Tuesday, September 30, 2008

jerome day...

Have you ever heard of Jerome Day? Well, it's today.

Have you ever heard that every day of the year has a name attached to it and you celebrate this day...almost like a birthday? At least, people will wish you a "Happy Jerome Day"...or whatever your name may be - on your name day.

Well, this is a "tradition" that they do in France.

I have Googled this, but I get nothing. I think I've even Googled it in French, but I still get nothing. At least I think I get nothing, but I guess you'd have to know French in order to really know if you got anything.

I have been married to Jerome for 5 years now and have known him for 8 and a half. I have yet to wish him a Happy Jerome Day.

BUT this is the YEAR!

I don't know what we are going to do on this auspicious new holiday, but I think I know what he'd like me to do.

**Side Note: A friend of mine found an English website regarding this: MyNameDay
So, what's your name day?

Thursday, September 25, 2008

DAY 4 (Sunday, September 21):

Breakfast at the hotel. Vouchers from Rory. Motor in caravan to Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Security Guard of parking structure has MINI. Park in that structure. First to arrive. We’ve got 3 hours. See more Elvis. I thought we did that trip last month…? Regroup with a much smaller group. Motor to Toledo. Eat at Tony Packo’s. Say our goodbyes. Head home. Good trip.

DAY 3 (Saturday, September 20):

Got to sleep in a little.

Woke up and had breakfast. Made plans to take a drive down to Niagara-on-the-Lake with the youngsters. Had to get our hotel bill taken care of first. Looks like Rory & Heather, Garth & April were overcharged and wanted to go over the bill with management. Jerome & I were going to be overcharged as well. Rory & Heather backed us up and after a half hour or more, the bill was re-adjusted. And so were others in our group. Really not the best hotel when it came to Customer Service, friendliness of staff and quality of food.

We still needed to get to the Floral Clock in order to pick up our flags and envelopes, so we had the group follow us. Then back to the Rainbow Bridge in order to cross into the US. Very easy, by the way. Much easier than if we had come through Sarnia. Met up with Jason (Xiek) on the other side and started driving to Cleveland. We needed to be at the Whirly Ball place by 5pm. We left Niagara at 1pm!

While driving, to take the road edge off, we did some MINI ballet. We had 7 MINIs in the caravan for about an hour. Tori and her friend Rachel continued on to NYC for vacation. The rest of us motored on to Cleveland. We got to Whirly Ball right on time. It took a little while before everyone showed up because 4 of the 6 remaining MINIs wanted to check in at the hotel before coming to Whirly Ball.

We had the northeast Ohio MINI Cooper Club (MININEO) join us at Whirlyball and for dinner afterward. And much to our surprise, two of our club members crashed our party in Cleveland; Dee & Lou Kramm (MYTMINI). It was really cool that they came to see us.

We played for 2 hours. Prior to playing, we all had to watch an informational video of the rules and then our first game that we played, we were so delicate with each other. Once Garth and Rory showed up, things got violent! We were crashing into each other and aggressively trying to grab the ball. It was a lot of fun.

At 7pm we were on our way to the Winking Lizard for a buffet style dinner of appetizers and pizza.

The rest of the evening was spent selling raffle tickets and doing auctions. We sold $315 worth of raffle tickets on Saturday evening. And raised a lot more with the auctions. The MININEO group purchased tickets too and won a lot.

One of the items up for raffle was the Hooter’s tank top that we had purchased for the road rally. Jerome modeled it for us. One of the MININEO members won it; Sam Poon. Jerome jumped from the front of the room to where Sam was and sat on his lap and behaved like he was a Hooter’s girl. It was hilarious!!! Sam was embarrassed.

Over the course of the trip and with donations, raffles, auctions, etc., we were able to raise $7555.10 for Make-A-Wish, ($6875.10 to MAW-MI & $680 to MAW-Canada).

After all was done at the restaurant, we all headed back to the hotel and after Jerome and I were done tallying up the money, we went to Rory and Heather’s suite and played Catch Phrase.

Then the threat of Yacht Rock…good night!

