Category: Family

Colors, Colors, Colors

After a year in Ward Manor, The Wife is starting to decide on painting. She’s contracted out the stairs, which is smart. The contractor’s wife came over to select colors for the stairs. As well as the rest of the house. I’m kinda listening as The Wife and the color person are going through various shades of gray for the downstairs.

Me: ”Wait, did you say there’s a shade called Dorian Gray?”

Color Lady: “Um, yeah.”

Me: ”What does it suck the life out of us to look freshly painted?”

Nervous laughter. I don’t think Color Lady got the reference. Which is a common thing.

Busy Week At Ward Manor

Friday – Took a half-day from work to help The Wife transport over an old office chair, spare folding table, and MIL’s old monitor over to The Wife’s niece’s place. Niece really liked the dual monitor system set up we have on all of our workstations, and wanted something like that at her place. Well, we had some items we needed to get rid of… Plus we got to see the great niece.

Saturday – While The Wife and her SIL were out looking at paint, I prepped for my shooting trip on Tuesday. I got a bunch of different ammo and round-robin loaded up almost all of my spare M&P magazines. I also discovered that I’m a little short on my preferred self-defense ammo. That needs remedying. I also got the windshield replaced on the Xterra.

Sunday – Sunday we went to see The Little Shop of Horrors up at the Straz Performing Arts Center in Tampa. We had a lot of fun, even though the play didn’t start exactly on time. I don’t go to enough theater to know if that’s the norm. The play had a much darker end than the ’80’s movie, but still satisfying.

Monday – Since we have new local docs, The Wife and I had to go to a new-to-Derek place to get labs. I know this is normal for most folks, but I’ve been very used to having the lab in the same building as my PCC. (This is noting it more for my own edification than the readers’.) The Wife had the day off, and she and MIL were busy setting up their raised bed for their crop of succulents. Plus replanting an aloe vera. Plus replanting a couple of flowers that my mom gave us. Then we topped it all off by sending out the last payment for her car. We now have two fully paid-off cars.

Tuesday – Tested out the new gun. Which, because Derek didn’t check beforehand, required me to unload all of those loaded magazines, put the Tula ammo back in the box, and reload with some range ammo. I don’t understand the rules against steel-cased ammo. Not saying there isn’t a good reason, I’m just ignorant. The M&P9 2.0 shot everything I fed it. Including some IWI ammo that my other 9mms didn’t like. The only real issue I hit was that the slide stop was really stiff when the slide locked back. So stiff I ended up having to slingshot the slide to get it back in battery. Also, due the steel reinforcing the frame, the takedown lever heated up noticeably after quick firing a few magazines. Still, it performed well enough to get switched out as my new sidearm.

Semi-Wild Kind of Weekend at Ward Manor

Thursday the only semi-wild thing was the amusement of using the read-aloud feature on Word to read Badmoon Rising. I was just kind of curious how it would handle it. For the short passage, the auto-narrate function didn’t do too bad. Although I found it amusing when it read HK45 and "forty-five Hong Kong dollars."

Friday was the due date for one of my big monthly reports. This was the first month I got to use the new acronym for my team. My team went from Business Intelligence and System Improvement Service to Joint Enterprise Data Improvement Service. You do the acronyms.

Also on Friday, I got all excited to take the Xterra to go pick up the groceries. I love my Xterra, but I just don’t get to drive it very often. As I’m going down my street, I notice a crack in the windshield. I hit a bump. Crack extends. Quick turnaround and switch out for The Wife’s car. Schedule for windshield folks to come out next weekend.

Saturday was The Wife and MIL doing a lot of work for Easter dinner. The Wife planned to go all out since this will be the first time her whole side of the family will be in attendance, as well as my mom and The Brother.

Also on Saturday, we scheduled the final payment on The Wife’s car. According to FB memories, it’s been four years since I paid off the Xterra. Now, we’ll have her car paid off in twenty-three months. Good feelings.

Sunday started with The Wife’s niece and great niece coming over early. While the niece studied, The Wife and I took the toddler down to the local park. Fun was had. Then there was an abbreviated Easter Egg hunt. Lots of the family came over for Easter dinner. The Wife and her mother got rave reviews on the decorations as well as the cute bunny cupcakes. Which they deserved.

All in all, a great weekend at Ward Manor.

Ward Manor – One Year In

This week marks one year since The Wife and I moved into Ward Manor. It’s weird because it feels like we’ve been here only a few months. And it feels like we’ve been here for years.

There are times I wished I believed in fate, because we bought this house at what I think was really the right time. With the market this hot, we got in at a price point where we could afford all of the options we wanted. Plus, there were fewer supply chain issues compared to the houses being built around our subdivision. I’m seeing posts from the neighborhood group of house constructions taking twice what it did for our house. We were also lucky to get some extra funds that allowed us to set the house up before we moved in. (Those of you who know, know what I’m talking about).

