Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Grattis!

Stort grattis till kusin Christian och hans fru Ramona till tillökningen i familjen!!!

Har hört från säkra källor att hon är supersöt och bedårande...

Snälla, skicka foton någon innan jag går sönder av nyfikenhet! Och tänka att lilla J nu är storebror!!!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Lazy Monday

Trying to think of something fun to do, but I think I might just do nothing...

I got a lot of nice Christmas decorations on sale this weekend, so I need to pack all of those away until next year. It is nice knowing that next year we will have more than double the surfaces to decorate on! Ken and I found a lighted animated metal alligator (huge!) for outside, that is a bit better than all the snowmen and deer everyone else have... Plus I also got a lighted palm tree, which I can't decide if I will use year round or just for Christmas.

Sarah and her friend B are playing with LEGO in the living room, I have a load of laundry going, I did some work this morning, but other than that nothing is going on.

Tomorrow I have to leave my car at the dealer so they can check out the "check engine light" that came on over the weekend. It is probably just the gas cap sensor again, but it needs to be checked anyway. I am going to have them look at the brakes too. The brakes are pretty new, but they make all kinds of noises, which the garage that put them in said is due to sand in them. I am not sure if it is just sand like they said, so I want someone else give me their opinion. I am tired of listening to that squealing!

I am waiting for the mail to see if I get any more payments to deposit, should be a whole bunch coming in here soon, after the mail have been here I am going to pick up some photos at the pharmacy and get some groceries at Publix. Ken and I are making an effort to eat healthier dinners (but we did not skimp on the goodies over the Holiday). That means a lot of whole grains and more veggies. I am not super fond of whole grain pasta, but I am learning. We have also started trying different grains like wheat berries, quinoa, amaranth and millet.

I have been trying to change our ways, but Ken has not been very committed. Until he got the results back from his annual physical that his triglycerides were elevated! That seemed to wake him up, and now he is aboard the healthier-eating-train...

I just wish Sarah would start eating a more varied diet, she is truly a master of picky eating... Sigh...

Saturday, December 26, 2009

The Christmas Robo Dance

We had a very Nice Christmas Day... but what do you do when you feel like you might have eaten too many goodies? Why, you do the Christmas Robo Dance, of course!

Here is Sarah from last night showing you how it is done:


Thursday, December 24, 2009

Jul, jul!

Idag är det ju en vanlig dag häri Amerikat... så jag städar det sista inför morgondagen.

Nu tror jag att det bara är dammsugning och moppning kvar, så kan jag kanske få lite frid. Maken och dottern har åkt iväg till ett amiskt bageri för att hämta upp våra julpajer, i år blev det obligatorisk pumpapaj (smakar som pepparkaka om ni undrar) och pekanpaj, vilken är riktigt knäckig och god, ätandes varm med vaniljglass.

Ikväll ville vi ha något lite speciellt till middag, gärna fisk av något slag, så det blir modifierad bouillabaisse, sydfransk fiskstuvning. Modifierad eftersom vi hoppar över konstiga skaldjur och nöjer oss med två sorters fisk och räkor. Och GLÖM att jag skulle koka en levande hummer! Gillar inte ens hummer, och någon djurmördare tänker jag inte vara på självaste julafton.

Kunde inte komma på vart jag placerade saffranet efter att vi handlat igår, och som tur var hittade jag den i en av mataffärspåsarna... i soptunnan!

Det blir nog riktigt trevligt imorgon. De kommer oftast redan vid 9 på morgonen och jag brukar köra olika grönsaker och kex med olika goda dipper, som tex ost och spenatdipp. Och godis. I massor. Sedan blir själva middagen vid halv ett, eftersom de inte vill sitta och köra i flera timmar i jultrafiken efter att det blir mörkt. Då har vi precis lagom med tid efter middagen för att umgås och gå på en härlig långpromenad.

Jag har gjort en liten tidstabell så jag vet när vad ska göras, eftersom jag bara har en ugn och flera saker som ska in där i olika temperaturer. Så det blir till att planera bra! Ser fram emot att äta griljerad skinka (amerikansk dock).

Oj, nu blev jag riktigt hungrig, nog bäst att jag tar tag i golven så jag kan börja laga dagens middag!

Hoppas att ni alla har en riktigt avslappnad jul med massor av god mat och trevligt umgänge. För det är väl ändå det som gör julen, eller hur?

Monday, December 21, 2009

Julen är här!

För nu kom nämligen äntligen en leverans jag väntat på - mitt paket från Sverige!

Fina presenter, roliga minnessaker och kalendrar inför nästa år och MASSOR av gott godis! Och tack moster Ewa för att du tog över inköpet av smågodis i år, morsan har ju inte direkt koll på vilket smågodis att välja, så jag är SÅ glad för allt!

Pengarna jag väntat på har kommit; jag har börjat julstäda, räknar med väldigt lite jobb denna vecka, så det borde ju gå att få utfört.

Har gästlistan inför juldagen klar, det mesta av maten färdiginköpt, behöver i princip bara färska grönsaker och lite småplock...

Nu ska jag bara fundera ut vad för gott vi ska äta till julafton, vilket vi inte brukar fira här annars, men jag vill börja en ny tradition med att vi tre i familjen äter en lite finare middag just denna dag. På själva juldagen blir det amerikansk julskinka, som faktiskt är riktigt gott.

Så nu känns det ganska lugnt och skönt att bara gå och pyssla lite och fixa och dona. Sarah har varit ute och lekt nästan hela dagen med grannens barn, så hon har fått gott om motion och frisk luft. Vi tog en riktigt lång promenad idag med, det var bara 6 grader varmt, mycket kallt för oss i Florida.

Kram!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Friday!

So looking forward to a nice weekend! This week it has been hot here, with temperatures topping out at about 33C! So needless to say I am excited that the weather girl announced cooler weather this weekend...

I am trying to come up with something yummy to cook tonight, but I think I really am in the mood for soup. Perhaps fish and shrimp chowder? I also have some good DVDs waiting for us to watch...

Since Ken has a new employee starting tomorrow, he will be busy showing him the ropes tomorrow, so Sarah and I are going to brave the crowds and head down to the big mall in Sarasota. The plan is that I want to find something causal but still festive for us two to wear on Christmas. Sarah has grown out of all her stuff from last year, and I just don't see anything that I like in my closet...

Plus, we want to catch a movie, which we never did get to do last weekend as we had planned. I am sure we can squeeze in a mother/daughter lunch too...

Then when Ken comes home it is off for our Anniversary dinner at the Japanese Steakhouse. Yum!

I feel a bit lost without a mountain of work towering over me. I did today's projects in just a few hours this morning, and now I don't really know what to do with myself! I do have a lot of cleaning to do, but I want to wait until a day or two before Christmas, so I think I will just straighten up a bit and do some more laundry (there seem to be a never ending stream of laundry on this house!)

Yesterday I finally got that painting up that I won a year ago on our anniversary cruise! Ken had it professionally framed, and now finally it is on the wall. Only took a year!

I am planning on weeding out a lot of stuff (even though I am pretty good at that normally as well). I want to change the themes in the bathrooms, or you know, the colors and stuff. Since the new master bath will have darker tiles in brown shades, I think I will go with chocolate brown and dark tan rugs and towels.

For Sarah's bath I don't know. She wants all red stuff, so we will see what we can come up with. Her bathroom has a chocolate brown counter top and milk chocolate colored walls, so I guess red would work, or perhaps I will just keep the dark green palm tree stuff I have now, it is just my kind of thing anyway. But a change is always good to perk things up a little!

Got confirmation from my client that the payment they sent me was sent back again. Perhaps they should have double checked the account number with me this time? Now I will have to wait until Monday, and then they will PayPal me the money instead... I need a few thousands of that money for the earnest deposit on the house, so I am really upset. But on the other hand I got an unexpected check for almost $1,100 in the mail today, from an investment fund that had screwed something up and had to re-pay me for the fees they had charged... So bonus for that!

Sigh, just wish I could feel a bit more excited about Christmas. I think I might just have worked so much that I just didn't get caught up in the season yet. Hopefully with Sarah being home from this afternoon and on will help change that. I doubt there will be much work next week anyway, since most businesses are closed for the Holiday... So time to relax and get excited!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Heltråkig dag

Har en sådan där dag då inget känns kul... Har jobbat klart för dagen, men har ingen lust med nått! Ska väl vara glad att alla julklapparna är inslagna, fattas bara snören på en del...

