Home update...

Hi again,

Just a quick update on that home post.

We did put in an offer on a home. It took 2 days for a response - and the response...

The bank took the home off the market, after receiving our offer, and decided they would rather sell it at auction.

So that home is a no go - as are the other ones we had listed.

Sorry for the mis-information. That is exactly why we have never liked sharing details too early in the process. It makes me feel like 'the little boy who cried wolf'.


The search continues - we looked at 2 other possibles today.

Here's one:
Lakeland home #1

And the other:
Lakeland Home #2
This one has a monstrous price tag - but apparently the owners are willing to look at offers much lower? (Shhh! - that's according to the agent insiders)

We're not sure if we liked either enough to put in an offer.
I posted them, just in case you'd want to look.
One of them was close - but as a whole package we're not sure if it'll work.

I'll keep you posted.


P.S. OHHHH, man I almost forgot this...

I had called the bank to get pre-approved, about a month ago.

At that time the interest rate they gave was 5.875%. So anyhow, when we got the revised truth in lending statement (from the bank) in our effort to buy this last house - the rate had jumped up to 6.6%. That is over a half a point in about 30 days.

Umm - hello - I thought rates were going down? I thought our economy was in a crunch? I thought the housing market was tough?

Apparently it wasn't quite as bad as I'd been hearing about.

Oh well. One day - I will be the lender, NOT the BORROWER!


Churches in Lakeland

Hello -

This is just a rant in general about churches down here.

Chris, I, and the girls have been looking for a church we can all really get involved in, and that inspires us to do great things.

Unfortunately - even finding a church online in this general area is dang near impossible.

I don't know if it's because I've been marketing online so long, but I don't think any church in this town knows how to put an advertisement on Google. Which, to me, is freaking ridiculous! At the very least they could have a listing for the town, whenever someone looks up -- Lakeland and Church.

Anyhow - I've spent hours scouring the web, the phone book, newspapers, and even visiting some possibilities only to find nothing that matches.

Now, I know you might be saying...
'Well, there's no such thing as a perfect church, Al!'

And I totally agree with you. BUT - I do know, because I've experienced it, that our entire family should be able to leave a church, and feel 'semi'-comfortable having been there.

And that just hasn't happened yet.


My hat is off to Rob Goodwin, for marketing his church, even though it's WAY smaller in size that most churches in this town, better than any church in the city of Lakeland Florida.

We'll try another one soon.


The home search in Lakeland

Well, it's been awhile since we've posted. But don't think we haven't been doing anything. I've been working quite a few days as a sub, and I'm trying to submit resumes to get on as a teacher somewhere. My websites are still doing pretty good, and Christy is working lots of hours. So we're starting to make due, at least a little bit.

We've also ventured out into the area to see some other historical sights and places.

Most importantly - we've been hunting for a place to call our own. Apartment life here, although not life-threatening, hasn't been what I had hoped. We still get banging on the floor from our neighbor, and rather than go postal, I'd rather move on.

So, we have actually visited a few homes in the area. I won't say which one we're looking at the most, because we've never been into giving out all the details. BUT - here are a few of the runner ups that we're thinking about...

You can see some of the pictures of the homes in these listings.

This one is in Mulberry - which is JUST below Lakeland - Mulberry #1

This one is also in Mulberry - Mulberry #2

Another one in the same area - pretty much just across the street from the first 2 - Lakeland #1

And here's one last option - although this one doesn't really fit our family lifestyle right now - Lakeland #2

Anyhow, just wanted to let you all know we're kinda looking. Hopefully if anyone decides to visit us, we'll have a place for you to crash.



Students - You GOTTA love em


I had a great little story to tell you about. It happened, at school, the other day...

Imagine - standing in front of a classroom of 25 high school kids. All of them sitting at separate desks. They're actually listening to you, because class has just started. They actually care what you have to say because a grade could depend on it. (COULD being the operative word)


You start to say something to them, when you realize there's some sort of high pitched music coming from somewhere in the room.

You stop.

You scan the room - looking for something, anything that could be causing the strange sound.

You see...


All of the students are actually looking at you - intent on hearing every word you are about to say.

That's Strange!
What is going on - you think?

But still - there's that sound.
Is it in the classroom, or is it outside somewhere?

But it's so loud - there's no way it could be outside.

You know it's music now, but you're not sure where it's coming from. Or who could possible be playing their headset so loud.

So - in an uncertain gesture - you look directly into the eyes of the kid sitting closest to you. He's looking at you with expectation on his face. As if he's been waiting all day to hear the words you're about to speak.

