Thursday, November 20, 2014

Larson and Stella

This is a story and a very long post about cars. 

Just before our first date, Carson sold his truck. He was walking/biking to school and work and didn't want the hassle, so he simply sold it. For our first date, he borrowed a Honda Element from a friend. Sometime in the short period between first date and "dating", he purchased a Honda Passport that was terrible on gas. Since I didn't have a car at the time, we sort of shared that while we were engaged, even though we lived in different parts of the city. (Once I walked out of my apartment to go to work and discovered that the passenger window was broken with all Carson's textbooks scattered everywhere. Car theft/breakins are like THE crime in Spokane).We drove it to Oregon and over to the West side of the state a few times before it was decided that it wasn't worth it, so the hunt was on for a new car. 
And by new, I mean used.
And by hunt, I mean search Craigslist. 

I didn't know people did that before I met Carson, but they did, and we did and with lots of faith and cash in hand, Carson purchased our little green Honda Civic. It was a 1998 with a decent amount of miles on it - or so we think. The car was manufactured in Canada, so the speedometer was in kilometers, not miles, and it was also broken, so sometimes it would tell you how fast you were going (in kilometers, so you got to practice math) and sometimes, it wouldn't. When it wasn't working, it wasn't recording the miles on the trip meter, and when it was, again, it was in kilometers, so we just guessed. We eventually replaced the speedometer before our move to Ohio, which meant that we could finally see our speed all the time - in MILES!

In 2010, Emily visited me in Spokane for my birthday, and we spent lots of time driving the car around. She's the one who named our car: Larson, for L(indsay) and (C)arson, and she always referred to "him" by "his" name.

Somehow, that little car got us from one side of Washington to the other over 14 times. We drove it on countless short road trips, across the country from Washington to Ohio, up to Canada, down to South Carolina a few times. We got there and back very safely and with little to no major issues. I mean, don't get me wrong, Larson was no looker. He accumulated many bumps and scrapes over his long life, some that he had before he joined us, and many that he somehow accumulated in my work parking lot in Cleveland (seriously got hit about 6 times in that lot while I was just working; twice it was bad enough that the passenger door didn't open all the way and Carson had to fix it). He didn't have air conditioning, he had a broken bumper that scraped speed bumps, he had coffee splatters on the sagging ceiling, and lots of spots where the paint was rubbed away. 

Since all things must come to an end, we knew that Larson's time with the family was not long. He began to experience the effects of old age and salted roads earlier this year, with a few minor but increasingly NOTminor issues. For months, we looked for Larson's replacement, generally on Craigslist, but had a difficult time finding a good solid car that was in our price range. In July, we found one in Beaufort and drove down over the weekend to purchase it. In August, Carson sold Larson to some people who pimp out cars. He had to reset his phone, which is so disappointing, because they promised pictures of the NEW Larson, but Carson no longer has the contact information to ask for the pictures. Disappointing, because that would be hilarious. 

In lieu of THOSE (better) pictures, I thought we'd walk down memory lane.
Yes, with our car. 

Here's a rare time when the first speedometer worked. It looks alarming, but it's about 60mph. It was fun to scare friends with though.

When we were engaged, I didn't go home for Christmas, so I begged Carson to help me pick out a little tree for my apartment. We ended up with a MASSIVE one for $15 and somehow it fit in the trunk.

Carson and Larson on a road trip to Olympia when we were engaged.

Emily, on the day she named Larson.

On the way back from our Olympia reception. 
We parked under this tree while we lived in Naches and you would not believe the amount of bird poop we accumulated on poor Larson.

The day we moved from Naches to Spokane... look how low that car is... we made only two trips with this thing.


There was a brief time where we owned two cars and Larson had a sibling. Carson lived in Naches all by himself in 2011 and bought this Toyota truck for the summer, since we lived three hours apart. 

Cutting off the offensive part of the bumper.

A Spokane winter.

We took lots of road trips with Larson.

Most notably, we STUFFED the poor car when we moved to Ohio. We'd shipped everything else on the train and way underestimated the other things we needed to bring in Larson (I'd pictured only bringing a duffel bag).

Here he is at Mount Rushmore.

 Larson was also the primary moving source for furniture and boxes. Carson got tables, chairs and other furniture to our house in Cleveland by using Larson to transport. I can't remember if the couch came that way, but if so, that's impressive.

