Monday, May 30, 2005

Mission Accomplished

FINALLY! Our weekend-long endeavor to get a new minivan is now complete.

As of around 12:30 p.m. today, K & I became the proud owners of our first-ever brand new vehicle...a silver Dodge Grand Caravan SXT with a whopping 4 miles on it when we drove off the lot.

In addition, it has the pretty cool stow 'n go seating where ALL the rear seats fold flat into the floor. It also has the very nice power sliding doors and power tailgate. That's going to be awesome for taking kids different places and dropping them off.

The only thing we didn't get was the DVD player because we can get that for about half of the price at somewhere like Best Buy or Circuit City.

And the best part? It's only going to cost us about $15 more per month than the payments we're making on our 7-year-old van (and still had about 18 months left to pay on it). We're doing what they call a "Gold Key Purchase" but it's really a 24-month lease. Without going into too much detail, I think we got a good deal on the residual value and we are fully planning on buying it at the end of the two years.

So right now we're in Happyville. I'll try and take pictures soon.

Until Next Time...

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Saturday, May 28, 2005

Adventures In Car Shopping

Somehow, K & I got a bug up our collective butts to start looking for a new minivan to replace our 7-year-old Grand Caravan.

We were quite disappointed that, even with 0% financing for 60 months, payments for the Grand Caravan that we want were still creeping up towards $400/month. Compare that to our current $235/month and it just equals a jump we're not prepared to make.

So today in the paper, we found an ad for a 24 month lease deal with advertised monthly payments of $199/month. So I called for more info and asked what the residual was...$14,700.

I thought this sounded like a great deal to be honest. We could lease with the intent to buy and not spend every moment worrying if the kids spill their fries on the seats or that kind of thing. Because I really think the van will hold its value at least that much over 24 months.

Well...I need to learn to read the fine print. Turns out there was $1,500 in rebates that we weren't eligible for becauses we weren't Farm Bureau members (moo!) and we didn't have an existing Chrysler lease. Well folks...when you tack $1,500 on to a 24 month lease, it jacks up those monthly payments a bit.

We haven't given up yet...even at that price, I still think it's a decent deal....just not as stellar as originally thought. Unfortunately, by the time we got to the finance application point, it was 7:30 at night and there were no responses from Chrysler corporate and now we have to wait until Monday.

We've NEVER owned a brand new car. I'm hoping we will come Monday.

Another annoying thing is the sales guy. I talked to one salesman at the dealer on the phone before I headed out there and asked for him when I arrived. Unfortunately, he was busy with another customer. So I got stuck with some yahoo who was young (maybe 24) and arrogant as could be. If the lease deal hadn't been that good, I would've walked away just because he was annoying.

And actually, a different dealership is open tomorrow and our neighbors were looking at a van there too today. We're thinking of going in and seeing what kind of 2-for-1 type deal we can get. But I'm not looking forward to spending another 2-1/2 hours in a car dealership.

Wish me luck!

Until Next Time...

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Thursday, May 26, 2005

School's Out!

Yesterday was K's last day of 3rd Grade. She also "graduated" from Brownies into Girl Scouts. And on Monday, K turned 9. That was after her slumber party on Saturday night with 10 of her friends.

We did manage to survive the weekend though, so that was good.

(How sad is it that it's Thursday and I'm just now posting about last weekend???)

Getting ready to head to a pitching lesson for K as she's pitching in a game for the first time tonight. We're having trouble getting the ball all the way to the plate. It could be a long night, but I'm hoping the girl giving her the lesson will have a big impact.

Other than that, life has been crazy with work and...well...life. Sorry for the lack of posts lately. I don't see it picking up dramatically anytime soon.

I've found myself trying to get to the gym more often and going to bed earlier. Put that together with the normal housework that needs done and it doesn't leave a whole lot of time for blogging.

Hope everyone's doing well and if I haven't posted at your blog lately, I know I've been delinquent in those responsibilities. I'll try to make amends soon.

Until Next Time...

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Saturday, May 21, 2005

Saturday Activity Checklist

10:30 a.m. - K's Soccer Game

11:45 a.m. - K's Soccer Team's Pizza Party

1:00 p.m. - K's Rehearsal for Dance Performance

2:00 p.m. - Attend neighbor/babysitter's graduation party

3:00 p.m. - K's Dance Performance @ Local Outdoor Theatre

7:00 p.m. - K's Birthday Party Sleepover with 10 other 9-Year-Olds

And in between those activities, we've had to vaccuum, do dishes twice, mow the yard, shower, bake cookies and several other activities.

It is now 4:19 p.m., Wife K is still at Daughter K's Dance Performance.

Wish me luck on the whole slumber party thing.

Until Next Time...

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Tuesday, May 17, 2005

One Giant Leap For Gutkind

So I've been doing a much better job about going to the gym and hitting the weights lately. I'm no Ah-nuld by any stretch, nor do I want to be, but I do want to get in better shape. I haven't seen a ton of weight drop off, but I figure it will come off eventually as long as I stick with it.

For it to really work, though, I need to start eating better (and less). I've been doing slightly better with that, though not as good as I was last year at this time.

Tonight was definitely not a good night.

