Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Wedding invitations are underway!

Our friend Kristen Fagan is designing our wedding invitations. We are so excited! She posted a blog about her creative process, Creative Stash. I can't wait to see the final product. Yay Kristen!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Roof Rat in Toilet Arcadia Home Phoenix Arizona

Late last night I found myself googling a new phrase that I'd never considered googling before, "Roof Rat in Toilet Arcadia Home Phoenix Arizona". Why, you may ask? Because unfortunately, I discovered a rat in our toilet in one of the single most terrifying moments of my life.

I'm exhausted. I really and truly am. This month has been a doozy. I won't bother you with the long list of ups and downs again, if you know us well enough, you've probably gotten the general gist of it all from my previous blog entries and various facebook updates. This week was my big trip to Sonoma with Jamie to shoot our "how to" photos for our upcoming book. Although it was mostly fun, it was grueling. I didn't get a lot of sleep and the sleep that I did get was not the best quality. By the time that I arrived back in Arizona on Thursday early evening, I was spent. I intended to rest on Friday, but I made the mistake of trying to turn on my lap top. It would not turn on. Uh oh. I need a lap top to assist in finishing our book. I need a lap top for just about everything that I do at work. I spent a few hours making sure that I could have a computer for the following week and mumbled to myself that it was silly that I couldn't just have a full day off any more.

I tried again the next day. I slept in. I watched tv. I took a nap. I read. By evening, I felt up to going out into the yard and doing a little work. I was feeling rested. Josh joined me and was mowing. When it got dark, I came inside and decided to wipe down the bathrooms and squeeze cleaner into the toilet. I flipped down the lids in both bathrooms, washed my hands (of course) and moved on with my day. I was back on he couch, relaxing again. Josh came in, took a shower and soon was by my side on the couch.

It started when I heard some splashing. I am really sensitive to unusual sounds and lights. I turned down the television (Twin Peaks) and listened. I asked Josh what he thought the sound might be. He went and investigated. He reported back that he thought it was just the new lights that we had purchased. We both commented on how strange it was that they would make noise, but I accepted his answer and went back to watching the tv intently. A few minutes later, I decided to go to the bathroom. I don't hardly ever use that bathroom during the day. As I entered the bathroom, I remembered that I had left the toilet cleaner in the bowl. The toilet cover is rarely down at our house. So I lifted the cover and was about to flush when I saw something large floating around in the blue water. I sat for a second contemplating what it might be when the rat's head lifted from the water.

This is where my memory goes a little fuzzy. I know that I slammed the lid down. Josh said that he thought that I had been electrocuted and that I kept repeating, "I know what it is." I can only imagine that this was because my last question in my head was, "What is that?" So I kept repeating over and over that I knew what it was but could not articulate "a rat" for a minute or so. Then, there was a mad rush. We had (have) no idea how it got in the toilet, but could it get out anywhere else if it swam back down the pipe? We started covering every open drain in the house, and both toilet seats with heavy paint cans. Per usual, Josh was calm and reasonable. I was irrational and terrified. After everything was covered, I felt a little better. At least it was contained.

That was when the google search started. Can someone remove this pest in the middle of the night? Is this normal? Has this happened to anyone else in our neighborhood? In fact, it had. It happened to The Single Senior. I found much solace in her blog post as I did not feel alone in my troubles. Apparently, my fear runs a little more deeply than hers. She seemed so okay with the whole thing.

At any rate, we finally got an overnight operator on the phone from Burns Pest Elimination. This is where it all went downhill again. I explained our problem. I explained the situation. He explained that it would be impossible to get someone to our house until 7 am the next morning. Oh, and that it was a Saturday night on a holiday weekend and that it would cost a lot for pest removal regardless of what time the exterminator showed up. At that point, I didn't care how much it cost. Not one bit! Then, he proceeded to tell me that in all honesty, even with the lid down and the paint can on the lid, the rat was probably already loose in my house. I practically dropped the phone. I had to hand it over to Josh. The idea of it creeping around my bedroom (next to the bathroom) just sent me right over the edge. Josh finished the phone call and then put on his brave face to try to calm me back down again. Seeing as I was a gigantic mess, he offered to find us a hotel for the night. Yes, please.

