Blog Archives

back to school prep

Hard to believe that school starts in about 2 weeks and we still don’t know where Sarah will go this year. We are waiting to hear from the school we want her to go to, and can’t really afford to send her to the private school she was going to last year. The school in our district is our last resort, and although its a nice school and graded well last year, its still a frustrating thing not being able to send you kids to the school of your choice. This week we will hopefully hear a final word about the school we want Sarah to go to, if that doesn’t work out, then its probably going to be our district school for now. Either way, we are totally unprepared for the coming school year. Most familes can’t wait for their kids to go back to school, but we are not average I guess, because we love the summer, getting to be together as a family and the kids have fun things they do with their friends all summer long. Its kind of sad for us when school is going, because Sarah has homework, and that eats up most of the evening once I get home and the major changes with her schooling this year is going to be hard. We still don’t even have school supplies because we honestly don’t know what we need yet, since we don’t know where she is going. This should be an interesting few weeks. I also may be going to New York again soon, so I just hope I don’t miss Sarah’s first week of school, or orientation, etc.

Summer Weather

Well summer is definately here in Tampa! For the last couple weeks its been warm, rainy and humid! Its been around 90 or so during the day, with high humidity, and lots of sun during the day. In the evenings most days, we get afternoon/evening thunderstorms. These are conveniently scheduled for anytime I decided I need to cut the grass. Surprisingly I haven’t use the air conditioning in my car much this summer, just like last summer, its not too bad riding around with the top down (mostly in the morning, or if I’m lucky enough to beat the afternoon storms). The A/C At home is acting a little funny, I may need to call someone to come take a look. Hopefully its nothing major, but the pump has been running and running lately, so I don’t want my electric bill to skyrocket either. Its bad enough that I pay more for the fuel charges for my electricity than for the actual exlectricity I use.

Took Sarah to my office on Saturday

Due to problems with the Air Conditioning in my office at work, I had to go into the office and reset the A/C. I took Sarah with me on Saturday and showed her my office. We had a nice ride to work with the top down in the Miata, but the sun was really intense and we both had about enough of that by the time we got there. She played with tools while another guy I work with (Jeremy) and I got the A/C working again. When we left, we put the top back up in the Miata and rode home in the air conditioning! I think all of our cooler summer weather is over, and its going to be pretty hot for the next 2 months or so. Fortunately, the super hot stuff only lasts 2-3 months or so, and then it goes back to near perfect most of the time. When we walked in the door at home, Liz asked Sarah if she had a good time with me, and Sarah answered “yeah, but it wasn’t much fun, all I got to do was play with tools”. 🙂

Family Update

We have been so busy lately, there is so much going on its going to be hard to give an update…

We had a great weekend this past weekend, we went to visit some friends of ours on Sunday afternoon and stayed until almost 11. We had a great time, great conversation and I got to try out their wii! The kids had a blast and got extremely dirty, so they had a great time!

We are getting ready to be busy with last minute plans for our trip to visit family. We have packing to do and final arrangements to make. It should be an interesting time.

Last night Liz had her papmer night for MOPS, so I stayed home with the kids and we had a nice time. They watched a movie and had popcorn and brownies! I went to bed around 11, and Liz didn’t get home till around midnight.

I have again discovered how lonely summer mornings are when Sarah doesn’t have school and we don’t all get up together in the mornings. Normally I get everyone up around 6:20am and we get breakfast and get ready to go about our day together. But in the summer, Liz doesn’t have to take Sarah to school, they get to sleep in and I end up alone in the mornings getting ready by myself. So I like the summer in that we save on gas money, and the rest of the family gets a break, but for me its the same old schedule, just all by myself.

Strong Storms

We are having some strong thunderstorms right now, none of them are very bad in our area, but all around us, there are reports of tornados and strong winds. I heard a lot of heavy rain overnight, but thats about it for our area. Just an indication of warmer weather. I almost forget every “winter” how much it storms in the summer, and how predictable it is.

