Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Sliding Glass DOH!

Nate and I are in the process of renovating our condo to get it ready for sale sometime in the next 3-12ish months and we've been doing pretty well. This weekend we began deconstructing the sliding glass door between the living room and the enclosed balcony. We popped the sliding piece out in no time at all and I think we both thought we were something pretty darn special.

So we moved on to the stationary part of the door. Hmmm, interesting. Well maybe we could What if we.... no, nevermind. I know! we need to separate it from the wall since it is pretty well attached with putty. Once we do that it should pop right out! So we proceeded to pry the putty away and drumroll......... it won't budge. We tried pushing it, realllllllly hard... no dice. What is the point of this narrative, you ask? Well, it shows you how sometimes I get pumped up to do something and maybe don't think through whether I really have any idea how to do it and it also serves as a not-yet desperate plea..... If you, or anyone you know, has extensive sliding glass removal experience, please contact us. We'll pay you.... in cookies :)

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

"C is for Cookie, that's good enough for me...."

Nate and I went to the grocery store on Sunday and what to my wondering eye should appear? GIRL SCOUTS. I think we all have the same reaction when we see girl scouts.... we think of responsibility, leadership, skills..... oh forget it, we think of COOKIES!!! I adore Girl Scout Cookies! Although not made by girl scouts (or of girl scouts, in case you were confused) they are perhaps the tastiest treat known to man. Ok, maybe not, but they are so much a fabric of my life since childhood that when I see those stands set up in front of the store my mind automatically leaps to Thin Mints and Trefoils.

Our trip to the store yielded a solitary box of Lemonades, a new variety with shortbread cookies dipped in lemon icing. A quick survey of coworkers to find my cookie dealer for the year yielded 2 boxes of Thin Mints and 2 boxes of Trefoils (shortbread). One coworker, in hearing my slight desperation to locate some Thin Mints, brought over a whole unopened box that she had in her possession and gave it to me saying that she didn't really like them anyway. I find it sick that she could dislike thin mints, but hey, I'm not gonna argue with free cookies. I also have no idea where she produced those from, but I figured this was a don't ask, don't tell type situation :)

Tally (so far)-

Lemonades - 1
Trefoils - 2
Thin Mints - 3

Girl Scout cookies + College Basketball = March is the best month ever :)

Monday, February 26, 2007

Gallup is for horses...

My company recently released a survey created by the Gallup organization to figure out how to make HNTB a better place to work. They sent out 5 (I kid you not) emails beforehand telling us it was coming and asking us to participate. Welllll, by the time it got here, I was pretty much just anxious to get it over with. It was one of those 1-5 where 1 is strongly disagree and 5 is strongly agree. Problem was it really didn't allow you to give any constructive feedback on the company at all. Below is one coworkers interpretation of the survey email (the one that actually had the link.... not the first 5 or the one we've gotten since :P ) His responses are italicized.

You are invited to take the confidential HNTB Engagement Survey. The Gallup Q12 questions are left up to your own interpretation. Please think of your unique circumstances when answering these questions. We know you’ve been through a lot of crummy stuff, so just go ahead and list it.

HNTB would like to see 100% participation in this survey so it can best identify what it does well and what the current challenges are. Well, 100% participation of souls that agree with what we’re moving forward with.

The Web based survey is available to you via the Gallup Web site link below.

Gallup has assigned a survey Access Code to each employee. No one at HNTB will be able to view your Access Code, and it will not be used to link your survey to your name. Your individual responses are confidential, and Gallup will not report them to HNTB.

Your Access Code, assigned by Gallup, is: XXXXX But it’s confidential...seriously, it is.

The Web site address is:

You may either click on the link above or cut and paste it into any Web browser. When asked to enter your Access Code, type the survey Access Code listed above. Remember, this is your unique survey Access Code. Do not share your survey Access Code with anyone else. Boy, they sure are about this access code…better delete it at the top.

