Sunday, December 17, 2006

Merry Christmas!

Shelby is really excited to wish you a Merry Christmas!

It's pretty cool here in Costa Rica, like 70s at night :)

Monday, December 11, 2006

Hall of Fame Hiccup

For those of you who have seen me play softball you know that I was on my way to the Hall of Fame, with my rare combination of hitting power and stunning good looks. However my Hall of Fame induction ceremony may have been postponed indefinitely today.

I have been sick since last Thursday, and with the impending trip to Costa Rica, I went to the doctor to get over this cold. He gave me the usual - antibiotics, a nasal pray, and told me to continue to take my decongestant. However because of the impending trip, he wanted me to get better sooner, so he said as long as I wasn't opposed to a shot, he would recommend one.

Some of you may know I am not a big fan about shots (or getting stung by a bee, it's like a flying needle). However I just wanted to get better soon so I said fine, let's do the shot thing.

When the nurse came in I was going to take off my sweater so she could reach my arm when she informed me that it was not going to be a shot in the arm. In disbelief I said "excuse me?" but alas there I was getting a shot in the butt.

Apparently it was a steroid shot, something to do with calming down inflamed nasal passages and other whos-a-ma-whats-its. I couldn't help but have some vision of Mark McGuire going through this routinely and decided that I have to give more credit to baseball players on steroids because this is not an experience I want to go through on a routine basis.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Pet peeve

Please chime in on this if you hate it too. First of all no one wants to call any company that has an automated menu. I have listening through the choices and navigating the maze. I hate worse having to respond with words and have them try to decipher what I am saying. Especially bad is when there is no short cut to talk to an operator.

But all of that I can live with if these companies would correct one problem. I hate having to type in my skymiles number, or my credit card number and pressing pound, but worse is as soon as you actually get someone on the phone THEY ASK YOU FOR YOUR NUMBER AGAIN. I entered it into your computer!!! Look at your screen. If it's not there then I propose they hire Dale to fix their database because I think it would be a few lines of code. Why am I typing it in if these operators don't get the info. Man, that pisses me off.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Napping at inconvenient Times

I took Meghan to the Doctor's on Monday to have her arm looked at. Meghan had hand surgery the week before to have bone from her wrist put into her finger. The cast seemed to be pinching her so we went in to have it looked at.

I drove her over at 8am and we waited about 45 mins in the waiting room as they must have been running late. When we were finally called in I went back with Meghan for moral support. They took her cast off and looked at all of the stitches, everything looked good they said. So they thought a better cast would make her hand feel better, after about 20 mins of meeting with the nurse she took us into the casting room.

The casting room was tiny, with no seat for me so I stood. After maybe 10-15 minutes I was feeling hot so I took off my jacket, then I was feeling a little light-headed s I decided to sit in the chair in the hall. I guess Meghan wasn't feeling all that well and the nurse decided to get her a sprite in case Meghan was going to pass out. On her way out the door the Nurse saw me collapsed on the floor.

Last thing I remember I was sitting in the chair, when I woke up I was on the floor with my legs propped in a chair. When I came to I was mumbling about how I was sleeping and had no idea where I was. One of the nurses took this as an opportunity to tell me how concerned she was that I was having a seizure. I on the other hand was the least bit concerned about what she was saying because I didn't really know what was going on.

Needless to say the scene looked a bit laughable as I was lying on the floor with a can of sprite and a straw next to my head so I could drink without getting up. Meanwhile patients had to walk around me to get to their appointments. At one point the doctor came out in the hallway and said "what room is this patient from" and the nurses said I wasn't a patient.

When all was said and done one-armed Meghan drove us home. When the story got out at work I have been called a "fainter" but I clearly stated that women can faint, men just take naps at inconvenient times.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Live Strong Shelby

The picture to the left is an old one of Shelby sleeping with her head in her food bowl. Now that Shelby has been living with us I can see how this might happen because she wants to eat as soon as she wakes up.

