a guy and a bee

a collection of random thoughts and ideas from me, her, and sometimes us

Tag Archives: maryland

mattress capital of the world?

has anyone else noticed recently that columbia seems to be the mattress capital of the world? i hadn’t really noticed this until lately when one mattress store left the columbia crossing shopping center and 2 days later there was another one. maybe the sign just changed and it caught my eye, but after that i started noticing more and more of the these places. there is basically a mattress store in every strip mall if you haven’t noticed. and if there isn’t a mattress store, there is a furniture store that sells mattresses.

is there a need for this many mattress stores and how do they stay in business in a down economy? i know i haven’t bought a mattress in several years and with the price tag on these things, people are more likely to continue to stretch their bucks and not replace an older mattress. am i missing something here and should get a new mattress? i count at least 9 on the yellow pages site and several more in laurel and other parts of the county. i know howard county is big, but i’d imagine there isn’t a need for this many mattress stores.

what am i missing here and why does it seem columbia is the mattress capital of the world?!

hocoblogs@@@

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what’s up with maple lawn?

maple lawn, off of rt. 29

anyone else notice that maple lawn doesn’t seem to be catching fire like expected? built in 2005 and publicized as a mixed use community, it seems like maple lawn hasn’t blossomed like many have expected. as the community grows and more and more move into the area, maybe it will thrive more but as of this point many years later it seems to be lackluster at best.

i recently heard that the AAA offices might be moving out of their location there and back to columbia off of snowden river parkway and route 32. if that happens, it will be another company in the long line of companies that tried to have a location there that have failed. granted, it’s not the greatest economy these days, but match that with it’s location, it doesn’t seem to be drawing many people who don’t live close by. trapeze (correction from wordbones, thanks!!) green turtle, maggie moo’s, a pizza place that i can’t recall the name, and several other restaurants have tried to make it over there and have closed. the latest to close up is pita and rye. although it is believed to be temporarily closed per their website, it isn’t drawing customers to the area. one the bright side, a new harris teeter location opened up awhile back and they added a fast food chain, which should do well because there aren’t many options like that in the area. ultimately, i like the area and hope it does well, but it doesn’t seem to be going that way. we haven’t been to the looney’s that replaced the green turtle yet and weren’t impressed with pita and rye so we’ll see what’s next. that end of the county needs more options in my opinion so when facci and kloby’s, at johns hopkins road, are too crowded there is somewhere else to go eat and shop.

do you visit maple lawn? is it too far from traditional columbia for you to visit? just don’t make it to that part of the county?

hocoblogs@@@

oh, christmas tree, oh, christmas tree

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every year, christmas is a big deal in our household, especially the last few now that we have gotten married. in our first year of living together, we went and picked a tree off the lot and since then we have cut one down. bee always had fake trees as a kid so now that she can a real one, we take full advantage of it. this year, broken rib and all, bee and i made the trek out yesterday to pine valley farms. it’s off of 70 and 97 in skyesville for those of you reading this that are in maryland.

our first time out, we used one of the saws that the farm will let you borrow for $20 (you get the money back when you return the saw). we quickly found out that although tradition is great, bringing the sawz all that i got the next christmas to cut down the tree was the best idea we stumbled upon. as you might now, bee is a go getter and one time when she cutting down the tree, a fellow tree cutter downer brought over his sawz all for us to use. made quick great work of the tree.

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imagehere is bee on the hunt for the best douglas fir on the the tree farm. last year, our eyes were bigger than our living room so we knew we had to go for something that wasn’t as wide this year, much to her dismay. we looked for something in the 7-8 foot range.

once we found the right tree after walking several aisles, we got down to business. a great tip for those that might be new to christmas tree cutting down, bring an old blanket or sheet that you might use around the house for painting, etc. it makes a great location for you to lay on and get under the tree as you cut it down. keeps the mud, grass, and pine needles off of you. those of of you that are clean freaks like we are, it’s a great tip. don’t forget to wear old clothes too. it’s not a fashion show out there!

once bee made short work of cutting it down, it was over to shaking, bundling, and back to the car. unfortunately, the bundling got screwed up so we had to re-tie the string so it would stay bundled. we made the decision, after bee carried the tree back to the car, to put it inside instead of on roof because of my limited mobility to get the tree over my head and secured properly on top of the car.

