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Maine: Best Worst Trip Ever

Last week, Rachel’s Table and I headed north to Freeport, Maine to visit Darla from She’s A Maineiac. I guess we were kind of excited.

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We were originally going to go Friday-Sunday, but decided to leave on Thursday afternoon so we’d have a full day with Darla while her two adorable kiddos were in school.

Without traffic, it’s a 6 hour drive from New Jersey.

We took Rachel’s car, agreeing to split the driving time. Did I mention her car is new? And if there’s a pothole, I’ll hit it?

Somewhere between New York and Connecticut, we (and by we I mean me) hit 37 potholes. And I’m not talking little divots in the pavement.

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Good job on 15 North, guys. Really. It’s impressive.

On Rachel’s high-tech dashboard, we watched the air pressure in the driver’s side tire plummet.

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By the time we reached Boxborough, Massachusetts, we had a flat. Rachel pulled over while I surreptitiously checked her fuel tank. Plenty to keep the car running and heated for at least an hour or two. Whew.

“I don’t know how to change a tire. Do you?” she asked with a laugh.

“I’m from New Jersey. I don’t even know how to pump my own gas,” I replied. “But I just renewed my AAA membership!”

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In under 30 minutes, a tow truck arrived. The driver got the spare out of the trunk and started rooting around while Rachel and I bounced up and down trying to keep warm.

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Rache “spares” a smile for this photo. *groan*

“I can’t find the key,” he announced.

It took us much longer than it should have to understand that tires have unique “keys” to unscrew the lug nuts so no one steals them. The spare in your car is supposed to come equipped with its matching key.

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We tore apart the car, but alas, no key. Thanks, Toyota.

Eventually, he said our only option was to go to the nearby dealership and have them change the tire – when they opened. In the morning.

Oh, did I mention Rache had 20-inch fancy rims?

This detail becomes important later.

This detail becomes important later.

“I’m so sorry I broke your car!” I wailed for the first of many times.

After the tow truck driver unloaded the car at the dealership, he said he could drive us to the nearest hotel. Nevermind that we had two non-refundable rooms waiting for us a mere two hours away in Maine.

“Do you have anywhere for us to put our luggage?” we asked.

“Just your laps.”

Our essentials were scattered between six bags, not including my swinging 1970s, fully-loaded cooler, which took up half the back seat. I grabbed my laptop and two bottles of champagne. “Screw it,” I said to Rachel. “This is all I need.”

When we arrived at the hotel, Rachel explained our predicament to the front desk. The man at the counter replied deliberately, “You have a coupon, riiight?” He nodded slowly.

“Um…yeeees,” Rachel said, catching on.

When we saw the receipt: 50% off! What’s more, our room overlooked a funky indoor pool, white lights and palm trees (you go on with your bad self, Holiday Inn), so we opened the balcony sliders, and more importantly, the champagne, and toasted to the kindness of strangers.

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Rachel called the dealership at 8am the next morning, and they finally got back to us with the verdict two hours later.

“It’s not just a flat. Your rim is damaged beyond repair.”

“Of course it is,” Rachel replied.

“And since you have 20-inch ones, we’d have to custom order a replacement. It wouldn’t be here until Monday.”

“So…my only options are to wait until Monday…or get 4 new 18-inch rims and tires?”

“Correct. And it’d probably cost the same either way.”

She covered the mouthpiece. “I knew. I knew when we got that car with those friggin’ rims…” She spoke into the receiver, “I guess I’ll have to get four new tires and rims, then. How long will that take? …Okay.”

“I’m so sorry!” I cried.

“Jules, it’s not your fault. I hit them, too,” Rachel reassured me, gracious as ever. (It was totally my fault.)

Turns out they had to order the ‘regular’ rims from a nearby dealer and couldn’t start work until 1pm.

They gave us a complimentary rental car, and we killed time at a local diner.

“There’s no lobster on this f&*&#% menu.”

"I haven't showered in 24 hours!"

“I’ve been in these clothes for 27 hours!”

At 3pm, they gave us the good news: “Almost done.”

At 4pm: “We just realized we have to put all of the tire censors back on. It’s going to be another hour.”

5pm: “Okay, just finishing the paperwork.”

5:02pm: “Our computers just froze.”

5:30pm: “Let me give you the damaged tire and rim. Oh, wait, it’s filthy, we need a bag. Hang on.”

5:35pm: “We can’t find any more bags.”

5:45pm: Finally, FINALLY on our way. “Good thing we left Thursday night.”

7:00pm: Reach Maine.

