Monday, September 22, 2014

The Smells That Bring Back Memories

I was just sitting here at my boyfriend's computer doing my homework.  He is trying to sleep and my computer is in the bedroom...the clicking of the keyboard would keep him up and he has to get up early.  About 45 minutes ago, I decided to make some tea.  I have my fancy Keurig and purchased Sleepy Time Tea yesterday.  10pm on a school night most definitely calls for some of this yummy tea!

I make my cup and add just a tiny bit of sugar and set back to work.  After letting it cool for a few minutes, I pick up my cup, breathe in the wonderful aroma and I am instantly taken back 22 years to being an 8 year old little girl sitting in the kitchen of my oma.

Why is that so special?

I am so glad that you asked that!  So my oma was my great grandmother on my mom's side.  My grandma was born and raised in Germany and that is where she met my grandpa.  Anyway, so my oma was actually my grandma's step mom.  Her birth mother died when she was a very small girl and my oma pretty much raised my grandma.  When I was 8 and my sisters were 6 and 2, my mom and grandma took us to Germany to meet and stay with my oma for vacation.

We got to meet family that we never knew existed and have not spoken with or to since seeing them.  A lot of my memories of that vacation come from pictures and the stories that we tell but the ones that I remember most took place in the kitchen.  Watching Oma make soup for dinner and my grandma telling us about when she had my uncle, he was so tiny, they could not keep him warm so they kept him in the oven (door open, of course) in the  kitchen.  We only knew our uncle as the big guy he was at the time and could not imagine him being so small that he would fit in there.

Every night that we were there, my oma would make us Sleepy Time tea.  We had never had it and with the small sprinkle of sugar that Oma added, we fell in love with it.  I have been drinking it ever since then!

So I am ready for bed, now that I am all toasty warm from my tea.  Plus my wonderful boyfriend is waiting for me!

Tell me...what smell brings back a fond memory for you?  Leave it in the comments!!!

Until next time!

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Why Do I Love My Bank?

I am a housekeeper.  My job can be pretty easy and tough at the same time.  Some people are just really gross and when they move out they leave a disgusting mess!  Generally, the maintenance guy goes in (patches holes, paints, replaces light bulbs, etc), then the carpet gets cleaned or replaced, and finally I go in to clean and make the place sparkle and shine for the new tenants.

The other day, I went in to start cleaning while the maintenance guy was finishing up.  My phone started ringing.  No one ever calls me and definitely not during the day unless it's a solicitor or some recording saying that if I live in one of the following cities then I might qualify for a discount on car insurance.

This phone call was different.  The number was 1-800-355-5265.  I have seen a number of reports that say the number does belong to the Chase Fraud Department but it is not one that I have ever seen.  Let me give you a little back story (I know this because I have gone through this three times now) if you do not have Chase.  When Chase notices a suspicious charge, like I live in Washington and then at 6am one morning, my "card" is used at a store in Michigan, it gets flagged.  Chase will then send you a text message pretty much saying

Hey!  We see that you do not live in Michigan but there was a charge at a grocery store...
Was it really you?  Text back yes or no!

When you respond back with

No way dude...I was sleeping at 6am.

Then they text back saying that someone from the Fraud Department will contact you shortly.


So as you can see when I answered the phone and the lady with the thick Indian accent on the other end could barely spit out that she was with the Chase Fraud Department, I knew it was a scam.  This woman, who never gave me her name...just that she was with the fraud department, claimed that there were two fraudulent charges that were attempted but declined on my debit card ending in a specific 4 digits.  A $65 charge to Toys R Us and an over $200 charge to Bed, Bath and Beyond.  Funny thing about the last four digits is that was one of my previous cards.  One that might have been compromised shopping at Target on Black Friday that was replaced a really long time ago.

I hung up but something was not sitting right with me so I left the apartment, went to the office and call the number on the back of my card.  The very nice gentleman, who gave me his name and I honestly cannot remember because I am terrible with names, said that since the card is no longer attached to my account, there was no way that the funds could even go pending.  He gave me the last transactions from my debit card and my credit card.  All charges were mine.

Three times my debit card has been replaced because of stupid hackers BUT I have been informed of the charges before the funds have been taken from my account.  My bank is really the best!  I have been trying my best to balance my checkbook and keep an eye on my account activity and have been doing a really good job.  I have not been keeping a real watchful eye on my credit card statement but I am going to try.  I do not use it very often except for recurring charges so I do not think about it much.

Now I want to hear from you!  Tell me...have you ever been scammed?  People calling you, pretending to be with your bank only trying to get personal information from you.  Do you have an amazing bank story?  Come on and share!!!  Leave me a comment!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Attempt #2 at AdvoCare's 24 Day Challenge

Today I started a 24 Day Challenge to help me lose some of the weight that I have put on over the last few months.  I am not happy with the way I look or feel so I decided to make a change.

