Monday, December 21, 2009

Vicks on your feet.

So, with my latest cold came many possible ‘remedy’ ideas from various people. Now, I tend to be horribly skeptical about cold remedies as a cold is a virus and there is no way to ‘cure’ it. It must run its course. The possible remedies ranged from Airborne (ugh) to acupuncture. Though all of these things were quasi-tempting (colds are just the worst!) I think my favorite was the remedy of lathering the soles of my feet with Vicks Vaporub and putting socks over it. This came from my mother and was then confirmed by several of my coworkers as well as Snopes.com (http://www.snopes.com/medical/homecure/vaporub.asp).

After listening to all of the stories I decided that I would give it a try. What could it hurt anyway? So I stopped at Smith’s, purchased a large tub of Vicks and headed home. At 8:30 pm, I washed my feet thoroughly, lathered the bottoms with Vicks, put on a pair of thick socks, and climbed into bed for what I hoped would be a cough-free night.

My feet had a very pleasant tingling sensation and I did feel extra warm. It was a cozy feeling of being in a cocoon. Fifteen minutes later I had a coughing attack. I coughed four or five painful, chest-wrenching, phlegm-ful, pit of my stomach coughs. Bummer.

I wasn’t ready to give up just yet. The study quoted on snopes.com was performed on children…perhaps the effects took longer for adults. I decided that it hadn’t been long enough to work properly. Again, I snuggled back into my down comforter and comfy pillow. Not three minutes later, I sat up with another coughing fit. Ugh.

My night continued in this fashion until around 4:30 am, when I drifted into pleasant, coughless sleep.

I came to work the next day to much curiosity as to whether the Vicks really worked. Sleep deprived and awfully grumpy, I announced that Vicks on your feet didn’t work and I was not happy about it! My coworker (who is also suffering from a cold) danced back to my desk and asked if I was so pleased about the remedy! She used it and slept like a baby! Between you and me, I wanted to hit her in the face.

So here is my conclusion: Vicks on your feet works if you think it will work. As I am a skeptical creature, it would not work on me. There you have it. Give it a try. If nothing else, it makes the soles of your feet awfully smooth.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

My Super Skirt!

I finally decided to give in to the skinny jean fad. I called my sister (the ultimate in all things fashion) and asked where I could obtain the cheapest pair of skinny jeans. I had come across a few pair that were upwards of $30 but quickly decided that no one should spend that much on a fad. After a frightening experience at Forever 21, April suggested that I give Target a whirl. With her guidance, I set off for Target in search of a pair of cheap skinny jeans.

Trusty Target has never failed me yet. I walked into the juniors department (ugh) and found many styles, fabrics, and fades. I chose a few different styles and quickly made my decision. However, seeing as how I was in Target and seeing as how I am me, I could not simply walk into Target with a purpose and leave with only that item. No. Target is a place to browse and pick up other items on clearance.

While browsing the colorful racks I happened upon a skirt: The Super Skirt. It is a loose pencil skirt that is blue and white print with large black flowers. It is stretchy, it swings, and has a really thick waist band (toward which women everywhere over the size of 6 are inevitably drawn). I decided against trying it on as I had already been through that circus with the skinny jeans and didn’t want to relive it. I found my size, gathered a few long sleeve t-shirts, my skinny jeans, and checked out.

The next day, I had reason to get dressed up. What better time to debut my cute new skirt? I put on my under things and black turtle neck. I grabbed the skirt and put one leg in. As my right leg entered the skirt I felt a very odd sensation. The lining of the skirt was hugging my right leg. In great panic I looked at the size to make sure I had the correct size. Sure enough, it was a medium. I was just about to be mortified by the circumference of my thighs when I looked down and saw that the creature forming to my leg was not the lining at all. The skirt had a built in pair of spanx.

A new wave of horror struck me. Has my life come to this!?! Am I now the type of woman who has to wear a pair of spanx with my skirts? Grumbling and depressed, I hoisted my left leg into the other side of the biker shorts. I pulled the skirt on and instantly felt the itchy spandex material form me into unnatural shapes. With hesitation, I looked into the mirror. It didn’t look bad at all! I might have felt like a granny, but the skirt was just as cute as I thought it was on the hanger.

So there you have it. I own a skirt with a built in pair of spanx. It is not humiliating; I think of it as my Super Skirt!!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

The Cretin

In the heart of the Cottonwood apartments lurks a creature so foul, he has come to be known as ‘The Cretin.’ The Cretin stalks around the complex frightening women and stray cats with his hairy shape and fetid stench. He grunts maniacally and struts like a body builder…only lacking muscle mass.

The Cretin, as it turns out, dwells primarily in moderately lit places that smell of sweat and metal, such as a gym. The Cottonwood Cretin can be viewed in his natural habitat at the Cottonwood apartment’s fitness center. He tends to be most active around 5:15 am.

While usually harmless, The Cretin will wait until an unsuspecting gym goer enters the Cottonwood apartment’s fitness center; that is when he strikes. He is courteous enough to allow the gym goer to warm up, begin his or her morning run, and get into the overall grove of the work out. 15 minutes into his/her gym experience, The Cretin opens the door with great ferocity and manliness, slams it with the equal amount of testosterone, and heads straight for the TV. He reaches up and turns on the LG TV and proceeds to turn it to the Spike channel (where ultimate fighter is inevitably on). Just to add icing to the cake, he feels it necessary to turn the volume all the way up, no doubt to intimidate his prey who you can find cowering on the treadmill.

After this awe-inspiring spectacle, The Cretin struts his way to the weight lifting machine. Interestingly, this creature doesn’t seem to require stretching, cardio, or anything to loosen up his muscles before lifting. He immediately moves the weight setting as high as he can stand and begins lifting while perspiring like a pig and screaming/grunting like an angry gorilla. After lifting the weights 2-3 times, he drops the weights, causing them to make a huge crashing noise and sighs/pants for a few minutes. After an adequate rest period, he moves on to the next type of weight lifting. He continues in this fashion for 30 minutes or so. He really ends up resting and panting for the majority of the time, to allow the prey ample time to admire the sweat glistening down his hairy back creating a decent sized puddle on the floor.

Eventually, The Cretin will cause his prey to run away, whether in fear or disgust, no one really knows. There are days when he allows those unsuspecting gym goers to exercise in peace; however, not this week. Perhaps it’s due to the new moon. Perhaps it is due to the meteor shower.

Should you choose to use the Cottonwood apartment’s fitness center, beware The Cottonwood Cretin.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Just an update...

My bumper is fixed.

My window is up.

My Brake light is on.

Go figure.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Don't stop 'til you get enough

I have been inspired to rejoin the world of healthy living. This includes moving more and eating less. Blah blah blah. Well, after weeks of half-assed attempts, I decided to go extreme. Since I am financially unable to do a boot camp (5 days/week for 30 days of pain and anguish), I settled on doing something similar on my own. I am currently on day 2 of my ‘independent boot camp’ and I wanted to document what I have learned so far.

1. 5 AM comes really early, regardless of what time you go to bed.
2. My legs will not run before the hour of 6. I tried. They just won’t.
3. I have experienced what it feels like to light your stomach muscles on fire.
4. When I exercise regularly, I inevitably crave French fries, chicken strips, hamburgers, and ice cream (often by 9am).
5. It sometimes is easier to work out without a buddy. I am on my own schedule and I have more freedom. That having been said, I miss my workout buddy (Hilary, I miss you!).
6. I don’t crash at 2 in the afternoon like I thought I would. Stamina…who knew?
7. I am inspired to work out in the evenings, too. I find that a little annoying this early in the game.
8. Don’t get ambitious and try extra weight, additional speed, or adjusted time. Just because your attitude tells you you can, doesn’t mean your body should.
9. Don’t doze off while stretching.
10. I am thoroughly grateful for my apartment complex’s workout room. It delivers me from ugly, hairy, sweaty, fat men who grunt and growl as they do their third bench press.

I am committed to my 5 am workouts Monday-Friday until December 18th. There it is. I will update you at that time (or if I learn more in the process).

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Unlucky number 4

Preface: please refer to the September 28th blog: “Well, it saves on air conditioning…” This is the sequel.

