Thursday, December 23, 2004

Surviving Christmas

Wow! What a roller coaster we’re riding right now. Maybe I’d better start with the bad news first. The bad news is that the ice fairy (in the form of 2 inches of sleet) visited Memphis Wednesday and all of I-40 in Arkansas and the temperatures are not going to be above freezing until Saturday. It took me an hour and a half to get home from work which was 14 miles away. We were planning on being in Oklahoma Thursday night and Friday, but we decided we didn’t wanted to travel 400 miles on ice. Plus, Monica has a nasty cold and I am having really bad upper back problems. It is amazing how long a day is when you are iced in and sick. This is being called the worst winter storm in Memphis since 1994.


Okay, now for the good news, and there is a lot of it. #1 We opened our presents tonight and we both loved them. #2 I made an A in a class (Intro to Grad Studies) I was expecting to make a B in. #3 We painted a room in the house. #4 We rented the movie Elf and that always makes us laugh. #5 The ice should melt Saturday so we can go to Monica’s grandparents for Christmas. #6 The chance that we will have a storm this bad again around Christmas or any time is pretty slim. #7 I went to traffic court on Monday for a speeding ticket for going 5 over and they completely dismissed it. That’s right, no court costs, no probation, just $5 for parking.


Needless to say, our life is exciting and challenging right now. We are going to make the best of this Christmas and we are sure it will be great. We are looking forward to going to Chicago for the New Year celebration and more importantly, to be with family. Hope your Christmas season is full of cheer. Don’t forget there is also a greater reason for Christmas!

Saturday, December 18, 2004

Saturday Blues and Space Bags

Saturdays at our house go like this: Monica goes to work, Ben does whatever he wants all day. Count your blessings if you don’t have to work on Saturdays, I've heard it is the worst day in the world to work. The real conflict begins at 5 PM for us. Monica comes home from a long day at the office and is all excited because her weekend is starting. Ben is winding down from his day off doing housework, yard work, homework, etc. He is ready to relax because this is the middle of the weekend for him. All he hears from Monica is “What do you want to do tonight?” and “Where are we going to go?” and stuff like that. All Monica hears from Ben is, “I’ve done a lot today, I want to stay at home” and “Let’s just hang out here.” We have fought for the last 12 Saturdays in a row concerning what to do Saturday nights. So what do we end up doing? We hang out at home, watch SNL (which we expect to be funny, but it never is) and go to bed.


Now for the good part—the part for those who read through the boring first half of this blog. I was watching PBS plead for money today and the teaser show they were showing was Haley’s Hints. I learned how to make those Space Bags that you see in the commercials that you put blankets or clothes in and then suck them down into a nice compactable size. Well, you can do that with just a vacuum cleaner and a trash bag. I put three queen size quilts in a trash bag, stuck the vacuum attachment in it, and sucked the air out. It compacted down to the size of a pillow. I twisted the bag around tied it off and now those blankets take up no space at all. You probably already knew to do this, but I think it is so neat how you can do it for free.

Thursday, December 16, 2004

Trading Spaces...Thompson Edition

When life gets routine, change bedrooms! We decided that the master bedroom was too cold so we moved next door. The office is now the master bedroom and the master bedroom is now the office. My parents thought we were crazy, and it was at that point that we knew we had done the right thing. Tyrone was confused for a while, but he’s okay with it now. Actually, he doesn’t care about anything but sleeping 22 hours a day. It funny the things you come up with when you don’t have cable.



Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Finished

Whew!! I am finished with all of my finals and my first semester of school. It is amazing how many things I knew a few days ago and how little of it I can remember now. For the next 3 weeks I have to convince myself that I want to go back and face it all again! I’ll try to ride this post-finals high as long as I can—it feels so good to be finished.


With all that said, this is the first time in Monica’s life that she does not get to have a full 3 weeks of Christmas break, but her boss did pay for manicures and pedicures for everyone in her office. I have a feeling she’d rather have those three weeks, though. Also, she secretly despises me because I get the whole 3 week break off, but I am working at my part-time receptionist job at the psychologist office as many hours as I can (which is only about 9/week). Oh yeah, I am also going to traffic court on Monday, so I’ll be spending everything I make at my job on the court costs because I need to keep my record clean.


It’s crazy how close Christmas is. We pretty much have all of our shopping finished and I only had to go into one girl store and feel uncomfortable. For some reason when I go into those stores I can’t make eye contact with anyone, it’s too weird. On a more interesting note, we finally found someone that likes to sit in the dish chair we have—the neighbor’s cat Tyrone! He sleeps in it about 6 hours a day. I knew those chairs were good for something.

Saturday, December 11, 2004

Two Thompsons Roasting on an Open Fire

Apparently, Memphis is full of all kinds of ‘firsts’ for us, the most recent being an office x-mas party which included playing Dirty Santa. For a quick recap I’ll list our top 5 tips for hanging @ an upscale x-mas party with the co-workers:


5. DON’T buy your gift-wrapping bags from the $1 Tree or your presents will be the last two left under the tree that nobody wants.

4. DO take a tour of the house to see what the ‘good life’ is like.
3. DON’T take the soap out of the bathroom even though it seems like an upscale hotel.
2. DO buy gifts that cost WAY more than $10 even if that was supposed to be the limit.
1. DON’T ask the hostess where she got the fake flowers (they were real flower arrangements made by her).


As you can imagine we were a little out of our league. At least we’ll be more adequately prepared for next year. We’ll be getting our gifts at Macy’s & having them gift-wrapped there as well. Ben’s evaluation of the evening was, "I can’t believe you work with that many head-strong, aggressive women everyday!"? (we got to see the claws come out whenever it was time to steal other people’s presents during the game). All in all it was a fun evening & we survived - whew!

Friday, December 10, 2004

Our New Mouse Catcher

Two weeks ago I was on the attic stairs looking into the attic and noticed something I hand’t seen before—a huge rat trap. It is one of those that snaps the rodent in the middle of the back as he tries to take the bait off the painfully obvious trap. This trap was big enough to kill a small dog! Anyway, I thought, “Hmm, there must have been, or there is a rat in our attic.” Just then I look to my right and I am face to face with the rat. It scared me to death, even though it had already been dead for a long time. Actually, it was pretty much a skeleton, but it still scared me. Just the thought of a rat in the attic watching my every move gives me the heeby jeebies.


Anyway, I got a new rodent catcher—our neighbor’s cat. Floyd (our neighbor) is old and migrates to Florida after Thanksgiving until January sometime. He leaves his cats outside to roam around and a neighbor feeds them. Well, we have kind of taken Tyrone into our home lately and let him dwell with us. The Bible does say, “love thy neighbor [and his cat].” The “and his cat part” is a textual variant not in the earliest manuscripts. However, I think he now believes that we live in his house. Oh well, he is potty trained so we don’t mind. The best thing is that I use him to make sure we don’t have any rodents in our house like the rat in our attic. It’s a good trade—he gets free rent, and I don’t have to worry about rodents. He sleeps in our house at night and at about 5 AM (give or take an hour) he comes in purring like an airplane engine, at which point I put him outside and go back to bed. The End.

Wednesday, December 8, 2004

Our First Night to Entertain

We decided to have our church homegroup over last Sunday night for our first time to entertain in our house. Our homegroup mainly consists of young couples with no kids from Sycamore View church of Christ and it is one of the most amazing groups we’ve been in. This group really took us in from day one and has impacted us in so many ways. The group exists to encourage and love one another, and that is exactly what happens.


Okay, back to the entertaining. We had 14 people including ourselves and it was a full house. I (and I alone) made Hawaiin Stack-Up (thanks Matt) and everyone loved it. Next time I will pay somebody to cut up all the vegetables, though. Also, I used our rice cooker for the first time (thanks Aunt Barbara). It is pretty cool when you can cook 10 cups of dry rice (21-24 cups cooked) and not have to worry about it boiling over. While I was doing the kitchen work, Monica (and only Monica) did her magic on the house. One guy remarked that he could not believe how clutter-free our house was. It is actually pretty simple—marry a crazy neat freak and turn her loose. I am the one and only unorganized thing in Monica’s life only because I wear garlic around my neck and hide in the attic when she gets her neat freak on.


