Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Weekend Recap

While I'm glad that we are done with our travel for the calendar year, that doesn't mean we've slowed down that much. Thursday and Friday, we hit the Opportunity Village Magical Forest and the Ethel M Cactus Garden with the Bowens. Keds has photos of the kids (including Jennifer who turns into a six-year old at places like this) that I'm sure she'll post on her blog later. Friday also brought the shock of the A's trading their ace Dan Haren to Arizona. I've learned over time to trust Billy Beane, but this one stings a little.

Saturday was an interesting day. It started off with some volunteer work with the John Edwards campaign. Initially they paired me up with a partner, and we were given a nice neighborhood in Green Valley to cavass - we each had one side of the street. From the start the dude wasn't thrilled since he lives in the "Northwest." Then he ran into his neighbor, who had a custom list printed for himself. Now mind you, it wasn't his own neighborhood, but it was closer. So he started angling to get out of it. My favorite line was "I signed up to be a precinct leader and I think I should get to know the people in my area." Ultimately I told him that I lived in Aliante and I was willing to head out to Green Valley. Right before they went over the logistics, he informed me that he was going with his neighbor. Fine - just hand your packet back in and see if they can't get anyone else. After our quick and dirty training, I told the trainer my partner flaked. He offered to go canvassing with me, but when we checked in with the desk, he did tell them he was going with his neighbor, but didn't hand his half of the packet in. So we got a new neighborhood - in the neighborhood of Owens and Pecos.

Needless to say, the neighborhood wasn't nearly as nice. And Ryan and I were totally out of place in the neighborhood. Of the folks that were home, about 75% with Latino and the adults didn't speak English. In addition, a representative from the Culinary Union was also canvassing the neighborhood. Probably the most interesting that happened was that I was chased off someone's front porch because a little girl answered the door when she shouldn't have. She then woke her mother that was sleeping. I exercised some bad judgment here, but if that's the worst thing that happened all day it really wasn't that bad.

After dropping Ryan back off at campaign HQ, I had some lunch and then met Keds who had picked my Mom's best friend Maureen up at the airport and they were at the Galleria, not too far from where I was. We had some more lunch, and then I headed home. Keds had a "Girls Night Out" Saturday night, and I just relaxed at home and then headed over to Mom and Dad's to visit with them and Maureen.

Sunday was a breakfast and football double feature. Dad and I watched the Bills play in the Blizzard Bowl in Cleveland while Keds made an awesome breakfast of French Toast and Brown Sugar Bacon. After watching the Bills game, and seeing the Dolphins get their first win of the year, Maureen and Keds arrived home from Home Depot and Maureen got to work hanging the Roman Shade she made for our kitchen window. It looks AWESOME. We then went to Binion's Ranch Steakhouse at Binion's downtown. So good. Our filet was so tender, you could cut it with a fork.

Monday, Paris turned 3. We had her birthday part last night.

And now we are in the full run-up for Christmas. Hal isn't coming in now, since he's hospitalized with pneumonia. We are seeing our friends Vegas Princess and Charming Wednesday and both Keds and I are looking forward to The Biggest Loser Finale tonight.

Have a great week!

Monday, December 10, 2007

A trip worth taking

First, I would like to announce that we are done traveling for the year! OK, so there are only three weekends left this year, it's still three weekends that we don't have to travel!

This past weekend, we traveled to Philadelphia to attend my little cousin's Bar Mitzvah. A quick family history lesson for those of you that may be confused. My oldest cousin on my Dad's side converted to Judaism so she could marry her now husband. It was her son's Bar Mitzvah that we were attending.

Along with this being the first time I was seeing most of my cousins in nearly 9 years, and not having seen my uncle in 5, it was also Keds' first time meeting my entire Dad's side of the family since none of them made it to the wedding. This was also Keds' first time dealing with the weather in the Northeast at this time of year. Add to this, a total of 11 hours of flying time with Mom and Dad set the weekend up with quite a bit of stress.

In the end, the weekend was a lot of fun. The weather mostly held up (but it was still pretty cold) and I was glad to see my cousins and they all took to Keds like I thought they would. TC did a fantastic job at services. The cantor had earlier told him his Hebrew was flawless and from what I could tell, he did extremely well. My cousins got a little choked up, as there was a lot of talk about their Mom this weekend. It's hard to believe she's been gone for nearly three years now.

So now we are back home and glad that we can focus on getting ready for Christmas.

No more travel in 2007!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

A goal achieved

I know you all must be sick of hearing this, but I hit a couple of milestones today. First, I officially last 20 pounds since I've started working out again. I'm stoked. I'm under 200 pounds and I'm not that far from my goal weight. The second goal that I accomplished was that I am under 25 percent body fat. Actually, I'm at 23.6% body fat - out of the unhealthy range for men and into the "Acceptable" range. Eventually, I would like to be in the "Fit" range.

All I can tell you right now, is that I am comfortably into size 36 pants and 34s are in sight!

They say nothing motivates like success, and they are certainly right!

We're off to LA this weekend, but it is mostly a social visit which is great. I'm looking forward to seeing our friends and Hal this weekend, sort of a pre-Hanukkah visit.

Have a great weekend!

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Thanksgiving Weekend Update

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving Weekend. Mine was pretty good.

We ended up with 11 people for Thanksgiving dinner. Unfortunately, Keds' Dad wasn't able to make it this year. His eye issues got the better of him and he wasn't comfortable making the 4.5 hour drive from LA. The dinner was awesome. The food was yummy, the mix of people was just right - everyone participated in some of the conversation.

Then we had a Thanksgiving redux with the Bowens. That was enjoyable. Keds and Jen went shopping while Casey and I chilled at their house and kept an eye on their kids.

Keds is nearly done with our Christmas shopping. I wish I could say the same. I haven't really even started shopping for her yet, but part of that is because I can't keep a secret and also can't resist giving her the gifts.

We started hanging the Christmas and Hanukkah decorations this weekend. The Menorah isn't quite right next to the Nativity set, but they are all up in the same house.

What Thanksgiving weekend wouldn't be complete without a little football. While I've blocked out last Sunday's debacle against New England, today's Jacksonville game was completely different. A 12-man on the field penalty that ends up sustaining a drive that leads to a touchdown, at least two interceptions that lead to six points? Come on. The Bills simply are not a playoff-caliber team right now. I like JP Losman and he is very athletic, but I am not sure he's a good fit for this team. Without a solid running game, there is no passing game. I just hope Marshawn Lynch is back next week against Washington. I'm just hoping we end the season at .500 or better.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Must Read

I think this article is a must-read for anyone living in the Las Vegas valley. It's written by Brian Greenspun, the editor of the Las Vegas Sun. He's one of my favorite columnists and this is something that I think everyone should read.

Read the article here.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Caucus!



Keds and I went to our Temporary Chair Caucus training on Saturday. At first, we were a little apprehensive - not because we don't want to volunteer, but because we weren't sure what to expect.
We showed up at Cashman Center a few minutes before 10 a.m. (which was amazing for us - we usually run late), and are told to park on top of the hill, but we had plenty of time to walk all the way down the hill nearly back out to Washington Ave. where the entrance to the meeting rooms are. We registered, got our name tags and headed into the main meeting room for the introduction.
After starting about 30 minutes late, we got into the meat of the training. The cool thing about the caucus process is that you have the opportunity to support your own candidate, and the fact that delegates are apportioned according to what percent of folks in that precinct support that candidate. The other really cool thing about this, is that it is entirely local. The people in the caucus are those people that live in your election precinct - your neighbors.
My biggest concern though, in this notoriously apathetic state, is that turnout will be poor. The Republicans are having their caucus the same day, so my recommendation is that everyone who is registered with either one of the two main political parties block out January 19th. The total amount of time is less than two hours of your Saturday, and it will keep your home state from being a national political laughing stock. Plus, given the closeness of races in Iowa and New Hampshire, we have a unique opportunity to help shape the presidential race!

Friday, November 16, 2007

Friday Thoughts

A couple of thoughts as we wind down the week:


  1. Keds is in LA today to kick the contractor in the backside. Well, hopefully kick him. I'm a little disappointed that it's not done and this guy didn't call us to discuss any delays. I feel like we were taken advantage of.

  2. Missed the meeting with Councilwoman Smith. I got my dates screwed up. Oh well. We managed to walk to and from the elementary school, so we got some cardio in for the evening!

  3. Has anyone tried the Sugar-Free Gingerbread Lattes at Starbucks? OMG! So good. I was wondering how I was going to make it through the holiday season abstaining from these yummy treats. Now I don't have to!

  4. Keds and I watched most of the Democratic debate last night. While the candidates inability to answer yes/no questions was annoying, CNN's blatant desire to illicit soundbites was even more maddening. All in all, though, we enjoyed the debate.

  5. Thanksgiving is nearly hear. Keds finished up the bulk of the shopping for the holiday meal yesterday. She just needs to get the fresh veggies early next week.

  6. Tomorrow, Keds and I are off to Caucus training at Cashman Center. It should be interesting. We'll let you know how it goes.

That's it for now. Enjoy your weekend!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

This was a new one

As someone who has been bad in paying bills on time in the past, I'm no stranger to collections calls. Thankfully, this only happens on the extremely rare occasion that I completely space a bill (like the credit card I never use, but turns out has an annual fee). However, today was something completely different.

I got a phone call from an auto finance place. At first gearing up for a sales call, turns out they are looking for a neighbor of mine whom I don't know personally. This was a first. At least it wasn't for me.

Second, while I don't currently support the Hillary Rodham Clinton candidacy, I think this lunacy about whether or not her campaign planted questions in the crowd is just that - lunacy. Of course they did it. And of course all the other campaigns are doing it. She just got caught. It's no different than making sure hecklers aren't within 100 yards of a camera when a major political figure is speaking. It's the same thing - control the situation. I hate stupid process stories. This is why I am starting to boycott 24 hour news channels

Monday, November 12, 2007

Happy Monday!

I hope everyone out there in blogland had a great weekend. I had a pretty decent one.

