Friday, July 30, 2010

Separate but equal

Almost from day one...well actually from day one...Kelli and I have had separate bank accounts. We have some commingling of funds. We share a joint checking account, one credit card and a few ING savings accounts.

Some people think we are nuts for having separate accounts. But it makes life easier. I balance mine, she balances hers and we both keep an eye on the joint account. Only household bills come out of the joint account. I buy stuff that I want, she buys what she wants. I don't pay for dog stuff. She doesn't pay for gadgets.

Now that there will be a third person in the house. We decided Natali should pay for her own stuff. She will have her own bank account and can buy all the baby food she wants. Ha!

Kelli is very conservative with her money. I think it's just her nature. She is very cautious on most purchases (although she did buy a Prius on a whim). She's been pawing my Ipad for a few days. It's a great device for her. Most of what she does online is browse web pages and play games. She wants one...but won't pull the trigger.

We are big on free money. No interest deals. We've done a ton of them. We buy whatever and simply set up our bank account to pay AT LEAST the minimum each month. That way we won't miss a payment and lose the no interest deal. I told her an IPad is $30 a month on the Best Buy card with no interest. She still balked. I stated that's 2 less trips to Sweet Tomatoes a month. That's it! She balked. Bleh.

Back to Natali. For a few months we've been putting money aside for a baby fund. The money will be used as a backup for things we need for Natali in case of emergency. We have been building a similar account for house emergencies. True we could have one big savings account....but we like buckets. Having buckets of money is easier to organize.

Quite a random post on my part. Good job me.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

This is when it gets real

Countdown has my head anyway.

Vacation next month. Lots of expenses. Kelli is on a "real" airline ticket. Renting a car for 9 days. Hotel for 2 days. Kennel the dogs/dog sitter for 9 days. Lotta money.

Flew to Milwuakee and back on Wednesday on overtime. Five hours. I would have to work 20 hours overtime to pay for all the above. It will be a little rough as we have been saving for baby stuff not really thinking about vacation.

Still think Kelli is getting an Ipad....not if but when. The Democrat in her is holding back. Hopefully the little...errr...big Republican in her belly will sway her.

She can't stop playing with it

Headed to Milwaukee today. Overtime. Baby money....maybe IPad money?

Most days there is a free app of the day for Ipad/Iphone. I grab most as I am cheap. Yesterday there was an app called Super 7 HD. It's a game where floating blocks with various values float around the screen. The object is to connect blocks to add up to 7....and not 1 more. It's a challenge.

I thought Kelli would like the game. She already plays "Words With Friends" (a Scrabble like game she plays again against her sister and a family friend). I showed her how to play. She was then in a trance for a straight hour playing the game. Her finger was getting tired. She took a break....but then played another 45 minutes before going to bed with a tired finger. She couldn't stop playing it.

Kelli is sooooo going to get an Ipad.

It would be MUCH easier to hold/nurse a baby with an Ipad versus a laptop. Kelli blahs me off. She blah'd me off about getting a laptop, smartphone, MP3 player, HDTV, surround  sound, Facebook and a toilet light. She uses and enjoys them all. Time will tell. Just yesterday I bought a cheap hard shell, snap on, case for my laptop. It's a pretty dark blue. Kelli bought her own, green of course, right away. I know deep inside she want's to be a hip republican technophile like me.

August is going to suck. The first half anyway. In order to get off the extra days I wanted off following my week of vacation I had to move things around. I now work 5 on 1 off 5 on 3 off 4 on. Booo. The things you do for family.

Finally....a photo from work. I love my job....even though I bitch about it. I love being in control of 50,000 horsepower. Zoom-Zoom on steroids.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Something different

For the most part I fly to the same handful (like 5) cities. I know the routes...the airports....the airspace....I really think I could fly to Little Rock by just looking outside.

Yesterday I was assigned to fly to Little Rock. Lots of weather in the area. My flight taxied to the runway and then shutdown the engines for 30 minutes (the APU was still running to provide air conditioning and power).

On the way I navigated around thunderstorms. Had to punch through a few. Haven't been rocked and rolled like that in a while. Landing was mostly uneventful except for the thunderstorm over the right half of the airport and all along the bottom. I landed on the left side.

I'm glad the baby comes in two weeks. I don't think Kelli can get any bigger. Mark this down.....9 pounds 3 ounces.

