What Happened To April?

It has been brought to my attention that I have been noticeably absent from my blog in April.  What happened, you ask?  For starters, the neighborhood has been rather quiet (except for the one genius around the corner who keeps setting off their car alarm on a daily basis).  Nothing MAJOR has happened, which was rather nice after the hectic-ness of this winter.  So really, what have we been keeping ourselves so busy with?  Let’s see . . .

I have been adjusting to (and rather enjoying) my new job.

I leave the house at 8:10 and am home by 5:30.  I can go two weeks or more without putting gas in my car (for $4/gallon, there should be diamonds in that gasoline).  I have been able to get regular treadmill workouts in on weeknights.  Everyone at the new job is super nice and I have my own office (!!!!), and most of all I enjoy my work and all the new things I am learning.

Erika came home for Easter.

And we had a lot of fun.  Have you ever seen I Don’t Know How She Does It with Sarah Jessica Parker?  Well, we did, and it was surprisingly hilarious.  (Also, I think I have developed a slight crush on Greg Kinnear.  Is that weird?)  We had fantastic time shopping, hanging out, and track-meeting.


You never realize how much you take your siblings for granted until you can’t see them whenever you want.  I miss my sister time.  Can’t wait for June, when both Erika AND Jessica will be back in town!

Nathan broke the coffee table.

Don’t ask me how.  Apparently the coffee table is poorly made, the top being composed of a bunch of small pieces of wood glued together, rather than one large block of wood.  I wasn’t there, but I wish I was, because the story was rather hilarious.  Nathan tells it well.  The best part is the part where the broken piece falls on his big toe.  I think this blurry cell phone picture speaks for itself.


Luckily, my husband is also talented at putting coffee tables back together.

I grew as a person . . .

One day, the good old mailman decided to put the Unfriendlys’ mail in our box.  Normally when I get someone else’s mail, I throw it back in the mailbox with a helpful note to the mailman telling them that they delivered mail to the wrong address.  Or I throw it away.  I was tempted to do one of these things (or both, since there were two envelopes).  But it was clearly not junk mail, and for reasons unknown I felt strangely compelled to be the bigger person. (We have our best scientists on the case, to make sure I didn’t temporarily lose my mind.)  So I returned their mail.  Politely.  And in person!  Growth, I tell you.

I cooked!

Actual meals!  With a grain, dairy, meat, and vegetable!  And also edible!  Two Sundays in a row!  If you don’t believe me, the finger I sliced open with the vegetable peeler will be your proof.

And I had no free time, because . .

I spent the vast majority of the month of April reading, after I got sucked into a book.  Not just any book, but the Game of Thrones series.  I checked it out in a four book e-book set from the library, which was a million times faster than waiting on hold for four separate books.  The problem was, the checkout time is 21 days maximum, and these books are ridiculously long.  And by ridiculously long, I mean longer than any book I have ever read except for perhaps Gone With the Wind.  Or the Bible.  My theory was to read as much as I could during my 21 days, and then I could check out the rest of the books individually.  I figured I would at least get through the first book, and maybe the second if I was lucky.  But then I started reading, and promptly became addicted to the storyline. 

I read breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  I stayed up late reading.  I spent hours of free time on weekends and evenings reading.  I carried my Kindle with me everywhere, and pulled it out whenever I had a spare five minutes.  By some miracle, I finished the first two books with a week to spare.  Since I was averaging a book a week, I decided to move on the third.  What I didn’t know was that the third books is significantly longer than the first and second books.  In paperback form, books one and two are 720 & 784 pages, respectively.  Book three is 1216 pages long!

So the last day of my checkout period rolls around, and not realizing how much longer the third book is, I think I am almost finished.  I tell Nathan I will need to read for probably an hour to finish.  I didn’t want the book to vanish off my Kindle right before the end!  I have been reading forever, and the story seems like it is in a good ending spot.  But every time I think the book will end, I page forward and find yet another chapter.  This continues for FOUR HOURS.  Nathan kept laughing at me, because normally I would love a long book.  But not when I am tired and on a deadline!  FINALLY, I finished the book, well past my bedtime.