The home group started at 6:30 and the last people left around 11. It was really nice to be able to open up our home to others. We hope to continue to do that for as long as we are here. Hopefully we will have some holiday pictures of our house soon. I put icicle lights on the house, and I now understand why people hate putting lights on their houses. I am already dreading taking them down. However, I get some satisfaction out of them because they are straighter than everyone else’s lights on our street. So, maybe Monica has worn off on me after all.

Thursday, December 2, 2004

Thanksgiving Fun!!

We had a great Thanksgiving week with both of our families. Our first Thanksgiving was last weekend with my family. One of the most fun things we did was play miniature golf with 13 people at the course by Edmond Church of Christ. Mark & Darci beat Monica & me by one stroke. Garrett (our 4 year old nephew) hit a ball in the water on the course that was an artificial blue color, so I fished it out & gave it back to him. The first thing he did was stick it in his mouth because it apparently looked good with blue water on it. His face turned something awful as he realized the blue water did not taste as good as it looked. It was great to be with family.


Thursday we got up really early & drove to Springdale, Arkansas for a traditional Thanksgiving dinner with Monica’s family & grandparents. What a meal! Everything was incredible & I am still not hungry. The best part was being with her family & playing Nerts with 11 people. Her Uncle Dale (who looks exactly like her dad with a beard) was there & that was a special treat because he is not able to make it to very many Thanksgivings. It was great to see him. We drove back that night & thus ended our Thanksgiving celebration.


Last night we celebrated my birthday by going to see The Incredibles. We would have had dinner too but we got in a fight & didn’t eat. Apparently, I can’t get away with wanting to eat at Wendy’s for my birthday—I should probably know better, but I'm a male which somehow causes me not to know better in a surprising amount of circumstances. Hope everyone else had a super Thanksgiving!

Saturday, November 13, 2004

Life Lessons: Scooter Riding and Pie Auctions

scooter_pie.jpgWe've learned a few life lessons in the past week. Actually, I [Ben] learned the first one all by myself: Don't ride the scooter in the house. Sunday morning I decided to go for a leisurely ride from the bedroom to the kitchen. I was going a little fast & didn't correctly negotiate the turn around the dinner table & into the kitchen. "Owww, Monica!"

When Monica came running in I was sprawled out on the kitchen floor holding my wrist that was slammed between the scooter & the floor. I seriously thought I broke my wrist & knew I only had liability insurance on the scooter, so I was scared. I survived with a knot in my wrist & a little less dignity.
Second life lesson: always go to pie auctions. We had free tickets to the Harding Grad School chili supper & pie auction. It was a fundraiser for scholarships. Basically, seasoned pie making veterans donate pies to be auctioned & rich people bid a lot for them. Now for the best part--the pie bid winners share their pie with those at their table. We had some pecan pie, strawberry pie, chocolate pie & cranberry pecan pie. Does life get any better than that? All those pies were all bought for about $100 each! So, never pass up a pie auction, & don't ride your Razor scooter around in the house.

Tuesday, November 9, 2004

Perks of the Job

holland2.jpgThe perks of being a travel agent are finally starting to pay off they're sending me on a cruise! At the end of November I'll be setting sail on Holland America from Port Canaveral for a couple of days. It's a special trip for travel agents, so we'll actually be going on a cruise to nowhere for 2 days. The really exciting part is that it will be on a brand new ship, the ms. westerdam. This ship just started sailing in Spring of '04. Holland America is also a pretty elite cruise line - fancy smancy.
This will be my second 'business trip'. I got to go to Minneapolis earlier in October for a training seminar. Basically in this business the more places you go to, the more you can build up your business. You can always sell something that you've experienced better than you can sell something you know nothing about except what you've read in brochures & on the internet.


A lot of people think that you pay more using a travel agent (that's what I thought before I worked here), but you actually get their services for free because tour companies, hotels, car rental places etc. all pay us commission. The only exception to this rule is on plane tickets that aren't in a package because airlines decided a few years ago that they weren't going to pay travel agents commission - hence the $35/ticket service fee that we have to charge.
Speaking of my new career, if anyone is planning any future trips feel free to give me a call or leave a comment on the blog & I'll call you when I'm @ work. I'm looking forward to planning all of your future vacations!

Friday, November 5, 2004

We miss the OC

oc_couch.jpgThe premiere of The OC came on last night and since I work until 7 PM on Thursday nights I had to double check & triple check that Ben put a tape in the VCR to tape it for me. On the way home I was singing the theme song to the show (California by Phantom Planet) except I changed the words to say, " Oklahoma here we come right back where we started from OKLAHOMA" instead of California. Don't get me wrong, we're getting into the groove of Memphis & actually like it here a little. There are just moments, days & sometimes weeks that we just want things to be back the way they used to be.


Obviously we miss our friends & family the most, but it's the little things that we miss too. Now I know you are all probably tired of hearing the differences between Edmond heart of America' Oklahoma & Memphis ghetto of America' Tennessee. Some days we just want to have 200 great Mexican restaurants to choose from & to have a Wal-Mart SuperCenter within walking distance from where we live.We don't, however, miss the 400 mph winds in Oklahoma!


There MUST be a reason that we're here & I'm sure whenever we do move away someday those reasons will be obvious, but it's tough. My mom said that whenever their family moved once when she was little that my grandpa told them, "Just stick it out for 6 months & then we'll see." We've been here a little over 2 months so I guess we haven't really given this place a chance. In the meantime, what is everyone's favorite thing about Oklahoma so that we can quench our homesickness?

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Our Fine Chinet

chinet2.jpgWe've achieved a new level of laziness. I think it is pretty brilliant and a little pitiful at the same time, but mostly brilliant. We complain about not having a dishwasher sometimes. What once was a luxury has now become a necessity and we don't have one. Solution: Chinet, plastic, and styrofoam. What better way to avoid washing dishes than to have disposable dishes? We have paper plates, plastic cups, and styrofoam bowls. We find this cuts down dishwashing time by 100% and saves water. I understand we are contributing to the trash problem, but hey, the styrofoam will biodegrade in 1000 years or so.


Monica thinks it is so funny that I reuse our disposable dishes. She used a plastic cup tonight and then I reused it. Then she ate ice cream out of a styrofoam bowl and I reused it for my ice cream. Doesn't everyone do this? A good plastic cup can be used for a few days at a time before it needs to be trashed. It pays to be lazy, especially when it involves the avoidance of washing dishes. Brilliant!

Thursday, October 21, 2004

October—The Month of Two TV sets

tvs.jpgOne man's best time of the year is his wife's most hated time of the year. I am talking about the blessed month of baseball playoff season. Finally, I have a show every night that I want to watch. As I told Monica, "If the Gilmore Girls were playing for the pennant, wouldn't you want to watch?" To which she responded, "What's a pennant?" I rolled my eyes & never told her.


Anyway, reality shows & girly shows are 365 days a year... is one month of baseball too much to ask? The answer is no & this year of baseball proved to be truly magical. I often wonder what it would be like if Monica liked baseball, but I realized that would make her too perfect & I couldn't handle it. I will never go for all of her girly shows, & she is never going to understand sports. Our compromise, then, is just to complain about each other.
No, the real compromise is to have two TVs in the living room. That's right, this way I can watch the games while she watches whatever she watches & we can be together. Wow, we got this marriage thing down. If we aren't careful we'll be able to co-exist with the best of them.

