Saturday, March 16, 2013

The past 10 days...

have just drained the life out of me.

(Warning, longest, most rambly-est post ever ahead!)

On Monday we were told our car was not a total loss, but that it would take at least THREE WEEKS of straight labor to repair it, and to expect to be without a vehicle until at least the beginning of April.  This was based on their best estimate without even taking the car apart.  We begin casually shopping for a new vehicle.  We find out, not surprisingly, that our vehicle is now worth significantly less as a trade-in since it has been in such a bad accident with such extensive repairs.  So much that, we will be upside-down on our current car loan due to the loss in value from this wreck and the fact that we only just purchased the car last year so didn't have much equity to begin with.  We start praying they would find more damage and declare it a total loss.

On Tuesday, the repair shop found and additional $8800.00 worth of damage and insurance forwarded our file to the "maybe a total loss" department.  We wait with baited breath to find out for sure.

On Wednesday we get the call -- our car was a total loss!  They are paying the entire amount we owed to the bank (with a little left over for us, score!), paying to replace E's car seat, giving us a sales tax waiver for the amount of the claim to put toward purchasing a new vehicle, and giving me and E a medical bills/personal injury settlement.  BREATHE HUGE SIGH OF RELIEF!

And oh yeah, we only get our rental car for another week, so time to get cracking on buying a new one!

We find one vehicle, a 2009 Honda Pilot, at a dealership 30 miles away, and start negotiating with them to see if we can make a deal.  It is priced slightly higher than various internet sources say it should be (surprise, surprise) and we have a budget, so we try to get them to budge.  I spend about 30 minutes on the phone with one salesman at that dealership, who argues with me over what the vehicle is worth.  I tell him, hello, I have the internet and can read and he becomes increasingly rude and hostile and ends the phone call.  S spends the rest of the day contacting various other dealerships about other vehicles.

Thursday -- I literally spend the ENTIRE day on the phone with various car dealers inquiring about different vehicles.  Surprise, the rude guy from yesterday calls and wants to sell me the Pilot.  Using advice from a friend who used to sell cars, I spend most of the afternoon hardcore negotiating with him, with him becoming increasingly angry and hostile as call his bluff on every car salesman tactic in the book.  (Seriously, I was mentally checking them off in my head as he talked.)  The negotiations ultimately lead to about 15 calls back and forth, with me being hung up on twice, them coming down some, but not enough, on price, and him hurling insults at me when I refused to accept his "final offer".

Clearly this guy didn't know who he was dealing with, because the more someone pushes me, the harder I push back.  (Just ask S, we are both stubborn as mules. ;-)  Plus, getting what I want without being a pushover is kind of my profession, HA!)  It was frustrating being bullied, but my ex-car salesman friend told me I was obviously winning the game, or else the salesman wouldn't have reacted that way. 

Friday -- I have another friend who I know has a friend who works at the same dealership (did you follow all of that? haha).  I tell her how horribly I was treated by the salesman yesterday, and she is appalled and says her friend would be too.  She tells him what happened and he immediately knew who I was.  He says he was there when that guy was screaming at me, and heard everything he said.  He asked for my number and called me almost immediately to work out a deal.  He apologized profusely and, long story short, S and I were able to get everything we wanted at a price only about $300 more than we originally wanted to spend.  [We got a screaming deal -- we paid between $1000-$5000 less than the expected dealer retail value, depending on which guide you use (Edmunds, KBB, NADA).]  We drove down that night to sign the paperwork and drive off with our new car!

And today, I am just drained.  I spent nearly every waking moment this week either stressing out, dealing with insurance companies, dealing with the jerkoff car repair place who has our old vehicle, or negotiating with various car salesmen over their prices.  I have spent so much emotional energy that I am just exhausted.  Not to mention, with all of my time wasted doing those things, I am now about three days behind with work and a week behind cleaning our house.  Ack!

BUT, we do have a shiny new (to us) car in the driveway that we feel much, much safer putting E into, a check from the insurance company sitting on our table, and the whole ordeal is almost completely behind us... so I suppose everything was worth it.  :-) 

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

And then, that happened...

