Friday, October 18, 2019

striking out left and right

a couple of weeks ago after one of our grueling orangetheory sessions, the old lady alerted me that the lineup had just been released for KIIS-FM's annual "jingle ball."  the big announcement included the news that the bean's beloved BTS would be performing alongside other folks like katy perry, sam smith, halsey, camila cabello, billie eilish and a whole slew of other current pop stars.  and because the bean's BTS is very much like the old lady's jonas brothers, i knew i was going to have to take her.  she's never been interested in going to concerts before, but she's practically bruised her ass from kicking herself for not talking me into taking her to see them at the rose bowl this past may.

the old lady and i debated between surprising her with it and just telling her so that she could be excited about it, but of course ryan seacrest made the decision for us as he and the rest of his morning show crew chattered endlessly about it on the radio that morning on our way to school.  all the bean had to hear was "BTS" and she was immediately turning the volume up to hear whatever was being said about her boys.  she looked at me with big ol' puppydog eyes, and that was that.

tickets were being released in three different waves - the first, exclusively for capital one cardholders (which i am not).  next, KIIS-club VIP members (which i am).  and lastly, the rest would be released to the general public on a first-come, first-served basis.  ugh.  i hate the stress of trying to secure highly sought-after tickets.  but i always do it, because it always makes me happy to make my kids happy.  sucker.

on the day of the second wave of tickets, i sat down at the laptop and got myself all logged into my ticketmaster account.  when i went to the event page, there was already a queue set up for the virtual waiting room.  after entering the access code and then the 6-digit code that was texted to me for verification, i was officially in "line."

i started getting nervous as the ticker kept counting down, and then i was here:

as soon as that last minute was up, the screen refreshed and i was in...sort of.

while that looked pretty bad, it actually moved fairly quickly. 

just a couple of minutes later, i was here:

and then the screen refreshed again and i was able to view what seats were available.  except that all that was left were seats behind the stage.  like, with no view.  as in, when i clicked on the seats there was a disclaimer in all caps on the screen that emphasized the fact that there would be zero view of the stage, only of the big screen to watch the show on.  and who wants that?  i'm not paying good money to go to a concert where we can't even see what's going on.  for every other concert i've ever been to, those seats weren't even available because they were so lame.  the venue would just block off that section.  i guess KIIS decided they were going to put them up for sale to see if anyone would buy them, and i guess i shouldn't be surprised that they did.  not even an hour after the sale started, each and every ticket available for the presale was sold.  and so that meant i had one last shot at snagging seats for the bean's dream concert.

the next day, i got myself into position again just like the day before.  i logged in, entered the 6-digit code i received via text, and then i was in the waiting room again.

the time ticked away again and got to this:

and this time, when the screen refreshed i had this.  holy CRAP.

it took a pretty long time (okay, it was like 10 minutes but those were 10 LONG minutes) before the number finally moved.

and then a few minutes later, the screen refreshed and i found myself staring at...

DAMMIT.  i was so sad, and even more bummed when i had to break the news to the bean that the show had completely sold out before i could snag tickets.  the hub and i had already talked about it earlier in the week and knew that we'd likely be turning to a ticket broker or stubhub or something like that, but i'd really hoped that i was going to be successful at securing some at face value.  blech.  the bean was actually home that day due to a teacher inservice day, and so as a consolation prize we hopped in the car and headed out to hollywood to hit up the line friends store.  the hub and i had gone exactly two weeks before to buy the bean's birthday presents, and had picked up a couple of phone cases that ended up not being the right size for the phone we gave her.  the  policy on the receipt said that returns or exchanges were only accepted within 14 days of purchase, and so we braved the traffic and headed out.

