So, down came the résumés from the search sites and out went the advertisements.
Now in it's third month, "Dan Neuwirth, Troubleshooter" isn't quite paying the bills yet, but the business is growing by leaps and bounds. Our cloud has had a silver lining--we've had so much nice family time together since Dan's been working out of the house. If you'd asked us in June, we never would've guessed Dan would be submerged in books on double entry accounting and how to market your service business (by the way, Selling the Invisible by Harry Beckwith is an outstanding service marketing book--it's light, funny reading but it gets the points across perfectly). You can hop over to Dan's "business" site at www.DanNeuwirth.com.
Tyler's surgery is coming up. For six to eight weeks (starting on November 7th) you can e-mail Shannon any time, as she will be stuck at home with a recovering cherub.
We had a lovely visit with Grandma Madge, who came up to stay with us for a week in early October. Amber's favorite part of the visit was waking Grandma up bright and early every morning. It's just a Ray gene, I guess.
Shannon's getting used to the idea of being "old." Yes, in one hour and fifty four minutes (I'm typing this on 14 Oct at 10:06PM) she turns the "big three oh." So she'll be drowning her sorrows in a Mexican Mocha and Biscotti tomorrow morning with me at "Maggie's Buns," a local small-town coffee/cinnamon roll/deli type place which has the best home-baked biscotti either of us have ever had. You can send your condolences to Shannon at Neuwirth dot ORG.
I noted that we have had some "opportunities" open up. During my tenure at Symantec, I seldom had opportunity to just "get away for a day" without having to take the pager and cell phone (and thus, the "emergencies") with me. Well, Shannon and I took advantage of our time together yesterday, donating the kids for the day to Bethany (thanks Beth!!!) and taking off for a drive to the coast.
We had a wonderful breakfast at "Camp 18", a logger's restaurant named for its milepost on Highway 26. I had a wonderful (as usual) mushroom and swiss omelette with home-fried potatos, and Shannon had a humongous chicken-fried steak and gravy. Note that this is not the place you want to eat if you fear fat. After breakfast, we headed the short distance to the coast.
Our vehicle came to rest in Cannon Beach (for those of you not from 'round here, that's on the coast about 90 miles west of Portland). We first ventured down to the beach itself, pacing and sitting on the sand for about an hour. After that, we headed back inland to tour the shops and art galleries, stopping for a mocha at our favorite little hole-in-the-wall coffee joint on Hemlock Street. We then ventured up to Third and Elm streets to eat a late lunch at Clark's, a new restaurant that opened up since we'd last been there.
The food was, in a word, superb! I started with a bowl of clam chowder and Shannon had a dinner salad. We then shared a platter of halibut fish and chips. The chowder and the fish were the finest we've ever had. Everything was homemade, even down to the chipotle tartar sauce. The beer-battered fish was crisp on the outside, and perfectly tender in the middle. Same went for the fries. Shannon's bleu cheese dressing was also excellent. We finished the meal with a homemade mocha mud pie--and I mean homemade! The ice cream was homemade. The crust was homemade. The fudge sauce was homemade. The whipped cream was homemade. Definitely a five-star place we'd highly recommend!
On the way home, we picked up a small pint of blueberries at a local stand (which Shannon included in her pancake recipe this morning). All in all, a pretty good day!
On May 30th, our house sale closed. So, we are now no longer (as a friend put it) "real estate tycoons." Looking back on the deal, selling a house is definitely more difficult than purchasing one, but in different ways. For instance, we didn't have to go through credit checks, the loan process, or justifying where we "got the money from." At the same time, you go through the constant nagging concern that "something's going to go wrong..."
So we've now lived in our new house for four months. Most of our belongings are unpacked, and we've taken delivery of the majority of the furniture we ordered. It's interesting moving into a larger house. What seemed like so much furniture in the old place left us with four completely empty rooms in the new.
