Mama, you gotta go.

There will be a summer update, since its been about two months since I touched this blog. I have about 2 entries cooking up, but more pressing matters require attention.


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We got a hurricane a coming.

It’s been a long time since I have been through a hurricane. Probably Rita, way back in Katrina’s year. But, one comes for us now.

It’s also odd to be bracing for a hurricane this far inland. I’m used to dealing with it much closer to the shore, and I am used to my local sources of questionable information.

And now I am here, far far inland, waiting for the hurricane.

I’ll give this to the ATLiens, they are always prepared for the worst. My gas station has been like this for a week now:

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Not a drop of fancy gas to drink.

Pure unleaded only, old school hurricane prep. My local grocery story is still fully loaded, but all the major ones in the area have been wiped of eggs, milk, bread, and water. Also, every home depot is out of wood, flashlights, nails, hammers, and, of course, generators.

I am without a generator myself. Need to work on that for the next storm. Also, I don’t have an AM/FM radio in this house. Got that on the way, but alas, Amazon Prime can’t beat the storm (I’ll get it after the hurricane).

But apart from that, we are fully prepared. Got tons of water, dry goods, we are really ready to go out here.

Also, lots of Floridians have inundated the neighborhood. Our parking lot at the entrance has welcomed any and all evacuees. And we are glad to ahve them here.

Heather’s aunt live in St. Petersburg and refuses to believe. Even after hearing my Katrina horror stories, won’t go. Not much else we can do past that. Just hope at this point.

It is well within the realm of possibility that we don’t see much for this storm. We will see how we fair, but for sure we are on lockdown. Cobb county schools are closed the next two days, so my daycare is too.

Thats pretty much where we are at. More updates as they come, but for now, we are ready.

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 And we will make it through.

 

Restaurant Review – Seed Kitchen & Bar

Since I wrote a review bashing a restaurant, I wanted to highlight a top flight place in Atlanta. For some reason, the snooty restaurant establishment (read: Michelin) ignores this metropolis, and I want to highlight a place that deserves recognition.

seed restaurant

This is where the good stuff is at.

I was originally going to eat dinner this past weekend at another Roswell institution, but we were informed of a recent turn for the meh due to new ownership. So we switched to a place that had been on our list for some time.

Seed describes itself as modern American, but every damn restaurant does. So lets go to the highlights.

First, the drink menu is stellar. Any restaurant that gives a shit enough to make good cocktails, is what I am about. They serve a Vieux Carre over there that they make a big batch of and then barrel age for a month or two. The results are shockingly smooth. The easiest drinking whisky cocktail I have had.

All the cocktails seem to be New Orleans inspired a bit. They have their own take on a French 75, for example. Didn’t see a sazerac but my guess is they rotate.

Everything we had was fantastic, but you can read the menu for a detailed description. But, there are two dishes that they serve that stand out to me.

corn fritters

white corn grit fritters

I have been to a million upscale food restaurants. This is the first time I have seen something like this. Its southern Arancini Balls. Except instead of risotto and flour, its cheesy grits, cornmeal batter, and served over a red pepper jelly inspired sauce.

How the hell has no one ever thought of doing this? This is PHENOMENAL. Like, I will go back just to eat this again.

brussel sprouts

caramelized brussels sprouts
and cauliflower

A side dish???? Yup. I’m highlighting a side. I am a sucker for caramelized brussel sprouts, but this is something special. They caramelize it in some sort of vinegar reduction which is not overpowering, but adds a brand new flavor to the mix that I haven’t seen in this type of dish. Goes great with the brussel sprouts, but is exquisite with the cauliflower. For being a dish that should be played out at this point, this is a fresh take on it.

I will be returning over and over to this place. This is the type of place that deserves Michelin stars.

Michelin committee (cause I know you read this blog). Come to Atlanta. Eat at places like Seed. This is dope.

And other readers, I wish you the same. Enjoy.

Thoughts on the Battle for Georgia 6th

The last three days leading up to Tuesday’s election were completely insane. This ad started hitting the airwaves and completely locked up my youtube pre-roll

Wow. I don’t know what to say about that shit. Wow.

