Saturday, December 24, 2005

Home Again

We were pierside by 7 a.m. in Honolulu. Debarkation went smoothly with no lines (since we never went into international waters no customs or immigration were required) though our color was the second to last called, we left around 9:30. The bus ride home was uneventful and Angel did not destroy anything while being left alone for a week.

This was our best cruise yet and we were very lucky with the weather. It was rarely cloudy and we didn't get any rain all week. We still have 2 other NCL ships doing Hawaiian cruises we can try: Pride of Aloha and Pride of Hawaii (commissioning in 2006).

Merry Christmas

Friday, December 23, 2005

Lihue, Kauia

We pulled in at 8 and were suprised to find the Alamo shuttle waiting for us. We upgraded once again for the Sebring Tourig convertible and were off. First stop was the Wailua falls (and a cache). We were one of the first there and due to construction of an overlook we couldn't see very much of the falls. So I took the less travelled route while Rikki stayed with the car giving me some motherly advice as I hiked down into the woods. After a little slipping and sliding down a steep embankment and a few hurdles over the streams I was able to walk right out onto the top of the falls, it was a spectacular view.

We had decided that we didn't feel like visiting the West side of the island (waimea canyons) since we had seen enough hot desert wasteland on the big island. The drive up the East side of kauai was very nice and we found numerous empty beaches while geocaching once again. Several were a nasty hike but by far the best beaches we've seen so far. We found a large yellow research buoy washed up on the shore. Used the GPS to find the local police number, called them and they had me call someone else to report it. I'm surprised they didn't have me call the Coast Guard.

There is a ton of land and homes for sale all along the ocean front. Some gorgeous lots up on the hills overlooking the ocean. We stopped at the Kilauea lighthouse/bird sanctuary and grabbed a quick lunch at a local bistro. We continued all the way to the North shore and decided not to attempt to head back during rush hour. We spent sunset on an abandoned beach and finally headed back to the ship. Traffic at 7 p.m. was pretty bad, I can't imagine what rush hour must be like. Once back we were charged 10$ to park the car at the mall close to the pier (who ever worked that deal is making out) and grabbed a quick bite to eat on the ship before going to bed early. We are going to try to catch sunrise at Ninini lighthouse point tomorrow morning.

Day 2 Lihue
We were up early, we haven't been able to get back on schedule since our bike down haleakala. This worked out well since we wanted to watch the sunrise anyways. We took yet another treacherous back road faithfully following our GPS directions through a golf course and around the airport to a Ninini lighthouse. It is directly in the approach path I've shot half a dozen times to Lihue airport. We watched a nice sunrise, not as good as Haleakala's but still a nice one. We saw a few whales blow out in the distance but they also were not very active so early. We drove around the rest of the morning hitting 3 more geocaches and ended up watching the whales by the airport. They were breaching, slapping, and blowing in a few different areas. We wished we had remembered our binoculars.

We left early afternoon to cruise around the entire island and get a sunset view of the Napali coast. That was spectacular and will definitely have to hike up there some day. We hit 4-8 foot swells once again so Rikki went to bed early.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Kona, the Big Island

We tendered at Kona (anchored out and took small boats back and forth to the dock). Rikki wasn't up for it so I had the day to myself to tour, I was the last person to board the first tender. Kona was the only place we had not reserved a rental car so after getting to the pier I took the first shuttle I saw (Hertz, they were always first and had twice as many shuttles). Once at the airport I was forced to rent a Ford mustang convertible. They only had convertibles left and of course they did not allow any discounts on their luxury cars so I bit the bullet and parted with a Franklin. My plan was to spend the day geocaching. Since the airport was several miles north of Kona I continued that way to stay out of the traffic. The first cache was right by a lava tube off the side of the road. There were several caches on private resorts that have a "public beach" of course you have to go to the gateguard and ask them to give you a pass to use them. Not very public and I'm guessing a pretty big secret to most visitors. The Four Seasons was the best, all the old people zooming around in their golf carts was kind of crazy. Several caches were long hikes through desert lava fields in my semi-rugged, 9.99$ special, sandals. A few times I was wondering at my sanity and the value of taking "shortcuts" up and over hillls of sharp lava rock. I made it out with only a few scratches from the unprotected tops and sides of my feet. The soles of my sandals are torn up pretty bad. I did get some amazing pictures. I did pass up a green sand beach (a crushed up semi-precious stone). It was near the end of the day and I had already gone far too many miles on foot. My Garmin GPS saved me a ton of time today. Especially near the end of the day when I had to refill the car before returning it and the only gas station was tucked away off a side road 2 miles away. Pretty easy to use too. Just Find -> Fuel Services (listed by closest) -> goto and it gives you directions. Gas has ranged from 2.70 to 2.90 on all the islands. I made it back to the ship early with everyone else. There was a line of about 300 people so I walked the Kona strip for 2 hours. By the time I made it back I got on the last tender to the ship and got ready for supper.

Part of our anniversary package includes dinner at the fanciest restaurant, Jefferson's Bistro (dress code enforced!) Since we were all dressed up we had some pictures done (another part of the anniversary package) and then made it to the restaurant early. Normally you pay extra to eat at this place. The last fancy place we ate at was Scopillo's (sp?) in Pensacola after finishing primary. This place was significantly more ritzy (they had 3 types of specialized butter for the bread). A bottle of wine came with the meal so I asked for a recommendation since I had no clue and we ended up with a red Bell'agio Chianti 2004. The waiter went through the motions of preparing the wine and poured me a shot sampler. I downed it. He then poured for Rikki and she smelled, swirled, and swished it like a pro (she watches Food Network more than I do). It was very good and Rikki even drank about 1/16th of the bottle. The appetizers were salmon, asparagus, and escargot. I went with the raw salmon, and it was good until about half-way through. You can only eat so much raw fish. Rikki felt like pasta... they had none, I guess pasta is too mundane. The salad was good and the soup was even better. They served the soup in its own round loaf of bread. The meals were also very good and chocolate fondue for desert was as expected. Our waiters were great, though these fancy places remind me more of a funeral home than a place to eat. It took us over 2 hours for the 5 courses and we had alot of fun with it.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Kahului, Maui

The seas were rough, and Rikki was still a bit worn down, but we still got up early to get our rental car. Once again people were debarking before they even announced it so we tagged along. Another wait for the Alamo shuttle (once again we saw 5 or 6 other rental company shuttles come and pick people up while we waited). After the shuttle to the airport we upgraded for $15 from an economy car to a Sebring Convertible. The car was filthy and had only about 3/4's a tank of gas. It was definitely the bottom of the barrel for their convertibles and not something they would give to their more respectable clients. We didn't complain. We went straight to a beach park that was a few minutes away from the airport and very secluded. We had a half mile of beach to ourselves so we enjoyed the solitude (besides the crashing waves which were still a good 4-8 ft.) We also hunted for a geocache (that was how I found out about the quiet beach) but we did not find it. Next we drove around the north east side of the island toward Hana. But, Rikki soon got sick of my driving on the insanely windy (at times one lane, 15-25 mph) road that would continue for over 2 hours. We stopped for another geocache at the twin falls. A good hike and some impressive falls. We called it quits early and headed back to the ship to get some sleep since we had to be up at 3 a.m. for an excursion.

Day 2 Kahului
It is nice to spend more than one day at a port. On our second day we planned a bike down Haleakala, but they cancelled the day prior since we were the only ones that reserved and they needed a minimum of six. They were good in setting us up with another company that was doing the same trip, Cruiser Phil's. They guaranteed the same rate and sounded decent so we chanced the last minute change. We were up and ready on time. Our van pulled up a few minutes late along with the other 4 vans (different companies) that were waiting. We hopped in and were driven to their headquarters for muffins and coffee then started the 2 hour drive to the top. Rikki did surprisingly well since the road was almost as bad as the road to Hana. Our guide was great, a good sense of humor. We were both bundled up, jeans, shirt, sweater, jacket, and we were given another leather jacket, Columbia windbreaker top/bottom (to help us "break wind, except when in the van"), and even some gloves to handle the cold at 10,000 ft. Even with all that the wind still bit pretty hard. We were popsiclish after the 45 minute wait, but the sunrise was worth it. After a quick stop at the restrooms for our "own personal eruptions" (our tour guide was full of volcano jokes) we mounted the specialized 50 lb one gear (a very slow gear) disc brake bicycles (with full helmets). They had us do a few laps around the parking lot, anyone who ran into parked vehicles would be put back in the van. Rikki wasn't too sure of herself but she did fine. Then we started the decent, 10,000 ft down to the ocean. The views were amazing and the winding road was fun to bike. The weight challenged individuals had a hard time keeping up with those of us naturally gifted in that area. Rikki would duck and tuck trying to coast to keep up with the pack while I sat fully upright and rode the brakes to keep from running into her. She was pretty good at streamlining herself near the end and I could match her speed by making myself as un-aerodynamic as possible. We finished the bike ride hours later at a small town by the ocean, Paia and had breakfast at a small cafe. Then we returned to the ship and slept!

Monday, December 19, 2005

Hilo, the Big Island

We were up early and one of the first people off the ship. We spent the next 20 minutes waiting for our Alamo shuttle to take us to the airport to pick up our rental car. Once there, check-in was quick and we were on the road in our Pontiac Grand Prix. I hooked up my new GPSMAP 60CS and followed the directions to our first stop the black sand beach. It was a sight to see, and since we went there directly there wasn't a crowd. On the way back we hit a few geocaches and then stopped at volcano national park. We spent a good 5 hours there driving around and seeing all the sites. We even found one hidden spot that was a geocache. It was called the Devil's throat and looked like a quarry. As is typical for most geocaches we had to park on the side of the road and hike a bit to get there. We drove all of Crater Rim Drive, ate at the Volcano House and drove to the end of Chain of Craters Road that led to the active lava flow. All we saw was the steam from it hitting the ocean. We ended up rushing back to make the ship in time for departure. We missed out on the Mauna Loa, botanical garden, chocolate factory, and several other places. We needed more than a day here. That night we were supposed to cruise by the lava flow which is visible at night. But a few miles short the Captain came on saying we had to turn around due to bad weather. This has been a recurring complaint in the forums and I would have been sceptical if we hadn't actually hit bad weather on our way to Maui. Rikki didn't handle the 4-8 foot swells very well.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

On Vacation

We were both up a bit early to finish preparing for the cruise yesterday. I did a bunch of errands and picked up some malasadas from Leonard's while I was out. The dog was flipping out, she knew we were leaving. I am expecting her to tear one thing up in the house in rebellion. While I was gone for a week she attacked some paperwork Rikki left out from work. She took it right off the kitchen table and shredded it. She doesn't like to be left alone. Rikki is already worrying about her Angel.