7:30pm: Darla texted. “I can’t get out of my driveway. It’s a sheet of ice.”

That’s right. At last we were in Maine, 24 hours behind schedule, and NO DARLA.

But there was lobster. Lots and lots of lobster.

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These were called “Lobsicles.” Heh.

Saturday morning, another text from Darla: “I still can’t get out!!”

So Rachel and I shuffled around the icy streets of Freeport alone, waiting for the temperature to climb above freezing.

At one point, it was so slippery, a gift shop owner reached out a hand while holding the door, towing us inside. Later, when we peered longingly into Freeport Chowder House, the man inside waved us in.

“Are you open?” we asked.

“Not for two hours, but I never turn down customers,” he replied. “I don’t have the fryer going yet, but what do you want? Lobster roll?”

Rachel and I looked at each other. “YES.”

Breakfast of champions bloggers.

Breakfast of champions bloggers.

It was noon on Saturday before we saw Darla, but she was worth the wait.

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The sun even came out…just in time for us to drive home.

Bartending for Rache and Darla from my favorite possession: My parents' 1970s cooler. Dude. It keeps ice frozen for THREE days. IN THE SUMMER.

The (in)famous swinging 1970s cooler, a.k.a. my favorite possession. It keeps ice frozen for THREE days. IN THE SUMMER.

Despite the many snafus, this li’l trip north had so many heart-warming moments, I wouldn’t trade it for anything would totally trade it for another 10am lobster roll.

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And they say chivalry is dead.

P.S. – I even learned how to pump my own gas!

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Since the word count on this post is already as atrocious as the potholes on Route 15, I hope you’ll head over to Rachel’s Table and She’s A Maineiac to read more about our adventures!

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Have you ever had any vacations that didn’t go, ah, according to plan?

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Have Pie, Will Travel

This afternoon, Rachel’s Table and I are on our way up [from Delaware and New Jersey, respectively] to…

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To see this gal!

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Darla, from ShesOneOfMyFavoritePeople.com, I mean, ShesAMaineiac.com.

The three of us had been daydreaming about a Maine get-together for ages. One December morning, I blurted, “Why wait? I’m not working [since my “separation” with Big Pharma], and Darla doesn’t have to go back to [Medical Assistant] school until late January! When will that ever happen again?”

Maine? In January? You’re probably thinking.

My mom's cousin's backyard right now. Little Deer Isle, Maine.

My cousin’s backyard right now. Little Deer Isle, Maine.

Sure, they’re having the harshest winter Darla’s ever seen, but I think I’ll be spending less time outdoors and more time doing this:

Maine-Trip-Jules- lobster

Besides, while most people fantasize about palm trees and white sand, I lust after evergreens, crisp air, mountains, and of course, an ocean view at every turn. I’ve been in love with Maine since my first visit [to Freeport, Bar Harbor and Acadia National Park] 16 years ago. It calls to me. It’s like my Paris.

View from Darla's backyard.

Basically, I want to live in an LL Bean catalog. View from Darla’s backyard.

I also realized I had a golden opportunity to woo several people at once with my homemade Tollhouse pie.

Get ready, Maineiacs.

Get ready, Maineiacs.

Because that’s how I roll.

The Accidental Stepmom (a.k.a. JM Randolph), who I just had the pleasure of seeing again on Monday, approves.

I hope to return next week with some wacky and wonderful tales. In the meantime, stay warm – and don’t have too much fun without me!

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I really should have gotten that hat.

Where’s your “Paris”? What part of the world calls to you?

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Guess Who’s Not Obese?!

You’ve heard of the Body Mass Index (BMI), right? A handy dandy formula for figuring out just how many bacon strips past healthy you are?

I didn't think it could get worse until I saw it in Comic Sans.

I didn’t think it could get worse until I saw it in Comic Sans.

Well, then, I’m glad you put down your vodka and Valium long enough to read this post, because: I know. That shiz is unforgiving.

July 2013.

July 2013.

This past summer, I felt compelled to finally take note. I’d been struggling with a 2 year-long weight loss plateau, and even hiking every mountain in New Jersey wasn’t helping.

Thanks to 1 FitBit (my pedometer on steroids) and 6 months, I realized vodka does, in fact, have calories…

This can't be right.

This can’t be right.

…and have gone from “obese” to “normal.”

Clearly this scale isn't measuring mental health.

Clearly this scale isn’t measuring mental health.

And you know what that means for Go Jules Go…

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Jules-BMI-full

In all seriousness, this blog has changed my life. I’m 100+ pounds lighter than when I started GoJulesGo.com in February 2011, and while weight may just be a number, I’m also lighter in spirit in ways that cannot be measured.

