Saturday, June 20, 2009

My CRAZY Week!!!

Well, I just had one of the most stressful weeks of my life! Despite the fact that I'm knee deep in packing for our Japan trip tomorrow morning, I couldn't let the moment slip by without putting down my week's highlights or should I say "saga" on record to look back and laugh at later on. I'm too tired at this point to be original so I've decided to pull most of the stories of my week from various emails I sent to friends and family. :)

Friday, June 12th
At 5:45 pm Yoshi called me on his way home from work to say he had been in a car accident and totaled the Honda Civic. Thank God he was fine, but the front end of the car was completely crunched and it wouldn't drive very well without a carburetor so I had to go and pull him home behind my Isuzu with a rope at 20 MPH from downtown Portland. We had kinda talked about getting some type of Hybrid car soon anyway so I guess in a weird way it turned out to be good timing (sort of). I had bought the Honda 13-1/2 years ago... She was my first real car (besides the clunker I drove through college) and I'm going to kinda miss her. Poor thing. Yoshi was the one at fault--He rear-ended and went under a SUV on Hwy 84 during rush hour and we only had liability coverage... I'm hoping (crossing my fingers) the gal he hit only has minor damage from his frazzled description... I stayed up until after 2 am comparing the Honda Civic Hybrid to the new Toyota Prius and it seemed the Prius was winning on paper, but we decided we wanted to test drive both.

Saturday, June 13th
Yoshi needed to take off on a business trip to Taiwan (had to leave for the airport at Noon), but despite that we decided to wake up at the crack of dawn and hit the Toyota Dealership when it opened at 8am. I dreamt all night about car side-by-side comparisons and then Hayley woke me up at 5:30 am and I couldn't go back to sleep so I ended up getting up after only 3 hours of sleep that night (very unlike me). In my searching I found out there is a zero sales tax offer available on all Hybrids purchased before July 31st and the Prius is the #1 rated hybrid with a new design out this year so as a result I guess they are currently very hard to come by. The salesman said they had only two left to sell from a huge shipment coming in by boat from Japan in the next two weeks. They didn't have any at the lot except for one waiting for customer pick-up. Anyway, knowing we would probably take awhile to get one in, we decided it was especially important to get the ball rolling now while we planned to be gone (assuming we decided to go that route). The only problem is of the two left, only one was in our price range and it was black (like my last choice in colors), but then when we were at the Dick Hanna Honda dealership test driving the Civic and talking numbers, we finally decided to just go back and just get the Black Prius. When the Honda guys realized we were leaving they offered to sell us a Prius from a Dick Hanna Toyota Dealership in Longview. Anyway they found one with all the extras we were hoping for at a slightly better price in candy apple RED! That made me absolutely giddy, but now I have to sit here knowing our new toy is over there in a lot, but I can't drive it until Yoshi gets back to sign the papers. :(

For anyone reading this, if you're ever in the market to buy a car (even used ones) I highly recommend the Costco buying program. You go online to locate the nearest dealership for the car make, model and year and then you can print out an authorization code to take in with you and they have pre-negotiated a low price for you with a special price sheet just for Costco members. The dealerships wouldn't allow the Costco discounts on the Prius because of the high demand, but for the Honda Civic it immediately knocked off $4000 from the sticker price and then we were able to talk them down an extra $1500 because we still really wanted the Prius and we did this all within a matter of minutes. I'm sure that extra $1500 was because of the market conditions, but we have bought cars before where we haggled for 4 or 5 hours and they still never knocked off $4000 so it's nice to know that in a great economy you have that option. I think we will go through Costco for any future cars we buy--It's a wonderful program!

Monday, June 15th
Lena was a dear friend and after a lunch date agreed to take me to see our new car that was sitting at the dealership. She even came prepared with her camera and took a picture of me and Hayley with it (Sydney was still in school)...

After my lunch and scrap date with Lena, the girls and I decided to head to Costco and buy me an iPod! OMG!!! How did I live without one for so long?! I ended up going with the 120 GB iPod Classic--The one with the little video screen. I had kinda been wanting one anyway, but with our trip coming up I thought it would be awesome to download a bunch of movies and cartoons onto it to give me and the girls something to do during all our airplane and bullet train rides in Japan (plus I knew our Prius came with the MP3 player jack so it was the last little push I needed). Immediately after getting it though, I realized I would "need" a protective case, nice headphones, some car and wall chargers, a headphone splitter, etc. What started out as kinda a somewhat expensive impulse buy, just got a whole lot more expensive. It's amazing how quickly the little things add up!

