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Archive for "Events"

Our 4th of July Weekend

Posted on July 23, 2017 by under Events, Home Ownership.    

Remember when I wrote about hatching a plan to host a cookout at our house because we hadn’t had company in a while and an old friend from college was in town so that made the perfect excuse to have a party? That actually happened a few weeks ago on the Sunday before the 4th of July.

The weather was near perfect and it turned out to be a fabulous day for a cookout.

Notice that the word “cookout” is italicized. When Brian created the Facebook event, he originally called it a BBQ. I made him change it since we were only grilling burgers and there was no actual BBQ food involved. Apparently, to some people (like Brian), the word BBQ is a generic term synonymous with grilling or cookout.

Well, literal ol’ me, I think BBQ specifically means we are eating BBQ. I prefer to use the term grilling or cookout if no actual BBQ foods would be served. In my mind, if someone invited me to a BBQ and I they didn’t have pulled pork or ribs or brisket, I would be extremely disappointed.

I’d be thinking, “This ain’t no BBQ!”

Anyway, Brian relented and replaced “BBQ” with “cookout” on the event title. But that’s just the start of it. On Saturday, we got a surprise visit from Hideki and Amy because they thought the party was that night.

Hideki was like, “I thought it was weird that Facebook didn’t remind me because it usually does that before event but I thought nothing of it because – WHO THE HECK THROWS A PARTY ON A SUNDAY?”

Well, the Brubaker do when they’ve got Monday off. LOL. Since Tuesday was a holiday, I went ahead and asked for Monday off as a day of vacation to get a four-day weekend. Rune was out of the country and agreed to close his office on that day so Brian got the day off as well.

It was quite a productive weekend actually. My college friend Chad agreed to come over early and help Brian with the installation of our third card garage door opener. Our neighbor Raj gave the opener to us a couple of years ago because he didn’t want/need it anymore and it sat on our garage floor for over year. Brian never got around to installing it. It was either too hot or too cold or I had schedule too many things so there was no time. He also couldn’t get anyone (friends or family) to come over and help him. So I hatched a plan to rid him of his excuses and finally get it done. Chad is fit and strong and I figured that I should take advantage of this opportunity while he’s in town.

Brian’s been trying to get this garage door opener install done for over a year. I think he actually made a couple of plans with his dad for him to come up and help but all of those plans had fallen through for one reason or another. Our final resort was my dad who is also quite “handy” like his dad and doesn’t live that far away but I was really trying to avoid asking for either of our dads to help because, you know, how shall I put this delicately? THEY’RE OLD.

Chad was the prefect age and health for helping and, naturally, the opportunist in me kicked in and seized the opportunity to cash in a favor. He reached out to me out of the blue a few months ago to use me as a character reference for a job application. He has since gotten that job and, though I can’t really claim any responsibility for that, I figured that I was at least entitled to one favor, which I enthusiastically cashed in that weekend.

Brian was amazed that I got Chad to agree to help because he had no success with any of his friends. Not that he’s put much effort into asking for help. I’m thinking he didn’t really want to do the garage door opener install and not having any help was the perfect reason not to get it done. I even offered to help him complete the task on numerous occasions (an act of desperation on my part because I don’t really enjoy hanging out in our garage — that is Brian’s realm). However, Brian rejected all of my offers because he said I’m too weak and too short — my height being the biggest factor. Apparently, we don’t have a ladder tall enough to compensate for my physical shortcomings (pun intended). It’s a two-person job that requires specific skills and abilities, some of which I lack. This isn’t the first time I’ve been underestimated or excluded because of my physical stature or gender or how I look period so I’m used to it. It doesn’t even offend me anymore. At this point, I just want the garage door opener installed — DARN IT!

Brian was like, “How did you get Chad to agree to help me?” I told Brian that I mentioned to Chad how we were debating on how “handy” he is. “I told him that you (Brian) told me that he didn’t look handy and I argued that I thought he was handy because he restored a classic car years ago and he enjoys working on cars.”

Perhaps he agreed to help Brian with the garage to show him how truly “handy” he is. LOL.

Jokes and manipulation aside, I think Chad would have helped regardless because he is just a super nice guy. He told us that he appreciated the break from packing. This was the weekend that he was packing all of his stuff in Wichita in preparation for the big move to Kansas City for the new job.