I attempted a 24 Day Challenge almost a year ago with my mom...and I failed at it.  I ended up not completing it and eating like garbage and really just gave up.  Nothing like wasting almost $200 right?

Today I woke up motivated.  Why did I start today, a Tuesday?  Well I thought that my BF and I were going to a AA baseball game last night...turns out that it is next Monday...and I do not have the patience to let my AdvoCare stuff just chill in my apartment for another week.

I managed to hit the snooze button on my alarm for about 45 minutes this morning which left me no time to actually eat breakfast or anything like I am supposed to.  I have my fingers crossed that I can manage to get out of bed around 6:30 in the morning.  It would be nice to get a work out in and shower and eat breakfast and then go to work.  Now I just need to do it!

I walked over 13,000 steps today (I love my FitBit Flex), utilized my "7 Minute Workout Challenge" app (2 cycles) and did some yoga before I went to bed.

I definitely went over my calorie allotment especially with the huge portion of dinner BF made me.  I am ready to do better tomorrow!  I got a free box from Blue Apron that contains three meals for two people.  We are trying the first recipe tomorrow.  Shrimp rolls!  Yummy!

Until next time!

Friday, June 6, 2014

Award For Worst Granddaughter of the Year goes to...

I love my grandma (my mom's mom).  She is an amazing woman.  I usually call her once a week or once every other week.  My sisters and I are the only ones that call her when we get our birthday cards (even if it is just a card) and at Christmas to say thank you.  When I was 8 years old, my mom took my sisters and me to Germany with my grandma.  She took my cousin and me to Germany when I was 16.  She has openly admitted that I am her favorite!

I am the only one, however, that calls Grandma on her birthday...except this year!


drum roll please


Last Saturday was her birthday.  I have been all messed up on my days and completely spaced on what day it was.  What did we do?  We went hiking!  It was not until I called her on Wednesday and she called me a shit and said that I was the only one that called her every year and I missed it.  I feel like a total shit bag...but maybe that is what she gets for booking my mom and her flights to Germany this year on my 30th birthday.

It was not until after I was off the phone with her and had sat in traffic for almost an hour and got home when I came up with the perfect response.  I should have said "I can't be perfect all the time." or "Being perfect is hard to do...sorry."

Saturday, May 31, 2014

11.5 Mile Hike...Disappointed

Last week or the week before my boyfriend and I were talking about things that we wanted to do this summer.  One of the things he mentioned was going exploring and by exploring he means hiking!  He said that every weekend that it was nice and not super bad weather he wants to go hiking.  So last weekend (Memorial Weekend) we actually did a couple of hikes that gave us a two-day total of about 10 - 12 miles.  Come Tuesday when I went back to work, my legs and my butt were killing me!

This week we have been dog sitting.  He talked about going hiking on Tiger Mountain and I said that I was game.  I started making mental notes about going to the store and getting food that will tide us over while we were hiking because we would definitely need it...the trail he was looking at is a 13 mile round trip hike.

Well we ended up hiking on Cougar Mountain today instead.  It was a total let down!  For starters, we grabbed one of the free paper maps that has all the trails on it.  It did not have all of the trails on it or if it did, some of them were mislabeled because we took a right onto a trail that should have taken us to a waterfall and it ended up being some different trail that we did not anticipate taking.

Most of the hiking was uphill.  Now I understand that we were hiking on a mountain but when I say "most" I mean that it was not half uphill and half downhill.  I would say that about 70 - 75% of the hiking was uphill.  It would have been totally worth it if there were some lookout points or peaks that had incredible views.  The lookout trail that we were following ended and there was not a view point anywhere to be seen.  There were several "peaks" that we apparently reached with no beautiful view.

While the park itself was quite and clean, there were times where the trails were literally only wide enough for half a person (which I did not mind) but all you could see was trees and dirt and the random snails, slugs and caterpillars.  We heard some pretty bird songs and the random child yelling but overall it was quite and peaceful.

I have to admit that I had some difficulty with the uphill climbs at times.  I have to seek the advice of my doctor because I looked at my hands at one point because I could not close them into fists and my hands were so swollen that you could not tell where my knuckles were or see my wrist bone and I could not extend my fingers all the way straight.  I was breathing fine but it was like I was having an allergic reaction that was only affecting my hands.

