This is what I do when I’m not at work.

Ch-Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes

Posted: April 17th, 2008 | Author: | Filed under: events, life | No Comments »

Well, it looks like 2008 is going to be as rife with change as 2007 was. I certainly hope the end of 2008 equates to relative stability and prosperity, but only time will tell. I can’t even comment on most of these changes because I honestly don’t know what most of them are going to be. All I know is that patience is a virtue and that one must remain calm in the midst of chaos.

Wonder Woman says \'Oh no you didn\'t!\'

More news as it happens. See you at Elmo’s!


Cabin Fever Anyone?

Posted: February 18th, 2008 | Author: | Filed under: life | 2 Comments »

Here I am relaxing by the fireplace and watching the lovely snow fall.

Jack Torrance relaxing

When I was interviewing last September, they told me about the “mild” winters in North Idaho. When I arrived in November, it was only a matter of days before the snow began falling. Since December, there has not been a time when giant mounds of snow were covering every inch of ground. Two weeks ago, the university closed on both a Thursday and Friday because the amount of winter snow was so insane. Yes, the entire university closed for two full days. No, the university hadn’t closed for snow-related reasons since 1969.

Needless to say, it is cold as a mofo and those of us not made of cast iron are stuck indoors at all times. You know things are rough when I begin referring to days as “warm” when they are reaching the low 40s. There is constant mention that “The summers here are beautiful!” and I thought the Spring might bring some relief, as well. Now folks are telling me that it is cold right up ’til July 4th. Then they say “Although it is unusual to have snow fall on July 4th, it has happened.” WTF? I will be in an asylum by then. Pray for The Tuze!


Got My Christmas Wish

Posted: December 25th, 2007 | Author: | Filed under: life | Tags: | 2 Comments »

Well, it wasn’t until 7:00 PM tonight, but it finally started snowing! It has been coming down for the last hour or so and since the temps are below 30 it should stick around for a while. Now if it would just snow hard for the next 24 to 48 hours, then I can go sledding on campus. Woo-Hoo!!


Please Let It Snow For Christmas

Posted: December 21st, 2007 | Author: | Filed under: life | No Comments »

…if only in my dreams!

Actually, we have four solid days of snow predicted, so I hope at least a few flakes fall. I am ready to see more Winter Wonderland.

Merry Christmas, all!


Planning A Big Move?

Posted: December 9th, 2007 | Author: | Filed under: life, travel | 3 Comments »

Are you thinking about making a large scale move? Something like moving the contents of a three bedroom house all the way across the country? If so, you need to be prepared. However, RELAX. No amount of planning and worrying can prepare you for all that could go wrong. To assist with this process, I have prepared a list of my “Top Tips for Moving.”

  1. Don’t have a lot of stuff. The more you have, the more you suffer.
  2. Don’t be too emotionally attached to your stuff. Items will disappear and things will get broken. If you think the label “Fragile” means anything to your movers, then you are completely insane.
  3. Let the moving company pack EVERYTHING (since they assume NO liability for whatever you pack). As you stand there holding your broken items with a pained expression on your face, their favorite thing to do is ask “Did you pack that?” It is like an instant Get Out of Stupid card for them.
  4. See Rule #1. My advice? Burn it all.
  5. Always retain original boxes for delicate/valuable items (such as your computer, stereo, TV, etc). Failing to do so is like asking for your valuable item to get broken. That form-fitting styrofoam is there for a reason.
  6. Your most valuable items and those things you consider irreplaceable are best moved by you personally. This means that you pack it, you load it in your vehicle, you secure it and you carry it into your new home. Failing to do so guarantees your future unhappiness.
  7. Be prepared for LOTS of wasted paper resources. Watching professional packers or unpacking their parcels is enough to make even the most casual environmentalist cry. I think they killed 25 redwoods just to pack this one lamp I got at a thrift store.
  8. Remember that persnickety box description – “Misc.” Everything you are looking for is in that box. Maybe you should open this box first to prevent yourself from buying a lot of stuff that you already own.
  9. Don’t have a lot of stuff. A good rule is worth repeating twice. A perfect rule is worth repeating thrice.

If you can follow the above instructions, then your large scale move should go fairly well. If you don’t follow the above instructions, then you should just take a sledgehammer to your belongings right now. Oh yeah, and drive down the highway and dump a bunch of your favorite things out the window at 60 MPH. This should simulate the average cross country move with great accuracy.


Thankful

Posted: November 22nd, 2007 | Author: | Filed under: life, local, travel | 5 Comments »

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you out there in Internet-land! I’m feeling a bit like Lewis and Clark having traveled 3000 miles from home and settling down for a long, cold winter with unfamiliar locals. Well, my plight isn’t quite so intimidating and my voyage was nowhere near as dramatic — but you get the point. Anyway, I’ve been in my new town for two-and-a-half weeks and every single day I’ve had dozens of moments which have reminded me to be happy and thankful. The folks I’ve met here in Moscow are amazingly sweet and not in that syrupy, insincere way. Just down home folks who seem to share an innate belief that we are all valuable as human beings. It is nice, I’ll tell ya.