Two days out, I got a visit at 8pm at night from the Faith and Freedom Coalition, explaining to me the evils of the Democratic Party. I told them I had both of what they were offering, and they needed to get off my land.

One day out I probably got hit with more door to door clowns than any day of the election. I got 3 door visits and about 5 flyers.

Cut to the day of. I go to my local starbucks at around 6am (which is usually when I am in there). Filled with Ossoff crew planning the day. Including a guy who ended up coming to my front door to make sure I voted.

We go to our local polling place. Which I should say is a church. Cause those are the only municipal spaces in the state of Georgia. The room that the church let us use has a GIANT cross out in the corner. Its a little ominous when voting. Even Raceland made you vote in a generic municipal space.

But, I digress.

We get there, and the poll volunteer comes out and addresses the crowd

“Welcome to your polling place for the Georgia Sixth Congressional District Special Election, as presented by Stephen King. We are going to do this in an orderly fashion.”

It took us about 30 min to be able to cast our vote. Most of the conversation of the people in line were about plans for the weekend. Not really about the vote.

People were in the streets on most of the major intersections.

And at the end of the day…couldn’t pull it through…..

Special election

NYT got the best visualizations.

One thing I learned from the data, my particular polling district is way more conservative than I thought

local district

I also thought more people voted out here. Cause for sure more than 2k people live in that area. This made me check it against the 2016 presidential. Handel did worse than Trump by 1 point. Hillary won Cobb by 1 point, but that was due to higher turnout in the other areas of Cobb County that aren’t part of the 6th. 

I met a lot of Ossoff supporters who lived near me, but I suppose that is some form of confirmation bias. You talk to the people who you are similar too.


After much sadness and wine, what did I learn from all this.

Well I think I learned a few things.

The sixth was designed for the republicans to never lose it. Hence why the more liberal areas of cobb county are spliced out. And even with that, Ossoff only lost by 2 points, slightly less than 10k votes.

I think that is evidence enough that Georgia is changing. Even my area. Roswell is exploding, and the area is becoming less and less conservative. I think what I said in the previous blog is still correct. I think Georgia is going to change. Its just going to take some time.

With all that being said, I think there is one big takeaway. The sixth is competitive. And whoever has that seat wont get to coast like Price and Gingrich did. The future is coming, and the state is changing. Hopefully, for the better.

Nana Rose

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Nana Rose with Ethan and Heather. This was taken in October 2016. 

Nana Rose passed away this past Wednesday, May 31, at 3:30am. She was 97. And, up until January, she was living by herself at the house her husband built in the North Georgia Mountains. As Heather’s mom would say, “She was writing her own checks, going to town, keeping her garden…”

The services are today (on a terribly rainy day in Georgia), so I figured I would give a few thoughts about Nana. I cannot summarize 97 years, and her family will do a much better job than I. But, I’ll give my thoughts, such as they are.

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Nana was everybody’s Nana. When I first started dating Heather, I worried (like I think everyone does) about getting along with her family. I never had to worry about Nana. She was instantly kind, welcoming, like she had known me for many years. I remember the first Christmas I spent with them, she gave me a cap that had belonged to her late husband, as a way of saying welcome to the family. I still have it.

Much like my grandfathers, she came from an era of nothing. Everything had to be hard earned. Born into the depression and living through WWII, she was always about reusing or saving everything.

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And she was funny. That’s a little harder to convey, but she loved to laugh. There was one Christmas I remember where she gave out Christmas cards with a crisp brand new $1 bill inside them. Just to have everyone thing she had gone senile. Once she got the look of awkwardness on the family’s faces, she got the real presents while laughing.

She LOVED peppermint. For a long time, when I would go see Nana, I would buy anything peppermint related from my travels. Soap from a convent in France. Candies from scotland. Anything peppermint.

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I’m going to miss Nana Rose. She meant a lot to alot of people, and I consider myself grateful to even know her. The Funeral is today up in Tiger, GA. 


One last Georgia thought about Nana. There was this episode of This American Life about a guy who used to write a column for the AJC called the Georgia Rambler, which was an exploration through random counties in Georgia. Hearing the stories in that episode reminded me of hearing Nana’s stories.

