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User Journal

Journal Journal: Eek. This whole last month... #1

I said I wasn't too good at sticking to these things. It's especially a problem because so much has happened in the last five weeks.

First off, the vacation was wonderful! I got up at 0300 so I could shower and drink coffee. Amber stayed up so she could make sure I woke up. She even made me breakfast. :) Her plan was to sleep in the car on the way there, but it didn't work too well. We left our house at 0400 and got on the 80/90 turnpike and followed it through Pennsylvania. After a scenic drive through the mountains, we found ourselves in Maryland. The check-in time for the Comfort Inn was 1400, and there was a traffic jam near DC. I had planned for that. I wish I had known before this week, that the center set of lanes are for thru traffic. :(

We made it to Richmond with an hour to spare, which is pretty close for a 9 hour drive.. an 11% tolerance! We were both exhausted and strung out from the drive, so we took a nap. Later that night we explored Richmond a little and tried to find a grocery store. I wished I had realized that booze and condoms are just about impossible to find in Virginia! We got some simple groceries to keep in our cooler and we stayed in that night.

We slept in significantly, so we had to cut a lot of our activities for the day out. I revealed to Amber that we were going to Monticello, and she was elated. We left immediately, and it was quite a drive to Charlottesville, but after our trip the morning before, it was insignificant.

When we got there, it was almost 1500. I bought our tickets, and they gave my change back in $2 bills. I wish I had realized it before I spent them. ("So how many two dollar bills do we have?" "Oh.. umm... none, but we have a full tank of gas!") We took a small bus up to the house itself, and we took a guided tour. After we were set loose in the back yard, we looked at the servant's quarters, and then made our way to the graveyard.

It was excessively hot that day. The temperature was 105 F, but the heat index was 115 F! Amber was starting to feel a little ill after walking up the low but long hill from the cemetary. I tried to encourage her to walk through the gardens with me, but she needed to sit down and get some water. This was the second time she had felt ill since we got there. After the house tour, our first priority was to find water, and then we made our way to the servants' quarters.

After a bit in the shade, Amber felt moderately better. It was already 1630, and the place closed at 1700. I wanted to hit the gift shop before we left, so I coerced her into the gardens. "So it's been a wonderful four years together hasn't it? ..." I really can't recall what I said, it had been what I was feeling at the moment. I told her how happy she made me. "Will you be my wife?" I was on one knee, and I pulled out the diamond ring I had bought weeks before. I had hidden it carefully during the vacation. What a smile she gave me! "Yes! Oh my god!" So, we bought a few souveneirs. Amber got a shirt, and I got a coffee mug. I bought my son a triquarter hat, which he wore for about two weeks. I let Amber use my phone on the way back to the hotel to call her family.

When we got back, I set out to buy some booze, but my key just wouldn't turn in the ignition! A panicked call to my brother-in-law Don provided my solution: My car was likely parked on a slight incline, and I had not used the parking brake, therefore there was too much pressure on my regular brakes, so I could not depress them further to unlock the wheel, nor turn the key. I woke up Amber, and she started the car after I lifted it back to relieve the pressure. Wonderful!

I had, while mulling over possible solutions of my own, walked down to the state liquor store and back. It was only two blocks away. After I had my car back, I drove down to buy extra rechargable batteries for my camera, and I got a good discount on a SD card at Staples. I picked up some condoms, and some ibuprofen to help Amber with the mild heat illness she had.

Virginia is a great place, but the entire state is a hill, and everything smells like a barbecue. We had to leave it the third afternoon, but not before a stop at the Stonewall Jackson Shrine. We watched two guys fire some muskets. It was neat. We passed up the Antietam Battleground (in the original plan) to try and make it to Gettysburg, PA (not in the original plan.) After a grueling mid-day drive, we missed visiting hours by over an hour. We got home around 2300, and I checked to see if I still owned anything. (Bad neighborhood)

I set up my computers, and coddled my crying cats, and then crashed hard on my own bed. What a week.

I waited to tell my family until I had a chance to tell my son in person the following Monday. His thoughts on the engagement: "I like it, and I'm excited!" When we took him to his mother's house later that evening, we decided to see my parents who live on that end of town. I called them, but they were at a restaurant (TGI Friday's) By the time my Dad passed the phone to my Mom, and she got outside where she could here me, I was already 90% of the way there. I told her my good news, and then pulled up next to her so Amber could show off her ring. My parents are kind of strange, so we weren't sure how they would react, but they were both overwhelmingly postive.

So, that's the vacation. Friends and school follow

User Journal

Journal Journal: Two Weeks

Wow. I'm not too good about writing regularly. Currently, I'm listening to "Moneygod" by my friend Deneva. I'm surprised by how good it is. She keeps sending me emails about how I should come see her show in California. Ouch, that's far away!

Currently Amber is outside tending to her flowers. We had a long talk about how she would rather I buy an engagement ring that take her on a vacation. So, I'll take her on a vacation anyways, and then spring the already purchased ring on her. Brilliant! Or, at the very least, slightly sneaky!

So she wasn't happy that my desk (in our front room) had somehow grown another monitor and keyboard. We decided that the nerd hierarchy starts with liking Harry Potter, at the least dorky, and then proceeds to talking like Jar-Jar Binks, and then having two monitors on your desk, and finally owning a replica sword. I know there was one more thing, but I can't recall it at the moment.

