To my lovely Brides-to-Be…

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Women are known to be catty. And manipulative. And crazy. While the majority of us are completely sane, compassionate, and wonderful, there definitely is a population of loons that we all need to look out for. Weddings bring out the terrible traits far more than any other event or time in a woman’s life.

Little girls are taught that their wedding day is their day. While this is somewhat true-they are the center of attention for the day-they do not, in fact, own that date. I have been married for 2 years now. Thank God. If I had to do the whole wedding planning and wedding scene over again, there would be a lot of dead bodies to hide. I do feel for my friends who are now starting to catch up to me with their nuptials. So ladies, this one is for you. 

1. You do not own anything: You do not own the date, or the colors, or the theme. You may have some really clever ideas about some real out there theme or some neat favors. But you don’t own June 18th. This is your special event-your special time… not your day.

2. There are like a bazillion brides getting married this year. And next year. And the year after that. You can’t get it in your head that you’re the only bride in the world. I know you want to feel special-and you should! This is a very special time in your life! But you’re not alone. And you’re not the only one to be doing this.

3. That being said, Be nice to other brides. You are more or less in the same boat. No one died and made you queen. At expos, in conversation, and in general, be pleasant and polite. You might make a friend, or more importantly, keep a friend from it. It might make you feel better that someone else is going through the same craziness and stresses that you are. It is nice to have someone to relate to.

4. Everyone has a different love story. When meeting other brides or when friends turn into fellow brides, don’t judge their love. You may have been with hubby for 6 years while your fellow bride has only been with hers for 9 months. That’s ok. They are entitled to marriage just like you are. Love is love, my friend. They might have had different circumstances (i.e. they were in a different point in their life when they met each other) that allowed them a quicker way down the aisle. Don’t discount them.

5. Please, please, please- Be mindful of other people’s time and money. You can get married in Maui, on the top of a mountain, or at the most chic restaurant Boston has to offer. If you’ve got the money to burn, go for it! But if you want everyone to have matching Louboutins, to bring you to Aruba for your bachelorette, and you only register for Tiffany’s, you’re dreaming. People want to celebrate with you and they want to give you gifts. Now if you’re anything like me (normal 😉 of course), you’ve got friends and relatives that might hit every income level. Make sure you give a little consideration to everyone involved so to not burden or embarrass anyone.

5. Register for that mixer. And for those little things, too. When I was registering, I actually got embarrassed when the woman at the stores kept trying to get me to register for big ticket items. A $200+ knife set? Puh-leez. I couldn’t do that to anyone. A $350+ mixer?? Oh, no way! But yes, yes way! Sometimes people are generous or they would like to go in on a big item with family or friends. I got both the knife set and the mixer. Also, don’t forget to register for items that are smaller like spatulas and baking accessories. People that don’t have a heck of a lot to give can buy these things for you and still feel like you are getting what you want. On the same note, register at a couple of different places. It is the worst when you only have one store to choose from. Do 2 or 3, a lower-end/box store, a mid-range department store, and a more upscale store would be great. You’ll get some great gifts and people of all incomes can find something for you.

6. Back to the date thing. Like I said before, you don’t own the date. You also don’t own the month or the season. If you have a friend or a family member that is engaged and trying to pick a date, don’t shit on them because they want a summer wedding, too. The only time this becomes an issue is if your fellow bride is a family member and family will need to travel far to get there. This kind of happened to me. My hubby’s cousin got engaged two months before we did. I thought I was being nice and let her pick her date before I picked mine (why? I don’t know.). So after a while, she finally picked May. I wanted June ideally so I thought it would be fine. Nope. She picked the end of May and their family threw a fit because their family apparently would not come to both weddings. (Mind you, they were all local and travel was not an issue but I could see this being an issue if family needed to travel say from Virginia to Maine twice in a 30 day period). I was really bummed but I picked the end of August so that it wasn’t scorching hot and it gave their family enough time to recouperate for another wedding. Moral of the story? Hubby’s cousin and her fiance broke up and their wedding never happened. It would have been fine if we hadn’t placed a considerable amount of money down as a non-refundable deposit for our venue.

