Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Congratulations Mom!

Congratulations are due to my Mom, who is in Chicago this weekend to receive a big award from Veterans Affairs! I haven't been able to find anything online to describe the award, but I'll have her give me a write-up when she gets back. At any rate, it's a HUGE deal, so give her a big pat on the back the next time you see her (which will probably be before I do).

On a significantly less happy note, it looks like I'll be getting a new car sooner than expected, probably as soon as Nick gets back from his September deployment. Oh yeah, Nick's going to be back in Qatar for the month of September - I think I've neglected to mention that. Long story short, I took my car in for some routine maintenance today, and the guy showed me about $2000 worth of work that Big Red needs to make it though the next year. These are big things like replacing the ball bearings on my front wheel/brake/tire part (you know, the part that lets you turn - I'm not a mechanic!)

So the plan is to trade before she quits for good, which, if you believe my mechanic, should be really soon. I was a bit skeptical about the place, to be honest, until I ran into my former boss's(JB for you USC folks) son there, who told me that his family doesn't take their cars anywhere else. Seems like the place is legit so I guess I'll believe my mechanic.

I'm thinking about one of the new Honda CRV's. Does anyone have any experiences with/thoughts about them? Do you have anything else in that price range that you'd highly recommend? Considering all of the road trips we take, and the plans we have in the next few years to add to the Hall family, it has to be a small SUV. No sedans! Let me know your thoughts.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Pi Beta Phi to thee...

After three years on the lam, I'm finally getting back to my Pi Beta Phi. As I've mentioned before, I'm becoming a charter member of the Alumnae Panhellenic that's being formed here in Columbia. Well, I figured that since I was representing the Pi Beta there, I ought to try to get in touch with the actual Pi Phi alum club here in Columbia.

This morning I contacted the alum club president, and I must admit I was a bit skeptical about the activity level of the alum club here. You see, there is not a single Pi Phi collegiate chapter in the state of South Carolina. However, I just got off the phone with Madame President, and she's sending me all the information about the club in the mail, adding me to the roster, and has invited me to the club's September meeting. It sounds like the club is mostly composed of older women (Ellen, the pres., graduated from college two years after my mom was born), but she sounded excited to have a younger woman in the mix. My days at Trinity UMC and with the PEO's in Sumter have taught me that there's nothing quite like having a bunch of grandmotherly and motherly women around when you're in a new place, so I'm equally excited to have some new Pi Phi companions.

I'll let you know how our first meeting pans out!

Work in Progress

Ok, Mom, this one's for you. I know you're dying to see what the new apartment looks like so even though it's certainly not a finished product, here's what we've got so far. Highlights include tons of bright windows, two walk-in closets, and a garden tub in our bathroom. We plan to get a new entertainment center, desk, and curtains ASAP. And for any of you wondering where some of our missing furniture is, we've put some big pieces, like our piano and buffet, into climate controlled storage until we have a house big enough to accomodate them. Hope you all like the pictures!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Recent Happenings

A few things have happened in the past several days that warrant mentioning, but I'll have to expand on some of them (with pictures) later since I'm blogging at 6am and need to go get ready for work soon! I have one story that has to be told today, though, so enjoy.

The first and biggest exciting thing is that Nick and I moved into our new apartment. Now, you might be asking yourself why on earth we'd move to an apartment from the cute house we had. The answer is two words: shadetown and deployment. The first word refers to our old neighborhood. At one time described as "up and coming" I've determined that the sentiment was in fact wishful thinking. While there were several nice families on our block, once you strayed from there it was a total mixed bag...of nuts! Since Nick is hoping to go to Afghanistan for nine months next year, and let's face it he's been gone for half of this year, we thought an apartment in a nice, quiet community would be far preferable.

We were not let down! Our apartment is bigger and so much nicer than our old (read uncleanable dirt and grime hiding in every cabinet, only two prong outlets, and power that goes out whenever you vacuum) cute (read tiny) house. We've got a nice deck for enjoying the outdoors, and I think Finlay likes his daily walks more than the chance to run around freely in the yard, which he only did occasionally anyway. I'll post some pictures as soon as all the boxes are out of the way.

