Coffee

Some days there just isn’t enough coffee.

The weather has been interesting the past few months. It seems like we are dealing with the threat of severe weather about once a week. I haven’t lived in my home long enough to figure out all the sights and sounds and having as many windows as I do creates a certain amount of anxiety every time we have a weather warning. Each time we get an evening or late night thunderstorm warning I tend to not sleep well. The threat of high winds and hail creates a sense of uneasiness and the fear of broken glass and damage to my home.

Of course it never seems to occur on a Friday or Saturday night but on evenings before a work day. I am not a morning person at all and mornings are rough when you don’t get a good night sleep. I find myself stopping for caffeinated beverages most mornings and usually requesting an extra shot of espresso.

While this wouldn’t seem like that big of a deal the high influx of caffeine has also created some heartburn. That’s no fun. I am finding it tricky to strike a balance between total alertness and just fully functioning. I think I need more water…

Under Water

We struggled with wet weather last summer while trying to get our shop up. Now I am dealing with the same issue while trying to get it finished. We have not had a decent dry stretch of working weather for weeks. My driveway is a mud hole. The contractor I hired hasn’t even started although the mental effort is there. He started to bring out some of his equipment. Even my attempt to get stone laid on the front has been hampered by the weather. The only decent two days we had in the past few weeks had the heat index into the 100s. Not ideal for working outside in Minnesota.

We aren’t talking about an occasional shower either. I’ve been dumping my rain gauge each time at the inches mark (yes, plural). Last weekend I had 6″ in one 24 hour period. Yesterday was 1.75″ and it rained overnight and has continued now into midday. I’ll be checking it again shortly.

I guess that means I’m supposed to work on something else. I would rather be outside doing physical labor. I can’t possibly mow my lawn so today will be spent doing some sewing and hem repair on a few clothing items, cleaning bathrooms, washing sheets, meal prep for the week, and catching up on some work. I foresee vinyl records turning in my future.

Give me a break! #EnoughAlready

Service

My family has been customers of the same Ford dealership for more than 25 years. Additionally, we have referred many friends to that dealership during the same time.

I’ll start by saying that in general, I can’t stand sales people. Especially slimy, insincere ones. Fortunately for us, this dealership doesn’t have any. Over the years ownership has changed, their pricing model has changed and even the line up of vehicles has changed (they used to also have Dodge and Jeep). However, through it all one thing has remained constant – the service.

When we started working with this dealership we lived more than 4 hours away. There was nothing convenient about it. Most of the time I wasn’t getting my vehicles serviced there. Once I took a price quote to my local dealer and said that if he could match the price I would buy local – they wouldn’t do it. Now in my 40s I can proudly say I have owned 4 different vehicles from this dealership. Our family has built a relationship with the staff. The last two times I have had the same salesperson help me. I trust them. I know I’m getting the best deal. They do things right because it’s the right thing to do. The service you get there isn’t like most car dealers. They aren’t paid on commission. Their job is to make sure you are happy with your purchase and taken care of. Why would you shop anywhere else?

I had let them know I would be looking to make a vehicle change within the next five months. It was a timeline my husband and I set based on the fact we didn’t want to buy tires again before snowfall. The day I went to see them and test drive some vehicles they did not have what I wanted. I had given them a list of wants, don’t wants and don’t care options to work with…from that they located a vehicle from another dealer and made arrangements to bring it in for me. Before I could get back there to see it, they called and said that they found out the vehicle had 6,000 miles on it but they were able to locate the exact same vehicle at another location. The new one was made later that same year and had some newer technology, it was brand new, and they would honor the original price they quoted me. Wow. I didn’t even have to ask.

Yes, I bought it. The proof is in the purchase. Small town service still exists.

Life is a Highway

Life is a highway. It is also a gravel road. This time of year it can smooth or full of potholes, bumpy or pitted, squishy and soggy, or a washboard. Over the past couple of weeks I’ve put a few miles on my car. I don’t always enjoy windshield time but the weather has been fairly decent and I am getting a nice left arm tan.

My travels have taken me through the Twin Cities a couple of times for some classes at the UMN. I’ve also been continuing with Cross Fit which adds and extra 30 miles to my daily commute. I’m on week 12 and still loving it. Yesterday was my worst day thus far and I learned a valuable lesson – all that stuff they tell you about sleep, water, and nutrition is absolutely true and I need to pay better attention!

I am finished with my classes and earned a Certificate in Organizational Development and Change Management. They even played pomp and circumstance when they handed out the certificates. Nice touch.

I’m trying to be smart about my travels and time on the road. I could have been gone four weekends in a row but opted for two. That means that a lot of graduation cards went in the mail – and that’s ok. I can’t be everywhere in person all the time.

Staying home hasn’t been super fruitful. Weather hasn’t cooperated much for outdoor activities. This weekend brought rain and unseasonably cool weather. The plus side is I got meal prep done early for this week, and laundry is caught up. Last weekend was 95 degrees and this weekend is 55 degrees. Much different.

I thought time would feel slower this summer but really it is the opposite. It is probably because there are things I want done and haven’t gotten to them yet.

Yesterday was the one year anniversary of the day we moved in and took the keys to our new home. It fly by! We have had some rocky moments but while cleaning today was really appreciative of what we have and what we have worked so hard to get.