We took the bus to the Aloha Tower pier. I'm not sure why everyone doesn't like the bus, we find it convenient. Rikki has an annual pass so it only cost us 2 bucks. We arrived early, checked our baggage, went through check-in, and were on the ship in about 20 minutes. One of the better check-ins so far. I think Rikki and I are getting pretty good at cruising. We took a quick tour of the ship (the largest cruise ship in the U.S.) until our room was ready. The christmas tree tied to the top of the mast was a good touch. Our deck was done early (they do a same day turn around so rooms are not cleaned and ready to use until after 3 p.m.) so we headed down to it. As we were at the door a staff member gave us some mail. Our christmas present from my side of the family was the anniversary package. We had some flowers, chocolate strawberries, a bottle of sparkling wine, and later in the week: some hors d'oeuvres, a free anniversay photograph, a cake and champagne party with everyone else celebrating their honeymoon or anniversay plus a free dinner at the best restaurant (you have to pay extra normally). A very nice gift.

We were also pleasantly surprised by our room 10042. Deck 10 with a balcony. I have learned a few tricks from our previous cruises so we picked the best balcony room there was. It has a wrap around balcony and we are just forward of the pool, a deck above us so we don't have to listen to them rearranging tables/chairs and our balcony view isn't blocked by extra supports needed to hold the weight of the pool/spas. The rooms on the ship do have the smallest bathroom and shower I have ever seen. Cramped, but nice. This is the first room we've ever had a fridge with, that is a nice touch.

After reading reviews about the Pride of America on cruisecritic.com I had lowered my expectations for this cruise. It seems Norwegian Cruise Lines has been working hard and they have come a long ways. I already know this will be our best cruise yet. Service is fine so far (even with an all-american crew) and the ship, commissioned in 2004, is spotless. There are numerous little things that only new ships designed as cruise ships from the bottom up would have. After our first cruise I realized the age of the cruise ship is a huge factor when deciding what to book.

It is now 5 a.m. and we are sailing towards Hilo on the Big Island. According to the "report from the bridge" channel, it is 75 degrees outside with a 20 knot wind and .3-.5 foot seas. I think I can see the lights for Upolu Point. We are making good time. We have to travel over 200 miles overnight to get from Honolulu to Hilo and it feels like we are going about 20 knots. We will be picking up a rental car from Alamo to go see the black sand beach and volcano national park. I have my GPS and plan on hitting a few geocaches along the way. The next three days will be very busy.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Vacation

Vacation has started, we both need it. After being gone for a week I had SDO (squadron duty officer) tue & thu. As SDO you are required to stay on base for 24 hours and in squadron spaces when an aircraft is airborne. All the packing is done. The dog will be staying home nights and with a neighbor during the day. I wouldn't feel safe leaving the house unguarded during the holidays. Crime is so horrible in our area they finally closed off one entrance into the housing and added gateguards near our house (which they said they couldn't afford). Even with the extra precautions I know there will still be some break-ins. So much for the security of base housing.

Monday, December 12, 2005

North Island Det

I spent the last week in San Diego, flying out of North Island, doing some work with the brand new carrier Ronald Reagan and its battle group. It was my second time to the west coast and first time to really see anything. The week went by quick with 5 night flights and plenty of Mexican food. I didn't make it to Tijuana, but I'm not sure that is a bad thing. The wife and dog did fine without me. Of course the A/C in the house died and there was a torrential downpour that caused a little flooding in the house. Problems always hold off until I leave so Rikki has to handle them all by herself.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Vacation Planning

This is what we've put together so far for planning the cruise. A compilation of reviews and research on the Internet:

Day Port Arrive Depart
Sun. Hilo, Hawaii 8:00am 7:00pm
Volcano National Park (45 min $10 parking fee), Chain of Craters road, Rainbow Falls, punalu'u blacksand beach, thurston lava tube


Mon. Kahului, Maui 8:00am overnight
Tue. Kahului, Maui - - 6:00pm
Car rental - road to Hana
http://bikeitmaui.com/contact.htm 2:30 am haleakala

Wed. Kona, Hawaii 7:00am 6:00pm
Tender, local guy offering snorkeling for $30 a couple.

Thu. Nawiliwili, Kauai 8:00am overnight
Fri. Nawiliwili, Kauai - - 2:00pm
Hanalei Bay, Wailua Falls, Waimea Canyon, Hanapepe blowholes, Wailua river and fern grotto
There are free shuttles to Hilo Hattie's, Wal-Mart, etc. in many ports. When you dock in Kauai for two days, there is a free shuttle every ten minutes to a shopping mall called Anchor Cove less than a mile away. My husband walked to it. If you're not doing an excursion or have free time, get beach towels and take the shuttle. Walk through the small mall, cross the little bridge to your left and you will find a gorgeous beach behind the Kauai Marriott.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Heightened Security

I came home late a few nights ago and was greeted by a couple security guards checking ID's at our normally unguarded base housing. I asked what got them to finally put up security? (the last we were told they could not afford guards). They said "several vehicles have come up missing" in our neighborhood. So they block off one entrance and have setup some cones and check ID's at the other. They write down your name, adress, car type and year. From the rumors it sounds like Hondas were the target of a rather large, island wide chop shop heist. Not sure how anyone can make much profit off of stealing cars on an island. But, the extra security is nice.

Our A/C unit was on the fritz the last few days. Today it finally went out with some rather impressive sparking (like a really big moth in a bug zapper) and alot of smoke. The repair guy came pretty quickly, but he has to put an order in and since it is over 300$ it has to be approved and who knows how long it will take. I guess Rikki will have to suffer in the hot 85 degrees without A/C while I'm gone.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

MySpace.com

Things keep getting easier and easier for people to get their own webpage. It started with geocities, then livejournal, then blogs, and now the latest is MySpace.

The part worth mentioning is that myspace includes alot more than your average free homepage and it has grown extremely fast. Searchable information with some decent privacy controls allows people to find old friends, classmates, etc. very quickly. I signed up after hearing someone talk about it at work and have already caught up with half a dozen friends. The interface is pretty easy and allows for more customization than I expected. But, it can't replace my own webpage yet. So my profile is pretty bare, just a link to here.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Hail and Farewell

My first Catamaran Cruise was a good time. Too bad I had to go stag since Rikki doesn't have her sea legs.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

SAR

The ladies went to the Polynesian Cultural Center yesterday and are doing a Circle Island Tour today and we might try to make the Magic of Polynesia tonight if we have time.

I was surprised to have a 0300 brief yesterday for a 10 hour SAR (search and rescue) mission. We searched an area 700 miles south of Hawaii along with a coast guard C-130 for a missing fishing vessel. No luck, but it was a good experience.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

The long weekend

It was very nice to have a 3-day weekend. I realized it was this time last year that I first came to Hawaii during my cross-country flight from Jacksonville (I remembered the extreme lines at the Arizona Memorial, 200+ people waiting outside). We've done alot of touring the past few days. The Honolulu Zoo was very impressive. Much larger than I expected. The layout was poor, making you backtrack when coming to dead ends or to see a section that has more than one entrance/exit. Well worth the money though. The ladies did most of their shopping at the Swap Meet before being gouged at Waikiki and the malls.

We also visited the Waikiki Aquarium. Parking was a nightmare, but we got a decent spot after searching. The aquarium was a bit disappointing. What they had was well done, but they didn't have much and no air conditioning. It was unique since part of it was actually outdoors with fish and coral growing unprotected. The frogfish was interesting. After that we walked down the strip in Waikiki to the Hawaiian Hilton showing them all the sites. We ate at the Hale Koa on the veranda and watched the sunset. None of us thought the food was very good, except Rikki who didn't dare to try something new. We walked all of waikiki beach back to the aquarium and caught a little bit of a film about Senator Inouye (medal of honor recipient and long time Hawaiian politician).

Today I took the ladies to Hickam beach while the wife was teaching sunday school. We took Angel and she had a blast in the water, fetching sticks. Once Rikki was home we headed over to Kaneohe for champagne brunch at the Officer's Club. That was good as usual and I think I got Larissa hooked on Crab legs. After that I took them up to the top of radar road for a good view of the base, kaneohe bay, and kailua. We stopped by the hangar and a plane was available for a tour so they all were able to see the mighty P-3 up close and personal. We had planned to go to Bellows beach to meet Sue & Jerry but we were too slow doing everything else.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Extreme Parasailing

After getting home at 2 a.m. I was back at work by 8 a.m. But, I did leave work early to take Tanya & Larissa parasailing (they were going to take the bus). We left early and stopped at Ala Moana Beach/Park so they could radiate themselves. I hiked around the park and watched the surfers. When we checked in they had room so I decided to go also. My last experience with parasailing was through the Navy and involved a truck and practicing parachute landing falls (the Navy used to do it over water, but since we do some joint training with the Air Force they complained.... the Air Force always seems to win when it comes to things like this). 8 other people went with us. The 2 guys running the overpowered boat were great. The parasail was setup tandem. 2 people side by side so Larissa got to go twice. It was a good time and I love the flying experience without all the noise. They did dunk us, twice. There was a growing rainbow over downtown honolulu all day. It started about 100' above the city and grew to well over 500' by the time we pulled back in. The rain never reached us luckily. We picked Rikki up from work and ate at Gordon Biersch and toured Aloha Tower Marketplace. Including, of course, free samples from Bad Ass Coffee. The rest of the night was spent in the hot tub, and there was much rejoicing.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Thanksgiving Guests

Tanya and Larissa arrived on United Airlines flight 1 (same flight Rikki and I came in on) at 3 p.m. Rikki and I were both able to greet them since I had a night flight and Rikki took the day off. They did a little sightseeing, shopping, and enjoyed the hot tub while I went to work...

