Happy birthday grandma!

I was struggling finding good invitations for my grandma's 80th birthday and totally hit the jackpot with Shutterfly! With the capabilites to upload a photo like I wanted to and free shipping, 20% off cards AND 20% off my total order, I'm very happy with my final product and the price I paid! I saved $50!

Stationery card
View the entire collection of cards.


One year.

I had a crisis to deal with at work today. It was an all-hands-on-deck-camp-out-in-a-war-room-pull-in-the-big-dogs type of crisis.

It was not how I was I anticipating my Thursday to go.

Not unlike the same Thursday one year ago when I got "the" phone call that we should get to Omaha.

I was not anticipating that day's occurences either.

It's been a year. One whole year that 365 days ago I thought none of us would survive to see. I thought the pain in our chests; the inability to breathe; just might be too much for us all.

But here we are. Approaching July 22, 2011.

And we survived.
But not without being changed.


Short Life

On March 5, 2011, TFitch bought the Sunfaded Stanton Short from J. Crew on the Plaza in Kansas City. I know the purchase date and the style because we still have the receipt. I like the shorts--he bought them in a pewter-ish blue--but TFitch wasn't a huge fan. He thought they were too short. (They actually fit him and weren't baggie.) But as such, he wore them less than a handful of times.

But he did decide to wear them to my cousin-in-law's 40th birthday party on July 2. Looking dapper going into the bounce house, TFitch came out of the bounce house with 2/3 of his boxers exposed and a hole in his Sunfaded Stanton Shorts from the crotch to the hem.

This annoyed me. Yes, a 31-year-old man was in a bounce house. But other adult men were in the bounce house too and they didn't come out semi-nude. If these were shorts Trevor loved to death and wore everyday, that would be one thing. But they weren't. They were basically in new condition. I wasn't accepting that high of a cost per wear.

So I took them back.

I found the receipt and even the original J. Crew bag the shorts came to Sloppy Joe in, and last weekend I trekked back to the scene of the purchase. I explained the situation to the cashier. She had to talk to the manager. She came back and said there was nothing they could do.

I asked to speak with the manager.

The manager, Lesley I'd later find out her name to be, came out. She wasn't helpful. "The fact that they've been washed and worn ... blah blah blah ... " ... "we can't tell if their defective."

Not defective? Do I need to show you the photo of my grandma grabbing my husband's boxers through the hole in his shorts? (I didn't show Lesley, but I'll show you.)

My POV was simple:

These shorts are basically brand new. Minus the gigantic rip, you can tell they don't have a lot of wear and tear. I think it's unacceptable to pay $60 for a pair of shorts that lasted less than four months with minimal use.

Lesley still wasn't convinced. I finally told her that was fine; that I was done buying clothes at J. Crew. Why would I spend the money their store charges if more than likely the garment would fall apart after two to three wears. 

FINALLY she started to come around. She was pissed about it. I didn't care. She made it difficult. She scanned my credit card and my receipt and said there was no record of my purchase. She asked if I had returned them once before, which really made my blood start to boil. (Was she accusing me of lying?) She called the J. Crew batcave to have them look up the transaction. Amazingly, she gives them my credit card number and they can recite back to her that not only were those shorts purchased on that ticket, but so were three men's shirts and two women's tank tops.

Boo to the freaking yeah.

Five hours later and with mixed reviews of J. Crew, TFitch and I depart with a crotch-intact pair of Sunfaded Stanton Shorts that he probably will never wear because he hates the damn things anyway. And I'm fine with that. In the entire scenario, I wanted J. Crew to acknowledge they had a disappointed customer. The proof was in the pants. I wanted them to be disappointed that their merchandise failed. That they hoped it would never happen again and we'd be satisfied customers here on out. Instead the consumer had to fight for what they wanted. We had to ask for the manager to come out. We had to push her to give us what we wanted. We were honest and transparent with the story. We told you the shorts were in a bounce house, but they are chinos for crying out loud. You don't sell china dolls. And I remain strong on my point that other people were in the same situation and their (likely from Banana Republic) shorts didn't rip.

On JCrew.com, they post the following:

"Quality is our highest priority. Always has been, always will be."

Neither quality in their products nor their customer service were demonstrated to me last weekend. Maybe they should take a lesson from Zappos.com. 