I feel that I have the best luck with fourth times around. My wedding dress was finally cleaned after the fourth attempt, so I therefore have a connection to the number four. Whatever.

Adventure: A fourth trip to the mechanic to make my window work. Up to this point I have been waiting for the part to get in, breaking said part, over and over again. Today, I will attempt to best the beast and beat the window into submission. The story unfolds…

Candace pulls into the mechanic parking lot and parks. She gets out of her vehicle and walks into the shop. A very nice mechanic takes her keys and tells her that it will be a few minutes before her car is taken back. “That’s fine,” she says as she finds her usual place on the broken filthy couch in the waiting area. She pulls out A Confederacy of Dunces and continues reading about Ignatius’ zany antics.

After five minutes or so, Candace notices an older gentleman enter the establishment. He approaches the dirty couch and stands there. Candace looks up.

The man clears his voice. “Do you own the little black Acura?”

“Yes,” she replies.

“I just backed into it,” he said with much remorse.

“Oh. Is it ok?” Seriously!?! She thinks.

“Yeah, it’s ok. My trailer hitch just scratched your bumper.”

“Ok. Let’s go look at it.” Candace rises with little grace off of the broken down couch and follows the man out to the parking lot.

On her way to her car, she passes a huge truck, obviously the culprit. As they pass this monster truck, Candace catches a glimpse of the accident. The man and his mammoth truck did not scratch the bumper. The trailer hitch went straight through the bumper, pierced the bumper creating a six inch gap in the middle.

“I guess it’s a little more than a scratch,” observed the man.

The strangers exchanged information and parted ways. Candace wasn’t even upset. She had more or less resigned herself to accept whatever may happen with this vehicle. Between the broken window, multiple flat tires, break-ins, transmission problems, and now accident, she has learned to shrug and say, I guess that’s the way it goes.

Candace finds her place on the dirty couch once more and opens her book. She may have acquired a new problem with her car, but at least she can fix one today. Ten minutes go by. Enter the nice mechanic.

“Man, I don’t even want to talk to you right now. You aren’t very lucky today.”

Long story short, my window is not fixed. My bumper is not fixed. I have appointments for my fifth and first attempts set for next week. How I wish I lived in a place that didn’t require a car.

So, maybe the fifth time will be the charm.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Being cut down (which is rough when you’re only 5’2’’)

A few weeks ago, my ego took quite a beating. As it was both humiliating and awkward, I decided not to blog it. However, a similar situation occurred yesterday. I think that if I make my humiliation public it will stop happening.

OOPS #1:
A few weeks ago, I entered a patient’s room to speak with the family regarding a study. After I introduced myself, the mother got excited and said, “When are you due?”
“What?” I asked, not sure if I had heard her correctly.
“I said when are you due?”
Completely stunned and unable to come up with anything witty or clever I said, “I’m not pregnant.”
The mother considered this.
“Hmm,” she said at last.

OOPS #2:
Yesterday, our youth praise band sang for the congregation (Andy and I are the leaders for this band). The kids performed very well. On my way out of the sanctuary, I was stopped by a woman who praised the band up and down. “Oh! Your kids are simply wonderful!” she said.
“Thank you,” I responded. “They work very hard.”
“Oh, they are fantastic, especially your son! What a talent!”
Thinking of our youngest member of our band (an eleven year old boy) I said, “Oh, he’s not my son.”
“Really? That tall redhead playing guitar isn’t your son?”
Ouch. Only then did it occur to me that she meant Andy. She thought Andy was my son. I informed her that Andy was my husband and four years older than me. I thanked her for her kind words and went to find someplace where I could be alone and cry a little bit.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Do you have a call back number?

For months, nay years, I have had an overwhelming desire to do something. I am reminded of my desire several times a day and have always restrained myself. Yesterday, I could not help it. I finally caved in to my hearts will and acted completely on impulse.

Almost every single person I speak with from an insurance company asks me the stupidest question ever posed: “Do you have a call back number?” Well, obviously I’m calling from a phone. Obviously, that phone is in working order. It’s just an overall ridiculous question to ask.

I have spent much time pondering a response suitable for such a question. Some are silly, all are sarcastic. I have considered: “No”, “Actually, I don’t have a phone; I am using my thumb and pinky fingers”, “Wow! Does your can have a number? How did you get that?”, “What’s a call-back number?” so on and so forth.

Yesterday was the apex.

Agent: Thank you for calling blah blah insurance company! This is Trish; may I have your name?

Candace: Hi, Trish. This is Candace from Orthopedics. I am calling to check benefits for this patient for outpatient surgery.

Agent: Great! I can certainly help you with that! Do you have a callback number?

Candace: Yes.

Agent: (confused silence). Candace?

Candace: Yes?

Agent: Do you have a callback number?

Candace: Yes.

Agent: Um, may I have it?

Candace: Oh, you’d like it? Oh, ok… (continue with conversation)

After years of toiling with such a temptation, I finally did it. Without giggling, I was a complete smart Alec to one of those who drives me absolutely crazy.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Untitled.

To Dr. Exceptionally-bad-taste-in-food:

I find your taste in sandwiches appallingly bad. What in the world would possess you to order a sandwich which holds the words ‘liver’ and ‘worst’ in its very title? Granted, the office orders lunch once a week and everyone is free to choose whatever he/she wants, but I find your choice both offensive and disgusting.

Not only are we subjected to watching you chew that vile mass of God knows what, but our nostrils will be raped by the foul odor which a liverwurst sandwich no doubt emits.

So, thank you for violating us in the place of our work. I am concerned that your lack of regard for others will continue and lead to the possibility of you ordering something worse in the future. Possibly tuna fish, God forbid.

Most sincerely,

Your disgruntled worker,

Candace

PS- the buttermilk and raw onion you requested to garnish your liverwurst sandwich will be provided but such actions are not condoned.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Fed up with FedEx

FedEx is not a service I use on a regular basis. In fact, I am not sure I have ever used it. I usually go to my trusty UPS store and send packages that way. In my 24 years of living I have never sent anything FedEx. That said, you can imagine my severe anxiety when my boss handed me a thick stack of papers and asked me to ‘FedEx’ them.

I took a breath and told myself that it really couldn’t be that hard. People send things through FedEx everyday. First, I had to obtain an envelope and shipping form. This was easy because I know where the stash is hidden in our office. With both items in hand, I sat down to fill it out. Again, no problem. I had the address in front of me. I checked the appropriate boxes and filled it out. I put the hefty document into the envelope, sealed it, and reviewed the shipping form to place it properly on the envelope. It said remove the back and stick firmly to the front of the envelope.

Here was my struggle. On the front of the envelope there are contradicting directions as to where one should place the shipping form. There is writing at the top that says ‘place top of form here.’ There is writing at the bottom that says ‘place bottom of form here.’ Well, the shipping form is not that big. The third option is the little cellophane window on the back of the envelope which says ‘Place airbill here’.

Panicked, I went online. I searched images of FedEx envelops on Google and couldn’t find a single picture that showed an envelope with the shipping form on it. I then searched the FedEx page for some sort of instruction. No go. Apparently, you have to be really stupid to not know how to put the shipping form on the envelope. I immediately emailed Andy. I told him, “I don’t know how to send a FedEx!” His response was, “Neither do I, but it can’t be that hard. Maybe you should look online.”

Full of embarrassment and realizing that I only had 15 minutes before the FedEx pickup, I made a decision and stuck the shipping form on the envelope. As soon as I did stuck the piece of paper on the envelope, a dark cloud covered my desk. I had done it wrong.

Hanging my head in shame I approached my boss (who thought I had sent the package long ago) and said, “Stupid question for you. Which way does the shipping form go on the envelope?” My boss looked at me with the “you-have-got-to-be-kidding” type of look and indicated “This way.” Damn it.

I retrieved a new envelope and shipping form, filled them out again, and put the shipping form on with my boss looking over my shoulder.

I guess the silver lining is that I now know how to FedEx.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Well, it saves on air conditioning...

In July, my passenger window broke. Well, not the window itself, but the nifty mechanism that makes the window go up and down. For the past three months, my window just doesn’t like to stay up. It seems to be happy hanging out about three inches down, but sometimes it feels like sliding all the way down. When that happens, I manually push it back to its normal ‘happy spot’, three inches from the top.

