Friday, December 31, 2010

We leave our hearts in San Francisco

Well the day has finally come... in just a few short hours we will drive our car across the bay bridge for what may be the last time ever, as we exit this MAD city. With our car packed full of tangible stuff and UNTOUCHABLE MEMORIES that will bring us joy and laughter for many many years. My HEART SWELLS and MY EYES FEEL WITH TEARS as I think about it. Had you asked me a month or 2 ago I would have told you that San Francisco IS NOT my favorite city and that I would NEVER choose to live here on my own terms. It's Union Square doesn't come close to the feeling I got returning to TIMES SQUARE even after the billionth time. Golden Gate park is bigger than Central Park but it's not nearly as MAGICAL nor has as much to offer. Seeing all the skyscrapers from across the bay is a beautiful sight but it's not the same as driving from New Jersey into New York City... seeing even bigger, more incredible buildings, especially the EMPIRE STATE BUILDING, along with the STATUE OF LIBERTY. The smell of smoke is CONSTANTLY around you in San Francisco and the smell of those STINKY sea lions makes me almost throw-up every day as I walk past them on my way to work. Spending, sometimes up to 30 minutes driving around our block TRYING TO FIND A PARKING SPACE has tested my patience more than once. We have spent HUNDREDS of dollars in parking tickets because we forgot to move our car on street cleaning days. Yet, the SAME motor home has been parked in the SAME spot on the SAME street by our apartment FOR 4 MONTHS, never with a ticket on it, nor been towed, ARGH! We spend about $50 a month washing our clothes in a COMMUNITY washer and dryer and sometimes they come out smelling WORSE than when they went in! I DISLIKE folding my own clothes yet, I fold 20+ shirts a day, in which most of them I HAD JUST FOLDED AN HOUR EARLIER! With all that being said, I AM GOING TO MISS THIS PLACE MORE THAN I CAN EXPRESS!!! Our 1960 built apartment has been OUR FIRST HOME. We were fortunate enough to live in San Francisco during the time THE SF GIANTS WON THE WORLD SERIES! I have been lucky enough to work with my husband every day for almost 5 months. We make HARDLY ANY MONEY yet the experiences we have had here have been PRICELESS. I have realized there, most likely, will never be another moment in the next 40+ years, that I get to spend ALL DAY, EVERY DAY, FOR 4 STRAIGHT MONTHS, WITH MY HUSBAND and that alone makes me not want to EVER leave all of this! Howie and I have learned more about each other in these 4 short months, than I'm sure most couples learn about each other, in YEARS! He hasn't even started traveling with his new job, but I ALREADY MISS HIM... I will miss laying on his chest every night in bed, SNUGGLING, putting my freezing hands on his warm chest and my ice cold toes on his firey feet... we make a good team, I'm his COOLER and he's my HEATER! =o) Before we got here we were excited to be coming to a store that WASN'T DOING VERY WELL, in hopes that we could MAKE A DIFFERENCEand we FAR EXCEEDED OUR OWN EXPECTATIONS! Of course, with the help of OUR OTHER HALF The Shaw's... who have become OUR BEST FRIENDS. We will miss spending every day with them!
Not to toot our own horn but we have to brag a little here. This past week we got the Del Sol newsletter to find THE 4 OF US ON THE FRONT COVER! TOOT TOOT!! The previous week we got a last minute, SURPRISE visit from the CEO of the company (Howie's uncle Jeff), and I guess he was impressed with what we've done. The last time Jeff was at the Pier 39 store was last summer. He was ASTONISHED with the improvements that we had made in the store and also by the CONSECUTIVE INCREASE IN SALES EACH MONTH SINCE WE'VE BEEN HERE! We can PROUDLY say we have increased sales (not by just a little but quite DRASTICALLY) from last years numbers. This month alone we have increased sales by over 170% FROM LAST DECEMBER! AND... the Pier 39 store finished the year with the HIGHEST INCREASE IN SALES from last year OVER ALL OTHER DEL SOL STORES WORLDWIDEwith a 63% yearly increase!

So as we say our goodbye's, we salute you Tony Bennett for saying it best... (with a few changes)
We LEAVE OUR HEARTS in San Francisco
High on a hill, they call to us.
Climb halfway to the stars!
The morning fog may chill the air
OUR LOVE GREW there in San Francisco
Above the blue and windy sea
When we COME HOME to you, San Francisco,
San Francisco will always be considered a home to us, for it is where our life together, began. So until NEXT TIME San Francisco, WE WILL BE MISSING YOU!!

Monday, December 27, 2010

We're going to get the cops called on us... again!