I'm not one to really imbibe during the week, for no reason other than one drink often turns into two and two into three and three into hating my alarm clock. But after a little stressful bump at work today, I couldn't be more relaxed tonight than I am now: with a glass of vino and the Desperate Housewives season finale on DVR. Thanks to Shannon for the wine, Cline Cashmere.

It's delish. (And for the stemless wine glass too. I have always wanted a set!)

I received a few recipes after my last post; many, many thanks. To BZ and whoever else is interested, here is the recipe for homemade Runzas. Super easy and super delish.

2 tubes crescent rolls
1 package ground meat (I use turkey, but beef is the recipe)
Cabbage (Either a head or for a shortcut, use bagged chopped coleslaw. No one tastes the carrots)
One onion
Shredded Mozzerella
Salt and Pepper

(This isn't a verbatim recipe, but hopefully you get the idea):

Brown the meat with the onion. Place cabbage on top and steam. Meanwhile, lay one crescent roll out in the bottom of a 9 x 13 pan (greased). Once cabbage is tender, spread meat, onion and cabbage mixture on top of crescent roll. Top with Mozzerella cheese. (Just go ahead and use an entire bag. You know you want to.) Top with the other crescent roll rolled out. Bake approximately 25 minutes covered with foil and an additional 5 uncovered to brown top. Serve with tons of ketchup. Very bueno this way!

There you go. Just like grandma used to make.



For the better part of living in Sloppy Joe, my weekdays have looked a little something like this:

Hour 1 (6:30 - 7:30 am): Shower/Get Ready
Hour 2 (7:30 - 8:30 am): Drive to work
Hours 3 - 13 (8:30 am - 6:30 pm): Work (that departure time is pretty generous, but let's do easy math here, people)
Hours 13 - 14 (6:30 - 7:30 pm): Drive to Sloppy Joe
Hours 14 - 16 (7:30 - 10:30 pm): Eat dinner, do whatever needs to be done around the house, iron and pack lunches for the next day, etc.
Hours 16 - 24 (10:30 pm - 6:30 am): ZZZzzzzzz

As you can see, that 3 hours of personal time, doesn't leave a lot of time...and the last thing I want to be doing then is cooking dinner! I've done a really good job (if I do say so myself), of cooking for the week on Sundays. Whether that's browning taco meat, assembling the casseroles so they are oven ready or chopping veggies for a cobb salad, by Sunday night our fridge is usually a beautiful sight.

That said, I don't enjoy slaving away in a kitchen all day and night Sunday, either.

I'm looking for some new recipes I can make ahead on Sundays and eat during the week. Preferably fairly simple. Crockpot meals too: what can I dump in the pot, put in the fridge Sunday and simply toss in the crock's skeleton (sounds interesting) on my way to work in the morning. Or lastly, I'll take tips on good multi-purpose ingredients (example: boil 6 chicken breasts, shred two for BBQ chicken sandwiches, cube the other four and marinate in wing sauce for buffalo chicken salads).

I know the notion of easy, weekday recipes isn't something I'm just looking for, so share, share away. I'm sure all of us busy gals no matter the occupation, just want some good ideas to get foods to the hubs and kids stat. I look forward to reading what you cook up. In the meantime, it's time to take the homemade Runzas out of the oven. I'm starving!


KC BBQ Review: RJs Bob-be-Que

The hubs and I decided that while we're living in the suburb of Kansas City that is Sloppy Joe, we need to take advantage of trips to "the City" and go on a Bar-B-Que sampling tour. Kansas City is renown for barbecue; I mean, there is a wikipedia page on the subject. It must be legit. It's something we need to do during our time down South.

The sampling tour kicked off Sunday--Mother's Day--at RJ's Bob-Be-Que in Mission, Kansas.

Overall, I'd give RJ's ****** (six out of 10 stars). Not terrible, not the best thing I've ever had.

Off the bat, I was disappointed when getting these salad dressing packets. Want to get on my good side? Give me a side of good, tasty, not-too-thick foodservice Ranch. TFitch and I often comment on a restaurant's ranch. ("Mmm, this is good ranch.") I realize how fat this is, but it's the truth. While the Marzetti's dressing was just fine, it didn't add any stars to RJ's review. However, the salad itself was pretty delicious.. Craisins and dill pickles were included. Random, but pretty delicious. It actually inspired TFitch and I to add Craisins to our salad tonight at home.