If you want a summer wedding-have a summer wedding. If you want a beach themed wedding, have a beach themed wedding. One thing you have to remember is that even if you are family, the other side (spouse’s side) is going to be different at each wedding. And you probably have different friends as well. And if you’re friends, you probably have different family. So even if your weddings are almost identical, No One Will Know… Or Care. Uncle Bob has no idea what a sand ceremony is and is probably only thinking of when dinner is going to be served… so relax!

7. Your wedding, your opinion, your decision. While you may not own anything here (date, colors, theme, etc), it is your event and your time as a couple to celebrate and be celebrated. Most people only have one shot for this thing so make sure you are out to please yourself. Personally, I got some great advice from a friend before planning my wedding. “Don’t listen to anyone else. Just smile and do what you want anyways”. I felt like my hands were shackled tied when it came to most things so I didn’t follow her advice as much as I should have. It really is the best advice. People have opinions about everything and especially with weddings, they aren’t afraid to share them. Women especially have it in their head that what they say should matter. Maybe their wedding wasn’t the greatest or because they did something 20 years ago one way, you should too. Smile, be polite, and graciously thank them for their input. Then go do what you want anyways (as long as it doesn’t endanger anyone and you’re not doing it out of spite).

  • If you have always dreamed of having a summer wedding but your sister says it is too hot, maybe it will be warm but if that is what you want-book that July wedding.
  • Your mother-in-law wants to invite her 2nd cousins but you don’t have the room? Explain to her that you don’t have the room to invite them but you would love it if they could come to a party down the road and celebrate then. This may not go over well and your MIL might threaten not to come to the wedding (don’t do us any favors). If this is the case, too bad. Because her 2nd cousins might not even show up.*
  • Your own mom doesn’t want a certain theme because it isn’t her thing. Explain that it is important to you and that you’d like to do it that way.**

Of course, these are all WAY easier said than done but in the end, who is going to remember this day as such a big part of their lives. YOU. They had their fun (usually) and now it is your turn.

Ultimately, you’re the bride and you’re in charge. Don’t ask anyone’s permission to do something for your own wedding.

All I am asking is please be mindful of others (brides included) and at the same time make your wedding YOURS. Be nice and do your own thing ladies. Weddings turn people into territorial bitches. Don’t let this happen to you-everyone deserves their own special time. Your wedding will be lovely, and so will you, so go enjoy it 🙂

 
*Personal experience. I had 5 seats to fill after being bullied into inviting people I had never even met. This meant hubby’s friends and mine couldn’t be invited. How embarrassing to call the day of the wedding to see if people are available to come?? After being completely mortified, my mother invited some co-workers who ended up coming and having a GREAT time.
**My parents graciously and generously helped out with the cost of the reception. Other brides who have this generosity may feel like they have to do everything their benefactors say. While this is true, be respectful and see what you can compromise on. If you’re paying for the wedding yourself do whatever you want. Your time, your money, your decision.
 

 

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What Is Said and What I Imagine: A Visual or DON’T CALL IT THAT!

Thank God for Facebook! How else would I see minute-by-minute plays of your new baby smiling for the first time (gas?) or the 9210823123182301823 adorable little outfits your daughter has tried on today?? In reality, I don’t mind being inundated with updates of the little ones-they are mostly cute (another blog for another day: apparently there IS such a thing as an ugly baby!!). I DO mind, however, how you refer to them. Why? Maybe it is my overactive imagination providing some serious imagery when you call your kid pet names. Here is a short list I have compiled of things friends of mine have referred, or more often, commonly refer to their children as. I have taken the liberty to provide images of exactly if not the closest thing that I see in my head when I read these…

1. Panda: This is actually my favorite as the visual it creates is really kind of cute. Panda bears are cuddly (looking) and cute and fluffy.