Well, I was just really getting into filling it up with all my music and videos when at around 10pm, as if we had't had enough surprises and unplanned distractions come up this week already (and like I'm wasn't behind enough on my packing), Hayley shoved a plastic bead up her nose. Nothing I did would get it out. She was so upset about it. Plus I started to get stressed because I was the only adult here and didn't have anyone to help me. It just kept going in deeper when I tried to use tweezers and she was completely flipping out so I told Sydney to get her shoes so we could go to the ER. Well, Hayley was so upset at that suggestion that she hid under our bed and I had to drag her out crying hysterically and clawing her way back under there. The whole car ride over she pleading with me to just stay in the car. When we finally got there she had calmed down a bit. I wasn't sure if it was really an emergency or if I should wait to go to the Dr. office in the morning, but they said they would see her so I went ahead and bit the bullet and stayed. I was told they had a little vacuum on a wand, but when they finally did see her they just instructed me to hold down the other nostril while blowing hard in her mouth to shove it out. After about 3 hard blows it popped right out. It was so easy and now I'm scared to see our insurance bill for such a simple solution. It scared her enough that I don't think she'll ever do it again so I don't know if my newfound knowledge will ever have the opportunity to be used again... We ended up getting home at 12:00 and then I had to stay up until 4:30 am just to get the things on my list for that day done.... :(

Wednesday, June 17th
While Sydney was on the phone with Yoshi who called to check in, apparantly she slipped from standing on a barstool in the pantry and in the process of falling ripped 3 of our very fully loaded pantry shelves right off the wall. She was OK, but I just completely lost my last thread of sanity and composure and flipped out big time. I like to seriously stock up during good sales so they were filled to the brim and there was the largest mess imaginable sitting on floor. Looking back I was just so tired and sleep deprived that this new dilemma was just more than I could take and I felt like it meant one more thing to make me lose another night's sleep. In the midst of my anger about my bad luck I decided we were going to pack up and head straight to Home Depot because even though I didn't have time to deal with it and I'm not all that handy, there was no way I was going to leave for our trip without it being fixed!!! Well, when we got there they didn't have anything resembling the broken pieces I had brought with me and when a poor sales guy came to help me out I ended up breaking into tears. He sent me to Lowe's, but we came up empty there too. In the end, I tried to stack everything the best I could and had to just wait until morning to call our builder and see what they could offer. When I finally got in touch with the company who installed them, he said the same thing had happened to him last year. For no reason at all the plastic piece holding the shelves just snapped and he had 27 broken glass canning jars on the ground (I guess I had it easy after all). Anyway, after his experience he said they switched to metal hooks and he would drop some off for me for free! Yipee! Talk about a rollercoaster of emotions!

Thursday, June 18th
I had a misunderstanding/argument with my Mom over the phone about the timing of an upcoming 80th Birthday party for my dear Grandpa this Saturday. Basically I felt pressured to come (and I wanted to come), but it was in the late afternoon and I just didn't feel comfortable staying down there so late the day before our trip the next morning. When I hung up we had just pulled into Burgerville's parking lot and so we went in without really stopping to take a breath. When I went up to place my order about halfway through I burst into tears, quite unexpectedly. They were very sweet and started handing me kleenex's in the midst of me trying to pull it together and finish my order. Then after I had calmed down and we enjoyed our dinner, Sydney got up to get a refill on our pop and for reasons completely unknown, she lost her footing and hit the tiles hard with her full body. More tears of course... Again they were very sweet and brought her an ice bag for her bruising made from a latex glove (which looked like a robotic hand with the cubed ice and it made her laugh). They also treated her and Hayley to complimentary ice cream cones. It was so thoughtful and cheered Sydney right up, but between her two falls she's looking pretty black and blue now. Those poor, wonderful girls at Burgerville--If they would have known the fragile state we were in when we walked through their doors, they may have been smart to lock up for the night. LOL! :)

Well, since then we have managed to pull ourselves together a bit better. I'm checking things off my ever growing list and it looks like we just might make it out of here tomorrow in one piece. Tokyo Disneyland here we come!!! :)

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

I finally got to see Keri Russell In Person!!!

Pinch me! I seriously feel like I'm dreaming. I just had the most exciting lunch hour ever! Hayley and I hit the drive-thru at Taco Bell and then went across the street to Big Al's Bowling Alley where Brendan Fraiser and Keri Russell are filming today for the "Crowley Project". Can I just say that I seriously can't believe my favorite actress of all time is filming literally just 3 short miles from my house in little ol' Vancouver, WA!!! Anyway, right after we pulled up we joined a small group of onlookers and I got this picture of her walking from her trailer back into Big Al's...

The crowd of bodyguards and employees around were doing their best to block our view of anything possible (including putting up a tall black tarp in front of the sidewalk where we had been standing). We didn't really understand why since we were a harmless, quiet gathering of maybe a dozen people. Nevertheless I was determined to see her from the front so we waited about an hour and just as I was about ready to give up and take Hayley to preschool, this one other gal and I decided to walk to the end of the sidewalk and I got these two great shots of Keri walking back to her Trailer... She even looked my way!!!

Right after I took these shots, I hollered over "We love ya Keri!" and then a bodyguard came over and told me it was a closed set and telephoto lenses weren't allowed. I thought he was going to make me delete them and I was seriously going to cry, but he told us to just go back to the other part of the sidewalk. I kinda can't believe they can dictate where I stand on the public sidewalk (especially since they weren't filming outside), but I had gotten what I came for so I happily left. We also got to see Brendan Fraiser quickly duck into his trailer, but I didn't really come to see him so I didn't stick around to get pictures of him.

For anyone who isn't familiar with Keri Russell's work, I urge you to run to Netflicks or and rent Season 1 of Felecity. You won't be disappointed! (She's also the one in Bedtime Stories, Waitress, August Rush, Mission Impossible 3, etc.) :)
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