Thursday, November 27, 2008

Gig 'Em Aggies!

First off, Happy Thanksgiving! Jon and I made the trip with my parents, grandparents and Aimee to my Aunt and Uncle's house in Dallas. They recently moved to Dallas from Louisiana. We drove up this morning, and had a fabulous Thanksgiving feast. My favorite was the Tur-Duck-In. It's stuffing inside a duck, inside a chicken, inside a turkey. After a nap, we've been watching football. So far none of the games have been exciting. Right now, we're watching Texas A&M/UT football game, which just moved back to Thanksgiving day this year. I'm just hoping the Aggies put up a good fight!

Tomorrow, there are no big plans to race to "Black Friday" deals. Jon and I will be buying a washer/dryer (such and exciting life we lead), so we'll get Sears a little later and laugh at people fighting over electronics and such. Haha. I kind of just want to sit in a Wal-Mart parking lot for entertainment purposes. When we were driving though Dallas at noon today, there were already people camping outside of Best Buy! Seriously, it better be worth it for them.

Here's my latest and greatest Facebook find. A friend of mine had it posted on her profile, and it's absolutley hilarous.

http://www.todaysbigthing.com/2008/11/13

Elderly Ghetto Gospel Choir
Straight outta the retirement home, the Funky Fresh Senior Choir is here to tear down the house – in between naps of course. They cover a variety of hip-hop acts, including Nelly, Outkast and Chamillionaire. If this video doesn’t stick in your mind, you must have a serious case of Alzheimer’s

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Working on the Houston chapter

Monday morning was the first time I was able to sleep in for quite awhile, and it was nice! My youngest sister Aimee doesn't have school this week, so she came with me to look at more houses (Jon had to work). It was fun spending time with her and getting a 15 year old's opinion on houses. Afterwards, we went to eat lunch in Pearland and explored what will (hopefully) be my new neighborhood. Monday was also my grandparent's 62nd wedding anniversary, so the entire family went to Perry's for dinner to celebrate. 62 years of marriage...can you imagine? I hope I can be as lucky as them! Look at the picture...my Grandpa and Grandpa are precious. :) The other pic is of our Priest, Father Albert. The man with the beard is Rolph, the liturgical minister who is helping build the new church. They were also at Perry's for dinner. These are 2 of the people my mom has been traveling with on her worldwide trips for the new church.

Today, Aimee and I hung out at the house. Jon, my dad, and Peter had to work. My mom, Gma and Gpa went to Dallas to visit my aunt. Maria and Brandon left to go to Houma yesterday. SO...it was me, the squirt and the 2 dogs! It was truly my first "relaxing" day in awhile. I did laundry, cleaned, etc. Aimee and I also took the dogs to the park to let them play. Fergie was moving 90 miles an hour and was prancing...a sure sign that she's happy. :) This evening, myself, Jon, Aimee and my dad met the realtor to do one final look at our favorite houses. Jon and I settled on one we really like, and will put in an offer tomorrow! YAY! Out of paranoia, I'm not sharing details yet. Let's just say if this goes through there will be plenty of room for everyone. :) Please pray that everything will work out according to God's plan! I'm trying to not let myself get too excited, but it's hard. Finding a new home is not an easy task, but it's sure been fun.

Weekend update

Sorry for the delay...we've been very busy!

On Friday, we hung out at Melanie and Harrison's house until 11 am. My poor husband had a little too much to drink at the final Rockband practice and was hurting. We then ran a few wrap up errands in Elgin. I opted out of driving by our house one last time. The house closed at 11 am Friday morning and the new people were moving in, and I certianly did not want to see that! We headed to the hotel for a nap before dinner. Friday night we met the Chi town peeps at Gino's East for deep dish pizza. It was a blast but sad at the same time. Dennis decided we should go around the table and share our favorite memories of each other. It was nice to have a good laugh over the good times and bad over the past 2 1/2 years. We all went to Sheila and Graham's house afterwards. They bought the house 2 weeks ago, and are basically gutting it and re-doing the entire thing. I have so much respect for them and the work they are doing, and the house is going to be so neat when they are done! Jon and I decided we would kill each other over a project like that and vowed to look for a house in Houston that needed nothing more than some paint. When it came time to tell everyone bye it was no fun. I was very upset but held it together, probably because I was so exhausted from the week's activities.

