Saturday, June 30, 2012

Saturday Rite-Aid....Spending Expiring +Ups

I realized I only had $13 in +Ups expiring today, June 30th.
The other $37 were expiring on Sunday, July 1st.

So I headed up to Rite-Aid today to spend the $13 worth.....

3 x Lipton tea bags on sale $2.99=$8.97
2 x Hormel chili on sale $1.50=$3.00
1 x Tide pods w/20% discount=$4.79
2 x tide stain release treater 50% off clearance=$4.78
8 x Zero candy bars 75% off=$1.92

Coupons Used....
1 x $1/2 Hormel chili ManuQ(AllYou)=$1.00
1 x $2/1 Tide liquid(Facebook ManuQ)=$2.00
Coupon Total....$3.00


I used the $13 in +Ups expiring today and $7 in +Ups expiring tomorrow.

$20.46-$20=$.46 OOP, which was put on the gift card.

I received a $3 +Up Reward back for buying at least $10 in Lipton/Hormel items.
Which means I spent down $17 in +Ups and rolled $3 of them.

I now have $30 in +Ups to use up tomorrow and $3 that expire 2 weeks from now.

Total retail value this trip is $43.94.
OOP this trip is $0.00(.46¢ on gift card)

I bought the Tide pods because I had a $2 Q from Facebook that was set to expire today.  I had forgotten about it and the pods were the lowest price Tide product the Q would work on.
The other 2 Tide products were on 50% clearance.  I have a $1/2 Q at home, so tomorrow I'll take it all up with the Q and do a "post sale" and get my $1 for the Q back.  So with that, these 2 items cost $1.89.
We go through a lot of tea bags here, as brewed iced tea is consumed here in large quantities rather than soda.  When #2 Son is home, we also go through chili quickly.  This is why I bought the food items I did....the sale prices were ok, I had at least 1 Q AND by buying $10 worth I got a $3 +Up Reward.  I used +Up Rewards to pay making my "spending" $4 less(the $1 Q + the $3 +Ups I got back).  Does this make sense outside of my own head? lol
The candy bars were dirt cheap and we can always find a use for candy bars......

As of now, my Monthly Rite-Aid Stats for JUNE are....

Out Of Pocket....$1.97 cash
Value of items bought....$141.36

+Ups at beginning of month...$30+
+Ups used....$48+
+Ups received...$51+
+Ups currently...$33+ 


The Spending O' The Cats....At Weis Markets

I had $59 left in Weis Catalinas to spend by June 30th.
5 of them were for $10 and you could only use 1 of these in a transaction.
The smaller denomination Cats have no limit on how many could be redeemed in a transaction.
This just means I had to make lots of little trips to the store.

Here is what I got on Monday.....

4 x Ocean Spray 100% Juice on sale $2=$8.00
3 x Salmon steaks on sale $3.99lb.=$7.66

I used...
1 x $10 OYNO Cat
1 x $5 OYNO Cat

$15.66-$15.00=$.66 OOP

The daughter got this....

3 x Grapefruit on sale $1.00=$3.00
.94lb. x Pears on sale=$1.49
1.41lb. x Yellow Squash on sale=$1.82
1 x Salmon Fillet on sale $5.99lb=$6.47


I used....
1 x $10 OYNO Cat

$12.78-$10.00=$2.78 OOP

Grand Total OOP for the day....$3.44

Reg. retail of all items....$44.43
Savings of 92.25%

Then on Wednesday, I did this....

2 x Kibbles n' Bits big bag on sale $11.49=$22.98

Used Coupons.....
2 x $1/1 IPQ(we didn't get the ManuQ on Sunday)=$2.00
1 x Instant $5 Discount WYB $20 worth=$5.00
Total off...$7.00

I used Cats....
1x $10 OYNO
1 x $4 OYNO
Total Cats=$14

$15.98-$14.00=$1.98 + $1.08 tax=$3.06 OOP

And Daughter bought this....

2 x Hellmans' Mayo on sale $1.99=$3.98
1 x 2.14lb. Sirloin Roast $3.89lb=$8.32

Coupons Used....
1 x $2/2 Hellman's ManuQ=$2.00


Cats used...
1 x $10 OYNO=$10.00

$10.30-$10.00=$.30 OOP

Grand Total OOP for the day....$3.36

Reg. retail of all items....$50.18
Savings of 93.30%

Saturday, Hubs and I went and bought this.....

5 x Bounty napkins(turned in my raincheck for $2.50ea.)=$12.50
2 x Salad BOGO=$3.79
1 x Hellman's Mayo=$1.99
1 x Gold Peak Tea on sale=$1.00
1lb. Cooper Cheese(actual more than 1lb.)=$7.27
2lbs. Salmon fillets on sale=$12.04

Couons Used....
2 x $1/2 Bounty napkins ManuQ(expiring today)=$2.00
1 x $1/1 Hellman's Olive Oil Mayo ManuQ(AllYou)=$1.00
1 x $.50/1 Gold Peak Tea IPQ(doubled)=$1.00
1 x $1/1lb. Cooper Cheese(when bought at the deli counter)ManuQ=$1.00
1 x $10 OYNO Catalina Q(last one, expiring today)=$10.00
Coupon Total....$15.00


I used the $5 Weis gift card I got when the Bounty was out and I could do the Cat Deal, so the manager gave me a $5 for the $5 Cat I should have gotten.

$23.59-$5.00=$18.59 OOP
AND I got another $2.00 off OYNO Catalina for this transaction.

Reg. retail was $57.41
My savings rate was 67.62%.

In all, I got groceries with a retail value of $152.02.
I spent out of pocket $25.39 after sales, coupons, catalinas and free gift card.
I received a $2 Catalina for more free food.
And my savings rate was 83.30%.

Not bad for starting with $59 in free money to spend. ;-)

What great deals did you find at the stores this week?


Friday, June 29, 2012

The Trip to OH"HELL"IO.....Chapter Five....The End!

We finally get some sleep on Tuesday night.
After the people next door stopped pounding on their room door every 15 minutes.
These were all no smoking rooms and I guess someone next door was a chain smoker and had to keep pounding on the door after smoking a cig outside, to gain admittance back into the room.
Between the regular intervals of pounding and the glass FILLED with butts on top of the a/c unit hanging on the outside of their room in the morning, I think I am a regular Sherlock Holmes!

We rose Wednesday morning and started working on a plan for the day.
You see, when we planned this trip, we didn't plan the whole thing.
Yes, we are spontaneous that way.

Well, not really.
But we thought we would try to be spontaneous by doing this.

The possibilities for the day included...
1-Go to the First Ladies Museum in Canton.
2-Find something else to do in the area.
3-Head for home and stop in Johnstown PA to sightsee.

I had wanted to go to the First Ladies Museum but I was loosing my lust for it quickly.
First off, we weren't close enough to Canton.  This motel was still a ways off from Canton and I hadn't realized it was so far away when I booked it.
Second, we would have to make an appointment/reservation for the tour, which is given about 5 times a day.  The parking is also gated and you only got the code to get into the lot if you made a reservation.
Since we were not in Canton already(and had not idea how long it would take to get there AND to find the museum), I obsessed that we'd not arrive on time.
Third, it cost money.  And knowing the bill for the car a/c repair that we had in our future, I wasn't thrilled to spend more money if we could avoid it.
Fourth, the Museum was 2 separate buildings that were not next to each other and this would involve an unknown amount of the heatwave which was to continue on Wednesday. A 3rd day of these temps might actually do me in.  In hindsight, I should have chanced the heat doing THIS museum!
Fifth, Hubs wasn't real thrilled about going there.
So that sealed it.
No 1st Ladies for us.