Friday started out well. We had dinner and went to Williams-Sonoma with our good friend Jennifer and her two kids to get some things for the house/Thanksgiving. We were hoping to run into a another friend of Jennifer's there, but she wasn't working. Since Jen rarely gets down there, we checked out Gap and Pottery Barn kids. The prices in there were a really good form of birth control, let me tell you.

Saturday was a lot of shopping. We spent 5.5 hours at the mall, mostly shopping for Keds. Since she has lost over 45 pounds and has dropped two sizes, she needs some new clothes. Plus, since we are going to my little cousin's Bar Mitzvah in early December, she needs a pretty new dress in her new size! She's meeting my Dad's entire side of the family, since none of them made it out for the wedding, so she understandably wants to look awesome, which I know she will.

Saturday night, we gambled a little waiting for a table at Cabo, one of our favorite restaurants. The food was awesome as usual, but the service was LOUSY. Our drinks sat empty for a good 20 minutes. He never checked on us, and it's like he disappeared for another 20 minutes when we were ready to go. It was so bad, I was able to convince Keds to ding his tip. She normally starts at 20% and goes up from there. I believe a tip is for good service. You meet my expectations, you get 15%. If you exceed, it goes up with 20%, depending on how impressed I am. But that's me. I'm interested in hearing other thoughts on tipping, to know if I'm just plain cheap or not. After dinner, as we were in line for our 7x points multiplier, we saw Loraloo and her husband, which was awesome, if not unexpected. We visited for like 20 minutes, until the smoke in the casino was really starting to get to me. Normally, I can stomach smoke for a while and only detest it after I leave, but since I'm still getting over this upper respiratory thing, it wasn't good.

Sunday was pretty mellow. Watch my Bills play an ugly game, but come out on top 13-10 over the still winless Miami Dolphins. That made me happy. In the past, they would have rolled over and lost, but the team continued to battle. My only complaint was that DirecTV changed the HD feed to Baltimore-Cincy game, as Dad and I watch the Bills win in *gasp* regular resolution. Oh well. We still won. In the afternoon, Keds and I worked in the kitchen getting things organized in the pantry and moved all of the bar items out of the kitchen cabinets and, well, into a bar. Keds was thrilled to have the cabinet space back, and the casita is becoming more and more complete!

We ran out to Bed, Bath and Beyond to get some shelf thingys for the pantry, and our our way back, we say Cubby and Amanda on their way back from church. Since we hadn't seen them in over a year, we decided to tail them. Well, we were a little slow, and when we got to their house, we assumed they were already inside. We knocked on the door and rang the bell, to no avail. However, on our way back home, we saw them stopped a cookie and lemonade stand, so we stopped and chatted for like a half an hour. They also told us we need more pictures on our blogs, so we'll take that under advisement.

After that, I was off to 4 p.m. Mass. I prefer going either Saturday night or Sunday morning, but this worked out OK. I missed half of the gospel reading because our priest is from Sri Lanka and his MTI is pretty strong, but his homily filled in the gaps. Dinner was soup and grilled cheese, which was perfect, and then we settled in to watch some TV with the fireplace going.

All in all, a pretty busy weekend, but enough fun built in so that it wasn't uber-crazy. This week promises to be busy with dinner guests Tuesday and Wednesday, a thing with our NLV Councilwoman on Thursday (thinking up what questions I can ask), Caucus training Saturday Morning and then having friends over for UFC on Saturday night. Oh, and most of our remaining new furniture should be in this week too!

I'm sure I'll post more later in the week. Sorry for the long one today!

Friday, November 09, 2007

Being Sick Sucks

I've spent the majority of this week either fighting off something or being downright sick. It started last week with what felt like an ear infection. So I did the proactive thing and called my doctor. He sent me on my way with antibiotics and all the other fun things you get with an upper respiratory infection. I thought I was starting to feel better when suddenly I wasn't. Basically, I came down with a cold. I nearly passed out at the gym on Tuesday, and that's when I finally gave in to being sick and decided to take it easy.

I'm feeling much, much better now. Keds took great care of me making Chicken Soup and making sure I had plenty of tea with honey.

In other news, I'm loading all my CDs into iTunes. It's not that exciting of a project. Actually, rather tedious, but this way we'll be able to put the CDs into storage.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Life Update 24 October 2007

I sort of stole the concept for the title from Martin, but reformated it so it wouldn't be quite so obvious.

Lots of stuff has been going on lately, namely:
  • Monday was our one-year wedding anniversary. I can't believe Keds and I have been married for a full year. It seems like just yesterday we were walking down the aisle at Emerald Gardens.
  • Oh wait. It was just two days ago that we walked down the aisle at Emerald Gardens. To celebrate our anniversary, she arranged dinner under the gazebo at Emerald Gardens. Tres Romantique!
  • I'm still looking for a new job. It's a lot of hurry up and wait, and you really can't take rejection that personally. What makes it more difficult is that I am looking to either stay in Vegas or work remotely. I'm sure I could have a new job in like 10 seconds if I was willing to move.
  • I finally decided on which iPod I want - the 16GB iPod Touch. It's got a good mix of what I'm looking for.
  • I'm down about 10 pounds, which is uber-exciting. I can't wait to get below 200, and from there shoot for 180. I've already had to start wearing a belt again, as my pants were starting to be a little on the loose side.
  • I am trying to cut down on the amount of TV I watch. If I can keep it to an hour of prime time a day, I'll be happy.
  • Although, we did watch The Biggest Loser last night and were absolutely shocked that 1. Neil threw the weigh in and 2. They didn't vote him out. With gaining 17 pounds, you know he'll have a monster loss next week, you would have thought the other teams would have had no choice. Poor Jez... I'm also a little annoyed that they threw that Survivor game play element in there.

That's it for now. No major new furniture deliveries, the rest should all be delivered by Thanksgiving.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

It's all coming together

While I'll let Keds go into more detail about what's going on with our redecorating, it's really exciting to me that everything is coming together. Our house is looking more and more like a home. Coordinated furniture and a color scheme that is contemporary, versus say something that my grandparents would have had.

Keds and I are continuing to lose weight, but in a methodical manner that will hopefully ensure that it stays off. The increased physical activity is welcome and we are enjoying the spectacular fall weather.

Nothing says fall to me like Football and the World Series. Unfortunately, the Tribe took an unceremonious beating by the Red Sox in Game 1 of the ALCS, but that's why they play seven games. I'm not a huge Cleveland fan, but I like to root for the underdog, so Go Tribe! On the National League side, the Rockies took a 2 games to none lead over Arizona on a bases-loaded walk in the 11th inning. Since we saw the Rockies play in Denver this year, we are rooting for them to make it to the World Series.

Go Bills! That's all I have to say. But how cool is it that at almost any point on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon you can flip on the TV and find football on? We are going to the UNLV game this afternoon with some friends and their family/friends, but it should be a good time. I'm not emotionally invested in either team, which will keep me from drawing ire from the group we are going with (they are ALL BYU fans), so I'll probably just end up wearing my Canisius sweatshirt or something.

With the change in temperature, also comes election season. I'm fortunate that there enough informed people in my life that we can intelligently discuss politics without animosity. What astounds me the most about elections though, is how uninformed the general public is. There is an old adage that all politics are local, but if that's the case why can most people name the president of the US, who probably has the least impact on their daily lives, but most cannot name their State Assemblyman or Senator?

Anyway, have a great weekend. I'm off for a walk or something.

Monday, October 08, 2007

The first step is admitting you have a problem.

My name is Ken, and I am a Buffalo sports fan.

There. I've admitted it. Too bad there isn't a 12-step program for people like me. I realized I had a problem as I spoke to the television and let out a string of curses tonight as Dallas kicked a game-winning field goal as time ticked off the clock. Don't get me wrong, the Bills played a great game, keeping the Cowboys off balance and weren't embarrassed on national TV. But a bad interception in the closing minutes along with a failure to recover an onside kick cost them the game.

I will admit that I got really sick of Tony Kornheiser saying how bad things have gotten with the Bills and blah blah blah blah blah. You know what? Everyone knows the Bills were a pre-eminent franchise 15 years ago, but that was then, this is now. These things go in cycles. I just wish our cycle would come back around.

Until then, wish Keds and our pets the best. It's going to be a longggg season. I try not to throw things at the TV.

At least the Yankees lost tonight. I'm now rooting for a Colorado-Cleveland World Series. Seeing the Red Sox make it would be un-American, but thank God we don't have to suffer through another Yankees/Red Sox ALCS.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

We've been bugged!

In our quest to drop our unwanted pounds, Keds and I are both working with personal trainers. We found out that the bodybugg was on sale this week. If you watch the Biggest Loser on TV, you'll see the contestants wearing these armbands. That's what this is. The price was TOO GOOD to pass up, so we picked one for each of us.

So here's what it looks like. We are both wearing them constantly, even when we sleep. We then upload our calories burned up to the bodybugg website it gives you a little graph. It's pretty freaking cool.

We are both enjoying our sessions with our trainers. I was in quite a bit of pain over the weekend, but a good soreness. Keds had her first true workout with her trainer to day and she loved it! We are both committed and we are tracking our calorie intake. It's amazing how you adjust your diet once you start tracking how much you eat.

This weekend will be rough. We are off to LA this weekend and activity will be hard to come by. We'll just have to be uber-careful with our menu options this weekend and I'm sure we'll be fine.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Walking is harder than you think

OK. So I had my first "real" training session on Friday. You would have thought I hadn't lifted weight in two years the way I feel and today is Sunday! The first couple of steps are the worst, and today my abs are feeling it. I didn't want to stand up straight, now did I?

Truthfully, it felt good. Plus, Keds and I are going on regular bike rides, so those are fun. Look out Teri! We'll be riding on over in no time! The nutrition plan is going OK. Logging my food is a PITA, but it's a good pain. Keeps me honest.

Weekend is going well. Most of our new furniture is in, we are slated to have our respective offices painted this week and can't wait for the rest of the furniture to come in! Jo and Steve were in town from LA, and it was good to visit with them as well.