Monday, October 18, 2004

Our Non-Political, Political Blog

election04.jpgWell, we registered to vote about a month ago when we got our Tennessee drivers licenses & had never received our cards in the mail. I finally called them today to see what had happened & they said that our cards were in the mail. Sure enough I came home to find them waiting in our mailbox. Where do we go to vote? None other than South Park Elementary School. We thought that was pretty funny.
With all that said, we WILL be voting (even if I have to drag Ben to the polls kicking & screaming). Who we will be voting for we'd rather not say - mainly because we want everyone to like us still. This weekend we rented the Michael Moore film Fahrenheit 9/11 just to see what all the hype was about. I have 3 words to describe this film: OUT OF CONTEXT! Some parts were interesting, but mostly we just wanted it to be over.


This will be our first time to get to vote in a presidential election because in 2000 we were both overseas. I remember all the Australians making fun of the US because of the whole Florida recount thing - I hope it doesn't happen again. No matter how you vote just try to be an informed voter & vote for whom you think is the best candidate - wow, you don't hear that often!

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Eating Differences

turkey_dinner.jpgYou're at Thanksgiving dinner, your grandma has really outdone herself & cooked turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes & gravy, green bean casserole, homemade fresh rolls right out of the oven, corn on the cob & many other 'melt in your mouth' specialties. How does Ben eat this delicious meal? He will start with the turkey until it's completely gone, then turn his plate clockwise to the mashed potatoes, on to the green bean casserole, once that's gone he moves on to the rolls etc. Oh, & he also completely forgets about his drink altogether & may take a sip or two at the very end of his meal if at all.


I, on the other hand, absolutely love to take a bite of each thing or at least mix a few of the delicacies sitting on my plate together to truly enjoy the full experience of Thanksgiving dinner. I like to put some turkey, mashed potatoes, a vegetable & a bite of buttery roll & let it all melt in my mouth like it's SUPPOSED to. I'm pretty sure that the Pilgrims & Indians didn't eat their food in 'groups' either.
I'm sure there's some psychological reason for all of this & why Ben is so weird so please feel free to enlighten me. We won't even go into the differences in cleaning, listening or bathroom etiquette... or maybe we will in future blogs.

Friday, October 8, 2004

Supersize Me

supersize_me3.jpgI'd been waiting for this documentary to come out ever since I heard about it on NPR. A man decides to go on a strict McDonald's diet for 30 days straight (meaning all he eats are value meals for every meal). He makes it a sort of medical experiment by reporting to the doctor every few days. As you can guess, it is a pretty interesting movie, especially if you eat fast food regularly. We eat fast food a lot less frequently than before, but not because we've decided to save our health, and ourselves but because fast food isn't so fast around here. Anyway, watch the documentary if you get a chance, it might just change the way you look at the golden arches.

supersizeme.jpgThis is not one of those "let's scare the daylights out of you so you never eat again." It is a "hmmm, so that's why I feel sick after eating fast food." One of the best parts, though, was the special feature on McDonald's fries. Let's just say that if you bought McDonald's fries and left them out on your cabinet, they would look exactly the same in 7 weeks. We're thinking about trying this after we move the dishes off our cabinet that have been there 7 weeks and have grown moldy eyes since we don't have the luxury of having a dishwasher.
Thank you to everyone who sent us some advice about our situation. We both feel better after your encouragement. We are climbing out of the pit of despair and self-pity, and realizing how great our lives really are--and they are great because of all of you.

Tuesday, October 5, 2004

We've got those Memphis blues

frustrated_dog2.jpgIt is hitting us like a ton of bricks right now. Why on earth did we move? I was at a great school, Monica had a great job, we had friends, we lived in the fairy tale city of Edmond, America, we were doing fine & then we moved away from it all. We have hit major moving depression & it stinks. Nothing is exciting anymore & we quit trying to pretend that we like it here. You might be reading this thinking how awful it is for us (thanks for your pity), or you might be chuckling to yourself because you've been through this before (please tell us how to survive).


I've read about culture shock & about the stages of it, & it applies to moving as well. Apparently, there is a honeymoon/enchantment phase where it seems like everything is awesome & you totally made the right decision to move, but then there is a decline--the decline into disenchantment. It can be gradual decline, or in our case, a double-diamond black ski slope into the pits of despair. Yes, we are entirely & utterly disenchanted. And yes, my speeding ticket. failed car inspection, windshield replacement, school frustrations, falling off a car antics, & messed up home projects definitely haven't helped.

Monica has her own separate list that is more emotionally focused than mine because she has feelings besides happy or upset. But, we just went through about 10 days where we couldn't catch a break & the only things going up were the numbers on our checks. Fortunately, it is leveling off now & I am taking the FOR SALE sign out of our yard (okay, we didn't really have a sign, but we almost did).
Hopefully, the next phase we will go through is a contentment/adaptation phase where we are at peace with the fact that we aren't in Edmond anymore & our lives don't revolve around OC. Any advice from those who have made a move & experienced this moving depression is appreciated. Will getting a dog make everything okay? How about buying a whole lotta stuff that we can't afford-that is supposed to help, right?


Sorry to use the blog as a pity party. We just needed an outlet for our frustrations. Okay, I needed an outlet for my frustrations. We've had some fun amidst the chaos, it's just hard to see because we're going crazy-want to come with us?

Sunday, October 3, 2004

A Night @ the Movies

paradiso.jpgLast night Ben must have been feeling ill because he said that we could actually go to the movies!! Now, I realize that this is a normal occurrence for people & probably doesn't seem like that big of a deal... but for us it's like going to Disney World! When we were walking out of the theater Ben asked me if I wanted to watch all the credits so that I could treasure every second since we wouldn't get to go for another couple of years.

We didn't go to a typical theater either... apparently there is a piece of Edmond in Memphis at the Paradiso. The picture above is the outside of the theater & here is a picture of the lobby. Fancy smancy to say the least!
After the movie we stopped by the Wild Oats Natural Marketplace to get a pumpkin that Ben promises to get me every year (a big pumpkin for our porch & a tiny pumpkin just for me). We also found a tongue cleaner that Ben has wanted for a long time - you'll have to ask him about it. All in all it was a really fun night & we found out that we can still do fun things in this new town.

Sunday, September 26, 2004

Puppies, Puppies, Puppies!

puppies2.jpgPalm tree & coffee table just aren't cutting it, we're about to venture upon what every family goes through... adding a puppy to the family! This past week we've been going back & forth on when the best time to get a puppy would be & on what kind. Here's our dilemma... Ben has always dreamed of having a BIG dog like a golden retriever. I, however, want to be able to snuggle with the puppy on my lap. So, we've come to a compromise that as long as we get an actual puppy (about 7 weeks old) then we can get a golden retriever or a lab & it can grow up to be a big dog.
There are all kinds of things to take into account before getting a dog. For instance, who will take care of it when we go on our life-long dream trip to Europe? Also, can we afford a dog because we can barely feed ourselves? Should we get it now so that it will already be potty-trained by the time we travel with it over Christmas or should we just wait until next spring or summer? What to do, what to do. Does anyone have any advice or suggestions? Oh, & here are the long-awaited pics of our new pot rack & freestanding shelf that we got from IKEA.

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Something Other Than Driving

sandwich2.jpgI know what you're thinking... enough with the driving blogs. Well, I could write about the lovey dovey stuff we do like make each other lunches and put love notes in them. Or, I could write about how we are going to go to different puppy breeders to pick out our future puppy. Instead, I've decided to write about sandwich bags.
The other day we ran out of sandwich bags, which is a travesty when you don't live across the street from Super Wal-Mart. We do live next to Cooper's that has a cop on duty around the clock, but we only go there as needed, and we're packin' when we go. Anyway, Monica decided she would go to the Dollar Tree next to her work and get some new bags. This morning I was making her lunch and opened the box of bags. I pulled one of the bags out and it was a hobbit bag. I couldn't believe how small it was, and I could barely fit half a sandwich in it. It was ridiculous, but I examined the box and it said they were snack bags. What a fluke, but really funny.
It really isn't that funny if you think about it, but the next part is. I put a note in Monica's lunch that said, "These aren't sandwich bags... they're baggetts!" Monica called me at lunch and we laughed for 10 minutes about it. We thought it was funny, but maybe it was just a long day. Maybe we'll blog something with some more substance to it later, but we are watching America's Next Top Model right now, which makes us dumber.