As we are quickly approaching the cooler season, I realized that this window issue was going to be a problem. I can’t very well drive around in the snow with my window cracked three inches. I began my investigation, calling around to various dealerships. All of the quotes seemed to agree at $400. Quite disgruntled, I decided that I could do better.

My very helpful co-worker offered her mechanic as an option. I called her mechanic and he quoted $250. Perfect. Sold. I made an appointment for that Friday.

I reached the mechanic at 2pm, filled out the necessary paperwork and sat down for some quality reading time. A solid hour passed. The very nice receptionist (who felt the need to peak at me every 10 minutes or so) approached me and told me that they didn’t have the right part. Someone had to run and get the needed part. She jokingly said, “But we close at 5 so it can’t be that much longer!”

After that, I waited and waited. 5:05 rolled around. A nice mechanic opened the door and announced, “Your chariot awaits!” I was so excited; I realized that in three hours I read well over 100 pages and my butt was adequately asleep. I awkwardly rolled off of the leather couch, paid the bill, and got into my car, super excited that the window was in the up position!

As I pulled away, I tried to resist the urge to play with the window. Finally, the child within took over and I rolled down the window. IT WORKED!! With great gusto, I rolled the window back up…but it didn’t respond. The window stayed in its happy three-inch-down place.

Slightly annoyed, I made a U-turn and headed back to the garage. The office was closed and the workers were on their way home.

“Hi! Sorry,” I stammered, “but my window still doesn’t work.” I really didn’t want to detain these fine gentlemen from whatever they were doing, but I did just pay $250 for absolutely nothing. The men discussed, examined, poked and prodded the lazy window. Finally, they brought out the heavy-duty glue and had my door assembled in a mere 20 minutes. They told me not to touch the window for 12 hours (time enough for the glue to dry) and then I should be good to go. Fabulous! I was simply astonished that it could be fixed so easily!

The next two days I was very mindful of not touching the window. I know they said 12 hours, but I decided to give it 36 hours, scared that it would need the extra time.

Sunday afternoon I decided that I had waited long enough. I bravely positioned my finger over the button and pushed. The window glided halfway down. I released the button and took a breath. Now for the hard part. I pushed the button in the reverse direction…and the window went up!!! So happy and hardly able to believe that I could be so lucky, I tried it again. I pushed the button down. The window glided down. Whew. I pushed the button up. The window began jerking back and forth and made a scary grinding noise. All of the sudden, my car smelled of burning. Damn.

I called the mechanic today and made another appointment to have my window fixed. Andy gets to take it this time. :)

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

The religious problem: SOLVED!

My drive to work today was painful (for lack of a better word). The commute that usually takes me 15-20 minutes, took me a solid 55 minutes. The intelligent state of Utah decided that the best time to work on one of two roads leading to the University of Utah, is the second week that school is in session. Brilliant.

I thought of this as I sat in gridlock trying to decide if I wanted to scream obscenities or just bang my head against my window. Finally I saw the reason for the back up. The brilliance of the construction was demonstrated by the merging of a three lane road to one.

One by one, everyone began merging, one behind another like a zipper. At the daredevil speed of 3 mph I allowed a Forester take the space in front of me. I nervously acknowledged that I will be late for work in 20 minutes (and I still had to catch the public transportation from my parking space). Trying to distract myself from such an unpleasant thought, I glanced at the construction sign wondering how many weeks I had to wait for my commute to return to normal. Instead of a date the sign read:

"IT'S OFFICIAL. GOD DOES NOT EXIST"

There you have it. The religious problem: SOLVED!
I swear to God, this really happened.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Just Kidding.

“I would love to sing a solo for church on Sunday,” I answered our Musical Director (Roberta) on Tuesday. I was already leading the 9:30 service with a great group of gals, so why not? I knew the song she wanted me to sing so no big deal.

I went to practice on Thursday, sung through the song a few times and felt very confident.

Sunday morning, I sang my song at the 8 am service. I was nervous, but I made it through without any mistakes. One down, two to go.

The 9:30 service rolled around. The other ladies leading the service showed up and we began running a few other songs that would be featured in the service. We got through our first three songs without a hitch and sat down for the announcements and prayer. During prayer, I began mentally going through my song, as I was next in the program. I concentrated hard and willed myself to recite the lyrics over and over again.

I saw Roberta get up and move to the piano before the prayer was done. I took a deep breath and followed her lead. I adjusted my microphone and relaxed my stance waiting for the prayer to be over.

Just then, I noticed that the four other ladies in the group followed me up to the microphones. I silently tried to signal them to go sit down, not wanting to interrupt the prayer that was still going on. I looked back and Andy had taken his place at the bass guitar. I thought, “Man, these guys are going to feel so stupid when they realize they aren’t supposed to be here!”

The piano started; I listened to the four bars of intro and confidently began singing my song. After about a line and a half I realized that the piano was no longer playing and that all the singers were looking at me.

I looked at Roberta extremely confused. “Candace, it’s not your song yet,” she whispered to me. “You don’t sing until the Offertory,” which was after the sermon, in about 20 minutes. My head began to reel and I wasn’t sure if I was going to cry or throw up. Luckily, since I couldn’t decide, I didn’t do either. Instead I grabbed my microphone and apologized to the congregation for my daftness.

Heh, heh. Just kidding.

Happy 100th post.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Rollin', Rollin', Rollin'


Andy and I have reentered the wonderful world of rollerblading. I can’t really speak for Andy, but I know that the last time I was on a pair of rollerblades was the summer before I entered seventh grade. That was 13 years ago. Needless to say, I was a little rusty.

I prayed as I left the comfort of the car seat and hoisted myself onto my newly acquired skates. I held my arms out in a feeble attempt to solidify my balance. My ankles wobbled to and fro until they gave up the fight and decided to settle in their equilibrium. Success. I looked and Andy (who had mastered his skates without so much as wobbling) with a look of triumph on my face. He told me I was adorable.

One foot at a time, I tried movement on the skates. Right foot, left foot, right foot, left foot, scared to venture more than four inches per foot. I slowly made my way the eight feet from the car to the sidewalk. I continued this way with my ankles continually fighting the foreign concept of balancing on such a small surface. I argued with my feet and told them that they would just have to get used to it.

I uneventfully made it to the sidewalk and even successfully navigated a small curve. Granted, I was only traveling about .2 mph, but I am not super keen on falling down. As I rounded my first turn, I quickly began gaining speed. I was not moving my feet and yet, the wind was blowing harder and harder around my head. “ANDY!” I shouted in a state of panic. “I DON’T KNOW HOW TO STOP!!!” I remembered that the brake was on the back of the skate, but I couldn’t for the life of me figure out how to use it. Andy told me to just skate into the grass, which I did, and I crashed. That’s to be expected, right? It had been a while since I had last skated.

I brushed myself off, grumbled about the fresh grass stains on my jeans and elbows, and tried again. I slowly reentered the path where Andy was waiting for me. Then, it happened again. I wasn’t moving a muscle and yet I was picking up speed. This time ended just like last time. I rolled into the grass and fell down. I really had to remember how to stop. At this point, Andy just laughed, told me how adorable I was and said that that slight hill was a tough one. What he meant was that it was tough for me. He didn’t appear to struggle with the hill at all. I will henceforth reference the hill as ‘Satan’.

I got up, dusted off the new grass clippings, and vowed that I would do better. We went around a curve and were greeted by the mercy of flat ground. I decided this would be the ideal place to relearn how to stop. Over and over again I experimented with the brake while shifting my weight different ways to figure out the mystery. When I finally thought that I had it, we circled the park to tackle ‘Satan’ again.

With more confidence, I slowly approached ‘Satan’. I felt myself gain speed. With a certain smugness, I jammed my heel down, only for it to nick the ground fly into the air, followed by my left leg and ultimately dumping me on my back. Awesome. Satan won. For awhile, I was content to just lie there to catch my breath and make sure that I did not have a concussion.
After a while, Andy realized that I was no longer behind him.

“Are you ok?” asked Andy obviously trying not to laugh.

“Yeah. I’m just going to lie here for a minute.”

After a few minutes, Andy helped me up. We lapped the park a few more times (during one of these laps, a little boy pointed at Andy’s skates and screamed, “MOM! I want shoes like that!! I want shoes with wheels!!”) and decided to call it a night.