Imorgon är det Sarahs sista skoldag, sedan lov tills tisdagen den 5:e januari. Har inte fått en stor betalning som jag väntar på från Sydafrika. Jag har kvitto på att pengarna skickats, det tar bara så lååång tid. Behövde de pengarna för typ en vecka sedan! Har ingen lust att bege mig ut till några affärer och beblanda mig med alla stressade julshoppare, men kanske ska jag ta mig till en bio den här helgen, behöver komma ut lite.

På lördag firar Ken och jag 11-årig bröllopsdag, och jag och Sarah har beställt middag på JoTo's japanese Steakhouse. Jag för att jag älskar maten, Sarah för att hon tycker det är kul att se när de jonglerar runt med allt mat på stekbordet. Hon gillar INTE maten och får äta innan så att hon inte blir hungrig... suck.

Behöver städa hela huset inför jul, har jobbat så mycket att det slammat igen ordentligt här och var. Försökte ta reda på hur många vi blir till julmiddagen, men farmor vet inte om hon kan stanna och äta (hon är hundvakt över julen) och Kens bror har inte pejl på om de kan komma förens kanske tidigast nu i helgen. Det hade ju varit bra att veta hur många jag ska planera inför...

Usch, hoppas att jag kan få skaka av mig alla olustighetskänslor och komma igång med att putsa och feja lite... Fast det är nog bäst att vänta med det värsta städandet tills dagarna precis innan jul antar jag.

Så förutom pengarna sitter jag och väntar på mitt årliga julpaket från min mamma (mormor). Det är tradition, och även om hon ibland skickar med lite konstiga saker så är det oerhört uppskattat! En länk till Sverige och det svenska. Min släkt och mina vänner är tyvärr oerhört dåliga på att höra av sig. Det är ALLTID jag som ringer, fast jag sagt att de kan ringa upp och så ringer jag tillbaka, eftersom jag ringer gratis till Sverige. Men inte. Inte ett samtal... Och paket! Gud vad härligt när man får något på posten, även om det bara är en liten påse saltlakris eller en svensk tidning eller nått. GULD värt, men ... icke... Så mitt julpaket är oerhört viktigt för mig. Och jag vet att hon skickade det förra måndagen, så det kan vara här när som helst!

Nog med tråkigt självömkande nu, ha en bra fortsättning på dagen!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Monday

Sarah is getting her swine fly vaccination this afternoon at school, we have to come by between 3:30 PM and 7 PM. I saw one walk-in clinic that advertised that they have the vaccine, so I just emailed them to see if they indeed do, it would be nice if I could get my shot here soon as well.

In an hour I am going to the dentist for a cleaning. And in between all that I am hoping to fit in a chunk of work as well... A busy Monday as usual!

Hus

Så det verkar som om vi har hittat oss ett hus ändå!

Jag pratade med en byggingenjör som ska komma och inspektera huset innan vi skriver på kontraktet, tillsammans med en vanlig husinspektör. Men han sa per telefon att det låter som normala, kosmetiska sprickor, inget man behöver oroa sig om alls.

Så vi lämnade in vårt bud, det godtogs av säljaren, så nu sitter vi och väntar på att deras bank ska godkänna affären. Jag är till 90 % säker på att det går vägen, eftersom vårt bud är inom bankens "smärtgräns" för hur mycket de kunde gå med på. Mäklaren gissar på ca 2-3 veckor innan vi hör något, och sedan är det bara vårt lån som ska fixas, men vi ville vänta med det tills januari så att vi kan använda oss av 2009-års inkomster för att få ett bättre lån.

Så om allt går som det ska bör vi kunna flytta in mot slutet av januari eller början av februari, det är deras bank som styr lite när det gäller kontraktskrivandet, det så kallade "closing". Vi har begärt 29:e januari och säljaren efter 45 dagar från att vi får grönt ljus från banken, men de har sista ordet när det gäller det, så det kan tom bli tidigare. Vi får se! Men vi borde höra ifrån deras bank innan jul, det hade ju varit en bra julklapp!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Väntar...

Inom 3 timmar borde vi få reda på om husägarna går med på våra krav. Då är det i så fall 90 % klart att vi får huset, eftersom deras bank har sagt att de går med på det pris som vi är villiga att betala... Sedan ska vi bara få lånet godkänt, men det får vänta tills i januari så att vi kan använda oss av 2009-års deklaration, vilket innebär att vi kan få bättre lånevillkor...

Jag är ganska lugn faktiskt. Det gör mig inget om vi inet får just det här huset, det finns massor av andra fiskar i sjön. Men det had eju varit härligt att ha det hela klart snart, så man kan koncentrera sig på att flytta och komma i ordning. Om det här nu går igenom borde vi kunna göra klart allt och få nycklarna i handen senast mitten på februari.

Sedan gäller det bara att få vårt nuvarande hus uthyrt, det är ju en helt annat historia. Vi har räknat med det värsta scenariot att det inte blir uthyrt på ett bra tag, så att vi vet att vi har råd att ta den smällen. Men det hade ju varit skönt om det var ur vägen snabbt... Vi får väl se vad det nya året för med sig!

Hoppas att ni har en trevlig helg, här städas det, sedan ska det grillas cajunkryddat fläskfile och bakas julkakor...

Friday, December 11, 2009

The weekend is here

Wow, another super busy week has past! I almost dare not go into the kitchen, it is such a mess, but there have been so little time to do anything around here. We haven't even been able to get the outdoor Christmas lights up yet...

Today should be a relativity mellow day. I am picking Sarah up in school at 1 PM for a dentist appointment, and then the weekend starts for us.

We bid on that house I was talking about, and we will see if they accept our terms. If not, we will look for something else, this is definitely a buyer's market. We are not in a hurry, even if I am a very impatient person, but I am pretty cool headed about this and not getting myself tied in a knot. I think that actually helps, not getting all caught up in everything.

I think we will find out tomorrow perhaps if they accept our terms. They should, since we are the only interested party they have at this time. If they accept we get the house for $200,000 less then what they paid in 2007 when it was brand new...

If I get paid this weekend I might take Sarah to the movies, she want to see the new Disney movie, The Frog Princess. Could be nice to get out of the house a bit after all this working.

Oh, and yesterday I got an intestinal blockage, it was so painful and I drank loads of hot tea all day trying to clear it out. It is usually a very good trick and it worked! I was so hungry after not being able to eat for an entire day, but I was too scared to eat anything. That breakfast sure tasted good this morning!

My brain is so tired of all the constant working, calculating numbers for the house and just stressing about it all. I went to see my rheumatologist on Wednesday and he said my shoulders and neck muscles are hard as stone, it might explain why my neck is so stiff!

Now I am just going to do some mindless web surfing, a luxuary I haven't had for awhile...

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

God Jul/Merry Christmas

This has become a new tradition for us; from all of us we wish you a Merry Christmas!



Send your own ElfYourself eCards

Monday, December 7, 2009

Jakten på huset-sagan

Hittade inga kuliga hus alls idag, hade inet direkt tid heller...

Men min väninna och mäklare hörde just av sig att hon hade fått inside information om att banken är villig att acceptera lite minde än vad vi hade planerat att bjuda för det där fina huset med väggsprickor... Så hon föreslog att vi bjuder på det med en klausul att erbjudandet hänger på att vi får låta en auktoriserad strukturell ingenjör inspektera sprickorna och grunden. Och om han säger att det är OK så köper vi huset och om han säger nej får vi backa ut ur kontraktet... Låter bra tycker jag!

Det kommer nog att kosta några hundra dollar, får se om jag får tag på någon kvalificerad inspektör imorgon. Vi får ju betala det eftersom det är ett short sale. Men det kan det vara värt tycker jag! Så fortsättning följer i "Jakten på hsuet"-sagan... :-)

Helg och husletande

Jag känner mig inte alls speciellt utvilad efter en veckas hektiskt jobbande och sedan en helg som skulle vara avslappnande. Känns mest som om jag farit runt som en skottspole och har knappt haft tid att fixa hemma, vilket verkligen skulle behövas...

I fredags kväll kokade jag svensk chokladkola, och det var riktigt gott, inget man äter varje dag precis. Försökte mysa till det lite, men det är svårt att hålla sig klar i skallen när man somnar som en sten varje gång jag lägger Sarah. Och att sedan försöka vakna igen för att vara trevlig och se på TV mm är inte så lätt! Fast eftersom hon går och lägger sig halv åtta på kvällen så brukar hon sova vid halv nio, jag kan ju inte gå och lägga mig då, då blir det ju en tidig morgon nästa dag...

