Monday, January 30, 2012

being nice/social "because it's the holidays"

While I was travelling during the holidays, I noticed that people were a lot more... cheerful?  chipper?  friendly?  jolly?  all of the above?  From my observations, generally speaking, people are normally disgruntled and unfriendly.  If you're standing in line with a group of strangers, you probably aren't going to talk to them, and they probably aren't going to talk to you.  Unless you're that person who does randomly strike up conversations with strangers while you're both waiting in the slowest line evar.  I'm that person sometimes.  Mostly because I come up with these clever things in my head and they are so funny/silly/clever to me that I feel that to keep it to myself would be a loss to mankind.  That and if I giggle to myself for no obvious reason, people get stand-offish.  So, I might quietly say my funny thing outloud, which gives me an excuse to giggle at my funny thoughts.  Sometimes people nearby hear me, sometimes they don't.  Sometimes they hear me and don't acknowledge me, which is pretty funny to watch people's facial reactions then know they are avoiding eye contact.

Having several flights, meant lots of waiting times.  Leaving from DCA I met a retired Army Sargent Major.  He saw my military ID in my hand as we were waiting to have our boarding passes scanned.  He asked me how many years I'd been in, if I was going to stay in.  I ended up telling him that this was my first Christmas home since I'd joined the Navy and it was a surprise.  He was also going home, to visit his daughter.

When I was in line to board the plane leaving MCO, a boy and his mom were in front of me.  She and I had exchanged a few pleasantries, something about how hot it was and how it wouldn't be this hot in Charlotte hopefully.  He looked up at his mom and said, "Do you know that lady?"  She said, "No, but its the holidays."

While I was waiting at the concourse to start boarding at CLT, 2 girls were sitting in front of me.  There were lots of giggles, and they were headed to NYC, I assume for NYE.  They were meeting some friends and I was trying not to pay attention to the fact that they had shared a salad (while they actually both needed a cheeseburger), after I'd just pounded down most of a Qdoba burrito.  They asked me if the internet was working since they couldn't get signal and they saw I was on my computer.  I told them which network to get on.

I'm not complaining.  Let me just put that out there.  I'm not.  I'm actually MORE upset that this ... courtesy?  can't be managed year round.  Is it really hard to not ignore your fellow line-mates/species?  You're all probably standing there thinking the same thing anyways, "Really, he's going to pull out exact change when there are 5 people in line behind him?!  This is the express line asshole!"  Sometimes it really does take the edge off to make a joke and laugh about it.  It is distracting from your anger and it makes the world seem less like an impossible place.

Granted there are those awkward moments when you say something, attempting to be funny, and the people around just look at you like you have 3 eyes and then avoid eye contact.  That's pretty much the response I get from my one-liners 10 months out of the year.  But when you're all in line at Target/anywhere during the Christmas shopping season and you make a joke about them getting the last Talking Teletubby, they usually at least make a response, like yeah, they should get more cashiers (probably implying that they'd like to get out of the store quicker so some weird girl (me) will stop talking to them about their weird purchases (Teletubby)).

Video for your entertainment.  PS.  I actually owned a Dipsy talking Teletubby (the green one).  I was 11.  Keep your judgement to yourself, that sucker was awesome.  Babakaba badobado.  And, yeah he has a green penis on his head, what?

My argument is this:  Why does "its the holidays" an excuse to be pleasant to someone?  Why can't these pleasant attitudes and behaviors (like letting someone in line in front of you or holding open the door for someone behind you) be practiced year-round?

Also, be nice to your cashiers.  They are people to, and if you ask them how they are, expect to sometimes get the truth, especially if you're the asshole backing up their line.  They are the person that is going to have to deal with the 5 pissed off customers after you.  Thank you, have a nice day.

**end of rant**

Saturday, January 28, 2012

The silence that was...

It's been over a week since the last blog about Teh ZepZep.  Bad blogger, I am.  Besides taking the week to try and not do much cognitive activity, which usually ended back on the saddest things, I was also busy preparing to go to Norfolk, VA for training this past week.

Last weekend I went and hung out with Teh Führer, a friend from Bahrain in DC.  I found out where all the snow that Pax River didn't get went.... DC.  They had piles of white stuff on the ground.  We went to 2 Greyhound meet and greets, where there was only 1 dog actually for adoption.  I've realized something about dog "meet and greets", its really just owned dogs usually there who are advertising for the company who they were adopted through.  Ah ha moment for me.  After the meet and greets, we decided to see a movie.  War Horse was at 6:10, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo was at 6:35.  We went with the earlier one since it was only 4.  After an hour and a half in Barnes & Noble (which I don't have in Pax River), and 30 minutes in Target, it was movie time.  War Horse made me extremely sad, and I was very afraid the horse was gonna die, and with the recent Zeplen death, I was sure it would make me cry.  

Last week was filled with being in VA again, which is always fun because being in Navy, you probably know at least one person stationed in Norfolk/VA Beach.  I know several people, but 2 of my Navy peeps hit me up to hang out, which was AWESOME!  I got to have Yama twice in one week, and not having had Yama since... I'm not actually sure when, it was deeeeelightful.

Mama P (and her daughter Little Mama P and Baby P) were a delight.  Mama P and Little Mama P fixed dinner and gave Baby P a bath while we all chatted and hung out.  Totally worth the tunnel traffic to go visit my A School buddy on Tuesday!

Miss Difficult Last Name, her boyfriend, and I met at Yama for dinner on Weds. night.  We weren't the last diners to leave the restaurant, but we were there till after they closed.  It was awesome catching up and comparing oddly similar life situations with each other, fun stories about crazies (not just LT's from NAVCENT), and plans for visits/meet ups.

There is really no good excuse for not having blogged in over a week, other than the silence was more comforting than writing, and I was sure my Gentle Readers didn't want to have to read more about sadness over Teh ZepZep.  After a few pretty rough nights, I've been okay otherwise.  Moving forward with the Greyhound idea/process has definitely helped keep me from moping too much.  Although, Teh Bear still suggests that I shouldn't get a Greyhound that is white with black spots, that I'd be too soon-ing myself.  Which is a valid point.

After taking over 2 weeks to consider it, I've decided to formally start the Greyhound adoption process through Greyt Expectations.  I filled out my online application this morning and submitted it.  This afternoon, I went to their meet and greet, which of course, all of the dogs were already adopted.  Nonetheless, I got to talk with some of the people that are involved with the adoption agency and explained to them that I had submitted my application earlier that morning.  They all seemed very excited about it, which I will assume is good for me.  I hung out for an hour (which flew by).  There were Greyhounds of all colors.  They were all getting along with each other and after all the excitement started to die down, they would just lay down and chillax.  That's the kind of dog I want.  The "eh, not interested anymore but I'll be here if you need me" dog.

The first thing I noticed when I walked in was a dog that was hopping around, because it only had 3 legs.  I was on the phone with Teh Sister at the time, and I cut her off from whatever she was saying, "Teh Sister, there is a dog here with 3 legs, and its too soon.  It's too soon.  It's going to make me cry.  I won't cry."  I had to start rubbing my eyes to make sure that if there were tears they would be quickly cleared.  I'm not sure if she understood what I was saying or not, and there might have been prickles of tears, but I held it together.  Zeplen hopped around for the last few weeks since he wasn't using his bad leg, and he could have been an amputee dog if Teh BFF and I hadn't decided otherwise early on.

For a small greyhound lesson, I will show you the different colors of the greyhound (because this would be a crappy blog if it didn't have pictures of something).