to soften the blow of not getting the dang tickets, i let her pick out a few things above the value of the items we were returning and then i got in line to check out while she continued to wander around the store.  i somehow managed to get an employee who had the hardest time understanding that it had been exactly 14 days since that last purchase.  he kept insisting that it was the 15th day, even though he was literally looking at a calendar and counting the days.  he refused to process my return, and i tried my hardest to keep my cool as i asked him to get a manager.  as he disappeared in search of someone to back him up, one of his fellow cashiers came over to see what was going on and said "no, you're totally fine, he can still exchange this for you."  and even the manager he brought with him looked at the receipt and told him that it was okay to process the transaction.  he was obviously irritated at having been put in his place and proceeded to grill me about the card that was used for the purchase (it was the hub's, of course).  instead of simply exchanging the stuff for the new items we'd picked out, he claimed that he had to credit the card used for the purchase and then asked me to verify the last 4 digits of the card.  when i asked him why, since he was going to credit the card anyway, he mumbled some garbage about "i just need to make sure it's your card."  at this point i should have asked for someone else to ring me up, but i was so annoyed and over it that i just wanted to get out of there, and so i rattled off the 4 digits and stood there glaring at him as he finally returned the cases and rang up the new items we were buying.  so. effing. frustrating.

after we finally left the store and headed back across the street, i came upon a couple of stars on the walk of fame that caught my eye:

and then we went upstairs to the sanrio store to see if there was anything interesting in there.

we left empty-handed, but not before the bean modeled this incredibly oversized, super extra hello kitty bow:

later, the old lady and her special friend met us at the house so we could hop back in the car and go to our favorite place.

we headed down to grab some dinner and walk around, and in one of the shops we found a bunch of super fun retro gear:

we got assed out once again as we found a spot to watch the fireworks only to hear the announcement that the "high winds" caused the cancellation of that night's pyrotechnics.  big bummer, since we almost never hang out for fireworks anymore.  and then we thought we'd go and grab some beignets and mint juleps to satisfy a weeks-long craving of mine, but the line was crazy long.

at that point we decided to just call it a night and finally had a stroke of luck as we had no trouble getting onto a tram and getting back to the car and out of the parking structure without a ton of traffic.  at least it was a positive way to end a day that was full of failures.  sheesh.

Thursday, October 17, 2019

my very own central perk

so the old lady and i dove into that friends lego set a couple of weeks ago.  she loves to put these things together, but she graciously let me do all of the building while she took charge of reading the instructions from the extensive booklet that came in the box.

the set came divided into six different bags, which also had a couple of smaller bags inside for a total of 1,070 pieces.  yikes.  i thought i'd taken a picture of everything that came in the box, but i must've been so excited to get started that i...didn't.  heh.

after opening the first bag and separating all of the pieces by color and style, we got started.  the first thing i got to assemble was the minifigure for gunther, the ever-present central perk employee.

the pieces from that first bag came together to form the base.  once we'd put them all together, this is what we had:

bag #2 was opened, separated and then assembled to look like this, plus the addition of the rachel minifigure, with her coffee tray in hand:

there were tons of little pieces in that bag, but it was really fun to watch the espresso machine and all of the accessories come together.  and we were finding that there were quite a few extra pieces left over from each of the bags once we were done.

this was after we were done with bag #3, the halfway mark.  there were lots of little details, as well as the joey minifigure.  he came with his "man's bag" and a box of pizza plus a couple of slices.

it was several days (maybe even a week?) before we had time to sit down together again and get some more work done on our mini central perk.  bag 4 brought us more of the exterior of the cafe, plus the window with the central perk logo.  ross and phoebe came to join the fun as well, with her guitar and his keyboard plus a couple of microphones.

if you look closely at that exterior shot, you'll see a poster from joey's japanese commercial for "ichiban, lipstick for men."  so funny!

chandler and monica were the last to join us from bags 5 and 6.  the finished product is just so cute and super detailed, and looks just like the set from the show.  it was so much fun to put together, even though i don't know where i'm going to put it now that it's complete.

we're on the hunt for another fun set to put together, and this time i've promised the old lady that she'll get to do the building.  ha!