Gallup will keep your responses to the survey completely confidential. Results of the survey will be reported at the organization and team levels. Your individual answers to the survey questions will never be given to your company, under any circumstances. Meaning that it you stray from the ABCD answer sheet, you won’t be counted.

If you need assistance completing the survey, please contact Gallup Client Support by sending an e-mail to or by calling 1-800-788-9987 from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Thursday, or 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Eastern Time on Fridays. Because surveys on the inter-net are really that complicated.

Thank you for participating in this important survey.

The Gallup Organization

"Helping People Be Heard" ..just not as individuals.

Friday, February 23, 2007

What have I gotten myself into?

I realized recently that I have gotten into the habit of blogging every weekday....CRUD. Now it's Friday and I'm tapped and tired :P OH, I GOT IT!! I'll tell you about the Wheel of Willer. A truly inspired addition to our office constructed yesterday by yours truly although it is the brain child of Josh, my coworker.

We have a boss, his name is Darrin Willer. Well, about a year ago Darrin began working in El Paso alot. He then added DC and Kansas City to his regular list of destinations. At this point, between meetings here in Houston and travel, Darrin is never here. We actually joke that we don't know him anymore by never using his real name. He is now Darrel, Darnell or Danielle Miller, Wilner and so forth. The way our offices are situated, every underling's cube is pretty much infront of somebody who is important which basically makes us their secretary. In my case,

~"Hey Abby, where is LeAnne?"
~"I'm not sure"
~"Well, do you know when she'll be back?"
~"Uh, no"
~"Ok, well can you call me when she gets back?"

So, Josh is Darrin's secretary and with Darrin never being here, he has to answer a lot of questions. Hence the creation of (drumroll) The Wheel of Willer! The wheel has three different levels. The biggest circle is "I am in" with sections for El Paso, San Antonio, Houston, DC, Kansas City and Other. The second circle is "I will return on" Monday, tues, wed, thurs, fri and... other :). The innermost circle is "I am" in training, in a meeting, at an organization, none of your business, on vacation, and.. other :) Anyhoo, we made it yesterday so when Darrin gets back from El Paso on Monday (where he has a meeting... or so the wheel told me) we'll see his reaction to our masterpiece.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Engagement Parade

Soooo, in the last two weeks I have had 3 friends (on the level of can't miss their wedding) get engaged and I even know of one more that is a friend of a friend. No, they weren't Valentines proposals... none of them were, actually. But now it begins. Tim and Kim have chosen August 11th as their date, great...we have it open, we're good to go. Now I have that panic about what dates Katie and the other Kim are going to choose. Nate and I already have four weekends in the summer booked... July 7th, August 11th and September 1st and 8th. Yikes. Sure we have plenty of free weekends, but I have a sneaking suspicion that something will happen to the effect of Katie and Kim both choosing Aug 11th and we'll have to choose between three weddings when we have no way of doing that. As far as the July and September dates go, we have plane reservations already, so those are locked. These are the kinds of things that I have no control over and yet I love to worry about :P

Things I am thankful for this morning~ Dynamic message boards on 610 that tell me that 45 north is closed completely due to an accident at Little York and the Hardy Toll Road :)

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

No we don't want to hire you, yes I'm sure

I went to UofH for the engineering career fair yesterday and I had a decently good time. I really enjoy career fairs because they break up the week and it's fun to be in that environment and it also provides an excellent opportunity to collect a myriad of useless items with other companies logos on them.

