Thursday, July 27, 2006

the sounds of summer

We all hear it. Just as the sun begins to set, the cicadas in the trees begin their singing. I personally think it's a beautiful sound. Not nearly as annoying as crickets. But how often do we actually get to see the cicadas? Apparently they enjoy keeping to themselves high in the trees, away from any human contact. This does not bother me at all. I don't like bugs, especially when they are near me. But as I walked toward the house when I got home from work today, I happened to look down on the walkway, and lo and behold...a cicada sat helplessly in my path. He certainly did not appear to be there purposefully. He may have been hurt. Or perhaps he was out for a stroll and suddenly became overwhelmed with the 98 degree weather. But I didn't care about his predicament. I just needed to get past him so I could enter my home safely. So I stood there for a minute to see if he was going to move, and he didn't. In case you haven't seen a cicada before, they're about 2 inches long (or at least this one was) and they are really ugly. They look like monster bugs. So of course I was scared to step over it, for fear he would suddenly decide to leap into the air just as I straddled his beastly body, flying up my skirt in a last-ditch effort to return to his home high atop the oak tree in our backyard. After a few seconds of observation of the repulsive creature, I decided it was safe to scurry by. I am happy to announce that I did, in fact, arrive safely at my destination of the back door. Of course, I managed to go back outside & get a picture of the hideous being. I am still amazed at how close I got to him to get a good picture. So feel free to print off this picture and gaze at it as you listen to the orchestra of cicadas in your own backyard tonight. I have named him Jon. Yes, Jon Cicada.

confession of a jealous wife

I am in a bad mood. My husband is in Atlanta right now, enjoying himself as he experiences the thrills of the roller coasters at Six Flags along with the teens from VP. I, however, am sitting at my desk at work doing boring insurance stuff. (Ok, so maybe I'm not working right this second, hence the blogging...) Here's the thing: I LOVE Six Flags. I love roller coasters. With the exception of last year, I had been to Six Flags every year since 6th grade. I am so jealous right now that they are in Six Flags without me! And tomorrow they are going to White Water. I REALLY wanted to go with them, but I just don't have enough vacation/personal time to take off and still take the rest of my vacations for the year. Anyway, I just needed to vent for a second because it has been bothering me all morning, and will continue to bother me until they get back. Here is a picture Jamin sent to me & Ashley to rub it in that we are not with them. GRRRRR.

Jamin, Baron, & Anthony on the Batman ride

Sunday, July 23, 2006

the preferred community

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(our land as of Saturday, July 15th)

In case you don't know Baron & me, or in case you do know us & you've been living under a rock, we plan to move to Prattville in the next 3 months or so. We are building a house in Highland Ridge, and hopefully it will be finished by October-ish. Now, here's the deal. I've lived in Montgomery my entire life. I have never lived outside of the city limits. In my office, there are several employees who live in the Prattville/Millbrook area, and on those mornings when they are 30 minutes late due to a wreck on I-65, I swore to myself I would never move to Prattville. That was, of course, until we started seriously house shopping. If you have never shopped the real estate in Montgomery vs. Prattville real estate, let me give you a few reasons why you should consider The Preferred Community, as they like to call themselves.

  1. We plan to have kids in the future. If you haven't noticed, the Montgomery Public School system has been struggling for awhile. I believe there are two problems for this: a) the money set aside for the schools isn't being used where it is needed most, and b) the parents are taking their "good" kids out & sending them to private schools, while the problem kids are stuck at the public schools with no positive influences for them. Anyway, I'll get off my soapbox. My point is that we won't be able to afford to send our kids to private school, and the Autauga County school system is a better option for us than the Montgomery County school system.
  2. Wow...the prices. We looked at houses in Montgomery, and then we looked at houses in Prattville. You can get more square footage for the same price in Prattville than in the capital city. Obviously, in Montgomery you are paying for location. I have never liked the fact that you pay for location, but it is just a fact of life. Anyway, Prattville is a mere 9 miles from the capital city & you can save a bundle. We could have never afforded to build a brand new house in Montgomery (well, not with Lowder anyway) for the price we are building in Prattville. I have never lived anywhere brand new, so I am really excited about it!
  3. Prattville is a growing city. I used to think of it as this little podunk town on the outskirts of Montgomery, where the poor rednecks who couldn't afford city life went to raise their grocery-store-footed children in their trailers. Not anymore. Prattville will soon be getting a new shopping center inluding Parisian & Bass Pro Shop (which I don't care about, but it will boost the economy), and another very nice shopping center that will include a Target (woo-hoo!). So, with the economy booming, real estate will also grow. This will be great when we decide to move again. I have no doubt we will get a good return on our real estate investment.
  4. It's not as far as you think it is. Sure, there's the horrendous I-65 traffic, but if you can work around the rush hour schedule, it doesn't take that long to get to the Preferred Community. For example: I work just off Perry Hill Road, and I figure it is pretty much the center of Montgomery. (See my dad's post on the new Midtown Shopping Center.) I measured the distance from my office to The Waters at Waugh (because that is where we would move if we didn't go to Prattville...yeah right), and it is 14.53 miles. The distance from my office to our prospective neighborhood in Prattville? 15.14 miles. That is only a difference of 0.61 miles. So for 0.61 miles further from what is basically the center of Montgomery, we can afford to have an extra 1,300 square feet of living space. (That is assuming we could only afford about 300 square feet of the luscious Waters real estate.)
  5. I think the move north will be good for me. As I mentioned before, I have never lived outside of Montgomery. I know moving to Prattville isn't like moving across the country, but who knows - maybe it will be good for me to be outside of the city limits. And everyone I know who has moved out there from Montgomery has said that they love it & would not move back. I'm looking forward to the new experience.