Monday, September 20, 2004

On the Road Again

road2.jpgMemphis, TN to Edmond, OK - 8 hrs.
Edmond to Wichita Falls, TX - 2.5 hrs.
Wichita Falls to Edmond - 2.5 hrs.
Edmond to Tulsa, OK - 1.5 hrs.
Tulsa to Edmond - 1.5 hrs.

Edmond to Memphis - 8 hrs.
= 24 hrs. on the road!!
Getting to spend the weekend doing all the things we wanted to do with friends & family that we love = priceless.
I'm not sure how Ben & I possibly survived being in a car together for that long, but we somehow made it without killing each other:) We're quite the Midwest travelers I must say. Throughout our trip we were able to go to one of the most beautiful weddings we've ever been to, spend some time visiting Ben's grandmom who is in the hospital, & see a lot of friends & family that we've missed so much since we made the big move. Thanks for making us feel like we never left!

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Good News, We won the lottery

tag_agency.jpgNo, even better, we just saved 3.5% on our insurance by staying with the same company. Apparently, we had to write a whole new policy in Tennessee even though it was with the same company. And let me tell you, I was so excited to hand over that $579 (please read sarcasm into that). It would have only been $568, but it turns out that they needed to up my uninsured motorist coverage. Why is this, you might ask? I'll tell you why--60% of the drivers in Memphis don't carry car insurance! That is astonishing to me. When I get hit, I have a 3 out of 5 chance they won't have insurance.
By the way, we got our licenses the other day, which only took 2 hours (we miss those tag agencies on every corner in Edmond). Anyway, while we were getting our licenses, we watched people in a separate room taking their written driving test on computers. We soon noticed that they were completely unsupervised--a guy & a girl were just sitting there helping each other on their driving tests & nobody cared... I kind of cared, because I have to drive around town next to those cheaters.
That's all I have to say about that! We are excited to go to Tulsa for Matt & Mandy's wedding!! We'll be at Memorial Road on Sunday morning, so if you see people that look like us, it's probably us, & you can say hi & give us money, if you want. This is our first trip back to the old stomping grounds & it seems like a lot longer than a month! Nothing better have changed while we were gone. Hope to see each of you soon...

Sunday, September 12, 2004

Good Drivers Wanted in Memphis

stoplight.jpgWe were warned before even moving here that once you cross the Mississippi River you'd better beware of Memphis drivers. Apparently, whenever signals were invented no one told the entire city of Memphis. Whether they're crossing 1 lane or 5 lanes of traffic they just kind of go where they want to & don't feel a need to let everyone else on the road know where exactly that is.
Another really exciting thing that happens a lot is people running red lights. For example, you can be sitting in the middle of an intersection with a green yield light & you'd better hope that you aren't the first car. The reason for this is because it's very likely that 1, 2, or sometimes even 3 cars will run the red light leaving you stuck in the middle of the intersection with lots of cars honking at you to get out of their way.
Now, I'm a big fan of go carts but I never knew I would live in a city where you feel like you're on a race car track while driving to work everyday. This has been a serious adjustment for us, but I am determined to keep my 'no tickets/no wrecks' perfect record so that I will continue to have proof that I am in fact the better driver between Ben & me.

Monday, September 6, 2004

A Whole Lotta Pictures

corkeys.jpgHere's some of the stuff we've been doing lately via all the pictures we finally got scanned, enjoy!
The Graceland Pics you've all been waiting for...
Monica & Elvis

What to wear, what to wear?
Elvis' white fur bed
Bobbie, Dante & Monica outside the Mansion

Dante & Mon hanging out
Our House Pics you've all been waiting for...
Livingroom

Diningroom
Kitchen1
Kitchen2
Bedroom

Ben's infamous desk
Backyard1
Backyard2

First Days...
Ben's 1st day of graduate school
Monica's 1st day of work

Saturday, September 4, 2004

From Graceland to Chicago

porch.jpgIt's fun to say that we are going to take a weekend trip to Chicago. From what we've heard, it's about 7 1/2 hours away--which is WAY better than the 12 hours it takes from OKC. We thought we needed to blog before we left so you wouldn't forget about us...but we didn't, & I'm telling you, do not try to get out of Memphis at 6:30 because we sat in traffic for an hour. The total trip took about 8 1/2 hours.


We do, however, have pictures of Graceland. I (Ben) didn't go, because I needed to do homework and because we couldn't afford for both of us to go. After all these years, they still want $16.20 for students and $18.00 for adults. Monica, Bobbie, and Dante went and toured the great mansion. I'll let Monica take over now and tell you a little about it.
Well our day began as usual getting lost. Graceland isn't as easy to find as you would think & even after we paid $2 to park we somehow ended up in the http://www.elvis.com/epheartbreakhotel/default.asp">Heartbreak Hotel instead of Elvis' mansion, which was our destination. Once we got there we emptied our pockets to see the fabulous mansion Elvis lived in. We put our interactive headsets on & we were on our way. I found out a lot of interesting facts that I had no idea about... such as that Elvis was a twin, but his twin died @ birth & that Elvis actually served in the army for a good amount of time. I just always assumed that when I saw pictures of him in his army uniform that he was entertaining the troops. We also saw his round, white fur bed as well as every outfit I think he ever wore on display. It's definitely an adventure & something to experience once in your lifetime if you're ever visiting us in Memphis. Here's a picture of The King's grave, there will be more to come.

Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Where have we been?

couple2.jpgWe just up & move to Memphis & quit blogging. Shame on us. We are definitely not hurting for things to talk about at all. We have really been waiting to get some pictures developed so we could scan them & put them on here, but we have just been lazy.
We really want to show you our house & other things. I will tell you that we stumbled on a Pottery Barn & William Sonoma outlet store about 1.5 miles from our house. It is incredible. I found a top (they called it a Belford Top) for my desk for $19.99--marked down from $149.99--& it is beautiful. We also bought a huge picture frame for $19.99--marked down from $99.99. You need to see the pictures to appreciate both the items.


My classes are going pretty well, & my first day of off-campus work starts tomorrow. I will be working at Memphis Integral Neurofeedback Institute about 9 hours a week as a receptionist. One benefit is that I get to float for free--see the Web site.
Monica has jumped right into the travel agent superhighway & it is not slowing down. By the way, Voicestream gave her the same cell phone number someone else named Shawn already had. Anyway, she is learning at light speed at Carlson Wagonlit & got a great deal for a sister of one of our friends to fly to London & back. I'm telling you, if you are traveling anywhere, you need to at least give Monica a call & see what she can do for you.


It took us 20 minutes to get our food at Arby's tonight. When will we learn? We promise pictures soon, as long as you allow "soon" to be a relative term.

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

Where did all the SUV's go???

elvis.jpgSomehow we made it here & managed to get moved into our house (although it wasn't technically ours until today which is a whole other story). Talk about culture shock! The top 5 weird things about Memphis are listed below:

1. Customer Service - N/A meaning there is none.
2. 2 words: humidity & mosquitoes.
3. Imagine if someone took all the street names in a huge city written on little pieces of paper, shook them all up in a hat & dumped them all on a map, you have Memphis.
4. I've been to Wal-Mart 5 times already & haven't seen Elvis once!

