Mike & Kath Go International Part 2: The Montag Bears and Too Much Vacation

(A continuation from the riveting “Mike & Kath Go International Part 1: Piggies in Ireland)
After saying goodbye to all our friends at the bar and getting a good night’s rest, (Well, Mike slept well) we packed up our things and began our journey to Galway. On the way, we stopped in the town of Sligo and walked around there for a bit. There was a sign for “Kelly’s Barber Shop” so I made Mike take my picture next to it so I could send it to my family. The Barber Shop owner was looking through the window, wondering what we were doing, and probably about ready to call the police, but it was worth it. I knew my Dad would especially appreciate it as he used to love going to “Tony’s Barber Shop” in our hometown, which was confusingly owned and operated by a guy named Joe. I’m sure my Dad was Joe’s favorite customer as I assume it only took him about 3 seconds to snip the 4 strands of hair left on my Dad’s head, (My Dad blames his baldness on his five kids) then Joe could relax for the rest of the appointment time.

My Dad would always do impressions on how Joe would answer the phone at Tony’s Barber Shop so we all knew he answered with a stern “Tony’s Barber Shop, Joe speaking.”

Later we stopped at at a gas station to fill up the car and also so Mike could make his one billionth bathroom stop on our trip. I say “we” in this but I of course waited in the warm car as I was not about to offer to fill up the gas-I am an independent woman but when it comes to anything car related-filling up the gas, brushing snow off my car, etc my arms seem to suddenly forget how to work. But my mouth works just fine in these situations so I did ask Mike if he would please get me my one billionth water on our trip, and possibly a Propel if he could find one when he went into the gas station. As I sat there I saw a baby in another car and we were staring at each other for a while until we started playing peek-a-book from our respective cars. I’m not sure which one of us was having more fun. I won the game though.

Exhausted from my game of peek-a-boo, and Mike tired from driving, we arrived in Galway very, very HANGRY. We ordered food and a drink at a bar but the food took FOREVER so we became more and more cranky. We sat there in silence, both just focusing on keeping an eye out for our waitress bringing out our chicken tenders. “Happy Thanksgiving.” I finally said to break the silence, as it was Thanksgiving day back in the good Ol’ USA so this was our big Thanksgiving meal. After finally getting our food we walked through Galway and hit up a Christmas Market. Mike bought us some overpriced mulled wine-It was supposed to have “extra alcohol in it” (What a Thanksgiving day treat!) but we both couldn’t taste it so were very suspicious. After walking around a bit more we went back to the hotel to FaceTime with our families to wish them a Happy Thanksgiving because we are both PHENOMENAL children. We decided to head to bed early because we were still so tired from the wedding festivities, long travel day, and game of peek-a-boo.

The next morning Mike had researched a coffee shop in Galway he thought we should check out. Mike doesn’t drink coffee, he drinks tea, but he knew I was going through WITHDRAWAL since we were on about day seven of me not having any Dunkin’ coffee. Every new town in Ireland we’d pass in our travels I’d ask Mike if I could borrow his phone (because of course I didn’t think to get an international data plan for my own phone for this trip, why would I? Thank goodness Mike did) and I would Google “Is there a Dunkin’ in Sligo? Is there a Dunkin’ in Galway?” But no such luck. At one gas station bathroom stop I saw a package of Dunkin brand donuts so I thought we might be getting close but it was a false hope.