I look forward to getting better. I think that will just come with practice.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Dante's Peak

For this beautiful Fourth of July weekend, Andy and I decided to take advantage of the sunshine (which has been shockingly few and far between this year) and go on a hike. We chose to take the Lake Blanche hike, mostly because we’ve done the hike across the street from it and were curious. Andy did some research about this hike, just to know what we should be prepared for, and found that it was a moderate hike. I did my own research and read an article stating that this was a very strenuous hike. It advised potential hikers to take plenty of water and stop often. Automatically, I was a little hesitant about this hike. I am not what you might call an ‘advanced’ hiker, so this description was somewhat unsettling. When I brought this to Andy’s attention, he told me that he had also seen the scary website but that he had found several other websites that called the hike ‘moderate’ and he thought we would have no problem.

Come the day of the hike, we ate a hearty breakfast, packed a backpack with lunch, 4 nalgenes, sweatshirts, sun block, etc…which altogether weighed about 25-30 lbs. But that shouldn’t be too hard with a moderate hike, right?

We drove to the trailhead, parked, and began our 6.2 mile trek. It began on a nice paved incline then took a sharp fork to the right. We looked up the steep path which was peppered with large boulders. We took a deep breath and started climbing with the full realization that this was the next three miles and 3.5 hours of our lives.

We climbed and climbed, clambering over boulders and swimming through the overgrown path. I started out strong, quickly taking the lead. I danced between Andy and going farther and farther ahead. I couldn’t figure out why Andy was going so slowly. There was no way that I was in better shape than him. After an hour or so Andy suggested that we trade the load of the backpack. All of the sudden I understood why Andy was so slow. It was difficult to walk under the weight of the pack, let alone climb over things at a steep incline. Now he was the one dancing up the trail then back to me over and over. He patiently waited at the top of a particularly hellish hill as I baby-stepped up the slope, strategically planning my four stops along the way. He assisted me over the very large boulders and kept telling me how much easier the hike was without the back pack. Part of me wanted to slap him. Part of me wanted to ditch the backpack down the cliff directly to my right.

No, I told myself. This hike is nothing. So what if a have the weight of a medium sized child attached to my back? It would be easier to carry it to the top than to deal with a tired, hungry Andy after I told him that I just sent our lunch into the forest. I continued on, as Atlas, carrying the weight of our lunch, drinks, sweatshirts, sun block, camera, what have you, toward our destination.

30 minutes later, I begged Andy to take the backpack back. Being the upstanding fellow he is, he chivalrously shouldered the burden and continued on without so much as making fun of my failure.

We continued our climb and I noticed that, while the hike was more manageable without the backpack, my legs were beginning to give out. My breaks were occurring at, what seemed like, every switchback. I groaned with tormented ferocity as Andy remarked for the 52nd time that the lake must be ‘just over the next ridge’! I began counting my steps in sets of 8, trying to make it match whatever song was in my head. And the climb continued. By and by, we came across a switchback that emptied onto a side of the mountain with boulders instead of a trail. Andy and I were confused. The path didn’t continue. Surely, we weren’t supposed to venture out onto this seemingly dangerous mountain. Andy expertly stepped off the path and began climbing the mountain. “Oh, here’s the rest of the path,” said Andy with grin. As we moved from the loose, boulderous mountain to the friendly hard earth, we happened upon the ever-present German hiker who told us that the end was in sight. He guessed about 30 more minutes.

We huffed and puffed and 45 minutes later, we reached Lake Blanche. We found a nice place near the lake where we gratefully devoured our delicious lunch and rested for 30 minutes. After our rest, we decided that it was time to head back. I was practically falling asleep from exhaustion and wanted to make it back to the car before I passed out. The descent seemed twice as steep as the climb. Every time, I stepped off the ledge of a boulder, I felt the shock burn from my ankles, to my knees, and eventually settling in my hips. Each step made my hips scream out in pain. This was the longest three miles of my life.

I was very grateful to a few hippies we passed on our way down. As we approached them one pointed to a field and said ‘Moose’. I looked out into the field, and there was a male moose eating a tree. It was magnificent! This was my first moose sighting! What a treat. He was adorably ugly and huge! I thanked the nice hippies and we continued on our way. We passed a guy who laughed at ‘how tired’ we looked. No way. We passed a guy who was gracious enough to stop peeing mid-stream to let us pass. We passed a few tired and cranky kids who asked how close they were. I smiled and told them that they still had quite a way to go. We passed two women who were carrying infants strapped to their chest. Most astonishing to me: we passed several (at least 10) men without shirts RUNNING the trail. I didn’t know if I wanted to laugh at them, cry for them, or roll my eyes at their apparent masculinity.

We made it back to the car two hours after we began our descent. We drove home and I promptly fell asleep. When I woke up, I drove directly to Café Rio where I finished an entire Café Rio salad by myself.

I decided that in Utah ‘moderate’ means that you don’t have to use climbing gear. If that’s the case, then yes, this demon of a hike was moderate.

Through it all, it was a great hike. I look forward to trying it again.

Friday, June 12, 2009

I struggled with my temper.

BCBS of a certain unnamed state has possibly the worst employees ever. I have been on the phone with them (off and on) for five hours (and that is not an exaggeration). My reason for speaking to the nurse reviewer (an honest to God RN) was to authorize a one night stay in the hospital. Here are a few of my favorite quotes:

“Is that a real diagnosis?”

“I’m sorry ma’am but those codes don’t exist. I don’t care how many of this surgery your doctor does; it doesn’t make it these codes more or less real.”

“That diagnosis isn’t reason enough for the inpatient stay because it doesn’t specify if the kid is severely retarded or not.”

“Listen here, Missy. If the kid is a retard, I will happily grant you your one night request.”

After the last quote, I finally asked to speak to the woman’s manager. Here was her response:

“Now really, that isn’t necessary. I’m not trying to fight you. I’ll authorize it.”

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

The Sight of a Legend

Trax is often a boring necessity which takes me from the parking structure to work everyday. Today, it served as a wondrous experience. I boarded the train and grabbed the nearest seat, grumpy to be awake and active so early in the morning. My normal routine is to stare out the window and pretend that no one else exists, but something was different today.

From the corner of my right eye, I saw a scruffy red beard. I turned to gaze out the window. Something bothered me about the glimpse of the beard. I snuck another peek to the right. There was thick reddish hair to accompany the red scruffy beard. I turned back to the window and tried to place how I knew this man. I scanned my brain and tried to place this recognizable hair-do. Then it hit me.

I let out a small cry as this man’s appearance registered in my memory. I was sitting next to Chuck Norris.

I was sitting next to Chuck Norris. I kept stealing glances to my right to confirm that this was indeed the bad-ass that was Chuck Norris. The legend that inspired the Chuck Norris facts (www.chucknorrisfacts.com). After my sixth double-take, Chuck Norris looked at me and smiled. Confirmation: this was Chuck Norris, in Salt Lake City, on TRAX. I think I smiled back. It might have been a grimace or something that resembled choking. I can’t be sure.

As we sat there staring at each other, the train pulled into the Ft. Douglas stop. Chuck Norris got up, grabbed his man purse, winked at me, and strode to the door.

I turned in my seat. “Wait!” I heard myself say. “Can I have your autograph?”

Chuck Norris looked at me. “Now, why would you want that?” Chuck Norris gave me a sly smirk and chuckled.

I blushed. How was I supposed to answer that? “Well, because you are Chuck Norris!” I scraped for the reason Chuck Norris was looking for.

Chuck Norris chuckled again. The doors to the train opened. “I’m not Chuck Norris, but thanks.” With that, Chuck Norris exited the train.

Is this story true? Possibly. I will leave you with this Chuck Norris Fact:

“Chuck Norris was the fourth wise man, who gave baby Jesus the gift of beard, which he carried with him until he died. The other three wise men were enraged by the preference that Jesus showed to Chuck's gift, and arranged to have him written out of the bible. All three died soon after of mysterious roundhouse-kick related injuries.”

Friday, May 29, 2009

Things that made me go Hmmm (in the past month or so)

As the title states, this is a record of things that have confused, astonished, and wowed me in the past month...