As many (most?...all?) of you know, Shannon gave birth to our second child, Tyler James, on 22 March. He's a real cutie. At just over two months, he's really interacting, and loves to play "the tongue game." He also seems to like being pulled (by his hands) to a standing position from lying down. He's really strong for a two month old--much stronger than Amber at this age. He also has a really easy-going demeanor, and only cries when there's a problem. Other than that, he's happy to lie down in the baby gym and reach for and play with his toys. A current favorite is his "Alien", a little green Sassy toy that's hanging on his gym. He also likes to stick his tongue out at himself in the mirror.
As for Amber, she's enjoying life as a three-year-old, even if it means she's not the only center of attention any more. Currently, she loves Dragon Tales (which I describe briefly amongst the photos in the "Amber" section), and watching re-runs of Blues Clues and Barney.
It's snowing out right now--a tad unusual for February in Portland, but not unheard of. We've accumulated about 1/4 inch thus far, but it isn't even supposed to be "really hitting" until this afternoon. Depending upon which (usually incorrect) weather forecast you pay attention to, we may see anything from "a little powder" to "a snow storm". Note that in Portland, a "snow storm" is where we get more than 1/2 inch of snow per day (refer back to the photo of "SnowStorm '00" in the photos area--I think it's still up there).
A reminder to all: our Internet access ends tomorrow, and we have no idea when we'll be back online as it may take one to two months to get DSL--if it's even available at all in the new house. So starting Saturday you'll just have to use more "old-fashioned" communication methods to get a hold of us (like the phone or [gasp] snail mail). As our web site is hosted by Dan and Beth on their AS/400, and they're moving in later February, it is also likely this web site may be offline for a while as well, depending on whether I can swing DSL access and a temporary home for the AS/400 by the end of the month-- I'm hoping. In the meantime, I should be able to continue updating this web site, so you should continue to check back here through late February.
A note to all: due to an apparently bureaucratic unwillingness on Verizon's (our phone company's) part to test the new house for DSL capability until we actually have a working phone line, we will be offline (as in "no e-mail or web-browsing capabilities") from 9 February to some unknown subsequent moment when our new residence is blessed with DSL. In the (possible) circumstance where DSL is not available in the new place, we may have no Internet access indefinitely. Just so y'all know if we don't answer your e-mails.
We have our moving date. We get the keys to the house on 9 February and our moving company is here to pick up our stuff on the 10th. By the evening of the 10th we should be sleeping in our new bedroom. Some construction and fix-up work begins in the new house this coming Tuesday in preparation for the arrival of our new appliances (washer, dryer, and refridgerator). Our Viking six-burner-with-char-grill with dual-oven gas range is just going to have to wait for a year.
In other news, we decided last Saturday morning to head out to "explore" other home options (in other words, window shopping--just in a realtor's car). So, 10:00 rolled around and we hit the road. At 2:00pm, we were writing up an offer on a house. It was the fastest (and largest) impulse buy we have ever made--or probably ever will. We're totally at peace about it. As I type, the landscaper has just left and workers are busily painting our bedroom, bathroom and tomorrow the kitchen in preparation for listing our house on Tuesday. We now have some pictures of the house, which you can view here. I'm starting to get a bit edgy about this...I thought I was completely okay, but then the sign-guy came and started hammering the famous yellow Century-21 sign into our freshly-manicured front lawn. That and taking down all the family photos from our living room wall--our house is starting to look "less ours". It's supposed to be that way when it's listed, but it's really hard anyway.
We'll keep you all up on the progress...
Amber is doing fine. Yesterday, she got a "big girl bed," though in typical toddler style she is now laying claim to both her new bed and her crib. (Dad's note: she has three months to get over it!) We have the latest J.C. Penney photo shoot pictures for those who wish to view them here.
Well, after six months of absolutely loving my fretted bass, I decided to go with a fretless bass produced by the same custom shop. You can view the new bass on the Bass Pics page.
Many of you also know that I've been getting into candle-making as a hobby, and have been doing it for about six months, making everything from your "standard issue" container and pillar candles to hand-dipped beeswax tapers and high-end beeswax/almond oil based candles. While tedious (even simple candles take up to 8 hours to make and cool) it has provided me a good outlet for stress relief.
Dan and Beth, may you have many years of wonderful adventures with your new pride and joy!