Sunday, March 28, 2004

Hi-Tech

NASA set a new record yesterday. 5000 mph (mach 7) with a new prototype using a hypersonic engine (no moving parts). Rikki and I tried some new technology ourselves this week: a power tooth brush. I've looked at these before and decided they were not worth it. But, I finally caved when we found one on sale at the Navy exchange for 42$ (after 10$ rebate). So we have a new sonicare advance, the cheapest model. My first thought was what a puny brush head. Then I was annoyed when Rikki wanted to use her own brush head and not just share one. So every day we have to swap them out. Then I tried it. The whole thing vibrates and the toothpaste does not foam up like it does with a normal brush. Instructions recommend using gel toothpaste, maybe that will help. I haven't had "an accident" with it yet. But, Rikki has and her side of the bathroom mirror can prove it. The instructions tell you to keep your mouth closed.... I can't do that, I have to drool. The brush does seem to do a good job, but if you happen to place the hard plastic against your teeth you get a jackhammer effect that you can feel all the way to your toes. It should help my receeding gumlines, I brush too hard, and Rikki still doesn't know what to think about it. Neither of us feel like our teeth are any cleaner than after a good manual brushing.

Thursday, March 25, 2004

Getting Stuff Done!

Few things annoy me more than people who hold up progress. After 3 phone calls and an email I finally finalized our new home (#4) in Jacksonville. I scheduled cable, high speed internet (of course), electricity, and disconnecting of everything here in Corpus. We will be using Comcast in Jax, pricing looks a little cheaper than Time Warner or Cox. We get to reuse our Modem we bought through Cox (TW provided their own). Rikki dug the old modem out this morning. I scheduled Cable disconnect for the 22nd. I asked them to come in the morning and the lady said they can't schedule for a specific time during the day.... An 8 hour work day and they can't narrow it down to the morning hours (our final checkout will be 2 pm)? I'm boggled. I booked a hotel for the 23rd in Corpus (Ramada Inn) and I think we are as prepared as we can be. We are getting really good at moving.

I added arch support to my running shoes (cardboard and medical tape). Seemed to work really well. My foot is barely sore, still icing it and taking it easy to be safe. Funny, I gained more weight visiting Gram for a few days than a week long Carnival cruise.

Tuesday, March 23, 2004

Some Good Politics

I don't type politics very often. But, some really good international news is developing that the media is not covering. If all goes well it will be a replacement for the United Nations. The Coummunity of Democracies could succeed where the UN and the league of nations have failed. Third time is a charm. More here.

As for the Presidency... I choose the lesser of two evils and have no doubt Bush will win. If I thought it was going to be close I would try to help the Bush campaign because "Kerry is just scary" (copyrighted, you saw it here first).

Monday, March 22, 2004

House Hunting Leave

House hunting leave is always so much fun :) I hope that you can sense my sarcasm in that. The driving to get to the new location, more driving to look at apartments, the lack of sleep, the little time you have to make a decision, the weather and then the driving back.
I did a lot of preperation for this. Since I was on my butt at home not working there really was no reason not to do any preparation. My preparation did pay off. I had 2 pages of places that I looked at that were relatively close to the base and that had a 2 bedroom unit. With the research that I had done and showed to Nathan, Claire Point was our number one choice. When we checked it out and then looked at Waterford at Mandarin we fell in love with Waterford (well I did). The deciding factors were the community and the 2 bedroom unit fitted our needs. Before we left to head home we went back and signed the lease for the apartment. We get a unit with a view of the lake and has a screened in patio.
Thank goodness for friends and family. They saved us a lot of money by allowing us to stay with them. A home cooked meal was still on the table at the end of the day even with all the traveling. Spending time with family is always wonderful since we don't get to see them often.
Now my wonderful husband already hinted at a little accident that I had on the way home. Talk about scaring the heck out of myself and making me feel like another ditzy broad on the road. I am not use to driving Nathan's truck so my judgement is off. I pulled into the gas station and knew I had to pull in up close to the pump since the gas tank is on the left side not the right. Well I knicked the corner of the front right fender on the pump barrier. The truck didn't have a dent or a scratch but definitely picked up red paint. I wouldn't drive for a while after that.
We do love our new location. Thank goodness we made it home safe and sound.

Sunday, March 21, 2004

1108 miles in a day

Mission accomplished we said our goodbyes and left by 8am. Rikki started the drive and we switched on and off. She ended up driving over 1/2 of the way back. She did have an incident with a gas station barricade. But, I will leave that for her to write about. I took over once it started getting dark and continued the drive through Texas. We bypassed Houston on the way to Jax but since it was 8pm on a sunday we thought we would risk it. It was an adrenaline rush and exactly what I needed to keep me going. We made it home by 11pm and went straight to bed.