So those are the reasons for moving to Prattville. If you are planning to shop for a house in the near future, I hope that you will consider this growing community just up the interstate. And if you are one of those people who loves Birmingham, just're about 9 miles closer if you live in Prattville. :-)

Friday, July 21, 2006

a new era

Well, folks. After a week of mourning, I have taken the plunge. I started a new rubber band ball. I guess I won't ever see my old one again. It hurts me to say that, because I was with my old ball for approximately 6 years. Sad. Anyway, I will move on from this subject so that I can blog about bigger & better things. I am so sad, but I have to move on. Thank you all for your support during this troubling time in my life. [sniff, sniff]

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

dirty rotten scoundrels

Ok, so my rubber band ball is still missing. I mean...who takes a rubber band ball?? At first I just figured someone took it to be funny, but the longer it is gone, the more I wonder if someone took it for real. But why? What would be the reasoning behind taking a rubber band ball? It really isn't that fascinating unless you have built it yourself. Which is why I am so attached to mine. [sigh] Anyway, someone also took down my MISSING poster for the ball. Apparently my cubicle is just free reign for the taking. I also came in this morning & my chair had been re-adjusted to a height for someone more like Baron's size than mine. GRRRRR. So I guess if you need any pens, tape, staple removers, post-its, folders, or miscellaneous trinkets I use to decorate my desk, then you can just come on by after hours & take whatever you want.

(photo courtesy of Baron)

Friday, July 14, 2006


I have a rubber band ball at work. Actually, I had a rubber band ball. Yesterday I discovered that someone had taken my rubber band ball. This isn't just any rubber band ball; I made this rubber band ball. I started it when I worked at Regions, so I have had it for about 5 years. Nowadays you can purchase a rubber band ball, but I made this one from scratch. Well, not completely from scratch, since I didn't make the rubber bands. Anyway...I'm rambling. The point is that I am now missing it and it's not funny. I hope someone took it just to be funny, because that means it will probably turn up again sometime soon, while I am at lunch or perhaps overnight. The worst news would be one of two things: 1) the cleaning crew stole it (yeah, why would anyone steal a rubber band ball, unless they really need the rubber bands that badly or they are making one of their own), or 2) someone took it to be funny and in the process somehow mishandled it and broke it. I shudder to think of the second option.

So, if there is any chance that someone who is reading this knows where my rubber band ball is, please return it to my desk. I have placed the above poster on the entrance to my cubicle, in hopes that someone will realize just how terribly I miss my rubber band ball. Plus I have a lonely rubber band sitting on my desk without a ball to join.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

forget the worm, i'm going back to bed.

Early birds bother me. I am not a morning person, so when I am around people who are, it tends to get on my nerves. They can be my best friend, a family member, my husband (ahem), whoever, but when I have just managed to begrudgingly drag myself out of bed and they are hopping around like the easter bunny, it's annoying. I am not a grumpy person, but it does take me awhile to shake away the cobwebs of my slumber. P.S...If you are ever around me when I first wake up, don't try to have a coherent conversation with me. Baron learned this very early in our marriage. :-)