And that is invaluable.

So thank you.

Jules-Rainbow-Puke

P.S. – I can totally still celebrate with vodka, right?

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So Wrong, It’s Right.

So things in hell are going well, thanks for asking. Selling your house For Sale By Owner during the holidays is super fun and festive.

I especially like it when the tree topper falls off and more lights go out every five g.d. seconds.

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Ah, Scrooge it. It’s only two days ’til Christmas.

Speaking of tree toppers… Every year, my mom, Babs, decorates a beautiful, live tree and places her beloved star on top.

Not a star star, of course. Don’t be ridiculous.

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Edward Cullen.

GOGP_JustinB_Tree

Justin Bieber.

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My blog mascot, a chipmunk (featuring my former blog name).

Babs likes to stay current, as you can see, and was hemming and hawing over this year’s “star.”

“I just don’t know,” she sighed.

“Miley,” my dad replied, turning back to his New York Times and coffee.

Yes. The man who seemingly only put up with this tradition out of a desire to pick his battles, proved himself the fourth wise man of Christmas 2013.

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Well done, Mom & Pop. Well done.

Merry Christmas, Chipmunks!

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I Did It All For The Stickers

Oh, hi blog, it’s me, Jules. You probably didn’t recognize me because I’VE LOST MY F%$&%@ MIND.

Remind me never to buy real estate again. In fact, remind me to never buy anything again, ever. Okay, maybe toothbrushes. Those get really gross after a while.

Trying to sell your house is like having to, every day for, possibly, ever, tell a 6-year-old Santa Claus doesn’t exist. You don’t know how bad it’s going to be, but you know it’s going to be bad.

Especially when you’ve lost your job and are convinced you can do everything yourself.

Case in point: Buying this year’s Christmas tree became a rushed, haggard ‘staging’ opportunity, as opposed to a magical, fragrant event wherein I blast John Denver and the Muppets and drink egg nog rum.

Christmas-tree-2013

Ever try to chop down a tree with a rusty saw and an eye that tells you 10 feet is 7 feet?

Case in point part deux: In the past month, I’ve learned things about my vacuum that, frankly, I think I was better off not knowing.

Three years together, vacuum, and NOW you tell me?

Three years together, vacuum, and NOW you tell me?

In fact, I was so desperate to get out of cleaning the downstairs coat closet, when Babs (my mom) mentioned needing help at the office yesterday, I gleefully volunteered. She works for an allergist, and while I was sure I’d be of no use whatsoever, she was more than willing to perch me in the front window for the day.

Questions I Was Not Able to Answer

  • Can I come in for a flu shot?
  • Can you talk to my primary care doctor about sending over my blood work?
  • What is your fax number?
  • Can I still have peanut and sesame oil?

Question(s) I WAS able to Answer

  • Can my child have a sticker?
Helping-Babs-for-Stickers

And may I recommend My Little Pony?

How often do you replace your toothbrush? When did you find out Santa Claus wasn’t real? Would you like a sticker?

I Am Thankful For %&$*#@!

Oy vey.

I love the holidays, but deciding to sell my house during them?

Oy. To the. Freaking. Vey.

“Oh, but I lost my job, I’ll have so much time to do everything myself!” -Me, 5 weeks ago, being a dumbass.

“Surely I can just sand that chipped paint on the bathroom ceiling!”

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Oh… that’s not paint… it’s like, like… giant chunks of plaster…

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…and now it’s everywhere.

“Oh, I’ll just buy a new french door lock from Home Depot!”

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“I AM NEVER F&#$%^^* coming off, so just go eat some more turkey and leave me alone.” -Door Lock

“It’s sooo cheap to get a truckload of mulch! Amazing!”

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5 -literally- full days of mulching and this eye sore still remains at the foot of the driveway.

“What a great opportunity to declutter!”

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NO.

“Free boxes from someone on Craigslist! Yay!”

house-fail-boxes

Do you think I can get rid of these 57 extra boxes on Craigslist before the first open house?

“I’ll just spackle over those holes downstairs!”

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Spackle dust doesn’t actually stay in your lungs, does it?

“That swing set out back is so old, it’ll just come apart with a good shove!”

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3 weeks later.

And the latest and greatest, the pièce de résistance, my attempt to clean a carpet yesterday:

house-fail-carpet

I can’t even talk about this one.

What also happened yesterday? Babs (mom) sent a picture of my niece’s latest art project. She had to list her favorite relative:

Booya.

