Murphy’s Law

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Figures. I finally pay off my car and I mess it up. In my defense, it wasn’t my fault. It was because of the poorly finished parking lot at the Hill.

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The parking stalls right next to the restaurant have these cement parking blocks. Most of them have been properly constructed/finished except for a couple that still have rebar sticking up out of them.

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There’s one in a handicapped parking stall. The other is in the very first parking stall, which is the one that snagged my car.

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I was paying attention to Brian’s car that was already parked and I was just relieved to find a parking spot right by the entrance so I didn’t notice the rebar. Plus, it wasn’t really noticeable. I mean, who leaves rebar sticking out of a parking block like that?

I didn’t want people who were pulling into the tight parking lot to hit the back bumper of my car so I pulled in all the way. Normally I have no problem clearing those concrete parking blocks so I typically pull in all the way until I feel the block against my front tires. Anyway, the front fender has some give so I didn’t feel the rebar going in. I didn’t realize what had happened until I was pulling out of the parking spot after lunch and I heard a crunching sound.

I called Brian who was taking grandma home first. I told him to please check my car when he got home because I thought I messed up my front bumper. I was hoping for the best but prepared for the worst, which is sadly the case. Brian confirmed it as soon he got home and was able to inspect the car. I messed up the clips so the front bumper needs to be replaced in order to get Alex back to normal.

Half a dozen quotes later from various body shops around town, we found out that it’s going to cost at least $1,000 to effectively fix the damage. Cheapest quote was Auto Paint Repair at $855. The most expensive quote was $1140 from Carstar. I initially wanted to go with the lowest price because I didn’t want to file an insurance claim and risk losing my good driver discount; however, Brian really had his heart set on Carstar. They fixed Bebot after our rear-end collision last year and they did a really good job.





Twelve hundred dollars is a lot of money so I decided to sleep on it. A friend at work (Derek) told me that the front end doesn’t look too bad so I could probably wait to get it fixed. It’s just that I’m afraid to wash the car or nudge the front bumper in some way because I don’t want the bumper to fall off or worsen the damage. Lately we’ve been trying to drive around in Bebot more and not use Alex as much so we don’t make things worse, except on days when we’re both working because then I don’t have a choice but to drive Alex.

I’ll eventually need to get Alex fixed but hopefully I can postpone it long enough to where I have enough money saved up so I won’t have to settle for the least expensive quote and I can get it done by Carstar (Brian’s first choice). Getting Alex fixed may just have to be my birthday present this year. Sigh.

If you have some spare change and would like to donate to the Alex repair fund, clickity click the donate button on the right. Thanks in advance for your generous donation. I really appreciate it.

Labor Run 2015

Looking for something fun to do on Labor Day? Come join us at Sedgwick County Park for Labor Run 2015. It’s a fun run/walk event that benefits The Treehouse, an organization that offers mothers and babies a brighter future through sharing God’s love, basic necessities, education, and genuine personal care. Please help us make this event a success by participating. Brian and I are helping with the run again this year so we hope to see you guys there!

Click below to see pictures from Labor Run 2014.

Labor Run 2014

Click below to see pictures from Labor Run 2013.

Labor Run 2013

Lost Sock II Laundromat

There are laundromats and then there are laundromats.

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We learned about this holy grail of laundromats from our friends Reby and Aaron after seeing some posts about the place on their Facebook. This laundromat has several old school pinball machines and classic arcade games and most of the games only take a quarter to operate.

I’ve never really been fond of laundromats except when we need to wash our comforters. We’re generally in and out and don’t really have a desire to linger. This is the first laundromat we’ve ever visited without needing to do any laundry. We specifically went for the games. Lost Sock is kind of a strange place to take a date but, if you’ve been with your boyfriend or girlfriend awhile, this would be a great place for a cheap date.

It’s a lot of fun and, the best part is, they’re open 24/7. If you ever need to wash anything, I highly recommend checking out Lost Sock. Or you could go just for the games like we did. Here are some photos…

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Saturdates with Grandma

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Brian and I hung out with grandma two Saturdays in a row. Last Saturday we took her bowling with us at Derby Bowl. For months now she’d been asking to watch us bowl. We talked about taking her on league night one evening but it’s just so late for her and there’s way too many people. We finally just decided to hold a bowling match up between the two of us and grandma could come and watch us compete.

