Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Shopping With Grandkids

I was brave and ventured out for some shopping on Black Friday. We went later in the afternoon, when all the crazies were gone.

Gary had to work on Friday anyway and since he worked for 1 1/2 hours on Thursday he got off early. We picked up the grandkids Brandon (15), Alexus (11) and Mariah (8) to take them shopping for their Christmas gifts.

We have fun and so do the kids. This year we gave them cash to go shopping. Last year we got them Wal-Mart gift cards and they were so limited on what they could get, especially Brandon.

We knew that they have gaming consoles so figured that they would want to buy video games with their money, no such thing.

First we went to Wal-Mart and Mariah was the only one who found stuff there that she wanted. The girls and I went together and Brandon and Gary went together. Alexus wanted to find some drawing utensils, but there was not a huge selection for her. We took her to Office Max and she found some stuff for drawing but not a big selection there either. I did find some Christmas paper for the letters.

Next stop was the Rimrock Mall. We eat here giving the kids more options and they finished up their shopping here. Mariah ate pizza while the rest of us at at Fuddruckers.

Mariah wanted to buy some jewelry, so off to Claires we went. I told Gary that we were going to the jewelry store and when he saw us headed in that direction, he saw Kay's jewelry store. He told me that Mariah couldn't afford anything in that store. I looked at him and said give me a break, we are going to Claires. He can shop for me at Kay's.

The girls and I had fun shopping for jewelry. I did buy some Christmas earrings for cheap. Mariah had to make the hard decisions. What would she have to put back in order to get this. We went around for quite a bit.

The kids had a great time and so did we. We would have bought them some video games, but just giving them the money and letting them do their own shopping is so much better. This way they can get what they want.

Mariah bought a purse, wallet, heart shaped note paper, a feathered headband, some rings and a pen.

Alexus bought her drawing paper and markers, a colorful hair extension, ear buds for her ipod and a key chain.

Brandon spent his money on rubiks cubes. It is amazing watching him figure them out and he is so fast with it no matter how you mix up the squares.

The stores were busy, but no long lines and no crazy people. Still have more shopping to do and need to get it done so that I can get the packages shipped off in time.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Thanksgiving 2011

This will be a very memorable Thanksgiving. We almost didn't get to have the huge dinner with all the fixings.

I always bake my pies the night before, so when I got home after my workout I set the preheat on my oven. I sat down to eat dinner and figured that by the time I got done eating I could get my dinner rolls baked.

I didn't hear the beep that would notify me that my oven is ready, surely it would be heated up by now. When I went to check on it, no heat. Wonderful. Pulled the oven out and unplugged and plugged it in again, thinking maybe it would jump start. Still no heat in the oven. All the burners on the stove top works and so does my broiler.

Now going to plan two. I packed up all my baking utensils and ingredients for the pumpkin pies and headed over to mom's house. I can use her oven until we get ours fixed or something. I think Gary was all set to drive up to Billings that night and buying a new stove.

It took 2 1/2 hours to get the dinner rolls and pies baked. Mom's oven is smaller than mine so things cooked up a bit faster. Gary did come over to visit for a bit and he helped me load the pies and stuff in my car.

I didn't get one pie cooled off enough, by the time I got home the pie had shifted so one side of the pumpkin filling was deeper than the other.

Gary had to work for about 1 1/2 hours on Thursday morning to stock up his dairy stuff. I took him to work, then stopped at Mom's to get the turkey in the oven.

It all worked out and we ate our meal. This will surely be one that we won't forget and I'm thankful that I could go to my Mom's. Mom saved our dinner.

I did get the baking element ordered. First I had to find all the papers on the stove, then I got online. Just typed in the model number and there it was. It cost $40 for the part and shipping. The part was shipped today and according to the web site it should arrive by the end of the week. I did find a video on how to replace the element and it only took the man 3 minutes to get it all done. Will let you know how that goes later.

Monday, November 21, 2011

White Elephant Auction

Yesterday was our chapter meeting and White Elephant auction in Billings. This is alot of fun. We hold our winter meetings at Bones Brewery. Yesterday we had a meal catered and all the members had to do was bring some side dishes. Also you clean out closets for items to auction. The money from the auction pays for chapter events.

We made a cheese and cracker tray and for auction items we brought a golf bag and a car organizer bag. I won the organizer bag last year at Park's party and Gary won the golf bag last year at IGA's party.

For dinner we had baked ham, roast beef in a sauce and au grautin potatoes. Very yummy and an assortment of side dishes also very yummy.

After eating we had a short meeting. This is our end of the year meeting for mileage contests. All year long for every event that we attend we got a ticket and those tickets went towards prizes for the end of year. I won a stainless steel coffee mug and Gary won a HOG zipper pull.