You realize that he has long hair, and that you can't see his ears.


You ask...

Are you listening to music?

Still looking at you as if all the world is at peace, he replies...


And then a sly little smile crosses his lips, as he realizes...

He's been busted!

He almost got away with it.


Another day as a teacher.
I love it!



Florida Parks

This last week we have done a few things to enjoy the warm winter weather here in Florida. Yesterday we visited the Hillsbough River State park. They actually have several trails to hike that are a bit more like what we are used to hiking minus the hills. But some of them were by the river so there was a view. And man you sure can see some different wildlife here in the rivers than you see in Oregon or out west. The crazy thing is that while we were hiking I was thinking I can not believe this is February. If we had been in Oregon instead of enjoying the warm day we would have been snowshoeing! Still very enjoyable for our family but so very different than what we are doing now. Anyhow, check it out!

The thing that I find kinda funny is that the people that have lived here all their lives and see this kind of thing all the time. Still say, " Oh my, look there is an alligator!" Like they are seeing it for the first time. We see them all the time even living here in town. alligators are just as at home in the waters of the city as they are in the waters of the country. There really seems to be no difference to them. I would think that they have had to have seen hundreds if not thousands through out their time here. They are all just crazy!! Any way it is still cool to see them out like this. An I love to see all the turtles too.

Here is some wildlife of a different kind! But cute none the less!
They also have a fort there that is a reconstruction on the same spot as it was back in the first Seminole wars. They have redone it as close to what they think it was at the time it was used according to the records and journals that they have from then. It was cool. In a couple of weeks they are supposed to have an actually living history thin there. I thin that we will be going back to see that. It was cool and it would be neat to see it with more people in there running it like it used to be done.

A couple of days before this trip, on Thursday actually, we headed out to a bike trail that starts not to far from our place here and goes to the next city south, Bartow. We ended up just riding out bikes to the trail and then all the way down then to the south end of Bartow to a cool city park there to let the girls play for a whilr on the playground. Unfortunately we did not take the camera with us on that trip but maybe next time. All together we rode between 20-25 miles that day and the girls did Great! I am super proud of them! It looks like Al will be getting his dream soon after all, A cross country tour on bikes! He has been planting seeds with the girls and they are starting to look forward to it as well! Crazy thing is I am sure that they could do it too!

Last but not least a couple of weekends ago we went to the Fort De Soto National Monument. It is south of Tampa and ended up being very cool!

There was all kinds of fun stuff here! We found a body of a horse shoe crab. That is what Al is holding and Keeley is checking it out. And tons of cool shells. That we ended up leaving there. Cause Kaitlyn is a very good junior Ranger and reminded us that we should never take anything from a park so that all can enjoy it that may come find it! so here are a few more of our found treasures from the park!

The last photo is of another Horseshoe crab and the one before that is Beauty Berries.
This park also had a living history thing going and we all got a chance to try our hand at shooting the bow.

And Al and the girls even tried on some of the armor!

Thanks for sticking with this super long post and I hope that you have all enjoyed the update and seeing what we have been up to these last few weeks.


Teaching - the Ups and Downs

Hi again...

Just a quick little update on my new career move.

It's definitely NOT the pay I was hoping for. And it doesn't seem like the kids really care about having me there - :-) - But it's still pretty cool.

One day - earlier in the week - I had 2 girls who refused to do something I asked them to do...

SIT DOWN in their seats.

It was fairly frustrating for me. I came home pretty bummed that day.

BUT - the next day I asked an administrator how I should handle it, because I know good-and-well it's going to happen again. I can just guarantee it. So he gave me a few ideas - including getting back-up help, sending them to the office, writing them up, and a few other choice options.


The next couple days have gone MUCH smoother. I've had the absolute pleasure of writing up 4 kids now for detention who - after repeated warnings - refused to do something I was asking.

Man - does that feel good. And I don't feel the slightest bit of guilt, because I am WAY more lenient than their regular teachers.

It's funny... I am definitely NOT a confrontational person. But having these kids just sit there and talk over you, and other blatant nonsense like that, makes me really fired up to unleash all kinds of unpleasant-ness onto them.


Most of my classes have been with middle schools, which are going pretty good.

I really enjoyed working at the high school level last week. I even got the chance to hang out in a computer / biz. ed. tech classroom for a few hours - which was totally cool. Just based on my website experience I could really enjoy teaching those types of classes.

Talk soon,