Monday, May 19, 2008

Christmas in May

Yesterday, we went out to visit our parents. My sister-in-law Tara was at her parents house, and she had been cleaning her room in her apartment. As she was straightening up, she looked under her bed and to her astonishment, found two boxes that she had either been looking for and couldn't find (because of the mess and all) or had forgotten about till she saw them. They were Christmas presents for Rachel and her sister, Tasha. Since Rachel's family had been in Utah (and/or California) during Christmas this last year, she hadn't gotten around to giving them to us. So Rachel and Tasha both got a pair of rubber boots. Rachel's were pink with white polka dots, and Tasha's were a brown plaid color. Both pairs were very stylish. And now that the rainiest part of the year is over, they will both get to save the boots, all shiny and new, until next year! Oh, and I got store credit from The Home Depot for $34.12 or something like that. She had taken some stuff back to the store and had only gotten in-store credit, so she gave that to me. Maybe I can use that to help pay for the new carpet that we are putting in...

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Ammon Likes to Help Out

So we have been getting the house all cleaned up and organized, trying to get it ready to sell. There is a lot more work than I thought there would be. Also, since we have to get about half of our stuff out of the house before we can start showing it, we need to find a storage unit to put it all in. Getting all of our stuff ready to store has been interesting. I have to find all the boxes we are going to use at work. So none of them are the same size, which will make stacking them in a storage unit interesting. But my skills from stacking cans (not food cans, but the large metal containers at work we put packages in for transport on the airplane) will definitely come in handy. Also, it looks like we are going to get a storage unit that is 10'x15', so that will be yet another challenge, trying to pack up a whole house into such a small space. But I was told that the ceilings are really high... But back to the real reason for my post, Ammon. He has started to help around the house. Like for instance, he wanted to help fold socks:So he climbed right into the sock drawer and proceeded to throw out all of the socks onto the floor, which was such a big help. He has also started to wander around with the dust mop and "dust" things, which means that he just waves the dust mop around and hits things and knocks stuff over. He has also dusted the toilet, another thing that I just hadn't gotten around to doing yet. But Ammon saw a need and went to fulfill it. He also like to help with putting the dishes away, mostly by closing whatever cupboard or drawer that you have opened, even if you are not done putting stuff away. He's a real big fan of doors and drawers. Then he has also found a way to help when we are moping or sweeping the floor: he grabs the handle and pushes and pulls it all over the place, which of course knocks the dirt we had previously swept up all over the place. I love having a son that's so helpful...

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Another Trip to Florida...

