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.
More good news. This time it is about those unruly teenagers with their porn and violent video games.

Monday, January 10, 2005

Good news from Afghanistan! Not reported by the media. Bits taken from the 8th edition.

Here is an excerpt from President Hamid Karzai's inaugural speech:

"Whatever we have achieved in Afghanistan--the peace, the election, the reconstruction, the life that the Afghans are living today in peace, the children going to school, the businesses, the fact that Afghanistan is again a respected member of the international community--is from the help that the United States of America gave us. Without that help Afghanistan would be in the hands of terrorists--destroyed, poverty-stricken, and without its children going to school or getting an education. We are very, very grateful, to put it in the simple words that we know, to the people of the United States of America for bringing us this day."

A UNICEF spokesman:
"reductions of polio and measles amongst children, a fall in landmine injuries, and massive increases in the number of children going to school." especially girls.
"child soldiers now learning to be carpenters... distribution of school supplies... widows and other women have been able to [work again]."

"4 million students in school. At least one-third of those students are girls. [But] the government has estimated that roughly 2,000 schools must be built every year for the next five years if demand is to be met."

"three million people have returned to Afghanistan from Iran, Pakistan and neighbouring countries."

"Afghanistan is sending a planeload of medicines and equipment and a dozen "war-hardened" medics to help with the tsunami relief in India and Sri Lanka."

"'People have complained about the mobile coverage of Roshan and are keen to use Afghan Wireless instead" yes, they are talking about cellphones.

"At an awards ceremony last month honouring entrepreneurs who have successfully started up small businesses with the assistance of various microfinance programmes, 18 of the 23 recipients were women."


I am very surprised my blogger account still exists after almost 2 years! I suppose I "minds well" use it while my server is down during our move to Hawaii.

Rikki and I spent the weekend packing and arranging everything. Today the movers will pack, tomorrow they will load the truck, and wednesday a different company will take our "unaccompanied baggage" which is a smaller pack-out of stuff we want sooner than the main pack-out. They are shipped seperately, so the smaller unaccompanied baggage "should" arrive before the main one. That still confuses me. I tried to explain to the wife: "See hun, you are my accompanied baggage, the stuff I have to drag around with me while the unaccompanied baggage is what we ship."

The movers called an hour ago saying they were running late and would be here in about an hour. Almost noon now, glad they scheduled for 2 days. It is annoying to work hard all weekend to get things done then sit around and wait. I did have some excitement though. The patio door is open and Angel was glaring at the ducks, squirrels, and lizards as usual. One of the ducks started hissing at her and kept coming closer and closer. I heard the hissing right outside the screened in patio followed by an explosion as Angel finally snapped and burst through the screen door... again! Angel was gone after that duck. I ran out and she was already 2 buildings down and turning a corner out of sight, chasing the flying duck. I screamed for her and she came back all excited and pleased with herself.

Movers just arrived, only 2 of them. They were very pleased at how well we have packed things up for them, makes their job much easier. Time to see what I can do to help and get them out of here quicker.

Friday, January 07, 2005

About Oahu

Rikki and I have been roaming the Internet preparing for our move. I actually found a realtor and submitted a form on possibly buying a house/condo. It would have to be a really good deal for me to buy. I would rather build some equity than waste 50,000 dollars over 3 years of renting. From what I have heard of the housing market there are no good deals so I expect we'll end up with base housing. I did find some facts about Hawaii that are useful:

Oahu means "The Gathering Place" and attracts over 5 million visitors a year. The busiest time of year is from January to May. Average temps in the summer are 85 to 87 and 70 to 74 in the winter. Water temperatures range from 75 to 83.

Thursday, January 06, 2005

Mommy Test

I haven't posted in a while but it seems like hubby has been doing a great job with keeping everyone posted. Everyone knows we are getting ready to head to Boston and then to VT for a little vacation and then off to Hawaii. Anyway I wanted to share something cute with everyone.

I was out walking with my then 4 year old daughter. She picked up something off the ground and started to put it in her mouth. I asked her not to do that.

"Why?"

"Because it's been laying outside and it is dirty and probably has germs."

At this point, she looked at me with total admiration and asked, "Wow! How do you know all this stuff?

"Uh," I was thinking quickly, "...all moms know this stuff. Um, it's on the Mommy Test. You have to know it, or they don't let you be a Mommy."

We walked along in silence for 2 or 3 minutes, but she was evidently pondering this new information. "OH...I get it!" she beamed, "So if you flunk, you have to be the Daddy."

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Yet another move

The movers are coming monday so I will be taking down the server. The website will be down for at least a month, maybe longer. We will be driving home to VT after dropping off my truck to be shipped to Hawaii. We plan to take at least 2 days driving up to Boston. We will then stay with Rikki's Grandmother about 4 days then finally home around the 20th. All of this depends on the weather. We are definitely in no rush.

Monday, January 03, 2005

Results and Pictures

The marathon results are here. Some horrible blackmail pictures of me running the marathon are here. I also did a 5k new years eve here.