Sunday, 26 October 2008

A little bit closer now...

Today we move our clocks back an hour for daylight savings time so we are officially only 5 hours ahead of those of you in Texas! Woo hoo! I could have really used that extra hour the past two weeks or so when I was always on the phone to my insurance company, but hey- I'll take what I can get now!

We FINALLY got our insurance adjustment back and can now move onward with the repairs on our house in Houston. What a relief! They are covering pretty much everything which is a total blessing... I really had a bad feeling that they were only going to quote us half of the amount that the contractors had given us bids for. They actually have given us more than the original bids were for, so that makes me feel really good about getting things done right. Now all we have to do is figure out how to deposit the check! Ha! I will say that my Mom has been an excellent helper though all of our issues (she deposits all my checks for me and pays my paper bills with pre-signed checks that I've left with her). I'm not sure what I would have done without her help, she's a lifesaver!

Friday was my last day with Ipedex and to be honest I'm a little sad about it. I'm not going to miss being bored at work (I usually finished all my work by 10!) but I will definitely miss the people there. They were really sweet and I've really grown quite attached to them... I am probably going to have massive withdrawls from the work banter and the cups of tea . I am supposed to go to lunch with them on Friday though, so it won't be too long before I see them all again. In the meantime, I'm back on the job hunt for a new challenge. I'm going to be picky so I'm not expecting anything right away but I'm hoping it won't be too incredibly long before something else comes up. I'm really used to going to work again and I am not sure what I'm going to do with myself until I find another job... oh wait- yes I do! I am going to clean my house thoroughly, as it needs it! I think I'll also spend a day or two with Laura and Ella and hopefully get some AS (Aberdeen Scoobies) charity stuff set up for next year. I also have a few books that I've purchased and haven't had the chance to read yet (like 2 or 3), so I want to get that done before I go back as well. Fable II just came out as well, so I'll have a good time playing that while Nic is at work (since he won't let me play while he's home!!).

Anyway- our Tea is about ready so I'm going to go eat... I'm looking forward to enjoying the little extra bit of closeness with you all though (at least for a week until you all set your clocks back next Sunday!).

Saturday, 4 October 2008

It's time

Ok, so I finally have a second and can fill you all in on some of the stuff that's been going on over here. We haven't been home a lot lately so this weekend we've decided to take it easy and relax a little bit.

I guess I should start with the camping trip since that was like two weeks ago and I haven't really said a whole lot about it. We had a FANTASTIC time, or as I've been trained to say here... it was ace! haha. We started out the trip in Aberdeen and drove up towards Inverness and then around to Fort William. The drive was absolutely beautiful (or should I say bonny) and we stopped pretty often to take pictures and look around the little villages. We didn't quite have the turnout that was expected (originally like 16 of us were supposed to go) but we had a blast anyway and I'm almost glad that we had a smaller group. It ended up just being Nic, Me, Duncan (Dunc), Laura (Dunc's wife), Tracy (T), Stu, and Shona (pronounced Show-na). Anyway, the banter was so funny and now the bunch of us have quite a few inside jokes that are making people who didn't go jealous (love that!). We'll definitely be going next time when the trip is supposed to follow the coastline. That should be pretty too! I've put all of our pictures in an online album, you can go see them here: http://s371.photobucket.com/albums/oo156/jen-alvarado/ . We almost got kicked out of the campsite because we were being too loud (we really weren't we were being quieter than some other groups) but it ended up just being funny because the guy running the site was too full of himself. How are you going to expect "absolute silence" at 11 anyway?! ESPECIALLY when the pub on the campsite (yes, you read right... there was a pub on the actual campsite) closes at 11. On the way back from camping we all stopped by the largest gondola in the UK and took a ride up to do some sight seeing. We had lunch up there before heading back down the mountain and getting back on the road home Oh, and I almost forgot- we found an awesome deal and got some sunglasses for 50p! (they were originally 9 pounds, so hey... that's pretty good!).