So we walked to this coffee shop and upon walking in I think we both knew it was a mistake. I am not a fancy coffee drinker. I like my basic Dunkin hot coffee loaded with some cream and sugar. This place was a far cry from a Dunkin. It was one of those very boujee, hipster, “We are really into coffee” places. Very minimalistic decor, the chairs were those uncomfortable metal ones that are always cold and have no back support. The guy working the counter was wearing a LEATHER APRON. Like is that necessary? I mean maybe he was a blacksmith by trade and just working at the coffee shop on the side but I kind of doubt it. But, I was trying to be adventurous and give the place the benefit of the doubt so I went up to the counter to order. I wanted to pick just one but instead the apron guy went into a long winded spiel about each coffee, describing it in painstaking detail and how it’s brewed and basically each coffee bean’s family tree and lineage. He went on and on and I was not listening at all. Finally I just picked one and I asked him for cream and sugar in it. He then took another 7 hours to “prepare” it. Finally he placed a coffee down on the counter for me and looked down at it, seeming very pleased. But I was looking down at that same coffee and not very pleased because I was seeing that it was straight black and had no cream or sugar in it. So I said, “Thanks, but can I get that cream and sugar please?” He then looked up at me with such disappointment and heartache in his eyes, I will never forget it, and he replies, clearly hurt, “Don’t you want to try it first?” I looked at him and I’m not totally sure but I think I saw a single teardrop fall from his eye. I really did not mean to insult this man so I I fumbled my words and said “Oh right, right!” Our eyes were still locked as I took the cup and brought it to my lips and took a sip of the horrid black coffee. “Mmmmm, Good!” I said. After I took my sip I slowly started to back out of the shop. He smiled and shook his head in triumph and said “Great! Do you still want that cream and sugar?” “Nope! Bye!” I said quickly and I ran out of there to meet Mike, who because the coffee took so long, left the shop and sat outside on a bench to wait for me. I could not stop laughing telling him what happened as we walked down the street and then I tossed the coffee right in the garbage.

Look at those glass beakers. Did I stop in a science lab or a coffee shop? I was confused.

We walked ourselves right into a donut shop and got ourselves some donuts because we are donut fatties. Mike thought it would be fun to eat them on the streets of Galway but he led us to a bench that was basically in a wind tunnel. “Ummmmm, did you not like the table and chairs they had INSIDE the donut shop?” I asked him laughing as we sat there in pretty much the eye of a tornado, eating our donuts, hair flying everywhere, “Yea this was not a good idea.” He said. But no tornado could stop us from finishing our donuts so we sat there until we were done and then went on our way.

We explored an area called Salt Hill and then met some Irish friends of Mike’s for dinner and bar hopping. It was a late night but a very fun one.

The next morning is when things started to take a turn for the worst. Now, I’m not sure if anyone is familiar with the Children’s book series “The Berenstain Bears” but my parents used to read them to me and my four siblings growing up. One was called “The Berenstain and Too Much Vacation.” Cliff notes version of the story is it rained a lot on their vacation, they got grumpy and they were ready to go home. Well on this particular morning on our vacation, I think we had our fill of fun and were just very tired because we woke up and became “The Montag Bears.” We just went on a rant complaining about everything-the cold, the rain, tiny garbage cans in the hotels, ketchup packets, mayo on everything, lack of water, hand dryers instead of paper towels etc. Once we got all our complaints out we got dressed, changed our attitudes and found a DIFFERENT coffee place. I ordered the largest latte they had which turned out to be the size of a flower pot and Mike got a tea and they gave him an entire tea set. He looked like he was going to host a tea party.

Mike enjoying his Tea Party for one.
Wondering what type of flowers I should plant in the coffee cup flower pot.

After I downed my flower pot and Mike was finished with his tea party we drove to Cork. Cork for us in a nutshell: We drank a lot of Irish coffees at the same bar (We started referring to it as “our bar” we went there so much) and ate most of our meals at the hotel restaurant. Every time we tried to eat at an actual restaurant we we were turned away because of COVID capacity restrictions. On our last night in Cork Mike was able to get us dinner reservations at an ACTUAL RESTAURANT!! Which was quite a treat! It was a nice restaurant too but they still had ketchup packets. But the best part about that dinner was as we were getting ready to leave our table and Mike was putting on his coat, he accidentally knocked over one of the restaurant’s Christmas trees putting his arm in his coat sleeve. The tree fell right to the floor and glitter from the tree went EVERYWHERE! People were staring and I could not stop laughing. I thought it was hilarious. In fact, I am laughing writing about it now. We picked up the tree and quickly got out of there after that.

