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Archive for July 2017

Garage Door Opener Saga Continued

Posted on July 26, 2017 by under Home Ownership, Things to Do.    

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Brian spent most of the day on 4th of July finishing what he and Chad started on Sunday afternoon: the partially complete garage door opener installation.

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He tweaked and tweaked and tweaked. I wasn’t much help except I got to push the button every time he was ready to test it. He would make some minor adjustment and then he would tell me to push the button and then he would make some more changes and then I’d have to push the button again. I suppose I saved him from having to go up and down the ladder multiple times so I was useful that way.

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Touchdown! He was so excited when he finally got it to work. Here’s a video of him explaining the whole thing.

While he was doing most of the troubleshooting — before my button-pushing part — I met Stephanie at North YMCA so we could take Melissa’s special 4th of July Aqua Zumba class.

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It was a blast! And, I’m happy to report, my Apple Watch survived it’s second water test (an hour of being submerged in the pool) with flying colors.

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I must say, I much prefer taking Aqua Zumba to teaching it specially when it’s 100+ degrees outside. If you’ve not tried Aqua Zumba before, come join us at Andover YMCA on Saturdays at 8:45 AM. We only have a few more weeks left before they close the waterpark. (SIDE NOTE: Hideki is filling in this Saturday while I’m at ZINCON but I’ll be back next weekend.)

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Later that day we went to Cory and April’s for a real-deal 4th of July BBQ, complete with ribs and deviled eggs! Mmmm, yum!

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April also served a bunch of festively colored food such as red, white, and blue jello, rice crispies cake, and cupcakes.

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And Cory made this delicious, fruity concoction called ambrosia. It tasted heavenly!

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Unfortunately, we couldn’t stick around for a second, post-fireworks dinner. We had to get back home to comfort our dogs. Not so much Molly, who we are convinced has gone completely deaf in her old age because not only do fireworks not bother her like they do most dogs but she pretends not to hear us whenever we call her so I’m thinking maybe she’s not pretending — LOL — but Saki gets really anxious that she starts shaking.

Honestly, I didn’t mind missing the fireworks portion of the festivities. I love watching the pretty fireworks in the sky but I’m not a huge fan of the loud, booming fireworks on the ground — specially the ones thrown at me. No thanks!

That pretty much concluded our holiday weekend. It was quite and uneventful, just the way we like it. We both still have our fingers and toes and didn’t incur any injuries. I call that a fantastic weekend!

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Hall of Heroes at Exploration Place

Posted on July 25, 2017 by under Date Ideas, Things to Do.    

Brian and I finally used our Exploration Place membership a few weeks ago. We went to check out the new Hall of Heroes exhibit. It’s actually pretty cool.

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Here are a few pictures.

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Okay, so I took more than a few photos. Brian and I were like two children in a candy shop. Everywhere you looked there’s something interesting to look at, read or interact with and, Brian being the comic book buff that he is, all of it was right up his alley. Brian and I completed several tasks to test our superhero powers, including the vertical jump test and the hang time challenge.

The station that I liked best among all of the stations, is the one where you have to answer true and false questions (about everything that you’ve learned at the various stations) in order to get the code to the vault that holds the answer to question “What is humanity’s last hope?”

I won’t ruin it for you but I’m sure you can guess the answer. I thought it was an awesome message for kids, though.

What I liked best about the entire day is seeing how excited Brian got about each exhibit and how eager he was to share all of his comic book knowledge. It was such a fabulous day date and to think we never would have had the opportunity had we not taken the Monday before the 4th of July off.

He loved the exhibit so much that I’m actually thinking of taking him to the Capes and Cocktails event next month. I think it would be the perfect way to kick off the weekend of our 15th wedding anniversary.

In the meantime, if you haven’t been to the Hall of Heroes, we highly recommend it. It’s a traveling exhibit so it’s only here for a limited time. It’ll be flying on out of the museum on January 1.

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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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Oak & Pie, Woodfired Pizzeria & Wine Bar

Posted on July 16, 2017 by under Food and Drink.    

We probably still would not have tried Oak & Pie were it not for Amy and Hideki’s impromptu visit a couple of weeks ago. They showed up at our house unexpectedly on a Saturday afternoon.

