Thursday, June 30, 2016

Leaving for Brazil

Everything went pretty smoothly & the only thing I didn't do was to plant these perennial plants I'd bought one or two months ago. :-( Maybe K can plant them, poor guy! At least last night I put the flowers in pots. 

I had a bunch of last minute shopping to do, but we didn't leave for town until I was 100% packed! (Minus the items I bought and some last minute items of clothing plus the computer external hard drive). 

We came home, finished packing, the kids ate (pizzas I bought them at Target) & K tried to get me to eat some yummy mushroom & truffle ravioli style triangles from Tradwr Joe's I had prepared last night, but I was looking for old photo negatives and trying  not to forget anything. So now I'm starving (and craving the pasta) and I guess I'll have to eat at the airport because the flight doesn't leave until 10:05.

I'm excited about this trip! We all love traveling, the boys are well trained from babyhood & are seasoned travelers. Kelvin has checked the aircraft & he is upset that United downgraded the planes that fly to Brasil from 777 to 767 (well, from Chicago it was 77, probably from here it may always been 767).

Ok, let me talk to my poor husband in the half hour until we get to the airport!

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

20 Years Ago

20 years ago last Monday (June 20th) K & I arrived in the U.S. with 7 pieces of luggage. 1996! it feels like a lifetime ago, and I guess it is, considering that I was nearly 25 at the time. In a few years I will have lived longer in this country than in Brazil.

Interestingly enough, the past almost 11 years are chronicled here in this blog, it's a pity that most the friends who were reading back then are not anymore. 

Happy 20th anniversary of emigration for us! ;-)

List of Updates

- We drove my parents to the JFK airport in New York on Monday. LOOOONG day driving for over 12 hours. Sigh... They arrived safely in Brazil.

- Car situation still not resolved (and my poor dad super stressed about it). Tank was flushed, but car won't start. Of course it's NOT in the Toyota dealership & I guess the mechanics don't have any experience with hybrids. We're trying to figure out a solution.

- I'm packing to fly to Brazil tomorrow night. I hate packing and the days before trips. So much stress! Thankfully if I forget anything my husband follows in two weeks.

- Boys will miss the last three weeks of swim team, but they have been swimming SUPER well, it's awesome to see. I even want them to swim/have some swim lessons maybe in Brazil (except that we'll be traveling most of the time).

- I STILL HAVE NOT planted flowers that I bought into the vases that I always have by the front steps in the summer. HORRIBLE, no? I should stop blogging and go do it. Sigh...

more later.

Monday, June 20, 2016

On (Almost) Being Ripped Off & Resolution In Sight!

Well, I don't have a lot of time because our friends (who had ADORABLE twins 10 months ago) came up for the wedding (I PROMISE more on the wedding soon) and are coming for dinner.

So... we almost were COMPLETELY ripped off by the Toyota place in Maryland.

SERIOUSLY! And, besides, their estimate caused a lot of sadness and needless worry and despair. So, unfortunately we've already lost 400+ because of this car situation, but, apparently the people in the Toyota dealership where our car was taken to are specialists in ripping off customers.

They wanted to replace everything and would charge us 2,400 when our own Toyota dealership, whom my husband called this morning, said that this accident of putting diesel in a gasoline car is common and NOT serious and that they charge...

... wait for it.

TWO HUNDRED AND FIFTY dollars to fix it. (which just involves flushing the system completely)

Isn't that unbelievable?? The other Toyota's place wants to charge 10 times more for unnecessary repairs.

Anyway. Problem is that our car is in Maryland, so a friend of ours who owns a tow truck and a dealership/garage has put us in this list in which tow trucks from all over the country transport cars to other locations for a much cheaper price. We don't know when our car will be transported to our local Toyota, but hopefully it will be done within the next month (my husband travels to Brazil on July 14, we go on June 30).

OK, have to go continue preparing for my guests!

Saturday, June 18, 2016

A Sad Post with an Undecided Ending -- What would YOU do?

I need to write his as a sad "coda" to today's earlier update post.

Something very unfortunate happened on Thursday. Our car, my blue Prius (which my husband jokingly calls "Blue Cloud," nuvem azul in Portuguese), broke down with my parents in it, in Maryland.