When Megan was here, we had our awesome friends Josh and Melissa come over for dinner Sunday night. It got to be around 11 PM as we were still talking around the dinner table and Josh started telling us about his 9th grade, choir, days. But he didn't just tell us about it, he demonstrated a few songs for us. To name a few: John Henry was a Steel Drivin' Man, Carol the Bells, and... oh shoot I forget the name of the last one! Anyways, during his John Henry song he got a bangin' on the table and stompin' his foot and the rest of us were laughing so hard we were in tears. Needless to say, around 11:30 we got a knock on our door. Figuring it was just our neighbor asking us to be quiet or the apartment security guard, Melissa so kindly offered to answer the door but a second later came around the corner announcing in a quiet hush, "It's the police!!... seriously there are 3 policemen!!" Josh immediately darted behind Howie sitting on our sofa chair to hide and the rest of us just kind of sat there for a second. Then a 2nd knock came but was a little more firm of a knock! Howie finally volunteered to go answer. Josh popped up from behind the chair, red-faced and big-eyed, and decided to follow Howie to the door. As the 2 guys answered the door together (in San Francisco mind you), the policeman said, "Hi SFPD here, we got a call that there was fighting going on in this apartment. Someone said they heard someone being shoved up against a wall and sounds of distress." At that moment, us girls joined the boys at the door smiling and giggling and Howie explained that we were just having dinner and telling stories but that they were more than welcome to come in and check things out. As one police officer smiled and chuckled, the other stated that wouldn't be necessary and to have a good night.
Howie got some footage of Josh singing on his phone so we will add that when Howie transfers it to our computer. The reason I tell you this though is because the following night, around 1 AM Howie and I got wrestling and at the end of the video (which Megan was recording, unbeknownst to us) I suddenly remembered our previous night and didn't want to get the cops called on us 2 nights in a row, So you will hear me say, "We're going to get the cops called on us again." (Even though that was just my way of getting Howie to stop). So enjoy this little post of pictures and don't forget to watch the video at the end because it really is too funny! Howie is so ticklish so this is a common occurance for us to get in little wars like this so I'm glad Megan got this one on film!... Although this one was apparently "hardcore on this bed!" (refer to the video & be sure to have your volume up)

Things started out in my favor as I clearly was getting the best of Howie tickling him... but the tables somehow turned as the next few pictures depict and the video shows him dominating (although I find my pants-ing, purple nurple, and fake-kick/face-slap technique should have earned me some points... again refer to the video with your volume up)

*I really could not breathe! I learned, being on an air mattress and having someone lay on top of you that is twice your size, pushes you down into the bed as far as it will go, therefore not letting the air mattress "give" when you try to breathe! So I wasn't just being weak sauce, I promise!

Okay so maybe this isn't as funny to you as it is to us but none the less, we hope you enjoy!

=o) that is my smiley face but Howie says it doesn't look like a smiley face so here is his smiley face... :-)
Boy are we stubborn! LoL!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Welcome to San Francisco Megan!

*I know my posts jump all over the place but when they are all posted I will arrange them in the right order.*

This past weekend Howie's youngest sister, Megan, came to visit us in San Francisco! We were so glad she did for a few reasons.
1. WE MISSED HER!!! Megan left for Alaska, to do an internship for Del Sol there, while Howie and I were on our honeymoon so we hadn't seen her for 6 months!
2. Her being here forced us to play tourists in San Fran! For the 4-5 months we have lived here, we haven't really done a lot of the tourist-y stuff within the city and we move home the end of next week! With Christmas this week and packing next week, we knew we wouldn't have taken the time to go see everything had she not come! So THANK YOU Megan!
We had so much fun with you and we love you to pieces!
Here are some pictures with Meggie!

Megan and I in the mirror maze on Pier 39

We went to Temple Hill (the Oakland Temple) to see the lights and enjoy some wonderful Christmas music.

I love this one =o)

Megan and Howie... Pretty sure they could pass for twins.

It was freezing up there!! I've found I have a hard time being serious in pictures.

We've been in San Fran 4 months and this was our first picture with the bridge... what is wrong with us! =o)

The 3 amigos

Megan and I in front of Lombard Street


Of course Pier 39

Ha ha ha! At Rainforest Cafe "monkeyin'" around! LoL! I love that Megan is picking my hair!

Howie and Meg at Fisherman's Wharf

I have no idea...

At Coit Tower looking for the Lunar Eclipse. From back to front: Me, Megan, Josh, Melissa. (Notice the awesome outfits and shoes!... Melissa is always looking cute of course but Josh has on socks with flipflops, megan is wearing Uggs with Basketball shorts, and I am in PJ's and my slippers with tails!)

