Category Archives: Personal

Review of Sandles Grande Ochos Rios

My wife and I just got back from a trip to Sandles Grande Ochos Rios in Jamaica.  We had a great time, and it was very relaxing.  This was our first interntional trip and it went very well overall.  I wrote a long detailed review/log of our trip which you can find on the trip advisor forums at –

If you want better quality pictures, go to – this is a work in progress.

Going on a trip to Jamaica!

My wife and I have been trying to make plans for our 10th annaversary for several weeks now.  Its been hard for us to really decide on anything for sure since we didn’t have our passports and have never gone anywhere outside the continental U.S.  But today we did it, we decided on a destination and made arrangements for our trip.  We will be going to Ochos Rios Jamaica to the Sandals Ochos Rios Grande All Inclusive Resort and Spa.  We went a little over budget for this trip, but there were a few things (as there always are) that we didn’t expect when planning the trip.  It turned out the flights were more expensive when you select reasonable flight times and then add on the trip insurance and woooops…  But oh well, its our 10th annaversary and we should splurge a little to celebrate. 

It did take quite some time to decide on a destination because we wanted to stay somewhere nice, but wasn’t unreasonably expensive.  Not just that but we actually want to get around and see the area and take some excursions.  Right now I’m thinking about taking the ATV safari and the canopy safari which is a rope walk through the tree tops of the jungle and they hint about some rope swinging which sounds like fun.  Throw in some time to relax at the pools and the beach, and there you have a nice little getaway.  We choose this particular resort due to a combination of factors such as price, room availability, reviews, resort features, local excursions, and more.  We will be sure to take lots of pictures and post reviews of the resort once we return.

Screenshot - 9_18_2008 , 4_37_41 PM

Strange Power Outage

The power is out at my home right now, which is strange since its not really storming and nothing seems to be gonig on.  I called TECO to report the issue and they said that they are aware of it and will have the power restored by 5:30pm.  This is the first time since we’ve lived here that we’ve had a power outage for this long before.  Its a good exercise though, since it will give Liz and the kids a chance to find all the emergency flashlights and practice what to do when the power goes out.  It is also helpful in testing my UPS units at the house.  It was obvious that the UPS units in my server closet are in need of being replaced with better units, as that was the first UPS to go down.  I got maybe 2 mintues out of it.  The UPS connected to our big comptuer stayed up for probably 5 or more minutes.  I have a larger UPS in my cabinet under the TV which I plan to move to the server closet to provide better uptime.  I don’t really need it connected to the TV anymore since I no longer have a PC over there.  And if I do put a hard drive in my Popcornhour unit, I can always put one of those small UPS units on it for small protection.  Hopefully the power will come back on soon and everything should come back online on its own.

New Garage door is installed.

Yesterday the installer came to replace my garage door.  Our old (literally) door was not insulated and being about 20 years old was quite worn and in need of replacing.  When I got home from work yesterday, a nice new door was freshly installed.  It is a little quieter than the old door, and the insulation should help keep the heat down in the summer time.  I’d like to eventually have a portable air conditioner in the garage, and use it to cool occasionally if we want to work on a project out there, or just while cleaning up.  There is a dryer vent conveniently located in my garage which I could use with a portable air conditioner unit.  This new door is also up to code for hurricane force winds.  Its also properly mounted which eliminated all the gaps between the door and the frame of the opening.

Facebook explosion

I have accounts with a lot of social sites, such as facebook, myspace, etc, and have had them for quite some time.  I have never really used them much for various reasons, but recently I realized that a bunch of people I know use it and so I decided to update my page on facebook and add a few new friends.  As soon as I did that, BANG – a bunch of people started adding me.  Before I knew it, I was adding new applications and getting caught up in it.  Then after some of Liz’s friends started adding me, we had to setup her an account on Facebook.  So last night we were up until after midnight working on her profile and adding pictures and applications…yawn…



Bad genetics

Anyone who knows my family (parents and grand-parents) know that I am unavoidably cursed with the “balding gene”.  Both sets of parents and grand-parents have hair loss problems in both the men and women.  Sadly for me, this means that I am starting to look more like a middle-aged man – especially when I had my Miata and was driving around with my top down and had the sun glaring off the top of my head :-).  I’m not sensitive about it, I don’t mind it all that much, but it sure would be nice to look closer to my real age.  I’ve been tinkering with the thought of shaving my head…just to get it over with it.  I am not liking the “picard” look too much right now and I know a few people that have gone with a complete shave of the head and it looks good on them.  They say that “bald is beautiful” right?  On the other-hand I am also inclined to just start wearing a hat more often and avoid the whole thing!  Oh well. 