After the accidental .52 mile downhill trek that we made that set us back about a mile, we completed our hike of 11.5 miles in 3 hours and 31 minutes.  Now that was active walking.  From the time we left the parking lot it was about 4 hours round trip.  Not bad at all.  That was with three people (one of my boyfriend's co-workers) and two dogs (the one that we are watching and BF's co-worker's dog) with only a couple of stops to drink water, feed the dogs, decipher the horrible map and horrible trail markers.

We are all going to sleep really good tonight and we might possibly partake in a 7.2 mile hike tomorrow to Lake Serene which I think I posted about a couple of summers ago.

Until next time!

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

It Has Been So Long!

I am too terrified to check to see when my last post was dated.  I know that I have attempted to write the last couple of months but where the hell did the time go?  I mean seriously!  It feels like we just left December and one of my lineman was canned (he was conveniently sick the two weekends that the Seahawks were in the playoffs and then was miraculously better the weekend between playoffs and Super Bowl but could not come to work) in January and I was a damn ice cube when training my friend in 20 degree weather.

I started online classes again with a new school (a whole separate experience for another blog that I am totally going to try and get everyone to go there because they freakin rock!!!) six months ago and now I am staring down the barrel at my 30th birthday on Sunday!  It snuck up on me so fast that I did not get to plan anything.  Not that it really matters because I have almost no friends in the area.  They are spread out around the country.

I did get a new job that I start on Monday and I finished my last day at Snohomish Flying Service yesterday (another post yet to come once I am caught up on my school work) and today was my first day of vacation.  I have not taken any vacation since I took leave to go get married with I was still active duty military in 2007.  I could not have asked for a better day to start my vacation either!  It is beautiful and hardly a cloud in the sky!  It is shorts and tank top weather and is really starting to feel like Spring!  I even went for a run around the lake.  It ended up more of half a run and half a walk.  I just could not make it.  I tried to push myself too hard.

Well I have to get going to get my car fixed (stupid Service Engine Soon light).  Until next time!

Monday, February 3, 2014

How To Spot A Fake

Do you carry cash on you regularly?  If you are anything like me then the answer is no.  It is very rare that I actually have cash.  Unless I know that I will need to have cash for specific purpose then I will have it but otherwise I am a tried and true (and occasionally frivolous) debit card user.  Since I started dating my boyfriend, I tend to do laundry when I am staying with him (which has been just about every night for the last couple months).

If I use the washer and dryer at his apartment, it will take me a few hours to do a couple loads because it takes like 45 minutes to an hour to wash and about that long to dry...and then you have to run it through another dry cycle because the clothes are still pretty damp.

Instead I go to one of the many local laundry mats.  For about $6 (give or take a quarter in the dryer) I can do all of my laundry in one load, wash, dry and folded in about an hour.

What does doing laundry have to do with carrying cash?  Well laundry mats require coins or cards with money preloaded.  Last week I got halfway to the laundry mat when I realized I left my roll of quarters at the apartment in my backpack.  I stopped at a gas station, pulled a $20 out of the ATM and bought an energy drink.  The cashier gave me my money and I stuffed it into my wallet.

After a couple of days I stopped at a fast food joint for dinner.  Not the greatest idea but it was late, and I was hungry and had not eaten in about seven hours.  I had the girl at the window my cash.  It included a $10 that I received as change from the gas station.  She walks away and after a couple of minutes a manager comes to the drive thru window and tells me that the $10 bill that I gave them was counterfeit, a fake.

I was completely dumbfounded and shocked.  What the hell did she just say?

"I'm's what?"

"It's a fake.  It's not real."

At this point I became thoroughly embarrassed because I know that it is illegal to produce and/or use fake currency.  These people in the fast food place are taking their sweet time and I am thinking holy shit they called the cops.  The girl that I originally gave the money to, opens the window and I try to hand her my debit card.  She looks at me like what am I supposed to do with that?  I told her to give me my $5 bill back and to charge my debit card.

"What?  I don't understand."

I told her that I gave her $15 to cover my total cost.  Apparently the $10 bill was a fake so unless the $5 is too, give it back and use my debit card.  She took my card and gave me my $5 back.  I got my food and then she finally ran my card and then tried to stiff me on my drink.

I don't know if I am more embarrassed by the fact that I tried to use a fake bill, the fact that I didn't know it was fake or pissed off that the lady at the gas station who handles cash all the time gave me a fake and now I'm out $10!?!  When you're broke, $10 is a lot of money.

I guess we live and we learn.  What I learned from this is that I will now be taking a careful look at all of my bills.  Even my ones!  I found this website that gives a few steps on how to recognize a fake.  You best believe that the next time I carry cash, I will be checking them thoroughly.  I think I might even start getting my cash from the bank and if it is not a large amount that I need, it will be all ones...people don't tend to counterfeit coins much anymore...or do they?

Until next time!