So, I bought everyone a copy from the NPR site. I didn’t expect people to actually listen to it. But Nana totally did. The next time I saw her she talked about how much she loved that first story. And about her and her husband’s love of FDR. And how you definitely never talk mess about FDR in North Georgia.

I will leave you with that episode: https://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/413/georgia-rambler

Facebook Gossip OR The EPIC Saga of the former Wal-Mart Neighborhood Grocery

On our first week that we moved in, we were greeted by the official welcome committee of the Home Owners Association. Included in their welcome package and further emphasized by both of them, the neighborhood had a very active closed Facebook group.

I knew this would be a worthwhile endevour, so I requested and was granted access by the president of my HOA (who, funnily enough, is my next door neighbor).

I have been following this group for over 2 months now, and the discussions break down like this (excuse the crudity of this pie chart. I am tired):

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It’s true.

I have a story about the two largest categories (People comparing houses and Gossip about stuff nearby).


People talking about keeping up their houses or comparing to the other houses in the neighborhood.

When I first joined the FB group, it was still deep into winter. And I wanted to see how the neighborhood fared during the ice storm.

Turns out well, but that’s not the point of the story.

In looking at January’s posts in the group, I found two posts about the house we bought. Noting the following

  • The physical address
  • How much we paid for the house
  • The fact that we submitted an offer within 24 hours of it going to market
  • The fact that we paid the house for cash

In regards to the offer, we just got real lucky, as I discussed previously. In regards to our method of closing, NO ONE should know that except the buyers and me. I mention it here cause now its all over the fucking Internets.

Well, three realtors in my neighborhood got that information and spilled the beans to the entire group. This lead to a crazy discussion trying to figure out (a) what made this house special, (b) who we were [including assumptions that we were local known well-to-dos], and (c) what they can do to reproduce the results.

Its an odd thing to see your home discussed as if its not a place where someone will live.

Its an even ODDER thing in that we have had a few random looky-loos come by the house who are very interested in who Heather and I are and what we do for a living.

Overall, I really dont know how I feel about it, but it leaves me with an uneasy feeling. Its like being the odd object, and I wouldn’t have even known if it wasn’t for FB gossip.


Gossip about stuff in proximity of the neighborhood.

In my search for winter stuff, I noticed a ton of debate about a future animal hospital that is behind a gas station at the major intersection near the neighborhood. Would it bring more traffic? What is it like living near a vet office?

The CURRENT hotness is the former Wal-Mart Neighborhood Grocery.

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It didn’t make it. 

This is the Shopping Center at the big intersection near my house. This walmart is gone, and there is a 10 post/almost 100 comment deep debate and investigation on what this would be.

At one time, it was speculated it could be a bowling alley. And there was much consternation about if it would be a nuisance to the neighborhood. Would it bring in, and this is a quote, “the riff-raff” into close proximity of the neighborhood.

riff raff

When my neighbors say riff-raff, I assume they mean this guy.

Luckily, it was confirmed not to be a bowling alley and many sighs of relief occurred.

Here’s my beef. I get wanting to know whats going on around your neighborhood. If they were going to put “Loud-Ass-Baby-Screaming-And-Cat-Piss Emporium” in the Walmart spot, yeah I would be concerned.

But, this feels like a ton of energy exerted for what is likely to be another slice of suburbia. That’s a big ass like 65k square foot space. They aren’t going to put cool shit in there. Gonna be a fuckin gym or some shit.

But that’s not even the point. Its a strip mall. Being precious about stores in a strip mall feels like gilding the turd.

I am fully aware that I did read the posts in preparation of my little piece of nonsense, so that makes me no better I suppose.

Touche.

Anyway, Ill keep reading my local Facebook shame for more interesting mess here. Also, Ill let you know when Riff Raff moves to my neighborhood.

Thoughts on a Roswell Institution – Restaurant Review

It was Easter weekend this past weekend, and my family came up from Louisiana. And truthfully, we had a grand old time. Was great for everybody to get together in one roof.

AND, its happening again next weekend, only with my Mom’s side of the family.

But this entry isn’t about either of those things. Its about food.