16-week-old giant panda cub, Hua Mei, at the San Diego Zoo.
Ron Garrison/Associated Press

2. Baby Bear: Also pretty cute. They are also fuzzy. Awww, Baby Bear. This, I can handle.

Baby polar bear makes her public debut at the Buffalo Zoo
Yes, you’re a cutie.

3. Bug: Ok, this one is borderline cute. I guess a little lady bug image isn’t so terrible. I think these image are what you mean to convey.

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Happy little lady bug

However, this is what I imagine.

4. Bean: A bean is a legume. A baby is not. This is maybe what you mean?

Uppies!

5. Nugget: Chicken nuggets anyone?? There is no way of making this cute in my mind’s eye. However, maybe this is what you might be going for? 1980s McNugget commercial cute??

I don’t see cute nuggets. I see non-animated, non-cute, actual nuggets.

6. Lizard: What the hell?? The Geico Gecko is pretty cute but that is not what comes to mind first. Please, please don’t call your kid a lizard. It is frightening and downright mean. This could also be partly baby who was referred to as a lizard was also fairly unattractive (see future posting of “Ugly Babies: They DO exist”).

Actually kind of terrifying.

7. Little Man: By far the most common thing to call your little boy according to my latest Facebook stalkings. Also, my absolute least favorite. The imagery that surfaces when I see or hear people calling kids this is just horrifying. No more LITTLE MAN. He is a boy. A little boy. Probably even a cute little boy. BUT NOT A LITTLE MAN. People take note: If you don’t have kids yet, please do everything in your power to refrain from this because it is DOWNRIGHT CREEPY.

Seriously, please stop.

You obviously have the right to refer to your kids however you’d like-they are your kids! I know when I have children, I will be totally guilty of the same type of thing (hopefully not so bad). My own mother called my sister and I Tuna and Rodent respectively (both could result in some horrible imagery). But please-My imagination’s fragile state at this point really just can’t handle any more Little Men.

Giani Granite Paint for Countertops Review

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Before…
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After!

I decided at the beginning of the summer that the kitchen needed a little updating. Our appliances are mostly new and we changed the outdated knobs on the otherwise nice cabinets this spring. However, it needed some help. It could have had something to do with the 90s wallpaper that was original with the house. I stripped the paper and painted a nice buttery yellow color to contrast nicely with the sky blue counter tops we had. Well, the lovely laminate countertops had a 5″ laminate “backsplash” glued to the wall and essentially the paper I was trying to take off. I pried that off and took the paper off behind it, revealing uneven counters and some pretty messy caulking. I cleaned that up but there was no way to put the laminate back and the uneven up-to-1/2″ gaps between the wall and the counter didn’t help. After making trips to Home Depot and Lowes, I realized we could just put new countertops on, no big deal. I picked out some stock counters and we were all gung-ho until we were told that because we needed an extra food (The stock tops only come in 12 foot sections or something like that) that we would need to custom order and that would run us nearly double. What!?

Money wasn’t really the issue. We wanted these things done. So I went on a business trip and had every intention of coming home to replace the counters. While I was away, a friend “liked” a page or said something about the Giani Granite Paint for Countertops on Facebook. I was like hmm… So I looked into it. I watched a youtube video and was intrigued. After checking it out on the Giani Granite website and reading other reviews, I found there really wasn’t much to be said about them that was negative. Actually, they had surprisingly rave reviews.

I ordered my Bombay Black kit from Amazon and with my Amazon Prime membership, I got the kit in 2 days with free shipping for $75.55. Giani sells them on their website direct for $79.95 (with about $10 shipping) so I was pretty thrilled. I figured if it sucked, we were going to replace the counters anyways so let’s do this! It was a total experiment.

The kit comes with a priming paint, 3 mineral paints, and a top coat. It also comes with a big sponge, a roller with 2 roller heads, a practice paper, an instructional DVD, and a foam brush. I kind of expected the box to be really heavy but it wasn’t. The paints are really rich so a little goes a long way, which I loved.

