Saturday, February 28, 2009
Got up early, drove up the hill, froze my hands, uploaded what I shot and said, "hell yeah, THAT'S what I'm talkin' about baby!!"
Thursday, February 26, 2009
Grand Closing Sale-ibration
Utah continues to be a fun new experience. We had our taxes done at H&R Block buy a nice lady who reminded me of the crazy cat lady from the Simpsons. That's compared to the gal who did them in Bellingham who's first name was Fang. (swear to god)
We went to the mall the other day and I have never seen so many double seated strollers being pushed by girls who seemed to be in their early 20's.
Down in the Lehi area where we live the layout is really interesting. Big box stores like Walmart and Costco are surrounded by little stores and chain restaurants. Big islands of commerce in what used to be farmland. There are really schlocky family activity centers everywhere. I will take pictures of some of them when I get time. Families are big business here in Mormonlandia, followed closely buy the missionary and wedding markets.
We bought our house out west past the horse properties. We will live in a town called Eagle Ranch and you can see where development was going full steam ahead until the meltdown. Now it seems to be slowly picking up again but many houses are for sale. Like I said before, many of them are laid out funky inside. The two lane road out to Eagle Ranch is being widened to four lanes and a super Walmart is getting ready to open cattycorner from the huge Smith's grocery store and all it's little surrounding stores.
Magaly and I took a drive out to the house today to take the picture you see below. On the way home we stopped at Little Caesar's and they were tossing the hot and ready (cheese or pepperoni) pizzas out like frisbees. It is the only Little Caesar's I have ever seen with a drive through window. Cheap quick on-the-way-home meal for what I'm sure are two working adult households.
When we were in Vancouver I watched CNN describe the economic crisis but now I am seeing it first hand. In one way it has benefitted us. We are paying 192K for this house and just three months ago smaller houses in the same neighborhood went for 207 and 212K.
Our counter counter offer on the house was accepted. I'm not fond of the uphill driveway but the interior makes up for that. Two bedrooms up and three down. One of the downstairs bedrooms will be my office and used as an extra bedroom when company comes. There is also a family room downstairs.
You'll have to wait for more pictures.
Sunday, February 22, 2009
We signed the official paperwork to make an offer on the house we want to buy. Magaly made a comment that it was smaller than the two houses we lived in the past 9 years in Canada. I pointed out that those were half million dollar houses and the government paid the rent on.
Then I said,
"YOU make the houses a home. Otherwise they're just buildings."
Friday, February 20, 2009
We went to Olive Garden last night and the 20-30 minute wait. As we waited for our oversized hockey puck to flash and vibrate my son and I made fun of the other people waiting. Mormons are such an easy crowd to mess with. There was the "used car salesman" with the "did you pay for that haircut?" haircut. There were the very large people with flashing disc walking toward the cute 16 year-old hostess and my "sour grapes because we should be ahead of you even though we came in after you" daggers going into their backs. They looked like they could miss a week's worth of meals anyway. Granted, I could miss a day but hey, I'm the star of this blog and they are the bad guys.
So we were seated next to a table of "are these ALL your kids?" 12. Now we had the Olive Garden team serve us. One took our order and brought our drinks. Another brought our appetizers and TWO brought our entrees. All different. I went against my instincts and ordered something non-pasta. I ordered the mixed grill and it was horrible.
The highlight of the night was the "witness protection program dude". I saw a woman with large breasts and a top that shared a nice portion of them to the adoring crowd....of me anyway, walking out of one of the many nooks of this particular Olive Garden. A nanosecond after the, "now that ain't no Mormon" thought passed through my head, the mafia made his appearance. Greased hair and a black $400 wool top coat. Hands thrust firmly a la "I'm packing heat" into the pockets. And a "what-the-fuck-you-looking-at, something-I-can-do-for-you?" scowl directed at the room that was completely ignoring him while I was trying to get a shot of his date's ass.
At this point I was already disappointed with my meal and briefly thought of calling out to the guido, "let's check out the Carrabas in Provo sometime". Maybe I'll run into him there sometime if his old associates haven't caught up with his ass.
Thursday, February 19, 2009
You will do better in real estate than in stocks
That was the fortune cookie revelation last night after a pretty damn good chinese meal. That's a no brainer that would make Confucious order the execution of the guy who had it printed.
