Friday Free-For-All – 11/10/17

Photo Jul 14, 10 05 37 AM

 

I have officially kicked off Christmas shopping! Every year, I say I’m going to get done early, and every year, I’m scrambling the week before Christmas. But I’m REALLY trying hard to change my ways this year. I’ve already bought 7 gifts, and Ben is completely done! I’m having everything delivered to my office, and I’m going to bring wrapping supplies in so that I can wrap everything before bringing it home. That way I don’t have to worry about someone walking in on me wrapping their gift and spoiling the surprise.

Lyric’s A Christmas Story the Musical opened last night. Because I’m now on the PR/Development Committee, part of my job is to take a shift working at the membership table selling raffle tickets, so I did that last night before the show and at intermission. Opening night is always a great night to see a Lyric show because there’s a post-show reception afterwards with champagne and snacks. Unfortunately, I was overtired from staying up late the previous night with a very sick friend, so I didn’t even stay for the party. The show was VERY cute, though, and I’m glad I went.

I bought new flannel sheets for our bed, and I can’t wait for them to arrive! The flannel sheets that we have currently are at least 10 years old, and I’m also not even sure they’re actually queen-sized, so they don’t stay on the bed at all. I’ve been stalking these sheets on Target for a while, and when they went on sale this week, I pounced! I’m a huge fan of flannel sheets during the winter months, so I’m excited to upgrade.

We had our first snow in Underhill last night. The first snow is always so exciting and magical, and it was lovely to wake up to this morning. I meant to snap a picture, but between already running late and needed to scrape said snow and ice off my car, I didn’t get around to it. There’s no snow in town though, so it will be nice to return to it after work tonight.

Have you had your first snow yet?

 

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House Buying Sucks

Oh, my friends. We have had a WEEK. I always knew that buying a house could be difficult and stressful, but nothing I had heard could possibly have prepared me for what we are going through.

Last Monday, we submitted an offer on our dream house: a lovely little 2 bed, 2 bath ranch on 6 acres. It backed up to the Lamoille Valley Rail Trail, my favorite place to run. It had apple trees and lilac bushes. It had a detached 2 car garage. Basically, it checked every box for us. We knew that the owner was old, and possibly not of sound mind, and that there was an estate lawyer involved in the sale. We figured, hey, they’ve got their stuff covered. Things should be fine. We started thinking about where to put furniture, planning what we would need to buy. We got excited about being in a place of our own by Christmas.

The deadline on our offer was that Wednesday at 10 am. The deadline came and went with no news from our realtor, so we emailed her after work that night. As it turned out, the estate lawyer had decided the seller was definitely not of sound mind, so he needed to involve her family in the sale. Both he and the listing agent thought our offer was solid, and would encourage the family to accept, but it would take some additional time. OK, fine. We loved the house and were willing to wait a bit.

Thursday came and went with no update. Friday came and went with no update. On Monday, we emailed our realtor again, emphasizing that we still really wanted the house, and asking if there anything we should do. She emailed back with good news–the estate lawyer and selling agent were meeting with the seller on Tuesday at 12:30, and she would sign the offer. Our realtor was told this by both the listing agent AND the estate lawyer. We breathed a sigh of relief. The next day, the contract would be signed. We once again started making plans, allowing ourselves to get excited.

Tuesday at 12:30 came and went with no news. We agonized all afternoon, waiting for an email, a phone call, SOMETHING. At 6 pm, our realtor called me. No, the offer had not been signed. Seemingly all of a sudden, the estate lawyer had realized that if they signed the contract, the seller would have to be out of the house by closing, but she didn’t have anywhere to go, and they weren’t sure they could find somewhere for her within the timeline laid out by the contract. So they didn’t sign. Our realtor presented three options:

1) Bail on the house entirely.
We weren’t super excited about this option because the house, the land, and the price point are all pretty much exactly what we’re looking for. But on the other hand, the estate lawyer and listing agent have demonstrated that they can’t adhere to deadlines, and also straight up lied to us about signing the contract, so we’re reluctant to continue doing business with them.

