Monday, July 28, 2008

smelly pottery barn rug…

After reading all the things about smelly Pottery Barn rugs, I called the Pottery Barn that I purchased my rug from some three years ago.

I spoke to the manager and she told me to bring it back for a full (in store credit) refund.

I had purchased it from an Outlet Mall in Birch Run Michigan and it was pretty far from home, so I figured out a date for when we would be "nearby" and took it back at that time.

The manager was not in that Saturday, but the cashier was EXTREMELY nice and made it very easy. Just prior to this cashier taking care of us, a different cashier had said "rug sales are final"...which made my stomach turn.

Anyway, it all worked out and we got a gift card to use at any Pottery Barn anywhere!

Amazing since like I said before, we had this rug for THREE years!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

weight loss competition...

I was the originator of both Weight Loss Competitions at work.

The first competition results turned out better than the second even though when going through the first competition, we all thought we were so lame.

The cost to join was $10. We had 8 participants trying to lose weight over a 12 week period. Our total weight loss was 53.6 lbs. or 25.47%. I came in last place and had to buy the pizza for the group.

Someone had the great idea that we would all do this again.

There was a hint of cheating at the end of the first competition and again at the beginning of the second competition. We had one guy in the first competition that on average fluctuated 2 lbs. up or down every week and then the final week lost 11.2 lbs! He won third place ($12) for the first competition.

Then there was the guy who water-loaded just prior to the first weigh-in of the second competition – which made a big uproar within the group and made it so that we would need to begin the competition with the weigh-out numbers from the first competition. Once that decision was made, some of the participants dropped out…namely the guy who lost the 11.2 lbs. in the last week of the first competition – since he had put on a good 4 lbs. by the end of the weigh-out day – and put on the full amount (plus some) by the weigh-in of the second competition. WOW, who knew working with only guys would be so dramatic!!

This time the cost to join was $20, we had only 6 participants. It was over a 14 week period. Our total weight loss was a GRAND TOTAL of 7 lbs. which equaled 3.86%.

The 2nd Weight Loss Competition ended today. I came in 2nd! I got my money back for both competitions with the winnings of this, so that’s good.

Fun. We won’t be doing that again!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

other than the rafting…

Here are some nice things that happened while on our family trip – I call them my little surprises :)

*We arrived about a half hour after my sister D and Linda – so she was first – good job! Marty arrived around an hour later
*That evening, right in front of the Super 8 Motel was a 4th of July fireworks display in the park across the street
*We had no wait at the Bob Evans Restaurant that evening and had the best waiter ever
*We had the rest of the evening to relax in our rooms (while Jacob and Jordan jumped from one bed to the other) and watch TV until we fell asleep
*Even though the weather was very iffy when we arrived at the base camp and the river, as I ordered, we never had rain and we even had blue skies and sunshine for most of the afternoon
*We had perfect “room temperature” weather at the campsite along the river – no rain and no dew
*No one hurt themselves on the trip; everyone enjoyed being in the water at some point or another, whether it was their choice or not
*10 minutes after we boarded the bus, the rains came. By the time we were at base camp to unpack, no more rain
*Fun drive on WV-16, very windy and curvy
*Gas was cheaper in WV than in Michigan

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

family trip white water rafting on the upper new in west virginia…

Over the holiday weekend, a portion of the family went White Water Rafting in West Virginia. Since my niece Jordan is 9 years old, we needed to stay on the lower rapid class of I-III. That was the Upper New River. We did the overnight where you make camp along the river and spend the night.

So, for documentation purposes, here are some of the details of the trip. I’m writing this for future reference, since I could barely remember anything from the first time I white water rafted in 1999 with my son Justin, my friend Charlene and her son Darren.

We arrived at “base camp” at 10:15am, which for us was North American River Runners ( in Hico, West Virginia with all our gear for an overnight trip. NARR provides you with “dry bags” which are a rubberized waterproof bag. One per person is the rule, but they will make exceptions.

You pack everything that you think you will need for camping overnight; dry clothes, sleeping bag, sleeping pads, camp chair, bug spray, flashlight, toiletries, etc, and then shove them into your dry bag. You push/sit/smash on the dry bag to remove all the air and you fasten it with the straps and buckles that are a part of the bag. You give all of this to the guy packing the raft (Scott). He loads everything on the raft (that is on a boat trailer attached to a pick-up truck) and leaves for the river while you stay behind and fill out your waiver and listen to some safety instructions. Prior to the packed raft leaving, the guide asks you if you want a single or a double “duckie” – which is an inflatable kayak.

Once all of that is complete, we loaded onto the bus. The bus takes you, your life jacket, helmet and anything else that you will be bringing on the trip, to the “put-in” area of the river. Our put-in location was McCreery, WV. Your duckies have been inflated and are waiting for you at the put-in location. You jump in and start paddling.

We had our group of eight: D, Linda, Marty, Chris, Jacob, Jordan, Jerome and me. Along with us there was another group of eight: James & Margaret Bell and their two girls; Ann Stewart and Sarah, David & Jane with their sons Jonathon and Nate. Then we had three guides: Tasha, Cory and Scott.

After paddling down the river for around about an hour and tackling some minor (and major if it’s your first time) rapids, the guides have you pull over and have lunch. This consisted of lunchmeat, bread, pasta salad, bean dip and chips, pb&j, cookies, fruit and drinks.

Back to the duckies for some more paddling, rapids and swimming fun.
Late in the afternoon or early evening, we finally reached our overnight destination. On a tarp nearby were our dry bags and a pile of tents. We find a flat enough area and set up our tents and unpack our dry bags. While we are wrestling with that, our guides are setting up the “kitchen” and the “bathroom”. The guides begin to cook almost immediately. On the dinner menu are steaks, baked potato (w/butter and sour cream), corn on the cob, rolls, salad, stir-fry veggies and fruit. A nice chocolate cake with strawberries and whipped cream for dessert and s’mores for the kiddies. For our trip, they also provided some veggie burgers for Linda. You must let them know ahead of time if you are a vegan or vegetarian. Oh, and I almost forgot, 3 beers for each adult.

The rest of the evening is spent swimming, kayaking in the immediate area, sitting around the campfire, reading, fishing, relaxing and telling campfire stories.

We head to bed around 10pm and try to sleep on our very uncomfortable sleeping pads.

Let’s not forget the train that is on the other side of the river that goes by once every hour or so – a bit on the LOUD side, racing up the incline and braking at the same time – at least that’s what it seemed to be doing – and it sounded and felt like it was coming through your tent!

The next morning we are awakened by the smell of cooking bacon. On the breakfast menu are scrambled eggs, bacon or sausage, biscuits, fruit, coffee and hot chocolate.

We have another full day on the river. We went over many rapids, got stuck on many rocks, swam a lot and flipped over several times.

Got to the take-out location at Thurmond, WV around 2pm (I think), where the bus was waiting. Got in the bus and about 10 minutes into the bus ride back to base camp, the clouds opened up and there was a downpour!!!

We had a lot of fun! The weather was really iffy on the morning of our departure, but as the day went along, the weather got better and better. It turned out to be fantastic weather for the whole time we were on the trip…just remember to put on your sunblock!