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Last Best Chance

A surprisingly good short movie about the threat of nuclear terrorism. What does this say about a society that requires a movie to spread awareness?

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

A quick summary

Part of the Internet was down for the past few days. Of course this happened to include the route my domain forwarding uses.

A quick reminder to all the family as the holidays come up to make sure to ship packages smartly. USPS Flat rate priority mail is a very good deal. Especially since Vermont to Hawaii is about as far apart as you can get in the U.S. Hard to believe you can ship a flat rate box up to 70 lbs for under 8 bucks. I would not bother with UPS or Fedex.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Never Ending/Major Catch Up

Okay so it has been a while since I have posted. The job is going well it actually is going so well that I may be able to put this job in my “related experience” portion of my resume. I have helped transition the division from typed submitted reports to typed e-mail reports on custom Word forms. Can I tell you how excited I am! Within the next year the boss would like me to get everything web based. That would require some web base designing  I am officially working the full 20 hours now and am happy that I am at least doing that. I share the desk at work. I will keep you updated as time goes on.
On a side note we had someone try to break into our house on Monday morning at 3:30am. The person knocked on the back patio door. I was somewhat asleep but not in a deep sleep by any means. I heard the knock and then Angel barked. Hubby rolled over and told Angel to be quiet. In my gut something didn’t feel right and everything told me to tell hubby to get up and go check it out but I wasn’t sure if something fell on the roof. I thought that if something was really wrong and if it were the neighbors they would go to the front door and ring the bell.
Monday when I got up at 8am there were muddy foot prints on the back patio. I called for Nathan immediately. He got up and looked and we decided to call the cops. On the weekends hubby has been pretty good at pressure washing the back patio. Sunday night we watered. So the back patio was clean.
The cops showed up at 8:30am and did a look around the property. Sure enough there were prints found at the windows. They think that the attempted robber jumped over the back yard fence instead of opening the gate as not to wake anyone, in case someone was home. The cops then went and checked out the vehicles. As they did this they told us what we could do to protect our home. I was very pleased with how they treated us. They didn’t treat us as if we were insane. They took all our information and took notes to fill out a report.
Tuesday evening at 7pm there was a community meeting. Everyone in our residential neighborhood went to the meeting. It was just about a waste of time. It honestly made me more scared then I was before. There has been such an increase in crime in the base housing area recently that is doesn’t make me feel comfortable. Don’t get me wrong I love the house we live in. It is definitely bigger and better than any house we looked at in town. But the base can’t protect us as well as they like. We live in base-housing but we are outside base. We live on government property and in government housing but it is not gated. We live in one of the three housing areas on the island that doesn’t have that extra protection of the base gate. And of course since this housing is in one of the PPV phases the military isn’t going to pay to put a gate up when they aren’t going to own it anymore. They told Nathan between 2007 and 2012 they expect the contract with the civilian company to be signed and the process of building new housing to begin. We should be moving again by the time that happens.
So it looks like if Nathan has the weekend off we will be spending it at Home Depot to pick up some epoxy to glue our jalousie windows as the cops recommended. I just don’t think that it is fair that it is our responsibility to buy all of these things and housing isn’t going to help. They make us aware of the crime but they can’t really help us. They claim that they will increase the security patrol but I didn’t see anything last night and I haven’t seen anything tonight. But it is still early.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Ipod Nano

I usually don't buy things new. I wait for the bugs to get worked out and the price to come down. But, a few products are of high enough quality that I splurge. The Ipod Nano is one of those. This thing is miniscule. Color display, and it is not meant for just songs, it also does photos, contacts, calendar, alarm, stop watch and games (ping pong, solitaire, and a few others). Even if I fill it with everything I won't be able to use up the 4 gigs yet. Amazing. Apple was a failing company, Ipod saved it.

I just downloaded our 287 songs and 11029 photos onto it.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Emergency Preparedness

Hopefully some people have taken note and have assembled an emergency kit after seeing how helpless Katrina has left the gulf coast. After... half a dozen hurricanes we have a decent one but I still found a few more helpful tips:

Do not store plastic water containers on concrete. The concrete will leech chemicals into the water, contaminating it and also degrading the plastic bottle, causing failure. Stored water should be refreshed every 6 months. Keep the clear containers out of sunlit or in black garbage bags.

Use up all your potable water first:
Hot water heater. Every water heater has a drain valve near the bottom. Just be sure to let the water cool, turn off the supply line to prevent contaminated water from coming in and shut off its power.
Water Trapped in Home Piping: Water can sometimes be removed by locating and shutting off the main water valve. Open the valve at the highest point of your property, then when you open the valve at the lowest point, gravity will force the water from the pipes.
Toilet Water. Use the water from the storage tank - NOT the toilet bowl.

How to purify water:
Drain through a paper towel or coffe filter to remove sediment.
8-16 drops of chlorine per gallon (mix and let sit for 30 minutes). Water should smell/taste slightly of bleach, if not add more.
or
12-24 drops of iodine per gallon.
or
Boil the water vigorously for 5 minutes at sea level (+1 min/1000' above.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

the oil scare

Hawaii is the first to attempt to cap gas prices. It sounds like the local government needs some lessons on the basics of supply and demand. The Government can not effectively control markets. The legislature tried to use some common sense by saying they would account for market forces in the adjustable price cap. Their way of allowing themselves a loophole out of the disaster this intervention will cause. The real question is what will happen. Hawaii has only 2 refineries. Will one shutdown? Will they reduce their quality? Will they take shortcuts to save money? Will we run out of oil? It should go without saying that they will not be investing in any new equipment or improvements to their current operations when they can do it else where with far more profits. The worst scenario is if this seems to work for a few months, or even a few years and then the refineries break down due to neglect and lack of capital investment. Then it won't be a quick fix and we will have shortages.

But, I doubt that will happen. If people will just be patient supply and demand will balance out. A little known fact is that the largest known fossil fuel deposits in the world are in the US (that is 1,000,000,000,000 barrels). With an estimated cost of production of 30$ per barrel.

A little common sense would make people realize we have only explored a small fraction of the Earth for oil. There is no foreseeable shortage and emerging technologies are allowing us to tap into oil in once unheard of places. The Alberta oil sands in Canada is the 2nd largest reserve in the World. Combined with the oil shale in Coloroda this has dropped the OPEC cartel to a measly 10% of World production. This is important to allow market forces to drive oil cost, not Saudi Princes. Canada may be in trouble due to its signing of the Kyoto treaty and may be limited to how much it can produce, luckily the US didn't fall for that bit of hyperbole.

As long as market forces are allowed to act freely and more drilling is allowed on government land supply and demand will balance out and prices should stabilize. The bad news is that this will take years since we have only recently started tapping into our own resources.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Pakistan Navy acquires eight Orions

Islamabad, Aug 31, 2005

Pakistan Navy has acquired eight P-3C Orion aircraft from United States, Pakistan Navy (PN) said on Wednesday.

"The title of these aircraft has been shifted to PN with signing of the transfer documents by the representatives of U.S. and Pakistan Navies, making the aircraft a property of the government of Pakistan," a Navy statement said.

P-3C Orion is a long-range maritime patrol aircraft with an endurance of about 18 hours and can carry Harppon missiles.

These aircraft would be fitted with modern avionics and mission system by M/s Lockheed Martin, the manufacture of P-3C Orion, according to the statement.

"The aircraft are being provided free of cost by the U.S. Navy and the expenses for modification of aircraft avionics systems will be met mostly from the U.S. military aid."

With the induction of eight P-3Cs, the existing fleet of PN P-3Cs will grow up to 10 aircraft.

Two P-3Cs already with PN are presently undergoing overhaul in Pakistan with U.S. assistance and are expected to be operational by the end of this year.

Pakistan Naval Chief Admiral Shahid Karimullah has termed acquiring of the aircraft a significant achievement, the statement said.

"Provision of these aircraft is indicative of strong Pak-U.S. relations and hoped that the defence cooperation between the navies to two countries would further increase in times to come," he added.

Marco P.J. Borst
P-3 Orion Research Group - The Netherlands

Armstrong Troubled By French Finds

A nice forward from bro #2:

The Associated Press

PARIS, France --

Lance Armstrong's record setting seventh Tour de France victory, along with his entire Tour de France legacy, may be tarnished by what could turn out to be one of the greatest sports scandals of all time.

Armstrong is being quizzed by French police after three banned substances were found in his South France hotel room while on vacation after winning the 2005 Tour de France. The three substances found were toothpaste, deodorant, and soap which have been banned by French authorities for over 75 years.

Armstrong's girlfriend and American rocker Sheryl Crowe is quoted as saying "we use them every day in America, so we naturally thought they'd be ok throughout Europe."

