NASA shuttle launch STS-124 - LIVE


Christy and I were talking the other night about NASA, and the fact that they won't be launching too many more space flights... due to budgetary cuts and other things like that.

Literally - just like 24 hours ago, maybe 2 days ago.

And then we learned just yesterday that they were about to do this space launch today May 31st, 2008 - at 5 pm.


The girls and I watched NASA TV live to check out the launch.

And then we grabbed a few pictures from the NASA live site:

We sat there watching for about 30 seconds.
And then the girls and I ran outside the house, to see if we could see the space shuttle in the sky.

Already, it was WAY UP there.

And then in an instant, it stopped leaving it's steam trail, and then right after that it disappeared from our sight. And we couldn't see it anywhere.

This is right outside the front door of the house.
Pretty Cool!

I'm glad I had eagle eyes Kait to spot the shuttle in the sky, or I might not have seen it up there until it was already gone.



Pizza Monsters

It's strange...

You move to a new place, and you realize that your body starts craving certain foods.

You miss them.
You long for them.
And eventually, you either get over it, or you go hunt them down.

Anyhow - we were having pizza withdrawals the other day, so we ventured over to Papa John's pizza. So far, this is the only pizza in town we enjoy eating. There's no Pizza Schmizza here - but I guarantee you they would do VERY WELL in this town.

So, we go inside, and there's no other customers inside the place.

And the guy is being super friendly to us.

Finally - we decide we're going to order a couple of pizzas. But before we do, he invites the girls to come back, into the back - where the ovens and other machinery are - and make their own pizzas.

So he drags Chris and the girls behind the counter, and he lets the girls build their own pizzas.

It was absolutely COOL!

I was totally impressed, and so was Christy.

Now - I just gotta spread the word, because that was some of the best service, and treatment, we've gotten from anyone in this town.

KUDOS - to Papa John's on Cleveland Heights (Lakeland) for knocking us out!

And here's some of the proof - in case you were wondering.

Oh, and No! We won't be selling it on ebay - in case you were wondering that, as well.

Oh, yeah, Sam - you better watch out, 'cause the girls are coming to take your job soon. :-)



Beach Treasure

Hi again,

Well - I hear the temperature is coming up in Oregon, albeit kind of slowly.

The same is happening here, but it was never really that low to begin with.


We hit the beach again the other day, with a long, lost visitor from Oregon. Which was awesome. Of course, it was about 88-90 degrees outside. It's been about that for the last week or so.

Summer is coming here - and it was never really that cool to begin with.

We had a couple shots to share.

The coolest part occurred really early in our trip.

Both of the girls have been saving up their money. Keeley had quite a bit more than Kait for some reason. In their pursuit of Webkinz perfection, Kaitlyn was getting a little disappointed because Keeley was going to beat her to getting the next Webkin.

But amazingly - out of the thousands of people on the beach and in the water, a $5 bill just happened to float right up to Kait.

To say she was pleasantly surprised would be an understatement.

It was more like...

WOW! I can't believe it! This is one of the coolest things to ever happen to her.

Well - don't let me tell you. Let me show you:



Home Foreclosure Auction - A specific example


Now that we've been in our new home for over a month, and I'm a little bit distant from the heat of the buying moment - I thought I'd share a very specific example of a Home Foreclosure Auction.

Basically - we've heard about these, and we thought about doing this, but no one I know could give me specific details on how to pursue a home at a Foreclosure Auction.

So... in the end... we just let it go.

Essentially, this was the first home we made an offer on. I think we made the offer around the end of February.
Originally, we offered the bank $150k for this place. It was a little under what they were asking, but not too much.


They rejected our offer, and decided to put the home up for auction.

Our realtor, I don't think, was going to get any benefit from us buying at auction, so she definitely didn't advise us to pursue the place.

We were able to figure out that the home was going up for sale at the end of March.

Interestingly, we were able to find the actual auction listing and the final sale price after the auction.

Final price offered the bank - $127K.

