Oh man- these past few weeks have intense. Personally intense, that is to say. I’ve been handling a lot of stuff. I am tired…
We started off the month by breaking our bed. I wish I could say that we were doing something exciting (yeah, you know what I mean) but the fact is it just collapsed when I hopped onto it. You can make fat jokes, but we’ve had this frame for a looooong time and it had developed some cracks where the wood joints are. Later that night Mike broke Claire’s bed while he was jumping on it. Two beds, one night. Long story short- most of us are sleeping with our beds on the floor for now. It’s actually kind of nice…
I spent some time fixing the dent in my Camaro fender. This was my first foray into auto body work. I bought the replacement part, had them paint to match and spent an afternoon fitting it in. Even though there was a small scrape on the front fender I opted to just touch it up instead of replacing the entire bumper. My insurance deductible is $700 and this cost me less than half. Overall I have to say I think I did an excellent job!
The kids enjoyed their last few days of summer by going to… somewhere with water. I’m not really sure where this is. Judging by the Astro Turf I’d say it was Seven Peaks. They appear to be trapped in some torso bubble with handles.
In honor of the summer’s end we built a massive fort in the living room. This required nearly all the couch cushions, pillows and blankets we could find. We used two fans for ventilation. The kids all slept inside the night we built it and it survived nearly three days!
Each Sunday one of the kids “helps” Fran cook dinner. This is Mike making some Thai soup. Fran said he actually got into it and did a great job. I had some soup and I can vouch for it’s yuminess. I feel like this picture needs a caption: “You want me to help? Okay, but I’m putting in some booze.”
And this is the children floating around at Libery Land. Or Trafalga North… or whatever it’s called now. Tip: Little kids (i.e. Chloe) can’t do anything at the park. Live and learn.
Mike had his first football game. He looks so tough (and cute) in this football uniform. He’s a little apathetic at times, but he’s a good blocker and made a great tackle during one of the plays.
School started (tee hee!) and our oldest three are now in school all day (bwah ha ha!). So far they all seem to be enjoying their new classes. It’s crazy how fast they all grow up.
One of the things that’s kept me super busy is trying to sell my cars. Maintaining / fixing everything has been a huge source of stress for me so I decided it was time to purge. Right now I’m in limbo- I’m really sad to see these cars go, but I’m hoping when the dust settles I can regain some sense of control.
Ode to the truck: You never let me down. You were always there for me. We moved little things, we moved big things and every time you moved me. Thank you old friend.
Ode to the Camaro: You looked great, you drove well. A little slow, a little hard to handle, but that’s just your nature. We had some good drives and you will be missed.
This one pains me more than the others. This is, in my opinion, is the sexiest car I have ever seen, let alone owned. Each time someone shows interest I want to cancel the auction, tell them it’s not available, tell them to go away. But I know what I have to do…
And the Vette… Still at RaceCo. I need to get it running. It’s the one car I might keep. But even that’s in the air right now. In nothing there is freedom. Do I sound crazy? Maybe I am.
I don’t see a good segue into the fact that Fran got a Yukon. The kids are old enough now that we thought maybe they could handle something a little nicer than our minivan (jury’s still out). We actually went up to Idaho to get this beauty (sorry we didn’t have time to vist Erin!). This is a pretty sweet ride. You ever had your butt cooled by your seat? No? Come on over.
I’ve spent a few evenings hanging out w/ the guys too – The Jorgensens are back in town for August so we have gotten together with Andrew a couple of times. Just like the good old days. Somehow we ended up watching Catwoman the other night. It hurt us all pretty badly, but the bond between survivors of events like these is strong.
The Camaro was easier to part with than my truck. Initially it was a blast, but over time I came to realize that it just didn’t have the handling or speed I wanted. Sure, I could have modified it, but I just didn’t want to go there. And no matter how many times I washed the car it was dirty within day or two (black cars!). Although I liked the stereo in the Camaro the iPod interface was temperamental. And I could never get over the lack of headroom, visibility issues or the way the steering wheel covered part of my gauge cluster. I think the Camaro is a great looking car, but ultimately it just didn’t work for me.
Finally some good news! I was about ready to pass the Porsche torch but EVOMS and RaceCo encouraged me to push on. I relented and agreed to a few more rounds of troubleshooting. Once we reached the point where there were simply no more obvious mechanical issues I felt like we needed to explore the tune again. Ian at EVOMS seemed to agree:
My thought process behind this is that we may have made a mistake, or something may not be compatible along the way that is in your current file. This car was modified by us from day one for [the first owner], then modified a couple more times in his possession, then modified again for [the second owner], and finally again for you. We do our best to make everything 100%, but when the car has been touched so many times, something may have happened along the way. Imagine a photocopy of a photocopy of a photocopy… sometimes things end up blurry in the end. That is why I wanted Todd to start fresh.
Once the new tune was loaded and the ECU reinstalled I went up to RaceCo to do my usual breaking. They had driven it about 35 miles and said things looked pretty solid. I put on another 60 miles while running the car though driving patterns that usually caused the long term fuel trims (LTFT) to max out. The LTFT did rise a bit but they actually stabilized and I even saw them drop a little. The car ran flawlessly and there were no ominous foreshadowings present.
I took the car home and over the last few days I’ve put another 100 miles on it with no problems. LTFT are still stable! I think – knock on wood – the last issue is finally resolved. I wish the tune had been considered sooner, but I take comfort in the fact that RaceCo fixed a lot of little things (i.e. repaired leaks, new check valves, rebuilt blow of valves, etc) and I know the 911 is in superb mechanical shape. All things considered I feel like EVOMS had my back and really made good faith efforts to help me trouble shoot my issues.