Easiest explanation graphic I could find.  (image

So far, I'm most partial to any color not white.  I really like the fawn color (2 down, 2 over) and I also like the brindles, which come in a variety of different shades.  The lady I talked to today said they had a fawn bridle that came in today that she'd never seen before as dark brindle is the more common of the bridle colors.

Today I learned that despite how low Greyhounds usually keep their tails, they do wag those suckers pretty hard and high.  That was always Teh Granny's main complaint about Zeplen was that his tail whipping (while he was wagging his tail) would hurt her legs.  To me it wasn't too painful, I did want to see what would happen if I were to grab the tail, but because all the dogs were very anxious with the crowd and all the other dogs, AND it being someone else's dog, I didn't test it.

The other thing I learned was that some Greyhounds like to come up between human's legs.  Which kept making me think of someone riding a horse, as Greyhounds aren't really small dogs.  For me, this would be an issue due to my vertical challengedness, but it is a behavior that could be discouraged and trained away.

The most interesting part of the meet and greet was when a couple brought in this MONSTER-sized dog.  His back came up to my waist and his head was probably as high as my boobs.  This dog was HUUUUGEEEEEE and cute and I wanted him.  I know he wasn't for adoption though, nor would a dog his size be accepted or comfortable in an apartment as small as mine.  He was like a mini horse.  He had the face of a Greyhound, but from my internet research I've assessed him to be a Deerhound or something similar.

Deerhound.  Oh my.  I don't really want a hairy dog, but I'd accept one that was this large massive.  (image)
I put my availablity to accept a Greyhound as Feb 17th, which means that Teh Bear will have returned to FL :(, and its a long weekend, so it can be spent acclimating the dog to living with Teh Megan.  It will be after Teh Bear leaves so that way the dog doesn't get used to Teh Bear being here and then him leaving a few days down the road.

Sadly, racing Greyhounds already have names, some of which are pretty ridiculous, so there is that.  I did see several really amusing names today while pursing through the Greyhounds available through Greyt Expectations that are in Daytona, FL.
Names like:
Frederick (who I'd call Fred),
Diablo (which Teh Bear vetoed),
Ernie (I was extremely partial to Ernie, just because his name),
Vilimous (its weird and funny),
Drew (although this would create some confusion down the road),
Mambo (even though I'd always sing Mambo #5 in my head when I had to call the dog),
Nightmare (which Teh Bear also vetoed),
Juan (which made me think of Teh Mexican),
Old Yella,
Shiek (which just had to be added to my spell check dictionary, obviously not in Bahrain anymore),
Track Hoe, and

What Teh Bear and I can't figure out is who comes up with these ridiculous names?  Seriously?  I know that some people only get a Greyhound for racing, but really, you'd call the animal you want to win money with "Track Hoe"?  Wtf?

The other thing Teh Bear and I discussed was establishing dominance over a dog.
tB:  I don't want to have to teach a dog to heel.
Me:  You're going to have to do it if you want the dog to listen to you.  He's gotta know you're the master.  I'm not afraid to hump a dog to show it it's my bitch.
tB:  And that goes under "things you thought you'd never hear your girlfriend say".

Teh BFF was very weird-ed out the first time she saw me hump Zeplen.  After I explained it to her, she understood, but told me I'd probably never see her hump Zeplen.  But, it was quickly noticed that he stopped being an asshole after I showed him who was boss, for a little while at least.  The only person that I ever saw Zeplen hump was Teh Sister's ex-fiance, which was hilarious!  Otherwise, he kept it to other dogs until someone noticed and told him to quit.  Zeplen, the asshole dog.  Le sigh.

In non-dog related news, Teh Bear will be arriving on the 30th, which is ridiculously exciting for me.  He will be in MD for 2 weeks, putting together my dining room chairs and living room end tables.  I saved some work for him to do while he's here and I'm at work, since I'm only taking a week of leave for the last part of his visit.  Which means that there should be more Adventures with Teh Bear posts, only more boring and less Arabic-world-ed.  We are going to Williamsburg, VA for 2 nights as my birthday present (cause I love old shit!), which we're pretty excited about because we found what looks to be a pretty decent B&B for a really great price (hopefully a good review of that to come).

Fun times = WEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Teh ZepZep... that was.

If we're friends on FB, you probably saw some pretty Dramatic Dora/Debbie Downer posts coming from me this past weekend.  Well, it was kinda a bumpy weekend.

Teh ZepZep was euthanized on Monday.  Now, I'm sure that at least a few of my Gentle Readers are confused.  What?  Why?  Teh ZepZep was amazing!!!

You should know something about me before we continue...  When it comes to death and grief..  I'm a joker.  It's never intended to be hurtful, but its my own special way of handling difficult situations, and death is the ultimate difficult for me, so the jokes are almost never appropriate.  And the best part is that everything can be related to death.  It's the last time, won't have to worry about that now, type things.  There's probably a psychological explanation for it, but I just go with, its just me.

Teh BFF really didn't want to share Zep's problems with the world, so I respected that.  But now, all his problems are over (no joke intended), so I figured I'd try to clarify on some potential confusion.

Since I left for the Navy, Teh BFF has been ZepZep's primary mommy.  We did shared custody when I'd come to town, and she brought him for visits when I lived in VA Beach, but she was definitely his main mommy for the last 3 years.

The dark spots on right femur were
the first visuals of bad news.
In late September, as preparations for departing Bahrain began, Teh BFF noticed that Teh ZepZep was limping.  As I stated before, she's had Zeplen the past 3 years, so I trusted her when it came to this.  She took him to the vet, who did an xray which revealed a weird spot on his femur.  Since Zeplen was only 4.5 years old this was pretty weird.  Older dogs are usually the ones with the problems.  The vet suggested it could be the C word (cancer), so he wanted to do a biopsy to find out.  Teh BFF wanted a second opinion, and I agreed.  She found another vet who looked at the xray, said he thought it was probably bone cancer also, but he wanted to go in and remove the "bad" bone that was causing Zeplen pain which was causing the limp.

The "bad" bone was removed at the end of October.  By removing the "bad" bone, the vet pretty much removed most of Zeplen's left femur.  The idea was that scar tissue would replace the bone, thus enabling Zeplen to be able to use the leg again without pain.  The vet sent the "bad" bone that was removed for biopsy.  There was no crazy irregularity we could blame this on, it was definitely bone cancer.

Zep with a half bare bottom and incision scar from his surgery.
There was no way to know how far the cancer had spread without doing a chest xray, and if the cancer hadn't spread, we'd just be wasting money by doing the xrays to look for something.  So the vet told us to look for signs, like Teh ZepZep having no interest in eating, which would mean a turn for the worse.

Zep progressed well in Nov and the beginning of Dec, he was using his "bad" leg although he was kept to minimal physical exertion and was on an anti-inflammatory and mild pain killer, but he could go up/down stairs and jump on low furniture.  When I went home for Christmas, his leg had started to swell again and he'd been wishy-washy on using his "bad" leg more and more.  Teh BFF had noticed the swelling and heavier limping, so the vet prescribed an antibiotic, anti-inflammatory, and tramadol (a pretty hardcore pain killer).

Zeplen's days during my vacation.  He kept the air mattress warm for me.
And the pillow.  Spoiled dog.
While I was enjoying Zeplen's company over Christmas vacation, he seemed fine.  The swelling wasn't going down and he was getting more protective over his sore spots, but otherwise he seemed like any drugged dog would.  My last few days there he started to lose interest in eating, but Zeplen always had some super serious separation anxiety, so we thought that might be the case since he usually could sense when it was time for someone to leave.