Along with these three banned substances, French authorities also found several other interesting items that they have never seen before, including a backbone and testicles.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Google Earth

Stumbled upon this very cool software today. Check it out. It is worth the install. Zoom in on Oahu and check out waikiki beach (be sure to have the buildings and terrain feature selected). You can zoom over to K-bay and check out a high quality satellite image of the base (see a p-3 doing a 180 on the runway) and you can even zoom in on Sue & Jerry's house. Double click on the different links in the places menu on the left. A very amazing tool. Be sure to check out New York City 3-d too.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

26th Birthday/Funny

The last time I posted was just before my b-day! Nathan was still on vacation and it was wonderful! I got home for work and hubby took me out for dinner. We got back from dinner and there were presents waiting for me! It was so nice to have him home for my b-day. He is now back to work and working what us civilians would call the evening shift.
We try to do as much as we can together on the weekends but lately our weekends have been tied up with events. Last weekend was the Hawaii Alumni gathering. We had a sendoff for the freshman that lived on the island. It was a rather pleasant evening. Hopefully we will get some pictures.
Work is going pretty well! I worked some overtime the last two weeks. Every week I learn something else. I am hoping that job will become full time in a years time!
Someone sent me this today and I thought that you would all like this:
God Saw you hungry & created McDonalds, Wendys, and Dairy Queen.
He saw you thirsty & created Diet Coke, Juice, Coffee and Water.
GOD saw you in the dark & created Light.
GOD saw you without a Good looking, adorable, FRIEND........
SO He created ME

Friday, July 22, 2005

Swimming with the Turtles

Sue & Jerry took us up to Shark's Cove on the North Shore. The waves were calm so we did some snorkeling. I brought the camera and took some great pictures swimming with the turtles. The water was cool, but it was nice enough out it didn't matter. The turtles were feeding off the reef and we saw at least 4 of them. We even saw several up on the beach on the drive up and back.

We had lunch at Haleiwas Joe's Seafood Grille. Drove around the North Shore, had some shaved ice, and made a day out of it.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Seeing More of Hawaii

Ok I know we have been horrible at posting this month but actually not too much has been going on. Which is nice for a change. Our Anniversary was nice and quiet. We actually got to celebrate on our anniversary because Nathan's schedule was changed. We had pizza and exchanged gifts. I made a cake for later in the evening.
I started a part time job on the 5th. It is just 12-15 hours a week so I have Monday's off. Hopefully in the next week or so they will increase that to 15-18 hours. I am working for a security company as an administrative assistant. I work in a subdivision of the security firm called Mystery Shoppers. It is pretty cool. Tonight I actually sat down and read half of the user's manual that the shoppers have.
Hubby has been on vacation for the last week or so. He has been enjoying himself between getting some much needed house stuff done and getting in some fun time too.
I have Monday's off so we spent the three day weekend out and about. Below are some pictures from last weekend's outing.

Friday, July 01, 2005

Photos

The following are photos of the house:

The following are photos of Hawaii:

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

OMG The Registration!

Ok, so today, after calling everyday last week and leaving messages at the dealerships, I finally have the registration and title to the new car in my hands. It took 9.5 weeks! I can't believe it. That should have only taken at max 6 weeks. So now I will finally be able to go and get a base sticker for this car.
In other news, I have been job searching and interviewing. I haven't been hired on by anyone as of yet. I will keep you posted though.
Just 9 more days till our 3rd Anniversary, OMG I can't even believe that it has been that long. Of course I have learned not to plan crap. Nathan's schedule is so screwed up that I can't even begin to rant about that. Heck I am not even putting plans together for the 4th because it is just easier to figure it out the day of.
The couple that had the incident is back on the mainland and are doing well so far. He is settled in at the hospital and has one more major surgery that is scheduled for next week and then he will have months of cosmetic surgeries there after. She is settled in an apartment and should be heading to work with the Baltimore Ravens soon. Yes ladies and gentleman, you read correctly, she will be an assistant for the Baltimore Ravens.
Two days ago we headed to the beach on Hickam. That was fun and very nice. The sandbars were awesome for Angel to go chasing sticks. Maybe now that things are calm I will get some pictures posted for everyone.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Getting Ready to Move On

On Sunday the 5th our neighbor was here trying to sell hubby's jeep. Since he is in the hospital and getting ready to head back to the mainland she is taking care of things. So she didn't sell the jeep because it may need a new battery and the guy that test drove it wasn't too happy about that. After all of that Nathan and I were invited to head up to the military hospital to see her hubby. Nathan and I sat with him for an hour. He looks so great compared to what he looked like when I saw him at Queens. He just has a feeding tube and a pain patch on. He was up, walking around and he was talking.
Tuesday the 7th our neighbor was at the house preparing for the movers. Myself and anther neighbor helped her clean up the house and get things ready for the movers. Her in-laws were with her helping organize things and take things off the wall. I brought her MIL up to the hospital and then spent the rest of the evening with her until the movers left.
Wednesday the 8th our neighbor showed back up at the house to wait for the cleaners. We finished sweeping and getting rid of some more things. We pulled out about 5 barrels of trash and put out any stuff on the sidewalk that she didn't want to keep. She left and took her car to get cleaned and then dropped it off at the shipping company. She came back after that and stayed until the cleaners were done.
Today our neighbor was here to jump start the jeep and move it. It may be the last time I see her before she leaves tonight to head back to the mainland.

Sunday, May 29, 2005

Memorial Day Weekend

This week was spent job hunting. Friday night we had the Silent Auction for the children of the lost Marines at Kaneohe. Nathan and I bid on some items but were quickly outbid on most items. We had dinner at the O’Club on base.
Today we received an update on the couple. The gentleman has been moved from the Trauma hospital in Honolulu to the Military Medical Hospital in Honolulu. He is up and moving around. He is writing and starting to talk to communicate to everyone. He has an infection that he is fighting off but all in all his recovery is going well.

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Husband Home and Visitor

So like it has been since we moved in it has been another crazy week but in a good way. Monday was a day to myself. Tuesday some of the ladies from the neighborhood were here to hang out with me. The women of the tenant of the house, that had that horrible incident, was here to hang out with me while the cleaners, cleaned out the house. Then in the afternoon Liz made it in from Cali. I was so excited to see her. Our friendship has developed tremendously over the internet and it was nice to have her here.
Wednesday Nathan was home from SDO and Liz went to spend the next two days with her hubby while he had time off. Nathan slept for a couple of hours on Wednesday and Angel and I just hung out. Wednesday evening hubby and I just hung out on the couch. Thursday hubby’s flight was canceled so he was officially home for a 24 hour period. For the first time in 2 months we actually got a full 24 hour period together. We went to the Botanical Gardens, had lunch and then took a nap. Liz brought her hubby over for a quick visit and then I finished cooking dessert for the Spouses meeting. I showered, frosted the cupcakes and then headed to the meeting. Angel got sick that evening. She broke out in hives and wasn’t sleeping.
Friday morning I headed off to a job fair. I was working on finding some connections to get an entry level engineering job. I left my resume with at least 4 different companies and 2 of them were for engineering jobs. Hopefully before the end of the week I will hear something from someone. If not it is ok. I will continue to plug away with the old and new resources that I have. Liz was back in the early afternoon. Angel was still sick and I was washing the entire bed from her throwing up all night. I got some numbers for the vet because I was on the verge of taking her in. Liz headed out and did some shopping. In the evening we headed out to Waikiki for the squadron get together.
Saturday morning Angel was still a little sick but got some sleep. In the morning I took Liz shopping. In the afternoon we came back for lunch and then I laid down to take a nap and she went back out. I got up from the nap and showered. We all headed out and had dinner and after dinner we walked through Aloha Tower.
Sunday morning I took Liz to the airport. It was sad to see her go. I offered for her to stay here for the rest of her hubby’s deployment but she wanted to get back to her fury babies. Early in the afternoon hubby and I headed out to see a movie and then we relaxed on the couch watching movies. He was home for an entire weekend, WOOHOO. I feel like I actually have a husband!

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Organized Chaos

The week was spent helping other neighbors, helping the couple involved and keeping each other informed with the latest news. There were the pick-ups at the airport, preparing dinner, leaning on each other for support and opening our hearts and homes to those whom need it. Then there were the return drop offs to the airport, the phone calls and constant check up on the couple. I had no time during this week to really work on job hunting.
Nathan and I took one of the pets for an evening so that one of the neighbors could get some rest. The evening we had that pet I didn’t get any sleep. The poor dog was confused and upset, although he did get along with Angel. Angel was very good to our quest. She knew when he didn’t want to be bothered and she knew when he was ok with her. She kept him comfortable while he was here with us.
Friday morning was the Change of Command Ceremony. I did not go for I had forgotten to RSVP to the event. It had been such a chaotic time that I had put the Change of Command ceremony at the back of my mind.
Friday afternoon a neighbor and I made a trip to the hospital, with one of the neighbors, to see the couple. The situation was a little more than I had been told or even expected so it was a little overwhelming. But in all everything was going rather well and prognosis was looking promising.
Saturday night was the Change of Command Celebration. It was held on the beach at one of the base cottages. It was a wonderful party and a beautiful view. I didn’t stay very long for I had made plans to hang out with one of the neighbors; pizza and a movie. Nathan also got called in since he had SDO duty. So dropped him off and then I headed back home. It was nice to get together with the neighbor after everything had happened. We hung out while eating pizza and chatted and after a while we sat down and decided to watch “Harry Potter.” I started to fall asleep on her couch while cuddled up with Angel. We were half way through the movie and I decided to head back home. That night was the best night of sleep I had gotten in the last two weeks.
Of course in everything that has happened in the last two weeks Nathan wasn’t home much. He was working on the weekends also so his time at home has been limited. I can’t wait until he is no longer the “new guy.”