Anyhoo, we were standing by our table all day with the sign behind us proudly proclaiming that we were hiring civil engineers only....some people don't want to accept that. We had scores of Chemical, Electrical, and Mechanical engineering students (mostly Chemical) approach us and ask if we were hiring in their major. "Well, no... as you see behind us, we are a civil engineering design firm." Now, the original question wasn't what bothered was the students who then tried to convince us that we needed a chem-e or an electrical eng in our office. Some would spend 5 minutes trying to convince us that we needed them. Two particularly aggressive chem-e students wouldn't leave until we took their resume. Ummm, ok. So all in all the day was successful if you don't count the excess chem-e resumes or the number of chemical, electrical and mechanical engineering student's hearts that we broke when they found out that our civil design firm in fact, hires civils.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Random Happennings

Just a blurb, Yesterday as I was driving home on 45 I saw something out of the corner of my eye. I looked over and a guy in the right hand lane had a bit of a problem... in true Tommy Boy style, his hood had flown up and covered his windshield. He got to the shoulder without dying and I think i'm filing this away in the things-i'll-never-forget-seeing file along with the time I saw a guy drive away from a gas pump with the handle still in his car which ended in gas spewing everywhere and I'm sure some sort of legal battle :)

Monday, February 19, 2007

A Full Weekend

Friday- Nate and I go to the Melting Pot to celebrate my b-day. Starts out great and then halfway through the meal a table of 10 already drunk 40 yr old women gets seated in the booth next to us. We can't see them, but the whole restaurant can hear them. Frustration mounts but is alleviated when their waiter responds to a woman's comment about how the fondue pots made it kind hot at the table by saying "Yeah, it's not the best place for pre-menopausal women." We found that to be pretty funny and the women did also because, as previously mentioned, they came in drunk and were on martini number 2 at this point. While annoying and disturbing, the experience leave us with such memories as one of the women asking the waiter to take his shirt off so they could rate him and similar such moments.

Saturday- Slept in, had Panera breakfast which Nate got while I was sleeping in. After everything bagel and pumpkin muffie, went to the day spa and had a 60 minute massage (a Christmas present from Nate). Got home and took shower, got ready for Nate's surprise, walked into living room to find my brother, sister-in-law, niece and puppy (theirs). SO EXCITED! Hour or so later, doorbell rings. Answer door.... SURPRISE!! Slam door in friends faces (no lie). Then open again and say hi. Go to clubhouse where two cakes await me (our wedding cakes since we never really had any at our wedding). Socialize, eventually surprise friends (all of which are awesome and I was sooooo excited to see) leave. Go back upstairs and go to dinner with in-town family (did they really drive here for my birthday?!).

Sunday- Woke up by Nate putting Laney next to me in bed. She was all smiles, best way to wake up ever. Got ready, said goodbye to family :( Went to church and saw friends. Heard great sermon. Go home and eat. Go to Home Depot to look at countertops. Get informed that not choosing granite or marble makes us stupid and cheap. Continue being informed of this by associate named "Star" for another 10 minutes before we leave store in frustration and anger. Go home and call Star's manager to calmly tell him that she made us feel like morons and talked down to us and as a result, we really would likely never come back to that location again.... Not an empty threat, it was really that bad. Les comes over :) Leaves :( Watch 24, go to sleep.

Friday, February 16, 2007


An actual quote from the realtor yesterday~

"Well, now that we've adopted a second child we need to get a bigger house. I mean, 3000 sq ft is ok for 1 kid, but with 2 it's so cramped!!"

Umm, yeah... 3000 sq ft is tiny :P

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Calling All Gentlemen.....

Ok, so the guys at my office..... sooooo not gentlemen!!! Not the guys that I work with, but the guys on the other floors. This morning, one of them waited in his car in the garage until I was walking up the the door. He got out and beat me to the door by a few seconds. Instead of swiping his card (even though he was closer to the sensor), however, he stood back and waited for me to swipe mine. Ok, whatever. So I swipe my card and to my surprise and horror, the guy waits for me to walk over to the door (that he is now closer to) and open it..... for him. I sincerely hope that this guy is not a native Texan because that would be an absolute disgrace!

Granted, I went to a Christian school for high school, but when I was in school the guys would run ahead from behind us in order to be there in time to open doors for us. I don't think I ever opened a door myself when any boy from my high school was within 20 ft of it. They would never get in line in front of us or anything like that. Ug, people need to learn manners again and learn how to treat women like ladies. It isn't old fashioned... we like it!! Anyways, this guy proceeded to make me get the elevator (even though he was there first). I'm sure his wife opens all her own car doors (even though he was there first :).