Shortly after I returned back to MD, Teh BFF said he was using his leg less and less and the swelling had gone up considerably.  He'd also continued to not want to eat.  He was being bribed to eat with human foods, which had been a no-no until we were desperate to get him to eat anything at all.

Teh BFF called me and explained that sometimes it looked like he wasn't breathing, which was very concerning for her.  She told me, "I'm afraid I'm going to wake up and he's going to be dead."

Since returning back to the US, the plan was for me to take Zeplen back as soon as possible.  I had to find a place to live that allowed pets, then Teh BFF and I would coordinate a time to either meet or for one of us to come to the other.  The earliest Teh BFF had vacation was the end of Jan, so we planned for then.  I hadn't told her about my Christmas surprise at that time, and since the Christmas surprise was also a birthday surprise, driving was easily knocked off the table, which also meant that bringing Zeplen back with me to MD after Christmas wasn't possible.

In the 2 weeks since Cmas, there had been more and more concern for Zeplen's health.  I was concerned about the substantial amount of drugs he was on (what kind of life is a drugged life?), Teh BFF was concerned that his swelling wasn't going down and he stopped using his leg all together over the last 2 weeks (he was obviously in a lot of pain, despite the drugs).
You can see how the left side was WAY larger than the right side.
Left side = bad leg.

Last week, Teh BFF took Zep to the vet, who said, the swelling is most likely the tumor returning (with a vengeance) and that all we could do now was make him comfortable.  The vet upped his tramadol dosage to 4 pills a day.  WOAH.  My brain about exploded when I heard that.  1 50mg tramadol pill makes me happy for an entire day.  Teh ZepZep is only 50 lbs and was taking 200mg a DAY.  Holy bejesus.

100mg of tramadol at a time made Teh ZepZep mostly a zombie dog, so Teh BFF gave him 75mg at a time instead, which meant a more functional, but not fully functional dog.

Teh BFF and I quickly decided that he was in too much pain, despite all the medication, and it was time.

It was a difficult decision because he was our ZepZep.  ZepZep was loved by everyone (except for Phoenix, Teh Sister's deceased dog, but she didn't really like anyone, so it was her loss).  Zep made friends everywhere he went.  He was a happy, excitable, super soft, kid-friendly, tail-whipping, asshole dog.  But, we knew it was inevitable.

Back in September when things were starting to happen, Teh BFF and I had a discussion, prior to confirming it was bone cancer, about our course of action if it WAS bone cancer.

We decided that there would be no amputation of the limb, no chemo, just the one procedure to remove the "bad" bone, that had solved the problems for "this one dalmatian" said the vet.  While quotes from He's Just Not That Into You reverberated through my head about the exception vs the rule argument, I let hope win out that maybe this procedure would also mean that Zeplen could live a long, gimp leg life.  Other than the single procedure, we decided on the keep him comfortable, for as long as possible path.  We also said that we weren't going to spend an exuberant amount of money trying to make him better.  1- Neither of us had/have the money, 2- At the end of the day, Zeplen was just a dog (which sounds way more cruel and heartless when you read that and don't know just how much Zeplen was actually spoiled like a child).

As long as possible finally happened this past weekend.  I had my first VX-1 watch on Sat, then Sunday I made the 8 hour drive to NC, so Monday morning I could make the trip to the vet with Teh BFF to have Zeplen put to sleep.  After the vet excursion and a quick first time oil change for Yurtle, I was back on the road for MD.

While Teh BFF was getting ready to go to the vet's office Monday morning, I got out of bed and went to snuggle with Teh ZepZep one last time.  I told him that soon he wouldn't have to hurt anymore and that he had been a really good doggie.  That it was ok to quit fighting.  Of course, just thinking the thoughts made me tear up, and saying them outloud made me cry, but to make me feel better, Teh ZepZep gave me kisses on my nose and let me pet him for a few more minutes.

The most difficult part of the process that morning was getting Zeplen in the car.  Despite 100mg of tramadol at midnight, by 7:30a, he wasn't up for moving too much.  Being the stubborn ass that he was, Zeplen stood up the entire car ride to the vet (about 45 minutes).  There was no coaxing him to sit or lay down, despite me telling him it was the last time he'd have to worry about it.

Once we arrived to the vet's office, Zeplen hopped his way to the front door.  He was familiar with the place by now.  We went in and told them it was time for Zeplen to be put to sleep.  While we were waiting at the front desk, another dog was not wanting to be brought into an exam room.  The vet's technician/assistant/nurse (what do you call those guys?) was trying to coax it into the room, at which point I said (not quietly), "It could be worse!" and pointed down to Zeplen.  Teh BFF smacked me on the arm, but she still at least cracked a smile.

We immediately got our own exam room, where Teh BFF filled out all the paperwork.  While we waited on the vet to come in, Zeplen paced between us, letting us pet him.  Once the vet showed up and said he was going to sedate Zep, we decided it was time to leave so they could do their job.  I gave Zep one last kiss on his soft, bony head and went out with Teh BFF to pay for the services.  It took right around 5 minutes for the vet's assistant (VA) to come tell us it was done.  I had left my purse in the exam room, and she offered to bring it to me if I didn't want to go back in.  I wanted to see Zeplen one last time, for closure, so I walked back with her.

VA: He went under very easily, he didn't fight it.
Me: Are you just telling me that to make me feel better?
VA: No, he really didn't fight it.  He was ready.
Me: Ok then.

When I walked back in the exam room, he was laying on the exam table, which was covered with a towel, and he had a towel draped over his body.  For the first time since I'd laid eyes on him (August 2007), he was completely still.  While that's not really a surprise for a dead dog, for a once, very alive dog, it was extremely strange for me.  I'm not sure I can ever remember a time where Zeplen didn't wag his tail at seeing me unless I had been hanging out with him all day or pissed him off.  His eyes were open, and through my tears I told the VA, "His eyes being open is sooo creepy!"  She said that dogs weren't like humans in that they closed their eyes and told me to take my time with him and left the room.  I was grateful because approximately 1/4th of a second later, there was sobbing.

The asshole dog was gone.  No more suffering.  No more kisses.  No more tail whipping.  No more giving him "the look" which made him go hide under the bed.  No more using his food bowls as chew toys.  No more late night business trips (bathroom trips) where I was just outside to freeze my ass off.  No more soft fur.  No more grrrr.  No more baby dog.  No more Zeplen.

Since I hadn't been able to actually mess with his leg the entire time I've been back in the US, I took the opportunity to press on his swollen leg, which was completely hard.  Meaning the tumor was definitely, 100% back, which was the source of probably most of his pain.  When I told Teh BFF this, she said that had it been softer or movable, that it would have meant there was a fluid build-up, which they could have drained to alleviate some of Zeplen's pain.

After gathering his leash (more difficult than I was prepared for) and my purse, I went back to Zeplen for the last time.  I pulled his lips up into one final grrr face, which wasn't the same since his jaw wasn't completely shut, but still helped me smiled through the tears, kissed him on the head for the last time, and left the exam room.

Despite an 8 hour drive in holiday traffic, coming back into my empty apartment was the most difficult part of Monday.  Not that Zeplen had ever been in the MD apartment, but there was always the thought in the back of my mind, he'll be here eventually.  Never was it, if he makes it.  Now, there won't be an eventually, and that is abysmally lonely.  All the thoughts I'd had while I was cooking and dropped something on the floor of Zeplen coming to "vacuum" it up for me, the ideas of taking Zeplen on a run down the street, watching him sleep by the fire.. none of them to come to fruition.

