Saturday, June 06, 2009

Ireland Photos

There has been many requests for photos from our trip. Well I hurried through my photo organization process and have posted photos up at Smugmug. They have no descriptions and they're not organized into smaller categories, so you get 33 pages of raw photo goodness. Enjoy. I'm still editing the daily log of our adventures, but as that finishes I shall post that here as well. Maybe in small installments. So it actually gets read.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

All Moved In

[caption id="" align="alignleft" width="280" caption="Our New Home"]Our New Home[/caption]

Saturday was move day and the transition went very smoothly.  We had Matt and Catherine Trumbo, Kaaren and Raymond McIsaac, Sean Rees, and a sick-but-helping-in-spirit Mary Phillips to help us move the big stuff.  It took 2.5 hours from start to done.  We then sat around chatting, eating pizza and drinking homebrew.  I made up an Irish Red just for the occasion, dubbed "The Crew Brew." The first couple bottles were a little harsh, but they sat for another few days before the move and have since mellowed out into a very pleasant beer.

This week has been spent frantically getting prepared for our trip to Ireland.  Kim has been the travel agent for Sean and I on this one. In addition to being a Rockstar mover the entire week leading up to move day, she has also been booking accomodations, tours, and various forms of travel necessary for the trip.  Her free time from the unfortunate layoff of was truly a blessing in disguise.

Speaking of work, Kim has a third, and hopefully final, interview this Thursday.  The position is for an engineering project assistant similar to what she has been doing in the last two positions. It sounds right up her alley.  Send good thoughts her way Thursday morning.

My work has been going very well, I'm really growing professionally.  I think a lot of that has to do with the stellar team I happen to be working with.  I feel quite lucky to be part of this awesome group, both personally and technically. If you're reading this and you're part of that group, don't let it go to your head. Otherwise, know the Pelco CDL rocks!

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Purchase House: Check.

Tomorrow marks our long awaited closing date for our first real estate transaction.  Kim and I are extremely excited and very ready to move in.

Overall the whole process has gone very well.  We found, through recommendations, an awesome Realtor named Tim Leonard.  He has done an excellent job listening to our home wishes. In fact, we wouldn't have found this home if he hadn't taken the liberty of showing us something not rigidly within our guidelines, but meeting the spirit of our guidelines. He's also done an excellent job keeping us informed throughout the process.

Our relationship with our mortgage broker has been a little less than smooth.  I won't name her name, because she did make things in right in the end by us, but we feel we had to fight every step of the way. The basic contention was whether we would be paying a point or not. From the get go, we decided we were not interested in paying a point. 6 times we went back and forth where she gave us a quote with a point, we told her no point, and we get another quote. We get the papers from the loan processor, it has a point.  We get all the way to today, the day before closing, it has a point. When we got the papers from the loan processor I made it very clear I was not happy, as a concession she gave us the rate we would have gotten by paying a point, without the point.  After the correction goes through today, that will be our final word on the loan.  In the words of Tim, "[we're] getting a smoking deal."

Once we close tomorrow, we're taking the next week to move stuff in piecemeal, do any painting/cleaning that is necessary, and just reveling in our house. The following weekend we are moving all the large furniture over with the help of many (hopefully) of our friends. The weekend after that we go to Ireland. A few weeks after we get back from that, it will be time for a house warming party.  Phew, I'm tried just typing that schedule. It's going to be awesome though.

That's it for now, see you on the flip side.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Home Ownership

In case you don't read Kim's blog, then this will be news to you.  Kim and I are under contract for a house.

We had the home inspection March 16 and the only thing of note was the radon readings were pretty high.  The EPA reccommends mitigating radon when levels are at or above 4 pCi/L, our test came back at 13 pCi/L. We had been afraid this would be the case and worried that we would end up paying for it. We asked the sellers to take care of and they said "ok."

So with that simple "ok" the path to homeownership looks very clear. May 1 is the set closing date.  We are very excited and have all kinds of plans about things that we want to do to our new house.  It's also nice timing because of the first-time homebuyer tax credit that was approved recently. Yay!

One last thing to make the whole event a little more interesting is we are going to be leaving for our Ireland trip on May 16.  Plane is booked, Iron Donkey is booked, and we are discussing things to do on the last week of our trip. It's going to be the culmination of some three years of dreaming.  We're very excited about that too.

Just a lot of excitement all around, as soon as we get into the place I will post pictures.  Until next time!

Friday, February 27, 2009

House Acquisition in Progress

After years of dreaming, planning, and wishing Kim and I have started the house hunt.  In fact, we actually have an offer on a house right now.  When we put in the offer, we were expecting to wait a month or two for a response due to the transaction being a short sale.  We submitted the offer 4 days ago and 2 days ago found out the bank contacted the owner.  This means we should know any day now whether they accept our offer or not.

Our offer made number 4 being submitted to the bank by the seller.  The 3 previous offers already waited 2 weeks without so much as a peep from the bank.  Secretly I'm hoping the bank's sudden contact is due to our offer being acceptable, but it's more likely coincidence.

The house itself is a ranch style 3/2 with an unfinished basement and a sun-room.  It's a corner lot in quiet subdivision very near to my work.  The location is biking, or walking in most cases, distance to a grocery store, my work, Sean's place, and a movie theatre, making it an ideal location for Kim and I.  If this deal goes through, we plan to relieve ourselves of a vehicle.

