Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Change Pot Tuesday

Change Pot Tuesday is a weekly recap of finding money that other people have lost. However, it is more than just picking up pennies and collecting lost change. For those readers and followers who have begun following the Change Pot midway, Change Pot Tuesday is about charity. When the Change Pot reaches $100, it will be donated to charity and the process will be started all over again. Loyal readers and followers will have an opportunity to help me choose which charity will receive the money accumulated in the Change Pot. While, I don't expect to change the world with the Change Pot, I do hope to help a charity in some small way.

Sunday - While returning from visitng family for Thanksgiving in Pittsburgh, we stopped for dinner in Frederick, Maryland at JRs Pizza on Patrick Street. I found a dime as I was getting out of the car.

Tuesday - After dropping James off at daycare, I returned home to work on my paper for school and found a penny on the doorstep leading into our apartment building.

Weekly Total: $0.11
YTD Total: $23.54

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Conversations with a Two Year Old

Below are some recent conversations with our son James who turned two in October.

On Priorities

Mommy: Are you Mommy's baby?
James: No Way!
Mommy: (feeling sad and hurt) You're not Mommy's baby?
James: No Way!
Daddy: Are you Daddy's baby?
James: No Way!
Daddy: Is that because James is a little Boy and not a baby?
James: No Way!
Daddy: Is James a big boy?
James: No Way!
Mommy: Does James like cookies?
James: (without hesitation) Yes!

More on Possession is 9/10 the Law

James: (having finished his own dessert of Chocolate pudding, eyes Mommy's) James'
Mommy: The chocolate pudding is James'?
James: (reaching for Mommy's chocolate pudding) James'
Mommy: Does this look like James'?
James: Yes!

On Telling Time

Daddy: (asking James, but really expecting a response from Mommy sitting nearby) James, what time is it?
James: (without hesitation) Four o'clock
Daddy: (knowing it is at least 5:30, but rather shocked by James' response) Four o'clock? What's four o'clock?
James: Four twenty.
Daddy: Four twenty? How does James know how to tell time?
James: (giggles)

It's What's for Breakfast

Daddy: (James having just finished eating a waffle.) James, are you done?
James: (shaking his head) No.
Daddy: Are you still hungry? Would you like something else?
James: Yes.
Daddy: What would you like?
James: French fries, ketchup, chicken.
Daddy: (trying hard not to laugh) French fries, ketchup and chicken????? For breakfast?
James: Yes.
Daddy: (trying harder to stifle the laughter) How about some cereal?
James: No. French fries, ketchup, chicken.
Daddy: (doubles over with laughter)
James: (laughs with Daddy)

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Change Pot Tuesday

Change Pot Tuesday is a weekly recap of finding money that other people have lost. However, it is more than just picking up pennies and collecting lost change. For those readers and followers who have begun following the Change Pot midway, Change Pot Tuesday is about charity. When the Change Pot reaches $100, it will be donated to charity and the process will be started all over again. Loyal readers and followers will have an opportunity to help me choose which charity will receive the money accumulated in the Change Pot. While, I don't expect to change the world with the Change Pot, I do hope to help a charity in some small way.

Wednesday - $0.05 - While picking up some cups and plates for James' Thanksgiving luncheon at daycare, I found a nickel while exiting the Mars Supermarket on York Road and Ridgely Avenue in Lutherville, MD.

Friday - $0.10 - Found a dime in the parking lot of the Super Fresh Supermarket on Dulaney Valley Road in Towson while grabbing some milk for James.

Sunday - $0.25 - On Sunday, we went out to dinner with Lori's brother and his wife to IHOP on York Road in Cockeysville, MD. While being seated, I found a quarter in the booth of our table.

Weekly Total: $0.40
YTD Total: $23.43

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Change Pot Tuesday

Change Pot Tuesday is a weekly recap of finding money that other people have lost. However, it is more than just picking up pennies and collecting lost change. For those readers and followers who have begun following the Change Pot midway, Change Pot Tuesday is about charity. When the Change Pot reaches $100, it will be donated to charity and the process will be started all over again. Loyal readers and followers will have an opportunity to help me choose which charity will receive the money accumulated in the Change Pot. While, I don't expect to change the world with the Change Pot, I do hope to help a charity in some small way.

No finds for the week.

Weekly Total: $0.00
YTD Total: $23.03

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

From the Mind / Mouth of a Two Year Old



Some recent conversations I have had with our son James.

What We Learn at School
Daddy: Did you have fun at school today?
James: Yep!
Daddy: Yep? What is this yep?
James: (no response)
Daddy: James, we say yes or sure. We don't say yep. Do you understand?
James: Yep!
Daddy: Where did you learn that?
James: (no response)
Daddy: Did one of your new friends at school teach you that?
James: Um? Yep!

Learning Our Colors
James: (pointing to Daddy's car) Daddy's car.
Daddy: Yes. That's very good James. What color is Daddy's car?
James: Green
Daddy: No. Mommy's car is green. Daddy's car is grey.
James: No. Daddy's car green.
Daddy: James, you know what color green is. Daddy's car is grey, not green.
James: Daddy's car green.
(Continue this a few more times)
Daddy: (Sighs and gives up) Ok. Daddy's car is green.
James: No, Daddy's car grey!

Possession is 9/10 of the Law
Daddy buys James vanilla soft serve ice cream at Friendly's. Daddy gets a scoop of blueberry ice cream

James: (pointing to Daddy's ice cream) uhhhhh! uuuuuhhhhh! uuuuuh!
Daddy: James, use your words. Daddy can't understand you.
James: Daddy's ice cream. uhhhhh! uuuuuuhhhhhh! uuuuuh!
Daddy: Would James like a taste of Daddy's ice cream?
James: Shore (sure).
Daddy: (gives James a taste of his ice cream)
James: (reaches over and takes Daddy's bowl)
Daddy: James, that's Daddy's ice cream. Here is your ice cream.
James: (putting bowl on the other side of him away from Daddy) No! James' ice cream!
Daddy: James you have your own ice cream. Give Daddy his ice cream back.
James: No! James' ice cream!
Daddy: (sighs and gives up. Goes back to counter to purchase another scoop of blueberry ice cream for himself.)

On Pooping
Daddy: (smells something stinky) James, did you poop?
James: No.
Daddy: Are you lying?
James: Yes.

Change Pot Tuesday

Change Pot Tuesday is a weekly recap of finding money that other people have lost. However, it is more than just picking up pennies and collecting lost change. For those readers and followers who have begun following the Change Pot midway, Change Pot Tuesday is about charity. When the Change Pot reaches $100, it will be donated to charity and the process will be started all over again. Loyal readers and followers will have an opportunity to help me choose which charity will receive the money accumulated in the Change Pot. While, I don't expect to change the world with the Change Pot, I do hope to help a charity in some small way.

Although we have not posted to the Change Pot for the past few weeks because of our move, we have continued finding change and adding to the Change pot. Below is a recap of the lost money finds for the last few weeks.

Week Ending Tuesday, October 6, 2009.
$0.07 Total - A penny at the Sheetz on Route 7 in Morgantown on the Saturday of our move to Baltimore. A nickel in the basement near the washer and dryer after we emptied the majority of the basement into the moving truck. A second penny in the back of the moving truck left from the previous rental.

Week Ending Tuesday, October 13, 2009.
$0.06 Total - Five pennies at the 7-11 convenience store in Sandy Spring, MD. Later, a penny at the Subway outside of Clarksville, MD on Route 108.

Week Ending Tuesday, October 20, 2009.
$0.12 Total - Found a dime in our washing machine after doing a load of laundry. That afternoon, James found a penny in the parking lot of our apartment complex. On Sunday, I found another penny in the parking lot.

Week Ending Tuesday, October 27, 2009.
$0.07 Total - On Sunday, we went to the Towson Town Center (the Mall). I found a nickel in the parking lot, and later two pennies on a ledge outside of the glass elevator.

Week Ending Tuesday, November 3, 2009.
$0.00 Total - A big goose egg for this week as we spent more time trying to get settled than we did going places where we would find money.

Week Ending Tuesday, November 10, 2009.
$0.17 Total - On Thursday, I found a dime next to a self serve newspaper vending machine on Charles Street near Downtown Baltimore. On Friday, we found a nickel and a penny in the parking lot of our apartment complex. On Sunday, I found a penny on the floor in a Bob Evans restaurant in Easton, MD while on the way home from Ocean City.

YTD Total: $23.03

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Catching Up

Well, as most of you know, we recently moved from our home in Morgantown, WV to Baltimore, MD. It has taken us a great deal to complete the move and begin to get settled. I stress the word begin, because we are far from being settled. We are just now getting to the point of being caught up. The move has turned our lives upside down, but we are managing. We thought this would be a good time to update everyone on how we are doing and what we are doing.

The Family - The move has been extremely disruptful to our "normal" routine. We started out in our new home without phone and internet, but luckily those have been installed. We are still living without cable and hopefully will have that installed before Thanksgiving. Verizon is currently wiring for FIOS in our community as we write this. The installation of FIOS is suppose to be completed by the end of next week.

One of the great thing to come out of the move has been the elimination of the Risk family's debt. With exception of student loans (Lori's are paid off this month) and about six months of car payments on the Honda, we have been able to pay off all of our debt.

We are planning a weekend get away this coming weekend since we did not get a real vacation this year. Holiday plans are up in the air because Lori will not have accumulated enough time off to be away for long.

