Reliving the Glory Days

Photo by Marcin Kempa on Unsplash

The other day, my husband and I were going to Home Depot to get a sprinkler (how late-30s-life is that???), and along the way, we unintentionally took a drive through our past.

It just happened. We opened Maps and found the fastest route to the Home Depot we were going to – it was one out of the way because the closest ones didn’t have the sprinkler. The route happened to take us past some interesting places.

First, we went through this TINY town where my husband spent a lot of his time growing up. He would spend the day at his grandparents’ house, playing and doing whatever little boys do. His grandparents ran a successful lumber company, and it was right next to the house. My husband happened to be willed the house, with a provision that he’d live in it for a few years. But, we moved to Las Vegas, and his grandfather died 4 days later. His grandfather mentioned to the executor that he was going to change the will since we were moving, but that didn’t happen due to the circumstances.

Well, a year or so later, we happened to be in town, and the house literally blew up while we were home! The police contacted us, but thankfully the house blew up while we were at a family party for my cousin who was home from overseas with the military (the reason we were home was for the party). I’m not sure if they ever figured out what happened or not, but my husband was so sad that the house was destroyed because he spent so much of his time there while he was young.

So, we drove by the house – or rather lot – on our trip to Home Depot. The house now has a trailer on it, but the barns his grandfather built are still there, and that made him happy.

We continued on our journey, and happened upon a cemetery. I said, hey, I think this is where my dad is buried! So, we stopped there too. My daughter has been asking to see “Pap Pap Steve’s rock,” so we got out and hunted it down. Of course the cemetery site didn’t show his location (I should probably call about that!), but I happened to have a picture of where it was from the day of the burial. It was definitely strange seeing my dad’s grave. That seemed pretty final. I’m not particularly emotional, so I wasn’t sad, it was just strange.

I’m super at peace with my dad’s death because there’s literally not one single regret that I have, there was nothing unsaid, etc. I loved him, and he loved me, we both knew that, we talked once a week, there was nothing unfinished. I’m really thankful for that! I hate that my daughter won’t know him, but she definitely sees pictures and hears stories.

So, we got back in the car after that 2nd unexpected stop, and were on the way to Home Depot. We got the sprinkler (hooray!). It was close to the mall I used to frequent. A lot. I decided to skip the route Maps suggested on the way home and try to recall the backroads I used to be able to drive in my sleep. I miraculously remembered it nearly perfectly. I did turn before one building instead of after that building, but we got right back on track.

My husband said, just look at what Maps says.

I said Maps!?!? I don’t need Maps, I drove this way a thousand times without any map!

He said, wow, you’re right, HOW did you get there? You use Maps for everything now (even locally, for traffic purposes!).

I was like listen, I was 16. I put 18,000 miles on my car that year (seriously). You don’t get to be 16 and drive 18k miles without knowing the way. When you’re 16 (at least in those days), you can practically SMELL your way to the mall like a bloodhound!!

Man, that mall has sooooo many memories. From encountering some really bizarre people, to my car (a different car) breaking down while we skipped the SAT prep course. That’s literally the only act of rebellion I ever had. I’m pretty boring!

My then-acquaintance/classmate, Dawn and I were both there, not because we were friends yet, but because we both hated that SAT-prep course and both loved the mall, hahaha! The car broke down, we both had to pee, and we had to wait about 1.5 hours til someone could get to us (I feel like it was when they’d be leaving work downtown or something, so it took a while). We bonded, and she’s now one of my best friends (and part of this blog and videos!). 🙂

What started out as a basic trip to get a sprinkler ended up being a pretty fun micro-adventure (boy, covid has really warped our sense of adventure, haha!).

Speaking Of – Chat with Stephanie & Dawn – Sticker Escapades and More!

Check out the latest video from me and Dawn! We chat about everything from our kids’ sticker escapades, to bathing suit shopping, figuring out what’s appropriate clothing for our age, and wanting to shop after being stuck inside during the quarantine!

We hope you enjoy!

“Speaking Of” TV Talk Video

Hi all, happy Friday! Here’s the video Dawn and I recorded last week (didn’t mean for it to take so long to post!) – it’s a TV Talk edition. We’re talking about the Married at First Sight season 10 finale – “Decision Day.”

It was a good episode – and it was so great to see who stayed together and who broke up.

Check out our video and enjoy! 🙂

New “Speaking Of” Videos!

Hi all, we hope you’re doing well in week 10,000 of the stay-at-home/pandemic world. Just kidding! In reality, it hasn’t been that bad. It’s certainly more enjoyable than being out and about and getting sick.