DAY 2 (Friday, September 19):

Woke up and had breakfast with some of the MINI peeps. Went to the gift shop to remind the lady that we would have people coming in to get the clue from the brochure holder. She gave me a bit of a problem sighting that other rallies would come in and have to purchase something.

On my way out of the gift shop, I notice the Red Bull MINI in the parking lot. Don (Big Daddy) had arranged for the girls to come again this year. They stayed for about an hour and handed out free Red Bull.

Tori and Rachel went to Subway and returned at the correct time (after we delivered them some cash). Jerome went around and took down every team’s odometer reading and gave out team numbers.
After a short briefing to let everyone know about the rules and what signs to look for, I told them “in order to start your vacation, you would need to take a look at some attractions in the area – so where would you find brochures with attractions?” And then they took off and so did we.

We left in a caravan; Miss MINI, Wicket and Jenna Jamison. We drove to the Aero Car first. Garth told us where he would like to sit and we got our sandwiches from him.
Then, still in a caravan, we pointed out Thompson Point as we drove by, so that Garth knew where April would need to be dropped off. Onwards to the Botanical Gardens, where Tori and Rachel decided that Jenna would stay with Rachel and she would pick up Tori after all was said and done. We walked Rachel to the wedding arbor and left her there with her books. She was very happy that we chose that place for her, it was very beautiful.
After leaving the Botanical Gardens, we drove on to the Floral Clock, dropped off the clues and the sign with the lady at the gift shop. We walked over to the phone book to make sure that it was still there and that we could find the phone number for Cooper S. Still driving on to Tori’s destination, we needed to make one more stop at the Brock’s Monument. We were told two weeks prior that there was going to be a wedding at the Laura Secord Monument on that day, so we needed to quickly come up with an alternative. We planned to use the only other thing we had taken a picture of during our recon trip; The Battle of Queenston Heights Walking Tour #5.

We put a lawn sign next to the plaque. We dropped off Tori at the Chapel on our way to Simcoe Park.
She seemed fine with the destination and was just going to sit inside the chapel and read her book while she waited. So, we motored on to Simcoe Park and started setting up the Minilympics.

We set everything up; crochet up a hill around a tree and back down the hill, where you then would need to sit on a chair, put a balloon on your lap and have your teammate try to pop the balloon by sitting on your lap. Next was the egg on a spoon, once again utilizing the hill and the trees. Then they found themselves at the picnic table where they needed to make a paper airplane and throw it as far as they could. And the final task was Hillbilly Golf. They needed to get all three golf balls on strings around the poles before the watch was stopped.

We still had at least an hour before our first team would arrive. We ate, Jerome inputted the odometer data into the spreadsheet, we read and just enjoyed the day.

Rory and Heather were the first team to arrive. They seemed a bit stressed. They said that they were cursing our names. But at least they figured out the puzzles and clues in order to get as far as they were. Rory ended up throwing the furthest airplane – very impressive.

In the middle of the first team doing their tasks, we got a cell phone call. It was Tori. Apparently, a man in a suit showed up at the chapel and was really upset that she was there. According to Tori, he stated that this was private property and that there was about to be a wedding there. He spoke harshly to her and wouldn’t move out of the way in order for her to pick up her book bag and other items that were still inside the chapel. She was worried that he was going to make more trouble with her so she told me that she would hide in the back and wait for the teams to arrive and if he gave her more trouble, she would need to be picked up.

I had a bad feeling that if we were going to have a problem today, this was going to be the place. Another example of not asking for permission...

I mentioned to Rory and Heather that they may need to look for Tori across the street from the destination because of the problem with the man in a suit.

Once they were done, we gave them their next clue and cookies that Champagne Bob had made and off they went.

Not long after they were gone, did Jason, Jessica and Dave arrive. They really seemed to be enjoying the rally, which made us feel like it was worth the work.

At the balloon bust, Jessica said that they just met but they were really getting friendly, and at the paper airplane, Jason mentioned that he had a paper airplane book when he was a child...now if he could only remember HOW to make one! As they ran back to their car, Jason yelled that we were maniacal fnckers!

Once they were gone, it was time for me to head off to the final destination; Caroline Cellars.