Jim - I have started graduate school at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) in pursuit of my Master's degree in History. As many of you know, the path to graduate school was very stressful and at times seemed hopeless. After applying to 10 different schools, I ended up enrolling in the 11th as a non-degree seeking student. I have applied to the formal progrma for a Spring 2010 admission and I am currently taking two classes which will apply to my degree. This was the best option for me without "losing time" considering the course that transpired. I have some how managed an A in both classes to this point, but the one class has not had any real assignments yet. In January, I will take on a full course load and over the summer hope to complete an internship and take a class at Mystic Seaport in Connecticut that will transfer back to UMBC for credit towards my degree.

Lori - Lori has started her new job as an Occupational Therapist at Harbor Hospital on the southside. The commute is a little longer than we expected, but the hours are good. The job is still too new to know whether she will truly like it our not. It will take four to six months to really get to know how she feels about it. Lori's job is less stressful, but more physically challenging.

James - James has had a rougher time with the move than we expected. When we first moved, James was constantly asking to "go home". He has accepted that Baltimore is his new home, but he misses his friend Morgan a great deal. This evening when we were looking at desks at Office Depot, James saw a Christmas teddy bear and said it looked like Morgan.

A big part of the transition was that the daycares here would not take James before he turned two years old. James had almost four weeks from the time we moved until he was able to start daycare again. One of those weeks was spent with Grandma and Grandpa in Pittsburgh, and the other three with Daddy at home. James is definitely a child of structure, and the lack of structure really made it rough for him. Since starting daycare, James has become more settled both at school and at home. He enjoys being near Uncle Mike and Aunt Kathy and he enjoys his new school.

James has begun speaking in sentences, and can now recite "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star" word for word. He is fascinated by the moon and the stars and seeks them out every night after dark. James also is fascinated by the sirens of firetrucks and ambulances. James' daycare had a visit from the fire department (no, not for a fire) and he really enjoyed seeing the firetruck up close.

James' class has also gone on a field trip to a local farm and pumpkin patch. He had so much fun, he fell sleep on his teacher on the hayride. One of the worse things about starting daycare has been the germs. As to be expected, James has become sick over the last two days. He has a horrible cough, and starting running a slight fever last night, but is otherwise doing fine.

James has taken to drawing a great deal and is constantly asking for a pen to "write" with. He believes that everything belongs to him and has become very possessive of things. On a recent trip for ice cream, we bought James soft serve vanilla because we thought he would do better with it. Daddy got a scoop of blueberry and Mommy got a scoop of chocolate carmel. James tasted Daddy's ice cream and then took it from Daddy. When James was told that it was Daddy's ice cream, James said, "No! James' ice cream", prompting Daddy to let James have the ice cream and go get another scoop for himself.

Socks & Shadow - Socks and Shadow have shown the greatest amount of adaptation to their new environment. They seem to have had no ill effects from the move and have made themselves at home.

Our Home - Our home has been downsized by at least 150 square feet. While that may not sound like much, it has been rather difficult to find space for all of our stuff. In fact, we had to get rid of a lot of stuff prior to moving and had let a few things go since we moved. (In addition, our computer died in the move prompting us to convert from the PC to the MAC.) The real problem is not the square footage as much as it is that we lost two full rooms, a basement and the garage. We have had to combine our den with our bedroom and the guest bedroom with James' nursery. Our living room is about 80% complete, but our dining room has become our storage room. We are still "unpacking", and hope to have that complete by the holidays.

We apologize for how long it has taken us to update this blog. Please bear with us as we continue the adjustment to our new home. Hopefully we will be able to keep up to date better now that we are starting to get settled.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

My Letter to Comcast

For those that have followed this blog for a while, you know that a little over 2 years ago Lori and I switched from Comcast to DirecTV. It was one of the best decisions we have made. When we moved to Baltimore, however, we are unable to get reception for DirecTV. Our only option for TV is Comcast. Begrudgingly, I called them. They blew off the installation appointment and we have now decided to wait until Verizon installs FIOS in our area (starting next week) to get TV service. With that said, I decided it was time to write a letter to Comcast.


Mr. __________________
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer
Comcast Corporation
One Comcast Center
Philadelphia, PA 19103




Dear Mr. _____________,

A little over two years ago, I was a faithful Comcast subscriber (Morgantown, WV) who would never have thought to look elsewhere for paid television service despite all the prodding I received from family and friends. Today, I will never subscribe to a Comcast service again.

Comcast first lost me when, more than two years ago, I called to upgrade my existing service. I was a current Comcast customer with the very basic cable service. When I began experiencing a pixelized picture with greater frequency, I assumed it was because everything was being switched to digitial and I was still subscribing to the non-digital service. I called Comcast to upgrade to digital cable and scheduled the installation of my upgrade for a few days later between 2 PM and 5 PM. I took that afternoon off work and waited for a technician who never arrived and never called. At 7 PM that evening, I called to find out why the technician never arrived. I was told by the customer service representative that the technician never picked up the work order to install my upgrade. That meant that I not only missed a half day's work, but that I would have to miss another half day's work for the return appointment. When I explained my frustrations to the customer service representative, I was suprised by the response. Yes, the customer service representative apologized for my inconvenience, but she did so in a tone that said "I don't really care" and did not try to make any ammends for the inconvenience. When I told her that I would cancel my service and go with DirecTV, her attitude remained the same as if to say "we don't need you as a customer anyway." It was only when I followed through with switching to DirecTV that I got any sort of real concern from Comcast. It was almost like the customer service representative didn't think I (or anyone else) would actually leave Comcast. Needless to say, I was very happy with my DirecTV and DirecTV was very happy to have my business.

A couple of weeks ago, I moved to an area (Baltimore, MD) where satellite reception is not good. To my dismay I had to cancel my DirecTV service. DirecTV did everything they could to try to keep me as a customer, exactly the way a company should respond when they are losing a valued customer. To add to my dismay, the only option for paid television service at my new home was Comcast. Verizon FIOS is coming to the area, but it is still a few months away. So I contacted Comcast through their website and scheduled to have Comcast's Triple Play (TV/Phone/Internet) installed. Because we live in a gated community, I left specific instructions for the installer to contact the leasing office when he arrived at the gate. Since Comcast was installing our phone service, we did not a phone coneccted to the gate to let him in ourselves. I also explained very specifically that we did not get any cellular phone service inside our apartment, but that I would be home the entire day. Again, contacting the leasing office would have allowed the technician to complete the installation as scheduled.

You can imagine my ire when I received a voice mail on my cellular phone that the technician had arrived at the gate of our community and because he could not get inside the gate, I would have to reschedule. Understand that rescheduling would not have solved the problem. Without the phone service that Comcast was suppose to install that day, I would never be able to open the gate for the technician and the technician would still have to contact the leasing office to get into the complex. Just as my original instructions had stated.

My ire increased when I called Comcast back and tried to get the installer to return. I was told that a request would be put in and I would hear back in 15 - 20 minutes. Two hours later, I called back. I was told that because I missed the scheduled appointment, I would need to reschedule. I MISSED THE APPOINTMENT????? I was at my apartment the whole time. The technician is the one who didn't follow the instructions. This time, I missed a full day's work and would miss another day's work for the return visit. I told the customer service representative that I did not need reschedule my appointment, but that I needed to cancel my installation. I informed her that I would have Verizon install my service. The customer service rep apologized for the inconvenience with the same lack of concern as the rep two years ago. Once again I was left with the feeling that my money was not good enough for Comcast and that Comcast didn't need me as a customer.

May I ask how Comcast expects to stay in business if they treat customers like they have so little value? Companies are built on their customer base. A satisfied customer will tell one other person about their experience, but a dissatisfied customer will tell many more. (I personally have already told more than 75 people about my experience with Comcast through Facebook and will be posting this letter to my oline blog.) To treat a customer, or potential customer, as though they don't really matter is a very poor business model.

Needless to say, my eperience with Comcast has led me to never do business with Comcast again. Two different Comcast locations in two different states two years apart and I received the same lack of concern both times. If in the future I should move again and I am faced with the choice of Comcast or doing without, I will happily do without.

Sincerely,
James Risk

P.S. - Could you please remove my name and address from the mailing list used to recruit new customers? Seems kind of pointless to keep killing trees since Comcast apparently doesn't need me as a customer anyway.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Life Without the Internet

Many people look forward to the days when they can get away from it all and just forget technology altogether. That is not the case for us, at least not at this moment. Since moving to Baltimore, we have struggled to get everything done while continuing to work and study full-time. Neither of us has really taken any "time off". So needless to say, getting internet setup at our new home has been put off until we could get some semblence of what was even going on. This is one of the reasons we have not updated this blog, James' scrapbook, or our facebook pages on a regular basis.

Although, getting internet has been put off, it has also been one of the most importnat things we need. Research for school papers, checking emails for our contract jobs with WVU, and arranging for utilities to be hooked up (including the internet) at the new home.

What this means is that life without the internet has been very difficult. In order to accomplish these things, we have had to resort to some pretty creative ways of getting internet service. All have cost us a great deal of time and money. While the internet access has been "free", there are costs associated with it - time, gas, and the feeling of obligation to buy something from the establishment that is offering the free wi-fi access.

The nearest spot is the local Dunkin Donuts, which I have visited on several occasions. Although it is only a few blocks from the house, it takes about 30 minutes to pack everything up, drive there and unpack everything to get set up (including the return home). Time is money. If we had internet at home, we could be saving a lot of time, and thus a lot of money. Luckily for use, the Dunkin Donuts is open 24 hours. But then that brings up another cost - the feeling of obligation to buy something. I've spent roughly $3-$5 everyday at the Dunkin Donuts on a juice/water and a donut or two. That $3-$5 adds up and quickly. Especially when you have to go almost daily.

