Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Preparing for the cruise

We are less than 2 weeks away from our cruise. Final preparations have started.

This will Natali's 15th we have the whole flying with a kiddo thing down. What is new is packing for her and us for 8 days.

In the past Kelli and I got by with just a carry on each. We went to Tokyo for a week....with just a carry on each. For the last two cruises we had just a carry on. This time we are going big.

We took a look at a few suitcases last weekend. I know suitcases as I use one for work. I go for function over form. Most of the bags sold in the employee store at the airport are carry on size. I needed bigger.

When I first started flying, my first bag was a Delsey. It was lightweight and very durable. Kelli has been using that bag since. It's awesome.

I found a 29 inch Delsey bag at Kohls. It was "half off" at $140. I think luggage is always half off. Bleh.

Because I am me I had to do better than $140. Turns out Kohls had the lowest price (a few Internet stores had a price close....but they were shady). I signed up a Kohls card and used an Internet only discount code for 30% off. Total price....$97+$8 tax and free shipping. I wish they had store pickup. It should arrive in time.

When we bought our house it came with two ceiling fans. One in the living room and one in the Master bedroom. The rest of the rooms were braced for fans though.

I installed 3 Hunter brand fans. Pain in the ass in one of the rooms due to the vaulted ceiling. Even the regular rooms were annoying. Ugh. I forgot how bad it was.

The fans that came with the house are basic fans. They were white and attracted dust like Austin attracts liberals.

We used some of our tax return money to buy two new fans. I did research (I ALWAYS DO RESEARCH!) and once again found Hunter to be the best. We both like how they are quiet, powerful and are NEVER dusty.

I upsized from the 52 inch fan that came with the house to a 60 inch fan. The extra 8 inches is nice (that's what she said).

Took me about an hour to take the old fan down and put the new one up.  I did have to make a Home Depot run for different mounting screws....just like I did when we bought the house.

The rest of the tax return money went to tires for my Prius and to my pilot loan. It's about half paid off in 5 years. Not too bad.


Monday, March 21, 2011

The perfect son was born

Kelli got her annual raise...she now makes double what I bring home. When we met I made a bit more than her. She passed me long before I became a pilot. One day maybe I will make more....until then she wears the pants and I iron them.

Thirty four years ago at 7:40AM a 10 pound 13 ounce baby boy walked out and said "cut me some slack." My parents were in shock and my mom quickly had her tubes tied....the perfect son was here....why risk having something less? That's the way I like to think of the tying of her tubes.

Kelli and I don't have a perfect marriage....but it's pretty good. We each have a career we enjoy, a house we can afford, a partner we enjoy spending time with and of course a healthy child. Life for us is pretty good.

My schedule next month is set. For only the third time in 3 1/2 years I know exactly what flights I will do each month as well as what time I will be done each day. The bad thing is I will be based in Chicago.

The schedule was built with 15 days off. Because of my vacation I will have 23 days off. I will be losing about 20 hours of pay though so I will have to make it up on some of those 23 days.

The flights I do are nice and long. I get to overnight in Oklahoma City, Denver and Los Angeles. Should be fun.

I'm 34 years old....I act 24 years old....and feel 45 years old. Bleh.

Friday, March 18, 2011

SSD....I was all wrong....and I'm okay with that

I love's one thing I love about flying. The plane I fly can fly at 85% the speed of sound. It can go ZERO to 150 MPH in under 12 seconds. I love speed.

My current Macbook Pro is a 2.4 GHz Core I5. It was nice when I bought it. But I wanted more speed.

I initially installed a 7200RPM Western Digital 500 GB drive. It was faster than the stock 5400RPM 320 GB drive. Still I wanted more.

SSD's....Solid State Drives...can be super fast....but also super expensive. I paid $70 for my 500 GB 7200RPM drive. A similar sized SSD would be over $1200!!! Ouch. I found a smoking deal on a 120GB Intel SSD this week and bit the a birthday gift to myself. In order to pay for it I have picked up gobs of overtime in the last month.

I installed it last night. Wow. I am still shocked about how fast it is. With my 7200 RPM drive I would wait 3-10 seconds for Safari to open. Now it's instant. I haven't installed Windows 7 yet. Everything is zippy. I'm going to yank my DVD drive and install the 500 GB 7200RPM drive there next.

Whenever Kelli's Macbook gets "slow" I'm going to throw an SSD in. She has a 5400RPM 160GB drive in there now. She maybe uses 40 GB total so a 120GB SSD would be plenty.


Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Buckets of money

For the last few years the breaker that protects the guest bedroom and Natali's room would randomly trip. In the past the guest bedroom was the office which was filled with computers. Nowadays there is very little plugged in.

Sometimes it would trip in the middle of the night. Other times in the middle of the day. No rhyme or reason....except maybe when it rained. We finally got around to getting it looked at.

Every morning I see commercials for Milestone Electric. They seemed honest and straight forward.

I made an appointment online. Glad I did as the service visit was $14 versus $69. The electrician was overly nice (almost annoyingly nice) and had a price sheet right away. They charge by the job, not by the hour. A one circuit troubleshooting that was easy to get to was $259. I googled how much it cost to replace a breaker and the results shows $150-$200. Close enough for me.