Booya. Right up there with chickin.

I guess I do have a lot to be thankful for.

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Got any house selling tips? This is a first for me. …Clearly.

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Taking Selfies Is Really Hard (When You Have A Dog)

I know you’ve been DYING to hear how things are going with my Fitbit (a.k.a. the pedometer on crack).

And what are social media outlets for if not to inflate our successes and ignore our failures share both our successes and failures in the hopes of better connecting with our fellow (wo)man?

ha ha ha “Failures.”

As if!

I’m more than halfway to my goal! Woot woot!

You may recall I started keeping track of calories and steps via the FitBit back in July, after struggling with a 2 year-long weight loss plateau. I chose the most aggressive plan (-2 pounds a week), and am now on a first-name basis with the people on the opposite end of town, thanks to all the walking.

I didn’t even realize how far I’d come until I started needing belts to hold up all of my pants. In honor of my shrinking backside, I treated myself to a new pair of [on sale-had-coupon-and-gift-card] blue jeans – in a size I hadn’t bought since 2006.

skinny-jeansI took the above picture because this is what happened when I tried to take a selfie:

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Interrupted-2 Interrupted-1 Interrupted-4 Uncle-Jesse-jealous-of-selfie

If you could photobomb anyone, who would it be, and under what circumstances?

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The Ballsiest Thing I’ve Ever Blogged About

bbwGrab your Valium and vodka, Chipmunks, because today we’re getting brutally honest over on the fantastic blog, Black Box Warnings.

Black Box Warnings is a collective of bloggers who share their personal stories about mental and physical health, parenting, daily tribulations, and life’s little moments.

Disclaimer: This guest post is a departure from what you normally see on Go Jules Go. (You’ve been Black Box Warned!) Thanks again to Le Clown and Melanie for the opportunity!

Click here to read the post

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EPIC POST ALERT: This Year’s Custom JACK-o-Lantern Winner Is…

SQUEE! It’s time! It’s finally time!

For this year’s Custom Jack-o-Lantern Giveaway Contest, I asked you to describe a FrankenFood – some odd food combo that you invented or sampled. Your submissions were spooktacular. Thank you!

It was a friiiiightfully difficult choice, but the winner is:

Marta from Oh My, Marta!

Marta’s entry:

Marta-gravatarI so have this! I invented the best thing ever (still need to get in contact with someone about marketing this) when I was perhaps not low but ____. What you do is take two nacho cheese Doritos, the crumbs are the best for this, and then take a somewhat stale (staleness dependent on preference) chocolate raisin and sandwich it in between the Doritos. Pop it in your mouth and experience heaven. Seriously.

I couldn’t help it. I couldn’t stop thinking about it. Could it possibly be good? I liked Raisinets, and I loved Doritos, but together?

Photo credit: http://1funny.com

Photo credit: http://1funny.com

I had to know. I called for reinforcements:

Has there ever been a more polarizing FrankenFood? The overall verdict: WIN! You are my hero, Marta. But I already knew you had impeccable taste, given our shared love of Leonardo DiCaprio.Titanic-pumpkin-gourdThus, I present your prize – a custom jack-o-lantern:

STEP 1: DESIGN OVERLY AMBITIOUS PATTERN

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STEP 2: RIP GUTS OUT OF PERFECT PUMPKIN

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Step 3: Tape Design On Pumpkin While Palms Begin to Sweat

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Step 4: transfer design And question everythingTitanic-Pumpkin-4

Step 5: Tell Yourself, “There’s No Turning Back Now” over and over while shoving Raisinitos in your face

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Step 6: Begin to Realize Self-Worth

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Step 7: Marvel

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Congratulations, Marta! (And seriously. Get on this Raisinito thing, pronto.)

Oodles of thanks to She’s A Maineiac, Rachel’s Table, Accidental Stepmom, Cal-Hockley-titanic-3032768-720-540PEPPERMEISTER!, my family, and Magical Neighbor Jeff for your bravery. You are my double rainbow, the wind beneath my wings, the helpless little girl to my Cal Hockley.

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

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How To Peel An Apple Like A Boss By Babs

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Whoamygod. Today is [my mom] Babs’ birthday!

And because Babs is the Mommasita Extraordinaire, she’s giving YOU a gift instead.

Prepare to be amazed. Again.

Any burning questions for Babs? Did your parents perform any wizardry when you were growing up? 

P.S. – You still have one more week to enter my Custom Jack-o-Lantern Giveaway Contest! It’s so easy and fun you’ll think you did something both easy and fun!