Other places that have free internet are the public library and the UMBC campus. The library is nice because it is close and quiet, but it closes at 9 PM and you have to pay to park. Parking can cost anywhere from $1-$8 depending on how long you are there. The UMBC campus has free access and free parking, but with traffic, it can be upto 45 minutes away. Again, time is money.

So with all of this strugle to access the internet, we finally were able to get our internet service scheduled for hookup. Yesterday, Comcast had an appointment to install our phone, internet, and cable between 12 Noon - 3 PM. However, in the typical Comcast fashion, the technician blew off the appointment and customer service acted like it was no big deal. (That will actually be my next post.) Needless to say, we have cancelled our install with Comcast and gone with Verizon. Verizon will have our phone and internet (but no TV) installed at the end of next week, meaning we have another week to wait for internet service.

Frustrating! Rest assured, once our internet is hooked up, we will do our best to update all of our family and friends through our blogs, scrapbooks, and Facebook pages.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Change Pot Tuesday

Change Pot Tuesday is a weekly recap of finding money that other people have lost. However, it is more than just picking up pennies and collecting lost change. For those readers and followers who have begun following the Change Pot midway, Change Pot Tuesday is about charity. When the Change Pot reaches $100, it will be donated to charity and the process will be started all over again. Loyal readers and followers will have an opportunity to help me choose which charity will receive the money accumulated in the Change Pot. While, I don't expect to change the world with the Change Pot, I do hope to help a charity in some small way.

The Change Pot had its best week ever thanks to Lori finding $15 on Monday evening. That find alone was twice the amount we had found all year, tripling the current total in the Change Pot. Here is this week's breakdwon:

Thursday - $0.03. Because we were going to be traveling on Friday to Pittsburgh, we made Thursday evening our weekly "pizza" night and decided to try out Jerry's Pizza and Subs near our apartment. (For what it is worth, the pizza wasn't that great - limp crust and extremely greasy.) We found three pennies at Jerry's. The first two were in the parking lot as we got out of the car. The third was on the counter inside one of those paper tri-fold/triangular signs advertising some menu item.

Monday - $15.00. Yes, that's right! Lori found $15 on Monday in the most unlikely of places - and old birthday card from her mom and dad. Lori was unpacking from our move and came across the birthday card when she found the money inside. While this may not seem like a true find because it was Lori's money to begin with, the card was about 15 years old! This means the $15 Lori found was truly lost and therefore qualifies. No, I will not make Lori donate her birthday money to the cause, but I will add $15 to the change pot for the find.

Tuesday - $0.01. I don't exactly remember where we found this penny, but it was most likely one of three places we went Tuesday evening. We stopped at Verizon to get new cell phones and I think this is where I found the penny. However, since I am not sure, it could also have been at IKEA or the Burger King near the White Marsh (Baltimore suburb) Town Center (a shopping mall).

Weekly Total: $15.04
YTD Total: $22.54

Monday, September 28, 2009

Casualties of Moving

As most of you know, we recently moved to Towson, a Baltimore area suburb. We did our best to pack everything as carefully as we could to make sure that nothing broke in transit. As we begin unpacking our many boxes, we have come across our first casualty of the move -- our computer!

It is really a stretch to call it a casualty of the move. When I disassembled the computer to move it, it already had a blank black screen. We did not pack it because it was moved in our car as a precaution, something we had planned to do anyway. When the computer arrived in Baltimore, we set it up and quickly realized our worst fears - the computer had indeed crashed. When booting the computer, I continually get a blue screen error message stating that Windows has shut itself down to prevent further damage to the computer.

I can't really blame anything for the computer crash. The computer is five years old (ancient and antique in the computer world). We needed to replace it anyway. I have taken the computer to the Geek Squad at Best Buy (didn't know where else to take it having just moved) and they are going to try to retrieve the data from the computer. While it went against my better judgment because of cost, I asked them to repair it as well, assuming it is repairable. This really is more to buy us a little more time until the sell of our house closes and we can get a new computer. Luckily for us we have a laptop that I bought last year for school. Unfortunately, the data on the desktop that may not be recoverable is our checkbook (in Quicken) and several songs from iTunes that had not yet been synced with our iPod.

Hopefully both will be recoverable and we won't lose any money we paid for the any of the iTunes songs. I can reinstall the Quicken and recover the data from my backup (yes, I have a backup of our checkbook), if I could just figure out what box they are packed it. It is maddening trying to go from day-to-day without knowing exactly how much money you have to spend -- and because of the move having to spend money like crazy to get things done. We can always check on the balance online, except that we don't have internet service yet! We are having to use the free Wi-Fi at Dunkin Doughnuts, which isn't exactly free considering you feel obligated to buy something while you are there. Besides, their internet access is not secure and even if it was, the online balance may not be correct because it doesn't show checks that have been presented until after they post. Good news is that we are getting internet, phone and TV installed on Thursday. Hopefully as we get these little things accomplished, we will begin to feel settled.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Change Pot Tuesday

Change Pot Tuesday is a weekly recap of finding money that other people have lost. However, it is more than just picking up pennies and collecting lost change. For those readers and followers who have begun following the Change Pot midway, Change Pot Tuesday is about charity. When the Change Pot reaches $100, it will be donated to charity and the process will be started all over again. Loyal readers and followers will have an opportunity to help me choose which charity will receive the money accumulated in the Change Pot. While, I don't expect to change the world with the Change Pot, I do hope to help a charity in some small way.

The Change Pot had a much better week this week, but the finds were still limited to only one day - Sunday. On Sunday, we found $0.27 total in the form of a quarter and two pennies. The first penny was found at the Sheetz in Breezewood, PA on the way home from Pittsburgh. The quarter and second penny were found at separate times (coming and going) in the parking lot of our new apartment after returning from Pittsburgh.

Weekly Total: $0.27
YTD Total: $7.47

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Change Pot Tuesday

Change Pot Tuesday is a weekly recap of finding money that other people have lost. However, it is more than just picking up pennies and collecting lost change. For those readers and followers who have begun following the Change Pot midway, Change Pot Tuesday is about charity. When the Change Pot reaches $100, it will be donated to charity and the process will be started all over again. Loyal readers and followers will have an opportunity to help me choose which charity will receive the money accumulated in the Change Pot. While, I don't expect to change the world with the Change Pot, I do hope to help a charity in some small way.

This week was a very poor week for the Change Pot with only a single penny found on Wednesday. The penny was left on a table in the quiet/study area of the UMBC administration building. I suspect the lack of finds this week has more to do with us concentrating on the move and not on looking for lost change.

Weekly Total: $0.01
YTD Total: $7.20

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Change Pot Tuesday

Change Pot Tuesday is a weekly recap of finding money that other people have lost. However, it is more than just picking up pennies and collecting lost change. For those readers and followers who have begun following the Change Pot midway, Change Pot Tuesday is about charity. When the Change Pot reaches $100, it will be donated to charity and the process will be started all over again. Loyal readers and followers will have an opportunity to help me choose which charity will receive the money accumulated in the Change Pot. While, I don't expect to change the world with the Change Pot, I do hope to help a charity in some small way.

Wednesday - $0.06 total. My first find of the day was at the Sandy Spring Museum. I found a nickel as I got out of my car to visit the museum for a class project. Later after returning to UMBC, I found a penny on the main sidewalk running through campus while on my way to class.

Thursday - $0.01. A penny at the Sheetz on South Street in Frederick Maryland while on my way home from Baltimore.

Sunday - $0.02 total. The first penny was found in our home while packing. It was at the back of the "junk" drawer in our kitchen. Although this was most definitely our penny, I will still add it to the Change Pot since I "found" it. The second penny, which was not picked up, was found at the Sheetz near I-79 in Morgantown. We had stopped for something to drink after dropping James off at his friend Morgan's house when I found a penny on the floor at the cash register. The store was too busy, so I didn't get the opportunity to pick up the penny, but I will donate a penny to the cause.

Weekly Total: $0.09
YTD Total: $7.19

Friday, September 4, 2009

An Double Arch Observation

Ok, so I could have titled this post "A Golden Arches Observation", but that would have given away the topic and may have influenced my readers (all 3 of them) from this post.

My observation started a couple of weeks ago when we were forced to stopp at a McDonald's for lunch. We were in Baltimore looking for apartments and had James with us. It was past lunchtime and James was getting rather cranky. (Don't we all when we are hungry?) Not knowing exactly where we were or what was around, we tried to find someplace to eat that would have something James could eat. As we drove around looking and James continued to get crankier, we came across a dreaded McDonald's restaurant. Dreaded because we avoid McDonald's like the plague. Personal preference which will be discussed a little later. Seeing no other suitable restuarant in sight, we stopped. We got James a happy meal and we each got a value meal. Everything was fine. For the most part we enjoyed our meals. This was James' FIRST time to eat at McDonald's. (He's almost 2, so that tells you how long it has been since we ate at the Big M. Actually much longer.) We didn't think much of our visit. It was just another lunch on the run.

And then it happened...

..Somehow in that one visit, McDonald's had brainwashed our child. Now everytime we are out running errands and need to grab a bite to eat, James will start asking "McDonald's?". Everytime he sees the Golden Arches, James starts asking "McDonald's?". How, after ONLY ONE visit, can a two year old child know and want McDonald's? It is an absolutely absurd concept that McDonald's can have that kind of hold over someone. What could they possibly put in their food to makes us zombies to our craving for our next Golden Arch fix?