Walking into a 7/11 and being greeted by the original cast recording of Chorus Line. (Don’t get me wrong. I loved singing “Went to church praying Santa Maria, send me guidance, send me guidance, on my knees…” while pouring myself some black tea)

Sitting next to a bunch of douchy professorial types and listen to them debate whether Sriracha is from Japan or Santiago (pronounced Sonteeaaaaaaaaaago). Guess what, Douche bags? It is from Thailand.

People making up their own words such as “Simplize,” “furiousating,” and “embarrassly.” Really?

Being approached by a complete stranger (a week before the wedding) who knows my (and Andy's name) who proceeds to ask me, "Oh, Candace! I know you and Andy aren't married yet, but when do you plan on extending your family?" No joke. The lady wasn't even old. She should have known better.

And, there you have it. All of the above occurrences made me go hmm.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Lamentations of a Nighttime Nurse

Fact: This story may or may not be based on real events which may or may not have been experienced by my husband last night.

6:53 pm- Work called. It looks like I will have to head into the office some time tonight. Whether it is in one hour, or five, I don’t know. Dr. Mahoolahan will call me when it’s time for me to do my part. For now, I will just wait.

10:00 pm- Still no word. I call Dr. Mahoolahan. He tells me that there are no updates as of yet. For now, I just wait by the phone. I decide to hit the hay. I am likely to be in for a long night.

2:00 am- My pager goes off. Figures. Dr. Mahoolahan informs me that it is time to go. I grumble as I roll out of bed. I throw on some scrubs and start on my five minute journey to the office.

2:04 am- Lights in the rear view mirror. Damn. I pull to the side of the road. I quickly review the situation to figure out why I would possibly be pulled over at 2 am. The policeman strolls to my window. “You have a headlight out,” comments the cop. Yeah, that headlight goes off and on depending on its mood. “License, registration, and insurance.” I gather the documents and hand over the information. “Do you have a current insurance card?” Double damn. I tell him that the new cards are sitting on my coffee table. As he studies the rest of the information, he realizes that the address on my driver’s license doesn’t match the address on my registration. Triple damn. The officer smiles and hands me three tickets: one for the headlight, one for the insurance, one for the driver’s license. Bastard.

I call Candace, wake her up, and tell her about the three tickets. She didn’t know that you are supposed to change your address within 10 days of moving either. She also thinks that’s a stupid law. I drive the last minute to work.

4:30 am- I am finally finished with work and in the comfort of my own bed. I can’t sleep. I turn on whatever is in the dvd player…ah. Season 12 of South Park. The noise wakes Candace up. We sit there staring at the tv for the next hour and a half. It’s funny, but not much registers.

6:00 am- I get in the shower. I have to be back to work in one hour.
One hell of a night.

PS-
Andy- Sorry if I got any of the specifics wrong.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Australia

Our Successes: • Getting through the Melbourne customs during swine flu (this includes filling out additional health information cards and the discarding of my beloved Sudafed) • Our hotel upgraded our room because it was our honeymoon! YAY! (see first video) • We explored the area around our hotel including Federation Square, the Yarra River, and the nearby park • We were able to stay up until 8:30 our first night. A definite success. • We feasted upon an Australian brekky—the biggest breakfast I have ever had. It was magnificent! • The Healesville Sanctuary was a wonderful experience! • I pet a Kangaroo! • Saw several platypus (yes, that is the correct plural) • Watched koalas eat! • Watched Tasmanian Devil pups fight over a freshly slaughtered rodent of some sort • We were greeted by Pelicans and Rock wallabies! • Andy ordered his first coffee: a long black. • Andy successfully completed his first hook turn! (see second video) • We discovered that there are several great cafes down any given alley in Melbourne. In one of these cafes, we discovered Mudhouse wine. Mmmm. • Andy figured out the toll roads! • We experienced the Great Ocean Road and all of the adventures that included • We found a great restaurant in a small coastal town • We experienced waterfalls, eucalypt forests, rain forest, heartbreaking devastation from the bush fires, cool rock formations (twelve apostles) and farm land • We wandered around Fitzroy and found breakfast. Thanks, Mario’s! • We walked St. Kilda pier and saw Wicked (Australians using American accents) • We dined with our dear friends Chris and Nette! • We used public transportations • After stuffing ourselves with Italian food, we managed to pack down a medium gelato as well! • We finally found an Ipod adapter for the car. Interestingly enough, it was sold to us by a very smelly, nerdy American. Go figure. • We saw hundreds of wild kangaroos! • Watched a few people be mauled by cockatoos • I hand fed a bird (I wish I could tell you what kind, but I don’t know) • We hiked McKenzie Falls • Aquarium. It was delightful! We saw stonefish, lionfish, sea dragons, sea turtles, sharks and stuff. • Melbourne City Museum. They were having a special exhibition of Australian political cartoons. Surprise: we didn’t get any of them. • We watched a footy game on TV. Go Cats! • We visited Phillip Island where we saw wallabies, koalas, nifty birds, and little penguins. • We ate lunch at a “healthy burger” café. Andy’s 1/3 lb burger had bacon, fried egg, beet, onion, lettuce, tomato, and pineapple. It was served with a healthy serving of fries covered in “mexi” salt.


What we learned: • Any child may be forgiven if he or she has a cute Australian accent (or speaks German) • Most of the toilets (that I encountered) did not swirl, but when I crossed a toilet that did swirl, I noticed that the water swirls counter clockwise. • The Sydney airport has awesome musac (including the smooth sounds of George Michael, Olivia Newton-John, and Elton John) • EVERYTHING closes by 6 pm on a Sunday night in Melbourne. The local 7-11 was the only thing open that we could find. • Australians have a harder time understanding the American accent. I wonder how they fare with southerners. • No American beer to be found…FINALLY! • Driving outside of the city looks very similar to driving around the bay area. The only differences are the trees (eucalyptus) and the wildlife. • The signals inside the car were all opposite. Ask Andy how many times he turned on the windshield wipers while trying to access the turn signals. • Australians REALLY like breakfast. We sat near a table of four (normal sized) people who went back to the breakfast buffet multiple times (more than four) to fill up their plates with the offered goodies. It was impressive. • American’s can be stupid tourists. We encountered an American guy who thought it necessary to argue with an employee of Healesville sanctuary about the theory of evolution while the employee was telling the audience about Flo, the wombat. • Victoria Bitter isn’t bitter at all. • Our GPS struggled a bit. It couldn’t find us unless we were out of the city and the numbers on the GPS did not always represent the numbers of the actual motorways. Well done, Garmin. • Honey was served in the comb at our hotel • Ipod adapters are rare • Tipping isn’t expected but it is very appreciated • Australia has the best sunsets I have ever seen. • Next time, I must remember to bring hiking shoes, sandals, and a towel • Australia has their fair share of crazies • Australian ‘Little Italy’ is a smaller version of New York ‘Little Italy.’ You are harassed as you walk down the street by waiters who offer you free embellishments if you eat at that particular restaurant. Seriously. • Eggs are $8/dozen and milk is $4.50 for ½ gallon • Most architecture for homes seemed to be directly influenced by the French Quarter • Brewed coffee cannot be found in Australia (not even at starbucks) • Australians love ice cream • Kangaroos really do just jump out in front of your car (we almost hit one!) • The Kabob is unknown. They are advertised in the normal flat bread way, but it is only served over salad. Very disappointing • Americans use the term ‘sandwich’ too loosely. We were corrected that a focaccia is NOT a sandwich. I’m sorry. It’s between two pieces of bread. It’s a sandwich. • Pancakes and cream= Pancakes with a few scoops of ice cream. • The people of Victoria are against horse jumping after five horse deaths. We saw protestors. • If you are a female working in Melbourne, there is a strict dress code: pencil skirt, black tights, and black pumps or knee high boots. I swear. EVERY woman was wearing this. • Cochlear implants were invented by a Melbournian. • Australia has an obscene amount of tourists…even in the off season. • Vegemite is alive and well in Australia. Gross. Amusing Signs: “Wake up! Drowsy drivers die!!” “Arrive on time! Not dead on time!” “Yawning? A microsleep can kill in seconds!” “Only sleep cures fatigue”
video video

