Sunday, March 25, 2007

car shopping

Paul and I are in the market for a car. So, we've begun to do our homework - deciding what we can afford, what type of vehicle we would like to buy, etc. For the past two years, we have been a one car family. This has rarely posed huge frustrations and headaches because we normally go just about everywhere, church, grocery store, coffee shop, etc. We do go places by ourselves, but usually that happens when the other person is staying at home or is out of town or something. Sometimes we do have to get creative when we both need to be someplace different at the same time. But, with Paul's new job NOT being near my job, we are going to need to get a second car. Yesterday, we ventured out to take a gander at what our options might be. Now this isn't my first time to buy a car...I've been around the block a time or two, and some things just never change. Here are a few observations from my recent car-buying experience:
1. Your car (the one you are currently in) is your fortress of solitude...they can't get you while in it. You may wish to take up the "Maney Technique" of doing a drive-by before getting out of your car to look. This way, you don't have to deal with salespeople unnecessarily.
2. Should you choose to get out of your fortress of solitude, NEVER, I mean NEVER get separated from the person with whom you are buying the car. That is their strategy...pull you away from the pack and then take their prey.
3. ALWAYS say you are not looking to buy today - that will minimize the amount of "knowledge" you have to give up. Like - do you have a trade-in, how much are looking to spend, etc.
4. Speaking of knowledge - that is one of your only lines of defense...use it wisely.
5. Don't be mean to the salesperson (after all they are trying to earn a living), but you do have the right to look around without being followed.
6. We haven't gotten to this point yet. But, when you are ready to buy, KNOW your stuff...the internet holds a wealth of information that you can and should use.

I think we have ultimately decided to buy something fairly cheap that we can pay cash for. We want to move and would rather spend money each month on a bigger place than a car. This second car will be used for the sole purpose of Paul getting to and from work.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Paul & Sarah go to Washington

We realize that you have been anxiously awaiting THE post on our vacation to Washington DC. Well, here it is. We had a great time seeing stuff we'd only read about in History books as well as spending time with our friends, Seth and Kristen Kolb! It was one of those vacations where we got home needing a vacation from our vacation, but it was so fun none the less. Upon setting out to DC, we made a list of all the things we wanted to do while there. And, I am happy to say that we got to most things on our list - Yay us! I think all in all, we probably walked a total of like 40 miles during the entire week that we were there. Here's a list of everything we got see:

- White House (yes, we had a tour of the INSIDE). On the way out, we saw a secret service agent. Kristen mentioned to him that we were supposed to have breakfast with the President. The secret service guy played along and couldn't believe that George didn't honor that commitment. Then, I opened my big mouth and said that we would've taken the First don't say things like that at the White House.
- Capitol - another tour set up by our Congressman
- Library of Congress
- Supreme Court Building
- Air & Space Museum, American Art and Portraiture Museums - part of the Smithsonian Institute
- National Holocaust Museum
- Washington Monument
- Lincoln Memorial
- Arlington Cemetery and Tomb of the Unknown Soldier
- Mt. Vernon - George Washington's house and tomb
- International Spy Museum - we are well trained to spot spies among us!
- Vietnam Memorial
- Union Station
- Old Town Alexandria
- Folger's Shakespeare Museum
- Ford Theater and house where Lincoln died

We also got to eat lots of really good food...I guess the perk of being in an international city. This is something we really miss living in Lubbock!

As with any trip, there were a few antics along the way.
1) on the day that we toured the Capitol, Supreme Court, and Library of Congress, we forgot the camera...we bought a disposable one. We were pretty sad not to have our camera this day!

2) on our last night, we decided to see The Mall all lit up. We had been out and walking around for the entire day and wanted to eat dinner then walk around The Mall. So, we went up this one street looking for a place to eat. The menu of this one Mexican eatery looked good and affordable, so we went in. Now, we had been outside all day, but we still didn't look disgusting. The hostess told us that their bar served their entire menu, so we could just take a seat there! I asked her how long before a table would be available, and she sat us immediately. We knew what that was about. We were pretty upset to have been treated that way...this places prices did not warrant snootiness. We went ahead and ordered, and our food came - it was bite size servings! We dropped $30 on dinner, Paul talked to the manager about the hostess, and we got pizza later that night.

3) for the last two nights of our trip, we stayed in a hotel near the Capitol. It was a little warm in our room, so Paul turned on the air. It sounded like a car that needed some work, and no cold air came out. The next morning, we told the front desk. They said they'd fix it...but of course didn't. So, we sweated as it was unseasonably warm in DC.

4) Upon returning to Lubbock, we stood at baggage claim patiently waiting for our bags that never came. Somehow through all the plane changes that we made on our way home (four total), our bags got lost. Thank goodness they showed up later that night, and Southwest delivered them to our house.

Here are a few pictures. Enjoy!

Saturday, March 3, 2007

Some thoughts on leaving

So as many of you know I work for InterVarsity as a campus staff worker... training students, discipling, etc. Most of you also know that this is my last year to be working for InterVarsity. I feel like God has given me other gifts and abilities that I want to explore using. Anyway, this past Thursday I told my fellowship that I wont be here next year. It was an interesting experience because on one hand I want there to be weeping and gnashing of teeth when I leave, because I want to feel important and missed... everyone does. However I felt an even more satisfying emotion when one of my leaders said basically (paraphrasing) "whether or not there is another staff worker here next year to take your place, I feel like we'll be OK because you have given us the tools necessary to make it on our own." That felt good. I think it will be hard to let go because I see the fellowship being on the verge of some really big and amazing things. But, i must exit so that when God does do those things, he is the only one people will see.

By the way, the DVD burning worked great. Although, apparently there is a limit for the maximum length of the filepath for the files you burn to a DVD. Also, Windows doesn't have built in support for burning DVD's like it does CD's... you have to use 3rd party software.