Since we can’t be in the same spot due to the stay-at-home orders, Dawn and I did our video this week via Zoom conferencing. We split the session into 2 parts. The first is us talking about the last week of the pandemic, and the second is us talking about a few TV shows we like. Check them out!

Here’s the first video talking about the pandemic.

Here’s the second video, TV Talk, chatting about some of our favorite shows.

Enoy, and have a great week!

Our First Video!

pic from Pixabay

Hi! Dawn and I recorded our first video on Sunday and are happy to share it. As mentioned previously, this is our first video and we’re not experts, so hang with us. 🙂

We figured what better topic for our first chat than… Coronavirus/COVID-19. We are not medical experts and aren’t talking about the virus itself, but rather living in a world where all of this is new! Somehow we end up talking about cooking at home too, haha!

We hope you enjoy!

PS – I’m Stephanie, on the left, and Dawn is on the right.

Working Forward

Image by Igor Link from Pixabay 

I always wanted to work for reasons that most people want to work, and that reason is MONEY! I started working when I was fifteen years old as a bus person at Norwin Diner where I learned to quickly clear and clean tables and bus dishes back to the singing dishwasher.

The work environment was great since most of the employees were either my age or these cranky but funny, older waitresses, who had a smoker’s cough and deep voice. I fondly look back and remember one of these older waitresses selling ‘made-to-order’ erotic Christmas cookies for co-workers – more specifically, naked snowmen with more than your standard snowman parts. What a gem this lady was! I honestly think that she made more money doing this than being a waitress.

After a little over a year, I abruptly quit ‘the diner’ when someone got sick all over a table, and it was my job to clean it up. My boss said to me, you gonna clean that up? And I replied, nope, I am going home. I realized in that moment that I would never make it as nurse and chalked it up to some good life experience.

After my busing days were over, I worked in various other fast food chains before finishing my college studies and then returning to college as an adult to pursue my accounting degree. As I gained my experience in accounting at various companies, it helped me to ‘check-the-box’ in what I really wanted from my career path. Sure, I probably made some poor decisions in leaving some companies too soon, but I always felt that if I evolved from the work, or the learning ended, that I needed to move forward. I love learning and working hard.

However, it all changed when I became a mom, because I wanted to stay home!!! All the other mothers in my neighborhood stayed home, so I felt all eyes on me when I would pack my baby up in the car to drive him to daycare. I also got the mom-guilt at work, because I worked with all men; they would say, why aren’t you at home with your baby? It was a rough scene somedays. I did this for four years until I could finally step down from a full-time job and start looking for a part time accounting position.

I made it my mission to consider everything that I wanted out of my next job leap. I like to compare and think of my frequent career changes as that old tv show, Quantum Leap, always jumping into my next adventure. Pay, hours, flexibility, distance, and limited customer service – a lot of accounting jobs are a glorified secretary role, especially when you are the only girl in the office. I was not going to lower my standards.

Fast forward to my current job as a remote, part-time accountant, all my expectations are met and my employer and client value my input. Now the other side of this equation is that I no longer have daycare support and there have been cases where some ‘people’ think that I have all this extra time – so not true!

My job demands an intense schedule, so work is constant. I also find myself missing the comradery of other employees, so I often advise my son’s soccer ball, Wilson, for final decisions, haha. But at the end of the day, working remotely has drastically changed my life for the better. I get to continue my profession, and my mombligations (I just made that word up, mom + obligations). In addition, I know longer have to get rush myself to get to work, and I am available at a moment’s notice if my kids need me. My point is that you don’t have to settle for a job, there are satisfying careers, but it will require work.

Dang it YouTube! (and an idea)

I got sucked in. I should’ve been writing a post for this page or doing something else productive. I don’t usually get lost in YouTube. It’s cool, and endless, but as the mom of a young kid, I DVR a few shows and watch them in the shadows of the night when the TV is actually available.

But, over the last few days, I’ve gotten sucked into a few things on YouTube. The first is James Corden’s Carpool Karaoke. I could watch that for hours. Nearly every one of them is amazing. The one with One Direction cracks me up. I love when they’re impressed how well James can sing one of their songs. The choreographed song with jean jackets (James’ idea) is also hilarious.

I didn’t really realize how funny Harry Styles is (which inevitably led to me searching for other episodes of Carpool Karaoke with him).

The second thing was The Secret World of Jeffree Star. I like makeup, learning what drives people, business, and pink, so everything about that docu-series was right up my alley. The series is like 5-6 parts and I watched them all… then I realized that there were several follow up documentaries.

The one I started watching (but miraculously peeled myself away from) is called the Beautiful World of Jeffree Star, I think. It’s about the making of an eyeshadow palette. I will certainly return to this, but I need to wait for a holiday weekend or something, haha!