So many Mayo packets. Not enough ketchup.
Just hanging out at the hotel bar because no other bars would let us in due to COVID rescrictions

The next morning we were eating breakfast at the hotel. Mike got up to get more orange juice and he asked if I wanted anything. I asked if he could grab me a banana from the breakfast buffet. He came back with his orange juice and an apple in his hand instead. He went to hand me the apple, saying they didn’t have any bananas. Suddenly I turned into Kathleen “Montag Bear” again. I looked at the apple disgusted, scoffed, and then angrily said to him, “What?!!!! What kind of breakfast buffet doesn’t have bananas! Bananas are like THE POSTER FRUIT of breakfast!! This is ridiculous!!” I scoffed again and shook my head while I made no effort to grab the apple. It was like we were both frozen as Mike stood there at the table with his arm stretched out with the apple, ready for me to take it, and I sat there at the table, continuing to shake my head at the apple in disgust, too upset to take it. Finally after standing there for a while he placed the apple on the table and sat down to drink his orange juice. That’s when I woke up from being Kathleen Montag Bear and realized how dramatic I just was about the banana and starting laughing hysterically. “Ah sorry about that outburst,” I said through my laughter, “I don’t even want a banana that badly I actually like apples better!” We both had a good laugh.

After our banana-less breakfast, we walked to the train station with our suitcases to begin our journey back to Dublin. As we were entering the station I was behind Mike and suddenly let out a gasp and an “Oh no!” Mike quickly turned around, “What’s the matter?” He said sounding terrified. Poor Mike thought I was about to be kidnapped or something. But I awkwardly had to explain my gasp was because I realized I had gotten a mark on my athleisure shoes walking through the streets of Cork and I was very worried they would stain. I had no Tide to-go pen or the stain fighting power of Oxiclean with me so I was worried that dirt stain would set in on my shoes.

I was able to get the stain out of the shoes but they were never the same after that.

After arriving in Dublin we thought our hotel was a quick walk from the station but it turned out to be over a mile which is very hard to do when you have a just under 50lb suitcase. As we were walking one of the wheels came off our suitcase so we just continued to drag it the rest of the half mile to the hotel.

We got to our hotel exhausted, lounged for a while and then made a half-assed attempted to go do things. I wanted to find the hotel pool but after a pathetic search we couldn’t find it. We tried walking around the streets of Dublin but we were so tired we made it about two blocks before we ended up sitting back at the hotel restaurant. I did see, what I thought was some very pretty birds, but it turns out the birds were like the pigeons of Dublin.

The next morning we had to be up very early for our flight home. After a listening to our chatty taxi driver we arrived at our gate and plopped down on the airport chairs. Mike is not much of a morning person so he was struggling HARD. I was fine as I am used to not much sleep due to CLASSIC INSOMNIA. Finally Mike mustered up the energy to get up because he wanted some breakfast. He grabbed himself a muffin and brought me back a vanilla latte (Since there were no Dunkins I had to switch to drinking Lattes). “Thanks for the Latte!” I said I said smiling and chipper. Mike just gave me a nod, not even really looking at me, and still half asleep. But I was about ready to burst because that really wasn’t how I wanted to say “Thank you.” So after after a few more seconds of silence and me smirking to myself I couldn’t hold it in anymore so finally I turned to him, a huge smile on my face still, and said, “What I really wanted to say when you got back was ‘Thanks a Latte… for the Latte’ but I know you’re tired and really wouldn’t appreciate my joke.” “And yet,” Mike, said, still dead inside, “you still managed to say it.” Finally he started laughing. And then we got on our flight (This time I had about 50 water bottles with me) and we made our journey home.

Finished those bad boys before our plane even took off.
I was so happy to see my space heater when we got back.

Not long after we got home from our trip, I was over at my parents’ house and stumbled upon the “Berenstain Bears and Too Much Vacation” Book. I opened up the first page and who did I discover wrote their name in big letters claiming ownership of the book some 25 years ago? I did. “KATHLEEN” was written proudly above the title. “How fitting,” I thought to myself.

Unfortunately my handwriting has not improved much in the last 25 years. Still reading “First Time Books” too.