Anyway, I was thinking he agreed to help but there was a small chance that he could still flake out at the last second. I’ve had friends do that. I didn’t think Chad would pull something like that but you never know. Not only did he show up to help as promised but he even brought Brian beer! Who does that? Usually the person getting help buys the beers. I suppose he felt like had had to bring something for the cookout even though we told him he didn’t need to bring anything.

I had to teach a Zumba class so I left the guys to do whatever they needed to do. Although, I kind of wish I stuck around because neither of them read the instructions. Our cookout started late because they spent so much time working on getting the garage door opener to work and I’m thinking that, had I stayed to supervise, it might have gotten done in half the time — and correctly.

I can tell Chad is an optimist because when he sensed my disappointment he was like, “Hey, it’s mounted and off the floor. I call that progress!”

They set the work aside for the evening because people were starting to show up for the cookout and we had no burgers. LOL. At this point, Chad’s part was done. All of the physical labor of mounting the garage door opener to the ceiling was done and Brian just needed to troubleshoot the darn thing and figure out why it wouldn’t work. It was sort of working but wouldn’t stay shut so we all figured that Brian just needed to make a few adjustments. Here’s video of Brian explaining it all.

SIDE NOTE: Zumba class was super fun that day. I had quite a few people despite it being a holiday weekend. Brynden was in Augusta with her cousins and she brought them to dance with us. They even wore pink, which was the color of the day.

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Even Alicia’s son Brandon, who has been coming to Zumba to represent the family while his mom Alicia and sister Kariana are vacationing in Panama, got in the spirit. He went all out for pink day!

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Back at home, Brian and Chad were both still alive when I returned. There were no injuries and, like Chad said, the garage door opener was off the floor and mounted. I guess that’s pretty darn good.

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This photo shows (from left) Becca, Misty, Chad, Jay, Jake, Meader, Holly, and Christina. They were playing my new What Do You Meme? game. We also had a some people playing yard games outside. We pulled out our old Ladder Golf game, which is always a favorite, and the new corn hole (bean bag toss) game that we got from Academy (which was extremely disappointing because we just bought it the day before, after dinner with Hideki and Amy, and the next day, after only a few rounds, it was already broken — I was told the store-bought ones are always made so flimsy that you are better off making your own — but that’s another blog post).

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Speaking of Hideki and Amy, these two are such great sports. It was a pleasure hanging out with them twice in one weekend (the first time by accident).

It was a pretty relaxed weekend (except for a bit of drama with Jenni and her boyfriend — some people are happy drunks and some people are angry drunks and I’m going to leave it at that — LOL) and people were in and out playing various games. I started out playing the What Do You Meme? game and then had Becca take over for me. Hideki had Jay take over for him when he and Amy went outside to play some yard games. I took a picture of Hideki and Jay because they ended up winning What Do You Meme? that night.

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The funny thing is, while Hideki and Amy were playing yard games outside, they decided to walk over to the Pokémon gym in the pond out back but then when they walked back, there was drama on the back deck so they decided to walk all the way around and came back in through the front door. I was totally confused when I let them back in because I didn’t see them leave. That’s when they explained that they didn’t want to get in the middle of the argument that was ensuing.

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Oh, I forgot to mention the funny thing about the beers! Brian and I went and got some beers to share with everyone. Nothing fancy: a 24-pack of 16 oz. Bud Light can, a 12-pack of Summer Shandy, and a 12-pack of the festive Smirnoff bottles. The Smirnoff thing was completely spontaneous. We had run into one of Jenni’s old friends from school Jennifer (Canare) who was doing a promo of the Smirnoff. The case consisted of four blue ones, four red ones, and four white ones. She let me do a taste test and they weren’t bad. I didn’t really care what they tasted like, though. They looked so festive that it didn’t take much to convince to buy some.

Most people are pretty specific about what they like to drink but we like to provide some options for people who are fine drinking whatever is provided. Brian was drinking the Fat Tires that Chad brought for him most of the night until that ran out and he moved on to the Bud Lights. LOL.

We had cooler full of bottled waters in addition to the beer cooler and, as we were getting ready for the party on Sunday, I remembered that we still had a bunch of those Cheap Date beers that Brian won (bought) at a beer pull at one of the fundraising events we attended recently. I had the brilliant idea of throwing the Cheap Date beers in the beer cooler so that we could finally get rid of them.