Today is a little bitter-sweet. My Bills finally won! 17-14 over the Jets. It was a tense final three minutes, but they pulled it off. Bring on the Cowboys! Sure, they are 4-0 and just blasted the Rams, but they are coming into OUR house. I did catch a little of the Cowboy game today, and it looks like Wade Phillips is finally wearing a headset and washed his sweatshirt. I didn't notice a mustard stain, but it was early in the game.

Today is also the last day of the baseball regular season, while I love the playoffs and World Series, my beloved Oakland A's will not be a part of the post-season. They won't even finish at .500, but hopefully they'll start loosening the purse strings this off-season as they get closer to opening their new ballpark.

Tonight, we are off to Jennifer's to have dinner with her and her kids (and maybe her sister in law). We enjoy our time over there and the kids are a hoot!

Have a great week! I'm getting opinionated, so there may be some other posts during the week so keep an eye out for those.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Back in the Saddle

Well sports fans, if you haven't picked it up from Keds' blog, we are making a full-court press to get back into shape and drop a few pounds. About 4 years ago I had great success with personal training at 24 Hour Fitness. My initial trainer was a flake, but I got serious and became religious about following the meal plan and exercising regularly. My goal is to repeat the same thing this time, only keep the weight off. My initial goal is to get under 200 pounds. From there, I want to get back down to around 180-185. That's a good range for me.

They've changed a couple of things since the last time I used their training. Their nutrition program is entirely online now. Makes keeping track of the food you eat a lot easier. Plus, if you are logging it, you are conscious of what you are eating. We start the weight training piece tomorrow. We are starting with legs, which I hate. I'm expecting to not be able to walk much on Saturday or Sunday.

Add the new bikes that we've got, and I'm hoping to drop some serious weight in no time!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Wait for it...

So last night's HIMYM season premiere was a bit monotonous. The obligatory "Ted and Robin's breakup isn't going to be as smooth as they made it look" episode. Don't get me wrong - I'm glad they didn't have a horrible breakup and I'm sure there are going to be some additional pratfalls this season, but as Lora mentioned in her blog, I'm guess we get to meet "Your Mother" this season.

But just when I was about to write off the episode for being somewhat predictable, came the last bit as the credits were going to run. Slap Countdown. Barney's look of utter horror nearly knocked me off the couch I was laughing so hard...

As premieres come out this week and next, it will be interesting to see what else sticks this week. I've got Bionic Woman, Private Practice and Cane as potential new shows to get into. We'll see what sticks.

Friday, September 21, 2007

A Friday Morning Rant

We were talking to our friend Jennifer the other night. They are now trying to sell or rent out a lovely 2800 sq ft house about a mile from their current residence. To a certain extent, she's not thrilled with the idea of selling it. They originally had the house built to be their primary residence, but then came across their current house with a ton of land and really decent price. So they rented their original house out.

Fast forward two years. Their ARM was getting ready to adjust, as many are right now. However to refinance now would mean to refinance at an Investor Home interest rate, which is higher than a primary residence. Their renters moved out, and they decided to sell instead. They priced it under market value and have not really gotten much traffic. So now they are looking to rent it and which ever happens first, they'll go that route.

She was showing the house to some prospective renters the other night. They are people who are in the process of letting their home go into foreclosure. Their reason is that they "got caught up in the ARM Scam."

WHAT? ARM Scam? Adjustable Rate Mortgages are great products if used right. They can help people get into houses quicker, rebuild their credit and then refinance. Lenders are required to provide you a truth in lending statement that highlights what your payment would be after the rate adjusts. You are required to initial these documents when you receive a Good Faith Estimate. You are shown these documents when you go to the Title Company when you sign all of your documents to purchase your house.

I hate the fact that people are not taking responsibility for their own actions and taking steps to remedy the situation before it gets to foreclosure. Call your lender and see what terms can be worked out. If your lender can't help you, call around and see what other options are available. Are there bad lenders out there? Yep. You need to be careful. But also make sure you are actually reading the documents you are signing and ask questions if you don't understand.

OK. Rant over.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

A life too short

I think I'm still in shock. It can't possibly be true. He was a pain in the ass and a little bit of a drunk, but he can't possibly be gone. But he is. I spoke to his mother. She confirmed it. Tom Newman, of my best friends, a groomsman in my wedding and someone who was there in the beginning of mine and Keds' relationship passed away on Friday.

I knew that Tom wasn't doing well. His last e-mail 10 weeks ago indicated as much. He had double hip replacement about a year and a half ago, but then told me he had both of his shoulders replaced and was looking at knee replacement as well. I knew the Bionic Woman was coming back, but not the Six Million Dollar Man. I've made attempts since then to get in touch with him. Pings through Google Talk, e-mails, phone calls and text messages. Hell - Keds and I were just talking about him this afternoon. I missed him so much, but it hurt that he wasn't responding.

It started off as rumor. An e-mail from someone to someone who called Keyser who called me. Since I was in Costco at the time, I couldn't really check but then I decided to call his cell phone and his Mom answered. How horrible is that? To ask a mother if it's true her baby boy is no longer with us. I can't imagine how besides themselves his parents must be. To lose a son at 32 is inconsolable. No word on funeral arrangements yet and they still aren't really sure what happened. But she did mention that he didn't communicate much - he was still in that much pain.

I know that Tom would not want us to grieve for him (OK, maybe a little grieving). He'd rather we all drink a shot of Crown Royal at the Skyline Casino and celebrate life.

Tommy...I miss you and love you. You were like a brother to me. I still can't believe he's gone...

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Which one?

I'm torn. Seriously torn. When I got my new phone in September of last year, one of the reasons I got it was because it came bundled with iTunes, but with a 100 song limit, regardless of the size of the SD Card in the phone itself. While I'm not really close to butting up against that limit, the idea of the really low limit is frustrating for me.

So enter Apple. Fresh with the release of the new line of iPods and the iPhone, I'm really really torn. Part of me wants the iPhone, if only because it looks really cool and I like the idea of having one device for both phone calls and as my MP3 player. With the recent price cut, they are even more affordable. But, they only come with 8GB of memory and the idea of having to use a touchscreen to type makes me a little nervous. However, the iTunes Wi-Fi store also looks pretty cool.

But then there are the regular old iPods. The iPod Touch is basically an iPhone without the phone, and is priced accordingly and still has all the web-surfing features that I love about the iPhone, you just need to be in a wi-fi area. The new iPod Nano looks pretty cool. It's a fraction of the price of the iPhone or iPod Touch, and does what I need it to. Then, there's the good old iPod Classic. It has more capacity than I would ever need and would probably work just fine.

So which one should I add to my Christmas list?

Monday, September 10, 2007

We aren't in Kansas anymore

Well, Keds and I are back from the Emerald City. Noooo....not Oz, but Seattle. Originally intended as a trip to mix a little business with pleasure, things changed about mid-week. My business meeting was canceled, but Keds and I still ended up going to visit Janell and George.

Keds went into some of the finer details about the weekend, but my big thing was the purchase of my new laptop. With my current job situation and my only real PC my work laptop, I am goign to need something else. So Saturday, while Janell and Amy were at Janell's stamping party, we went PC shopping. After visiting Costco and a local computer shop, we ended up at Circuit City. They had a nice HP 17" laptop with 200GB of hard drive space and 2GB of RAM, with dedicated video RAM. Pretty sweet machine, at a pretty sweet price. After going back to George and Janell's, talking to Keds about it and comparing against HP and Dell direct prices it was decided this was the way to go. So I hopped onto Circuit City's website and bought it, selecting in-store pickup at the store closest to my house. I got it up and running last night and it's pretty sweet.

All in all it was a good trip, but it's good to be home - for a couple of days at least. We are off to LA this weekend for Rosh Hoshana and to check on the house. It should be almost finished, which is exciting.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Licking my wounds

I usually don't complain and I typically don't like to feel sorry for myself, but right about now I can't help it. One of my accounts is in pretty dire condition. Some issues are of my own doing, most are not. They are operational issues like making sure we have enough agents hired to handle incoming call volume, making sure the agents that are handling calls are achieving their performance metrics and processes aren't being followed. Where I've been falling down is asking the operations team hard questions and keeping an audit trail.

So now this troubled account is being taken off of my plate - which is something my boss and I have talked about - but the positioning will most likely be that I am being made to be the scapegoat and that sucks. I am always one to admit to my mistakes. But instead of the operations team needing to take the drastic action, I feel like my boss is making the dramatic gesture at my expense.

Don't get me wrong - I love getting to work out of the house and it gives me a lot of freedom. But I think it may be time to re-evaluate things.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

A clear day

Today is one of those clear days in the Las Vegas Valley. You know - you look out your window and can actually see the mountains. I hate those days that it is so hazy that you can't see the mountains. All that particulate matter in the air just can't be healthy...

Monday, August 27, 2007

Rainy Monday

Today is one of those rare rainy days in Vegas. A two hour thunderstorm last night was pleasant. I'm surprised the dogs didn't go completely crazy during the storm itself. Poor Thorndyke had to go out and he won't go in the rain.

Weekend was a little crazy. Friday was a great double-date with our new friends Mike and Kara. Dinner at the Elephant Bar and then we saw Superbad. So funny. It wasn't on our list to see, and not sure if it was worth the $10 a ticket, but we enjoyed ourselves. Plus, it gave us the ability to visit Green Valley Ranch, one of our favorite locals casinos.

Saturday, Keds and I slept in until 9 a.m.! That's huge for us. So relaxing. We started looking at new office furniture for both of us. We are definitely going to use the Ethan Allen Design Service - especially to put some sort of theme to the casita. Dad and I were able to hang two of three kitchen valences which make the room look a little softer, a little more finished. Saturday night was UFC at Lloyd and Teri's.

Sunday, we were out of the house early and were able to run a few errands and pay a visit to the new Best Buy that opened up around the corner. That'll be dangerous. My Mom, Lora and Madison came over, and we spent a nice afternoon in our pool. Madison was extremely cute and definitely didn't want to get out of the pool. If you'd like a more in-depth recap, check out Lora's blog here. We closed out the evening with our neighbors the Bowens. It was a little bit of a cluster - Casey ended up writing a contract for a new home and Jennifer got tied up showing their rental property. If you know anyone looking for a new home in the Aliante area, it's a great house. It wasn't built as a rental, and since they both worked for Pulte when it was built, there are some nice custom features. We ended up having a nice evening, even if it was a bit rushed.

