Things Are Looking Up!

We’re moving out!

We’ve finally had it with our neighborhood and current abode. My wife and I live in a small house (not the one pictured) and since we’ve had children, it’s only gotten smaller. We always knew we would have to move eventually because there’s not enough room to expand our current home. However, we never thought we would move into our dream home. We have been truly blessed recently by finding a home that we both love.

My wife and I have lived in our current home for about 10 years. The neighborhood was fine a decade ago but after the housing market tanked we found that a lot of our neighbors were getting foreclosed on and their houses were becoming rentals. Now, I’ve rented in the past and I’m not one to look down on anyone for the way they live but renters hardly ever make good neighbors. In my experience. I know this doesn’t always apply to everyone but my neighborhood, my street, has suffered from renters moving in. The remaining “owners” that haven’t been foreclosed on have started moving out because of the recent tenants.

For some reason, that I don’t really get, renters don’t seem to take pride in their home. This isn’t going to be everyone’s experience but it’s mine. So, rather than deal with the hassle that comes with living next to renters my wife and I decided that now was a perfect time to buy a new home. We figured that it’s a buyer’s market and we might be able to find a good deal. We had no idea that we would find our dream home. Almost.

I say almost because there was one thing that each of us had to sacrifice. My wife wanted a pool and the house we finally found does not have a pool. So she had to come to terms with that; we decided we could add a pool at a later date once we’re settled in. I wanted around 10 acres but the house we found only has 3. This is still far better than our current home. There’s also plenty of available land around our property that we may be able to buy at a future date. We’ll be out in a rural area with little to no neighbors and the ones we will have are seeking peace and quiet just like us.

The other big selling point for our new home was that there isn’t any sort of home owners association. An HOA is offensive to me as a freedom loving American. For some reason these HOA’s have spread like wild fire in the last decade or so and I really don’t get it. It seems like every house our agent wanted to show us had an HOA. I couldn’t make him understand how repugnant the whole concept was to me and my wife. I just can’t rationalize spending money, that I earned, to buy a home and then turn around and pay a group of people to tell me what I can and can’t do with it.

It seems absurd to me but here in Florida, they’re everywhere. When did Americans stop caring about personal property rights and individual freedom? I know it seems trivial but freedom is usually lost through a series of minor assaults. It’s a combination of government and private citizens working together to deprive individuals of freedom for the collective.

And, it’s everywhere. It’s a constant brainwashing. People don’t just accept HOA’s, they think they’re a good idea! I have a friend that bought a house a while back, about 4 years ago. He found a great house and asked me to come take a look at it. I did. While he was telling me about the neighborhood he mentioned that the place had an hoa. I told him that was too bad and I asked him why he wanted me to see a house he wasn’t going to buy. But he was going to buy it. The hoa was a big selling point for him. He’s educated and successful but somehow he was convinced that an hoa was the way to go.

I asked him why he thought it was a good idea and he said it was a way to make sure that his neighbors kept their grass cut and didn’t paint their houses some crazy color. He seemed to think the hoa was there to protect him. Why would anyone care what their neighbor does? He said because it affects property values. Huh?

I just don’t understand why Americans, known for our love of freedom, are some of the easiest manipulated people on the planet. If George Clooney or Angelina Jolie says it, then it must be a good idea.

There’s a whole generation of people coming up that would gladly give up every freedom they had so long as they didn’t have to fend for themselves.

 

But, the good news is that we’re moving out and we found a great home. There are great deals out there for anyone looking. I know that Florida was hit pretty hard when the market tanked.

I hope anyone else out there that’s looking for a new home finds what they’re looking for.

I probably should have made my hoa rant a separate post.?

Weekend with the In-laws

Another Weekend with the Family

 

Grand Canyon

This picture is from the grand canyon. It comes on the jump drive you get when you buy the pictures at the Skywalk. It’s really neat, if you’re ever out that way. This picture really captures the peacefulness of spending time with the ones I love.