Saturday, March 20, 2004

The Day at Gram's

Our one day of relaxation. We slept and relished the fact that we didn't have to unload or pack the truck for one day. Gram and Lawrence took us on a tour of the Ravine and the waterfront in Palatka. The ravine was an impressive site, too bad most of the azaleas had gone by. Lunch was just salad to prepare ourselves for dinner at the Golden Corral with their huge buffet (another first for Rikki and I). They had a huge variety including shrimp for me, pizza for rikki, and steak for Lawrence. Followed by the dessert buffet for us all. We rolled out to the car afterwords and went back to Grams to play another round of dominoes with Roger, Betty, and Gene.

Friday, March 19, 2004

Waterford at Mandarin

After sleeping on it we decided on the smaller 2 bedroom at Waterford. The staff was exceptionally nice and accomadating. They even let us jump on their computer to print my orders off the Internet. Military gets 10% discount, the pet fee was half price (175$), and we received one month free. All put together we will be paying about 700$ a month. It has a "lakeview" (meaning 15$ extra per month!) and is on the bottom floor. We completed all the paperwork and then went back to take Troy and Kayla out to Famous Amos's that none of us had ever tried. It turned out to be a country diner. The food and prices were decent though there are so many places to eat in that area I doubt we will ever go there again. Mandarin is a great area with 100's of shops and restaurants all along San Jose Blvd. Waterford is right in the center. Ironically Rikki got a phone call while we were out - for a job interview back in Corpus. So our plans shifted once again. We headed back to Interlachen so we could spend saturday with Gram and then drive back home on Sunday.

Thursday, March 18, 2004

Jacksonville

We were up early for a large breakfast of donuts, eggs, bacon, hash browns, and toast. With full stomachs we reloaded the truck and hit the road again. All of our routes were planned with Delorme which is a must have for anyone doing road trips (they even cover hawaii). Without this program these trips would be far more painful, thanks Mom & Dad for the most useful present I've ever received. Jax was only about an hour away and we were once again unloading the truck. This time we stayed with Troy and Kayla. They were in Corpus with us and had just moved to Jax a few weeks earlier. We took advantage of their house hunting experience and advice then headed out on our search. We checked out 4 places along San Jose Blvd in the Mandarin area. Since it was only going to be for 6 months we gave up on the ideal "townhouse with a fenced in backyard" and settled for a 2 bedroom apartment. Waterford was #1 with Claire Point coming in second. We called it a day and headed back. Troy made some great Kabobs and the dogs entertained us for the night.

Wednesday, March 17, 2004

Interlachen Bound

We were up early again and on the road by 9am. It is far more enjoyable driving through FL than TX or LA. It was also nice to gain an hour driving from CST to EST. The plan was to reach Interlachen early so we could go with Gram to a St. Patrick's day parade in Palatka (she is a Red Hatter). The traffic was mild again so we made it with enough time for an early supper. Gram made my favorite: chicken dumplings with potatoes, stuffing and corn. After supper we went to the parade which was nice though small. Then back to Gram's for pie (pecan for me, apple for Rikki) and a game of dominoes. We finalized our plans for heading to Jacksonville the next day to start our apartment hunting.

Tuesday, March 16, 2004

780 miles later

We were up early and on the road by 6 a.m. Rikki started the long drive and drove the first 1/3 through some nasty fog. We drove by Houston Space Center on Nasa Drive commenting for the third time that we should really stop and check it out when we have time. I took over for the remaining long hard slog right before reaching I-10. We hit very little traffic and I evaded the cops even with their new unmarked SUV's and F-150's (only in Texas). The dog behaved and spent very little time sitting in our laps staring out the windows. We made pensacola in 12 hours and stayed with Jerry Leger and family (friends from Norwich).

Monday, March 15, 2004

Visitor

A friend from Norwich who lives in Austin came down for the weekend. He arrived Friday, the 12th, in the evening. We had pizza for dinner. Saturday we slept in, went shopping, went out for lunch, stopped off at a bank, went to the Texas State Aquarium, came back to the house for dinner and a movie then off to Baskin Robbins for a late ice-cream sundae. Sunday I went to church followed by a champagne brunch and then a quick stop at the mall. Ron left after we got back from the mall. It was awesome having him here so that we could talk about something other than the military and to see a familiar face. Thank you Ron :)

