You vill learn to buy a house!

On Monday night Husband and I went to a home buying class. The woman running the class is a real estate lawyer. The class was full of information and we even got homework assignments (three of them!) for next week's class. Because I need more homework right now.

The instructor is a bit intense. She's a tiny woman, but seems larger because she is so strict-school-master. She would fire stuff at us and put us on the spot, forcing us to answer questions as if we were various characters (seller's broker, listing broker, buyer, seller). We rarely did this to her satisfaction and her disappointment seemed palpable.

Husband's pager went off during class because he was on call and I thought she was going to kill us both with the daggers in her eyes.

After class, we realized we knew another couple who had been seated across the table from us. We chatted as we walked home and they walked to their car. They seemed to have a similar impression of the instructor (the impression being that she's scary as hell).

Ironically, the instructor's angle is all about how we should become experts at the process of buying a house to avoid being intimidated and manipulated by the real estate agents. And I have no doubt that after the class we'll feel much more knowledgeable. But in class, we're just intimidated by her instead. So in a way, it's more practice for what we want to avoid than what we want to achieve.


Oh, Snood

Husband and I are not in a position to waste much time. Both of our works are busy, we're both taking a time consuming class, Husband is actively job hunting and I'm... well... looking, and believe it or not there are still some wedding-related tasks that need completing. But sadly, I re-stumbled upon Snood about mid-week, and the frenzy hit us this weekend. It's definitely my fault - I brought it into our house. But then Husband downloaded the newest version on his Mac and we didn't stand a chance.

Yesterday after church I barely had my coat off, chai in hand, when I sat down at the computer. Husband pulled up a chair and we took turns playing. Whoever wasn't playing was coaching from directly over the other person's shoulder (this is made easier because our dining room chairs are pub height and the computer chair is regular height). After an hour or so I joked, "We'll probably still be here at Abendamerung!" (the new German word we both just learned meaning dusk). Sure enough, when the sun went down that's where we both still were. Which isn't quite as pathetic you might be thinking because we did, in fact, take a break in between. But still.

Before bed I asked Husband if he thought that maybe at least the game required brain power and we were sharpening our minds by playing. He was already half asleep at this point (yes, I was still up fretting over the hours wasted) and murmured, "a little, but not much."

As sad as our excuse for a productive Sunday was, I still had a lot of fun.


Did someone raise the bar while I wasn't looking?

I'm struggling. In my class. My stupid class that I don't even want to take for credit. I want to take it to help me prep for my April exam. Now not only am I worried about passing the exam, I'm also worried that so far I have a B in a graduate level course. I didn't even think they gave out Bs in graduate school. Looks like I was wrong. This past week I got a 7 out of 10 on a project and a 7 out of 10 on a quiz. I made a dumb mistake on the project so I can accept that 7, but I knew the material for the quiz backward and forward. I walked out of the classroom on Thursday feeling triumphant when in actuality I'd blown it. What's going on? I mean, it's not like I'm not trying here. And so far in my life trying has usually been enough.

It's vexing, but also just really discouraging. Right now it's very hard to be motivated to study more.


Hawaii: the finale

The last chapter of our Hawaiian adventure: our stay at the swanky, but no less wet, Hilton Waikoloa. I enjoyed it there, but I have a suspicion that Husband prefers real Hawaii to faux Hawaii. To be fair, there were some caged birds on the premises that left a bad taste in my mouth. Having come from Kauai, which is so undeveloped and raw in its beauty, to the Hilton was a startling contrast.

When we arrived at the Hilton, I was sure our days of rainy Hawaii weather were over. Of course, the entire drive up the coast from Volcanoes National Park was a rainy one, but somehow I thought perhaps the Hilton had an arrangement with the skies, that only the blue parts are allowed to hover over their man made paradise.

After dropping our bags off at our room, we headed, in an absolute downpour, to the water slide at the pool nearest to our section of the compound. I love water slides, so nothing was going to keep me from slip slidin' away. We figured the rain would subside by morning, and it was already evening at that point anyway.

In some ways our optimism was warranted - the weather did clear up and the next day was a sunny one. But by late morning, despite the sun, a nasty wind had picked up. So nasty that as the day progressed palm branches began to fall from the trees causing loud crashes, slight panic, and a few serious injuries. As a result of this all the pools closed down. The lagoon remained open and we spent most of our time at the Hilton there. But even that closed down at one point. The wind was our new (relentless) enemy.

Thankfully, our room was lovely, and come complete with a bottle of champagne.

The compound was so sprawling that there were boats and shuttles to take you from one tower to another. There were three towers and each one had its own restaurants, pools, and other amenities. If you didn't want to take a boat or shuttle you could walk along a seemingly never ending outdoor hallway along the river that connected everything together.