Details

Our old house sold rather quickly, it was listed, sold and closed within 30 days. Our buyer was a little wacky and we had to jump through all kinds of hoops to make him happy. The closing date snuck up on us big time and we had only a few days to make moving arrangements. Liz and I packed up as much as we could and we had some friends that were nice enough to come over and help us. We had some help loading large items onto a moving truck which we were fortunately able to get for free from our real estate agent’s company. It was a 15′ truck and took 2 full loads to get all of our things to the garage of the new house. Liz and I loaded the first truck load along with some help from friends with the large items on Saturday morning. We then took the load to the new garage and unloaded it with just Liz and myself. It took us about 1 hour or so to unload the first trip. Then we took the truck back to our house and started to load more. It was getting late and Liz’s dad had come down to help from Ocala, so we took a dinner break and ended up with Liz’s dad and myself stopping by Dairy Queen on the way back. We got all the rest of the stuff from our old house loaded onto the truck in a few hours. Leaving only some trash to put out for collection and some small items like mirrors and things we could get with the van. It was almost 10pm by this time so we decided to leave it at that for the night and I drove the full truck back to a baseball field parking lot next to some friend’s house whom we were staying with. The next afternoon, Liz went somewhere with the kids and I took the truck to the new house and unloaded it by myself. It only took me a little over an hour and a half to get the extremely packed truck unloaded. What can I say, I’m nothing if not efficient. Ha ha. That evening I took the truck back to the real estate agent’s office and got my precious Miata back. I enjoyed a nice pleasant ride back to where we were staying.

First our home sale was supposed to happen on a Friday and the closing on our new house on a Monday. However, there was some kind of delay last minute and we could not close on either until Wednesday. So Wednesday finally came, I took some vacation days off work for Wednesday, Thursday and Friday but also had Monday off for Columbus day. So I had 6 days to move and get settled in. We met at the title company at 3pm on Wednesday to close on both houses. The buyer of our house could not be there so he came earlier and signed paperwork. Which we were very happy about so we didn’t have to deal with him in person since he gave us such a time dealing through his real estate agent. Not to mention his agent had a horrible accent and was very hard to understand. They got to us in a short amount of time and we signed all the sale papers for our old house. We finished only after about 15 minutes or so, and then decided to move on and finish the signing of the papers on our new house. This way, when the seller got there all he had to do was sign a few papers and we’d be all set.

Bad thing was that the amount we got back at closing was not as much as we had thought due to higher taxes and expenses in closing. So we got back just short of the amount we wanted. We had planned to pay off two big debts but didn’t receive enough to pay off just one of them. We will be getting an escrow refund from our first mortgage which will help and we don’t have a mortgage payment until Dec 1st, so I’m hoping the extra bill I hadn’t counted on will not be too high of a payment. We should be able to pay a little on the second debt which will hopefully make it more managable. We still have some things we need to buy though, like a dishwasher, since it died just after we got the keys. I’d like to get a new refridgerator, but that will have to wait. We did get a new TV (woo hoo), couch set, and some other things, but the budget is going to be interesting now. We are going to have to take Sarah out of private school and send her to a very highly rated public school nearby. We just can’t afford her tuition anymore with the higher living expenses. This has been hard for Liz and I’m not happy about it either, but unless I get a major career boost (and I already do good) or Liz gets a good job, we just can’t afford to send our kids to private school. Its bad enough just paying tuition for one, I can’t immaging how we could send all our kids to private school. Sarah will likely start public school in early November.

Activating utilities at the new house was a little strange, we are just outside the city limits of Temple Terrace, but still are on their water/sewer system. Tampa Electric still services us which is good, but water and trash pickup were tricky. The county told me they didn’t service my address, the city said they didn’t service the address, Temple Terrace told us they did. So it was a bit confusing getting it all setup. But on the day we moved in we had power, water/sewer and trash pickup is covered in our property taxes. I missed trash pickup this morning, I guess they come way earlier than I am used to, so I’ll have to remember to put it out the night before the pickup day. I ordered Verizon FIOS for internet access to try it out and see how it works for me. Its cheaper than Road Runner and has faster upload speeds which is more important to me than a few MB faster download speeds. I am downloading any TV shows I want to watch now so we didn’t get cable again and I don’t want to pay for Satellite, which stinks in Florida anyway with all the rain in the summer. I connected my PC via DVI to the new TV – a Hitachi 57″ HDTV. I watched some things on it in HD and its amazing. I just need to get a good surround sound system and I’ll be set. But thats one more thing I can’t afford right now. I might be able to get a PCI video card with a DVI port on it, and just use my e-mail server as my multimedia machine. I’d also need to get a wireless keyboard and mouse, but thats not too expensive. I have yet to decide what I want to do about that yet.