When I arrived, I let Justine know that I was there and that I was going to set up the table for the teams. I put the table cloth on, put out the snacks, hung the Make-A-Wish banner, set out the road rally signs, and waited…

First team to arrive was Team #7, Jason, Jessica & Dave. They arrived at 3:10pm. We spent a little while talking about the adventures, then 4 minutes later, Team #6, Rory and Heather arrived. This time we had a very long wait for Team #1 to arrive (3:57pm); Kristee, Chad and Don. These were the three teams that arrived by doing all of the tasks. A fourth team (Team #2, Rick, Donna, Larry, Donna, (Team #3; Bob & Karen - who teamed up with Team #2)) were directed to come to the final destination even though they still had one more task to complete. Jerome thought that it may take them a while. The other 2 teams dropped out. One too many tasks, I guess.

One team dropped out (Team #5; James & Susan) because they didn’t have a cell phone and couldn’t complete the clue that asked them to text something. They were going to get help from another team, but the team took off without helping. I’ll have to get everyone’s story before I make my judgment.

Some of the older folks dropped out early, but (Team #4) Bob, Joann, Ron and Gretchen made it all the way to Simcoe Park and I think even the chapel, but when there was one more destination, they decided to head back to Niagara.

The ones that did make it to the final destination got to earn extra bonus-minus points by answering trivia questions about the DVD. After that they could enjoy a glass of wine on the patio and some snacks.

We all headed back to our hotel. Jerome, Garth and I went to the room to figure out points and prizes. Garth went through all the donated items and picked which ones he wanted to raffle and auction off tonight.

I think we made it down to the Apollo Grill by 7:15pm. We knew who won and we had a laundry basket of raffle items. All was good.

First place (Takata Golf gift bag & $50 gas card) went to Team #6; Rory and Heather. Second place (Takata Golf gift bag & $25 Target gift card) went to Team #7; Jason, Jessica & Dave. Third Place (Takata Golf gift bag & $15 Target gift card) went to Team #1; Kristee, Chad & Don. Booby (a spare tire) was given to the last team who didn’t quite complete, but at least they showed up at the end; Team #4; Rick & Donna and Larry & Donna (along with Team #3; Bob & Karen).

The rest of the evening was spent selling raffle tickets and doing auctions. We sold $220 worth of raffle tickets on Friday evening. And raised a lot more with the auctions.

Later on after dinner, we all went to Jason’s room and looked at pictures and watched some YouTube. Garth wanted us to watch Yacht Rock. There were 11 movies! It cleared the room.

DAY 1 (Thursday, September 18):

Most of us met at Comerica Park in downtown Detroit. A few arrived before we did and were waiting on the street leading up to the ballpark. There were signs that said “15 minute parking”, so we needed to find another place to gather which would allow us at least an hour. We had thought about this earlier and figured that Cheli’s Chili Bar would be a good parking lot to sit for a while. Luckily the gate on the parking lot was open. According to one of our members (Larry - Zmini), there was a security guard that asked if we had made reservations to park there. I believe that Larry had played dumb, because the security guard left us alone. Note to self: ask permission. However, I don’t always have good luck with that, so I subscribe to the notion of it being easier to ask forgiveness than permission. Anyway, it worked this time…and another time later in the trip…

At Cheli’s, we had 13 MINIs with us, we were to meet the other two in Windsor and Niagara Falls. While we were there, the MAW ladies came to take some pictures and to give us all our “wish wands”. Supposedly our event will be posted on their website.

As we drove off, we were able to do a photo op in front of the Tiger at Comerica Park. Phil (Xanda) was on hand to take pictures of each MINI and its occupants. Some went on to Duty-Free and others missed it totally (because of bad instructions given by “yours truly”), and just crossed the border by way of the Detroit/Windsor Tunnel.

Once across, we all met up again at Dieppe Park, which has a nice backdrop of downtown Detroit. This is where Don (Big Daddy) took over the reigns. He led us up the 401 until we got to Port Stanley, where we stopped for a buffet lunch at the Roxy Diner, and then taking the more scenic roads all the way to Niagara Falls.