I will probably get another dog in the next few months.  I've missed Zeplen's company for the last 3 years and while I know no dog will ever replace Teh ZepZep, having company in my apartment won't be a bad thing for me to break up the loneliness.  I discussed adopting a Greyhound with Teh Bear.  An adult that I don't have to potty train, an indoor dog, and not small.  Greyhounds are also quiet dogs that like to sleep a lot and just need to be exercised once a day (for a sufficient time/amount).  I feel like it could work out well.

But, for one last heart-strings tug.  The final photos of Teh ZepZep (while he was still alive, of course.. I'm not that morbid).

Zep's last car ride.  He had his head out the window moments before the camera went off.  Fully enjoying the smells.

The 'I don't feel good, Mom' face.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Strawberry Shortcake Roll

A few days ago I came across this on Pinterest:

They referred to it as "strawberry sushi".. Teh Bear took a particular defense to this because there was no fish involved, so I created the Strawberry Shortcake Roll.

Sadly, I didn't take photos of the process, but it was super easy.  Final pics at the bottom of course.

Strawberry Shortcake Sushi (from Megan @  I knew since we shared the same name the recipe was bound to be awesome..  :)


2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup sugar
3 eggs + 2 more egg whites
1 tsp vanilla
plenty of powdered sugar, for the towel when wrapping the cake

1 cup whipping cream (the small container)
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1-ish cup diced strawberries

more strawberries (halved/sliced/diced/your choice)

Directions/how I did it:

Pre-step 1: prepare your strawberries.  I knew I was going to add sugar to mine to get them sweetened and juicy, despite this not being in the directions anywhere.  This was the most time consuming part of the process because I chose to dice mine since I wanted the filling to be mostly smooth.  You also have to give the sugar some time to work it's magic.

1.  Preheat the oven to 400º. Coat a 15 x 10-inch jelly roll cookie sheet with cooking spray (wasn't sure why I had to do this step since the next step is to putting the parchment paper down, but ok); line the bottom with parchment paper, and coat with cooking spray. Set aside.

2.  In a small bowl whisk/stir together the flour, baking powder and salt. In a medium bowl using an electric mixer beat together the eggs and sugar at high speed until pale and fluffy (about 5 minutes) (hell yeah stand mixer!). Stir in vanilla.

3.  Add the flour mixture slowly, mixing on low until combined thoroughly.  I also added a few spoonfuls of the already prepared strawberries.

4.  Pour batter into prepared pan and spread evenly. It is ok if the paper is not all the way down in each edge, because despite my best efforts I tried to make that happen, and it didn't but the cake still came out just right.  Bake for 8-10 minutes or until cake springs back when touched.  Mine looked bubbly and not quite done, but when I poked it, it sprang bake, so I took it out.

5.  While the cake is baking sprinkle a clean dish towel with your powdered sugar.  This is to keep your cake from sticking on your towel, so more is better.

6.  Remove the cake from the oven. Flip the cake onto the towel (the parchement paper will be on top).  Peel off the parchment paper and roll the towel and cake into a roll, from side to side (you want the roll to be long rather than thick (thats what she said)).  Place the rolled roll on the counter (seam side down) for a while to cool.

7.  Make filling. Beat together the whipping cream, powdered sugar and vanilla until fluffy and thick. Stir in the strawberries.  (This is only a short step if you've already prepared all your strawberries... just sayin).

8.  Unroll the cake from the towel and spread the filling onto the cake, it will get messy, you've been warned.   I would suggest using a small amount where the inside of the roll will be because as you roll it, the filling will be pushed back towards the edge seam.  Refrigerate for a couple hours or over night, unless your Teh Megan and have to have a piece (or two) riiiiight now in teh belly!!!!

9.  Slice, using a serrated knife into 1ish inch sections. Top with some diced strawberries/a strawberry slice.  

10.  Enjoy!
Things I recommend:
-The biggest thing I did the recipe didn't call for was dicing almost all of the strawberries (except for the ones I halved for the topping) and sprinkling sugar over them to get the juice (omgg yummm).  I'm sure that just plain strawberries would be a preference for people who aren't sugar fiends like myself, it would probably definitely be less sweet without the additional sugar.

-I had extra filling and I mostly halved the recipe as I found it.  I'm not actually sure how to use it other than to bake another shortcake, but this prob wouldn't be enough for the recipe as it is.  Maybe I wouldn't have had as much filling leftover if I had done the recipe as a "sushi roll" instead of as a jelly roll.  Either way, its very delicious and I might have been eating it and the strawberries (as I was dicing them and later as they were soaking) throughout the process.  YUMMMMMMMMMMMM.

This recipe was easy (most definitely a plus for this girl) and fun and delicious.  I'm sure it was also easier because I took a shortcut in not cutting the shortcake in half to make the smaller rolls, although I'm sure it would have been fun also.  The thing that took me the longest was dicing all the stupid strawberries.  It was very difficult along the way not to consume all of the strawberries before they could be put to use.  I used 2 quarts of strawberries and had PLENTY leftover.

This recipe reminded me of summer and of Teh Mom's homemade strawberry preserves, which are probably the bestest jelly for peanut butter and jelly sammiches on the face of the planet.  The filling reminded me of cool whip and strawberries, sans the cool whip, which is my preference after seeing The Cool Whip Experiment.  

I didn't make the suggested dip/"soy sauce" for 2 reasons.  1.  I don't have a blender (which only sucked because then I wouldn't have had to dice all the strawberries).  2.  The sugar/strawberry combo that I had already made was pretty much the same dip sans the lemon juice and water.  My creation turned out just fine without it.  

Final result:

Helllloooo delicious!
L to R:  Strawberries w/ sugar, filling, final product

With the roll turned upside down to accurately portray the messiness.  I couldn't really roll the roll any tighter without squeezing all the filling out.. :(

Oh, if I didn't already mention it... This was tasty-freakin-goodness.  Srs, no jk.  OMG-DELIGHTFUL-IN-MY-MOUTH good.  

Friday, January 13, 2012

The movers WERE here! part 2.


-If you didn't pack your stuff when you moved, but you put it a generalized area...  you can probably bet it will be packed with stuffs that were in that generalized area.  Meaning.. my toolkit wasn't that hard to find, because I knew it was with the printer, games, picture frames, and some candles.  Only had to open 3/4 boxes labeled picture frames to get the right box.

-You might have been in GTMO if you have a mostly full box of just shells.

-You might have been in GTMO if you have a full box of dive gear that hasn't been used in over a year.  Anyone interested in purchasing some dive gear?

-Books take up space.  Books are heavy.  WHEN DID I GET SO MANY BOOKS?!?!?!  3-4 boxes of books later, my bookshelf is stuffed full, there are still books in a box, and one two of the shelves is are double stacked.  Oh my.  Pretty sure those books were makin' like rabbits during their transit back to America (reproducing)...  (you know its not really a good joke if you have to explain it immediately after saying it.)

-It's probably not good to lift a lamp by its power cord, but the packers gave me no option.

-Y U neglect me Teh Megan? -Game Cube

-Man, I am definitely going to have to sell some stuff.  Maybe recoup some moving funds?

-While I was surviving without all this stuff, life is so much nicer with this stuff!

-Each time I go to the silverware drawer and actually get to pick up my silverware instead of plastic spoons/forks, the 4th grader that finished the 100 multiplication question test first comes out, "Yeeeeesssssssssssssssssss!"  PS, that was an actual test that was actually a race, by the way.  If you could complete 100 multiplication questions in under a minute you qualified for the math club.  The boy that sat beside me (who was a teacher's son and also left handed) and I would race.  The first person to hiss out "YESSSSSSSSSSSS!" first was the winner.  Pretty sure our classmates found us distracting and annoying...  Totally worth it.