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This is what we had left in the cooler the next day. The Summer Shandy was a hit. I only found one left in there. Misty told me that the only reason that we had one left is probably because it ended up in the bottom and no one could find it. LOL. We still had a bunch of Smirnoff bottles and Bud Light cans left and, despite there being the fewest of them, three Cheap Date cans survived.

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I guess it didn’t take long for people to figure out these beers are horrible and to stay away from them. LOL. Generally, all beers taste horrible to me so I had no idea that people could actually distinguish the difference. Apparently, they can.

The cookout was so much fun that I toyed with the idea of throwing a Halloween party again this year and then realized that I will be celebrating my 40th birthday in the Great Exuma (Bahamas) so that won’t work. We will just have to find another excuse to throw a party.

I hope y’all are having a fabulous weekend. Until next time!

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Child Start’s Brews & Books Event at CSB

Posted on July 9, 2017 by under Community, Events.    

Here are some pictures from Child Start’s Brews & Books event at Central Standard Brewing a couple of weeks ago.

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I thought I would post the pictures first this time and tell stories later. Anyway, I invited a ton of people to this event but only a handful showed up. Boo!

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Although, I can’t say anything about Shane because he was the man! He gathered up a huge box of children’s books from Sara and the kids’ collection and, since he couldn’t make it to the event, he gave me the books at work so that we could donate them to Child Start on his behalf.

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Brian got a workout carrying the big box full of books from the car to the event inside CSB. He is also the man! There is no way I could have gotten that enormous box full of books to the door by myself.

Story time!

This night was kind of interesting in many ways. First, I’d known about it a while since I’m on Child Start‘s development committee. It had been on the calendar for at least a couple of months and I even invited several coworkers to the event.

About a week or so before this Chad, an old friend from college who I hadn’t seen or spoken to in years until recently, mentioned he would be in town for the week to pack up his stuff and move Kansas City. Chad was on Facebook for a while before he deleted his account almost two years ago and then just disappeared completely. I had no real contact with him after our MBA commencement other than playing Words with Friends on and off. It’s a game that he is apparently addicted to — I can’t say anything though, because I derive enjoyment from playing it as well.

Here’s a picture of Chad from our MBA graduation/hooding ceremony in 2008.

The Chad

Obviously, we’d known each other for over ten years. I knew him mostly through school but I didn’t really know him very well outside of that. I was surprised when he hit me up to use me a reference for a job he was applying for earlier this year. I liked Chad. He was smart, hardworking, and easy to get along with. We worked together on some projects while in school and I never had any problems with him. There are people in college who are such slackers that you absolutely hate working with them and you hope to never see them again — ever. He was not one of these guys. Even though I knew very little about him personally other than he liked playing Words, and the request took me by surprise, I was happy to be a reference.

Fast forward to a few weeks ago when he asked if Brian and I would like to meet up for dinner and catch up. I told him that sounds great but I would need to check with Brian. Brian and I checked the calendar and every single day after work already has stuff going on. We were completely booked up. I told Brian that I was just going to invite Chad to the Brews & Books event at CSB and kill two birds with one stone.

Chad showed up. We had a nice time visiting and catching up. He also got to meet a few of our friends and acquaintances. Two of them were my coworkers. Yes, out of all of the people from work I invited, only Alex and Tisha showed up. They are the cool ones, though. Tisha even went above and beyond by purchasing books from the Blue Baboon book truck and donating some to Child Start. She helped in a couple of ways because Blue Baboon committed to donating a portion of the revenues from that evening to Child Start. The rest of us helped by drinking beers. I think CSB donated $1 to Child Start for every beer sold that night.

Despite most of my invitees not showing up, it was a great turnout. The place was completely packed inside. That’s how come we ended up sitting outside. It worked out great because it was a nice evening and it’s a lot easier to have conversation on the patio where it’s not as loud. Were it not for Alex who got there first though, we probably would not have had anywhere to sit at all — inside or outside — it was that busy! The organizers did a great job of spreading the word but also part of the credit goes to the Flying Stove, my first favorite food truck. CSB is always packed on the nights when the Flying Stove is parked there.