As many of you probably know, Shebly had a mast cell tumor removed last week. A mast cell tumor is cancerous, and comes in 3 grades

Grade 1: Removing the tumor completely should prevent the cancer
Grade 2: Even with removing the tumor, cancer may spread if the area is not radiated, or the dog under goes chemotherapy
Grade 3: Severe cancer, dog is expected to live 4-5 months

We were pretty worried, all of the reading online about these tumors only made us more concerned for Shelby. The GOOD NEWS is that Shebly's tumor came back grade 1 and she should be fine!

So Shebly has plenty of days left to steal my shoes, lay on my clean clothes, shed in the house, and wake us up at 5am to be fed.

These tumors are apparently common and can be found on puppies as well as adult dogs. Please check your dog regularly and use this site for some helpful info: Mast Cell Tumors

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Movie Review: Lake House

Meghan and I rented "Lake House" last night per Shelby's request. If you are not familiar with the movie, it's about 2 people who fall in love (blah blah blah) but the fun part is that they rent the same lake house but live 2 years apart. Got it? They fall in love but are in different times.

I really enjoyed the movie because it makes you think differently and it takes you a while to get into what's going on. However you have to get over the fact that yes Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock are the main characters, but NO there is no exploding bus involved. Also the movie is NOT about really convincing you how they could communicate 2 years apart or how they fall in love, all of that you kind of quickly have to take for granted.

The movie spends most of its time saying if these things were possible, what might happen and how strange this must be. I had no problem getting past these things and enjoying the movie for what it's about, a neat idea. If you are the type of person who gets hung up on the details of a movie and it ruins it for you, this movie may bug you. However the idea is fun and I really enjoyed it.

Reminded me a bit of K-PAX, which I also recommend. That's a movie that makes you feel like a kid again, like there really is all sorts of possibility that we don't yet understand.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Instant Replay in Football

I have been watching a lot of football this weekend (which is true for most weekends in the fall) and a recurring theme needs to be discussed. I think instant replay is important and should stay with football, because the officials make a lot of stupid calls and only replay has preserved the proper outcome of the game (remember the tuck rule game, imagine if justice wasn't served?).

The major gripe I have with instant replay is the fact that you never really know what's real until minutes later. I have seen a lot of exciting games, and sometimes you want to jump up and cheer for an amazing play (like an INT returned for a touchdown). But now I find that I don't really celebrate as much, you feel like you have to be reserved, there is a little bit of you that doesn't want to get emotionally attached to the outcome because it may be overturned by instant replay.

Last but not least, I do NOT believe that officials are sticking to the policy of NOT overturning a call without "indisputable evidence". I think they turn over calls all the time based on what they thick happened versus seeing a clear replay that would be considered "indisputable".

Shelby the Person?

While sleeping in this Saturday morning, I was thinking how great it would be if Shelby was more like a person. I mean she'd still look like a dog, but maybe be able to walk on two legs and talk. What would she say? What would her voice sound like. But really I wanted her to be a person this morning because it would be awesome to wake up and have her make us pancakes. I thought that was the funniest visual this morning, and I really did want it to come true. I also decided that if Shelby was a real person I would want to square dance with her. I am pretty sure we'd be on Letterman or some TV show like that.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Monopoly: Here and Now

As you may or may not know I am a huge fan of poker because it is "a game of people played with cards". For a similar reason I like monopoly because people's personalities really come out and everyone has a different idea on what is a "fair deal".

The original monopoly game was based on the streets of Atlantic City, well for the updated version each city in the US got to vote for their top 3 landmarks to make it into the game, and the landmarks were placed onto the board in order of which landmarks received the most votes!

Congrats to Fenway Park for becoming the "Park Place" of monopoly, sure we came in second to "Times Square" New York but that was to be expected based on population. A more important note is that Yankee stadium didn't make it on the board and therefore will be torn down in a few years :)

As expected Cincinnati is also not represented on the boardgame about the United States.