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Gratitude

As many of you know, Andy and I will be married in three days. I have been planning this wedding for over a year and dreaming about it even longer. Andy has been so supportive and understanding with my intermittent melt downs. He has sat with me and allowed me to vent my frustrations and feelings of failure and worry. He has held my hand and listened, knowing that optimistic words would only anger me. Andy, you are the best. I love you more than I could ever fully express. I am so honored to become your wife.
My parents have been unbelievably kind and generous by always asking what I want and striving to make our wedding everything I could wish. Andy’s parents have been fantastic, offering ideas and encouragement. April has planned the greatest parties and I am so grateful to her for being fabulous. Levi was a trooper and was prepared to get his measurements taken AGAIN because of our minor mess up with the tuxedo place. My friend Kirsten has been my cheerleader and a truly understanding spirit (as she lived through her own wedding just seven months ago). These are just a few people who have helped me with the largest burden I have ever faced.
Looking back over the year, there are a few things I would change, but not many. I joke that ‘If I had it to do all over again, I would elope,’ but that’s not true. It is so important to me to share this milestone with as many people as possible. There are so many people who have touched my life; it would be tragic if any of them missed it.
I am so excited for my wedding. I am so excited to share the most important day of my life with my family and friends. I am excited to promise my life to Andy. I am excited to dance the night away. I can’t think of a better way to celebrate such an important event than with a beautiful ceremony and a giant party.
To those of you who will be able to celebrate with us, you are invaluable to me. Your presence is an affirmation of your encouragement and agreement. It means so much that you will share your time with us. So many of you are traveling from out of state (some out of the continental US) and I am deeply touched by your gesture. Thank you for understanding the importance of this day for us. You are truly marvelous friends and we are so grateful for your presence in our lives.
To those of you who are celebrating with us from afar, thank you. You are loved and will be dearly missed.
So friends, this is my last blog as Candace Lynne Conyers.
Friends and family, you mean the world to me.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

In case you care...

I picked my wedding gown up on Saturday.

It is unharmed, intact, and clean!

Thank you Hampton Cleaners for being competant and "Breaking the law"!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Dear Mr. Tuxedo Man...

April 7, 2009

To Whom It May Concern:

I would like to make you aware of the extreme dissatisfaction I have experienced with your business as well as with your employees. I have witnessed very unprofessional behavior and unbelievable mistakes which have not been rectified as of yet. Had these issues not occurred so close to my wedding date, I would joyfully demand a refund of what has already been paid and take my business elsewhere.
Our wedding date is April 25, 2009. We were told that all of our “measurements MUST be in no later than March 14th.” We diligently made sure that all of our groomsmen and fathers understood the necessity of obtaining these measurements prior to the due date. I even called at the beginning of February to ask an employee the best way to submit measurements for out of town groomsmen. I was advised that calling it in was not the most reliable method rather, I should use the website—the link that says ‘enter your measurements here.’
Yesterday (April 6, 2009) I called to confirm everything was correct and that we were set for our wedding. I was told that we were down for 9 tuxedos; I corrected him that we only needed 8, and then I was told that he was still missing measurements for four men. Two of the measurements I had completed the second week of February. I had to call the groomsmen several times to make sure every blank on the form was completed. The second two were the last two entered the second week of March. I received a page that said ‘Thank you for submitting your measurements’ after each person I submitted. That, to me, was a confirmation that they were received.
When I relayed this information to the employee he told me that that wasn’t possible. He told me that I had probably just ‘thought’ I submitted the measurements, but that I hadn’t actually done it. He said with a chuckle that a lot of people make that mistake. He told me that if I shut the page without hitting ‘submit’ that they wouldn’t be sent. He also told me that the order wouldn’t go through unless every field was filled. Perhaps you should tell your employees that making a customer feel like he or she is stupid is not the best way to keep them calm and happy.

Here are my issues:

• The employee I spoke with called me a liar and placed the blame on me.
• Your employee spoke to me as if I was a child.
• Why was I not contacted the day after the measurements were due to check on the status of the missing measurements?
• What is the point of a due date if, two weeks before the wedding, it doesn’t matter if measurements are even in or not?
• The employee I spoke with never even apologized for losing the measurements.
• DO NOT tell people that the online service is the best way to submit measurements if you have no guarantee that you will actually receive and log them.

As a customer, I put a lot of faith in my vendors that everything will go smoothly. I was expecting that a few items wouldn’t be perfect, but that was the extent of my stress about the tuxedos. Now I seriously doubt your ability to order the correct suits let alone the correct sizes. I hope that we have no other issues. As of now, I am unhappy with your service in every respect of the word.

Most sincerely,



Candace Conyers

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Tale of the Douche-Man Waiter

There is an evil that lurks at the Market Street Grill in downtown Salt Lake City. This seemingly innocent place houses a creature that is both offensive and despicable. The name of this creature rhymes with Dallin.
I am sure that 'Dallin' began his day with the thought, "Gosh, I hope I have a bachelorette party at one of my tables so I can behave inappropriately and charge them items that they never ordered. Bachelorette parties usually get drunk and don't pay enough attention anyway. If I charge them for things they don't order, that will boost my automatic 18% tip...it doesn't matter if it is dishonest or deplorable."
Dear Dallin was in luck on Saturday night. My friend Annette decided to spend the first portion of her Bachelorette party at this restaurant. And what luck! Dallin was our server! He began the evening with the finesse of a sleazy swinger. He flirted a little too hard and joked a little too much. Whatever. I enjoy bantering with ambitious servers.
Other than being slightly slow with the water refills, Dallin didn't do poorly as our server. He was knowledgeable about the menu and seemed to get our orders right. Seemed.
I asked our server if I could have my bill (Andy was on his way to pick me up). "Oh," said Dallin. "I didn't realize you were on separate checks." I looked around confused. There were 12 people at the table all under the age of 25. Really? He really didn't think we would be on separate checks? If he had said he 'couldn't' separate the bill, that would have been understandable. Rather, he gave us some story about how their computer system was ancient and it would just take 'so much work to work that out for you, gals' (wink).
Slightly annoyed, but not angry yet, we passed around the check, put our cards in and crossed off our orders. After the check made it around the table someone announced that we were $100 short. With eager curiosity and fear that my retarded arithmetic skills had betrayed me, I looked over the bill. No. Everything was correct. If anything, I overpaid my $10. Everyone seemed to agree. Then we began looking at what wasn't claimed by the people at the table. At last, we found the culprit-- Dallin.
People in our party found that they were overcharged for their meals. One girl was charged for the Ahi Tuna on her salad instead of chicken. Another was charged for a shot that she didn't order. Someone was charged for two crab legs instead of one. "Mistakes" like this were the reason we were $100 less than what the total claimed. And maybe they were just mistakes, but more than five mistakes seems a bit suspicious.
Dallin came back to an angry table of customers. One by one, our table told him what was wrong with the bill that he wouldn't split. One by one, he tried to talk his way out of these errors and justify his upping the price. His disgustingly dapper demeanor vanished as, one by one, he was told that he had to go adjust the total to the correct price.
Forty minutes after asking for the bill, I was able to go meet Andy, who had been waiting for me the whole time.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Left out to Dry: the next installment