I lördags var vi och tittade på huset som jag redan hade sett, plus ett till i samma kvarter. Det där nya huset var intressant. En familj med många barn hade bott där och huset var totalt trashed! Jag vet att de hade ekonomiska problem och var på väg att mista huset, men man måste väl inte leva som svin för det? Men om man bortsåg att det var skitigt och föreställde sig det med ny färg och nya golv så var det en pärla, kanonkök och badrum. Men Ken upptäckte ganska stora sprickor på utsidan av huset. Visst, vissa sprickor får man ju räkna med. men detta hus var ju bara några år gammalt och borde inte ha sådana djupa sprickor redan. Man kan gissa och anta att de inte har kompaktat marken klokt innan de byggde. Vårt nuvarande hus är ju 18 år och har bara minimala hårfina sprickor på utsidan. Så det huset blev nej.

Sedan över till det huset som jag redan sett. Ken blev lika impad som jag, men vid vidare undersökning på utsidan visade sig detta med ha hemska sprickor! Man vill ju inte köpa grisen i säcken, så det blev ett nej med... Det är bra att Ken har koll på detaljer, för jag kan lätt bli bländad av ett härligt hus och vill såklart ha det med en gång!

Vi åkte hem, jag hittade en hög andra hus att titta på, och de blev snabbt ratade enligt följande: dåligt kvarter, sprickor, sprickor, mitt i ett vältrafikerat hörn med hemsk insyn, och det sista som hade hemskt trafikljud på baksidan, en stor lång spricka över hela klinkersgolvet från hallen ända in i vardagsrummet, plus att det var för litet och i ett dåligt skolområde...

Så nu sitter vi på ruta ett igen. Vi har i alla fall kommit överens om att ta det långsamt. Jag vill ju flytta nu, såklart, men det är ingen panik. Det kommer nya hus hela tiden till salu, och det är ju såklart mycket bättre att känan att det är helt rätt. Det är speciellt ett område jag gillar som ligger väldigt centralt. Vi hade tom funderat på att bygga nytt där, men de har helt slutsålt. Det ligger så bra til loch har alla de bra skolor jag vill att det ska vara, när till Kens jobb och liksom mitt i smeten men i ett naturnära och tyst område. Så jag ska hålla ögonen öppna. Den som bidar sin tid, heter det väl... :-)

Nu ska jag kasta mig in i ännu en oerhört hektisk arbetsvecka, det känns liksom som om jag inte hinner med någonting alls nuförtiden, och snart är det jul! Tur att alla julklapparna var ordnade sedan länge...

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

House 2 update

The house looks very promising. Absolutely NO signs of bad drywall... The only thing wrong with it was minor paint touch ups, but nothing major at all. They seems to have been very generous in painting all the rooms, but at least the colors are nice. The only things I would want to do is replace the carpet with wood floors in the little front living room and the dining room. Who wants carpet in a dining room anyway? But that is not a high priority at all. The kitchen is to die for!

Looks like their bank already did the property appraisal, so we know what the bank would be willing to accept, which is good. The next step is to see it again on Saturday morning with Ken, and if he is game (and I have gotten paid so I have enough for the deposit), we will most likely make an offer...

Busy week

Monday was tough. Lots of work waiting. It didn't get better by the fact that my ISP messed up my Auto Reply function on my e-mail. They lost 5 days worth of emails. So I have no idea of what important stuff I might have missed, very stressful. At least I was able to contact the three clients I am actively working with right now, so they could resend anything they had sent me over the 5 days. Not fun!

I didn't even get a minute to eat breakfast or lunch, it was just too much stuff to do. Not until I went to pick up Sarah did I realize how hungry I was, so I ended up eating brunch at 3! And then of course I was too full to eat any dinner, so I just had some tea and sandwiches. And then on top of that Ken really pissed me off and we had a huge fight via email (!). When he got home we got it all sorted out, luckily we are both people who don't like to scream and like to talk things out. Plus, I have become a lot more tolerable over the years ;-)

Today I should hopefully have a more normal work flow, I promised Sarah we would put up all the Christmas decorations this afternoon. Plus I could really use to do some laundry, but that will have to wait until tomorrow. Just need to get caught up a bit more.

To make time even shorter I am going to look at a house today at 10:30 with my Realtor and her husband. I am not going to say anything until I have seen those copper pipes :-). This house is in the same wonderful neighborhood as the other one, not as nice on the outside, but very nice inside. And it is by a different builder, one that has so far not been associated with that defective drywall. But since I know what to look for, I should be able to determine if it has it or not.

The house was built in 2007, so it is still in the risk zone. The house does not have as wonderful view, but at least it is lake front. And a big plus is that it is already fenced for the dogs.

So if I like what I see we will see it again this weekend so Ken can see too, and then we will put an offer down if we both agree. This is also a short sale, but they had almost completed all the steps when the buyer got tired of waiting and walked, so at least we don't have to wait months and months, we should get a fairly fast answer as we are allowed to just step in where the other buyer left. So keep your fingers crossed that there are NO bad drywall!

Monday, November 30, 2009

Blue Ridge Mountain Trip

We had a really nice little vacation up in the north Georgia mountains! The trip up there took a bit longer then we had expected due to all the extra Thanksgiving traffic. We left home at 4:20 in the morning and got there right before 6 in the evening. A long day in the car!

We tried to do stuff outside as much as possible, and we enjoyed several nice hikes. I was surprised that nobody whined, even though we sometimes were out for hours hiking in the cold. Everyone seemed to really enjoy the beautiful nature and the thrill to experience something a bit different. Except for the dogs, all of us did however get nose bleeds. I guess it had something to do with being so high up, the air being thinner and colder.

Here is a summary of the trip with pictures:

Thank goodness for that portable DVD player, it was a loooong drive!

We drove by several cotton fields in Georgia, something we are not used to seeing in Florida

Finally we reach Atlanta, a city probably ten times the size of Tampa

The cabin, perched in a beautiful wooded mountain area. The road up there was very steep and it felt like we would drive off the edges and plummet down. I guess we are not used to anything but flat roads!

The view from one of the two back porches

The little time we did spent in the actually cabin was often enjoyed by me in this way, in front of the fire, with two dogs curled up next to me and that wonderful view out the glass doors...

Sarah took the opportunity to roast some marshmallows.

We did brave the cold and enjoyed the hot tub. It was pretty nice sitting in that hot bubbling water, a glass of wine in hand and gazing out over the mountain vistas. It was not so fun, however, when it was time to get out of the tub and run inside in the cold! It was just a few degrees Celsius at this time...

Our first hike was on Springer Mountain. Its elevation is almost 4,000 feet (1152 meters). This is where the Appalachian Trail starts. You can actually hike by foot all the way from here to Maine! That is 2,175 feet, or 3 500 km! This entire area used to be Cherokee land. During the 1830s all the Cherokees were forcefully removed from this area along with other states and moved to the Indian Territory, which is present day Oklahoma. The trail which the Indians walked is commonly called the Trail of Tears. Around 4,000 Indians died during this relocation...

Part of the reason they wanted all the Indians out was the first US gold rush, which was in the Dahlonega, Ga area in the late 1820s. This was before the gold rush started out West. I will talk more about the Dahlonega gold rush below.


After a few hours of hiking up pretty steep terrain on Springer Mountain (and that was after 1.5 hours drive up the mountain on very skinny roads), we reach an area called Long Creek Falls. This is a pretty wide waterfall with about only a 50 feet (15 m) drop. Since it was Thanksgiving we had almost the entire mountain to ourselves, and it was a nice feeling just being out in nature in such an untouched area.

After our hike we explored some other parts of Springer Mountain, like this area above.

On the day after Thanksgiving we headed over to the Consolidated Gold Mine in Dahlonega, GA.
You can click on this link for more information about the first gold rush.

We took a tour of the mine, now a museum. It was a long way down into the deep, not for anyone with claustrophobia! It was very fascinating to learn about the harsh conditions these miners worked under in the mid and late 1800s.

We also saw a few Eastern Bats, which were all in hibernation in wait for spring.

After our tour we got to try and pan for gold, and we were actually lucky enough to find some, not much, but real gold!

On our way back to the cabin we stopped at several places just to enjoy the incredible views.


On Saturday we decided to visit the popular Amicalola Falls State Park. Amicalola is Cherokee and means "Tumbling Waters", a very fitting names for this waterfall with a 729 feet (222 m) drop!

Here the hiking was in many parts "tourist friendly", though there were some longer and more strenuous trials as well. At one point there is also 629 steps leading up to a better view of the falls. We sure got a lot of exercise during this trip!