Our trip was amazing. We had so many laughs and saw and did so much. But there’s nothing quite like the feeling of being home. As was written in the Berenstain Bears Book, our trip to Ireland had way more rain than sun, but it has by far been one of our most fun trips yet.

And Together We Will Float Into the Mystic

Last month, Mike and I made it through a rather rocky couple of weeks. You see, while our garbage pick-up day is every Monday, our recyclable pick-up is only every OTHER Monday which is rather confusing. Well, add a holiday to that Monday and who knows what is going on! So Presidents’ Day rolls around and Mike checks our area’s website and it says there will be no pick-up on Presidents’ Day. Well we were lied to because it was picked up! We were devastated. For weeks the anxiety of how full our recyclable can was getting CONSUMED us. Would we make it to the next recyclable pick-up day? Would we run out of room in our recyclables can? The two of us drink lots of fluids-Propel, Body Armor, Diet Coke, Sprite, Coors Lite, Twisted Tea, etc. Our recyclables add up quickly! Every night at dinner one of us would bring up how we couldn’t wait until the recyclables can was picked up. We also discussed what we might do if we ran out of room in the recyclables can. Our plan was to of course just throw our recyclables in the regular garbage, which I didn’t feel great about, but we are also lazy so it wasn’t like we were going to make any extra effort doing anything else. I asked Mike if it came to that if he’d “take care of it” because I “didn’t want to know if what I was recycling was actually ending up in the trash” and he promised he would. “Don’t worry Kath,” Mike said “I’ll take this one on so your place in Heaven is still safe.” “Thanks, Mike,” I said. “I appreciate it because you know I’ll be so busy trying to talk St. Peter into letting you in with me at the gates of Heaven that I really don’t think I’ll have time to address this.” Well, I really don’t know how it worked out but all I know is that Mike put out a very full recyclables can AND garbage can on Recyclables/garbage Monday. It was a difficult few weeks for both of us, we almost had to cut back on our drinking habits, but like we always do, we leaned on each other for support and together we made it through. Since then we have NEVER taken a recyclables day for granted ever again.

Before our wedding day(s) people often asked us, “How are wedding plans going?” Now that we are newlyweds, the question we always get asked is: “How’s married life?” Well, Old Man Montag may give a different answer but so far I am really enjoying married life. NO PARENTS, NO RULES!! YEAHHH! Just kidding we have rules. Like Sundays are our day we ALWAYS get fries. So far the first year of marriage has been an eventful one. Well, honestly we’ve watched a lot of TV, but we’ve also done a bit of traveling…

We were slightly inconvenienced by not being able to get an Uber on our beautiful vacation so as you can imagine we threw a hissy fit about this first world problem.
Our trip to Ireland will have to be a blog post all on it’s own-it was a blast.

We’ve completed a lot of home projects, babysat a few times for my nieces and nephews, dog-sat and even fish-sat. I mean we had so many animals at our house I was beginning to feel like Saint Francis of Assisi. And add in the dog and fish and the place is a petting zoo!

We watched our nieces and nephew’s fish they named “Chloe Nora” one weekend. Things got a little crazy. Chloe is a party animal and can really drink like a fish.
We were both cold so this actually worked out perfectly

Married life has been filled with a lot of firsts. We had our first Christmas as a married couple:

We threw a party and another rule we follow is no party is complete without a Piñata. So we got a Frosty the snowman piñata and our guests took turns hitting it. Mike helped prepare each batter while I used my child’s microphone to be the sportscaster.
Mike knew when he married me that my Jesus snap chats would not stop.
After my hair finished air-drying and I got my Jesus snap in we took a real photo in front of our Christmas tree that we bought at Menards for $25.

We finally started acting like real adults and started using our nice dishes for the first time ever:

Literally had no idea how to make a salad. But after frantically texting my Mom and friends for help, the salad was a huge success. It takes a village I tell ya!