So in the middle of the night, we packed up just the necessities and set out for a comfortable hotel room at the aloft by the Phoenix airport. We didn't get to sleep long, but at least we slept. So much for feeling rested!

This morning the exterminator seemed baffled as to how the rat was in the toilet. He told Joshua that it was a fluke, a completely unusual occurrence. The type of thing that happens once in a blue moon.

Roof rats are a pretty normal thing in East Phoenix. The landscape is more lush than other areas of town. The area was formerly full of orchards. There are plenty of fruit trees still around  for the rats to feed from. From what we have read, they are not swimmers. They need water to drink, but they prefer to be above ground in dry places.  Joshua found a few things that we can do to make sure that this doesn't happen again. I have a feeling that he will be fortifying our castle over the next few days and weeks. We both knew that they were outside. We had already checked any and all access into the house to make sure that there was no way they were getting in. We did not even think about plumbing. Argh.

If you are a home owner in the Arcadia area and stumble upon this blog because you too have found a rat in your toilet, check out Roofrat.net. Also, this Rodent Proof explained why the population of rats exists very clearly. Good luck!


Monday, May 23, 2011

Meredith's Graduation from Prescott College

Josh and I spent Sunday in beautiful Prescott, AZ attending Meredith's graduation. Meredith is Josh's brother Jody's girlfriend. I can't say enough nice things about Meredith. So I will simplify and just say that she is an angel. 

The graduation was neat because each student had 2 minutes to speak. It was interesting to hear about the graduates' backgrounds, their gratitude for the degree and the school as well as where they will apply the degree in the future. I enjoy this style of graduation so much more than those that have a key note speaker. I received a lot of good reminders of why I am in school and just how important it is to persevere. 

Josh and Jody

All in all, it was a lovely day trip. Tomorrow I am off to Sonoma, CA to shoot some photos for the book. 

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Another year done and gone....

Today was probably one of the most low key birthdays that I've ever had, but considering the mass chaos that I've experienced over the past few weeks....really months, low key was just right. I had a few highlights to my day. One being that I finished my last jewelry design for the book. That is not to say that there is still not a whole lot of work to be done, but it does feel good to have that huge step done. I was also pleased to find out that I received straight A's for Spring semester. I felt certain that I had received a B in Macro Economics. Nope, an A! Yay. The third item is going to sound a little strange, but I got my car washed. I know this shouldn't be a highlight, but it was. It is one of those chores that I just can never seem to get done and it feels so much better when my car is cleaner than normal. Finally, Joshua took me to Roka Akor for dinner. Since he doesn't eat fish, it is a very rare treat for me to get to have sushi. Dinner was wonderful.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Wedding Dress Bliss

Went to "Bridesmaids" with my bridesmaids.

I can't begin to describe how much I needed a break from life. Between my Dad dying, finals at school, book projects and day-to-day drudgery, my stress level reached an all time peak last week. My bridesmaids and I had planned a little get away to Los Angeles months ago. I had picked out a wedding dress designer and I wanted to try on dresses and order my dress in person from them. I was a little hesitant that the timing of this trip would be okay the day before I left. Now, in hindsight, I think that there couldn't have been better timing. I really needed a chance to step out of my life for a few days, take a deep breath and have fun. We did just that! We had a ton of fun! We picked and purchased my wedding dress. I think that I am going to be very happy with my final choice. Hopefully Joshua loves it too!

We stayed in Santa Monica, between the beach and the 3rd Street Promenade. It was a perfect location for walking everywhere. The beach was wonderful. It didn't feel crowded, the sun seemed to shine just at the right time each afternoon as we stepped on the sand. I spent a lot of time wandering up and down the beach, letting my mind wander and looking for hidden treasure.

Ladybug on the beach.

The second day, I was shocked to see ladybugs on the beach. If you remember, thousands of ladybugs showed up for Josh's proposal on top of Mt. Graham. Of course, I googled it! Here is what I found, "Newport Beach Lifeguard Capt. Jim Turner said the ladybugs give birth during this time, and some are blown to the coast when the Santa Ana winds whip. Thought the winds haven’t been too strong, they’ve had enough force to push the bugs to the sand in the past few days." What is really strange is that I didn't notice a single ladybug on Friday, but on Saturday just after we picked out my wedding dress, there was a trail of them along the ocean edge. 