Morgan met Larson in February, where I let her scrape snow for the first time.

This winter, Larson got stuck in the snow four times, three of them in our driveway (two of them during Morgan's trip).

And finally, Larson trailed behind us when we moved this summer. I was so nervous the whole way that he was going to come loose on a hill and hit the cars behind us. That never happened, obviously.

This was on July 4th. You can see that beautiful bumper, as well as the frustration Larson provided in his later months.

In July, a new car joined our family. I've named her Stella, because it seemed to work with the silvery gray car color.

We drove both cars back to Florida, and so technically, here's a picture of them side by side.

 We had a nearly five year run with Larson - five good, full years - and while I'm thankful to drive a car that's less embarrassing to drive than poor unattractive Larson, we made a lot of memories and miles in that little green Civic. 

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Weekending with Dad and Mom

The last time Mom and Dad were here, it was a "work trip" by which I mean, they helped us move all our stuff in, explored with us, went on multiple expeditions to set up internet and 
find shelf paper and then came back and hung pictures on the walls. It was fun, but we were on a mission. 

This time they came for no real reason. Just to see us and to comfort themselves with the fact that the piles of boxes that were once crowding everything out were now stashed in more clever spots, like under the bed. It was a short trip - they arrived Friday afternoon and left right after church on Sunday - but that's the beauty of living so much closer now! It really is so great to know that we aren't hours upon hours upon hours away anymore.

When they arrived on Friday, Carson was still in class on campus for a couple of hours, so we did what anyone would do: we went to Target. The closest Target to Mom and Dad is approximately 45 minutes away, plus I'll take any excuse I can to go to that lovely store, so it was a worthy venture. We headed toward downtown after that, since it was sort of close-ish to the time we were going to pick Carson up. We went to the Sweet Shop, which we'd walked past when they were here the last time, for Dad to get a frappe and for me to get a tea latte. We were going to walk around on the campus, but we had a shoe malfunction and just sat tight until Carson meandered over from class. 

I can't remember if we did anything in particular right then, but we definitely ate at a steakhouse that night. We returned home after a fun-filled trip to Big Lots (there actually isn't much sarcasm there, only a little hesitation in admitting that we consider that a fun Friday night adventure). 

On Saturday, we had a lazy morning. I slept in the latest, which was so great. Mom thinned out my hair; it was just way too thick and heavy and it feels much better now. We had breakfast and got a slow start before we left the house.

Oh gross, what is that? Not a small dead animal... that's my hair. If you scroll down, you'll notice that you can't even tell that this much is missing. 

 We went to the Flea Market. We'd passed it before on the way to the beach but hadn't been there because it's out of the way for us on a normal day. I'm not sure what I was expecting, but it was huge, and there were lots of tables where people were selling random junk... like lots of really bad yard sales. There were treasures too, but we couldn't fit any of the furniture we found in our Civic, so we left it there and moved on without making any purchases. 
We went to walk around Lake Ella, because it's central, pretty, and Carson and I have walked over there several times before. On this particular day (the coldest day we've been near the lake), we stopped in one of the little stores for snowballs, which are like sno-cones, but very finely shaved, and have ice cream in the middle. I got a small mango flavored one, which ended up not really tasting like mango and was way too big for someone who was about to eat lunch. We will be back though. Carson's already mentioned it a few times.

I made us take a group picture, and then while trying to not get everyone's feet in the picture, moved the camera on accident and chopped off Dad and Carson's heads (I cropped the feet out for Mom's sake). On the second attempt, I didn't focus the camera correctly. So... still a group picture. 

 We went to Midtown Pies for lunch. It was between that and a bunch of other pizza places nearby, but we found it first. Carson loved this video game (looking - or is it from a real video game? I don't know) illustration on the wall. We all really enjoyed it and now Carson and I are excited to try out other local places to compare.

After lunch, we returned to the homestead for Dad and Carson to suit up for the game. Mom and I dropped them off and headed to Jo-Ann Fabrics for supplies for our project that night. Since there was no one to remind us to hurry it along, we stopped by DSW and World Market. We grabbed Jimmy John's for dinner (because I am a great hostess and plan nothing) and then got to work. 

