People Houses and Bird Houses

We bought a house. I realize it has been many months since we have written more like several years, but we’ve been a bit busy. We actually bought a house in the spring of this year and have faced many home-owning adventures as a result.

 

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Since it is our first home, we live in a neighborhood in which my utterly supportive mother refers to as “eclectic.” Let’s be honest, there is a scrapper (i.e. one who scraps metal and garbage for cash in an attempt to fuel his/her addiction) several houses down, an abandoned church across the street that is littered with prescription bottles, and a strange woman who lives directly across from our house who “sweeps” the leaves of her lawn with a broom (which we later found out is a mail order bride from the Philippines). However, there are also some delightful neighbors directly next to us that are very sweet and keep lovely homes. Eclectic seems like a nice way of saying we’ve got some crazies. And it’s true. 

Our neighbors far and wide have been able to identify that Charlotte belongs with us. While we have a fenced in backyard, she manages to “escape” and run rampant. There have been several times where we have not had her collar on, which causes her to look like a wild black wolf which strikes fear into the hearts of the number of neighborhood kids roaming the street.

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In addition, many of my counseling clients live in my neighborhood. There are many times I am doing yard work where I have to duck or hide behind my boxwood bushes in an attempt to not allow my psychotic kids to know where I live in case I say something stupid in one of our sessions. It brings me a lot of comfort to know that if my wife has a bad day at work I can get murdered.

When we first got into the home we were excited to get everything settled and hooked up. Cory took on the task of installing the washer/dryer on the second floor. We were very anxious to get some laundry done and have some fresh sheets. After several minutes we began to smell a burning of some kind, similar to hair or garbage burning. Being the intelligent people that we are, we went up and checked the dryer and could find no sign of an issue besides the strong burning odor. The emergency switch on the dryer kept shutting the dryer off. So naturally we just kept turning the dryer back on. After several hours of playing this game with the dryer, we checked on the load and noticed that the dryer was burning hot.

After a lengthy discussion, Cory decided to check the vent system to the house. That took some time to locate as we had no idea what the crap a vent system was. We eventually took a ladder outside to investigate the dryer vent. To our dismay, this is what we found:

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THE MOST GIANT BIRDS NEST EVER. I was super excited as we found out the issue without burning our house down! Cory managed to remove the nest, but did drop every single egg in the process and committed tiny bird murder. The best part was when I began to remove the nest and there was still a bird in it! I’m glad God gave sparrows such awesome navigation systems because it didn’t fly into my brain.

We were proud of ourselves for tackling this issue. However, we  did not sufficiently cover the vent and so several days later I found my husband outside muttering inappropriate expletives regarding the feathered creatures that have returned. Those jerks are persistent. Please ask me if instead of installing a real vent cover, he decided to weave duct tape to create a ghetto cover. Yes, he did. Has it been fixed yet? No, it hasn’t. I’m working on it.

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Best Buy and Broken Dreams

Several of you who know us well, know that we have needed to update our technological resources over the past several years. While at one point we had well-functioning electronics, college graduation has come and gone and yet our laptops have remained.  Cory and I first purchased our laptops in 2005ish during our senior year of high school in preparation for college. Yep. That’s nearly eight years ago. If you were unaware, laptops don’t last that long.

Anyhow, people have had pity on us in the past and one of our friends Megan even offered to donate her more updated laptop to us last year. Megan’s laptop was small and we referred to it as “baby laptop.” While a very generous gift, it lasted about 5 months and puked out on us as well.  While most other people would throw/recycle the old laptop, my adorable husband found another use for it! Which leads us to laptop #2.

Cory had an HP laptop that worked rather well for a long time. However, within the last four years or so it has slowly been breaking down. And when I say “slowly” I mean it will take 20 minutes to boot up. A while back the hinges on the screen broke which means that the screen was unable to stand up on its own. After several weeks of Cory holding his screen up while using the device, he started to find “stands” around the house for the laptop. First, it was a series of  my beloved coffee table books. I had big plans to make our apartment look like the cover of Better Homes & Gardens, and yet it just lost that “touch” when there was a giant stack of new things on my table each day supporting this piece of crap. 

 

Let me also address the noise for a moment. The laptop had a “fan” function on it where it would supposedly cool the device down just in case it was working too hard. If any of you have ever ridden on a plane, you will know the sound the engine makes right as the captain pulls out of the gate. Identical. Often times, the fan would not be sufficient and the laptop would overheat. This typically happened at the climax of an interesting video or during a mid-term paper. Then we would have to go through the 20 minute boot up. .

 

After baby laptop kicked the dust, Cory had an ingenious idea. I came home to a mountain of electronic cords in my living room to see Cory’s giant HP laptop being held up by broken, non-functioning baby laptop. To review, Cory was using a completely broken laptop to hold up a 75% broken laptop. Can you say G-H-E-T-T-O. The worst part about this is that Cory had no shame. He thought it was awesome, so he rarely hid his contraption when people would come over. I know I have said it a million times, but I never thought this would be my life.