We love our new house, its not brand new and it has some maintenance things that will need to be done, but its been cared for and is in good shape overall. Its in a very quiet neighborhood, peaceful and pleasant. Liz has already been rollerblading a few times and I took the kids in the back yard last night to assemble their swing set and it was so quiet and there was a nice cool breeze blowing with no one else around. I have some installation inadequicies so it took a little longer than I had wanted to get the swing set assembled 🙂 We still have lots of stuff in the new garage so only my Miata can fit in there at night right now. I would like to have both vehicles in the garage by next weekend. Its not that much left to move, but its a matter of time and energy to go through it all. We made good progress in the few days we have been there, the kitchen and living room look great, but the other rooms are a little bare right now.

So I’m back at work today after a long break and am right back into the mix of things again. I think I am becomming a supporter of capitol punnishment for spammers. :-)]]>

Typical Florida Summer Weather

Well we are back into the swing of things with the weather again. I forgot how much it rains in the summer around here. Every day for the past I few weeks (seems like more), its rained. We’ve had some loud thunderstorms and lots of rain. We had a dry “winter” but we are making up for it now. My back yard floods every time it rains. All this rain poses a problem for grass cutting. It might be a nice day in the morning and afternoon, but come 5pm when I go home from work, you better believe its going to be raining. So my options, cut the grass when its wet (yuck) or do it in the morning on a weekend. The last option isn’t so hot either as its damp from the dew in the AM on the weekend. So I have to wait until about 11am (almost) to cut the grass unless I don’t mind doing it with the grass wet. My yard is going to be the amazon if I can’t get it cut. Maybe when the kids are grown they can help out with this, by cutting the grass for me during times like this.

Beach houses

Looks like we might be meeting up with some family in the coming months of summer at a beach house somewhere half way between Florida and Delaware. Hopefully we can find a place thats reasonable, get a reservation and have about a week where we can hang out and do fun things. I still have lots of details to work out and very little time to work on it, but hopefully we will actually get a family vacation setup soon. Imagine that.

My Birthday

Items I’d like to get:
1. External standalone DVD recorder for my Tivo
2. Some blank DVD +R Dual layer media
3. A new scanner for my PC (sheet feed)
4. 500GB hard drive (way too expensive!)
5. Model Kits (like star trek ship models)
6. One of those big styrofoam airplane kits (the big one)
7. A small trampoline (maybe, but not at our current house)
8. A ladder for my pool I got that I never setup last summer!
9. Gift cards to stores like Best Buy, Curcuit city, etc.
10. Restaurant gift cards, like to TGI Fridays and Wendy’s

Things I want to do before I die!
1. Take a cruise (to the carribbean or somewhere really tropical – must have crystal blue water and hammock)
2. Ride a jetski (or wave runner, I don’t wan to stand up and ride).
3. Go parasailing (at the beach, maybe clearwater beach, my favorite).
4. Take a propeller cart ride, or whatever its called, on 75N they have a gocart thing with a propeller and parachute. I’d love to ride one of those!
5. Go to New York with Liz and hit a broadway show and eat at nice restaurants all dressed up!
6. Go to a comedy club in Tampa
7. Go to a jazz club for dinner with Liz (in Tampa)
8. Go on a dinner cruise with Liz (in Tampa)
9. Go see an IMAX movie
10. Go to Arizona to see the grand canyon
11. Take Liz to Niagra Falls (maybe the kids too 😉
12. Go to an international destination, like Paris or Italy,, somewhere romantic (maybe take a river cruise on one of those long thin boats)
13. Take my family to Disney in Orlando
14. Go on a submarine ride (no clue where you can do this)
15. Try water skiing (or boarding)
16. Lie in a hammock on a tropical beach, sipping on a fruit drink in the warm breeze, with nothing but the sun, the sand and the sounds of the waves….Ahhhhhhhhh
17. Take my kids to a water park
18. Take each of my kids somewhere special or cool, one at a time, just them and me. Even a far away place.

I’m sure I’ll think of more, and probably update this list later….

Tuesday]]>