So here we are on Monday. The skies are clearing. Keds is off to LA tomorrow and Wednesday to finish up some stuff on her Mom's house and then we are looking ahead to our Interior Design appointment on Thursday and straight into Labor Day weekend!

PS - Someone is back in blog-land. Click here to find out who!

Friday, August 24, 2007

Friday Findings

So I just got back from seeing my doctor. I love my doctor. Uber-thorough and someone who clearly keeps tabs on his patients. Because of two meds that I am on, I need to go in 3 times a year so he can check liver and kidney function. It only sort of sucks because I have to fast ahead of the appointment. Keds is doctor shopping since she'll have to stop seeing her SMA "Dial a Doctor" when she finally comes off Cobra.

So today, we truck down to his office at Vegas Valley and Maryland Pkwy. My appointment was at 10:30. I got called back around 10:45 or so. He comes in around 11 a.m. and then sees me (I was the first patient of the day). I go to the nurse to schedule my annual in four months. I ask about blood work and she said the lab is closed! So I fasted and schlepped down to Sunrise Hospital for no apparent reason! Oh well...at least my annual got scheduled.

In other news, I got my second replacement American Express card in a month. All because of two stupid airline tickets that someone in Jamaica booked. These aren't mine to pay, and I wish that the Customer Service agents would have told me to submit this as fraud versus a dispute. I could have saved a lot of time and aggravation. Besides, it's like $1000 on that card.

Another weekend home. That's exciting. My Dad and I are going to install the valences Maureen made for us a few months ago.

We bought new living room furniture this week. We debated between good quality/pay a little more or less expensive, but maybe some cool features.

We ended up (don't laugh) buying Ethan Allen. It wasn't that much more expensive than RC Willey or Wickes Furniture (we won't buy from Walker again), and it looked substantially better made. Plus, you get their design consultant service for FREE! That's so freakin' awesome. She came out, brought samples of each of the lines we were looking at, measured the room and the pieces that are staying and will put together a floor plan for our review. She even measured out the casita so that we can put that room together as well. I only agreed to get the furniture begrudgingly, but I see the need. Now that we have committed, I'm looking forward to having it come in!

Sunday, we have Lora and Madison coming over to go swimming that should be fun!

Monday, August 20, 2007

Still seepy

I hate my job. And my animals. Not really, but both kept me from sleeping in this weekend. On Saturday, it was my job. My phone rang around 7 a.m. (after a lovely wrong number at 6:30 a.m.) to let me know phone lines were down. After making a bunch of phone calls, the issue was resolved. But the damage was done. Keds and I were up.

On Sunday, it was the bloody dogs. Keds is getting better at telling Thorndyke no, because letting him out is a waste of time if Rosebud doesn't have to go out. But he gets all yippy and barky.

Other than this, it was an OK weekend. Helped Teri in her classroom, did a LOT of furniture shopping and had dinner with my folks last night. The weekend didn't turn out the way we want, but it was OK.

It was just hard this weekend. It's hard to believe it's been a year of the events of a year ago August. Keds definitely was struggling with it for most of the weekend. She will always miss her Mom, but it's just a matter of can she move on. I think she's getting there. I just wish I could fix things for her...

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

I survived

I know - I'm a big wuss. I've put off going to the dentist since 1995. I went briefly in 2005 for a cleaning, but that dentist had me getting like 8 fillings or something insane and was charging me an arm and a leg. I chickened out and never got them taken care of.

Even this year, Keds (who rumor has it may be blogging again soon - she's redone her formatting) made me an appointment that I had rescheduled not once but three times. They only found 3 cavities - all on the same side of my mouth. But cavities mean the drill. Drilling teeth hurt - and I don't trust Novocaine. But given that Newman had to endure a double hip replacement with nothing more than a local, I figured I could suck it up and survive it.

We got there, I was led back to the impending chair-o-doom. Clearly nervous the hygienist tried her best to assure me things would be OK. Then the dentist came in and tried to reassure me. What I will say about the dentist in Green Valley was at least he had TV screens to entertain me. First, the initial numbing gel. After a little bit came the Novocaine. My bottom gums didn't feel too numb when he came back to check on me, so he gave me a little more. Then came the drilling. After a few minutes, Keds came back to check on me and she stayed the rest of the time.
I think I was in the chair for less than an hour, and I survived. I'm not going to let this go on too long again. I can't freakin' stand the dentist.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Showtime Rules!

One of our favorite shows is back! Weeds' season premiere was last night on Showtime and boy was it a hoot and a half! For those of you that have never seen it, it's about a suburban LA widow (Mary-Louise Parker) who needs to find a way to support herself and her two kids following her husband's sudden death. So to support herself, she turns her side job selling, well, weed, into her full time gig. With her mooching brother in law, her accountant (Kevin Nealon) and her freinemy Celia (Elizabeth Perkins), it is just one of our very favorite shows.

When we last left our heroine Nancy (Parker), she was staring down about half a dozen guns (and not small ones at that), her FBI Agent "husband of convenience" had just been killed by a bunch of angry Armenians, her eldest was on the verge of being arrested and her youngest had run off with Uncle Andy's girlfriend. But she was still able to hold on to her cell phone and Diet Coke.

I won't go into a plot summary (you can find a good one on TVGuide.com this morning), but we'll see as the various plot elements from last season are coming together we'll see how they effect the direction of this season.

We also watched the premiere of Californication. David Duchovny in his first series-starring gig post-X-Files. We are going to reserve judgment on this one. His character is a little too morally depraved for Keds' taste I think. He's clearing trying to replace his ex-girlfriend with a series of clearly loose women in Hollywood. I'll give it four episodes before deciding if it stays on DVR or not.

But seriously, check out Weeds. It's good stuff (pun intended).

Monday, August 13, 2007

Weekend Update

Ahhhh....The first of at least two weekends at home. We'll chalk it up to an adjustment weekend. We got some shopping done for me and Keds helped Teri build up her work wardrobe. Saturday night we had dinner at one of our favorite restaurants. Paymon's Mediterranean Restaurant on Sahara. Sunday was a relaxing day with church, breakfast with the folks, some quality pool time and dinner with friends.

Don't get me wrong, it wasn't all peaches and cream this weekend. The biggest struggle that Keds and I are going to face in her transition into "sabbatical" is that her expectations of the weekend and my expectation of the weekend are going to have undergo some serious discussion. I'm sure we'll work through it, it just isn't something we even thought would be an issue.

This is going to be a tough week, for reasons many of your should know. We'll get through it, but I'm sure there will be plenty of tears along the way.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

What am I packing for?

Here it is Thursday, and we aren't going anywhere this weekend or next. Quite the foreign concept. You mean we are actually be in town this weekend? Whatever will we do with ourselves? Part of me just wants to stay home and do nothing. The other part says we should do something fun and get out of the house.

I know something for sure - I am going to log some serious pool time this weekend.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Relaxing Weekend

What a great weekend we had. First, thanks to Mike and Kyria for planning out an awesomely relaxing weekend. Some things I learned this weekend - the worlds largest living organism is the Aspen Grove in Sylvan Lake State Park in Eagle, Colorado. Second, gelatinous cheddar cheese sauce is really scary. Third, never buy an unsalted pretzel for anyone unless they explicitly request it.

All kidding aside, it was a great weekend. Saturday was appropriately lazy and Sunday wasn't bad either. Keds and I got to spend some time with my best friend and his family. It was a great weekend. The Rockies are absolutely beautiful. Very green and it was the perfect escape from the Vegas heat.

Too bad we forgot the camera...

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Today

Today must be "vendor day." The landscapers were here this morning, the pool guy is here right now and the housekeeper will be here later. All in all, I can't complain. They all do a decent job, it's just going to drive the dogs absolutely nuts.

Oh well. They'll survive.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Home Again

If only for a few days. LA was good, accomplished enough to set up our next trip. Keds needs to go to Home Depot and Lowe's this week to start shopping for some of the items for the renovations. I'm think that could be the last LA trip for quite some time, at least another month or so.

This weekend, we are off to Colorado to visit Mike and Kyria! I'm so excited. I am currently planning on taking 1/2 day on Friday and all day Monday off, but I may shift that off day until the end of the week so we can spend an extra day in LA and get some work done.

We will see how Keds' and I adjust to her being off of work now. I don't foresee too many bumps, but I'm guessing there will be some.

I'll bring back pictures from Colorado.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

I know it's been a while

Sorry friends out there in blog-land. I know it's been a while since I posted. Part of it has been that I've been so busy at work these last few weeks that I can't steal time out of my work day to blog anymore. Also, I've been waiting for Keds to blog. We've been spending so much time together lately, and have so many shared experiences that I wanted to leave her something to blog about. Well, that strategy has clearly backfired, so here I am.

We are headed back to LA this weekend, however the trips are definitely winding down. As far as we know, the estate sale was successful in that everything but a few pieces of furniture sold. The goal this weekend is to inspect the house and start shopping for the remodel.

Work has been absolutely nuts lately. I'm in back to back to back meetings constantly, which I hate. I am not getting any work done because I'm too busy being on the phone!

I am still locked in mortal combat with Sears. I know it sounds strange, but I am. A long time ago I was a slacker when it came to paying my bills on time. However, I've corrected my bad habits. When Keds and I moved into our new house, we needed appliances. I sold my appliances with my old house, and Keds left hers for the renters. So I applied for a Sears card, since they area always running some sort of deferred payment incentive. And what do you know - they were. Twelve months no payments, no interest. Perfect.

Since we weren't in the new house yet, and my legal address was still my house in Henderson, I used that address. I didn't see a statement for months. But again, I didn't think much of this, since nothing should have been due. Fast forward to November. We are a nearly married couple - just back from our honeymoon. I'm in India, and my wife tells me that MY PARENTS got a call from a collection agency saying that I have an account past due. Keds buys time until I get back. I talk to a rep, and the amounts are different. So I dispute the charge.