5. People here honestly believe that everyone from Oklahoma is a cowboy (thanks Big Brother 5!)
We needed to get that out of our system because we are experiencing major culture shock. We are definitely on edge & constantly on each other's nerves, but that is to be expected in a stressful situation. We will try not to tell you all of our nightmare stories, like how the phone company only set up our service for a pulse dial phone (whoops, we must have left our rotary phone IN THE 60's), or how we get lost every single time we go out, or how we showed up on our closing date & were told we were not allowed to move in. We will try to show you some before & after pictures. Our house is really coming together & we are pleased. The wood floors are in incredible shape & the yard is making a dramatic turn around... so please come visit us!! By the way, we found out the couch we fixed up originally cost $450 new at Mathis Brothers three years ago.


Now that we have Internet, we will have to blog more to keep you posted. Please keep reading & commenting because we don't want to lose contact with any of you. We have our new contact information & will soon be sending it out as soon as we get our cell phones switched to Memphis numbers.

Thursday, August 19, 2004

Farewell Oklahoma

goodbye.jpgThe time has finally come - we're actually picking up & moving 500 miles away to a land far, far away called Memphis. We'd like to shout out a few good-byes to some special people in our lives before we ride away into the sunset...

- Grant, I never thought in a million years that you would end up being one of my very best friends. I wouldn't be the same strong-willed girl that I am today w/out you being such a big part of my life.
- Christel, you are one of the most beautiful girls I've ever known on the inside & out! I will miss hearing about your nightmares & soap opera life more than you know.
- Lacey, what would I do w/out my tall, skinny, blonde friend w/ an attitude?! I am so glad we were brought together by a crazy situation & came out stronger than ever!

- Mandy, my life would be in shambles right now w/out your fun spirit, great fashion advice & fellow reality TV show addiction. I'll miss seeing your smiling face in the office everyday SO much!
- The OC Marketing Office, I can't imagine working w/ a more fun group of people than you guys!! I will always be there in spirit @ all of our every other Tuesday meetings (Stephen will be sitting on me in my chair).
- The Wednesday night girls club, Thank you girls for letting me be a part of all your show watching parties & girl's night outs. I always looked forward to having girl time & finding out who Carrie would end up w/ or how many girls The Bachelor could actually make-out w/ in a hot tub in one season.

- Matt, I have no fear of losing our friendship just b/c we're moving hundreds of miles away. We've been through it all & I will never partake of a Sonic drink w/out thinking of you.
- Lily, I love you so much my dear & can't imagine my college life w/out your beautiful smile:) Don't ever forget 90210 & 'Dawson's Creek Church of Christ'. You will forever be on my list!
- Jayna - I stepped into B-dorm almost exactly 6 yrs. ago & there awaited the craziest roommate I would ever have. Thank you for never giving up on me & I hope you never stop making donuts w/ your belly while you brush your teeth:)

- Jared, we've been around the world together & had an "interesting" semester living together. It is wonderful having a great friend like you & I know you will become a great doctor that I would trust my life with.
- Patrick, you probably won't read this blog unless I make you, but we have been friends since we were 4, & I couldn't ask for a better friend. Even though I am bad about calling you when I say I will call you, you still let me hang out with you. Good luck in your new teaching job!
- Bill & Kathy, or as I know you, Dad & Mom, I'll miss you. We had to leave sometime, but it won't be easy. We'll miss Sunday lunches & dinners when we've run out of food. I'm sure we will call you a lot, especially as we try to adjust to our new surroundings. Thank you for all your love & support.


We love & will miss you all!

Monday, August 16, 2004

Domingo, the other Mathis Brother

couch_front.jpgToday we have a wonderful story for you. It is about how Couch came into our lives. Couch was spotted at 12th & Penn last Saturday at one of those cash only, most everything is junk, places. However, Couch jumped out at us, sitting there all alone in the parking lot. We looked through the stains & the rips, & saw something we liked.


I asked Domingo what he wanted for the thing & he said, "Fifty dollars." I almost choked on my own tongue, told Monica the price, & we decided we had to have it. I left him a $10 deposit & borrowed my parents Suburban. Later that evening, Couch came home with us & Monica was on a mission, which means I was soon sucked into the restoration of the couch.

Phase 1 - Take an ugly picture of the couch & toss the ugly throw pillows away.
Phase 2 - Take the back cushions to the dumpster & empty all the old, brown, stinky cotton inside them.
Phase 3 - Take the empty back cushion covers & the seat cushions to the bedroom & spot clean them before washing.

Phase 4 - Empty the couch & take a picture of the contents, including the Garbage Pail Kids cards. (Do you remember these? I used to love them before I understood how really disgusting they were).
Phase 5 - Stuff the back cushions with 10 pounds of polyester fiberfill from Wal-Mart.

Phase 6 - Reshape the pillows after they've been stuffed - Ben did this by playing WWF in the livingroom.
Phase 7 - Borrow a really nice steam cleaner (thanks Judson & Amanda!) & clean the entire couch to remove the stains & 'interesting' smell.

Phase 8 - Take the "after" picture & look at the difference.
I hope you can see a difference. You have to keep in mind Couch only cost $50 & that it has quite a bit of use under its belt. We are quite proud of ourselves for this investment & Domingo made himself a little more money to buy more junk. Hope you can come & sit on Couch in Memphis. We leave in three days & we are almost completely packed. However, we are still going to blog & we want it to be a way to share our lives with you.

Friday, August 13, 2004

Full Circle

mon_n_ben.jpgLast night while we were packing & watching TV we saw that the Olympic ceremonies are officially starting tomorrow. Ben said, "Wow, the last time we heard the Olympics were about to begin we were sitting around a youth hostel in Tokyo, Japan." I had the same memory because (for those of you that don't know) we were on the same study abroad program 4 years ago. Ben & I met on this trip & I can't believe how our lives have come full circle since then. Neither of us had any idea all those years ago that we would be husband & wife today.


One of my favorite memories of me & Ben is when we rode a ski lift up a mountain in China @ the very beginning of the trip. It was just me & him & we only had one pen between us so we took turns writing in our journals. Ben decided that he was going to be a monkey & climb all over the side of the mountain, while I kept screaming that I was going to have to tell his mom that I was the last one to see him before he killed himself. I had no idea that 'his mom' would someday be my wonderful mother-in-law. We talked about if there were one person on the trip that we would kiss that it would be each other, but our lips never touched until almost exactly 2 yrs. later.
Now, we are about to venture on a whole new experience in our lives together in Memphis. I wonder where we'll be in this world when the Olympic ceremonies of 2008 begin & if we'll remember sitting in our apt. in Oklahoma City packing up our lives

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

A Little Ditty

benandme.jpgThe other day Ben & I were driving home & the song Jack & Diane by John Cougar Mellencamp was playing on the radio. After a couple of verses the chorus played & both of us sang @ the same time, "A little ditty about Ben & Monica" instead of Jack & Diane. Now, I know they say that once you're married that you may start to finish each other's sentences, but we do things like this ALL THE TIME & it's starting to freak us out a little!


Ben & his good friend Austin used to change words to songs all the time to make each other laugh. For instance, they decided to make fun of one of my favorite songs in our wedding (I Will Be Here) & changed the words so that it sounded really stupid just to make me mad. I must admit that NOW it's funny, but @ the time I was NOT a happy bride. So be warned that once you tie the knot you may develop ESP with your spouse.

Tuesday, August 3, 2004

Enhance your...

mattress.jpgdream life. We have found a guaranteed way to have the craziest dreams... & no we are not experimenting with illegal drugs. Here's how it all happened: I read in a magazine that your mattress should be rotated 4 times a year or quarterly, whichever term makes you feel smarter. So, I flipped the mattress bottom over top & got ceiling crumbs everywhere, so instead of just merely rotated it, I turned it over & rotated it in one smooth step. Then we slept on it.


We both experienced the craziest dreams one after another after another all in the same night. I actually had a dream within a dream. Last night I dreamed I was mad at Monica & I woke up mad & moved to the far side of the bed. I think she just dreams about kittens & pink flowers. Not really, she had some crazy ones too & I tried to pay attention while she told me every last detail about them.
Do it... I dare you. Flip your mattress bottom over top & get ready for some wild dreams & then respond to our blog & tell us if it worked. Sweet dreams.