Four slices of Domino's pizza for dinner. (And it wasn't even any good!) The highlight of the night was the Dave Matthews Band Brownie Swirl (or something like that) from Ben & Jerry's. It's vanilla ice cream with brownie chunks and raspberry swirl...quite tasty!!!

Too bad there's 1000 calories in a freaking pint!!!

Re: my comments about Noodles & Co. the other day...one other thing about the place that I liked...they were playing my favorite band, JACKOPIERCE, over the speakers. This NEVER happens, so I have to think it almost has to become my favorite new restaurant. But don't worry Papa Keno...you're still my favorite restaurant overall.

Pretty weak for a post after a week-long absence, but it's all I've got.

Until Next Time...

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Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Exercise, Food and Beer

I've been making a real effort lately to get back on the right track with my weight loss efforts. To do that, I've been trying to eat better. Some days are better than others, but overall, I think I've been doing better.

Part of this has also been getting to the gym more. I try to go every night on Monday through Thursday...alternating between weights and elliptical trainer. Last night was especially good as I was able to make time for both. Then, on Fridays, I try to go over the lunch hour to play basketball.

Once the kids get out of school, I'm going to get them memberships for the summer, so they can go to the kids area for free while I go workout or play basketball...that means I should get in 3 games a week instead of the 1 I do now.

Food

Today, I discovered the newly opened Noodles & Company near my house. It was awesome...I had the Pesto Cavattappi (sp?) and loved every bit of it. I can't wait to go back again. Now I really need to find the nutrition info to see if I should be eating it.

Beer

After the kids went to bed, I went out and joined a buddy for a couple of beers and a bowling video game. It was good just to get out for a little while and relax.

So that's been my day...how's everyone else doing?

Until Next Time...

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Sunday, May 08, 2005

Buenos Dias de Madre!

OK...I've never taken a Spanish class in my life, so I don't know if that's an accurate translation for "Happy Mother's Day" but I couldn't bear giving the same title in English that probably 70% of the bloggers out there used for today's entry.

That being said, we had a pretty good Mother's Day today. The kids all made K presents at school or here at home, so the holiday was a little easier on the wallet than it has been in the past. I got her a 1-hour massage gift certificate and she always seems to like those.

And I should have said the holiday started out a little easier on the wallet. By the time the day was done, we'd managed to do some damage.

We went to Lawrence, KS, home of the Jayhawks, to meet my parents, my brother and my sister for lunch at a place called Marisco's. I'd heard good things about the place and was eager to try it. I have to say I was disappointed. It's a combination Italian/Seafood place. The only bread they had before the meal were dinner rolls. If a place calls itself Italian, I expect loaves of bread with some olive oil and herbs to dip it in. On top of that, my pasta was lukewarm at best and the pepper cream sauce that was supposed to come on it had no kick at all. On top of that, virtually all of the dishes had seafood in them except for the most expensive steak entrees. K's not a seafood fan so she opted for a basic ziti with meat sauce...definitely nothing special. We probably won't go back there again.

After lunch, K & I decided to cruise around Lawrence for a while to point out some of the sights to the kids including the KU Campus and the Student Union, including the Jaybowl. I hadn't been there in years and was amazed at the changes.

We also went to a few KU stores to find some KU clothes for the kiddos. We were successful and I also picked up a couple of magnetic dry erase boards for my office. (I know...not real exciting, but hey, I'm happy with 'em.)

The kids did a GREAT job all day and didn't want to go home. So we headed back downtown to a candy store called Penny Annie's for ice cream and some candy and popcorn to go.

From there, we headed out to the overlook point where I proposed to K many years ago. The kids thought it was pretty cool, so that made me feel good.

We ended up eating dinner in Lawrence as well at a barbecue place called Buffalo Bob's. If you like a lot of french fries...this is the place for you. And the sandwiches are pretty good too. (On Sundays, you can get the Jayhawk Special which is a sandwich, a side order, a huge pile o' fries, an apple fritter and a 32 oz. drink....all for $6. Damn good deal if you ask me.

Finally headed home after that with the kids in great spirits on the ride home. I've never seen them handle a long day like that so well. I'm hoping it's a sign of fun road trips to come in the future.

So to all the moms out there, Happy Mother's Day!

Until Next Time...

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Thursday, May 05, 2005

God Damn BUGS!!!

So when spring finally arrived and the weather started warming up here in the midwest, our kitchen somehow became the spring break destination for ants everywhere. We couldn't turn around without seeing an ant crawling on a countertop or on a cabinet door. We sprayed and sprayed and then sprayed some more, but they kept on coming back. In the last few days, it's been a little better.

But this afternoon, K calls me on my office phone, "You have to get up here."

I knew it wasn't good news, but I went upstairs and saw our two front rooms and main entry way covered with dead termites. They weren't there two hours ago. They are now. We've got fucking termites EVERYWHERE!!!

So I've made an emergency call to Terminix...they're coming out in two hours to take a look. All I know is this is going to cost me a ton of money we don't have.

The last time we had to deal with termites about 4 years ago, it cost us $3,000 for the Sentricon system from a different pest control company.

Anyone want to make a donation???

(How's that for a lousy way to make a comeback? Here I've been absent from blogging for days and the first thing I do is beg for money...NIIICE.)

Until Next Time...

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