Saturday, May 07, 2005

Horrible Incident

At about midnight on May 7 there was a horrible incident with one of neighbors. I was awakened by the sound of a siren. I got up to see that the fire department, ambulance and HPD were at the duplex next door. After standing outside for a couple of minutes it looked like they were going to leave. One gentleman finally came out and waved EMS over to the side of the house. The ambulance backed up onto the grass and a couple of minutes later drove away with the siren on.
I then watched as the neighbors across the street come over to find out what was going on. I saw a K-9 unit vehicle pull up and a gentleman entering the house with an animal Ketch-all pole. The occupants have 2 dogs and 2 cats. At this point I knew something awful had happened I just wasn’t sure to whom or what.
I then watched as the neighbor that came over from across the street, ran by with one of the cats in her hand. She made eye contact and didn’t stop to talk. I passed a quick smile her way I didn’t step out to talk to her. I then watched as she ran back by me a minute later. At this point I decided to go back to bed. Obviously no one was going to come over and talk to me or tell me what was going on.
I laid in bed for an hour and couldn’t go to sleep. I heard more cars arrive with the constant open and closing of doors. I heard people talking. I got up and went back outside. I looked over at the duplex and noticed that it was taped off. No one could get in. There were 3 MP’s guarding the property. I looked across the street to notice that the neighbor, that was doing the running, was gone. At least her vehicle wasn’t there. I stood outside for another couple of minutes and none of the police or the MPs were coming over so I went back inside to watch TV.
About an hour later I looked out the window and noticed that the MPs were still watching the house and that more HPD vehicles were outside. I looked across the street to notice that the neighbor hadn’t returned. I went to bed.
I laid in bed for another hour, listening to cars coming and going, before I finally fell asleep. I slept for 2 hours and then was up again. I thought heck this is stupid I am obviously not getting anymore sleep so, I will get up and get a head start on the side dish that I am scheduled to bring to the picnic. I opened the blinds in the kitchen and noticed that there were investigators at the house; they were walking around the property with rubber gloves. I also noticed that there was a man behind my vehicle taking vehicle information. He noticed that I had the blind up so he came and knocked on my door.
I invited the man in and obtained information about what had happened. He started to ask me questions about my relationship with the neighbor. That is when I went to wake Nathan. I told him what had happened and that NCIS was here to talk to us. I answered the gentleman’s questions and then he asked hubby a couple of questions. The gentleman then asked one final question about the dog and then asked us to please keep the information that he had given us quiet. The gentleman left and I sat down in complete shock. It was nice to finally know what had happened.
Another neighbor from around the corner came over to tell me that the picnic for the day may be cancelled due to last night’s events. I wasn’t too surprised but I was a little disappointed that we wouldn’t be able to meet all the neighbors in the loop. The rest of the day was spent in confusion. Everyone trying to help and get things organized and figure out what was happening next or what the next thing to take care of was.

Friday, April 29, 2005

Dining Out

The Dining Out was tonight. I wasn’t really looking forward to that but it was very interesting. There were plenty of presentations and skits. I of course didn’t understand most of it but you didn’t have to understand anything to get that the skits were just one group of officers picking on another group. I actually had a good time and dinner wasn’t too bad. Although we got served last and because of that there was major confusion on who ordered what and what was left for plates.

Thursday, April 28, 2005

Jokes

This was sent to me today and I laughed hysterically. I just had to post this to the board.

A woman marries, and in five years has five children. Her husband dies. She remarries and has seven more children before her second husband croaks. Again she remarries. She has another five children before her third husband passes away. Two years later the woman kicks the bucket. At the funeral the priest looks at the casket and says "Lord, they're finally together." The woman's sister turns to her brother and asks "Which husband do you think he means?" The brother then replies, "I think he's referring to her legs."

Sunday, April 24, 2005

Under a Monkey Pod Tree

The last few weekends we've spent cleaning up the fenced in backyard and trying to grow some grass. The packed red dirt, birds, monkey pods, and constant downpouring of leaves have not helped. In a one week period we picked up a full garbage barrel of monkey pods and leaves. It turns out the monkey pods are a natural laxative.... that explains what is wrong with the dog, I hope she is smart enough to stop eating them. The Scotts grass seed we planted last week is growing decently in a few spots where it stayed wet longer. This week I will make sure to drench it. Now I just need to keep the birds from eating all the seeds, Angel does a pretty good job but she gets extremely dirty, we really need the grass so she stops tracking red everywhere.

Saturday, April 23, 2005

An Almost Brand New Car

We bought the 2003 Hyundai Accent 4D for just under 9,000. I didn't want to spend that much, but it is a nice car and it is still under warranty. They even took the piece of crap Previa as a trade. I just wouldn't feel right selling it or even giving it to a charity.

Friday, April 22, 2005

Car Shopping

We spent the evening looking for a car to replace the piece of junk Previa we bought last month. We started off at Aloha Hyundai down the road. Rikki picked out a Hyundai Accent out of about 6 vehicles that were all what we were looking for: 4D, roomy with trunk space. She test drove it and was impressed. It is loaded with only 10,000 miles. After about 3 hours of haggling we got them down to just 300$ above the blue book value (for private sale, not dealership) which is a good deal. I asked for lower of course and ended up walking out on them. I did the same thing with the truck back in 2002. I would not feel like I got a good deal unless they refuse my offer even when I walk out the door. We then went down to JN Chevrolet and didn't really see anything we liked. We tried the 2002 Saturn L200. It was more than we needed or wanted. Leather heated seats, traction control, 30k miles. We started haggling but I'd had enough and we got them down to about 9500 and then called it a night. We decided we'd go back to Hyundai tomorrow and pick up the Accent.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Hitch Hiking

So today is the day that I bring in the piece of crap van that we purchased. I bring it in today because there is an early drop off program. There is also a free shuttle service. Of course when I drop off the van they can tell that I am going to need a new engine. The horrible knocking of the engine is a dead give away. They for warn me that it may be expensive. I tell them that I am aware of that and I leave the vehicle with them. I then proceed to ask about the free shuttle service and they tell me that there is no shuttle service offered after 3pm. I am stuck, since Nathan is at work with SDO duty. I decide to hitch hike home. As I am walking out onto the main road one of the mechanics notices me and pulls over and offers me a ride. He could only take me to the local mall and I say, “thank you.” He dropped me off and I started to walk home. I walked about a mile and realized it was too hot to be walking so I stopped at the nearest store and called a cab. It was about $13 to go from the store to the Exchange. I walked the 2 blocks to get home. I immediately took a shower when I got in the door. Could things possibly get any worse?

Saturday, April 16, 2005

Back Online

After over 3 months we are back online. I just finished upgrading the server so we can both get back to the website when we have the time.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Back in Touch with the World

9am in the morning we are scheduled for Cable and Internet set-up. The gentleman got here at 9:15pm. Dang just missed out of free set-up. Anyway he was here for 3 hours cutting cable and setting up. We have a DVR box and a newer modem from Time Warner. The interactive TV is pretty cool. We can play right along with the game shows, we can record our favorite TV shows and we can rewind live TV. But of course most of all we are finally back in touch with world. I am however extremely disappointed with the fact that is took a month to get service. That is just not cool and there is no excuse for it. This along with many other things just proves that Customer Service on this island seriously lacks!

Monday, April 11, 2005

In-Laws Vacation

After getting our household goods scheduled I had the house cleaned, organized and moved in by March 25. The evening of the 25 we went to go pick up Angel at 9pm. She was in our hands at 9:30pm. We got her home and gave her a bath. She spent the entire night sniffing and searching out the house. I don’t think that she slept at all but we are sure that she must have slept the majority of the 20 hour flight time out to Hawaii.
Come Monday evening, March 28, Nathan’s parents arrived for their 2 week visit/vacation.
We spent time out shopping at the Exchange, swap meet, King’s Village, and Commissary. We went and saw Punchbowl, USS Arizona, USS Missouri, Victoria Ward Center, Round Top, Waikiki, Dole Plantation, Pipeline, Shark’s Cove, North Shore, Halona Blow Hole, Hanauma Bay, Chinaman’s Hat, Kaneohe Bay and Bellows Air Force Base Beach. We are at numerous places from Kaneohe Bay O’Club to Hale Koa to home to delivery in.
Of course I think that FIL and MIL will tell you that the best time they had was when we were driving up to Round Top and the crap van that I bought overheated. We were about 600ft from the parking lot so FIL, Sue and Jerry jumped out to push the van. I had MIL in the van with me. Just as I cranked the wheel to park the van, I had the break peddle to the floor and MIL using a high toned voiced saying, “Rikki stop this van!” The van stopped as it started to incline and just before it reached the highest point to fall over the cliff. Let me tell you I won’t forget that and MIL won’t let me forget it either. How the DIL tried to kill her MIL.
April 10th the day before they left I had a surprise party for Nathan’s 29th B-day. We had dinner at home and then we sat down to watch a DVD, The Incredibles, one of his b-day gifts. Half way through the movie we stopped to have Baskin Robbins ice-cream cake and open gifts. We finished watching the movie after gifts and then we headed for bed. The in-laws stayed up to watch another movie.
April 11th I made breakfast, straightened up the house and then got ready. The in-laws ate, packed, went for a walk, took showers and then just relaxed until we got ready to take them to the airport. WOW is it crazy with people leaving Hawaii to head back to the mainland. We dropped of the in-laws at the ticket counter and found out that was wrong. One needs to go through customs to fill out forms for anything they are taking back to the mainland with them. One then goes through agriculture where your luggage, not your carry on, gets scanned. One can then head to the ticket counter to check in. We walked with them to the security gate and said goodbye there.

Friday, March 25, 2005

House Hunting in Hawaii

We made it to Hawaii with the desire to buy a house. 2+ years of renting with nothing to show for it was aggravating for both of us. We knew the market in Hawaii was ridiculous, but it was impossible to imagine how horrible it really was. We did our research online with ADRHI, hicentral, and ihic

Our first hurdle was to find a good realtor. I tried to go through USAA but I contacted them late and they were too slow so we called a local realtor to check out the first house. She was nice, but like most realtors they know they can sell the property and do not like their "valuable" time wasted. Rikki told me about another military wife that was laughed at and hung up on by a realtor after she told her she wanted a 3 bedroom home around 300k.

That brings us to the pricing. Luckily our VA loan was recently increased to 530k or we would not have even considered buying in Hawaii. We wanted a single family home under 450k with 2 bedrooms, at least 900 sq ft, and a yard for the dog (this is much more difficult to find than you can imagine).

House #1:
This house really isn't even worth mentioning. Known termites (a termite truck pulled up next door while we waited), water damage, neighbors with several cars on cinder blocks, chickens in the road and a neighborhood that made Rikki cringe.