I learned how to put in an invisible zipper, which was way less intimidating than anticipated. I have used my sewing machine on many occasions, but never for anything involving much skill, so it scared me. My machine kept acting up and eventually it was determined that it needed to be cleaned (I didn't know you needed to do that/how to do it) and that I need a new bobbin case, so we relied on Mom's machine for the rest of the night. We picked the guys up after the third quarter and then headed back to finish our projects, while they packed up and went to bed early. (Carson fell asleep on the living room floor immediately, and when I went to bed I left him out there because he's too big for me to move and he gets really disoriented when I wake him up :))

We went to church the next morning and then they had to get on the road right away. I made Carson take a picture of Dad and I after church because you have to take pictures or you can't say it happened :) 

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Sweet Daisy

We've always been dog people. There have only been two days in my life that my family hasn't owned a dog, and those were in the summer of 2005.
In 2006, we had one little dog, Mini, who, it turned out, was incredibly mean and unfriendly. It wasn't her fault, per se, but she did bite and was not generally nice. She looked like a sweet puppy, so this was a problem and earned her a reputation. 

On July 2, 2006, Daisy entered the scene, 364 days after Mini. Their names were not intentionally the names of Disney characters, since we named Mini and Daisy came prenamed, at a year old. Daisy was sweet. She was the sort of dog a kid would want, always up to play, go for a run, or chase you around the yard. She was higher energy than any dog we'd ever had, and we lived in a neighborhood at the time, so that wasn't ideal. She'd dig under the fence and get under the house and out, running away all the time. She loved to join us in the car, on the boat, anywhere. She loved my brother, Scott most of all, and he loved her more. 

Here they are on the afternoon she came to live with us.

When we moved into a rural area with lots of land, Daisy was in heaven. She'd be gone for hours, chasing rabbits and deer, and you could sort of figure out where she was by her tell-tale hound dog bark. When she'd return, she'd sleep forever. We nicknamed her Lazy Daisy.

Even when my parents got another dog (told you they're dog people) in 2008, Daisy was still a favorite of the people in the house. The dogs perhaps did not agree. Over time, she became the big boss of the other two dogs and took to sleeping in a certain spot on the floor in front of Dad's TV room because she knew the little Jacks would never dare to try to step around her.

I love this picture of all the dogs, but particularly Daisy's picture face.

Over the past couple of years, Daisy slowly put on weight and slept more. She had more health issues and just wasn't feeling as well, so we all knew that even though she'd put on a show sometimes and howl at the top of her doggie lungs or hop up excitedly every once in awhile, she wasn't feeling okay, and it wouldn't be too much longer.

On October 22 in the yard at sunset, sweet Daisy died. It had been a hard few days for her and it was time, but it was sad, and as it will always be in the Norman family, there were tears. She was a sweet dog, a part of the family, and it will be sad to go home and not hear her bawl out a welcome to us. We miss you, Daisy girl!

Monday, November 10, 2014

On Being Early to Rise

Even in the times of my life where I've been more of a go-getter, I've never been much of a morning person.

It isn't so much that I don't like doing things in the morning; I probably prefer them. It's getting out of a warm, comfy bed that is somehow SO much better than it was when I got into it at night, and getting up when it's dark and chilly. Being up early is actually nice, when you can relax a little before doing something.

I slept in until 7 this morning, which is four hours later than the time I got up yesterday. Go ahead and do the math - I woke up at 3 in the morning three days this week and "slept in" until 4:30 on the others. I've been opening at work, or else I'd never find myself waking up that early. To me, anything before 5 is still nighttime; all the radio stations are playing at that time in the morning is "after midnight" broadcasts.

Surprisingly, as much as I hate dragging myself out of bed when it's still dark and still going to be dark for three more hours (thanks to Daylight Savings, it's not four), it's grown on me. I like that my drive to work is never full of traffic, and that I shave 5 or more minutes off my commute because every light magically turns green when you're the only car out there. I like that when I get there, I don't have to interact with anyone right away and that even when the first customer walks in the door, there probably won't be a line of people right away. I like seeing the sunrise every morning from the window at work (you can't see sunrises or sunsets from our little cave of an apartment). I like getting off work and getting to go visit my bed again because 4:30am shifts deserve a nap time.

