Cheese Will Cure What Ails You

Monday, May 5, 2014

Hello, internet! It's Monday, but at least it's sunny, and tonight I have a date with my husband that includes cheese, chocolate, and Eddie Izzard, so it can't be all bad, right? Right. I had a lovely weekend, and I hope you did, too! My weekend was a fun, relaxing, much-needed break from the crazy week that came before it. Let's revisit the highlights, shall we?

The Rachael Way

On Monday, I went to work as per usual and after work, I got a massage. It was lovely and amazing and once again, I wish that I could go more than twice a month. Perhaps someday, when I am rich and (not very) famous, I will be able to do that. I also announced that we bought a house!

Tuesday was rainy and gross, but I did get to see my therapist, which is always an hour well-spent. I also got a caramel apple cider from Starbucks as a treat for myself because it was so gross outside. Tuesday night, Ken and I had the joy of taking the cats to the vet, and after we got home, I had the extreme pleasure of giving Luna a bath because she decided to pee all over herself out of fear. (Poor baby!) In the end, all was well and Luna doesn't have to see the vet for at least another year, barring any illnesses.

On Wednesday, it monsooned. I was supposed to go out for happy hour with some friends after work, but no one wanted to be out in the deluge so we rain-checked (literally). It took me over two and a half hours to get home, which made me want to cry. Door to door, it is about 19 miles from my office to our condo, and usually, that trip takes between 30 and 45 minutes. 2.5 hours, in the pouring rain, through flooded streets, multiple detours, and dozens of accidents later... I finally arrived, not at home, but at Target, because I needed a few things (like cat litter and dental floss, haha). By the time I got home, I was ready to fall over. Blech. BUT, it was the 10th anniversary of Mean Girls. So fetch.

On Thursday, I spent the last half my day trying to not murder someone to coordinate getting a patient sample out of the patient and into the lab tech's hands, which was complicated by the fact that I would be at work on Friday. 47 emails and text messages later, I had a tenuous plan in place that I doubted would actually work out, but I decided that I couldn't keep caring about it and left. I arrived at the new house for the inspection. Ken was already there with the inspector and our realtor, and the inspector was in the attic. Moments after meeting Stanley, our inspector, we had this conversation:

Me: So, what's going on thus far?
Stanley: Well... do you like squirrels?
Me: Uh.... no?
Stanley: Well, you have a lot of them. In your attic. They've eaten most of your insulation.

That turned out to be the least of our problems, as it was discovered that the front, right, quarter of the house... is falling down. There are cracks over the doors and in parts of the walls, and in some places, there is a gap between the floor and the walls in some places that's as wide as a 1/4 of an inch! The floors separated from the tubs, the vanity has separated from the wall in one of the bathrooms... it's a bad time. When Stanley went into the crawl space to see what was going on, he reported that the joists (the parts of the house that, you know, hold up the house) were damaged by termites, mold, and moisture. LOTS of moisture. The ones on the right side, where the house was seriously falling, were more damaged than the left side, but all of them need to be replaced and the house needs to be jacked up to its original position. I wanted to cry. I also had no idea what joists were, so I looked it up online and apparently, they are "the horizontal members that span two walls and/or beam" and they "carry the weight of the walls, people, furniture, appliances and other stuff we place on them". The more you know? Sure.

All I know is that it will probably cost the sellers between $8,000 and $10,000 to fix the issues with the house falling down and being full of rodents and termites, and that if they decide not to fix it, we can't buy the house because we are certainly not fixing that nonsense. We're currently waiting to hear back from the sellers on what they're planning to do with this information

As a side note, the reason there's so much water damage is because these people apparently forgot that they had gutters and so they're so clogged it's not even funny. For added bonus fun, the neighbor's house (to which ours is attached) has even more ridiculously clogged gutters, and so tons of water is just pooling around the foundation of the homes. Oh, and there's a bee's nest under our front door. YAY. As you can imagine, I've been freaking out and am waiting for the phone call that says guess what, you don't actually get to buy a house and now there's only 6 weeks until you leave your job so you probably can't find another one AND get your mortgage approved AND close before June 20th... so welcome to renting for the next 4+ years! I'm not quite sure who would deliver said phone call, but it's coming. At least, my brain is convinced that it is. GO TEAM ANXIETY!

House hunting, man. Not for the faint of heart.

Friday finally arrived and I got up at 5 am to get myself to the airport for my flight to Madison, WI! After only 5 hours of sleep, I wasn't totally thrilled (or awake) but I got myself to the parking lot and took the shuttle to the airport. I was heading to Madison by way of Detroit, so the flights were really quite short. My connection in Detroit was pretty tight, but I made it with time to spare, and I also got a couple of naps in on my way to Madison.

