apete's apage

A place for me to speak and be heard.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

More on the Condo Purchase Agreement

I forgot to mention a couple of things about the condo purchase agreement in that previous post. I had some fun in negotiating. I really didn't touch the price directly at all but I did get three cool things added that weren't there before.
  • I got my homeowner's dues, which are paid to the condo association each month, waved until 2008 which I think is about $250 a month.
  • I also talked my way into the appliance upgrade which puts all stainless appliances into my unit. I think there was a $6000 pricetag on that one.
  • Finally, the association only allows dogs under 25 lbs in the unit. I had it written into my contract that I could have that waived for the first time. I think it is written in there, '...until the said dog is gone.' It helped that my real estate agent and the woman representing the condo were both dog people.

It was kinda fun and it reminded me that I wanted to take a negotiation class while I was in grad school. I guess I could look at UW for one of those.


WOW! There is a true classic Metallica dad out there somewhere. Srah just passed this link to me. I've seen lots of coverband CDs doing all kinds of stuff including Metallica's own collaboration with SFSO. The song selection was near perfect as well. I was excited to see the lesser known bass solo, Anesthesia, by the late, great Cliff Burton on the disc. I am excited to hear it. I would have replaced 'NEM', 'Sandman' or 'Unforgiven' with 'Horsemen' or 'Seek and Destroy' but then again, I didn't come up with it.

Why I really like this is because it reminded me that a friend of mine, MT, has promised a photo of his first born in the scraps of his faded metallica t-shirt that he purchased at our first Metallica concert in Saginaw, MI way back in February 1993. We've come a long way since then...4 years in the MetClub and 7-8 other shows including Woodstock '94 and a club member only performance in Toronto.

Also, Metallica is now available on iTunes. I can't quite forgive them for their anti-Napster crusade but it is an interesting step.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Week 2: Deposit on Condo

Hey all. The big news today is that I put in a deposit on a condo. This makes it very possible for me to own 600 square feet of Seattle. The floorplan looks like this. I know the website makes it look like a cruise ship and if I went to the website before I saw it in person, I would have probably not even stopped by.

The unit that I got, #405, was actually a unit that one of the sales team had picked out for himself. He got himself engaged and decided that they needed more space, so it went out on the market. I went by there three times before I finally decided to go for it. It has a really amazing view and is in a good location. It is about a 25-30 walk down to the waterfront and has some cool shopping districts both east and west of me.

The only problem is that I have a bad loan-income ratio or whatever because of my new student loans and my A2 house. The only way that I can get a loan right now is by either selling my house by September 18th or by getting what is called a no-ratio loan or something like that which places all of the burden on me PLUS a little higher interest rate. I have until next Friday to give a go/no go decision.

Other than that I spent most of my time this past week looking at condos. I did find a place called Jersey Mike's which reminded me a lot of a place called Jersey Giants which was on Washtenaw before it closed down. I loved that place and miss it. Tomorrow, I am going to stop by the farmer's market in my new neighborhood.

As for the week coming up, it will be spent preparing for closing on the condo which means getting insurance quotes, chatting with lawyers, and trying to come up with a down payment! The Yankees are in town and I may try to catch a game at SafeCo. Hmmm...I just looked and the BoSox are here next weekend too.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

First week

Well, I have made it through my first week. Things have been going pretty smoothly. I am really impressed with the additional benefits that I have. I am both excited and nervous about the classes that I will be in everyday for half of the day. I like everyone that I have met but I cannot believe the number of pages that are being given to us. I have about 2 feet of books when I set them on top of each other. I've already begun my reading though.

As for the relocation, that is moving along too. I don't know how well yet, because I just can't decide which side of the lake to live on!
  • Downtown Seattle - I'll only be able to afford a 1 bedroom condo but the neighborhoods have so much more character.
  • Eastside - close to work and cheaper although, I'll still only be able to afford a condo.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Days 6 & 7: Boise and Portland

Potato Ice Cream
Originally uploaded by apete.
Today included a trip across Idaho; from Idaho Falls to Boise. The entertainment between included Pickle's Place in Arco and Craters of the Moon National Monument. Neither of these were planned because we didn't know how we were going to get across the Gem State. Arco as it turns out was the first town to be lit by nuclear power back in 1951. It was filled with images of atoms. It was probably filled with radiation thinking back to those unregulated days when you could do what you wanted with nuclear waste. We stopped for lunch at Pickle's place where I had a Crater Burger which was basically an Atomic Burger with black olives. Sarah had a mountain of tater tots which because we were in the home state of Napoleon Dynamite.

The Craters of the Moon Nat'l Park was a lot of black rock. Again, it probably would have been cool if we got out and walked around but I wouldn't recommend a special trip for it.

We entered Boise which seemed like a nice little town. We met up with my cousin and a friend from SI and had dinner at a Caribbean restaurant. The next morning was another of the best meals on the trip. My cousin recommended Goldy's which is a little breakfast place with awesome food. I had the salmon hash and a malted waffle that were great.