So we went out looking at houses today. This is the view looking south from the house I picked out looking at possibilities online. I referred to it as my zen house for that view. There was good news and bad news when we arrived for a tour. The good news is that there will never be anything built south of it because of a dynamite plant out there. The law forbids any construction within a three mile radius of the plant. The bad news is the barking dog tied up on a rope next door. A fence would keep the potential dog-grandkid encounter from happening but only evil would stop the barking.
The house itself was in very good shape I was pleased to see that after walking through three nightmares prior. One was a horror show of what seemed like a blind drunk man on acid trying for a polynesian look. Then they had failed on the loan and taken it out on the house. Another was a "flip this house" going bad. They hadn't finished and I can't explain the colors any better than to say part of the house was banana yellow and part was chocolate brown. I swear it reminded me of the display case at 31 Flavors.
There were some nice houses, don't get me wrong but a lot had some sort of "what were they thinking?" touches like a toilet in a double closet sized room right off the dining area. Just a toilet, no sink. One house had tiny bedrooms as the sacrifice for larger family rooms. Houses that were otherwise fine but had one flaw that wanted me to hunt down the person who had designed and built the place and shoot him or her.
We saw a lovely model in a new development and may have a new home built. The obvious plusses to that are the new house warranties and that Magaly can get with the design team and tweek the house a little to suit her needs.
Right now it's a horse race between the new, and the view.
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
The realtor told us that we would look for our dream house. I told him MY dream house was a 100 year-old farm house on about 5 acres.
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
Put the ol' iPod on random and answer the questions with the name of the song that pops up. I gotta say I like the way these answers came out except for maybe a couple. Got it from Vesper because she has the cool activities.
IF SOMEONE ASKS YOU, “ARE YOU OKAY?”, YOU SAY…With One More Look At You. (A Star Is Born Soundtrack, Babs Streisand)
HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOURSELF? Radar Love (Golden Earring)
WHAT DO YOU LIKE IN A GUY/GIRL? Hold On, I'm Coming (Sam and Dave)
HOW DO YOU FEEL TODAY? Gaucho (Steely Dan)
WHAT IS YOUR LIFE’S PURPOSE? Miracles Out Of Nowhere (Kansas)
WHAT’S YOUR MOTTO? Big Love (Fleetwood Mac)
WHAT DO YOUR FRIENDS THINK OF YOU? Fighter (Christina Aguilera)
WHAT DO YOUR PARENTS THINK OF YOU? Welcome To The Train (Charly Garcia)
WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT VERY OFTEN? Something For Nothing (Rush)
WHAT IS 2 + 2? The Unforgettable Fire (U2)
WHAT DO YOU THINK OF YOUR BEST FRIEND? Fated (Matthew Good)
WHAT IS YOUR LIFE STORY? Bright Size Life (Pat Metheny)
WHAT DO YOU WANT TO BE WHEN YOU GROW UP? Oh Be Joyful (Matthew Good)
WHAT DO YOU THINK WHEN YOU SEE THE PERSON YOU LIKE? Love Is Dying (Doria Roberts)
WHAT SONG WILL YOU DANCE TO AT YOUR WEDDING? Judgement Of The Moon And Stars (Joni Mitchell)
WHAT WILL THEY PLAY AT YOUR FUNERAL? Everything You Did (Steely Dan)
WHAT IS YOUR HOBBY/INTEREST? Thank You Love (The Doobie Brothers)
WHAT IS YOUR BIGGEST FEAR? Kid Charlemagne (Steely Dan)
WHAT IS YOUR BIGGEST SECRET? The Long Road (Pat Metheny)
WHAT DO YOU WANT RIGHT NOW? Helpless (Neil Young)
WHAT DO YOU THINK OF YOUR FRIENDS? Alone (Llegas)
WHAT WILL YOU POST THIS AS? Living My Life (Los Lonely Boys)
So work is going well. Easy money, good crew. I just might stay a while. The house hunting has started with Magaly going out today to look at some. It's kinda hard to look at them on the internet because most of the pictures are bad. I bet I could do a better job at shooting houses than anybody I've seen so far. You just need the right lens and a couple of portable lights. I bet it pays for shit though and then there's my pledge never to do what I love, photography, as work.
It just ruins the creative process for me.
Does that sound too arrogant-tight-assy?