The point is, I bought a KVM switch. I got one of the Linksys ready made cable varieties. It's nice, double tap the scroll lock and I'm on Tau. Tau really does nothing but run BOINC, Milkshape, and my Freelancer server. My primary computer is Sigma, where I'm running slackware. My third computer thats sits behind my desk, Logos, is my webserver. It's a comfortable setup.

I've been helping my friend Sam maintain a webserver. He's run a server on windows before, but after a major hacking incident, he's learning to use his new box for serving webpages and storing backups. I'm also trying to get Jon on the same page, after a similiar incident. He had a different flavor of attack, and someone locked him out of his computer and set up an FTP account. Sam's attack was more of a mischief kind of thing.

They each run game servers also. Jon runs a world of Warcraft server, which I am now addicted to. Sam runs Ultima Onlina, with which he is trying to ensnare me. I'm going over there today to pick up a copy. Maybe I'm make a version of my WoW character, the male human paladin, Hamstone. Fists like ham, and strong as stone: Hamstone! I promise, I'll take it seriously tomorrow. No really!

We've been spending a lot of time with Jon and Sara. I've known Jon for about five years now. I've known Sara for about eight. Sara and Amber are really starting to hang out lately, which make me happy. Sara's brother is Tom, and we've been close friends for the better part of a decade now. He's writing an Oh My Goddess! fanfic, starring himself. It's fun to read, and only a little self-deprecating.

Well, I'm off to bathe and socialize. Maybe I'll get back to this in less than two weeks.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Washer and Dryer

So Amber bought a washer and dryer set. She dropped a lot of money on it, but it's taken up my every free moment since then.

It was delivered on Tuesday, but there was no hookup for it. I had to pry up the floor and run two copper lines, a drain pipe, and power. Her dad helped me out with that.

Wednesday, I took apart the kitchen sink and tried to finish the backroom. There was some errant tar paper floating around that caught on fire when I was soldering. We had to put it out with the extinguisher and it set me back a few hours. I did manage to finish the drain system, however.

Thursday I finished the electrical (it was merely a matter of having enough wire). I also finished plumbing the lines to the washer. I left in a connection for the sink and the outside hose. Unfortunately, there was a leak, but it was five in the morning by that time. I put the floor back in place, and hooked up the dryer and then went to bed. I was so tired I almost threw up. I didn't know I could be that tired. Water settled my stomach, so perhaps it was just dehydration.

Friday I fixed the last of the leaks, and hooked up the washer. It leaked. Turns out I needed a particular brass fitting. Then I bought the wrong size. Then I couldn't get it tight enough. I don't have a wrench and had to use my hands. Eventually, I had Amber call her dad to bring his wrench, then I had to go to work.

Then, the house shook. I thought someone hit it with a car. We live about two blocks from the port, and there is a large grain silo there, which apparently exploded. They closed off my section of town, and I didn't get to work until almost 5:30.

After work, I came home and Amber's dad was just getting started. We did it in no time. Dave helped me replace the exhaust vent (I had ripped it trying to get to leaks) and I had to rewire the dryer because there was a short somewhere. Soon, we were in business. We did laundry, got drunk, and player Risk.

As a historical aside, Dave used to date Amber's sister for years. They moved to Toledo together last year, broke up shortly thereafter, reunited, and broke up almost two months ago. I get along with both of them. I helped tutor Natalie in her physics classes, and I game a lot with Dave.

4:00 AM already? Time for bed. I'll write about today, tomorrow.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Big Summer

Well, yesterday was Tuesday, and one of my very rare free days. I just finished my physics degree last Thursday (yay!) and I've had to work Friday (amongst other days). Saturday through Monday, my son Christopher was here.

Then I had Tuesday, where I cleaned out the third bedroom in my house, currently a storeroom, so I could install the washer and dryer that my girlfriend Amber had just purchased. Her dad came by to help me run pipe beneath the house. I remember it being pretty tight under there, but I've lost seventy pounds since then. I wonder if I could open it up more by digging out a little earth?

I should mention that I asked her dad for permission to marry her, while I was on the way back from the hardware store. I intend to propose on our vacation in a few weeks. Otherwise, I try to act uncomfortably and irritated by the subject. She brings it up fairly often. We've been together four years this past Sunday, after all.

Back to business; I'm somewhat procrastinating finishing the washer hookup. My house was apparently built as some sort of public works project to try and teach the mentally handicapped basic construction skills. At least that's what it looks like. I also have to fix the nasty nasty leak in the lines for my kitchen sink, and run a line for the hose outside. I should do it all in one fell swoop. If I decide to screw with the sink, it will my my drain pipe assembly simpler, because I won't have to run yet another PVC line to the open drain in the middle of the floor.

If I seal off the bathroom properly, and get the city to fix the leak in their line in my basement, then maybe I won't have so many slugs downstairs. I'm glad I didn't spend much time in the boy scouts, because I'm not sure I wanted to know too much about the seven varieties of spiders and insects crawling over me when I was in the damp, leaky crawlspace. It reminded me of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom - when they are in the room where they are being crushed by the lowering ceiling and the only salvation is to endure a shirt full of bugs.

Well, I'm new to this journal thing. I can never commit to one. We'll see how this works out, as I blow enough time on slashdot anyways.

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