Well, I am not sure what it is that they put in their food, but that leads me to my next observation. The McDonald's taste. Have you ever noticed that no matter what menu item McDonald's comes up with, it still has the distinct taste of McDonald's? For instance, McDonald's could add something like lasagna to their menu (although not likely) and one would be able to tell that it came from McDonald's. If Burger King, Wendy's or any other fast food restaurant tried to add the same thing to their menu, it would probably taste like fast food, but it wouldn't necessarily taste like it came from Burger King, Wendy's or any other particular fast food restaurant. I do not like the distinct taste that is McDonald's. I never have. Unfortunately, I was reminded of that yesterday on my way back from Baltimore. I was running late getting back to Morgantown for an after lunch meeting. I had to stop for gas and decided I would get something to eat as well. And guess what...the only place to eat at the exit I chose to stop for gas was a McDonald's. Yuck. I decided I would avoid the hamburgers and get a chicken sandwich. I ordered the southern style chicken sandwich without the sauce, thinking it was the sauce that gave McDonald's it's distinct taste. I was wrong, although the sauce probably would have made it taste more like McDonald's than having it without the sauce. (The sauce on this sandwich btw is butter.) As I bit into the sandwich, that distinct McDonald's flavor hit me like a brick wall. In this case, it was the bun. Ruined my whole lunch experience. Next time, (let's hope it is another 2+ years before I make it there again) I will order the sandwich without the sauce and the bun and maybe I will get something I enjoy -- a piece of chicken that doesn't taste like it came from McDonald's.

I welcome hearing from anyone else on what they think makes the McDonald's taste so distinctive and why people become zombies for the Big M taste.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

First Week of Classes

Well, I have made it through my first week as a graduate student. I am feeling a bit overwhelmed. Not because of the assignments, but because of all the resources available. I don't know where to begin my research. I also think I am overwhelmed because I am not settled yet. We won't be physically moving for another week and a half and I feel there is so much for me to do, yet I can't really concentrate because I am still trying to figure out everything with the move. In the end, I think I will be alright once things get settled, but until then I will just have to take it one day at a time and make sure I schedule enough time to get me schoolwork done. It will have to take priority if I am to make sure I don't fall behind. One group research paper with a presentation to class, one group project and two short 5 - 7 page papers to present in class. I think that will turn out ok. I'll have to relinquish some responsibility in the group project and research paper. Not sure how well I will be able to do that. I have never been one to give up responsibility when it is my grade on the line, but I have to realize I am dealing with graduate students now. More like professionals than undergraduates. I am looking forward to the challenge.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Change Pot Tuesday

Change Pot Tuesday is a weekly recap of finding money that other people have lost. However, it is more than just picking up pennies and collecting lost change. For those readers and followers who have begun following the Change Pot midway, Change Pot Tuesday is about charity. When the Change Pot reaches $100, it will be donated to charity and the process will be started all over again. Loyal readers and followers will have an opportunity to help me choose which charity will receive the money accumulated in the Change Pot. While, I don't expect to change the world with the Change Pot, I do hope to help a charity in some small way.

Thursday was an interesting day for the Change Pot, because I can not tell you exactly how much money I found that day. It's not that I found I lot, it really is that I don't know exactly how much. Here is why: I stopped by the Sheetz on Route 7 near I-68 on Thursday morning to get some breakfast before running some errands. I saw a penny on the floor between the registers and the coffee bar. My hands were full, so I couldn't pick it up. Continuing to look around, I
thought I saw a second penny under one of the racks at the counter. Again, I was unable to pick it up, but decided I would donate two cents to the Change Pot. However, when I returned to Sheetz after my errands to pick up something to drink for lunch with Lori, I found another penny near where I had seen the first penny earlier. Was this the same penny as before? Likely, but the coloring was a bit duller and it was not in the same spot. Sure, someone could have kicked it, but I just don't know. So did I find two cents or three? I picked this penny up, but the story doesn't end there. After paying for my drinks, I look down and see a dime underneath the same rack I thought I saw a penny earlier. So was my earlier penny and this dime one in the same? I don't know. So now I am not sure if i have found 11 cents or 13 cents, or something altogether different. I picked up the dime, but again the story doesn't end there. Later that evening, I ran to the Kroger in Sabraton (Route 7 in Morgantown) to get some milk. While I was there, I picked up some other things, so once again my hands were full. As a left the self-checkout lane, I look over at the checkout next to me and see a penny lying on the floor. Being unable to pick up the penny, I noted it and will donate another penny to the Change Pot. As I continued looking, I thought I saw a second dime in the checkout lane two over from where I was. Was it a dime, was it a penny? Are my eyes going bad and playing tricks on me? Maybe it was just a stain on the floor. After that morning's incident with the penny / dime under the candy rack, I have to wonder. So now I don't don't know if I have found 13 cents, 24 cents, or somewhere in between. I will donate 24 cents to the Change Pot. After all it's only pennies and dimes. And that 11 cents? Well, if it breaks my bank, then I need to be looking a lot harder for lost change.

On Friday, I found $0.06 in the parking lot next to our realtor's office. We had to go downtown to sign some papers and when we arrived, I found a nickel lying on the ground next to the parking meter. On the way out, I found a penny in the middle of the parking lot.

On Monday, I found four pennies in four separate places. The first was near the coffee counter at the Sheetz in Sabraton (Morgantown), WV. Later that day, I found three pennies at the UMBC campus in Baltimore. All three pennies were found as I got out of my car when parking at various spots on campus.

Weekly Total: $0.34
YTD Total: $7.10

Saturday, August 29, 2009

George is George - No Monkeying Around

For some time now, Lori has been reading to James every night at bedtime. James insists on Mommy reading two books specifically - "Llama Llama Misses Momma" and any one of three Curious George books. James has come to know Curious George is the mischievious monkey and always points him out as Mommy reads to him.

James' acknowledgement of Curious George is cute, but today it was more hilarious. As we were preparing for our day and a trip to Grandma and Grandpa's house, we were watching the memorial service for Senator Edward M. Kennedy. The telecast focused on the area where the Obamas, the Bushes, and the Clintons were sitting. As we discussed the presence of the the three presidential families, Lori commented on how former president George W. Bush was joking around and laughing with everyone, except President Obama. The former president took a more serious tone when conversing with the President Obama. As we were discussing this, James overheard us talking about former president George W. Bush and decided to join our conversation.

"George Bush? George Bush?"
"George?"
"Book?"

Yes. According to James, the former president George W. Bush and the michievious monkey Curious George are one in the same.

Priceless!

Friday, August 28, 2009

More Wasted Money

A few days ago, I wrote on our blog about wasting money on items that we ended up never using. The list was relatively short and really didn't amount to much money wasted (still a penny spent is a penny unsaved). My list, however, was primarily confined to items found in a 1 1/2 foot wide by 9 inch deep closet. Yesterday and today while continuing to pack, I came across several other items that we bought with good intentions, but never seemed to find the time to use. These items were a bit more expensive than my first list making this list a little more disheartening than the first. Below is the list of the newly discovered unused items.


  1. Two sets of Pyrex® baking dishes. We bought these seven years ago when we were putting them on our wedding registry at Kohl's. It so happened that as we were putting them on the registry, they were being put on clearance for $5.00 each set. We purchased the last three sets in the store, but we have only used one set. (They are all the same, so unless something in one of the sets breaks, we won't likely need the other two.) We had said that we would give the other two sets away as wedding gifts. We have been invited to several weddings since then and yet the two sets still sit on the shelf in the closet of our spare bedroom. We will take these with us when we move just in case we are invited to another wedding and need a gift.

  2. Two party style games. Over the past couple of years, we had hosted a monthly game night attended by several friends. Each month we would try to have different games, so for a while, we were buying a new game once a month. Each game typically costs $15 - $25. The two games we have never used are Loaded Questions and Scattergories. We never used these games because we had bought the same games for our friends as Christmas presents. When our monthly game night rolled around, our friends brought their new games with them and we played using their games instead of our own. We will take these with us when we move. Maybe someday we will open them up and play them.

  3. Two sets of landscaping lights. We bought these a few years ago during one of Ace Hardware’s holiday rebate sales. (I think it was the Memorial Day sale, but they have similar sales on the 4th of July and Labor Day.) I had intended to line our driveway with the lights, but after purchasing them, I decided to wait until we put in landscaping (railroad ties and gravel) along the driveway to avoid the lights getting damaged by the lawn mower. I never seemed to find the time to start the project, let alone finish it. The lights cost $19.99 per set and if I remember correctly the rebate was $5.00 per set for a total loss of $30.00. We have decided to give these to our good friends Jennifer and Patrick who will hopefully get more use out of them than we did.

  4. A bag of soil starter. Last fall, we had to have the drainage system for our house replaced. The contractors dug up our entire backyard and when they were done, they planted grass seed. I watered the grass seed for two weeks as the contractor had instructed me, but it turned too cold shortly thereafter. When the spring came, the grass had come in very spotty. I attempted to patch the yard by mixing some grass seed with three bags of soil starter and then spreading the mixture over the areas that needed it. I ended up with one extra bag of soil starter and never got around to returning it. Unfortunately, the grass seed that I spread never came in and the yard is still as patchy as it was before.

  5. An exercise ball. I purchased this on clearance shortly after my back surgery. i had intended to do back strengthening exercises and stretches with the exercise ball, but I never seem to find the motivation. Something else always seemed to take priority. Life just got in the way. We will take this with us in hopes that I will use it now that I will have more time.


