Monday, September 22, 2008

Where Is Our [Fill In The Blank]?

The move, it happened. We are now in our new house surrounded and overwhelmed by boxes full of everything we own. Ah, the irony: we have it all, it we don't know where any of it is. Plus, anything we unearth may not be in that same location half an hour later as the process of unpacking and reorganizing begins. I never realized how much I piece it gave me for 10 years to know that at any time, day or night, I could find my 3 foot level. Or my socks.

One of the things that went unexpectedly well was the fact that we will not be without Internet access while AT&T gets its act together to switch their plug from house A to house B. Thanks to the Dawn of the Age of WiFi, one of our unwittingly generous neighbors has provided us with a robust (and unlocked) connection to the Internet. That means pictures will come soon, I promise, once we have a few minutes that aren't dedicated to painting, unpacking, rearranging, or staring blankly at the walls as fatigue sets in.

It's a happy fatigue, though.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Moving Day, Again

It has been a very hectic week. Thanks to Dad, we unloaded our portable storage unit last week, filling half of our new garage. We also took over a bunch of boxes from our rental house, filling the other half of the garage. Thanks to Cheryl's parents, we have packed up our rental house again and put in shelf paper at the new house.

And the movers don't even come until later this morning.

Pictures, etc. to come later when we have a moment to breathe.

Friday, September 12, 2008

The New Cold War

Astronaut Tom Jones (four Shuttle flights) has given an illuminating interview concerning the challenges facing NASA and American manned space flight. Beyond the somewhat obvious budgetary problems, Jones discusses a new complication for the space program: Russia.

The way NASA is funded and organized now, the Shuttle program will shut down in 2010, and the new Orion capsule program will begin no earlier than 2012. That leaves a gap of at least two years, likely to stretch out due to budgetary issues, in which the U.S. will have no ability to send Americans (or anyone else) to the International Space Station, nor bring anyone home. The existing plan is to hitch rides on Russian rockets to get up there, and return in Russian Soyuz capsules to get home. Even the lifeboat system on the ISS is Russian-made; the American program was canceled in the early 2000s.

This all seemed like a perfectly workable system, until Russia invaded Georgia and brought a chill to U.S.-Russia relations. Until diplomatic equilibrium is regained, the prospect exists that only Russian will have the keys to the ISS, of which the US funded 80%. One can presume that the current high anxiety between the countries will dissipate by 2010, but the current conflict highlights the surprising vulnerability of U.S. manned space missions.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

The Incredible Shrinking Value

I've noted previously that food producers and grocery stores have been pulling a subtle fast one on us by reducing the size of packaged products without lowering costs. I first noticed this with ice cream because I had, ahem, a fair amount of experience buying ice cream. "Half Gallon" was the coin of the realm, but it is now downright rare to find a container of ice cream that holds that much yummy goodness.

Once they started, the food companies just couldn't stop. CNN is reporting that the widespread application of "downsizing" food packaging has now made its way to the cereal aisle. I suppose in this era of overindulgence and overeating, downsizing should be a good thing. However, it should be done honestly by lowering the price to reflect the reduced amount of product sold, rather than skimming money off consumers by charging the same for less.

Interestingly, in the article, the tipoff of downsizing for an interviewed shopper was ... ice cream. Late night snackers, unite!

Friday, September 05, 2008

A Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On

We just got hit with a 4.0 earthquake about five minutes ago. According to the USGS, it hit just a couple of miles away, so we got quite a noisy jolt. Being so close, it was rough but quick. The kids are little rattled, but nothing even fell off the shelves.

It was violent, though. If it had lasted any longer than it did (no more than about ten seconds, if that), there would have been a lot of damage around here.

... Done

Escrow closed without any drama. The loan was funded yesterday, the title was recorded this morning, the keys were delivered this afternoon.

We're homeowners again.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

A Return to the 80s for Braves Fans

The Atlanta Braves enjoyed an unprecedented stretch of regular-season dominance from 1991 to 2005, winning the division title every year. The Braves were renowned for their pitching staff, picking up six Cy Young awards during that era. Glavine, Maddox and Smoltz formed a devastatingly effective rotation, one of the best in the history of the game

Just prior to their rise, however, the Braves were just as well known for their ineptitude, averaging only 65 wins per year from 1985 to 1990 while inflicting their brand of baseball on the country on a nightly basis on WTBS.

The Braves appear to be returning to their old ways. They started play today half a game worse than the woeful (albeit not quite as woeful as expected) Giants. Even worse, their starting rotation for an upcoming series will be the who-dat trio of Jorge Campillo, Jo-Jo Reyes, and Jair Jurrjens. If you are not a baseball fan, don't feel bad for not knowing who those guys are. Baseball fans don't know, either.

... Almost There ...

We received word this morning that our loan has been funded. Once the administrative task of recording the title is completed tomorrow, the home buying process will be done.

A year ago this week, we were emptying and sprucing up our old house, getting it ready to sell. What a difference a year makes.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Shameless Plug

Not shameless at all; very proud, in fact.

It is time to harness the power of the blogosphere, all five of you who read this. Please check out my sister's entry in a photo contest to put a real face on the front of, an online community for parents of special needs children. Megan draws a lot of support from the site, and has taken a great picture of my nephew George, the sweetest little autistic kid you could hope to meet.

In the long-ago words of the Bartles & Jaymes guys, thank you for your support.

Home Sweet Home ... Almost

Loan documents and wire transfer signed yesterday. If all goes according to plan, we get the keys on Friday.

Most of our family has now had a chance to see the house first-hand. In just a few days, we get to start making it our own.

Incidentally, the pictures on the website were taken the same evening we viewed the house for the first time. We were literally standing behind the camera while several of those shots were taken. I intend to ask for copies of the pictures when this is all over, as a way of remembering how we felt that afternoon, when we thought we were going to make an offer on a different house until we showed up and saw this one.

And also as a way of remembering how the house looked before we cluttered it up.