2) Walk away for now, but ask them to call us if they figure their shit out.
This option is attractive, because it allows us to explore other houses in the meantime, and leaves us free to put in other offers if we find something we like as much as, or better than, this place. It’s unattractive because it also means other buyers could potentially swoop in and outbid us because the house is still on the market.

3) Offer a new contract with a two week or one month housing contingency built in.
This would mean that the house is technically ours, but if the seller can’t find someplace to live within that one month, we can bail on the contract and move on. It’s a bad idea for several reasons. First, there is absolutely no guarantee that the seller will find housing within that time frame, meaning we could be back in this same position in another month. Secondly, we’d be under contract for that entire time period, meaning that if another, better house came up, we’d be unable to move on it. Thirdly, an extra month in the contract would push us into the new year. Ben’s new contract, with higher pay, goes into effect 1/1/18, which could potentially affect our financing. And of course, I refer you to the part where the estate lawyer and listing agent have repeatedly missed deadlines and lied to us. So yeah.

Obviously, we are devastated and beyond frustrated. This is a highly unusual situation. Typically, an offer is either accepted or rejected within the specified time frame, and that’s that. Sometimes there’s some countering back and forth, but it’s generally resolved within 48 hours of the initial offer. We’re now over a week out from our original offer and still in limbo. We love, love, love this house, but we need to be intelligent and rational too. We contacted our mortgage broker to see what effect increased income might have on our financing, and we’re taking a couple of days to cool off and think things over. I don’t think either of us want to walk away, but it might be the smartest move.

Have you bought a house before? How was the process for you?

Weekend Update – Flying Solo

Good morning and happy Monday, friends! I hope you had an excellent weekend! Mine was a great mix of productivity, relaxation, and spending time with friends 🙂

Friday
I snuck out of work early to get home and let the dogs out. I always feel bad when they’re stuck home alone all day. They were VERY happy to see me. I spent my evening in my PJs, chilling with the animals and finally wrapping up LOST on Netflix. Next up is season 2 of Stranger Things, and then maybe Grey’s Anatomy? That’s another one that I know was hugely popular when I was in school, but I never watched.

The only crappy thing about Friday night was burning the ever-loving shit out of my hand while loading the wood stove. Seriously. Ouch.

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Saturday
The dogs woke me up around 7:30 and I was up for the day. I made myself some breakfast, fed the dogs, fed the horse, and got started on the first of several loads of laundry. I changed the sheets on our bed and everything!

After the flurry of activity in the morning, I spent the afternoon in my comfy pants binge-watching season two of Stranger Things. So good! Around 6:30 I had to pretty much force myself to get dressed and put some makeup on to go into town for my friend Megan’s birthday celebration. It took a LOT of effort, but I’m glad I ended up going. So many friends were there, and it was great to see everyone.

Sunday
It was another early morning thanks to the dogs, and another productive morning. I did another load of laundry, vacuumed, and put away all the laundry I did on Saturday.

Around noon, I left to meet my friend Sarah for lunch. We’re going to BroadwayCon together in January, so we did a little bit of brainstorming about what we want to do while we’re in the city. We decided we’re going to see Phantom of the Opera (which neither of us has seen even though it’s been playing FOREVER), and Come From Away.

By the time I got home, Ben and my in-laws were home from New York too. We spent some time chatting and catching up, and after a delicious beef stew supper, Ben and I hunkered down in our room to relax and watch the Ken Burns Prohibition documentary on Netflix.

All in all it was a great, lazy weekend, but I have GOT to get my butt in gear and get back to CrossFit and at least try to run. I can’t go complete couch potato all winter. It won’t be pretty.

Did you have a lazy weekend like me?

 

Friday Free-For-All – 11/03/17

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Why does buying a house have to be so damn complicated and stressful? Long story short, we put in an offer on a house Monday night, and should have had an answer Wednesday morning. Things are more complicated than they first appeared, and as of this writing, we still do not have an answer one way or the other. It sounds like things should become clear soon, but DAMN this is killing us!

I am SO GRATEFUL for electricity and running water. Due to the wind storm, we didn’t have power or running water at home from Sunday night through Wednesday afternoon. You never realize just how much you take things like that for granted until they are gone. And we’re actually among the lucky ones, as I have some friends who still don’t have power!