Last week was quite a doozy.  First, we had two feet of snow dumped on us.  Next, we were without electricity for the better part of Tuesday and Wednesday.  Then, on Thursday, this happened.

As you can see, I was in a car accident.  E was in the back seat.  Fortunately, we are both fine, and everyone else walked away from the accident as well.

We we sitting, completely stopped, in a line of cars waiting to make a left turn, when a lady in an SUV slammed into the vehicle behind me going about 50 miles per hour.  That vehicle (also an SUV), slammed into the back of our tiny Honda Fit, which then pushed our Fit into the car in front of me.

The SUV behind us shattered the rear window, sending safety glass everywhere, including all over E.  I was thrown into the dash/steering wheel, but was of course wearing my seat belt so thankfully was not seriously injured.  It happened so fast, it didn't even register with me that we had been hit until I heard E screaming, and then I freaked out thinking she was seriously hurt.  THANK GOD she is fine, and was happy and acting like her usual self as soon as I got her out of her car seat.  (She proceeded to have a grand ole time climbing around the front of the car, playing with my cell phone, and trying to eat change from the console while we waited for the police to arrive.)

Thankfully, the woman who hit us didn't flee the scene and double-thankfully she had good insurance, who accepted full liability and is paying for everything. 

So, that is why I've been away from my blog these past few days.  I had meant to write about the accident sooner, but I have honestly been so shaken up by it that I couldn't bring myself to write about it.  I cannot stop thinking about how lucky we were.  If that other SUV hadn't been between us and the driver who hit us, E almost certainly would have been injured, or worse... I can't even let myself think about it.  S and I truly believe she had her guardian angel watching over her that day.  There is no other way to explain it.  We are so, so fortunate that she wasn't hurt.  (And we did both get looked over by our family doctor the day after the accident.  Other than some bruising, stiffness, and soreness, we both checked out just fine!)

We have also spent a significant chunk of time each of the past few days dealing with insurance companies, the repair shop, and shopping for a new vehicle.  (The first thing I said to S when he arrived at the scene was that we are getting something bigger and safer for E!  I am still so freaked out about what could have happened.)  I also have been swamped with work from legal clients lately (yay!) which has kept me quite busy.

So yeah... that's what's been going on with me.  I hope to return to my regularly-scheduled blogging soon.

(P.S., no WCW tomorrow.  Life has just been too hectic for me to prepare anything worth sharing!)

Thursday, February 28, 2013

What's Cooking Wednesday | Beef and Beer

This week's What's Cooking Wednesday (Thursday?) is brought to you by Steph at The Kat Almanac.  Enjoy!

I know what you are thinking: She knows how to cook something other than chicken? Yes, yes. chicken is my go-to ingredient during the week. But I do dabble in beef. This is like a stew. But it has beer in it. Can it get any more better than that? Follow along people. This is will soon be your go to crockpot meal! Oh, I didn’t mention it is cooked in the crockpot? Well friends are you surprised? I’ve moved on to beef but I haven’t lost my mind and forgotten my clutch cooking tool!

This recipe came from my bridal shower. Guests were asked to bring recipe cards of their favorite meals. I got like 50+ cards. I’m pretty sure that this is the only one I’ve ever really tried.


So without further ado, Beer and Beer.



1 lb of beef (you can use stew meat, or cut up a nicer cut)
1 packet of onion soup mix (I made my own since Lipton’s is not gluten free. recipe can be found here).
1 bottle/can of beer (I used gluten free cider)
1 package mushrooms
2 bay leaves
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp thyme
3 tsp of flour (I used glf flour)
1 tsp brown sugar
Rice or egg noodles


Take your pound of beer and dump it in the crockpot.


Add your spices, onion soup mix, brown sugar, bay leaf, and flour and mix well coating everything. If you are adding mushrooms you can go ahead and add them at this time too.


Pour in your beer. I used gluten free hard cider. It was great! Added a little hint of a sweet apple flavor. But in my pre-gluten free past, I know that Miller or Bud works just as well!


