Monday, September 20, 2010

525,600 Minutes.... How do you measure a year?

Michael and I celebrated our one year wedding anniversary yesterday.  We still don't have a wedding album, mostly because we have yet to be in the same state as the photographer for more than 48 hours, and also because it costs eleventy* billion dollars.  One day we'll get there.  Other than that omission, we're doing pretty well.

One of the highlights of a one-year anniversary, if you ask me, is eating the top layer of your wedding cake.  I know it sounds gross....  one-year old cake and frosting?  Frozen?  Ick.  But there are super detailed instructions online that my lovely mother followed to a T.  She even hauled the cake in a cooler when she and Dad came up to see the Crookers in July.  Marilyn housed it in her extra freezer, and we obtained the blessed pastry on Saturday.   We put it in the fridge overnight, and let it sit on the counter beginning Sunday afternoon.  It looked pretty good!  But how would it taste?!

After we returned from from a lovely dinner at Taughannock Farms Inn, which last night provided a gorgeous view of Cayuga Lake and the trees just starting to change colors, we took the plunge.  My fingers were crossed, as I had no backup plan for dessert.

Ladies and gentlemen, I am pleased to report that Kiedrowski's cake freezes and thaws like a dream.   I am a proponent of properly freezing one's wedding cake to enjoy the following year.  The cake maybe didn't taste as good as it did the day it was baked, but it was really good!  The sparkling wine didn't hurt, either.

*TM Pannie

Sunday, September 12, 2010

How 'bout some beer for the guys?

To kick off Labor Day weekend (aka the END OF SUMMER AS WE KNOW IT up in the Finger Lakes) Michael and I had a lovely dinner chez Crooker, where we enjoyed a nice meal on Cayuga Lake, before laughing hysterically for 90 minutes at a production of The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee.   It was a great way to start the holiday weekend.

Saturday morning we were running errands and heard an awful vibrating crunching noise when putting the car in reverse.  Bad for backing out of parking spaces, fine for driving forward.  A quick stop into Sears Auto Center taught us that writing a problem down on the chart does not mean the 'tech' will even check into it, will lie about checking into it, and upon finally listening to the problem, will declare that it's probably a transmission problem, but they "don't do trannies"and suggested we stop by the local Mazda dealership.  The nearest Mazda dealership is more than an hour away, but luckily other dealers can often handle these issues.  There are non-Mazda dealerships in Ithaca, so this is not looking so bad.  Unfortunately, nothing car-related (except Sears) is open in Ithaca on the weekend.  Not even the sales department.  Want to buy a car in Ithaca?  Sorry, folks.  Only Monday through Friday, till 5 PM.  Wow.  That's a great way to make monthly numbers.

This being Labor Day weekend also meant that a Monday visit was not going to happen.  I work 8-4:30 during the week, and we only have one car.  Could get tricky.  Since were were going to New Jersey on Friday for Marissa's graduation, we could likely swing by a dealership there, since they have more convenient hours, and could likely diagnose and hopefully fix the problem.  It was a good plan.

Friday morning we learned that the NJ Mazda didn't do 'that kind of work' on the weekend and we'd have to leave it there till at least Monday.   Not good, since we need to be in Ithaca Sunday afternoon.  We also located a specialized transmission shop on the same road.  Worth a shot, right?

Right!  Guy took the car for a test drive, put it up on the fancy car elevator thing, and discovered the problem.  He asked "Which one of you was off-roading?  There are fresh scrapes on the under carriage, and tons of rocks caught in the gear mount"  Surprisingly enough, neither one of us had recently been off-roading... but what had we done recently?  Driven down the Crooker's driveway.  It's a steep, windy driveway in the woods, on a cliff, to get to their lake house.  There are rather large ruts caused by construction vehicles and the like.  The little Mazda sometimes has trouble, and evidently, last Friday was no exception.  The nice mechanic pounded out all the rocks, and we were good as new!  YAY!  No transmission issues!

We went to the front to pay and the owner said (with a nice Jersey accent) "What, do you want a bill for that?"  Smarter folks than us would say "Nope!" and then run as fast as they could, but we indicated we were prepared for one.  We were told "A lot of guys would charge you an hour's labor for that, which is $98.  I'm not gonna do that"  I liked the sound of this; we asked how to compensate them for their time.  And the owner said "How about you go get some beer for the guys?"  Seriously?!  "OK!  What kind of beer do you like?"  So we went to the adjacent liquor store and got a 12-pack of Sam Adams, which cost $14.99, and we were set.  It's my favorite car repair, ever.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Harry Potter and the Wizarding World

This post is late in coming, but I've been busy, y'all.  I'm working 40 hours a week, Michael is taking 20 (!) credits at Cornell, and someone has to do laundry and buy groceries.  The blog has taken a back seat.

So in mid-August we headed to Florida to check on our house, make sure the PT Cruiser still starts (Yay!  It does!) and of course, visit the newest addition to the Florida theme parks....  The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.  It was fabulous.  Let me give you a short review so when we're back in Florida next summer (Please Lord, I cannot survive more than one Ithaca winter) you can all visit and see it in person.

You enter in Hogsmeade, where it is [supposed to be] Christmas time (don't mind the palm tree in the center)  The buildings are covered with snow, and the chimneys are, of course, crooked.

And what's a Wizard village without the HOGWARTS EXPRESS?!  The 98% humidity is causing my hair to fly out like crazy.  Or maybe I was just imitating Hermione, with her thick frizzy hair?  Not Emma Watson- she has good hair.  The book Hermione.

Do you have something to mail?  Visit the Owl Post

There are owls in the rafters

and stuffed ones in the window!  Hilarious (don't mind the glare)

Do you have shopping to do?  You can visit Olivander's

Honeyduke's, Zonko's

sorry, I loved Zonko's

After you're done shopping, be sure to meander down the street to.....


There is a ride inside and it's absolutely fantastic.  I took lots more pictures here.  I wasn't kidding about the invitation.  Fingers crossed, we'll be back in Florida in June and we would love to go back to Harry Potter multiple times with guests.

Accio Florida vacation!