Travel, When in

Seoul, South Korea and Lizards

Seoul, South Korea

Seoul the capital of South Korea is a city my husband has visited many times, including this past August. He enjoys the culture, temples and especially the food in South Korea. Fun fact….Did you know that Seoul is the home of fried chicken and barbecue??? Who would of thought!! This was right up my husbands alley and now I see why he visits so often. While there he visited the Coex Centre in the Gangnam district, home to Asia’s biggest underground shopping mall complete with casino, kimchi museum and traditional Buddhist temple. While there, he also visited the Joseon Royal Tombs, Garden of the Gods that has the tombs of the Joseon dyanasty. The Joseon dynastry lasted for 519 years and produced 27 kings! And if you like the Olympics check out the Jamsil Olympic Stadium aka the Seoul Olympic Stadium home to the 1988 Olympics. But it not just and Olympic stadium, it also served as the stadium for the 10th Asian Games in 1986, music concerts, and the centerpiece for Seoul sports.

Here at home, we were sorta settling into the 3rd week of school. School starts in August in the South so we were trying to get our school groove back from footloose and fancy free over the summer. And of course this was the week that all the after-school activities started, tons of paperwork for fundraisers and events for the year were being sent home and the parents opportunity to visit with your child’s teacher to review the curriculum for the school year. After a week full of activities, I was FINALLY getting a chance to stop, catch my breath and absorb all the info I had received ……or so I thought. It was Thursday evening, the house was quiet and was about to settle into bed when I saw it….a shadow cast from my nightstand lamp on the wall. At first, I thought it was my eyes playing tricks on me from sheer tiredness and having filled out tons of school forms. But no. There was clearly a shadow on the wall. But it wasn’t just any shadow….it was a small shadow with legs….4 legs to be exact. Due to the position of the shadows, whatever it was was closer to me than I thought. Completely frozen, I finally found the courage to turn my head to see what was there……a LIZARD!!!! Let’s be honest…..yes, I squealed and yes I jumped out of bed to the other side of the room. Considering where I live you would think I would be accustomed to this sort of thing but alas, I’m not. It starred at me and I starred at it. I have no idea how it got into our bedroom but didn’t have time to process the logistics. And then to my horror it scurried behind our bed. Ugh!!! At that point I had to think quickly assess the situation-my husband was on the other side world, I was NOT going to bed with the lizard in our room, it’s night time and my kids are fast asleep so we can’t leave. I knew at that point it was him or me! Thus began the hunt to find the lizard, which happened to blend in with everything. By the time I found it I had……moved 2 nightstands, flipped the mattress and box spring to vertical positions, knocked over a plant, etc. Chaos has ensued trying to find the lizard that our room looked like a tornado hit it. Once I finally found the lizard, I trapped him in a cup and put him outside (it took a TON of courage). I did call my husband and explain what I had just encountered….which was met with a ton of laughter (yes, he laughed at my pain). Nonetheless……I survived.

Our bedroom…surviving chaos

Here are you surviving chaos tips:

  • Bundle Paperwork: If deadlines permit, complete school paperwork all at one time and send them to school all at one time. This frees up your weeknights for other activities, keeps you organized, and sane.
  • Be Strong & of Courage: No matter what life throws or crawls at you, be brave!! Find your inner strength to conquer your fears (this applies to life in general, not just lizards).
  • Backup plan: If this had been a more dire situation….snake, tarantula, fire, etc have a plan to call someone for backup or leave the house. Always have a plan, you never know when you will need it.
  • Wine: This is self-explanatory.

Travel, When in

Yerevan, Armenia and the little A/C that could

One of the newest countries my husband has added to his travel portfolio is Yerevan, Armenia. Neither of us knew what to expect so we were excited for his upcoming trip. My husband really enjoyed experiencing all Yerevan had to offer from the friendly culture to the awesome food….barbecue. Armenia is known for its BBQ around the world; they literally grill everything! The grill naturally brought everyone together and prompted lots of talk about site seeing, world issues, and work-of course! This was perfect for my husband as he is definitely a people person. Additionally, Yerevan was celebrating its 2800th year as the capital of Armenia. To commemorate this tremendous occasion, an inauguration of the Yerevan 2800 Anniversary Park occurred in May. The park includes 250 new trees, 5 bronze statues, and Urartu style bull and lion statues and is currently maintained by the same family for the past 99 years.

Armenia is known for its art, innovation and sculptures and my husband found the perfect example; a giant spider made from discarded metal outside the Moscow Cinema. This sculpture is so big that husband can stand almost upright underneath it. As for me (who has a fears of spiders) I was not nearly as enthused. After visiting the spider (of my nightmares), he had the opportunity to visit Republic Square and see the Singing and Dancing fountains. A water feature with a light show set to classical, pop or jazz music; it is definitely a must see and favorite tourist attraction.

Spider sculpture made from discarded metal

Meanwhile back at home, we were burning up!! Throughout the week, I began to notice that the house was getting hotter. I assumed it was nothing as the temperature outside had been steadily increasing from 100 to 108 with heat indexes between 110 and 115. These are normal temperatures where we leave and are typical for August. But there was something about this heat that just didn’t feel right. Little did I know, the attic unit of our A/C was struggling to keep up and finally….it gave up. The A/C repair man showed up with lightening speed to see if he could fix it but it couldn’t be fixed….we needed an entirely new attic unit. In the words of my son, “Fun Fact….Did you know that when a motor blower goes out, the cool air from the coil doesn’t go anywhere? And if the cool air doesn’t go anywhere, the coil will freeze and become a large block of ice? And if the coil is left like that too long it will slowly start to thaw and cause a massive leak in your attic? Ours didn’t do that but that’s the story the A/C man painted for me in my mind. After paying $$$$ and waiting a week for parts and then the install of the brand new coil, blower wheel and blower motor we were finally cooling down….or so we thought. The A/C went out again!! The A/C repair man came back and stated the A/C drain was clogged which caused the drain pan to fill up which flipped the safety switch which causes the A/C to turn off. Thank goodness for safety switches, right? After this second round of A/C failures, I was for sure we were back in business. Wrong again….the A/C went out again!

At this point, I was so frustrated I was ready to sell the whole house! It’s too HOT to deal with these issues. The A/C repair man came back out… this point he had memorized my address and phone number since he had been out so many times. Go figure. He even brought the district manger with him to help! After an hour of going in and out of the attic and in and out of the house to the outside unit they determined it was the zone control board. Fun fact…..the zone control board is basically the “brain” of the A/C and it stopped working. It didn’t know if it needed to be cooling and when it should cool. After all those repairs, no wondered it was confused-if it was me, I would be. Sheesh! Needless to say, I have learned more about A/C units than I care to. Does this qualify me as an HVAC specialist?

Here are your tips for surviving chaos when your A/C goes out:

  • Popsicles: they’ll keep the kids cool in the hot house (and somewhat sane)
  • Food delivery: this way you don’t have to turn on the stove or oven (its already hot in the house)
  • Emergency fund: you never know when you are going to need it
  • A tribe: friends and family who will let you hang out at their house….all. day. long.
  • Kindness: remember…..the repairman has been in hot attics all day…..including yours
  • Wine: this should be self explanatory

Until the next adventure, safe travels….