But, all of that YouTube watching inspired me and Dawn to start doing videos of our own.

We’ll certainly share them here. As I mentioned in one of my recent posts, I always wanted a talk show, but haven’t figured out how (or rather what topic) to do it around. While it was fun to post the other videos I’ve done in the past, I love the idea of having a friend with me – kind of like the relationship between Howard Stern and Robin Quivers. They have great chemistry. Anyway, it’s the conversation that fulfills me. I cannot get enough of a fun conversation.

So, she and I committed to writing 3 weeks of posts and then posting a video, ideally weekly. She and I both have families and day jobs, so it may take us a little bit to become consistent, but that’s our goal – keep writing (1x/week each) and do one video a week. We’ll talk about random stuff, maybe some reality shows, maybe high school days, maybe current (celebrity) events. Who knows!

I’m not looking to create videos that change the world (although that would be cool), I just want to make people laugh. I so value people who can make me laugh, and want to be that for other people too. So, stay tuned!

Cabin Fever Kids

Wintry, rainy, January, now February days can make for some serious cabin fever.  I am thankful that I have found some great activities to keep my busy boys occupied this winter aside from climbing the walls and jumping on their beds, smh, so I thought that I would share! 

The first activity that I take them to is a kid’s yoga class, called, “Kidding Around with Yoga with Miss Jennie”. I found out about this class through a flier that I picked up from a downtown Irwin store, Feathers, and I have attended two classes since with both of my boys, ages 4 and 6. 

I love that my kids are doing Yoga, because it doesn’t feel like a committed activity, like baseball, soccer, etc., and they both can participate at the same time.  Plus, all the kids are learning great techniques in relaxing, mediation, and exercise along with coping skills when they are having, a bad day to just relax and take a deep breath. I highly recommend it! 

My next activity that I practically auto-enroll them in are swimming classes at the Wilmerding Community Center, because both kids can take their class on the same night.  This place recently changed from YMCA to Wilmerding Community Center, so it is an older facility but still has a great pool!  Classes are reasonably priced and taught by excellent instructors who take their time with the kids when they need additional help or are scared of jumping in the pool.  They also have a family changing room for parents, like me, who don’t always have their spouse around to help change kids out of wet clothes. 

And finally, my last share on a winter activity is taking the kids out to the bowling alley.  My kids love this place, because they get to throw bowling balls, get to knockdown bowling pins, and play in the arcade. One other honorable mention of my kids’ love for this place are the vending machines that my kids hit me up for pop, bubble-gum, and useless toys.  The bowling alley is just a great way to get in some good quality time together while playing a very low-maintenance sport. 

Hopefully some of these ideas help to inspire you to get out of your hibernation mode.

2020 The Year of the ‘Perfect’ Vision

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Hi! You may have read entries from this blog, and thought weren’t two people writing this? There are two bloggers’ pictured and two bios but only one continues to post! Yes, you caught me, I never submitted. But here I am, finally, in my first, never-before-seen entry, late to the party but ready to write and share some of my thoughts with you.

First and foremost, let’s give it up for the new year! 2020 a year to me as noteworthy as any year out of the 80’s, and why do you ask? Well let’s see, I have seen several puns related to the year that reference vision, windows, and Barbara Walters. Not to mention, this year has two identical, even numbers, what’s not to love?

Plus, if you’re like me, you always view each new year as a fresh start or an opportunity to maybe do something different or better. Currently, I could not be further from my optimistic view since working from home has made some things too available for me, such as food, laziness, and tv-binge watching, feeling very Garfiled-esque. Thankfully though, I am making strides to better myself.

My first betterment this year was making a vision board inside a class setting in downtown Irwin. I am not an arts and crafts person, so I knew going in that it was not going to be Pinterest worthy.

Inside the class, we took part in cutting out from magazines are aspirations for the year and discussing with neighboring classmates. We then pasted them to a board to visually inspire these goals to become a reality. It was a great setting to be a part of and a much-needed day out for me. I don’t get a lot of free time unless…I am sleeping! Ha-ha, no joke.  

After class, everyone got to take their boards home, trust me, no one was asking me for mine, lol.

It was at home that I decided that if I just tucked my vision board away that maybe I would forget the importance of my visions, so I decided to hang my board in my bathroom as a daily reminder! Since then, all of my dreams have come true! Not! I am kidding, but seriously seeing all my visions for this year daily has inspired me to come up with ways to make these visions a reality.

I will keep you posted if any of them do come true. After taking this class, I realized that it’s never too late to visualize what you want for yourself and achieve it!