Sunday, August 7, 2011

Weekly Update 8/7/11

Another week has come and gone...with not much going on. Where did the summer go? Annie left me again. Just when I think things are going well she up and leaves me. Thankfully it's just for a vacation and my grandfather's memorial service. Annie surprised her mom by flying in on Thursday at 11 PM. To set up the surprise, her Aunt Mindy called and asked Lisa and me to pick up Megan (Annie's cousin) at the airport at 11 PM. Megan was supposed to be flying down to take her state test for being a beautician. Jon and Lisa were a little late due to traffic, and so they pulled to the curb, and Jon declared, "there she is!" Lisa looked everywhere but couldn't find Megan. Annie almost opened the door before Lisa recognized her...and then the squealing commenced. From what I heard, the squeals of excitement between snorts of joy sounded much like a scene of Charlotte's Web.

Annie has only initiated contact with me once since she left on Thursday. Anne called me just to ask if we could change the name of our blog to "Freckles Meets Sasquatch". I love it! (I'm not even kidding!) Oh how I love that girl. She also said she misses getting her fingers tangled in the vast expanse of my fur. There's no quicker way to a man's heart than to feed him well, have regularly scheduled make outs, and to love his fur regardless of quantity or location. I'm flat up twitterpated.

My landlord hired me to build a deck on one of his houses. It'll contribute to a good chunk of the downpayment we need for my Queen's castle.He is absolutely shocked at how fast I'm throwing this thing together. He had the inspector come out and do the plate and hole inspection. While there, my landlord asked the inspector about roughly 7 million things I'd told him about the deck building process. The inspector was was apparently really impressed with my knowledge and tendency to way overbuild everything. I'd argue it's better to overbuild than underbuild. The deck is about 12 feet up in the air and we have to be careful because the squirrels up in the trees throw acorns at us if we are too noisy. It's so hot during the day that we start after dinner and work with artificial lights until 11pm. I'm sure the neighbors just love all the light and noise. We don't have a truck so we make frequent trips to Home Depot. Did you know a Honda Civic can hold 13 bags of 80lb concrete plus a 240lb driver? Neither did I. Did you know you can fit 16ft 2x10s in the back of a Subaru? Neither did I. Don't think it's possible? Here's proof. I had to lay on top to keep them from dragging on the ground. On a subsequent load we put some on top too. We got a lot of funny looks and a lot of really mad drivers as we could only go like 10 mph. Luckily...not cops. Try explaining that one. "But officer, the seat belt just wouldn't reach." It really didn't...we tried.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Weekly Update 7/24/11

The week began with a phone call from our agent explaining that even though we were in contract with the sellers of our dream house, they had continued accepting offers. Although not illegal, the listing agent's behavior was highly unethical. The two of the other offers were for above asking price. Although they were in a contract with us because they had already countered, our agent informed us that to get out of the contract, the sellers would simply mention to the bank that higher offers had come in and the bank would flat out reject our offer. I was really miffed to say the least and wrote a very stern letter to the involved parties expressing my severe disappointment in the unethical behavior displayed by the listing agent. The listing agent then expressed her regret and told our agent to have us submit a slightly higher offer and she would present our offer with prejudice. Our agent got wind of some of the other offer numbers (also unethical but when it works in our favor it's OK...I guess) so we decided to beat them out. Annie and I discussed several numbers before bed and prayed that by morning we would have a good one in mind. I woke up at 0300 with a specific number in mind. It was several thousand higher than any of the numbers Annie and I had discussed. I schemed for two hours how I would convince Annie to come to an agreement. I had Annie sign the papers the night before so all I had to do was write in the number and send the contract back to the agent. I even entertained the idea of just writing in the number an telling Annie about it later (the whole forgiveness is easier than permission argument). As I was getting dressed at 0530, a groggy Annie mumbled something about a dream and yawned a number. HOLY CRAP! was the exact same number I'd had in mind when I woke up. A prayer answered...and no sneaky shenanagins needed! We submitted our counter, the listing agent (the evil one) presented it, and our contract was ratified! It's ours pending third party approval and a successful home inspection. Annie and I saw this house back in February and loved it but it was way more than we wanted to spend. Between then and now we decided to obey God's counsel and become debt free. We did so by using the money we had saved for a down payment. We knew God would bless us for this act of courage and faith. Well, he did. He opened the doors and the house we fell in love with dropped $45,000 and into our lap! Annie and I occupy our free time by surfing the Internet for bathroom renovation ideas. The house is beautiful, but the bathrooms need updating. Take a gander at the exterior. It's a little shaky, but it's the best I could do with an iPod.

