Sunday, April 26, 2009

My Kind of Car Shopping

After Mass this morning we went out for breakfast. We'd taken two cars (ours and the in-laws rental) so I headed home and the Irishman and his parents went out to run errands.

I have had a bit of a headache, so I was checking my e-mail and about to go for a nap when I got a call. It seems they found a car they thought I might like. The best part? They drove it from the dealership to the house so that I could see it.

All I had to do was walk out the front door.

No salesmen, no pressure.

It is the only way to go!

Even better yet? We love the car. It is a 2008 with 14,000 miles on it. We have not had a car payment...well ever, so it is still a lot of money, but it is a good deal and has a great warranty. We have it on hold and will call the bank in the morning. The dealership has an Irish background so they waived the holding fee. It keeps getting better!

This is my kind of car shopping!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Car Not-So-Fun

This is my in-laws last weekend before they head back to the other side of the pond so we are trying to fit in everything they wanted to do but haven't yet. I see a lot of eating our in my future! It also means that we have been out and about A LOT lately!

Update from my last post: The car is fine. They cleaned whatever part made the "Check Engine Light" go off without cleaning out our checking account and the car is running well now. It is however 10 years old and shared between the two of us...we've decided it is time to start looking for a back up.

Yep, we hope to become a two car family soon. So far our biggest obstacles have been 1) our very small budget, 2) neither of us would be what you could consider "car people", and 3) we both HATE car shopping. The Irishman and his father have been looking around for the last week or so.

This afternoon we drove 45 minutes to a dealership that had an impressive ad in the paper. We had possibly the most inexperienced car salesman ever and then discovered the ad was an all out lie not completely truthful. (You know...add an extra $4000 to the price if you want an extra like air conditioning...not that they have any cars like the one in the ad on site. If you ask though they will order it!)


I REALLY hate car shopping. I also hate test driving. I am happy to drive around the parking lot. I do not need to drive to the next town.

(Side note: I said that to the most inexperienced car salesman ever today and he asked if I'd crashed a car while test driving or, no. Thanks for the confidence though!)

Let me get a feel for it and I am happy. I do not live to drive. I do not need to see the engine. What I DO care about is the price. Driving your car is not going to make me fall in love with the car and agree to pay more!

I was hoping to head to the beach or the pool today, but I got to go car shopping instead. How did that happen?

On the plus side we stopped at Kohls on the way home and I got a couple of cute dresses. (One was on clearance for $5 and change. Love that!) We followed that up with Sonic for dinner. It hasn't been that long since Kohls and Sonic ventured into South Florida, so that still makes me quite happy.

I guess I'd better go back downstairs and be social. I kind of snuck away...

Happy weekend!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Not my Lucky Day

This morning started out like most others. We left the house just barely late on time.

It was down hill from there.

As I locked the door I discovered the outside of our house was infested with ants.


We quickly grabbed the Orange Guard Spray and the Irishman finished the bottle. This is when it started to rain.

(I didn't take a picture, but you can imagine us standing in the rain. The Irishman was spraying the ants and I was a back seat over there...wait you missed a spot...there are more by the window!)

Did I mention that I have morning duty this week?

And we were umbrella-less so I had to drive the Irishman all the way into the office instead of leaving him in the middle of the road like I usual do...

Thankfully the not-wanting-to-get-wet Irishman called a co-worker of mine who covered for me for the extra ten minutes I was late due to my time spent ordering the execution of ants.

The rest of the day was okay. I thought it was Wednesday all day. We had an extra long faculty meeting on a Tuesday. They are usually only on Wednesdays. That didn't help my day confusion, but I survived.

I stopped at Whole Foods on my way home. (We finished our supply of the Orange Guard natural ant killer and I feared we hadn't seen the end of the ants...) Thankfully I do not mind killing time at Whole Foods. I thought the day was looking up.

Then the Check Engine light came on in the car on my way home.

I'm beginning to think that I didn't have bad luck I wouldn't have any at all!

(And just so this is not a complete moan...the spray worked this morning and the house is now covered with dead ant bodies. Not the best, but an at least they are not moving! My in-laws are still in town so they are going to take the car to the shop in the morning. Again, not perfect, but at least I do not have to figure out how to get it there!)

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Missing Tex Mex

I was really at a loss about what to write about today. It is the first lazy Saturday morning with a free guest room in about a month. (My in-laws rented a car and are spending a few days in the Naples area.) It seemed a waste not to use it, but my creative juices were just not flowing.

Then I read what a friend had written about driving 20 minutes away to her favorite Mexican food restaurant. I was a tiny bit jealous. She lives in Houston. There is good Mexican food on just about any corner. I REALLY miss that!

I have lived in South Florida for about 6 years. I am yet to find a GOOD Mexican food restaurant. Sure there are lots of places that advertise themselves as Mexican food, but there is nothing like Papasitos here.

A couple of weeks ago I was finally able to put my finger on the problem. I am looking for TEX MEX. We have a great Mexican restaurant near us, but it just isn't quite what I am looking for. I always leave full, but disappointed. The reason? It is Baja-style. I am not a California girl.

Side note: My Irish in-laws were NOT at all impressed with this particular Mexican restaurant we took them to. They had never been ANYWHERE like it. They kept saying, "Auntie so-and-so would never even walk into a place like this." Their eyes were opened wide with shock and we had to order for them. I think they were expecting something like the Spanish Restaurants they have been to in Europe...not even close! It was an experience!

South Florida has plenty of Cuban restaurants. There are multiple South American steak houses. Tex Mex? Not so much. I might find something if I were to drive to Miami, but the Irishman isn't THAT into Mexican food. (And it would have to be REALLY good to justify driving to the craziness that is Miami!)

