Sunday, August 27, 2006

Wedding Miracle!

Meghan and I got married, and I wanted to mention that we were sooooo excited and blessed to have our friends and family come to support us for the big day.

I am sure I will be able to blog about the ceremony and reception and honeymoon at some point, also the violin at the ceremony recieved rave reviews (way to go Dale!), but I wanted to tell you about the miracle that took place during the wedding weekend.

For the wedding, Meghan had to have something old, new, borrowed and blue, and to take care of 3 of these things at once she had an old handkerchief from her Mother's grandmother (Meghan's Great Grandmother Rose). Apparently back in the day women had handkerchief sets, so each of Meghan's aunts and her mother received one of the matching handkerchiefs as an heirloom (so 5 exist). So Meghan had her Aunt Angie's handkerchief to cover off the old, borrowed and blue part (it is a white handkerchief with a blue flower embroidered on it).

For the wedding night Meghan and I stayed in the Amerisuites and fortunately for us (you will see why in a bit) the florist for the wedding was kind enough to stop by the hotel and place flowers and candles all over our room as well as to make a heart of rose petals on the bed. The next morning Meghan and I slept in a little too late and had to run out the door to make it to the brunch at our house that Meghan's family had prepared for all of the out of town guests. Well in our haste the handkerchief was mistaken for Kleenex and either left on the floor in the hotel room or inadvertently thrown away!

When late in the evening on Sunday while preparing to leave in the early morning for Aruba - Meghan realizes the handkerchief is missing and it all comes together that it is what was on the floor in the room. A call to the hotel revealed that a lost and found record did exist for our room that night but only for candle holders. Asking "what if" it were in the trash and the prognosis was grim... dumpster diving.

I knew I had to go and make an attempt, but I give Meghan's brother Matt a lot of credit for volunteering to come along and we headed off into the filth along with some prayers to find the handkerchief. Apparently all of the trash from individual rooms makes it into larger bags. We estimated that with 25 rooms per floor and 6 floors we had 150 rooms to deal with, maybe filling 15-30 large trash bags. The only hope was that the rose petals would clue us in on which bag may contain the handkerchief.

Once we arrived at 10pm we knew we were in trouble when the dumpster only had side access door as it was too tall to climb into. We began pulling out large bags and we were in pretty good shape, the bags were see through AND the hotel didn't throw out the smaller bags that were in the trash cans in the room, apparently they must leave those in and just dump the cans into these larger bags (gross). After about 20 bags in things look grim as we were nearing the end of the top layer of trash and the next layer was settled in and we began to hit bags of food waste. We were getting close to where we might have to climb in to get bags out! We had also pulled bags out which had large amounts of soda or coffee in them which would have ruined anything inside.

The 2nd to last bag in the top layer that we could reach I saw petals as I began to pull it out and there pressed against the outside of the bag was the handkerchief! With a small tear in the side we were able to pull it out, still in tremendous shape! It is also funny that we were married in St. Anthony church, the patron Saint of lost articles! Thank you St. Anthony!

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Travel from the UK

OK, so of course I am not a HUGE fan of traveling for work, especially only a few weeks before getting married, but to wake up in the UK on Wednesday to the terror warnings was a little too much. We were scheduled to fly out the next day, 8/11, and pretty much all over the news was the fact that even though they had arrested 24 individuals, they still thought up to 40 were out there so the extreme restrictions were imposed on all travel in the UK especially to the US.

So here we are, calling our corporate safety team (who was useless). They reco'd taking a cab to Paris (likely $1,000 or more) and flying out of Paris. We felt that we'd be safest in London since they had the most strict security.

We got to the airport at 6am for our 10am flight. The Flight boarded at 12 and we sat on the tarmac until 4pm. We knew we were in trouble when they said "we are being required to stay here until all the passenger logs are transferred to and approved by the US, and now for a movie". I saw 4 movies during that trip:
1. RV
2. Stick It
3. Lucky Number Slevin (Which was my favorite!)
4. Thank Your for Smoking (Another awesome movie)

We played a game in called "find the Air Marshals" and I won because I spotted the guy next to me within minutes. For national security reasons I won't divulge my keen perceptive skills online. I then ID'd another Air Marshall by how he interacted with my guy. One of my friends ID'd a 3rd, and after we landed we found out that we actually had 4 Air Marshals in Business Class alone! (we were right on our 3 of 4). After we landed I hinted to the guy next to me that he was an Air Marshall (I figured I wouldn't blow his cover while in the air) and he was subtle but let me know I was right, so I thanked him and told him we really appreciated everything he was doing for us.

Final thoughts on London, basically all the prices for food and clothing etc in London were identical to the US but in Pounds, therefore everything costs double! I couldn't believe it and pretty soon you had to stop doing the conversions because it was depressing. Needless to say we spent a lot of money (I didn't have a dinner under $60 and they weren't fancy (and of course in the UK they weren't that good. If you haven't been, just know that they don't care as much about food and the meals are pretty poor).


Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Vegas Wedding

We just got back from Vegas for a friend's wedding. It was a blast, I was trying to think how much of it was because of the Vegas setting versus the fact that my friend is just a crack up and threw a great party. His reception included an awards ceremony complete with certificates where he basically just made fun of his friends. It was a blast, all in all the Vegas wedding was a relaxed and fun time with an intimate setting (48 people total). It was a 5 hour ceremony and reception and all in all you'd have to say it's the way to go. From what I understand the wedding chapel took care of the details saving the couple all of the hassle.

In other Vegas news, we had heard through the grapevine that Lucky's 24/7 Diner in the Hard Rock Hotel had a "Gambler's Steak and Shrimp" special for $7.77 that was NOT on the menu. And we found out.... it's true. It's not listed on the menu, and it's about 1/2 the price of all of the other entrees. Part of the appeal I think is feeling like an "insider" and getting a great deal, and this special travels via word of mouth (just like this post). My comments on the meal, you get a decent size piece of steak, 3 grilled shrimp, a potato and a salad. I thought the steak was too peppery, but it certainly was a good deal.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Sprinklers from Down Under

It's a Christmas Miracle (in July). After a long dry month, the beautiful grass we inherited from the previous owners was turning brown. Neighbors had kindly stopped by to tell us that this used to be the best looking lawn in the neighborhood. So we tried watering the lawn with a sprinkler, but it was a pain and we have a lot of lawn (no pun intended). Well Lo' and behold Matt (Meghan's Brother) found out that we have a built in sprinkler system! I should clarify that we knew we had sprinklers in the flower beds, but when Matt started up the system sprinklers from down under popped up and just about the entire 1/2 acre of lawn can be watered. Right now the sprinklers come on at 6:30 am every day to help us get back our nice green grass before the wedding.

This is not a picture of my lawn.

FUN LAWN FACT! (From EverGreen Lawn Services)
Our house inspector told us the same story so here's a fun way to save some money IF you have a sprinkler system or use a lot of water outdoors.
     "Installation of a second water meter can save you considerable amounts of money in the long run. Most city water departments incorporate sewer into your water bill. Sewer is generally billed as a percentage of your water charges and can be as much as 75% of the price you paid for water. By having a secondary water meter installed by the city as an irrigation meter, you only pay for the water you use, not the sewage. These additional meters generally run in the range of $400 to $500 dollars to have installed by the city, but generally will pay for themselves in monthly savings within the first 2 to 3 years of service."