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cut down and pre-bundled

bundled and in the car

 (yes, i had to vacuum my car because of it. boo.)

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you have to let it fall

once you get the tree inside and setup, you have to let the branches fall back to their natural place. we started decorating a few hours later. (and i was watching the LSU/Georgia game, haha.)

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lights are on

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decorated! looking good!

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nice skirt!

that is our new tree skirt that we splurged on at the end of the season last year. one of our friends had the similar tree skirt and we really liked it so we ended up getting ours and bee is very excited about it. we were using a traditional skirt that looked like the regular red stockings with white trim, but we wanted to get a little fancier going forward! so now the tree is up, the house is decorated and the stockings were hung (with care) by the fireplace. feels like christmas, although it was around 60 degrees today!

we also started a neat new tradition once we get the tree home a few years ago. we cut off a small ring from the bottom of the tree and save it. right now it’s above the fireplace drying out and will go into a glass jar we have in our dining room as we collect more and more rings from years of celebrating our favorite holiday. (all these photos were taken on my phone, not too shabby!)

hocoblogs@@@

no, i wasn’t texting while driving

has anyone noticed that everyone is still texting while driving? last year, maryland took the first steps into the giving out fines for texting while driving, but it was a secondary offense so no one really cared. now this year, back in october, the new texting law went into affect and yet everyone is still texting while driving.

on a daily basis, i see lots of people texting while driving (myself included on occasion). the most interesting person i’ve notice that are texting while driving is the police. all levels of police, local, state, auxiliary, etc. and all the time. i guess no one, including law enforcement, still cares about the new texting while driving law in maryland.

per the baltimore sun politics blog on sept 30th:

Drivers who are ticketed can still choose to accept guilt and pay a $70 fine (plus one point on their license). If the texting leads to an accident, accepting guilt means an automatic $110 fine and three points.
Drivers who contest the tickets and lose in court will be guilty of a misdemeanor and have to pay the full $500.

guess everyone will just plead guilty and not care about the fine/point if they get caught? i’ll pass. not worth the point or the fine.

oh yeah, and don’t forget to watch out for new speed cameras in Howard County! locations are listed on the police website and it’s a $40 fine if caught.

 

hocoblogs@@@

My Year in Sports

21 Orioles Games
1 Shorebirds Game
1 Ironbirds Game
2 Baysox Games
2 Nationals Games
1 Nebraska Football Game
2 Ravens Games
2 Elon BBall Games (at MD and at Navy)
1 Baltimore Grand Prix

From starting about this time last year, it’s been a fun year of attending sporting events. As a big baseball fan, I’ve always enjoyed going to numerous games a year at Oriole Park at Camden Yards, but the variety increased this year. Last October, I attended my first professional football game. Sat on the 50 yard line about 30 rows from the field. Fantastic time and nothing like corporate seats. Shortly after that, we made our way to Nebraska to see my wife’s dad. There we had the opportunity to attend the Nebraska vs. Missouri game, a great rivalry and exciting game. It was their 306th or 309th consecutive sell out. I have a separate blog post on here all about our trip if you are interested.

As the fall turned into winter, Elon’s basketball team travelled for the season to play teams locally and we saw them at Maryland and Navy around the holidays. We had a great alumni attendance at both games and certainly gave Maryland a run for their money. (Should I mention we also went to 1 or 2 Elon football games? They play 1-AA in football in the SoCon.)

At the end of the year, I found out for my birthday, Bee got me/us a partial game season ticket plan for the Orioles. Section 15 if you want to see us out there next year! Between FanFest and the season starting, I laid low with getting some autographs and collectibles. As spring started, I made it to my first opening day, with my buddy Dan, since I was in high school. We had a blast and were ready for what we thought would be a great season. Between season tickets, random Friday or Saturday games, giveaway nights or alumni games, I made it to at least 21 games. In between, we went to the Shorebirds and Baysox games for bobblehead giveaways. I also finally made it out to the Ironbirds stadium after 10 years for a work night at the the game. Hadn’t been to a minor league game in years. I also finally made it to Nationals stadium, once to see the Orioles and once with Bee’s family when they were in town. Nice place but I still enjoy OPaCY! Even wrangled in a batting practice ball at a Orioles game and a foul ball at a Baysox game. The ball hawks weren’t around at the time. Haha.