My father in law decided he wanted to do a nice Easter dinner, so he wanted to take us to “a Roswell Institution.” This post is about that.


On sunday, I ate dinner at the Brookwood Grill in Roswell.

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A Roswell Institution

I had heard alot about this place from not just the in-laws but several natives of the area. Anyone who had been around when it was first founded, about 25 years ago, extols the virtues of the place. However, I suspected something was up when I asked them to describe the food. I usually got one of two responses

“You know, chicken and stuff” or “You know, steak and stuff”

But, its been around for this long, and people out here with hate on any business that doesn’t cut it, and this thing managed to survive in that climate for 25 years. So there has got to be something there right?

Nope. Starting simple, the decor is full 80s casual dining with steak. Dark on the inside. Brick. Stone. Booths.

The first thing I notice is that its one of those places that clearly scales based on how busy it is. Over half the restaurant is empty but had to wait for a table. I dont mind that, just always felt it was odd.

The menu is Applebees+. Like its got crowdpleasers. Heather must have been hipped to this because she just got a chicken tender salad.

I however, wanted to try the best they got. I was recommeneded the Seared Ahi Tuna steak and the Cajun Chicken and Shrimp Pasta. Against my better judgement, I ordered both.

I love sushi, but this was that thing of restaurants who have to cater to people who dont like sushi. It wasn’t fully cooked but it was like breaded and overseared. So the texture was somewhere in between and kind of bland. The noodle cake that went with it was fine but overpowered by the Asian slaw on top of it.

The Cajun Chicken and Shrimp Pasta is what made me write this. It was basically alfredo in a can with Tony Chachere’s on it.

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Like, I used to do that in college as a cheap meal. And 100% that is all what was in there.

So I casually asked her dad why he liked this place so much, without hinting that I was eating some dorm food here. He just went off about the deals. If you bought a bunch of giftcards they would give you more free, or there is a free pie night, or a free soup night.

Nothing he said about the quality of the food.

When we were paying and getting ready to leave, the waitress offered to bag up my food. I didn’t want any more of it, but her dad insisted that I take it to go. The waitress came back and gave me the bag with the food in it. However, the bag couldn’t fit the to go containers they had.

And that is a microcosm for this place. The togo bag that cant fit any of the plates that they give togo food in.

I read Yelp reviews when I got home. And they seem to be filled with people looking for the best meal deal.

And I guess there is a value in that….I kind of wonder what this restaurant was like when it first started out. Like if they were ambitious. Had big ideas, and then just shifted with their customer base into cheap-as-free being the primary motivation.

Especially with downtown Roswell exploding with AMAZING restaurants, its kind of surprising that this place lasted.

There is a place like this in every town. Been here forever. Basically serves Applebees menu, but the locals love it for no reason at all….

If you come to Roswell avoid the Brookwood grill. It takes you back to the past of having to wear a button down shirt to go out to eat Applebees equivalent food.

On the ground, in the 6th

Sorry its been a while folks. Totally different reason this time. Just all quite here. Not much to write home about. We are still settling in. Almost done unpacking boxes. A few straggling items on our list, but our house is for sure a home. I have a feeling things may be this spaced out for a while, till we get deeper in the summertime.

To get up to speed on today’s post, read here, cause I think its kind of pointless to rehash national news. 


About 3 Sunday’s ago, I get a knock on the door. My wife answers it. My son is running in circles around my wife’s legs; I’m in the kitchen washing dishes.

At the door was a girl in her 20s, says she is from North Carolina and was there to talk to us about Amy Kremer, who is a member of the Tea Party Express and apparently, founder of Women for Trump. My wife was polite and cordial. Took the pamphlet, closed the door.

I told my wife, “This is Georgia. She’s lucky I didn’t answer the door. I would have told her get the fuck off my land before I stand my ground and shit.”

 

And the nation’s eyes have turned toward the 6th. Its an odd thing to think about. As I have discussed previously, this area of the world is so much different than the Newt’s troops time of the 90s. Its slowly diversifying (very slowly) but equally as important, mindsets are less locked in. For example, I have met several of my neighbors at this point, and no one has asked me what church I go to. I cant say that for when I first came out here.