Amicalola Falls

Even the dogs liked the trail, though they skipped the part with the stairs...

A closer look

Here Sarah and I are at a lookout at the top of the falls.

The view from the top of the falls stretches far and long over the valley and surrounding mountains.

High on this mountain was a lodge with a really nice restaurant. We had such a breathtaking view from our table, a truly special lunch!

From the window at the restaurant we saw this groundhog basking in the sun. Cute!

After we left the state park we drove by a place called the Amicalola Deer Park. Here they help conserve animals of all sorts, and all the money they make goes to help mentally retarded children and youth. What a wonderful place, we had so much fun here!

On of the more tame deer came up to be fed some dried corn...

...but he prefered to actually eat peoples clothes! Perhaps he thought he was a goat?

There were all kinds of animals here, llamas, horses, goats, emus and others, all very tame.

Lots of deer!

More deer... They even had some Asian Sitka deer

After a sleigh ride (well, more like a hay ride), we actually got to visit Santa and his wife in their cottage. When asked what she wanted for Christmas, Sarah said: "A real tiger". Lets not hope Santa grants THAT wish!

They also had a Pyrenees dog (HUGE) that loved sniffing our dogs through the slightly opened windows (probably scared the crap out of poor Bob and Stan inside the car). Unfortunately huge dog meant huge slobber, and my car was a mess after he was done with it!

Then on SUnday we left the cabin at 7 in the morning and we got back at 6 PM last night. We are all very pleased with all that we saw and experiences; we had a great time!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Decision

After talking it over, looking at the photos of the copper pipes it is just becoming more and more clear that this house is a dud. Yesterday we officially withdraw our offer on the house, and we are now starting over looking for a house.

It feels really crappy to have lost out on such a great opportunity, but things are what they are, and we do not want to waste any more time or effort on a lost cause.

So I am in full house finding mode. There are not exactly that many houses that fit most of our requirements. I might find a beautiful, large house with the right price, but then it is in a crappy school district... The schools are important, I want to make sure Sarah goes to an A-rated school where her chances of having a good learning environment.

On Monday S and I are going to come up with a list of contenders, and hopefully we can set up viewings for Thursday next week.

We are not in a hurry, but I am of course very excited about finding something, and would have liked to move yesterday, but we need to wait until at least January to close anyway, so no big rush at all. I rather take my time and find something really good.

Today will be a super busy day, lots of work to finish before having 5 days off, then a lot of prep getting the house ready before we leave, plus doing laundry, washing the dogs, packing the car so it is ready for our 4 AM departure tomorrow... Phew!

Monday, November 23, 2009

House update

S, her husband J and I went to the house this morning and spent almost an hour looking around.

My main concern was to look for signs of that defective drywall, since I now know the signs to keep en eye out for.

We looked at the copper wiring in an electrical outlet as well as the two major copper lines in the two air handlers (that handles the AC). All of them were black with corrosion...

This is a very strong indication that this house unfortunately has the defective drywall. To remedy this we would have to gut the entire house and replace all the walls and all the plumbing and electrical wiring. Not exactly something we are interested in doing.

Of course, I am nto an expert. But I do know these things we looked at are a clear indication this is most likely not the house for us. Even if they slashed the price in half, it would cost probably around $200,000 to fix.

The next step is to wait for their bank to give us a yes or no. If it is a yes, we will then hire a specialist who is certified in detecting defective drywall. The inspection is only $148, and if they confirm our suspicions we walk away from the sale...

Since I am quite sure the inspection will just confirm what we already suspect, I will start looking at other houses. It really sucks when we have found such a beautiful place! But, there are plenty of other fish in the see, so we will just have to keep looking...

In my opinion the house is a loss for us, but we will wait and confirm with an inspection of course. I just hope we hear from the bank soon, so we can end this torture...

Just look at the view from the balcony! I took this picture this morning, and if you look, you can see a 10 foot alligator swimming around in the lake! What a nice view in deed... Sigh...

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Lots of work

It was getting a bot stressful when the projects starting rolling in from left and right yesterday. I knew I had a working weekend ahead of me! I started to feel a bit worried how I would be able to finish it all.

But, as always, I seem to work really well under medium-high stress. I sent Sarah to work with Ken so I could get the house to myself. And then it was like my keyboard was on fire! I managed to do two days of work in just 7 hours, but my hands are kind of sore.

I still have a bit to go with another project tomorrow, and more on Monday, but I know that it is all under control now. Nothing to worry about.

Normally I try not to work on the weekends, but I am on a mission to make as much money I can before the loan application is finished. I have a little credit card debt to pay off, and it feels pretty great knowing I am well on my way.

2010 is going to be the year when the only debt I have is the house mortgage(s) and my Swedish student loan... A nice feeling! Finally I will be able to save up a bit more and also travel more to Sweden!

It was tough between 2003 and 2008 since I was sick so much during these years. Hard to work and make money when you are in the hospital or just really sick at home. Plus, I had Sarah to take care off. Now when she is in school it is a lot easier to get stuff done. And I feel great too!

Unfortunately there is no sick pay when you are self employed, plus no money from the government when you are pregnant and have a child. No "barnbidrag"! So I often had to rely on credit card for essential purchases, especially when Sarah was just born.

Plus I never really took a hold on the situation and just paid off the cards. It was just not something I was able to start thinking about until just this year, which has been a fantastic year regarding work and health.

So that is my plan. No more credit card debt! It will hopefully be taken care of during next year, and I sure am going to enjoy the feeling of getting out from under those high interest cards. I actually use a free web site called www.CreditKarma.com. There I can monitor my credit score and my overall financial health. I can also run simulations to see what would happen to my credit score if I missed a credit card payment, paid off so and so much etc.

I also get the once annually free full credit report from www.AnnualCreditReport.com. This is the only web site that you can (after a federal mandate) get access to your credit report from all three major credit bureaus in the US. You can log on once annual, and there is NO CHARGE.

If you live in the US, you should definitely do this, it is an important part of your life and it is worth keeping and eye on. Not to mention to watch for red flags that your identity have been used by someone else. But the Credit Karma is a good and free tool that I recommend as well. It makes me feel responsible and kind of excited on working to improve my credit rating, but I was happy to find out I was doing pretty good already!

Here in the US your credit score really make a difference. It can not only be your yes or no to buying that dream house or getting that car you want, it is actually often used to determine if you can rent an apartment or even get employment! So if you have no clue and live in the US, check these sites out. It is well worth it, and such an important part of your future!

At least I feel like I am more in control of my financial well being now...

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Change

All of a sudden I am sitting here with work all up to my ears - plus a working weekend to look forward to...

So I had to reschedule the house viewing until Tuesday morning. I need to make so much money I can right now in preparation for the move. So the house will have to wait a few more days.

:-)

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

I am so excited!

On Friday morning S, my friend and Realtor will get to see the house we are (hopefully) buying! I asked if it was possible to see it again, since I felt a bit awkward the last time since the owner was there and it felt a bit rushed. Not exactly the best possibility to see all the details.

So on Friday morning S and I will have the entire house to ourselves! I am bringing my camera to take lots of pictures, and I will also take measurements of the rooms, especially the bedrooms, since I don't have that info.

I will also look for signs of that faulty drywall, it can be seen as corrosion on copper wires on appliances and electrical conduits, so I will keep an eye out for that...

I took my long walk (so nice out), took my shower, but I will skip the house visit and wait until Friday instead.

I will feel like a kid in a candy store! So at least I get to LOOK at "my" house a little more.. until we get word from their lender if it is ours or not.... So VERY exciting for me, who is the most inpatient person in the world. It is really torture to wait and wait and wait...

Saknar

inspiration för att få nått vettigt gjort alls känns det som!

Jobbar på i lite halvfart sådär, inte jättemycket att göra. Förbereder lite smått inför en heldag i bilen nästa onsdag. Har bland annat beställt ett sorts bord som fästs på sätet framför Sarah, ungefär som ett flygplansbord som kan fällas upp. Blir nog bra att ha när hon ska måla, leka och se på film i bilen, speciellt eftersom hon måste dela baksätet under resan med två hundar!

Annars känner jag mig riktigt blä... liksom ingen energi alls. Ska försöka släpa mig ut på en långpromenad med hundarna och sedan in i duschen (vilket blir härligt bara jag kommer iväg).