Speaking of invitees, Brian and I were at the dog park in Andover with our girls the day before and we met Ray (the dog pictured with Brian above) and his owner Megan. She’s really friendly and we had good conversation. We found out that she’s looking for a new home for Ray for when she moves to the East Coast for school. We mentioned that we would be at the Brews & Books event at CSB and that she could come and bring Ray and perhaps introduce him to some of our friends and one of them may fall in love and adopt him. We really had the Travel Junkies Jay and Becca in mind but they couldn’t make it.

Actually, we didn’t think Megan would actually show up, after all we were complete strangers. Not only did she show up and bring Ray, she also brought a couple of books to donate to Child Start, which was a really nice and generous gesture considering that the day before, when we were chatting at the dog park, she told us that she’s one of these people who cannot bear to part with books.

Anyway, how is it that my friends don’t show up to events I’ve invited them to but someone I’d only known a few hours does? I really like Megan and she did me a solid by showing up. I think she should become my friend. LOL.

Later that evening we run into Misty’s sister Michelle and her friend Sonny. They end up sitting and visiting with us. The funny part about this is Alex also knows Sonny from her days working at Heroes. As they’re catching up they realize that they live only a few yards from one another. Wichita is such a small world!

There were lots of positive things that happened that evening besides the book drive and raising awareness for Child Start. Some of our friends got to meet one another. Brian and I got stamps on our Wicked Brew passports (more on that next time, probably when we finally earn our shirts). The best part is I managed to plant the seed for hosting a party at our house. Brian hates throwing parties because he doesn’t like having a bunch of people over. I love having people over but, because it takes so much effort to convince him, we hadn’t had a party in over a year. Maybe it hasn’t been that long but it definitely feels like forever.

It took a little bit more discussion after that night at CSB but I did manage to get Brian on board and in party mode. The party happened last weekend and it was interesting. Come back next time and I’ll tell you that story.

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Andover’s Summer Concert in the Park

Posted on July 8, 2017 by under Events.    

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I actually got to volunteer at the Summer Concert in the Park this year! Last year I had a bunch of other stuff going on so I couldn’t go. Misty was my proxy and volunteered on my behalf. This year my schedule had some flexibility and so I made sure to sign all three of us up to volunteer.

It was super busy. We worked for five hours straight, selling beers, and didn’t get to take any breaks — but it was so much fun. It’s probably one of the most fun volunteer gigs I have ever done.

This is the fifth year of the event and they actually brought a couple of big names out to perform for everyone: Clint Black and John Michael Montgomery. I really have no idea who these guys are, and neither does Brian, because we don’t listen to country but, apparently, these guys are HUGE and SUPER FAMOUS in the country music scene. Anyway, that’s why we didn’t care to take any breaks. We didn’t even care if we could hear the music or not. LOL. We just worked, worked, worked.

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Here are couple of pictures.

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This second one is actually from Misty’s phone. I didn’t take hardly any pictures at all because I was too busy working. My main job was to fish out the Coors and Miller cans from the giant beer tub.

I was so busy that I had dunked almost my entire arm in the tub more than half a dozen times before I realized that I was submerging my watch and it was soaking in water for extended periods. Thankfully, Brian and I both have Series 2 Apple Watches, which are water resistant. This was a good call on his part because I would have been perfectly satisfied with a Series 1. He’s the one who insisted we get the water resistant version.

We’ve both had our watches for several months now but this was the first real test of the water resistance feature that my watch has ever had to endure. It made it through with flying colors.

You’ll notice that we’re all wearing blue shirts. It’s because the Andover Rotary Club, which is the Rotary club I belong to, takes advantage of this event to raise money for our club community service projects. We always wear our blue shirts at our club volunteer events.

Brian isn’t a Rotarian and doesn’t have a blue shirt but the Symphony in the Flint Hills volunteer shirts for this year just happened to be the same shade of blue so I made him wear that one. He fit right in.

It was another stormy night. Though not as bad as last year, the concert had to be cut off 30 minutes before the scheduled end time so that the park could be cleared. We were one of the last ones to leave because Misty and Brian were trying to help empty out the tapped kegs. Crazy kids!

They drank so much that Brian actually got sick. Lucky for us, he puked in the grass and not his car. That would have been so disgusting and hard to clean. At least the storm washed his vomit away. In his defense, he planned to eat dinner at the park but we were so busy that he didn’t have time to get something to eat. He drank on an empty stomach, which can make anyone — even the most experienced alcoholics — sick. Although, he is kind of a lightweight compared to all of our other drinking buddies. We both are. I’m usually done after two drinks.