So we tried to find something else to do in the area.
Outside of eating at Chef Ernie's again, there wasn't much call for hanging around this area any longer.
Heading toward home with a stop in Johnstown won the vote.

Though we've lived in Pennsyltucky now since 1986, we've never been to Johnstown to see the Johnstown Flood area and museum.
If you don't know about this piece of the 1870's a group of wealthy folks from Pittsburgh bought a piece of land with a centerpiece of a lake, created from an old damned up river.  The damn had been build decades before by the Cambria Iron Company.  It was not stable and for years people squawked about how it needed repairs, etc. but the socialites didn't want to spend the money to fix the situation.  In May of 1889, this area of PA experienced prolonged rains over days and the damn failed, sending a wall of water down through the valley below into Johnstown and other small hamlets.  Though there was some warning, there was not enough time for residents to flee to high ground and thousands and thousands of people lost their lives and these small towns were destroyed.
So I got to tramp through 2 graveyards AND see a deadly flood area this trip.
I tell you, I am one fun party animal on vacation!

We dropped by the front desk and grabbed some of the free stingy Continental Breakfast(using the term breakfast loosely), checked out and headed back to PA.
The weather was nice(except for the heat which was bad already at 10 am.)and the drive to the border was nice.  We passed a very large lake that didn't seem to be highly developed yet with lots of houses and people and noisy recreational vehicles.  It was a nice scenic drive for awhile.

Then we hit Steubenville Ohio.
And we stopped in the grimy little quaint city.
Because I had to find something and take a picture.
And after a little wandering around, asking a convenience store employee who didn't speak very good English but gave good directions nonetheless, we found him.

I didn't get to see my Giant Praying mantis or my French Impressionist Painting Topiary, but by gum, I got to see my Dean Martin Mural!
Dean was born and raised in Steubenville and is a favorite son of the town.  We rode on Dean Martin Blvd. on our way to get to this mural even.
So when Steubenville started putting up murals in town, as a way to get tourists to stop here instead of passing by on their way to the Casino in WV,  Dino Paul Croccetti was an obvious choice for a painting.
If anyone out there wants to know, Dean's mural can be found on the side of the Kroger Grocery Store in a strip mall outside of town.
Frank and Sammy are there on the side, from his Rat Pack days, as well as Jerry from his Martin & Lewis days.
What made this excursion even more exciting?.....watching a Kroger 18 wheeler truck leaving the parking lot and almost take out an old guy in a wheelchair waiting to cross the highway at the intersection.  EEK!

We headed out of town onto the interstate, and into WV for about 5 minutes, before crossing over into PA.
Traffic around Pittsburgh was crazy.  We went around P'burgh to the south, through a system of 2 tunnels, which backed up the traffic even more.  Once we got clear of those tunnels it was smooth driving again.

We stopped about an hour east of P'burgh for lunch at a local Chinese take-out place.  I know....I threw caution to the wind eating there, but sometimes I forget my food poisoning susceptibility while on the road.
I got a water and Chicken with Cashews since it has lots of veggies.....and it did!  Though there were only 4 different ones, 1 of which I don't eat.  At least it was heavy on the carrots and not the celery or onions.  And the sauce was an odd color.
But other than

Back into the car and we made Johnstown by 2pm.
Now there were a couple of different Johnstown Flood activities to choose from.
One could go to the site of the Hunting and Fishing Club(where the damned lake was)10 miles north of town.(Old abandoned crumbling buildings and overgrown forest to stare at.)
One could go to the huge ass Cemetery where most of the people who died in the flood are buried.(Oh, No!....another cemetery!!)
One could go on a self-guided tour of various places in the Johnstown Flood Memorial Park area, which included hiking/biking trails.(Outside in 98 degree heat..eek!)
One could go see the exhibits in the Johnstown Flood Museum.(Inside away from the heat, an elevator to get to the upper floors and a movie too.)

You should have known that I'd pick the last option.....

The Johnstown Museum is right in downtown Johnstown.
It is in the historic Public Library building.
When the Library was destroyed in the flood in 1889, it was rebuilt by Andrew Carnegie in 1891.
It's a gorgeous old Victorian stone building.  I'm sorry I didn't think to get a photo of it so you'll have to view this photo I lifted off the Johnstown's site.
But you'll see why that thought slipped my mind shortly.

We parked and made the trek to the front door.  Being downtown, parking comes at a premium and is not convenient.
And we opened the heavy wooden door and walked inside the foyer area and no cool blast of air hit us in the face.
There was a hot breeze being blown around by a big box fan set up on the counter by the register.
One side of the room was a makeshift gift shop.  More of a book store with all kinds of Johnstown themed books(mostly Flood related), as well as some books on other historical PA areas/people/happenings.
And right in front, in order to make my stomach churn and my lunch to threaten to make a return appearance was a book about John of the "you'll never get me out of Congress" representatives from PA with a long history of having ethical issues.
Not a fan.

So the young girl running this Museum venue for the day told us the price of the tickets....$8 each!!!....and with her next breath told us the a/c for the building was out.
We should have turned and left.
But we didn't.
We figured if the rest of the place was like this area, with some fans going, we would be ok.
At least they could have reduced the ticket price if we were going to be very uncomfortable while we were in there.
But no, no price adjustment was made when I asked.....because she probably didn't have the authority to do so.

So we paid....!!!!....and we got our stamped tickets and proceeded inside.
And just when I thought it was hot, it got hotter.  The inside was a good 10 degrees warmer than the entry room.  It was nearly windowless, dark with no fans of any kind.  In the center of the room was a large, low display case you could look into.  Inside was a recreation of the topography of the valley that Johnstown sits in and tiny models of the towns in the valley.
There were lights fixed in the display and a soundtrack that started with rain sounds, then downpour sounds, then train sounds(the train had tried to warn the townspeople), then creaking damn sounds, then thunderous water rushing sounds, then water and people screaming and debris hitting stuff sounds.  The lights lit up at various points to go with the soundtrack.
The sights and sounds of the Johnstown Flood playing out every 6 minutes over and over again before your eyes and ears.
In the suffocating heat.
Gawd, I just wanted to hurl myself into the river outside and end it all!

**Here is a photo of the exhibit I lifted off the museum's website.
Now I don't know how they got this shot.  They must have put up huge theatrical lighting floods to take it because when we were there, there was hardly ANY lighting at all in the room.  You could barely see your hand in front of your face.
But it does give you a good shot of the "Wall of Debris" to the rear.  That's a wall of actual debris bolted to the wall and spray painted white....for impact I suppose.  I think it's the best thing in the whole museum.

We listened to the screaming and debris rush in water over and over again at a loud decibel as our bodies started to liquify, so we quickly hiked around the room looking at the exhibits.
And we waited for the film on the 2nd floor to begin.
And we waited......and we waited some more......

I really needed to cool off and sit down at this point(of course there were NO benches inside!), so I took the elevator to the basement(where the restrooms were)and the temperature when you walked out of the elevator down there?.....had to be 60 degrees.
Going from over 100 to 60 degrees about did me in.  I didn't want to ever leave that room!

Thank goodness for big old stone buildings with solid, thick basement walls!!!

I sat down there until the movie was going to start.
Then I rode the elevator to the 2nd floor....ugh.
I thought the 1st floor was bad, well, the 2nd floor was worse.  I moved slowly into the theater room and sat down right across from a box fan they had put in the room to blow hot air around.
I didn't care if I hogged the fan......the others should have beat me to the seat!