I’m home alone this weekend. Sadly, Ben’s Uncle Lou passed away last week, and the memorial service is in upstate New York this weekend. Due to a lack of vacation time, I opted to stay home. While I’ll miss seeing Ben’s extended family and saying goodbye to Uncle Lou, me staying home means that we don’t have to hire a pet sitter for the weekend, so I’m trying to look on the bright side. This memorial will also likely be Irish wake style, so I’m saving my liver some damage as well.

My office now has a shiny red Swingline stapler. Yep, just like Milton from Office Space. Apparently, the office manager got it free with her order of something else, and you’d better believe I pounced on it immediately. It gives me SO MUCH JOY.

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Catch me giving this look to anyone who tries to “borrow” my stapler.

Do you have a favorite piece of office decor/equipment?

 

October 2017 Wrap Up

CrossFit
Well, this was not a good month for CrossFit. I only went a literal handful of times. Between the weird fall weather we’re having and coasting on the high of my half marathon PR, I just didn’t feel like doing much. I’m trying to remind myself how much I love going to class, and how good it is for my long term health. I hope to get back to class with some regularity in November.

Running
Once again, not a great month of running. After my race on October first, I only did a couple of short, easy runs. I’d love to say that I’m going to get back on the wagon, but looking out the window at the cold, dreary Vermont November weather, I know that’s not the case.

Since I’m NOT training for a spring race this year, I plan to pretty much not run this winter. I’m not a big fan of outdoor winter running, and since I ditched my Planet Fitness membership, I no longer have treadmill access. I’m a fair weather runner, what can I say?

Theatre
Lyric Theatre’s production of A Christmas Story the musical opens next week. This is the first Lyric show I haven’t been directly involved with since I was cast Legally Blonde back in the spring of 2014. It’s strange, but also good. It’s been a real treat to have free time, although I often feel like I don’t quite know what to do with myself.

I’ve now been to two meetings of the Lyric Theatre PR/Development Committee, and I really feel like I made the right choice. Meetings are fun and completely functional, and there are usually snacks 🙂 I’m excited to continue to contribute to Lyric’s future.

Highlight
Our Toronto trip, hands down. It was so, so nice to spend some one-on-one time together. Runner up is PUTTING AN OFFER IN ON A HOUSE! Yup. That happened. Stay tuned!

Lowlight
The great big wind storm that knocked out power for 3+ days. As of publishing this post, we still don’t have power at home. Boooo.

October Goals
As a refresher, my goals for September were:

  • Make house-hunting a priority–yes
  • Complete at least one item on my “long term” to-do list at work–yes
  • Go to CrossFit at least 2x per week–nope

As I said above, it wasn’t a good month for CF, but I’m not worried about it. As for my work projects, I have not one, but TWO nearly complete, and I’ve started some others. It feels really good to finally chip away at the stuff that doesn’t really have hard deadlines. It’s so easy to just let them go month after month.

November Goals

  • Complete at least one additional item on my “long term” to-do list at work
  • Go to CrossFit at least 2x per week

What was the highlight of your October?

 

Weekend Updates – Vet Visits, House Sitting and More

Happy Monday, friends! Welcome to another edition of Weekend Update!

Friday
Friday after work, I hit up CrossFit, which was both wonderful and hard, as always. This was my first time going to class twice in one week in a while, and I was FEELING it.

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After class I headed home to quickly pack my overnight bag for house sitting, and then zipped the 10 minutes down the road. I was greeted by two friendly puppers, and proceeded to spend the rest of the evening ensconced on a comfy couch, enjoying puppy snuggles and cable TV.

Saturday
First thing in the morning, we took our kitties to their annual vet visits. Creemee has a little skin irritation on her neck that we got some ointment for, and otherwise they are in good health. Hooray!

After dropping the kitties off at home, we headed out to look at a couple of houses, and, well, we kind of fell in love with one. So much so that we immediately scheduled a second viewing for Sunday so that we could bring my in-laws for a more critical once-over.

In the afternoon, Ben headed off to play disc golf with some friends while I headed back to the house and took the pups for a walk, threw in some laundry, and watched Halloween movies.

