Hughes Family: September 2014

Yet another month has gone by. This one all too quickly. There were some good times, some bad times, some rip my hair out and then set the Earth on fire times. This post is going to be short and sweet (maybe just short).

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My lovely little girl celebrated her birthday with a trip to Texas Road House. Spoiled much? Yes.

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September highlights include putting up a tent in our microscopic backyard (Fran slept in the tent with Mike so he could pass off a scouting requirement). In an attempt to become tougher I ate a Jalapeno pepper. It turned into the worst stomach ache I can remember having (I also fed slices to my kids- some cried). Chloe ate her first Sushi roll- she seems partial to the California. The rest of September is a horrid blur. 

Our home is still not quite ready. It looks like we’ll be moving sometime in the next couple of weeks but the house still needs some work. I used to joke that I was building a fixer-upper, but it looks like the joke is on me. More to come… probably.

Hughes Family: August 2014

What did we do in August? Oh yes… we moved. We have been moving perpetually. In between moves we found time to go have a few adventures.It was a busy busy month!

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Toward the beginning of the month Fran had a baby and a bridal showers to attend I got to hang out with boys for the day. We hit JCW’s, went to see Guardians of the Galaxy (great movie) and worked on moving things and getting our old home cleaned up.

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Later that week we went to Lagoon with the Sandbergs. I know thatLagoon isn’t Disneyland but I think it’s a fantastic local park with plenty to do if your expectations are realistic. The weather was overcast so the park crowds were just right and everyone had a fantastic time.

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Lagoon has plenty of fun rides for thrill seekers. Wicked, in particular is a blast. Samurai is another fun ride… until is starts going backwards. For people not impressed with Lagoon’s coaster options the Cannibal is opening in 2015.

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Chloe had a lot of fun this time! She was pretty fearless and wasn’t afraid to go on any of the rides (and on some of the rides the kids have to go on alone).

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What trip to the park would be complete without some ice cream? And a broken phone. Fran’s phone was a victim of the Samurai- midway through the ride those of us on the ground watched her phone literally launch off the ride and sail about fifty feet through the air onto a bathroom roof and then onto the ground. Amazingly the phone still worked.

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The carnival games at Lagoon were as popular as any of the rides. Personally I don’t see the allure of throwing my money away on junk (okay, I’m sure some would disagree). The park food is so-so but there’s something exciting about eating it (maybe knowing you could barf it back up later).

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Here are a few fun parting shots. A pic from Colossus (it was really hard to hold my camera going to through the loops).  I went with Chloe on the BomBora roller coaster. Claire was really worried when I pulled out my phone for a pic on the Rocket. “No Dad! No! Put your phone away. Hurry!” But I’m not the one who breaks my phone on rides ;)

House stuff…

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After selling our Hunter’s Grove home we moved into a rental up in Traverse Mountain. It’s an interesting place (both Traverse Mountain and the house). The home has some quirky features…  For example the only outside access to the [very tiny] backyard is through a gate on the side of the home. It’s conveniently blocked by a rather large retaining wall. If you actually managed to work your way to the gate you’d find that it swings open into one of the porch supports ensuring continued difficulty. Awesome. And in the kitchen “there are four lights!” There is a strange sad little fifth light with a burnt out bulb. I think you could make a case that this is the location Captain Picard was held after being captured by the Cardassians. I discovered the lights while I was lying on the ground trying to hold our dishwasher door closed with my foot (otherwise it won’t complete a wash cycle). Aside from the home’s strange quirks we enjoy having potential buyers walk though at all times of the day. 

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The house is coming along. The exterior is mostly finished at this point. I saw a rainbow shooting into our house and I’m totally sure that’s a sign we’re supposed to live here. Sigh.

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Lots of concrete! I’m happy we pushed the driveway out  (via the retaining wall). Can’t have to much driveway, I always say…   I’m pleased that Ivory epoxied the garage floors- they look great and it saves us a ton of money. I love a nice garage… Wish I had something to put in it.

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There’s always time for a wedding! Caroline and Brian were married in August. Beautiful wedding and a fun reception. Congrats! “What? That’s all your going to write about the most important day of her life?”  Uh… yeah? 


I happily accepted the ALS ice bucket challenge extended by my sister, Erin. The water was way colder than I thought it would be! I called out my business partner, Jim, my friend, Tom, and my sister-in-law, Catherine. I think the general assumption is that people who pour the ice water on their head are getting out of donating to ALS, however for the curious I also contributed money toward their research (you can too by visiting www.alsa.org).