The whole thing was crazy because I was in town with the kids driving a shift gear car around while on the phone, and having to go to Costco to buy pizza for the guests and my mom & her friend were face-timing us and then calling every few minutes while I was with Geico on the phone trying to sort out the situation. Good thing Kelvin has a phone and could talk to my mom & their friend while I talked to Geico.

My parents wouldn't leave the car and stayed in it for FIVE HOURS until the tow truck arrived. People stopped to try to help them, it was an adventure... (I haven't even heard all the many stories they have). They were stuck on top of an overpass. I deeply regret having allowed them to sit there (while their friends went home -- they could have just gone there) uselessly, but I had guests to cook for and entertain and didn't insist they leave the car behind while the tow truck was on its way. The only good thing was that my mom walked to the Toyota Dealership (VERY CLOSE to where the car broke, just down the street) & checked the car in, giving all the necessary info. (In retrospect I should have told them to have their friends pick them up after that).

And yesterday (after Toyota worked on the car all day -- diagnostic alone is $500) we found out what the problem was/IS. My dad accidentally put diesel in the car. :-(

Fixing it costs more than half of what the car is worth. 2,400 (worth -- in perfect condition, 4K).

Please tell me, what would you do?? Ditch the car? Fix it? Would it even work OK and pass inspection afterwards? -- K read that the catalytic converter can get damaged. We TOTALLY can do without it for now and for a while because we bought a mini-van to drive around with my parents & have a Hyundai Accent. We could also fix it and try to sell it. Or fix it & keep it 'till it dies. What should we do?

My parents are understandably devastated and want to pay for everything. But, what is the best course of action?

I'm just very sad, especially because I didn't want this to have happened to my parents, they've been having such a GREAT visit with us (apart from the one day my mom felt sick). We'll get over it, but right now it's hard. Any thoughts are appreciated.


I'm Officially Old! 8-(

I need reading glasses!  :-(

/       /
O - O

(I made that up, couldn't find instructions online, though I'm sure they exist!)

However, I don't really need them because it's only in ONE eye!!! (my right eye, +1.50)

I've noticed this lately when using my phone and I'm sure that all the reading on my phone PLUS crazy texting and messaging is the culprit for this.

The eye doctor told me, however, that they may have done this on purpose when I had LASIK: made one eye's correction better so the other eye had a chance to still be slightly near-sighted and not need reading glasses. THAT or my brain being incredibly smart and managing to do that on its own.

In any case, I hope this situation will hold. And, if the right eye is bothering me too much, I can buy a cheap pair and knock out the left eye lens. :-P

I suppose I should be happy I had four great-eye years after getting LASIK in 2012. I'm almost 45, so it's not a surprise I finally have this problem. Do you need reading glasses?

--> So, I created a label for this post. If I really do continue blogging as I intend to, I'll be using it in the years to come.

Crazy Changing (& Traveling & Hosting) Times (and I hate Facebook)


Sorry, but I have to begin with a sigh.

Can't believe it's been 20 days since I last blogged. Unbelievable.

Such few people from my old circle blog today (or read this blog), though, and I don't think I'm picking up any new readers or making any new bloggy friends, that I end up spending a lot of time on stupid facebook. I know I should simply unfollow (-->word not recognized by spell check!) most of the 600+ people in my friend list and stick to old-blogger-friends-who-now-facebook-instead and just not be there, but, yeah... blogging is so... I don't know 2004, 5, 6, 7?

And then there are other apps that allow us to talk to friends and family and too much time on my phone.

OK, quick update because I need to write two or three or more blog posts if I truly want to catch up.

My (next to) last post outlined "the crazy" from the second week of May. Well... it turns out the crazy from June would be CRAZIER than I'd anticipated, with a tragic note (next post).

The whirlwind trip to Massachusetts (for a wedding on May 29, one of those (big, huge) weddings you go to where you only know the bride and two other people, then New York City and a brief stop in Philly/PA was great. We left for New Jersey on Saturday (stayed at a hotel) -- my in-laws were here and went there too since they flew out of NYC on Sunday -- then drove to the wedding and drove back to spend the night in Connecticut. Spent the day in NYC on Monday (visited the MoMA and went up on Top of the Rock) -- that wasn't my youngest son's favorite way of spending his 12th birthday, but it was not like he had any choice. We indulged his wish to not dine in the city (OH, SO SAD! So many delicious ethnic eateries) & ate at Panera close to our friends' house in Long Island.

