A few small repairs

Part of the findings from the inspection of our house here in Vancouver included a number of little things that needed to be done: trim the shrubbery away from the house, repair / replace the sink sprayer in the laundry room, fix the leak at the 2nd bathroom shower head, etc. Little stuff, but important enough for our buyers to want them fixed.

I spent the afternoon knocking around the house, running to the hardware store, and taking care of the little things. It felt good. I had fun trimming the shrubs, working outdoors in the slight drizzle.

For some reason there was something therapeutic about it. Maybe having the TV turned off for the afternoon was part of it. Maybe knowing that each task I checked off the list was another step closer to moving to Florida. I can’t believe we’re already at the end of January and the closing on our house in Florida is less than three weeks away.

Anyway, the few small repairs are just about completed. There are some things that are a little too much for me to tackle. I have a guy coming by on Thursday to do those odds and ends. Then the house will be ready.

And I feel good.

Pool maintenance

While I was finishing up high school I was the pool maintenance man for the apartment complex I lived in. There’s nothing like playing with chlorine and inhaling diatomaceous earth, testing the water’s pH level, and “shocking” the pool.

Our house in Florida has a small pool in the backyard. It’s going to seem like old times as I go through the maintenance steps each week. (The three pools at the apartment complex were just a bit bigger, and the filtering systems were huge.) But it’s still going to be fun.

And I found a web site that has some of the basic steps for getting a pool ready & keeping it going through the year. Just putting a link here so I’ll be able to find it later: http://www.thefunplace.com/house/home/pool3.html. The pages will give me a chance to live vicariously for a few weeks until we move down.

Visitors

Pam has been calling our friends back east, letting them know we’re going to be in the neighborhood again. (A six hour drive is a whole lot easier and less expensive than a six hour plane ride.)

We already have three families planning on visiting us in March.

Heh… we’ll be able to have some kind of a reunion with all the folks coming down.

But even with the visitors I’m not going to miss spring training. While on our house hunting trip I bought tickets to see the Devil Rays play the Yankees on March 20 and the Red Sox on March 26 at their spring training facilities in St. Pete. I bought four tickets to each game… Looks like I should have bought more.  🙂

Halfway there

Pam and I spent a very busy week in Florida last week, me on business and house hunting, Pam on a pure house hunting frenzy.

Over the past couple of weeks we had been looking on the internet for homes near my office in Tampa, in school districts that have high schools that teach American Sign Language as a foreign language, not too expensive, not too old, etc.

We thought we had quite a few that would meet our criteria, and were hoping to have a number on which we would feel comfortable making an offer.

We caught the red eye last Friday night and arrived in Tampa around 10:00 Saturday morning (Eastern Time). We each only caught a couple hour’s sleep on the flights. Ugh. But, we were ready and raring to go! We called our real estate agent, grabbed some lunch, then headed off to view some homes.

AND WE WERE AMAZED AT THE PRICES AND WHAT THAT WOULD REALLY BUY.

On the internet you can’t see the surrounding neighborhood, or smell the interior of the home, or see the details of the house itself. Let’s say things weren’t too rosy. Ugh. Mmmm. Ick.

We spent a few hours looking in neighborhoods that were out of our price range – the houses themselves weren’t, but when you add on the “community fees” that were over $400 per month… Forget it!

Interlude

Saturday evening we headed over to my bud Joe’s Healy‘s place in St. Pete for a cookout. He lives on a canal with access to Tampa Bay. It’s a very cool home in a sweet location. What a blast! Joe had grilled up some fish that he had caught recently, and some lamb. His parents were there, his wife’s parents were there, some neighbors dropped in and out. Jimmy Buffett was playing on the stereo. Ah, Florida living at its best!!!

I spent most of the evening chatting with folks and daydreaming on the dock – thinking about warm winter days, hot summer days, warm summer evenings. I didn’t realize how much I missed living in Florida!

Joe and his wife were excellent hosts, and Pam felt right at home. We stayed for about 3 hours then had to head back to the hotel – we were totally wiped out from the travel and time zone changes.

Back at it

I had meetings for work on Monday and Tuesday. Pam spent the days with the realtor, weeding through the homes. Nothing caught her eye.

We expanded (relaxed) the search criteria and did a full court press on Wednesday. We were scheduled to fly back on Friday.

By Wednesday evening we had looked at around 30 homes all over the Tampa area, and we were worn out. We had one more house to look at for that day and our spirits were very low. We had just come from one of the “can’t miss” homes that we had seen on the internet – but the location was horrible and the house wasn’t in that good of shape. DRAT!

We pulled up to the final house of the day. Nice neighborhood – encouraging. But Pam said she was going to walk around for a few minutes in the neighborhood to try to relax (and to try not to cry). If this one didn’t work out, it would be like starting all over again.

Right when I walked into the house I knew this was “the one.” And it was! Nice neighborhood. Excellent schools. Built in 2001. Excellent floor plan. Small pool in the backyard. Good price. Everything we were looking for.

We made an offer that night and found out Thursday morning that the sellers accepted! WaHoo!!! We signed papers, took another look at the house, then had a relaxing evening with one of Pam’s cousins who lives in Tampa.