I promised to keep you updated with the happening and 'goings on' regarding my dress. Well, the story continues...
When I last blogged I had just dropped my dress off at a cleaners which assured me that they could help. I found out, less than 24 hours later that that was not the case.
Candace's phone rings at work around 12:30.
"Hello?"
"Hi, Candace. This is Bryan from the dry cleaners.'
"Hi, Bryan."
"Hi. I was calling to tell you that we can't clean your dress."
"What do you mean you can't clean my dress?"
"Well, the care instructions say that it needs to be cleaned with a petroleum solvent which has actually been outlawed in America for 20 or 30 years."
"Really."
"Yeah."
"My dress is a year old."
"It obviously wasn't made in America. Is it really that important for you to preserve your dress?"
"I am not preserving it. I haven't even worn it yet. My wedding isn't until the end of April."
"Oh. I don't know what to tell you."
"So, Bryan, hypothetically speaking, what happens if we send it through the cleaners with the current solvent?"
"Um, discoloration, chemical burns, shrinking. I wouldn't risk it."
"Great. I will be in this afternoon to pick it up."
After work I drove to the Dry Cleaner's. When I walked in, I was greeted by another sixteen year old, wired from ear to ear with braces, and thoroughly eager to help me. Maybe it was her first day. I handed her my ticket and she began going through the men's shirt. "It's a big wedding dress," I called to her, thinking that it might be helpful. The girl walked the length of the entire store two times and she finally came back to the counter with my dress in hand.
"That will be $105.47."
"No, " I said.
"No?"
"No. This hasn't been cleaned."
She looked confused. "Yes it has."
"No, it hasn't. The owner called me at work today to let me know that it couldn't be cleaned here."
"But the total is on it. If the total is on it that means it has been cleaned."
"Sweetheart, believe me. It hasn't been cleaned. Now, I am going to take my dress and I'm going to leave now."
"Ok, well, I am going to have to make a note about this and tell my supervisor!"
"You do that. Good day."
I had already called my friend Juli to ask her advice. Juli (who is a God send and a fantastic woman) located a cleaner in Ogden that could help me. Elated, I left early the next morning and made the hour drive to Ogden. I pulled into the Dry Cleaner's parking lot, pulled out my dress, and prayed that the fourth time will be a charm (since the third obviously was not).
I walked in and was greeted by a very nice older man. "Hi! I am hoping you can help me. I have had one heck of a time finding a place that can clean this wedding dress. I was told that it needs a type of solvent that has been outlawed or something."
"Interesting. What kind of solvent?"
"Petroleum based?"
The man thought a minute. "That is the only solvent we use. It certainly isn't 'outlawed'. Whoever you talked to was an idiot."

So, my dress is now in Ogden. The adventures continue. I am supposed to pick it up on April 11...we'll see what happens next. Stay tuned...

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Left out to dry

So, apparently it is really difficult to get a wedding gown cleaned.

My adventure began on Monday. I called a few places to price the actual cleaning. First of all, everyone was baffled that I wanted the dress cleaned before the wedding. Secondly, the employees had difficulty understanding that I didn't want it preserved, I wanted to wear it. Thirdly, the prices spanned from $90-$130 depending on the dress. Fine. That was what I was expecting.
After doing my homework, I found that every place I checked was around the same price. Because of this fact, I decided to save myself the driving time and take the dress to the cleaners near my apartment. Andy uses this establishment and has never had a problem. I drove up and was met by a very nice girl who really was trying to be helpful.
"May I help you?"
"Yes, I need to get this dress cleaned."
"Is that a wedding dress?"
"Yes."
"Um, I don't know anything about those. You should come back tomorrow around 10 so you can speak to my supervisor."
"I work all day. I can't come in at that time. May I leave the dress here and call your supervisor in the morning?"
"Sure!"
So, I left the dress with the girl and told her that I would call in the morning.

Next morning: First call made to the cleaners, 10:00: "Oh, our boss isn't in yet. She was supposed to be in at 10, but you can try again in a half hour or so."Second call, 10:30: "Yeah, she's still not in yet. No, no one can help you except for her. Try again in an hour or so." Third call, 11:30: "I don't know where she is. She hasn't called or anything." This is the point when I told her that I had no confidence in their business and that I would pick up my dress that afternoon. "That's a good idea," said the employee on the phone.
I picked up the dress around 5:30 (realizing that they had stolen my nice strong hanger and replaced it with their crappy, flimsy hanger) and decided to take it to the dry cleaners up the road that calls themselves 'the wedding gown specialists.' I figured they would at least be able to point me in the right direction. I pulled my gown out of my car and walked it into the cleaners. I was greeted by a nice old woman.
"May I help you?"
"Yes, I need to get this gown cleaned. The last place I took it to had no idea what they were doing and they stole my hanger."
"Oh that's too bad! Of course we can do that for you! The total will be $247.43. If you want it boxed, it will be another $150."
I almost fell over. What the hell?
"May I ask why you charge that much?" My dress is not complicated nor is it adorned with lots of crap.
"Well, our guy is really good at what he does."
"I'm sure he is. That must be one heck of a steamer. Thank you for your time." With that I picked up my dress and walked out of the store of rape. Strike two.
As I drove home I came upon another dry cleaner. I pulled in, left my dress in the car and marched up to the counter. The adorable sixteen year old looked up at me.
"May I help you?"
"Do you clean wedding dresses here?"
"Yes"
"How much do you charge?"
"$95 hung or $120 boxed."
"Great." I walked out to my car, grabbed my dress, and hoisted it onto the counter. "I would like it cleaned and hung. I don't want it boxed and I will be back one week from today to pick it up."
"Sounds good," said the teen.
I will let you know if anything happens when I pick it up. For now, I am a believer that third time really is a charm.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Through the Shredder

My darling friend Hilary is letting me borrow her Jillian Michael's 30 day shred (known to me as 'The Shredder'). This workout video from hell is 20 minutes long and is guaranteed to kick your ass.
When Hilary first told me about it, I snickered...after all, work out videos are a piece of cake. No. I learned my lesson. The 20 minute video includes a warm up, cool down, and three cycles of 3 minute strength, 2 minute cardio, and one minute abs. The video offers three levels which get progressively harder. Not too bad, right? Wrong. Give me a five mile run anyday.

I experienced the Shredder for the first time last week. I was smug and used my 5lbs hand weights instead of the suggested 2lbs hand weights. I began the video and quickly found that Jillian is a force to be reckoned with. About 1.5 minutes into the strength training...I had to take a rest. Obviously my deltoids aren't where they shoud be. Fair enough. I continue, my body kicking and screaming the entire length of the video. Every time Jillian told me 'You have to want it!' I had to restrain myself from putting my fist through the television. Truth be told, by the time I got to that point, I didn't have the strength to put my fist through the television. After that work out, I showered. I was ashamed and embarrassed that I did not have the ability to raise my hands over my head to wash my hair. Pitiful. I gave up the Shredder.
After a 7 day hiatus from the Shredder, I decided to try again. I jazzed myself up all day at work and decided that it would just be degrading if I was bested by a workout video. Screw the results, I just want to say that I can work out for 20 minutes without turning into a limp, crying mess. I could do it! Especially with the help of my very kind fiance.
Andy's reaction was similar to mine when I told him about the video. He had no idea what he was in for. I didn't hide anything from him. He heard me cry out in pain for four days after I finished the video. He knew but didn't really know. That all changed last night.
About 30 minutes after a delicious dinner at Red Iguana, Andy announced that he was ready to attack the Shredder. Note to self for future reference: DO NOT do this workout with a full stomache.
I gave Andy my hand weights and I grabbed a bottle of Ice 101 and Bicardi Rum. It served a purpose. The video began. It was just as bad as I remembered, though, I was able to make it all the way through without stopping. Andy was a trooper and stuck with it; however, he mentioned that the video was terrible and he never wants to do it again.
I plan to continue with level one tonight...with Andy. :)If you are wondering how I feel today? Shredded.

Friday, March 13, 2009

The World According to Mort

In honor of Mort Goldman's (assumed) six month birthday, I thought I would write a blog about him.

My quirky little kitty lives his life by a very specific list of rules that may seem more or less retarded to the average passerby.

Rules of Mort:

1. You may not touch me unless you are standing up.
2. It is my unwavering belief that human food tastes like poop.
3. If your toes come within five feet of the bed, they are fair game. I will attack as I see fit.
4.3 AM is the optimal play time for me.
5. I will only become cuddly while one person is in the house.
6. If two or more people are present, I will hide under the bed for two hours then proceed to sit as far away from the humans as possible. Do not attempt to touch me.
7. I maintain the right to sometimes forget who my owners are, thus become unbelievably frightened when a tall redhead enters the apartment.
8. If it rolls, it is fun.
9. I am often not sure of what I want. If this is the case, I will sit in a room of my choice and meow until you guess what it is that I want.
10. Anything round in shape that can be carried in my mouth must die a painful death of drowning in either the toilet or my water dish.

Mort’s law states that, “If it moves or can be considered new, I must encounter and watch it at least fifteen times before I know that it will not kill me.”

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

The real countdown

March 1st hit me like a bag of happy hammers. I say happy because it made me dance around, skip, and break into joyous song. March 1st marked the day when I realized 'I'm getting married next month.'
To many brides, this is the time of panic and last minute planning; not for this girl. Luckily, I have had a year to get the hard part out of the way so I can enjoy my last 52 days of being engaged. From here on out it is all about parties and payments.