Misty is a bit of a drinker herself. She drank so much that she went home without her shoes. We found her flip flops in the back of Brian’s vehicle (the three of us carpooled to the park) the next day. That was pretty funny. Good times!

We can’t wait to do it all again next year!

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Brian’s 43rd Birthday

Posted on July 2, 2017 by under Events, Family, Food and Drink.    

There were a ton of things going on this year and multiple birthday celebrations. Brian and I started out by having a quiet dinner at Granite City (East) on Friday, June 9. He wanted a “just the two of us” dinner.

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Well, the two of us and his giant beer.

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Pics of our dinner…

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The next day was Symphony in the Flint Hills. This was more for me than Brian but he was a good sport about it. His reward and birthday present was a deluxe massage with Johnson Nguyen at Sveta’s. I got to try Johnson a couple of months ago when he first started doing massages at Sveta’s and I wanted Brian to experience his style of massage because my massage was very good. Brian said it was a great massage but Mindy Nuce is still his number one choice. He said Johnson is now his second though, for those times when Mindy isn’t available.

He didn’t get a big present this year like he did last year but we had that trip to Alaska that we’re still recovering from. Trips are not cheap!

Fast forward to June 13, his actual birthday. I actually ended up double booking because I promised to keep the PowerGEN trivia night thing going for work and we agreed on Tuesday night trivia at the Pumphouse on June 13 as our next trivia night. Then Jimmy Washington, who is on the board of directors for the Wichita Orpheum, offered us tickets to the Celebrity & Chef Cook Off.

Since it was Brian’s birthday and I was completely hijacking it with work events, I figured that I should at least let him choose what he wanted to do. He picked the Celebrity & Chef Cook Off, naturally. It’s one of his favorite fundraising events.

Lucky for me, Ryan Muzzy (one of my coworkers and fellow PowerGENer) was more than happy to take charge of trivia night. That freed us up to attend the Orpheum benefit.

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The Lexus parking lot was open that night but we got a hangtag anyway because we are nerds. As we were walking to the arena, we were stopped by this couple who asked if they could park there and I would have said yes because no one was there to check tags anyway and the gate was open but Brian told them they had to have a hangtag and made them park somewhere else. He’s mean like that. But it’s his birthday so he can do whatever. LOL.

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Here are some pictures of all the amazing food. As with every year that we’ve been, we don’t really get to try everything. We usually give up before we’ve even sampled half of what’s there.

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I had to take a pic of their sign because I enjoyed this immensely. I may have Brian take me there this weekend because now I’m craving it.

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I may or may not have gone back a few times for this dessert. You know I went at least twice because I got a couple of photos.

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Brian and I ran into our friend Bill Ramsey at the event.

Here’s a picture of our handsome group.

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Usually we stay for the whole thing but I felt bad for bailing on the trivia night so I talked Brian into stopping by the Pumphouse on the way home.

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We arrived just in time for the final two rounds. The PowerGEN team just went by “PowerGEN” and didn’t come up with a clever name this time.

That’s Leo and Tammie’s team, the Oatmeal, at the next table. You can see Leo in the pic above with Tammie next to him. She has her back to the camera. I think that might be Scott to the right of Leo. He’s been going to Tuesday night trivia religiously. Their team always does really well. I think they were in second place when we got there.

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Here’s Ryan, Teresa and Ted. PowerGEN was doing pretty well. They hadn’t breached the top three yet but they were close enough in score to be in the running.

PowerGEN was in fourth going into the final round, which is a really good place to be because you have a great shot at placing depending on what happens with the top three teams. The final round is where you get to wager some of your points, up to a maximum of 20 points. This is why I say that fourth place is a good spot. Obviously, if you’re close to the bottom, 20 points isn’t going to make much of a difference but if you’re within the top five and the spread is not that vast then you could really pull off an upset.

I was super excited when the trivia master announced “movies” as the final round category. We would have been hosed with sports but Brian and I know a lot about movies so I was like, “We got this!”

They gave us four Charlize Theron movies in random order and we had to list it in order chronologically. The movies they gave us were:

I’m a huge Charlize Theron fan so I was pretty familiar with her filmography. I knew that Mighty Joe Young was the oldest and Aeon Flux was the newest. However, I wasn’t so confident about the two movies in the middle. I was very familiar with Monster though because, besides Charlize Theron being made to look ugly, that had one of my favorite Journey songs it: Don’t Stop Believing.