Married life has been filled with lots of learning:

I have had to teach Mike about different towels. One day I came into the kitchen horrified to find he had a bathroom towel out to use as a dish towel.
In my defense, why are the abbreviations for tablespoon and teaspoon so similar?!
I am still learning how to cook. Mike has been very nice when I mess up meals and he hasn’t thrown up in my presence yet.

And a lot of “adjustments” or compromising…

We don’t agree on the proper pizza sauce. I was raised to think you could just throw any red sauce on a pizza and call it a day but Mike is a pizza Diva and cannot use marinara sauce on his pizza, the jar must read PIZZA SAUCE. It has became a great topic of conversation among our friends and we enjoy asking everyone’s opinion on the matter.

But I think it’s the day to day small things that I have enjoyed the most. One thing Mike and I usually do together each morning is watch the news before we leave for our day. Usually since I am up WAY before Mike, I get to the remote first to turn the news on. But a few weeks ago, on this particular day, Mike somehow got the remote before me. I walked into the TV room to see him at his spot on the couch, drinking his smoothie with the CBS morning news on, NOT NBC which I usually have on. “Oh… You have the CBS News on today, huh?” I said, not even trying to hide my clear distaste. “What’s wrong with CBS?” Mike asked. “Nothing,” I said. “I just prefer to watch ‘The Today Show’ in the morning. It gives me the news but with a little more pizzaz! I get my facts but I also get my pop culture and my morning boost with Hoda, which I appreciate. CBS is too boring, it’s just like, ‘Here’s your depressing, boring news America. Womp, Womp.’ And that’s it.” “Hey! I LIKE CBS news in the morning exactly for that reason! I just want the news and no other stupid stuff!” Mike said defensively. “Yes, Mike” I replied softly, “You like it because CBS morning news is the OLD MAN NEWS. So this is why you are drawn to it. I’ll watch it with you for a bit but we are going to have to take turns with our news in the morning because I feel like I am watching an excel spreadsheet.” As I watched the morning old man news I decided to grab a banana and bit into it. Which led into one of me and Mike’s typical produce conversations:

Me: Oh sick! There are so many strings on this banana! Have you noticed how stringy these bananas are? I feel like I am eating the peel with the banana there are legit so many strings on these bananas we recently got!
Mike: Honestly I only eat them in my smoothies so I haven’t noticed the amount of strings on them.
Me: I had one the other day and it was SUPER stringy but I thought maybe it was just one bad banana and I wanted to give them the benefit of the doubt but I think they are all like this! Ugh gross! I can’t stand the texture! I don’t think I can eat these! Shoot do you think we accidentally bought organic? You know how I feel about organic things!
Mike: Oh, yup. I know!

Mike knows I do not believe in buying organic. Give me the pesticides is my motto! I am not paying extra for organic. Once I was done having a break down over the bananas, we moved on to talking about apples. I recently tried buying a new apple called a Cosmic Crisp type apple and both of us were blown away! Honestly it was a happy accident-I wanted to buy Honey Crisp but when I saw the price of them I wasn’t ready to take out a second mortgage on our house just yet so my fall back was coming home with the Cosmic Crisp apples, which were on sale, and wow were they delicious.

When it comes to doing the grocery shopping, Mike and I try to take turns, depending on what our schedule is for the week. Mike is actually pretty good about volunteering to go to the store, which I very much appreciate, but I also think he does this to prevent me from buying in bulk. When I shop, I buy the LARGEST container of something I can find. Mike HATES this. I absolutely love going to COSTCO and Sam’s club to stock up on things. I could spend my whole day at those amazing places. I am not sure why I get such pure joy out of buying in bulk. Is it the savings? I often ask myself. The fact that I won’t have to buy ketchup for the next three years? Whatever it is, it makes me happy, so I keep doing it. On my recent Sam’s club shop last week, I bought both a large canister of Folger’s coffee and a large canister of Dunkin coffee. As we were carrying items in, Mike was confused by all the coffee, seeing as I am the only coffee drinker in our household. “Why did you buy two things of coffee, Kath? He asked, “Are we hosting a brunch or something?” I smiled excitedly and said, “Oh, no, no, no! I needed more of my daily Folgers coffee but I also got myself some Dunkin ‘treat yourself coffee’ as well!” I stood there smiling, clearly very pleased. Mike was still confused. “But I thought your ‘treat yourself coffee’ was when you go get yourself a Dunkin coffee, at Dunkin?” he said. “Oh, no. That’s a ‘treat-treat’ coffee.” I replied. “This coffee is just a ‘treat’ coffee to make my mornings a little brighter.” I was still smiling. Mike laughed “Well that makes a lot of sense,” he said sarcastically. “Hey!” I replied, “Treat yourself coffee makes me happy and I think I deserve to be happy!”

