They'll pass over the money without even thinking about it; for it is money they have and peace they lack.
  -James Earl Jones "Field of Dreams"
and don't go mistaking paradise for that home across the road
  -Bob Dylan "Ballad of Frankie Lee and Judas Priest"

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Phoenix Home and Garden Show (or something like that)

We went with Mike, Lori and Kaelyn to the Home and Garden show at the Fairgrounds (which is like 5 minutes from the house) last weekend. I think I need to go to such things maybe once every 10 years or so. I had no idea how many different companies were in the business of water purification systems, or offering services of sealing, staining and beautifying concrete.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

What a weekend

Saturday was to be an eventful day. John found an apartment in Berkeley (a one month sub-let) that sounded reasonable and has a job interview (helping parolees readjust to society) on Wednesday. So he got his car checked out as road-worthy and we got him ready to leave on Sunday morning. He felt bad about leaving before Mike and Lori had their baby but she wasn't due for another week and a half and the way things go he could wait for a month. He wanted to see them before he left though so Susan planned a spaghetti dinner and proposed that we drive out to Maricopa with the food. A couple of days before, though, Mike said they would come to our house, that they needed to get out of the house... Anyway, just after 6 on Saturday they pulled up in front of the house. Lori needed to visit the bathroom somewhat urgently. When she came back out we found out that her water had just broken. They left for the hospital, which is in Chandler. So we had a very good meal without them. We kept in touch on the phone and things moved slowly. Lori's parents headed in from Yuma and got a hotel room. We last spoke at around 11:00 pm.

John was to leave early in the morning but didn't want to if Kaelyn was about to be born, although he had a fairly precise plan to get to Talia's in Hollywood in time to go out for the evening with her and then leave on Monday morning for Berkeley. When we got up early the next morning, things were moving along but there was no point on heading down there quite yet. At this point they had been at the hospital for about 12 hours. There was some discussion about the baby having an irregular heartbeat which was making them avoid giving Lori pitocin to induce labor. Finally around 11:00 we got a call that things were progressing and went to the hospital. Thus began the waiting room visit that would not end. Mike would come out every hour or so but nothing would have changed. We were beginning to become concerned. John decided that he would NOT attempt the drive that day. I was supposed to be doing the walkthrough on the old house at 4:30. About 3 Susan convinced me that I should stay at the hospital. My attendance at the walkthrough was not mandatory and more of a courtesy. I wanted to do it though because I appreciated the seller of our new house doing it for us. I called Connie the Realtor and she said not to worry, that here daughter would do the walkthrough and I could meet them another time. About 4:45 John and I went to In and Out Burger to pick up some food. As I pulled in Connie called to tell me that the buyers were upset and making noise about delaying the closing. Hard to believe what priorities people have. Not too long after getting back and eating the food, Mike popped out and said that they had decided to do a C section. Close to 7:00, Lori's dad couldn't contain himself, went through the doors, and announced that Kaelyn had been born.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Settled In

We have finally settled in. Susan had issues with her new job at Fowler ESD and managed to return to PVUSD in her old job, starting today. We went to Durant's for an anniversary dinner on Saturday (5 minutes from home) and took John to Pepe's Taco Villa (more like 12 minutes) on Sunday. Bought a new plasma TV that receives over the air HDTV broadcasts. We can now watch the HDTV Diamondbacks games on Channel 3 that Cox does not carry in HD. It took a little antenna that cost about $50 and hides behind the subwoofer. Got a new multi-zone receiver to drive all of the speakers in the house. We got rid of all the boxes, we can park both cars in the garage, the pool is once again usable, I have mowed the grass 3 times. Life is normal and we like it there.

Monday, July 24, 2006


We moved in on the 15th, have been there ever since! Finally got the garage straightened out so that we can park both cars in it as of yesterday. The study and dining room are still in disarrary, the rest is taking shape pretty nicely.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Looks real

Our (current) house was inspected on Wednesday, we got the buyer's list of things to be fixed today. They were relatively minor and we agreed to fix them. The buyer's earnest money is now non-refundable.