Moving on. Laptop #3 was a Compaq that I purchased in 2004ish.  This had always been a basic laptop but treated me well. The only issue I ever would run into is that my cord would catch on fire/melt.  I am not sure why but Cory always managed to blame me for this. There would be times where I was writing a paper and Cory would come to sit on the couch. He would accidentally sit down on my cord and suffer temporary burns as a result. We also had to do the thing where you move the cord around in different positions until the wires met enough to catch a charge… except there was a delay from where it caught it and the computer showed it as charging, so it was quite the struggle. I went through at least five cords. One time, while we waited for a new cord to be delivered, I set up a ‘charging station’ where I had found the right spot on the cord, duct taped it to a non-moving surface (I think it was a storage tote?) and then brought the laptop to the station whenever it needed a charge. This lasted until Jeni told me it doesn’t hold a charge for more than ten minutes on its own. So great job, MacGuyver. I also had to have it plugged in because the battery would no longer charge. Which means I was totally that person in class that monopolized the wall outlet. In every class. Also, this laptop was definitely a 15pounder. I literally had backaches after carrying it to class.

 

Over the weekend I was cleaning/purging out our closets like I do pretty regularly. Cory calls it “squirreling things away.” Anyhow, I found my old Compaq along with a GIANT all in one printer that no longer worked that was also given to us for free by a fellow seminary student. I walked into the living room and looked at the coffee table full of broken electronics:

 

“Babe, we really have to do something about these laptops, can we get rid of some of them at least. 

“They are too old, no one will take them. We can try to recycle them at Best Buy?”

 Cory had tried for several months in two different states to get rid of these babies. He went to exchanges and used electronics stores, and yet each place “politely declined” our offer of laptops. We couldn’t even give these things away. I went online to see if there was a company that would take them. After putting in the model number for all three laptops this message appeared:

 

“The good news is you got a lot of years out of this device! The bad news is that the model is so dated that we cannot offer anything for it. Sorry!”

REALLY? Really. Not even an online JUNK company will take it. So off to Best Buy we went.

We got in line at customer service with our giant bags of crap and the associate who was assisting another customer lovingly rolled her eyes. I can totally just hear her thoughts:

 “Are you freaking kidding me. Who are these poor pathetic people. Why would I ever want their electronic junk?”

After waiting several minutes we were offered by another employee to put our “items on the desk while waiting.” Not wanting the entire store to see our complete shame, we decided against this option. We then approached the agitated woman. Cory explained our situation and asked if we were able to recycle old crap there. Cory attempted to make several jokes with the girl, but all he received back was glares and utter disdain. I even told the story of the one remaining ‘working’ laptop we have at home and how it needs held up… just crickets. I thought someone that works at an electronics store would appreciate a little humor about crappy computers, but I must have caught this lady on ‘be irritated with everyone’ day. After getting what seemed like our entire medical history and every other fact that has ever happened to us, we heard the most glorious news ever from the associate:

 “You are in luck, we have a promotion going on right now where we can offer you $10.00.”

 Cory and I looked at each other in a similar way that a child looks at the ice cream man. “THIS IS THE BEST NEWS EVERRRRR!!! After deciding against jumping up and down, the associate quickly passed us off to another worker.

Cory and I spent several minutes walking around the store trying to decide what we were going to get with our profit. Turns out, you can’t even get a DVD for $10.00 there, so we decided to “save” it. Unfortunately, we still have Cory’s mammoth HP laptop at home until we can somehow find money to replace it. He is now using home goods including candles to support it. I may try legos soon…

Giraffe Tongues and Haunted Hotels

Cory and I have had quite a year and thought it would be nice to “get away” for a bit. Last month was his birthday and our 3rd wedding anniversary and my birthday was last week so we decided to have a Fetzer Celebration Extravaganza.  My sister and brother in law have grown very fond of a lovely little area on Lake Erie named Lakeside. It is a charming island like town with little shops and quaint hotels right on the water. Cory and I were going for “relaxing” so this seemed the perfect spot. Before I continue I must put disclaimer on this blog or my sister will have a heart attack: We really did enjoy our time there. It was an adventure that I would recommend to any of our family and friends, but Janet must find the satire in all things, so….

My sister and brother in law are rather “fancy” people who like “fancy” things. They are also extremely quirky and find joy in strange and unusual places as well. With that said, we stayed at Hotel Lakeside which is an historic hotel located right on the water. I thought it was very charming and rustic. Everything is themed from the Victorian era and there are next to no modern amenities.

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We arrived at Lakeside in the late morning and there was a crazy downpour. The summer season is already over for the town, so it’s very barren as it is, and with bad weather there was no one around which added to its eeriness. We were given the keys to our room, and went upstairs to look at it. The room was rather small and furnished with an antique chiffarobe, two twin beds, a dresser and a small bathroom off to the side. There was no shower (which we were warned of ahead of time) and no television. The shower room was down the hall and shared by several other guests on our side of the hotel.

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The wallpaper was lined with prints of flora and fauna from years past. There were light pink roses with green steams staring at me throughout the night. Cory and I were pretty convinced from the moment we walked in, that this place was straight up haunted. We went exploring and found numerous pictures of harsh looking old women lining the hallways staring at us from all directions.

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We found super old yearbooks from local colleges and even found a game room with some pretty good games. After playing scrabble and checkers, which I am far superior at both, we decided to go for a stroll outside. The “town” had three shops open during the off season. There were pleasant souvenir, gift shops and one bookstore.