Once the season wound down, we got to the much anticipated Grand Prix. I made my way down to practice and had a good time. Lots going on and lots of energy. Neat experience but couldn’t go the rest of the weekend since we were going to the beach for the holiday.

And as we end up in October again, I got to go to another Ravens game for the weekend. Another corporate section and hospitality tent event. What a way to tailgate! This time it was Bee’s first professional football game and we won to boot. Talk about a loud, rowdy environment at M&T Bank these days.

I’m not really a fan of professional basketball and only a semi casual fan of hockey so who knows if I attend something like that soon but we shall see what the next year of sports brings. I know it will include lots of Orioles games though!

well that was a fun vacation

from atop the great smokeys!

so for the last year or so, my wife and i have been talking about a cross country trip this year and we had settled on a 3 week adventure and she had all the plans put together. after 3 days into the trip, i was having bad anxiety issues and we decided to turn around. we had made it from maryland to elon, nc and then to just out of knoxville, tn where we stayed in seiverville, which is just a few minutes from the great smokey mountains. our next destination was memphis.

weird! wonder works in seiverville

it was a frustrating experience because i thought i had gotten past my anxiety issues and would be fine. apparently not. as i have explained it others, it’s like walking on one leg when you are having anxiety flare ups and for me, the nausea related to it. you can limp around, but you know you aren’t right and you can’t fix it like you hope you would be able to. had i really wanted to lose 10 or 15 pounds by not eating properly, it would have been a good way to do it, but would have only gotten worse and me being miserable wouldn’t been enjoyable for the wife either. so we decided to turn around and went to the Outer Banks instead. having vacationed there all my life and a free place to stay allowed us to get to a place we knew would be okay. after a few days, i was feeling better and we enjoyed a week and a half at the beach. since it was a joint decision to not continue, i don’t feel like it was the wrong decision, but disappointed it’s how it ended.

sunset at the OBX

when we started out, we said we were going to go as far as we could go and that was what we did. ultimately, i am annoyed, frustrated, sad, disappointed, upset, and happy that we tried. i am disappointed for her more than anything because we were supposed to visit her dad in nebraska over this coming weekend for father’s day and that would have been a great time for her to see him since we last saw him in october. he will be out here july so we will at least get to see him soon.

pass and stow

upon returning to maryland from the beach, we took a couple day trips to annapolis and philadelphia to see America’s first Zoo as well as the Liberty Bell. if you haven’t seen the Liberty Bell, it’s smaller than you might expect but still worth a visit!

unfortunately, it’s back to work and telling them the same story. at least someone told me they were happy i was back.

i will post some more pictures of our trip and the fun adventure in the great smokey mountains, the Appalachian trail, gambling in Cherokee country, the weird towns of seiverville and gaitlinburg and more.

the great nebraska adventure

during the week of halloween, my wife and made a trip to see her father in nebraska. since i don’t fly, we drove from maryland to lincoln, nebraska. she refers to it as the great nebraska adventure. i refer to it as 2,655 miles in 7 days and 40 plus hours in the car. nonetheless, it certainly was an adventure.

having never left the east coast in my life and enjoying car rides, i assumed this trip to a neat way to see some more of this great country. well, we did see a lot of somethings and nothing of others. once we got past the middle of ohio, all we saw for endless hours were cornfields and silos. no wonder they called the midwest, the dust bowl. not only did we see cornfields and silos, we saw lots of roadkill. we counted over 45 deer and easily 100+ other types. everything from squirrels and raccoons to skunks and cats.

the people of nebraska are nice people. kind of what i would expect from good farmer working people; however, they do have some interesting places outside of maryland. in PA, we saw the Eat ‘N Park. there was Tom Raper’s RV’s in the Indiana or Illnois. And to save the best for last, in Lincoln, we saw the Git ‘N Split and the Kum ‘N Go.  of course, there was also sinclair’s gas station, which had a large dinosaur in front of the sign.

while we out there, we also got to go to a nebraska football game. if there’s one thing they out there it’s nebraska football. it was the 309th consecutive sellout. stadium only holds 85,907 fans. pretty small really 😉

all and all, it was an interesting place and an interesting trip. we got to see her dad for the first time since march and we had an adventure. also got to go to 6 states i had never been to before!

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