Monday, March 31, 2008

Zack Day!

Four years ago today we brought Zack home from the shelter in Lake Charles, Louisiana. We don't know much about his history other that he had been turned into the shelter twice, so since he does not have a birthday, he gets Zack Day. Over the past four years he has become the best dog that anyone could ever ask for. I have never met a more loyal dog, he truly devoted to us. Even in the middle of the night he has got our back. He is also responsible for ensuring that I do not slack on my daily runs. We will celebrate Zack Day tonight the only way that he would ever have it, by going for a run.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Isuzu Ascender

For a while now K and I have know that we would have to buy a new vehicle. Our newest vehicle was 8 years old and had over 130,000 miles on it. With a baby on the way we have long figured that a new vehicle was in out not to distant future. We had tentatively planned on looking for a new car this fall, however this week I came across this article, which lead to our plans being bumped up.

Our New Ascender

Ever since my department bought some Chevy Trailblazers, I have really come to like them. One of the few products that Isuzu still was offering was a rebranded Trailblazer selling as an Isuzu Ascender. After reading that article we decided to see if we could get an Ascender a fire sale price.

Some quick research online showed that Isuzu was offering an $8,000 rebate. With this as a starting point decided to contact a dealer an see if we could negotiate a deal good enough to make pulling the trigger on buying a car now worthwhile.

We located a dealer up in Tempe that still had a brand new 2007 Ascender in stock. We figured with the double whamy of it both being a brand that was going out of business and it by 2007 model that the dealer would be most anxious any kind of deal just to be rid of it

Berkeley Inspects the New Car

Not wanting to make the three hour drive to Tempe without a reasonable prospect of making a deal, K began to negotiate with them over the phone. She eventually worked them down to $19,200, on vehicle that was listed at $30,400, and listed for $34,000 when badged as a Chevy Trailblazer. K also reached a tentative agreement of the value of the vehicle that we were going to trade in. With the framework for a deal this unbeatable worked up, we made plans to drive up to Tempe on Saturday morning.

We got up there, test drove the Ascender, loved and decided to make an offer on it. They agreed to the price that K had negotiated on the phone, however we hit snag when it came to value on the trade in. They were offering us $1,500 less than they had agreed to on the phone. Pissed that they were playing games like that with us, we stormed out in huff.

Within 10 minutes of leaving the dealership K's cellphone range, and the salesman was telling her that he talked to his boss's boss, or some such B.S. story, and that he could go a $1,000 higher on the trade in, despite telling us earlier that he could do no such thing. We decided despite the fact that we were still getting a little less than we expected on our trade in, it was still to good of deal to pass up. To make up for it we just bumped up our down payment slightly. That afternoon we drove back to Yuma in our new Ascender.

I am loving it. Even though K will be the one primarily driving it, it is the first time that have ever bought a new car. All my other car's, including the one that I drive everyday to work, are hand me downs from my family, or the car that K had when we got married. Also it is such a nice comfortable vehicle. One of the more exciting things is that makes vast stretches of the desert that were previously unaccessible to me, in either of our sedans, open for my exploration. I am really looking forward to that.

Our old car

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Done With the Rocks

The Finished Project

The Finished Project

Shoring Up the Back Wall With The Removed Rocks and Dirt

The Ground Behind The Back Wall Had Severely Eroded Away Over the Years

Removing about 4" of the Old Rock and Dirt

Behind the Pool Before, Weed Chocked Gravel

The Side Yard After

The Side Yard Before

Friday, March 14, 2008

I Hate Winds From the West

We are supposed to 40 mph wind out the west this evening. I hate strong winds out of the west.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Amerlia Yawning

K had a 4D ultrasound today. While it did not come out as cool as they look on brochure because she spent the whole time covering her face with her hands. We did get this cool clip her yawn. It it is amazing, you can see her lips and tounge. It is hard to believe that this image, despite looking a lot like a lump of cheese is my daughter. I can't wait for her to get here

Monday, March 10, 2008

A Few Pictures From This Weekend's Project

Looking Out the Front Door
Added the Spanish Bayonet (2nd from left)

The Front Door

A Cool Looking Puprple Cactus We Added

Despite A Weekend's Worth of Shoveling the Gravel Pile is Still Depressingly Large

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

12 Tons of Gravel

Zack Comes to Investigate the Pile of Rocks

As part of our effort to complete all our desired home improvement we had 12 tons of gravel delivered today. 12 tons of gravel sounded like a lot of gravel when we ordered it, but now that it is all sitting in the middle of the driveway it looks like an awful lot of gravel. I am pretty sure I know how this weekend if going to go.

We are going to use it to spruce up all the plant beds and to replace all of the grass in the side yards. Grass in climate like this is ridiculous, grass in side yards is just absurd. I manged to fill in one small bed tonight, and am very pleased with how it has come out.

Zack, could not be more excited. He has a strange obsession over rocks, and an even stranger obsession with eating rocks. We actually purposely got gravel of size that he could not swallow. We got some strange looks while we are to the nursery browsing the samples and saying things like "do you think this size is to big for him to swallow?" None the less Zack is thrilled and spent the whole time while was working outside tonight proudly carrying arround the one treasured rock that he selected out of the pile.

Filling in the Cactus Bed