-I bought a plastic kitchen spoon the other day because I was pretty sure I didn't have any serving spoons with holes in them (not sure what the technical term for these spoons are)...  Found out a few days later..  I now have 4 of those type of "holy" serving spoons but no solid serving spoons.  I love PCSing (sarcasm font).

-America living is definitely not as lavish as American in Bahrain living.  While my rent was ridiculously overpriced, I had sooooo much room (the Bahrain kitchen was definitely the size of the MD master bedroom)!  Now I have sufficient room, but no where to put stuff.  Gosh, I'm such a spoiled American in Bahrain-er.

-I have no where to put all the photos that I had displayed in Bahrain, which makes me pretty sad.  Luckily, the Arab packer-outters did a super good job packing those suckers, which means I don't have to unpack them, unless I decide to hang them!  :)

-Why am I so attached to having uniforms?  6 sets of DCUs, 4 sets of utilities, then the uniforms that the Navy still actually uses/I actually wear.  I don't have the space for all those suckers anymore!

-I packed enough clothes in my suitcases when I flew out of Bahrain that I'd be ok for American winter.  Then I went serious clothes shopping (to make up for the lack of new clothes in the prior 2 years).  Then I unpacked 3-4 boxes of "clothes"...  Sooooo much clothes!  I hope the closet bar has enough support for all those shirts!

-Worst part(s) about having movers help you unpack:
they sift through all your stuff just like the packers did
nothing gets put in a place
one large stack of stuff in the end
having to carry your own large, heavy, empty boxes to the dumpster alone

-Best part(s) about NOT having movers help you unpack:
you get to have Christmas all over again (and each box is filled with wrapped presents, so its soooo many presents!)
no one peering at your stuff with their judging eyes
no large, single pile of stuff
you get to go at your own pace (depending on your motivation levels)
delivery guys are in and out of your place in minimal time
no one is "stealing" all your future packing boxes/packing paper

-Scary: not finding the most important thing in your packout till the last few boxes, so you get to fret over if it got damaged or not during shipment.  Most important thing in my packout?  My diploma frame.  (Side story:
Why?  I worked my ass off for my NCSU diploma.  3.5 years of ass workin' offin'.  The one thing I wanted when I graduated was a particular diploma frame to put my diploma and tassle in.  I asked for money towards the fund, but never got enough.  Because I was still a poor-just-out-of-college-but-no-longer-a-student girl then, the money ended up going towards bills out of necessity.  Still, the desire/hope/dream of having a very expensive frame ($250) to put my diploma in never went away.  A year after graduating, I went to Navy bootcamp.  A year after that I arrived in GTMO.  I received my bonus soon after.  I bought 2 things.  A Nikon D5000 (my fancy-smancy camera) and my diploma frame.  My diploma frame (and of course my diploma) is probably the thing I'm most proud of that I own.)

-To the people that lived in 604C before me,
  You had a cat.  It probably lived in the room where all my stuff is currently being unpacked.  I hate your cat.  It obviously hates me back from the amount of sneezing I've been doing.  I knew you had a cat before the sneezing happened though.  I could smell it.  Cats have a particular stench (nothing personal cat owners).  The entire room and closet smell like kitty litter, not appealing.  I'd rather you have smoked then I could have made the smell go away.  Cat smell = defeating me.  But once everything is unpacked, I'm back at trying to get rid of the odor, because holy cat crap, I'm so tired of sneezing.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The movers WERE here!!!


All my belonging are in one place again!  While it is a huge sigh of relief to have all my stuff not strewn around the globe, until it all gets unpacked it will be a matter of digging through boxes to find particular items.  This isn't really all that difficult, except that I didn't pack these boxes, some Arab guys did.  So I have no idea what is in what box.  I mean, there were 4 boxes of clothes.  Which box were the sweatshirts in?  I had no idea.

Same for the 4-6 boxes of kitchen stuff.  NO idea which box my plates are in.  I did find my silverware and cooking utensils in the one kitchen box I did unpack though.  That was a nice surprise.

Side note: I feel stupidly materialistic talking about my stuff, stuff, stuff.  Except that, its such a HUGE deal, that all I want to talk about is my stuff, stuff, stuff.

I thought about the Gentle Readers while I was unpacking.  How I needed to share the things that were going on in my apartment, because something that I have been waiting on for YEARS finally happened today.


What am I talking about?
Purchased on sale from Kohl's: 2007?
Used for the first time: 2012.

In use, finally!
No jk, I seriously bought this thing and it's been packed away/toted around for years.  I am an organizing queen.  I love to organize.  Something I love more than organizing?  Having space for all my stuff.  Why do I need to maximize so much space?  4 boxes of "clothes".  Not small boxes.  LARGE boxes.  Granted, some of the clothes were actually uniform items and blankets/sheets/towels had been placed in a few of the clothes boxes..

The photo above is before I had really unpacked any of the clothes and put them away.  Please note the space on the rack where the shirts are hanging.  This is what happened after I had unpacked all the clothes boxes:

No more space :(  This might be a sign of having TOO MANY clothes!!!
Hangy thingy got relocated to the ambiguous area behind where the shirts hang.
Not sure who's bright idea this closet set up was...
So much not usable space!
Seems like Teh Sister is due for a visit.  She usually likes to come rifle through my stuff when I'm moving/packing/unpacking because she knows its her best chance at getting free goodies from me.  Subtle suggestions like, "You don't want this, right????"

I also got to the toiletries box because I really missed my hair dryer.  Using the flat iron to straighten it dry every morning to make it look semi decent was getting old quick.  This is what happened in my bathroom:

There was really a lot of crap in the toiletries box.  Also, the 6 chapsticks?  Teh Bear and Teh Sister know me well, and I might have had to buy one while I was in FL because I left mine in Yurtle the Turtle/Indigo Montoya.

Finally all my jewelry is in one place again!  Isn't that the coolest jewelry display evar?
Like I said earlier, some of the clothes boxes had additional family members, bed clothes!  I've become a pretty addicted Pinterest-er.  At least once a week, I see the suggestion about organizing linen closets by putting sheet sets in their respective pillowcase.  I was smart enough to put the queen sets (the size of Teh Cloud (bed)) on the bottom shelf so they are more at my level, and the king/twin sheets on the top with the towels. With the moving around, it has been very efficient to have sheets of all different sizes, although king didn't get added into the mix until Bahrain.. even though the bed wasn't quite king size.  It was weird Arab/European size, but king fit so I went with it.  Eventually, when the bedroom furniture arrives, the sheets that fit Teh Cloud will be going in the drawers at the foot of the bed.  Which, btw, I'm very excited to finally get to show very soon!

The Pinterest suggestion of putting set sets in a pillowcase.  I do more than just repin stuff!  See!
Also, lets talk about the girl that doesn't need any more hand towels!  ME!

So now all that is left is this:

So the white box on the loveseat is actually empty, but behind the loveseat is stacked with boxes.
My goal is to have everything unpacked prior to February, when Teh Bear is coming to visit!!  We'll see how this works out because I am potentially going to school (for work) the last week of January, which cuts out, pretty much, a week of time.  On the other hand, I still don't have any friends in MD (which is sad, but true), so its not like I really have much to occupy my evenings with, besides cooking and intermittently chatting with Teh Bear while he is workin'.

The biggest question that remains: how much stuff will have to be repacked and put into storage due to not having enough space???

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Sometimes you just gotta drop off the face of the planet... part 5/finale

The flight to DC was uneventful.

Unlike the flight to Orlando.