On Saturday, we had an 11 am flight into Houston. It did not hit me that we were moving for good until we were in the shuttle from the Houston airport to the lot where Jon had parked. I don't know what sparked it, but it put me into a mood. Luckily I took a nap from the airport to my parents' house and I felt much better.

On Saturday night, we went to NASA's 50th anniversary celebration in Galveston. For those of you who don't know, my brother Peter has been interning with NASA since June in the event planning department. This celebration was his major project, and was attended by over 2500 people! It was a major accomplishment and we are so proud of him. It also reminded me of how sheltered the rest of the country is to the achievements of NASA and the space program, and its importantce to our society. My grandparents, and Niki's family (Peter's fiance) attended as well, so it was nice to spend time with them.

On Sunday Jon and I went to look at more houses and met with the guy from our mortgage company. We also went to the Life Teen mass and went to Melly's afterwards for good Mexican food and Margaritas.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

2488 Anna Way no more :(

I'm writing tonight at the Hotel Retizos (aka Melanie and Harrison's house). The movers came this morning and loaded everything on the truck in 2 hours. At first, I was thinking we had tons of stuff. However, our movers made it all fit in a 10x15 space. It was nuts. Jon went on the truck and took pics...I'll post them later. It reminded me of Tetris, and I was thankful that Jon's company is covering the moving professionals. I was overwhelmed just watching it all. We also found out today that the relocation company has officially purchased our home in preparation for the closing tomorrow. It'll be nice to go at least 1 month without a mortgage.

Once everything was packed and loaded, Jon and I touched up the walls and scrubbed the house. We had the house emptied out by 4:00 pm. Up until this point, I hadn't cried about moving but once since we made the decision to do so 2 months ago. Jon and I were doing our final walk through, and the tears started coming. I just started thinking about all of the great memories of parties, Fergie, holidays, etc. We left the house, and I was better about 15 min later (the 20 degree weather helped).

We're staying at Mel and Harrison's tonight. Dennis, Cindy, Sheila and Graham came over for a wonderful dinner that Harrison made. Slumber party! We're in the middle of flaming Dr. Peppers and vodka shots, to be followed by a final band practice on Rockband. The boys have their own band called the Swordswingers. Once again, another fun night with the Chi town peeps. I'm going to miss them more than words. :(

On another note, have you seen this SNL clip of Beyonce and Justin Timberlake? It's the funniest thing I've seen in a long time.
http://popbytes.com/archive/2008/11/beyonce_and_justin_timberlake_skit_on_saturday_night_live_snl.shtml

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

I learned a cool trick today

Today, the packers were here bright and early at 7:30. It took them until 1:30 to pack everything up. I think they used enough boxes and paper to kill a small forest. Here's some pics of what my living room looks like right now. They also have a big ass moving van that 4 (yes, 4) families worth of household goods is supposed to fit in. I can't wait to see what that's going to look like.









I also learned a cool new trick today. The packers lined the stairs with broken down boxes, and at first I had no clue what they were doing. They then started to use it as a slide for boxes. One pushed the boxes down, another caught the boxes and the third person stacked them up in the living room. It was quite the operation and I had to take a picture.

Jon flew in to Chicago this evening. I'm awaiting his arrival so he can help me patch up the walls and paint. :)

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Good Day

Well, today ended up being better than expected. This morning I finished up some last minute stuff at work, then went to lunch. I get a phone call from Cindy, who says Dennis has started the lunch "phone tree" one last time. Background: When we all started working at Sears 2 years ago, about 6 of us met for lunch on a daily basis. Dennis would start the phone tree and that was the cue to meet at a certian spot on the 2nd floor. Since then we've all gotten busy with work and meeting for lunch was a rare occasion. Long story short, it was nice to have a Buffalo Chicken Salad with friends and chat in the Sears cafeteria with friends about work for one last time. I had one more meeting, then made my rounds to tell everyone bye. As mentioned in my post below, I decided last night that I would not cry on my last day. Once it starts it doesn't stop and it just gets ugly. It was extremely difficult to hold them back, but I was glad to leave with a smile on my face rather than tears.