Some other interesting tidbits would be that the tokens are now "icons" of our culture (also known as product placement). These include McDonald's Fries, a Starbucks coffee, and a Toyota Prius (didn't know that existed), and a Motorola cell phone.

I just bought the game, I'll let you know if it plays the same.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Back from the Honeymoon

We are back from Aruba, which was absolutely beautiful. The weather was warm (90s or so) and sunny every day, but there is a constant wind (trade wind) which keeps it feeling a little cooler. Many people burn there because the UV index is almost always 10+ (it's 30 miles from Venezuala) and with the wind they forget how long they have been in the sun. The beach was beautiful and had a nice palapas (palm tree beach umbrella). I will post pictures soon. Aruba has beautiful white sand beaches and the food is amazing. All of the food is imported and I had the best steak from Argentina. In general the food is well above average, but a bit pricey (not too bad, worth the price for sure). Everything in Aruba is imported except for Aloe. They make their own aloe lotions. Population on the island is 71,000.

INTERESTING FACT: Downtown in the local shops you get buy all of the Aruba t-shirts and souvenirs you can imagine, the funny thing is all of these items were made in the US and imported into Aruba to sell to American tourists.

In general we saw many people from the US, the dollar is accepted everywhere and english is one of the main languages. There also were a lot of folks from Europe and S. America which made "bikini watching" on the beach interesting.

WATCH OUT: We rented a car for a day to see the island, it takes about 1 hour to drive the length of the island. We almost got in an accident because the traffic lights are amazingly short. We were 3rd or 4th at a major intersection and I just assumed it was going to stay green for us, at the last minute I saw that we were running the red light and sped up to avoid the on coming traffic. I think the lights last about 10 seconds or so. Only a few cars get through each time, but there really isn't much traffic.

BABY BEACH: You will hear a lot about baby beach but it requires a 45 min drive to discover that it is 1/2 a mile from a huge oil refinery and when we went they didn't have any bathrooms there. Baby beach is nice because the water is no more that 5 feet deep at all parts (it's like a little cove) but we enjoyed the "High Rise" hotel beaches so much it wasn't worth the hassle to rent the car and drive and be exposed to who knows what.

All in All Aruba gets a "must visit" rating. For comparison The Bahamas (Paradise Island) gets a "don't bother rating" and Hilton Head Island gets a "great to visit" rating, especially for nice beaches in the US, though the food was only OK.

That's all for now, post a comment already!!

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Wedding Miracle!

Meghan and I got married, and I wanted to mention that we were sooooo excited and blessed to have our friends and family come to support us for the big day.

I am sure I will be able to blog about the ceremony and reception and honeymoon at some point, also the violin at the ceremony recieved rave reviews (way to go Dale!), but I wanted to tell you about the miracle that took place during the wedding weekend.

For the wedding, Meghan had to have something old, new, borrowed and blue, and to take care of 3 of these things at once she had an old handkerchief from her Mother's grandmother (Meghan's Great Grandmother Rose). Apparently back in the day women had handkerchief sets, so each of Meghan's aunts and her mother received one of the matching handkerchiefs as an heirloom (so 5 exist). So Meghan had her Aunt Angie's handkerchief to cover off the old, borrowed and blue part (it is a white handkerchief with a blue flower embroidered on it).

For the wedding night Meghan and I stayed in the Amerisuites and fortunately for us (you will see why in a bit) the florist for the wedding was kind enough to stop by the hotel and place flowers and candles all over our room as well as to make a heart of rose petals on the bed. The next morning Meghan and I slept in a little too late and had to run out the door to make it to the brunch at our house that Meghan's family had prepared for all of the out of town guests. Well in our haste the handkerchief was mistaken for Kleenex and either left on the floor in the hotel room or inadvertently thrown away!

When late in the evening on Sunday while preparing to leave in the early morning for Aruba - Meghan realizes the handkerchief is missing and it all comes together that it is what was on the floor in the room. A call to the hotel revealed that a lost and found record did exist for our room that night but only for candle holders. Asking "what if" it were in the trash and the prognosis was grim... dumpster diving.