A few weeks ago, Rachel and I went on yet another fabulous trip. We seem to be doing a fair bit of traveling these days, this year especially. This last time we went to Orlando Florida. Since Rachel has done so well at USBank the last few years, we have gotten to go to quite a few places, at the bank's expense. It's a tough life I know. Anyway, Florida. So we went and stayed at the J.W. Marriott Resort. It's a pretty nice hotel, but not the nicest one the bank has put us up in. That honor was won by the Westin Hotel in Whistler BC. But I can't complain about the Marriott either. We were on the 17th floor or something like that and had a great view from our balcony.
Here is some video, and in case you don't have speakers to hear the video commentary, the last part of me looking out the window and pointing is me trying to explain how the hotel created a swimming pool with a river that has a current in it that you can swim against, without an elevation change. Which means that you can basically go around in circles in the pool/river without having to climb out or up. It's done with large jets strategically placed along the river and in the pools. It must cost a fortune to run it all. I thought it was great. You can see that the room was pretty nice in the video too. The morning I got there (Rachel had come in the night before) we went to EPCOT Center. If you don't know, EPCOT is Disney's attempt at re-creating cultures from around the world. I think that there are like 12 different countries that they have represented. Each country's pavilion has unique buildings in that country's style, authentic food, and people from the represented countries work in those areas. So for instance, in the Norway Pavilion had Norwegians working there, because we heard some of the tourists come up and start talking to the employees in Norwegian. Same in the China Pavilion. Then you can visit Morocco, France, the U.K., Mexico, Germany, Italy, Japan, colonial USA, and Canada. Ok so that's 11. There are a few rides there, but the lines are SOOOOOOO LOOOOOONNNNGGGG!!! I went on the GM Test Track ride and waited about 30 minutes for a three minute ride that wasn't all that exciting. The Mission: Space ride was pretty good. 45 min for that ride, but you got to pilot a space craft to Mars and it really felt like you were doing it. You get into this little pod and there is a heads up display and a joystick and buttons to push. The pod is attached to a giant centrifuge and it pivots up, down, left right and goes forwards and back. It's a pretty good effect, and even a little disorienting as you go from blasting off, to weightlessness in outerspace to twists and turns piloting through a debris field and then through a winding canyon before coming to a stop. I'd do it again, but I would get a FastPass first (a FastPass holds your place in line without you actually having to be there).
Then that night we went to the Marvel Superhero Island. I didn't take my camera for some reason, so I don't have any photos. But it was crazy awesome. The Bank rented the entire park for our exclusive use. They served a buffet dinner in the streets between rides. And it was gourmet food, too. Pan crusted snapper, beef tenderloin, some weird chicken dish that I didn't want to try, lots of food. But the best part was the rides. They kept the three best rides open for us. That meant no lines, no waiting. You went to the ride, got on the ride, rode the ride, got off the ride, and went right back around and got on again. The Incredible Hulk roller coaster was AWESOME! You get on and start moving up the first big hill, where they've got you chained and you move slowly upwards. But then you notice that at the top of the hill, before you start down the other side, there is a twist. And you wonder how you are going to make the twist going at this slow speed. About that time, you are slammed back into your seat as your car is shot forward and up the rest of the hill. And then you start screaming. That roller coaster was the best coaster I have ever been on. Period. Not the longest, or the highest but definitely the best. The most action, twists and turns and loops and upside down and nonstop action till you are brought to a quick, almost jerky stop where you get off and run around to the other side to do it all over again. I rode more than a few times. Then there is the Spiderman ride. Not quite the same as the Hulk, but just as fun. Rachel was able to ride on this one. This one is like you're inside one of the Spiderman comic books. You play the part of a photographer, and your job is to get Spiderman on film, doing what he does best. But it all goes horribly wrong when you encounter Doc Oc, Venom, the Hobgoblin and other Spiderman villains engaged in a plot to take control of the city, or world or whatever. They all attack you in turn and Spiderman comes to save your butt each time. But what really makes this ride cool is that it's all in 3-D. At the beginning, before you get on the ride, you grab your 3-D glasses. Then as the ride starts, Spiderman comes and explains whats going to happen. He swings out and lands on the front to the car you are in, and it looks like he is really there, two feet in front of you. The Hobgoblin throws his pumpkin bombs at you, and as they explode around you, you feel the heat as the car is equipped with a device that blows really hot air in your face. Some water gets splashed around during a part, and you get a little wet. Then you fall from the top of a building and it really feels like you are falling and Spiderman saves you at the last minute. It was great. I rode that ride more than the Hulk. The third ride was one of those rides that take you up in the air, and then let you drop. Not all that exciting, and it made me a little sick after eating so much. I only went on that one once. But the night as a whole was AWESOME!
The next day was a free day and so Rachel and I went down to the pool and ad a good time floating around the pool and relaxing in the sun. I got a little sunburnt, but not bad. That night was a big awards dinner hosted by the bank, and Rachel received her award for being an awesome banker, and of course I messed up the shot of her getting the award. I've done it every year. This year I even practiced... The next day we came home. In the Orlando airport the is a NASA store that I visited. It was kind of a whirlwind trip, but it was a lot of fun.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Spending Money

We have been spending way too much money lately. I don't know exactly where it's all going either. Not that we're in trouble or anything, but it's really time to cut back for a while. For instance, we went to Orlando last week and stayed at the Marriott Resort. We went to Disney World and to Epcot Center. That was all free, but what DID cost us a bunch of money was the new laptop computer I bought so we could watch movies on the airplane and use the internet while we were there. I bought a HP Pavilion dv6875se. Look it up, it's pretty awesome. Not the most expensive computer I could have gotten, but for around $1000, it's got everything I think I will need in a laptop for a long time (read: three or four months). Then we are spending all this money to fix up the house to get it ready to sell. New paint, I bought a ladder for $150 so I could paint the house, lawn care products to get rid of weeds and moss, new plants for the front and back (because the ones I have right now are not good enough according to the Realtor), new carpet for the whole house (another $1000 or so)... The list goes on. Then there are the new tires for Rachel's Sonata and the air compressor (with 6 important air tools included) I bought. Not that I'm really unhappy about the things we have purchased, it's just I'm not used to spending all that money in such a short period of time. That's a good thing, right?