2013 Family Cruise Part I

I think that title is possibly one of the most boring headings I’ve put on this blog.  Apologies for that I’ll try to do better in the future. We were on vacation for 9 days and a lot happened – more than I can put in a single post – so I’ve decided to make this part 1 so I can at least start somewhere.  And that’s enough editorial gibberish…

We flew out of Denver March 21st in the morning and arrived in Ft. Lauderdale in the mid-afternoon.  After meeting up with Jessica’s dad’s family we went to dinner at a place called Rok Brgr where we ate gourmet kobe beef burgers and I had a local beer called Panic Attack.  The burgers were delicious, the service was good, and the family caught up on travel details by discussing how we would rework most of today’s modern air transportation to reduce headaches.  The usual.

We shared these
We shared these

After a leisurely meal we parted ways as I wasn’t feeling 100% and needed to get some rest.  Our Peterman 4 went to a hotel that Jessica had arranged and the rest of the family went off to Miami’s South Beach where they had accommodations.

Nutella, yum!
Nutella, yum!

The next day our 4 headed to a small French cafe for breakfast.  It was very French and we had to pay in Euros (not really, but the prices were high), but the food was good.  We finished off the brunch with a few dessert crepes because that’s how we do things.  Evie ate a nutella crepe and Abby had a white chocolate strawberry crepe and Jessica and I hovered over both taking bites like crepe vultures [not really, but we did sample the crepes].  Even the coffee tasted French, which is to say that I prefer a lighter roast.  The coffee wasn’t cuban, though, which was good because I don’t prefer to have my spoon stand up in the coffee.

So this washed up on the shore
So this washed up on the shore

We then headed to meet Jessica’s dad’s family in South Beach.  There we generally hung out at their place, went to the beach (which was overcast and windy) and collected shells, avoided jelly fish, and discussed the coming trip.  The girls were cute and played for quite a while in the water and then we eventually got cleaned up and headed to dinner at a great Italian place called Pasta Prima.  Jessica’s dad and sisters had actually been there before but couldn’t remember the name.  So when Jessica did research she found it highly recommended.  Once we walked in they all said, “Hey, we’ve been here before!”  It’s a great joint with awesome food, fast, friendly service, and apparently so many famous customers that they don’t decorate with anything but photos signed by famous people.  I got the Gnocci and if you don’t at least have one person in your party try it, you’ll be sad.  We left stuffed and happy.

We then made our way to the fanciest Target I have ever been to and proceeded to buy all the things we left at home and rounded out our trip gear.  For me that list involved a hat that embarrasses the family (but keeps my face and ears out of the sun) and for various other family members it involved other things that I paid for but could not tell you what they were 🙂

The next day was the beginning of the cruise, but you’ll have to wait to read about that.

All Eight Up With It

So Monday the 16th (yesterday) was the 8 year anniversary of our having lived in the Denver metro area.  We like it a bunch, but we still miss friends and family from around the US (and world) – but it’s the longest amount of time Jessica’s ever lived in one place.  The same can be said for Abby & Evie 😉  I lived in Nevada for longer, but I hardly count.

W8w.

Doors

I replaced the door between my garage and back yard today.  It was much easier replacing that door compared to the door I had replaced between the house and the garage.  Probably because I had the experience of the first to make the second one more direct.  I don’t love door replacements as a whole, but I learned a few things.  The one thing I wanted to point out which may save some time and money: Many new doors have adjustable/replaceable weather stripping so that if you need to pull the weather stripping out of the crack they’re tucked into just about 1/16th of an inch – you can.  If you pull it out that much to create a better seal you’ll have better energy efficiency AND not have spent $15.00 or more on new weather stripping.  Pretty cool [or warm, depending on the season].

You Don’t Know Percentages

When what you read is:

Debt increase by presidents: Reagan 186%, Bush 54% Clinton 41% Bush II 72% Obama 23%. /source CBO [from Twitter].

Does your brain translate it to this:

It turns out those percentages don’t add up to the actual national debt value, so the numbers seem wrong.  But when someone shows you percentages get out your spread sheet or calculator to make sure that you’re not being had.  If you say that Obama has had less spent during his presidency or that Clinton was a spendthrift or any number of other things based on percentages you’re probably doing it wrong.  And yes, this is showing billions and trillions [the formatting isn’t quite right in the copy/paste].

Due to the compounding values of those debt numbers this massive expenditure of “only” 23% is rather ‘off’.  Additionally Obama’s presidency is not over, so calling this one is a bit premature.

I say we call them all out for being fools with the financial resources.  Additionally: congress(es) is (are) also responsible for this.

We’re Home Again

After 3 weeks of being on a road trip (during all of which I worked) we’re home.  I’ve got plenty to share… later.  It’s just that I’ve got more work to do than time, and more time than money, and more money than the impoverished people in parts of the world where I don’t live.  I’m working on adjusting all of that as best as possible.

The girls are fine.

Jessica is fine (and beautiful).

The dogs are looking for discipline.

The weather is hotter than I’d prefer.

I’ll try to get back to this – eventually.

BOOM! 4 States In A Day

Today we flew EARLY from Denver to Atlanta to Newport News, Virginia where we drove to North Carolina. All in about 13 hours. To spend a week on the east coast with a family from church and another family that was from church, but then moved to North Carolina. But then they moved to Georgia! And so now we’re all from out of state. It is as far east as this Californian has ever been. Also as far as his TX and CO girls have been. His wife has been further east, but she jumped continents to do so. Do people in the far east think we’re far east, far west or far out?

Changing Banks

When it is all said and done it will have taken us several months to actually change banks.  We’re actually leaving our old bank to switch to a credit union.  This is something that I like because firstly it’s a local financial institution, and secondly credit unions are much more service oriented in many cases because they have members who the employees are serving rather than some person that is not directly their ‘boss’.  When I asked the employee at the credit union if I could do various things that my old bank wanted to penalize me (unnecessarily) for he simply said, “Yes, you can do that.”  How about situation two? “Yes, you can do that, too.”  Are there fees for this?  Do I have to jump through this hoop?  “No, there are no fees for that and we don’t own a hoop holder to put a hoop there for you to jump through.” [I made that last answer up, but he said the same thing in meaning, even if my imagination makes him more funny.]

The hardest part is the automatic withdrawals and direct deposits.  Those seem to take weeks and up to months to get swapped over.  And they want voided checks.  And they warn you not to close down your old account until (insert some date/time here).  Seriously: in the age of computers and databases are we that slow that what takes me seconds to enter into an online form takes weeks and months to process?

The Credit Union is not officially supported by Mint [and they are not presently working on supporting it], but I’m OK with that.  I will likely pay for and install You Need A Budget and use that with regular downloads of our data.  There are downsides to changing institutions like re-entering online billpay accounts.  But those are minor in comparison to being nickel and dimes and treated like a money tree that needs regular pruning.

I look forward to being a member of a local credit union with staff that treat me like a human being.

The Other Royal Wedding

The blogs on this site are all being merged into this one blog.  Everything’s being moved here.  All of it.  I’m wedding the blogs.  It’s a royal pain in the posterior.

Thus: this is the other royal wedding.