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We had a lovely evening biking and going to the winery and decided to call it a night after considering crashing a rehearsal dinner on the hotel’s campus. The next day we had planned to take it easy and not create a rigid agenda (which was extremely difficult for me by the way). We had seen a sign for “Drive-thru African Safari” several miles down the road and figured we should try it.

We left Lakeside and drove into Port Clinton and purchased our tickets. We were given a cup of “feed” to share with the fluffy, kind-hearted animals we were about to meet. We drove through the gate and into the area where the animals were free roaming. We were immediately approached by some rather hungry Llamas and Alpacas who had no shame in sticking their ENTIRE head into our car. There were several times where I was looking in Cory’s direction and when I would turn around I would have a fuzzy nose in my face.

After hearing the screams and yelps from the kids in the car in front of us, we eventually made it to the deer/buffalo section. The deer were super cute and I fed them most of the feed we had left. There were two moose that were rather bossy and made a game out of taking the entire cup out of the other customer’s hands. It was pretty awesome to watch. Anyhow, after arguing with a Bison about being out of food we got to see the Giraffe’s and Zebras. The car in front of us forgot to put their sun roof up and the Giraffe stuck his whole head in it. We later heard that the Giraffe threw up in their car. Amateurs. After the Giraffe’s tongue came in contact with Cory’s fingers several times, we figured we could die happy.

 

Cory compared this experience to Jurassic Park and he was pretty sure that we were going to die during some part of the journey. After the drive-thru we visited the small zoo that was at the same location. We were fortunate enough to see a monkey pick his poop out of his butt and the Naspig races in which little oinkers were trained to speed around a track similar to Nascar. Disturbing? Yes. ALSO, there were an insane amount of Amish people there. Why? I will never know.

 

For more African Adventures, check out our videos on my facebook page!  https://www.facebook.com/jeni.fetzer

 

County Fairs and Artistic License

County Fairs and Artistic License

Several weeks ago, Cory, my mom and Step-dad and I all ventured to the Great Geauga County Fair. The Geauga fair is deeply rooted in my childhood and has been a tradition for my family for many years. As homeschoolers, we were obviously very involved in the festivities that the fair offered. Let me just say that I have been quite the celebrity around these parts in years back. I was a member of the Polly Pinners 4-H Sewing Club and participated in the yearly fashion shows with my home sewn jumpers. While other girls my age were growing boobs and getting their first boyfriends, I was sewing hems and modeling my white tulip dress to other equally socially awkward kids.

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While the fresh scent of cow manure and sweating livestock brought back all of these wonderful memories, I had become so accustomed to the bizarre experiences that one can have at a county fair, that I had forgotten just how lame/strange/peculiar/eccentric the fair truly is.

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After entering into the fair and being brushed up against by several overweight persperating women, I was ready to eat. Fair food is my kind of food, can I get an Amen? While I enjoy vegetables and grains, I literally just wanted someone to give me red meat. After some searching I found steak on a stick. That is literally all it was for $7.00. No vegetables or extra sauces. Just straight up artery clogging red meat on a piece of wood. Glorious.

After walking through the Llama tents we made our way over to the mini horses. There were things I saw in that tent that were utterly adorable, and other things that I hope to forget that just kept growing and I couldn’t look away no matter how much I wanted to.

After such a raunchy display, I was obviously hungry for some fried pickles. We managed to find a half working trailer with some cheap fried objects so we ordered up some fresh dipped pickles. I am almost 100% positive that the woman serving us was in active labor. She was a giant swollen pregnant woman frying pickles in 90 degree weather all for $3.00. While most people would lose their appetite at the thought, I was happy to take those pickles off her hands.  Update: I was actually driving by the fairgrounds with the puppy last week and was looking at the barren ghost town that it now is. Far off in the corner I saw the beaten up old pickle trailer still sitting in the middle of the field. I am not sure how I feel about this family establishing a home on the fairgrounds of Geauga County a month after the fair, but I sure do appreciate those pickles.

My family and I made our way to the back of the fairgrounds to the “Art District.” Now when I use this title, I use it VERY loosely. These are the barns/buildings where people enter contests including cake decorating, quilting, woodmaking and other forms of artistic expression that are then displayed for the community to enjoy* (I also use the word ‘enjoy’ loosely as well).

We made our way to the miscellaneous arts building which has been titled very appropriately. I want to say there are “categories” of art projects that community members can enter in, but quite frankly, it just seems like a hoarder’s house exploded in the building. If I had to pick some of the categories based off what I saw, It would go like this: Pinecones, Really old Lego creations, Pieces of garbage glued onto wood, and unwanted toys.  I will include some of the pictures below of the “top winners” and provide descriptions of what you are actually looking at.

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A basket of Beanie Babies gets first place? What is this? 1996?

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I don’t even know what to say to that. There are so many questions I have. I would like to meet the “artist.”

 

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The worst part about this, is the kid had to steal a piece from his parent’s trailer floor to finish this. Also, three pieces? For real? Is this a scene from the Disney movie Spirit:Stallion of the Cimarron?

Image Yes this is a Lazy Susan. Yes it has a variety of “collectible” pig figurines. Yes it was entered as an artistic piece. Sweet Lord Joseph Klima from Thompson, Ohio. Get your head in the game.

