It's About Me, Praises, The Husband, The Relatives, Traveling

Memphis Weekend

It was my mother-in-law’s MAJOR birthday (I’m not allowed to mention a number but it’s the same year that the Wizard of Oz was released and the Worlds Fair opened in New York) over the weekend so Carl and I thought it would be a special gift to fly in for the weekend to celebrate with her. But first we had to actually get there.

We started by buying round trip tickets on Frontier airlines for super cheap to go from Thursday until Sunday. Unfortunately, the tickets were out of Orlando but they were direct flights.

But a week prior to leaving, I woke to an email asking me to call Frontier regarding our tickets. Turns out Frontier canceled all return trips on Sunday. There were no other options until the following Thursday. Nope, that’s not gonna work so we accepted $250 vouchers each for our canceled flights. After investigating all options, I finally found some decent return flights on Southwest for Monday.

Last Thursday, our trip started with driving in a torrential downpour to Orlando. After finally getting there and getting to our gate in plenty of time, we sat and waited for boarding. Shortly before boarding, they announced that they were “Swapping Planes” and we’d be leaving from a new gate. After getting to the new gate, Carl stood at the window and watched them start loading luggage onto the plane. Then he noticed them standing around the engine with tools. Then he watched them start unloading luggage from the plane. The aircraft staff (pilot and flight attendant), who had been standing near the gate waiting with us, suddenly disappeared. And that’s when we looked up and noticed this:

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After a confusing 10-minutes, they finally announced that we needed to return to the check-in counters at the front of the airport for further instructions. After making a beeline to the front and waiting in line, we were finally given papers that gave us the option to 1) cancel the trip and get $500 vouchers from Frontier or 2) rebook on another airline (with the cost to be reimbursed by Frontier) and get a $100 voucher each. We went with option 2 and frantically got on my cell phone and attempted to book new flights with United Airlines before everyone else got all the seats. Done, but unfortunately they were not direct and we now needed to travel to Houston first.

After starting to run to our gate for the flight leaving in 1-1/2 hours (originally it was scheduled to leave in 1/2 hour but thankfully, it was delayed an hour), we stopped and said “WAIT! What about the luggage?” only to read the notice on the bottom of the paper that said we needed to pick up our luggage at baggage claim and recheck it with new airline. Done.

After starting to run to towards security, we stopped and said “WAIT! What about our TSA Known Traveler Priority Access?” (because the security lines were ridiculous and we didn’t have time to wait), we returned to the United counter and got new boarding passes with our TSA Precheck.

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Finally, we got to our new gate and made the flight and arrived in Houston with a two hour wait before our final flight. Shortly before that flight was to board, we again heard those dreaded words “Folks, we are going to have a slight delay while we swap planes.” SWAP PLANES…again? We were sure that meant that they would end up canceling it and we’d be stuck in Houston for the night but luckily, after an hour delay while they changed a tire on the plane, we were in the air, arriving in Memphis at 1:00am.

Instead of arriving in Memphis at 5:30 pm, Ubering to Marilyn’s (Sue’s friend) house, where we would walk in and surprise Sue as I had arranged with Marilyn, we got to Marilyn’s at 1:40am, used the key hidden under the door mat, quietly snuck upstairs to the guest bedroom and crashed for the night until we could surprise Sue the next day.

WHAT AN ADVENTURE!

Crafting, It's About Me, The House, The Husband

Finally, a New Project!

The problem with buying a house that you really love, is that there is not much that needs to be done. And I’m okay with that because it just gives me more time to float around the pool with my cocktails and Kindle. But there is one area that has been bugging me for the past year. I had a hard time finding a good photo of the area but finally found this one from a previous Christmas.

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It’s the kitchen bar area with these Craigslist stools that I bought shortly after moving in and recovered the seats with fun, colorful fabric. Over time, I fell out of love with the stools, mainly because they felt wobbly all the time, even after we tighten them. And the other issue is Zack and his apparently dirty knees. I’m blaming Zack because he is the only one that sits there on a regular basis.

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You can see how dirty and gross the area was becoming (although the color is really bad in this photo).

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So the first step was to find some cute, new beachy stools on Facebook Swip Swap. I found these 4 almost brand new stools for just $200 and made Zack get up at 9:30 am on a Saturday morning to go with me so I wouldn’t be accosted and murdered. (Thanks Zack!) I sold my old stools for $80. So the net cost of the stools was just $120!

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The next step was to do something about the wall that would hide the dirt and grime in the future. I went to Lowe’s and had some 4′ x 8′ sheets of Luan (very thin plywood) cut down into 6 inch strips. After carefully measuring the wall and determining where the studs were, I cut the strips into various size lengths.

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Next, I stained the wood pieces in three different colors.