From DCA to MCO, I ended up with a middle seat which was super disappointing, but since it was in effort to get to Teh Bear, I suffered through it.  The best part though was the lady to my left that was reading her Kindle.  Let me just say: I love to read.  I am also slightly curious.. and by slightly curious, I mean nosy.  I was curious what she was reading.  I had been trying to doze off, but it wasn't working since I couldn't get comfortable in the middle seat.  So I casually glanced down at what she was reading.  The lady had long hair that had come untucked from behind her ear, so she couldn't really see me.  I saw the word "nipples" and immediately I'm like, wtf, mate?  I keep scanning her Kindle, "hard", "master", "spank"...  This lady was reading erotica in a public place.  How awesome and ballsy.  Her 2 kids and husband were across the aisle.  The best part was definitely when anyone would walk by and she'd bring the Kindle up to her chest or close the cover so that way no one could see what she was reading.  It was really only those few pages that were steamy.  After that it got boring enough for me to finally get comfortable and doze off for a few minutes.

I had a window seat from CLT to DCA, so a nap was accomplished.  As I was waking up, the old lady that was sitting in the aisle seat decided that she wanted the window shade opened, which I had closed (I'm a sensitive sleeper....  if you didn't get that from the last post), so she reached across me and opened it.  Grrr.  I'm pretty much like a vampire (but not from Twilight), I love the dark.  Since she wasn't sitting in the window seat, the glare of the sun off the wing of the plane wasn't directly in her eyes.  But I wished it could have been.  I lowered the shade back down to halfway and recalled having to open the window shade for every take off and landing on the rotator flight from Bahrain.  /wrist.

It only took dropping a few more 1000 feet for me to appreciate the imagery world outside the window.  Mostly residential areas, some houses with pools, large neighborhood complexes, some fields with houses in the middle, waterways, boats.  Missing my imagery job at NAVCENT came back in full swing.

Luckily, we landed shortly after.  Since Yurtle's Car-Sitter had to work, she wasn't able to pick me up from the airport, which was ok.  Teh Bear had suggested Super Shuttle the night prior.  It was only $23 from DCA to Springfield, so I was like... well, ok.  I knew it could be a risk, because you were put in a passenger van, which could hold up to 7 people, so you could be first, or last.  Luckily for me, I was first.  YAY!

Yurtle was still chillin in her corner spot.  I inspected her for scratches/dings because I'm a protective car mommy.  Nothing significant to report.  Luggage was loaded, Yurtle started and purred at me that she missed me (in the same way I had missed her)....  All that was left was the 1.5 hour drive back to Pax River.  In more good luck, traffic was light despite being the beginning of rush hour, so it wasn't difficult to navigate to my exit.

While I was at home, home I mainly drove Teh Dad's Chrystler Cirrus, which I very much appreciated his sacrifice to drive the very-bad-gas-mileage-trash-truck to work while I was there.  I also drove Teh Granny's 4Runner, and I drove Teh BFF's Nisson Sentra once from the hair salon to Bojangles.  I longed for Yurtle.  I pined for her.  From the stupid back door locking thing, the dim headlights, and the very hard to use signal light in Teh Dad's car to Teh Granny's you-must-apply-full-force-and-use-the-force-on-the-brake-pedal-to-stop-before-rear-ending-the-car-in-front-of-you brakes, Yurtle was deeply missed.  Getting back into her was like trying on the shoe that fits perfectly.  Ahhhhhhh.

So the drive from DC to Pax was definitely enjoyable.  I'm glad I'm finally able to enjoy driving again (although being in DC is slightly like dealing with Arabs in Bahrain.....  you can take or leave that terrorist reference).  I got home and was quickly unpacked.  Everything into the washer.

Sitting on my bed (more commonly referred to as Teh Cloud) that evening was so amazing.  I didn't let myself lay down until it was bedtime though, because I knew that once I laid down, I probably wasn't going to get back up out of bed until it was time to go to work.  But, Gentle Reader, when I did.. it was like an angelic choir had started singing.  I think I heard my limbs sigh as Teh Cloud encompassed them and Sherpa Derpa (B.o.B.'s cousin/semi-replacement/a new blanket that I bought because it was paisley and soft) kept me warm.

Yurtle Teh Turtle/Indigo Montoya.. This wasn't taken at the car-sitters, I just like posting pics of my car... :)

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Going Postal

This morning I woke up around 9am, decent hour for a Saturday morning.  Since Teh Bear's Cmas present arrived yesterday (thank God), it was to be mailed off today, by noon (for earliest possible delivery).  I knew that if I didn't get up right away and take care of the errand, I'd roll over and go back to sleep till 11 and have to rush to get ready and make it to the post office.

I had already packaged and addressed the box last night, all I had to do was bring it to the post office.  Easy day.  I had put it in one of the smallest boxes I have lying around the apartment, a moving box.  I figured it was one less box I had to carry down to the dumpster, and it gave the appearance of being an awesome Christmas present (not that Teh Bear doesn't already know what it is) because of the largeness of the box.  Don't pretend that you don't think the biggest boxes under the Christmas tree have the bestest presents in them!

Box size in relation to size of DVD case.
In my super productive, grateful-that-the-ipod-was-finally-delivered-to-me, positive frame of mind, I walked into the post office.  When I stepped up to the counter and put the box on the scale, the clerk started his spiel asking if it was hazardous/explosive/not something that should really be shipped/etc.
Me: It's an iPod.
Clerk: (pause) Isn't this overkill?  (about the size of the box)
Me: It's a Christmas present.

Since when it is acceptable for the postal clerk to judge the size of my packages? Isn't it their job to just give me my shipping options and help the next customer? Opinions not required. I wanted to ask the guy if he always judged people's packages (mostly because the double entendre, of course). I, then, wanted to remind him that while he was a government employee, he was also a customer service representative, so his opinions about my box (hehe) weren't welcome. That unless I was in some way stealing by not paying enough postage for my huge box, he could just STFU.

PS.  If he was trying to be funny, I didn't get it.  Unless he (and everyone else that works at that post office) have the driest sense of humor known to mankind.

WTF is with people?  Seriously?
Rant complete.

PPS.  I didn't let him get me down.  I also didn't bring up the fact that it had taken 28 days for the ipod to be delivered to me via USPS in the first place.  Not that I'm in the least bit bitter... me?  never...  It had been in a bubble wrap lined, medium sized envelope and had gotten lost and looked beat to shit when I, finally and very much relived-ily, pulled it from my mailbox.  I was legitimately concerned that it might not work.  I was hoping that the large box and clear address labels and lack of barcodes on the box I was shipping meant that the package would arrive to Teh Bear without difficulty.  Note:  Teh Granny had left the barcodes exposed on the package when she mailed it to me, which I assume might have caused difficulties to begin with.

Oh USPS, why can't we be friends?  And why do all your employees seem to be such jerks?

ANDDDDDD.. the biggest presents under the tree usually mean the smallest, but most awesome gifts.. in my experience.  At least the actual wrapping of the iPod wasn't cruel.  Teh Sister can tell you how cruel I am when wrapping presents.... :D bwahahahah.

Photo story of Teh Sister trying to unwrap her cmas present from Teh Mom and I a few years ago.  I wrapped this to be as difficult as possible to get into.  I consider this my best Christmas present wrapping feat to date.

Seems innocent enough. 

OOOO, what is it?

Present wrapped in bubble wrap, which was covered in packaging tape...  She had no idea where to even start.
We decided we could have played basketball or soccer with that sucker.

The look of despair.
After finally getting off the bubble wrap (which took a few minutes), I told her that there was a hint as to what the present was on the next layers...  Which were various Christmas sales papers.  I told her she had to remove each ad one layer at a time, or she'd miss it.

