Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Jennifer would be so proud

That was the agreement Keds and I came to as we drove away from Findlay Chevrolet Saturday night. We had just agreed to purchase a car. We didn't want to be buying a car, but found ourselves needing to purchase one after my car was deemed a total loss by my insurance company.

The nice folks at the collision shop hooked me up with none other than Justin Findlay, son of Cliff Findlay of the Findlay Auto Group. I made an appointment with his Director of Marketing to come down to Findlay Chevy last week, especially since I was interested in pre-owned cars. He hooked me up with a great salesman that had a consultative style. Keds was smart and secured some financing through her credit union, so we knew we had that as a bargaining chip.

We met with the salesman on Thursday night. I was fairly open. My requirements were a 4-door sedan, good fuel mileage and a car that would hold it's resale value. I was open, after hearing good things about the new Ford Fusion and the Chevy Malibu, I wanted to ensure they were included along with the Honda Accord, Toyota Camry and VW Jetta.

We came back Saturday, and test drove five different vehicles there. It was down to an '04 Accord or an '09 Malibu. I had ruled out the Chevy HHR and VW Jetta. We went to a couple of other Findlay lots. Test drove a Camry. Definitely didn't like that. Found two more Accords. Both were '07s with decent mileage. One had leather and GPS, the other was nice, but didn't have the extra bells and whistles. We negotiated a fair price on the later, and they were going to "Certify" it since it was at a Honda dealership.

We headed back to the Chevy dealership with an offer in hand. They couldn't get the other dealership to budge on the loaded Accord. They were willing to match the Accord offer on the '09 Malibu. At that point, we ruled out the Malibu. If a Malibu was two years newer and worth the same, I was better off with the Toyota. But still, something didn't feel right. We went back to the '04 Accord. Got them to knock $2K off the price which put it below Blue Book plus they added an Extended Warranty at no charge. At that point, the deal was done.

For once in our lives, Keds and I did the responsible thing. We knew the '04 Accord was the responsible choice. This is only planned to be a 2-3 year car. Why pay any more than we needed to, and we know it will hold it's value if reasonably maintained.

Even though we didn't shop on Craigslist, I'm sure Jennifer would have been proud of us...

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Life Update 083009

OK. So it's been a while since I've blogged. Aside from keeping people updated on Facebook about how good my morning Peet's tastes, there's been quite a bit going on.

Work is going well for me. I really enjoy my job and I work for an awesome company. And I'm not just saying that because I'm pretty sure my bosses will see this post. This is quite possibly the best company I've ever worked for. Reminds me a lot of the old Softbank before they got all big and became ClientLogic.

Amy is still recovering from thyroid cancer. She's pretty much recovered from the thyroid removal, but is still in the process of getting her thyroid levels evened out. Her work is pretty crazy. They are in their state survey window, so things are a little tense.

Due to Amy's surgery and subsequent follow-ups, she is pretty much out of vacation time until March, so we are going to have to cancel our Hawai'i trip this year. We'll probably do a Vegas Stay-cation, but that's about it. Hawai'i will have to wait until next year.

Many of you know that Amy's Dad has recently moved in with us. It's definitely been an adjustment. Hal is definitely appreciative, but getting used to a 68 year old living in our casita is an adjustment. Oh yeah - and he's allergic to cats. The good news is that the cats have never been in the casita, so it keeps his allergies to a minimum.

My political activities are getting pretty serious. I recent ran for 3rd Vice Chair of the Clark County Democratic Party. Unfortunately, it was the same weekend as Hal's move, and while I drew a respectable number of votes, I wasn't successful. Eh. Everything happens for good reason. I've signed up for a couple of committees, and am really focusing on growing my own North Valley Democratic Club. We had a great August meeting with Congresswoman Shelley Berkley, and have a great program planned for our September meeting. The topic is "Back to School" and we have confirmed our School District Trustee will be there to speak.

So, that's about it for right now. I'm trying to get both my diet and exercise plan under control so I can get back down under 190. It shouldn't be too rough, I just need to focus. Yeah...that's it.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

State of the State

OK. First and foremost, I'll apologize on the front end for an number of things. First, I'll apologize for not posting as much as I used to. I am still trying to find a good balance between work, family and blogging. Second, I'm diving straight into a topic that no doubt will bore a number of you - our state budget and our Governor. Today's post was inspired by Jon Ralston's column in today's Las Vegas Sun. Instead of posting an anonymous comment, I figure that I would use my own corner of the blogosphere to discuss this topic.

As we get ready for the the biennial legislative session, Gov. Gibbons is getting ready for his "State of the State" address. It is true that the economy is the worst than most of us have seen in our lifetime and now isn't exactly the time to be raising taxes, however the situation before us has presented us with an usual opportunity to make the changes to our revenue structure and there are ways to reduce state spending without taking a machete to it. Instead, a careful, thoughtful examination of state spending is needed. Not all government spending is created equal. Where can we consolidate agencies? Where is there waste? Is our revenue structure setup so that it will provide the least amount of peaks and valleys?