Mike and I both try to prep dinners too. Mike is great about cooking when he can, but if you ask me, I do feel like since being married I have spent A LOT more of my time doing things like cleaning chicken, freezing chicken, then unfreezing it, chopping up vegetables etc. Two things I hate the most: Cooking…and putting pillows in pillowcases. I just don’t think you get your return on investment when it comes to cooking. You spend HOURS making something and then it’s eaten in about 30 seconds. I’d rather spend my day doing something else. Like buying bulk items or something, I don’t know. And putting pillows in pillowcases, not sure why I have such trouble doing this but I feel like I have to wrestle the pillow into the pillowcase every single time. I don’t know what I am doing wrong but it’s exhausting and I hate it.

This meal turned out really good and we both really enjoyed it. Private message me if you want the recipe.

Before our wedding day, Mike and I mostly talked about and did things relating to our wedding. Now that our wedding day is over, I’d say most of our daily conversations revolve around two main things: The dishwasher and the lawn. Our dishwasher’s schedule is really the big topic of conversation between the two of us. You see, Mike and I are still learning to blend our dishwasher morals and beliefs at this stage of our marriage. Mike is big on hand washing dishes, he also likes to pack the dishwasher to the brim, only running it when absolutely necessary. He doesn’t really rinse his dishes either but leaves food particles on them and just sticks it right in that dishwasher. I, on the other hand, try to avoid hand washing dishes AT ALL COSTS. I don’t care if I need to run that dishwasher five times in a day-I believe anything is dishwasher safe if you set your mind to it. BUT I rinse off my dishes before putting them in, I’m not an animal. I put no thought into to how I put dishes in the dishwasher, I just shove them in there, unlike Mike, who is very methodical about it. It’s like a game of Tetris for him. The only thing I am particular about is I like the silverware to be placed up in the silverware basket. I just feel it gets cleaner this way. Since being married Mike has adjusted his utensil dishwasher placement to this for me which I appreciate. The other day he was in the kitchen (where he belongs am I right ladies? Just kidding) and I suddenly heard him yell out “Ouch!” “Are you ok?!” I said as I went into the kitchen to see what the commotion was about. “What happened?” “Yea,” he said. “I was loading the dishes and I poked myself on one of the knives that’s facing upright in the basket!” I looked at him like he was crazy. “Well why are you putting the knives up like that in the dishwasher?! Sheesh! That’s so dangerous!” I said in disbelief. “I thought that’s how you wanted the dishwasher loaded!” He said back, “Silverware up!” I laughed and said back, “Well obvi I meant spoons and forks but not knives, silly! I’m not a psychopath, I don’t want anyone to get hurt here!” Mike rolled his eyes. “How was I supposed to know!” He said back defensively. “I mean, Mike, I am a little worried that you didn’t know. One of us could have gotten hurt the way you’ve been loading those sharp knives in the dishwasher!” I said. “I JUST DID GET HURT!” Mike replied. But both of us can agree, that there is no worse feeling than meaning to start the dishwasher before going to bed and waking up and realizing we forgot. So many mornings we will wake up and one of us will open the dishwasher and say “OH MY GOD! NO! WE FORGOT TO START THE DISHWASHER LAST NIGHT!” It is an awful way to start the day. Which is EXACTLY why I buy myself ‘treat yourself coffee’ to have on hand for myself for sad times like these.