Sarah slutar 13:15 idag, så jag funderar på att lasta in hundarna och åka direkt till "nya huset kvarteret" efter att vi hämtar henne. Vill liksom känna av området lite mitt på dagen under en vardag sådär, plus att kika (spionera) lite på huset såklart. Det ska bli underbart väder idag, uppemot 25 grader varmt men inte alltför hög luftfuktighet. Och jag vet att Sarah gärna gör ett besök på den coola lekplatsen där...

På tal om bilresan nästa vecka. Thanksgiving är ju på torsdag, troligen den största helgdagen, om inte i alla fall likvärdig med julen. Sarah har ju sådan tur att hon får en extra ledig dag på onsdag, så 5 dagar ledigt! Härligt!

Det ska inte bli kul att gå upp klockan 4 på morgonen (tar 9½ timma upp till stugan, och det är inte räknat med pauser emellanåt...)

Jag funderade på hur sjutton vi skulle få plats med all mat i bilen, eftersom det mesta måste hållas kallt. Kollade dock upp och hittade en trevlig mataffär som har öppet dygnet runt nära stugan, och de hade dessutom färdiga kalkonmiddagar man kunde beställa. Kanon! Så vi har nu beställt kalkon med alla tillbehören och det är bara att svänga förbi där och hämta. Och jag kan ju handla all annan mat och gott som vi vill ha över Thanksgiving-helgen på samma gång, så vi behöver bara packa det vi vill äta och dricka på vägen upp!

Jag har laddar min Sony eReader med några bra svenska och engelska böcker, så jag har något att sysselsätta mig med under den lååånga bilturen upp och ner... Ken är nervös att vi ska stöta på björnar unde rnågon av våra hiker som vi planerar att ta där uppe i bergen, så han har införskaffat en björnspray! :-) Det är en enorm flaska, lite som en liten brandsläckare ungefär. Tror att sprayen är ungefär som riktigt stark pepparspray... Hoppas nu bara att han inte sprayar ner OSS istället, ha ha! Nej, en björn ser jag helst på mycket lååååångt avstånd, men ser fram emot att uppleva naturen där uppe i bergen. Det blir nog bra.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Segt idag

Har chattat via datorn med teknisk support för mitt virusprogram, Norton 360. Självklart var supporten i Indien, vilket inte alls är speciellt förvånande nuförtiden. De lyckades dock inte fixa problemet, det verkar värre till och med. De ska ringa senare och kolla om det fixat sig, men så är ju inte fallet. Tror att det är nått med Windows 7, det är ju alltid lite saker att reda ut när man får ett nytt operativsystem. Dessutom har min skrivare mystiskt nog avinstallerats!

Och teckensnittet Verdana är borta... fet stil och kursiv stil finns fortfarande, men inte den vanliga... Mystiskt igen!

Känner mig lite rastlös för det här med huset. Det verkar ju som om det händer saker bakom kulisserna, men jag vill veta hur det ska bli NU. Ken tycker bara att det är bra att det dröjer, eftersom vi inte vill ansöka om lånet förrens i januari när vi gjort vår deklaration. Då kommer vår inkomst för 2009 räknas med, och eftersom den är så pass mycket högre än året innan kommer det att ge oss en mycket bättre räntesats. Och det är ju bra såklart.

Standard för en sk shortsale är ca 3-4 månader innan det är klart, så det är ju i början på januari eller februari. Vår mäklare, min kära vän S, tror att vi kommer att få besked nu i november, men vem vet. Det vore ju en trevlig julklapp att veta om det blir nått eller inte. Lite frusterande som nu i helgen när jag och Sarah var på IKEA. Jag hittade en massa kul, men ingen ide att köpa nått nu känns det som eftersom vi inte vet hundra vilket hus det blir ännu. Suck ja. Nu ska jag kolla lite på TV tror jag. Har liksom inte lust med nått annat. Fast jag borde planera lite inför Thanksgiving eftersom det ska med en del i bilen inför 9½ timmars bilresa upp till bergen på onsdagen dagen innan...

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Slow week

Weird going back to normal work pace after being so busy for so many weeks. I think I like a little more action, actually!

Thanks to the hurricane, it looked gray and dreary outside. A little rain, lots of clouds. Cold for me, but still at 17C, and I know it is suppose to go back up again this weekend...

I talked to the people we are renting the cabin from yesterday, and she said we can probably count on weather around 10C during the days and a few degrees C plus over nights during our stay. We were kind of hoping for some snow :-)!

Today I just have a little bit of work to do, then probably laundry... But I am feeling very slow and lazy today, could be because the weather is making all my lupus ridden joints all stiff and uncooperative...

We get news updates here and there about the house. Looks like at least there is some activity on the bank's side, so that is good! I would have loved to have a yes or no before Christmas, so we could know if it is going to happen or not... And I am anxious to do the house inspection if we get a yes. And it that is OK, then, THEN can I finally be excited about this whole thing and start planning a bit more!

We are still looking at the market and keeping an eye on other houses, just in case this one falls through. I will go and see a few places with S, our friend and Realtor. If not, we can have lunch and catch up on things...

Here is a picture I took of the house when we were driving by one day... still not a reality, but hopefully soon:

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Veterans Day

No school for Sarah today due to it being Veterans Day. I finished ALL my big projects yesterday, so except for some small stuff, not much work for me today.

Monday night when Sarah went to bed she was covered in little red dots. She was completely fine otherwise, so I took a wait and see approach. Sent her to school the next day. I called her doctor to see if they had any ideas, but they just said it was a concern and that they want to see her.

Much less dots today, but might as well have it checked out. Could be an allergic reaction to the (regular) flu vaccine, or some kind of reaction to the strep throat she had a week or two ago. You can get Scarlet Fever from strep, and that rash looks like that. But, she has no other symptoms, so I don't know. I guess it can't hurt to let the doc take a peek at her, we live just a stones throw from his office anyway...

Hurricane Ida is giving us rain and wind, so we can pretend it is fall, though it is still warm, warm, warm.

A big HUG to Sophia!!! I hope things will get better for you soon! Thinking about you and wishing I could be there...

Monday, November 9, 2009

Ville bara nämna...

Jag pratade just med Ken, och det verkar som om han har exakt samma tankar som jag, så det är ju skönt att veta att vi står på samma ruta, så att säga. Nu får vi väl se vad det blir av det hela...

Helgen som varit...

Jag vet faktiskt inte helt säkert var jag står i hela den här situationen. Kens dotter var väldigt trevlig och vi hade trevligt under helgen. Hon verkar vara smart och tänker smart i de flesta situationer.

Vi började fredagen med att kolla in campus på University of South Florida, och de hade flyt och lyckades komma med på en privat entimmesrundtur. Själv hade jag fått i mig nått som inte var så snällt mot magen kvällen innan, så jag satte mig i bilen med en iste från Starbucks och en skvallertidning och njöt av det underbara vädret. Tyvärr var magen i uppror hela helgen och jag blev ganska så svag av all uttorkning som följde, men det var ju inte hela världen.

Efter USF åkte vi till Stetson Law Scool, en av de bästa graduate-skolorna om man söker fortsatt utbildning inom rättsväsendet. Hennes ultimata plan är att antingen bli advokat och jobba med ungdomsbrottslingar, eller kanske inom polisväsendet med samma inriktning. Vi ville visa vad vi har att erbjuda vad gäller skolor i vårt område, och jag tror hon fick en bra inblick.

På fredag kväll åt vi en trevlig middag på The Sandbar, en av våra favoritrestauranger mitt på stranden, och vi fick se solen gå ner over Mexikanska Golfen.

På lördagen körde vi runt lite och kollade bl.a. in den skolan där hon om hon väljer att flytta ner här, kommer att gå sina första två universitetsår. Efter det var det dags för lunch nere vid Sarasotas Marina Jack och en promenad runt den fina parken där. Sedan bar det av på en 2 timmars båttur på Sarasota Bay, och det var härligt väder dessutom, så väldigt njutbart! Vi fick se 5 delfiner, inte illa!

Efter det stod shopping på schemat, och när vi väl kom hem på kvällen var vi alla väldigt möra, så det fick bli lite pizza till middag... Jag gick och la mig med Sarah, var fortfarande ganska dålig efter magattacken.

I söndags var det tidig morgon som gällde och vi åt frukost på Manatee Beach och sedan njöt vi ett par timmar med solande, snäckletande och bad (och ännu fler delfiner!). Vi åkte efter det ut en sväng till norra tippen på Anna Maria Island, och sedan längs med öarna ner till Sarasota och inåt landet, för ett besök i Myakka River State Park. Alligatorer var det beställt och vi fick se MASSOR! Det var väldigt lågt vatten, och de låg i stora klasar längs med vattnet och solade sig, riktigt häftigt!