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However, after showing Carl my progress so far, my husband requested a somewhat more rustic look. Plus the dark and medium stain were really much more similar in real life. So I ended up putting some blue paint on the medium color boards and then sanding ALL the boards down to make them appear more worn and rustic. I then laid the boards out to plan out the installation and make sure it looked just the way that I wanted.

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To prep the wall, since there will be a slight space between each board, I painted dark brown where the edges of the boards will fall so blue doesn’t show through and the wall blends in.

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Next, I enlisted the help of the local handyman to actually put the boards up. Since the Luan is so thin and light, it went in easily with small finishing nails.

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After just a few hours, we had a beautiful, new wood wall.

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We finished off the raw edge on the left with a thin piece of luan.

img_1246With the new stools, it was the perfect, rustic, beachy vibe that I was going for!img_1243img_1244The wood wall cost $68 in materials (two sheets of luan and 3 cans of stain), plus $9 for two new bronze outlet covers for a grand total of $77 dollars. Quite a bargain for the big impact that it makes!

Now if only I could convince my husband to let me get a cute, new white, round dining table :). Then the area would really be complete!

 

 

 

It's About Me, Praises, The Husband

CAM Consulting/KLM Bookkeeping

So a month ago, I told you about Carl’s job search. At that time, he had turned down a full-time position with SMG and was going to begin working with them as an independent contractor. After doing so, the Finance Director kept after Carl about working with them full-time and Carl kept saying “then come up with more money.” Well, last week, SMG came up with more money! This morning, he begins his permanent, full-time position with them as Accounting Manager. We do lose our NFL retiree medical insurance but SMG actually has even better insurance. So now Carl just has to work with them for 9 years until he reaches 65 :). In case you were wondering, it seems like doors were closing with the other position that he was interested in which was another factor in him accepting this job. Congratulations Carl on your new position!

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Occasionally, when I am having a slow week of work, I will look at ads on Craigslist for a one-day a week bookkeeper to add a regular client to my repertoire. I have found two new clients in the past that way (one who was one full day once a week – although it is now down to every other week usually – and one who is one full day once a month). I recently responded to one of those ads and after talking with the owner of a bookkeeping company last week, I have accepted a part-time position with her firm. It will actually be 15-20 hours a week or more! But the pay was too good to pass up and she is my spirit twin…we are both bookkeepers, we are close in age, she has three kids, she was born and raised in Arizona and loves Tucson, she is a professional organizer, etc, etc. Plus, most of the work will still be done from my home, with only the occasional necessity to go to a client’s office. I am going to do that in addition to keeping the 10 clients that I work with on my own, so I’ll be approaching full-time work some/most weeks. So yay for me (I think)!

Side note: When I was discussing the potential new client with my husband, unsure of if I wanted to take on that much more work, he said “what do I have to give you for you to take it? A new used car?” I immediately jumped on the offer (seeing as I’m driving a 16 year old Lexus). So I’m documenting it here. After working for 4-6 months, my husband has promised to replace my vehicle. There’s no going back now, Carl! These are my witnesses.

 

 

Praises, The Husband

CAM Consulting

During his last month with the Jacksonville Jaguars, a coworker referred him to an Accounting Manager job with SMG, the organization that manages the stadium where the Jaguars play, as well as many other venues in the Jacksonville area. SMG is actually a nationwide company that manages venues in most major cities. Their Jacksonville office is at Veteran’s Arena, just down the block from the Jaguar Stadium.

After three interviews with SMG, he was offered the position last week. However, Carl did not feel that the salary was commensurate with his experience so he turned it down.

Plus there are two extenuating circumstances…

  1. Due to an NFL regulation, since Carl worked for the NFL for over 15 years and is currently over 55 years of age, we are eligible for the NFL “early retiree” health insurance plan. What that means is that we can continue to have health insurance at the current rate offered to employees until Carl is eligible for Medicare at 65 as long as he does not become a full-time employee with another company. Our current rate is $260/month for our family (it will go down after Zack ages out of our plan at 26 years)! That’s a hard rate to beat and we hate to give it up. Because if Carl takes a full-time job with another corporation and decides to only work 5-6 more years, we would then have to get private insurance to cover us until Medicare kicked in, which is typically over a thousand dollars a month. We’d really like to find a way to keep our NFL plan until Medicare!
  2. Carl has a lead on an independent contractor position for a job that he is very interested in and thinks he would like very much. However, it will most likely be at least a month before they are ready to start talking specifics and Carl knows more about that job.

And then earlier this week, SMG contacted Carl to see if he would like to work for them as an independent contractor for a few months on a project they have. It was a perfect solution! So Carl is now working full-time for SMG for a few months, which will buy him some time to figure out what he wants to do after that….he’s hoping that he will have more information on that other job or SMG may continue to utilize his services on other projects as well. In any case, we get to continue with our NFL health insurance for now, Carl is working full-time and he has more time to figure out what’s next.