And finally the film began.
And just to make this adventure even MORE perfect than it already was?......there was NO SOUND!
Yes, the movie rolled but the sound did not.
Just Nifty!
At least they had subtitles so we got to read along with the movie....if you could clear the beads of sweat from your eyes enough to see the subtitles.

This just couldn't get any better.
After the film ended, we rode the elevator down and made a path to the door to leave.
And the air outside the building? was like walking into a refrigerator......a refrigerator set at 90 degrees.  If felt much cooler outside, but it was still 90 something degrees.  At least the air was fresh and moving around.
The Musuem sans a/c was sooo bad.  They really should have closed it down for the day.  Some one could have easily passed out from heat stroke in there(ME!)and then they'd be faced with some legal consequences.  Too bad I am NOT sue-happy.....
A seriously negligent situation.

Though our admission ticket gave us privileges at 2 other attractions(one of which was outdoors), we said no thanks and crawled back to the car and headed out of Johnstown.

Here are 2 photos I shot, before the heat overtook me, to save you the bother and possible heat stroke of going there yourself.

The first one shows the lake after the flood.  The line in the center of the photo shows the level of the water in the lake and you can see how low in it's banks the river is after.  The lake was 72 feet above river level.  That's a whole lot of water....

This is Hubs standing in front of a case of objects that were plucked from the flood waters afterwards.....the surviving objects as it were.   There was a quilt, a trunk, a chair, some other fabric items.  I apologize for the darkness but even with a flash on the camera the room was so dark that I was surprised that my blind aim caught anything really.  Of course Hubs bright ORANGE shirt showed up quite well.

We decided to head home after Johnstown, since we could make it before dark, and not be out on the road in a strange bed for another night.
We stopped for drinks soon after leaving J'town since we were approaching a dehydrated state.
Then we stopped at Arby's for a light dinner.  I had a Roast Beef with Mushrooms sammie and Water.
My jaw was too tired for all the chewing a salad would have required.

And we rolled up into the driveway as the sun set.....worse for the heat and the wear.
I took a little swim in the pool which helped and I hit the bed early, happy to be home.

Looking back, this trip sucked and was doomed from the start in so many way.
Credit card theft.
No a/c in the Car.
Not enough time to do much stuff.
Some stuff we did was mediocre.
Having to watch the money because of the theft and no cc.

But I won't hold this against Ohio.

But we stuck it out, did what we could and laughed about it.
Because if you don't laugh about this stuff, you will want to kill yourself and take others with you when you go.

Do I want to go on another road trip?
You betcha!
Just not quite yet......I need to recover from all the fun I had on this one first! ;-)

And here's Dino to sing us out.....


Thursday, June 28, 2012

The Trip to OH"HELL"IO.....Chapter Four...Another Long One

Day 2 of the Vacation, and I am woken up at the gosh awful hour of 7 o'clock.
Who gets up at 7 am on a vacation?!
Only crazy people, right?

My husband does.
He has already showered and is fully dressed for the day and finally not able to stand not waking me up another moment longer.

If I could have gotten out of bed, opened the window, picked him up and carried in over to throw him out the window at this moment, you know I would have.
But it was all I could do to open my eyes, let alone engage my brain cells.

Hubs says he has been up thinking most of the night, due to the car's a/c situation.
That situation being that the car has NO a/c at this time.
And we are on Day 2 of a mid 90 degree heatwave in central Ohio and we are due to check-out of this hotel and spend the entire day in and out of the car, sightseeing and traveling to Canton Ohio, to the next motel we are booked into.

It's so bad, the heatwave/car situation that we were thinking last night, about just folding up and going home today.  We'd still suffer with the heat today but at least we'd be home and with a/c and not have to suffer another day or two in the car.

It's bad being away from home on a vacation and having something break and having to fix it, but if this happens when you don't have a credit card to put expensive repairs, it's near impossible to deal with.

Damn you credit card information thief!!!

Luckily our car problem wasn't something that meant we couldn't drive the car and get home, it was just something that would make that drive very very miserable.

But while Hubs was not sleeping he was concocting a plan.
Much like Cousin Larry use to do in the 1980's sit-com "Perfect Strangers".

So I went off to Google a clip of Larry and Balki, where Larry tells Balki that he "has a plan" and to "watch and learn".  It was a regular schtick they did in that series.

I didn't find one but I did run across a YouTube clip  of "Where are they Now" for the cast members of the I got

Cousin Larry in the show?, Mark Linn-Baker, turns out, he married a set designer in 1995 named Adrienne Lobel.
                        Adrienne Lobel and Mark Linn-Baker

I knew that name, Adrienne Lobel, from somewhere in my past.
After a few mintues I remembered where.

She was a set designer for a show at the very 1st Summer Theater I worked at in NH in 1979.
The play was called "Artichoke".
And I, a known nothing college sophmore at the time, was given the job of Prop Master for that show.

The theater had just 'parted ways' with the fulltime, paid Property Master for the season.
I don't recall if he left or if they fired him....doesn't matter.
I was an intern, among a whole fleet of interns at the theater, working for experience and credit and not money.
Management gave me the job for this show.
I knew NOTHING about props!
I guess they thought, out of the pool of green interns, I was the best choice.
Lord help them!lol

Anyway, I took on the task, with help from others on staff and it got done.
I was also in rehearsals too for the next show, "Our Town".  I actually had a speaking role in that so more rehearsals than some other interns AND I had been hired to work in the costume shop so I had stuff to get done in there.
Let's add in that I also tended bar at intermission and I really needed the few tips from that to afford to eat.

I worked a little with Adrienne way back in the Dark Ages before she went on to become a successful scenic designer....well, she was already successful but just starting out.

And here are 2 of the people who starred in our production of Artichoke.......

   Austin Pendeleton
Here he is as the evil henchman's assistant, Max, in The Muppet Movie

                   Here he is today.....

He has been in scads of films, tv shows, plays and he directs too.
Recently, you may have seen him in "A Beautiful Mind" or heard him as one of the "Finding Nemo" characters if you don't go in for live theater.

I remember that the dark Monday(dark meaning we had no show that day)while he was performing in Artichoke, a bunch of us, including Austin, when to Manchester NH to see the newly released Woody Allen film "Manhattan".
And to show that it's a very small world, one of the actors with a featured bit in the Woody Allen film was.....
Mark Linn-Baker.
16 years before he married the set designer of the play I was propping for.

Oh, and another actor in Artichoke?,  you may have heard of was this lady....

              Olympia Dukakis
A Classy woman.


So Hubs in up at the crack of day and has a plan.
It's a plan to get our car's a/c fixed, even though we don't have a credit card or enough cash to pay for it.
He poured through the phone book and found a Firestone Service Center a few miles down the road.
Hubs has a Firestone Card we can put the repair on.
What a genius!

He has already called them and they can fit us in this morning at 9am.
I shower and dress and Hubs lugs everything down to the car, since we have to check out at 11am, so we have to do that before we go over to the Firestone building.
He checks us out and since we have a little time left, we head to the free Continental Breakfast that came with the room price.

I was good and had oatmeal, yogurt and some OJ.
No sausage gravy and biscuits, danish pastries or waffles for me.

And then we drove to Firestone.  Everyone assumed this would be a quick one hour recharge the chemicals, charge us $150+ fix.
So we settled into the waiting area.  As the car oriented magazines in the waiting area were not of interest to me, I started watching tv.  It was one of those morning "news" shows....ABC, NBC, CBS....doesn't matter which and I couldn't even tell you which one it was.  They are all mind rotting crap.