A Day at the Doctors

I spent the morning completing my annual aviation physical. It started out with height/weight/blood pressure/vision check. Then I went for dental x-rays, times 2. The first set didn't come out well. Followed by the typical poking and prodding for them to sign me off. Next was the lab where they took blood for my annual HIV test. I lucked out at immunizations next... no new shots! Then to the audiogram lab. My hearing is definitely not perfect, but it was enough to get me by. I hate going in that soundproof booth, putting on those cheap headsets made in the 60's and clicking that button whenever I think I hear a tone. Then it was to optometry where they blew that puff of air into my eye. That is always unpleasant. With all of those areas signed off I went in to see the flight surgeon. I decided to tell him about the foot pain I have been having. Nothing major but I'm afraid it could develop into something bad. It is called Plantar Fasciitis. Just an irritation to the tendon at the bottom of your foot. It has been sore every morning and became irritated from a run 2 days ago. Normally I would just rest, ice, stretch, and wait it out. But, I have done nothing to strain my foot. I've been exercising regularly, shoes are new but broken in, my workouts have not changed in intensity, and there is no reason for this to happen (other than old age, and I'm not using that excuse yet). I was much harder on my body running cross country in college and I never had this problem. Yesterday I remembered about 3 years ago I stepped on a mechanical pencil lead and it was buried deep into my left heel. When I went to the doc he cut it out and "thought he got it all." Stupid me didn't get an x-ray to be sure (the doctor at Norwich didn't even mention the possibility). So I put 2 and 2 together. The irritation could be from a piece of graphite that worked its way against the bone. So I told the flight surgeon and he scheduled me for an x-ray. I went down and took care of it immediately. He said he would call me if the x-rays showed anything abnormal. It would be 24-48 hours. Until then I'll be taking it easy and just going to the gym, no running. The whole fiasco took from 7-11. Not bad. I was impressed that dental finally has their x-rays scanned into a computer where they can blow it up and actually see things. Every torture chamber has their own computer and I got my first good look at my teeth. Much easier to see on a 19" monitor blown up X10 than those 3X2" x-ray photos. Time to go help pack. House hunting leave to jacksonville.... oh joy.

Sunday, March 14, 2004

Touring Corpus Christi

We spent the day yesterday roaming around Corpus. The usual quick tour of the base to show off the nice beach and pier. Then to the hangars to see the Army, Coast Guard, and customs detachments. Customs flys the P-3 Orion I will be learning to fly next in Jax. Then we went by the Navy hangars to show him the T-34 and TC-12. Once off base we went up ocean drive gawking at the impressive oceanview mansions and then into town. We were undecided whether to go to the USS Lexington or the Texas State Aquarium. Rikki finally decided on the Aquarium while we munched on subway for lunch. This was our second time at the aquarium and I still enjoyed it. We arrived in time (after a line to get in) to see the otter demo/feeding and also managed to arrive at several other places during feeding time so we saw more than usual. The best part was the feeding of the green moray eel. I have never seen one fully out in the open before. We spent several hours there came home for a ham dinner that Rikki has perfected (I made my rosemary-garlic pizza the night before).

We all slept in this morning and headed to the officer's club for champagne brunch after Rikki got back from church (she is such a good catholic). It was more crowded than usual with several reserved tables. This also meant more food and a better selection. I filled a plate at the buffet and ordered half a belgian waffle. Both were excellent. I definitely can not afford to make buffets a habit. The rest of the day was spent preparing for our house hunting in jax starting tuesday. I do not look forward to driving over 2000 miles.

Saturday, March 13, 2004

A Solution to Media Bias

It keeps getting worse. Look at these:

Reuters reported the Madrid bombing was done by guerillas.... are they afraid to use the words terrorists?
The headlines for the Iraqi Spy were: Accused spy is cousin of Bush staffer. I didn't realize people should do background checks of cousins of staff members. No mention that she was a democratic congressional staffer. I think I will go back to relying on the Internet for my news. The 24 hour news channel/media mentality is despicable.

Madrid

The scariest part about the terrorists is that they have no limits. Madrid suffered almost 200 deaths the other day. If they could have the terrorists would have killed 200,000, 2 million, 20 million.... they would have liked to kill everyone that does not believe in their Islamofascist principles and ironically, in the process they will even kill a few who do. Luckily they have not been very successful on a big scale. Instead they cause a united response that even I was shocked by. Up to 11 million people marched in Spain to protest the attack. That is close to 1/4 of their population.

A college friend is visiting for the weekend down from Austin. He is one of the many electrical engineer students that was adopted into the Tyner family. He brought his laptop and he connected to our wireless network. That is pretty neat. He just needed the network name and the WEP password (wireless encryption protocol). I've done it with our laptops before but with the provided software. Was impressed how easy it was. He had half a dozen different wireless networks setup on his laptop.