My grandfather took a turn for the worst this week. He passed away yesterday. He finally had the opportunity to part from a failing physical body. I am confident that although those left behind shed tears of sadness, Grandpa shed tears of joy as he was welcomed with open arms and reunited with children, parents, siblings, and one very excited Bianca (who probably gave him a head to toe bath of puppy kisses). We will all miss our grandfather, father, uncle, and husband, but we are comforted in knowing that in a short time, we too will be reunited. This is all part of God's plan and this is simply the next step. I know that God lives, loves us, and has prepared a way for families to be together forever. How grateful I am to have been raised in a home that taught these eternal principles! This knowledge makes these experiences bitter-sweet...but mostly sweet if we have the correct perspective. I love our Heavenly parents and our elder brother, Jesus, who opened the doors for us to overcome our sins and death. Knowledge of the Plan of Salvation truly is a blessing in our lives! What comfort it brings in these times of sadness.

Annie and I are painting our apartment for our Landlord. He had baby poop green painted on the walls in different sheens (flat and semi-gloss). Every time I walked in and saw the color I could just smell a poopy diaper. I can't figure out why he likes that color. His wife is so thankful that we are wiping this 1200 sq/ft bum. Annie and I prime or paint for a couple hours after dinner each night and then jump in the back yard pool for an hour or so. We have so much fun painting together!

We saw the newest installment of Harry Potter last night. It was about like all the other long that by the end my butt was so sore that I could have sworn I had bedsores. What's worse, the speaker right above our heads was blown and literally rattled the entire movie. What's even worse than that, the screen was so small that I think my TV here at home is probably larger. I commented on how small the screen was when I walked in. Then, after the pre-game show the screen shape changed an became even smaller! We would have needed to sit on the front row to get the same viewing experience offered in other theaters. All I can say is...they're over! No more Harry Potters! Annie's bummed though...she loves them...although I can't figure out why. Maybe she has a thing for Harry like she does for Mr. Darcy and Edward.

We had our landlords down to watch Blindside on my Man TV last night. I love that movie! We found out last night that Americans are stupid and that our landlord is anti-religion of any sort. I guess the movie had too much religion for her. I wanted to suggest that if she felt that way about America, that maybe she ought to just go back to China and enjoy the third world. However, I refrained from speaking my mind. I want our deposit back.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Weekly Update 7/10/11

Where to start, where to start. This week was full of joys and disappointments. We started with an early morning Independence Day parade. We were hoping and anticipating something like the Lehi parade…but to our disappointment, the parade lacked ward floats,marching bands, horses pooping on the street, unsuspecting primary kids not paying attention walking through the poop, crown royalty,candy being thrown at us, etc. Instead, the parade consisted primarily of people holding signs and chanting the names of other people running in this fall’s elections, 6 (not 7!) crazy cool Corvettes, one old fire engine, a few random things, and even more political crap. Annie was near the verge of tears. At the end of the parade I made the announcement that I would run in the upcoming elections and prevent political crap from being admitted in next year’s parade. Several people said they would most certainly vote for me. Later that day we went to a local park that had a live band that has opened for Kenny Chesney, Styx, and a host of other popular bands. The music was GREAT! It was followed by a fantastic fireworks show cued to patriotic music.Traffic afterward was simply unbelievable. The few cops that did show up to direct traffic obviously had no idea how to do it. Several pedestrians got whacked and we sat in two spots for over ½ hour each…without moving an inch! No kidding. They just wouldn’t let our direction flow.

Our home search continues. Each morning we get an automated report showing new listings. Several days this week we saw listings we absolutely had to see and were willing to drive the 170+ miles round-trip each evening just to see them. Unfortunately, each was sold within just a few hours of being on the market for more than the asking price with sellers entertaining multiple offers. The marke there is like nowhere else in the country…it’s almost more of a sellers’ market in our price range. We’ll just keep looking.

I had a mid-year performance review this week. I wrote a self-evaluation highlighting my accomplishments and what I’m working on. My boss completely concurred with my own assessments and added a few of his own to my benefit. Most of the tasks and goals we had set for me to meet by the end of the year have already been met and exceeded!