The house wasn’t in complete disarray but I had laundry hanging to dry and various things where they shouldn’t be, as I suspect is the state of most people’s houses when they aren’t expecting company. Surely, we are not alone in this.

We had planned a cookout for Sunday but, somehow, Amy and Hideki got confused and thought the party was on Saturday. In Hideki’s defense, we usually have our parties on Saturdays. We just happened to schedule it for Sunday this time around because Brian and both had taken Monday off work because of the 4th of July holiday on Tuesday. They were about 24 hours too early for the party. LOL.

Better early than late, though. I had this happen to me a couple of years ago. I thought the party was on Saturday. We had our outfits (it was an 80’s themed party) and present ready and everything. I just happened to check Facebook as we were heading out and then realized that the party already happened. It happened the day before, on Friday, and we completely missed it.

After quickly picking up and putting things away, we visited for a bit and broke into my new card game: What Do You Meme? After playing one round up to five points, we realized that it was about time for dinner.

Amy and Hideki brought various cheeses, gluten-free crostinis, wine and liquor for the party which we agreed they should just leave at our house so that they wouldn’t have to bring them all back the next day. Besides that, there wasn’t much to eat at our house because we weren’t expecting to feed anyone but ourselves that day.

Anyway, after some deliberation, the four of us agreed to go to dinner somewhere that none of us had been before. That’s how we ended up at Oak & Pie.

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Naturally, I had to take pictures because that’s kind of my thing. Oak & Pie is really cool. Their specialty is pizza but they also serve other things on the menu. And, although it’s a pizza place, the ambiance is more fancy than casual.

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Besides taking pictures of the restaurant interior, I also took pictures of our food and drinks. Here’s the meatball starter.

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This was good but Carrabba’s serves something similar and I like their version better. Plus, I think Carrabba’s gives you four meatballs instead of three.

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This was Hideki’s pizza.

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Brian and I decided to split one. We got the pizza they had on special that day.

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Amy got the special also but she asked for hers on a gluten-free crust. She also doesn’t mind onions, which we had them hold on ours.

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Here are some pictures of drinks.

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I really liked the pizza we had. It was quite satisfying. I’m glad Brian and I shared because, even with splitting the pizza, we couldn’t finish it. We had to take our leftovers home, and then promptly forgot about it. So then I didn’t even get to eat the rest of that delicious chicken and bacon pizza.

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Here’s a group selfie from that evening. I look like crap because we weren’t expecting company or to go out for dinner. I debated on changing at first but then I was just like, “Whatever.” Laziness and apathy took over.

It was a productive evening overall, though. Not only did we get to play-test my new card game but, since we were on that side of town already, Brian and I decided to stop by Academy after dinner and we bought one of those corn hole games. Some people call it bean bag toss.

The only downside of it was that we didn’t realize how terribly-made the store-bought games are. The game we bought broke after one use. And here Brian probably thought he had gotten out of having to make us one. LOL.

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Uncork the Music Concert Series

Posted on July 16, 2017 by under Date Ideas, Things to Do.    

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Brian and I enjoyed our first outdoor concert at Wheat State Wine Company so much that we decide to return and share the experience with some friends.

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Here are some photos.

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We had beautiful weather that day. It was the perfect day for an outdoor concert.

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The summer concert series at Wheat State Wine Company reminds me of the good old days when we use to go to the Bradley Fair summer jazz concerts. That was one of our favorite summer activities of all time.

While we’re waxing nostalgic, here are a few of the old blog posts about the Bradley Fair summer concerts.

Life is busier these days so we’ve missed the Bradley Fair jazz concerts the last couple of years. It’s still one of my favorite things to do in the summer though, and I would totally be there for each one if I’m in town and my schedule allowed it.

If you’ve never been to an outdoor jazz concert at Bradley Fair, I highly recommend checking it out. The concerts happen every Thursday during the month of June so it’s already over for this year.

In the meantime, if you’re looking to get your outdoor summer concert fix, head on over to Wheat State Wine Company in Winfield. It’s a bit of a drive but it’s totally worth it. The upcoming concert lineup is as follows:

Have a fabulous summer, everyone!

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