On Tuesday we drove back to Manhattan to park and visited the Statue of Liberty/Ellis Island (GORGEOUS DAY!!) before walking back to see the 9/11 memorial and driving to Philly to sleep at our other friends' house (yes, we have countless friends at whose houses we stay, that's why we also host countless friends here). And on Wednesday, we went to see Samson at Sight and Sound and visited (our favorite!!) Longwood Gardens in the afternoon before saying good-bye to my parents (who stayed in Philly at our friends' house) & heading back home -- stopping at IKEA for furniture shopping (more on that later) & dinner (with bonus sunset!).

Sigh... wasn't that intense? But it was fun and we had lovely weather.

When we got home, I had to work on my friends' wedding shower of and that was also intense and a big success (with a small group of attendants) & I didn't take enough photos, which makes me sad.

The shower was barely over when my parents came back with our friend and her two kids (7 & 9) -- she had decided to bring my parents back and spend a few days here sightseeing and enjoying her kids second week of vacation in the countryside (they live in North Philly right now). That meant we went to the park, went to the farmer's market and shopping (mostly my mom & my friend, to thrift stores), went sightseeing at other local attractions and to the water park all day on Friday.

Since my older son's dear friend is moving to TN, we invited him to the waterpark with us and on Friday morning had a Wii & WiiU playdate with four loud boys (while my mother was sick in bed with something (some kind of digestive discomfort with nausea and dizziness) -- right next door to the family/TV room). Sigh...

Mom recovered quickly and then... and then we started the crazy process of moving our office from upstairs to downstairs so the boys can have separate rooms!! Yeah, it took me this long to get to the "changing"/moving part of the post that comes first in the title.

IDEALLY, we would have first painted the family room downstairs, then moved everything, then painted Kelvin's new bedroom, then assembled the IKEA furniture we bought, but, we didn't have all that time AND... were going to have guests again this past Thursday, so we wanted to get the bed together ASAP for the guests (twin that turns to king bed -- LOVE IKEA and foam mattresses).

We didn't do the painting, BUT we did ALL the filming. Yeah, this is the house of a YouTuber and, having enjoyed immensely our previous furniture moving time-lapse, we filmed everything again, except that this took a lot of time (WAY less than it would have taken to paint, ha ha ;-) because we couldn't find the tripod (probably lost it), then the memory cards wouldn't work, or the camera's battery would end and need to be recharged. But we finally moved most everything in time for the guests who arrived mid-day on Thursday.

This was my husband's cousin and (newly pregnant!) wife plus three friends & a baby. They all live in Michigan and came for a speaking engagement in D.C. The friend who came by himself is actually practically family to me -- he was the baby of my next-door neighbors when I was growing up in Brazil and his family remained really close to mine, so I've known him from the time he was born (the Seventh-day Adventist church community is really a huge world-wide family, you always know someone who knows someone, all over the world, especially if you're Brazilian!!) :-D

They stayed only 24h and my parents actually left for Maryland not long after they arrived. Their visit included an unexpected rain shower while on a hiking trail (which let to iPhones on rice and rice getting into charging ports and whatnot), but I didn't go on the visit to the park because I had to take the boys to have their vision checked and mine was too (another quick post for that). And yesterday I did stuff for my friends' wedding, picking up mason jars, getting nails done, YAY! loved that part!, shopping for fruit and cakes (YUMMY, can't wait to eat them!!), picking up photo booth, practicing music briefly.

YEAH... CRAZY busy. So, yeah, I'm tired and slept only about six hours, but I'm wired and can't sleep from the moment I open my eyes (generally between 6 something -7 something).

Last, but not least! I worked out three times this week with friends. They do Pop Physique & Barre. I'm lovin' it!! (but I do want to try to go back to doing Yoga every week in addition to that fun ladies' group work out).

So there you go, mostly updated about my (crazy) life!!