The kids got called out by their friends (and each other) and chose to participate as well:

Not done yet…

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Over Labor Day weekend we went camping near Mirror Lake with the Ercanbecks- Catherine (Fran’s sister), Lauren (Catherine’s daughter) and Randall (Catherine’s husband). Lots of good food, adventures and fun.

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Kids in nature are extra cute! They carve wood, play chess, build traps and collect firewood. They also get dirty and complain. All part of the gig.

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Mirror Lake was really pretty and equally as cold. Next time we’ll need jackets and maybe some fishing gear. Or maybe we could just look at these pictures and call it good.

Hughes Family: July 2014

While there was a good chance July was destined to destroy me I somehow persevered. I worked on the home to make is presentable. Darin listed the home and within ten days it has sold. The packing was then started. As far as I’m concerned this is how I spent my July:

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I put things in boxes ’cause boxes are fun!
I won’t even know where I’ll live when I’m done.
I stuck all my crap in boxes with labels
In went my books and my chairs and my tables.
I packed through the day and I packed through the night.
I packed all the heavy and packed all the light.
Two hundred boxes put onto a truck
Where are there going? Who gives a…

Meanwhile…

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Leaving Dad all alone in Utah. My lovely little world travelers…

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A layover in Paris for a few days. Lots of stuff to see (like that Eiffel Tower thing) and it helps with the time zone adjustment (ultimate destination is 10 hours ahead of Utah).

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Arrived in Reunion safe and sound. One of the first orders of business is a trip to get munchies… what a great view.

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Check out all this foooood. This is why they go to France & Reunion.  I just know it.

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View from the beach house – not too bad.  Some obligatory ocean time and a quick shopping trip – facilitated by Fran’s parents –  to get some nets so that the sea  life could be captured and studied.

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Playing in paradise – Reunion is a lot like Hawaii with lots of lush tropical vegetation. Three trampolines with swings. Doesn’t get any better than that.

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More time on the beach.

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Hanging out, playing and eating- the key ingredients of a perfect vacation.

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Fracoise’s family: Parents (Alain & Danielle) and her brothers and their wives (Pamela & Christophe & Alain-David & Sandra). They made the blog. Totally epic.

This section above is the France / Reunion trip. If my wife so desires she can hop onto the blog and update captions. She has that power. Will she use it? Well, it’s hard to say. History suggest that it’s unlikely. But there’s also a good chance that I’ve captioned the pictures so poorly her sense of order might override her apathy. It looks like it was a fun trip. Once they perfect teleportation technology I can absolutely see myself popping over to the island for a few days of sun, fun and food.

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Fran and the kids got back at the end of July and, after they had recovered for a couple of days,we lit off some fireworks in honor of Pioneer Day.

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Fran and I celebrated our 13th wedding anniversary. Things were chaotic but we managed to squeeze in a dinner outing at Shoots.

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Having given up any hope of moving things ourselves we hired 7 Brothers to come take care of the furniture and boxes. They did a great job- if you need a moving company I can recommend them.

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The new house is coming along. In July Ivory finished most of the exterior, got the drywall and texturing done and made good headway on our retaining wall / driveway.

I’m not really sure where the time for this post came from. I looked in my draft folder and it was just sort of there. So way to go me.

Moving On

I’m not sure when I’ll get around to posting a “July” update (or even an “August” update for that matter). July was the busiest month yet and I’m still in the process of recovering from everything (although the recovery is going poorly since August is giving July a run for its money…). How can there be so much freaking stuff?

I did want to make a quick post about one thing though:

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Fran took the the kids and went to visit her family for a few weeks and that was an ideal opportunity to get the house in shape and put it up for sale. After being listed it was sold in less than two weeks!

Over the course of the ten days following the sale we moved into a rental in Traverse Mountain. We’ll be in that location until the end of September. Hopefully our new house will be done by then… if not I don’t know what we’ll do. Move again? You think I’m grumpy now…

Things on Ivory’s end are progressing more slowly than I’d hoped (albeit at the rate I expected). One of the big hang-ups is the cabinetry. Ivory is using a new company and the latest update we got is that closing has been pushed back three weeks because the cabinets won’t be ready on time (we have been very unimpressed with this new cabinet company). Overall the building experience with Ivory Homes has been okay. I’ll do a write-up at some point in the future.

I will miss our old house- it was in a great spot, we had great neighbors, and the home never gave us any trouble (outside the “normal” scope). I expect I have already idealized things in my memory.

Side note: Originally we were considering selling the home ourselves but a friend who’s a real estate agent convinced us to let him sell the home. I’d definitely recommend an agent for the additional exposure (i.e. an MLS listing) and convenience (you don’t have to deal with the hassle of scheduling showings, paperwork or negotiating the actual deal). If you need someone to sell your home contact Darin Southam.