Great minds think alike! All three of us dressed in orange on Saturday for our wedding dress appointment (not on purpose). Above, Erin and I are discussing some of our options with our sales rep. The dress shop was adorable. I won't be able to share too many photos now because I am a little old fashioned in that I don't want Josh to see the dress until the day of the wedding. 

We ate at a lot of really great places but seemed to all agree that The Yard was our favorite. They offered the BEST macaroni and cheese that I've ever had. Yum!

I could probably do one whole post just about desserts. We had fabulous desserts and treats on this trip. In the picture above we were about to have crepes. Here are pictures of my favorite treats. 

Early birthday cake.

Mini Cupcake.

Dark chocolate and caramel with sea salt. 

I love Marietta and her new sign.

We did a little shopping on the promenade and went to the movie "Bridesmaids". How appropriate, right? It was hysterical. I haven't laughed that hard in a long time and boy did that feel good. It was especially entertaining since I was there with my very own bridesmaids. 

Last but not least, we went to The Getty. I've wanted to go to the The Getty for years. It has never seemed to work out. I was happy and excited to finally get there. The architecture of the building and views are awe striking. It was especially neat since I just finished an Art History course. I was able to look at some of the art with a new and deeper understanding. 

That is the ocean on the horizon! It was so gorgeous!

Downtown LA.

It was such a wonderful weekend. I can't thank Erin and Marietta enough for being there with me on such an important day. I am so lucky to have such great girlfriends. It felt so good to let go a little and just relax. 

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Mother's Day

“All that I am, or hope to be, I owe to my angel mother” - Abraham Lincoln

It is another gorgeous evening here in Phoenix. I'm a little sad to not have gotten to see either of our Mother's for this Mother's Day. We had intended to head down to Tucson for a barbecue with Josh's family, but after the past two weekends in Oklahoma, we just weren't up to it. So we fired up our own barbecue and had a nice little dinner all by ourselves and just chatted with each Mom over the phone.

Friday, May 6, 2011


Cross your fingers again. The place that my Mom wants went into foreclosure right when she placed her bid a few months ago. It was a short sale. We patiently waited for it to come on the market again as a foreclosure for sale. About 2 weeks ago, it popped up. She couldn't place her offer for 2 weeks, since it is considered an investment property for her. More waiting! Finally, on Monday of next week she can submit her offer again. YAY! We are really hoping that all of this patience will pay off.

Josh and I are completely and utterly exhausted and so looking forward to some down time this weekend. I hope to get out into the yard to enjoy some of our fresh, new blooms. In the meantime, I snapped a few shots this evening to share just how beautiful those blooms are.

These blooms on our vines are so interesting (bud above, bloom below).

I love the fresh new Hong Kong Orchid leaves. They are such a unique and beautiful shape.

These flowers are right outside the window that faces my beading table. Such a treat!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Lost Luggage - A Character Building Moment

American Airlines lost our luggage on our way to Oklahoma City, the night before my Father's funeral. Normally this wouldn't be THAT big of a deal. However, it was a big deal because we were the last flight in for the day and the next flight from Dallas (our connection) and Oklahoma City was after my Dad's funeral.

We sort of stood in disbelief watching as the same bags rotated by on the conveyor belt. Josh sniffled. He had started to feel sick the day before. I have traveled hundreds, maybe even thousands of times, I've only had my luggage not make it once in all of that time. It wasn't possible that my luggage wasn't there. Sure we had rushed from plane to plane in Dallas, but surely our luggage made it too. It was a little past midnight and I started to wonder if we might miss our opportunity to check in for our rental car too. Josh and I started to wander looking for an airline representative that could help us. As usual in baggage claim, things were chaotic. We located the lady in charge and realized that she was already helping someone else. Shortly after, another gentleman walked up, also looking for assistance. She completely ignored everyone but the person that she was helping. Why don't people know that just a simple direction helps to calm a person's nerves? Please just acknowledge that I'm standing there and tell me where to go.