And the repair guy came back after putting the car up on the lift to tell us the bad, nah worse-than-bad news.
It wasn't a "recharge the a/c" repair.
It was a "your condenser is shot and big repairs need to be done" repair.

And this would take about 3 hours.
And set us back almost $1K.

So we had no choice but to watch the drivel on tv and laugh about it for 2 more hours and then pay through the nose and be happy about it.
So the Morning PsuedoNews shows turned into some show with Kathy Lee and Hoda "the name with not enough vowels" ......are they annoying or what???.....and then a local Columbus Show with some Gail woman, which is really just one long commercial for whoever sponsors each episode.
It's pretty pathetic we made jokes, so as not to want to strip nekkid and go stark raving mad.

And here is Hubs with our $900+ reward for hatching this plan......

$900+ & 3+ hours out of your lives(and souls), but at least we didn't have to cut the vacation short now or suffer through the heatwave any longer(well, at least when we were inside the car).
But we would come home to a $900+ repair bill to pay off in July.
Yeah us.....

So we left town, headed for Canton and our next motel.
About 45 minutes after getting on the road, we stopped for lunch at Arby's.
I got a chicken salad sandwich.  It was decent with a fair amount of apples and grapes in it.  The pecans were soggy though, as the salad had been mixed quite awhile before they made my sammie.

*Another tangent, sort of....*
I am a member of the Find A Grave website.  I joined to find genealogical information as well as to make and be caretaker of virtual memorials for some family members.
Earlier this year, while looking up some of my Civil War homies I found that one of them, Chambers Driskill, had 2 different memorial pages, made by two different FAG members there.  One had some nice biographical information on him but said that his exact burial place was not known.  The other person had scanty bio. info. but had lots of photos of his headstone and the location of which.
So I emailed the one and told them that Chambers had been located and sent them the ID of the memorial.
Now, I wasn't trying to start something here....just wanted to let Person A know that the info. was available and they could update their page.

Some of these people on FAG can get mighty possessive of their dead folks and snitty.  And if you question them sometimes they blast you.
I know.....because I tried to get an organization that has possession of memorials on FAG to transfer possession of 1 to my account.  This group, though not a single member of it has a genealogical link to this dead guy, who is MY biological ancestor by the way, will NOT release his memorial to my account.
They are holding my ancestor hostage from me.
And according to the rules on FAG, since he is more than 4 generations removed from me, they can do this.
I was incredulous.....
Why on earth would anyone want to keep possession of a memorial to someone of no relation, when real live kin is out there and wants to care for the person?!?

But I digress.....after I wrote to Person A with the info. on the duplicate memorial and we came to an understanding of why I wrote(not threatening her fifedom, and she didn't take it that way), we began chatting via email.  At some point I saw that she had a photo request......she wanted a headstone photo for an ancestor's gravesite up in Ohio(she is located down South).  And I found that Hubs and I would be going through that very town on this trip so I offered to take the photo for her.

So after lunch, we headed east and stopped in a tiny town in the middle of nowhere and traipsed through another old graveyard.
Yes, I do know how to have me some fun!

 She had given me the Section and Row information for the plots but there were no indicators or markers letting you know what was what and the cemetery wasn't even laid out in a predictable, made sense way.
So we had to walk around and look for names.
And it was 96 degrees by now and I was turning into a large ball of sweat quickly and losing the will to live.
Thankfully Hubs found them, but not soon enough for me!lol
We took our shots and recorded the info. and headed back out on the road.

We got to the motel by 5ish pm.
As for the motel, like Bette Davis said in some movie...."What a dump!"

It was an older motel.  Some one had gotten the Best Western chain to give them the franchise and they had then painted the outside blue and white and slapped some BW signs up.
That would about be the extent of the UPGRADES to the property since 1950.
And we paid MORE per night for less of a room than in Columbus for this!  Plus there was no pool.
So disappointed.....

After another brutally hot adventure in a graveyard, we were ready for dinner.
The Guest Services booklet in the room had a listing for 4 restaurants in it.
We were surrounded by fast food places that we could see from the motel....Arby's, Pizza Hut, Taco Bell, a convenience store that sold ready made food, Subway and Wendy's.
But we wanted to sit in a nice restaurant and have something not fast food.
The 4 restaurants listed?.....all 4 were Italian.  2 looked like pizza joints and 2 looked to be full menu places.
So we headed to the front desk to get directions to the one we picked to go to.....Franatello's.
The desk clerk told us it wasn't called that any longer.  It was called "Chef Ernie's".
And she said that the food was now better.
How bad had it been before?....when the motel was advertising it?lol

So we took a right out of the parking lot and drove.....and drove......and drove some more down a desolate road into nowhere.
And down that road to nowhere, we suddenly saw it.....right across from a country radio station and it's tower.....

A pole barn type building with a gravel lot in the middle of overgrown fields of nothing.

The advert at the motel had said to show your room key to get something free to appetizer?....I can't remember.  So we produced said room key to the waitress and she cocked her head and gave us a puzzled looked.
This is when we heard all about why it was no longer Franatello's and the history of Chef Ernie's.

The place was originally Chef Ernie's and was owned/run by?....Chef Ernie.
Ernie had retired and sold the place in the early 2000's.  The new owners turned it into an Italian place and used calling the fish sandwich the CODFATHER.....offering motel stayers free food to bribe them into eating there.....stuff like that.
Evidently, the people ran the place into the ground because the food sucked so the locals no longer showed up and the motel didn't generate enough diners(who they didn't count on returning)to stay in business so they closed.
And that is when the daughter of Ernie bought it back(for a good price I am hoping!)and turned it back into Ernie's place with the original recipes and someone who knew how to cook.

The place was unassuming, the prices were decent and the food was good.
I had fish, a salad and sweet potato fries.  It also came with garlic bread, which I took back to the room and had later that night as a snack.
The only disappointing note was the frozen Margarita I ordered from the bar.
Either they didn't have a blender or they just didn't feel like blending the drink(shaved ice and they shook it), but it was NO frozen drink.  Just cold, too heavy on the mix and frothy.  A bit more tequila would have helped the situation as well.

After dinner, it was back to the motel room to stare at the walls.
And the walls were closing in.
This room had a king sized bed crammed into it.  Think of the normal size of a 1950's era motel room with a ginormous bed plopped down into it.  There was also an end table with a clock, a desk with a TV on it and next to that a desk.  In front of the window was a round cafeteria type table and an armchair.  It was an obstacle course of furniture to get to the bathroom.

As I sat by the window after jacking up the a/c unit to full blast to cool the room off, the curtain started attacking me.
The curtain was made up of 2 parts--the mauve colored "decorative" curtain which faced into the room and the rubber coated room darkening layer that faced the window.  These 2 layers were only attached at the top where the rod held them in place.  they flapped independently in the breeze.

When the a/c unit below it blew air, it blew the air right into the space between the layers.
This meant that all the cool air went up into the pocket of the curtain and didn't actually go into the room to cool it until it meandered out of the curtain.

So my inner HGTV Maven got to work, remodeling the curtain so that it was more stylish and much more functional....
I tied the pink curtain in a bow, which kept the a/c unit air from blowing up into the pocket of curtain.
You will also notice my second improvement to the room in the photo.

The styrofoam cup from the ice bucket in the bathroom made the perfect holder to keep the door over the a/c units controls in the open position.  When the a/c unit was on and the door was closed, the racket of metal rattling on metal was AWFUL!  It threatened to keep me awake all night so it was either this or remove the crapping door with my teeth.

