Greetings from a cool winter day in Iowa…

We just waddled home from a yummy meal at China Garden.  They are located a few blocks away from the apartment, so decided to give them a try.  Food was good – I enjoyed pot stickers as an appetizer, then main dish was hot braised pork.  It had the just the right amount of hotness for my taste.  Only downside was the slow service at first.  We had to wait 10 minutes for the phone to stop ringing with take out orders for the waitress to make it over to us….


Fish tank by our table at China Garden


This afternoon I went downtown ice skating for 90 minutes.  When I first arrive the rink was a bit crowded and the ice was not in great condition.  Then 15 minutes later, the zamboni came out and conditioned the ice.  With the temps still below freezing the ice quickly froze to a nice smooth surface.  Quite a few people left while the zamboni was doing its thing – so afterwards had great ice and not very crowded conditions.  Practiced doing the mohawk turns a bit.  I’m able to them, but not very well.  Hope the instructor at my lesson(s) tomorrow evening (Monday) can show me how to improve.


At the ice rink - it's cold out...


The ice rink this afternoon...


View of the Des Moines river downtown


While I was skating, John applied a coat of polyurethane to the stair railings we stained yesterday.  The wood looks pretty decent now.  He also decided to lightly stain and put some polyurethane on your kitchen table.  Our dinner ware started to scratch the surface and we have been using placemats.  Hoping the polyurethane will help keep the scratches down.


Table with leaf in and fresh coat of polyurethane


I went grocery shopping on the way home from skating.  Purchased lots of groceries, but the total bill only came to $106.00.  Had $11.00 in store coupons that helped – along with 2 liter bottles of 7-up still on sale for 79 cents.  Buying more “ingredients” and less pre made “heat and eat” foods is helping us spend less.

Did no know that John did the polyurethane until I got some with the groceries.  Table was still tacky – hence us eating out tonight..

Last evening Mike J. came for an evening visit.  He now lives in Iowa City now with his partner Mike C.  Mike C. is doing his medical residency there.  Was cool to show him the apartment building and to chat about how things are going in Iowa.

We then went downtown to check out the new Zombie Burger restaurant.  It is located in the trendy East Village area, a few blocks away from the skating rink.  We arrived and they looked busy.  We were advised there would be a 30 to 40 minutes wait.  We stuck around – was no big deal – gave a chance to check out the zombie paintings on the wall and get the vibe of the place.

We finally got seated and checked out the menu.  They had lots of odd burgers – the one I went with had deef fried macaroni and cheese things instead of buns.  John went with one that had prosciutto ham on it.  Mike had one with buns that were like grilled cheese sandwiches top and bottom.  To top things off I ordered a mixed drink that resembled a Cosmo and we ordered some deep fried cheese curds – like any good Wisconsin boys would 🙂 .

The food was fine – except… my drink came in a martini glass that had lipstick on it (no it was not mine).  No big deal – waiter got me another one.  Then the cheese curds came out – they smelled and tasted nasty. It was like the oil they were deep fried in was too hot or rancid.  We sent them back, but the next batch was just as nasty – so the waiter did not charge us for them.  When the burgers arrived, John though my burger looked more to his liking then the one he ordered – so we switched.  I ended up with the one with prosciutto on it.


Mike J. at Zombie Burger...


It was kinda a mixed experience for us.  I could still smell the burnt grease from the cheese curds on my clothes on the way home.  I would give them a try again sometime… but not on a really busy Saturday night….

Before I forget.  The Jeep Liberty decided to not start for us on Saturday morning.  John spent 45 minutes running through the things that worked in the past to no avail.  He ended up calling a dealership and having it towed in.  They will not be able to look at it until Tuesday, so we rented a car from them.  We are tooling around town in a silver Dodge Avenger.  It’s fine, but I don’t like how low you sit and how the windshield is not very tall.  For $36.00 a day it will work out.  Hope the repair bill on the Jeep is not too bad….

So…  The last posting had several comments asking how I’m liking apartment living -v- RV living.  It is kinda a mixed bag for me.

I like having a my own desk and not having to constantly setup/put away my computer.  Now that I work from home my desk is “were I work” – so in the evening during the week and on weekends I don’t particularly like sitting at it.  Makes me feel like I’m back at work.

I like have a large king sized bed that I can stretch out in.  I don’t like the mattress we purchased.  I can feel John move around and it feels lumpy already.  I miss the air bed in the RV that I can dial in the exact firmness setting that I like.  When we have the cash I want to order a king size air bed .

I like have a “real kitchen” again with full size appliances, room to keep more grocery items on hand, dishwasher and a large refrigerator.  I don’t like the old kitchen cabinets and how old the appliances are.  The cabinets are not falling apart, but I don’t have a nice place to store our 30 bottles of spices and our crappy Walmart cookware does not store away nicely.  Have some here – some there.

It is great having a full size washer and dryer in the apartment.  I don’t need to wear “work cloths” while working at home – so our laundry is down to 2 or 3 loads a week.  The washer and dryer are older, but they work well.  Would like to replace them with stackable washer/dryer combo to take up less space.

It is nice that we don’t have to occupy the same room all the time.  John can be in the office and I can be in the living room watching TV and not bothering him.  We do miss not having a TV by our computers.  We got into the habit of having the TV on while working or doing school work.  We are thinking about putting one in the office…. sometime….

Like being able to decorate the apartment to my liking.  Don’t like John telling me what I can and can’t do.  Going to stop listening to him… 🙂

It is cool being able to have more stuff.  Can have more clothes, few more pairs of shoes and not have to worry as much about if we have room for it.  Wish we did have a garage or storage shed for things we need to maintain the apartment building – ladders, tools, paint cans and lawn care items.

Living in a multi-family dwelling is fine.  I actually like the fact that you hear people coming and going and making noise now and then.  Makes the place seem more interesting and less boring.

The thing I miss the most is not being around people more.  I miss playing cards or bingo at the campgrounds.  Miss going up to the club house and working on a puzzle while listing to karaoke.  Miss having other campers and full time RV’ers around to do things with.  We are starting to meet a few people in Des Moines, but there is still room for improvement.  So looking forward to Spring so we can go camping with Troy/Don, Dave/Mitch and other friends….  Sit around a campfire and chat the evening away….

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