When it comes to our second main topic, the lawn, I take on more of the role of “the listener” for this one while Mike does the talking about the lawn. Mike’s likes to talk about all different aspects of caring for the lawn with me, to which I just nod along. In the summer he likes to let me know about his watering schedule for the lawn and where and when he plans to move the sprinkler. In the fall he lets out his frustrations to me about how he just raked and now there are new leaves all over the lawn because “they just won’t stop coming down.” “Mike, I’m sorry,” I say sympathetically, “But we live across the street from a forest. We are going to have leaves on our lawn.” In the winter he tells me about his future plans to seed the lawn when the weather gets warmer. And in the Spring when we go on walks together we admire other people’s nice lawns and wonder what they are doing that we aren’t.

Here Mike is coming back from chasing away a squirrel who had they audacity to try and bury an acorn in our lawn.

When it came to making various decisions for our wedding, it wasn’t always easy. Mike and I sometimes have differences in tastes and opinions. But for some reason picking our first dance song was a quick and easy one for us. We both wanted the song “Into the Mystic” by Van Morrison. It’s our favorite. Not sure exactly what Van meant in the song but I always interpreted “into the mystic” as kind of “going into life” or starting life. One of the last lines of the song is “And together we will float into the mystic.” So, I guess to sum up and answer the question, “how’s married life?” It’s been great. We are learning, laughing and really just enjoying together floating on into the mystic.

Living My Best Quarantine Life

The savages in quarantine

A few months ago, my sister Jane and I went on one of our usual quarantine walks. But on this particular walk, for whatever reason, we decided to switch things up a bit and go through the cemetery. Maybe it was because we were getting bored of our normal route, or maybe it was because growing up, instead of watching “Sesame Street,” my Mom had shows like “Dateline” and “Cold Case Files” playing for us so we felt quite comfortable with death. Whatever the reason, we were really enjoying walking through the cemetery on that bright sunny morning, commenting on all the headstones, picking out our favorites, and discussing if we would go with granite or quartz, an in-ground or above-ground headstone when our time came, when I noticed someone had left a Dunkin Donuts’ coffee at their loved one’s grave. Being a Dunkin coffee lover myself, I thought this was very nice, and I asked Jane if she would do that for me when I kicked the bucket. Well, let me tell you, a person’s true colors REALLY shine when you ask them to pick you up a coffee postmortem because here is the conversation that followed:

Me: Wow, that’s really sweet that person left a Dunkin coffee on the headstone for their loved one! Jane, would you do that for me when I die?
Jane: Awww that was so nice! Hmmm well, I mean you do love your Dunkin Coffee. That’s probably your favorite food right?
Me: I mean yea, I’d say it’s the base of my food pyramid, yes.
Jane: Ok, well would I have to actually pay to have coffee put in a Dunkin cup or could I just go to Dunkin and ask for the cup and put that on your grave?
Me: Ok. Wow, first off, you cheap ass! A Dunkin Coffee is like two dollars just suck it up and get me the coffee for crying out loud! I’m dead! All you have to do is pay two dollars! You got the way better end of this deal YET AGAIN CLASSIC HEALTHY JANE LIVING LONGER THAN ME!! Second, HOW IS AN EMPTY CUP GOING TO STAY AT MY GRAVE IT WILL BLOW AWAY!!
Jane: I would put rocks or water in the cup to hold it down.
Me: Ok, you know what that might work better because now that I think about it, since I get my coffee with cream and sugar if you leave that by my grave that may attract animals and I don’t want them stomping on all the flowers Mom will be planting at my grave.
Jane: Ok then so what will you bring to my grave when I die?
Me: Well obviously you LOVE hummus and chips so I’ll bring you the COSTCO sized hummus. But I will need to know what type of chips you want. Should I bring pretzel chips or pita chips for you?
Jane: Hmm, yikes, tough choice. I kind of like to switch it up. Can you alternate and maybe bring me hummus and pita chips one week and then hummus and pretzel chips the next week?
Me: UMMMM excuse me?! I’m sorry, do you think I am going to turn into your own personal Grub Hub delivery service once you die?! And do you know how pricey pita chips and pretzel chips can be?!! You won’t even buy me a two dollar coffee and you want me to buy you pita chips AND pretzel chips weekly like I am some sort of grocery delivery service?! You’re lucky I’m even bringing you chips!! I could make you dip vegetables in the hummus if I really wanted to! And we have to chat about the frequency of these grave site visits, I mean I’ll do my best to be there but I have a full time job and then once it gets into the winter months you know I get cold easily. I can’t be standing out there in the elements. These Chicago winters are no joke.
Jane: Yea, your lips turn purple when it gets lower than 70 degrees out that’s true.