Get someone on the phone quick!   I am ready for my audtion for HGTV Network Stars.....

Thus ended Day Two of our glorious trip to Ohio.

The bad things.....
3 Hours of awful daytime tv.
1 Hour of walking around in soul sucking heat.
$900+ in bills.
Overpaying for a motel room that wasn't even worth $30.
paying $5 for a Frozen Margarita that was neither frozen nor had perceivable alcohol in it.

The good things.....
Having the a/c in the car fixed.
Spending time with Hubs.
Having the a/c in the car fixed.
Getting the thrill of being inventive in the motel room.
Having the a/c in the car fixed.
Not getting food poisoning so far on this trip.
Having the a/c in the car fixed.

Have I mentioned that I am glad that the a/c in the car is fixed yet? 8-)

Hang on folks, one more day and this saga is over.....


JUNE Rite-Aid Trips......She's Back!!!

I ventured back into Rite-Aid the week before we left on our trip.
I had $30 in +Up Rewards sent from corporate expiring the end of June to use.

#2 Son needed bug spray for camp.

So I bought....

2 x Cutters bug spray on sale $3.99=$7.98 *not pictured*
3 x Tootsie Pops bags on sale $1.99=$5.97

I used....
2 x $1/1 Cutter's IPQ=$2.00


I used 2 x $5 +Up Rewards....

$11.95-$10.00=$1.95 + .02¢=$1.97 OOP

Yes, I actually paid money this time!lol

I received 5 x $1 +Ups back-one $1 +Ups for each item I bought.

I am addicted to Tootsie Pops.
Love them!  Good for a chocolate craving without being big on calories.
Being on sale for $1.99 a bag and giving back a $1 +Ups means they are .99¢ a bag(if you have +Ups to use).
These bags have more pops than the ones in the Dollar Store so an awesome deal!!

I then bought this.....

3 x Phillips Earphones raincheck FREE=$0.00 *only 2 are pictured because #2 Son took one to camp*

I've been holding this raincheck since November when they were a Christmas special deal last year....$4.99 and they gave a $4.99 +Ups.
It has taken the store this long to get 3 of them in stock so I could redeem the raincheck.
I wanted them for Christmas gifting in 2011 but by getting the raincheck and being somewhat patient, I'll have these for this year's gifting.

$0.00 OOP

I also bought in a separate transaction....

2 x Home Improvement $50 Gift Card=$100.00
I paid $100 OOP and received 2 x $10 +Up Rewards.

As I've explained before, these gift cards are to pay for flooring supplies for a remodel that is going to happen, hopefully soon.  The $100 comes out of the remodel money but I get to spend the $20 in +Ups on food and HBA, so FREE Money!

Then the following day, I bought on another card....

2 x $50 Home Improvement Gift Cards=$100.00
3 x Tootsie Pops bags on sale=$5.97
1 x Cella cherry candy w/discount=$.26 *not pictured, eaten*

I used $6.00 in +Up Rewards....
I paid $100 in cash from the remodel money and put the .23¢ on my free Rite-Aid gift card, so $0 OOP.
I received $3 in +Ups for the Tootsie Pops and $20 in +Ups for the Gift Cards.

So I spent $16 of my $30 +Up Rewards, I received $48 in +Up Rewards back($8 for the food/HBA items and $40 for the gift cards), leaving me a total of $62 in +Ups.
I am out of pocket $1.97 cash from my food budget this month and used .23¢ of my gift card. ($200 of remodel money was moved from cash onto gift cards also, which does not affect my food budget.)

And I got $71.62 worth of actual merchandise(not counting the gift card values).

Yesterday I went and bought this.....
2 x Pantene Shampoo on sale=$7.00
1 x Bayer  Aspirin on clearance=$2.14
1 x Cane Tips $4.99 25% off=$3.74
2 x Zero candy bars on clearance=$.48
4 x Reese's cups BOGO=$1.98

I used.....
1 x $3/2 Pantene ManuQ=$3.00


I used $12 in +Up Rewards, which made my Total .34¢
I put that .34¢ on my free Rite-Aid gift card.

I now have $50 +Up Rewards left to spend before Saturday night.

Now I KNOW it's been reported on many blogs that the Carex $10 +Up had been pulled.
BUT.....this store still had the $10 +Ups Wellness reward tags up on every single peg hook on the Carex display.
And I have the....what shall I call them here?.....ok, buy the product and then stand my ground when the reward doesn't print but the signs are up that I am entitled to get it.
Usually I just have to bring it to management's attention and the thing is made right, because well, this store I go to is filled with CLASSY People and run properly.  It helps that they like me

So after a few minutes of checking, I also got this....
A $10 Gift Card to replace the $10+Ups that didn't print.  So I basically converted $10 in Ups to gift card.

Now I don't have the BALLS to go back now and try to buy the item again here and take advantage of signage if it's still up.  I know when to hold em and when to fold em as they say.
And the cane tips?  It is an item that I DO need....I have a cane, tips need replacing.  And besides, it was a very good price for them!lol

The Bayer Advanced was on clearance, 50% off.  You should look for it if you need aspirin and your store is out of the one that is $3.  If you have the $3 ManuQ for it that just came out, you could use it on this clearanced size, as long as you buy something else to cover the .86¢ in overage(the diff. between the $2.14 price and your $3 Q)at the register.

The Zero bars were on clearance as well....a .99¢ reg. price bar for .24¢ so 75% off.  They were marked with a 50% shelf tag.  I may go back and buy what is left at my store.  These are good for tucking back for Christmas long as you put them in a cool place for the summer and you aren't tempting to consume them all before

As of now, my Rite-Aid Stats are....

Out Of Pocket....$1.97 cash
Value of items bought....$97.42 

+Ups at beginning of month...$30+
+Ups used....$28+
+Ups received...$48+
+Ups currently...$50+

Stay tuned for more Rite-Aid before the week is up....


Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Wacky Wednesday...Just For Fun

My buddy Sonya Ann is a fan of LMFAO and their song/video "I'm Sexy and I Know It".

I found this hysterical remake of the song from Jimmy Fallon.

You'll have to go HERE to see it since they've disabled embedding on it.

I'll never think of Neil Young in quite the same way!


The Trip To OH"HELL"IO....Chapter Three

So after a great night's sleep(Mmmm chocolate donut dreams!), we were raring to go on the first official day of the vacation.  Seeing as the first day was spent driving, I don't consider that day part of the actual vacation.

This hotel room came with a free Continental breakfast deal, but we slept in and didn't want to rush ourselves to get to our toast and coffee downstairs.

So we took our time preparing for the day and then went across the street to the Bob Evans Restaurant for breakfast.  And of course, I had brought with me a BOGO Free coupon for 2 breakfast entrees.
We got eggs, meat and a bread/grain item and I also got a big side bowl of fresh fruit.  I had to at least try to keep myself regular, you know.

We are sitting in Bob's and I realized that the guy Bob Evans was from Ohio and his chain of restaurants started out and is based in Ohio.
That would explain the enormous number of Bob's we had passed on the ride down here.
And it would go on to explain why there seemed to be a Bob Evans on the corner of every third intersection in town.

We had a big day planned for Monday!  Well, conditions beyond our control dictated our plan really.
Hubs is a "let's go see historical things on vacation" kind of guy.
I'm a "let's go see weird stuff on vacation" kind of gal.
So we both made a long list of things to see/do(mostly see)and then we synced up the lists.
We prioritized our favorites, found out where/when they were happening so we could pair them up on the same trip/day.....that sort of thing.
After all that, and some arm wrestling, we come up with a trip itnerary.