After this we contacted another realtor who was actually helpful and willing to work for us. She and her boyfriend actually recently started their own realty business after being fed up with their past boss. Hawaii Realty Association was who we worked with for the rest of our house hunting.

House #2
We really liked this house. We went to look at it last minute since the seller was reviewing offers that night and we were told they had "two low offers." This was the best overall house we would ever see for sale. It was built in 65 but well maintained and the backyard faced a mountainside that was government owned so no one would build there (but we could plant/use the land as we saw fit) there were banana trees and several other nice plants all up the mountain. It was a 3 bedroom 1 and 1/2 bath, 836 sq ft (yes a 3 bdr in <900 sq ft) and they were asking 369k. Since the realtor told us they had "2 low offers" we put in asking price. Went back to the office, did the paperwork, and faxed it 15 minutes prior to the closing and no one else had put in a bid. Rikki, myself, Sandy and Rob (our realtors) were confident we got the place. The next day we find out we didn't! We were the backup offer. So how did someone bidding lower than us get it? no idea. I thought about filing a complaint, but we didn't have the time. We moved on only to never find a comparable deal.

House #3, 4, 5
These three were over extremely overpriced. One was actually unfinished with hole in the side roof were you could see daylight from inside the living room. It was also about an hour drive up towards the north shore. Nice area, but I didn't want the long drive and if Rikki got a job in honolulu her drive could be up to 2 hours. They were asking 480k, we offered 380k and they asked if it was a typo! I notice the listing has been updated and they changed their asking to 380k sold for 384k. They must have finally come back to reality. We made bids on all three that were low. None accepted though the one in Kaneohe did ask for another higher bid a few weeks later when they couldn't sell. It was a nice new home but the land was horrendous (ocean view for that one was a 2 ft section between 2 neighboring houses where you could see water).

House #'s 6-12
I'll let Rikki get into the details about the rest. I don't have the time or patience right now. House hunting was a waste of our time. We made 8 offers total. Several over asking and we went into escrow only once. This lasted until after we paid 400$ to an inspector so he could tell us the roof had significant termite damage and needed to be replaced. It then took about 3 weeks to get our 4k deposit back.

We were relieved to find out that Pearl Harbor had housing available. Of course k-bay housing didn't tell us this, we had to find out on our own. As we were approaching the end of our 60 day temporary lodging allowance we decided to move into housing at Pearl. It was base housing or rent until we found a place. Base housing just needed a 30 day notice if we wanted to move (this move would be at our expense though). We did the paperwork in one day and were unpacked and moved in three days later.

Base housing was old but far better than anything else we had seen. Cinder block walls (instead of single slab, yes a single sheet of drywall) 1100+ sq ft and a 700+ sq ft fenced in yard. The location is excellent in Honolulu by the airport so H-3 to work and I never hit the traffic. We were happy so we sat down and decided to give up the house hunting. The biggest reason being that we didn't want to lower our living standards by buying an old, over priced, delapitated, piece of crap that would cost us a 30 yr mortgage with payments over 3k per month. The housing market here disgusts me along with the majority of the customer service. Yes, I am bitter.

Friday, February 25, 2005

In Hawaii

Getting up early was hard. I haven’t been up that early since college. We arrived at the airport at 4:30am for our flight at 6am. Of course it was snowing but we were hopeful that our flight wasn’t going to be cancelled. We were delayed 45min because of icing and the snow. The landing at Chicago was rough but that is just me and my motion sickness. It was cloudy but it wasn’t snowing so that was a good sign. However we had an hour delay because of mechanical problems with the AC. We were off again. With about 3 hours left in our flight we hit some nasty turbulance. Our final landing at the Honolulu International Airport was worse than the landing in Chicago but once we stepped off the plane I was fine. Nathan snapped lots of pictures of the island as we started the decent. Hello Hawaii the Winters are finally here!
Friends of ours from Pensacola were waiting at the airport to pick us up. They were nice enough to pick us up and to allow us to stay with them for a couple of days. Our second and third day in Hawaii was spent getting settled in and checking in where we needed to.
Of course one of the places that we needed to stop off at was at base housing. We had been on the list for about 7 months when we arrived so we thought that we wouldn’t have a problem. Well guess again! It was another 7 month wait on the island before you couldn’t even look at a house on base. So we signed up for TLA and 24 hours later we were approved. So we spent the week at the Hilton Hawaiian Village Hotel on Waikiki.
Today we checked our placement on the housing waiting list. We hadn’t moved at all on the list. So we sat down and decided that since the housing market was so great and the turn around sale on a house was about a week we thought that we wouldn’t have a problem buying a home. So we decided to contact some realtors.
The next month and a half was spent searching for a house to buy. In the meantime we spent a week at Radisson Prince Kuhio and then we spent the following two and a half weeks after that at Ohana Waikiki Village.
One day, after being very upset and aggravated, I spent the day searching on the web. I happened to come to a web page for the civilian company building the new housing at Pearl Harbor. I thought hmm that would be nice, a new house and on base. So we wouldn’t own it but it would be ours. Well for the heck of it I thought that I would look at availability. Ok so there weren’t any new homes available for 6 months but some of the older housing on base that they were taking over had homes available immediately. So I called this company and they told me to call the housing office at Pearl Harbor and that is how I could sit and meet with them. So I then called housing at Pearl Harbor. I set up an appointment. I signed some papers after we got a release letter from Kaneohe housing and also gave them a POA since hubby wasn’t with me. So we checked out of Ohana and checked into the Navy Lodge at Kaneohe. We spent 5 days there. Monday morning I went and looked at a house and agreed to take it. So I spent the next two hours on the phone getting our goods scheduled for shipment. Finally we will be settled in :)

Sunday, February 20, 2005

Getting Ready to Fly Out!

So the rest of the week has been fairly relaxing. Friday the 18th I did laundry and then in the evening I made cupcakes for the family gathering on Saturday. Saturday morning we packed all of our bags and then I helped MIL get some things ready for the family dinner. As everyone arrived we all took our seats at the table. When everyone arrived we sat down and ate. After dinner various family photos were taken. After photos we all sat back down and had dessert. Once everyone left I helped the in-laws clean up the kitchen.
Sunday the 20th we got up and got all the bags packed. Sunday morning Nathan bundled Angel up and went out snowshoeing with his mother, uncle and grandfather. They all stopped off to help finish leftovers for lunch and to go out snowshoeing. When they got back from their walk we all sat down and had lunch. After lunch company left. I sat down with Angel and said goodbye. I explained to her that we would see her in a month and that she had to be good for grandma and grandpa. As we packed and left she was whimpering. I had never felt so sad .
The drive to Burlington was long but it wasn’t bad. I didn’t get sick and we made it in time for check in at the hotel. When we arrived at the hotel I couldn’t believe how much we really had packed for this PCS. Looking for the room was rather interesting. Nathan had surprised me and reserved a room with a Jacuzzi. I couldn’t believe it. Apparently everyone knew about the surprise except me. The in-laws were impressed. They helped us get settled into the hotel and then they left. Nathan wanted us to have a relaxing day before we got to the hectic rush of the move and settling in at Hawaii. It was a wonderful evening!

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Heading back to Cabot

The last week I spent with my family it was a little difficult and a little frustrating. Monday I helped run around and pick and drop off kids. During the day it was snowing. It was that nasty heavy, wet snow. By the end of the day there wasn’t just a couple of inches outside there was almost a foot of snow. I took Kristi to her evening dance class and even sat to watch her for a little bit. It was nice to see Sue again. It is also great that now she has a bigger studio to teach in. I went back and picked up Kristi when she was done.
Tuesday I got together with Tanya for lunch. It was great talking and seeing her after everything she had been through. I really love you sweetie and am always here! That afternoon I got home and helped cook supper. Dad got home late from softball practice.
Wednesday I went to the school to stop off at the engineering department. We visited with a lot of people. I saw Oma and she said to stop off and see Opa. After our visit to the engineering office we went to stop off and see Opa. He was sick and it was hard to see him not feeling well. We still sat down and talked with him for a little while. Then we headed home. Wednesday evening we went and saw a friend of mine from dance. We stopped at her house to have cake and visit with her family. It was nice to catch up with them and I miss them. The girls know they could/can come to me when something was/is wrong. It was so nice to be able to meet up with them while we were home.
Thursday we headed to the Online Graduate Program. We stopped to see everyone there for a little bit. Then the rest of the day was spent getting kids back and forth from hockey. Thursday night we went and saw one of Kandi’s games. Of course she didn’t play at all and she was a bench warmer but she was a good bench warmer. Those girls are unbelievable. They play their hardest while they are out there and they enjoy themselves at the same time.
Friday was fairly relaxing. In the morning I took mom to DMV. We switched titleship of the car to my and moms name. That took some time but it was a good thing that we were there first thing in the morning. We had plenty of people around to help us fill out the forms and get our questions answered. Then it just took 5 minutes to get the paperwork processed. It would take a week or two before my mom got the new title. We got back to the house and then mom called the insurance company to get the car under their policy. Mom took care of that but it was going to take till Monday before she heard for sure that everything was processed ok. After that I went to try to see a former boss but she wasn’t in work. The rest of the day was fairly relaxing. It wasn’t till the evening when things got a little crazy. Nathan and I got together with the girls from high school. We had dinner and then we went to Norwich to watch Family Feud. That was entertaining and interesting being back in the same room with crazy freshman. After the game we headed back to the Tyner household. We played some games and then called it an evening. It was great seeing the girls from school again.
Saturday we didn’t do much of anything really. We went grocery shopping for mom and we took Kristi with us. OMG!! I almost had a heart attack. We took two carts with us when we went shopping. I couldn’t believe we filled both of them to the max. We get to the register and when the lady is done the total is $329. OMG!! It had been a while since I had done grocery shopping for mom that I had forgotten how much she spent.
Sunday I got up and cooked brunch for whomever was home. Most of the younger kids were up and out of the house already for their hockey tournament games. Then the rest of the day was rather lazy. Nothing really exciting happened for the rest of the day.
Monday was V-day! I took mom to her mammogram. That was a 2 hour event. Just to check in with patient information and then wait for her to be seen. When I got home Nathan and I exchanged V-day gifts. Nathan got me an awesome solar powered Swarovski crystal. It was just beautiful. I put it up in the window in the room right away because it was actually sunny. All the rainbows were just great. I gave Nathan his gift. I bought him a leather wallet with money clip and clear ID window. I thought that this would be good for his military ID so that he wouldn’t have to pull it out of his wallet or at least so that he wouldn’t have to search for it everytime at the gate. I spent the rest of the day doing laundry to prepare for our trip back to Cabot.
Tuesday we packed the bags and got ready to head out. Katy took us to Barre where Nathan’s mom was going to drive us back to Cabot. It was hard saying goodbye to everyone. I realize that I will be missing even more of their lives and the next time I am home they will all be taller and wiser  Anyway, I didn’t get sick on the trip to Cabot, YAY!! Tuesday night Nathan’s dad cooked a big supper. We didn’t do much of anything except relax for the rest of the day.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

