Monday, May 31, 2010

Housing Shoutouts

With all of the house purchasing and stuff we've done recently, I'd like to take a moment to plug a few people that helped us along the way. Most of these people do their business through positive word of mouth, and I have nothing but positive things to say about each of them. When I got the names / companies of some of them, I tried Googling them to find reviews to see how they conduct business. I couldn't find anything - good or bad - so hopefully this blog post will come up in searches, so others can read about our good experience:

First up is our realtor, Kari Wilson. As nervous and inexperienced first-time homebuyers, Kari was incredibly patient with us. She took the time to explain things to us, and in some cases, re-explain them in easier terms. She kept telling us that her goal is for us to find a home that makes us happy, even if it took months and months. We never felt any pressure from her to bid or act on something we weren't 100% comfortable with. She was always quick to respond to emails, phone calls or texts, and she really stayed on top of getting the bid and proper documentation. Whenever we decide to sell that place and look for a new home, we'll definitely use Kari again.

For getting the home loan, we used Carrie at Military Home Programs. She also took the time to explain things to us so we could understand them, and was quick to respond to all communications, even if it was after regular business hours or on weekends. She got us a great rate and was very friendly to work with.

We had the acoustic ceiling scraped off and repainted in our new place, courtesy of Andrew Kang. He's been in the business for over 30 years and gave us the most competitive quote (out of the 3 we received). We left a house key in a lockbox and he had the whole job done in 2 days. The ceiling looks great and it's really helped with getting rid of the smoke smell that was lingering in our place. He was out on a Saturday to give us a quote, then came back to start the job on Tuesday and finished it by Wednesday. What a pro!

The last person is the handyman our realtor recommended - Rich Flittner. We faxed him a copy of our home inspection report and he gave us some rough estimates. He said he would stop by sometime on Wednesday, get the key from the lockbox and take a look at the problems in person. He figured he would assess it, then come back on Thursday and/or Friday. It turned out the problems weren't that intensive and he didn't have to buy any supplies, so he started and finished them all on Wednesday. One of the problems was that neither ceiling fan / circulator in the bathrooms were working. His original estimate included replacing them outright, but all they needed was a good cleaning and to be reconnected. He could have told us he replaced them and charged us the full amount he originally quoted, but he did the cleaning / adjusting and saved us a decent chunk of money. Rich is totally professional and honest, and we will definitely be using his services again.

If you need any of their phone numbers, post a comment or shoot me an email and I'll get it to you.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Free Food

I don't know what is wrong with me but I cannot pass up free food. This is something that developed in my recent adult years but if there is free food in the office or if we're at Trader Joe's, I cannot refuse free food. It's not like we were poor growing up and were hurting for food. Heck, it's not like I'm poor now and am hurting for food. Maybe it's because it combines two of my favorite things: food + free = awesome. Anyway, if you want to get me to show up to any event whatsoever, just tell me there's going to be free food and I'll be there in a Dallas second.

Thursday, May 27, 2010


The Wife and I went to a Renaissance Fair recently and had an awesome time. They have food, games and of course, people in costumes ranging from pirates to elves, to centaurs and fauns. The best value for my entertainment, though, is a game called Pelt the Privateer -- for $5, you get 10 tomatoes to throw at a guy in stocks. He was a lot further away then the last time I did this 4 years ago so it was harder to hit him. I did manage to have one headed straight for his face before he blocked it like a chickenshit coward!

Anyway, as The Wife and I were looking at everyone dressed up in costumes, we talked about how it looks fun to dress up and act in character the whole day. I said it would be fun to dress up as something totally out of place, like a cowboy, and go to a RenFair.

Then I had the following idea - MegaFaire™. Everyone would be encouraged to dress up as any one of a number of creatures or personas - cowboys, ninjas, zombies, pirates, robots, knights, centaurs, elves, zoot suit gangsters, Jedi Knights, comic book characters, etc. This would take place in a massive open park area and have multiple themed villages for each character class, but they would all funnel into one open area where everyone mingles and intersects. I bet we could even structure some kind of LARP-event around it, too.

Who's with me?

Wednesday, May 19, 2010


After last night's episode of Lost wrapped up, we were talking about how we've devoted 6 years of our life to this series. It was kind of weird to think about, because I remember watching the pilot at my mom's house when I lived there. This was before my apartment when I was still working for my first company out of college. Since then, I've worked for two other companies, met and married my awesome wife, moved back into my Mom's house and bought our first condo. All that since little Jacky Shephard crashed on an island 6 years ago.

Anyway. I had a guess about how the show might end - I thought it would end with Jack as the new Jacob protecting the island sitting next to the smoke monster as Locke, as a new group of crash survivors ends up on the island. The cycle would repeat. This fails to resolve the sideways timeline and I think that would leave viewers a little unimpressed. I wonder now if Desmond will in fact blow up the island since we saw the island underwater in the season premiere and everything would resolve and end. Considering the finale's episode is called "The End" it seems like it will be more along those lines.

That, too, seems a little too obvious at this point. It may still happen but I think there will be an even bigger twist or revelation at the end. What about you? Any guesses on what will happen to end the series?

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Well Enough Alone?

I'm currently in the running for a job and will hopefully get a second interview this week. This place is ten minutes from our new home and sounds a ton more creative. Part of me wonders, though, if I should just stick with my current job and leave well enough alone. Financially, we're doing good but I want us to do better. Doing better entails me making more money which this new opportunity should allow.

But, having been laid off before, part of me is nervous about shaking up the status quo we have going right now. By all indications, this potential new job is better geographically, financially and creatively. I almost wish someone else could make this decision for me so it would be "easier." Of course, we'll have to see how the second interview goes and what / if they offer.

Any thoughts out there, blogland?

Friday, May 14, 2010

Bad Beer

I have a few blog posts in the works but nothing ready to publish. Moving into and owning your own place is a lot more work than we expected. We cleared two important things out of the way yesterday and finally have enough furniture set up to where it's starting to feel like home. Internet is supposed to be hooked up tomorrow so hopefully I can catch up on posting blogs and listening to podcasts soon enough.

Random question for you - does beer go bad? I really REALLY wanted a lot of drinks last friday. Our closest supermarket had my two favorite kinds of beer but every case was dated April 2010. I thought it might be okay but decided to keep my ten bucks and nit find out if beer goes bad. Sadly, I have yet to have a celebratory drink in our new place.