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Good food.... no matter what :)

So one of the aspects of married life that I have had fun with is being able to cook normal meals a couple of times a week. This week I made crawfish etoufee and in the past couple of weeks I've made anything from spaghetti to jambalaya. It is very satisfying to find out that you are good at something that you figured would have more of a learning curve. I only got to make one meal this week, the reason for this leads me into part two of this blog which I title, the best food "week" (really 8 days) ever :)

Three meals make this the best food "week" ever. I will cheat a little and go back to the office lunch I had last Thursday that served as a joint b-day lunch for me and a guy whose b-day was at the end of January. We went to Pappadeaux and I got blackened Mahi Mahi with crawfish etoufee and dirty rice (fabulous). Tonight, for Valentines Day... and because we had a gift card :), Nate and I are going to Americas (both of our first times :) and I am super pumped. On Friday, we are celebrating my b-day early by going to the Melting Pot... talk about the icing on food week!

A p.s. from the last post, I had a weird thing I remembered this morning that I thought deserved a spot, so here is oddity number 7. It drives me nuts when people have their windshield wipers on higher than they need to be. I am constantly adjusting mine to get them to the right speed for the current conditions. Now, this is a weirdness in that it doesn't just bother me if they're on too high when I'm in the car.. If I can see that the car in front or behind me while I am driving has them on too high, it bothers me just as much. If mine are on higher than someone around me then I always reevaluate whether mine need to be slowed down. Anyways, I have enough weirdnesses to do one a day for quite awhile, so I will cut it off there :)

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Tag, you're it....

This is the newest craze pulsing through the first baptist blog network and I would like to point out that the fact that I have now been tagged proves how massively cool I am. I know, no surprise to you :P Here's how it works~

"Each person who gets tagged needs to write a blog post telling 6 weird things about them self... as well as clearly state the rules. After you state your 6 weird things, you need to choose 6 people to be tagged and list their names. Also, leave a comment on thier blog telling them that they have been tagged."

1) Eating Habits ~ I have several weirdnesses that fall into this category but I'll just give you two.... 1. I get freaked out by foods with certain textures and it makes me start to gag. For instance, even though I like the taste I have a heard time getting through an entire serving of oatmeal, yogurt, or eating a whole banana. I suppose this hurts my chances of making my fortune on Fear Factor. 2. I eat things in a certain order. No matter what I am eating, I always alternate the side of my mouth that I am chewing on with the first and last bites always being on the right side. I also save the best (aka, saltiest Wheat thin, most sugary Fruit Loop, bite with most pepperoni, what have you) bite for last. In the case of gummy bears, I will empty the entire package out and make sure all the colors are even (eating the excess) and then I will take one of all 5 colors at a time and eat the green, clear and orange on my right side, alternated with the red and yellow on my left. (I eat the flavors I like more on the right side) This approach also applies to Fruit Loops and fruit snacks. I'm pretty smooth about it though, most people don't notice unless I tell them.

2)Overpasses are sexy ~ I've always had a thing for overpasses, particularly direct connectors that all come together in one location, aka the I-10/BW8 interchange. My favorite is the newly constructed "High 5" interchange in Dallas... yes, I have a favorite :) This love of direct connectors is one of the main reasons I chose Civil Engineering and then eventually transportation engineering. My mom used to drive me on some of the ramps as a treat :)

3)Paper Snob ~ It's true, I ADORE paper. I attribute the escalation of this obsession to my job in high school at a specialty paper store in the Dallas Galleria where I got to design, print, and assemble high end invites for the Dallas elite. I knew that one of the most expensive (proportionally) things in our wedding would be the invites because cheap paper makes me cringe. On a different note, I am also a book snob. I read ALOT and instead of taking advantage of Half Price books, I buy all my books new at Barnes and Noble... why? Because the smell of new books is one of my favorite of all time... maybe even better then fresh cut grass :)