Today is the day I can "request" to change my work days for August. First priority is moving days around for Vacation. Then for the birth. Why that order? Well my Chief Pilot can approve days off for the birth if I can't do it on my own. At worst I can call in sick. I have almost a month of sick time in the bank for short term and over a month for long term sick.

Ipad still rocking my world.

My friend from high school and my geeky friend Kerry are both keeping an eye out for a new/newer car. Kerry has kids, Katy, my friend, is planning to have kids. Can't think of a better go getter than the Mazda5. Cheap to buy, cheap to own and even a little fun to drive.

"The reason I talk to myself is because I’m the only one whose answers I accept." -George Carlin

Monday, July 26, 2010

I hope my mother in law doesn't find out

Decent weekend. Flew a bit. Home both nights.

Angela (of EricandAngela) wanted to go to Pahonix....Phoenix...for the weekend. Not many have taken me up on my buddy passes this year so I had two to spare (one each way). Flights looked great both ways all the way until the morning of. She was on the second flight to PHX. The first flight cancelled. The flight was only 1/2 was the second flight. The second flight easily filled did every flight until 9PM. She was a trooper and hung out until 4PM before throwing in the towel. Thankfully she got on the first flight out of DFW Sunday morning...and even scored a First Class seat. If this had been my mother in law....I think she might have decided to start using swear words for the first time in her life.

Kelli and I have only truly not made it somewhere once. We were trying to get to damn Sacramento (Jami and Kelly should seriously consider a move closer to SFO , SJC or LAX!). We were on the plane (in First Class no less!). The plane had a mechanical issue. Deboarded. Lost our seats as all the passengers who missed the flight made it. Boo.

Getting closer to B-day. We went shopping at Babies' R Us using some coupons we had been sent. I was comparing products and prices to There are a ton of reviews on Amazon for baby stuff. There was a glider/rocker Kelli licked. At Babies' R Us the price was $139. On it was $111. Free 2 day shipping. Even with our 10% off coupon Amazon was still cheaper. We did buy a diaper bag....$50! For really a diaper backpack. I'm skeptical. We won't need a truly large diaper bag as I don't see us taking a road trip anytime soon. The diaper backpack will work for flights.

Loving my new Macbook Pro. No more glare! I hate glossy screens. Consumers like them as the colors are deeper. I hate them as I don't like the glare. If I wanted to look at myself I will buy a mirror. The IPad is hella glossy. I am still debating buying an antiglare screen for it.

IPhone to T-Mobile? Rumors going around that it's coming in the Fall.

Kelli is flying to Portland on a real ticket. Flights to Portland are notoriously full (Peggy and John should seriously consider moving closer to Denver or Phoenix!). I get 20% off the lowest fare I can find. Not bad. Of course paying $280 round trip is 10X more than we normally pay. Eh. I am non-reving.

Finally added a link on the blog to Natali Del Conte's baby blog. She, along with others, contribute to Mommy Beta. Very neat.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Macbooks hold their value!

Finally sold my Macbook Pro. I paid $1700 for it back in April 2008.  It has traveled all around the United States. Japan, Nassau and more since then. Lots of miles. A dent or two....several scratches on the bottom. Sold it today for $800 cash.

Over 2 years later it still had almost half it's original value. Truly awesome. New one on the way. Buying a base model Core I5 with the Hi-res anti glare screen.

I'm having issues getting my vacation moved for next month. My contract says one thing, my employer is stating something else. Super annoying part? The department that handles moving vacation days can only be reached through our archaic computer system and it only takes max 60 characters. Nice eh?

My job finally released an App for the Ipad that allows me to access the aforementioned archaic computer system directly from the Ipad. This means I no longer have to carry around my netbook. It also means my new Macbook Pro will be in much better shape as it will rarely leave the house.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Almost vacation time

I get a lot of time off from "work" as is. Next month I get a week off with pay. Heading to Oregon. Still not exactly sure what I'm going to do. Mostly I plan on sitting in the house, watching TV and not changing diapers. Yeah....about that.

Kelli will have to buy a "real" ticket. I will go standby. Going to need a rental car which, as of now, will cost as much as a real airline ticket. No big deal. Everyone else .....well most everyone else.....well some other people are paying their own way.

Sat next to a guy yesterday who, by the time the plane landed, would have 2 Million AA miles. Two million! He started collecting AA miles in 1991. Crazy.

