Wednesday, October 24, 2001

Before the Blog: Meet Ms. & Ms. Shrike-Whozat

Two updates in a month - amazing!

Our big news is that last Friday we went to court to finalize the hyphenation of our last names. We thought that the legal stuff would be a pain in the butt, but it's starting to look like that was nothing compared to getting them changed on all our various documents.

So far, we've applied for our new Social Security cards, I have my new driver's license and Shrike has taken care of changing her health insurance. Lots more to do, though; every day we think of another company or institution that we have to deal with.

This past weekend was a busy one. We baby-sat Shrike's niece and nephew from Saturday afternoon to Sunday afternoon. This is the first time we've kept them overnight, and we were a bit worried, since despite having kept them several evenings, we'd never actually succeeded at getting her nephew to sleep.

We did manage it this time, with some clever ventriloquism on my part, if I do say so myself. (It involved his toy shark being very tired, but very lonely, and needing to be snuggled - don't ask.) All in all, it went pretty well; we had a good time, and we think the kids did, too.

After we dropped the kids off at Shrike's parents' house we headed to TownNoOneOutsideOfBlueStateCanPronounce to see Melissa Etheridge in concert. Of course, that was incredible.

I smuggled a camera in (no thanks to Shrike, who upon seeing the "No Cameras" sign at the door proclaimed loudly "Honey, you can't take your camera in.")

They didn't hear her and I managed to get it in and take a couple of photos. The plan was to take some with flash and some without, not knowing which would work better. However, we decided it was best just to blow it off, after a woman seated in front of us was threatened with arrest for refusing to give up her camera. If those two photos turn out to be any good we'll post them here.

That's about all the excitement around here - and it's about all we can handle.

Tuesday, October 16, 2001

Before the Blog: (Debt) Free at Last!

Wow - it has been WAY too long since the last update here, hasn't it? Sorry about that! So, what has been happening in our lives in the last eight months or so...

Picking up where we left off - in March, my immediate supervisor at work left the company, leaving me as the lead web developer. It was a pretty scary prospect, but the "field promotion" came with a raise, a week's worth of bonus vacation days, and a whole lot of overtime the first month or so.

After a few weeks, I was a starting to feel whole lot more comfortable about the idea. I have learned a whole lot (out of necessity!) and am infinitely more confident in my skills now, both in design and programming. I'm even picking up some server/networking knowledge along the way, too.

Thanks to my raise and overtime pay, Shrike's raise from last November and tax refunds (the real ones from 2000, not those stupid $300 checks - those went to an LGBT Rights organization), we had a fair amount of "found" money on hand, and by summer we were able to pay off my credit card debt, Shrike's car and Shrike's credit card - and we are now officially debt free!

We still put a few things on the credit card, but only what we can pay off when the bill comes - our new motto is "If I can't live in it or drive it, I'm paying cash!" We're now saving the money that was going toward debt and we're hoping to have enough saved up by the end of 2002 for a down payment on a house.

One of the high points of our summer was seeing Melissa Etheridge in Washington, DC, at the first show of her Live...and Alone tour. The show was incredible; it was in a very small theater, and we were on about the tenth row. I guess we didn't quite get enough, though, because we have tickets to see her again in BlueState next Sunday!

I'm sure many other exciting things have happened to us in the last several months, but none of them seem to come to mind at the moment.