Fast forward again to January. The collection agency says that Sears said the charges are valid and that I need to pay nearly $1500 (the original bill was about $1100) otherwise the account will be charged off. I had the money and paid the full amount so that it showed paid in full and didn't get Charged Off. However, in looking at the documentation they sent me, I was charged for a Payment Protection Plan. I NEVER sign up for those. So I start calling around at Sears.

Surprise, surprise - it comes back that I never signed up for this service. It wasn't showing up on my credit report yet, so I didn't sweat it. However, in May I received word that it was showing up on my credit report (gotta love credit monitoring programs). I launch into dispute mode. I assembled my documentation and the appropriately firm letter and sent it to Sears in "The Lakes, NV." For those of you who don't know, that's still Las Vegas, but Citibank didn't want their bills coming/going from a Las Vegas address. I paid to send it certified mail with return receipt and sent a second first class packet with the same information with a "Certificate of Mailing." Thirty days go by and nothing. So today, I send two more packets, with an even more firm letter this time. We'll see what happens.

Wish me luck!

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Ma and Pa

It's been a while since I've posted about my folks. It's hard to believe that two years ago, they had sold their house and were getting ready to drive cross-country to the desert Southwest. It's definitely been an adjustment, both for me and for them. They've settled into their new home, which is much smaller than the one they left in Buffalo. Mom's gotten herself a job, I've had to adjust to having them much, much closer and with that comes added some additional stress on my life.

I often look at them and wonder how they have made it through 35 years of marriage. My Mom is so outgoing and pleasant. My Dad likes to sit on the couch and watch TV with his can of beer. But, they've made it work and I can't really fault them for that. They epic control battles are humorous, though.

Here's an example - they "agreed" when they moved here they would only have 1 car. For the first few months they lived here, it worked OK. Her job was a couple of days a week, and she was home by about 6-6:30 on those days she did work. However, that one didn't work out. Next thing you know, she takes a job at the Galleria Mall, which is clear on the other side of town, and her hours are not nearly as regular.

So now, Dad is truly trapped at home on the days Mom works. He wants some mobility. OK, so it's he can go to the bar, drink some beer and play some video poker. He keeps threatening to go buy a car. Mom, for her part sticks to her story of their agreement and that when Mom was a "stay at home" Mom, we only had one car.

Oh the beauties of marriage...

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Denis

I've known Denis now for 14 years or so. He's one of my closest friends from college. He is one of those folks that always seems to have way too much time on his hands, even when he has a lot of work to do. Take the night before his senior thesis was due - he was about 5 or pages into a 55-60 page paper that he hadn't even really started researching yet. But still, he wanted to go to Denny's for dinner. That's just how Denis is.

Denis is definitely "wacky." In school, he used to tell us stories of his grandmother back in Ireland that had Alzheimer's. You couldn't help but laugh. The 6-day trip to London with her dead husband to see what race their great-grandchild was, yelling at the Bishop for ruining her tarts and the stories went on. And don't get me started on the Baby Shower card he went to sign when he had no clue what to say. Let's just say it took on a life of it's own.

Denis finally left Buffalo at the age of 34. To move to Hays, Kansas to be the Headmaster of the local Catholic prep school. Yep. Quite literally the middle of no where. The most exciting thing is that you can go to the world's largest ball of twine. If you don't believe me, check this out. It weighs about 9 tons. Talk about someone that just can't get a break.

I tell you about Denis because he is a true character and a good guy. Maybe all of you out there in blog-land can find other interesting things for him to do in Kansas.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Evil Bill Update

Just wanted to update everyone on the Evil Bill situation.

On Friday I was speaking with Bill and we were having a perfectly nice conversation, covering both business and personal topics. I was telling him that we should have the remaining docs by Monday and will FedEx or fax them. Then, I mentioned that we were still going to shop the mortgage. That's when things went south, FAST.

I didn't get a chance to say that we were only going to check with banks/direct lenders, when he said "then I respectfully decline to be a part of this process." To summarize the rest of the conversation he felt that he was going to have to put too much time and effort on this loan and they run an honest business blah blah blah. "I am offended that based on my relationship with Keds that you would shop this." And some more blah blah blah. I didn't mention that his previous meddling had cost us $1400 and that as a family friend they should be willing to do this for minimal to no profit. That would not have accomplished anything.

So I fill Keds in. She starts to freak out. We really didn't mean to piss Bill off, but Keds called this one. We figured Bill would run and call my Mother in Law's attorney (BTW - MIL never used Bill for refinances either) because that's the usual path. I decided the best defense is a good offense, so I got to the attorney first. He was speechless. Had no idea what to say and should Bill call would do what he could to put Bill in his place.

So, I got in touch with a loan officer I had previously worked with and she is just awesome. Keds spent some time talking to her and said that it was completely different - no lectures and she genuinely wanted our business. She pulled Keds' credit, and was willing to provide the credit report to Keds so she didn't take too many unnecessary hits on her credit report. She had the perfect product for the right rate, but it was going to be iffy at best to get this done.

So it's getting late in the day on a Friday. We hadn't heard. I was getting nervous. About 5:20 or so, my phone rings. It's Keds. She wants to conference me in. Her bottom credit score jumped 200 points! That made her previous top score her middle score and squarely into the right loan! Keds has all the documentation ready and will drop it off on Monday. The loan will be done by the end of the month. How cool is that? Oh, and you should ask Keds about her "just because present."

So, I'm debating what, if anything, I should say to Bill (in e-mail of course). I do feel a little bad - she was operating strictly off of information I had given but he did know what the credit situation looked like a few months ago. He was going to pull credit at the last possibly minute to see if it came up on its own without doing a Rapid Rescore. However, given the initial rates he was quoting (7 5/8th vs the 6 7/8ths we got - ON THE SAME LOAN PRODUCT!), I am pretty sure he would have made sure they made good money off of us. But I never meant to piss him off. This was strictly a business decision.

At this point, I don't think we are going to say anything until the new loan is DONE. I've done enough mortgages to know that there is always something that can go wrong. That, and he is pre-disposed against this lender, but I think he is pre-disposed against all lenders but his own...

Anyway, things are looking up. Have a great week!

Thursday, June 14, 2007

The return of Evil (um) Bill

Author's Note: Names have been changed to protect the innocent or clueless

So Evil Bill has returned. I say this half jokingly because I don't really think Bill is Evil. Their heart is in the right place, but as my Mom used to say - "It's not what you say, it's how you say it."

Let me back up a bit. Bill is a Mortgage Broker. He did Ked's refinance of the townhouse a little more than two years ago, but with a two-year adjustable rate mortgage and a two-year hard pre-payment penalty. When the rate adjusted, the interest rate JUMPED. I mean higher than a Mexican Jumping Bean jumped. From 7 percent to 10 percent.

Now, in that two years, Keds was supposed to clean up her credit. Mine was on the mend as well, after buying the new house and getting married. We got the notice in February but needed to do some quick work. We paid off our consumer debt. We were a little slow in getting some items paid off, but things were looking up in March.

Enter Evil Bill. In March, we had gotten quotes from two prominent mortgage lenders and then contacted Bill to see if they wanted our business. At this point, we needed to do the financing with me on the loan, to ensure the credit score would get us the best rate. Bill flat out refused to do this. This house was a gift from your mother... Don't think that Ken won't hesitate to take half of this... Blah blah blah blah blah. Again, looking out for Keds, but not in a positive way.

We decide to hold off until Keds score improved. Fine. But now, Bill is making us jump through a bunch of hoops to do a Rapid Rescore and seems to get offended when we talk about shopping this. While I understand she wants a commitment so that she makes money, we need to feel like we aren't getting screwed and getting the best deal possible.

Evil Bill finally quoted me a couple of rates last night. They don't sound that attractive, to be honest, but I also know the market is changing. He is out of the office today, so Keds and I are going to shop a couple of rates today and see where we can get. Wish us luck!

Monday, June 11, 2007

Productive weekend

Man are we both exhausted. Our second consecutive weekend in LA, but probably one of our most productive to date - or it at least it feels that way. All of the stuff we are keeping LEFT. The movers came, took the boxes and the furniture we are keeping and it all came out. The master bedroom is nearly done. Some focused effort in the bedrooms and those will be done. The Estate Sale is set for July 7th (YAY!) There is definitely light at the end of the tunnel. I'll let Keds tell the story of the New Adventures of Dumpster Girl.

I just forked over $75 to Cox to "professionally install" my cable modem. I've been having issues on and off since we moved into the house, but it's been really really bad lately. Since I use it for work, this has been really annoying. Let's hope this is resolve.

The A's swept the Giants this weekend, so all is right with the world for now...

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Let's go Oakland

OK. So as I write this, Curt Schilling is holding the A's hitless through six innings, and the BoSox are up 1-0 over the Swingin' A's of Oakland. This team just baffles me. How can they take at least three out of four games from the team with the best record in baseball, but they always seem to drop the series against, say Tampa Bay? I just don't get it. I know they are typically slow starters and they seem to have been hit by the injury bug a little bit more this year than in the past, but man. Now if only I could watch them on TV more often...

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Math is not my friend anymore

You would think getting solar heat for the pool, a spa and a laptop for Keds four months ago would satisfy my appetite for a new toy for a while. But no. It's just simply isn't true. Now, I've recently become obsessed with a old-new toy - DirecTV.

Keds and I have gone back and forth on this several times. I had DirecTV when I had my own townhouse. I suspended service for the three months or so we lived in her townhouse. When we moved into our new house it was going to be a discussion point. But, at the time the DirecTV HD Receiver with DVR service was simply too expensive. At like $300 or $400 I couldn't justify the expense. We got more for our money with cable, plain and simple.

Well, now the HD Receiver with DVR is much more reasonable ($199 online). With the Sports Pack I can watch most of the games of my beloved Oakland A's and there is a possibility that we could order the NFL package. These are just things that cable can't offer. They are offering three free months of HBO, Cinemax and Showtime. I figure this has got to beat cable's price.