Sedan bar det hemåt för att grilla lite och slappna av, och idag är det hemresa.

Det jag känner är att hon verkar ha väldigt svårt att släppa någon nära inpå. Jag är väldigt öppen själv, och förutom lite historier här och där var det väldigt svårt att få ett grepp om hennes personlighet. Saken gjordes ju inte heller bättre av att hon och hennes make sedan juni grälar via SMS och mobil konstant. De hade bestämt sig för att skiljas, men det går upp och ner hela tiden. Ena minuten kan hon vara glad för att han sagt något snällt, och andra minuten gråter hon tyst i baksätet för att han just SMSat något elakt... Hon verkar ha svårt att se sin situation klart, hon vet att han inte är bra för henne, men samtidigt kan hon inte hålla sig borta...

På grund av allt det här dramat som pågått över helgen (i tysthet och mestadels via SMS) känns det som om hon har varit lite borta i tankarna, och det har ju inte direkt hjälpt. Jag förstår att hon inte har haft det så kul när hon har växt upp, och att hennes miljö däruppe i Ohio inte direkt är den bästa. Hon har ju den rätta driven och ambitionerna, men hon verkar vara rätt beroende av sina kompisar åsikter osv.

Just nu lämnar jag allt detta åt Ken. Jag kommer inte längre att jobba proaktivt för att hon ska flytta ner här. Jag vet att Ken gärna vill det, men jag vet inte om det är rätt just nu för oss eller henne. Jag tror inte att hon är redo alls, men samtidigt skulle hon säkerligen behöva komma ifrån miljön däruppe. Jag vet inte.

Själv säger hon att hon nog lutar åt att flytta ner här, men att hon vill komma ner några gånger till, kanske stanna lite längre innan hon bestämmer sig. Det är ju smart tänkt. Men å andra sidan börjar terminen första veckan i januari, och vi har inte exakt mycket tid ledigt fram tills dess. Ska hon komma så får det ju i så fall vara i mellandagarna, men då blir det ju väldigt snävt med skolstarten om hon helt plötsligt ska fixa med det om hon beslutar sig för att flytta.

Och i och med att vi själva håller på med en så stor grej som att flytta, och Ken är på väg in i deklarationssäsongen, så tror jag det skulle vara enormt jobbigt allt det här. Och hon har helt klart unfinished business däruppe.

Min åsikt skulle nog vara att avvakta. Kanske vänta tills höstterminen. Då kan hon få ordning på sitt privata liv däruppe, vi kan komma i ordning i nya huset, Ken kommer att ha mer tid den tiden på året, och hon får dessutom chans att komma på besök flera gånger, känna sig för och tänka över det hela. Verkligen få chansen att lära känna varandra och vara säkra på att det är rätt beslut.

Men i slutändan så är det ju hon och Ken som måste fatta beslutet. Vad det än blir så accepterar jag det, men jag tycker det är onödigt att hasta in i en situation. Jag vet inte, allt är ju så nytt ännu, men så känns det nog för mig just nu. Vad tycker ni?

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Award and visitor

Today I went by Sarah's school to see her get her award. Apparently this is the first time they are doing this at her school, but it was a lot of fun! Sarah looked so small up there on the big stage!

I guess the awards are a type of Honor Roll for students that are doing great academically, and not for being a good citizen as I thought it would be. They don't get actually grades in first grade, like A, B, and Cs, but they still get a type of grade. And I guess she is doing really good in school. She was very proud!

Here she is with her award flanked by her teacher, Mrs S:

So this afternoon Ken's daughter arrives! I bet she is as excited about it as we are!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Höststädning

Eftersom jag har jobbat väldigt mycket på sistonde är det svårt att få plats med en riktigt rejäl höststädning på schemat... så jag har tagit dte lite då och då. Idag är det dock 90 % städning som gäller. Eftersom Kens dotter kommer imorgon kväll så är det ju extra kul att kunna ge ett bra första intryck!

Imrogon ska jag till skolan och se på när Sarah får någon sorts utmärkelse, och sedan är det klippning som gäller hos min underbara frisör Patricia. Och efter det är det upphämtning på skolan och sedan hem och börja förbereda lite inför middagen som ska vara klar när de kommer från flygplatsen... Så inte mycket utrymme för städning imrogon, alltså! Jag tror det bara blir att tvätta sängkläderna åt vår gäst, annars måste allt vara klart.

Idag har jag dock lite redigeringsjobb som måste vara klart idag, men det är så gott som fixat redan...

Igår tvättade jag mängder med tvätt (kändes det som), och dessutom fick hundarna sig ett välbehövligt bad. Jag använder ett underbart hundschampo från Crazy Dog som heter Rainforest, och både hundarna och huset luktar helt underbart fräscht efter badet! Kanon, inte alltid man kan säga att våt hund luktar gott... :-)

Dessutom gav jag mig på att tvätta en del fönster och glasdörrar, vilket var mer än nödvändigt. Jag skulle gärna tvätta resten av fönstren (det blev mörkt igår kväll innan jag hann klart), men det är tveksamt att det finns tid för det idag. Men kanske! Här i Florida blir det mycket skitigt fort, och dessutom så har de nedre delarna på fönstren en sk "bug screen", en skärm med myggnät, och GISSA om mycket skit hamnar i och emellan denna skärm! Inte helt lätt att sätta tillbaka tycker jag, så därför drar jag mig ofta för att tvätta fönstrena. Men maken var snäll och ploppade fast alla skärmarna jag tvättat igår kväll i svartaste mörkret... med risk för ormar och mygg!

Nu har jag dessutom hört att det ska bli underbart väder med början på fredag, med svalare klimat bara upp till 26-27 C, det låter helt perfekt, för jag är verkligen trött på att ha över 30 grader varmt varje dag... Vi har en hel del utflykter planerade inför helgen, så det kommer ju som på beställning. Kens dotter har aldrig sett havet, så DET ska bli ett sant nöje att visa henne det. Det blir både frukost, lunch och middag på stranden plus en båttur med...

Nu är det dags att sätta igång med städandet igen. Ha en bra dag!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Halloween

I can tell it is Snow Bird Season here now (a Snow Bird is a person from up north that comes to Florida during the winter to get out of the cold).
Sarah and I was out shopping on Saturday and it was super crowded everywhere!

Sarah was so excited to go Trick or Treating, but my hip was too sore after all that shopping, so I stayed home with the dogs while Sarah and Ken hit the streets.

Ken said it was so many houses that were dark (that is, their lights were off and they were not handing out candy). Only about 1 in 10 houses were accepting Trick or Treaters! Plus, there were a lot less kids out, we did not have that big influx of kids being trucked in from other neighbourhoods, so all in all it was really nice! A bit sweaty with 25 C at 8 PM, but otherwise Sarah had a great night. She only needed 2 minutes to fall asleep at 9:30 PM...

Here are some pictures:

Doctor Sarah




She got lots of candy!

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Poor dog

Last night I did another tic check and found two more on Bob, these in between his toes. Then I decided to really check both of the dogs' ears, since I found my tiny flash light and really could get in deep. I found a tic in Stan's left ear - in his ear canal! We tried for a looong time to get it out, but it was just way too deep. Stan was a very good boy handling it well, otherwise he is usually not too fond of being held down like that.

So today I had to take him to the vet, and he was very confident they would have it out in a jiffy. Not so! Unless they put him under, which seems a bit drastic, they could not get it out. Instead they drenched it in a tic medication called Revolution, and it should also kill ticks in general for a month or so.

I quickly bought a dose for Bob too, and when they have used up their current flea medication, Advantage, I will switch to Revolution. It is more expensive, but it does a lot: it prevents fleas and tics, plus heart worms and hookworms. I rather multitask with ONE medication than apply and give several each month.

So hopefully this will keep further tics off for the next month...

After the vet visit we went trough the car wash. It was very funny to see poor Stan growl and react to the car wash brushes, too funny!

I think Sarah and I are going to go shopping a bit now, and grab some lunch. Then I plan to clean the inside of my car and a little around the house too. Oh, and I re-caulked the bathtub this morning, looks like new!

Friday, October 30, 2009

More tics!

All the time I lived in Sweden I had to deal with tics, since we always had tics. It was a different story after moving here to Florida, even after long hikes out in the wild we never had any tics on the dogs. Over 13 years I had to remove just a few, as I mentioned before.

So it has been so weird that we all of a sudden the last few months have had such an onslaught of tics! Droves of them it feels like!