We then took off for Portland. There really wasn't much between Boise and Portland but upon getting to Portland, we hung out with my friend from undergrad and his dog. The next morning we got up and saw the town and then took off for Seattle.

Where Everybody Knows your Name

I have only been out to dinner in Redmond twice and both times I ran into somebody that I knew. Either Redmond is very small or SI has some large reaches into the world. I know it isn't the latter. The first night we went to Sushi Land which is ok sushi and you pick it off of a conveyor belt. It is really cheap though. Anyway, when we walked in I noticed the parents of an SI alum that I graduated with.

The next night was very similar except this time it was an alum of the year before me. Pretty crazy considering that I've only spent about 32 hours in the area and I'm already running into familiar faces!

Friday, August 04, 2006

Day 5: Tetons and Yellowstone

Day 5 ended up being our rush through Yellowstone and the Grand Teton National Parks. We needed to get to Idaho Falls because the cheapest room that I could find in Jackson was $209. Yellowstone was amazing even though we only followed the road. I really enjoyed the thermal pools and mud ponds especially. The wildlife was cool too. The worst part was the rain that fell on us most of the trip through Yellowstone. The Grand Tetons also were very impressive and I didn't leave many of those photos off my flickr page.

We ate dinner at Bubba's BBQ in Jackson. This was the only meal that I remember from my trip while I was in high school. I must have been just as good this time because it was fantastic this time as well. Easily my favorite meal on our trip this time too. the down side was here too the computers were down and I had to pay cash.

We continued on in the dark to Idaho Falls. I really wish it was light out for this trip because I think it would have been pretty beautiful.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Day 4 Out West

We got up earlier than normal in Rapid City so that we could get out to Mt. Rushmore and continue on. Rushmore was ok. It seems to be one of those places that you look at think it looks as you'd expect it. We were in and out after about 20 minutes. I do have a parking pass for a Saturn from Michigan through 2006 if anyone is interested in saving $8.

We crossed the border into Wyoming and headed up to Devil's Tower National Monument which we also took several photos of before we continued on. We stopped at a little homey place for lunch where we were greatly disappointed that there was no mashed potatoes to make models of Devil's Tower a la Close Encounters of the Third Kind. We ended up trying to shape coleslaw and French fries. Not quite the same.

We ended up in Cody, WY where our reservations were missing at the Buffalo Bill Village and then ended up giving out the last room WHILE we were trying to figure out where our reservation was. Gosh! They ended up getting us a room at the Antler Inn which was otherwise known as the Burl Inn which is what the sign said. Oh well. After that we went to dinner at Irma's which was ok. We went there because it had a bar that the Queen of England gave to Buffalo Bill at some point. We did miss the gun fight in the bar which is scheduled daily at high noon 6pm. To add to the bad luck in Cody, the computer was out at Irma's so cash was appreciated.

Blog Drought of the Summer of 2006

So there was a lot happening during my blog drought during the summer of 2006. Following my Chicago trip I did continue on to Montreal in order to actually Montreal this time. I really enjoyed the Old City (especially some of the cute delis), the Atwater Market and visiting Schwartz's for some Montreal Smoked Meat.

I also was working part time with Menlo Innovations which has some great methodologies for designing and developing software. I really enjoyed my time there and it was a great experience.

I had an interview out in Seattle for the job I'm headed out to start. I hung out with Erika and some other SIers as well as visited Mt. Rainier, Pikes Place Market and the Seattle Public Library of course.

I also got out to Hell, MI on 06/06/06. I didn't know what to do once I got there and it seemed that nobody else really knew what to do either, but I was there.

Day 3: South Dakota

The Corn Palace
Originally uploaded by apete.
Well, Today was the first exciting day of the trip. We started off by heading to the Corn Palace in Mitchell. This is one of the stops that I think that my family missed when we took this route when I was in high school. It was definitely very interesting. It wasn't quite as corney as I imagined. Much of the structure was brick and there was also a lot of hay or grass covering it. I don't know why I was imagining all of it being corn. They use 12 different varieties of corn to get the different colors.

We continued onward across South Dakota stopping in Murdo for lunch at some diner. The diner was attached to the Pioneer Auto Village which was very large and very interesting. It had all sorts of things but among my favorites were a Wells Fargo stagecoach, a mess of old lunchboxes and of course the General Lee.

We got going and went through the Badlands fairly quickly with a stop at the Prairie House which was an old sod house homestead from 1909. I couldn't imagine living like that. The badlands were pretty cool. We ran into some Bighorn Sheep but didn't have time to do any good hiking. After getting through the Badlands, it was a stop at the old Wall Drug which I couldn't believe that Sarah had not heard of but she has now experienced. I also got a text message while we were at Wall Drug that some friends of mine had a baby. That was a first.

We finally pulled into Rapid City at about nine and neither of us felt like the half-hour trip to Mt. Rushmore even though it would have been interesting to see it all lit up. We did eat downtown Rapid City at the Fire House Brewery. It was ok. The best was the Gorgonzola Ale soup which was as interesting as it sounds and good.