Well, that’s it for this list. I am sure I will find more as I continue to pack. Hopefully, it is not too much more. This list alone totals about $100 in money wasted.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Change Pot Tuesday

Change Pot Tuesday is a weekly recap of finding money that other people have lost. However, it is more than just picking up pennies and collecting lost change. For those readers and followers who have begun following the Change Pot midway, Change Pot Tuesday is about charity. When the Change Pot reaches $100, it will be donated to charity and the process will be started all over again. Loyal readers and followers will have an opportunity to help me choose which charity will receive the money accumulated in the Change Pot. While, I don't expect to change the world with the Change Pot, I do hope to help a charity in some small way.

This week's Change Pot was not very successful, even with a weekend in Baltimore. I guess we had too many other things going on to really look. What I did find was in Baltimore at my brother-in-law's house. I found a dime lying on the floor behind the bed in their guest bedroom. Chances are it was our dime to begin with as we have made their guest bedroom our home several times over the past month. I will still donate the dime to the Change Pot.

Weekly Total: $0.10
YTD Total: $6.76

Wasting Money

As everyone knows, Lori and I are not ones to waste a lot of money. We are frugal to a point and do our best to balance our budget with a happy and enjoyable lifestyle. We watch every penny closely and do not indulge in friviolous spending. So you can imagine how disheartening it is to find out how much money we have wasted over the past couple of years.

Let me back up a step. I have been packing up the house for the past two days in preparation of our move. During that time, I have come across several items that we had purchased with good intentions, but have never even opened. Imagine how much money we could get if we could return all of those items. Unfortunately, we have had them for too long and it would take too much time to find the receipts. Here are a few of the items I discovered just today.


  1. A solid brass eyehole. We had intended to install this on our front door. We bought the eyehole when when bought the door two years ago, but just never got around to installing it.

  2. A tube of concrete sealer/silicone. I don't remember when or why we bought it, but chances are the sealant is no longer any good. Even unopened, it will only last so long.

  3. A 15 foot indoor extension cord. We could take this with us, and probably will, but if we haven't used it yet, it is not likely that we ever will.

  4. A twin pack of Woolite® Carpet Spot and Stain remover. Maybe we will use this as we clean the house before we go.

  5. A six outlet surge protector. If I remember right, we got this free after rebate, so maybe we didn't waste any money on it. We will pack this up and take it with us.



All of this was found in a small 2 foot wide by 9 inch deep closet. Imagine what I will find in other rooms of the house that are much larger. Not much we can do about it now, I just hope we don't find much more.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Finding a Home

After two weekends in Baltimore, we finally found a home. It was not our first choice, but it was probably the best choice. Our home will be in Towson, just five mintues from Lori's brother Mike and his wife Kathy. We have secured an apartment at Versailles. Sounds a bit luxurious and exotic, and in some ways it is compared to the other places we looked, but in general it is a pretty standard place.

The community is gated. The only access is through the leasing office or a resident. Our apartment is a two bedroom, 1300 sq ft ground level unit. This will be great for James as he will have lots of room to play and won't be distrubing the neighbors below us. The apartment is a short 20 minute commute to Lori's new job and to my classes at UMBC. It is near a major shopping center and several daycare centers. The area is also one of the safest in Baltimore, rating 92 out of 100.

We do not have our physical address as of yet. We will get that when we sign our lease on September 12. For more about our new home, please visit Versailles Apartment Homes.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Change Pot Tuesday

Change Pot Tuesday is a weekly recap of finding money that other people have lost. However, it is more than just picking up pennies and collecting lost change. For those readers and followers who have begun following the Change Pot midway, Change Pot Tuesday is about charity. When the Change Pot reaches $100, it will be donated to charity and the process will be started all over again. Loyal readers and followers will have an opportunity to help me choose which charity will receive the money accumulated in the Change Pot. While, I don't expect to change the world with the Change Pot, I do hope to help a charity in some small way.

Saturday - $0.01. I found a single penny outside of the Sheetz in Star City while getting fuel and something to drink for our drive to Pittsburgh.

Monday - $0.10. I found a dime at the Sheetz near Chestnut Ridge while getting breakfast on the way to work.

Tuesday - $0.02 total. I found a penny near the parking meters at the corner of Spruce and Walnut Street in Downtown Morgantown. We had stopped by the realtors office to sign some papers and came across it on our way into the office. I found a second penny at the Chick-Fil-A near the WVU Colesium while having dinner with James' friend Morgan and her parents. The penny was in the bottom of the mint basket at the counter. I wonder if someone thought the basket was one of those "leave a penny, take a penny" holders since it was on the counter.

Weekly Total: $0.13
YTD Total: $6.66

Sold?!!!!

After being on the market for 14 days, we received an offer on our house today. We countered, they countered, we countered again, they countered again, we countered a final time and they accepted. We will sign the contract tonight or tomorrow. As long as everything goes well, we should close around the middle to end of October. Please keep your fingers crossed and pray that everything continues to work out.

Our move to Baltimore is tentatively scheduled for the weekend after Labor Day. Lori is suppose to start her new job in Baltimore on September 23rd and her last day at work in WV will be September 18. Therefore, we will move 90% of the stuff the weekend after Labor Day, leaving the bare necessities. I will commute to Baltimore for school for the first couple of weeks of class.

Now all we have to do is find a place to live.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Showings, showings and more showings

Let's hope we are on a roll. We have had three showings on the house since last Friday and one scheduled for tomorrow morning. While we are not unrealistic enough to think the house will sell in less than two weeks, we are glad to see some activity and interest in realtors and potential buyers. I buried St. Joseph's statue in the yard the other night and we have been praying faithfully in hopes for a quick sale. For those of you who do not know, St. Joseph is the patron of a happy home, safeguard of families and protector of children. The tradition of burying a statue of St. Joseph's dates back to ancient Catholic times when people would bury blessed metals in the ground, invoking God's blessing in the area. It was not the metal but the blessing that brings God's power. Please include us in your prayers as we try to sell our house and look for new housing in Baltimore.

In the mean time, we are taking a breather this weekend with a trip to Pittsburgh to visit Lori's parents and to attend the Keelin Family Picnic (our sister-in-law's family). It will be a nice break from all the craziness and gear us up for another trip to Baltimore next weekend to find housing and daycare.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Friends Don't Let Friends Buy DirecTV!

Update: After months of fighting with DirecTV, we finally received one of our Refer-a-Friend credits. Unfortunately, we are moving in a few weeks and will not be able to have DirecTV in our new apartment home. When it is all said and done, we will see $10 of the $100 worth of credits we were suppose to receive. Fortunately for us, the two friends we referred to DirecTV are still our friends.

You've heard the ads before "Friends don't let friends watch cable" by DirecTV. Well, they seem to have gotten it wrong. Friends don't let friends watch DirecTV! And friends definitely don't refer friends to DirecTV. But wait, don't they give you and your friend $50 for referrals? That's what they want you to think. It is actually a scam to get more customers. DirecTV does not pay the referral bonus as they promise and after talking with customer service this evening, they never intended to pay it!

Here's the deal. I signed up for DirecTV almost two years ago because the customer serivce at Comcast was horrible right after the took over for Adelphia. At the time DirecTV had an offer that if you referred your friends, you and your friend received a $50 credit on you bill. The credit was promised to be paid $10/month for 5 months.

This past November, a good friend of ours moved into a house they had just finished building. Because the development was brand new, Comcast was taking their own sweet time installing the necessary equipment. I recommended to my friend that he should get DirecTV. I told him about the referral plan and after several days of thinking it over, he decided to have DirecTV installed. When he called to have his new service installed, he gave them my account number as he was suppose to and the installer told him that we would both receive the $50 credit in about 4 - 6 weeks. Here it has been FOUR MONTHS and neither of us have recieved our credit. My friend called at eight weeks to find out why we weren't receiving the credit and he was told by customer service that they did not have record of the referral. They said we would not be getting the credit.

About that same time, another friend of ours asked me about DirecTV because they knew we had gotten it some time ago. Figuring that the referral bonus from my first friend was a simple problem that would be resolved quickly, I referred my second friend to DirecTV. They had their DirecTV installed in February and like our first friend, they provided my account number when they called for the initial installation of their service. They were told the same 4 - 6 weeks before the credit would appear. It has been TWO MONTHS since our second friend signed up and again, neither of us has received the referral credit.

This evening, I called to see what was going on and I was told by customer service that they had no record of me referring either friend and that none of us would be getting any referral credits.

It is obvious to me that they do not care about their customers and I would like to apologize to our two friends. If I had known that DirecTV would treat its customers this way, I never would have gotten my friends mixed up with a company like this. Unlike DirecTV, I value and respect my friends. I would never knowing turn them onto a scam. Because of the economy, both of our friends switched because they were going to be saving money. Like us, they need every little bit of help stretching the budget as far as they can.

To that I say, it is DirecTV's loss. Not only will they lose me as a customer when my comittment is up next month, but studies have shown that scorned customers tell more people about their bad experiences than satisfied customers tell about theirs. This blog post is my second negative review of DirecTV in less than an hour. I have already posted a review of DirecTV on Viewpoints.com and I plan to post others. I may not be able to do much, but with the world wide web, the audience has definitely gotten bigger.

So for all those DirecTV subscribers, please don't jeopordize your friendships by referring your friends to satellite. Friends don't let friends watch DirecTV!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Apartment Hunting

This past weekend, the Risk family made a trip to Baltimore to scope out an apartment. And let me tell you, there is no shortage of apartments in a big city. Every where you turn, you could find an apartment complex. What there is a shortage of is an affordable apartment in a safe area. We were amazed at how little you get for your money in the Baltimore rental market.

