Tina & Jeff's Blog
It's been well over a year since our last post here. I'm 99.999999% sure that no one is reading this, either. But, in case someone does....
We passed the 2 year mark! Woo hoo! It really does seem like just yesterday that we were planning the whole big event. But yeah, it's been over two years. And to make it even funnier, people we haven't seen in awhile wonder when we're going to celebrate our first anniversary. Too cute, actually. Apparently, time is moving faster for them than for us.
It's been a good two years, though. Lots of fun trips, bought a house (and yes, almost everything works now), having a good time in general!
See ya' next year!
As of today, we've been married 8 months. Woo hoo! Neither of us has suffered any significant damage and we're still friends. Oh, and Allie looks like the photo on our wedding website again (but that's just seasonal while it's cold outside down here).
Our latest concern is that we're both sensing a bit more padding around our respective middles. Tina already had a gym membership... which was about to expire. So she went to the gym to do her renewal and they were about to convince her to sign on for 3 more years for $299... when (much to my delight) she asked "and what deal can you give my husband?"
Their response was that they'd give me 2 years for $399. She said "hang on while I call him" and reached me on my cell. "Jeff, I'm at the gym renewing my membership and we can add you for $399 for 2 years." I replied "well, what deal are they giving you?" Tina responded "$299 for 3 years."
I quickly said that I would sign on if they would give me the same deal they gave her. She put her hand over the phone, talked with them for a second and came back on the line. "Uh, the manager is able to give you the $299 deal, but he can't waive a $10 card fee." To which I promptly said "take it!".
So we both got 3 year deals for $299... which works out to about $8/month for a gym membership. Not bad, actually. And it was made even more funny when I talked with someone at work who is paying $40/month for a membership.
Thus, we've been trying to go to the gym as often as possible... even made it through the holiday season without missing too many days. We both lost weight in those first couple of weeks. But work and other obligations have hurt us recently. Now we have to get back on the wagon.
Starting tomorrow. ;)
Orlando travel during Charley
Tina and I were attempting to get to Orlando yesterday for a conference
(before we knew that Charley was going to head directly TO Orlando).
We were booked on a 2:10p flight on Delta... and we kept VERY close watch on
the flight information throughout Thursday evening and into Friday morning.
And while the advice to watch the websites and check before you drive to the
airport is generally a good idea, the airlines have to keep up the data on
those sites for the information to be valid.
What I mean by this is that during yesterday (Friday) morning, Delta decided
to cancel and then reinstate flight 6402 at least 3 times of which we're
aware (signing up for e-mail notifications was a great idea).
At 8:15a, flight was on.
At 9:50a, flight was on.
At 10:40a, flight was cancelled.
At 11:00a, flight was on.
At 11:05a, flight was cancelled.
At 11:10a, flight was on.
At 11:50a, flight was cancelled.
During all of this, Jeff called Delta at approximately 10:40a (when he first
received notice of cancellation to see if we could get another flight) and
was either talking with someone or on hold through 11:35a. By that time,
the flight was reinstated (twice) and so the rebooking agent told him that
it was no longer necessary to rebook at all.
In the middle of that one conversation, Jeff's callwaiting rang through. It
was a Delta agent. While he had been on hold at 11:10a and the flight was
on, we had both printed out our Boarding Passes online. This second agent
was calling to tell Jeff that he was on a list of folks to be rebooked
(because of the 10:40a or 11:05a cancellation). Jeff asked her "are you
sure" and "can you please check the flight status right now." She did,
realized that Jeff was correct and that the flight was now going. She hung
Jeff went back to his call and spent a few more minutes relaying the
conversation to the rebooking agent. She told him that it appeared that the
FAA had approved all flights to and from Orlando until 3pm. Since ours was
a 2:10p flight, we were fine and that the flight was going to be the last
one out of the day. We got a momentary chuckle out of the interruption
again and then hung up.
[Note to reader: Are you confused yet? Try living this adventure!]
By 11:30a, Jeff was in his car, headed home from work to grab our bags and
get to the airport.
At 11:45a, Jeff received a call on his cellphone from a male Delta agent
telling him that flight 6402 was cancelled (again) and that he had been
rebooked for Saturday's 3pm flight. While he was debating this with the
Delta agent, our home phone rang... it was a female Delta agent calling for
Tina's reservation to tell her that she had been rebooked for Saturday's 2pm
OK. So Jeff now has a cellphone pressed to his right ear, a cordless home
phone pressed to his left ear and he addressed both agents at the same time.
He told them that he wanted to first confirm that the flight was actually
Both typed and confirmed that the flight was cancelled. Jeff then asked to
make sure that both he and Tina would be on the same flight. The female
agent got testy and said that it was "ridiculous" that Jeff was taking up
two agents' time with this. He agreed that it was ridiculous, but that he
needed to make sure that both of us flew together and that this wasn't going
to be worse than it already was.