Saturday, July 31, 2004

SURPRISE!!

cake3.jpgWe've had a few surprises lately. Thursday night Monica accused me of never planning anything, & that was the reason she planned her own birthday party. The only problem was I had planned a surprise party for her Friday night. Me planning it actually meant calling Matt Thomas & telling him I would like to do a surprise party for Monica, & he threw an awesome Hawaiian themed party! The point is, though, that I played a part in it all.
The second surprise came today at 2PM when I locked the keys in the car. I haven't done that in forever, so I thought it would be fun. This leads us to surprise #3--our car is WAY too easy to break into, so I won't tell you how we did it but it involved a stick & Monica's small arms.


Surprise #4 came after dinner when I got a call from Wellston Church of Christ saying they needed a preacher/Bible class teacher for tomorrow morning. I quickly pulled some resources together & agreed to do it.
What a weekend of surprises! We are excited & a little scared to see what will spring up tomorrow.

Wednesday, July 28, 2004

The BIG 24!

flowers.jpgAs many of you already know, today is my 24th birthday! It has been a fabulous day so far filled with lots of birthday surprises: lunch with the office @ Mazzios, flowers delivered to my office from my perfect husband, phone calls from friends/family & fun cards that made me laugh. I also had a wonderful birthday family dinner last night @ Ben's house. We had enchiladas, strawberry pie & I got a lot of really nice gifts!


My favorite thing about my birthday is that it's on the other side of the year from Christmas, so I get extra presents & extra attention! I also really like hearing stories from my parents & grandparents about the day I was born & how they all remember it.
For instance, I don't know how many times I've heard how hot it was that summer & all my mom did the last few weeks of her pregnancy was lie on the couch with her legs propped up & a fan blowing full blast on her.

Monday, July 26, 2004

Skip Church & Move

trailer.jpgI looked up the rate for a 5X8 U-Haul trailer to pull behind my faithful green pickup to Memphis (keep reading, it gets better). My dad & I think that a trailer of this size will fit a lot of things, but Monica isn't so sure... we'll see who's right & hopefully it won't be her again (I think the score is 1000-237).
Anyway, I was looking to rent it on Thursday one-way to Memphis & the price was $252. I thought, "Wow, that's a lot of money, I guess Monica will have to find another job." Then, I read an article on another site that said to move earlier in the week instead of the weekend like everyone else, & you know how we feel about being like everyone else.


About a week later, it finally clicked that I should see what the rental price for the trailer is if I rent it on Wednesday. I checked & the price dropped to $124. What a difference a day makes! Moral of the story: Don't wait until the weekend to rent a U-Haul, rent on the half-Sabbath (Wednesday) & it will be half price. Another moral of the story: Try to use your common sense a lot faster than I do.
Oh by the way, thanks for all your support on the grammar blog a few weeks ago... but then again, you probably think President Bush speaks real good. As you can tell, I have no hard feelings towards you or the President.

Friday, July 23, 2004

We're no better than anybody else

fighting.jpgWe did it, & we did it bad. I am talking about fighting about money. Yep, the numero uno of all things that causes fights among married couples. I believe that being personal & revealing on this blog makes us more interesting, so here goes...
I worry my rear end off about money. Yes, I even know all the scriptures about it, but I still worry. I worry about where to come up with $900 in closing costs by next week. I worry about how we are financially going to make it when we move to Memphis. It drives me nuts, & now that we are about to give our lives to a mortgage company... I'll stop for the sake of your sanity.

I need to stop for the sake of Monica's sanity! She hates worry. She can hardly stand it when I get going on a money kick. I had to stop her from cutting her ears off tonight. Somehow, she knows we will be fine & she has that confidence; however, I am in constant fear that the world will end tomorrow. So we fight...
And like every good fight, no one wins & everybody gets frustrated. I was trying to make the point that we will barely have enough to make closing costs (especially since they want all this money at the end of the month), & she was making the point that we will be fine & worrying will be no good. Finally, in our heated argument we came to an overly emotionally decision to not buy anything for the next month & not to go to any garage sales. We also agreed that we became like every other couple--we fight about money. One thing we never do, though, is make personal attacks at each other, & that is good.


By the way, whenever we write a blog & it sounds super serious & you don't want to comment on it for fear of our wrath... well, that is all the more reason to respond. We love any feedback we get, except for the person who spams us & leaves bad URLs, for thou shall experience our wrath someday.

Monday, July 19, 2004

Lists, lists, lists...

to_do_list2.jpgSome of you probably know about a crazy little habit I have which goes along with my obsessive-compulsive tendencies... making lists. Apparently, last night I started talking in my sleep (which happens quite frequently) & said "Ben, did you remember the cups & coffee table & dishes..." Ben said that I went on & on listing out a bunch of different things & talking really fast. So besides freaking my husband out I definitely showed my true colors through my subconscious.


Ben makes lists too, only he never uses them & usually throws them away several weeks/months after the fact. When I make lists, I LOVE putting boxes by all the things I need to do & check them off as I do them (I know, I'm sick). I'm pretty sure I get this nifty little habit from my dad who sits down & plans out his daily schedule the night before. We're talking detailed schedule...
5:45 am get up & take shower

6:00 am get dressed & read Bible
6:15 am eat breakfast etc.

Friday, July 16, 2004

Domesticated Smomesticated

house.jpgSome might say that Ben & I are becoming the typical American family with a house, 2.5 kids, a dog & a white picket fence, but we are defying the odds! Our friend Austin would beg to differ & tell you that the next thing you know we'll be buying a mini-van. Our friend Ann would tell you that Ben should be opening that hole in the wall pizza shop on Manly Beach in Australia instead of signing mortgage papers.


We're actually pursuing our dreams even though it may appear that we're becoming, dare I say it, "domesticated". Ben truly wants to go to graduate school & to pursue either preaching or teaching or carpentry - he hasn't decided yet (whichever way he goes he'll be following in Jesus' footsteps). Yes, we could waste several thousands of dollars on rent in the next few years & not join the 'home buyers band wagon', but honestly who wants to live in the world of loud neighbors, white walls that you can't paint & no backyard?! Not us.
I have decided to accompany my husband on this journey to Memphis & pursue my dreams as well of finding out what I want to be when I grow up. I am truly excited about my new job as a travel agent & hope that I am great @ it! It works out perfectly because Ben likes to go to school & I like to work, so we make a great team.


I hope this blog entry has cleared up a few things for all of our single friends out there. We may end up doing something even crazier than you someday like move to the east coast so Ben can go to Princeton or being missionaries in Brazil. Your life is what you make of it & we intend to pursue our dreams with God's guidance & we can't go wrong.

Tuesday, July 13, 2004

Me and Ben.

mouth2.jpgLast night I was informed by my husband who always tells me how PERFECT I am that I don't speak correctly. Apparently, even though I have tried to be extremely self-conscious about the 'Me and Ben vs. Ben and I' thing I still do it all the time. I wonder how many other people in this world also don't 'talk right'.
Since I have married into a well educated family I'm pretty sure that speaking incorrectly rates right up there with murder. I was born a female so I tend to give a few more details in the stories I tell & the thoughts that come out of my mouth, so maybe while trying to get everything out I may say things a little differently.


We went to a marriage seminar a few months ago & the biggest quote that they kept saying over & over was "not right, not wrong, just different" when referring to the differences in spouses. Ben would of course argue that speech isn't a 'however you feel like doing it' kind of thing since there are dictionaries & we have rules about every silly little thing so as to have a universal way of speaking. I would argue that he shouldn't be SO concerned about the words I say as he should be with what feelings & emotions I'm trying to convey. Ahhh, the wonders of marriage.