Snowy trees on University of Idaho campus

Life moves rather slowly here and progress is measured and deliberate. The original Pita Pit location burned down months ago and they have been building out its new location for most of that time. The University of Idaho campus is a peaceful study in non-construction. It is awfully nice to not have to compete with back-end loaders and dump trucks and jackhammers just to get to your workplace. And there is a distinct lack of that jaded cynicism which builds as you realize that your employer would rather spend $500 million on building renovations instead of providing you with a reasonable 6% cost-of-living adjustment.

2007 was an extremely stressful and difficult year for me. I blindly walked into a home renovation that blew up in my face and took away every dime I ever had. I endured caustic battles with my family members over the project management of said home renovation. I watched in fear as my available pool of close friends shrunk, most succumbing to pressures of marriage, family or career. And I suffered great bouts of self-doubt and depression as I was turned down by one good company after the other. I’m sure other stuff happened as well, but it was peanuts compared to that listed above.

Yet despite all the trouble and worry, I am thankful. For the record, I am extremely happy and thankful. While I still have lingering headaches back in North Carolina (house to sell, lawsuit to settle, etc), I am finally on a path that I can respect and appreciate. And I have not felt so free since I first went off to college. Besides having to please my new employer and making sure that my dog is fit and healthy, I have no responsibilities. This thought is always at the forefront of my mind and I am constantly seeking to further simplify my life. It has been a hard fought battle, but I’m finally starting to feel as if I am winning.

So, I am thankful for my awesome new job and the opportunity it provided me to enhance my career. I am extremely thankful that I actually get to do work which I find interesting and challenging. I am extremely thankful that on my busy days at work I can return home feeling like I learned something valuable. I am extremely thankful that I found a nice, small community to settle into which seems to acknowledge and appreciate my presence. I am extremely thankful to be in good health and that my loved ones are also doing well. I am extremely thankful that I am here — here on Earth — alive, employed, loved, missed, and still able to tie my own shoelaces.

For all those whom have helped me and supported me over the years – Thank you. I am extremely thankful for your assistance and patience. Along with my parents, I owe all of my success to you and it will not be forgotten. I am always happy to lay eyes upon old friends. Of which, several are already making plans to come visit me in Idaho. This is turning out to be a very good move for me. And I am thankful every day.


Purgative

Posted: October 30th, 2007 | Author: | Filed under: life | 4 Comments »

The cat is finally out of the bag. I am moving to Idaho today and thus my life in Chapel Hill is coming to a close. It has been a pretty good decade, but it is time for me to move on. New town, new job, new challenges! I hope to be writing more about it soon, but I also think I am going to be very busy at the new gig. Well, the moving truck is here. Gotta go! :)


Brand New Kitchen

Posted: October 23rd, 2007 | Author: | Filed under: life | 2 Comments »

Brand New Kitchen

Well, the kitchen is finally installed. Ten months after the renovation began and only eight months beyond the scheduled move-in date! Not too shabby!!

If you are interested in learning more about the house and how you can purchase this newly renovated Chapel Hill estate, then visit www.726Bradley.com.


Progress

Posted: September 21st, 2007 | Author: | Filed under: life | 3 Comments »

Finally we get to see what the cabinets look like when installed!

New cabinets

Countertops to be installed next week…


In Other News

Posted: September 12th, 2007 | Author: | Filed under: automotive, life, local | 2 Comments »

I didn’t mean to be so grouchy in my previous post, but that is how I was feeling at the time. The Summer-Long Kitchen Project has really been frustrating, especially considering that I’ve been in renovation mode for almost ten months now. Hopefully the time of living with no kitchen is coming to an end (soon) and I can be done with home projects for a while.

August in North Carolina was hot. We had successive days of triple-digit temperatures and have been suffering a drought for quite a while. During the extreme heat, I noticed that the gas mileage on my Honda Element dipped to an all-time low of 16.7 MPG. Usually the vehicle gets between 22 and 24 MPG. I knew that a vehicle would get worse gas mileage under extreme conditions, but it was my eloquent engineer friend Nathan who said “hotter air is less dense by a linear factor, so you use higher throttle settings for the same output you’d have needed four months ago, but the stoichiometric ratio doesn’t change.” This combined with constant use of air conditioning would help drag us down to the sub-20 MPG club.

Also, the drought has been causing animals of all kinds to seek out other sources of food and water as their environs run dry. I have seen lots of deer on my property (usually, but not exclusively, at night) and found the dried skin shed by some snakes. Overall, I’d say that the brutal summer heat has been tough for everyone. Now into September, we are just starting to see relief. Ooohh, the mountains sound good right now! Time to plan a trip to Asheville. (Amy, I’m crashing on your couch! FYI.)

Until then, please join me in praying for rain!