She kept asking random items that she saw on the ads, and when she asked "camera?" instead of "no," I said, "maybe.."  I'm a really bad secret keeper.  She quickly found the last layer!


Wrapping Master..  That's the I-made-her-remove-30+-layers-of-wrapping-paper-one-by-one face.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Sometimes you just gotta drop off the face of the planet... part 4

So what did I do while I was at home, home?

Mostly, nothing of important/significance.

And it was deeeelightful.

I knew since I was a surprise that no one had cleared their schedule for me, which was perfectly fine.

Teh Granny and I went out on a date to Olive Garden since I had a $10 off coupon from going there on Veteran's Day with Teh Bear.
I went shopping with Teh BFF.
I made dinner one night for the fam.
I made breakfast Christmas Eve morning.  Yay for super easy french toast bake.  I got up at 5am to have that sucker made before the Stepmom even got up to get ready for work.  The consensus was that it was delicious.
I made dinner again a different night.
I went on a mission to find quinoa in podunk/home, home (which I found, at Wal-mart....).
I made some experimental quinoa for Teh Sister who is vegetarian.
I made Teh Dad try avocados, which he "didn't like" but had never tried them, then he said they weren't that bad.  I made him try something else too, which he also found tolerable.
I went after Cmas shopping with Teh BFF/Teh Sister (more Teh BFF since Teh Sister got a head start on us), a few days later I went after Cmas shopping with Teh Mom.
Teh Mom and I worked out one day.
Teh BFF and I got hair cuts.  Yes, I had more hair to cut off.  Short is never a problem for this girl.

I slept on an air mattress in the living room floor, so I was up at least until the last person finally went to bed, and I was awake (usually) with the first person who had to go to work (this most difficult part of being home).  Teh Dad's household runs on completely ridiculous hours.  Usually not going to bed till midnight or later (my bedtime was generally 2-3am), and depending on the day, someone was usually up by 7am, if not earlier (work schedule depending), which meant that I, too, was awake whenever they were rustling around in the kitchen to prepare the lunch for the day or departing.  My 2-3am bedtime for a week and a half has sufficiently messed up my normal MD routine where I had usually been in bed by 10pm.  No jk, like a Granny.

I didn't miss work in the ways that I thought I would.  Maybe it is because I'd only been "working" for 2ish weeks when I started leave?  Eh.  I remember missing reading out imagery when I took leave when Teh Bear came to Bahrain.  I missed those crappy image challenges.  Hell, at this point, with no imagery since the beginning of October in my life, I even miss dhows.  Never thought I'd say that.

Since joining the Navy, I'd only been home for short stints of time.  A week tops.  Generally it was broken up by a trip somewhere, which gave it some variety.  Pretty sure this was the longest consecutive time I spent at home, home since I joined.  Gentle Reader, you do not know the delight of coming home to your own apartment to sleep in your own bed till you have experienced sleeping in the living room of a household that is usually only quiet for 5ish hours a night.  Not that I don't love those guys, but holy crap.  Next time, pretty sure its a bedroom somewhere for this girl.

My worst day at home, home?  Christmas Day.  It was horrible.  I was empty of estrogen, so the PMS was on high.  I'd been kept up late and woken up super early several days in a row, so I was super tired.  I was irritable because the day didn't seem to be panning out right at all.  First World Problem: Christmas day being on a Sunday which is also church day.  Meaning you have to get up suuupper, super early to open up Cmas presents, or you have to wait.  Well, since I'd been up till 3am with Teh Mom, there was no getting up early, period.  It was get up, go to church then go to Teh Dad's for breakfast/presents, then return back to Teh Mom's to have dinner/presents, then break for the night.  I actually ended up going over to Teh BFF's for a while to exchange presents there.

I know Teh Dad reads Teh Blog regularly, so I know that he will see this eventually, but I'll go ahead and put it out there anyways.  The most difficult part of the worst day?  After church Teh Sister and I had returned to Teh Dad's.  We were waiting on everyone to come home.  The Stepsister spent the night at her dad's, Teh Dad and Stepmom had went to church.  Finally, the latter came home.  They weren't going to fix food, but my general level of starvation (from not eating breakfast due to church being early (and being Catholic)) urged them in the safer direction, to fix breakfast.  I knew Stepmom had been planning on it, but since we had all stayed in a different location the night before, I guess the plans had changed.

When foods started being prepared, I tried to take a nap because I was:

I was grouchy, and I knew it.  While cooking was happening, but before a few moments of sleep, the Stepmom was telling Teh Sister and I about how the Stepsister had stayed with her Dad for Cmas Eve.  She hadn't been planning on it, but when she went over for a visit, she found that her dad had cleaned out her bedroom (which had been being used for stuffs), washed her sheets... essentially made the room back into her bedroom.  And the only thing I could think after the story was finished was, "it would be nice if I had a room."  I blame it on the "hangry" talking, but I knew that wasn't necessarily the truth.  I know that it was a selfish thought.  There is no reason for a parent to buy a house with enough bedrooms for all the kids, when all the kids don't live there anymore...

Between the PMS, the "hangry", the depression at not having my own room (and slight jealousy at the effort of her dad, which were completely unfounded because Teh Dad let me borrow his car the entire time I was at home, home), the beginnings of a headache, and a game of musical chairs where no one that lives at Teh Dad's house actually has their own "claimed", permanent seat.. but everyone seemed to "always sit" at each place that I would choose, there were tears.  Frustrated,-PMS-y,-silly,-Teh-Megan-finally-had-a-break-down tears.

I was a nicer person after having eaten foods, that much was true, but the gloom just wouldn't shake for the rest of the day..  and for a few days after that.  I switched from being in at home, home mode, to ready to go home mode.

Time was over at home, home before I knew it.  Although, I was definitely ready to go home.

The night before I was supposed to leave, Teh Mom and Teh Granny told me to check to see if my flight was delayed due to weather.  I didn't, because well, I had faith the flight was going to go off without a hitch.  When Teh Granny asked me what would happen if it snowed during the night, I told her it was good she had 4-wheel drive.  She didn't really have a come back to that one.

Teh Granny took me to the airport (meaning I drove to the airport and she just had to make it back home with the help of her friend that had ridden with us), and this time there were no gun pulling incidents.  (When Teh Granny (and her same friend) dropped me off at the airport to fly to Norfolk (on my way to Bahrain), we witnessed a driver reach into his glove box and pull out a gun and point it at the guy who had brake checked him a few minutes prior.  The guy who had brake checked swerved into the emergency lane, SLAMMED on his breaks, put his car in reverse, and pulled off on the exit that we had just passed.  CRAZY ya'll.)

As expected, the flight was not delayed.  A delightful human being decided that the Charlotte USO should be placed after security, so I went there and enjoyed cushy chairs, a peanut butter and jelly sammich, a water, a honey bun, and snatched a Cheerwine for later.  The Charlotte USO is probably the best USO I've ever been in.  I have limited USO experience, but most are before security (after checking in), which means that you still have to take the time to go through security if you decide to wait at the USO, and that just sucks.  But the CLT USO is just good.  It is after security, they have a kids area which is sectioned off, so you don't necessarily have to hear the kids, they have computers, snacky snacks, showers/etc, a library, recliners, tables, plenty of electrical outlets, a big screen tv, microwave, coffee.  Maybe I'm biased cause I'm from NC?  Nahhh..

The plane did actually take a more direct route than I-85.