We went to the store and bought some MDF board to use as a backsplash. We basically glued it and caulked it with paintable caulking (you will need to get rid of any silicone caulk because it won’t work with the product). I used 5/8″ board so it would look similar to granite. In reality, the granite would probably be much thicker, but we just didn’t have the room behind the sink to be any bigger. Now we are ready!

Here’s the Process

Put simply, you prepare, prime, sponge, and topcoat.

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Cleaned and prepped
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You probably can’t tell from the picture, but my counter is a good 1/2″ from the wall over there…
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Also ready to go. Notice the outlet and how I will need to fix around it because the lovely builders of my house papered over the hole -_-

After reading the directions, you have to clean your counters. You can use a simple degreaser and a scouring pad. I SOSed the shit out of the counters to make sure all the crap and wax I’ve spilled wouldn’t affect the outcome. Again, they want you to make sure you don’t have the silicone caulking but we had already taken care of that. It is also recommended that you rinse at least twice with water. You also have to tape around the backsplash. Giani recommends 2 strips of tape and being lazy, I only did one. Do two (believe me). AND!!!! DO NOT USE FROG TAPE. Someone told me that is the only one to use because it is just soooo good. LIES. It sucks.

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Taped and ready
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New backsplashes for everyone!
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Prepped and taped.

Once our counters were ready, I used the primer that they supply. You use the little foam brush to get on top of the back splash and in the crease of the backsplash and the counter as well as the little spaces the roller can’t reach. You have to wait 8 hours after putting the primer on. It did cover very well but I missed a few spots and after reading another review, noted the woman put 2 coats and it came out ok so I did another primer coat and it was perfect. The primer did cover very well, though.

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The primer covered really well
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Looks better already!

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Next, you cut the sponge into pieces and start with the mineral paints. It gives you detailed instructions on how to sponge the paint on and in what order. This was almost fun. I was nervous it wasn’t going to match from one end to the other, but the beauty of it is that you can go back and add more if you need it. There are 3 different colors. In this particular kit, it has a pearl/white/silver color, a nice glossy black, and a copper color for accenting. The accent color is used sparingly and I used it to paint some veins into the scheme. It looked like I just painted the counter at first but after the blending and adding the different colors, it looked pretty neat.

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After the sponging process. This part was easy because this section was small.
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This was a little more challenging because this section was much larger. Here you can see the difference.
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Hard section finished!

By the way, the paint washes out of the sponge and foam brush really easily with just water. Also, be very careful not to use any strong degreasers on your stove while th primer is bare… another reason I needed a 2nd coat. OOPS!

So the topcoat is the last of it. After waiting 4 hours for your spongepainting to dry, you can topcoat. There are detailed instructions and an extra video included in the DVD on how exactly to do it. I was a little nervous it would come out cloudy or with laplines but it came out nice. You wait 4 hours and do another, which really came out great. The next day you can use your counters and your dishwasher. Wait 72 until you can put small appliances back, and 14 before you should really be cleaning it. It should be totally cured in 30 days.

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Finished product!
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Done :)!
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Closer look…. notice the bleeding from the paint 😡
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Counters in use!

Ok, so it seems like a lot of waiting but it isn’t. I did a little bit here and there and even put a topcoat on before work so it was ready when I came home. The results really are great! I couldn’t believe it! The only downfall from the project was the bleeding I had from the TERRIBLE FROG TAPE and so I will have to figure a way how to get some of that off my wall above the backsplash. I totally agree with the reviews. It saved me about $600 from start to finish (including the adhesive, backsplash, caulking etc). So for a total of less than $100 I have brand new looking counters. The original counter’s integrity was great so it is great I didn’t have to waste a perfectly good top. My mother in law didn’t even know it wasn’t granite until we told her.

Thanks, Giani-you make a great product.

*disclaimer: I totally didn’t get paid to do a review nor was I supplied with the product from the company. I just love it THAT much. And don’t buy Frog Tape.