Brian was convinced that Monster was after Aeon Flux but I felt so sure that Aeon Flux was released after. Anyway, Alex was with me so the two of us overruled Brian. LOL. In the end, we went with The Legend of Bagger Vance after Mighty Joe Young and that’s what we submitted. I was very confident about our answer but I was nervous about the wager.

Ryan, who was a fantastic leader, finally put his foot down and said, “We didn’t come here to take third!” We ended up wagering the full 20 points.

I think everyone else got the final question wrong because all the point went down but ours. PowerGEN ended up taking first place that night.

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Winner, winner, chicken dinner! Everything lined up perfectly. The right people were there and the right trivia questions were asked but, ultimately, I think it was Ryan’s leadership that made the difference.

Brian’s actual birthday was Tuesday but we’ll fast forward to Friday because not much happened between his birthday and Friday. Well, stuff happened but it wasn’t birthday related.

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Anyway, April Padgett from the Wichita State University Foundation reached out to me to tell me that Brian’s picture with Dr. John Bardo and Elizabeth King that was taken at the Society of 1895 luncheon back in April was finally ready and she could drop it off. It was printed just in time for Brian’s birthday. How perfect!

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We met up for coffee at Mead’s Corner and she gave it to me then. I texted Brian to tell him I had his special luncheon photo and it was in a neat little holder so he could display it at his desk but he said he had no room so he let me keep it. It has been on display at my desk ever since.

Brian took the day off work on that Friday because that was the day of our big family celebration. We were having a BBQ in honor of Brian’s birthday, grandma’s birthday, and Father’s Day weekend. We were actually expecting a visit from his parents who live in Oklahoma but their plans fell through. At first his mom was staying home but his dad was still making the drive up for the weekend. But then his mom got really sick and his dad couldn’t leave. We were bummed when we found out a few days before the event that David wouldn’t be able to join us but we understood. Luckily, we didn’t have any major presents — just gift cards — and those are easy enough to mail so that’s what we did for him instead.

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The party still went on though because Brian had already bought all of that food and everyone else was still coming. Everyone else being Brian’s cousin/nephew Zach, my sister Jenni, my mom and dad, and of course grandma.

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Brian got a Boston creme cake. Yes, like his favorite donut.

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Mom made Filipino spaghetti. She made a ton so we had a bunch left over. I ended up refreshing it on Sunday night by adding another jar of meat sauce and I shared it with Faith and her kids when I went to work on Monday. She said they loved it.

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Brian grilled three full slabs of ribs.

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They ribs don’t all look the same because he couldn’t fit the third rack in our small charcoal grill so he had to start those in the oven and then finish them off in the grill. Those actually turned out the best. The meat literally fell off the bones and melted in your mouth.

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We also got a pan of our favorite mac n’ cheese from Costco.

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We also had other BBQ-type foods like baked beans, green beans, and corn on the cob. And then had Hawaiian sweet rolls, which are our favorite. I didn’t get to take pictures of everything but you get the idea.

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One of the milestones we celebrated was grandma’s birthday. She turned 95 on June 19. Can you believe it?

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We just got gift cards for her and our dads so they could get what they wanted. Grandma’s was to Dillon’s where she gets groceries and other things. Dad’s was to Lowe’s because home improvement is kind of his thing. For Brian’s dad, we got Cabella’s so he could get more ammo. It’s way easier to mail a gift card than ammo.

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I wanted to play some Uno but some people were party poopers. We ended up playing heads up. Just me and mom and Jenni because no one was really interested in playing games.

Anyway, that was the conclusion of Brian’s fun birthday week. Can’t wait to do it all again next year. I’m thinking of throwing a nautical themed birthday party because it’s going to be his 44th, which in poker-speak is sailboats.

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Symphony in the Flint Hills 2017

Posted on June 30, 2017 by under Events, Things to Do.    

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Here are a few pictures from our fun volunteer day at Symphony in the Flint Hills…

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Krystee and Faith talking to Ben, THE Green Team guy…

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This is Ben.

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Krystee, Faith, and I were super excited to help.

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We went on Wednesday and not all of the tents were up yet.