I have no confidence in either of the two branches of government to come up with an actual long-term solution. Our elected officials are too caught up in looking ahead to the next election to actually do something proactive. Our Governor can't get past "No New Taxes." In addition, most Nevadans don't give a hoot about state government. In fact, I bet most people don't even know who their elected officials are in the legislature.

The answer to this lies with the people of the state of Nevada. Write and call your Assemblyperson and state Senator. If you don't know who they are, you can find out here. Write the Governor. Write the Speaker of the Assembly, the Assembly and Senate Majority and Minority Leaders. Write Letters to the Editor. Hold your elected officials accountable. I know many of the readers of this blog don't consider themselves "political," but we need our elected officials to know that we mean business, otherwise the political elite in this state will never learn. I know I am getting started on my letters, how about you?

Friday, November 28, 2008

Thanksgiving Hangover

So another Thanksgiving is in the books. Our crew was a little lighter this year with Mom and Dad in Albany this year helping out my sister. Our guest list this year was Andy, Dana, MaryAnn and Nana. As usual, I was in charge of the turkey and Keds had many of the sides. What was different this year is that we had our guests bring some. Andy and Dana brought the stuffing, while MaryAnn brought her signature spaghetti squash.

This was Nana's first trip to our house. For those that don't know, Nana is 94 and while not a blood relative, someone we really care about. She was so excited to be coming to our house for Thanksgiving. Typically, her daughter and son-in-law will take her out for dinner, but due to some volunteer commitments were not going to take her out until Friday. She had a blast, even though her hearing aids were on the fritz, which made for some interesting conversations. However she understood enough when Andy said he was thankful for his partner Dana. She promptly asked "so what kind of business are you in?" They handled it well, but Keds explained it - without having to resort to pictures.

The meal was just awesome. The turkey was moist, and had a good flavor. Andy's stuffing and Armenia Rice Pilaf was nummy, the spaghetti squash was interesting and Keds' sides were stellar.

It was an interesting mix of people. It could have been a disaster, but it ended up being nice. I have a lot to be thankful for this year, and was just happy to spend it with my soulmate and people I cared about.

So Internets, how was your Turkey Day?

Monday, November 24, 2008

Weekend Recap

Sorry Internet peeps, I know it's been a while since I posted, so I figured that I'd take a few minutes and at least catch you up on my weekend.

This weekend was relatively uneventful. I think I'm still in political withdrawal, though. I've taken to filling this time with watching reruns of the West Wing. I love that show, and it's amazing how strikingly similar the final season was compared to this past election. There were clearly some things planned, some things were just eerily similar.

One of the good things that came out of being politically active is that we have made a number of new friends. Saturday night, we went over to Sherri and Paul's for dinner and some board games. Dinner was amazing. It was a tag-team effort and just yummy. We played Trivial Pursuit 90's Edition. I forget how long it can take if you play it they way it was intended. We didn't even finish because it was too late and our brains just weren't working anymore. But it was still a good time.

Sunday we met our friend Kara out in Green Valley. We went to a technique class at William-Sonoma where we learned about making pie crusts. The best part was sampling the pies! After that, it was lunch at Lucille's, the site of our first date. After wishing Kara a Happy Thanksgiving, we headed back home. The afternoon was mostly a mix of football and West Wing, but not in a bad way. Our Sunday Dinner was much more laid back this week with Mom and Dad helping Beth out after the birth of the twins.

The highlight of the evening, though, was a vist by the Bowens. I don't think I've seen Casey since Marshall's birthday party. That's just not cool. Paris and Marshall were cute as always. And Jennifer brought cookies. Always a welcome treat.

So Internet peeps, how was your weekend?

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Oh what a night...

I remember Election Night 1992 like it was yesterday. It was my first presidential election as a registered voter. I had seen then-Gov. Bill Clinton three times in person. Sitting in Scott's apartment watching the Election Night returns come in was nothing close to amazing. I was inspired and excited. Very little drama and I remember that feeling of elation when Clinton won. I was so happy.

Fast-forward to last night. Once again, there was a candidate who did more to inspire than candidates past. The night did not hang on a single, to-close-to-be called state. No talk about disenfranchisement, hanging chads or butterfly ballots. It all seemed too good to be true.

As it became clear that Obama was going to be elected President, the attention focused to local races, specifically the race in Assembly District 13. The early returns looked good, but not great. As expected, the Democratic edge in Early Voting was apparent, and we were ahead, but closer than most of us would have liked. It was a harbinger of things to come. As the returns trickled in, the lead narrowed, with the incumbent pulling a slight lead around 10:30 p.m. Then, around 11:30 it happened. The final results were in. Andrew lost. By a little more than 1,000 votes or a little more than 1 percent. He amassed more than 37K votes more than any other winner of an Assembly and even some state Senate races. But alas, the incumbent had just a few more.

Keds and I were devastated. I can't believe Andrew lost. He seems to be taking it in stride. He is obviously disappointed but I know that he'll be OK. He'll run again, and I'll be happy to work with him once again.

Last night was still amazing. Barack's acceptance speech was awe-inspiring and McCain's concession was classy. How many days until Inauguration Day?

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

We'll just say this is from the "What?!?" department