Saturday, June 27, 2009

Hard Water

Also received the annual "Drinking Water Quality Report" in the mail today. It tells me that the average Total Hardness of my drinking water is 241ppm. Google tells me that this falls well into the "Fairly Hard" category, which should not be a surprise to anyone who has ever frozen San Diego tap water and then melted the ice cubes...

Jury Summons

Received a Jury Summons in the mail today. According to this blog, I served on a trial a little less than two years ago. If you've served at any time in the last three years, you're exempt from reporting. Shouldn't the county keep better track of such things, and mail my summons to someone who isn't exempt? They're just wasting money. Plus, it cost me a stamp to mail it back to them.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Upcoming Roadtrip

As mentioned in my previous post, I'm going to be taking another road trip this summer. I should be saving my money to buy a house, but I can't be a cheapskate ALL the time and still stay sane. Also, I have lots and lots of vacation time that I have to either use or forfeit soon. Using it seemed to be the better option.

The details are still sketchy, and complicated by the fact that though my airfare and rental vehicle have been booked, lodging for the trip has not yet been secured. Though with how much the SUV and airfare cost, we might be sleeping in the car and/or some really borderline hotels.

Here's the general structure of the trip:

Saturday, August 22: Fly to Seattle. Arrive around 4:00 PM. Rent SUV. Act like tourists in Seattle.

Sometime after August 22: Drive to Vancouver, BC. Act like tourists. Maybe go salmon fishing. Maybe just stay on solid ground.

Sometime after that: Drive up to Whistler. Act like tourists. Try to find venues for 2010 Olympics. Maybe do some hiking or photography.

Once that is done: Drive back to Vancouver, then back to Seattle. Be tourists in Seattle.

Saturday, August 29: Return vehicle. Fly home.


I think I rather like having a family member who works for a car rental agency. She just saved me almost 50% (nearly $400) on a one-week SUV rental for my upcoming road trip. Plus, the rate comes with a free additional driver AND the collision damage waiver insurance. In other news, check out these rental car fee and tax rates at SeaTac Airport:

Customer Facility Chg 5.00/day
Concession Recovery Fee 11.10 Pct
Vehicle License Recovery Fee .31/day

Rental Car Tax (9.70%)
Sales Tax (9.50%)

That comes out to a total of 30.3% over the base rental rate plus an extra $5.31 a day. Maybe this is not so bad on a single-day mid size rental paid for by your corporate office, but for a week long SUV booking going on someone's personal card, it gets real ugly real fast.


Recently, I've been annoyed with my current eyeglasses. I don't have to wear them ALL the time, but I've started to notice when I do wear them that the frame itself is a little bit too narrow for my face. They are probably also a bit mis-adjusted, but that's not such a big deal. I compared the physical frame for my regular eyeglasses with my prescription sunglasses (which fit comfortably) and found that the eyeglass frames are a full 10mm narrower than the sunglass frames.

This got me to thinking about how I was going to get a new pair of glasses back around November, but never followed through with it because all those designer frames at the Optometrist, though partially covered by my insurance, would still cost me several hundred dollars out of pocket to get ones that don't completely suck. I'm cheap, and this cost was unacceptable, so I put the idea on indefinite hold.

While searching for frames back in November I came across a web site that promises to sell high quality, accurate prescription eyewear for a fraction of the cost of any traditional provider -- as low as $8 for frame+lenses, and another $5 shipping. At this cost, I can afford to try out new styles to see how I like them without sinking a large amount of money into the process. The worst-case scenario here would basically be that I end up with a marginal-quality pair of backup glasses that look ugly on me, so I figured it was worth a shot. (I don't currently have a backup pair of glasses that is even close to my current Rx.) How do they keep their prices so low, you ask? I suspect it has something to do with China's cheap manufacturing and blatant disregard for international copyright. I'm OK with that.

Thus, I bought a pair of cheap eyeglasses. I present to you:

Cheap Glasses! (Click image for full size)

Oh, did I mention that UV and anti-scratch coatings are included in their low, low price? In a moment of weakness, I decided to shell out the extra $5 for the anti-reflective coating as well. Probably just as well, since they'll probably get most of their use while I'm driving. I did not, however, fork over the extra $4 for a clip-on polarized 80% sunshade because I already have a pair of prescription polarized sunglasses that work quite nicely. For those of you keeping score at home, that's a grand total of $33.85 (Though stingy, I am also incredibly picky and ended up choosing pretty much the most expensive frames they carried) for a pair of prescription eyeglasses with UV, anti-scratch, and anti-reflective coatings as well as 180-degree spring hinges on the arms. They should arrive by July 15. I'm excited to see what I end up with.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Ohio Trip 2009

From June 4 through June 9, 2009 Nicole and I took a trip to Ohio. Officially the purpose of the trip was to attend my cousin Mason's high school graduation party, but we also managed to see lots of family, friends, and places while we were there.

We flew into Cleveland on the 4th, got in (very) late, and headed to my Aunt's house in Bath (just outside of Akron) from the airport after renting a vehicle. We stayed there all day Friday, for the Graduation Party on Saturday, the actual Graduation on Sunday, and Sunday night. On Monday morning, we headed across the state to Jewell to see Grandma. Tuesday morning, we headed from there to Findlay for a whirlwind tour to see some friends and what was left of our old house. After that, we drive straight back to the Cleveland Airport and flew home. That's the trip in a nutshell.

Pictures Link:

Grandma's Pond