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


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!