Thursday, November 17, 2011

You Won't Marry Me - Challenge Accepted

Have you ever wondered why or how Chris & I got married?  Here's our love may want to have the tissues handy...

August 2001

Chris was fresh out of Officer Candidate School & working at The Citadel in Charleston, SC, waiting to attend the Naval Weapons Station for training.

I was starting my third year in The Holy City, living with one of my oldest & dearest friends, Arynn.

It just so happened that my roomie's ex-boyfriend was one of Chris's best friends and fraternity brothers at Georgia Tech.  Arynn was the only person Chris knew in the area, so one evening he called and offered to take her and her roommate (ME!) out to dinner.

For some background, I was happily & decidedly single...not lonely...single.  I was also working 50+ hours a week for barely more than minimum wage in a very physically demanding job, so I was also hungry.

Enter Chris...Chris, a frat monkey I already knew stories about and had seen pictures of from various trips during his Georgia Tech days.

Years before meeting Chris
Dana: "He's kind of cute."
Arynn:  "Yeah. He knows it."
Dana: "Oh. One of those...gross."

He dated another girl I knew. It didn't end well...much like most of his relationships prior to me.  So, to put it mildly, I didn't like him before I even met him.

However, I'm never one to turn down a free meal.  Especially when I'm hungry.

We went to one of my favorite local restaurants, The Wreck, and I ate so much food. I ordered extra hush puppies because he was flashing cash like he just got his bonus.  A girl's gotta eat...

September 2001

We went out a few times after that. I took him to a local band's concert so I could try & make a bass player jealous.  Fun stuff like that!

One night, we had a real date.  We went to dinner at a nice French restaurant I worked at for a while and then saw Jeepers Creepers together.  He drove me home, walked me to the door...

Chris: "Well, I feel like we've gotten to know each other and we've become more than friends. Would it be appropriate if I kissed you goodnight."
BitchDana: "First of all, we're barely more than acquaintances. Second of all, if you have to ask if it's appropriate to kiss someone good night, it's obviously not."
Chris: "Okay. You can call me when you get back from your sister's if you want to." (gets in car immediately and leaves)

I left the next day to visit my brand new niece and had several days to reflect on what had happened.  A guy had, for the first time, completely not put up with my bitchtastic BS.  Also, a girl, for the first time, had not swooned over Chris giving her attention.  Obviously, I couldn't stop thinking about him. I emailed him while I was in Virginia and called him as soon as I got back.

I went out with Chris and other friends for my 25th birthday a few days later on September 27th.  My best friend called the next morning and I told her I had met the man I was going to marry.

October 2001

A few days after my birthday, one of us made the comment "you won't marry me." This started a "no, YOU won't marry ME" type stupid argument. We are REALLY REALLY good at stupid arguments. I called his bluff and told him to call my mom and tell her we were getting married. He did it, poor sap.

Mom assumed I was pulling her leg so she started telling Chris that he wasn't good enough for her daughter and she did not approve of him, etc.  I saw his face just drop. Poor guy didn't know what hit him.  I took the phone away and told her I wasn't kidding.  She has a conscience, unlike me, so she felt bad and only laughed a little bit before she told Chris he had to spend a weekend with her...without me.  He did it, poor sap.

April 2002

We got married.

November 2011

9+ years later, we're still married, poor sap.

Had we known each other any better, it probably wouldn't have happened. We didn't like each other very much that first year of marriage.  Thankfully, we like each other now.

Mama’s Losin’ It

Inspired by: 3.) Married? Tell us the story of how the question was popped.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

How to Use a Neti Pot #VlogTalk

I promised friends on Twitter & Facebook that I would vlog myself using a neti pot if enough people expressed interest in it.  I never defined "enough" because, honestly, I was gonna do it anyways.

I apologize for the wind noise, but, really, it's the visual you want, right?

I generally use 1/4-1/2 teaspoon of non-iodized salt in warm water. Many people prefer a mix of non-iodized salt and baking soda because it adjust the ph of the solution and may be more comfortable.  Some people use water at room temperature, but I find that room temp water is not comfortable at all.

My own little testimony is that I have "dainty" nasal passages. I did not make that up, a former ENT specialist told me that.  It's the only "dainty" thing about me, so don't judge.  She also told me that I would continue to be plagued by sinus infections if I didn't have surgery or find something else that a neti pot.

Thankfully, the neti pot has worked. I still get sinus infections but it only gets bad enough to warrant antibiotics maybe once a year. I'm able to push through with a neti pot & pseudoephedrine combo and feel better in a matter of days instead of weeks.

Vlog Talk

Monday, November 14, 2011

Top 10 Reasons the West Coast is Better Than the East Coast

Chris has been on a blogging roll lately...

If you know me at all you know that I would prefer to live back on the West Coast any day of the week. How could you not? I talk about it constantly and even dish out a West Coast "W" whenever I can.

Chris at Yosemite - Half Dome in the background

So to even further my push of the West coast and to continually remind myself how much I love it, I decided to let everyone know why the West coast is better than the East. I've lived in both, although a significantly longer amount on the East, and it's not even close. Of course, this is just one man's opinion. I encourage you to develop your own.