We flew back to Portland on Friday, giving each other high fives every once in a while. Mission accomplished!

We’ve set our closing for our house here in Vancouver for Feb 15. (Same day as the next Portland Nerd Dinner.) Closing in Tampa is set for Feb 17.

We’re half way to Florida. It seems as though  time is absolutely racing by!

One more for the road

One more Portland Nerd Dinner. This one to go, please.

It’s going to be tough leaving you nerdy northwesterners, but Florida is calling. (And she has a bright yellow-orange orb over her head, and warm, tropical waters to relax in. She is a beautiful mistress. (But I digress.))

Here we go… my last consecutive Portland Nerd Dinner, back in the original location – home of the first PND!

And the PND flag will carry on without me! Guaranteed!

What: Portland Nerd Dinner
When: Thursday, February 10, 2005, starting around 6:30 PM.
Where: The Lloyd Center food court
Why: Because (sniff) this is it for me…

Man. This one is going to be cutting it close, date-wise. We want to close on our house in Vancouver on February 14. (Happy Valentines Day, Pam!) And we want to close on a house in Tampa on February 17. So hopefully I won’t be on a plane, flying across the beautiful United States as one (or maybe two?) of you gather at the Lloyd Center without me. I will do my best to be there – and I should be able to make it.

Be there and be square.

Spread the word. (Yeah, this means you, too, Rory. (Mr. New Blog With a Team. 🙂 Glad to see you’re getting active again!)

Portland Nerd Dinner recap – Jan 2005

Ah, another wonderful Portland Nerd Dinner. Very cozy. Very satisfying. 14 people or so made it out to the mall last night for some fun. Greg brought his ultra-cool Sony Vaio which was loaded with his pictures from his trip back from Hawaii on an aircraft carrier.

1) Nothing is as sexy as an aircraft carrier.
2) Aircraft carriers are soooooo sexy.
3) When I grow up I want to live on an aircraft carrier.
4) Well, maybe a submarine is just as sexy, but on an aircraft carrier you can see the beautiful blue sky in the Pacific Ocean.

Greg, I hope your back gets better real soon!

It was good to see so many familiar smiling faces at the dinner table. Unfortunately Rory wasn’t able to make it – he’s struggling with some lung “fun” which apparently isn’t any fun at all. Get better soon, dude!

See you next time around.

Time to go home

How do I say this, except to just say it… We’re moving. To Tampa. Florida. By the end of February. As in next month.

It’s been a good run up here in the Northwest. I will truly miss the friendly people and courteous drivers. (If you think drivers up here are rude, you haven’t been around.) We’ve been in the great Pacific Northwest for almost 6 years now, but it’s time to move closer to “home.” My wife was born and lived in Florida for 25 years. I lived there for 20 years. We’re from the Southeast, so this will get us closer to family.

I’m changing jobs, still within Microsoft, but in a different role and in a different city. In my new job I’ll be involved with MSDN sales. I’m really jazzed about the new job, but more on that in another post. The DE job? One of the best jobs in the world. I’m really going to miss all the folks I’ve been working with for the past few years, both inside and outside Microsoft. But there’s e-mail and blogs, and XBOX Live.

We put our house on the market yesterday morning. And we sold it yesterday evening. What a relief! We got our price, fair to both us and the buyers. We don’t have a closing date set yet, but the buyers want to move in ASAP, and close no later than Feb 25. But there’s no way we can close before Feb 14…

So, there might be a chance for me to attend one more Portland Nerd Dinner in February. The next few weeks are going to be crazy, but we’ll get by, and I want to see you nerds more time.

My first day in the new role is February 1, but I will continue to support the PacWest geography even if from a distance during a transition period as a new DE is recruited / hired. Anyone out there passionate about developers? Anyone have the right stuff? The job hasn’t been posted yet, but it will be soon. Keep your eyes on http://www.microsoft.com/careers/default.mspx.

It has most definitely been real.

Thinking about going to Mt Hood soon?

Don’t do it. Save your time and your money. It’s not worth it until they get a huge dump of snow. Right now it’s pretty pathetic.

I only took one run down the mountain yesterday and felt like I was risking my life. There were so many spots that had only a hint of snow covering the ground that was easily visible beneath it, I was really glad I didn’t catch an edge and take a tumble. That would have been very painful.

The bright side of last night was that it wasn’t windy, so while I waited on my son and his friend to meet me at the lodge I didn’t freeze.

Yes! We’re going snowboarding!

The weather is cooperating! The high at Mt. Hood for today is supposed to be only 25 degrees. Snow is falling. They’ve had 4 inches of new snow in the last 12 hours, and the winds are relatively calm.

Zach and I found all our snow gear last night and are going to head to the mountain with one of his buddies around noon. Should be loads of fun.  : )

Inverse

As good as last week’s tennis was on Men’s Doubles 4.5 Night, this week’s was the complete opposite. My ground strokes were off. My serve was off. My returns of serve were off. My volleys were off. My overheads were off. I completely sucked. And not just sucked, but sucked REAL BAD. Oof! It hurts just to think about it now. I went from not losing a set last week to not winning a set this week. Total, complete, utter reversal. Isn’t it “interesting” (read CRAPPY) the way things balance out.