In other news, I am competing in the company's "Biggest Loser" contest.  According the optional weigh-ins, I am currently in first place with 9.5% loss of body weight.  That translates to 21 pounds! This whole gym thing appears to be paying off. Speaking of which, today marks the 8th straight week of 5AM gyming.  I might have missed a day or two during that time, but it is close enough.  My ultimate weight goal is now only 10 pounds away!

In other, other news, Kim, Sean, and I finally purchased our plane tickets for our trip to Ireland. This trip took over two years to make a reality, but now it is finally happening. May 16-31 we will be in Ireland. The first week is a bike trip through the Connemara region with touring company IronDonkey. The next week is a little up in the air, but we plan on going to Galway and Dublin for sure.  We are planning at least a couple, more likely 3 days, in Dublin.  I am hoping too that we go see some castles while we're there. It should be a lot of fun.

Thus ends month two of my 12 month trek towards a post a month.  Yay for New Year's resolutions.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

New year, new fitness

Since I blogged on New Year's, Kim and I have joined a gym. I have been to the gym every day since last monday (the 5th) and, excepting the weekend, have arrived at 5:30 AM. In contrast to Bally's, this gym has quite the facilities.  These facilities include: a lap pool, both a dry heat and steam sauna, a hot tub, an indoor track, a basketball court, racquetball courts, a myriad of machines and weights, and an aerobics room with a large number of aerobics classes each day.

As part of getting into a fitness routine, I am exploring the aerobics classes.  One in particular is called BodyAttack.  I have attended twice and both times have been quite thoroughly exhausted.  I never expected aerobics would be so difficult.

The other activity that is being incorporated into my daily life is a sweat bath.  I have decided there is some sort of voodoo associated with the sweat bath. A quick google search will produce thousands of wild claims of the benefits of the sweat bath.  Well you can add one more. I notice that despite my new 0500 wake-up call, I feel refreshed and energized throughout the day.  I attribute this to my sweat baths as opposed to the exercise because I have been avidly riding my bike over the last 6 months without seeing this effect.  It's complete voodoo, but I'm completely sold.

In other news, my iMac has died. The good news is that we have Apple complete care, the bad news is that we only had backups of our photos and some important documents. I have been running DiskWarrior for 4 days now with discouraging results.  Something spectacular appears to have failed in the harddrive because there are large sections of contiguous blocks that are completely unreadable.  I'm very glad we had the photos backed up because they were really irreplaceable, but it will be a major inconvenience to rebuild the environment I had setup.

Another new addition to our household is an Xbox 360.  I didn't think that we would end up with one, but we had some Christmas money that we used to buy a Christmas gift. We went with the xbox due to it's stream netflix capability.  It is a fun toy that I'm sure we'll get a lot of good use out of, particularly when we don't have cable television anymore.

Finally, there has been no progress towards buying a house as of yet, I have a USAA representative contacting me sometime either next week, or the week following in regards to automobile insurance.  Once that is setup I am going to open a dialog with a loan officer through USAA and shortly thereafter contact Sean's realtor, Tim. Kim and I have discussed some very specific things we are looking for in a house, so this is either going to make Tim's job very easy or very difficult.  My guess would be the latter. Just for fun, here's the qualities we're looking for:

  • Minimum of a 2 car garage (shop would be awesome!)

  • A yard we have the right to fence in for a dog

  • A basement

  • Preferably ranch style, but not required

  • Easy access to a major bike trail

  • We're also thinking something that needs a little TLC (if the price is right) would be nice.  So we can customize it to our needs and wants

  • We're also looking further east than we are currently

We'll see what we end up with!

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Goodbye 2008

This has been an eventful year, here are the highlights:

  • Sadly, aside from moving from Fresno to Clovis, very few memorable events occurred from January through April

  • May was the month David moved out of Fresno

  • June saw:

    • My interviewing with and subsequently being hired by Pelco

    • My being fired from EFG

    • My turning 26 (ugh, on the closer side to 30)

  • July included:

    • Kim and I moving to Fort Collins, CO

    • Kim and I celebrating 3 years of marriage (during the move!)

    • Kim and I finally living in a place with a garage!

  • August was filled with exploration of our new town and settling into the new job

  • Kim started what became her new job in September

  • September also had a visit to the Sustainable Living Fair (see the gallery for pictures, category: friends.)

  • October Kim and I visited Estes Park (look in gallery->vacations for pictures).  This was momentous because it was our first vacation just the two of us since our honeymoon!

  • November was a fun-filled month of:

    • A visit to The Cave of the Winds

    • Traveling to Moab, UT for Thanksgiving

    • Beginning my hobby of homebrewing

  • December was our first christmas away from family, but we did spend it with new found friends

  • And finally we brought in the New Year at Sean's house, with 5 different meads, different beers, and pizza. It was fantastic

Overall it was a very exciting year. And with the new year I do have a couple of New Year's resolutions:

  1. I will blog a minimum of once a month with the intent of once a week.  The goal is to improve my ability to communicate effectively.   The subject of these blog entries will be self evaluation of goal progress and recaps of events.

  2. I will continue the weight loss activities I started in October.

  3. We will close on a house by June 1, 2009.

Happy 2009 everyone!!!