Our friend Dale Butterfield won the mileage contest with 18,000 and our friend Dick took 2nd place with 15,000. Gary put in over 9,000 miles in the season. He was above average again this year, which he is proud of. Now the yearly mileage contest starts again.

We didn't get anything at the auction. The only thing I wanted was a basket full of whiskeys but I was outbid on it. I had a bid of $40 and the basket was almost in my hands when our friend Pat Breckenridge out bid me. I had a limit and didn't go any higher. The funny thing is the Breckenridges don't drink whiskey, they are scotch drinkers. I told them that I will be coming over to their house to drink my whiskey.

Gary talked to the guy who took home the golf bag. Gary didn't know if it was a good bag or not, the man was shocked to see it there. He said that the golf bag was one of the top ones. He is an avid golfer and was just shocked he got a golf bag for $15, he was in need of a new one.

Had a great time as always, there is always next year for prizes. Now I have to think about what to bring next year.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

I Finally Have A Coffee Pot At Home

I have been married for 24 years and I finally have a coffee pot at home. Gary doesn't drink coffee and I was the only one at home that did. I just didn't drink coffee at home.

I got enough coffee during with week at work and on weekends we would go out for coffee, so being without coffee at home wasn't a big deal.

Last night Gary bought a new coffee pot for his hot tea. That is what we used coffee pots at home for, hot tea. The old one still works, so I took it to make coffee.

For the first time in 24 years, I made a nice pot of delicious, aromatic coffee at home and I'm in heaven. Jennifer will help me drink coffee too.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Nightmare is Over, I Think

My nightmare with CenturyLink(Qwest) if over, I think. I had ordered for wireless internest service with them last month and it was a nightmare from day one.

I never did get any internet service and a service man was supposed to come to the house but didn't show up. At that point I got nothing but a major headache from all the phone calls I made that I canceled my account. I canceled well within the 30 days so I was not to receive a bill.

I did get a bill and when I called and spoke to George, I was told that I will be receiving another final statement with a zero balance. Would be getting that about 10 days after I canceled. In the meantime he was sending me labels so that I could return the modem back to them.

It took two weeks to get the labels, but I did get them and the modem was returned on Wednesday. I tracked the order and it arrived to CenturyLink on Friday. I have that printed off and in my folder.

I got another bill from CenturyLink. I was happy thinking that it would show a zero balance. It didn't. I owe them $34.90.

Just got off the phone with CenturyLink this morning. That was a nightmare, took me half an hour to get an English speaking person. The first person who answered was speaking English but in a very heavy Mexican accent that I couldn't understand him. When I asked him to speak to someone who speaks better English, I got a person who spoke nothing but Spanish. UGH!!

I told her that I want to talk to someone who speaks English, then she tried to help. I could at least understand her better than the first guy. But I couldn't get my point across to her. I asked to speak to a supervisor and she said she didn't have one. Very frustrated I hung up.

Called CenturyLink again and this time I got an English speaking person in Salt Lake. Told him about my problem with a new bill for $34.90 on a service that I had never received.

His name was Don and he told me that he zeroed out my bill that I will not be getting another one and I don't owe them anything. He said that it looked like the computer didn't get the notice that I canceled my account, but it was showing up on his computer.

The funny thing was at the end of our conversation he asked if there was anything CenturyLink could do for me. NO!!!!!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Vegas Trip

Two years ago Gary and I took a gambling junket to Wendover NV with our friends and the bug hit us, now we try to make a trip to Nevada every fall. Last year we went to Jackpot and this year we went to Las Vegas Oct 28-31.

We didn't fly Allegiant because the dates didn't work for us. Allegiant is the cheap airlines that flies direct from Billings to Las Vegas, so we flew on Delta. I went through our travel agent and she found us a good deal for flights and motel. We stayed at the Luxor Casino which is located on the south end of the strip. We even paid for a shuttle to and from the airport. This cost us $1000 for the two of us. All we had to do was pay for meals.

Mom took and picked us up at the airport all we did was buy her breakfast and dinner for doing us this huge favor. We left Billings at 11:30 am and arrived in Las Vegas at 2:30 pm. We had to get a connecting flight out of Salt Lake. We would have flown on Allegiant which is a direct flight from Billings to Las Vegas, but the dates didn't work for us.

Our travel packet had vouchers for the airport shuttle and the check in for the Luxor, but I had instructions to call the shuttle 24 hours before arrived to verify the confirmation. I was told that all I had to do was go to the ticket booth and have our voucher validated. They would give me tickets to get on the shuttle. Was told where to find them at the Las Vegas airport.