 

A Car-free Life… Will it Last?

I have now been car-free for over a month. After I sold my last car I went through a kind of withdrawal. I felt like some part of me was missing and occasionally I felt like I had to get something right away to fill the void. But at the same time the past few months have been some of the most stressful in my life so not having to worry about any car-related issues was nice change. I decided I would take my time and think things over carefully before doing anything . I would even put “no car at all” on the table as an option.

In the spirit of fun I have looked at quite a few vehicles over the last month or so (Internet looking) and I’ve had people give me a lot of suggestions. Below are some of the vehicles I’ve considered or that have been recommended (some as a joke):

ford-raptor-june-2014 I love the Ford Raptor. If I went this direction I’d have to go with the Roush package (which includes a supercharger). Even though my local Ford dealer could install and warranty the package I’m just not comfortable pushing vehicles past their intended thresholds anymore. And at the end of the day this is a truck. A large, gas hungry, plodding truck. I am totally satisfied with my Tacoma so I don’t think there’s a Raptor in my future.

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Someone suggested the Audi R8. I saw one at RaceCo and the general consensus was that they didn’t handle well, the reliability was poor and you really didn’t get a lot for your money. Not a glowing endorsement. Couple that with what is, in my opinion, a strange looking design and then R8 doesn’t make the cut.

zl1-camaro-june-2014
I had an SS Camaro. It was a great car in a lot of ways, but fell short in others. Visually it pushed all my buttons, but it was large, heavy and didn’t handle particularly well. And it had no headroom- none. A sunroof wasn’t even an option for me. The supercharged ZL1’s power and handling have been enchanced but I’m not sure if that’s enough to make me walk back down that path.

c7-z06-corvette-june-14 The Corvette C7 Z06 looks like it’s going to be an amazing car. It’s hard to judge a car that’s not actually available though. The 650 HP supercharged engine is appealing, but I’m leery of first year production vehicles (I know the Stingray has been out for awhile so a lot of the kinks will have been worked out). Visually this car is a miss for me in some ways, but I wouldn’t let the look necessarily stop me.

jaguar-f-type-june-14I can’t say exactly what it is, but the Jaguar F-Type just doesn’t do it for me. Despite it’s supercharged 550 HP engine it’s the slowest of all the cars listed here. Couple all that with the fact that I’m not British and the F-Type doesn’t make the cut.

lamborghini-gallardo-june-14Haha… no. I think most people can appreciate the outlandish beauty of the Lamborghini Gallardo. Probably the most expensive car here and by far the most impractical. With no place to service it in Utah I can’t imagine this would be an easy car to own. And if I could find a way to afford this I’m sure it would garner a lot of unwanted attention as well.

bmw-m6-june-2014 The BMW M6 certainly pushed a few of my buttons. My friend owns an M3 and it’s an amazing car. In terms of value I think the M6 would be on the top of my list- the technology they’ve put into this vehicle is second to none.

porsche-911-turbo-june-14The Porsche 911 Turbo (the 911) is expensive, but there is a lot of engineering and technology in this car that have contributed toward it’s stellar reputation. In terms of 0-60 and the quarter mile the car is unmatched in its class. Add great handling, understated elegance and superior comfort to the mix and you have a winner.

vespa-june-14 No. Just… no. And yet I wonder.

So, what’s the plan? I’m going to create an outline detailing points that explain exactly what I’m looking for (or not looking for). Then I can process potential cars through my criteria crusher and compare them to each other. Then when the times comes I can test drive the remaining cars (maybe?). Although between you and me- I think I already have a good idea of what direction I’m going to go.

Hughes Family: June 2014

Every time I think a month can’t get busier – boom! It finds a way. June was filled with a nice mix of fun, not so fun an totally overwhelming.

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We went to the Living Planet aquarium at their new location in Draper. The setup and layout is fantastic, but there didn’t seem to be a big difference – with regard to the actual “animals”  – between the new facility and old facility. A few of the exhibits were empty when we went so maybe there is some cool new stuff on the horizon.

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The Aquarium did have some cool new features like the rope bridge, an underwater tunnel and viewing room (in the shark tank) and an awesome aviary. Overall is seemed expensive to me but the kids seem to love it so I’m sure we’ll go back soon.

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As a pre-birthday celebration for Cindy and Fran we went to the Chef’s Table in Orem. It’s been about seven years since I’ve eaten there (and I don’t think Fran had ever been there) so I was excited to try it again. The appetizers were all excellent (cheese tasting isn’t my cup of tea, but I appreciated the idea). Sadly I think we all found our entrees to be a little underwhelming (the general consensus was that we would not go back for a “long time”). At least the company was good. Happy birthday ladies!