In terms of atmosphere, I'd say 7. I like dive BBQ joints (but am a little leery of one place my bro and his GF want to take us to. They swear it has delicious food but they were shut down temporarily because of rat poop in the smoker. Ew.) RJs was a good environment. Few things, though:

1. We went on Mother's Day. We waited about 10 minutes for our table, which wasn't horrible. However, we wanted to sit on the nice, big patio, but they insisted it was full. Funny thing was no one was out there.
2. It was a little warm in the place. Naturally cold-blooded, I'm not often warm. I guess those smokers and grills do kick out some heat.
3. It was a bit smoky in the restaurant. Not nasty Marlboro smokey, but BBQ smoke smoky. I just wanted to open a window to cool down and air out the place. Overall, not terrible but enough for me to notice.
4. Just a little cramped. As much as I am sure the table next to us was full of nice people and I was fascinated trying to figure out their family dynamics, I did not want to spend Mother's Day with them. 

I ordered the Memphis Po Boy with Chicken for my main meal. TFich ordered it with pork. I thought it was decent. I had to eat it with a fork because the cole slaw made the bun too soggy. (But you could tell it was a good tasting bun.) The chicken was pretty good, some parts were a little burned, but good chicken overall. I substituted cheesy corn bake for the french fries. It was weird but good. It was essentially Velveeta cheese with corn with chunks of ham in it (which were little morsels of deliciousness). Didn't taste much "baked," though. Feedback on the cheesy corn bake was mixed, but it didn't keep me from eating my condiment cup of it. I'd give my meal a 6.

My brother got the three meat sammich and couldn't stop raving about the chicken. His girlfriend got the pork butt burger (true story--what they're known for). We all took a pull of it. It was okay. Kind of weird, but it was exactly what you'd think it would be. Ground pork butt formed into a hamburger patty. She wasn't a fan of this for her main meal.

We ordered a slab of ribs for the table for everyone to try. I was not impressed with the ribs. They were burned and dry. TFitch makes much better ribs in his smoker at home. I have two ribs a try but just wasn't impressed. I'd give the ribs a 2.

Our bill for two people came to nearly $50, which I thought was a little expensive. This is with Diet Cokes to drink (no alcohol). However, we put the ribs on our ticket, which was $15.

One selling point for RJs is they sell Bernadette's Cupcakes and Cookies (and if you're a mom you got one free Sunday! Sucks for me.) Bernadette made my friend Rachel's wedding cake and I hired her for a cupcake order some years ago for my grandma's 80th birthday party. They're tasty.

So, that's my review of RJ's BBQ in Mission, Kansas. It was featured on Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives, so be sure and check out Guy Fieri's review. And check back soon for a review from another infamous KC BBQ joint.


La la la la-la la, la la la la-la.

I listen to Mix 93.3 in the morning and they always seem to be talking about things I could easily contribute to. The other day they were talking about bad vacation stories. Hello...have you heard about my father being deported from Canada?

Today they were talking about the Smurfs movie coming out soon. I so badly wanted to call in, but that's never something I would do. (See label of post.) So, let me confess right here, right now, that I was, at one point in my life, OBSESSED with the Smurfs. I'd watch them on Saturday mornings and then--and THEN--I'd call my grandma to make sure she watched. Me, in a voice even higher than the one I have now, would ask any question I could to try and stump her.

How wonderful of my grandma to watch Saturday morning cartoons on a weekly basis, just so she wouldn't get bitched out by her six-year-old granddaughter.

That's some love.

I'll have to ask my grandma if she remembers the Poppa Smurf quizzes (if only I was as punny then). She darn well might.

Widdle Baby

I'm a second cousin for the 13th time! Today my cousin and his wife welcomed their son Brody Nicholas to the world. 

I vividly remember the day his brother was born. It was February of 2008 and that night TFitch, my bro and I hosted a surprise 50th birthday/30th anniversary party for the 'rents. During the party my aunt was telling me all about her newest grandson, going on and on and on about how cute he was. (She also said he was partially such a beautiful baby because he was delivered via a c-section. I had never heard of that before.) For some reason I remember that interaction and conversation very clear. I like the memory.

So today, congrats to Luke, Emily, Abbie and Brennan and welcome to the world Brody Nicholas!  You have a happy Nana angel looking down on you!