While most of the party continued on to the Niagara Parkway to see the Falls, Jerome & I, Garth & April and Tori & Rachel headed to the hotel. I quickly ran down what was supposed to happen the next day at the rally; Hooters, MiniMart, Aero Car, Thompson Point, Floral Clock, Botanical Gardens, Pillitteri Winery, Simcoe Park, Wayside Chapel, Brocks Monument and then the final destination of Caroline Cellars. We then took them to their destinations to show them where they would be located. Everyone seemed pretty psyched, so that was good. We stopped at Pillitteri to drop off the cups and to purchase some bottles of wine for them to fill the cups with, but they told us that they have no problem supplying the wine to taste – that’s what they do. So, we bought some Ice Wine for ourselves – YUM!

We drove all the way to Niagara-on-the-Lake and stopped at Simcoe Park to make sure it all looked good and was not under construction since the last time we were there (May 24). We showed our group the gazebo at the end of the street that has a beautiful view of Toronto, then drove back to the hotel.

Jerome and I still needed to drop off clues and things at the MiniMart and Hooters, and afterward we met some of the group at TGIFriday’s. After dinner, we headed out to a grocery store to pick up eggs, whipped cream and some snacks for the final destination.
Then to bed.

mglc3; September 18-21…

So it is time to update my blog with the latest antics that Jbo and I have been up to.

We were on the planning committee for this years’ MINI’s Great Lakes Crossing. This is a charity event that tries to raise money and awareness for the Make-A-Wish Foundation. It typically lasts for 3-4 days (Thursday-Sunday) and involves our on-line car club.

So many of you have had to endure listening to us talk endlessly about our plans for a Road Rally that would be played during our trip. Some have even had to be a test case and try to figure out the puzzles not knowing the Niagara area or the people that we were going with.

Well, everything turned out great; the weather, the rally and the other events that were planned.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

mom in the hospital, the rental and the party...

When Dad is in the hospital, the only “inconvenience” is that you have to take time to go visit him regularly. When Mom is in the hospital, it’s a TOTALLY different story. Mom already had in place the aides to take care of the majority of Dad’s needs like washing, getting out of bed, breakfast, toilet, lunch and putting to bed. It was just the other things that needed to be taken care of like dinner and someone to spend the night. It’s not like he needs 24 hour supervision, but you do need to check in on him from time to time. Not to mention that it would be nice if you went to visit Mom in the hospital too.

**disclaimer** What I am about to say in the rest of this post sounds selfish and self centered. That being said...

Not to diminish anyone else’s busy life, but for me, this was not the best time for my mother to get sick. There was just too much going on this week. Some of the big things from this past week were my 5th wedding anniversary, our new renter was moving in and we were trying to get ready for our party.

Well, to make matters worse, issues arose to make the week even longer…and more expensive.

Mom went into the hospital on Tuesday. Prior to, she called me and my siblings in order to get everyone properly riled up. She makes unnecessary drama when all she really ever needs to do is just tell us what is needed and when it’s needed. We will take care of the rest…we always do. My sisters live out of state (one lives out of the country…but just so happened to be on this side of the ocean at this time dropping off her kids to their colleges in New England), and one of my brothers was going on vacation – it was Labor Day weekend and the last time that you can go on a four day vacation with the kids before they start school for the year. This left me and my brother Ray.

My brother Ray really stepped up on this one – he stayed at the house 3 out of the 4 nights – no problem. This was totally awesome for me, since I had so much on my plate. I only needed to make Dad dinner, put him to bed and spend the night one night.

So, to continue with MY busy life :)...
I had an appointment to get my hair cut on Tuesday evening – after a lot of stress and not knowing if Ray would be available – all went my way and I was able to keep my appointment.

Wednesday was my 5th wedding anniversary, and this was my day to spend the night at Dad’s. Jerome and I drove from work and stopped at Olive Garden, bought a couple of dinners to go and went to Dad’s and had dinner with him. We had a few things to take care of at the “rental” house and then I came back to put Dad to bed…and then went back to the rental to pick up Jerome. Spent the night that night and Jerome borrowed Mom’s car to go to work and I went to the “rental”. I had taken the day off so that I could be there when the Clinton Township inspector came, the Cort Furniture delivery guys came to pick up the rental “staging” furniture and when the guy came to do the tree removal estimate ($1200 to remove two dead Ash trees + stumps).