Having said that, I would like to account this morning's activities for you. I decided yesterday that I would try to work out this morning & tomorrow morning. I work out at Curves, and I usually go in the afternoons. Well, I have appointments with my chiropractor every day this week, so on the evenings that I have plans (tonight - church, tomorrow & Friday nights - Biscuits games), I don't have time to work out in the evenings. So, since Curves opens at 6:00, I figured I would attempt to make the early bird special for a couple of mornings instead of just skipping like I usually do. So I set my alarm for 5:00 - because I "need" to hit the snooze button several times before getting out of bed - in order to leave the house at 5:45 and make it to Curves just when the doors open. I managed to drag myself out of bed at 5:36 (yes, that is 4 snooze buttons, for you mathmeticians) and head out to Curves. I actually got there before the doors opened, and I was surprised to see several ladies waiting to enter. I guess I thought it would be me & maybe only 2 or 3 other people. Anyway, as I walked up, one of the ladies looked very surprised to see me (as if I'd just entered a party I wasn't invited to), as she said "Well, my goodness!" I said, "I know!!", as if I were just as shocked to see myself there as she was. So when the doors opened, I noticed something interesting about the 2 ladies working today. They were both wearing camouflage. "Welcome to Boot Camp!!!" they exclaimed. What the?? Boot Camp?? I thought I was just working out? Apparently the Curves theme for today is Boot Camp, which constitutes the staff pushing us harder for a more effective workout. Great. Just what I needed at 6:00 in the morning. Not to mention staff member Larra (pronounced just like my name), who I'm pretty sure is the employee of the month, was ultra-chipper this morning. She is always a very upbeat, positive person. But at 6:00 in the morning? Really? She was hopping around, clapping her hands to the beat of the music. And they weren't kidding about the boot camp. They kept eyeballing us to be sure we were working the machines just right. I mean, if we didn't hold our mouths just right, we had to drop & give them 20. It was ridiculous. So little Larra, my arch-nemesis, was still hopping around, giddy as a school girl, when one of the other customers asked her, "So how many cups of coffee did you have this morning?" Her reply? "Oh, I don't drink coffee. I only drink water." Of course. Little Miss Perfect. Bah humbug.

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Needless to say, despite my inner grumblings and bad thoughts toward Sergeant Larra, I actually had a good workout. I have felt a lot more energized today than I usually do, and now I don't have to worry about being rushed to get to the gym after work. Who knows...maybe I'll make this morning workout thing a habit. Yeah, we'll see about that.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

extra! extra! read all about it!

Just a quick announcement to let you all know that my dad has finally re-created his blog. If you know my dad, you know he has a LOT to say, so I'm sure we will all be blessed by his posts. (No pressure, Dad...) Anyway, feel free to take a quick gander at his blog, which is linked in my bloggers section. Or, if you are too lazy to scroll down to his name, you can just click here.

Happy reading!!

Friday, July 07, 2006

what IS that???

Ok, I'm pulling an Ashley & posting twice in one day. I just couldn't let this one pass. So if you are a frequent reader of Ashley's blog (as I am sure most of you are), you realize that most of her posts account her day-to-day activities, which are obviously more interesting than mine. I think that is because I work for an insurance agency. Not many blog-worthy experiences in the office world. I would like to take this opportunity to share something that I just came across. I was checking a policy, and when I opened it up, there was a cover sheet. This policy is from The Hartford, whose logo is a quite masculine-looking deer. Usually, their logo is posted so small that you cannot get very much detail from it. However, on this cover sheet, the manly deer is brilliantly displayed across the entire sheet of paper. Makes me want to buy insurance from The Hartford. Anyway, take a look at this picture, and let me know if you notice anything. This is of somewhat poor quality, because our scanners here are not meant for scanning color documents. I promise I didn't doctor this photo. I cleaned it up a little so you can see it more clearly, but that's all.

So as I was getting up from my desk to go show another co-worker this amusing drawing, immaturely laughing to myself like a 4th grader whose teacher just said "duty", I noticed something in the office of one of our producers. As I casually glanced into the office, which has the lights off because apparently our producers don't work on Fridays, I saw it. The exact same drawing as the one above, etched into a Hartford plaque on the wall of this office. NIIIICE. Is it just me? Am I the only one noticing something wrong with this picture??

shiny happy people

So last night, we had a lovely dinner with our friends Jamin, Ashley, and Jon. Because of the varied personality types surrounding the table, we had a wide array of conversations throughout the evening. (Most of which will NOT be discussed outside that room. Ever.) One of the topics that came up was about overly positive people. We were talking about a particular person (who will remain nameless) who always defends people, despite their shortcomings or even blatant disregard for what is right. You know the type - they are always happy, they like everyone, and no one is ever at fault for anything they have done. Anyway, Jamin, Ashley, and Jon were all talking about how these types annoy them because they ONLY see good in people and NEVER see the bad. Baron & I just sort of sat there and listened, because I guess those type people don't bother us as much. Anyway, I got to thinking about that conversation this morning. This, as with most things, all comes back to moderation. Yes, it is great to be a positive person. Yes, it is good to defend people when others talk about them. [Ahem, Ashley...who accused me of being one of those people just because I defended someone. :-)] But as with most personality types, you don't want to take it so far as to never see when someone else is doing something wrong or harmful to others. On the other hand, you certainly don't want to be so negative and pointing out the wrong in others that no one wants to be around you. I have a couple of co-workers who are like that, and BELIEVE me - you would MUCH rather be around the goody-goody, over-the-top-positive, I'll-defend-everyone, people than the no-one-can-do-anything-right, the-world-is-against-me, you-will-walk-on-eggshells-around-me, people. (Wow, sorry for the extensive use of hyphenated adjectives.) Anyway, my point is that I would rather be around a hundred ridiculously positive people than one obscenely negative person. Positively.