Tuesday, April 28, 2009

California (Pt. 1)

Okay, let’s see…

On Monday (4/20), we got packed. Double checked everything before we left, and then headed out for Las Vegas. We had to make a pit stop in Moapa (the Indian Reservation just north of Las Vegas) because the girls were getting fussy. So we let them out to stretch their legs and to look at some horses that were in a traveling trailer.

We made it through the construction that Las Vegas is in the middle of performing (… how many years too late). I took the wrong exit and we zig-zagged back and forth on a couple of streets before I saw the giant blue signs right over the entrance of the airport. We drove straight up to the skycap, parked in the white zone and unloaded the two giant suitcases and the two extra car seats for the girls (so we didn’t have to unhook the ones already in the van and drag them with us from parking to the skycap), so Rachel could check them in while I parked the van in Long-Term Parking and wheel the girls in their stroller to where I dropped Rachel off.

I drove around and got lost while trying to find Long-Term Parking (covered parking) and I ended up having to loop and drive right past Rachel, where I dropped her off, to drive back around and into the Long-Term Parking (LTP). When I was pulling into LTP, I noticed it was $14.00 a day on the sign. I didn't think anything of it and so I parked, unloaded the girls, put them in their stroller and met up with Rachel where I dropped her off.

As we were about to get in the elevator, I mentioned to her that it was $14.00 a day in LTP. She thought that was not right. I never even thought anything of it, especially since it has been almost two years since I went out to San Francisco for surgery. We decided to have Rachel take the girls and have me re-park the van from LTP to Economy (the open aired parking spots). I did that, but then I had to hurry back and go through security. I met Rachel and the twins right after you go through the security point and we had to hop on a tram/monorail to move to another destination at the airport to find our gate and board. We found the gate, but hurried and grabbed a hot dog for the girls and hurried back to the gate to now board the plane. We were the last to board and had to sit in separate seats due to emergency air mask. So Rachel took the third row seat near the front and I went on back a little ways.

Since I had Ady, I’ll tell you from our point of view. I sat down and gave her a few snacks and we took off. She did okay, I just had to keep talking to her to tell her what is going on, assure her that everything was okay. She did well, both of them. No screaming, no being fussy because they had to sit on our laps… Nothing. My fear of having people look over and thinking, “Will you please shut that child up?!” They were good, very good.

Well, half way through the flight, the stewardess told me that another seat opened up and I could move over there. I though Rachel was going to come over too, but because of the emergency air mask situation, she stayed there in her chair with Chloe the whole flight. Because we now had a window seat, I let Ady look out at the mountains that we were flying over. Because we were going to land soon, I had to buckle Ady back in my lap and we landed. We waited for everyone to exit the plane so we could grab my laptop in the over head compartment a few rows back, and get off without feeling rushed.

We finally exited the plane and walked to the baggage claim. Rachel stayed with the girls and I grabbed our bags and car seats. I found our bags, not because of the tags that Rachel purchased and placed on them, but because of the trick my dad did… He puts a piece of duct tape at the bottom-bottom of the luggage/baggage to spot our black bags from other travelers black bags. It worked, because the airline or bag handler broke the things we placed on the bags handles to identify our bags.

With our luggage, car seats and the girls in the stroller, we made our way out to the white zone to wait for family friends of Rachel and Rachel’s family. I didn’t realize how far it was from where they live, but they drove all the way from Modesto down to Fresno to pick us up-- 100 miles.

Well, I didn't know how far it was. But we all stopped after a few minutes of driving and had dinner at Subway, then we continued on our way. It didn't take long because I was able to look out at what we were driving past in the dark, and Rachel was talking with the Fairbank’s (the people who picked us up) about all sorts of topics. So it really did help pass the time.

We made it into Modesto and pulled into the driveway of the house we would be staying at for the night. The house belonged to the Fairbanks, but they rented it out to their daughters (as to my understanding). We stayed in a room on an air mattress for the night while the girls stayed in the kitchen in portable crib/playpens...

It had been a busy day, but we were safe in California. If you want to see the pictures that were taken by me, Rachel and Heidi, click here. I have decided that the girls are now old enough and unless I feel the picture should be only viewed by family and friends (bath time, in diapers, etc.), that is the only time I will prevent the public from viewing that picture or pictures.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Heading Out To California

As most of you know, (that is, if you have been reading my Twitters) Rachel's father Rex (my father-in-law) was diagnosed with cancer a long time ago and has fought and beaten it a couple of times. Well, it came back and was detected mid-last year and we were hoping that he could beat it again.

Well, Rachel got the news right before we were to head up to Salt Lake for Easter weekend and it appears that nothing is helping (chemo) and it also appears that he has very little time left. So, Rachel's two sisters have flown out to visit him (one is still out there as I write this). Rachel was debating whether or not to go straight out to California and visit him instead of coming along with me and the girls up to Salt Lake. But after talking with him, many other family members and friends out in California, she decided that it would be best to come up to SLC and then to visit him shortly after the SLC trip. She realized that she would just be in the way and with many family members already there, there would be no room or place to sleep.