After more discussion, we got the grave-site schedule figured out (a logistical nightmare but thank goodness we checked that off our list!) and enjoyed the rest of our walk through the cemetery. Jane tried to appease me and say that she would leave a gift card at my grave that had two dollars on it, to which I was even more insulted.

Those Geese better stay away from my Dunkin coffee when I’m dead!

A lot of people have used this quarantine to get in shape, organize their homes, or try out new recipes. (I’ve done none of that.) Other people have been really, really bored during this quarantine. Luckily for me, I have been able to keep myself entertained, because honestly, no one can make me laugh quite like I can. So, what have I been doing over quarantine? Well, I’ve gone on a lot of walks. LOTS of walks. Part of my daily routine involves going for a walk, coming home, checking my Fitbit for my step count, being surprised at how low it is and yelling out loud “UGH! THAT’S IT?!!” And then telling everyone around that my Fitbit MUST be broken because I for sure walked farther than it has documented.

Jane and I tried to walk to our brother’s house one day to hang out but he wasn’t home so we looked around for a key, couldn’t find one so then we hung out on his patio for a long time until he returned because in quarantine, time doesn’t matter.
I noticed a trend that a lot of people liked to post their workout results on their social media accounts so I thought I’d jump on the bandwagon and do the same. Felt good to sweat out all those White Claws I drank the night before.

Other than going on walks, another favorite quarantine pass-time of mine is watching recipe videos. I never actually make any of the recipes, but for some reason those recipe videos of the hands making various dishes show up on my newsfeed and they are so mesmerizing that all of a sudden it’s 6 hours later and I haven’t blinked. So that’s really taken up a good chunk of my time.

Other than that, so far during quarantine I’ve watched a lot of shows, drank a lot outside, took a lot of Snapchats and even attempted to make a few smoothies (Went horribly wrong). But my proudest accomplishment so far during quarantine has definitely been getting my haircut. While I’ve been blessed with a great flow of hair, it’s a wild mane, and when it’s not tamed I literally look like Jesus. So when the whole world went on lock down, including hair salons, Jesus rose again:

A Lake weekend when I couldn’t properly maintain my luscious locks.
The Jesus hair’s last supper before I got my haircut.
I have no problem using my nieces and nephews for entertainment so here I subjected my niece Ciara to sit and try out numerous Snapchat filters with me. Despite the look on her face WE WERE HAVING FUN I SWEAR!!!
My Millennial brain could not handle the 80s appliances so I aborted the smoothie mission.
It’s still hard for me to talk about this day when my recording of the Bachelorette failed and I missed the entire episode.

While I am MORE than ready to be done with this quarantine, I am very lucky that my family has been able to stay healthy during all of this. My two biggest complaints have been that the Governor kept interrupting “Inside Edition” and “Jeopardy” to give daily updates and that my Dad changed his laundry day. So with those being my biggest problems right now I am extremely lucky. But my Dad really did throw us all for a loop when he changed his laundry day from Sunday to Monday. He has been doing the laundry on Sunday’s for the last 35 years and all of a sudden he switches things up on us! My siblings and I have never felt so lost and confused.

WE DEMAND ANSWERS, DAD!!!!

Quarantine life hasn’t been ideal, but I’m very fortunate I get to spend it with this crew:

Back in early quarantine when Zoom Happy Hours were fun and cool and not a total and utter BURDEN and absolute drag like they are now.