When doing this final list prep, we hit a snag.  It turns out that everything historical that Hubs wanted to do was somehow connected to the Ohio Historical Society or some such state funded/affiliated organization.  Go onto the Ohio Tourism website and all those historical sites you see there, that you can visit?
Well NOTHING is open on Mondays!
Ohio rolls up the historical sidewalks on Monday.

Ok, except for maybe 1 or 2 that are very large and outdoors and there is no way they can fence them off and close them down for a day.
Which meant that out of all the historical things Hubs wanted to see in the whole state of Ohio, 1 thing was available to see on Monday.
And it was an hour's drive away in Newark.

Number one on his list is was what we lovingly refer to in the family as his mounds of dirt.
Hubs has been jonesing for years now to go see Indian Mounds.   There are lots of them in southern Ohio, near Kentucky, but there is a site east of Columbus that is not as famous, called the  Newark Great Circle Earthworks. Go HERE if you want to read more about this site.
Seeing as they can't close down the outdoors(at least not til dark), we were traveling to Newark on Monday.

The main thing I wanted to do/see?
A graveyard in Columbus.
You should have known it would be something weird, right?lol

So we would be driving all over the place on hour east to Newark, then lunch, then back to the west side of Columbus, then dinner and who knows what else?

I had some little other things we could do around Columbus, if time and traffic seeing a Giant Praying Mantis in a park(metal not a real one), or seeing topiary styled to replicate the George Seurat painting "A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte".

                         (seen from a different angle here)

It's been a running joke in the family that Hubs wants to drive hours and hours to go and stare at piles of dirt...Ok, piles of dirt covered in grass.
But he is a Native Peoples History fan so off we drove to look at grassy mounds.

We found the site quite easily and pulled into the parking lot.  The temperature was already in the mid 80's.  Because of my arthritic knees and the heat I figured I'd be able to walk around a bit at my own pace and Hubs could charge ahead and explore his mounds to his heart's content.
There was a long inclined pathway from the parking lot up to the Earthworks with some picnic tables under a shade tree about halfway up.  I figured I'd try to make it the tables first and see how I was feeling.
After resting there about 10 minutes, I climbed the rest of the pathway to a small building/museum type thing.  I didn't know if it was closed like every other historical site's building in Ohio that day, but if it was, there was a bench I could rest my knees at outside the entrance.

Gratefully, the building was open and air conditioned....yes!
Inside was a film about the aboriginal peoples who lived here in prehistoric times, whom they refer to as as the Hopewell Culture, and information on the Earthworks as well as a gift shop.
The film was self-directed and you could view what you wished at your own pace.  Hubs came into the building while I was watching the film.  I must have been watching it for a very long time because Hubs said he had already walked around the whole site and taken some photos.
He watched some of the film, talked with the historical society lady there and then went and bought a book in the gift shop.
I almost said something about the book, since we were on a tight budget and he hadn't told me he was going to spend money here(and the book was $25!).  I figured if we did end up stranded on the road home somewhere, out of money and gas that I could have a good "told you so" out of him spending that money on a book. lol are some shots he took.   You really can't tell much since the site is so large area wise(though it is only a small fraction of the original size of the intricate complex that was here). It's hard to appreciate unless you see it from above but a helicopter rental was not in the budget.
You have to imagine that all the trees weren't here back when it was built too.

Here are the picnic tables where I rested.  The entrance to the large circle(formed by the mounds that run around it)is where the small grey sign stands in the middle of the shot.  This is taken from the outside of the Great Circle....

This is another shot taken outside of the Great Circle. 

Hubs took this shot from inside the Circle, looking back at the entrance standing about haflway inside the circle....

Here's a shot, again inside the Circle from the middle, looking at the other end of the Circle, where you can see three mounds inside the Circle that form what looks like a paw pattern....
Another shot from inside.....

They think that this was a ceremonial place, a sacred gathering place, as well as a burial place, for indigenous peoples from all across the continent.  They have found large amounts of natural resources(rock and metal)that are not native to this area, that they feel were carried here from as far away as North Carolina, Michigan and from some Western states too.   It was a geometric marvel in it's design and execution.

This plaque outside the little museum there shows you how the Earthworks originally was situated in relation to the river and how expansive the whole place was.  There are only 3 pieces left intact as indicated by the burnished metal parts on the plaque.  The circle to the far right is the Great Circle where we were standing.

Two things that struck me about the Earthworks.
* As early as 1820, a large chunk of these prehistoric works had already been lost to progress.
Ohio was still considered the frontier in 1820 by the Europeans who came to settle here.  By 1820 the railroad had come through and plowed under/excavated these lands and as towns sprang up, no thought was given to preserving and building around them.  Long time area residents in the 1840's put pen to paper to map out what they remembered the Earthworks had looked like before most of it was lost.
That is the only reason we know as much as we do now of it's design.  It's so sad that one culture couldn't fathom the value of what had come before it and protect it.
* There is still a battle raging to this day, between the native peoples and the scientists/archeologists.
The native peoples still view this area as a sacred place(and a burial sight)and resent that the scientists continue to want to destroy and disturb the land here, in order to gain further knowledge by studying what secrets the land gives up.  It is hallowed ground and should be protected and studied only if that doesn't involve destruction, as in digging things up.
A proponent of keeping the sight as it is commented that if we wanted to take a backhoe and dig up the Sistine Chapel for scientific study, would that culture not be offended?

I would have loved to have been there for sunrise or sunset, as the shadows grow long and the mist rises from the earth.  That would have been amazing but it wasn't going to happen this trip unfortunately.
I just wish we could have planned the trip better, so that Hubs could have been here for the Summer Solstice as there were to be some Native American ceremonies held here.  But by Thursday, we were already back home.
We'll have to put that on the list for the next time we are out this way.

After I hobbled down the hilly pathway back to the car(thank goodness it was DOWNHILL this time!lol), we got in the vehicle, cranked up the a/c and headed back toward Columbus.
It was after 1pm by this time.
I didn't think we'd been there so long, but we had.
Now it was lunch time.
So we drove back into Columbus and started looking for some place to eat.  As we drove the hour back, I noticed that the a/c was NOT blowing cold air.  When we stopped at a light, it actually blew warm air.  It was now about 94 degrees outside according a bank sign we passed.

I like to eat small and local when we can, and avoid the fast food joints.  We passed an ass ton of Mexican places....little hole in the wall places, not chains.  I just couldn't bring myself to tell Hubs to go to one however.  I find that "Mexican" food can be really good or really bad.  Consistency is all over the map.  So I tend not to want to eat a 'cultural' food some place that it's not known to be good.
Mexican in Texas, or the Southwest?  Bring it on!
Mexican in Columbus Ohio?  Not feeling it.
This all stems from stopping in West Virginia a few years ago at a Mexican Restaurant.
Never again in WV!
It was flavorless food, overpriced, a dirty restaurant, and the customer service was nonexistent.

So we tried to eat at a Ruby Tuesdays.
We drove up to it and it was closed.
We saw this a lot with eateries on this main artery we were on.....lots of closed up ones.

Just as we were about to head back to Bob Evans(at least it was safe!lol), we turned into a little fast food type building's lot and went in.
This place was called "Raising Cane's".
Some kind of regional fast food type place.
And they only serve chicken fingers.
Ok fries and a couple other sides too, but the main item is chicken fingers.

Evidently, the place is named after the guy's dog, Cane.  I had never heard of them before.