This weekend was another weekend spent with the family. Things haven’t been going too well at work. Mostly because of the whole raise (or lack thereof) situation. I’ve been turning down overtime and not working weekends, which is unusual for me. Upper management is starting to take notice and my immediate manager questioned me (again) about my attitude.

I’ve been trying real hard to prevent the company’s lack of communication about compensation from affecting my overall disposition and performance at work. It would seem as though I haven’t been too successful in my efforts. Basically, I’m still upset that they have yet to even address the raise situation. If they’re not going to reward my (or anyone else’s) efforts with a raise, then the least that we should expect is for them to address the issue. It’s already the middle of March. We completed our reviews in October. They’ve had plenty of time.

But, like I said, I’m not going to continue to sacrifice and spend extended periods of time away from my family if they’re not going to reward my efforts. So, I’ve cut back on accepting any overtime or weekend work. I did, recently, accept an offer from my manager to handle a new account’s roll-out for new cctv equipment installation. But that was just me trying to be a team player and not causing someone else to have to pick up my slack, which is what would have happened.

Because I’m cutting back, I have more time to spend with my family. That, is a VERY GOOD THING! It’s the only good thing that’s come of this situation.

Enough of my whining!

The wife and I took the kids over to my sister’s house and spent the weekend with the cousins and my brother in law. My brother in law is a great guy and we really don’t get to spend as much time together as I would like. I don’t have any brothers and he’s probably the closest thing to that.

There aren’t any kids in our neighborhood that are close in age to my children so they don’t get to play with other kids often. They really enjoy playing with their cousins. With everything that seems to be going bad right now, from the economy right on down to, you name it. It’s nice to be able to get away with family for a little while and just forget about the chaos of life going on around us.

I hope any and every person that reads this post has a good family to fall back on. I truly wouldn’t know what to do without mine.

I hope everyone can get away every once in a while. A little quality time with the people you love can fix just about anything. I should know, I’m a repairman!

Fun Weekend Getaway

Fun weekend getaway for the family, with the fishes!

Shamu Jumping!

This weekend I was able to getaway with the family to SeaWorld. It was a great time. We stop by a couple times a year and the kids just love all the animals. They’re currently revamping their penguin exhibit so that was kind of a let down because it was closed off for construction. But everything else was open and we had a blast!

My oldest is at that age where he has a thousand questions about everything and I was struggling all weekend just to keep up. I have never imagined myself as a know-it-all, but having kids has really helped me realize how much I don’t know. My little guy seemed to only ask questions that I couldn’t answer. It was almost as if he would start a line of questioning and once he detected some lack of knowledge on my part, he honed in on that topic. It was fun and I’m picking up a book on whales first thing tomorrow.

They were doing some kind of BBQ event and we took full advantage of all the booths. I can’t remember the last time I ate so much. I love bbq, my wife isn’t a big fan but she will eat it and my oldest son will only eat chicken fingers. That being said, those guys selling the bbq made a few bucks off me and it was all good. They even had live music. You really haven’t jammed until you’ve heard a country band do a R&B cover of Baby Got Back. It was hilarious! But, everyone seemed to like it so I kept my thoughts to myself.

Dolphins Jumping!

The kids enjoyed the animals and asking me questions I couldn’t answer. I enjoyed the bbq and the heartburn that followed (small price to pay). And, my wife enjoyed taking pictures. She LOVES taking pictures of the family on any and all outings. I can’t post my family pics here for obvious reasons but I will post some shots of the animals. Later this year, during the summer, we hope to go to their other park and swim with the dolphins. We’ll see.

Cool Backflip!

This little getaway was a real stress reliever. Sometimes when things are going bad or I’m losing sight of what really matters, it’s helpful to just get away with the family and focus on what really matters. I didn’t think about anything that was bothering these previous weeks while I was out with the family this weekend. And that’s just what I needed. Maybe it’s what everyone needs.