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When Ben got home, we headed over to our friends David and Alex’s house for a low-key Halloween party. We had some drinks and some snacks, and were home in bed before midnight.

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Sunday
We had a bit of a lie-in Sunday morning, and after breakfast headed out to our second viewing of the house we liked. My in-laws both gave double thumbs up, and we coordinated a meeting with our Realtor for today to put together an offer package. Eek!

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We spent the rest of the afternoon at our buddy Pete’s house watching football, then headed back to our house-sitting gig for supper and an early bedtime. Unfortunately, northern VT was smacked with a crazy strong wind storm, and I had a VERY hard time sleeping with the wind howling around the house.

The power went out overnight, which meant no shower, no coffee, and no breakfast. AND there were major road closures due to downed trees and power lines, so I was over an hour late to work this morning. Happy Monday!

Did you experience the wind storm in your area?

Friday Free-For-All – 10/27/17

Photo Jul 14, 10 05 37 AM

We’re house sitting once again this weekend. Sadly, Fran, the woman we used to stay with and help out, passed away. She moved back to Michigan last year and just passed away after a bout of pneumonia. The family is headed out to Michigan for her funeral, so we are staying at the house to take care of the dogs. While it will be nice to have a house to ourselves for a few days, the circumstances suck.

I’ve come down with a bit of a cold. I’ve had a sore throat since Wednesday, and I’m just feeling under the weather. I’m looking forward to a relaxing weekend, with hot tub time and plenty of cable TV. I can’t wait to watch endless Halloween movies!

My seltzer habit is getting a little ridiculous. Polar seltzer is my favorite beverage right now, hands down. I buy a 1 liter bottle at least two times a week. It’s just so tasty and refreshing! And much more fun than regular water.

I finally ordered more filters for my desktop humidifier. I didn’t really need to use it much after Dogfight, but now that it’s cold/flu season, and the heat has kicked on at home and the office, I need the extra moisture. Thankfully, the filters are very inexpensive and available on Amazon Prime, so they’ll be here today. Woot!

Do you like Halloween movies? I only like not-so-scary ones.

 

Weekend Update – Toronto Edition

Hi friends! Sorry for the delay, but I’ve been pretty busy at work since we got back from Toronto. Despite some planning SNAFUs, we had an absolute blast. Away we go with the trip recap!

Friday
We got on the road right around 9 am, which allowed a relatively leisurely morning at home. We took Route 11 across the top of New York and crossed into Ontario at Cornwall. The stop at the border was super quick, and then we were headed west on Route 401.

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Crossing into Canada

Unfortunately, we hit INSANE rush hour traffic right on the outskirts of Toronto, and I succumbed to some pretty intense runger. Once we finally got into town, we realized that our hotel didn’t have a dedicated parking garage. Seriously? That sucked. But we found a garage on the same street as our hotel that would charge us $22 for the whole weekend, which turned out to be a deal considering that the hotel offered valet service for FIFTY FREAKING DOLLARS A NIGHT! Woof.

After we got checked in, we were exhausted and ravenous, so we set off to find some food. Within a two block stroll, we happened upon Aroma Indian restaurant. The place was super busy, but we got a table very quickly. After some pakoras and samosas, we were less starved. For our mains, I got Chicken Tikka Masala and Ben got a lamb dish. Scrumptious!

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After dinner, we just strolled around the city for a while. Our hotel, the Residence Inn, is right smack bang in the middle of the downtown entertainment district, mere blocks from the Rogers Centre (where the Blue Jays play), and the CN tower. It was so beautiful all lit up at night. Tiredness got the better of us pretty quickly, and we headed up to our room to watch TV for a few minutes before bed. Cable TV is a huge luxury for us!

Saturday
We were up and at ’em early on Saturday morning, as we wanted to cram in a lot of sightseeing. We hit up our hotel’s free breakfast to save a few bucks, and while sitting at our table, I saw on the news a brief blurb about the Toronto Waterfront Marathon. Which would be happening the following day. Ummmm, what? A little research revealed that the marathon course literally circled our hotel, and there were road closures scheduled all morning on Sunday.