Hotspots (wireless access points) are popping up all over the country, won't be long before you can surf almost everywhere. Cell phone companies are putting out an Internet cell phone adapter that allows you access to the cell phone network to surf the Internet. So anywhere you can use a cell phone you can be online. A friend of mine has it and surfed on a drive from Norfolk VA to DC. I will definitely have to get one of those with my next laptop.

Friday, March 12, 2004

Surprising News

With all of my free time I have caught up on my reading and the news. A few interesting things I figured other people should know:

Medical studies:
Throw away your hydrogen peroxide (works by reacting with blood and skin cells bubbling out dirt). Water is a better cleanser and does not damage cells.
Don't use Syrup of Ipecac on the kids. It doesn't reduce ER visits or save lives. Instead it can cause prolonged vomiting. Just contact poison control.
Mercurochrome Iodine (antibacterial) contains toxic mercury, is ineffective, irritates skin and slows healing. Again, use water.

Identity Theft
The biggest threat of identity theft comes from bank credit-card offers. ID thieves can take these out of the mail system, change the address, and apply for credit in your name. To halt these annoying offers just call 888-567-8688. You should also buy a shredder for sensitive information.

Produce Decoding
Besides being edible those stickers on fruits/vegetables mean something:
#### - conventionally grown
8#### - genetically engineered
9#### - organically grown

Monday, March 08, 2004

Website Fixed

I have no idea how or why but my website stopped working last week. I usually expect it to die on me whenever I mess with it, but I was on vacation! and it had been working fine. Strange how tempermental some things are. I found yet another work around to get it back up but who knows how long this will last.

It appears godaddy was messing up my domain forwarding. I.E. http://natewinters.com/chris/ did not work. You had to use: http://68.201.93.16:8080/chris/ even though http://natewinters.com is supposed to be forwarding to: http://68.201.93.16:8080/ It is working once again though leaving me dazed and confused.

Saturday, March 06, 2004

Jax Apartments

We sat down for an hour today and looked at some apartments that I had found in the last month. We are basing our decision off of location, the drive from base, apartment features (fenced in backyard for the dog), price, and pet policy. We have talked to some friends that are already there and they said they like the Mandarin area. In talking with some other Navy wives they have also recommended it. One of the apartments that we really like is in that area so I guess we will see what happens on house hunting leave. We used apartment guide as a source for our search.

Friday, March 05, 2004

Winging

Rikki and I went to the winging to see fellow Norwich grad Slowinski and a friend get their wings. The friends were in Pensacola with us and were one of the few that moved out here to Corpus Christi. Both wingers are Air Force. The guest speaker was decent. His speech was about the War on Terror, a recurring theme.

I submitted our request for our move to Jacksonville. It was all online and took about 30 minutes. I was very impressed. Makes it alot easier than running back and forth to the office because you forget things. It was nice to be able to ask the wife what she thought about different things too. We also learned that the government insures goods at 1.25$ per pound. That scared us a little. Considering we only have about 4,000 lbs valued at about 20,000$. I called our renters insurance and made sure they also covered it, we have a 25K policy through them. Of course the movers are responsible for any damages they do. I have heard horror stories about moves, hopefully we will never experience one. My favorite is an overseas move where the freight liner hit a bad storm and lost entire cargo containers over the side. I couldn't imagine losing everything!

Thursday, March 04, 2004

Pre-Move Out Inspection

When we got back from our vacation Nathan stopped off at housing to let them know when we are moving out. Housing scheduled a pre-move out inspection for 3/3/04. UMM..ok! We are not moving out till April 23rd so I was a little confused by this. The appointment is set for 2:30pm. They never showed up till 3:15pm. No apology for being late. I guess it is a good thing I am not working or I would have been a little upset. So she shows up. She takes a quick look around downstairs and then hands us a cleaning list. Make sure this is clean and this is done and don't forget to give us the keys. Umm no duh! They will come by to reinspect the morning we leave. As Nathan and I look through the list we realize that we are going to be charged for lost mailbox keys. We just laughed at that because before she left she says we can throw the mailbox keys away if we want. The post office will come by and change the locks after each family leaves. I think someone is confused over there. Got to love the move out process!

Monday, March 01, 2004

Cruise Pictures

Finally put together a webpage photo album with all the pictures (click here). Thanks to Todd and Robin for sending us theirs (the ones with the yellow date on them). If anyone else has some you can email me at nate@natewinters.com. I had to take some red eye out and crop a few of my own so do not worry if they are not perfect.

The webpage is very large and you may have trouble viewing everything if you have a slow connection. Email me or click on the comments below and we can try to work something out.