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Faith and I played with taking some panoramic photos while we waited for Ben to return with gloves.

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Retiree Bill Heins had the master plan gave us our instructions.

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Bill Heins.

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Some of the volunteers worked on the hay bales.

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The rest of us worked on the tables. Over 200 of them.

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We worked hard but took some breaks also.

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This is my friend Mo.

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There were volunteers from various areas of the company.

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People from Wichita and Topeka came together to help.

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I carpooled with Krystee and Faith.

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Shane, also from Wichita, drove up separately with his daughter Claire.

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We took advantage of breaks from working to take some fun photos.

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Here’s Krystee, Faith, and Teresa with the official company gator.

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It’s pretty fancy. 😉

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Faith and Teresa taking a break…

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We finished setting up the main tent just in time for lunch.

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Lunch was provided by the Tasty Traveler, a food truck from Manhattan (Kansas, not New York). It was pretty tasty.

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I had the Philly cheesesteak and cheesy hashpuppies.

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I also ordered a thing of brownie bites to share.

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The brownie bites were just okay. The Philly cheesesteak sandwich was just okay, too. The highlight of the meal was definitely the cheesy hashpuppies. They were delicious! I could eat those all day long!

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Ben gave us a little briefing while we enjoyed our break and lunch.

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Of course, break time means selfie time.

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I took a couple of me and Shane, and me and Shane and Claire.

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We worked a couple more hours after lunch before calling it a day.

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We walked from the parking area to the work site that morning but in the afternoon Ben was nice enough to give us a ride back to Faith’s truck in the gator.

While the Green Team’s portion of the work was finished, I wasn’t quite done because I volunteered to help at the ticket gate on the day of the event. Brian and I went back on Saturday and worked for another six hours. We arrived at the Symphony in the Flint Hills site at 12:30 PM, well ahead of our 1:00 PM shift.

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Of course, since Ben is a rock star, he was already there when we got there.

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Brian and I got the opportunity to work with this lovely young lady from Council Grove. Kara happens to know my friend/coworker Amy who moved from Valley Center to Council Grove not too long ago. What a small world, right?

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My job wasn’t too hard. We were at the regular ticket gate so I just had to take general admission tickets and, if I came across any guests with patron tickets, send any patrons to the patron gate so they can get all of the special treatment and services that they are entitled to as patrons.

It wasn’t a tough job but, man, we were busy!

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Brian’s main job was to install the official Symphony in the Flint Hills gray wristbands. Yes, I said install. I said it all day long. People got a kick out of it because it sounded like I was installing software or something. Wristbands are kind of flimsy. I suppose it works. LOL.

Anyway, our gate stayed open after they closed down the other ticket gates so then we really got flooded. And then one of the guys carding people and installing yellow alcohol wristbands left because his shift was over. So then Brian ended up having to do that part and I ended up having to both take tickets and wristband people. I was really slow at installing the wristbands at first but I got pretty efficient toward the end. I was cranking them out like a pro after a while. It just takes practice.

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Our shift officially ended at 7:00 PM but, by the time our gate was closed and we grabbed our stuff, it was fifteen after and the concert had already been going a half an hour. There was no point going back to the car to get our lawn chairs.

The walk from the parking are to the concert site is the shortest that it’s ever been but it’s still quite a ways away. There was no point sitting with the crowd anyway because by then the lawn chairs were parked all the way back to the food tent. We just ended up hanging out at the food tent instead. We weren’t getting that much closer with chairs.

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I’m not sure what the final attendance numbers were but there were a lot of people this year. I even recognized a few people who came through our ticket gate.

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Here’s a panoramic photo to give you a better idea.

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Brian and I were both grateful for the volunteer opportunity and were glad that we could help but we’re thinking next year we are just going to attend the event and not work that day. I really would have liked to have been able to watch the concert from beginning to end and get a good spot.

We also couldn’t bring a picnic dinner because we had to work for six hours so we ended up spending $40 on dinner that wasn’t that satisfying. It supported a great cause so we didn’t mind chipping in but for the same amount of money we could have packed a really nice picnic!

Working at the ticket gate was a great experience, though. We got to see some Symphony in the Flint Hills pros with their wagons loaded with stuff. We have a really good idea of what to bring and not to bring and how to bring it so that walking from the parking lot to the concert site isn’t a big ordeal. We will be ready for next year. That’s for sure.

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