I came home and took a 2 hour nap, then went to Schaumburg to meet the crew at Hooters for Harrison's birthday. This is one thing I will certianly bring back to Texas with me: a love for eating at Hooters! We've had lots of good birthday memories and such with everyone there. If you can look past the booty shorts and cleavage it's a fun place to go with friends. They have the best grilled cheese on the face of the earth.











Tonight I've attempted to finish packing and organizing stuff. The packers come at 8 am tomorrow, so I have to have everything ready by then. Jon flies into Chicago tomorrow night. I'm glad he'll be here for when the movers come on Thursday, and I know he's excited about spending time with everyone here. Chicago forecast for the rest of the week is high in the 30's and sunny.

Monday, November 17, 2008

......

We'll start off with a recap of the weekend: Cleaning.

Even though we are lucky enough to have people coming to pack our house, things still have to be organized into 4 piles:
1. Don't need it for 2 months
2. I'll need it sooner, so pack it first in/first out
3. Need it from now until we buy a house
4. Stays in the townhouse for the buyers

It really takes much longer than you think. It's Monday night and I'm done with #1, leaving #2-4 to be completed by Wednesday at 8 am. All nighter, anyone? I took a break Saturday night to kick off Harrison's week of birthday festivities. I met the Chi town circle of trust for drinks and watched the UFC fights (minimal interest since St. Pierre or Forest Griffin weren't fighting :). Notice the picture below of Dennis' new mohawk. Gotta love it.


On Sunday, it snowed. It was actually nice to see a pretty snowfall before I move. It was the fluffy, postcard worthy kind, so that was nice. I cleaned some more, started looking at pictures, and got sad about moving. Quickest cure: a trip to DSW! I got a pair of hot cowboy boots...the cute kind, not cheesy. I can't wait to wear them to the Rodeo, y'all (sorry, couldn't resist).

Sunday night I headed to Sears Friends and Family night for my final purchase as a Sears employee: Flat Screen TV's. The peeps buying our house are buying all of our cool TV's as well, so it was time to replenish.

Tomorrow is my last day of work. This morning, my current and former team members had a breakfast party for me at work (my apologies to those who had to endure yet another "Amanda going away party"). It was so thoughtful of them. Like I've said before, it's the people I'm sad about leaving...not corporate America! As far as the work portion goes, I'll miss the responsibility and being in "the know", but the people I work with have become my friends.

I also made a rather unhealthy decision today. I've decided to let all of my sadness ball up inside, and let it all out Friday night, my last night in Chicago. At least Jon will be in town by then, and I'm more comfortable crying around him and my 2nd family (you know who you are) than in the workplace. I'm still dreading tomorrow...I just hate telling people bye. Ugh. Don't get me wrong, I am thrilled to be moving back "home" to be closer to friends and family, it will just take time. I've decided I'm allowed to be "woe is me" until I get off the plane in Houston on Saturday. Until then, bear with me. To give you an idea: I've just finished 1/2 bottle of Chardonnay and I don't even like white wine (it was the only thing left in this house)!

Enough procrastinating for now. I'm off to complete steps #2-4. Here's a shout out to my Aunt Julie on her birthday!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

I don't do this "goodbye" thing very well

I was back to work on Wednesday, and I think it finally hit me that my days working at Sears Holdings are quickly coming to a close. As of tonight, 3 days to go. I will certainly miss my actual job, but it's the people I'll miss the most. Last Thursday was the last day Stacie and I worked together. When I left for the day it was not pretty. Stupid tears just kept coming and I had to rush out of the office. I also keep putting off cleaning out my office...it's been my 2nd home for the last 2 1/2 years.