This weekend I found one on Bob's TOE. Do you know how you remove a tic from a dog's toe? Not very easily! I had to clip all the fur around it, and then be very firm. Bob happens to be very ticklish on his paws...

Then yesterday I was petting him and I found a tic on his back! But after a closer examination it was actually TWO tics, almost attached to the exact same spot!!! WTF?

I managed to pop one of them while I removed them with tweezers, so gross...

Here is a pic:







Last night Ken and I was petting Bob and talking about the whole tic thing, and while I was petting him I said "at least he doesn't have tics in his ears"... at the same time I flipped open his ear and saw a big, fat tic sitting in there! Poor dog!

And then Ken found one in his other ear!!!

I tried to tell the poor dog he is suppose to be a CHICK magnet, not a tic magnet... :-)


This weekend we are treating our lawn with something that kills tics. I am against poisons of all kinds and try not to spray for pests unless absolutely necessary, but I think it is time to get in control of the tics once and for all... I guess it is just really a tic year this year!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Teacher Conference

Yesterday it was time for another Teacher Conference. This is equivalent to the Swedish "kvartssamtal", a way for the teacher to update the parents on how their kids are doing in school.

I was happy to see she is doing great, and the teacher showed some tests (yes, they do both reading, writing and math tests for 6 year olds!).

Sarah has really come along way with both her reading and writing, I am really impressed! On Thursday next week the school will have its Quarterly Recognition Assembly, and I was informed Sarah will receive some kind of award then, so I will attend to show her some support, I am sure it will be a bit nerve wracking to have to get up on stage to receive an award in front of the entire school. Go Sarah!

Work is coming along great, I have been extremely productive the last few days. No more signs of whatever that was the other night, so that is good.

This weekend is Halloween of course, so there will be trick-or-treating for Sarah. Usually we all go, and after an hour or so the dogs and I will go home, and Ken and Sarah will continue on.

As a rule pretty much everyone follows, you only go to houses where the lights are on. Since we are out, we keep our lights off. Same thing when you run out of candy, you turn your outdoor lights off so kids will know. Great for people who don't want their doorbell rung all night long too!

We usually don't hand out any candy, since we are out trick-or-treating. Our neighbourhood is a very busy place during this evening!

I think the rest of the weekend will be for stuff that needs to be done around the house plus a bit of shopping. Next week it is back to work, work work again, so I better take the chance to get a few things done, like cleaning my car!

Hope you are all having a great day!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Vaccine?

Last night I had what I think (hope) was a lupus attack. Severe, severe body pain and a fever. Went to bed with chills and feeling miserable. But this morning everything seems normal, so I hope it stays that way.

It is of course a bit difficult to not think about the swine flu when stuff like that happens...

I just called our county's health department, and our county has so far NOT received any swine flu vaccine...

I did get the regular flu shot, and Sarah, who was on a wait list, is getting hers up the nose on Friday. I think it is lame they don't have the swine flu vaccine available yet, our neighboring counties are already in full swing vaccinating...

Now back to work.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Visit

Today President Obama is visiting the local area. Ken saw Marine One, the Presidential helicopter, and his escort fly over his office just now. They were apparently on their way from the Bradenton/Sarasota Airport to a solar energy farm out just east of us.

Tuesday update

I have been absolutely horrible when it comes to commenting on other blogs lately, but since I am so busy with work I barely have time to even read blogs...

This week will be particularly full, since I am doing a double batch for that casino job I have been working on teh last few weeks, as well as a huge (30+ hours) editing job...

Hopefully I won't get sick or anything, because I really want to work as much as I can right now.

I better get going, have a great day!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Updating

I am in the process of updating my computer to Windows 7 Ultimate. I wiped my computer clean and started from fresh, so I am now, with my fingers crossed, restoring all the software and files I want to keep from the old install.

Sure hope everything will be there... So far I really like Windows 7, very smooth.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Tic-o-mania

Since I moved to Florida in 1996 I think the total tics (fästingar) I have encountered are 2. And they were both attached to one of our dogs, Bob. No surprise there, since he looooves to lay out on the grass and sunbathe.

But over the summer, we have had a total of 9 tics in the house! What gives? And they are not just on the dogs; I found one crawling on the couch, one on Sarah and last night, one crawling on top of our bed!!!

YUUUUUCCCCCKKKK!!!!

I hate tics, they just freak me out! Sarah is sooo interested in tics, she want to see me remove them from the dog, see me flush them down the toilet etcetera. But on that one day a few weeks ago when I was brushing her hair, and I calmly told her: "Oops, I think you have a tic on your head!", she freaked out and started screaming "Get it off me! Get it off me!" I tried to do just that, but it was a bit difficult when she was running around the room in a panic.

And last night! It was just pure chance that I had the overhead light on and Ken and I were talking, otherwise I would just have slipped under the covers with that big tic...

So I guess there must be some kind of record tic year or something. Oh great, now I can just feel my entire scalp crawling, like I have a bunch of them moving around up there on my head... I shudder!

Now I am going to pick up Sarah in school and then straight to the eye doctor to get a prescription for new glasses...

Thursday, October 22, 2009

AC

An air conditioner is a must here in Florida, we are still having over 30 C!

So yesterday when I was cleaning in the garage and heard some weird noises coming form it, it sure did not sound good!

Based on the basic technical knowledge I have, it sounded like it was the bearings (kullager) in the motor that power the large fan blades. Most likely it just needed a new condenser motor. I called an AC repair company, and sure enough, I was just on the money! Too bad these types of things are so expensive, the visit was $600... but a lot better than a brand new air conditioner that easily can cost around $10,000!

So I was happy to have to pay just the $600. With the new motor, some cleaning and refrigerant the AC now runs smoothly and quietly, and he was even able to lower its temperature, so now it should take less electricity.

How do you...

sit in a chair when sitting in a chair makes you feel like your hip is splitting apart?

I went to the doctor on Tuesday, and he gave me Daypro, which is a type of anti-inflammatory. It doesn't really work on inflamed nerves that good, but that was all he could come up with.

I am never going to take Daypro or Celebrex or anyone else of the meds in that category! First of all, they can cause severe gastrointestinal damage, even hemorrhage and death. Not a good combo with my situation being so delicate in there... ANd the second thing is that these types of meds can cause blood clots. It even says on the package, "Do not take if you have ever had a blood clot". So since I have already had 3 blood clots, that is a big NO.

WTF is he thinking, prescribing that? I know there is not much to be done for a nerve problem, but still... He also gave me Soma, which is a muscle relaxer that is suppose to relax the muscles around the inflamed nerves so they can move freely. Well, Soma is like a sleeping pill, so it can only be taken right before bedtime. Unless you enjoy being a drooly, foggy mess...

So no relief for me. Just pain, pain and more pain. The good thing is that these things usually come and go. The Lupus likes to move around, focusing on different things at a time. So next time it will be something else entirely, I am sure.

Sorry, just had to complain a bit. :-)

Christmas Shopping: Done!

I just realized last night that except for a gift for Ken that I already picked out and just need to order, I am done with my Christmas shopping!

This year it will have to be slimmed down a bit, since there will be a lot of extra expenses with moving. I rather put some money on new furniture than stuff we don't even need...

Plus, I had to narrow done my list of people a lot. Except for the once spending Christmas at our house I will only send presents to my mom this year. I just can't afford it, even though I would love to send stuff to other friends and family...

I even told Ken not to get me anything (especially since he sucks at buying gifts anyway...) but he wants to get at least one gift, so I picked out one that is perfect for him. Otherwise all I really care is for Sarah to have a wonderful Christmas.

What is so great about her is that she likes a lot of stuff! She is not into girlie stuff too much, she does like animals and Littlest Pet Shop, but not Barbie dolls and things like that.

Ken is working on a collection of awesome fossils for her. So far, except for all the shark teeth we have found ourselves, she has a Megalaodon tooth (HUGE!) and a Mesosaurus tooth (ocean dwelling dinosaur, see pic below).

Ken has gotten her a humongous trilobite for Christmas to add to the collection. I think since she is so interested in these types of things, these are things that will stay with her the rest of her life. And the value of the fossils actually appreciate, so it is a very neat thing in deed.

My hand next to the trilobite

My hand next to the Megalodon tooth



Mesosaurus

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Wednesday update

Sarah is back to herself again, just coughing a lot. So with her back in school I can try to concentrate on work a gain.

The last few weeks I have been working on a project that is for an online casino. Mostly video slot games. Nice with a change after doing a lot of electrical engineering the last few months!