We love the way God answered our prayers and provided for our family in just the way that we needed. God is so good!

 

 

The Husband

April Fool’s Day Non-Joke!

After 15 years with the MN Vikings and not quite 5 years with the Jacksonville Jaguars, Carl’s 20-Year NFL career is coming to a close. Ironically, on April 1st, the Jaguars notified Carl that they will be terminating his position. Finances for the Jaguar Foundation will be absorbed into the team finance department and he is being eliminated.  When I texted our children and my mother on April 1st, all but Kelly (who forgot what day it was) thought that I was pulling an April Fool’s prank on them and didn’t want to believe that it was true. Oh how we wish it were a joke!

He will continue to work until May 1st. And then they will give him 8 weeks severance pay. And then he is out of a job.

It is not a total surprise that this has happened. We have joked that Carl is “semi-retired” and gets a full-time salary for a part-time job. The responsibilities have been minimal and the hours needed to complete the job have been way less than full-time. So despite asking for other responsibilities to assist with the Foundation and trying to get involved in other areas, they have gone in a different direction. It is a bummer but it has been too good to last.

We are trusting in God to bring a new and exciting position to Carl. We are praying that He will open doors and bring new possibilities our way quickly. For now, we are keeping our search in the Jacksonville area. We are not feeling led to explore possibilities in other areas for now but that could always change over time. Please be in prayer for us as Carl begins a job search and figures out what he is going to do next!

The Husband, The Kids, Traveling

Jaguars vs. Dolphins

In honor of Sunday’s Jacksonville Jaguars versus Miami Dolphins football game, the Jaguars organized an overnight trip to Miami for each employee and one guest, leaving Saturday and returning Sunday night after the game.

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They chartered some coach buses for the ride down to Miami and put everyone up in a hotel for the night.

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I would have liked to have gone with Carl but with Anthony and Kameko in town and Kelly and Avram arriving on Sunday, I didn’t want to miss the time away from the kids. So Zack went in my place for some father-son bonding time.

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There was a welcome reception on Saturday evening after they arrived and pregame tailgating before the game. I’m told Zack ate 5 hotdogs at the tailgating!

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I’m sure that Zack enjoyed the football game much more than I would have anyways.

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And besides, it gave me an opportunity to do a thorough cleaning of Zack’s upstairs loft while he was away, since Kelly and Avram will be staying upstairs with him during their visit. I was able to remove all his empty cans, bottles and trash from the couch cushions before they arrived.

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Oh Zack….when will you stop being such a slob?!?

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It's About Me, The Husband, Traveling

Tucson Visit

Carl and I just returned from a crazy, hectic weekend in Phoenix, celebrating Anthony’s college graduation and meeting our future daughter-in-law. More on that to come! But first, we were able to head down to one of our favorite places for five nights to spend some time with Aunt Sandy in her beautiful home in Tucson.

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When my mom heard that we were going there before the graduation weekend, she decided to crash the party and come along with us.

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We enjoyed relaxing at Aunt Sandy’s and sharing in cocktails, meals and plenty of games together.

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The days were sunny and warm and the evenings were cool, perfect for sitting by the fire each night. Aunt Sandra was thrilled that Carl enjoyed building the tending the fire as much as she does.

Carl and I broke away one morning for a hike in Sabino Canyon, since our trips to Tucson wouldn’t be complete without spending time in the beautiful foothills.

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We tried a new hike this time, after a 70-year old man told us it was his favorite hike. It was a grueling 1/2 mile uphill climb with panoramic views at the top. At least that’s what I’m told, since I couldn’t make the last 15 minutes.

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It’s embarrassing to be shown up by a 70-year old.

Sitting in a lounge chair and gorging myself on popcorn at the movie theater was my reward for almost making the entire hike. We saw A Star is Born and enjoyed it.

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Aunt Sandra also took us to the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum…a place that we have never been to in all our years of visiting Tucson.

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It was a beautiful walk (or ride) through natural Tucson gardens with exhibits with various native animals.

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I’m not exactly sure how they are native animals to the desert, but we even got to pet and feed some stingrays!

We also enjoyed a lovely lunch break at the museum with these beautiful Prickly Pear cocktails.

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Thanks for taking us to museum Aunt Sandra!

On our final full day, we enjoyed lunch with my uncle Larry and his wife, Judy and were able to teach them our new favorite card game, 4 Up and 4 Down.

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It was a great visit in Tucson and I’m so glad that we got to spend time with Aunt Sandra before all the madness in Phoenix. Thank you for a lovely time Aunt Sandra. I hope that Alexa is still keeping you company in Tucson!