Up to this point, when people asked me, "Are you excited? It's getting close!" My answer would always be, "Not yet." Not yet because I tend to get debilitatingly excited, so I tried to fend it off as long as possible. Well, friends, it is no longer possible. I have reached my excited state of mind where I have trouble functioning and focusing in a work environment. I have difficulty sitting through church without daydreaming about the wedding that will take place there. I wear my wedding shoes around the house and tell myself that I am not lame...I'm just 'breaking them in.' I practice dancing and clean my ring like a person with OCD. I have my invitation hanging up at my desk and I spend a solid amount of time of my work day looking at it. I obsessively look at my check list to go over and over what has been done and what needs to be done. What can I say? I'm just excited.
I fully understand that I am obnoxious at this point. My apologies.
Geez, I am this excited now. What will I be like when I realize that, not only am I getting married, but I am going to Australia four days later!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Valentine's concert

For Valentine's Day this year, Andy and I sang for a concert at Westminster college. The video below is the song Andy and I sang as well as a group number of Westminster alumni.

Enjoy!


video

Friday, February 13, 2009

A howling good time.

Andy and I have discovered what brings out the worst in us. We found out what reveals the inner bigot and what diminishes the conscience to allow unthinkable remarks to freely fly from our mouths. I am, of course, referring to the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show.

The Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show provided a very enjoyable and thoroughly inappropriate evening for us last night.

It began innocently enough, with the hound group. We oohed and ahhed over the adorable dogs until something caught Andy’s attention. “I think you have to be an unbearably ugly woman to show hounds.”
How true it is, too! Out of all of the different groups of dogs, the handlers of the hounds were, by far, the most pitiful. We laughed as each outfit shown became more and more atrocious. We questioned the handlers’ sexual orientation and settled on the idea that if the handlers look painfully terrible, their dogs would look better. No excuse. No excuse at all.

From that point on, our participation in the dog show increased ten fold. We began mocking the commentators and picking apart the gaits of the handlers. We decided which dogs shouldn't win and shouted our discontent when they did (damn standard poodles. I hate them).

When all was said and done, our evening turned out to be one which would make Mel Brooks proud. Not a single race was left un-offended. Not a single outfit went without severe ridicule (what with their Dr. Scholl's shoes and ill-fitting, shiney skirt-suits). Not an ugly dog was left unnamed (that’s right…we even attacked the dogs). However, amidst all of our negative comments, we were very happy that the 10 year old sussex spaniel won. Way to go, Stump!

We have decided that when we have a house, we will get a German Wirehaired Pointer named Beard Man and an English bulldog named Awesome Dude.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Sacrifice all of your blood.

I am notorious for talking in my sleep. Usually, I have harmless conversations with whomever may be present in my dreamland. I have experienced everything completely asleep from discussing foreign policy with former president George W. Bush to quoting random movies like 'Dave' and 'Labyrinth' with my good friend, Tope. I am vaguely aware of these late-night rendezvous but am never able to break my trance. I am aware that I sit up and have complete conversations with people in my dream, but I have never been able to just lie back down and go to sleep.
Last night, I was able to scare the bejesus out of Andy. He was just drifting to sleep when I rolled over and sang "Sacrifice all of your blood!" to the tune of a snappy jingle. Whether I laughed or not, I am not sure. When I imagine the situation, I imagine myself laughing maniacally.After realizing that I was not awake, Andy shook my shoulder.
"Candace," said a panicked Andy.
"Homanommmm," replied a sleepy Candace.
"Do you know what you just said?" inquired Andy.
"Yes," replied Candace. "I was sjkfjsjdhgf for the thing."
Andy laughed and realized I was completely dead to the world.
Just at that moment, my cat decided that 12:30 am was the time that I needed to wake up. With great gusto, Mort Goldman bit my toes.
"Ow, kitty. Stop it."
"Candace, are you awake?"
"Yes"
"Do you realize what you just said?"
I immediately felt the dread of finding out what I had said in my sleep. "No," I replied.
"You just sang 'sacrifice all of your blood'"
"Really." was the only response that came to mind. "I had a dream I was stirring a pot of something."

Hmm. Go figure. Thoughts?

Friday, January 16, 2009

My style of riding off into the sunset


Well, friends. It's official. Andy and I will be heading to the land down under for our honeymoon!
Tonight we booked our flight and hotel reservations for May 1-10!!! We plan to take in the culture, observe the wildlife, experience fall in May, and swoon over the accent.
As we have never been to Australia (Melbourne, to be exact) any suggestions would be much appreciated! Please, leave me a note if you know of 'must do' activities in the roundabout area.
Cheers!

Friday, January 9, 2009

Who works at David's Bridal? That's right. Idiots.

I don't like David's Bridal. I think that the majority of their product is poor quality and the staff is unbelievably uneducated. If you found your dream wedding gown or dream brides maid dresses at David's Bridal, I mean no offense. I am pleased to hear that your experience there was better than mine.
Kirsten and I decided that David's Bridal would be the perfect place to go to get a crinoline and a sash for Kirsten's wedding gown. We entered the establishment and were greeted by a friendly and eager 19-year-old. "Welcome to David's bridal! How may I help you?" Instantly, I experienced Deja Vu of Wal-Mart. I could see into the future about 50 years when this perky girl named Jessica would undoubtedly be a Wal Mart greeter. I dismissed my premonition and mentally returned to the matter at hand.
"Hi, Jessica. We are looking for an A-line crinoline," I said, scanning the store to see if I could locate one myself.
Jessica stared at me as if I had just sprouted antlers. Kirsten noticed the uncomfortable pause as well as the blatant confusion.

"A petticoat," she added, thinking that this term would be more common.
The light bulb visibly turned on in Jessica's head as she understood what we wanted. "Oh! A petticoat! Sure, follow me!"
She led us to the front of the store and sifted through various capes. When she had found one that she was sure would work, she presented the cape proudly to us. "Well, this one is white and has fur on it, but it goes all the way to the floor." Jessica was oh so proud of her discovery.
Now it was our turn to stare in confusion and wonderment. After several seconds of awkward silence, I couldn't help myself. I blurted out, "CRINOLINE. You know. The thing that makes a dress puffy." Seriously. This term is not foreign, or at least should not be foreign if you work in a friggin' wedding shop.
Jessica looked offended. She hung up the cape, sniffed and matter-of-factly said, "Well, here at David's bridal, we call them slips." Whatever. By this point I just wanted the stupid petticoat so we could leave. She led us to the back of the store where they kept their 'slips' and handed Kirsten the appropriate size. Jessica did not ask us if we needed anything else. I had obviously wounded her pride and she went back to the front of the store to lick her wounds.
Kirsten and I turned to the sash department and prayed that this experience would be easier than the other.
This is when Mary offered her assistance. "May I help you?"
Here we go again. "Yes," I said. "We are looking for a sash that is about three inches thick in candy apple red."
Mary listened intently and nodded to show that she understood. She led us over to sashes of various sizes and picked up a candy apple red ribbon. The ribbon was the right color but it was obviously a ribbon, not the three inch sash that I had asked for.
"That is the perfect color," Kirsten said, "but do you have it in a thicker fabric?"
"No," Mary said. "This is all we have. But look how versatile it is." Mary began wrapping the ribbon around Kirsten's waist and showing us about how it would be perfect (bear in mind that Mary hadn't seen Kirsten's dress in the first place). I tried to explain to her what the dress looked like and why we needed the thicker sash.
As I was speaking to Mary, Kirsten spotted the perfect size sash that was displayed on a mannequin. "Mary, this is what I am looking for. This exact sash only in candy apple red." Mary takes the ribbon and walks over to the mannequin. She compares the ribbon with the sash and considers them side by side for several seconds. She turns to us. "They're the same thing," she proclaims.
It was quite obvious that the ribbon and the sash were not the same. They weren't even made of the same material. Mary showed us the product numbers to prove that they were the same thing and quickly found out that they were not.
We left the store with the crinoline in hand and the sash ordered. Done. Painful.

By the way, the sash ended up not being candy apple red.