Kelli's stomach is getting so big it looks fake. Like she strapped on a fake baby stomach.

Tethering via my Nexus One is amazing. Stayed in a hotel with crappy wifi. Put my phone in hotspot mode and used my netbook and Ipad. Technology bliss.

Since I'm flying more this month, I'm saving gas. I used to drive to and from the airport daily. Exactly 20.0 miles a day. Since I've had a few multi day trips, my mileage has gone way down. Haven't bought gas since 6/28. Still have a quarter tank left.

Kelli and I are kinda on an island. No family is within 4 hours. Shouldn't be a big deal as millions of people have raised kids without the outside help of family. They weren't special...and neither are we.

Today is Friday. My only day off this week. By choice...could have had the last two days off but I picked up overtime.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

I've been flying around

Almost like a real pilot this month. I've had 4 or 5 nights away from this month. Flew Milwaukee t0 DFW to Milwaukee to DFW yesterday. Long day. Seven and a half hours of flying inside of a 9 1/2 hour work day. Heading away again tonight on overtime.

Originally this trip was 6 hours of overtime. Of the 6 hours, 4 were to be spent in the cockpit and paid at 120% while 2 were to be spent in the cabin deadheading as a passenger paid at 90%. So $172.80 + $64.80 for a total of $237. Not bad for being gone just over 24 hours. Well yesterday I was displaced from the cockpit into the cabin for the first 1 hour flight. Now I get $129.60 + $97.2 for a total of $226.80. Still good money...especially considering for 3 hours I will simply be a passenger a plane. Eh. Wanted the whole enchilada.

Put in my FMLA papaerwork. I can see online the benefits department got it. Waiting for it to be approved. On a flight yesterday the Captain said that when his wife had their kid she had to be "cut" a bit to fit the baby through. Afterwards he asked the doctor if he could watch the "repair" work. He grabbed a mask and was down with the doctor as his wife was sutured up. He went into a little detail until  I cried uncle. Once again I want to see no body fluids.

Kelli is enjoying "Words With Friends" still to "responsible" to buy her own Ipad/Ipod touch.

Got another allergy shot yesterday. Nurse noticed a bruise from a previous shot. Apologized then injected the shot. She then paused. "Hmm, now this one is bleeding." Nice. Didn't bleed for long. Long 5 year journey to normalcy. As close to normal as I can get anyway.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Blood on the wall

When I first left for college I bought silverware at the Dollar store. It lasted a day or two. I could afford better....just didn't know better. Knowing is half the battle.

My mood is back to normal now that I am free of Allegra. There is definitely a link between mood swings and Allegra. I'm taking 24 hour Claritin. No issues..except that it really does last 24 hours...around the 24 1/2 hour mark...nose starts closing up.

Cut my finger open. I foolishly pushed my hand into my suitcase with it closed and started feeling around for something. My left ring finger grazed my brand new (i.e. sharp!) Fusion 5 razor. Five fine slices. Ouch. Bled quite a bit. Took a while to get it under control. Me being me I had the kitchen and living room looking like a crime scene. Apparently after I put on a band-aid, blood started pooling in the tip. I dripped blood on the counter...then smeared blood on the wall as I turned the light switch off.....gross. If it had been Kelli's blood I would have thrown up. I don't handle blood well unless it's my blood as I a personal bond with it.

Toured the HEB hospital. The rooms are in the middle of being refurbished. Lots of older stuff still around. The TV's are still tubes. No DVD players. But they do have Wifi. I am sure I will bring up Kelli's laptop and Kindle. The man couch looked very uncomfy. Bleh.

Really enjoying being on regular reserve this month. Not HAVING to go sit at the airport for 8 hours a day is nice. Instead I can hang around the house or DFW and just wait to be called. Nice.

Still trying to sell my Macbook Pro.

Geeky friend Kerry had her phone disabled due to being caught in a rain storm. Bag of rice later....all fixed. If it had been dropped in a bath or sink....could have been worse. There are minerals and chemicals in tap water that are not present in rain water. The crap in tap water transmits current...shorting out the device. Glad it is back to normal.

Still digging my Ipad.

I have Froyo on my Nexus One thanks to Cyanogenmod. Very happy.

My favorite radio host is back on the air. Russ Martin is back on the radio on 97.1 the Eagle. It's mornings instead of afternoons. Hopefully I can download the show without commercials.