When The Details Become Life Changing

I did not post yesterday about 9-11. I wasn’t trying to be insensitive and I certainly did not forget, but I took that time and those thoughts to myself yesterday. I did post on my personal Facebook page

“I’d just like to thank all first responders and military personnel, both past and present, for protecting and keeping this country safe both home and away. I am proud to be a firefighter and remember our fallen brothers and sisters as well as all the other men and women who lost their lives 12 years ago.”

But as far as blogging, I just wasn’t feeling it.

I was only 14 when 9-11 happened. Actually, I was only 13 and just started at a private high school in a city far away from my small town. That day was completely terrifying for everyone and anyone and it is interesting to see how anyone you talk to knows exactly where they were and what they were doing exactly at that time. I was in Mr. Burke’s Biology class when they made the announcement over the loud speaker. It was one of those “Wait-what?” followed by “This isn’t good”. Ultimately, we got dismissed early through a lot of confusion and chaos. The parking lot was packed full of parents desperately trying to get their children. Living 45 minutes away from school in another state, I didn’t know what I was going to do. My aunt lived in the next town over and my cousin was in my class so she came to pick us up.

That point it was out of a movie for me. Almost slow motion. Many were stone faced and quietly ushering their kids into their cars and promptly heading home while others hugged and cried. My poor aunt had to park on the street and came walking towards us in great big steps with purpose, seemingly lost in her thoughts. She walked with conviction, her shoulders squared and her head held high. Crying. She was crying.

Puzzled, we didn’t know what to say. “The towers!” she cried. “John! Oh John!” We were still confused. She tried to smile and keep herself together, but she was so upset. I was alarmed as I had never seen her this way. It turns out that a friend of hers growing up and a neighbor of my parents growing up was the pilot of American Airlines Flight 11, John Ogonowski. She brought us home and we watched in horror as the rest of the days events unfolded, including the collapse of the towers.

The big things like the planes crashing into the buildings and the fire that resulted were scary, but didn’t make quite as much of an impact as seeing the men and women jumping and falling from the buildings. Those images haunted me for months afterwards and still haunt me now. The people were hopeless. There was no saving them. They were completely beyond control of their situation and it scared me senseless.

There was an article I read yesterday about “The Falling Man” and it brought back memories of my 13 year old self watching helpless as hundreds of people jumped to their deaths on TV. The despair, helplessness, and ultimate fate of these people touched me deeply. All the people in the floors above the crashes-they just knew they were going to die. This fact truly broke my heart and has for the past decade. I decided then I wanted to help people-to do whatever I could to help anyone so that that helplessness that those poor souls had to endure that day could be even the slightest bit diminished. I wanted to make sure those people did not die in vain.

I have made it my purpose to help people in any way I can. Whether it is saving someone’s life, easing discomfort, making any aspect of their life a little easier, comfortable, or more enjoyable, it is my purpose to do that for other people. I feel like I owe it to all those men and women who did not have that luxury and for everyone else watching wishing with all their might that they could just do something to help those people. Even a smile can go a long way to a stranger.

Those towers crashed down sending dust and debris for miles and losing so many office workers, firefighters, police, EMTs, chaplains… loved ones. Those images, while horrible and heart wrenching have nothing on me the way the images of those bodies falling has on me. My 13 year old self instantly changed from a teeny-bopping little girl to an old and tired soul. The horror that they kept filming was an instant growing monster inside me. The world was not a bright and beautiful thing, mine for the taking. It was evil and grotesque and decaying. My happy go lucky childhood had suddenly darkened like a sunny day when a storm suddenly approaches.

I am not special. I was not the only one to watch these things nor was I the only 13 year old kid who had to grow up that day. I was so lucky to go home to my family, to have everyone healthy and safe. I didn’t lose a parent in the attacks like so many other kids. My neighbor wasn’t filmed on TV jumping to her death or my friend wasn’t missing for days and days. I was so very lucky.