Glee's Anatomy

Let me just say that I love musicals.

Mama Mia.
Phantom of the Opera.

But Grey's Anatomy the musical has GOT to go.

We live without TV for four weeks--I go without watching Grey's Anatomy much longer--and then the one night I get jazzed about it, I tune into McSoprano? WTF?  And if I'm Sara Ramirez, I'm a bit pissed off.

"Hey Sara. We're going to kill of your character, and sing and dance about it. You cool with that?"

I'd like Calli to live but this episode must die.


Fa la la la lame.



My grandma was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease last year. Before then, I knew people that had relatives with the disease, but hadn't necessarily been impacted directly. Now, I'm just trying to learn more and more about it and will probably be using the blog as an outlet. If you know of anyone that's been affected, read of anything of importance with regards to the disease or--what I'm most intrigued about--how to make a difference in fighting Alzheimer's, I'd love to know. With regards to the last, I've supported many, many causes in the past without a direct connection. Mostly because it was a good cause I'm scared will affect me or my loved ones in the future (e.g. breast cancer), or because it was a fun way to support a cause. (Drinking beer for charity? Sign me up.) Well, now I have a reason to support the Alzheimer's cause and want to do anything and everything I can.

CNN.com just posted this article on dealing with Alzheimer's patients when they get violent. My grandma hasn't gotten violent, but you can definitely see a side of her personality we hadn't before. (She's dropping the f-bomb!) I cringe thinking about the fact my grandma could actually turn physical. And mean.

One of the things I find most amazing about the disease is long vs. short term memory. My grandma can't remember where we live nowadays (to her credit, neither can I). But I made a Shutterfly book for them from Christmas with old photos and she remembered their first apartment, her maid-of-honor (and funny things about her), could easily point out photos of my dad and uncle as kids, etc. It was pretty amazing that part of her memory is still there, whereas hours ago is not.

The brain is pretty remarkable. Here's to the day when Alzheimer's is a memory we'll all forget.


Reason 2,392 why I love my dad.

On Mon, Mar 28, 2011 at 4:21 PM, Wendy Fitch wrote:
Holy crap. They grow up so fast, don't they? One day they're in doggie diapers, the next they have worms and are destroying your house.

Mom and dad: is it totally ridiculous to ask you to ship us her "I'm the birthday pup" shirt that's hanging in my closet? I totally forgot about it and I feel like she needs it. She's worn it on April 1 since 2008.

Kalin and Lindsay: interested in coming to St. Joe for dinner Friday night? Maybe a litle OK Joes takeout for us and a Land of Paws birthday treat for the guest of honor?

Woof love,
A proud doggie mom

On Mon, Mar 28, 2011 at 5:48 PM, Mary Hicks wrote:
LOL Wendy E-mail Dad where the shirt is at because he will have to do it, I'll be vacationing!!!!!!

From: Wendy Fitch
Sent: Monday, March 28, 2011 9:57 PM
To: Ron Hicks
Cc: Ron Hicks; Kalin Hicks; Lindsay Fetter; Trevor.Fitch
Subject: Re: Macy is turning 4!
Dad: it's hanging in my closet. Would you really do this for widdle Mace?

On Tue, Mar 29, 2011 at 10:10 AM, Ron Hicks wrote:

What address do you want this shipped to?

From: Wendy Fitch
Sent: Tuesday, March 29, 2011 10:23 AM
To: Ron Hicks
Cc: Mary Hicks
Subject: Re: Macy is turning 4!
XXXX North S%&@ Drive
St. Joseph, MO !)@*&

So, if you go in the master closet, you'll see a rack of Macy's clothes on the top right. It's the little pink shirt that says, I'm the birthday pup!

On Tue, Mar 29, 2011 at 10:47 AM, Ron Hicks wrote:

Found it


It's good to be back.

My husband, quite the blog follower, I've learned, asked me tonight why I "never update my blog anymore." While he laughed at my response of, "oh, I do. I just changed the URL so you can't read it," the truth is blogging takes a lot of time. At least for me. But, I must remember, like anything in life--everything in moderation. I don't need to write novel-long blog posts. Just like 15 minutes at the gym is better than nothing, just like a quick 20-minute power nap rocks more than no nap, a little blog update is better than three months of radio silence. And, while my Words with Friends games might start to suffer, consider me back into the blogosphere.