Still have a lot of stuff to buy for the baby. Might have to hold off on the security cameras.

Kelli and I have been together for more than 8 years. Guess we are official now. No I don't know what that means.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Side effects

The human body is a complex system of chemicals and goo. Yup goo. For most people the balance of chemicals and goo is just right to allow them to function. For others, outside chemicals (and sometimes goo) is needed.

I grew up in Houston...a humid, hot place. Never had much in the way of known allergies. My first year of college was up in Lubbock, TX (Panhandle of Texas...desert like). I felt better there....except for the dry air. Apparently I did have allergies.

My next 4 years of college (don't judge!) were in DEEP East Texas. They use the word DEEP, it's not a judgement on my account.

I developed bad allergies every spring. Sneezing, watering eyes, itchy throat, flaming nostrils,  grew a third nipple kind of allergies. I took over the counter Tylenol Severe Allergy daily. Eventually  I went to the Quack Shack (name given for the campus clinic) along with my girlfriend at the time who also had allergies.

We were both given Allegra. The medicine helped after a few days. There were side effects though. Both of us went from happy go lucky people to somber and quiet. It took a while to notice. Our semi active lives changed and we were docile and moody. Our happy relationship changed and we argued a lot more. We both got off Allegra and onto Claritin. Our relationship went back to normal and lasted until her crazy mother's brainwashing finally did the trick. Which is a good thing as I would likely not be where I am today if she were still in my life.

Fast forward to June 2010. My allergy Doctor initially prescribed a drug normally used for Asthmatics but helps with allergies as well. For normal folks it's no big deal. I'm a pilot. The drug requires a good deal of paperwork in order for me to take it as it's viewed as an asthmatic drug. Instead I was prescribed Fexofenadine HCL..... AKA Allegra which is FAA approved.

For some reason I thought this time would be different. I began taking the drug and after a few days the normal burning feeling I have in my nostrils was gone. I could breathe again. Times were good. So I thought.

Fast forward again to this week (using the fast forward button a lot today). Apparently my chemicals and goo reacted to Allegra the same way it did more than 12 years ago. I had become docile (more than normal), moody, irritable and just plain blah.

Wednesday was D day. I had the day off but just sat on the couch not wanting to do anything. Surrounded by technology I could find nothing to occupy my time. As the day went on I became more agitated and annoyed. It wasn't until late that night (when I had a "discussion" with Kelli)  that I realized it was Allegra that was causing my moodiness. Thursday morning I stopped taking Allegra and ordered up 3 months supply of Claritin OTC. I can tell the Allegra is leaving my system. I had a headache  and light headedness akin to a hangover.  My nostrils are burning again, the Claritin should be here this afternoon (I love Amazon).

My airline offered up a temporary duty assignment for New York City for August. It's a sweet deal. Hotel room for 30 days. Free travel to and from and the biggest perk, per diem 24 hours a day for the entire free....about $1300 worth of extra money.

I was hoping for such an assignment in July. In August...can't really do it. Maybe in September. Maybe.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Step box carefully

I think Kelli has Ipad envy. She likes Words With Friends. Only playable on Ipad/Iphone/Ipod Touch.

I did mention to her that an Ipad would be easier to use while holding/nursing a baby. She agreed.

Damn nurse injected my allergy shot INTO my muscle yesterday. Hurt. Bruised. Still hurts. I'm a wimp for pain.

My sister in law and her girlfriend bought a Prius. Unlike my brother in law in New York, they actually listened and took my advice to heart on car choices. My sister in law Jami previously had a Hyundai Santa Fe SUV that she loved. She was looking for something SUVish that wasn't expensive but reliable. The Santa Fe was perfect for her. Big enough, great gas mileage and was very reliable for her over 40000+ miles. My brother in law Kevin was looking for a car a few years ago. Kelli and I both told him to get a Honda Civic Hybrid or a Prius or a plain Honda Civic. He bought a Honda Accord EX-L V6. Great car, but he complains about the poor gas mileage. Shoulda listened.

I was able to sit at home and get paid yesterday! I am doing the same thing today. Hopefully I won't get called. We have a doctor visit this afternoon...another sonogram.

A week with an IPad

I've now had my IPad for a week. Verdict so far.....I'm in love.