Monday, July 12, 2004

House Hunting is fun.

harding.jpgOk, so maybe it's not necessarily 'fun', but it is exciting - especially when it's your first house! We made the trip to Memphis this weekend with Ben's parents to look for a house for us to live in for the next 3 years while Ben is in grad school. This picture is of Ben & his parents in front of Harding Graduate School.


A funny thing happened right when we got there... our realtor took us to the first house to look at & we absolutely fell in love with it! We almost saw no reason in even looking @ any other houses, but we went ahead & saw the other 5 houses she had planned for us to see. Of course we compared them all to the first one & went back one more time to look @ it again. It was perfect!
We went back to the realtor's office to put in a bid. Our realtor came back into the room with a pale look on her face & asked us if she was drunk because when she printed out the spec sheet it said that the house was about $16,000 more than what it was the day before!! Come to find out, she had accidentally showed us the wrong house... the house within our budget was 4 houses down from that one & didn't have a sign in the yard.


We decided to go see the house that we were originally supposed to see & ended up really liking it. It was very similar to the other one, just with less space & a few other things. Whew! It has a beautiful yard, hardwood floors, plenty of space for me, Ben & the puppy we plan to get & seems to be the perfect first house for us! The exciting news is that we did put a bid in on it & are waiting to see if the seller takes it. We were able to stay with some of our in-laws in Little Rock (thanks Scott!) & got to spend the weekend with family, which is always nice. Wish us luck on buying our first house, pics are below!


Front, Front2, Living Room, Dining Room, Bathroom, Guest Bedroom, Master Bedroom, Ben's Study, Kitchen, Back, Back2

Thursday, July 8, 2004

Ring Pops for the girls!

ringpops.jpgToday, after watching a fabulous episode of Gilmore Girls, Mandy & I got the idea of buying all us girls in our office Ring Pops.

No, we're not trying to send hints to our significant others that we would like bigger rocks. We just thought it would be fun to take a walk down memory lane & remember how much fun it was to get Ring Pops when we were little girls. Does anyone else have a favorite childhood candy?

Wednesday, July 7, 2004

Nephews are great!

nephews.jpgHere are our adorable nephews watching the fire trucks in the Edmond 4th of July parade. Why are nephews so great you may ask? Well... I had given up on the notion of ever being an aunt since my only sibling is 17 (love you Bubby!). So whenever I married into Ben's family it was so much fun automatically getting the title of 'Aunt Monica'! Weston just turned 6 & Garrett is 4. They are two of the craziest kids I've ever seen & so much fun to spend time with (a few times a year:)


We get to hear all the funny stories, buy them all the toys we really wanted when we were kids & the best part is @ the end of the day they are still Sarah & David's boys - not ours. Ben & I figure that we won't be pressured to have kids for awhile since there are already two little boys & Joel & Rachel can start their family soon. We'll just be in the background & by the time Mark has kids all the other grandkids will be in college (jk Mark;) For those of you that don't know, here's the line-up of Ben's siblings: Sarah-30, Joel-29, Mark-25, Ben-23.


On my side of the family it's just me & Bubby & my parents have made it perfectly clear that they're not ready to be grandma & grandpa yet - whew!

Monday, July 5, 2004

A Wedding Extravaganza

rehearsal.jpgThe wedding went wonderfully. Joel and Rachel are now part of the married club, or as we like to say, they have the 'marriage disease'. Basically, as we have experienced, the disease just makes you weird to single people. Anyway, the wedding was fun and it was really nice to see so much of our family.


Okay, I promised Monica to keep this short. We are going to Memphis for our first, and hopefully only, round of house shopping on Friday after work. Oh, by the way, I actually have a job in a warehouse unpacking old greasy food computer equipment, adding it to an inventory list, and putting it in pallets in the warehouse. And yes, it is as exciting as it sounds.
notebook.jpgWe'll try to write soon about watching The Notebook at the theater today, but we promise not to ruin it for you. We hope you have a great 4-day week. I think I will ask my boss if I can just switch to 4-day weeks every week.

Tuesday, June 29, 2004

CAMP!!!!

indian_night.jpgSorry, but we neglected our blog for a while due to church camp. Monica would be the better one to tell you about it since it runs in her blood. I am on the opposite end of the spectrum when it comes to camp.
Monica told me before we got married that she wanted to marry somebody that would be able to direct a church camp session like her dad does. Whoops... that is not me!! I'll have no problem sending the kids to camp, though, no matter how many times they get baptized (that's a little joke I have with somebody).
So as not to give you the wrong impression, camp was incredible! Monica's dad Larry was the camp director & Jo, Monica's mom, was the ultimate behind the scenes worker. Even Michael, her brother, was the lifeguard & a cabin checker along with Monica. It is absolutely amazing to see them all work together. Trent Tadlock was a co-counselor with me in the 13-14 year old boys' cabin. I would like to say I'm sorry to anyone who has boys that age--send them to boot camp... NOW! It was a lot of fun playing sports & swimming & going to devos all the time. Not to mention the SPAM throwing, Mud Pit & the Theme Nights (i.e. Hawaiian Night, 50's Night & Indian Night).


Anyway, we're back & I have heard that some of you went through withdrawals because we were not updating our blog. I promise that soon you will get tired of hearing all about our big move & graduate school & stuff like that. About the middle of August we will start asking for moving donations, so get your PayPal accounts ready. Camp pics are below:


Ben, Monica & Bubby, Ben & Trent's Cabin @ Hawaiian Night, Monica's Cabin, Cabin Check, Petey - the camp dog (yes, he's still alive), The Mud Pit, Mon & Ben on the golf cart

Wednesday, June 16, 2004

Self-Checkout Lanes

selfcheckout.jpgAfter traveling to somewhere exciting & writing about it on your blog, it always seems a bit hard to follow up with when it comes time to write your next blog.
So what about these crazy new self-checkout lanes @ Wal-Mart? I know that by now everyone has had a bad experience with one of these Jetsons contraptions. It's not that they're a bad idea, it's that the human species isn't intelligent enough to use them yet. I will say that they need some tweaking (the machines) because it's almost impossible to go through a self-checkout lane without having a problem with the weight being wrong when you put your items in the bag, or without it thinking you put something in your bag that you haven't scanned. It can be VERY annoying & make you wish you would have done it the good ole' fashioned way! Then there are those REALLY smart people that try to scan large furniture or take their basket full of @ least 100 items that they plan on scanning one by one through the self-checkout lane. Thanks people, you're making this 21st century technology advancement thing a lot easier (or not!).


Here are a couple of articles I found about the new replacement Wal-Mart cashiers: Article 1, Article 2.

Saturday, June 12, 2004

The Windy City

chicago2.jpgWe've been on planes, trains & almost a trolley the past few days. Chicago is one of our favorite cities & every time we come here we dream about living in a downtown apt. & only owning a car for long trips. Ben feels right at home in the Windy City--take that however you want to.


Last night we went to my sister Sarah's graduation from her ER residency. It was a pretty sweet ordeal and we had tons of fun after the ceremony. It was at the Olympia Fields Country Club--home of the 103rd US Open last year. It is nice celebrating with doctors and enjoying a nice meal. This is huge milestone in her family's life.
We never leave Chicago without eating deep dish pizza. Today we went with Mark, met Preston and Sara Ackerman at Giordano's and had some great deep dish pizza and conversation. A random homeless man saw our doggie bag while we were walking through town and he also got to share in the good pizza. We also never leave Chicago without going to H&M</a>. If you know what H&M</a> is you are really cool, and if you don't know H&M</a>, I'm sure Monica will provide a link for you to go to.


It was a wonderful trip, but now we're going back to
Oklahoma. It's funny to think that here in a few months we'll be calling Tennessee home. We'll keep you posted on all of our summer activities and try to make them sound interesting. Oh, and just for the record our favorite brother-in-law took this picture of the Chicago skyline - thanks David!