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“So the Geauga Fair is coming up….I have some green plywood in the garage and these pinecones are everywhere” =FIRST PLACE.

Image “JIMMY STOP PLAYING WITH ALL THAT BROKEN GLASS AND ENTER IT INTO THE FAIR INSTEAD!”

 

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I can’t believe that dirty bunny beat out the broken GI Joe amputee. Can I just enter my watch that I am wearing to the fair? I didn’t make it, but I like it.

I would REALLY like to see what the criteria is for entering a piece of crap…err….artwork, how in the heck do the judges compare one piece of artwork over the other, and the reasoning behind several pieces being behind glass or a cage. Like really? Um….I have no interest in attempting to thieve your piece of wood with pinecones….

In closing: Cory and I have BIG plans for next year’s Geauga County Fair Art Show. BIG.

 

Black Eyes and Broken Batteries

Well went back to Kentucky for a visit. It was extremely eventful, like most things in our life are. The trip up went pretty smooth. We arrived in Kentucky around 8:30pm on Thursday night. We had the privilege of staying with our dear friends who have two of the cutest little boys the world has ever seen. Hayes is 4 years old and very imaginative. One of his most favorite things is building a fort with the couch cushions. Somewhere in between the second bedroom made out of pillows, Cory asked me to help him bring some of our suitcases into the house. As I lean forward to get out of the chair I am blindsided by a very dense 4 year old head. I momentarily lost my vision and then was able to stand up. After noticing the screaming child laying on the floor and hearing shouts for ice, I knew it couldn’t have been good. I finally regained my balance and walked up to my husband.

“Cory, is it bad?”

The grotesque look on Cory’s face said enough. It looked similar to the reactions of the townspeople in The Phantom of the Opera or even the faces of the bystanders when Quasimodo was revealed to the village. I then noticed a large mass growing in front of me on my right eye. She’s not exaggerating… it got swollen so fast.

I was recommended to sit down and was quickly given a bag of broccoli to hold on my eye. I kept asking how it looked, and while my friends are the dearest in the world, they are LIARS.

“Jeni, it’s not too bad. Just put some ice on it and it will be ok.”

Two hours later and a bag of defrosted vegetables and this is what I was left with.

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I woke up the next day very optimistic that this would be a quick recovery. I was very very mistaken:

 

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I planned several weeks before to meet up with some friends for lunch. While I was humiliated I figured no one would notice my sunglasses inside a Mexican restaurant. Needless to say it was as embarrassing as I had thought it would be.

Oh, did I mention I was co-hosting a baby shower for my friend Kara with 90% of the people I had never met before during this visit? I was so happy to see that not only was my eye opening, but now there was a lovely shade of eggplant creeping down my eye lid! How fitting for an afternoon baby shower tea party. I tend to like my injuries “classy.”

“hey everyone, welcome to the baby shower! I know I have never met you before and you have pity on me for being a battered wife, but please ignore the giant colorful bulge on my face and enjoy some tea and cookies!” Then people were asking if I wanted to get pictures with the guest of honor…um sure! About as much as I want to be hit over the head with a sack of flour! Which would have caused another black eye.

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I also forgot to mention that the next morning Cory, Gina and I were running a 5k. Ask me if I have ever run that far in my life. No. Ask me if I could see straight at this point. No. Ask me what time we had to wake up. 5am. Ask me if it was worth it. YUP.

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My friends and I ran the Color Run. If you have not heard of it, it’s essentially a bunch of middle class white people (I saw 3 black people all day… in downtown Louisville.) running 5 kilometers through different ‘color zones’ where a bunch of random people throw powdered paint on you. Oh, and you pay 50.00 to do so. Anyhow, my injury gave me an advantage I believe. My face was a lovely shade of purple-green at this point, so my dear friend Gina decided to rub purple paint on the other side of my face to balance it out. Thanks friend!

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By the time the race was over on Sunday morning, we were all swollen on various regions of our body (some of us more than others) and were ready for a nap. The rest of Sunday went well and we decided to leave Kentucky around 11am on Monday. I had planned to briefly stop at the outlet stores and then be home by 6:30. HAHAHAHAH.

We got as far as Grove City, Ohio. Cory decided to pull off since we were doing good on time and to get some drinks. Cory got out of the car to get drinks and take a pee break and I walked Charlotte around. Charlotte tends to get an attitude in the car since we have to essentially starve her until we reach our final destination. The baby girl has a weak stomach and so she cannot be fed during our road trips. Every once in a while we will look back into the backseat and she will have her “pound puppy face” on. Her face communicates “why won’t anyone ever love me?” Sometimes Cory sings the Sarah Maclaughlin song “In the Arms of the Angels” just to make it more dramatic. This pathetic display that she puts on really is the saddest thing I have ever seen. Her ears are droopy and out to the side like freaking Yoda and she is all slouched over. She won’t cuddle with us or even look at us. She’s like a teenager with Oppositional Defiant Disorder who is resentful at her parents.