You can get a chicken fingers platter or a chicken fingers sandwich.  That's it.
I chose a platter and gave Hubs my fries and 1 of my tenders since it came with 6.  These were quite large fingers.  The batter was light and flaky, not greasy.  Very well done.
I had an unsweetened brewed iced tea.  That hit the spot.
The dipping sauce was a thousand island type thing with a lot of pepper in it, but not too much.

This chain seems to be quite successful given all the locations they have.  I can see why.....they know how to do chicken right.  And it seems popular with the young people.  Nobody over 30 in the place but Hubs and I and the lady who took our order at the counter.
2 thumbs up and I'd go there again in a heartbeat.
And the prices were very reasonable.

It's going on about 3 pm when we left Raising Cane's.  Now it was on to my activity for the day.
I spent a good deal of time back in May working on this.....

It's a notebook I started compiling all my Civil War soldier ancestors in.
As I got back into the 1860's in my census searches while working on my family geneology, I started finding lots of ancestors who had served in the war.  Some family lines had scads some had none.  These are all from my mother's side of the family, the Southern side, which is the side I've been concentrating on lately.
My father's side, the Northern side, won't prove as fruitful in this area, since many on that side were immigrants who arrived after the war was fought.  And I don't have as much/many ancestors located to work with yet on that side.

So if I found a man who had served in the War of Northern Aggression, I'd jot him down into the book and add any information I could dig up for his page.
When I got to this guy......

I found a Find A Grave entry for him on Ancestry dotcom.
It had where he was buried, which sometimes is impossible to find out if the soldier didn't survive the war.
You got a lot of mass graves and burial far from home and the information is lost to family and the future.
But this ancestor had the good fortune(well, not really good!)to die as a POW.
At Camp Chase outside of Columbus Ohio.

Camp Chase began it's life as a training camp for recruits in the Norther army.  As wounded soldiers began to flood from battle, it became an ersatz hospital, and then a prisoner of war camp for captured confederate soldiers.
I won't bore you more but if you find this interesting, you can read more on Camp Chase HERE and HERE.

My 3rd Great Grand Uncle was detained as a wounded POW, died and is buried in Camp Chase Cemetery.
I thought I should make an effort to see his final resting place when we went to Columbus.

Hubs dropped me off at the gate and went to park the car on a side street, as the cemetery is on a very busy avenue in an urban neighborhood.
It was strange to go from that traffic and noise into the high stone wall enclosure of the burial site.  The noise melted away.
There was this cannonball next to the entry gate.

As I looked around I saw 4 or so massive oak trees to keep me from melting in the high humidity and heat.  It was devastatingly hot and muggy but there was a nice breeze under the canopy of the trees.

In my haste to get out of the car before another car plowed into our stopped vehicle, I forgot to grab the notebook, which held the row and section information.  Having to check 2,260 grave markers was NOT going to cut it in this weather.  They would need to come dig a hole for me too!

I just started walking down the rows and said under my breath, "Come of JJ, help me out here, where are you?!"
And I turned down a row, a row I felt like I was being led down, and started walking and checking names.

And about three quarters of the way down THAT row, I found him......

May I introduce Joseph James Hamilton.  Born 1820.
He enlisted on 16 Apr 1864 in Marion VA as a Private, at the age of 43.
He served in the 6th Battalion, VA Reserve Corp, Company A.
At his age, he was part of the second line of defense, the Home Guard as it were.

He was involved in the Battle of Saltville I, which took place in Saltville, VA in early October of 1864.
Do you know who's ancestor was also in that battle, on the opposing Union side?
Go look HERE.

While the Battle of Saltville I was a Confederate victory, Joseph Hamilton was still captured by Union forces on 2 Oct. 1864 and was taken to Camp Chase.
He avoided dying in the smallpox epidemic at the camp(since he didn't arrive until it was over), but he still succumbed to gangrene due to his injury not being treated properly and he died a slow lingering death 2 months later on 6 Dec 1864.

I spent a good amount of time there at his headstone, talking to him.  Yes, I talk to dead people.....

I commiserated with him, about a good old Virginia boy having to spend eternity buried up in Yankee land(my Southern peeps will get this).....but at least he had a whole bunch of Southern gentlemen alongside him to keep him company.
I told him his service was appreciated and that even though his contemporaries where long gone, his "family" had not forgotten him.  And I apologized for forgetting the little Confederate Flag I meant to bring to put next to his headstone.

Then Hubs showed up and I let him take this horrible photo of me with the headstone.
No make up, my hair is plastered to my head and I am dripping in sweat and about to fall on the ground.

And I took a shot of another part of the cemetery.....

The headstones stretch out as far as you can see.....2,260+ graves......
And I talked to Hubs about what a waste this war was and the high price paid in lives and the repercussions felt in the families of these men.  Children growing up without fathers, wives with no husbands, men not allowed to grow up and live a normal life into old age.

And I cried.
I sobbed.

This is the archway seen from the front that is on the right edge of the shot of me with Jos. Hamilton's headstone.  Under the bronze statue of the Confederate Soldier it says, "Americans".

This place truly moved me.

Once back in the car, we got a drink so I wouldn't pass out.  The a/c in the car was so bad now it was cooler outside the car, so we turned it off and rolled down the windows to get a cool 96 degree breeze.
It became obvious to us now that our a/c was deader than Kelsey's nuts.

And we had to find our way back to the hotel during rush hours in downtown Columbus.
Oh joy!lol

I had planned on taking Hubs HERE for dinner.  But with the traffic(we'd have to return to the hotel first and shower and change and then go back into Columbus)and no a/c in the car, Hubs said no thanks to my plan.
So after freshening up back in the room I told him to go next door to here....
Hubs loves pasta and he loves chili.
What could be better than a place that serves chili on your pasta?lol
We've never had Skyline Chili before so another first for us both.

Hubs got a here is where I make the obligatory joke that what man doesn't want a 3-way.....*snort*
And I opted for my chili and cheese on a baked potato.
I also got a Greek salad that was very good.
In hindsight, I should have stuck to just the salad.  I ate about half of my potato and I was done.
After a day of walking and sweating, I just wanted fluids really.

We've heard people rave about Skyline Chili.
Neither of us particularly liked it however.
I thought it was spicy.
Hubs just though it was neither pasta sauce OR chili.
Of course that didn't keep him from eating every single morsel!

Thinking about it later, I think this chili stuff was closer to the consistency of hot dog chili.  I know the inventor was Greek and you can taste the Greek spices in it.  I just think it's maybe an acquired taste.  It tries to be many things therefore it is not successful at being anything.
Just my humble opinion here....

So we only got 2 things done on Monday...outside of eating that is.  Between the traffic and how large an area Columbus takes up, we just couldn't fit another sightseeing spot in.

Between the heat and the food, we were ready for some downtime in the hotel room.  A little tv and bed and cranking the a/c down to 60...woohoo!!!
And I drifted off to lullaby land burrowed down deep inside a heavy winter blanket on the bed with icicles forming on the tip of my nose.....


Tuesday, June 26, 2012

The Trip To OH'HELL"IO....Chapter Two

So we backed out of the driveway on Sunday morning, credit card-less, with a prepaid card, my small debit account card and some cash.

The drive to the Summer Camp was uneventful mostly.  We stopped for breakfast at a McDonald's off the interstate about a half hour into the trip.
You know.....for a quick, easy and cheap meal.
We got 2 outta 3.
After dropping $17.84  on some biscuits, hash browns and drinks for 3, I started freaking out in my head.
The 1st time we ate and we are out almost $18!