After the math is said and done, it's a wash. We must be getting some killer deal on the Cinemax, HBO and Showtime, because we are paying much lower than what Cox is showing on their website.

I may hold out and see what sort of deal they offer when the NFL Sunday Ticket comes back, usually in July. That's really only another month.

Monday, May 21, 2007

WARNING - Political Post

OK. It looks like the State of Florida has decided to go and shake things up a bit and move it's 2008 Presidential Primary to January 29th. While this flouts the rules of both major parties, it could have serious implications for the candidates. It's the earliest "big state" to go, and will change the dynamics. But, with sanctions coming from both parties I'm sure this will die out.

For those locals that are registered Democrats, the state party has launched a Caucus Website. It's here. I'd strongly recommend getting involved. We were moved up by the national party, and it's our chance to add some diversity to the process!

So sleepy

Our first weekend back in LA was, ahem, eventful to say the least. I'm not sure if we are just overly ambitious in what we plan, or if we aren't making realistic plans but we just don't feel like we are making a dent. One of our friends mentioned we still had a lot to do, and I found myself without anything meaningful to come back with. There is a lot to do, and I don't think Keds' psyche can handle much more of this.

We got a late start on our way back - 3:30. Didn't get home until almost 8 o'clock. By the time we ate dinner, unloaded the car it was time to watch Desparate Housewives. By the time we watched last week's and this week's episodes it was time for bed. And I was tired. Barely keeping my eyes open tired.

The Spa is working out nicely. Very relaxing. I think I should make it part of my end of the work day ritual.

I'll admit to being sad - my Sabres didn't put up much of a fight against Ottawa. I really hoped this was their year, but they really do better flying underneath the radar. The good news is my A's took 2 of 3 from the Giants. I guess I'm squarely in baseball season now!

Thursday, May 17, 2007

A good night's sleep and other musings

For the first time in weeks, I feel like I'm getting a good night's sleep more and more consistently. Last night was the best. Maybe it was the fact that we packed the dogs to the kennel last night instead of today. Maybe the spa is working wonders. Whatever it is, I'm feeling more refreshed.

I'm actually glad that Melinda got booted off American Idol last night. She was a phenomenal singer, with little, if any, stage presence. She'd be another Taylor Hicks - appealing to a niche that really isn't in the grain of American Idol. That being said, I'll be voting for Jordin next week. I like Blake as a performer better, but I think he'd be too hemmed in by the American Idol machine.

Speaking of Taylor Hicks, I took Keds to his concert a couple of weeks ago. I swear we were the youngest ones there...

OMG, the spa is AWESOME. We've been in it every night this week. At 100 degrees, it was a little too warm for Keds, so I turned it down to 95 degrees. With solar heat for the pool and the spa, we are good to go this summer!

Off to LA this weekend. We'll have two solid work days and will be able to accomplish some much needed business items. I'm just getting so sick of these trips. They are very wearing. Keds is going to be careful so she doesn't get sick this time. I'm not sure her PTO banks can handle it...

Monday, May 14, 2007

Is it Friday yet?

Here it is Monday, and I'm already wishing it's Friday. I know this is bad, and I'm usually not this way. I think it was because it was Mother's Day weekend and we were just very, very busy.

Don't get me wrong - Mother's Day was great! Keds cooked a fantastic dinner and we got to spend time with my folks, some good friends and Maureen. Mom and Maureen were in heaven with all the little kids around this weekend.

What really sucked was that our spa was not working. Yeah, we were able to get it delivered and hooked up on Friday, but by Saturday morning it was clear something was wrong. The breaker was tripped and kept tripping when it was reset. After some troubleshooting with our salesman, we narrowed down what the issue was - a wiring problem at the breaker box. It wasn't something I was comfortable fixing (you mess up with electricity and you get hurt). They sent their tech out this morning and he was done in 30 minutes. I think Keds and I are both looking forward to getting into it tonight...

This week is already shaping up to be crazy. My Dad's best friend from his childhood is coming to town on Tuesday, we are having dinner with Vegas Princess and Prince Charming on Wednesday and then Thursday it's off to LA.

Good God! I'm exhausted just thinking about it!

Monday, May 07, 2007

Let's go Buffalo!

On to the Conference Finals! My beloved Buffalo Sabres were finally able to solve Henrik Lundqvist and turn on the offensive jets to get past the New York Rangers in six games. Up next is our divisional rivals, the Ottawa Senators. We always seem to meet these guys in the playoffs. I will cheer on my Sabres. On to the Stanley Cup Finals!

It was also a good weekend for my Oakland A's. They took 2 of 3 from Tampa, which is good because the Devil Rays are perennial cellar-dwellers and they need to win some of these games early so they don't dig themselves too big of a hole by the All-Star Break.

Weekend was busy - mostly just running around and installing garage shelves (YAY!), but it was good. The garage immediately looked more organized.

On deck this week - electric for hot tub will be run on Wednesday and my boss is at a conference today and tomorrow so it should be relatively quiet.

I'm down another three pounds this week, so it looks like I just need to keep doing what I'm doing. If I add exercise, I'll be down to my target weight in no time!

Monday, April 30, 2007

A blessing in disguise

When Keds was misdiagnosed a week ago Friday and not prescribed anti-biotics, we were pissed. She only got more sick, and finally on Wednesday decided not to go to California for the weekend. We really want to get her Mom's house cleaned out quickly and don't want to drag this out. But it seems like our own house is falling into disarray because we have no where to put stuff. We have two bedrooms full of stuff that isn't ours. Blech. The closets are full and our garage is uber-disorganized.

Well, by Friday night/Saturday morning Keds was feeling MUCH better. We finally got an opportunity to breathe. We ran errands that were WAY over due, bought a spa for the backyard, had friends and family over for dinner and were able to spend substantial amounts of time in the pool. And officially, I was able to drop 5 pounds.

We aren't going to LA for another few weeks. That gives us at least one more weekend to get our closets and garage organized, spend some downtime and make sure our life is in order before we enter the home stretch in LA. I really think we need one-two more trips to clean out the house and then we can do the rehab.

In other words, this is a good chance for us to take a breath, get our lives back in order and get ready to receive more things but also avoid the mistakes that others have made.

Did I mention we bought a hot tub?

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Um. OK.

Well that was probably the most interest I've generated in a blog posting at one time. I didn't do it to strike a nerve with anyone, but more to rant something I thought was getting randomly out of control.

Anyhow, I had by trimesterly doctors appointment on Friday. He brings me in because two of the meds I'm on are metabolized in my liver and he wants to check liver function. No big deal. I love my doctor. He's a great guy, takes an active approach to health care and genuinely gives a crap about his patients. He's been my best friend's doctor since he was in high school, so that says something to me. He's a little prescription happy, and I think he gets good kickbacks from his pharmaceutical sales reps, but I'll take that for quality medical care.

However, I've put on quite a bit of weight in the last year. I promised him in December that I would lose weight. I haven't done squat to help that along. So I was primed for the worst. Took the keys and wallet out of my pockets. Took my shoes off. Anything to get an advantage. And then the moment of truth - I got on the scale. When the needle stopped bouncing I thought I was going to vomit. I was a good 10 pounds heavier than the first time I walked into his office 5 years ago. I had gotten myself as low as 165 in 2003 and would be happy with 185.

That's it. Action must be taken. So I took the first step - signed up for Weight Watchers Online. It's free for one week, so I figured I would give it a shot to see if it is any better than SparkPeople (so far, it's not, their database is just bigger). I am going to start walking on days I don't make it to the gym. I can't afford to wait until we are done with trips to LA to start focusing on this. I need to start dropping weight and it needs to happen now. Since we aren't going to LA this weekend I will most likely go to the gym. I need to get exercise back into my routine. Without it, I'm just going to starve and not see any results for it.

Anyway, I'll let you know how it goes on WW online and let you know.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Not to be disrespectful, but...

I'm getting a little annoyed with all these people showing their "support" for Virginia Tech. In watching Saturday's Yankees-Red Sox games, Red Sox First Baseman Kevin Youkilis sported a Virginia Tech baseball cap. He has no connection to Virginia Tech - he played his college ball at the University of Cincinatti and never played close to there in the minors. This is a lot like the surge in false patriotism and trendy support for the NYPD and NYFD after 9/11. It's just a bit much.

What happened at Virginia Tech is truly horrible and we need to keep the victims and their families in our thoughts and prayers. What they don't need is this fake outpouring of support. Time will help heal the wounds inflicted last Monday morning. The only reason you see this is because Virginia Tech is a top-tier sports school with it's teams competing in the ultra-sexy Atlantic Coast Conference. Had this happened at a smaller school would we have seen this outpouring of "support?" I don't think so. The tragedy would have been just as great, but with only half the recognition.

OK. Rant over.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Happy Anniversary!

Today marks Keds' and my six-month wedding anniversary. Can you believe it's been six months already? I can't. Anyway, for the day we are tooling around the house so the she can try and get over this chest cold/upper respiratory infection she's got going on before out out for dinner.

Sweetheart - I love you very much and thank god everyday that you agreed to marry me...

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

I'm tired

I am freaking exhausted. Not nearly as exhausted as my wife, but exhausted nonetheless. Last week just sucked. These LA trips are really beginning to tax both of us. We bascially lose our weekends because even if we are in town, we have to get stuff done here.

I find myself wishing we were back in Jamaica. I almost went so far as to book us a trip in October for our first anniversary. However, given the rate at which we are burning through time off and we want to go back east to visit my family this year, I'm not so sure it's going to happen. Besides, it would be nice to have some vacation time just sitting there.

Anyway, progress on the house in LA is going much slower than anticipated, which sucks. Plus, the air quality isn't conducive to being productive. The whole thing is getting expensive and tiring.

Here's where we want to go in Jamaica - Grand Lido - Braco. It's the same brand as where we went on our honeymoon, just on the other side of the island so we can go exploring.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

What a week

Talk about a three-for-all...