Anyhow, Cory came outside and I took my turn for a pee break. I enter the dimly lit crime scene bathroom and open the lid. FIRST MISTAKE. There was a mountain of poop lovingly left for me. I thought to myself “This is gross but I am not going to think about it. I will just flush it and be done with it.” Unfortunately, the giant goliath sasquatch woman who left the mess before me also shoved several rolls of cheap toilet paper into the commercial grade toilet. I flushed and regretted it. Turds of all sizes came flying at me like pearl freaking harbor. One landed on my foot and I was standing in cascading poop water. Mind you, this all happened in a matter of about 5 seconds.

I exit the bathroom in a panic with my stupid black eye and go to the front to communicate my horror to the attendant. “UM. The toilet is broken and I tried to fix it and it exploded.” The woman looked at me as if to say “so what you are asking me to do is to clean up your fecal matter from the floor you stupid wench.”
 After rolling her eyes I tried to explain it wasn’t me, but she seemed really uninterested in me talking any longer. After using the men’s restroom and washing my feet in the sink I was eager to get home and wash my entire body of the poop fiasco.

Cory and I get in the car. “Click.” He turns the key again. “Click.” At this point I think, “Why does God hate me?” As much as that is the worst theology ever, it felt like one of those days. I have a freaking pound puppy in the back seat, poop feet, 90 degrees outside and our car is broken.

A sheriff showed up to help us push our car to another area  but we were still stuck. Cory attempted to ask several other people to help but we were turned away several times. So I went up to one guy who I asked politely if he could help us jump our car, and that I even had jumper cables, and he replied he was on his way to a funeral… in his Harley Davidson shirt. Liar. I then went up to a car full of college-aged girls who  I assumed would help a fellow twentysomething. Nope. They didn’t even roll down their window when I came up to the car! Total lack of eye contact and everything. I know for a fact I don’t have leprosy and I had trimmed my beard recently… so I don’t know what it was. Luckily the cop stayed with us until he knew we had help, which was very nice. Honestly, what can be more pathetic than a woman with a black eye holding a puppy standing next to a broken car during a heat wave? Anyone? Anyone? No? Ok awesome. We did get someone to eventually help us, but discovered after charging the battery that it wouldn’t hold a charge. We were stuck. In Grove City. With a dead battery.

Luckily, one of our relatives just happened to be in the area and helped us more than she could ever know. LoriAnne Clark was a God-send. She is the only reason I am comfortably sitting on my bed with my puppy at the moment. We finally found a place that would give us a battery and we figured we could install it. We had been at the gas station for over two and half hours at this point. Aunt Lori lives like 20 minutes away from where we were stuck, too. She was coming home from work and happened to be really close to where we were… God was definitely watching over us.

ImageAfter driving to Napa to get the battery, we got back and realized we didn’t have any tools to remove the dead one or install the new one. So we drove to a nearby grocery store to get some wrenches. We got back and quickly discovered that dumb car companies apparently put metric AND standard nuts on their batteries! Makes lots of sense, right? Wrong.

So we took another trip to the store. Got another wrench (this time an adjustable one) and I made quick work of that battery installation. While I was working on it, and of course not before, two guys stopped and offered to help us with tools. One was a mechanic. Wow, thanks for being 3 hours too late, Timely Joe.

Moral of the story: Don’t get stranded in Grove City unless you know somebody because strangers are jerks. I’m pretty sure there’s a parable a famous Jewish Rabbi once told about this, but I can’t quite remember what it was about…

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As usual, the puppy managed to make an awful no good rotten situation better:

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The Deer Hunter

Cory Fetzer embarked on a controversial journey several weeks ago. When we first moved to Mentor-on-the –Lake we realized that the deer here are like most town’s squirrel population. These things are flipping everywhere. I go to work and sit in my office and feel as though I am being watched. I turn to the right of my desk and there they are. An adorable little deer family staring at me as if I am a delicious salt lick. There is a wooded trail that I have been jogging on where the fawns stand and watch people all day as if to say “why are you running all over my home?”  Charlotte regularly greets the momma deer in the morning during her daily pee walk around the apartment complex. There is a delightful sense of worry that surrounds these animals, while they are overwhelmingly loveable, they are also intimidating and could seriously injure bystanders.

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While Cory was unemployed and had time to reflect upon life’s mysteries, he made a plan to train a deer. His overall goal is to lasso a deer and ride on it down the block to the local Giant Eagle completely unharmed. Completely logical. There have been many of those who have supported this decision, while others have warned him of the dangers. Nevertheless, he is a determined warrior that has laid out his plan with precision and dedication.

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It’s true. There is a plan in place, and at the moment it’s not going great, but I am not discouraged. The deer are being stubborn but I am only more determined to get a sweet new ride. Here is the plan which is solely based on desensitizing them:

  1. Place peanut butter on the trees in order to lure the deer to our yard exclusively.
  2. 2 weeks after consistent deer snacks, I will stand outside near the door, away from the trees just to introduce the deer to my presence.
  3. Once I feel they’re fairly comfortable with me far away, I’ll just start walking around in the yard until they stop getting spooked.
  4. Eventually, once there is a healthy respect for each other’s space, I would like to try to get the deer to eat from my hand.
  5. Once they’re eating from my hand, I’ll carefully pet them to earn more trust.
  6. Commence riding; probably just some practice laps in the yard, but eventually take trips to the store. Boom.