The Don't song

I found this youtube video rather funny and enjoyed watching it.  Thought I’d pass it along to anyone reading my blog.  Its a silly song about the don’t of marriage.


Can I get some help please?

The other day, I met a friend (Daniel) at Lowes in New Tampa to look at grills.  My family is letting me get getting me a grill for Fathers Day this year.  We have never had a real full size grill before, instead we’ve been using a George Foreman which does OK, but can only do so much at a time.  It was starting to feel like a real chore to grill chicken now and then, and so the time has come to get a real grill.  No longer will I stand in front of that George Forman for an hour trying to grill a few pieces of chicken.  Now I will be able to cook an entire package of chicken in one shot in a very short amount of time. 

So back to my story.  But before I continue, you should know that I have something against Lowes.  Back in Maryland where we used to live I had a bad experience with them…ok several bad experiences.  One involving my mother, but I’ll save that story for another time…  I met Daniel as I sad, and we started to check out the grills and discuss the details of what I should get and what looked good.  We found one that was great for what I wanted and the price was good.  So we talked for a while and then I went inside to make the purchase.  I went to the grill area and waited for a while, and after no one coming to help me I pushed the help button.  A guy came up and I showed him what I wanted.  He said he had left another customer to help me and hurried through writing down a number on a sticker for me, telling me to go up front and pay giving them this number.  He also gave me a book and blabbered something about the propane bottle. 

I went to the register to pay and the person there didn’t know how to ring up my accessories.  After some waiting for a manager, they finally got me straightened out.  Although I got a few impatient questions from the manager which I suppose assumed I knew how their polocies worked and what promotional details they needed to give me.  So after I paid I went outside after being assured by the manager that someone would be out in just a few minutes to unlock the grill I purchased.  I stood there for some time, got a phone call and talked for a while, then made another phone call to Liz.  I went back inside finally and saw the manager that I had just dealt with some time ago, and she asked me if I got the grill, which I replied “no I hadn’t”.  She showed some disbelief and made a page over the intercom.  I went back outside and waited some more, and was finally approached by some of the guys that help people load their cars and get the carts.  They went in and checked for me and finally after about 10 more minutes a guy came out and unlocked my grill.   After some unconvincing attempts on his part to caml me (guess he assumed I would be mad, but I wasn’t), I finally got the grill loaded into the car with the help of one of the younger guys. 

I got home and just unloaded it into the garage as it was after 8:30 or so by the time I got home.  I spent 1.5 hours or more at that Lowes just trying to buy a Grill.  This is a typical experience for me when I try to buy anything thats not just sitting on a shelf.  Its always a big drama.  Fortunately I got out in the garage last night and hooked it up to the tank and gave it a try.  Everything works great and I can’t wait to use it on Sunday. 

Getting sick

Started to feel sick last Wednesday, a few minor sinus issues, etc. By Thursday, I had a slight sore throat. Friday, I felt like I had a head cold. Saturday felt a little worse. Sunday I lost my voice and got a worse sore throat. Monday I called in sick because I couldn’t talk and felt terrible. Tuesday I called in sick again because I still couldn’t talk and felt terrible. I went to a doctors walk in clinic and found that I had an upper respiratory infection. They have me an antibiotic and a nasal spray and said I could take Mucinex. Today (Wednesday – one week from day one of all this) I am feeling better, my voice has returned good enough to talk fairly normally, and I think in a few days I’ll be back to my old self again. My sore throat is all but gone, but I still have some sinus problems to deal with.

I hate getting sick

Did I mention I hate getting sick? Well I do! When you have kids, it seems nearly impossible for everyone to remain well for more than a few months. Now I got another head cold. Liz and I are both still sick with pretty much the same thing. Sarah has something similar as well. I’m hoping it will be gone for all of us by the weekend, because its supposed to be beautiful!