I knew I had to go and make an attempt, but I give Meghan's brother Matt a lot of credit for volunteering to come along and we headed off into the filth along with some prayers to find the handkerchief. Apparently all of the trash from individual rooms makes it into larger bags. We estimated that with 25 rooms per floor and 6 floors we had 150 rooms to deal with, maybe filling 15-30 large trash bags. The only hope was that the rose petals would clue us in on which bag may contain the handkerchief.

Once we arrived at 10pm we knew we were in trouble when the dumpster only had side access door as it was too tall to climb into. We began pulling out large bags and we were in pretty good shape, the bags were see through AND the hotel didn't throw out the smaller bags that were in the trash cans in the room, apparently they must leave those in and just dump the cans into these larger bags (gross). After about 20 bags in things look grim as we were nearing the end of the top layer of trash and the next layer was settled in and we began to hit bags of food waste. We were getting close to where we might have to climb in to get bags out! We had also pulled bags out which had large amounts of soda or coffee in them which would have ruined anything inside.

The 2nd to last bag in the top layer that we could reach I saw petals as I began to pull it out and there pressed against the outside of the bag was the handkerchief! With a small tear in the side we were able to pull it out, still in tremendous shape! It is also funny that we were married in St. Anthony church, the patron Saint of lost articles! Thank you St. Anthony!

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Travel from the UK

OK, so of course I am not a HUGE fan of traveling for work, especially only a few weeks before getting married, but to wake up in the UK on Wednesday to the terror warnings was a little too much. We were scheduled to fly out the next day, 8/11, and pretty much all over the news was the fact that even though they had arrested 24 individuals, they still thought up to 40 were out there so the extreme restrictions were imposed on all travel in the UK especially to the US.

So here we are, calling our corporate safety team (who was useless). They reco'd taking a cab to Paris (likely $1,000 or more) and flying out of Paris. We felt that we'd be safest in London since they had the most strict security.

We got to the airport at 6am for our 10am flight. The Flight boarded at 12 and we sat on the tarmac until 4pm. We knew we were in trouble when they said "we are being required to stay here until all the passenger logs are transferred to and approved by the US, and now for a movie". I saw 4 movies during that trip:
1. RV
2. Stick It
3. Lucky Number Slevin (Which was my favorite!)
4. Thank Your for Smoking (Another awesome movie)

We played a game in called "find the Air Marshals" and I won because I spotted the guy next to me within minutes. For national security reasons I won't divulge my keen perceptive skills online. I then ID'd another Air Marshall by how he interacted with my guy. One of my friends ID'd a 3rd, and after we landed we found out that we actually had 4 Air Marshals in Business Class alone! (we were right on our 3 of 4). After we landed I hinted to the guy next to me that he was an Air Marshall (I figured I wouldn't blow his cover while in the air) and he was subtle but let me know I was right, so I thanked him and told him we really appreciated everything he was doing for us.

Final thoughts on London, basically all the prices for food and clothing etc in London were identical to the US but in Pounds, therefore everything costs double! I couldn't believe it and pretty soon you had to stop doing the conversions because it was depressing. Needless to say we spent a lot of money (I didn't have a dinner under $60 and they weren't fancy (and of course in the UK they weren't that good. If you haven't been, just know that they don't care as much about food and the meals are pretty poor).


Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Vegas Wedding

We just got back from Vegas for a friend's wedding. It was a blast, I was trying to think how much of it was because of the Vegas setting versus the fact that my friend is just a crack up and threw a great party. His reception included an awards ceremony complete with certificates where he basically just made fun of his friends. It was a blast, all in all the Vegas wedding was a relaxed and fun time with an intimate setting (48 people total). It was a 5 hour ceremony and reception and all in all you'd have to say it's the way to go. From what I understand the wedding chapel took care of the details saving the couple all of the hassle.