God bless those who perished and the survivors from that day. God bless the families affected, the first responders who are now suffering cancer and disabling diseases. God bless the men and women who have given their lives to serve this country as a result.

But please remember-any little bit helps. A smile, a helping hand, a kind word.

Do what you can for others.

2 Years Down of a Life Sentence

Dave and I celebrated our 2nd Anniversary this past month. The good news is we are both still alive and well, we haven’t killed each other yet, though not for lack of trying. Our relationship is as strong as ever and the mega-bumps and humps of the first couple years of marriage have smoothed down to something resembling cobblestone. We aren’t perfect-Well, I am, but I can’t say that collectively. People sometimes like to comment to us on our relationship. My favorite comments include “Dave! What a beautiful wife you have!” and “Wow, how did a guy like you get such a prize??” but we do get some comments laced with jealousy. At first, these used to bother me and cast even the slightest shadow of doubt into my mind, but now I have the confidence to smile and know just how solid we are together.

How do we do it?

We barely fight. That doesn’t mean we don’t fight, because we do. But in reality, we really respect each other and know in the back of our minds that we love the other person and they love us. Those things-those terrible terrible things-that the other person is so sensitive to (body image, self worth, intelligence, certain past mistakes), we don’t bring up in a fight. Those things that should never be said are never said and that makes a big difference. It shows that we respect each other even when the other person is being an ass. We also try to think of the other person. A lot of people fight because one person isn’t being considerate of the other. We generally try to think of the other person and how our actions could affect them. This doesn’t always happen on both sides of our relationship, but we try hard to and it works wonders. When we do end up in an argument, we try to use our words. I grew up with a household member who used his voice as a weapon-yelling an screaming. I vowed a long long time ago I wouldn’t yell and I certainly wouldn’t put up with it. We don’t yell but will try to talk it out, or at least give each other space. But really, we have a pretty mellow relationship and it is nice not to be fighting all the time.

We have fun. We are always picking on each other and teasing each other. We have really gotten to know each other and I always get a kick out of him when he reacts to my next move before it happens, just like when I cover my butt so he can’t smack it. I recently had him look at something during dinner one night. He looked at what I was explaining and then burst out laughing. I was confused until he told me that he instinctively covered his food so I wouldn’t steal whatever it was he was eating. That wasn’t my intention, but I guess he is onto me. He is onto my many tricks and that is what makes it fun. We are always playing little games on each other and trying to outsmart one another. We will tickle each other or poke or prod or annoy each other. Sometimes we will play and that is my favorite. When we just start doing silly things and go with it. One night we ended up making a game chucking dog toys at each other and pretending to be goalies… It was so random and unexpected, we had a blast.

We are thoughtful. I leave notes for him and he will sometimes leave me notes. He will get me a glass of water if he thinks I would like one and will go out in the morning and get coffee before I am even awake. I will bring home different food he likes as a treat and will make sure to bring an extra jacket for him when he says he doesn’t need one. When I travel for work, I will write a few notes and date them and hide them around the house, sometimes with a treat. I will email him or talk to him and let him know where I hid it. He likes to do things around the house and yard while I am gone (taking down trees, tiling the floors, leveling the backyard) and surprise me when I come home. This may read to you to be sickly sweet, but it isn’t in reality-just nice.

We worked hard. We still work hard. Being in a relationship is not easy… at all. There is always someone else to think of now, not just yourself. Your actions affect not only you but your partner or spouse. You can’t just go gallivanting around like you used to or eat all the leftovers or keep the toilet seat up (this isn’t a huge pet peeve but I did fall in and I was not impressed). It sounds restrictive but it isn’t and it isn’t hard to do. Dave has learned a lot about finances, keeping house, and not keeping everything inside (communication is key) and I have learned am learning to relax a little, that it is ok not to have complete control over everything, and that Dave’s cooking is pretty damn good. It isn’t a cake walk and hasn’t been but it has been so rewarding and wonderful.