Tuesday, June 8, 2004

A Normal Week

wes_gar2.jpgWhat can we write about? After 201 things about ourselves, you probably know everything about us. So, I'll just tell you what we've done and what we are planning to do.
This last weekend we kicked it in Springfield, MO, and had a great time with the family. It was a nice, relaxing, and otherwise uneventful besides Monica's haircut.
Thursday, we are flying to Chicago for Sarah's (Ben's sister) graduation from her residency in the ER. She is about to be a big time doctor. We are excited to see her and David and their two boys. We realize with moving and starting a new job and a new school, our chances to see our family are going to be less and less. Maybe we are also really excited about going to H&M</a> for our bi-yearly clothes shopping trip.


Some of you might find this amazing, but I have a summer job! I am making copies full-time at a place called
ImageNet. I am a high-volume, professional copy boy. I get to work downtown 20-30 hours a week. As long as all of my earnings go into our savings account and nowhere else, we'll be in good shape. Now, if we could only figure out how to live on a budget...
Hopefully, we'll have some real excitement to write about when we come back from Chicago. A couple weeks ago our nephew Garrett said, "My favoritist uncle is Aunt Monica."

Friday, June 4, 2004

101 Things About Ben

ben_beard.jpg

  1. >I do my best studying & reading
    standing up.

  2. >I do not have a large vocabulary & get
    confused when people use big words.

  3. >I am the only one that really thought
    my beard looked good.

  4. >My five o'clock shadow hits at noon >.

  5. >I hate driving above the speed limit.

  6. >I have determined that class=SpellE>Atkin's is a huge conspiracy.

  7. >I am not a breakfast eater.

  8. >I cringe when I think about people
    paying for pancakes at IHOP because pancakes
    are so incredibly cheap to make.

  9. >I am the cook in my residence.

  10. >ESPN is my favorite channel, not because
    I am a sports junkie, but because it shows the best part of sports -
    the highlights.

  11. >I cheated my way through 4th grade
    math.

  12. >I enjoy biblical references in movies.

  13. >I watch The Shawshank Redemption for
    the very last scene.

  14. >I cried when I watched class=SpellE>Benji.

  15. >In kindergarten & 1st grade
    I had glasses with Smurf stickers on the side.

  16. >I have been trying to develop a photographic
    memory for 5 years now.

  17. >Castaway is one of my favorite movies
    - I like Tom Hank's beard.

  18. >I was more romantic before I got married, & I
    really want to know why it is harder to be romantic post-marriage.

  19. >I am only writing this list to make
    my wife happy.

  20. >I do not read forwards, even if I
    like you.

  21. >I got a 23 on my ACT.

  22. >I have an academic superiority complex.

  23. >Coffee gives me the shakes & interferes
    with my studies.

  24. >Reading > is like morphine in my system, it
    makes me really drowsy, so I keep reading because it feels good.

  25. >I work to get paid & don't get
    jobs because I think it will be fun.

  26. >I watch TV shows until they become
    trendy & then I quit watching them.

  27. >Popularity is a turn off for me.

  28. >I've owned 4 pairs of jeans in the
    last 6 years.

  29. >On >Pac Rim > I remember thinking I would never
    date a girl like Monica.

  30. >I eat even when I am not hungry & then
    feel sick in the morning.

  31. >I have a really hard time throwing
    old papers away.

  32. >If anyone tells me I didn't do something
    when I did, it makes me mad.

  33. >I stole a little Bible when I was
    a little boy.

  34. >I think the whole world we be 100
    times better if TV was never invented.

  35. >I do not believe in preaching a sermon
    for more than 25 minutes.

  36. >I love double cheeseburgers at McDonalds.

  37. >I lose 10-20 pounds every time I am
    sick.

  38. >Luis reminds me that anything can
    be fun.

  39. >I don't usually laugh at other peoples'
    jokes because it makes me mad that I didn't think of the joke.

  40. >I feel like a failure when I make
    B's.

  41. >I define myself by my academics.

  42. >I have a big ego, but try to hide
    it.

  43. >I like movies about smart gamblers.

  44. >I like big dogs & despise little
    ones.

  45. >I travel more for the experience than
    for the location.

  46. >I am extremely jealous of anybody
    that has a job with the travel channel.

  47. >I sweat when I am really nervous.

  48. >I use a poof in the shower.

  49. >When I go to Major League Baseball
    games, I almost fall over when I come out of the tunnel & see the
    field - it is absolutely beautiful.

  50. >I want to mow MLB fields
    with a push mower.

  51. >I am very shy.

  52. >I don't read my Bible as much as I
    should.

  53. >I love my wife more than life itself.

  54. >I only cry at funerals.

  55. class=SpellE>Abuelo's > is my favorite restaurant.

  56. >I am an idealist.

  57. >I don't think it was God's plan for
    the whole world to be a democracy.

  58. >I procrastinate when it comes to calling
    people.

  59. >It is hard for me to watch TV without
    doing something else at the same time.

  60. >I am becoming more & more like
    my parents everyday.

  61. >I have never voted in any election.

  62. >I don't even pretend to understand
    the concept of grace.

  63. >I feel like my summers should just
    be for volunteering at camps.

  64. >I do not clean up after myself in
    the kitchen (or any other room).

  65. >I have a North Face jacket even though
    I think North Face is way too trendy.

  66. >I want to canoe down the >Mississippi River >.

  67. >I have never carried a balance on
    a credit card.

  68. >I am bad about making jokes about
    money & it makes my wife feel bad.

  69. >I am a minimalist.

  70. >I love having a lot of space in a
    room, even if it means stacking stuff that doesn't need to be stacked.

  71. >I feel overly guilty if I go to Starbucks
    or Panera & don't buy anything to eat,
    so I try not to study at those places.

  72. >I want to live in >Europe > for a few years.

  73. >I am amazed at eBay, but more amazed
    at how much junk the world has.

  74. >I can get really grumpy when I haven't
    slept much.

  75. >I can never remember whether I locked
    the apartment door or not.

  76. >I do not trust car mechanics, even
    if I know them.

  77. >I think it is a great disappointment
    that Christian education should be so expensive.

  78. >I don't understand how anybody knows
    how to program computers.

  79. >I spent $150 on a pair of sunglasses.

  80. >I am addicted to video games, but
    have no way to play them.

  81. >I have also been to >Tonga >.

  82. >I have come up as extremely introverted
    on several personality tests.

  83. >I do not like C.S.
    Lewis's
    writings because they are too confusing & hard to read.

  84. >I always look at the pictures first
    before I start reading a magazine.

  85. >I am against big business, but go
    to Wal-Mart & have a Sam's card.

  86. >I want to work for myself someday.

  87. >I used to drink pickle juice without
    getting sick.

  88. >The warmest, kindest people I have
    ever met are Brazilians.

  89. >I used to bug my brother Mark relentlessly
    when he was on the phone with his girlfriend.

  90. >I like for the washing machine, dryer,
    or dishwasher to be on when I go to sleep - it makes me feel safe.

  91. >I never liked church camp growing
    up because it was always hook-up central.

  92. >I taught kids to juggle at >Camp > class=SpellE>Funnybone > for several years.

  93. >I never wear my gold tie when I preach
    because I think it looks too gaudy.

  94. >Half of the shirts I wear, I had in
    high school.

  95. >I am very indecisive when it comes
    to choosing what to eat because I will eat anything.

  96. >It is my life goal to teach Monica
    that the expiration date & sell by date are not
    the same thing, & you don't have to dump milk out on the sell by
    date.

  97. >My favorite movie used to be Message
    in a Bottle
    until I realized love didn't have to be tragic.

  98. >I enjoy writing research papers, but
    I enjoy complaining about writing them even more.

  99. >I will probably own a portable storage
    building behind my house one day.

  100. >I am a pessimist about most things,
    but I like to think of myself as a realist, which really means I am a
    pessimist.

  101. >I like to do a little better than
    the one before me.