Of course now that my checkout period has expired, I have learned that as long as I don’t connect my Kindle to Wi-Fi, library e-books don’t get taken away.  How I wish I had known that before.  But on the plus side, I am getting to read the fourth book now, and at a leisurely pace!

* * *

So you can see, it was a rather busy month in the Realm of Queen Megan, even though none of it was being documented here.  But now that I no longer have to be a book-reading hermit, I fully expect to stop being such a procrastinator and give my blog, my husband, and the laundry a little more attention.  Hope you are enjoying a lovely spring, wherever you are!



Senior Moments

Last weekend, the weather FINALLY cooperated and stayed dry long enough for me to finish my brother’s senior portraits.  We took most of them last fall.  However, I had a fantastic photo idea a couple months ago, and just needed a dry weekend day to actually take the picture.


Get it?  Class of ‘12.  I love the idea, because it’s not something you can do every year.  And it also is made so much better by the fact that he actually DOES track.

Speaking of senior moments, Dakota was not the only one having them this weekend.  While we were at the track taking this picture, we noticed some idiotic teenage boys.  The high jump mats had been left out to dry for just a little while that morning.  During that time, these geniuses had decided to stack them all on top of each other, then take turns climbing up the football goalpost and jumping off onto the mats.  What is wrong with teenage boys?  It’s like they have no brain cells.

Anyway, my dad is the head track coach, so we kept trying to call and text him to let him know what was going on.  He wasn’t answering his phone, so we decided to just go find him.  As we were walking to my car, Dakota tried to call my dad one more time, and oddly enough we heard the faint sound of a phone ringing close by.  We turned around, and realized that the little storage shed by the finish line was ringing.  Sure enough, when we found my dad, we also found that he had locked his cell phone in the storage shed.  There’s a senior moment for you! (Love you, Dad!  The story was just too funny not to tell it.  If it makes you feel better, I tried to put cheese away in the kitchen cupboard instead of the refrigerator yesterday.)

Here are some of my favorites of the other gazillion senior pictures that I took for Dakota last fall.






Monday Laugh

I had quite the laugh about these signs posted in my dad’s classroom window this weekend.

Does anyone else see the irony?


On the other hand, my dad draws a pretty good orange.


Still Smoking

You may recall the little incident that I wrote about in February, in which our adjoining neighbors’ garage caught on fire, yet they never managed to tell us about. 

I was really mad at the time.  I wanted answers.  Since Mr. & Mrs. Unfriendly next door were never going to tell us what happened, I called our townhouse management office that Tuesday.  And called.  Left a polite voicemail.  Called some more. Left another polite voicemail.  Called some more.  Left a rather unfriendly voicemail demanding an answer by the end of the day Thursday.  All to no response.

I wanted to find out what happened, make sure the threat of fire had been eliminated, and verify that we did not have to worry about our shared garage wall (which includes our gas water heater and electrical panel, if you were wondering what I was so worried about).  Since management here is clearly useless, I finally decided to take matters into my own hands – I Googled our neighbors address.  And came up with this headline:

