Saturday, March 28, 2009

HGTV Whore
I have been watching an incredible amount of HGTV while I've been on this trip with Jim.  I'm beginning to wonder how I have lived without's like aesthetic heroin.

Baby it's cold  windy outside
Jim's project hasn't been going so well, due mainly to the screw-ups of the guys who did the wiring before he got here.  He's working really hard, long hours to get everything fixed, so I decided on a whim to walk to his worksite.  The walk was about 4 1/2 miles round trip.  Silly me thought that since I could walk a mile in about 15 minutes, that it would be easy and relatively quick.  Mmm hmm.  There were some hills involved.  And I was pushing a stroller.  When I finally got to what I thought was the site - the hospital - turns out I overshot where he was by about a half mile.  So I grabbed a bite to eat in the cafeteria and then headed back.  He was only able to get away for a few minutes, but it was worth it to surprise him.  The trip back was probably entertaining to anyone watching.  I was walking directly into the wind the entire time.  There was a storm front moving in, so these were some strong winds.  Needless to say, pushing a stroller up hills with 25 mph winds blowing directly at you is challenging, to say the least.  I felt like I was in one of those dreams - you know - the ones where you're trying to run away but can't.  It was just like that.  And to add to the comic aspect of it, I was getting smacked silly with leaves the entire time.  Eli really enjoyed the wind.  It was his first real experience being out in it for so long.  And we got back to the hotel just in time.  It's storming like crazy right now.  All in all, it's been a good day :)

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Today is Eli's First Birthday!!!!!

And oh, how he has changed! It's been
truly incredible to see all of the changes
over the year and watch him learn SO much!

Here he is at two days old

And here's what he looks like now

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Hotel Hell
It's been an interesting far.  To recap from my FB page:
"So we roll in to the hotel around 1 am. Eli is exhausted and sick, so we get to the room, a two-room suite, and I put him right to bed. About 10 minutes later, Jim comes up saying we have to move rooms b/c they only allow pets in smoking rooms. So we uproot our sick, tired child and move him from a lovely two bedroom suite to a tiny carcinogen-filled stinky room. Their website says pets allowed. It says NOTHING about room restrictions. We never would have booked this place if we knew they were going to stick us in a tiny cancer room. I. Am. Pissed. Did I mention this crap hole doesn't even have a fridge or microwave? They brought us a microwave to put...on our floor? They're bringing a fridge up in the morning. In the meantime, all of my perishables for Eli are downstairs in the employee fridge. UNacceptable."
Here's a sunny update.  We moved to a different hotel this afternoon - The Residence Inn.  We are now paying LESS for a two-room suite WITH a kitchen that is non-smoking.  They not only allow pets, they have cute little signs to put on the door-knob saying "Four-legged guest inside".  This room has a door AND a sliding glass door to the outside.  And it's really nice.  And it smells good.  And it has central air.  And a cute little table by the kitchen area.

Erin is very happy now.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

[New]Home stuff
-Our front door knob is strangely close to the door frame.  I've shut the door on my fingers an embarrassing number of times, considering I know this.
-There were several stains on the living room carpet when we moved in.  Our landlord says he's had the carpet "professionally cleaned" twice.  I took some spot shot from Dollar General and got two of the stains out in a matter of minutes.  I'm going to attack a few more of them this weekend.  I wonder what he means by "professional".
-Housing is more expensive here, but not as high as most suburbs of big cities, for example: Chicago, New York, ...San Francisco...
-I've been told that car insurance will cost a bit more here as well.  We haven't switched yet.  We have two months left on our insurance from Indiana, and they'll honor it until it expires.
-Jim's car was damaged while parked on the street the second day we were here.  It's dented and scratched above the right front tire.  Jim  Our insurance considers it a hit-and-run, so we have a $500 deductible to fix it.  So, our vehicle gets hit and we get punished.  That's fair... ):-(
-The city of New Orleans is shortened to Nola here. New Orleans, LA.  Events in the city are commonly referred to with that nickname.  There's a website,, which has "everything New Orleans".  There's even a channel we get here called Nola 38.  People here would say that we live on Nola's Northshore.

Family time
Jim and Elijah and I are going to the Nola Auto Show today!!  It's our first real time doing something fun here as a family.  I'll post pics, if our crappy little digital camera takes any decent ones.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009


Here are a few of Eli's room. He's got the best
room in the house, with a big bay window.

This is our living room. I've created a cozy little corner by the front door.

And the French doors leading to the back yard are really nice.

Here's our really large backyard. I thought the dogs would love it,
but they really don't care. That's OK. We love it.

And this is our little dining nook/office. It will look better once we get curtains.

And just for laughs, here's our storage room. Its absolutely packed.

Monday, March 16, 2009

So Jim left this past Thursday morning (the day after we finished unpacking) for a follow-up trip to a Gainsville, Florida worksite.  He'll be lucky if he gets to head home this coming Thursday.  Turns out he's mostly sitting around waiting for the machinery to be completely set up and running before he can do his job and tune the engine.  They just want him there...because...I really don't know.  Just...for...