The resort decor was a bit odd, but it certainly created some atmosphere. Lining the many outdoor hallways were weird statues, art, ceramics, and other structures, like the above straw hut.

The statues were often scary looking, like this one.For some reason (probably because the rain made us VERY creative) harassing the decor pieces became a game and as usual, it took a long time for me to grow tired of it. Patient, patient Husband.

Because it was one of the only places in the compound that remained open in the inclement weather we frequented the lagoon. We snorkeled, swam from one end to the other, and spent one amazing morning swimming with several friendly sea turtles. That was bizarre. The turtles that had tried so hard to evade us the day before suddenly couldn't get close enough. They would swim around us, bump up against us, swim under our toes.

And then they would pop their little heads up above the surface.

Yes, snorkeling was very fun. Then we saw an eel, and I was finished.

Thankfully, very near the snorkeling lagoon was the dolphin lagoon! Husband and I spent our last vacation day in Hawaii having a dolphin adventure. We got to meet and swim with two dolphins! It was unforgettable.

And that concludes Hawaii! It was a great trip, though it had its moments of adversity brought on by the elements. And the spiders.

As wonderful as the honeymoon was, I'm excited to finally be done posting about it. Husband and I are enjoying married life, and I'd rather be writing about the present :)


The best defense is a good offense

Husband and I always hope we have kids that are funny or, at the very least, funny looking. So we can laugh at them a lot. We laughed at this kid for hours yesterday. We especially like how she gets a little gangsta with both her gestures and her phrasing.


CSI: Boston

Husband and I are big fans of David Caruso on CSI: Miami. We love how he talks, his inflection, his choice of phrasing. Our favorite part of the show is the first scene, where the murder is discovered and the CSI team arrives on site. Invariably, David Caruso says something pithy (with a very funny, single raised eyebrow expression on his face) just before the opening score starts to blare. It goes kind of like this:

The murder suspect, a teenage boy, says about the victim, "She always wanted to be friends with everyone. She wanted to be popular."

And David Caruso, standing over the body, says, "She was dying to fit in... and now she's dead."

Dramatic pause.

YOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW! (That's the opening score: a scream followed by heavy metal-type music.)

We find this so amusing that now Husband and I have integrated the technique into our day to day life. It goes kind of like this:

"I can't find my gloves. I must be going crazy - they were just here!"

"So you've lost your gloves... and your mind."

Dramatic pause.


I wonder if we also have an as yet untapped natural aptitude for criminal investigation?


Hawaii: Volcanoes National Park

There are only two more parts of the trip to tell you about, but I've been so busy at work that I haven't had time to do much of anything. So here we go, back to Hawaii one last time (before the final last time).

As you drive along the road leading up to Volcanoes National Park, you can stop just about anywhere at the lower altitudes to watch the ocean pound against the lava rock . It's absolutely amazing. Totally breathtaking in a harsh, dramatic kind of way.

It was a little scary getting those photos, because they tell you not to walk out onto the lava rock because it's a shelf, meaning it's an unstable formation which could collapse at any moment. Naturally, I couldn't pry Husband away :) I tried, complaining from a safe distance about how I didn't want to become a honeymoon widow. But once I came close enough to pull him away I caught a glimpse and was hooked. Luckily we didn't melt into the Pacific.

Those liiiiiiiiittle specs down there are people climbing through one of the giant craters inside the park.

Which is so cool we immediately hit the trails and headed downward to join them.

Down in the craters, steam crept up from small cracks and fissures in the lava rock surface. The steam was HOT. Yet, oddly, there were not 10 million warning signs around, or giant fences. In fact, when climbing out of or into the giant craters I often got the feeling that if you missed a step you could plummet for eternity: no safety railing to warn you that you're on a cliff. No, the Hawaiians seem to think you're bright enough to figure that out on your own. I respect that. It's just a shocking contrast to stateside culture.

An enormous crevice through which lava once flowed.

Like a sulfur rich, crumbly rock gym! Hanging out in the crevice made our throats and eyes burn like crazy.

It was quite a hike into the crater, and thankfully there were switchbacks on the trails leading out.

These weird flowers were everywhere on the hike in and out of the crater. I think Husband took this picture while I was peeing on a patch of delicate wildlife elsewhere - I'll always remember that hike as the first time Husband saw me pee in the woods. It's about time he has - many others have, that's for sure. I know my boss has, as well as two of my coworkers. Several of my friends. Anyone I've ever hiked or camped with. Several sorority sisters in college (that's kind of an involved story, seeing as how we weren't actually in the woods on that particular occasion...).

This is me demonstrating how lava flows through a lava tube. Which is where we are. In a lava tube minus the lava. Except there's me, filling in.

An offering to the goddess of the volcano. You can't see it in this photo, but there was a bottle of Jack beside one of the pineapples.