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
Salt Lake City
So now we have been here one week. Work is great. Robert is enjoying school. The grandkids have a few new toys and TV cartoon channels to watch.
I want to get out and about but it's very cold and snow flurries come and go. The house we've leased is okay but some dresser-drawers would be nice.
Tomorrow we begin the search for a house with all the fun that entails. Finance, stress, decision.
Just gotta dive in I guess.
We have been here a week now so let's reflect back a bit.
We left Vancouver in the predawn hours. Slipped out of town with the same amount of fanfare with which we arrived 5 and one half years ago. We crossed the border after a short delay because the grandkids only have Canadian birth certificates. They are dual citizens. Being that it was a Sunday, the traffic in Seattle was thankfully light.
Across the mighty Columbia River and into Oregon on the 205 we stopped for gas in Troutdale. In Oregon you are not allowed to pump your own gas so I asked one of the attendants how much farther it was to Hood River where we had our hotel rooms reserved. He told me it was a 2 and a half hour drive. I was kinda bummed because I was hoping to catch part of the Superbowl. Back onto Highway 84 and I soon saw a sign that announced Hood River, 28 miles. I think the guy has been sniffing gasoline fumes too long. What a relief that was after a long drive. We got to our hotel and our adjoining rooms and were soon enjoying the best Superbowl ever. The next morning, after what I thought was a terrible breakfast, we were off. At least the breakfast was free.
We drove along the river before getting to the high desert and then after Pendleton we climbed into forrest and snow. Then the hills and into Idaho. The Idaho border was a trip because shortly after crossing, all the snow vanished until we reached Boise. The traffic in Boise was a mess but we soon found our hotel and my son and I feasted at Jack In The Box while the girls and the babies ate at Perkins. After another crappy breakfast we were on the road. White rolling hills and we stopped for gas in Snowville.
We crossed into Utah and I popped out the iPod adapter and looked for radio stations. We found a rock station and as the Angel Moroni as my witness, ACDC's Highway To Hell was the first song we heard. When we reached the massive metropolitan area that stretches from Ogden to Provo my son and I started calling out Mormon chapels like they were VW's and we were playing slug bug. They are everywhere. My son got extra points for spotting the first temple. We found our leased house in Lehi and unpacked the truck and rejoiced that we had arrived safe.
Thursday, February 05, 2009
31 & 32 were missing. Probably because she such an enigma.
One word answers
1. Where is your cell phone? Downstairs
2. Your significant other? Sleeps
3. Your hair? Messy
4. Your mother? Home
5. Your father? Deceased
6. Your favorite thing? Travel
7. Your dream last night? Boring
8. Your favorite drink? Coke
9. Your dream/goal? Lottery
10. What room you are in? Office
11. Your hobby? Photography
12. Your fear? Finance
13. Where do you want to be in 7 years? Here
14. Where were you last night? Here
16. Rockets? Packed
17. Wish list item? Camera
18. Where you grew up? Arizona
19. Last thing you did? Served
20. What are you wearing? Levis
21. Your TV? Off
22. Your medium? Keyboard
23. Friends? Few
24. Your life? Decent
25. Your mood? Level
26. Missing some one? Two
27. Car? Red
28. Something you’re not wearing? Shoes
29. Your favorite store [designer]? No
30. Your favorite color? Green
33. When is the last time you laughed? Yesterday
34. Last time you cried? Yesterday
35. Who will resend this? Shrug
36. One place that I go to over and over? Work
37. One person who emails me regularly? Mom
38. Favorite place to eat? Tray
39. Why you participated in this survey? Vesper
40. What are you doing tonight? Anything
People have faith in their god here and it shows in the way some of them drive. It's the religion of "he'll stop because I really need to turn, or run this stop sign". When we drove in, my son and I played slug bug except with chapels instead of Volkswagons. The area of Utah from Ogden to Provo, heretofor known as The Wasatch Front has as many Mormon chapels as Vancouver has Tim Hortons.
I shit thou not.
In Target, Cosmopolitan Magazine is covered by opaque plastic just like Playboy in convenience stores. The throwing of snowballs is illegal. Really. It is. There are as many out of state plates in the neighborhood as there are Utah plates. I saw a billboard on I-15 proclaiming that the Mormon Church officially supports same sex rights.
Well maybe except for one.
Sunday, February 01, 2009
Predawn wave goodbye
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