Here were our criteria:

3 BR or 2 BR w/Den
Safe secure neighborhood
Pets (we have two cats)
Washer and dryer in unit (with James, an outside laundry is not an option)
First floor (so that James does not disturb the Neighbors below us)

We did not feel that these were unreasonable. Of course we also wanted maximum space for the least money, but hey doesn't everybody???

On Friday, we looked at five complexes, one of which we didn't even stop and get out to look at because the area was that bad. On Saturday, we looked at at least a dozen complexes and finally decided on one of the last ones we viewed. It was perfect. Everything we asked for at a price we could afford and space that was larger than our house. Still not as nice as the apartment we looked at in Greenville, NC for about $900.00.

The apartment we chose was at Cascades Overlook in Owings Mills, a Baltimore suburb. 2 BR with a bonus family room that could serve as our den, first floor, with washer/dryer, pet friendly, semi-gated community and all the normal amenities - pool, clubhouse, playground, etc. 1500 sq foot, all for the great price of $1,275. The remainder of August's rent was free and according to the leasing agent, September's rent was also free with a 13 month lease. This would give us a chance to move and have the house sell before having to pay rent and a mortgage. The complex was a short commute to work and school and within a mile of the grocery store and the local mall. Perfect.

On Sunday, we turned in our application and waited for the reference check. That afternoon, we returned home to Morgantown knowing that another piece of the puzzle was about to be put in place.

On Monday, we received a call from the apartments that we had been approved for the apartment, but that the apartment would have to be a different one than was offered on Saturday. Apparently, the leasing agent on Saturday had given us som bad information and because we had pets, we would have to take an apartment in another building. The new apartment was $1,330 per month and on the second floor. It was a newer apartment and had a fireplace - two things that were very low on list of priorities. (So low that neither actually made the list.)

I called on Tuesday to find out what was going on, and told the apartments that I felt they were pulling a "bait and switch" on us. The agent assured me that they were not and seemed very sincere in offering this new apartment at the lower price of the original apartment. While the price was part of the issue, a bigger part was the new apartment was on the second floor. This was the sticking point. We would never have applied for the apartment had we known the apartment was on the second floor. Therefore, we asked to have our non-refundable application fee of $70 returned. We have not heard whether the company plans to return the fee. I have to call the company's regional manager tomorrow to see what we can do.

So we are back to square one. We will be making another trip to Baltimore in two weeks to try again. We researched about a dozen other apartments today and hope that things will work out.

Change Pot Tuesday

Change Pot Tuesday is a weekly recap of finding money that other people have lost. However, it is more than just picking up pennies and collecting lost change. For those readers and followers who have begun following the Change Pot midway, Change Pot Tuesday is about charity. When the Change Pot reaches $100, it will be donated to charity and the process will be started all over again. Loyal readers and followers will have an opportunity to help me choose which charity will receive the money accumulated in the Change Pot. While, I don't expect to change the world with the Change Pot, I do hope to help a charity in some small way.

The Change Pot bounced back this week with several good finds for a total of $0.34 cents. The Change Pot was aided by three days in the heavily popoulated area of Baltimore, Maryland. On Wednesday, I found a penny when getting out of the car at the Wal-Mart on Grafton Road in Morgantown. On Friday, I found a second penny at the Royal Farms convenience store on Providence Road in Towson, Maryland. Saturday was the big day finding two dimes. Both dimes were found in stairwells of apartment complexes while touring the apartments for the possibility of finding our future home. The first apartment was St. Charles at Old Court in Pikesville, Maryland. The second was at Red Run Apartments in Owings Mills, Maryland. On Sunday, I found two pennies at the Sheetz convenience store in Hagerstown, Maryland on the way home and another dime at the Kroger on Route 7 in Sabraton (Morgantown) when getting milk for James after returning home.

Weekly Total: $0.34
YTD Total: $6.53

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Change Pot Tuesday

Change Pot Tuesday is a weekly recap of finding money that other people have lost. However, it is more than just picking up pennies and collecting lost change. For those readers and followers who have begun following the Change Pot midway, Change Pot Tuesday is about charity. When the Change Pot reaches $100, it will be donated to charity and the process will be started all over again. Loyal readers and followers will have an opportunity to help me choose which charity will receive the money accumulated in the Change Pot. While, I don't expect to change the world with the Change Pot, I do hope to help a charity in some small way.

Another disappointing week for the Change Pot. This week's finds were limited to two pennies. The first penny came on Wednesday at the All Star / Dairy Mart in Westover. I had stopped there to grab a drink after a doctor's appointment and found the penny as I got out of the car. The second penny came on Sunday. After working all day on getting the house backing in showing condition for the realtors, we all went to IHOP for dinner. When we entered, I scanned the floor around the cashier's counter and saw nothing. Yet, when I went to pay the bill after dinner, I found the penny on the floor. Did I miss it when we came in or did someone drop it in the time between our arrival and departure? Of course I want to say the latter, but after not finding a single penny the week before, it may be that I missed it and that I am slipping in my responsibilities to the Change Pot.

Weekly Total: $0.02
YTD Total: $6.19

Monday, August 3, 2009

Baltimore Bound?????

For those that have been following the saga of the Risk family this past summer, you know it has been a very stressful time for us. In some instances, that stress has finally found a resolution, but in others, the stress has just begun.

On Friday, Lori received a verbal job offer from Harbor Hospital in Baltimore. Today, the official Letter of Intent was mailed out. Lori has decided to accept the offer and we have decided to move to Baltimore. Fall classes start September 1 at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. We are going this coming Friday to enroll in classes as a non-degree seeking student (program deadlines have long since passed). I will then apply for admission for the Spring semester and if accepted, the classes I take this fall will be applied to my degree.

What this means is that we have a lot of work to do over the next three - six weeks as we attempt to move. Our house will officially go back on the market tomorrow (Tuesday) and this weekend while in Baltimore, we hope to find a new home. We also have to look at daycare options for James, and I will need to find a part-time job. All within this three - six week time frame. We don't expect the house to sell before we move, but we are hopeful that we might have an offer.

We ask that all of our family and friends help us pray so that we may be able to make this move and continue to work for what is best for our family and our future.

We would also like to let all of our friends here in Morgantown know that we will miss them and once we are settled, they are more than welcome to come visit us. We will make sure we keep in touch. So easy to do these days with Facebook, blogs, email, and instant messengers. We will do our best to keep everyone updated on our progress, but if we get behind, rest assured that we will catch up once we are settled in our new home.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Here's Your Sign

Nothing irritates me more than stupidity and stupid people. Especially after I have had a hard and tiring day. If you have ever listened to comedian Bill Engvall, then you know about "the sign". Unfortunately, demand outstrips my supply.

Earlier today, Lori and I worked to get the house ready to go back on the market and after working extemely hard all day (I had to shower twice!) Lori and I were both tired and hungry. Neither of us felt like cooking, so we decided to go to IHOP for dinner. We had to stop by Lowe's for a new furnace filter and IHOP was right there, so it made a good choice. Besides, we had a 20% off coupon. What I didn't know was that by using the coupon, you also got 20% less waitress, most of it taken from the brain.

Now , I really shouldn't be surprised by this, service at our IHOP in Morgantown has always left something to be desired ever since it opened. That is why we don't go there very often. I will give our waitress a break and say that she had as long and exhausting day as we had. Still, I will never pass up an opportunity to hand out a sign.

I should have realized I needed to hand out a sign as soon as our the waitress began taking our order. I asked for one of IHOP's flavored lemonade / lemon-lime sodas. IHOP calls them Splashers. They have three:


  • Sparkling Cherry Lemonade - with lemonade, lemon-lime soda, and a sweet cherry flavored syrup

  • Tropical Island Twist - with lemonade, lemon-lime soda, and a tropical mango flavored syrup

    and

  • Splashberry - with strawberries, lemonade, and orange juice.



I ordered the Splashberry. After ordering, the waitress asked "That's the one with the strawberries in it right?" No, it is the one with the mangoes. DUH! Of course it is the one with the strawberries, hence the word "berry" in the name. Maybe I am wrong, I can only go by what the menu said.

After the waitress brought our drinks, (and yes, she brought the correct one with strawberries) we placed our order. I asked for the Bacon Temptation Omelette which comes with a side of pancakes. For the side of pancakes, I ordered the pineapple upside down pancakes which are a limited-time special for IHOP's Hawaiiam promotion. Our waitress then asked me, "How do you want your eggs cooked?" Hmmmmmm, let's see, I would like my omelette hard boiled please. DUH! How else would you make an omelette? Poached, over-easy, sunnyside up -- they just don't make for very good omelettes. At least not in my experience. What's worse is that this IS NOT the first time I have been asked that question when ordering an omelette at this very same IHOP.

Do I give the sign to the manager for hiring these people or to the waitress for just not having a clue. Oh, wait, she had as long and hard of a day as I did, but I bet I could still tell you how you want your eggs cooked when you order an omelette.

Here's your sign!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Change Pot Tuesday

Change Pot Tuesday is a weekly recap of finding money that other people have lost. However, it is more than just picking up pennies and collecting lost change. For those readers and followers who have begun following the Change Pot midway, Change Pot Tuesday is about charity. When the Change Pot reaches $100, it will be donated to charity and the process will be started all over again. Loyal readers and followers will have an opportunity to help me choose which charity will receive the money accumulated in the Change Pot. While, I don't expect to change the world with the Change Pot, I do hope to help a charity in some small way.

It was a very disaapointing week for the Change Pot. Barring a last minute find by Lori, late this evening, the change pot would have ended with a big goose egg for the week. That's right, yours truly did not find a single cent this week.