“Two Small Alligators, Snapping Turtle, and Cat Survive Fire”
At that point, I don’t know what disturbed me more – the fire, our slacker property managers, or the fact that my neighbors are housing ALLIGATORS and a SNAPPING TURTLE.  I wonder how the cat likes them?
So that Friday, I was off work, and stomped down to our rental office to give them a piece of my mind.  “Hello, I am the girl whose calls you aren’t returning,” I announced.  They gave me a big story about how they had been out of town at their corporate office dealing with ‘fire stuff’.  That’s fine and dandy, but put that on your answering machine!  (Or, novel concept – check your messages remotely.  What if there was another emergency?  Or worse, another fire?). 
They then told me that the fire had been “user error”.  Cue blank look from me.  They elaborated, and it turns out that “user error” is code for “heat lamp over magazines”.  They also said that the damage had mainly just been smoke damage, and assured me that we had absolutely nothing to worry about.  YEAH, RIGHT.  Had they not heard about the alligators?
We got renter’s insurance later that day.  And promptly started looking for a new place to live.
ANYWAY . . . the point of this blog was not to tell you that story.  That story was just to catch you up on everything, so that I could tell you THIS story:
So this Monday, we had a beautiful one day reprieve from the endless rain.  Nathan took advantage of the lovely weather by washing his car.  While he was outside, a random unknown neighbor approached him and said, “Don’t mind my dog, he’s really friendly, he just runs away from me.” 
Nathan looked around and realized the guy’s dog was over by the fence that leads from our front yard to the back yard.  The neighbor asked Nathan to help him get the dog back.  Apparently this dog really did not want anything to do with its owner (a fact that I find rather troubling, but there isn’t much we can do about it as we don’t know who the neighbor is or where he lives).  Again, why are all our neighbors so weird?
Nathan was finally able to reunite dog and owner.  The guy thanks him.  And then looks around and says, “Hey!  Aren’t you the guy whose house caught on fire?”
Nathan: “NO.”
NO, we are just the idiots who live NEXT to the idiots whose garage caught on fire.
And always will be, until we can escape the nut job neighbors on this street.
I think we would both be great hermits.


License and Registration, Please

This weekend, we made the trek up to Washington to celebrate some of Nathan’s family’s birthdays.  They live in Skamania County in the Columbia Gorge, which is a really beautiful area no matter what time of the year.


Nathan’s mom was able to get us a room at the Skamania Lodge at a majorly discounted rate (thank you!).  The Skamania Lodge is a massive hotel tucked away in the woods above Stevenson.  It’s got conference rooms, pools, hot tubs, restaurants, and a gazillion rooms.  I guess it is pretty fancy schmancy in comparison to your regular old Best Western.  It doesn’t have the luxuries, amenities, or privacy of a five star resort (we realize now how  spoiled our honeymoon made us), but it’s certainly nice enough for a one night stay.  My biggest complaint was that the heater was louder than our furnace at home.  And we all know that I am a regular Kevin McAllister when it comes to loud furnaces. 


Nathan went out in the evening to celebrate his brother’s 30th birthday, and I stayed at the hotel to relax.  I had planned to hit the hot tub and pool until I realized how many children were there for spring break and nixed that plan.  Instead, I ordered room service and watched Bridesmaids.  The beauty of room service is that you can order off the children’s menu without being judged.  I had checked out the dining room’s menu, but as appetizing as rabbit soup does NOT sound (yes, I said RABBIT soup), this is not the Hunger Games and I am not a starving citizen.  Also, I am morally opposed to paying more than $20 for one meal.  I returned to my room and ordered the $5 kiddie grilled cheese and fries, and then dug into the Keebler Elf cookies I got at Market of Choice earlier that day.


Around 11:30 that night, I went to pick Nathan up from the birthday bash in the next town over.  It’s about a 10 minute drive up Highway 14, which is a really curvy, dangerous road.  Another storm had rolled in, it was extremely dark out, and I was driving in a torrential downpour and could barely see anything.  Fun, right?  I picked Nathan up, and we headed back to the lodge.  Almost immediately after I turned onto Highway 14, a car appeared behind me.  Their headlights were blinding me even more, and I complained about it and adjusted my rearview mirror, joking to Nathan to watch behind him and make sure it didn’t end up being a cop.  Turns out, the joke was on me.

Not less than a mile later, I notice the flashing lights behind me.  I was not speeding (the speed limit is only 50 MPH, and I was going 40 due to the rain, dark, and sharp curves with gigantic signs recommending speeds of only 30 or 40).  “Are you kidding me?” I said to Nathan.  “I’m not doing anything.”  I pulled over, irritated and annoyed because I KNEW I had not been breaking any laws.  The following conversation then took place (after I had rolled down the wrong window, because having never been pulled over, I did not know that cops approach the passenger window and not the driver’s). 