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Here are a couple of pictures of Brian explaining the contest rules to grandma.

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The contest rules are as follows: One point for each game won and two points for the highest total overall for a total of five points. Theoretically someone could lose two games but if they got a high enough lead in one game to take the total then they could get one point for winning the game and two points for the total for three points to the other person’s two points and effectively steal the match.

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It seems complicated than just competing for the best two out of three games but we like making things more interesting. Sometimes with the other scoring the player who has won two games already feels like they can slack off in the final game. With our scoring you still have to be on your toes the final game because the other player could steal the whole match by winning with a high enough score.

Brian who has been bowling twice a week all summer long had an advantage on me. I was so rusty. I bowled terribly. The scores were close but he easily won the first two games. I was hoping to recover in the third game for the win but he stepped up his game for an even more decisive game victory. It was a sweep. He took all five points that day. I’m gunning for a rematch, though.

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While we were at the bowling alley we ran into dad and the Cannadys. Our nephews have started getting into bowling and are actually started to get quite good at it. Eli (middle child) really enjoys bowling.

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Anyway, it was nice running into them specially since we were with grandma. She doesn’t get to see them as often as we do. I found out later that mom came to the bowling alley too but she arrived after we left so we just missed her.

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After bowling we took grandma to Los Cocos, one of our favorite restaurants in Derby.

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While there we ran into a couple of my coworkers who were nice enough to stop and say hello. Grandma loves meeting our friends and coworkers so that was great.

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We had churros for dessert and they were delicious!

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Grandma would agree. We had a fantastic Saturday!

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Yesterday we took grandma to another one of our favorite restaurants, The Hill Bar and Grill. She got to try Brian’s favorite starter: chicharonnes.

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For lunch grandma got chicken tacos. Brian had them before and really like them.

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Brian had the meatball sub this time.

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I had crab eggs benedict from the Saturday brunch menu. It was pretty good. I messed up and ended up with hashbrowns instead of the asparagus, though.

Brian and grandma had a productive day shopping for groceries and we had a wonderful brunch together. Overall it was a great day except for the mishap with my car in the parking lot. I will tell you guys more after I find out how bad the damage is on Monday.

Rotary Club of Andover

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Decided to join the Rotary Club of Andover. Heard about Rotary Clubs for years but hadn’t joined until now. I’m grateful to my coworker David for inviting me.

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I met the current district governor David Yoder at our meeting a couple of weeks ago. He gave me a bandana and a couple of of pins. One is our district pin and the other is the “Be a Gift to the World” pin. It’s our theme this year.

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The Rotary Club of Andover is part of Rotary International, an international service organization whose purpose is to bring together business and professional leaders in order to provide humanitarian services, encourage high ethical standards in all vocations, and help build goodwill and peace in the world. The district governor gave us a really good definition of a Rotarian during his presentation.

What is a Rotarian?
A Rotarian is a person who…
Digs wells from which he/she will never drink;
Vaccinates children he/she will never meet;
Restores eyesight for those he/she will never see;
Builds housing he/she will never live in;
Educates children he/she will never know;
Plants trees he/she will never sit under;
Feeds hungry people regardless of race or politics;
Makes crawlers into walkers half-way around the world;
Knows real happiness that, as Albert Einstein once said,
“Can only be found by helping others.”

The “service above self” philosophy really appealed to my passion for community service and volunteerism so it made sense for me to join the club. Though the Wichita Rotary Club probably would have made more sense because the meetings are closer to work, I chose to join the club in Andover because of its small size and proximity to my home. The Wichita club already has hundreds of members. The Andover club has a more intimate feel and I think I can really make a difference there.

First thing on the agenda is to help sell tickets for our annual fundraising event, Haus of Brews. Tickets are $25 each right now but will go up to $30 after September 11. All proceeds go toward funding our club’s community service projects. Contact me if you’d like to attend. We’d love to see you there.

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If you’d like to learn more about Rotary, let me know. You can be my guest at our next meeting. We love having guests. Before I go, here’s a quote from Rotary International president-elect K. Ravi Ravindran:

When you gift your time in service… you touch lives.
When you gift your resources… you uplift lives.
When you gift both with love & compassion…
YOU, yourself, become a gift to the world.