Ok... so that was the weekend before last, we can move on to last weekend I guess. Last weekend we went to the Colin McRae Tribute Rally and had an amazing time as well. We got to see many of the rally drivers we'd only seen on TV before and probably won't ever see again since they were only there to show their support for Colin and his family. For those of you who aren't into rallying (which I assume most of you sadly aren't), Colin was the world rally champion and is one of the best drivers in rally sport. He is like the golden boy for Subaru and he just so happens to be Scottish. Anyway, in 2007 he died in a helicopter crash (he was trying to take off right by his house with his 5 year old son, his son's friend who was 6, and a family friend when it had a mechanical failure). This rally was put together to remember just how amazing he was and so a lot of the stars of the rally circuit were there to put on a good show (including his brother and dad). We found ourselves an excellent spot to watch from, right at an "s" curve on the 5th stage. We were kind of bummed because we only got to see about 15 teams go by before Jim McRae (Colin's dad) lost control of his porche and went off the road. His car then caught on fire (he and his co-driver were fine and got out ok)... they were going to re-open the stage when one of the fire trucks that was trying to come put out the fire got stuck (who's bright idea was it to bring a fire truck to an off road rally?!) and they ended up having to cancel the stage. We still had a fantastic time and won't ever forget it. We definitely got our exercise as well, as we had to walk about a mile and a half uphill from the car to our watch post. Again, we were in good company because we had a few members from Aberdeen Scoobies come along with us and we met up with a lot of the SIDC (Subaru Impreza Driver's Club) members there. After the rally we went to dinner with Imy and Grant (from SIDC) which was nice... we had a good time visiting with them and the food was good. After that we caught up with the other Grant (also from SIDC... we call him RS Grant) to take a look at his Spec D (it's a "discreet" STI).

I guess that brings me on to the next topic of discussion today... The car. We've been struggling to get by with only one car, as Nic has to be late to work and then leave work a little early to pick me up and drop me off. Not to mention the one day a week that we eat lunch together, he has to take a little extra time for his lunch break... so he's been missing out on a bit of work time because we have to carpool. Because of that, we've been looking around at other cars. We've gone to look at about 3 (an STI, a WRX and another WRX but in wagon form). We had reasons for not being completely intent on any of those (the STI was a little flashy and had racer boy seats, the first WRX wasn't good value for the money as far as miles/price was concerned, and the wagon's brakes were SCARY and it wasn't as clean as we would have liked). Then we checked out Grant's Spec D. I think we both are in love all over again. It's an STI (which means more horsepower...) but it has leather seats, sat nav, a built in tracker, nice wheels, etc. Grant has taken great care of it and is selling it due to the fact he's going back to school and taking a break from work. Anyway... we are pretty sure we are going to buy it from him :) This makes both Nic and I VERY excited and we can't wait until everything is settled. So expect info a little later about our other new addition to the family, a sister for Lexi, haha.

I guess I should also talk about the damage to our house in Houston. We've been in the process of getting estimates from contractors with our property managers (who have been absolutely amazing...), and dealing with the insurance adjuster. The adjuster came and did his inspection about a week ago and everything was going well... then right when he was about to submit his report, our renters found more damage with possible mold on it in one of the closets. Soo.... he had to come back out there again on Wednesday. We should get the new report from him on Tuesday or so of next week, so hopefully that happens and we can get going on the repairs. Our renters have decided to opt out of their lease (we gave them the option to either have free rent and stay somewhere else until the repairs are done or get out of the lease with deposit and September rent in hand). Because we don't know how long the repairs will take that's probably the best option for them to take and we wish them well. We should get the bids from the contractors by Monday, so we're a little anxious to see what they are thinking in regards to cost/repair time. Either way, the insurance company is due to cover everything, including the loss of use (so rent basically)... which is a definite blessing.

Let's see... I can't remember what else I was going to mention except that Nic's Mom is coming for a visit in about a week (well... a week from Monday), so that will be nice. She's going to be here for a week. Nic saw her while he was in Houston for the DIF Conference, but I haven't seen her since they came in May, so it will be nice to see her again.

Oh, we've caught up on movies this past week- we've been going every day pretty much so that we can see them all before they are out of the theatre... We saw Taken, Righteous Kill, The Boy in the Striped Pajamas, Death Race, and that's all I can think of at the moment. I'm missing a few though I think. Taken was my favorite of that group, but I really liked The Boy in the Striped Pajamas as well. Nic didn't like it as much as I did, but that's partly due to the fact that there were a few improbabilities in the story. Righteous Kill was also good, how can you not like a movie that has Robert DeNiro and Al Pacino in it! Death Race was entertaining... I think that's the only way I can describe it.

Ok, that's all I'm going to write for now (like that isn't enough!)... I have to get ready to go to the movies and lunch with Bob! YAY! He's back in town until tomorrow and then he won't be back until the 11th! OOOH that's what I was going to talk about... The expedition. I don't have a whole lot of time to talk about it though so I'll save it until next time.