First, we have all the flak over Imus' comments about the Rutgers Women's Basketball team. While his choice of words were poor, and I can certainly see him getting dropped from the TV simulcast (which didn't bring in that much revenue), but did his radio show really need to be cancelled? There is a really good Time article that asks where is the line these days? Is this true racism or simply a poor word choice?

Second, we have the charges being dropped against the former Duke Lacrosse players. Now, I've been to some parties in my day and various college team houses (at my school, it was the rugby team), and yes hormones and alcohol don't make a good mix. Were they the victim of an overzealous DA? Yep. This is part of the problem with elected officials anymore (judges and DAs specifically). In an effort to stay in office they sometimes get a little excited - especially near election time. Was this all version of "town vs. gown" gone overboard? I think there is a certain tension. I certainly saw it when I was in school just not to the extent that I'm sure is the case with Duke and Durham. Tuition alone at Duke was closing in on $20K when I looked at colleges. I don't even want to know what their tuition plus room and board is these days. Now I hear that they guys are talking about suing. Well, to a certain extent they've lost more than a year of their lives. They are angry and looking for retribution. Plus, this has done a lot of damage to the legitmate cases of rape where maybe now these cases will be looked at with more scrutiny - and not necessarily in a good way.

On a lighter note, Haley got voted off American Idol last night. I thought she was cute, but I think it really was her time to go. Don't get me wrong - Sanjaya should totally have been gone during the semi-final rounds, but Haley was living on borrowed time too. Have you seen pictures of Sanjaya's sister? She looks much more normal to me (in other words - not a Michael Jackson-style stalker). So do you think he's going to make the top 5?

Monday, April 09, 2007

Easter Weekend 2007

Another set of major holidays are nearly in the books (I say this because Passover doesn't technically end until sundown tomorrow). It was quite the action-packed weekend.

We'll start with Thursday night. I don't really remember what happened immediately after work, so it must have been pretty uneventful. All I do remember was getting ready to settle in for the night around 10:15 and my work phone rings. Now, usually it's one of two things - someone in India expecting to leave me a voicemail or a complete emergency. Well, this time it was neither. My boss had left earlier in the day to visit family over Easter. He calls me stating he needed a huge favor.

Turns out he was pretty positive he left a candle burning in his home office. He now wanted me to go to his house and either 1. blow it out or 2. let him know he burnt his house down. One small issue, though - I didn't have a key. The only other person with a key was his mother-in-law and she was working at the Golden Nugget.

So Keds and I pile into the car and head out for Downtown. Little did we know that streets were closed off for the upcoming Grand Prix race. So what should have been a 20-30 minute drive to the Golden Nugget took us nearly an hour. Then it was off to Summerlin to check on his house. For the record - the candle had clearly been blown out hours previous to this. So I called him and let him know all was well.

Good Friday was slooowww. It was a holiday in India and a number of clients were out that day. However, since it was Passover and a Lenten Friday, our options were very severly limited. So off to Red Robin for dinner. Amy had Fish and Chips and I had Salmon Fish and Chips.

The highlight of Saturday was spending most of the day with my best friend Mike. He lives in Colorado now, and I don't get to see him much. I saw him over Christmas and we are talking more regularly now, but I miss him very, very much. We got some good one-on-one time and he kicked my butt in GoldenTee, but not quite as badly this time. They are coming down again around Memorial Day, and I'm planning a trip out there in June or July. Even though I spent a lot of time with him on Saturday, as we parted ways Saturday night I couldn't help but to be sad. I wish he lived closer, but he made the right move for him and his family. I can't begrudge him that. I just miss him. That's all.

Easter was pleasant enough. Went to church in the morning. Last year, Easter Mass wasn't nearly as packed, so Mom, Dad and I planned to meet at church at 9:45 a.m. for 10 a.m. Mass. Big mistake. The parking lot was packed and people were parking on the street and off the lot in the dirt. I got in to the sanctuary, and there wasn't a seat to be had and Mom and Dad were sharing a seat and a half. So I stood.

Folks showed up for dinner starting around 3, and dinner was finally served about 4:30. It was pleasant and after dinner we watched Happy Feet. Very cute movie. Everyone was gone by about 8:30. After Amy had a quick call with her attorney, we watched Desparate Housewives and then off to bed.

No matter if you are celebrating Easter or Passover, hope you all had a pleasant weekend.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Late week updates

It's been a little while since I posted, so I figured I better do a "catch up" post first.

First, work has been absolutely nuts. It seems that all of my clients have some sort of activity going on. Either they are doing something or we are screwing something up. I'm working a lot harder lately. I'm not saying I averse to hard work, but when you get used to your little breaks during the day, it's hard to switch gears.

Second, another weekend in LA. Keds and I both figured we were going to cancel due to her medical issues. However, the orthopod gave her clearance to travel, so off we went! This trip was longer by a day, but we had a couple of social events thrown in - namely our friend Samantha's Baby Shower and Keds' family Passover Seder. Since we didn't think we were going, we forgot to order a dumpster for the weekend. By the time we called on Saturday, it was too late to get one. We got some work done, but not as much as we usually do. However, we still think we are on track.

Third, we decided to get solar heat for our pool. Signed and faxed the contract yesterday. Should be installed next week some time. I can't wait. Our pool was still a little too cold to swim in. This should get us up to a good temperature and extend our pool season. I kno w Keds will use it for exercise. I think I am going to as well. I have been horrible with going to the gym lately. With the trips to California and the desire to do other things on the weekend, I just am not going at all, and if I do go it isn't consistent.

I'm debating joining either WeightWatchers, Jenny Craig or NutriSystem. I have a hard time paying someone to tell me to do things I already know how to do, but I really need the motivation. If I am paying, I'll be motivated (I hope).

Finally, I'm very sad. Teri delivered the bad news that the Coffee Bean in the Aliante Information Gallery has closed! That sucks! I guess with the neighborhoods getting closed out and Starbucks opening across the street it was probably a little too much for them. I heard they are going into Aliante Station. I'm keeping my fingers crossed!

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Birthday Weekend

My wife and I make a great pair. We both thoroughly enjoy celebrating our birthdays and we take great pride in making the other feel special. I know I made her feel special on her b-day, and it was her turn with me.

Thursday night - my actual birthday - Keds was taking me for my first of many surprises. We went to Vic and Anthony's Steakhouse at the Golden Nugget. Now, I love Binion's Ranch Steakhouse on top of Binion's Horseshoe (is that even still the name?) downtown. Well, this one gave the Ranch a run for its money. The mean was awesome - the steaks cut with a fork and melted in your mouth. The broccoli side dish was like a small bush of broccoli and the potatoes au gratin gave us heart blockage when they arrived at the table. What a wonderful surprise and quite the way to start the weekend.

I took Friday off from work. I did a whole lot of nothin'. Got a massage in the morning, met with our accountant in the afternoon to finalize our 2006 Return (yes - we are getting a refund), and then home to get ready for another dinner out with our good friend's the Bowens. That was laid back and nice. We went to Carmine's down the street from our house. It works, we talked politics and watched the UNLV game.

Saturday, Keds and I started our day at one of my favorite breakfast places - the Cracked Egg on Cheyenne. Banana Walnut coffee cake and a Greek Omlette. Yummy. Then we did some spa shopping and then home to chill. We spent most of the day on the couch watching TV. It was nice just to lounge. That night, we went to BJ's Brewhouse for dinner with my friends. That was a ton of fun. Thanks to everyone who came out. A few folks came back to the house and we watched Team America: World Police. Total guy humor.

Finally today, I made pancakes for breakfast and another lazy day at home. Went to Mom and Dad's for Stew Meat and Gravy for dinner. That was one of my most favorite dishes growing up and this certainly did not disappoint.

It was nice to have the weekend to relax and recovery. Keds and I have been running so much lately, this was a well-deserved down weekend.

To my loving wife - thank you very much to ensure that I had a special birthday weekend. I love you so much.

Now that I am no longer special, it's back to the grind tomorrow. Have a good week!

Thursday, March 22, 2007

American Idol and I'm getting old

First, while I am disappointed that Stephanie was voted off the island and the creepy Sanjaya is now in the Top 10 - insuring his spot in the AI tour - I really think she did it to herself. She picked a good song, but the performance was utterly forgettable. I come back to the three mantras of American Idol 1. Song Choice 2. You need to be on your A Game every week and show distinct improvement and 3. The audience needs to vote (has Ruben Studdard, Fantasia and Taylor Hicks not proven anything?) I figured of all the African-Americans left in the competition, Stephanie would be the most likely to success with this week's theme. As expected, LaKisha (or KiKi) struggled the most with the theme, and Melinda proved what an talent she really is. However, Stephanie's performance was just flat. I think Keds took a nap during it. Do I think she deserved to go home? No. But unfortunately, with people propping up Creepy Sanjaya you really need to make sure that you are voting for the people you want to stay.

Second, I'll admit that I'm an attention whore. Today is my birthday. I'm 34 today and while I may feel fat (you know it's bad when your size 38 pants are just a little bit snug), I don't really feel old. Keds has quite a number of things planned, most of which I am in the dark about - and that's fine. I do the same to her on her birthday, so turnabout it fair play.

Anyway, have a good one. I need to get back to work.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Rocket Scientists All...

Today's blog post has two separate rants with the common theme being sometimes the elevator doesn't go all the way to the top.

First, I'll rant about our mailman. As many of you know, we spent most of February in California and as such, put a hold on our mail. The day after we got back, Keds went to the post office to pick up our held mail. She only got a little bit of mail. That night, we checked our mailbox and we found a note that our mailbox was full. So I trot off to the post office the next day to find that yes indeed, there was quite a bit of mail.

However, the problems didn't seem to stop there. Word is that Keds was sent two invitations that we have yet to receive and I'm waiting on an IRA application. The mystery deepened this past weekend when we received two pieces of mail (one a People Magazine that should have been delivered before the Oscars) that had a label indicating there was no forward on file. That's odd considering we aren't forward our mail FROM here, just from our previous addresses TO here.