Leadership Wichita 2014

Last year I completed Leadership Wichita. I had some amazing experiences, made some new friends, and got a really cool plaque for my office. Besides that, I wrote a letter to my future self that’s significantly shaping my choices this year (and years to come).

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First let me tell you about Leadership Wichita. Leadership Wichita is a leadership training program through the Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce that is unlike any other leadership training program I’ve ever experienced. There were eight sessions in total and I got to participate in some amazing, enlightening, life-changing activities that I would never have experienced otherwise. I didn’t take a lot of pictures because I didn’t want my classmates to think I was weird but I did take a few that I’d like to share with you.

I got to spend half a day at Wichita West High School and learned that, despite all of its challenges, USD 259 is actually a great school district. They’re this really cool thing at West High where you declare your academic focus (whether it be Business and Culinary Arts, Engineering and Manufacturing, Fine Arts and Communication, or Health Sciences and Human Services) and you get to take classes toward that focus during your high school years. It’s a really great opportunity to learn whether you really have the passion or aptitude for something. For instance, had I known sooner that Engineering wasn’t for me, then I wouldn’t have wasted four years in college pursuing it. The students in the Business and Culinary Arts academy learn skills that they can use to become entrepreneurs right out of high school, if they so choose. It’s really cool.

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But it was the kids that I got to spend time with that really impressed me most. Since there were 30 of us in our Leadership Wichita class, we were divided into four groups. Some of us got to spend time with each of the academies. Our lunch that day was prepared by the Business and Culinary Arts students assisted by some of our Leadership Wichita classmates. They prepared their award-winning school lunch that they were invited to Washington, DC to present at a national competition. The lunch had to meet budget (so that schools could afford to feed it to thousands of kids), nutritional requirements, and also be delicious. They served us buffalo chicken mac and cheese, some kind of red cabbage and corn salad, and a peach crisp topped with granola for dessert. It was a surprisingly delicious meal for about a dollar a person.

I wasn’t part of that group but I was lucky enough to spend time with the Engineering kids who were some of the smartest students I’d ever met. They were taking Engineering classes in high school that I didn’t take until college. They were learning CAD and printing things with their 3D printer. As a parting gift, they gave me one of these puzzles that they designed and made in their classroom. I got to design and make one of the pieces on the computer. It was awesome.

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We also got to spend time at the Wichita/Sedgwick County joint training facility at Lake Afton doing shoot/don’t shoot simulations. The exercise was really nerve-wracking and gave me a greater appreciation for the stress that our law enforcement officers go through. They really don’t get enough credit for the work they do.

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Another session was spent doing mock interview, receiving feedback, learning about working with the media, and we got to watch a live newscast at the KWCH station at the end of that session.

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This is a picture of Ryan Bond, one of my Leadership Wichita classmates. We voted him into to the Leadership Wichita Board of Trustees.

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This is a picture of me with one of my social media idols, Lou Heldman from Wichita State University. We’d met years ago through Twitter but since neither of us haven’t really gone to any tweetups recently our paths hadn’t crossed much. He was one of our presenters for our Leadership Wichita session about media. It was nice to run into him and listen to him speak on a topic that he’s very passionate about.

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This is me with another one of my classmates who I really connected with, Stacy Gear. She is such an amazing person and super funny, too.

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This is me with Michelle Stroot, another classmate who is quiet but also amazing. We were the two shortest people of the group.

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Mom and dad both got to attend my Leadership Wichita graduation banquet.

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My friend Faith came. My boss Ginger was there. Isaac and his wife, and Don and his wife were at the graduation banquet also.

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It was such an amazing experience. All of the sessions were great (well, except for when they fed us jail food – LOL – JK – even that was really good too). During one of the sessions we got to write letters to our future selves, which brings me to the title of this blog entry. I had challenged myself to become more become more involved in the community. I have lived in Wichita for over 20 years now. It’s time that I invested in our community because this is my home. I’d always wanted to be more involved but I just kept putting it off and putting off. Well, after reading my letter to myself, I decided that procrastination time was over.

