Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Why I hate Politicians

I tend to not want to get involved in politics. Usually because people are so 'passionate' about their 'side' that anything that goes against their side becomes offensive. Not always the case, for sure, but more then not, it is. Just the sad truth.

As a responsible tax-paying citizen it infuriates me that our government is even considering bailing out banks and homeowners over this mortgage mess. I mean, seven years ago the government turned a blind eye to all of these mortgage brokers getting FILTHY rich off uneducated (in mortgage terms) home buyers who purchased too much house with too little money. What drove it all? GREED. The mortgage brokers quickly got used to large paychecks making these deals and home buyers wanted bigger more expensive houses.

Now the politicians want to use our tax money to bail these people out? Excuse me? Are you (insert bad word here) kidding me? Turn a blind eye to bad behavior and then reward it with a slap on the wrist and forgiveness? Unfortunately, I think this is just the beginning of this mess.

In the interest of being fair and full disclosure, my wife and I purchased two homes in the last five years with ARMs, not because we could not afford the fixed rate counterparts, but because we knew we would not be in those houses for more then five years and had already calculated what our potential mortgages would be (and made sure they were within our budget) if rates went up. By the time we bought our current house (two and a half years ago) I had already figured out that the cheap money wasn't going to last forever so we locked in a fixed rate...all the while the mortgage broker telling us we could 'afford' twice the house we purchased.

Thankfully the Richmond real estate market doesn't seem to be doing all that badly. Though we would take a small loss if we were to sell the house today.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Weekend Update

I was greeted this morning with fuzzy cloud of sleepiness. So bear with me as the Starbucks kicks in. Yes, Starbucks. It was necessary.

Made yummy dinner from leftovers. Then we tried to watch The Heartbreak Kid and was quickly reminded why we don't watch Ben Stiller movies. Is it really necessary to have all the nakedness in a 'comedy' film? And why does Ben always always play the same character in every movie he is in. Spent the rest of the evening feeling dirty and wondering why we even put it on our Blockbuster list.

Up early to let Phoebe pee and play. Cleaned the dogs white-trash style (read: with a hose on the deck) complete with sleeves rolled up on nasty white t-shirt. Good times. Then proceeded to clean the rest of the house to make my lovely wife happy. Then off to Fredicksburg to meet up with our friends Josh and Jen and their adorable little girl. We're still trying to convince them to move to Richmond...and we're not going to give up either Josh! Home to hang out with Emily who is leaving us for LA.

Woke up with a headache and wife had a stomach ache so we didn't make it to church. Took a nap. Then watched Meet the Brown's. Helped a friend fix his wife's car in the thunderstorm. Seriously contemplated the intelligence I possess as I hooked up a car battery outside while thundering and lighting.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Car Dealers

Why is it so hard to find a decent car dealer in the Richmond area? We have three cars, each a different make so on the rare occassion I have to deal with a dealer it's a pain in the tail...and in fact we have not purchased a car in Richmond (well Colonial Heights, but that's a 40 minute drive). I do all of the routine maintence on our cars...I know how to and it's relaxing to spend a couple hours a month in the garage getting dirty.

The latest to add to my hit list is the local Acura dealer. I should have known better then to call them after they tried to give a ridiculous offer on my wifes new car (which we saved $1500 by driving two hours north!). So she stained the floormat. Black spots on tan floor mats don't look so hot on your brand new car. So I ordered some all weather mats for her. Found a great Acura dealer on Ebay (right, I know, of all places). Saved $40. I asked new friend how much the dealer pays for the mats. Half the amount the local dealer was going to sell them to me. I'm all for people making a buck, but come on. Humm, how quickly I have forgotten about how the local dealer gave me free touch up paint a few months back...opps :-)

The local Honda dealer. Oh gosh, where to start with them. Let's just say the service department has me blacklisted :-) Who knew that calling American Honda directly and reporting the problem and the dealer to the NHTSA would put the service managers panties so wound up. Well, if that didn't put her over the edge, getting Honda Corp to pay for the faulty part and making the dealer do the work for free really got a bug up you know where. Only downside to the $600 savings is now I have to drive 40 minutes to have my car serviced.

Okay, I'm done ranting. Happy Friday internets.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Weekend Update


Strange day at the office, came home to a large group of male engineers playing Wii
and drinking beer. Good times insued.


Went to see The Dark Knight with the wife. We're so old and lame now that we went to the 12:30pm showing. Worth every penny to see it in the theater...and see the older Indian woman (complete with a sari) yelling to find her daughter...in the middle of the movie.