This season probably won't be forever. I despair of it at times, because something inside me loves to make a big deal out of things that are not big deals, like interacting so much with people when I'm introverted. It's a season that has shown me that I CAN wake up early consistently and that I CAN go to bed early (going to bed has always been a struggle of mine and I can't figure out why). As far as work itself, it's shown me that I will survive talking to hundreds of people every day with a smile on my face. It's shown me that everyone is wrong, and I DO NOT need coffee to wake up early (I proudly drink mostly water at work, and sometimes a hot chocolate, but just because it's freezing and I would not enjoy drinking hot water).

In a month and a season where people are being more verbally thankful than other times of the year, I am thankful for my job. I'm thankful for the chance to grow in an area that is far from my strong suit in terms of a job, thankful for the character-building that getting up early provides, and thankful that I do have a job. I find that when I think about the positive things about my life, and particularly my job, instead of ALL the negative things I think there are, there's actually much to be thankful for.

I should make a list and hang it next to my warm comfy bed for the next early shift.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Back in 2009...

When I was in high school, I went to Ukraine a bunch of times. Over Christmas break my sophomore year of college, I got to go back during the winter with a small team. We lived in an orphanage and played in the snow and led Bible studies and had our hair done a thousand times each day by little girls. It was such a special time and a sweet trip. Well, I recently discovered videos of the trip that Jillian made right after we returned, and I thought why not? I'll share them!

Here's the video Jillian compiled from our trip to Ukraine. 
Interesting things about our time there:
I'd never shoveled snow before and we did that for so long that we were incredibly thirsty and  drained a couple pots of tea trying to quench our thirst, and eventually walked to a nearby store for water. Best water ever. 
I'd never been sledding before either. 
We took the kids ice skating and while I LOVE ice skating, it was the best time I've ever had on the ice. Kids falling everywhere and hanging on to us and having so much fun. Loved it. 
At night when the kids went to bed, we'd hang out and play games (the sort of "embarrassing" games we played in high school youth group) with the older Ukrainians and translators. 

And on our way back, we stopped in the Netherlands for a couple of days. We visited the Corrie ten Boom house right down the street from where we stayed in Haarlem, outside Amsterdam, and went in to Amsterdam to tour the Anne Frank House. Both great experiences, and although not the most savory city I've visited, the trip itself was a lot of fun and I loved the quirks about the town we actually stayed in. 
Interesting things about this trip I was reminded of when watching the video: 
We stole Caleb's belt for no apparent reason and wrote ransom notes for it. 
I had an ear infection and had to get powerful ear drops put in. 
There's a narrative at the end where I'm scared about a mouse in our room. 
My dad found a webcam that was facing the square our hotel was on, so Jillian and I went outside with umbrellas when it wasn't raining to make sure he could see us (there's a clip of us talking about it).
Jillian and Stephanie flew separately from the rest of us, and missed out on flying international business class, which was the best flight experience ever. It's a whole different world, with real silverware, tasty food, and seats that recline. I slept for 6 hours.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Weekend in Destin

Very recently, we decided to get away from Tallahassee for a weekend. There seem to be lots of great getatway places within a short drive, and we haven't explored any of them yet, so we chose Destin for no particular reason. It turned out to be a great choice, and we loved our time there and it was really nice to get out of our usual weekend habits.
Carson still had class until 5:30 on Friday, but was able to escape after a presentation at around 4:45. so we planned to meet then. I was running early, despite the rush hour traffic and had just pulled into the parking lot at FSU to wait for him when I remembered that I had left the camera behind at home. Ugh. So I quickly texted him to stay until the end of class and tried to rush home, but three accidents on top of normal Friday traffic put a bit of a damper on that. I still made it back to the school by taking a shortcut (on a normal day, it would have been the longer route) and Carson met me at a nearby Starbucks. We decided to grab dinner on the Interstate because the restaurant we'd planned to stop by (and had a coupon for) was a left turn and in that traffic it wasn't going to happen... 

By some miracle, we finally arrived in Destin, very tired after a long week. Google Maps says it's about 2 hours and 45 minutes away, and I couldn't accurately record how long it took since Friday's traffic was unusually congested. We checked in to our hotel and walked down a very long hallway past three very boring looking but moderately loud Halloween parties to our room. We weren't sure if "Harbor-View" meant "you can see just a sliver of water but your view is mostly of the A/C Unit", but this particular hotel was definitely not lying, and we had a perfect view of Destin Harbor. Our room even had a little balcony, which was so great!