Officer: “Hello folks, –”

Nathan: “What exactly were we doing wrong?”

Officer: “Don’t interrupt me!  Now as I was saying, I pulled you over because you have a brake light out.” (Readers should note that I was not aware of the brake light being burned out.  However, while one brake light was out, the other two were working perfectly fine.  If you have a husband as smart as mine (or access to Google) you will find out that the law only requires two working brake lights.)

Nathan: “OK . . .” (While wondering why this warrants me being pulled over.)

Officer: “Also, I noticed you were driving slowly”. 

Me: “I can’t see anything.” (Gesturing to the monsoon outside.  And wondering if this officer would rather be peeling me off the roadside because I was speeding and wrecked in the pouring rain.)

Officer: “No drinking tonight, right?”

Me (makeup-less, wearing glasses, past my bedtime, and wondering how stupid this guy has to be to even suggest it): “No.” (Although I may or may not have been on a chocolate/sugar high from all the ElFudge cookies, so take THAT!) (And if he really thought I had been drinking, I don’t think he would have just ASKED me and taken my word for it.  I’m pretty sure he would have said, “Prove it.” So why bother asking me, dude?)

Officer: “OK then, license, registration, and proof of insurance please.” (Leaves me to stew about the unjust-ness of it all.)

We sat in the car for a few minutes while he ran my information, only to find that I have never committed a crime or traffic offense in my life.  HA! 

Officer: “Where are you folks headed to tonight?”

Me: “Back to the lodge in Stevenson.”

Officer: “OK, well I am going to let you go with a warning.  Make sure you get the brake light fixed.  Have a good night.”

Nathan & I:  Silence. (Wondering how I could be getting a ‘warning’ for something that is not a ticketable offense. Wondering exactly how fast he expects me to drive in massive storm.  And very much NOT wishing him a good night in return.)

I cannot tell you how MAD this whole experience made me.  I have never been pulled over in my life until last night.  (Once in high school, I thought a cop was pulling me over.  I accidentally drove off the shoulder of the road trying to pull over for him.  It turned out he just was in a hurry to get somewhere, felt really bad that I got so scared, and he came back and helped me get my car back onto the road.  Very nice guy.) 

I am not pretending to be a good driver – I speed, I drift, I forget to use my turn signal.  (Heck, when we finally did get back to Stevenson, it was so dark and rainy that my husband had to point out to me that I was driving in the turn lane instead of my own.  Pull me over for that, if you must!)  But if I am getting pulled over, it should be for breaking the actual rules of the road.  NOT for complying with the law by having two out of three working brake lights.  NOT for driving at safe speed in inclement weather on a dangerous road, because I am terrified and would just like to get back to my hotel alive.  And NOT just because I happen to be driving late at night.

I have never agreed with the stereotype that cops are jerks.  I still don’t.  I like to think that they are mostly good people who are just trying to protect us.  But with my experience last night, I finally understood the reasons why that false stereotype gets perpetuated.  Being in the situation, it was very clear that this guy did not pull me over just to give me a friendly heads up on my brake light.  I felt targeted, like this guy saw me pick someone up from a bar, and pulled me over HOPING that I had been drinking and he could bust me.  Well, too freaking bad for him.  I hope he felt like an idiot when it became very obvious that I did not have a single drop of alcohol in me, and that I was just a traveler from out of town trying to navigate an unfamiliar road in the pouring rain.  I would NEVER consider drinking and driving and endangering myself or others on the road, which is why I was serving as a designated driver in the first place.  I’m still mad just thinking about it. 

In the end, I guess the real joke was on the sheriff.  He was the one who had to stand in the pouring rain, get freezing cold and soaking wet, only to find out that he had pulled over a innocent person whose biggest traffic offense was terrible night vision.  Happy April Fools, buddy.