Settling in

Published Saturday, March 10th, 2012 at 8:13 pmNo Comments »

We’re settling in pretty good. Katie came out on February 5th, but her plane got diverted to Dublin because of the two inches of snow London got the night before. It’s humorous how they freak out about the snow and cold weather in London (though they get much more further north). I spent a whole day at Heathrow and after two very expensive phone calls found out Katie’s plane wasn’t getting in on the 5th, so went home and back out the following day to get her. They originally said her luggage was lost in Dublin but turns out it was on another plane from Chicago straight to London, so it was waiting here when she arrived. So it all worked out OK in the end, and Katie ended up with one more stamp in her visa than me.

We have our bed (a crappy double came with the flat, so we got a queen (UK king) from IKEA) and a functioning kitchen, which is cool. Other than a TV and a few pieces of furniture – most notably a couch – we’re pretty much good to go. Now we can turn our attention to the fun stuff – travel! We’re planning a visit to Normandy France (Bayeux/Caen) in late April, then perhaps Northern Italy in early summer. Quite looking forward to that!

In the mean time we’ve been having fun doing stuff in London. We’ve been out to the pub with some guys from my work and went to a few dinner parties they’ve had (including a proper UK pancake party). It’s super interesting learning about their culture, even as seemingly similar it is to ours. We’re also doing some of the common touristy stuff in London we never got to do the first time around, like the Museum of London, the London Eye, changing of the guards, etc. It’s so much easier when it’s only like 15 minutes away and you’re not rushed to do it all in a few days before leaving!

New… well, everything

Published Sunday, January 29th, 2012 at 7:05 pmNo Comments »

What a difference a month makes. New country, new home, new job, new people.

I’ve been adjusting to London life pretty well. I’m bouncing back and forth between temporary room rentals until I get a flat for me and Katie. I thought I had one about two weeks ago, but multiple agents were showing it and even though I signed the contract and paid a holding fee, another letting agent got someone to sign too, so the landlord started a bidding war and drove it up. I backed out and started the hunt again. I found this place this past week, paid the money, and submitted the application. Hopefully it’ll go through and I can get the keys this Saturday just in time for Katie to come out on Sunday.

This whole thing wouldn’t be too bad, but a bit over a week ago, after I lost the other flat, I went to look at one after work. It had a wooden gate off a side street that opened to a cramped cement staircase leading up to the entrance. The staircase had no lighting what so ever and it had been raining that day, so it was pretty wet. On the way out of viewing the flat I thought I was on the last step so turned to head out the gate. Turns out there was one step left, so my ankle twisted as I fell forward into the wall. I could barely walk on it, but I limped to the bus stop, rode it to the Old Street stop, then limped back to the temporary room. It was swollen like a baseball. I took a taxi to the hospital the next day and they said it was a mild sprain with no breaks, so to take it easy (in and out in an hour, with x-rays, and not a billing desk in sight!). Since then I’ve been limping everywhere and there’s still a fair bit of swelling and black and blues. All in all, this sorta sucks. Hoping it eases up before Katie comes out.

Work is going well. It’s weird having a handle of what’s going on at a technical level, but not so much as a business or organizational level (how they do things, why, etc). Fun learning it all though, and my coworkers are great – nice, passionate, smart. I’m pretty sure I’ll like it there.

Katie comes out on Sunday morning (leaving Cleveland late Saturday like me). I’m really looking forward to it. Theoretically I can walk up to the Manor House stop and take the Piccadilly Line all the way to Heathrow. It’ll be a long but direct line. I’ll have to get up early to make her 7am arrival time too. Hmmmm… hope it’s running that early!

As soon as we get settled in, the sight seeing and fun begin!

Side trip?

Published Tuesday, December 13th, 2011 at 1:02 amNo Comments »

“Hey Katie, what would you think about moving to England?”, I ask.

“Ha ha, very funny,” she says.

“Hah, yea, I’m serious.”

That’s how it starts, and it ends with Katie and I packing to move to London. I stumbled across the job while looking up a technical problem at my current job one day (ironic?), threw my resume in there for the hell of it, and got a call back. After a few discussions to see if Katie and I would really consider this if it became a reality, I talked with the company, had a few remote interviews, and got an offer in late August.

Lots of questions and discussions ensued that weekend. The company (7digital) would sponsor our visas, we could rent out the duplex, store all of our stuff, lend vehicles to friends, and pretty much be able to pick up where we left off in 3 years or so. Scary? You betcha. Exciting? Unbelievably so. We pretty much knew where we’d be if we stayed. It wasn’t a bad place by any means, but it’d be pretty predictable. We knew we’d never be able to shrug that “what if”. We couldn’t resist. I accepted the following day.