The Urge To Try

In my last post I talked about my new adventure into Cross Fit. I have five weeks behind me and I’m headed into week six. I am finding it enjoyable and challenging. This initial six weeks is part of a challenge group. After that I’m on my own. The challenge group comes with some extra support and guidance, particularly around nutrition.

Well, I got fearless on Friday night and decided to venture outside my routine. HUMMUS. I love hummus. For most people it’s things like French Fries or Doritos, or Fritos with Top The Tator. It’s hard to stop at just one bite or one serving (which happens to be 2T of hummus).

Most of my meals during the week are prepped but the weekends can be a little rogue. I got carried away and the next thing I knew I had consumed half the container.

To be honest I haven’t followed my plan to the letter. A few things have made it in to my meals or snacks that weren’t recommended. Raspberries for example. Eh, there are worse things I could eat. I have packed hummus with celery as a snack before but this was a wide open container on my counter. Not a good idea. Needless to say, I did not make it to the gym on Saturday morning. Tummy ache. I learned my lesson – enjoy in moderation. So I stopped at the grocery store on Saturday afternoon and bought three more containers. Hey, at least it wasn’t cookie dough!Snaccident:

1. n. Eating an entire box/bag of something by mistake.

(Credit: found on Facebook)

Time to Grow

As we come to the end of the first week of April one might think this post is about an upcoming landscaping project or preparations to plant a garden, but no. It is still winter where I live and it looks to be that way for a while.

I belong to a group on Facebook and the post today focused on reflecting on ways in which you have grown in life and share a thought.

As I reflected on this past year my “growth” was three pronged.

1. Intellectual Growth. It started 12 months ago when I took a new job. There was a learning curve associated with the switch from private to public sector but I have loved the challenge and opportunity to learn and grow. In my new role I have also been able to further pursue an area of personal interest – organizational development and change management. I’m currently on course to obtain a certificate in this area by June 1 and have begun leveraging my knowledge and expertise.

2. Spiritual Growth. Following our move last year the construction consumed all remaining free time over the summer. Last fall I set a goal to find a church to join. After a few months of church “shopping” (or hopping) we found one and will formalize it in April at the new member welcome and service.

3. Physical Growth. The job change threw a curve ball into my life. Because I ended up commuting for months I gave up my gym membership and trainer. For the past year, other than our construction project, I’ve basically been a couch potato. That ended a few weeks ago when I joined a Cross Fit gym. I’m loving every minute of it. It’s hard getting back into shape – physically and mentally. It is a community of regular people who support and encourage each other. You aren’t there to compete with anyone but yourself and I push myself pretty hard. I guess the same could be said for the other two areas – honing a new skill or connecting to a new community. You have a stretch yourself.

I’m sore today, and tired. But, I’m going to keep going. I’ve made a commitment to myself to continue to improve and that doesn’t happen sitting on the couch.

Gratitude

I am going to start by saying that I love Minnesota and really couldn’t imagine living anywhere else. However, there are days when the weather can leave you frustrated and dreaming of a beach.

Growing up here you learn to drive in all kinds of conditions. I don’t consider myself an overly cautious driver, but a smart one, when it comes to winter driving. I drive based on the elements. Today was just an all-around gross day. It snowed all day and it’s warm outside which lends itself to slushy, crappy roads. As I watched the snow fall throughout today I knew the drive home would not be a fun one. I had plans to work out after work and that meant driving a half hour to get there. I decided to leave a few minutes early to beat the rush.

I was taking my time, driving at a comfortable speed and paying close attention to the condition of the road when I see a black Dodge Charger doing 360* turns down the middle of the highway headed straight at me. Thinking back, it wasn’t an “oh holy sh&$” moment but more like a “you’ve got to be kidding me” kind of a thought. Like, “how the heck do I avoid this?!”

Well, I didn’t. I was able to slow down and get as far over to the shoulder as I could without driving into the ditch. It just wasn’t quite far enough. Hey, the car is still drivable and I’m not hurt. Grateful.

That isn’t what prompted me to share this post on gratitude. It’s what came after. So the other driver and I got off the highway. It happened near an intersection so we were able to pull onto a county road, assess the situation, call it in and then sit and wait for a deputy of come and write up a report. Frustrating, yes. Annoyed, yes. There I sat. I love the saying “It is what it is” and that’s where I was at in my head. About 5-10 minutes into my wait while I was on the phone with the claims adjuster I had my gratitude moment. As I sat at the intersection with my hazard lights on I was witness to a second accident just a few hundred feet down from where I got hit. Only this one was bad, really bad. I just said to the adjuster “I have to go” then hung up and called 911 for a second time. As people pulled off and ran to the vehicles I began describing the scene. Traffic in both directions came to a halt. As the emergency vehicles started to pour in I knew I would be there for a while. I was no longer the priority. I grabbed a safety vest out of the back of my car and walked up the road to one of the officers, explaining my observations and situation. Then I went back to wait. Eventually they got to me and to the driver who hit me. By that point it seemed like small potatoes in the grand scheme of things.

Gratitude. I remember thinking that to myself repeatedly – it could have been so much worse for me. I got lucky. The timing was only different by a few minutes. The location was roughly the same. Today, I have an immense amount of gratitude. I drove away. The other two cars, did not.

Be thankful for what you have and who you are. If you don’t like it, change it.