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

a mini troop 1794 reunion

with the hub gone on a fishing trip for much of last week, the bean and i were left to navigate through the rest of the (typically busy) week by ourselves.  well, and with the puppies too.  stevie came over often to play, and i couldn't help but snap this while he and cocoa wrestled and teddy pouted because he was left out.

also without the hub around to judge me, i happily went to mcdonald's for lunch one day and grabbed my first mcrib of the season.

we were excited to meet up with our friends from hawaii, who were in town visiting family and friends during the kids' fall break.  their brief return prompted us to do a mini reunion with a handful of our girls and moms from our now-defunct girl scout troop, and it was so nice to see everyone and catch up.

it was just like old times, and even though the girls are older and so way cooler now than they were before, they reverted to acting like little kids again while they were together.  it was so sweet.

even though the bean is settled into her new troop and i'm perfectly happy being a drop-off parent, there are lots of times when i miss our troop.  we used to do so much fun stuff together, and being with the girls and my co-leader was always a good time.  i'd had such high hopes that we'd take the girls all the way through all of the levels of scouting, maybe even saving up for a big trip somewhere, but i guess it wasn't meant to be.

oh, well.  at least the bean has at least two of her buddies in her new troop, and they all seem to get along pretty well with the other girls too.  plus, her leaders are super organized and i have no doubt that they'll be successful in getting the girls all the way through their silver and gold awards someday.  they just finished working on their project for their bronze award, so they're well on their way.

girl scouts 4 lyfe, eh?

Monday, October 14, 2019

a proper send-off

one of the hub's uncles was recently diagnosed with a pretty aggressive form of cancer, which unfortunately led to his passing about a month later.  while we weren't very close to him, we knew him as a really nice man who was always willing to help out whenever needed.  he was a decorated vietnam war veteran, husband, father, grandfather, brother, uncle, friend.  it was a tough loss for the hub and his family, and i think we were all happy to hear that his final day on earth was spent with those he loved the most, ending with a peaceful passing as he slept.

with that news, family members began to arrive in the area as they gathered to organize a memorial service to celebrate his life.  a highlight was having brother wan and his family come to visit, bringing sweet little wyatt to come and play with us.

the service was held out at the national cemetery in riverside, where he was memorialized with a full military burial.  it was a beautiful day, and we got to listen to FIL speak about his beloved big brother, his hero throughout his whole life, along with the gun salute, the playing of "taps" and the presentation of the flag to the hub's aunt.  it was very touching and emotional, and i felt honored to be present for it.

after the ceremony was over, we had a good amount of time before gathering again at the hub's cousin's house for the afterparty.  is that the right thing to call it?  maybe, maybe not - but FIL said that his brother loved a great party with everyone in jeans and t-shirts, just hanging out having a good time.  they'd even secured one of the in-n-out cookout trucks for it, which is pretty much how his uncle would have wanted it.  the way things worked out, it didn't make sense for us to go home since we'd have been fighting traffic to get to the party on time.  and so instead we headed over to victoria gardens and grabbed a table at punch bowl social.  it's one of those places where you can eat, drink, bowl, play games...sort of like a grown-up chuck e. cheese.  being a monday afternoon, we pretty much had the place to ourselves.

you can order drinks to share that are brought out in an actual punch bowl, served with a proper ladle into cute little cups.  ours was the watermelon polo bowl - tequila, watermelon spearmint tea, watermelon shrub, housemade strawberry syrup and fresh lime juice.  it was sweet, refreshing and delicious.

we ordered up some appetizers, too - "a pig, a duck, and some cheese walk into a bar" was a platter with prosciutto, confit duck leg, crispy chicharrones, olives, housemade dill pickle slices, chunks of blue and feta cheeses, strawberry jam and a baguette.  it was delicious.

and the crab rangoon dip, warm and creamy and super tasty.

barbacoa tacos:

and the shrimp burger.

 the girls and i had just enough time to do a little mini bowling:

oh, and there are a few lanes for full-sized bowling too.

it was a fun way to kill some time, and then we wrapped it up and headed on out to the afterparty.  the in-n-out truck was already parked in front, ready to serve up some tasty burgers.

and the back yard was all set up with tables and chairs, with framed photos of the hub's uncle sprinkled everywhere.  the somber mood had given way to a lighter, more festive one and everyone was enjoying each other's company and sharing old stories and memories.  and there were pretty floral centerpieces on every table.

being a school night, the girls and i didn't stay too late.  we slipped out quietly, leaving the hub and his family to continue enjoying their time together.  i think his uncle would have liked his send-off, and i hope he watched it all happen from above with a smile.
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