In no particular order.....

1. Better Scenery. Snow-capped Olympics and Cascades, Mt. Rainier, Yosemite NP, Big Sur, San Diego, Palm Springs, etc. versus the Appalachians and Florida beaches. I prefer mountains, real mountains, so this is a no brainer. While the Florida beaches are nicer, the West coast wins on mountains alone. By the way, Yosemite NP is the most beautiful place on Earth.

Pebble Beach

2. More Animal-friendly. Not to say there aren't animal-friendly people and places on the East coast, but there are just so many more out West. From animal-friendly restaurants to huge, I mean huge, off-leash dog parks and beaches to numerous no-kill animal rescue organizations, the East coast can't compete.

Samson, Holly, & Boomer chillin' at a winery

3. Better Radio Stations. Okay, I'm sure this is up for debate, but let me tell you. I've heard songs on the West coast that didn't make it to the East coast until months later. And Seattle? Forget about it. You don't move to the West coast to make it on the radio stations.

4. Better attitude. Everyone who has lived on the West coast will tell you that things are just more laid back. It's no lie. A stress-free, care-free life is so much healthier (and more fun) than an up-tight, care-what-people-think attitude. Not saying the entire East coast is like this, but it seems to be the case that the further you get from DC and politics, the more laid back life is.

San Francisco - Golden Gate Bridge

5. West Coast Time Zone. Yeah, so in the fall I can wake up at 6am, walk the dogs, turn on College GameDay at 7am, see my first game at 9am, even catch the night games, and be able to go out after it's all over.

6. Wine, Wine, Wine. From Washington all the way down to California, there are so many wineries. In many areas, you don't have to drive any more than 5 miles in any direction to have 15-20 wineries. And they are good.

a vineyard in Sonoma Valley

7. Beer, Beer, Beer. I will argue until I'm blue in the face that the beer on the West Coast is better and more plentiful. I could name several dozen breweries that are awesome but all of my favorites are out West. Green Flash, Lagunitas, Sierra Nevada, and Pyramid are just a few.

8. More National Parks. Yeah, this kind of relates to the scenery, but it's worthy of its own number. Just pull out a National Park map and you will see that the West Coast has so many more.

Crater Lake & Mt Rainier

9. Better Food. You can find the same genre of foods on the East coast, but all of the genres taste better, in my opinion out West. All of my favorite restaurants are out there.

10. More environmentally-friendly. People on the West Coast care about the environment and go out of their way to show it. A lot of companies don't charge to recycle, and even if they did, everyone would still do it

So that's it. I'll say again, this is my opinion. There are a couple of things that are worse on the West Coast (cost of living) but they don't even compare to the great things out there. If you haven't been, please go. I can recommend numerous places.  Especially if it involves camping, beer, or wine.  Just ask.

What's your opinion on the East Coast vs West Coast?  Do you have a favorite of the two?

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Why I Won't Birth 20 Kids

So, the Duggars had a big announcement this week.  Michelle Duggar is pregnant again.

image credit: ivanmarn

First of all, more power to her and I sincerely hope she has a safe & healthy pregnancy.

However, all of the publicity got me thinking and that's always a little scary.  I started thinking about 20 kids and I realized I could never do it for a lot of reasons.

1 - I'm 35 years old.  I only have one child. The thought of being pregnant well into my 50s in order to have 19 more children doesn't appeal to me.

2 - We have a soft spot for big dogs. Really big dogs.  That leaves little room for 19 more children.

3 - I hated being pregnant. I was sick and miserable the whole time.  As much as I love Klaw, the thought of being pregnant again, even if only one more time, makes me cringe.

4 - I don't like to do laundry.

5 - I can barely remember the names of my pets. There's no way I'd remember the names of 20 children. I've watched the Duggars rattle off the names of their children and I am in awe.

6 - If we had 20 kids, statistically speaking, about 5 of those kids would have VLCADD.  Granted, it's a manageable condition...but that first year is awful.  Hospitalizations, weekly visits with specialists, regular blood work, cardiology appointments, waking the baby up & force feeding him/'s emotionally and physically draining.  Thinking about going through that four more times is overwhelming.

7 - I imagine cosleeping is pretty difficult with 20 kids.  How many king size beds would we have to buy & shove together?

8 - Chris would eventually deploy again.  That would SUUUUUUCK!!!

9 - I don't think 20 kids would fit in our pop-up camper.  This is not acceptable.

10 - I have nightmares about blown out vajajays.

What it all comes down to is this:

Her body; her choice.
My body; my choice.

How about we leave each other's uteri alone.
You hear that voters?

ETA: I'm very sorry to add that the Duggars lost their baby.
I'm even sorrier to add that many people have not been very compassionate about it.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

5 Things That Make a Camping Trip Merely Good

This is continuation of my post 5 Things That Make a Camping Trip Great. While camping is like pizza to me (there is no bad pizza) there certainly are those things that can make it merely a good camping trip and not great one.

Here are few things that can take a camping trip from...