But, all I hear from the national news is how Georgia’s sixth is the litmus test of the Trump administration. I am not astute enough to give biting political discourse, but Ill  give some thoughts.

1. People like the frontrunner.

And its true, People like Jon Ossoff, as do I.

 

ossoff

Looks like a nerdier Justin Trudeau

Local boy. Not crazy. Not super duper liberal (which the locals like), but has actively done work against corruption (which the locals really like. This is a big sticking point down here). And its driving the republicans crazy. Which brings me to point

2. The Republicans are coming off as dumbasses, more than usual.

If you use youtube anywhere in the 6th, this is your only preroll ad.

This ad isn’t working for a number of reasons. First off, everyone does dumbstuff in college. Second, this is just endearing. At least it is to me. Look at this guy. Looks like the stuff I did in high school. 100%. He basically lived the life that me and my high school cohorts did.

And it really pisses me off that the Republican attack is basically on doing dumb stuff while being filmed. And that is like the only platform I care about.

3. Trump is fucking crazy

And the people out here know this. Oh sure, you have people who 1000% drink the Fox News coolaid, but people don’t like how he’s handling the global political issues (read: North Korea, Syria), and they definitely dont like that healthcare plan. People out here are smart enough to know a raw deal when they see it.

 

I dont know if any of those three are enough together to actually flip the place, but I think Georgia’s 6th is alot more moderate than the powers that got Trump elected. I also dont think I would consider it as a bellweather for the nation or the Trump administration.

If the 6th goes democrat, it just means that the changes in the 6th are relatively strong (remember, Hillary won the 6th). At least, thats what I see for now. Expect more updates on this as the special election happens.

Bag it up…..bigly

Today’s Georgia observation has been something I noticed since I first got here. How Georgians’ handle take out. Or I should say, fellow suburb dwellers of Atlanta metro, handle takeout.

I grew up in the South, and the whole point of going out was to consume vast quantities. My favorite story on this comes from my grandfather on my mom’s side. We wanted to go out to eat, so they picked the restaurant, the Golden Corral.

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The road to diabetes and heart failure. 

So, we are in line to pay at the beginning, cause thats how it works. They get your money at the top and then let you loose on the shame zone. My grandfather turns to me and goes, “I don’t know how this place stays in business. They know I’m coming in here, and they know I’m  going to eat 5 steaks. And then they know I’m going to get the giant bowl for the ice cream and fill it with fried okra.”

Stuff like that. And sometimes, if you couldn’t finish your food, you would take whats left to go and have it the next day. ANd I feel like that part is true for Georgians. Oh no, thats not enough.

So, Heather and I are out to eat. I just got back in town, its right before New Years. We’re bored, so we decide to go to a Hibachi place. Haven’t been to one in forever, nice to sit and eat while someone throws grilled shrimp in your face.

The meal goes fine. I am paying my bill, and the person sitting right next to me starts having an argument with the waiter.

“I want 5 containers of the ginger salad dressing, 6 containers of the steak sauce, and 3 containers of the mustard sauce. How hard is that?”

The waiter something to the effect of that’s fine but you have to pay for it. The other guy goes, “NO! I could have eaten all that here and you wouldn’t have charged me more. Get me my sauces.”

We just out shortly after the guy got his sauces. I kind of shook it off, didn’t think about it.

About a month later, we are at an upscale Italian joint. Dressed up nice, no kids around. That kind of thing. Similar deal, Guy wants “three of the table breads to go.” And has an argument with the waiter for about 10 minutes. Till they give him his bread and he goes.

Since that event, I have noticed this three other times. Where people like yell at the work staff to get whatever little bit free they give you, but like TONS of it.

When the fuck did this happen? Is this acceptable now?

I have asked everyone I know out here in Georgia. People don’t seem to think that remarkable in the first place. My mind has difficulty processing it. I don’t believe its an expectation that if you go to a BBQ place you get to take what is equivalent to a full bottle of BBQ stuff in little plastic cups to go, but apparently, you get whatever you yell about out here.

I am not sure why this is happening but  it makes me sad.  For one thing, is it like a cost thing. Like they think buried in the price of their meal is more free stuff so they are pulling a Ross.