I have been slacking on my posting since I'm finally home and I can talk to the people that I normally post for. I will just summarize the important stuff over the past few weeks. We made it to Boston without any major problems and spent 5 days at Rikki's grandparents. We were greeted with below zero temperatures and 2 snowshowers.
We left Rikki's grandparents and made it to Rikki's house house in decent time except for some accidents around Boston that delayed us about 45 minutes. We dropped off some things at Rikki's and then drove to Cabot. The next week was spent with the oldest brother and kids. By this time we were both a bit sick and the temperature continued to drop. -15 (without wind chill) one morning.
The next week was spent with my parents in their new house followed by a weekend with the middle bro in their new house. We managed to go to our niece's basketball game which my brother coaches (6th grade). The ref didn't have any shoes so bro gave up his own so the game could go on. We both enjoyed the game very much and our niece had 2 good rebounds.
Now we are spending 2 weeks with Rikki's family before a final week with my parents.
Our flight itinerary is finally completed. It only took about 2 dozen phone calls, a dozen emails including printing, filling out, scanning, and emailing back adobe .pdf forms they "forgot" to have me fill out earlier. All this over 3 weeks of "vacation time." I have never had such a horrible move and we haven't even moved yet.

Sunday, February 06, 2005

Old Routines/SuperBowl

Nathan spent a couple of hours on the phone with United Airlines trying to get our flight itinerary and flight day rescheduled. He was transferred a handful of times, of course, and he had to do that for 2 separate itineraries but he did it. We are finally scheduled to leave from Burlington, VT to Honolulu, HI on February 21st. So after all of those games things are finally taken care of.
The rest of the week was relaxing but in a way like I never left home. We ran kids back and forth, helped clean the house, did some cooking, grocery shopping and visited friends and family.
Tuesday the 8th was the only day that we really left the house. We went and had dinner with a high school friend. I got to meet her beautiful children and some of the other girls from high school. It is amazing how much everyone changes and grows.
This weekend mom had a family gathering planned at the house. The gathering was in honor of our return home. Mom had a series of things that she wanted to get done during the weekend. Aunt Anne, Uncle Steven and their kids were the only ones that could make it. Saturday was a busy day. We had family photos taken. Various pictures were taken between the two families separately and of the two families together. Kevin did an awesome job with the photos. Kevin is a fellow peer of mine from college and is a close friend of the family.
After the photos were taken everyone headed back to the house. Kandi had to get ready for an away hockey game. Katy drove her to school so that she could head to St. Albans. When Katy got back we had lunch. The rest of the afternoon the kids headed out to play on the ice rink. Angel went out to play with the kids for a little while on the ice. Of course her idea of having fun was taking the hockey puck away from the kids before they could get to it. It was funny watching her out there skidding around.
Saturday evening we played various games and of course we all got a little excited. Especially me when it comes to the topic of music. We played various board games, cards, and DVD games. After about 5 games Nathan and I headed to bed.
Sunday morning we headed out to a Winters Family gathering in Williamstown. Before we left we said goodbye to Aunt Anne, Uncle Steve and the kids. We had Sunday brunch before the game at Nathan’s Aunt. She got a chance to show of her new house to us. And of course every one ate a lot. We left Angel with the kids at home.
After breakfast we headed back home to prepare for the SuperBowl! I helped mom get some things ready; chicken wings, potato wedges, Chex Mix and cold tonic. We pigged out during the game. Of course the game was awesome and the Patriots won. If you missed it shame on you!
After the game Nathan and I headed to bed.

Monday, January 31, 2005

Finally Heading Home

Yesterday I was sick as a dog. I just felt horrible. Of course Nathan was feeling better. I decided to just stay in bed. I didn’t want to get any of the kids sick. Tobin and Deborah took the kids out shopping and Nathan stayed at the house with me. I did get up, take a shower and have some toast. I went back to bed right after that. Nathan did blow up the air mattress for me before I laid down again.
Nathan watched TV while I slept and Tobin, Deborah and the kids were back. The kids came and peeked in on me to make sure that I was ok. Come evening Nathan and Tobin went and picked up pizza and while they were out they picked me up some soup. Nathan came and woke me up to let me know that dinner was here and that I needed to come cook my soup. I cooked the soup and sat down after everyone else had eaten. That soup really opened up my sinus and chest. I sat up for a little while and watched some TV before heading off to bed.
I called mom to check on Angel before I laid down. She said Angel spent the night between sleeping with the kids, mom and her kennel. She definitely enjoyed all the attention that she got. She got a chance to run around outside with the kids while they were working on the ice rink so she did get a chance to run around but mom made sure that she stayed on her leash.
Come this morning I was feeling better but not sure I was going to feel so great when we hit that cold weather outside. I bundled up in all the winter gear and got ready for my trip home. I was finally going to be able to see my parents and brothers and sisters.
The drive there wasn’t that bad. Katy was home so I jumped right on in and helped her get some chores done. Nathan brought everything upstairs and set up his computer.
The day was fairly quiet. I eventually made it upstairs and got things settled and taken care of then I helped Kristi clean up the room. I guess her and Kandi were leaving the room for Nathan and I to have to ourselves. It wasn’t necessary and I told them that about a thousand times but they weren’t listening.
I said hi and gave everyone a big hug as they came in the door. Mom finally came home at about 4pm. Dad didn’t make it in the door till about 9pm. It was nice to be home and wow how much I have missed. Everyone was so tall and so big. Almost taller than me.
Nathan and I finally turned in at about 10:30pm.

Saturday, January 29, 2005

Relaxing

Tobin cooked pancakes for breakfast as Deborah had an appointment. After breakfast I sat down with Kalya and Nathan and played various games. We played Chinese Checkers, Life and Uno. Nathan wasn’t feeling to well. He was coming down with a cold or had one I wasn’t sure. He was tired and took a couple of naps during the day.
Dinner time and Chip and Donna came over. So we all sat down for a big family dinner. After dinner Chip, Donna, Nathan, Kayla, Tobin and Deborah all played Texas Holdem. I sat down with Maegan in the living room and we watched movies. After the second movie I headed off to bed while everyone was still sitting down at the table playing Texas Holdem.
Before I fell asleep I called mom to check on Angel. She was still at the house and playing with the kids. She spent last night in her kennel in mom’s room. The kids were taking her out to the bathroom for the last time before bed. Mom said she was doing very well. She barked anytime someone she didn’t recognize was at the door. Mom thought it was cute. I told mom that she makes sure to protect her mom.

Friday, January 28, 2005

Staying in the New House

On the 26th we went down the hill to Chip and Donna’s and spent a couple of days there. See Chip and Donna built their house down the hill from Chris’s. Chris sold some of his land to his parents. Anyway, I enjoyed sitting by the big windows and letting the sun warm me up.
Nathan and Angel went out during the week to do some snow shoeing. Yes, Angel was all bundled up in her winter gear every time that she went out. One day Donna came home early from work; she, Nathan, Angel and Buzz all went out for a walk. They walked around land and got to see the different fruit trees and bushes.
This morning we headed out on the road back to Northfield, VT. We headed to my parents to drop off Angel there for the weekend. We were headed for the weekend to Tobin and Deborah’s and Deborah asked that we not bring the dog. So we were going to head back to Northfield after our visit with them so it was easier to drop her off there. It was the first time I was going to leave her for an entire weekend. When we headed back to Northfield there wasn’t anyone home. However while we were there waiting I got to see my dad  He gave us a big hug when he saw us and he even got down to say hi to Angel.
The kids got home from school! So I left Angel with the kids. My dad headed out for a trip for the next two days and Katy and Kelli weren’t home yet. We really needed to get on the road to be at Tobin’s for Kayla’s basketball game. We left and I heard her whimper and that tore my heart up. I felt horrible. We headed out on the road and at 4pm I called the house. Kelli was home and said that Angel was in her kennel. I guess Angel barked at Kelli coming in the door, Kelli yelled at her, Angel peed because she was scared and then Kelli put her in her kennel. Oh great! So that made me feel worse.
We arrived at Tobin’s, got settled and I called the house again. I talked to my mom. She said that Angel was playing with the kids and that she would be fine. Mom said she would keep an eye on her. I felt better now that mom was home because I know how much mom adores Angel. Now I don’t have to worry about the kids losing her in the field or her running out of the house and then getting killed. Yes my mind thinks like this.
We headed out to see Kayla play. WOW those 6th graders are unbelievable. They really try their hardest and they all enjoy playing. Kayla played an awesome game and got the ball a couple of times. They didn’t win their game.
After the game we headed back to Tobin’s and had supper. After supper we stayed up for a little bit and then headed off to bed.
Oh, before we headed to Tobin’s Nathan filled out that application and sent it back via e-mail as requested. Now we just have to wait till we receive my itinerary.