Lori's find was a dime at the Hollywood Theaters at University Town Center in Morgantown, WV. James was staying with Grandma and Grandpa, so Lori and I took the opportunity to go to the movies. We saw The Proposal with Sandra Bullock and Ryan Reynolds. As I purchased our tickets, Lori found the dime near the entrance to the lobby.


Weekly Total: $0.10
YTD Total: $6.17

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Change Pot Tuesday

Change Pot Tuesday is a weekly recap of finding money that other people have lost. However, it is more than just picking up pennies and collecting lost change. For those readers and followers who have begun following the Change Pot midway, Change Pot Tuesday is about charity. When the Change Pot reaches $100, it will be donated to charity and the process will be started all over again. Loyal readers and followers will have an opportunity to help me choose which charity will receive the money accumulated in the Change Pot. While, I don't expect to change the world with the Change Pot, I do hope to help a charity in some small way.

This week was not as good as previous weeks, but it did better than a goose egg. Two separate finds of three pennies each.

Saturday - $0.03. Three pennies at the Sheetz on Route 7 in Sabraton (Morgantown, WV) while picking up ice for our picnic in Pittsburgh. One of the peenies was in an area that I didn't have time to retrieve, so I will donate a penny to the change pot.

Monday - $0.03. Another three-fer, but this time at the Kroger on Route 7 in Sabraton. I stopped at the pharmacy to pick up a prescription for Little James (ear infection) and found three pennies lying on the floor in the pharmacy waiting area.

Weekly Total: $0.06
YTD Total: $6.07

Friday, July 17, 2009

Diary of a Wedding Guest: Part 15 - The Return

Well, our story has finally come to an end with this post. On Sunday, we returned home from the wedding in Detroit. While there was not really anything abnormal about our return trip, there were a couple of highlights that were worth mentioning.

We began the day by having breakfast with one of Lori's friends and former college roomates, Aileen. Aileen lives in Ann Arbor which is a short drive from where we were staying. We had breakfast with her family at a Big Boy Restaurant and really enjoyed meeting their two adopted boys. On our way to breakfast, however, had a slight delay because we DID NOT follow the GPS. As you know from previous posts, we could only make a right turn out of the hotel. The GPS then instructed us to make a U-turn so that we could get on the interstate. Instead of making a U-turn, I chose to make a left at the next stoplight and see if I could find a better route to where we needed to be. Unfortunately, we had no luck in doing so and my left turn turned into a seven-mile U-turn, forcing us to go much further past the interstate and make a second U-turn to get back where we needed to be. We arrived a couple of mintues late, but I don't think anyone really cared. The Big Boy Restaurant had a Sunday breakfast buffet which was very good. We spent a hour or so catching up (it was the first time Lori had seen Aileen since college).

After breakfast, Lori and decided to see at least one lighthouse before heading home. There were a couple of other lighthouses on the Detroit River that seemed to be close to each other, so we headed that direction and hoped to have success at one of them. We actually had success at finding three lighthouses.

The first one was the furthest out. It was at the mouth of the Detroit River and is known as Windmill Point. I do not know the history of the lighthouse's name as there was no plaque telling anything about the lighthouse. It sits on a small fishing pier on the west side of the river in a little park. It is not one that the average person would know about or even how to find (although it was fairly simple to find). We had to pass through some very poor neighborhoods that we might not have driven through at night, but it was actually a nice drive and the people at the park seemed friendly enough. (A lot of lighthouses are in poor areas because they were guide for shipping and industry. Industry naturally seems to bring down the areas immediate surrounding them.)

(Photo coming soon.)

After a quick visit to the Windmill Point Lighthouse, we drove back the way we came and head to Besse Isle. Besse Isle is a city park and home to the William Livingstone Memorial Lighthouse. Traffic on the island travels one direction in a counterclockwise motion. The lighthouse is on the north end of Besse Isle. The William Livingstone Memorial lighthouse has an interesting architecture to it. It is a square stone tower that bears a striking resemblance to gothic architecture. Unusual for a lighthouse. Like Windmill Point, the lighthouse had no information describing the history of it or its naming. It sits back from the parking area giving us a bit of a walk. All told, we probably walked about 3/4 total.

(Photo coming soon)

The last lighthouse we "discovered" was one that Lori had seen from the street as we were driving to the first lighthouse. We decided to stop and see it before we left town. It was not a lighthouse listed in any of the lighthouse websites I had looked at the night before. I would, in fact, later discover that it was not an actual lighthouse, but rather a replica of a lighthouse that sits at Tawas Point. I do not know if the lighthouse was operational as an aid to navigation or not. It is located in the Tri-Centenial marina on the west side of the Detroit River.

After seeing the three lighthouses, we headed for home. It was just after 1:00 pm and we had to have the car back by 6:00 pm. Luckily, Detroit is only about 4 1/2 hours from Pittsburgh, so we had plenty of time. Or so we thought...

As we got back on the interstate, we came across a closure because of construction. (Yes, the closed the whole interstate for construction. Closing a couple of lanes apparently was not sufficient. The detour took us several miles out of the way, taking us almost back to the area of our hotel. About halfway through the detour, I decided that it was taking us too far out of the way and chose to find my own route. Bad move? Not when you have a Garmin GPS!

Actually, the Garmin re-routed us very proficiently and we ended up only losing about a half and hour. That would put us arriving back in Pittsburgh at 6:00 pm, just as the car was to be returned. The problem was that we would have to stop for gas at least once and we still had to unload the car before returning it. The race was on! I hit the gas with lead in my foot.

There were not really any other stumbling blocks and the trip was essentially uneventful. We arrived back at Lori's parents house at 5:40 pm. The rental car return was at least 20 minutes away. I quickly unloaded the car, made a potty break and was on my way. Now the only obstacle was that I had to top off the gas tank before returning the car. I hit the gas with even more lead in my foot!

As I am driving to the airport, I remembered something Lori had told me when we picked up the car on Friday. Our main route to the airport, as in the shortest and fastest route, was closed because of construction. The detour took me at least 10 minutes out of the way. I hit the gas with still more lead in my foot!

You see, Dollar Rent-A-Car, does not have a leeway policy on their returns. If you are a minute late, you are charged for the next hour. In our case, that extra hour exceeded the current 24 hour period and threw us into the next 24 hour period. Same taxes on rental cars are figured on the number of days the car is rented meaning we would be slapped with taxes equally as much as the rate for the additional hour.

I arrived at 6:06 pm.

As I got out of the car, the return attendant walked up and scanned the car for return. I think I said something like "Please, tell me I'm not late." The girl asked when the car was due and then looked at her watch. She told me not to worry, she would take care of it. She said that Dollar used to have a leeway on returns, but had recently changed it's policy in attempt to boost revenue without actually raising the price of the rental. Dollar claims to be less expensive and on the surface they are, but when you factor in the additional charges for extra drivers and no leeway on the time of return, Dollar simply isn't any cheaper than any other rental company. I thanked the girl for taking care of the extra hour and because of her actions, I will consider renting from Dollar again.

And that is the end of our not so short story. Congratulations to our friend Ashley and her new husband E.J.! May your marriage be the most wonderful blessing you have.

Diary of a Wedding Guest: Part 14 - The $4 Non-Existent View: The GPS Strikes Again

After leaving the the reception, Lori and decided to check out a couple of lighthouses on the Detroit River. We thought it would be nice to see one lit up at night because we usually don't get to witness lighthouses at nightime. So, we pulled out our "trusty" Garmin and using the lighthouse Point of Interest (POI) file I had downloaded last fall, we set out for the Grosse Ile lighthouse. The directions were perfect. They took us through Detroit to an island in the Detroit River. Island visitors had to pay a $2.00 toll to cross a small drawbridge. Once across the bridge, the Garmin directed us to Lighthouse Lane. Unfortunately, as our luck would have it, Lighthouse lane is not a street. It is a private driveway! Yes, the GPS strikes again! The lighthouse sits in someone's yard and is not accessible to the public but once a year. Since it was dark, Lori and did not feel it was appropriate to ask permission to see the lighthouse. The lighthouse sits in a very well-to-do neighborhood and we didn't want anyone to think we were trying to rob them. After driving around the island trying to find even a miniscule view of the lighthouse, we drove back across the drawbridge and paid another $2.00 toll, making the our lighthouse site seeing a $4.00 non-existent view. Considering the island is completely residential with no grocery store, doctor, gas station, etc., it costs residents $1,500 a year in tolls just to live on the island. That's assuming that residents leave the island once a day and everyday each year.

In all fairness to the Garmin, the problem isn't with the GPS. It never really has been. The problem has been with the Lighthouse POI file I downloaded from the internet. This is the third inaccesible lighthouse we have tried to see using the POI file. If the file was meant to be a driving tour of lighthouses, it shouldn't include those that are in the middle of the water or those that are inaccesible from the street. In most other cases, the problems with the Garmin have been operator error, not fully understanding how the Garmin determines things such as distance and arrival times. So, I guess we will keep the Garmin, but maybe sans the lighthouse POI file.

We returned to the hotel disappointed once again. But at least we were able to spend some time together -- just the two of us.