4)Turn Indicator ~ Instead of saying "blinker" or "signal", I call it a "turn indicator". I'm pretty sure this is the technical term, but I have been made fun of to no end by multiple people through various stages of life for using this term. I can't seem to break the habit, but in truth I have no desire to. To me, blinkers are what you put on in an emergency or on the side of the road and a signal is the correct term for what you might know as a traffic light. Turns out I may be a vernacular snob too :P

5)The Mexican in me ~ Sometimes when I am talking to Nate, I slip into a Mexican accent and will continue talking in it for up to half an hour. The thing is that when I do this accent, it isn't a regular Mexican accent... I sound like a dirty old Mexican man trying to hit on you. Anyways, it's good family fun.

6) Freckle power ~ A lot of people don't notice because they don't think of me as fair skinned, but I have a lot of freckles. It has been proven that 89% of the pigment on my shoulders is comprised of freckles. I actually have two favorite freckles, one is the top of my right ring finger near the nail and the other is on the top of my right foot close to my toes. Don't worry... I haven't named them :)

I hereby tag Erin VanV, Jen Lewis, Jen Cates, Steph, Leslie, and Liz.

Monday, February 12, 2007

The beginning of baby...

Ok, don't freak out. I'm not pregnant, let's just start by saying that. Ok, now I get to blog :) This weekend, 5 different people asked me when we were going to start having kids. Whoa there, we just got married! Not that it's too early to think about kids, but it should be too early to have people asking us when we are going to have one already :P We avoided the "when are you going to get engaged?" question by having a fairly quick courtship, so I guess I'm not used to this line of questioning. Let's just say this... I won't keep you, my adoring public, waiting too long for kids but I don't even know when that'll be right now. Oh, and believe me, you'll know when it happens... I'm not much of a keep-news-to-yourself kind of person :)

Friday, February 09, 2007

Top 10

I was thinking about it last night and decided to make a list of the top ten things that it would be nice to have your parents still pay for. Funny how when you were a kid, every cent you earned could go towards clothes and entertainment....

10) Vacations- Hotels, rental cars, it adds up! Although I can't complain... with my parents becoming ex-pats I've been blessed in the vacation realm :)
9) Clothes- Anybody miss back to school shopping?
8) Food- I could do so many more fun things with that money
7) Appliances- It's shiny and I can appreciate that... it also costs $100 to deliver it, gulp
6) Repairs- Whether it's your car or your home, it's so much less traumatic if the bill is sent elsewhere
5) Taxes- Curse my income and the fact that the IRS can claim as much as they do!
4) Rent/Mortgage- Remember when "home" was free (to you)?
3) Electric Bill- Run that AC!!
2) Insurance- I'm sorry, how much is my warm fuzzy going to cost me this year?
1) Medical stuff- deductible, schmeductible... not my problem :)

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Self proclaimed Knot stalker

Hi, I'm Abby and I have a problem.... I like to stalk people. Oh sure, I use the normal methods; Facebook, blogs, etc but I've also found a fun new way to pry into people's lives... I highly recommend sitting down on a boring evening with your old high school yearbook and entering names of people who used to be your "best friends" and seeing how many of them are getting married/ have been married in the last 2 years. It's shocking really... especially if you are in the 22-26 range and you find out that half your graduating class (and the one behind you) is on there. This is an activity I first did with my mom (the passer of the stalker gene) and it makes for great family fun :)

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Drumroll Please....