Then it was to DC for the very last leg of the surprise adventure!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Sometimes you just gotta drop off the face of the planet... part 3

I am NOT a good liar.  Seriously.  The biggest issue with my surprise was that I was lying to everyone at home in telling them I wasn't able to come home or I wasn't coming home for the holidays.  The 2nd biggest issue was not telling the wrong people so that way it didn't accidentally get posted on FB or "mentioned" to my family by a random person.

Maybe its because I was raised Catholic that I have this HUGE guilt problem, but every time Teh Dad or Teh Granny or anyone would ask me if I was coming home for Christmas, it KILLED me on the inside to say no.  1.  I wanted to giggle, because yes, I was going home.  2.  I was lying!  Lying is hard.  It means keeping up with what you told someone in addition what the truth actually was.  I had so many lies and truths going on, my brain was drowning.  Once I knew I couldn't successfully lie anymore, I used evasion.  No jk.

Teh Dad called me on Saturday while I was in Orlando and I didn't answer, nor did I call him back.  I couldn't.  I knew I would give away the secret, or I'd have started giggling, or he'd have heard Teh Bear's voice and started asking questions and everything would have come unraveled... and at such a late point in the game, if Teh Family had found out the secret, I'd have been crushed.

Finally the day had come:

Spending the weekend with Teh Bear was amazing, but I was also ready to get home and finish off the surprises.  Teh Bear dropped me off with much less drama that I had dropped him off with previously.  It was also much easier than the last time he'd dropped me off at the airport, which meant that I was going to Bahrain.  It really is a comfort in a long distance relationship when you are at least on the same continent.  Just sayin', you probably shouldn't complain to me if your significant other lives an hour or less away.

Teh BFF picked me up from the airport with her boyfriend.  I noticed her car slowing driving down arrivals alley.  I stepped in the road so she could see me.  The windows were rolled down a little bit for me to hear her yell something.  It was later clarified, "OMG she cut her hair!"  That was the other reason I'd stepped out in the road.  I knew she wouldn't recognize me at first, because that was the other secret I hadn't revealed to my family.

^^                      to                              ^^
On the way home, we had an adventure to find a Cookout (don't judge this crappy website), because we were all in need of a milkshake.  It was my first Cookout milkshake since coming back to America.  If you're like, wtf is Cookout?  I'll tell you, Gentle Reader.  Cookout is a glorious fast food type place.  They have FORTY different milkshakes on their menu.  They are all probably delicious, but I stick with certain ones: strawberry cheesecake, peanut butter fudge, chocolate nut, pineapple, watermelon, strawberry...

What I'm trying to get across to you is this: if you're ever in NC, and you happen to be near a Cookout, it might be worth the 15 minute trip into no mans land to experience one of these milkshakes.  The food isn't bad, but the milkshakes are worth it.  Cookout is like the In-N-Out of the west coast, except only in NC.

But back to surprises.  We finally made our way to 'home, home."  This is different than just "home".  Home is where I currently live.  Home, home is where I grew up.  Since Teh Mom's was on our way to Teh BFF's house, we slowed down to see if The Ghetto Mobile was in the driveway.  It was.

So Teh BFF pulled in the driveway.  Then, we realized the passenger door was open.  Then, we realized that she was standing there.  NOT exactly as planned.  Teh BFF wasn't prepared with the camera yet.  We pulled into the driveway and Teh Mom looked very confused.  Then you could see the different realizations cross her face.  She recogized Teh BFF after a few seconds, then she kept looking at me.  After about 10 seconds, she realized who I was (knew that bad hair cut would pay off), and she started screaming and jumping up and down.  She wins the award for best reaction, most definitely.  I got out of the car and there was hugging and yelling and more jumping up and down, she even picked me up for a few seconds.  She was definitely excited.  She was getting ready to leave, so we weren't there for long, but mission accomplished.  1 down, more to go.

Once we left Teh Mom's, Teh Granny's was the next stop.  Everyone in my family lives on the way to Teh BFF's house ironically.  For Teh Granny, we were able to enact a plan.  Teh BFF went to the door and when Teh Granny answered, she said, I think I have something of yours.  I was hiding behind her car, so Teh BFF brought her around the car.  Teh Granny turned and saw me and got SUPER excited.  She couldn't stop smiling and she said I was the best Christmas present she got this year.  She also said, "You lied to me!"  I said, "Yes, I did.  It was for your own good."  She laughed and kept smiling.  After a few minutes we continued the trek, to finally arrive at Teh BFF's house.

Being patient.
Then it was time to wait for Teh Dad, Teh Sister, the Stepmom, and the Stepsister to get home.  They all usually work really late.  We'd arrived at Teh BFF's house around 5ish, and sometimes Teh Dad isn't known to get home before 10:30pm.  So, we had some time to plan.  Teh BFF called Teh Dad and said she wanted to bring Teh ZepZep over later and deliver their Cmas card, and if he'd call her when he got home, she'd come over.  After building a gingerbread house, watching part of Black Snake Moan, eating dinner, and starting another movie, I started to get impatient.  Couldn't he get home early for once?  No was the answer.  Finally, I had Teh BFF call the house to see who was home.  Teh Sister answered the phone, but she said that the Stepmom and Stepsister were also there.  Well, ok then.  I was tired of being patient.  They were killing me.  The hour was upon us.

Teh Dad would just have to be last then.  Patience isn't my virtue.  Since Teh Dad was throwing the kink in my plans, we'll blame that on him this time.

I talked Teh BFF into going ahead and bringing me to surprise everyone else.  She went in the front door, and I snuck around the back.  Teh Sister's crazy barking weenie dogs almost got me caught because they heard the screen door shut and started barking like crazy and running to the door, at which point Teh Sister almost could have seen me through the window, but I dropped like a ninja so she couldn't see me.  After a few seconds, I poked my head back up after the dogs had quieted down.  I then went and stood at the glass door.  I watched her read the card and then take out the piece of paper that Teh BFF had encouraged me to put it in.  It said:  LOL No jk.  :D

I accidentally hit the door, which set off the dogs again, and Teh Sister looked at the door and immediately saw me and knew what was going on.  The Stepmom couldn't figure out who I was and The Stepsister was also confused.  Once I stepped through the door, they got it.  I was home for Christmas!  The Stepmom's reaction was along the same lines as Teh Granny, "You lied to us!"  Me, "Yes I did."  I explained to them the elaborate set up, the execution that was going well until Teh Dad had decided to work so late and I was so impatient.

After a bit, the dogs started barking again (that got old VERY quickly), which indicated that Teh Dad was finally home.  Everyone told me to go hide in the bedroom and wait for him to come in to lay down his work equipment, which "he does every night."  I tried to tell them that since Teh BFF was there he wouldn't, but I did what they said anyways.

Teh Dad came in and instead of immediately going to his room "like he does every night" he stood there talking to Teh BFF and Teh Fam.  I was standing in the bedroom going STIR CRAZY.  I heard him read the card outloud and read my note, which he didn't get.  He did ask everyone why they were so quiet at one point.  THEN, he went downstairs to do something.  While he went down the stairs, Teh Sister came running to the bedroom and told me to come to the living room where everyone was.

I was trying to stay moderately hidden and still in plain sight, so I stood between the TV (which was ON) and the Cmas tree.  I was thinking, he'll probably look at the TV to see what is on and then see me.  Ok, here we go.  We all heard him coming up the stairs and everyone just looked at him and he was like, what is going on?  "Nothing," was the chorus.  The Stepsister started texting again, The Stepmom was just looking at Teh Dad and Teh BFF finally said, "That's a nice Christmas tree."

Blame Teh BFF for the sideways video, the audio is really all that matters anyway.

And surprises were had.

But then what?