This week Annie made dinners. They were fantastic! She is not just a baker…now she is a cook too…and a great one at that! I tell you what,it’s sure nice to have my Annie back! I don’t know how I lived without her for over five months. We feel like newlyweds again. It’s wonderful. It’s been two weeks and we haven’t even had an argument yet! We expect to have an argument any day now, but we’ll have to come up with a topic first. Any suggestions?

Danny (my cousin) and I did a triathlon Saturday morning. It was my longest one and fastest one to date. My bike was 2 miles longer (14) and quite a bit faster, the swim was 1/2mile instead of 500 yds and at a faster pace, and the run was 3.2 miles instead of three miles and it too was faster. Even though the distances were longer, my overall time was shorter! I'm sure feeling it now though. Danny wants to do an Olympic one in October. It'd be a 1 mile swim, 26 mile bike and a 6.4 mile run. I'm OK with the swim and bike, but the run is what kills me. I guess that's what training is for. Training will make me sexy. Annie says when I'm sufficiently (it's subjective...I had to ask) sexy she'll let me buy another gun! I've decided on an AR15 before democratic idiot-sticks try to put bans on just about everything. Seriously, how am I supposed to protect myself and my family with an emasculating pea shooter? Not that an AR 15 is a defense weapon...I'll probably use it as an offensive tool when defending my country against radical extremists seeking to overthrow righteous leaders protecting the Promised Land. An that's motivation to lose some baby fat! I have enough fur to hide all of my"not so sexy" parts, but Annie wants me sexy with minimal fur. I'm thinking she wants to shear my fur and donate it to "Locks of Love"and get the tax write off. I'm kind of fond of my Sasquatchesque appearance. Oh well. Anything to please the Queen I guess.

Weekly Update 7/3/11

After over five months we are finally back together again. We finally got settled in! On Friday, Joseph had the day off. We went house shopping. We found two that we really liked but the cons outweighed the pros.We just couldn't envision ourselves living in them. So the housesearch continues.

Yesterday, we went to a Hillsboro's (VA)independence celebration. This is a rural area. The town is 209 yearsold and is the birthplace of the Wright's brothers' mother. Theofficial population is about 100 people. The celebration includedsurrounding areas. We started the night's celebration with a roasted chicken dinner. It came with a side of beans and coleslaw.Yum! We bought cookies from the town's bake sale. It was 50 cents a bag. Joseph stocked up on no-bake cookies. Proceeds paid for the fireworks. We listened to Blue-Grass music for 2 hours (and thoughtwe were going to die) and watched the Smoking Mountain Blue RidgeClogging Club on a historic wood staged. It was entertaining to say the least. The best part of the night was free ice-cream and fireworks. Joseph disagrees and claims that the free goat rides were the best! Only in a small town. The ice-cream was delicious and made from a local creamery. The fireworks were incredible. They were literally over our heads. It was a fun way to spend our weekend. It will make a fond memory.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

We recently went on a much needed vacation. We flew to Utah, met up with Annie's family, and drove to California. We spent a week and a half visiting Disneyland, California Adventure, Universal Studios, San Diego Zoo, and Sea World. What fun!

An attempt to get caught up

So much has happened in the last two years. In August of 2007 Joseph graduated from BYU with a degree in political science. The day after graduation (Saturday) we moved to San Marcos, TX to attend grad school at Texas State University. School began on Tuesday. Gross! Annie took a job teacching second grade. In January, Joseph happened on a Federal career fair. To make a long story short, after weeks of paperwork and months of background investigations at the request of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Joseph took a job as an analyst. In June of 2008 we moved to Houston. Annie just finished a year working with special needs children at an elementary school and accepted a position teaching kindergarten for this next school year.

After 4 tears we are still together! Sadly though, no children. The doctors think we are mutants! The absence of children is both a blessing and a curse. While we have not had the joys of raising children, we have had the opportunity to really strengthen our relationship.

We love our ward. There are so many couples our age! Annie serves in the young women's presidency and Joseph serves in the bishopric. We live just a few miles from the temple. What a blessing!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

A Quick Blast from the Past: Washington, DC

We had the opportunity to live in DC while I worked in the Cambodian embassy. We enjoyed several visits to Gettysburg, Harper's Ferry, Philadelphia, the Marriott's ranch, and even a Christmas party in the White House. We attended our first MLB game, saw "The Christmas Carol," in Ford's Theater, and took Sunday afternoon walks to the monuments. What fond memories!