Found the booth for the shuttle, got our tickets and was told to stand in line #1. Very well. We got into line #1 like we were instructed. The bus driver started loading up passengers and called for line #1. Just before we got on the bus, he told me to stay put as there were others who were there before me, they were in lines #2 and #3. This got my ire because the driver was very rude about this. So we got back into line #1 and this time I stood in front to make sure that I would be first on the next bus. There was room for us, so we got on this bus anyway. Not sure how he knew who was first or not.

We got checked in, had to find our way through the maze of the casino. Our room was in the pyramid and we had to take elevator 4B to get to our floor. We were on the 12th floor. I was given a casino map and we found our way to the elevator. Riding in an elevator when a building is shaped in a pyramid is an experience. You are riding at an angle. I was fine as long as I could lean against the wall of the elevator, but when you had to stand in the middle, it was like you were drunk.

Ed met us at the motel on Friday night, we ate dinner at the Mexican restaurant in our casino. When we checked in received a booklet full of coupons and we had a 2 for 1 on beer at this place. Gary and I shared a plate full of nachos while Ed ordered three tacos. When his plate came out I swear those tacos were bite sized, very small. We get bigger ones at Taco Johns. After dinner Ed took us on a small tour of the strip. We walked to the Excalibur, MGM Grand, Tropicana and Hooters. At Hooters Gary and I signed up for the players card, we got $200 to gamble on and we also got a voucher for a free steak dinner since we were out of state residents.

I thought they would put the $200 on our cards and we could play any machine we wanted, that was not the case. You could only play on certain machines, the hostess would put in the money. You could not cash out and were required to play the max bet. In this case the max bet was $10. Didn't take long to use of $200 but it wasn't my money. The only time when you won was if you hit the $1000 or $100 marks. We didn't eat the free steak dinner. For that you got a steak, baked potato, texas toast and 2 pats of butter. We were required to buy a beer for $1.50 to get this.

Gary was the winner for the weekend, he won $2300. He played a couple machines won $50 on one and $80 on the other. He won $2200 on the college football games. We both lost on the NFL games. His winning ticket went down to the wire. The last game was Stanford and USC. Stanford had to win by 8 points. The game was very exciting, went into three overtimes with Stanford coming out the winner. In college football by the time you get the 3rd overtime teams are required to go for the 2 point conversion. Stanford had the ball first in the 3rd overtime, scored and made the 2 point conversion. It was USC turn, the player dropped th ball in the end zone. It was all very fun, there were alot of people in the sports book cheering. I can never complain about Gary watching too much football.

The rest of the weekend was spent gambling, we did walk around and check out the other casinos and I was able to get some photos. We did enjoy the pool at the Luxor.

It was Halloween weekend in Vegas so saw alot of costumes. Some were hard to tell if the people were wearing their regular clothes or were in costume. Most of the people on the strip were the young crowd, college age. We were surprised that so many were there as they were not in the casinos. Most were in the clubs partying and there were quite a few Halloween parties going on in the casinos. Sunday night you could not get in to the Tropicana as they were full with Halloween partiers.

The weekend went by so fast that it was time to go. I had called the day before to verify our seat on the shuttel to the airport was told that the shuttle would pick us up at 9:10 am and we would get to the airport in plenty of time to catch our noon flight.

We were waiting for the shuttle as it was running late. A security guard was talking to us and we found out that the last day our shuttle was in operation was the 31st. Gary was talking to another driver when he was told that we needed a pink ticket. I didn't get one, the lady only gave me pink tickets to get on the shuttle our arrival day, she handed me back the voucher for the return ride. The man wasn't sure that we would be able to get on the bus or we would have to stay on the bus until our voucher was validated.

Fortunate for us, the driver didn't care since this was the last day of them running shuttles. He took our voucher and said that was good enough. Whew. When I first checked in at the shuttle she did give me two tickets. She only saw me and didn't see Gary as he was standing out of the way. Apparently she didn't read the voucher that it was for two people.

We were so glad that we didn't have to check any baggage in, the lines were very long at the airport. Found the kiosk to print our boarding passes then finally found the gate we needed and made our way through security. That was a madhouse, must have been at least 500 people getting on flights, thought for sure we would miss our flight. We were in security for half an hour, didn't take long at all with all the people getting through. Just before we got to the security station, they had opened up another scanner and we were told to get in that line. It was just a regular metal detector, not the body scanner, that was in the other line. All of our flights were on time.

The Las Vegas airport is huge. When you first arrive you are on the ground floor to check in, then you have to go upstairs to your gate and security. Then you have to take the tram to get to the concourse.

This was a good year for us on gambling. I won $1100 in Deadwood and Gary won $2300 in Vegas. I do have my photos posted on Picasa.