So I trucked into the post office yesterday afternoon. There was a line out the door at 3 p.m. Ugh. I get to the window and initially the dude at the window tells me "everything is fine." Then he goes in the back and finds my Letter Carrier. Awesome. Some real answers. Except that it turns out that 1. he only processed the hold on my last name, not the whole address (which explains the full mailbox). 2. He thought that I had placed a forward on the address (which I hadn't) so he was sending it out to be forwarded. Since we spoke, he was going to stop that and I'll start getting all of our mail. The only problem is that all of the mail that should have been delivered will now need to come back slowly as it wasn't on site. Brilliant!

My second rant has to deal with the NCAA Touranment Seedings. First, let's deal with UNLV. How a team that is among the hottest in the nation, contended all year in their conference and withstood substantial injuries can be a 7 seed is beyond me. Talk about lack of respect. Even more disrespectful was putting the Niagara Purple Eagles into the "play-in" game for the right to meet #1 seed Kansas. That's downright infuriating. The explanation was weak - Niagara hadn't won their conference regular season (but still managed to get 22 wins) and they they were trying to be sensitive to historically African-American universities. If that's the case, why don't they put Duke or Syracuse or some other power-conference school in the play-in game?

Sorry for the ranting, but something you have to wonder how some people's mind works...

Monday, March 12, 2007

A "down" weekend

I really hate the start of Daylight Savings Time. For like a week, it'll be hell getting out of bed. And we slept until like 10 a.m. yesterday. Other than that it was a pretty good weekend.

Friday night, we had Vegas Princess, Prince Charming and the "folks" over for dinner. It was nice. Dinner was tuna noodle casserole. I've never had it before, but it was perfect for a Friday night. After that, it was on the Melting Pot for a little early birthday celebration since it was my Aunt's last night in town. The Melting Pot was awesome! What's not to like about fruit and cake dipped in chocolate? Even my Dad, who initially resisted, got in on it and enjoyed himself.

Saturday was busy, yet laid back. We picked up Mom and Aunt Dolly and took my aunt to the airport. That was sad, but I was proud of my Mom - I know she was sad, but she didn't have tears streaming down her face. Keds and Mom went to the Zappos.com outlet and did a little shoe shopping. After that, as my reward for sitting through shoe shopping, we went to the CalSpas store. We damn near walked out with a Spa. But we really haven't started shopping, so we need to do our due dilligence and compare against our own family planning. After that, it was off to the Bagel Cafe for lunch. Mom had never been there. She was in HEAVEN. I was surprised when she got a full (1/2 pound) corned beef sandwich, but she took half of it home for Dad, and said it was the best corned beef they've had in 20 years. After running some other small errands, Mom and I went to church.

Saturday night was date night. Dinner and a Movie. We saw Music and Lyrics and then dinner at Cabo. It was a much needed night out. The movie was cute and enjoyable - not a lot of substance, but sort of like the 80s.

Yesterday was laid back. I went to the gym and watched the race. Bobby did well. Finished 13th, so that made me happy. Keds went shopping with Teri and then came home and did some work.

Anyway, back to work for now.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Randomizations

Some random items for a Tuesday morning:
  1. From the same person that brought you the "Vibrator in the Girl's bathroom" comes the "Wacky Nun." Picture this - Staff Retreat. Previously, the staff of his school was used to boring staff retreats. Not any more. My buddy decided to turn a staff retreat into his own version of The Amazing Race. So, one of the teams included an 82-year old nun. The oldest member of each team needed to wear a funny hat and they were each given a Station of the Cross to go find. For the Station of Jesus being put on the Cross, he sent them out for a symbol, with the expectation they came back with nails. The Nun's team (BTW - she had gotten herself a Burger King Crown for her hat) came back with a six-pack of Guinness. When asked why, said Sister states "I thought you wanted us to get hammered!"
  2. I cannot believe that it is barely 2007 and we are already talking about the 2008 Presidential Election. ALREADY! The new Congress just convened and we have yet to see what the Democrats can do. I think campaign fatigue will set it very, very early.
  3. For right now, I'm supporting John Edwards. I liked him 4 years ago, and still like him. He's a normal person who is most likely to actually understand the plight of the middle class. Also, he's the only one right now talking about anything substantive. My big fear is that he'll run out of money.
  4. Work is OK. Going to San Dimas on Thursday for one meeting, but other than that it should be an OK trip.
That's all for now!

Monday, March 05, 2007

Family Fun

My aunt is in town for the week. That's very exciting for us, as I haven't seen her in a year and a half, and when I saw her last she was pretty sick. She didn't make it out for the wedding because she had a horrible case of bronchitis. She's staying with my folks, and that's cool. It's actually a little more appropriate. However, we did manage to invite ourselves over for breakfast on Sunday morning and then invited them over dinner last night.

My aunt cracks me up. Amy and I want to take them out for dinner this week, and all she wants is a Costco hot dog. So, my she and I are going for hot dogs on Tuesday!

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Home

We made it home last night in one piece. Whenever I travel, no matter where, once I am on my way home I just want to get there. Yesterday was no exception. We made good time. Pulled out of the driveway at 3 p.m. on the nose, and pulled into our garage at 8:30 p.m., with a stop for dinner. After some debate, we took the backway out of the San Fernando Valley and avoided LA Traffic.

We were so happy to be home, we brought in the bare minimum, let the dogs out and fed all the pets, took our evening meds and went straight to bed. I think we were out by 9:45 p.m.

Evidently, the pets were happy to see us. I get the impression that while Dave was housesitting, he kept the dogs out of the master bedroom because if they have to go, they go in front of the bathroom door. So the pets hadn't interacted much in a few days. The decided to get reacquainted while we tried to sleep.

Between Rosebud's barking, Thorndyke's leaping over Amy to get at Flo and Flo's whining kept Amy up more than me. The only pet that really isn't on the list is Midge, but even she puked right next to the bed this morning. She stayed under the bed until the dogs were locked out this morning (after their third request to go out in 45 minutes) and then came up on the bed and snuggled with us. Very cute.

Anyway, I locked the dogs out of the master bedroom this morning on my way out, and Amy got about 90 minutes of solid sleep.

Now we get to get our house back in order ahead of Amy going back to work on Thursday.

Thanks to Dave and Jennifer for looking after the pets and the house and we are just thrilled to be home.

Friday, February 23, 2007

What a week - and it's not over yet

I don't think I've been so relieved for the weekend to come as this week. It's been a hell of a week. First, there was the relief of not having to go to India. Instead, it looks like I am going to week of March 11th - that's cool - it works better for me anyhow.

The work on Leni's house continues. Amy's had a ton of help during the week. We knew that our friends Brian and Amanda would be out here for two days and that would be of great help, but Jo, her family and Leni's friend Arlene have been tremendously helpful. While we aren't going to make our overall goal of having the house completely cleaned out, it's in much better shape now and we will be in a position to get it emptied, rehabbed and rented sooner rather than later.

Work has been crazy. I've never been quite so double booked in my entire life. We have two major implementations along with my client commitments. Calls starting as early as 6 and 7 a.m. and the last one being at 4 p.m. makes for some very long days and not a whole lot of work getting done.

Plus, with us being in LA, our time has been split. We want to see friends and family here, but that's balanced with the desire to get work done.

I can't wait to get home...

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Ash Wednesday 2007

Well, it's here again. Ash Wednesday. Blech. It's not that I despise Lent. It's a good time of year for spiritual reflection (yes - I do that.) What I despise is the abstinence from meat. That that I am a huge carnivore. I just don't care for fish. Fish and Chips does nothing for me. So I'll be eating a lot of salmon (fish I like), Italian food and peanut butter the next six weeks or so.

This year Keds and I are doing the Lent thing right. We are giving up some additional items this year. Both of us are giving up all carbonated beverages. That'll be a test because it's so easy to have around the house. Keds is giving up fried foods. That'll be tough for her because she's been craving French Fries a lot lately. I am giving up beer. In a way, we are using this to kick start our health kicks. Now that the New Year's Resolution folks have stopped going to the gym, that should be more open as well.

Is anyone else giving up anything good for Lent?

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Off the hook

Well, instead of packing to head to the airport and be off to India I am back sitting in our apartment and planning our week out. My client called me this morning with 103 degree fever and he was rescheduling his trip. So I get to stay home and be supportive for my wife as she finishes the horrible task of cleaning out her Mom's house.

Anyway, more later.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Free Fallin'

Everytime we come to Los Angeles, I can't help but think of that Tom Petty song "Free Fallin'" mostly because of the line about Ventura Boulevard. It's a key road through the San Fernando Valley (yes - I married a Valley Girl) and every time I see a sign with it the song pops in my head. That's OK, the Sheryl Crow song "All I Wanna Do" pops in my head every time we drive past Santa Monica Blvd.

Anyhoo, it's been a difficult week here. First, the purpose of the trip is not all that fun. Cleaning out Leni's house wasn't going to be a pleasant task under ideal circumstances, and these circumstances are far from ideal. Between the work done as a group on Saturday and what Amy's been able to accomplish on her own a tremendous amount of progress has been made. Tomorrow should be a highly productive day - we are having a PODS unit delivered today and have a bunch of folks coming to help us load that sucker up. We should be able to make good progress tomorrow cleaning out the non-personal items and items we know are coming back to Las Vegas with us.

Not that this week is completely without drama. The push-pull of the fact that I am working while Amy is dealing with this hasn't been easy on either of us. We were both pretty frustrated and needed to talk it out last night.

No trip to LA is complete without me getting pissed at Jill. Jill is a friend of Leni's who has an opinion on EVERYTHING (I know - it's the pot calling the kettle black.) My favorite line is typically "You don't need to explain yourself to me" as she presses for details and makes you explain yourself to her. In September, Jill pissed me off something fierce, and I don't think I've let it go. Amy tries to protect me by not necessarily giving me details, but they eventually come out and I go off the handle. I realize that Jill is just trying to protect Amy, but it really says that she doesn't trust me. Either that, or she really doesn't have anything else to kibbitz about, so she focuses on other people's issues and makes them miserable.

I should probably get back to work. On Sunday, I'm off to India, but it looks like I am in Business Class at least one direction. WOO HOO!