Yesterday I also got my first major appliance! Yes, Daddy, I did my research first. If you've every been to our house when we've been doing laundry you know it's a big pain to dry clothes. The dryer didn't time itself or turn off on its own, and for the last eight months it has made a horrible screeching sound constantly that is apparently irreparable. Since we have to be more quiet in our home now (we're on the second floor of three) we decided that we had no choice but to buy a new dryer. It's nothing fancy, just your basic-level Maytag. Of all the dryers in our price range this one got the best reviews, and I know that Maytags tend to be trustworthy. The coolest thing about it is that it has a cycle you can run on any heat setting (any of the five!) that senses the moisture in the barrel and automatically shuts off when it reaches the desired dryness level (you choose from several options). I tried it twice yesterday and absolutely love it! I'm a little poorer now, but at least my clothes will be pampered from now on.

The last accomplishment yesterday was the cable set-up. It almost went perfectly. However, we had a small glitch - I mean, come on, it's Time Warner Cable, of course there was a glitch! When I submitted my installation request I noted that we wanted to switch our box to an HD box because our new TV is HD. The guy comes to install my cable - no box. So, knowing how pumped Nick is about getting HD and wanting to reward him during his sixth straight week of 13 hour-plus work days, I haul my butt down to the TWC office in Five Points. Not, I soon discover, a good plan.

When I walk in, I can barely fit in the door because the line is so long - at least fifteen people deep. I should note here that I am holding our massive DVR box. I quickly notice that stationed inside the store is a policeman - not a private security guard, but an honest-to-God City of Columbia police officer, complete with gun. This, I think to myself, is not a good sign. So I stand in line, waiting patiently. After all, if I'm not here, I'm at home unpacking boxes, which is frankly getting monotonous. So I don't really mind waiting that much. I'm determined to remain pleasant.

About fifteen minutes into the experience there is a mini-revolt in the store. It seems that about half of the people in there are just there to pay their bills with cash or money orders. Who knew that many people actually went to the store to pay their bill? Apparently they do. So, there is one cashier who is handling only these people, and at some point they decide to make their own line at her station. Not the right plan! There are others who have apparently inquired as to this option previously and were told that there was one line and one line only. They become somewhat irrate at the people in the new line. It's at this point that I become grateful for the policeman because he gets over there in just enough time to diffuse the situation and send everyone in the new line back to their original places in the old line. Then, like kindergarteners waiting for lunch, they all scurry back to claim their exact places. The woman behind me, who I am guessing was mentally altered in some way, definitely invaded my personal bubble to ensure that she got to claim her previous spot. She never backed off!

So fifteen minutes later( at least thirty total minutes of standing in line) I reach the counter, swap out my box, and head home to hook it up, grateful to have left in one piece. I get all the cords plugged into all the right places only to discover that the woman at the counter failed to supply me with an electrical cord. Since I'm working all day today, that will have to wait until tomorrow, when I'm sure I'll have another adventure at the TWC office.

Happy Hump Day everyone!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Lindsay Hall, M.Ed.

Well, it's finally over and done with. On Saturday I graduated from my Master's program. Nick and I celebrated that morning by signing the lease to our new apartment. That night we went with some friends to the Flying Saucer to celebrate properly. We had a great time! Here's a picture of the flowers Mom and Dad sent me. Aren't they pretty? There are also some gorgeous lilies in there that you can't see. Below that is a picture from my graduation celebration!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Graduation Party

So I know I've been ranting for a few weeks about being officially done with school. However, my truly official graduation date is this Saturday. Today, my friends in the History office organized a surprise graduation party for me, complete with cake and ice cream! I was bowled over. I'm not doing anything to officially celebrate so I hadn't even thought that anyone else would remember that I was, in fact, graduating, much less do anything to commemorate the occasions. My co-worker Melissa even told me that she'd been planning to attend the big graduation ceremony since she knew I wouldn't really have anyone else but Nick to watch me. I think she was pretty relieved to find out that I'm not going to be walking on Saturday.

Do I have great co-workers or what?!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Mark and Lauren's Wedding Weekend

My little brother got married this weekend! The wedding was in Dallas, and it was beautiful and tons of fun. I think it's easier to just show you in pictures rather than try to tell you what it was like (slideshow below). Nick and I got to see so many of our family and good friends - we are so thankful! It was such a joy to see all of you.