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Father’s Day. My parents came over and we had a fun celebration. Fran made us rib eye sandwiches (you ever had a rib eye sandwich at JCW’s? Good stuff)!

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Gabe’s birthday. I can’t believe this kid is seven already! He wanted a skateboard and an RC car. Instead of the usual RC garbage we got him a Traxxas Rustler (with some help from Grandma & Grandpa). That is a fun car so I think the skateboard may be getting ignored a little. 

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Fran’s Birthday. We had planned to go to Lagoon for the day but Fran lost her Yukon key (we only have one). We spent a long time looking for it and eventually decided to change our plans. We ate at Cafe Rio, opened presents and had some cheesecake. Maybe that doesn’t sound like as much fun as Lagoon but hopefully it wasn’t too bad. Happy birthday Francoise! You’re amazing and I love you. [We never did find the Yukon key- Fran had a new one made].

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When we built our current house I insulated part of it (around the bedroom). With regard to sound and temperature it has been really nice. So nice that I decided to insulate the interior walls in our new home. All of them. The time frame to install it was sooner and smaller than I expected and I grossly underestimated how much work it would be.  Luckily friends came to the rescue (Tyson, Fran, Jim, Tom, Ben & Mike). Thanks guys!

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Justin came by to help me do some wiring (for speakers). We noticed that a lot of the insulation upstairs had blown out and we put it back in securing it with twine. Here’s some of the finished project. 3. days and 100 rolls of frustration… er, insulation. Hope it helps.

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Here’s a cute sequence of images from a shopping trip to Costco. Claire was hellbent on getting the bag into the back of the Yukon by herself. One one casualty. 

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Lots of summer treats. No one was able to finish the deserts show in either picture. That’s living. 

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Before leaving for France the family went to watch the Lehi 4th of July parade. That’s some passionate patriotism right there. 

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I love sushi. I could for some right now. Anyone else eat sushi? Maybe we could meet up for lunch sometime. I’m going to spend the next couple of weeks learning how to make it! 

Hughes Family: May 2014

The May run down is going to be super quick. I have so many things going on that my head is spinning.

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Nice weather, flowers, gardening. That sort of thing. But seriously- I’m glad for the nicer weather (not allergies though).

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My kids have a wonderful mother. I’ve got a wonderful mother too. Happy Mother’s Day!

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As school draws to a close the kids are forced to dance. See those glasses on Mike? Those are mine and now they’re missing. At least he looks like a stud.

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We went hiking on the Timpooneke trail. I am not in hiking shape right now! It didn’t help that a couple miles up the trail turned into mud.

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We had a fun little picnic…

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… in this little valley. Obligatory panorama shot. All in all we had a good time.

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Mike got his Webelos badge. He also started playing World of Warcraft. He had to set up a sidewalk business to help pay for his game. He works hard when he’s motivated.

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Claire and Chloe shopping (they love to shop for clothes). Gabe dressed up as a pirate with his wench. Chloe with her new haircut by Chloe.

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The house is coming along but it’s causing me massive stress. So far I haven’t had a lot of fun. I’m pretty picky though. For example I wanted straight stairs. Alas, all my stairs are crooked. Why am I so unreasonable?

Fun fact & tip: I edited these pics on the Razer Blade in Photoshop CS5. Photoshop doesn’t offer a HiDPI GUI so I have to change the desktop resolution to 1080p to use it (booo!). If you’re in the same boat be sure to click the “Disable display scaling on high DPI settings” box under the compatibility tab (right click on application icons) or PS may ignore your resolution settings.

Another Goodbye…

These days there’s simply too much going on to devote time to cars. After thinking things over carefully I decided that it was time to let the 911 go.

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After getting the car back from EVOMS earlier this year it was running great and I had a blast driving it. Eventually the fuel trims spiked again though- that was frustrating since it was supposedly fixed (dealing with EVOMS… that’s a story). But, after resetting the car’s ECU, I had a spectacular issue free month. I wanted to go out on a high note so I put the car on eBay. It’s headed to a Reno dealer where I hope it finds a wonderful home.

Looking back this was my favorite car. Nothing else compared to it in terms of drivability and handling. It was sexy, the speed was satisfying, the sunroof was fun on evening drives and the stereo became my favorite over time. Childhood dream fulfilled. Good bye 911!

THE CAR

I took the car to Ken Garff (for an inspection) and that’s where it was picked up by the buyer.