Deal of the Week

Last night, I went to Wal-Mart to pick up a few supplies for Lori's upcoming birthday and I came across the "Deal of the Week". Unfortunately, I was not in market for the item that was "ON SALE". After picking up everything I had gone to Wal-Mart for, I decided to run through the clearance aisle just to see if they had anything interesting. I found a single-handle kitchen faucet. The faucet was Peerless' Solutions style and it originally sold (at Wal-Mart) for $72.87. Not a bad deal. But the "better" deal could be found right below the original price. The faucet was on clearance for $74.88! Yes, that's right, you can get the same faucet on clearance for $2.00 more than you'd pay for it normally. Unfortunately, as I mentioned before, I was not in the market for a kitchen faucet, so I put it back on the shelf and carried on my way wondering who might actually fall for Wal-Mart's "Deal of the Week" and if Wal-Mart really truly thought people were that stupid.

Here's your sign! Just don't know if I am suppose to give it to Wal-Mart or the person who actually buys the faucet. Probably the former, since I will never actually meet the latter.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Change Pot Tuesday

Change Pot Tuesday is a weekly recap of finding money that other people have lost. However, it is more than just picking up pennies and collecting lost change. For those readers and followers who have begun following the Change Pot midway, Change Pot Tuesday is about charity. When the Change Pot reaches $100, it will be donated to charity and the process will be started all over again. Loyal readers and followers will have an opportunity to help me choose which charity will receive the money accumulated in the Change Pot. While, I don't expect to change the world with the Change Pot, I do hope to help a charity in some small way.

Thursday - $0.10. I found a dime on the floor at the checkout counter of Sheetz (a gas station/convenience store) on Route 7 in Sabraton (Morgantown, WV). I had to wait to pick it up because the counter was busy and I didn't want to get my hand stepped on. When I did pick it up, the lady next to me probably thought I was trying to check out her legs. I wasn't though. The checkout area at this particular Sheetz is very small and crowded. The store has tried to cram too much into too small and area, including a hot food rack that is placed right in the middle of the checkout lines!

Saturday - $0.02 total. First, I found a penny in the WVU Mountainlair parking garage while exiting James' swim class. Later after lunch as James' playdate with his friend Morgan was ending, I found a second penny near a charity deposit. Now, you can say that I stole this from the charity because it was obviously meant for that charity, but simply didn't make it into the charity's container, but hey, I am still donating it to charity, just a different charity.

Sunday - $0.03. Three pennies inside the Sheetz in Star City (Morgantown, WV). The first was on the floor near thye checkout, but much less crowded because of the time of day. The other two were stacked neatly on a candy rack next to the checkout.


Weekly Total: $0.15
YTD Total: $6.01

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Saturday's Fortunes

On Saturday, Lori, James and I ate at the Mall with James' friend Morgan and her parents. James ate Chicken from Chick-Fil-A, while Mommy and Daddy had Chinese from Wong's Wok. At the end of our meals, we opened our fortune cookies. Lori's cookie had THREE fortunes inside. Not sure exactly what that means. Do they cancel each other out, or is she bound to have all three fortunes come true? Lori didn't keep her fortunes and we can't remember exactly what they said, but here is a recap what our fortunes held:

Jim's

  • "You will be fortune in the opportunities presented to you"



Lori's

  • "Now is a good time to make new friends"

  • Not exact - "You will find success in your business venture."

  • Not exact - "You will find happiness in new surroundings"



All of these fortunes lead us to believe that our attempts to move will come to fruition. We just don't know when or how. I don't want to jinx our fortunes, so I will say that we fully believe in this method for predicting what our future holds. I will also say that we are praying every night for answers, because while the cookie may tell the future, it is still very cloudy and vague.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Change Pot Tuesday

Wednesday - $0.02. Two cents found at the Royal Farms convenience store on Providence Road in Towson, Maryland (Baltimore area). The first, at the checkout counter, I did not pick up because it was back in a corner here I would not be able to reach it. I will donate a penny to the change pot for charity. The second was on the sidewalk outside which I did pick up even though it was raining cats and dogs at the time.

Friday - $0.01. A penny near the ice cream freezers at Kroger on Route 7 in Morgantown.

Saturday - $0.01. A penny at the gas pump at Get Go in Sewickley, PA (Pittsburgh, area). I did not pick it up on the way in to buy drinks for the 4th of July parade and when I came out, a car was filling up so I couldn't get it. I will donate a penny to the change pot for charity.

Sunday - $0.05. A nickel when exiting Wal-Mart in Cranberry, PA (Pittsburgh area).


Weekly Total: $0.09
YTD Total: $5.86

Monday, July 6, 2009

Diary of a Wedding Guest: Part 13 - The Wedding and the Reception

Well this short story has gotten pretty long and it has taken much longer to complete than I thought it would. The great news is that we have arrived at the chapters that everyone are most interested in - The Wedding and The Reception!

After our morning excursion searching for a Best Buy, we arrived back at our hotel around noon to begin preparing for our friend's wedding. Lori had to iron her dress, do her hair and makeup, and get dressed. I had to decide which shirt and tie to wear, get dressed and gather up the cameras and tripod - all in about 25 minutes. We quickly rushed through the tasks at hand, and made it back out the door around 12:30 pm. The wedding started at one o'clock. We were at least fifteen mintues away and still had to set up so that Lori could video the wedding.

As we left the hotel parking lot, we came up to one of those "Michigan Lefts" which sent us headed in the wrong direction. Actually it was a regular "No Left Turn". I had planned to turn right, make an immediate left into the parking lot of the business across the street, whip around and head in the right direction. As I pulled out squealing my tires, a car behind me pulled out and merged into the left lane blocking me from turning into the parking lot across the street. My only other option was to go to the stoplight and try to turn around at one of the businesses at the intersection. Luckily for me, this intersection did not include a "Michigan Left" and I was able to make the left turn that I needed. (They are SOOOOOOO inconsistent with left turns in Michigan.) I whipped into the parking lot I originally wanted to turn around in and got us headed in the right direction. Lori was not saying anything during this time, but I am sure she was none to pleased with my driving.

The GPS directed us onto the interstate, but I decided to ignore the GPS because we had spent enough time driving around in the morning, that I knew a more direct route. Although it was more direct, it might not have been the quickest. I weaved in and out of lanes like a mad man and probably exceeded the speed limit by at least 15 MPH (anything more and I would have to retract my earlier statement about being a law-abiding citizen). We arrived at 12:50 pm to a mostly empty church parking lot. At first I thought we might have been in the wrong place and then I thought maybe the wedding started at 1:30 pm. Neither turned out to be the case as we simply ended up being one of the first guest to arrive. The parking lot filled pretty quickly after we arrived. We entered the church to find the bridal party sitting for pictures. As we looked around, we realized the layout of the church prevented us from having a good place to set up to video. Lori would have to do it from her seat on the aisle.

The wedding was a very lovely mass and one of the nicest weddings that I have attended. It was a simple elegance that words can not begin to describe. Most importantly, it was not only a celebration of love for the bride and groom, but a reminder to all who attended of the importance of having love in our life. Considering, I had lost my faith and hope with the graduate school process, the wedding was a very refreshing experience. For a brief moment, I found peace.


Ashley, our friend was absolutely beautiful in her bridal gown. She looked so elegant and sophisticated that I didn't even recognize her, except that she was the bride and I knew it was her wedding we were attending. She looked so grown up compared to what we see of her everyday at work. E.J. looked equally handsome, but this is the bride's day, so we will concentrate on that.

The wedding lasted about an hour. The reception would not start until 4:30 pm, giving us about two hours in between. Lori and I decided to find the Best Buy that we had looked for earlier. I now had a much better idea of the area and where it was that I needed to go. We found the Best Buy with little effort (and NO GPS). They had four GPS dash friction mounts left. (They had nine when we tried to find it earlier.) After purchasing the mount, we stopped to buy some Father's Day presents and then headed to the reception.

The funny thing - after purchasing the dash friction mount, we realized we would be unable to use it until we got home, because we had failed to bring the windshield mount with us and both mounts share a common clip that attaches the GPS to the mount.


Like the wedding, the reception was very simple yet, very elegant in its simplicity. Dinner was served family style, which was the first I had seen at a wedding reception. I have been to buffets and plate dinner weddings, but this was definitely a first for me. It was also very nice because it helped one interact with the people at the table. We were seated with two other very nice couples and held conversation as though we had known the couples for years. It was very pleasant. Many times when you attend a wedding and are seated with people you don't know, it can be awkward. The bride and groom did an excellent job with the seating arrangements. Dinner was perfectly prepared.

We were also impressed with the DJ. He was no overly loud, but he was very engaging. He knew his job and, in my opinion, did it superbly. He played music that kept the party going and people on the dance floor. At one point, I requested a song for Lori and I to dance to - Edwin McCain's "I Could Not Ask for More" (the sound you are hearing as you read this blog if your speakers are turned on). The DJ commented that it was an excellent choice and said he would play it. To my surprise, he played it right after the current song ended! Usually when a DJ says they will play a song, it is put in a long list of requests and you are lucky if you hear it within the next hour. He was the best DJ I have seen at a wedding.


As the night wore on, Lori and I decided to leave the reception a little early and spend some time together. We decided to drive down to the Detroit River and find a lighthouse. We haven't visited many lighthouses after dark, but I think one of the most romantic things a couple can do is spend time together at a lighthouse when it is lit up at night.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Change Pot Tuesday

Saturday - $0.01. Found a penny in the crosswalk near Garfield's restaurant while exiting the Morgantown Mall.

Tuesday - $0.25. Just when I thought I was going to end the week with a single penny found, I went into the Giant Eagle on Greenbag Road in Morgantown to pick up a prescription and found a QUARTER! Yes, and actually QUARTER. We don't find those too often. It was lying on the floor at the backend of a check out lane. Next week we are in Baltimore and Pittsburgh, so hopefully we will have a better week.




Weekly Total: $0.26
YTD Total: $5.77