Beer will make everything foam really nicely.


Next cover your crockpot and let it hang out for 5 hours on low. The result will be a rich, thick gravy with yummy beef!


In the mean time, you can cook your rice or noodle about 30 minutes before you want to eat. The beef and beer is great ladled on top!



PS. Guess who got her camera back! No more bad pictures!!

Holy snow!

Whoops, sorry for my absence this past week. We've been blasted by those winter storms that pounded the Midwest, and were without power for the past two days. (I think we got something like 16-20 inches of snow in total, plus sleet/ice). But now the lights are back on, life is returning to normal, and I am back!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

What's Cooking Wednesday | Sage, Bean, and Spinach Soup

You guys are going to like this week's recipe.  (That is, if you like soup.  With pasta.  And beans.)  It is SO EASY, so tasty, and so perfect for dinner on a cold winter day.

Also, not to brag or anything, but I completely invented this recipe myself, based on ingredients that I had on hand.  I must say, I was very, very pleased with the results.  Even E loved it!

And did I mention, it is really really easy to make? 

What You Need:

  • 2 onions, chopped (I used one white/one red)
  • 5 cups chicken broth
  • 4 cups beans (Any kind will work, but I think red or white beans would taste best in this soup.  Also, make sure you rinse them if using canned, otherwise your soup will be super salty.)
  • 5 cloves of garlic, diced
  • 2 TBSP sage, chopped (I used sage left over from my garden, that I had frozen in olive oil)
  • 1 cup spinach, chopped
  • 1 cup pasta (I used whole-wheat rotini)

What To Do:

Combine all ingredients, except for the pasta, in your crock pot.   

Cook 4 hours on high, or 6-8 on low.

Then, add your pasta during the last 30 minutes of cooking.

Voila! Dinner is served. :-)

Monday, February 18, 2013


I wanted to say I'm sorry for complaining so much lately.

I just re-read what I posted at 3:00 this morning and realized I sound like such a whiner. 

E is having a hard time, it is not her fault, and I should have more compassion for her.  Instead I find myself so angry and frustrated, especially in the middle of the night.  Of course I would never take that frustration out on E, but I feel guilty for even thinking it.  I love that little girl more than anything in this world, and I feel like a horrible person for letting myself get so frustrated with her. 

I know what you are thinking, have S help so I can get some sleep.  S does help.  He is amazing.  He gets as little or less sleep than I do, and still manages to function (and excel) at his rotations every day.  But about 80% of the time, when E wakes up at night, she wants nothing to do with S, so even if he gets up with her, I ultimately end up having to get up too.

I know she won't be little forever.  I know the teething will pass.  I am just so tired.  I haven't slept more than six consecutive hours in almost two years.  I haven't slept more than three hours at once in weeks.  It is really taking a toll on me physically and mentally, and I don't know how to make it better.

And then I feel like a complete jerk for even letting myself complain about these things.  Especially when I think of how long we waited and struggled to become parents.  When I think of the couples who would kill to have my "problems" and who would do anything to be in my tired, grouchy shoes.

So, please, accept my apology for letting this all get the best of me.  I'm sorry I've been such a downer on my blog lately.  I'm sorry for all of the negativity.

I'm going to do my best to be more positive and to focus on the good things.  Like my amazing, beautiful, healthy daughter and my loving, encouraging, supportive husband.

And coffee... Lots and lots of coffee.

I Hate Teething

Yes, you read the time stamp correctly.  I have completely given up on getting any sleep. 

After doing so well with our new sleep plan, E is now back to waking up every 30 minutes-1 hour, all night long, again. When she wakes up, she screams and refuses to even lay back down, no matter what else we try.  It has been like this for over a week now.  I am so frustrated I could cry. 

I am 99.9% sure it is teething pain that is waking her up.  She's been working on her molars (all four are erupted now, and hugely swollen).  We've been alternating giving her Tylenol and Motrin, but nothing seems to bring her any relief. 

I feel so bad for her that she is in pain, but I am SO TIRED.