I made a couple of significant decisions this year. I joined the Andover Rotary Club. I had planned on telling you all about it in this blog post but now that I’ve made it so lengthy I decided I probably best save it for later. I also joined the Kansas DUI Impact Center board of directors. I’m also helping to connect others in my organization who want to get more involved in the community with nonprofits that they’re passionate about so, while I can’t be on ten nonprofit boards, at least I have people I know and trust who will be helping these other nonprofit organizations serve the community.

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I owe my 2015 self in part to my Leadership Wichita experience. I cannot say enough about this program. It was really life-changing for me. Among all the things I learned, I learned that I can do so much more for the community than what I’m already doing. The experience ignited something that was already in me. It just needed a catalyst, which is what Leadership Wichita did for me.

Good Deeds

Did I mention that I work with the most amazing and generous people on the planet?

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Last week the Customer Relations Center (CRC) collected a ton of school supplies and filled over 125 backpacks for Washington Elementary. It’s the same school we’ve supported for the last few years. Each year we collect more and more school supplies. We had record-breaking participation in our school supply drive this year. Amy really did a great job of getting everyone involved and excited. Everyone was pumped about participating and we some great friendly competition between the various teams which resulted in even more school supplies collected.

Today Amy and a bunch of people from work delivered all the school supplies we’d collected to Washington Elementary. Delivery day coincided with the “dance party” that the QA team was hosting for the CRC so I couldn’t go but I really wanted to be there to see the kids’ smiling faces. Despite not having been there it still feels good to be part of such a thoughtful and caring effort.

I was able to contribute two backpacks full but some of my coworkers contributed three to five to ten times that amount. I probably could have done more but I had already spent over an hour at Walmart. Brian happened to be at his bowling league that evening so he didn’t really miss me.

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Although, I did factor in his preferences in picking out the two backpacks. Finding all of the specific school supplies on the list to put inside the backpacks seemed like a scavenger hunt and it took forever. I spent such a long time looking for stuff that I completely forgot where I parked my car afterwards.

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Anyway, I’m so impressed with my coworkers. I can’t imagine how much time (and money) they spent at the store to contribute all the school supplies that we collected last week. There’s no two ways about it. My coworkers are the best!

Here Come the Mummies

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Watched a band that we’ve never seen or heard before last night. Thought it was going to be hokey at first — with the mummy costumes and all — but they were actually very good. We should have known better. Never judge a book by its cover.

Adventures in Mulvane

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After our early supper last Saturday, Brian and I checked out this cute little park next to Luciano’s. Brian and I decided that we will ask for a table on the park side of the restaurant on our next visit.

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It’s a small historical park with lots of interesting stuff to see.

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This is an old jail cell from the 1800s.

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My handsome hubby.

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A peek inside the jail cell.

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Interesting displays.

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After walking around the park, we walked down the street and saw this sno-cone stand. Complete with outdoor seating.

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Lauren’s Kitchen.

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The end.

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Hello, Dolly!

Reason #374 why I have the best husband ever: he agreed to see Hello, Dolly! with me at Century II. How many husbands indulge their wives in this way? Seriously? I think the typical husband would have found an excuse to get out of it. “Why don’t you take one of your friends?” some would say. Not Brian. Why? Because he is the best husband ever.

Music Theatre Wichita completed another awesome season. This year the lineup consisted of Aida; Disney’s My Son Pinocchio; Billy Elliot; Big Fish; and Hello, Dolly! I only got to see the last two shows and they were both fantastic. Though, Big Fish was by far my favorite of the two.

Last year I had the opportunity to watch the West Side Story with Brian and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat with my little sister Nickira. Both shows were great too. The 2016 lineup is fantastic:

Nice Work If You Can Get It
Beauty and the Beast
Oklahoma!
Jesus Christ Superstar
Mama Mia!

Brian and I have been very impressed with the shows we’ve seen. That, and I actually want to see all of these, so we’re considering season tickets next year.





Except, tickets are kind of pricey. It’s going to cost us about $500 to get our season tickets for next year. If you would like to donate to the cause of bringing more culture into our lives, you may do so here. Think of it as an anniversary present. Or, you could also think of it as a birthday present to me. After all, my birthday is coming up in a couple of months. Thank you in advance for your thoughtfulness and support. You guys are the best!

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