to cooperate. Light cream cheese is perfectly fine for this, but don’t use fat free – people will notice.
  3. Chop the chicken into small pieces (or shred finely), and combine it with the melted butter and wing sauce. Feel free to add more wing sauce to taste – you want it saucy.
  4. Dump the chicken mixture on top of the cream cheese and spread into an even layer.
  5. Blob ranch dressing all over this and smoosh it around as well, getting it into all the crevices of the chicken/wing mixture.
  6. Drizzle a little more wing sauce on the top of the ranch in fun designs, because…why not?
  7. Top with 2 handfuls of shredded cheese, but don’t get too heavy-handed. You don’t want your guests breaking chips left and right from a thick layer of cheese. Use any kind of shredded cheese you’d like – my favorite is the Mexican blend, but mozzarella and cheddar are both good. Again, light or 2% cheese is fine, but don’t use fat free. It won’t melt correctly, and people will notice.
  8. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until bubbly.
  9. Let stand at least 10 minutes to avoid giving your guests blistered mouths, and serve with sturdy chips and sliced veggies. My favorites are the Tostitos Multigrain Scoops, sliced cucumbers, and celery slices.
I don’t measure the ranch dressing. I just drizzle it on in fun designs and then smooth it out. Aim for saucy but not overpowering. You can also fancy this dish up with blue cheese dressing and then top it with blue cheese crumbles, but since I think blue cheese tastes like a dusty closet, I prefer ranch dressing.


I dreamed a little dream.

Welp, it appears I underestimated how much the new job would wear me out.  Massive apologies for no posts in almost 3 weeks.  My bad, ya’ll.

I do have some news though!  Nope, not pregnant, and nope, we aren’t moving to Florida yet either, sorry to disappoint.  This is horsie news, ala Gigi.  Did I buy her? Nope.  Will I?  Not in this lifetime.

Turns out, she’s already sold!  Too bad I didn’t know that when I started sending Santa letters asking for her.  But at least now I can stop being angry at Old St Nick and stop wasting my time looking at sparkly browbands that would look omg so gorgeous on her.

The ironic part?  I think I forsaw this in a dream.  Wait, stay with me here, just hear me out on this.  If you’ve ever met me in person, you know I have extremely vivid dreams, and I dream a lot.  Like, a lot a lot.  After I had surgery a few years ago and was on massive amounts of Oxycodone, I had the most amazing/terrifying dreams.  I think I actually freaked my mom out in several cases.  Anywho, I had a dream (hmph, some might say a nightmare) about Gigi and how a good friend of mine (you know who you are!) STOLE HER right out from under me.  Yes, I’ll say it – it was a total nightmare.

Basically, a friend of mine rode Gigi UP the stairs into my apartment (it’s a dream, things can get wierd) and casually dropped the announcement that she’d bought Gigi since I clearly wasn’t going to…and get this, my HUSBAND was in on it too!  No one seemed to care that I was ripsh*t not ok with all this going down, except my friend’s husband, who just sat on the couch and wept because he was the only one who understood that our friendship was over.  I stomped over to my husband and was pleading with him, trying to understand why he would do this to me (I legit felt like my world was ending here….a little dramatic, yes, but again, it was a dream and I have zero control once in the dream).  His response?  He coolly lit up a cigarette (he doesn’t smoke in “real life”), and I promptly slapped him as hard as I possibly could, already planning out the divorce.

Then I woke up.

Barely two weeks later, I learned that Gigi was sold.  How’s THAT for a premonition??!!


I’m pooped…

This is what I'll be doing the moment I publish this post.

This is what I’ll be doing the moment I publish this post.  Puppy naps rule!

First day of new job — done!  I made it, yay!  Now I just need the longest nap ever (oh, and see above for requisite “cutest puppy ever” pic)…

I almost didn’t think I’d even make it to the new job, to be honest.  I woke up early, ready to tackle the day, and then promptly tripped on the hem of my new work pants as I was carrying them out of the closet — perfectly ripping the bottom hem out.  Good thing I conveniently pocketed that mini mending kit from the honeymoon hotel, huh? (I knew that and the shower cap would come in handy someday).

Unfortunately, I don’t know how to sew, so it took me a good 10 minutes to figure out how to thread the needle (I feel like the eye of the needle is bizarrely tiny – they aren’t all that small, are they?  Or am I going blind already?).  Plus, I didn’t have enough thread to actually hem the entire pant leg, soooo, I threw a few stiches in the front and back and then safety pinned the sides.  Sexy.  Maybe the new coworkers will think I’m crafty? (sidenote: just using the phrase “threw a few stitches” makes me feel like a total sewing badass.  Oh yeah.)

Anywho, once I finally made it to my car, I realized that only one windshield wiper was working…the passenger side one, of course.  I *could* have pulled over to scrape the ice patches off my driver’s side windshield, but I was already late, so I did the weird sideways driving where you try to peer above or to the left of whatever is directly in front of you.  Totally safe (think Jim Carrey’s driver’s side window driving ala Ace Venture, Pet Detective except I was leaning in the other direction).

Once on the highway, I discovered one aspect of my very long commute that I hadn’t thought of yet.  The sun rises in the east and sets in the west, and my commute is dead east.  That means sun, in my face, the entire drive.  Sun, in my face, glittering off all the stupid shiny snow.  I could literally feel my face getting a snowburn in the front seat of my car.  Super fun.

Oh, and did I mention that my heater wasn’t working either?  After 20 minutes of telling myself “Just another minute or two, the car has to heat up first, and honestly, shivering burns calories, right?”, I finally lost my temper and beat the crap out of the dash.  By the grace of God, that worked, and the heat kicked on…just around the time I pulled off the highway, not far from my new building.

Luckily, I made it to the new job on time, in one piece, and ready to tackle the day (take 2).  I even got a snazzy new badge.  How exciting!