With this information, we determined that our best bet would be to leave extra early on Sunday morning, otherwise we’d likely be trapped in the city for who knew how long. With a 7+ hour drive, we didn’t want to leave super late in the day. Armed with a plan and the knowledge that we wouldn’t have any time for fun in the city on Sunday, we headed out, determined to have ALL THE FUN on Saturday.

First stop was the Kensington Market, a cool neighborhood of funky shops and restaurants. Sadly, it was too early in the day for most of the places to be open, but it was still pretty and interesting.

Next up was the CN Tower. This was a bit expensive ($60ish bucks US dollars), but well worth it. The views from the observation area were incredible. There was also a glass floor, which made me feel all kinds of wobbly. I had to work up my courage to stand there long enough for a picture!

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Since the Canadian Railway Museum was close by, we headed there next. It’s such a cool place–basically it’s the old roundhouse yard, just preserved in the middle of the city. The turntable and all the original tracks are still there, and there are a bunch of locomotives, train cars, and cabooses set all around so you can look at them and take pictures. You can even climb inside the caboose and look around! The “museum” portion was pretty lame, but with an admission fee of just $5 CAD, I just looked at it as a donation to help preserve the cool stuff outside.

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It was nearing lunch time and I was starting to get hangry, but Ben wanted to check out a sailboat that he had seen on the drive in the night before, so we walked down to the waterfront. After investigating the boat (it wasn’t a wooden ship, and it was closed to the public), we found ourselves at the Amsterdam Brewing Company for lunch.

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This was a GREAT spot. We got a table on the patio, so we could not only see boats coming in and out of the harbor, we could see planes taking off and landing at the airport, which, fun fact, is ON AN ISLAND. Yeah. Pretty awesome. We sat for almost 2 hours enjoying lunch and some microbrews before we were ready to head off to our next destination.

The St. Lawrence Market was kind of a haul, but we had trouble figuring out Metro tickets, so we just sucked it up and walked. St. Lawrence Market is an indoor market kind of like Quincy Market in Boston. Tons of cheeses, meats, bakeries, fresh fish, and vendors. It was very crowded and kind of overwhelming, but we managed to do a bit of Christmas shopping. Hooray for being ahead of the game!

By this point, we were both pretty tired, and headed back to the hotel for a nap. We had hoped to hit Fort York, but we were just too pooped. After a couple of hours laying low at the hotel, we were ready for round two. We decided to head toward Fort York even though it would probably be closed. It was. But we could still see most of the historic buildings from the street, so that was cool.

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We then started a big circle back toward the hotel in search of some food. I was once again hangry (damn me and forgetting to pack travel snacks), and was quite a surly wench. There were innumerable food choices–Mexican, Greek, Vietnamese, pizza, Thai, sushi… I was just so hungry I couldn’t make any decisions. Finally, we ended up in front of Touehenboku Ramen, and I huffed and said “Fine, I guess Ramen is fine.” GUYS. Ramen is DELICIOUS. Savory and oh-so-satisfying without leaving you feeling like a glutton. We had some pork dumplings, then I had a garlicky Ramen with chicken and I ate every last bit. OMNOMNOM.

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Please enjoy my empty bowl

After dinner, we decided to just head back to the hotel and enjoy some more cable TV, haha. We were wiped out from a long day of walking, and knew we had an early wake-up call for Sunday. Lying in a king sized bed watching cable TV with air conditioning is the height of luxury, I tell you.

Sunday
Our alarms went off at the ungodly hour of 5:30 am, and we were checked out of the hotel and in our car by 6 am. I know, I’m impressed too. We stopped at a rest area around 7 to grab breakfast at Tim Horton’s, because, well, “When in Canada,” right?

After another hour or so of driving, we were both struggling to stay awake, so we pulled over at another rest area and napped for about an hour. MUCH BETTER. It was a long drive home, but we pulled into the driveway right around 3 pm, which left us plenty of time to unpack, do laundry, and chat with Ben’s parents. And then, no joke, we went to bed at 8:30 pm. Party. Animals.