We had a garage sale today, took in about $600. Took the rest of the stuff to the Goodwill. Used the rental truck that we used to haul things to the Goodwill to pick up some new chairs at Pier 1 and outdoor umbrellas at Paddock's. We will be ready for the move next Saturday. We take possession on Friday morning. I am meeting the carpet cleaners at 9:00 am, then picking up a rental Tahoe at the airport. John and I will move a bunch of boxes that Susan does not want the movers handling.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Big Changes

We got an offer for the house yesterday, made a counter offer (minor tweaks) and they accepted this morning. Close of escrow is 8/23. We will have one (8/1) overlap house payment, which is no big deal at all. Not sure how they measure days on the market but if it is from when you list it to when you have a contract, the number is 27 days, not too shabby.

Susan accepted a job as Director of Special Education at Fowler Elementary School District, starting 7/17. She was with PVUSD for nearly 20 years.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Latest developments

The housing market is in the crapper and we have lowered our asking price. The house has been on the market for 19 days and we have had 16 visits to the house so we probably should not complain, but it is nervewracking.

We close on June 30 but lease back to the current owners for two weeks.

Garage sale on July 1

Take possession at 8:00 am on July 14th, carpets cleaned that morning.

Movers arrive between 8 and 9 on the 15th.

I am taking the 30th, 3rd, 14th and 17th off of work.

There is a SOLD sign at the new house.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

We bought it

We made an offer on the first one in my previous post and it was accepted!

Here is a map of the place. We are 2 blocks from Encanto Park, 5 blocks from Central, 9 blocks from the light rail stations at Central/Thomas and Central/Encanto, 10 blocks from the Heard Museum.

Saturday, May 27, 2006


We have decided to sell our house and move to some place like the Willo or Roosevelt districts. Here are a couple of houses that we have looked at:

I was ready to buy this one

{This was a link to a house on West Almeria, the link is no longer valid.}

Susan didn't like the flooring in the first house and thought that the yard would be too much work. The second one turned out to have the businesses facing McDowell across the back alley (pawn shop, tattoo/piercing parlor, apartments).

We have gotten hooked up with a real estate agent and have started cleaning out closets.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Need to post more often if I expect anybody to read this stuff

Lori and Mike are having a baby and buying a new house in Maricopa. Plenty of details on Mike's blog (link to your right). I am starting to get used to the idea.

We leave for Vienna on Friday.

Korea is leading the US 7-1. I can't watch anymore.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

PC blues, iPod stuff

First, the new computer wouldn't burn DVDs. As I mentioned below, I was concerned that it was getting too hot in the cabinet, so I moved it out sit behind the subwoofer in a corner of the room. No help. I called HP. This was the second time. The first time that I called, the nice man in Mumbai told me that I need to have Lightscribe disks. I subsequently found out that this was not true. A Lightscribe drive can burn to any disk, only needs Lightscribe disks to burn labels. Anyway, I had tried that before calling back. This time (it was Saturday morning) it took me twice to get somebody that I could understand and that had a decent connection. My intention was to have them ship me a new PC or a new drive and then ship them back the old one when the data was transferred. The guy asked me a bunch of questions and concluded that "the drive is working". I disagreed but he contended that since I could read DVDs it was working. My only option was be transferred to another nice subcontinental fellow who would charge me $60 for the privilege of speaking to him. IF that person agreed that it was an HP problem and not my fault, then they would waive the charge. Right about this time Mike came to the door to take me to Lowe's to buy some cabinets for the garage. I had no time for this nonsense so I chewed the guy out and hung up.

My options appeared to be:
  1. Take the thing back to Best Buy with the same story
  2. Roll the dice on this dubious sounding $60 venture
  3. Give up. I hadn't needed a DVD burner and would have paid the same amount for a PC that didn't have one. It was just a matter of principle.

I spent the rest of the day and most of the next dealing with the garage. On Sunday night I noticed that the Squeezebox was not lit up, which happens when it can't connect to the server (which runs on the PC we are talking about). This will normally happen when it loses its wireless connection. But it stayed that way. I switched the plasma over to PC mode and there was nothing there. I checked the PC and it was off. I couldn't make it come on without pulling the power cord, reinserting it, and turning it on. It came up OK, the Squeezebox came on and I switched back over to watching TV. A little later I noticed this happened again. Some time the next morning I had determined that it couldn't stay up for more than about 5 minutes.