As I sat down to type this blog, I wanted to capture the ridiculousness of my life with Cory and the never-ending adventure it is. I am happy to say that I do not have a marriage, career, or life that I need to exaggerate. Each part of my life is constantly entertaining in one way or another. For Example, Cory and I took our baby pup on her first camping adventure last night that ended with two hours of sleep for Jeni and Cory and a fun filled night of barking and ripping apart toilet paper rolls for Charlotte.  I am so grateful that I get to experience a new adventure every day.

 

 

Ghetto Ice Cream and Puppy People

Well…it has been awhile, and after “gentle promptings” from friends we are finally starting up our blog adventure again. Life has been incredibly different over the last several months. We have moved to a much less hospitable area to say the least. Northern Ohio is not necessarily known for its “warm reception.”  It’s better known for its lakes that catch on fire, smog warnings, cracker barrel shootings and ridiculous winters!!!  Still, we have found a home here at least for a while. I especially had a hard time with the move, with not having a job and all. I spent the first month of our lives here watching the entire series’ of Avatar the Last Airbender and Heroes. Now I’m trying to watch all of the SNL episodes with Will Ferrell – from 1995-2002. But I did get to scoop out all of our neighbors and their daily habits and feel pretty confident with the pulse of Windsor Place apartments 1-12.

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One of the greatest features of our new town is the locally owned ice cream store down the street. Cory and I have decided that it is considered exercise if we walk to buy a 700 calorie milkshake. Who is with me on this?? While I would not go as far to say it is “charming” it has a certain aire of ghetto fabulousness added to every cone. The name of the place is Biggie’s custard—Cory has renamed it Tupac’s ice cream.  I am not necessarily “worried”  per say about “getting shot” I just “prefer” to go when the “sun is still up.” It’s not that scary, don’t let Jeni fool you. I am disappointed because I wanted to be the first customer of the season, and I missed it by a few hours… if only I was more diligent.

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We purchased a rescue puppy several weeks after the move. She was an 8 pound ball of fluff when I picked her out. We were told she was a cockapoo and would most likely be 12-15 pounds. With our lives being the sitcom that it is, she is actually a shepherd/ lab mix and is projected to be around 50 pounds full grown. I should have figured. It’s called the ol’ Fetzer luck. Google it. Needless to say, I will not be dressing up the dog in tutus or rain galoshes anytime soon.  She certainly is cute, but has a very feisty side to her. Even as I sit and type this she is carefully hoarding all of my newly  laundered socks under the bed. By the end of the night she will feast upon the cotton mound. Feisty is an understatement. She’s a very good dog and well-behaved but can get crazy-hyper sometimes. She does laps around the couch and grumbles and growls like she’s attacked a squirrel. We were able to get her biting sort of under control and she’s still pulls a police dog and grabs your wrist, but it doesn’t hurt at all.

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 I swear that she doesn’t just target any chewable object. The girl has got taste. She consumed one of my pearl earrings as well as my most fashionable belt. At least she knows what she wants. I’ve thought about making a twitter account just to list all the things this puppy eats during the day. Some highlights: fish from the beach, socks, underwear, goose and deer poo, mulch, ice cubes and Jeni’s makeup stuff. Cory treats her like she is a human being and gets upset with me for yelling at her. Sometimes I worry that if we were on a sinking boat and he could only take one female with him, it probably wouldn’t be me. I would totally take Jeni! Plus Charlotte could swim behind us.

We are totally “those people” that look at other puppy parents in the dog park when their puppy misbehaves. “OMG Cory, can you believe that owner? I can’t believe she would bring that dog here when it is so out of control!!!” Puppy parents totally do that thing where they compare where their dog is at with other dogs like “oh how is Charlotte with potty training?” or “Did Freddy have an issue with biting?” I plan to totally make stuff up from now on to make it seem like Charlotte is a superdog. Clearly she has a biting/chewing issue and she doesn’t always listen, but I plan to tell other puppy parents that Charlotte is a fully-trained dog to make themselves feel bad about their dog. It’s a fool-proof plan until Charlotte misbehaves in front of them.

We buy organic food for our dog. We bathe her weekly. She only eats organic treats and completely controls our social life. We just spent 80.00 on a vet check up. PLEASE ask me when the last time my husband or I got a physical. HOW DID THIS HAPPEN?

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Cory has just started at Petsmart and has a lot of fun with the animals all day. Especially the dead crickets he gets to clean out every night! We have a new rule in our house of “no cricket arms on the wife.” He is required to fully bathe his arms and hands before touching me for fear that I may contract a cricket STD or something equally awful. Fish arms are worse. I don’t dig my arms through the stupid cricket container, but I do go elbow-deep into the fish tanks daily. Gross. It is a lot of fun to play with the animals, though. I talk to all the birds and furry creatures. The cichlid fish are jerks and so are the snakes. I don’t mess with the snakes. I’m not afraid of them, just afraid of being bitten.

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I am an adolescent counselor at a local community mental health agency and am proud to say that I am officially a Licensed Professional Counselor in the state of Ohio. I REALLY wish I could blog about the insanity of kids and their parents; unfortunately I value my license and job too much. It has been an exhausting privilege to work with these kids. I know that each one of my 50 kids was ordained to be on my caseload. It is a sobering thought, and I am so grateful for it. I do not feel equipped, but I certainly feel called.