In other Vegas news, we had heard through the grapevine that Lucky's 24/7 Diner in the Hard Rock Hotel had a "Gambler's Steak and Shrimp" special for $7.77 that was NOT on the menu. And we found out.... it's true. It's not listed on the menu, and it's about 1/2 the price of all of the other entrees. Part of the appeal I think is feeling like an "insider" and getting a great deal, and this special travels via word of mouth (just like this post). My comments on the meal, you get a decent size piece of steak, 3 grilled shrimp, a potato and a salad. I thought the steak was too peppery, but it certainly was a good deal.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Sprinklers from Down Under

It's a Christmas Miracle (in July). After a long dry month, the beautiful grass we inherited from the previous owners was turning brown. Neighbors had kindly stopped by to tell us that this used to be the best looking lawn in the neighborhood. So we tried watering the lawn with a sprinkler, but it was a pain and we have a lot of lawn (no pun intended). Well Lo' and behold Matt (Meghan's Brother) found out that we have a built in sprinkler system! I should clarify that we knew we had sprinklers in the flower beds, but when Matt started up the system sprinklers from down under popped up and just about the entire 1/2 acre of lawn can be watered. Right now the sprinklers come on at 6:30 am every day to help us get back our nice green grass before the wedding.

This is not a picture of my lawn.

FUN LAWN FACT! (From EverGreen Lawn Services)
Our house inspector told us the same story so here's a fun way to save some money IF you have a sprinkler system or use a lot of water outdoors.
     "Installation of a second water meter can save you considerable amounts of money in the long run. Most city water departments incorporate sewer into your water bill. Sewer is generally billed as a percentage of your water charges and can be as much as 75% of the price you paid for water. By having a secondary water meter installed by the city as an irrigation meter, you only pay for the water you use, not the sewage. These additional meters generally run in the range of $400 to $500 dollars to have installed by the city, but generally will pay for themselves in monthly savings within the first 2 to 3 years of service."

Monday, July 24, 2006

A Black Hole in mySpace

Props to MySpace. No, not because the were sold for $570,000,000.00 a year ago, and not because today they have 100,000,000 registered users. I wanted to give a shout out to the #1 most trafficked site because they are having some downtime (apparently due to power outages, I guess it can happen to anyone). If you tried to access MySpace during this time initially you got some errors, but now they have a friendly message explaining the issue, with the bonus: A Pac-Man simulation!

And no, I do not have a MySpace page.

PS - I spell checked "trafficked".

Garbage Disposals are Garbage

Not the most exciting entry in the world, but the Garbage disposal in "the willow" has had some rough times. It now has a reputation among the teenagers staying in the house (namely Matt, the brother-in-law) as a wimpy disposal. I believe the first incident was some sort of peel. Never mind the fact that I use a disposal to catch incidental food left on the plate while the remaining three other folks in the house from the fiancee's family use it as the food trash can. Who knew. I try to throw every bit of food I can in the trash, saves on disposals.

So this weekend in the flurry of getting the house ready for a last-minute movie night, 15 huge cherry seeds made their way into the disposal. Needless to say an operation was in store. Today I pulled the disposal off and was arm deep into the nasty-ness. The 1st 14 seeds came out without a fight, the last one was lodged in the side in some manner. I believe after an hour of wrestling with it, the bent piece of metal clothes hanger did the trick, and we are back up and running. Tonight I just might chop some broccoli.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

We Didn't Start The Fire (Boston's 80's Sports Version)

I have been looking for this song for a long time, here it is for all of you Boston Sports Fans! (Click the center PLAY button)

Congratulations to... Me!

It's Official. I have dominated my Fantasy FIFA World Cup League. To spice up the World Cup, my buddy Pat put together a 12 person league under the name "Soccer Sucks". With little to no knowledge of Global Soccer, I was able to demolish the competition. I have to credit the fact that before the league started I searched around the internet and found some other fantasy FIFA leagues, ones where they essentially ranked the players for you, and used that info to my advantage. At any rate it helped me enjoy the World Cup a little more and I found myself watching "matches" I might not have watched.