I was concerned about the inspector since we had done all the work ourselves but it turned out to be just fine. Some back story on that…in February I received a letter from Clinton Township stating that they had just passed a new ordinance (357), that all probable rental properties in Clinton Township needed to be inspected in order to get a license to rent. This is for the sake of bringing in some revenue to the township since there isn’t much building going on (just my opinion). I had sent them a letter at that time letting them know that I was not renting and that I hadn’t been renting for over a year.

Last week I sent in my $100 and asked them if they could come out to inspect on Thursday and they could – all set!

Anyway, all went as smoothly as it could. Then afterward I was going to go see my dad and then visit my mom. As I was driving near the entrance of their condo complex, I noticed a crane in the entry - so there was no way I could get in the complex to see my Dad. They are working on Cass Ave. in Clinton Township and just so happened to be working right at my parents as I was going by. So, I went to visit with my mom and then later went back to check up on my dad.

Got home and continued with the preparations for the party…oh, and the Road Rally that is happening in a couple of weeks. Jerome had purchased some boneless pork loins from Kroger (20 lbs.) and started preparing it for the party. When he opened the first package, the smell filled the house. It was really bad! He washed it and continued to prepare it and cook it.

It looked like Friday was going to be my day to spend the night again – so, in order to finish the prep-work for the party, I took the day off from work on Friday too. I worked all day getting the house together…but the thought of that pork was nagging at me. I googled “raw pork smell” and everything I read told me that the pork was bad; don’t eat it. So, I googled USDA hotline and gave them a call. The lady that answered my call told me that I should file a report. So, I called my husband and told him that I was going to return the pork and buy some fresh. Unfortunately, I didn’t realize until I was headed home that he had purchased the pork when it was on sale and when I returned it, they gave me the sale price and then when I purchased the new pork, it was at the full price…well, Jerome had to take care of that later – and was able to get the sale price for the pork – YIPPEE!

So, Friday meant that he was cooking again…but we avoided a possible disaster! The pork he made was awesome!!! Very tasty and didn’t kill anyone!

Ray stayed with Dad on Friday night too, so that was great – I could continue working toward the party goal.

Later that evening we get a phone call from our renter saying that when she tried to put a load of bleach water through the washing machine, the water was coming up the pipe in the floor!!! OMG! EGADS! Not MORE water issues!!!!

She said she would wait until the next day and try again…she called back on Saturday and now she couldn’t flush the toilet, the water was coming up into the bathtub, etc. DOOM!

I called Don, my plumber (Don's Plumbing). He had just been out to the house on June 14 to snake the pipes because the same thing had happened after we had a little party at the house. After he was done snaking; from the roof to the ejector pump, EVERYTHING was working so much better – better than it had ever worked.

Well, Don went out to the house and I called my brother Ray to see if he would be willing to go over there and help Don out. He did! I remembered that back in June, Jerome helped Don a lot, so I figured he could use the help. Ray also picked up mom today from the hospital and brought folding chairs for the party!!! Sometimes it's good to have bros!

Don ran a snake and then a scope. The prognosis: there is a 4 foot piece of pipe between the house and the ejector pump that has roots growing into it and there is a hole in the top of the pipe. It will need to be dug up (with a bobcat) and replaced…$1800! He needs to call Ms. Dig and then afterward he can start working. We will also have to reimburse our renter the rent that she already paid for the week that she will be out of the house in order for this problem to be taken care of…and her kids start school TODAY!!! What a pain!

The party went awesomely! We had 77 people show up. The weather was perfect. The food was terrific. It was really great to see everyone, although it is hard to have so many and spend enough time with each. But I have a theory as to why we have this large party every year; we are too busy all year to be able to see everyone individually, so in order to keep up with everyone and make sure they know we’re thinking of them, we throw this party. It’s a celebration of friendships, new and old.

Seemed like everyone had a good time, especially the kids who had a water balloon fight that turned into a water bottle fight!!!

Anyway, clean up is done and in the meantime, we’ve been back to the rental house 2 times over the weekend to take care of the wet carpet in the closet of the purple room.

I swear…we should just sell it.