Plus, Ward Manor had enough space for us as we both moved to full-time telework. And moved in MIL. The old place would have needed serious reorganization and purging for us to handle all that.

Although the house started off a little rough, it’s been a good year. There’s a list of small projects that we’re planning, but those require saving the cash for them. The Wife and I agree on the first two, but we differ on the third. I’m still going to hold out for the whole house backup generator.

Welcome to Ward Manor, Year Two!

Weekend Adventure

This past weekend, The Wife and I trekked up to St. Augustine to celebrate our wedding anniversary.

Day 1

Good news! Your B&B is like a block off the historic district. By the way, this place gets a bit loud on St. Paddy’s.

Um, yeah. There is something surreal about hearing bagpipes clashing with piano show tunes while trying to read a book on the French Revolution. For the record, St. Patrick’s Day in downtown St. Augustine is a bit on the raucous side.

Recommendation: Mojo Barbecue. Good food and great service.

Day 2

Went to the fort. Disappointed they no longer do weapons displays due to covid. The wife got a juvenile laugh when I explained that mortars fired “big balls”. We could see a huge plume of smoke from the city, which was slightly disconcerting. Never found out what that was about. And of course I’m wondering if someone’s used the fort as part of a zombie story.

At the wife’s urging, I am now in possession of a Stetson-style hat. She says I look good in it. I think I look like a bad wish dot com Australian extra. I also have to remember to take it off when unslinging the pack. Still, I can see some times where a hat like that might come in handy.

Spent the day going into the various shops in the historic district. The Wife was suitably impressed with most of what I keep in my sling bag. There was also a run to Target for bits and bobs that didn’t make it into our suitcase or my bag. Some Easter candy also followed us home.

Recommendation: Bull & Crown Publick House – excellent fish and chips

Day 3

Started the day with a hike over to the Lightner museum. That was pretty nifty with all of the different curios and art pieces. Then, we hiked over to the Oldest House museum. I picked up another chunk of coquina. Yes, it’s touristy, but I got one when we went to St. Augustine on our honeymoon. And I like that kind of continuity. We also saw an exhibit of old maps of Florida/St. Augustine. Then it was a hike back to the main historic district shopping area. Through some sort of Indian cultural festival. Let’s say between the increased noise, the hiking, and soreness, we were annoyed when lunch was – difficult. The Colombia was reservation-only, the place we got fish and chips was closed (WTF?), two other places were closed. Finally picked up Cuban sandwiches and went back to the room for a much needed siesta. The Wife wanted a nifty hat of her own, as well as some souvenirs for family. So, we ventured forth and ended back at Mojo BBQ for dinner. The Wife was introduced to burnt ends. Enjoyable dinner and then retiring for the evening.

Recommendation: Cuban Cafe and Bakery. Not a bad Cuban sandwich.

Day 4

Last day in St. Augustine. Mostly due to my homesickness and desire to sleep in my own bed. We rushed around to get some souvenirs, see Magnolia Street (highly recommended), and check out. I must say that the 44 Spanish Inn was excellent. Particularly the breakfasts. We will most likely be returning to that B&B when we go back to St. Augustine.

The drive home was long, but The Wife got into the first book of Fred the Vampire Accountant series. It was odd for me, because that series is one of my “comfort” book series and I’m used to listening it to on 2x. Which The Wife hates.

Recommendation: Sweet FSM, it’s good to be home.

The Wards Go To The State Fair

This past weekend, The Wife and I took her mother to the Florida State Fair. It was the first time MIL had been to the fair. On the whole, we enjoyed it. Cracker Country was its normal charming self. Expo Hall was its normal riot of booths of established firms, wild entrepreneurs, and MLMs. The Arts and Crafts hall was more sparse, but The Wife found a booth she managed to find some home decor.

And we came home with fudge!

More Life At Ward Manor

So, this is a round up of some of the “slice of life” items for the last week or so…

  1. Everyone’s Negative – Everyone in the family tested negative for the covids. BIL had a real bad case that required an almost week stay in the local ED. Note – the hospital was so full, he never left the ED. He’s recovering at home now. There was a silver lining to being sick. I heard The Wife tell MIL: *I will never complain about what Derek doesn’t do around the house after having to do all his chores.* Hopefully, I’ll be able to get out and get the new pistol tested in the next couple of weeks.
  2. Fuck Scammers – I got an interesting text message informing me that someone was trying to charge over $800 to Nordstroms on my card. After verifying that it was actually my bank trying to contact me and not a scam itself, I was forced to shut that card down. I am awaiting new card, and then starts the process of finding all the sites where I have auto-pay tied to the card. At least I’m not out the $800.
  3. New Ear Buds – I have been using Apple’s AirPods Pro for the last couple of years. They’re great – when they work. The working part has become less and less. Not a substantial amount of the time, but enough that I hit my frustration cap. I’m testing a set of Jabra Elites at the moment. The fit isn’t as good as the AirPods, but the sound is comparable. I’m going to give them a month or so.