My quick 2 cents on why soccer is not big in the US. I have a rule, if it is common for teams to tie in your sport, it sucks. Do you remember hockey before the lock out where they recorded Wins, Losses, Ties, and Over Time Losses because they all weighted towards your points!?!?! With a straight face on ESPN Chris Berman would say things like "The Bruins are 3-4-1-2 in their last 10 games" or "The Bruins remained unbeaten in 20 games going 11-0-9-0". Soccer is the same deal. If you can have "Friendlies" and tie and walk away, it kinda stinks. Also, the fact that the World Cup championship came down to penalty kicks is a bit of a let down. Oh sure, it's as exciting as penalty shots in hockey, but it's hard to feel good about a win like that.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Insurrection Insomnia (A Look at Home Owner's Insurance)

If you read my 1st post, you know that I am a new home owner. You may not know that I read everything. I read all bazillion pages for the closing of the house (which I requested to have 2 days in advance, I did find a few errors!). I also have read my home owner's policy from a major company that will remain nameless. However I couldn't help but laugh hysterically at the policy, hence the Insurrection insomnia.

The obvious is true, my house (known in the "biz" as a Dwelling) is covered from loss in the event of fire etc. Of course we need to clarify that "my house" refers to my dwelling including attached structures, the construction materials thereof, and wall to wall carpeting fastened to the dwelling. Fine.

But reading further, it states that I am NOT covered for floods, including but not limited to surface water, waves, tidal water or overflow, or spray whether or not driven by wind. Sounds scary but I think I knew that flood insurance was separate, which is a major issue in New Orleans right now.

However, I am also NOT covered for earth movement of any type, including but not limited to earthquake, volcanic eruption, lava flow, landslide, subsidence, mudflow, pressure, sinkhole, erosion, and aliens (I threw that in to see if you were still paying attention). Sounds like a remote possibility, however we can easily see how this house that I can not afford to buy outright and had to borrow money to pay back for 30 years could disappear by some earth movement and I would be out the entire sum. Bankruptcy. That would be tragic.

However, the good news is that I AM covered for damage caused by fire, explosion, theft or breakage of glass or safety glazing materials resulting from said earth movement above. So the best case scenario for earth movement would be for the volcano to erupt just up the street from me and have the lava flow miss my house, but cause the trees to burn and therefore I would be covered.

As if that wasn't enough to worry about as a new home owner, I am also NOT covered for nuclear action, radiation or radioactive contamination. I am (of course) covered by fire resulting from said nuclear action, assuming I am still alive (and glowing) to collect.

And finally I am NOT covered for war or warlike acts, including but not limited to insurrection, rebellion or revolution. Hence the insurrection insomnia as I will add to my list of prayers each night that a war doesn't break out in my neighborhood, or at least if it does, only the fires that were started during the war meet my unoccupied house.

Are you in good hands?

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Blog Props

Let's be clear, I am quite obviously late to the game per se for this blogging thing, however I have been interested in creating one for some time. I am usually pretty bad about emailing friends and keeping in touch back home (Boston) so I figure maybe a blog would be a good idea. Though quite clearly the tipping point in all of this was the fact that Dale has a blog so popular that I think even Mark Cuban himself has visited. So NET here I am, blogging (how's it going so far?) Actually I felt like I needed a starting place to blog, and the fact that I am now a home owner seems as good as any (hence the name of the blog).

So this is the end of month #1 in the new house with the fiancee and so far so good. Meghan and I have survived 2 weeks of her parents staying with us, untold number of bird heads being left in the yard by a carnivorous hawk, and the fact that we now have a dog. I introduce to you the "Four Seasons of Shelby" -

So check back for the random updates of a new home owner like learning to cook corn on the cob, staining a deck, the not so invisible - invisible fence, and everybody's favorite: Softball updates.