Now that we have been home from Salt Lake for a few days now, we caught up on a few things so that we could fly out tonight (4/20) into Fresno, CA for a week. We plan on visiting him all that we can, but Rachel also wants to show me the houses she grew up in as a young girl when her family lived in California. We may also plan to take a long loop drive from Modesto, into Cupertino, San Francisco, Sausilito and then back to Modesto... But that is if we have time and have a free day to do that.

We do plan on taking the girls (yes in an airplane) with us and plan on staying at a family-friends house while we are out there so we do not have to rent a motel room. As for a vehicle, we plan on using one of Rex's vans that he owns with the car seats in them. I'm hoping that there is internet (or Wi-Fi) nearby at where we are staying so I can post pictures and hopefully write about what we have done. If you notice that there have not been any updates on my blog or Flickr the whole week we are out there, you will just have to read my Twitters and TwitPics until we get back.

Wish us luck with the twins in the airplane rides... To AND from.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Easter

As I mentioned last week, we drove up to Salt Lake to spend Easter weekend with my parents. Well, it is a good thing we left early to head up there (two days earlier than what I originally said), because we all ended up getting sick while traveling up to or the morning after arriving. So, instead of Rachel and I going out to Wendover for a night, or going out on dates while my parents watched the girls, we stayed at their house most of the time.

We were able to meet up and visit with more family members for about an hour or two at my cousins new home on Easter Sunday, but that was the only time we went out. Because Rachel and I were both under the weather, we could not keep up with the girls since they were walking and exploring around the (non-baby proof) house. After a little while, I couldn't do it any more and said that we had to go back to my parents house.

But before we went over to my cousin's house, we let the girls find their Easter eggs that were hidden in the living room. I swear, the girls are going to think that that room is some kind of magical room that produces presents (Christmas) and candy (Easter). But we took pictures of the trip and I was able to take video of the girls looking for candy in the living room of my parents home... Enjoy!


Saturday, April 18, 2009

Rockin' Good Time

I meant to post this video last week before we traveled up to Salt Lake, but with us being sick while in Salt Lake and then coming back home and being sick, I never had time to. (I'm better, Rachel is still under the weather)

Well, while Rachel's family was in town and at our place visiting us in the later part of March, Rachel told us to "Get your cameras ready". I had no idea what she was going to do, so I went and grabbed the video camera and took the following video footage. Enjoy!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

One Good Deed

Last Saturday, I sent a Twitter to everyone (and posted an update on Facebook) challenging everyone to do at least one good deed to Pay It Forward this past week. Now that it is one week later, here is what I did...

Well, this is what I did. Earlier this week, I was asked (hired) to come to a customers home and work on their PC to see why it wasn't fully starting up. I fixed that problem right away... But it turns out, the customers computer was infected with malware (malicious software). I spent 3 hours at the customers house trying to remove it. It seemed like every 15 minutes, the computer would just freeze and whatever program I was trying to use to clean the computer, needed to run much longer then 15 minutes to do its job. So at the 3 hour mark, I said that what I was trying to do to fix the computer was not working.

I told the customer that if I kept working on the computer, for what she paid me if I stayed another 3 hours, she could just end up buying a new computer.

So I took the computer to my place, hooked the hard drive to my computer and tried to do a scan... Nothing found. Hmm...? So I connected the hard drive back to the computer... However, I discovered that the mouse was not working. I thought that I had damaged something while bringing it to my home, but turns out that it was a software problem.

So I told the customer, let me back up your personal data and then call the manufacture of the computer to order a recovery disc (because they could not find their copy). I'm still waiting for the CD/DVD in the mail. But when I get I receive it, I will reinstall Windows on that computer, install an anti virus program, install updates and then put their files back on the computer.

Where is the good deed, you may be asking...

Broken down, this is what I would have charged the customer...

3 On Site Hours ($50.00) -- $150.00
1 Off Site Fee ($50.00) -- $50.00
1 Recovery CD/DVD -- $20.00

So $220, plus taxes...

But this is what I told the customer what I would charge them...

2 On Site Hours -- $100.00
1 Recovery CD/DVD -- $20.00

So, $120 plus taxes.

Please remember, this is how I make a living and how I can help feed and take care of my family. So if you are like, so what? "$100, that's it"... That's your good deed? ...O-kay, let me ask you this... Would you go to your job and work a couple hours or work the amount of time to equal $100 for nothing-- just because (and especially in the times we are living in now)? Many of you are saying "Oh h*** no!" right now. The reason why I see this as my good deed is that I know this person needed my help, especially when she could have called any other computer repair company in town. I appreciate every single person that calls me and needs my help. I love doing what I do, and because I do not want to go back working at the grocery store again to have some income, so I am glad to give up "$100" to help a customer and to make them happy. ...and just so you know, I would do it again.

...So, what was your good deed?

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Easter Time In Salt Lake City

Well, it looks like four months have passed by since we were last up in Salt Lake to celebrate Christmas. Well, we will be heading up there on Friday or (most likely) Saturday to spend it with family until we head back on Wednesday (4/7).

Other than spending Easter Sunday with family, Rachel and I are going out to Wendover on Sunday for the night. Then, it is pretty much do what ever we want (or can) until Wednesday.

But remember, if you need your computer or iPod serviced upon, please contact me by Friday night. I try to only bring what I need so I don't have to pack up everything and then not need to use it while I am up there.

Hope to see you up there when we are up there.