So yesterday we went down to Buffalo to pick up my mother in law at Buffalo International Airport.Â Of course we couldn’t go down to Buffalo without doing a little shopping and enjoying some US-only-cuisine.
After frantic googling for places to go last week I discovered that there is an Olive Garden in Amherst (‘burb of Buffalo).Â I don’t know about you – but I think Olive Garden is quite possibly the best restaurant ever known to man.Â There are not many things I don’t like about Canada but not having an Olive Garden is one of them.Â Another of those things is not having Target – but we took care of that as well.
Our trip started in a fairly predictable fashion – with some good ol’ fashioned American racism.Â When crossing the border the border guard asked us (like they always do) why we decided to live in Toronto as opposed to Phoenix (where Tammy is from) (by the way – Why do all Americans have trouble understanding why ANYONE could EVER leave the United States to go live elsewhere – the arrogance from the border guards every single time is brutal).Â My answer was that A) its too hot and B) the unemployment rate is a joke.Â His response to that?Â “I know its terrible, all them mexicans taking the jobs”.Â UGHHHHHHHHHHH welcome to the United States.
With racism out of the way we decided to explore another great American tradition – Shopping!Â We made our way straight to the Target.Â Target is one of those places that just rocks.Â It’s like Walmart but there are actually merchandising standards and the people don’t give the impression that they’d rather be in a pool of lava then helping you out.Â We picked up quite a bit of clothing for me (some work clothes, although the bulk of the stuff I bought was for being a lazy horse around the house – PJs, Boxers, sweaters…) and the baby probably cleared 100 dollars worth of clothes.Â Target was for sure a success.
I have to point this out, mostly to make my fellow Canadians bitter – I had a copy of rockband in my hand.Â In fact Target had 2 PS3 and 2 360 copies of the game.Â In the end I had too much stuff with me and I didn’t want to risk putting too much merchandise in the car – I didn’t want the border guards to tax me out the ass end for importing too much stuff.Â i must admit I regret now not picking it up, but I’ll live.Â We are taking Tammy’s mother back in two weeks so I might take a look at that time.
After Target we quickly hit Best Buy and then it was off to explore the last great American traditionÂ – Eating like horses.Â It was off to Olive Garden where Tammy enjoyed Zuppa Soup with breadsticks and I had chicken parm, oh yes and iced tea – their peach iced tea is to die for.Â All and all the meal was a 12/10 – every time I have Olive Garden the place just rocks.
After this we headed over to the airport, picked up Tammy’s mom and returned home.
That is my most recent adventure into the United States of these Americas.Â Hopefully next time will be just as exciting!
We’ve been waiting to get settled with the baby before having Tammy’s mother come up here to meet the baby and all that.Â Tammy has been having a rough couple of days as the baby has gotten into a routine of not sleeping and today Tammy and I discussed it and we think it’ll be nice to have her mother here to help and take some of the stress off of Tammy.
It’ll be nice to have some help to be able to actually do the 101 things that need to be done around here.Â It will be a little odd to not have full privacy (I’m sitting here in my boxers with my shirt unbuttoned at the moment – go ahead and let that image sink in) in the house but it’ll be interesting and I think we’ll have fun showing off the baby and a little bit of the city to Tammy’s mom.
So as of Sunday the mother in law is in town!
So for years now I’ve been talking about getting a laptop and I’m pretty sure Jim, Evan and Will who’ve listened to me talk about it over and over again in various chat forums were ready to fly up here and put me out of my misery.Â With Paige arriving on the scene and my personal time becoming a premium I decided it was finally time to go ahead and get the laptop.
The theory is this will allow me to work on my projects (atv trail find and what not) and get in some light gaming during lunch, the commute, etc.Â So far so good.
I also think I might never touch my desktop again.Â It’s so cool to have this portable device with all the applications, etc that I need to do whatever I want.Â Right now I’m laying in bed typing this, reading a few forums and doing a little MSN and Skype.Â IM LAYING IN BED TYPING ON THE INTERTUBES… TELL ME THIS ISNT AWESOME.Â I am pretty sure this just became my PC of choice and it’ll be so awesome to have it on the go with me wherever I end up.
The actual laptop itself is a Dell Inspiron 1420 with 2GB ram, an nvidia 8400M video card and Windows Vista (which despite everyones predictions of doom and gloom is turning out well for me so far).Â I’ve heard so many horror stories about Dell shipping times, etc so I just want to go on the record and say my Dell shopping experience was just awesome.Â The laptop came super quick and I was being a pain in the ass customer demanding to know what was going on with my order every step of the way my assigned Dell rep did a good job handling my questions, etc.
So far I’m super happy with this.Â The cool part is now I’ll have more free time (with lunch especially) for my “digital lifestyle” which should give me more time to post on this blog, etc.Â Which is a.o.k with me.Â Poor neglected blog needs some lovin’
This obviously was a big year for me.Â I had a great year at work hitting a few great career milestones and of course Paige entered my life.Â Looking back on the year I’d have to say this is probably (even if you put aside the baby) the best year Tammy and I have had married, despite some health issues with Tammy, etc.
Paige entering our lives was obviously huge.Â She’s a almost 5 weeks old now and already she has had a profound impact on who I am as a person and how I live my life.Â I think the thing I look forward to most in 2008 is the thing that made 2007 so great – Getting to know this wonderful addition to my life and growing as a person because of it.
For 2007 I had some fairly simple goals:
- Pay down my debts
This one is going fairly well.Â I had large consolidation loan with my bank that is now nearing the 1500 dollar mark which is just fantastic.Â My credit card has managed to stay under 500 dollars and my retail cards are at an all time low.
- Have A Baby
This was a goal that appeared on both Tammy’s and my goal lists for the last 2 or so years.Â This dream finally came true
- Move Towards Process Improvement at Work
Back in the fall after some interesting job interviews and tough days I finally managed to get the position I’ve been working for since I moved to the corporate offices at Indigo – Process Improvement!
- Move Into A Town House
Managed to knock this one out by January.Â Our previous apartment wasn’t bad (ish) but we really wanted to get into a house before the baby came… and we did it.
- Hit End Game In An MMO
I hit level cap in EQ2 this year and have done plenty of raiding.Â Check and check
Â Goals that didn’t get accomplished:
- Getting my weight back down to my pre knee injury levels
- Eliminating all debts (paid down was the achievable – eliminating was the high hope)
- Finding a project and sticking with it
For 2008 I have some goals that I really hope I will accomplish:
- Being the best father I can be to Paige
- Being the best husband I can be to Tammy
- Getting back down to my pre knee injury weight
- Eliminating all debt by the end of the year (this year I think we’ll do it… we are in a really good position)
- Starting with my annual bonus start a new fund for a down payment for a house
- Double my RRSP (retirement) contributions as soon as possible
- Take my new planned project from idea to launch… I’ll have more on this in a few weeks, I can’t wait to share what I’ve done so far I really love it (its ATV and internet related – some of you have seen it)
- Hitting level 70 in World of Warcraft
I can only hope that 2008 is half as good as 2007, a year that really gave me more then I ever could have hoped for.
In terms of my best list for 2007:
- Best books read: The Testament of Gideon Mack, American Gods, Shadow of the Wind and The God Delusion
- Best games played: Everquest 2 (both expansions this past year were amazing), The Orange Box, and BF 2142
- Best music: One Republic – fantastic album from beginning to end
Good bye 2007, bring on ’08.