This project will keep me busy for a few more weeks, and I am very thankful for the extra influx of cash now when we are buying a new house and all...

Monday, October 19, 2009

Visit to the pediatrician

I didn't like how Sarah's throat looked like, so I called her doctor, and as always they were able to squeeze us in.

I suspected strep throat (halsfluss) and I was right! Since it is a bacterial infection it has to be treated with antibiotics. She can go back to school on Wednesday if she has no fever tomorrow, so we will see how that works out. Apparently there is a lot of strep throat going around right now, we were his 6th case just today. We might have gotten it from S, our friend and Realtor, since her oldest daughter had it. And just as we left the office we met her and her younger daughter, now also sick with streph!

I am glad they offer a flavoring service at the pharmacy, they can flavor kid's medicines any flavor you like, and with a picky kid like Sarah that is good! Not that she swallowed it without lots of complaining anyway...

Hopefully she will feel a lot better tomorrow, and hopefully she won't give it to me... I migth have to go to my doctor this week anyway, since I am having problem with hip pain again. Probably just inflammation in that pesky nerve again, but it is starting to be a bit unbearable, especially at night. I need some pain relief here soon if I am going to get any sleep, I just haven't had the time to get an appointment, but I think it is at a point now when I will have to.

Last night I had a hard time just getting up and down from the couch, not much fun. And ignoring the pain doesn't seem to work so well, ha ha!!!

Now I am off to make dinner... what to cook I have no idea yet...

Sickly

I don't like really high fevers, so I tried to keep an eye on her over night. I woke her up at about 1 AM to give her some fever reduced since the temperature was up to 41 C again. Great to have one of those thermometers you stick in the ear, very handy in the middle of the night!

So today will be another day on the couch for her, resting, drinking water and eating ice pops and watching TV... Poor thing, Hopefully she won't give whatever it is she has to us! I have too much work to do, no time to be sick ;-)

Hope you all have a great start of the week, and I hope you get a fast recovery, Taina!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Dino bonanza

Sarah seemed a bit off yesterday morning, but she had no temperature and she said she was feeling fine, so we went to Tampa anyway to see the Walking with Dinosaurs show. It was quite impressive to say the least!

We had a great time in downtown Tampa, went out for dinner and strolled around a bit enjoying the cooler air that finally found its way down here to Florida for a few days.

In the car on the way home Sarah could hardly keep her eyes open and when we got home she had a very high fever.

It is very difficult to see when she is sick, she never says a peep, never complains. She just gets slow and lays on the couch...

I gave her some Tylenol for the fever and she perked right up, we even went out to look at soem furniture, but I just took her temperature again, and it was almost 41C! I have a feeling it will be a day home from school for her tomorrow... poor thing!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Friday!

I am feeling just a tad bit stressed today, I have a lot of work that is due on Monday. So I might have to work a little over the weekend.

I missed a work day when my mother in law was here Wednesday, so I have to make up for that. We ended up going out for dinner that night, and it was pretty good. They happened to have a comedy magician walking around, and we got our own personal comedy/magic show. Sarah was laughing at his corny jokes and she was pretty amazed over his magic tricks! So dinner and a show!

Ken's daughter will be coming down on November 5th and stay for 4 nights. Hopefully we will have enough time to get to know each other, show her around and talk. It is difficult to take time off for anyone of us, since we all work.

Tomorrow we are going to St Petersburg to see the world touring show from BBC called "Walking with Dinosaurs". I have a feeling Sarah is really going to like it! It is based on the wildly popular TV series BBC made a few years ago. And if you are in Sweden, the show ill be at the Stockholm Globe Arenas on October 23-25!

And we will FINALLY get some fall weather! This morning at 8 AM when I dropped off Sarah at school it was 27C... It is still well over 30C at daytime here. BUT over night a cold front is coming on, and we will get 3 days of much cooler air! Yippee! They are saying it could be a high as low as 24C! That might not sound like much, but that is heaven...

OK, better get to work now... Happy Friday everyone!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

More life changing events

Well, today we finally got the answer to some nail biting questions... This is perhaps kind of personal, but what the heck, I usually am pretty personal on here anyway...

This is a long and complicated story, but since part of this now will be part of my everyday life, I am going to tell you the short version so you get an idea of what is going on.

Ken and I met in 1997, and it was very clear from the start that he had been very hurt by a woman. He met her back in the mid 80s when both of them were serving in the military.

Ken's goal was to complete his military obligations so he could get his college education (the military pays for it after your duty is over). After a while Ken got shipped overseas to a military base in Germany and stayed there for 18 months, and they were broken up while he was there.

After he got back they got back together and ended up getting married when Ken was only 22. The marriage lasted 3 years, but they were actually only together for about 1.5 years, they were just not very compatible. Ken had ambitions to get a Master's Degree and do something with his life, she was just happy living by the day and do nothing.

She got pregnant, and they had a daughter. Then Ken walked in on his wife in bed with another man, and after a lot of drama he found out there had been other men as well.

His wife told him he was not the father of the little girl, now 5 months old. During the divorce she stated he was not the father, and he had to sign papers that he did not have any responsibilities or rights to this child. This was in 1992, and Ken just could not afford a DNA test, they were not exactly common or cheap back then, so he never knew for sure. She had the better attorney, so she ended up taking the child and pretty much everything else they had together and took off to another state, leaving Ken without as much as a plate to eat off of, deeply wounded and heartbroken.

Since he was legally established as not being the father in court he was not entitled to any contact with this child. He has kept an eye on her as much as he could over the years, a newspaper clipping when she made the honor roll in her local school, things like that.

Then he lost track for a few years, but a couple of weeks ago he decided to do another Internet sweep and see what he could find. He found her on MySpace! She is now 19 and an adult, so he could now legally approach her (gently and carefully) and she immediately knew who he was and a relationship was quickly established.

She is a very smart and ambitious young woman, unfortunately she has not had it easy growing up with her mom and her new man, but it seems her hard times have made her stronger. She is now working full time at the same time she is going to college. She has big ambitions it seems, just like Ken.

So what about the paternity? Well, both she, Ken and I were in agreement that it needed to be established ASAP for everyone sake, it just wouldn't feel right not knowing for sure, even though we all just felt like they had to be father and daughter. So they did a DNA test, and today we got the result. Yes, 99.99999987 % chance they are father and daughter! Ken feels great, a weight finally lifted from his chest, and I feel great too, just like you kind of do when you all of a sudden gain another family member. And now Sarah has a sister!!!

We are now waiting for her to call, she lives up in Ohio and should get off work any minute now. She doesn't know about the result yet, I have a feeling she will be thrilled too.

Right now she is going through a rough time. She hastily made some decisions early this summer that might not have been so great. She married her boyfriend of 2 years... He has no interests but to stay home and smoke weed it seems. Finally she couldn't take it anymore and demanded he would do something with himself, go to rehab and get on with his life. But it seems they are at a standstill. They lived at his mom's farm, and she has now moved back to her own mom, whom she has a really hard time getting along with. A divorce seem to be where they are headed... Trying to concentrate on work and school at the same time as all this drama is going on is not exactly easy for her.

We have talked about what we would do if paternity was established, and most likely we will send her a plane ticket to come down here for a few days so we can all get together and really get to know each other.

If she likes it here we want her to feel welcome to stay with us while she finish her college degree. There are three nice local universities here that offer her program of choice in Criminal Justice, so we would tour those and she what she thinks. After all, we will have plenty of room in the new house, and she has her own car, so I think it could work out just fine. She says she is ready for a major change of scenery, and frankly I have a feeling she could need a change of "people" as well...

She would get free health care and she could work extra at Ken's firm if she needs extra money. But room and board with all the amenities she could possibly need paid for might not be an offer she can refuse. We will see what she thinks after she gets to see our area. She shouldn't feel like she is a guest or anything, she can come and go as she likes. We just want to be able to give her the kind of break she deserves. She seems to be a very caring person and we would like to help her out any way we can. We have all gotten a really great connection and I feel a wonderful relationship growing out of this long awaited reunion.

I can imagine some of the things she must be thinking, after all, after my mom died when I was 1 and I moved in with my grandmother, I lost contact with my dad. When I was 15 I finally let my curiosity take overhand and I contacted him with a soon to follow in person meeting. He was nice and all, but he also had "butter fingers", if you get my drift. Not exactly a father figure. So I never got to the point where I saw him as my father, more like an uncle or something. He passed away in 2004, but unfortunately he was as immature then as when he abandon his fiancee (my mom) on her death bed "because he couldn't deal with it"...

What do you all think about this?