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And yes. This is a picture of our dog taking a dump right next to the “Dog’s Prohibited on Beach Sign.” Settle down. We cleaned it up. No we didn’t.

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Steak Stealing and Big Girl Transitions

This is what the following week has looked like for the Cory/Jeni Fetzer Family:
1.       My grandfather passed on Sunday.
2.       Tuesday we packed up and traveled back to Hiram with our giant U-haul. I drove it myself. It was awesome. To make an already stressful move even more exhausting, we decided to stop at Ikea on the way and purchase a new couch. When we opened the u-haul to load up our couch my craft stuff had apparently opened up during the traveling and exploded onto the pavement. There was glitter and paper cuttings all over. I was still impressed by our (and mostly Jeremy Woodley’s) packing ability. Everything fit in the truck with room to spare for an extra couch. 
3.       Wednesday we moved into our apartment in mentor-on-the-lake.

4.       Thursday was visitation for the funeral, and the day we found out that we have elephants living above us. Literal elephants.

5.       Friday was the funeral. Latin mass!

6.       Monday I started my new job!

On top of this, I am currently taking FOUR master’s level classes to finish up for licensure. They only go until March 16th, but I may not survive until then. Also, they took Roseanne off of Netflix which was pretty much the most heartbreaking thing of all time, and The Bachelor continually makes really bad calls on his show. I will be writing a letter.

In an effort to boost our spirits and to celebrate the coronation of my first big girl job, Cory and I went out to eat. Whenever it’s a really special occasion I always want steak, because it’s the only time I can justify spending $50.00 on dinner. We went to Texas Roadhouse and did the whole blooming onion, salad, beef deal.


I decided to splurge and order a NY strip steak. It was a 16 ouncer, and I typically do not eat over 10 oz so I knew that I could save it for lunch or dinner the next day. I really probably only get steak like 3 times a year, so it was a pretty big deal. Last night, after I got home from a long day at work, I decided I would get my lunch ready for tomorrow. The reminder of the sweet and delectable goodness of my steak called out to me from my refrigeration unit. I opened the glorious Styrofoam beef home but there was nothing to be found.

“UM…..Cory…where is my steak?”

I immediately heard the pattering of foot steps down the hall and into the bedroom. I quickly followed my husband into the bedroom and opened up to a pitch black room with Cory lying in bed with his face down fake sobbing. I can state that I am not sure what was said, but he knew what he did. 3 times a year people. I said I was sorry. It just gets really lonely in the apartment and I needed the food to fill the void of loneliness.

This is not the first time that Cory has committed such an infraction. You all may know my affinity for Mexican food, and my most beloved restaurant of all time is Chuy’s. In fact, for my going away present my office friends gave me a TUB of their creamy jalapeno dip, and a brown grocery bag of chips. That’s love people. Several months ago I came home from work while Cory was working the late shift. It was a particularly difficult day at work and I had been waiting to get my mouth on that succulent, left over burrito all day long. Gone. IS THERE NOTHING SACRED ANYMORE?!?

Text to cory: “Where in the H is my burrito?”
Reply to Jeni: “……..”

Let me just say it’s not like we don’t have other food in the house. He can eat macaroni, sandwiches, fruit and other delicious options. If it makes you feel any better, both food thefts were for important hunger matters, and they were delicious.

The Bluegrass State

Several weeks ago, Cory and I traveled up to Ohio for interviews and apartment hunting. I was interviewing for an adolescent counseling/case management position in Mentor, Ohio and Cory interviewed for a youth ministry job in Brecksville. We took two cars up which involved me leading the way and Cory following in our Honda which was not equipped with cruise control. The variation of his speeds throughout the trip proved to be extremely irritating. I could tell which song he was listening to depending upon the attention he was focusing to the act of driving. At one point during the night, he pulled up behind me and called me on my cell.

“Hey babe, wanna see something awesome?”

At this point, I felt as though my husband was most likely about to gravely endanger himself. I was correct in this assumption. He then shut his lights off and said “GHOST CAR.” Needless to say, Ghost car is no longer a part of our road trip traditions.

After we got done with our interviews, we decided to grab some lunch. We were in a rather “difficult” part of Cleveland and the only option was either a gas station or Burger King. We sat down to eat our food and Cory noticed something in the window—it was a bullet hole. At one point Cory excused himself to go to the bathroom. Several minutes later he returned with a face as white as snow and told me that he didn’t want to talk about what happened in the bathroom, but that I was not allowed to use the facilities at this Burger King. He saw an unsuspecting man go back toward the lavatory and nearly jumped him to warn him about the mistake he was about to make. Mind you, this was like a mile away from one of Cory’s jobs. We didn’t take that position.

It turns out that God has called us to Mentor on the Lake, Ohio. Yes, that’s right. Our new city has four words in the title. We will be several blocks from Lake Erie and very near some local beaches. It is difficult because we will still be 3 hours from his family and 1 hour from mine so it’s a totally new place where we feel somewhat alone.