2215 BLACKWOOD DRIVE MULBERRY, FL 33860 was the address of the home.

And here was the auction listing:

And here's the latest Zillow zestimate

I can't deny that it was a 'kick butt' house. And I would've loved to own it now - especially at the $127 price. But, now that we've been in this place a while, I've come to like it pretty well too. You can't be stopping and looking back at life full of regrets. You gotta play the cards you have, and go with them, and make the best of what you've got.

Anyhow, this is mostly just a personal FYI, to anyone who might be wondering how good, or how bad, the home foreclosure auctions really are right now.

All the best,


Something Amazing... a JOB.

Well - I am a little bit surprised to be saying this...

I had my 5th interview at this place, just this afternoon.

That's not the amazing part - apparently multiple interviews is normal these days.

What is amazing is this...

Before I left, they actually offered me a job. A real, legitimate, 100% bonafide position with their company.

Wait a second...

I had to pick myself up off of the floor after I said that.
Yep - it's true.

Actually it sounds very similar to the type of job I had at Komatsu. So I think I should be pretty capable of actually doing it.

Since there are only about 2 weeks left of actual school time, this has come at a perfect time.

Is it providence?

I guess I'm not sure how else to say it.
It has to be!

I haven't been able to get a full time job since July of 2007, and then... now that there's only 2 weeks left until schools out - I finally get one.

Some things just can't be explained under normal circumstances.

Sure, it seems simple enough, but there's just something amazing about how it all has fallen together at this time.

All the best,


A Tribute to My Uncle - (kinda personal)


Some of you already know this news...

My Uncle Louis passed away earlier this week.

Unfortunately, he was really quite young, so he should have had MANY more years left ahead of him.

All my memories, and those of my family, remember him as a very funny, very intelligent man.

My Dad told me that Louis actually taught him how to play chess. And not only that... but Louis could play without having a chess board in front of him. I used to play chess for hours and hours - but I could NEVER play without the board.

The thing I'll miss most about him is... the way he would wiggle his ears, and make me laugh. Every time I saw Louis he had a great joke, or a funny comment, that would just crack me up. He had a fantastic sense of humor, and a sweet spirit that I loved being around.

Photo provided from Statesman Journal

Here's a little more about the family - Uncle Louis

I love you Uncle. And my heart, and prayers are with your family tonight. I hope you are cracking a joke with God right now - I'm sure He'll be glad to have you home.

With Love and all best wishes,

A Snail's Pace

I don't know if it's just the times that are changing? Or just this place?

I had what would be considered a 3rd interview tonight after I got off of work - and I STILL don't know if they are planning on hiring me.

I mean...

How long does it take, and how many times do you have to talk with someone before you figure out if they are going to be good for your company?

Really - it's okay. It's just my life, my time, that's being wasted by the process. But I can't imagine it's easy for these people to cut out an hour here, an hour there, just to interview me 20 times.


This looks like a pretty cool company. Very similar to Komatsu - just different products. We'll see how it goes.

Most importantly - because we only have one vehicle, Chris had to take the girls to work with her. And then I had to ride my bike from Mulberry clear across the south side of town, as fast as I could.


It's about a 16 mile ride - and I actually did it in about 1 hr 15 min.

The funniest part is...

When I got off the bike, my butt hurt! And I could hardly even stand up.

Have you ever seen professional wrestling? They have this move - where they wrap a guys legs around one of the corner posts of the ring, and then they just ram his leg right into the post...


Yeah - that about what my rear-end felt like...

WHAM! Unlike in wrestling - where the guy recovers instantaneously, bounces right back up, and jumps across the ring in a flying, death, drop-kick - I didn't want to move an inch.

Even though a bike is a good alternative transportation option...
we're gonna have to get a different option pretty soon.

On another note - I weighed myself at Christy's office (after the ride), and I weighed 176 pounds. I haven't weighed that little (that I can remember) since high school. The last time I remember hitting the 170's was at Willamina High School. Of course - it's not all muscle anymore - but WOW was I ever proud to see that number.

It's a LONG way from the 200 I was hitting back at the office in Oregon.

Just a silly, quick update.