Yup, definitely in Wisconsin.
 Once I got there, Emily picked me up and we headed to her apartment, then to the University of Madison campus to walk around for a bit. I also ate my first fried cheese curd at Der Rathskeller on campus, because Emily said that I needed to experience mediocre cheese curds before eating "THE BEST FRIED CHEESE CURDS EVER" later that weekend.

After the cheese curds, we headed to the House on the Rock for what I can only describe as possibly the strangest 4 hours of my life. It was built in the 1940's by a man named Alex Jordan and while he briefly lived in it with his family, it has turned into a 3-building collection of... everything. Giant sculptures, animated music players, model ships, way too many dolls... I can't even describe to you all of the nonsense in this place. The reason we went was because the carousel in the house is featured prominently in American Gods, which is one of my favorite books ever. It was really dark in the house for most of the tour, but here are some shots that I grabbed:
Esmeralda, also featured in American Gods. Yes, she told my fortune. It was a good one.

The famed carousel! It was hard to get a good shot because it was moving. SO cool to see it in person!

A giant monster mouth that we had to walk through to get to the next portion of the house
Friday night was low-key, and we spent the evening on the sofa eating pizza, coloring, making cards, and watching Burn Notice and Star Trek (the movie). We found at at 8:30 pm that The Chocolate Shoppe, an ice cream parlor, had just opened a new location near the apartment and was giving out free ice cream until 9 pm, so we went out in the pouring rain in our pajamas because... free ice cream! It was delicious!

Waiting in line for our free ice cream!
Saturday morning, we slept in and then went to the farmer's market, which was really fun. I got to try fresh cheese curds and was totally weirded out by the way that they squeak against your teeth when you eat them... but in a good way, haha. We then went to the Henry Vilas Zoo, which was free and fun, even though it was tiny compared to the zoo in Philadelphia that I'm used to visiting.

Penguin-Emily (being blinded by the sun)
Sleepy rhino

I made a friend!
 After the zoo, we went to lunch at... a restaurant whose name escapes me, but the best fried cheese curds ever were acquired. In a BUCKET!

Mmmmmm, delicious!
After lunch, we headed home and unfortunately dealt with my stomach doing that thing it does when it decides to be a pain in the ass, so we spent the rest of the afternoon on the sofa. We watched more Burn Notice, but then Emily found out that I hadn't yet started watching Scandal and she exclaimed, "FUCK! We are watching that right now!" So we did. Ohhhh, we did.

Whoa there, Olivia.
Now I'm addicted, although I am retaining the tiniest bit of skepticism that the show will remain as good as it is right now (I'm in the middle of the second season). It is very typically "Shonda Rhimes" in its dialogue and pacing, and in the past, her shows have totally fallen apart for me at about this point, so we'll see. I am hopeful though. And man, can whoever dresses Olivia Pope come dress me?

On Sunday, we slept in again and then went to brunch at a tiny, adorable place called Sophia's Bakery and Cafe. It has about 5 tables and you share them with whoever else is there. I had croissant French toast (divine) and Emily had cottage cheese pancakes with raspberry sauce. No photos were taken because we were too busy being in food comas. The rest of Sunday was spent, you guessed it, watching more Scandal! We watched the first season in less than 24 hours (whoops) and got through 4 or 5 episodes of the second season. Thank God I can continue the binge on my own time now, haha.

The flight home was uneventful, although I was nervous that I would miss my connecting flight in Detroit (I didn't). I ended up having to check my rolling carry-on due to lack of overhead space, so I was extremely glad to see that my luggage had arrived in Philadelphia with me, instead of choosing to take an extended trip to Detroit. I was home by 10 pm and even though I had an amazing time in Madison with Em, I was really glad to be home with Ken, the kitties, and our bed. But seriously, most relaxing weekend I've had in a long time. It's also wonderful to know that even though you and a friend are almost 1,000 miles apart that you can get together and hang out like you live down the street from one another. I'm so blessed to have so many friends like that.

And that was the week! How was your weekend? Are any of you Scandal-watchers? Should I continue being skeptical of its greatness? Let me know!

- A


  1. lovely, great pics!!

  2. Well good thing for home inspectors who know what exactly to look for! Hopefully the situation is resolved as quickly as possible!

  3. I've never had a cheese curd, but Wisconsin seems like it would be the place to try them! I'm glad you had a good time!


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