So Jeff got the male Delta agent to continue with me, thanked the other for
calling and went down to only one cancer-inducing product on the side of his
head. Jeff didn't want him to cancel the 2:10p flight on Friday because by
now, we had lost all faith in Delta's ability to cancel a flight and keep it
cancelled (we've had prior problems with Delta and bad weather). So we had
him hold a reservation for the two of us on the 3pm Saturday flight (just in
case... and note that it wasn't the 2:10pm flight).
We hung up and by that time, Tina arrived home to meet Jeff to go to the
airport. She saw that the message light on the phone was blinking... and
hit play. It was two messages from Delta. Calling her to say that the 6402
flight was cancelled and that she'd been rebooked. Each time the agents
called, however, they had rebooked her on a different flight.
After a few moments' discussion, we decided to just go to the airport. It's
only a few minutes away and it wouldn't hurt, especially if Delta had
another change of heart.
By the time we reached the airport, parked the car, went through security,
got to the gate... and were reminded that the flight was cancelled.
The gate agent had an interesting bit of information, however. We could
cancel our tickets and get a FULL refund because the flight was cancelled by
Delta. So we did (and with luck, we made the right decision given the path
[Side note again... this trip was for a HOBY conference... something we're
both pretty involved in... and HOBY was telling us that we shouldn't bother
to come down on Saturday, but that we could "buy the flight out from them"
(which we didn't want to do for $500 since flights to Orlando are currently
at $120 or so) or that it would be "credited" for 2005. Neither option was
good... so finding out that we could cancel and get HOBY a full refund was
awesome for us.]
Then we went looking for another flight somewhere else because we figured
we'd already boarded the dog for the weekend and had packed our bags to go
somewhere. But that's another story. :)
Anyways, the moral of this tale: Delta doesn't know how to do flight
information. Delta also doesn't know how to cancel their flights and handle
severe weather. BUT, folks SHOULD ask for and get a full refund if their
flight was cancelled and the trip is not worth going later (don't know if
you have to be at the airport to do it, but we enjoyed getting a receipt of
the refund as "evidence" from the gate agent).
OK... time to go watch a movie and stay dry on the couch!
~Jeff & Tina
Well, if you're so interested that you're still reading this area looking for notes... then I might suggest another hobby! :)
Actually, we are on our honeymoon and are quite enjoying the rest, relaxation and the calm gentle surf pounding the beach just outside our window.
Anyways, we're having a great time but we did want to thank everyone for attending and helping us celebrate our special day.
Thank you all again!
Jeff & Tina
ps. Look for a special Honeymoon Report several weeks after we get back!
We... are... very... tired!
All of the last minute details are happening NOW!
Finalizing cake, food, tables, chairs, reception plans, favors, napkins, more favors, pictures, travel arrangements (not ours), program, floor plan, flowers, DJ, rsvps to multiple events, rehearsal dinner, and whatever else we can't remember at the moment because... did I say we're tired?
Despite the fatigue and occassional frustration being experienced by all involved, we are really looking forward to the wedding (only 2 weeks and 2 days to go!).
Lots of our friends and family are coming and we can't wait to see you all!
Well, we know that it's been more than 20 days since our last post... and for that we apologize.
But during those last 20 days, let us see if we can't get you to understand WHY it's been so long by describing some of the events that have happened!
Maybe the best thing to do is take it in chronological order:
April 17th: We went to the Albright Wedding Picnic at Covington Shelter. Not only did we get to spend time with Tina's family, but we also got GIFTS! And not just any gifts... but some of the coolest things we were hoping for (ok, quite literally, the "coolest" thing in Jeff's opinion was the icecream maker). But seriously, we were so grateful for everyone's well wishes for us both. Taking them back to Tina's for storage and inventory for thank you notes was the evenings' activity and then after they were entered into the wedding database, Tina set about writing thank you's (we heard it was much better to get them done along the way rather than waiting until the after the event was over).
April 18th: One day later was the Hawfield's Shower. Oh my - another pile of presents! We couldn't believe the amount of people who were so generous! This has got to stop, though, as Tina took it upon herself to write the thank you notes again - and she had over 50 of them to do this time! (Perhaps it's payback for when Jeff addressed all of the wedding invites?) In any event, moving around the storage room is getting difficult.
April 19-23: We made, addressed and sent the Rehearsal Dinner invitations... made the final floral plans and have to reconfirm some stuff with the cake and catering people. And, as part of the wedding process, Jeff has been planning to sell his home. The house sold several weeks ago and Tina has spent a LOT of her spare time helping Jeff pack up all of his belongings and move them out of the house. Somehow Jeff didn't realize how much stuff he really had. But the entire week was spent boxing up more and more stuff. On 4/22, however, Jeff started to get sick (cold? flu? who knows - it just couldn't have come at a worse period in time). We had to get everything out of the house by Sunday night and there was still a lot to be done.
During the week, all of the utilities were scheduled for shutoff, mail was forwarded and movers were scheduled to come on Sunday morning to move the really big stuff. Waking up at 7:15am on Saturday, we set to work with boxing, packing, organizing, cleaning, sorting and trashing anything that remained. Bedtime arrived WAY too soon at 11pm on Saturday - and we were up again at 7:15 on Sunday to do last minute preparations for the movers.