This is the best shot I could get that night. It was beautiful, but I have shaky camera hands.

They have fireworks on Friday nights. These ones had some shaped like smiley faces and flowers, in addition to the usual firework-shaped fireworks.

We went to bed early that night, since we'd been up since 3am, and Carson slept FOREVER. Or so it seemed, since I woke up at 6:30... nothing says vacation like 6:30 on a Saturday morning.
We enjoyed the view once again from our suddenly quite chilly balcony. Saturday was beautiful, but very windy.

My Inception-like photo.

I've mentioned before that we love hotels for the free TV. We usually find ourselves watching Law and Order, old movies, or nature shows, and I think we enjoy it for the variety.

Our plan originally was to spend the day at the beach. It was way too windy and chilly to do that though, and even though it was sunny and not exactly COLD, it would not have been pleasant. We explored instead, and visited cheesy souvenir shops and the outlets.

We wanted to at least walk on the beach though, so when we were ready for lunch, we looked for a place on the water. We found one right next to a public beach access and killed two birds with one stone.

We went to Pompano Joe's for lunch. When asked if we wanted to sit across the restaurant or wait for a table by the window, we opted for the window, and it was funny because so did everyone else. There wasn't anyone sitting at the tables across from the windows. I sat in a ray of sunshine and it was wonderful.

For lunch, I had a Shrimp Po Boy, which I've never had before, and Carson had a fried fish sandwich.

After we ate, we decided to walk along the beach.

This back of the restaurant where we ate... super touristy and bright, which I loved.

I don't love birds, but I loved seeing their little footprints all over the beach.

This is a typical Carson face.

Carson is quite the scavenger, and he saw a tiny plastic turtle in the sand and climbed down under the boardwalk to retrieve it. It now sits on our dashboard.

We went back to our hotel to rest for awhile. Here's what it looks like from the front (if we had gotten the "city view" we would have faced a lovely Motel 6 and a $5 and Under souvenir shop).

We enjoyed a lovely sunset.

And after flipping between HGTV and a couple of random movies, we decided that we should probably eat something. We were going to go somewhere nice and dress up, but we really just wanted to go somewhere casual, and somewhere where we wouldn't be around loud people.

So we went to TGI Fridays. We are not model vacation-goers. Yes, there were plenty of local places and even a breakfast-all-day place, but we were hungry for just appetizers. Judge away. They have a three for $15 appetizer thing so we got bruschetta (my choice), bacon mac and cheese bites (compromise), and corned beef sliders (Carson's choice). All tasty, but the bruschetta was the best. I'm allergic to tomatoes, but I love that stuff and make exceptions for it on occasion.

We spent a lazy morning watching more HGTV, sitting on the balcony in the sunshine (it wasn't windy that day) and trying to decide what to do. I made Carson take pictures before we checked out. Moved the camera a little on accident and you don't get the view at all. Oops.

We decided to go to McGuire's Irish Pub for lunch. It was recommended to us by a couple of people and didn't REALLY seem like our kind of place or our kind of food, but the number of recommendations and the fact that it's apparently popular with both locals and tourists intrigued us. We loved it. It's very dark inside, as we expected, but what we didn't expect were dollar bills EVERYWHERE. The waitress told us that there are over $1.4 million dollars and I'd believe it. They are tacked up on the walls, hanging from the ceiling... just everywhere. It had a fun vibe, and while I'd imagine it gets rowdy on an evening, for a Sunday brunch it was great. We had the brunch, which was excellent. I had shrimp and grits and Carson had a breakfast burger.

After lunch, we met up with my friend Katherine and her husband Matt, who live in Destin. We strolled along the Harborwalk and sat and talked. Only when we got to the car did I realize that I'd had my camera with me the entire time, yet forgot to take a picture. I just took this one of the boardwalk because apparently, I'm not that brilliant.

I have to say that it is so funny being on a beach and wearing shorts in November. I'm sure this used to be my life when I lived in the South before, but I took it for granted and/or I was a little more wimpy in the cold than I am now so I wore sweaters in 65 degree weather. I keep Cleveland, Spokane and Tallahassee's weather all on my phone so that I can compare them and I am (so far) certainly NOT missing colder temperatures. 
Related Posts with Thumbnails Follow Me on Pinterest