All in all, it was a great trip, I just wish we’d known about the marathon before booking this particular weekend. I also wish we’d left earlier on Friday so we hadn’t hit rush hour traffic. Lesson learned for next time! Toronto has a ton of diversity, great food, and so much to see and do. I know Ben and I are both anxious to go back and explore more of the city.

Have you ever been to Toronto? What was your favorite thing you saw/did?

 

Friday Free-For-All – 10/20/17

Photo Jul 14, 10 05 37 AM

We’re off to Toronto! Both Ben and I are off from work, and we’re headed to Toronto for a long weekend. This is our first “just us” trip pretty much since we’ve been together, and we couldn’t be more excited. We’re driving there and back, which is a long trip, but with music and snacks, it should be great. We’re no strangers to long car rides together. We’ve got some ideas of what we’d like to do, but no firm itinerary. Mostly, our priority is just to spend time together. Stay tuned for a recap next week!

House hunting has stalled a bit. The combination of our realtor being out of town plus the market starting to slow down has meant that we didn’t see any houses this week. Booooo. It’s disappointing and frustrating, but unfortunately there’s not much we can do about it. Hopefully when Jill is back in town next week we’ll get back into the swing of things.

Halloween is coming and I haven’t a thing to wear. I feel like I’m in this predicament every year. Halloween always sneaks up on me and I end up wearing some really lame, thrown together thing. Of course, we haven’t even been invited to any parties yet, so it doesn’t really matter that much, but it’s the principal of the thing. I love Halloween, and aspire to be one of those people who always has a kickass costume. *sigh* Maybe someday…

I was reminded this week how freaking delicious chai tea is. My coworker gave me a tea bag and I added some honey and a bit of milk and OMG HEAVEN. Honestly, it was the best thing I’ve drank in ages. So you best believe I went out and bought myself some and it will be my afternoon drink of choice from now on.

TARGET IS COMING TO VERMONT. You guys, I don’t have enough words to express how exciting this is. For years, I have been living in a Target desert. Litereally, Vermont is the only state in the US that doesn’t have one. The closest one was an hour and a half plus a ferry ride away in upstate NY. Now there will be one within striking distance of my office. SQUEEEEEEEEEE.

Are you Target-obsessed like me?

Weekend Update – Friends and Family

Hi friends! Since I’m no longer training for anything in particular, training logs are out, and Weekend Update is in!

Friday
Friday was a bit of a whirlwind. I ended up leaving work early to go look at a house with Ben (another big fat “no”), then met my friend Stacy at Burlington Bay Market for dinner before seeing the show. We ended up getting creemees and a bottle of whiskey (for after the show) as well 🙂

Ripcord was AWESOME. Laugh out loud funny and poignant too. The cast was phenomenal and the direction by our friend Abbie was spot-on. After the show, we headed to our accommodations for the evening: the Starlight Inn. It’s a delightful little motel that is Hollywood themed, and we stayed in the Elvis Presley room. So fun!

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Saturday
After a late night of laughing, talking, and drinking, we were up relatively early for breakfast at the Guilty Plate Diner right across the street. I had the most delicious breakfast burrito I’ve ever had, and then we parted ways.

I headed home to quickly re-pack my overnight bag for a trip to my parents’ house, and Ben and I were on the road by 10:30 am. We arrived in Quechee right around noon, and commenced a super lazy weekend. We had unseasonably warm weather this weekend, so we spent a lot of time lounging on the deck, talking and eating snacks.

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My dad made a heavenly dinner of pork tenderloin, roasted potatoes, and a cheesy, spicy corn dish. We stuffed ourselves, then watched playoff baseball until I called it an early night around 9:30.

Sunday
I slept for almost 12 hours, which I needed after Friday night’s exertions. Dad whipped up a big breakfast, and then he and mom went off to a couple of yard sales, while Ben and I made a quick trip to the NH Liqour Outlet (no taxes!), then went for a long walk around the neighborhood.

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My folks were home by the time we got back, and we had another lazy afternoon of football watching and snack eating. Dad made an early dinner of grilled burgers with potato chips, and then Ben and I headed for home.

We unpacked all our stuff, watched one episode of a TV show, and were in bed by 10. Perfection.

Have you ever stayed at a themed hotel (other than Disney)?