Tonight, Whirlpool hosted a going away dinner for me. I think my team is getting tired of all of the going away events. :) It was nice to hang out with everyone and not talk about work or the economy. Sometimes this "work" thing gets in the way. I've told all the vendors I work with that I'll miss yelling at them. They've all laughed knowing that it's true. I'm excited but also dreading next week. I just don't do this "goodbye" thing very well. I start thinking about the fun times, my face gets warm, and the tears start coming. I'd almost rather just leave like it's a regular day, say "see you tomorrow", and just not show up the next day. Either that or have a drink before hand, but I don't think that would go over well in the workplace. If leaving the people at work will be hard, leaving my circle of trust and 2nd family here in Chicago will be 10 times worse. Enough said.

Here's the latest schedule of events for those who want to know:
Tues, Nov 18th - Amanda's last day of work
Wed, Nov 19th - packers come to pack up the house; Jon flies in Wed night
Thurs, Nov 20th - movers come; we clean out the house
Fri, Nov 21st - House closing, dinner with friends
Sat, Nov 22nd - Fly to Houston in the morning. Close the Chicago chapter.

Our 3 year wedding anniversary...how time flies!

On Wednesday, November 12th Jon and I celebrated our third wedding anniversary. My flight left Houston at 7 am that morning, so we had the long distance relationship version of an anniversary celebration. We spent the night of the 11th by the airport since my flight was leaving early the next day. We didn't get there until late evening on the 11th, so we drove around the 1960 area and settled on Chuy's Mexican Restaurant for our anniversary dinner. :) That's one thing I love about being married to him. Chuy's or 5 star dining, Hampton Inn or Hilton, it was just as happy of a celebration.

The traditional 3rd anniversary gift is leather, so he got me a pair of shoes from DSW. Fabulous. I got him a pair of shoes we well. Good thing I have a 50 pair shoe rack!

It's crazy how time flies, but at the same time, it's hard to imagine life without being married (and that's a good thing). Three years ago I never thought I'd be living in Chicago. Two months ago, I never thought I'd be moving back to Texas so soon. It's exciting to think what's in store. For two planners, I'd like to think we've handled life's changes pretty well. What do they say...tell God your plans and he'll laugh?
PS - Here are some Fergie pics, just for fun. Apparently she's not behaving at my parents' house, just like a typical grand- dog. :)Oh well, at least she's cute.

Aggie Football Weekend




Even before we decided to move, we had planned to go to College Station for the November 8th game vs OU. A wonderful weekend was planned for Gerilyn and Kenneth, my in-laws who are the very deserving 2008-2009 Texas A&M Parents of the Year (in case you haven't heard :)

Friday night, the Texas A&M Parents' Weekend Committee sponsored a dinner in their honor at Pebble Creek Country Club. It was so nice, and they put together a slide show of the Kleckley's and all the boys. It was an absolute trip, and we had a good laugh at all the pics. Previous Parents of the Year were also in attendance, and we enjoyed talking to them. I particularly enjoyed talking to Tim Kerlee, POTY for 2003-2004. His son was killed in the 1999 Bonfire tragedy. His wife, Janice, wrote a book to tell the story of their son, how their faith has helped them to heal, and the numerous blessings that have come out of such a tragic event. I'm reading "The Chance to Say Goodbye" now, and it's incredibly inspirational if you're looking for a good read. After dinner we went to Northgate to meet some of Jon's buddies for a K-1 mini reunion. We haven't seen some of them since college, but I love how you can just pick up and be friends like you never left! On Friday night, the Kleckley's had the opportunity to speak in front of 20,000 students at Midnight Yell Practice (http://aggietraditions.tamu.edu/midnight.shtml). They did great and we were all so proud of them!