Our new apartment is puppy ready and will provide us with big adult things such as a washer-dryer hookup (now we just need a washer and dryer!!). I will be working several miles from home while Cory helps to unpack and “decorate” our new home….I am sure there will be many blogs/pictures to follow. He is continuing to pray about ministry opportunities in the area, and we believe that God will be faithful to provide that.

As Cory and I lay in bed last night, we reflected on the last 2.5 years and the privilege we have had to be a part of the community of Kentucky. While this state is the home to the worst drivers in the entire WORLD, and often smells of horse manure and illiteracy, it truly has been home for us.

There have been moments where cockroaches have crawled on our heads, people have gotten murdered just feet from our apartment, and we have been let go from job positions.

There have also been moments of great joy where we have been a part of children being born, communities taking care of one another, and teenagers forever impacting us. We are so grateful that God called us to a time of great chaos, but also great joy. We walk away from this time with intense sadness of leaving the people that God has gifted us over the last years, but also excitement to see where he will take us next.

Thank you for being our family and teaching us what the body of Christ truly looks like. We have loved you Kentucky.

Roast Chickens & Peter Pan Imposters

 So life for the Jeni and Cory Fetzer’s has indeed changed over the last several months. Unfortunately it has been a series of difficult and not-so-happy transitions. However, we have found great joy amidst the chaos of seminary and life in general, here are a few of our favorite stories.

Cory and I were given free tickets to the Broadway production of Peter Pan at the Lexington Opera House (thank you Joseph-Beth!). With my cultured upbringing, I was very comfortable around “those theater types,” thanks mom! As for my backwoods husband, he did not anticipate taking much pleasure in in such productions. I think it’s because he just was not born with an inner thespian living inside of his soul. (or maybe it’s because musicals are dumb and boring. And backwoods? More like suburban. Jeni’s the one who used to take snowmobile trips and watch her dad shoot fireworks out of his mouth) Lame.

To give you all a little bit of background, the night before we went I was very stomach sick and had been for several days. I had not eaten much before we went but knew there was a reception that was included before the play began. We entered the Opera House with great excitement and went to the lower level where the private reception took place. Let me just say how much swag we had—we were totally among the VIP’s, even though they were mostly elementary students.

It was very crowded and we walked around to try and find somewhere to stand since there was really no seating that was not being occupied by someone with a walker or a pregnant woman. So naturally we just stood at the reception table. Easiest access to more food. We found the apps and zerts which was a very limited assortment mind you, and began to fill our 1 centimeter sized plates. Let me remind you that we had not eaten all day and I was sick—I decided to go for the fish sticks. Yes. Fish. I am not sure what demonic force came over me but let’s just say that I regretted and will continue to regret that decision for the rest of my life. I thought everything was great!

After completely nauseating ourselves we found our seats in the theater. The lights went down and the orchestra began to play and we had no idea what was about to hit us. The characters were introduced and all was fine and well until she came out. Cathy Rigby was casted as Peter Pan. Now let me give you some background info on this chick. She’s like an Olympic medalist or something—FROM THE 1980’s!! Cory and I looked at each other in fear:

Babe, that’s seriously not supposed to be an eight year old boy, right?

I’m so scared for my life right now, why are people clapping, she’s 59  years old.

I don’t care what type of “artistic license” you wanna give these people—there is not only a gender difference between this chick and the main character, but also five decades of life history. I did know before we went that all theater productions of Peter Pan cast girls as Peter… inner thespian my butt…. Peter Pan did not go through menopause, have boobs (neither do gymnasts) or wrinkles. This was wrong on so many levels.  Cathy attempted to disguise her voice to sound like a young child (which failed horribly), since then I am proud to say that I have mastered the cathy-rigby-peter-pan-impostor-voice. Cory gets really upset when I do it. It’s frightening.

While we did enjoy the production, there was a certain level of uncomfortableness that we left the theater with. We will never know if it was because of the fish or the 59 year old soccer mom that was on strings bouncing around the opera house showering her fans with glitter and strange black magic. It felt like we just left a gay bar: we were confused, covered in glitter, and we knew we weren’t at the right place.
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I have come to a place in my life where I need to acknowledge that there are just some things I cannot do. Sew a purse? Check. Get a masters degree? Check. Have a successful marriage? Check. Cook a roast chicken? Absolutely not.

I have only attempted cooking the demon two times because both times have either resulted in a psychotic break or a massive acne breakout, both of which I would like to avoid. I decided that I wanted to try it yesterday night. I did hours of research on food network and Paula Dean to figure out the exact science of running this culinary marathon. Let me just say that they are all LIARS. After taking it out of the oven for the third time Cory turned to me and asked: “Is blood supposed to be coming out of the side.”

Long story short, Cory and I ended up eating mashed potatoes as the entrée around 7:30 and had the chicken for dessert around 9:00pm. Epic fail. Two hours and six burns on my right hand later, dinner was served.

(Here’s the deal: Jeni’s a great cook, but sometimes she’s more about presentation than she is anything else. I blame the food network and specifically Gordon Ramsay for that. When the chicken came out the first time, it may not have looked pretty but I would have eaten it for sure. Granted, it was a little pink, but I’m not picky. I think my lovely wife just expected it to come out looking all Martha Stewarty but we have crummy appliances, so it’s just not going to happen. The dessert chicken was delicious, though.)