But I do feel like the car should have been delivered to me in the condition it’s in now. If I sold it tomorrow the new owner would get a car in perfect working order and would experience nothing but pleasure. Unfortunately my experience has been tainted by all the stress and extra effort of getting the car to this point. I have a lot of other projects I want to work on and even with the Porsche back in commission I don’t think I’ll drive it much. The future is unclear right now; I don’t know if I’ll keep the car or sell it.
In any event, I was in a much more optimistic mood today so I did a bit of work on the 911. First I replaced the chrono gauge pod. The old one had some fairly extensive sun damage. Then I put on new carbon fiber side mirrors. You can see from the picture how yellow the previous set had become compared to the new housings. Both parts are from ROTtech and the fit and finish are excellent.
It feels sort of surreal to have the problems finally resolved. I don’t feel like we’ve crossed the finish line quite yet, but it’s nice to finally be on the right track.
It’s been a long time since Fran and I took a vacation together. We had planned something for our 10th anniversary, but Chloe altered our plans a little bit. But for our 12th anniversary we decided to splurge a bit and take a trip to Sandals Grand in St. Lucia.
The first leg of our flight (about four hours) took us to Georgia where we spent the night at a Marriott. The next morning our second flight (another four hours) took us to the St. Lucia airport. We went through customs, gathered our bags and settles in for the 1.5 hour drive to Sandals (next time we’ll take a helicopter). We stopped along the way to take in some of the beautiful views of St. Lucia’s coast.
The Sandals Grande Resort is awesome. It’s a little dated in terms of decor, but nearly everything on the grounds is well groomed and beautiful. We opted for a private rondoval suite.
The rondoval was awesome- everything inside was immaculate. We had our own private patio with a plunge pool, jacuzzi, hammock, and outdoor shower. I was surprised at how functional and fun such a tiny pool ended up being. The beach was just a minute’s walk out from the rondoval. The fine white sand was peppered with beach chairs, cabanas and various trees. The water was a gorgeous blue and complemented by the mostly sunny skies.
We spent a lot of time lounging in our beach cabana, the plunge pool (it was fun to just float) and we played in the sea (I had forgotten how salty it is- yuck). The weather was nice the entire time. It rained a little, but it was always warm tropical rain that passed after only a few minutes.
The food at Sandals was good, but not great. They have eight different places to eat and I think we tried five of them (including the complimentary room service). One thing we noted was the small serving size of the meals, which was just fine with us. On our anniversary we tried Sandal’s premier dining experience at Gordon’s (which is at the end of a pier). It was excellent until they brought out the main entree (we ordered veal over risotto). It was huge and while it was okay, it was disappointing compared to the rest of our meal. But the atmosphere and company were excellent 🙂
I could have lounged and read for the whole trip but Fran is the adventurous sort. We went kayaking a couple of times and she wanted to climb the peaks on Pigeon Island. I obliged- it was a good hike with some great views. At one point St. Lucia was fought over by the French and British and there were some cool military relics to look at and a lot of interesting history behind them.
The is the Sandals resort as seen from the top of the highest peak on Pigeon Island. If there had been a zip line down to the resort from the top it would have been perfect.
Our rondoval came with two butlers, Benedict and Clynns. They made dinner arrangements for us, booked our cabanas, brought us drinks and food and made sure we were having a great time. They even poured a bubble bath for us and decorated the room!
I haven’t been out of the country as an adult so it was cool to get a stamp on my passport!
It was so wonderful for me to be able to reconnect with Francoise in a more intimate setting (no kids!). I only have two regrets: I wish I had applied more sunscreen and I wish I hadn’t walked into a pool with Fran’s phone in my pocket (we lost some trip pictures). Overall it was an incredible (and much needed) vacation.
Man, what a crazy few weeks. Why does summer have to be so busy? Alrighty, let’s see…
I guess I’ll start with this: My sister noticed that our old house in Virginia had been for sale. I’ve always fantasized about going back and visiting the house, but this was nearly as good (cheaper and less invasive). It’s been heavily remodeled and expanded since we were there (about 25 years ago).
Here’s an interior shot of the living room area (my favorite spot as a kid). I’m not going to post all the pictures, but the interior has also had some substantial upgrades. For example, the window behind the computer is now a door leading into a sun room. Seeing these pictures brings back a lot of good memories, but it also reminds me that things change and the past is truly gone (that may sound sad, but it’s really not).
July is officially the hottest month on record for some parts of Utah. What better way to cool off than a trip to Seven Peaks? Sometimes all I can think about is how lucky we are that we have access to these wonderful resources.
A trip to Bear Lake with our friends, the Bazinets. Boating, playing in the sand…
… swimming, exploring…
…campfire cooking and games. [I hope Fran will hop on here one day and expand my captions a bit, but I’m sure everyone gets the idea]
New summer activities: swimming lessons and signing up for football
My kids are so cute! Claire created a runway and had a fashion show (it was “girls only” so I’m lucky to have these pictures!).
Sometimes the kids build forts without my help- I think these are the ones that they get the most excited about. A lot of times they even sleep in them together. Living room camping is pretty cushy.
Missie, a Meridian high school friend, was in town so the Sabins, Jim and I went to visit her for a bit. Always fun to take a stroll down memory lane.
A few days later we celebrated Pioneer Day and lit off what was left of our Fourth of July fireworks. I probably would have gotten a few more aerials, but we were leaving on a trip the next day (more on that soon).