Wife had to go into work, so I skipped church and went house hunting in Goochland. Found lots of really nice houses that I cannot afford. Then off to Lowes to get a fun new plant for the patio. Played with Robb at the Mac store. Ended up at some random older guys place with lots of gin and tonics. Will never ever again let Carter talk us into a surprise.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Welcome to our new backyard

It's finally done!! Sure, there's plants to put in, some more mulch that needs to go around the existing flower beds, but for the most part, the patio and pond are complete. So it took a little longer then expected but at least I didn't go over my budget : ) (Tip: Always, ALWAYS, way over estimate on EVERYTHING on ANY project. Trust me, your wife will be far more forgiving if it takes you two months longer to get the job done, as long as you didn't spend too much money!!!)

Even better is that George W.'s check was deposited yesterday in our account. At least he got one thing timed correctly : )

Here's some pics...

You'll note that we had so much extra stone left that I made a little bench next to the pond and a stepping stone path that leads to our driveway. Fun little additions that didn't cost anything!! We've still got plenty of time left this summer for some cookouts...and even more exciting is when the weather gets a little cooler we can make smores on the fire pit : )

I have sworn off HGTV for a little while. Those fools make everything look so easy and only takes them two days. LIARS!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Weekend Update

So I'm totally stealing this idea from other bloggers, but they should be flattered. A good idea should be passed around, right?

Long day at the office followed by lots of yummy things from the grill. Spend some time hanging out with the wife on the patio until the bugs got too much for her.

Phoebe slept in until 8 (typically around 6:30 she's bouncing off my side of the bed licking my head or burrowing under a hand). Did some cleaning, helped my wife clean the floormats to her brand new car due to an ugly incident with a dirty umbrella and tan carpet. Picked up some top soil for my herb garden then proceeded to melt in the Richmond heat while getting way too much dirt out of my poor lil truck. Tasty Thai food for dinner (along with the best drinks in town) then watched Jumper.

Skipped Church. I know, we're heathens. Pulled weeds and cleaned up the yard. Helped a friend move furniture and get her house in order. Ate too much Outback and went to bed too late.


While out and about on Saturday (to get top soil for the backyard...pics soon...really this time) we discovered a new Target. We were quite confused how a brand new Target somehow sprung up 4 miles from our house without us ever realizing it. Probably because we have three other Target's within 10 miles from our house! It may become our new favorite Target due to the fact that at 2pm on a Saturday afternoon it was virtually empty.

A client of mine recently told me that Richmond has one of the highest per capita retail square footage in the country. So are they just hoping for the 'if you build it they will come' mentality? Craziness I tell you!

Why in the world do we need four Target's (and three Wal-Mart's, four Lowe's, two Home Depot's, etc) so close?? Don't even get me started on the 24 Starbuck's near our house.

Friday, July 11, 2008


Not much going on these days. Trying to think of new ways to keep the posting consistent and interesting. More to come on that soon.

We've been having lots of wonderful thunderstorms lately. I love the rain, hate that it drives the puppy completely nuts. One night, she was so exhausted from the previous two nights storms, that she just crawled under our bed and went to sleep. No whining, no panting, nothing. We thought maybe she's been 'cured'. Yesterday a storm managed to scare the poo and pee out of her. Silly dog. I imagine the days of having kids who will wear diapers and not have to clean their poo off the carpet. Last night, no storms, but the poor little (read: crazy) dog kept looking out the windows wondering when it would storm. Turns out in her head the washing machine running means a storm is eminent.

The rain also has meant that progress on the backyard has come to a hault. Pleasant weather tomorrow should help get a few more things completed off the list. I may even get around to posting some more pics of what our backyard is transforming into.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

June $ Update

Did anyone else happen to notice the stock markets sucked the life out of everything in June?? We ended the month down 1.7%, which actually wasn't too terrible considering the stock markets as a whole were down way more then that. I'm sure we're in for a rough couple of months until the election is over. In the meantime, the wonderful media will surely be continuing to feed on the gas and food price climb and adding fuel to the market volatility fire.

On our budget, we some how managed to stay on track overall. Our gas and food portions where way off the charts, like most people these days.

Getting closer

We're getting very close to having the backyard complete...at least for this year. I spend a few days of our vacation last week hauling more gravel and sand back from the lovely people at the local stone yard. I have to go into some details about the patio and pond because the picture does not do it justice (more pics after I clean up the yard some). In order to put the pond and patio in, my new lil red Tacoma has hauled:

1/2 ton of cement
2 tons of sand
3.5 tons of gravel
3.5 tons of stone

So here it is...

The lights we picked up at Lowes on clearance a few weeks ago just had to go in asap. Overall we're still below the budget we set for this little endevour (thanks George W.!!) and my estimates for how much we saved over hiring a professional to do all of this...well let's just say that I've now justified a large percentage of the cost of my truck : )