We've got at least 11 more meals to pay for PLUS tons of GAS for the car and Hotel rooms.  If we kept this level of spending up for every meal I was sure we'd be stranded on the side of the road somewhere on the way home in the middle of nowhere, out of gas and cash.

So I slapped a smile on my face and "poo-pooed" those bad thoughts from my head and alternately noshed and cried into my sausage biscuit.

We stopped near camp and got #2 Son a sack of burgers, since the camp doesn't serve lunch on Sunday, so he'd get some food before dinner time.  Hubs and I weren't hungry so we abstained from that festival of grease.

Had a quick visit with #1 Son, dropped #2 Son and we were off again, headed into Ohio.
This is the sign we pass into Ohio.  The nephew was NOT standing there waving on this trip.

Since it was Father's Day, I planned to take Hubs to PF Chang's(his choice) along the way to Columbus.  I found one outside of Akron so we stopped for an early dinner.
Hubs chose to try PF's over Cheesecake Factory, neither of which he has ever eaten at.

I have been to PF Chang's a couple of years back, when my Brother's wife took me to one in VA.
It's not my "cup of tea" really....pardon that pun.....
The food is good but nothing to write home about.
It's just glorified Chinese food......dishes they have made upscale so they can charge a premium price.
$13 for Mushu Pork?
WTF?!  Maybe in Manhattan but NOT in

Let me translate the sign over their front door from PF Changese into English..... "China Bistro" really means  "Outrageously Overpriced Restaurant".

Some of the traditional Chinese food dishes and Noodle dishes are around $10-$12 a plate.  But they also have other unusual for Chinese restaurants type dishes for an even higher price point.  $18-$40 dishes.

I don't pay for the fancy interior of the restaurant and the "experience" I guess.
Id' rather have less experience and lower prices. lol
But we had that $25 Gift Card so the out of pocket was about $15 with tip.

Not only did Hubs order a fancy-pants pricey entree, he ordered a side dish of Lemon Infused shaved Brussel Sprouts.
Here is what is should look like....

Ok, so you get about a third as much as they show in this photo.
That's ok thought, because they taste like crap.
No, wait!
That's not accurate.

They actually tasted like dirty gym socks that had been washed in lemon Tide.
They had the earthy taste of a dirty sock that had fermented in a gym bag for 2 weeks paired with the after taste of a glass of water mixed with lemon scented Tide poured over it.
And whomever in the kitchen was suppose to shave the sprouts either got tired or didn't come in that evening, because I've seen better shaving on a bearded lady at the circus.  There was a top layer of shaved green matter with big chunks of sprouts underneath....big undercooked chunks.

Am I getting through to anyone how awful these things were?!?
They smelled fabulous.
But you were better off eating them with your eyeballs.
Even a pound of BACON layered over them would NOT have helped the taste!!

Hubs made the mistake of asking me how I liked them after he made me taste them....and this was after he saw me dive for my water glass as I tried to choke my bite down.
After almost 30 years, he really should know better, right?

And when I told him they were wretched to me, he took offense.
So of course, I had to keep bringing up how truly bad they were, which put a "delightful" countenance on his face for the rest of the meal.  Well since the kids weren't there to piss him off on "HIS" day, someone had to do it!

And when he neglected to finish every last bite of that dish we actually paid money for!, the ribbing continued.
He got so mad that I started laughing.  And when I get "tickled", I can't stop laughing until the tears are running down my face and my legs.  Kind of like last Winter when we went to the Hibachi Restaurant and they got me snockered on sake and then the knife guy pulled a rubber chicken out of his torque hat and I lost it.

About Tuesday evening or so, Hubs decided that he would stop being perturbed and actually started laughing along with me about those horrid sprouts.
The PF Chang's brussel sprouts have now become an inside joke in the family, on par with the gigantic fish sandwich they serve at every restaurant in western PA.

Besides tasting the gym socks, I also made the mistake of choosing a messy food.
The Mushu Pork pancakes were thin and tore and I ended up wearing most of my meal.  That's when I was thankful for the very low lighting and that I had worn a floral dress with a dark purple background.
And we had no leftovers to take with us, since the portions were quite small and much of mine ended up on the floor, in the booth or on me.  If I'm paying $13 for Mushu Pork(which by the way, was mostly comprised of eggs and huge hunks of scallions)I damn well want to have enough left for a second meal.

I have entered that stage of life where I really need a bib again when I eat.  Either that or disposal clothing.
But I digress.....

In the end, we were out another $15 in cash.
And we had to fill the gas tank twice that day, before we got to Columbus.
Please picture the tiny little woman in my brain with an abacus starting to froth at the mouth over what we've spent on Day One.

We got from Akron to Columbus with no big traffic headaches given the late hour on a Sunday.
Once we got out of the general vicinity of Cleveland, until we got to just outside of Columbus the traffic was aok.
But Cleveland was nuts!

And I counted 7 different interstates from the time we entered OH until we left Akron.
Seven freaking interstates in and around Cleveland.

Add in another 3 in well as the continuation of 71.
See all those squiggly red lines running through Cleveland?

 Even though it doesn't look too outrageous, the photo below is what the Interstates in OHIO feel like around Cleveland......

I'm sorry but there are just too many different interstates crammed into such a small area!
Just trying to keep straight which one you want to be on is mind numbing to a tourist.

We got to the motel in Columbus well before dark because Hubs drives like a bat outta hell.
He pulls up to the door and goes to check us in.  I'm sitting in the car and some old beat up Lincoln Town Car pulls up behind our car and the guy driving it just sits there.
It's obvious he isn't waiting for someone, to pick them up, and he's not getting out to go check-in.  He's just watching me(as far as I can tell from watching HIM in the flip down visor mirror),  and smoking a cigarette.
Due to the credit card information theft my mind starts running wild.  I'm imagining that this creepy old guy is the one who stole our credit card makes sense, he would know when/where we were checking in and we'd have PA plates on our car, right?.....and he is sitting there waiting for us to park so he can either follow us up to the room and murder us or break into our car and steal it once we go into the motel.

So I roll up the windows in the car even though it's 90 degrees out at 8pm at night and keep one hand on the door handle and one eye on him via the visor mirror in case I have to make a mad dash to the lobby.

I guess this whole situation has me just a teeny bit paranoid, huh?

                        (not my eye)

Hubs finally comes out and we park and lug the luggage up to the room.
My creepy friend is still sitting there in his car, not pulling up to the door now, but just sitting in the middle of the parking lot road and watching us as we disappear into the motel.
I insisted that we ride the elevator ALONE to our floor.....who knows?....creepy guy's accomplice could be in the lobby waiting for us to be cornered in the elevator with him....alone.  Hubs just looks at me like I've lost it while I keep pushing the floor button in the elevator and won't let anyone else inside.

So we settle in and crank the air up in the room.
Long about 9 pm. Hubs wanted some coffee.  He drinks two tree(2 tree=2,3) cups every evening so I tell him I saw a Tim Horton's across the highway from our hotel.
He decides to drive over and get himself a large cup of caffeine.
Since I am now hungry again after spilling my fashionably small plate of dinner all over myself 4 hours ago and my nerves could use some soothing, I ask him to pick me up a coupla donuts....bonus points if they involve chocolate!

I was surprised to see a Timmy's this far South?!  The donuts were stale(sitting for hours I guess)but the chocolate on top was comforting.

A chocolate donut was just the thing to relax me so I could drift off to sleep without creepy guys lingering in my brain.  I did, however get up 3 times that night to check and make sure the security latch was engaged.....

Stay Tuned for Chapter Three.