Down With the COVIDs

Last week, Omicron decided to lay siege to my immune system. It’s been the worst sick I’ve been in quite a while. Not quite as bad as when baby niece gave the family norovirus, but damn close. It’s certainly held on longer. It’s also funny how COVID is kind of like a tornado. It hit me and the MIL, but The Wife was spared. Or at least, she wasn’t sick. She had to deal with me being sick. I try to be a good patient, but I’m sure there were times she looked at me and wondered why she said “I Do.”

It’s also done wonders for my diet plan. In not a good way. Part of that’s due to not being able to go to the gym. Both from a quarantine perspective and from a physically able perspective. The larger part is Derek’s desire for comfort food when sick. Most of which is contraindicative to staying within calorie budgets. I’m not quite back to where I started, but I have undone a few weeks’ worth of work. Hopefully, I’ll be back to the gym in the next week or so. Depending on when my wind returns. And I’m back to staying within my calorie budgets.

I hate being sick.

Goals For 2022 – Or Not

I’ve been putting what my goals are for the upcoming year for the last couple of years. I was tempted to forgo it this year. Mostly because I need to focus on one overriding goal this year. My weight. I’ve kinda ballooned over the last 20 months. Yes, there were extenuating circumstances. To a degree. However, at the end of the day, I’m responsible for me.

So, this year, my single goal is to get back down to 200. This is going to be a long, hard slog, but I need to. My dad had a heart attack in his mid-thirties. Due to the hospital food and therapy, he slimmed down significantly. Much as I did when I started my own journey. Over the next two decades, his weight steadily increased. I’m not going to cast aspersions. Weight loss is hard when it’s your single focus. And my father had a lot things taking up his attention. Moreover, while I don’t think his weight significantly contributed to his cancer, it had to make things more difficult in treatment.

There are many ways I want to be like my dad. This is not one of them.

This year, I’m working to 200. Not sure if I will post my progress. Still debating.

Year End Wrap Up – 2021

So, yeah, I thought 2020 was a year of change for the Ward Family. This year made that look like a little piker.

Of course, the big change was moving into the new house back in April. We’ve had a lot of shakedown issues. The flooring was certainly the biggest issue, as we weren’t sure if we were going to have the new floors down before the furniture arrived. Then getting my standing desk working. Then waiting on the fridge we paid for. Then waiting on the couch for months before cancelling that going with something else. Then issues with the dryer vent. Then internet and mesh issues. However, since The Wife and I over-saved for the move and associated costs, we ended up with enough cash for a couple of “luxury” goods. Mine was my new CZ Bren 2MS rifle.

The good thing about moving into Ward Manor is that the new space came in very handy when The Wife changed jobs. Last year, The Wife lost her job of twenty years. Fortunately, she found a new job in less than a month, but it required a commute to Mulberry (about 45 mins away). It was also a pretty steep pay cut. Well, her boss at the first job (her favorite boss) found a new job, found himself in need of someone with her unique skillset, and offered her a position. A fully telework position. With a salary about what she was making at the old job. It’s been interesting and somewhat challenging for The Wife to join and learn about her new company completely virtually, but she enjoys her new job. Plus, with our home offices right next to each other, we can consult each other on Excel issues or just bounce ideas off of each other.

The new space also came in handy when The Mother-In-Law needed to move in. The Father-In-Law’s dementia progressed to the point where MIL couldn’t take care of him. We found a really good facility nearby, but it ain’t cheap. It was a very difficult decision for the MIL, but she took up residence at Ward Manor. The transition has been relatively smooth, and I’m happy to see so much stress lifted off the MIL’s shoulders. We also ended up with her old fridge in our garage. So, I now have a drink fridge and stand-up freezer out there. It’s come in handy for stocking up.

Prior to the move, we lost one of our cats. Bean was our oldest cat, and he’d been diagnosed with cancer. The vet told us he most likely wouldn’t make it to see the new house. Still, we hoped. Then, we had to make that dreadful decision. Bean didn’t make it to see the new house, but he resides there.

While there have been some changes at the day job, my primary tasks really haven’t changed much. So, it’s mostly the same daily grind. So, at least one area with not much changes.

I’m hoping 2022 settles down a bit.