We dutifully followed her back to the baggage claim office, even though she gave us no signal to do so, and were a little shocked as she entered with the woman and slammed the door behind them. I quickly realized that the gentleman intended to be the next in line by how he positioned himself in front of the door. Great, even longer to wait. Josh kept his wits about him and decided to handle the rental car while I sat and stewed in line. I mentally counted back time over and over trying to calculate the latest possible time that we could get our suitcase in the morning and still make it to my Dad's funeral on time, fully dressed. I tried to reassure myself that there was no reason why they couldn't have the bag to us with plenty of time to spare the next morning. Was this really happening?

By the time, the woman and the gentleman were done, I had tears welling in my eyes. Uh oh. I decided to just lay it all out for the airline representative, "My Dad died. His funeral is tomorrow morning. Can you guarantee to have my bag to me by 10am?" Her eyes went wide. I felt bad. It was already awful enough that I had such a bad week, now I had made this lady feel bad too. It wasn't her fault that my bag wasn't there.

By this time, Josh had joined me again. He was annoyed. We had rented the same exact kind of car from the same exact rental place (Hertz) from the same exact representative as the week before. The week before she added Josh as a driver for free because we have a AAA membership. This time she acted as if she had no idea what he was talking about. Sheesh, could we catch a break?

The airline representative typed away on her computer and said that there was no possible way that our bag would get to us in time. She looked at me and asked how much I would need to spend to clothe myself for the funeral. I looked at her in shock. Then, I looked at Joshua in shock. Where does one go shopping for clothes at 1 in the morning for their Father's funeral? She suggested Walmart, one of my least favorite places to even go, let alone shop. After gaining my composure, I suggested $100 for each of us would possibly cover our needs. She replied that she was only able to offer $100 for one of us. What, why did she ask then? Don't we both need something to wear? I started naming a list of things that I could think of off hand for each of us... deodorant, shoes, socks, tights, etc. We had nothing. Josh looked at her with utter disbelief and pointed out that we had packed together. She started typing away again and looked really uncomfortable. Finally, she claimed that she could extend it to $150 but that was it. I didn't argue. I was exhausted.

Shortly after, I walked through Walmart's clothing section looking for an appropriate black dress. Nothing. I started to look for shoes. Nothing. I felt as if I was walking in circles, looking for things that I needed but not finding a single thing. Was I too tired to even pick something? I ended up picking out one single pair of underwear. To Josh's credit, he suggested that I pull out my phone and look up Target's locations and hours. He knew that I'd have a much easier time finding what I needed at a Target (a store that I know and love). He was right. He usually is. As Josh and I walked to the register, I started to laugh uncontrollably. Not my normal, "happy-go-lucky laugh" but my "I am losing my mind" laugh. All that I could think is that all that I had to wear to my Dad's funeral, which was really in only a few hours, was underwear. That's it. Are you kidding me?

Have I mentioned how much I love Joshua yet? I love him. His cool head under pressure is undoubtedly helpful for me. He was an angel throughout the whole experience of losing my Dad.

The next morning, my Mom and I were the first ones to walk into Target. We located everything that we needed in a timely fashion. We even had time to spare to stop by Starbucks. Thanks Target! Although I was disappointed to have had the extra stress and pressure, I was able to make it work. I recognized that the entire situation was a character building moment. It very much felt as if the universe was testing me to see just how much I could handle. I passed. I made it. I didn't crumble. And now, almost a week later, I can't help but smile as I think of myself walking out of that Walmart with only a pair of undies. It was certainly an unforgettable moment.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Decompressing in Oklahoma City

The past two weekends were really tough. We didn't get a whole lot of down time, but we did take a break and have lunch downtown and walk around a little as well as check out the famous Stockyard City. Each time, I took photos, enjoyed being outside and generally tried to decompress. Here are some of our photos.

Myriad Botanical Gardens - totally wish I could have gone in!

Devon Energy Building - just being built

My love

Stormy sky

My Grandmother

Stockyard City

Cattlemen's Steak House - established in 1910

Langstons - established in 1923

Downtown at sunset

According to Joshua, this is the best steak that he's ever had. Both my Mom and I enjoyed ours as well. Yum!

Yes, we did actually try a fried twinkie. Yes, it is as good as it sounds. :)


Related Posts with Thumbnails