Katie and I never fully went far to college, either living with our parents of our house. Before we started with kids, we thought, why not? It’s an awesome opportunity for me professionally to work for an awesome sounding company with a bunch of true software craftsmen, in a city that has endless resources to learn from. It’s a great opportunity for Katie too, as she can look to the city’s much larger employment pool for a starter position with her degree. Sure, their economy sucks as bad as ours, but there’s more jobs however you look at it. Plus, it’s freaking LONDON! Never mind the virtually bottomless opportunities on the island, we’re on Europe’s door step! Bayeux for my birthday. Zurich for a winter weekend. Tuscany in the summer. Berlin later in the year. The Baltics, Scandinavia, Eastern Europe – wherever!

So after plowing through a seemingly endless last minute to-do list for the duplex over the past few months, it’s just about done and almost ready to rent. We’re hitting the packing thing pretty hard now, while trying to jam in a semi-normal holiday season. I’ll fly out January 5th with Katie following  a month later on February 4th. I’ll find a flat and get as settled in as I can before she comes over. This will give her time to do a few last minute cleaning of the duplex for tenants, spend time with her family, and generally relax too.

This is unquestionable the most nervous and excited I’ve ever been in my life. The excitement is definitely wining though 🙂

One year later

Published Thursday, June 16th, 2011 at 9:47 pmNo Comments »

Hard to believe Katie and I have been married almost a year now. It’s been a great year, from the honeymoon through to the cabin we’re getting for the upcoming anniversary weekend. There have been some fights, some adjustments and compromises, a lot of laughs, and a metric ton of awesomeness. Overall its been pretty cool having my best friend around all the time! Looking forward to many more years and eventually starting a family. I love you Katie!

On the house side, I have the bathroom pretty much done – just have to trim & install the doors. It turned out excellent, if I do say so myself. Planning to kill the weeds in the driveway, level it all out, and get new gravel brought in during the next couple of weeks. Then it’s on to the water proofing the basement, adding soffiting/gutters, and replacing the furnace/AC. Looking forward to literally having nothing to do and nothing hanging over my head besides laundry and dishes this winter! It’s nice now not having school, but I usually cram the summer full of projects due to the weather and usually having off from classes, plus yard work, vacation, and friend/family activities, I figured I wouldn’t really have nothing to do this summer.

DONE!

Published Monday, May 9th, 2011 at 10:54 pmNo Comments »

I’m done with school – forever! I sent in the take-home final exam and project this past Saturday night. It feels… surreal. I guess it’ll really hit me in the Fall when I’m not actually going to class. I decided not to walk for the diploma since it just didn’t feel right for me.

Now it’s time to finish the bathroom flooring and move onto adding gravel, water proofing the basement, replacing the furnace and A/C, wrapping the soffet/doors/windows with aluminum, and replacing the gutters. Not to mention painting my mom’s house and helping my brother with his bathroom. Hmmm… school isn’t sounding so bad after all. Ah well, one step at a time. On the plus side, the insulation and ventilation I added last Fall worked awesomely this winter. Not a single icicle, it was ridiculously hot in the house, and snow stayed on the roof quite a bit longer than everyone else’s in the neighborhood. Win!

We’re going camping for 10 days in early August. Unfortunately we couldn’t get in at Luddington, but hopefully some spots will open up before then. Katie and I are starting to hit up the park and gym more. I totally need to get back into shape and shed the 25 lbs I put on this winter.

Soooo close

Published Thursday, March 3rd, 2011 at 12:28 amNo Comments »

Only 8 more weeks of class left! Man, with everything going on those 4 years flew by. It’ll be weird to be done and not have to worry about classes any more. I’ve never had more than a summer off since… ever. Damn. Can’t wait to start working out some of the ideas I have kicking around in my head! Thankfully my final two classes this semester are pretty interesting: Entrepreneurial Management and Advanced Securities and Investment Theory. Unthankfully, they’re up at the main campus. At least the entrepreneurial class only meets in person every 3rd week – that was an unexpected surprise.

It’s funny, but after having the linoleum wrapped up in my basement for going on 5 years now, we decided to put tile in the bathroom. Turns out I’d have to remove the bottom row of wall tiles to install the linoleum (and cover the edges), which would be  a nightmare to pull off. Everything for the tile only rang up to $170 though, so it’ll be a lot easier, last longer, and look tons better. Win-win.

Katie’s car got stuck in what we though was the snow a few feet from the garage the other morning. Turns out it was a mud pile (after getting stuck again). I guess that means we’ll be doing gravel first thing this Spring unless I feel like getting her car unstuck from a huge mud pit every few days. No thanks! Between the gravel, soffeting, gutters, window wrap, basement water proofing, and AC & furnace for my side, I’ll be pretty busy. Maybe I can relax next summer? Haha, doubt it.

The investment club is officially not an “investment club” as of this week. We liquidated and divvied everything up earlier this week. The financial headaches were getting too annoying and weren’t providing enough benefit. We’re just planning to get together and discuss investment from now on, with no monetary requirements. We gave it a good shot, but I think this’ll work out better in the long term. No formal company, bank accounts, dues, financial paperwork, taxes, etc. Just getting down to business. I can dig it.