I got nothing.

I usually get one phone call a day from Jim when he's traveling, in the evening.  My conversation during the day usually consists of baby's first words and Dr. Suess, so by the time he calls, I'm desperate to have adult conversation.  It's like opening a flood gate.  Poor Jim.

Also, right before he left, he noticed that the truck was running a little hot.  He thinks it just needs a new thermostat, but in the meantime (until he gets home), I shouldn't really drive it too much.  So far, I've gone out twice, and only to get necessities, like formula and dog food.  

So basically I'm stuck in a new house and can't really go anywhere, in a new town I'm unfamiliar with, with no friends and no family.

And it's rained for three days straight.

Kinda sucks.

Maybe the sun will come out tomorrow and I can take a walk with Eli.

And I know I'm not the only one who just broke into the song from "Annie" just then...

Thursday, March 12, 2009

We're finally unpacked and settled.  We actually got everything unloaded and put away in a matter of days, thanks largely to Vinny coming down to help (thanks again, Vien!!).  The house is smaller than our house in Lafayette, but it feels a lot cozier than that one ever did, mostly because it's carpeted in the living room and painted in light neutrals and whites.  It's starting to feel very homey.  

Mandeville is a small town; even if it were combined with its neighboring town, Covington, it wouldn't be as big as Lafayette.  But I've always liked small towns.  It's a nice compromise for Jim and I; I get the small town experience, and he gets to be next to a big city again.  

We're living in what is referred to as "the northshore" here.  That term includes Mandeville, Covington, Slidell, Abita Springs, and other surrounding towns.  For anyone not familiar with the landscape, that's because we're all on the northshore of the huge lake, Lake Pontchartrain, that separates us from New Orleans.  We have to take a 24-mile long bridge over the lake to get to New Orleans from here.

Or, New-aw-lins, spoken as close to two syllables as possible.

People are really nice here.  Must be that southern hospitality I've heard about.  The night we arrived, our new neighbors offered to help right away, and gave us some home-made soup.  The next night, they made barbecue chicken.  They're really sweet people.  Up north, we're friendly with our neighbors, but basically keep to ourselves.  Here, our neighbor Tom came over the second night, knocked on the front door, asked me where "the boys" were, put out his cigarette by the bushes in our front yard, walked in and insisted they come over for "a cold one".  I couldn't help but laugh.  Guess I'd better get used to it.

Louisiana fun facts:
-Louisiana is the only state to have "parishes" instead of counties.  We live in St. Tammany Parish.
-Lake Pontchartrain is the second largest salt-water lake in the US.  It is home to many large sea creatures such as alligators, bull sharks, stingrays, dolphins, and manatees.
-The 24-mile causeway bridge over Lake Pontchartrain is the longest bridge over water in the US.

Pests and pets
We have geckos here!  I've always thought they were so adorable.  There was one trapped between the screen and window in our dining room the night we got here, and it scared Jim when it scurried away.  I want to try to catch one, but I don't want it to get scared and drop its tail.

Unfortunately, we also have crane flies.  They look like huge mosquitos, but are harmless.  They basically exist to mate and die.  They're really clumsy and not too bright.  When I let the dogs out at night, they fly in the house, run into the walls, and fall down.  Then Bo eats them.  Everybody needs a bedtime snack, right?

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Things and stuff: moving day

-We were going to move tomorrow.  Now we're moving Saturday, with an additional moving truck and driver: Vinny.  We bought him a one-way plane ticket home.

-We have a massive amount of stuff.  Seriously.  It's weird.

-Our refrigerator arrived today.  That's right TODAY.  Two weeks after paying for it.  And did I mention it's not even the one we bought?  Yeah.  That one doesn't work.   Imagine that.

-There are three men currently loading stuff into our moving trucks.  I am sitting on my bum blogging.  Somehow it feels right.

-I've been dealing with what I refer to as "fat cramps" the past couple days.  You know, cramping in that line right below the rib cage where the roll forms?  Don't act like I'm the only one...

-I'm thinking of starting a whole new website for myself once we get settled down south.  Something to incorporate my photography and blogging.  I need a creative name for it.  I'm taking suggestions.

-I'm really going to miss my family and friends.  I never thought I'd be thankful for email and Facebook.

-Those who have promised to visit, had BETTER.  You know who you are.

-I turn 30 on April 7th.  I'm surprisingly unaffected by this.

-I'm mentally tired from the past couple of days.

-I am going to miss Igloo vanilla cokes.  I'm drinking one right now.

-Jim managed to damage his OWN car whilst moving an engine lift in the garage.  He said "shit".  It was funny.

-I've "said goodbye" to several friends over the past couple of days.  I'll see three or four more tomorrow.  It's not emotional or anything, and I prefer that.

-I have been very contemplative this past week.  I've spent my entire life, almost three decades, in this city.  It's a bit strange to uproot and leave it all behind.

-I need an adjustment.  My back, not my attitude...

-In three days, I will be living somewhere warm.  Be jealous, Yanks.