Ok, big news coming up... I'm going to be an Aunt...AGAIN!!! My sister-in-law just found out that she is pregnant again and we are thrilled! Ben says he doesn't care if it's a boy or a girl, but I am rooting for boy... not that I wouldn't love another niece :) So get excited guys... come October I'll be swamping you with photos of 2 baby relatives. For now, I'll stick to Elena :)

Gansta Laney

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

The Return of Banana and the Debut of F&T

So pretty much last Saturday was the best day ever. Exaggerating? Me? NEVER! Part 1 of the day~ Les and I had one of the most successful (read, expensive) shopping trips ever. We started in Banana Republic, a store I used to work in for over 2 years and pretty much haven't gone back to since. We like EVERYTHING in the store!! And, surprise, it fit! I forgot that Banana had could I have been so neglectful? All these years.... oh well. Banana came out strong and we came out one hour later, each with a very heavy bag. We proceeded to Ann Taylor Loft and it performed as we expected and we each came out with a little something. Don't worry, I will not list every store we went into, but I must mention a new contestant in the competition that was previously unknown to both of us... Forth and Towne. This is the new store in the Gap family and has fresh styles and a broad range of prices.

Here is why Forth and Towne is special~ Besides the styles that are all me, the main thing that set this store apart was the dressing rooms. The picture below shows the rooms in the LA store which are identical to Houston's rooms...

We walk in and are already impressed when they hand us ice cold bottled waters.. that sealed it... I'm in Galleria heaven! The water was perfect and just what we needed to perk us back up. Anyways, go to F&T... it's worth at least a try :)

Part 2~ Ags beat KU, nuff said

Part 3~ We got to have dinner and play games with Dustin and Megan Bennett and Brad and Cheri Barton. It's really such a great thing when you realize that you genuinely like and get along with your husband's friends! (Especially when they are not turned off by your trash talk and child-like competitiveness during a game of Settlers :)

Side note having nothing to do with last weekend- The Ags pummelled t.u. yesterday, 100 to 82 :) :)

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Basketball Update

Just a few quick facts~

-Kansas is ranked # 6 in the nation.
-No Big 12 south team has ever beaten Kansas on their home court.
-A&M has never beaten Kansas at home or away.
-The home record for Kansas against all Big 12 teams is 77 and 6.
-The Ags played Kansas in Lawrence, KS yesterday.
-Texas A&M 69, Kansas 66... whoop :)

Friday, February 02, 2007


Ok, I am getting revved up for my all-morning-and-into-the-early-afternoon-shopping-extravaganza tomorrow with Leslie! I am doing stretches and preparing myself to go in for the long haul tomorrow. I call it "Operation Get Abby To Buy Something That Isn't A Skirt". We are going to the Galleria and I'm not leaving til I find something.

You know what's sad? I haven't been shopping since the engagement pretty much so I have gone all out on tomorrow. I printed a map of the Galleria from their website and cross referenced it to the store list in order to map everywhere I want to go. It's a sad sad day :P Oh well! I'm pumped! I get Chick-fil-a breakfast (mmmmmm, chicken minis!), I get to shop (even if I typically hate the Galleria), and I get to hang out with Leslie. It doesn't get much better than that :)

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Be Careful What You Put On Facebook

Sooooo, I have sorta become a part of the new-grad/intern hiring process at the company that I work for. I get to go through people's resumes from A&M and decide with Josh and Rob who gets an interview.... such power!! It's kinda funny because the stuff I used to complain about (" Why do people always want you to have work experience before you get a job? Somebody has to give you a first job or you'll never get experience!") I now use to discount candidates. "Hmm, no work experience..... doesn't know Microstation.... low GPR" I have to say, looking at the typical resume has given me a lot more confidence in my own resume which would have been nice to be confident about as I was interviewing, but I suppose it's better late than never :)

Anyway, the point of this blog... I've found a way to really see a candidate's personality without them knowing. I am on Facebook, it seems every college student in America is now on Facebook. Because I am in the A&M network, I can pretty much read the profile of any A&M student who has not restricted their profile to friends only. That means that if I am considering someone as a candidate, I can check whether they have listed beer pong as a favorite activity or whether they consider the Austin Powers series as film gold. It's very interesting what people will reveal on their profiles... I don't suppose they expect their future employers to have access to such things. I am happy to report that our three intern candidates have all passed the facebook test with flying colors...please proceed to your interview :)