We woke up early Saturday morning to play "innkeepers" at the Kleckley's Bed and Breakfast. They had 2 families staying there, and it was fun to get to know them. We then headed to campus to tailgate with Ol' Ags (which made me feel old). We also met up with Jon's boss, Dan, and his family. The weather was perfect...75 and sunny! Before the game, we were able to go on the field with the Kleckley's as they were introduced in front of a crowd of 86,000 people! They also put family pics on the jumbo tron. All in all, it was a great experience until the game started. I love college football, but this game vs Oklahoma was nothing nice! We sat with Luke, Paul, Dana, Uncle Todd and Aunt Priscilla. The company was good, but the game sucked. We ended up leaving in the 3rd quarter. After the game, the Kleckley's had quite a crowd come out to their house for a Fish Fry. So many people kept showing up, and Luke kept saying "I'm not Jesus!" Regardless, it was good to see everyone.

We hit the hay early Saturday night, and hung out on Sunday until we left to go back to Houston.

House Hunting in Houston

I spent last weekend and the first part of this week in Houston looking for a new house. Fergie and I flew out Thursday night. The flight attendants walked around the plane with her and even brought her a hamburger patty from first class, cut up and served on a plate! It was ridiculous but made the flight more fun.

We were up early on Friday to go house hunting in Pearland. We're concentrating our search on the Shadow Creek Ranch area, a new master planned community, west of 288 and just south of Beltway 8. Everything is new or being built, including a new outdoor mall. They also have plans to open a Riverwalk (similar to the Woodlands) in late 2009. It's also about 20 min to the Galleria, Downtown, Med Center, etc. We looked at about 15 houses and found a few that we liked.

We spent the weekend in College Station (see above), so the house search resumed on Monday. Jon had to work, so my mom and mother in law came with me. They were so helpful and kept the baby comments to a minimum. :) We looked at about 12 houses. Between what I've seen and the ones Jon ruled out for me, we've probably looked at 30 houses! Those of you who know Jon and I well know that we won't be happy until we see every home that meets our criteria in the neighborhood we are looking at. I've been dead set on a 1 story, but somehow Jon weaseled his way into us looking at 2 stories as well. Go figure, they ended up being some of my favorites. We were able to narrow it down to about 5 of them, and won't make a final decision until I'm permanently moved down there.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Happy Election Eve



First off, a recap of the weekend. After an uneventful Halloween, I had a packed day on Saturday. I took Fergie to the groomer, met with a notary to get a stack of legal stuff signed, took Fergs for a walk, cleaned, went to church and had friends over for movie night. We watched "Forgetting Sarah Marshall" (It was soooooooooo funny. Warning: It definitely earned it's R rating. Not a movie for kids). It was good to just chill with Dennis, Goran, Katie, Sheila, Graham, Cindy and Cooper (Cindy's golden retriever). I made taco soup and we ate apple pie and ice cream...yum. The dogs decided to hang with Graham while we were watching the movie (pic on the left). The pic on the right is Uncle Dennis with his god-dog children. :)


On Sunday, I was up early to do more moving paperwork/cleaning/organizing. I also worked in the 6 ft of yard space we have. I planted these pretty gardenias in late Spring that were gorgeous all summer. Unfortunately, we had our first freeze last week and then my yard looked like I had planted a bunch of dead stuff. I love working in the yard: pulling weeds, planting stuff, etc...I think I get this from my Grandpa and my dad! I'm looking forward to having a real yard in Texas.

I am SO excited about Election Day. Those of you who know me know that I'm a news nerd. I read Time magazine and consider Brian Williams my man crush (I tried to stalk him when we were in New York last year but that's another story. I almost got us kicked out of Rockefeller Center). Unfortunately, I'll spend most of the day tomorrow in a local Sears store re-setting the refrigeration department for a new layout concept. (Oh, the things I will miss about Corporate Retail at SHC). Tomorrow night LG is hosting a going away dinner for me. They are fun people and I know it'll be a good time, but I'll be having my phone out staying in tune for when the polls come in! I feel like a kid on Christmas Eve (dorky, I know). Hopefully all of you did your civic duty of voting. After all, no complaining about the government unless you vote! :)