If you do this, you are an asshole. Fact.

Maybe this is how the end starts. First, its exploiting the good graces of staff. Then the next thing you know, BAM, Mad Max.

Could be? Maybe? Possibly?

I think if you take anything away from this, be nice to your local wait staff and restaurants. Not for any special reason. Just to not be a fucking asshole.

What’s in a name?

Editor’s Note: Apologies for the delay. Not keeping up my publishing pace like I would like. I will attempt to stick to once a week. Enjoy more insights into Georgia.


Names mean everything in the South. I mean, not in a celebrity type of way. Not in that like following Elon Musk’s twitter feed kind of way.

What I mean is your name means something. In modern consultese, they would call this “personal brand.” A name can ring forth with fraud, reliability, disgrace, trustworthiness, etc. Just depends on how you establish yourself.

Lets look at an example. This house I just bought. We are still mid unpacking boxes, and we probably will be for some time to come. Inside of a closet door. I found this:

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A plaque? Commemorating the house’s founding.

Seeing this name didn’t surprise me. This was a selling point for the home. It was in the original listing “a remodeled John Wieland home.” My realtor made the point of saying the entire neighborhood was done by John Wieland. Even my in-laws flipped out, “You are getting a John Wieland home. That’s the best.”

I was trying to understand the hero worship. Google didn’t help me any. It’s just a developer. But one with a lot of dough apparently. Has their own youtube channel.

Not sure this dude needs more advertisement…ever…

Its a full on thing in Atlanta.

What I find interesting about it is that people know all of these construction guys names. John Wieland is like the Cadillac, but there are plenty of others. Check your Atlanta area listings, you will see names floated around.

I think the main thing I am struggling with about this is, I cant fully articulate why I think its dumb that a thing like a developer is celebrated. Is it that I am envious? Nope, I like being unknown, unheard of, and unremarkable, down in my John Wieland basement.

Is it that I think its a bit egotistical to slap a plaque with your signature on every house you make? Yes, but that’s not it either. Let the dude do what he wants. He makes a fine home.

I think its that these are the kinds of conversations people have. My mother in-law has been telling every one of her friends group about the fact that we bought a John Wieland home. This will give the conversation machine fuel through to the summer.

That’s what bugs me. Don’t people have better things to talk about? Read a goddamn book. Catch a film. Enrich yourself. Or, get involved in your community. Don’t sit on the elliptical at LA Fitness and talk about the prestige of John Wieland.

That is all.


On a move & family update front, things are going swimmingly. Ethan is using more words by the day and is super talkative. We are fully settled in here and around 85% unpacked. Need to put up the books and go through the stuff in storage in the basement.

We also need to get rid of all the goddamn empty boxes.

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This is about 1/5 of the empty boxes that currently exist in my house.

I’m slowly but surely getting them all to the street for the garbage to be taken away. Hopefully, they will all be gone soon, and I can post pics of our house all dolled up.

Till then, keep yo flava fresh.

One week in… (another mini-post)

…and it is awesome.

Sorry its been a hellish week.

Only have time for some quick updates:

  • We are about 60% unpacked. Got alot done last weekend. Expecting to get more done this weekend. Hopefully to end up 80% unpacked by the end of this weekend.
  • The important stuff is unpacked. Kitchen, master bedroom, Ethan’s room. A fair amount of work remains in the guest bedroom, random boxes throughout the house, and the giant mess that is the basement.

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The horror……..and not just the horror that is my face.

  • Ethan adjusted instantaneously. He loves this house, and has had his best nights sleep here.
  • The rug that was mentioned in the last post, is confirmed ruined. Apparently, if the water damage gets all the way through the rug, there is nothing they can do. We are now working on replacement.
  • I actually used my “Reason we moved here ” card and texted my mother-in-law to pick up Ethan one day this week. Already, the benefits are tremendous.
  • I think both Heather and I are getting sick. Little man got sick a few weeks ago, this may be the revenge.

That’s it for now. I am hoping for a better update in the coming days. I have ideas down for about 3-4 entries in this thing. I just need to sit down, research, and write. Not sure when I will have that time.

More broadcasts as they come