Whose feet are whose?

Painted Ladies. The houses from Full House.

Climbing this cool bridge in the Japanese Tea Gardens

Told you it was cool =o)

Howie's awesome picture taking skills

At the beach. Pretty sure it took about 10 pictures to get one of us both in the air.

Megan in front of Macy's at Union Square

Our view from the Cheesecake factory at Union Square

Howie and I had gotten tickets to go see the Nutcracker on the 21st before Megan planned her trip out here. So Howie and I went to the Nutcracker that night and Megan went shopping. =o)

Needless to say we had such a fun time and saw A LOT of San Francisco we hadn't seen before! Thanks again for coming Megan! We had so much fun with you!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Our Cancun Honeymoon!

Howie and I spent 11... yes 11... days in Cancun! We flew first class and stayed at the JW Marriott (THANK YOU momma and poppa Harmer!!) We kept getting hit with storms so half the time we were there it was extremely windy or rainy but we enjoyed every second of it! We did a lot of little excursions, drank pina coladas, laid on the beach, drank pina coladas, ordered room service a few times a day (which nachos was a daily order! The guacamole there was the best guacamole we have ever had!), and did I mention drank pina coladas. Mmmm! Just thinking about it makes me want to go back!

A view from our balcony (notice the palm trees blowing blusterusly (I think I just made that word up.)

The first pina colada of about 50.

Our first date was at Hard Rock in Vegas so now it is a tradition to hit a Hard Rock where ever there is one. Yes I am wearing a Jazz shirt. No I do not like the Jazz... I did it for Howie. =o)

Del Sol Cancun!

This was at Xcaret! The most beautiful place in Mexico (that's just my biased opinion but I'm sure anyone that has been there will agree.) We were just walking and all of a sudden this GIANT THING crawled right past me and I freaked out and was yelling. This was as close as I was going to get to the thing.

This is the guy up close! GINORMOUS!!!

I told you it was beautiful!

Enjoying a little shade (and a pina colada) which was much needed! I got fried but refused to put on sunscreen! =o) I was hurting the next day though... blisters to be exact.

Ahhh the good life

Chitzen Itza!!! It was so bloody hot and humid (pushing 100 degrees with 100% humidity) but our beloved tour guide didn't let that stop him! He spent 2 hours (which felt more like 8) explaining EVERYTHING and we don't remember ANYTHING because we were trying not to die!

We had 1 bottle of warm water for 3-4 hours but our guide never gave us a minute to go grab more and we didn't want to be rude and ask. This is me pouring the last few drops on me.

And this is Howie trying not to die!

On the way home we stopped at this "cenote" which is like a huge water hole! It was so refreshing to jump in after our long, hot day! Not to mention it probably has a 100% WOW guarantee... I'm pretty sure we said "WOW" a million times! (The WOW guarantee is for all you "Del Sol'ers" out there. Ha ha ha!

Howie and I jumping in! Blurry but our camera man did his best. =o)

Every girl we saw in Mexico, having her picture taken, posed like this... so I wanted one like that too.

We even went golfing! I gave up after I lost 7 balls and Howie lost his last ball on the last hole so we didn't get to finish but it was still fun. Ha ha ha!

This was at an outdoor adventure course called Xplor. It was so fun! We did miles of ziplines, some into the water, drove an amphibious vehicle through a jungle and underground caves, and paddled on a paddle boat in underground caves. And yes we got to wear these, handy dandy, helmets the whole day!

One of our many storms rolling in. This is on the beach at our hotel!

This was at Senor Frogs... lookin' good babe... lookin' good! Ha ha... If you're trying to decide if this real... don't worry... it's just their bar stools. =o)

A few minutes after we sat down, Howie started laughing and pointed up behind me. I turned around to find this sign above my head.

Just chillin'... Cancun style!

We had a king size bed but Howie must have wanted to give me as much room as possible... one morning I found him sleeping like this... on the nightstand!

If you look closely, you will see Howie... the only one in the swimming pool, in the middle of a huge storm! He didn't let it stop him! However, I sat under the umbrella and just watched. Call me a party pooper but I guess growing up in a super hot place, it has to be somewhat hot and sunny outside for me to get in the pool. It was kinda chilly.

Our last night we went to Ruth's Chris Steakhouse. It was SOOoooo good! We told them we were there for our honeymoon. When they took us to our table it was set up with heart confetti shaped as a heart, and our dessert came out and said "Happy Honeymoon" in chocolate. It definitely topped off our trip perfectly! Not to mention the food was incredible!