Kayla's Game

I have not been to a basketball game in a long time so it really was fun to watch. The referee showed up without sneakers so Tobin being the great coach he is sacrificed his own shoes. The ref was good and made sure the game didn't become too competitive or too serious. Kayla did great playing forward and had a couple rebounds.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Helping Move-In

Over the weekend Nathan had received a new and correct itinerary for a flight out to Honolulu. We now had to figure out why I hadn’t received a flight itinerary. On Monday Nathan made a call back to NAS Jax and was told that he was supposed to have filled out an Application for Dependant Travel. Well it would have been nice if they told us this sooner. We have been married for 2.5 years. They will scan the form, send it to him via e-mail, he will print/edit the form and then resend it to them.
Nothing major happened for the last couple of days. Chris headed off to work and Nathan and I helped out by doing some house repairs and pitching in. Nathan shoveled, repaired the screen door handle, brought up some firewood for the stove, disassembled a bed and reassembled another. I did some grocery shopping, helped Nathan disassemble and reassemble a new bed, cleaned up house a little and cooked a couple of suppers.
Today though was the day to help Chip and Donna move into their new house. It finally had hot water and heat so they were able to move in. That was rather interesting. The guys went and moved all the furniture and assembled the electronics. The girls got dinner ready and watched the kids.
It was a busy day but it was nice to see Chip and Donna finally settled into their new home that Chip designed.

Below Zero Move

Dad's new Dodge truck was impressive. The thermometer read -19 degrees that morning. What a shocker.

Friday, January 21, 2005

Off to Vermont

We head out on the road at about 10am. It was hard to say goodbye to Nana and Papa. I don’t see them very often and when I do see them I enjoy being back in the house that I grew up in. The house that I spent many numerous hours in everyday, the place I started my very first piggy bank and the place that I felt safe in. Of course we didn’t leave without getting a bag full of goodies for the road. Did I mention I get spoiled a lot by them?
Our first stop on the way home was to pick up moms Ricotta Pie. Oh I didn’t mention that while we were at my grandmothers my mother e-mailed me a list of goodies that she wanted to order for the kids and for herself. And Rosi has the best bakeries anywhere. Then from there we stopped to pick up the 2 dozen Moon Cookies. These are a round piece of cake frosted with half chocolate and half vanilla frosting. YUUUMMM! Of course not something that I could possibly make at home and have it taste the same. While I was there I also bought some cupcakes for the nieces and nephew.
We headed out on the road after that stop and while on the road we listed to the Presidential Inauguration. I have never really been able to sit down or listen to entire ceremony and that was rather interesting. Congrats to Norwich Band Company. They received an invitation to play in the Presidential Inauguration Parade.
We stopped at D’Angelos in Lebanon, NH for lunch. We took everything to go and ate while back on the road. We made a bit stop in Northfield, VT to drop off the goodies and some stuff that I packed for the kids. Katy was home and mom called while I was there. We left right after I talked to my mom. We headed for our first stop in Cabot, VT to stay with Nathan’s oldest brother, Chris.
It took some time to unpack the car and get everything settled for the week. All I have to say is BUURRRR!! It was stinking cold. It was colder in Cabot, VT than it had been in Boston. It was just horrible. I couldn’t believe we went through such a drastic weather change.

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Time With Friends

Another snow storm. We didn’t go out or do anything today. It did nothing but snow, and it was starting to get depressing. Nana planned a family dinner. She cooked up a storm and the house smelled wonderful all day long. I helped when she let me in the kitchen. Aunty and Christine were there on time. Dinner was wonderful. Of course Nana is a perfectionist and was upset that the roast was darker than it should have been. It wasn’t burnt and it tasted wonderful but she still wasn’t happy. I guess I know where I get my stubbornness when it comes to cooking. Uncle Mike made it in after we had finished. We had a couple minutes to sit down and chat with him before we had to head out to see some friends.
It was still snowing and we went out anyway. It was our last night in Boston and we had plans to meet friends. The car did pretty well on the drive up the hill. We stopped to see Chris and Maryann. We are one of the few that haven’t seen their new house yet. So we went to get a tour of the new house and to see what was going on with them. The house is beautiful! They have great plans to fix up the house. It will be great to see the house when it is done. They are doing great and we shared some great memories.
The drive home was a little crazy since it was still snowing. The car spun out a couple of times but thank goodness Nathan was driving. Angel was playing on the floor with her new toys. Angel was spoiled just as much as I was by everyone. She received so many new toys and treats that it was crazy. Most of them she received while we were gone that evening. Of course Christina stayed for a while to help babysit Angel while we were gone. They played for quite a while until Christina had to go home.
We prepared everything for our trip back to VT.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

First Sight of Snow in 2.5 years

On Tuesday, January 18th it snows for the first time in Boston and of course Nathan and I are lucky enough to be around to see this. We were out grocery shopping with my grandparents when we witnessed this. It was VERY cold out that evening too. It was fun shopping for some of my favorite treats that I have missed; funny bones, ring dings, Italian bread, and any of the great baked goods at the bakery 
That evening we didn’t travel after our grocery shopping trip. We weren’t sure if it was going to be a big snow fall or not. I also was concerned about driving the car around since it has been a while we had seen snow.
Wednesday, the 19th, I went shopping with Nana. We hit the shopping plazas in Dedham. Of course we ended up bringing Nathan home more stuff than we did for me. Old Navy was having a huge sale and of course most of the stuff on sale was for the guys. When shopping I got my early b-day present from Nana.
That evening we met my cousin and her family for dinner, YUMM Italian! We ate at Vinny Testas in Dedham. I highly recommend the restaurant to anyone in the Boston area and loves Italian. They give you a big plate and they don’t skimp on dessert either. Of course it is nice to spend time with family. Thank you Galvins!
When we got home that evening Nathan checked his e-mail and of course no new itinerary yet. So we thought that we would wait until the weekend before we decided to give Jacksonville a call.
Angel spent the night with Nana and Papa. She was very entertaining apparently. She curled up with Nana on the couch. Christina, my cousin, went over to Nana’s to help babysit Angel and play with her. After a little while of sitting with Nana, Angel got down off the couch and played with Christina. Angel of course became attached to Christina very quickly after she realized that Christina had a pocket full of treats.

Monday, January 17, 2005

After an 11 hour drive we made it to Rikki's Grandmothers saturday night. No major problems. There is a few inches of snow outside and temperatures will be going below zero tomorrow. Thursday we plan to drive home to VT, weather pending.

Friday, January 14, 2005

We are just settling into bed at a Best Western in Emporia, Virginia. Pets stay free and free wireless. We split the 8 hour drive without any major difficulties. Checking out this morning was a nightmare and took me almost 3 hours. Rikki worked all week and we left from her work this afternoon. We made decent time but we are both exhausted. We might make Boston tomorrow. Depends on the traffic.

Our Journey Begins

So January 14th I head to work and leave Nathan with the packed car to take to work with him to get some last minute things taken care of. So the first problem that Nathan notices while he is at work is that his flight itinerary is wrong. It only has him flying from Orlando to San Diego. So he was originally told stop off at the base in San Diego and get tickets there to Honolulu. UMMM NO! So Nathan is directed to three different offices to get that fixed. He ends up getting to the right person and they work on the problem for him. Of course phone calls need to be made and we are scheduled to be on the road at 1pm. So Nathan leaves him e-mail address and is told to expect his new itinerary via e-mail come the following week.
At 1pm Nathan heads to pick me up from my last day at work. We head out on the road. We make it all the way to Virginia that first night. We both shared the driving for the day. All three of us slept pretty well that night. Angel was very good on the drive. She just hung out in her kennel and played with her toys. I felt bad for her because she got the horrible end of the deal of being stuck in a kennel with minimal room.
The next day, the 15th, we head back on the road again. Nathan does almost all of the driving that day. We were going to be driving through Washington DC, New York and Connecticut. Not my favorite places to be driving through. We make it to Nana's pretty late, about 9pm. She had homemade chicken noodle soup waiting for us when we walked in the door, YUMMY :) It was pretty cold when we made to Boston. It definitely wasn't the 80 degrees when we left Florida. I was surprised though that there wasn't any snow on the ground.
Angel enjoyed being out of her kennel. She sniffed Nana's and Papa's to make sure that everything was ok and to her liking. Then she made sure that everyone in the house gave her some quality time. No we don't have a spoiled dog.
So my car packed full didn't once break down or act weird. This was wonderful. I was worried about the car the entire trip.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Credit Card Hunting

Rikki and I have been using our Carnival credit card for the past few years building up points towards our future cruises. But, for some very strange reason they refuse to raise our CC limit over 1,000$ so we wanted another one. I did some hunting and figure I would explain my process so others don't make my mistakes.

Annual Fee - If they have one, don't bother. (common with a high-end rewards card. This is more for something like a small business spending large amounts of money.)

APR - annual percentage rates are of two types:
Fixed - One unchanging rate. (may be changed with as little as 15 days notice)
Variable - Varies with an index.

Grace Period - A must! It is the time from when you make a purchase to when the CC starts charging you interest on that purchase (usually 25 days or until the next CC bill).

Fees - Read the fine print and realize what you will be charged for going over the limit, missing a payment, and transferring a balance (may take up to a month, be sure to keep paying the old CC).

CC's fall into 2 categories. Those which you want to carry a balance (click here) and those which you do not (click here).

Obviously, the lower the APR the better. But, it depends on how you use your CC. Too many people allow themselves to be used by the CC companies; paying minimums instead of the full balance. Rikki and I don't care what the APR is since we pay ours off every month. We just use the CC for the perks (cruise line miles) paid for by others who can not pay off their monthly balances. CC's also let us borrow money interest free due to the grace period.

Introductory offers can be a great way to pay off some debt. Usually something like 0% for 6 months followed by a very high APR after that. Don't be the sucker that "plans" to pay it off and only procrastinates and gets nailed later with the higher APR.

I ended up going with an Amazon CC that gives me points towards Amazon purchases. 1% on everything, 3% on amazon. Plus 30$ off my next Amazon purchase. Not spectacular, I am still hunting for a better one.