2011 Goals

Published Tuesday, January 4th, 2011 at 10:05 pmNo Comments »

My goals for 2011:

  • Read at least 6 personal novels/books (not going to list them out as my wants my change).
  • Finish my MBA.
  • Take my camper out to actually use at least twice this year.
  • Finish at least 3 video games all the way through.
  • Have 2 bone fires in the back yard.
  • Do either the Spring or Fall bicycle poker runs.
  • Bike the entire length of the Ohio Tow Path.
  • Get back up to benching my previous max of 320 lbs for real this year (seriously).
  • Be able to run, uninterrupted and at a 6 mph pace, for 4 miles.
  • Go mountain biking at least 4 times.
  • Lose 36 pounds to 209 lbs and keep it around there.
  • Finally (!) complete my upstairs bathroom remodel!
  • Replace my furnace & AC unit.
  • Replace all the aluminum soffiting & gutters around the duplex.
  • Wrap all the windows & doors with aluminum trim.

I’d say that’s a fair amount for learning, leisure, exercise, and home improvement goals for the year. I finish my MBA in early May, so it’ll be weird not having it in the fall. I guess I really won’t have an excuse for not hitting pretty much all of these goals this year, huh?

2010 Goals – Year End Update

Published Tuesday, January 4th, 2011 at 8:07 pmNo Comments »

Update on my goals for 2010:

  • Read at least 5 personal novels/books (including Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis, World War Z by Max BrooksThe Reason For God by Timothy Keller, The Demon-Haunted World by Carl Sagan, and three short Harry Potter related books by J.K. Rowling that I’ll count as a single book: one and two, and three).
  • Take my camper out to actually use at least twice this year. – Took it out for the weekend up at West Branch State Park, so half done with this one.
  • Do either the Spring or Fall bicycle poker runs. – Didn’t happen.
  • Get married and have the wedding of the year!
  • Have an awesome honeymoon!
  • Get back up to benching my previous max of 320 lbs for real this year, and actually bench that amount. – Definately been hitting the weights more since September, but I’ve been doing dumbbell benching instead of bar, so I’m not sure what I’m up to. I must be pretty close though, as my other exercises are close to what they used to be.
  • Be able to run, uninterrupted and at a 6 mph pace, for 3 miles.
  • Go mountain biking at least 4 times, one time being at Vultures Knob. – Went out twice this year, once at Quail Hollow and once at West Branch. So another half done.
  • Complete 4 more classes in my MBA program, leaving me only 2 more to go next year (!).
  • Finally complete my upstairs bathroom remodel! – Yea, didn’t happen. I did do Jill’s bathroom linoleum though, so doing my doesn’t seem as daunting any more.

So there ya go. 40% done, if you consider these all weighted equally. 50% if you count the two that are half done, and a bit over if you consider some of the books I read. Still, 55%, at best, isn’t too great. Do I need to set more realistic goals for next year, or work harder at the ones I set? I’ll have to keep that in mind when I make up my 2011 list in the next few days…

Camping time!

Published Monday, August 9th, 2010 at 5:04 pmNo Comments »

One step closer! I booked us two spots at West Branch State Park (hopefully the horrible website isn’t indicative of how they run the place) for the weekend of September 11th. One spot of us, and one for the in-laws. I’m totally excited to use the camper for the first time since buying it! Hopefully we’ll get some hefty use out of it over the many years to come. Can’t beat $26/night for a lake side view 🙂

So let’s see…

Classes start in 3 weeks. Bummer.
I’ll have to drive up to Kent for one of the classes. Double bummer.
I have yet to start the soffiting & insulation project on the duplex. Quadruple bummer (yes, that one counted as two).

Yep, that pretty much sums it up. At least this is my last year of school, for-ev-er. So that’s totally rockin’.

I upgraded to the latest gallery software for my personal gallery. I didn’t realize I was so far behind, whoops. I also got the Europe pictures in there, though have to still put the captions on them. They’ll come soon enough though.

Life, rebooted

Published Thursday, July 15th, 2010 at 10:14 amNo Comments »

After getting married then getting back from our honeymoon this past weekend, its been interesting slowly integrating my life with Katie’s. Well, I suppose she’s doing more integrating than I am since she’s moving in with me, but still. Its a process I know is going to take quite a while, and from physical stuff to financials to routines, there’s a lot to meld together, but I think it’ll be fun. Katie has spent the night a few times before, and so far it just seems like all this is an extended version of that – weird to get used to the fact that I won’t have to drive her home dead-tired at 1 in the morning ever again.

We’re hoping to do a quick weekend camp trip later this summer just to use the camper, then perhaps a longer one next summer down to Washington DC. Can’t wait!

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