This was great. I had a demonstrably dead soldier on my hands that Best Buy would take back without question, which they did. They had it in stock and I now have a new PC, which can burn DVDs. What had I lost? Not much other than the work of setting the PC up the way I wanted it and a $1.99 episode of Dragnet that I downloaded from iTunes. I had my iTunes library on the Nano, right? All I had to do was load them back down to the new PC. It turns out that this is not so easy...

If you hook up an ipod to a different computer than the one you are synched with, iTunes will tell you that and ask you if you would like to wipe out the songs on the iPod and replace them with the ones from the (in my case empty) library on the new computer. If you answer no, it will bring up your iPod in iTunes but the songs are grayed and you very specifically can't drag them to your library. I guess they don't want people sharing songs. Here is what I did:

Enable disc access to the iPod. That mounts the ipod as a drive which you can then access like any other files. If you drill down you find the songs. Unfortunately they are in folder named F00, F01, etc. all with names like XHRW.mp3. So if you relied on the file names for anything, you had lost them. After some experimentation I found that if you enabled the option that allows iTunes to manage the filenames, etc. AND told it to copy a file into the iTunes hierarchy, that it would place it in a folder under artist and album AND construct a meaningful name. So the procedure was to copy each folder of songs off the iPod into a temporary folder, then tell iTunes to import all of the songs in that folder. When done, you have all of the songs from the iPod in your library, organized in a reasonable fashion. You can then tell iTunes to update your iPod, effectively putting back what it already has. You can also delete the folder of temporary files. Turning off disk access is good too because with it on you have to manually eject the ipod in the application before removing it from the dock.

Friday, January 06, 2006

Been Away

When we last spoke, Michigan had lost to Ohio State. Things have only gotten worse. Although Ohio State DID get into a BCS Bowl, somehow that got Iowa into a Jan 2 bowl, not Michigan. What was worse was that Michigan lost the Alamo Bowl to Nebraska. Worse than that, Ohio State WON the Fiesta Bowl. And the national championship went the wrong way too. ugh

Got a Squeezbox for my birthday. Very cool.

Have made a lot of the reservations for our European trip in March.

AA 870 PHX 03/17 02:26 PM DFW 03/17 05:48 PM First
AA 78 DFW 03/17 06:55 PM LGW 03/18 09:55 AM Business
AA 6643 LHR 03/18 02:35 PM VIE 03/18/2006 05:50 PM Economy

Vienna: Danube Hilton 3/18-3/19
Amstetten: Hotel Exel 3/19-3/22
Budapest: Budapest Hilton 3/22-3/24
Vienna: Hotel Altstadt 3/24-3/27

HG 8734 VIE 03/27 2:30 PM CDG 03/27 4:15 PM Economy

Paris: Hôtel Waldorf Montparnasse 3/27-3/30

Eurostar 9019 Paris Nord 03/30 10:19 AM London Waterloo 03/30 11:54 AM

London: Trafalgar London 3/30-3/31

AA 81 LGW 03/31 12:55 PM DFW 03/31 04:10 PM Business
AA 1807 DFW 03/31 06:01 PM PHX 03/31 07:38 PM First

Notes: Yes, we are flying into Gatwick and transferring to Heathrow. We need to take a bus but there appears to be plenty of time. I will be alone in coach on the London to Vienna flight. Due to the way we got the tickets, Susan will be in business class and I will be in the back somewhere.

We purchased European East railpasses, which will work in Austria, Slovakia and Hungary, plus some other places that we aren't going to. Unlimited first class travel on any 6 days. John will be with us but as an Austrian resident he is not eligible for this, plus he has a couple of cards that will reduce the cost of his tickets, one inside Austria, the other outside.

On 3/29 in Paris we are doing a Paris Market Tour, conducted by this guy.

I got a lot of neat stuff over the holidays. I bought a computer to work with the entertainment center. This thing is really small, can sit on its side in the cabinet with the other components. Unfortunately, it doesn't get adequate ventilation and I am having to move it elsewhere, but it does everything I wanted it to. For Christmas I got a framed (actually haven't seen it framed yet) poster of the closing of Tiger Stadium. Also a bluetooth car kit, the Bob Dylan scrapbook, along with some movies, books and other things that I am forgetting to mention. After Christmas Susan surprised me with telling me I should buy an Ipod Nano, which I did, immediately upon her telling me (we were in the Apple Store at Chandler Fashion Square). Got the black one with 4GB.