So. To those who think we are just adorable together, *gag*, Thank You. To those who have told us all about the “honeymoon period” and to just wait until that ends… when is it supposed to end because we are pretty much as happy as pigs in shit and from our eyes, it can only get better from here.

Dave, I love you- and I thought I loved you then 😉

 

Home Again, Home Again

 

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Flags are flown everywhere!

We are back! We made it back from Hamburg in one piece! By we I mean my husband and I. Not just me on this trip! Woop woop!

The weather was fantastic, the food was great, and we had 9 days (that is 216 hours!) of uninterrupted “together” time. I am happy to announce that we are both alive and well and did not attempt to murder each other at all on the trip. Well, my attempt was foiled by housekeeping, but who is counting?

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The Hahbah

Anyways, we tried to do as much as we could together while we were there. We went to the Reeperbahn so that The Husband could see the prostitutes (what woman brings her husband someplace to show off the prostitutes?). This was particularly funny because the Women of the Night lining the streets are very pretty (from far away… like very far) but also very bold. If you don’t have a woman locked onto your arm, you are fair game. I am not entirely sure this is true, but I did not witness any Girls in my time there go after men with women with them. At first hubby thought it was funny (we were still on the other side of the street sans-prostitutes at this time). The women will chase down men to solicit them. Then we crossed the street to get a Döner (yum) and he didn’t think it was so funny. They were not nearly as attractive up close and I have only seen this much fear from him on very rare occasions. He would NOT let me go! He was teasing me and I pretended to get mad and walk away. Man, I don’t think he has ever moved that fast in his life. “Don’t leave me!” he pleaded. I shook my head and tried to shake him but he was legit freaked out so I gave in and let him hold my hand. We didn’t spend much time there at night, but he had seen enough. He wouldn’t even go on the other side of the wall on Herbertstrasse (a men only street for women to ply their wares in the windows). I called him names until he would at least peek. We bought a beer at a store and went to the water to drink it… and let him recover from what he had just seen.

We went to Planten un Blomen a few times to see the gorgeous park and flowers. We ate some snacks here and walked around. What a gorgeous area! The place is huge and there are chairs and places to sit everywhere! I desperately wish we could have something as nice back home. One day, we went to watch people playing chess. They have a giant chessboard with giant pieces. It seemed to us that these people play daily together. Most were in electric scooters and one man was wearing a skirt. Their scooters were hooked up to little trolleys with seemingly all of their belongings and they parked them inside the area to play. We couldn’t help but assume they were homeless (or close to it) so we essentially watched homeless people chain smoke and beat each others’ asses in chess for well over an hour.

The Husband was very excited there was so much going on during his stay. He met me there a week into my 2 week trip and there was a huge bike race through the city the weekend of his arrival. On Wednesday, we went to Hafen City for the day and came back to a tent city set up around the Alster (big man made lake). Upon seeing this in the distance, I got excited and hoped that it wasn’t another bike race. There had been a triathalon during my last trip and a bike race the weekend before and I didn’t want to walk through a festival of bike tires and spandex shorts for sale for a third weekend. Oh-no-it was an end-of-the-summer festival complete with beer, booze bowls, and food trucks. Holy cow, was THAT amazing. It was going on from Thursday-Sunday and we ended up going there every night we were there until we left Sunday. They had fireworks each night and when we sat and watched on Thursday, they were AMAZING. Like better than Disney amazing! They had 5 barges set up with the fireworks and even had this one type I had never seen before. It was like a fireworks display for people with ADD. I loved it!

We actually spent our anniversary there (Year 2!) and placed a love lock on a bridge, which was pretty cool.

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Nighttime over the Alster

We had a great week and I will make some more posts with more details because it was just that good. I will detail the Russian Uboat (Dave’s favorite part of the trip, go figure), the different foods we had, our lovelock, the tour, Hafen City, Schanze, Harbor, Lübeck and Travemünde, our run in with Giants and Soccer fans, and other sight-seeing adventures we had a long the way.

One thing is for sure: Man are we lucky.

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On our 2nd anniversary