The first few days were a little awkward as I've never owned an Iphone/Ipod touch before. Getting around was easy. I found some things the iOs does better than Android (such as copy and paste) but some it does worse....notifications!

On Friday I left early in the morning for a 4 day trip. I overnighted in Atlanta, Georgia and Washington, D.C (two nights in a row). I wasn't ready to cut the cord to a PC yet so I brought along my netbook.

The battery life of the IPad is better than my Nexus One by a long shot. Better than the IPhone 4 as well. I have used it on and off for an entire day and never had to recharge. The most use in one day exceeded 7 hours. Very nice.

I am almost done with my first Kindle book. As an ereader the Ipad is just okay. No doubt the Kindle is better. The glare of the Ipad in sunlight was the most annoying feature. I turned down the brightness to minimum so the back lighting didn't bother me at all.

I've become a "Words With Friends" addict. Words with Friends is a Scrabble like game. I'm playing 6 games at once. Won a few...lost a few. Kelli would love it...but she is resistant to an Ipod Touch/IPad. I think my mother in law would enjoy it as well.

While in DC I tossed my Ipad in my messenger bag and walk around the city. I was able to get online via free WiFi (in the Pentagon City Mall or Hotel) or just as easily via tethering to my phone. At least for me there is no need for the 3G model.

Going through security was just as easy as going through with my netbook. I left the Ipad in the case and placed it in a bin.

Overall...I'm very happy. I used my netbook only to update my pilot blog and use my company scheduling software.

My time in DC was fun. I naively went to the National Mall to visit a museum. Bad idea. All the lines were over an hour long!!! I found a tree and read on my Ipad for a bit before heading back.

The hotel I was at has a rooftop pool. I headed up there and took a seat for the firework show. It was an awesome view!!

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Thursday, July 1, 2010

So easy a Forensic Analyst can do it?

When I got my first computer back in the early 90's it came with instruction manuals almost as heavy as the computer itself. It was needed. Computers were complicated. Over the years computers have become easier to use and the manuals are mostly an afterthought. The idea being no one really read them so if they had a problem they would just call tech support.

This annoys me as I like manuals. I like to really know how things work. For the most part when I get a new gadget I play with it for a bit and see if I can figure it out. Once I have an idea I read the entire manual. One of my favorite manuals to read are car owners manuals.

Anyways I know I have a well made gadget when the device is so easy to use a manual isn't needed. Something so easy a Forensic Analyst can use it....i.e. Kelli.

Kelli is highly resistant to technology and change. She is very much so a routine person. She gets in a groove that works for her and doesn't like to change it.

My first chink in her armor of tech came with her getting a slightly intelligent phone. She protested as she didn't need anything more than a basic phone. Later she got a laptop as she realized it was neat to sit on the couch and use a computer. Not long after she got her first smart phone, then a zune MP3 player, then a Kindle DX then an Apple Macbook, then a Zune HD then a Nexus One. Her daily tech now consist of her Zune HD, Nexus One and Macbook. When we travel she uses her Kindle DX.

Technology has become so easy to use....that it's harder for me to use. Take Windows 7. Awesome OS for the most part, but the search function that's been around for a long time has been waaaay dumbed down. Annoying.

I finally bit the bullet and got an ereader. I was drooling over the Pandigital Novel, but it was recalled for defects within a week of it being out. I then got hot and heavy over the wifi only Nook....but it won't be out till maybe this week. I was getting backed up....I was getting blue techballs. Monday I was sitting on the couch watching a movie while my sister in law Jessi read a book when it happened. Best Buy showed to have a base model Ipad in stock. I quietly stepped out and rushed to buy it. The employee said they had just put the product in the cage 20 minutes prior. It's mine.

Most of what I do online is read.....blogs....gadget The Ipad is great for it. I can buy and compare prices for eBooks from Barnes and Noble, Amazon, Apple (IBook) and I think Walden books. I of course bought from Amazon as I can read the same book on my computer or Nexus One. The Amazon app supports Whisper Sync which means I can read on my IPad, close the book then open it on my Nexus One and it will pick up where I left off. Very neat.

Beyond that the IPad can do 75% of what I need a computer to do. The keyboard is useful, but I would never write an entire blog post on it. Battery last all day and then sum. One annoyance....I can only sync it with one computer. I might need a work around as I plan on taking my netbook along on trips.