Great to Good

1. Seeing your team lose, live!!! While Oklahoma is my team, I still follow and support Georgia Tech (I actually spent more time at GT than OU). When a college friend was selling tickets to the GT-UVA game, Dana and I decided to purchase two and take the opportunity to go camping. I figured this would be a perfect game to go to. GT was highly ranked, undefeated, and playing a Virginia team that hasn't had a good football team since 1990. Surely, this would be in the bag. Yeah, not so much. While our seats were great, everything about Georgia Tech's play was terrible. They came out flat and made UVA look like they were the ranked ones. Can I get my money back, Ashley? 

Dana being smug because GT is losing.

2. Lack of cell phone coverage. So camping in the foothills of the Appalachians, while beautiful, isn't cell phone friendly. I'm not normally one for needing cell phone coverage while camping, but we left the dogs at home for this trip and I was a bit curious on how they were doing. If there had been a problem there would have been no way to contact us. Fortunately for the free wi-fi at the campground, we were able to communicate via messaging on Facebook.

3. One lane gravel roads. Due the lack of cell phone coverage, we were unable to find out if one winery, Sugarleaf Vineyards, was accessible for a truck towing a camper. We decided to risk it and let me tell you, it was stressful. This one lane gravel road was the worst road I have been on in a long time. Plenty of potholes and plenty of blind bends. Fortunately for the trip to the winery we encountered no other traffic. We were not so lucky leaving the winery. Backing up with a camper is not easy and I'll leave it at that. We came out unscathed but I don't need any more gray hair.

4. Crowded campgrounds. When we go camping, we don't come to socialize with the other campers and, frankly, would rather be the only people out there. When we made reservations, there were only three spots left so I knew this was going to be a crowded campground and boy was it. It was kid hell, as I had to dodge little Hell's Angels as I walked to the restroom. For further reading on why this sucks, see number 5 below.

5. Loud, Drunken Rednecks. As if crowded campgrounds aren't bad enough, throw in Billy Ray, his first cousin/wife Bobbie Sue, their 12 chil'ren, and plenty of Busch Light and Boone's Farm and you've got a recipe for disaster. Oh yeah, did I mention they were our neighbors? Quiet hours evidently didn't apply to these asshats as they sang Skynyrd and loudly laughed into the wee hours.

All in all, it was a good trip. Honestly, take away the rednecks and the Georgia Tech loss and it would've have been a great trip.

If you camp, what are your camping pet peeves?  Do you have any funny or harrowing stories to share?

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Stupid Husband Tricks

Today is usually #VlogTalk day, but I did not choose one of the prompts this week.  Another video opportunity presented itself and I am not one to ignore a wonderful gift when it is given to me.


So, what's the dumbest thing your significant other has done lately?

Vlog Talk

Monday, November 7, 2011

5 Things That Make a Camping Trip Great

Chris is back & inspired by a recent camping trip...hope you enjoy!

just outside of Charlottesville, VA

Ok, so I didn't title this "10 Things That Make a Camping Trip Awesome". Nope, I didn't want to focus on just those things that made our recent camping trip awesome because for every awesome there is usually a terrible. Instead I'm going to provide 5 things that make a camping trip go from good to great in this post and 5 things that make a camping trip go from great to good in another post.

Good to Great

1. Beautiful weather. Nothing says "its a great time to camp" than fall weather. Chilly nights and mild days. Combine that with bountiful sunshine and camping is on point.

also near Charlottesville, VA

2. Well-maintained campgrounds. You never know what you are going to get when you make a campground reservation. Pictures don't always tell the whole story and for every bad review you can always find a good one. When there is only one campground where you want to go, well, there is no choice and you get what you get. The KOA in Charlottesville was nice. Nestled in the foothills of the Appalachians, there was plenty of fall foliage, nice level sites, each with their own campfire ring, a nice store, and clean restrooms.

3. Free WiFi. Yeah, yeah, yeah. I know that when you are camping you are supposed to become one with nature and all that jazz and that's fine. But fall camping coincides with another love of mine: College Football. I schedule camping around OU's games so I won't go if they are playing in a tough game. So they played Kansas this camping weekend so I wasn't really concerned but having WiFi afforded me the opportunity to run ESPN's GameCast and keep up with it, play by play.

4. Nearby libations. Dana and I are all about supporting local wineries and breweries. We don't necessarily go out looking for them, but if they are nearby, you can bet we are going to make a stop. I didn't do any research ahead of time but was told that there were some wineries in the Charlottesville area. Much to my surprise and delight, there were four of them within ten miles of where we were staying. Unfortunately Klaw isn't old enough to drive, so we limited ourselves to two of them. We will get the others next time.

Dave Matthews's Blenheim Vineyards

Sugarleaf Vineyards

5. Cooperative children. We've only taken Klaw camping once before and he was good. Since that time, he has, how do I say this, developed a penchant for throwing temper tantrums periodically. Not that he is ever bad but sometimes he shows his tail, as on old family friend used to put it. This trip he was great! He went to bed when we did, slept the entire night, and even was good enough to allow us to stay the entire 4 quarters of a GT-UVA football game. Thanks buddy!!!

Chris, Klaw, & Buzz

Do you enjoy camping? What are do you think makes for a great camping trip?
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