There is a new place that opened near my grandparents house, but it is pricey. I have not yet been there, or heard from anyone who has. I am encouraged though...they it advertise as my beloved Tex Mex. (It think the original chain was in least it wasn't California!) Now if I can just talk the Irishman into taking me there...

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Easter Sunrise Mass 2009

We headed to the beach for 6:30am Sunday morning to celebrate Easter Sunrise Mass. This has become a tradition of ours and we were thrilled to have the Irishman's parents in town to join us this year! We love to watch the sun come up over the water during Mass. It was such a beautiful morning.

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Saturday, April 11, 2009

Spring Break Tale, Part Two

Friday morning, our travelers woke up in Ft. Walton Beach to an unfamiliar sight. After some debate, they decided it was indeed the ever elusive SUN!

They quickly packed up their gear and headed to the beach.

The sand was gorgeous! The weather was beautiful! It was a perfect day!

The Irishman and his parents slept on the beach. (The good daughter-in-law decided not to post the picture of them lying on the beach looking half-dead.) You can tell they are well rested in this shot!

The daughter-in-law forgot to bring her book, so she walked up and down the beach to get away from the snoring taking pictures.

After about an hour and a half, our travelers had to hit the road.

And they drove sunburned happily back to sunny South Florida.

Spring Break Tale, Part One

Once upon a time an Irish mam and an Irish dad came to visit their Irish son and not-so-Irish daughter-in-law in sunny South Florida. The Irish parents were given the keys to an apartment Ft. Walton Beach. It was decided that the four would drive the nine hours and spend a restful week along the Florida Panhandle.

When they arrived, it seemed the sun was also on vacation.

The warm, sunny temperatures they enjoyed in South Florida were no where to be found. They wore the couple of "winter" items in the suitcases for most of the week.

For fun they took a trip across the border to Alabama.
They met an alligator. (Okay so maybe they enjoyed looking at the alligator from a safe distance...)
They stopped and ate a nice lunch. Then they drove back to Florida.

And it rained.

And it rained.

And it rained some more. They had no cable TV, but the younger Irishman brought DVDs. Only Fools and Horses, Father Ted, Baywatch...exactly the kind of viewing that his wife barely tolerates.

By Thursday night it was time to pack up and prepare to head back to the sunny south. The group went to bed listening to thunder and pouring rain. They thought they would never see the sun again...

Monday, April 6, 2009


We made it back from our trip on Saturday afternoon...I thought we would return Friday...but my travel companions had other plans. I spent the day in bed Sunday with a migraine. Not nice! I guess my body thought I needed the sleep!

We did have one hour of sun on the beach during our trip to North Florida. I'll post pictures soon.

Back to work today. I could tell the kind of day it would be when the front office buzzed my room at 7:30am.

Front office: Good morning! Did the assistant principal happen to tell you that you are going to a training for the new audio enhancement system?

Me: Umm, no, I don't remember that...

Front office: Okay we weren't sure. It is at 10:00 this morning.

Me: Wanting to scream as I think about the hours of work I didn't do this weekend because of our extended trip but instead answering cheerfully Oh, okay.

Front office: It is in your classroom.

Me: Oh. (pause) Okay.

Yep. I got to add "frantically clean classroom before 9AM Code Red drill" to my to do list. Thankfully I got a ride to school with a friend so I was THERE on time for once. I also got to host the vendor and make small talk. I was not in the mood for small talk.

Most importantly though, I survived! My in-laws had homemade french onion soup waiting for us when we got home. The Irishman and I cleaned tonight. Not fun, but we got a lot done.

Now however, I am off to bed. Thankfully it is a three day week for my little darlings. The Irishman's parents picked up a parking pass this morning for Sunrise Mass at the beach, so it should be a wonderful weekend!

Is it wrong to be thinking about the weekend (and GB's cooking...yum!)already when it is only Monday?

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Alabama and Back

Dear Alabama Tourism Board,

I would respectfully like to suggest to you a new marketing campaign. While you have many great things to offer in your state, I think you may be missing a target demographic. It seems you have many great fans across the pond in Ireland.

Preliminary research has been inconclusive as to where this fascination with your state began. The books, movies, and songs that have traveled across the pond portray Alabama as the real American south. You may want to play on that.

I would also like to suggest that you put in a nice "Welcome to Alabama" sign at the welcome center on I-10. The best we could do for the obligatory picture was the same beat up doormat I photographed in 2001 (the first time I stopped at your welcome center with an Irish tourist).

We did very much enjoy the 100 Things to Eat in Alabama Before You Die brochure. As luck would have it we stopped at Felix's Fish Camp had the crab soup was quite nice. My mother-in-law took three of those brochures to show to people back in Ireland.

I hope that my suggestions are helpful to the great state of Alabama.

Warm regards,

Jenny @ Irish by Marriage

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Rain, Rain Go Away

Well we made it to Ft. Walton but we have not seen any sun since!

My in-laws have a friend back in Ireland who had a brother who was a priest. Father Sean passed away last year. (God rest his soul as they say.)

Father Sean worked in San Antonio but retired in Ft Walton Beach. His apartment has been empty for months, so his sister suggested we come stay here. The lovely widow who lives down the hall got the place ready for us and had stopped by to be sure we have everything we need.

So far the only thing missing is the sun! Yesterday we went to the outlet malls in Destin after getting wet on our 5 minute trip to the beach. We stopped at Walmart on the way back to the apartment to pick up dinner, "Marley and Me"and to take cheesy pictures.

It is overcast today, but thankfully the rain seems to have stopped. There is actually some flooding in the area. I am hearing rumors of a trip to Alabama. I still don't get it, but I love them so I'll go along with it!