Again, time moved too quickly - and by 9:30, the movers had arrived and started the process of loading the truck. Now, we can't begin to tell you how efficient these folks were. Or perhaps they weren't tired from moving all day the previous day... or being sick... or having a wedding to plan, etc. But they were REALLY fast and had the entire truck packed with stuff by 10:45a.
Jeff went with them to the storage location and directed the careful balancing act of cramming everything he owned into a 10x20 foot space. But it worked! Tina, meanwhile, was STILL PACKING! She gallantly used her car as a "truck" for the weekend - much to her dismay considering how much she loves her vehicle. And by the time Jeff was done with the movers at 11:45am, he met up with Tina for storing more stuff at her condo.
Upon unloading, we realized that we only had 3 or so more loads of stuff - and that while we needed to eat, we were under a 5pm "new buyer walk-through" deadline with the house. So we went to the cars to drive together to eat... and Jeff's car battery light came on - indicating that it wasn't charging!
OK. Time to panic. First, call AAA. They can have a tow truck there in 45 minutes. Second, go in Tina's car to grab a quick bite at McDonalds. Third, get a call from the tow truck company that they don't have any flatbeds currently available and that it would be a good hour before they arrived. Fourth, start talking at lunch about other moving options - and the car repair bill because we both believed that it was a dead alternator.
Fifth.... take a REALLY deep breath and relax.
OK... sixth, back to the condo to wait for the tow truck and help Tina organize stuff in her condo. Seventh, tow truck arrives and the guy steps out, introduces himself and indicates that he's a Vette owner - and that Jeff should describe the problem. Jeff does... and eigth, tow truck guy says he thinks it's a broken serpentine belt... and it IS!!!! Woo hoo!!! So the total fix isn't going to be too bad... but only one place is open on Sunday and they tell me that they had a slow day to that point and had sent their tech home. They weren't sure they could get it done that day but they would call their tech to see if he'd come back in.
He did... car was fixed and Jeff was back at the condo by 2:45ish. OK. We had 2 hours and 15 minutes to get as much stuff out of the house as possible and then CLEAN the house to make it look good for the walk-though.
We hurried back to the house and moved 90% of the remaining stuff into our cars. We were going to have to make one more trip - but that wasn't even a concern any more. We had about 1.5 hours now to clean the house from top to bottom.
Tina got the bathrooms and vacuuming the upstairs. Jeff worked on cleaning the floors downstairs and had to clean out the garage, too (keep in mind that the garage walls haven't been visible in almost 3 years).
When the buyers showed up at 5:15 or so, we scrambled to grab last second stuff and get out of the house. Back to Tina's condo, we unloaded the cars, let Allie sniff her way around the condo as well... and took a 10 minute break on the floor moaning about how much each of us was in pain.
By 6:30, we were headed back to the house for the final trip. We loaded up the car - took a lot of "farewell pictures" and had a few moments of house reminiscing. Jeff left all the keys on the countertop, locked the bottom latch, closed the door and then used the keypad system to deadbolt the door. Jeff left his house for the last time around 7:30pm on 4/25/04.
OK... so one more task is now complete in preparation for the wedding. Tina and Jeff are both in pain at this particular moment... but we suppose that it's worth it (and we're going to be saving for movers for the next time, too). Oh... and Jeff's still sick, too. :)
The next item on our list was a meeting with the Duke Chapel Organist. This guy is a "requirement" as per the terms of the Duke Chapel contract - we have to PAY him regardless of whether we choose to USE him. Care to guess what we're doing for music? :)
So we went to the Chapel yesterday for our appointed meeting with him. We are taken up a back stone, spiral (small) staircase to the organ loft. Squeezing into the loft, we sat on one side of the keyboard and Tina's folks sat on the other. From our vantage point, we were able to look down on the pews all the way to the altar.
The organ was amazing. Dozens of knobs lined the walls to either side of the three-keyboard organ. Not to mention all the pedals placed right beneath the hovering feet of the organist.
In a masterful display of ability, the organist was able to run though several selection choices for each part of the ceremony. He played most (if not all) of each song - pausing with one hand to quickly change the knob choices to each side of him. From A Midsummer Night's Dream to Pachabel's Cannon to Trumpet Voluntary, he played each (and based on the knobs either pushed or pulled could make the organ SOUND like different instruments as well).
We noticed that the tourists coming through the Chapel would stop and look up to the organ as each piece was performed. It was amazing... not to mention it was all played by memory.
As some of you might imagine, I asked if he could play Take On Me - by A-Ha. Unfortunately, pop music is not allowed in the Chapel in any form, especially as played by the organ. However, I was able to get him to perform Tocatta and Fugue in D Minor in its entirety (if you don't remember the song I unfortunately can't give you any lyrics - there aren't any... but you can download it via Kazaa or Limewire). Scared the tourists at the first moment. Now all that we needed was to have it dark and rainy - and the Chapel decor would lend itself to a black and white horror movie.
Anyways, we were able to pick all of the music necessary for the service in about 45 minutes - and had an amazing free concert as well. I'm actually really excited - I think people will enjoy the music, not to mention the organ itself.