He ended up replacing the breaker and checking all the outlets. The problem ended up being somewhat simple.

When the house was built (by Lennar) the electrician inserted the electric wires in the outlets straight into the adapter and screwing it down versus wrapping the wires around the post and screwing them down. Because of this a few were loose. Whenever the wires expanded or contracted the wires would arc just enough to trip the breaker. Nice eh? At least I know if it happens in another room I can fix it.

A few years ago we set up a "house account". The purpose was to put money aside each month to save up for house repairs. We have repaired the A/C and fence thus far. Now the electrical system. It's nice having buckets of money to pull from. We also have a baby account....for whenever Natali needs something like a new toy, laptop or whatever.

Tax return money should be in soon. I think we are going to replace the ceiling fans in the living room and master bedroom. The other rooms have fans I installed. They don't collect dust near as much as the two that came with the house.

Second tank of gas on my new "low rolling resistance" tires resulted in 49.7 MPG. Still a 2.5 MPG improvement over the "regular" all season tires that were on it.

Subwoofer has finally been installed in my Prius. Finally got the electrical stuff figured out. The Prius is a regular car as far as stereo stuff. A little easier as the battery is in the trunk versus under the hood.

The dogs are still alive.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

My version of "Modern Family"

I married into an interesting family. We'd make a great reality show....sitcom.....kinda like "Modern Family".

First up....Kelli, Natali and myself. She is a white Democrat, Natali is a bi-racial daughter and I am a black Republican. Kelli and I have little in common. She knows how to kill me without being caught. I could fly away with Natali and never be seen again. Yin and Yang. I'm going through life with the pedal to the metal while laughing at the scenery. Kelli is taking time to appreciate the scenery and goes at her own pace. I hate recycling. She hugs trees. I despise liberals. She is a liberal. Natali is stuck in the middle.

Second at bat are Jami, Kelly and Haley. A Lesbian couple with a daughter from a previous lesbian marriage. Haley is Jami's daughter who used sperm from a gay man. Jami and Kelly are both somewhat reserved. Out of the four couples, they are the most alike. Jami is a Nurse, Kelly is a Social Worker while Haley is a Princess. Three females, three different last names in one house.

Third at bat are Kevin, Jenny, Gianna and Renee. Kevin is a NYPD cop who is quiet and reserved. Jenny is a slick tongued Italian nurse who never stops. Gianna is a 5 year old little girl who is just like her mother. Renee is a one year old who is like her father. Split household personality wise. Hilarity ensues.

Headed for home are Bryan and Jessi who live in Oregon. Bryan is the guy you have on speed dial to pick you up at 5AM after your car broke down and need a ride home. He is a big imposing guy that, like Kevin, is quiet, reserved and could crush your head if the need arose. Jessi is a teacher who is not afraid to let you know what's on her mind. Headstrong and head of the household. Bryan and Jessi are young and just getting started on making their mark in the world. Bryan has a dog that Jessi doesn't care for. Jessi has of which is a little crazy. Bryan is allergic to cats.

Waiting in the dugout (Oregon)  are Peggy and John. Peggy is like an operator of yesteryear. She keeps ties on her kids in Oregon, California, Texas and New York while helping run the family business. Peggy travels almost as much as a traveling salesman with frequent flier accounts on three different airlines. Peggy, like all of her children, is quiet and reserved. John is not as reserved.  John is a hard worker who will take any chance he gets to go have fun at the Casino.  He is also a dreamer who is often thinking of the next great invention. Peggy tracks the money, John spends the money.

They all get together at least once a year. It's nonstop laughter, yelling, joking, glaring and fun.....and some how they tolerate me. All different....yet I love being a part of it all. My modern family.


Monday, March 7, 2011

Why do women have to be so smart?

Kelli has her Masters degree. I have a bachelors. I also have a commercial pilots license. Eh. Kelli wins.

I have only had 3 serious relationships in my life. All three women though have, or are in the process of attaining, advanced degrees. They are all different (Lawyer, Educator and Scientist) yet all were not satisfied with "good enough" bachelors degrees. Eh. Why the need to be so smart? Bleh.

Back in 1995 I got into email. Back then when someone forwarded a joke it was truly funny and the first time one was likely to see it. No longer true today.

Back then though I wanted more people to contact via email than just the geeks on my dorm room floor. I copied a few of the email addresses attached to a forwarded message and replied. I got one or two replies. One was from a woman named Jodi Coleman.

Jodi was also a freshman college student a Dickinson College in Carlisle, PA. We emailed back and forth for the entire school year and part of the next. Lost touch after that. I think I emailed her once in 2001....but that was it.

A few weeks ago I was going through my Hotmail address book and saw her name. Searched her on Facebook, and we are back in touch again. It's been 16 years...never met her in person. Ironically she lives in Pittsburgh, PA where I did a ton of overnights in 2008/2009. Eh.

Prius is doing well. Still getting 48-50 MPG. Still haven't finished installing the subwoofer. Might never. Eh.

Ipad 2 is pretty cool. Thinner, faster and lighter. Would be great for my mother in law. She is just getting into her Kindle though. Maybe next year.