Sunday, April 20, 2008

Some random thoughts

There has not been much to talk about lately. I have been working and looking at more houses. I have found several houses that I like and hope that we can get one of them. The two factors I am dealing with is selling the house in VA and foreclosures. If the house I am looking at goes into foreclosure before I get a chance to put in an offer, then the bank takes it and might sit on it for months. In the meantime I am doing my homework on real estate and the schools around the houses that have “made the cut”

Here are some interesting facts and stuff that I have learned:
  • Pools here are coated with plaster and not vinyl. Letting the pool get low on water can be very expensive since the plaster will dry out and flake.
  • There are a lot of empty homes. Apparently, some people just walk out of the house to avoid the reality of them losing it. Of course the bank takes it over and such. But what I want to know where do these people go?
  • This area’s roads are laid out in a grid (for the most part). What I did not realize is that each major intersection is about a mile apart. I am going to have to memorize the major street names so I can pretend like I have lived here for years.
When looking for a house, the biggest factors I look at are: where will Dawn have her office/study room, where will the family hangout, what is the condition of the pool, and how far is it from ASU & SCNM. Of course, if the place needs a lot of work, it is not for us. We do not want to do a lot of work on the place in the first year.

I have really enjoyed not paying for gas. The last tank lasted me about six weeks and I only bought gas so I would not have bought it except that I was already at Costco. The clean air group has been doing a great job getting the word out about the smog problem here and how to reduce it. I am glad to be doing my part while saving a ton of money at the same time by biking to work. The smog has not been bad so far due to the fact that there has been a near constant breeze blowing it out of the valley.

Talking about biking, I participated in the National Bike to Work Day on Wednesday. The only thing extra I did was go to meet-up point (one of five in Tempe) next to ASU so I could sign in and be counted. Today, I found (by accident) the PHX Zoo and the spring training facility of the Oakland A’s. Today’s picture was made from a butte in Papago Park.

Commenting on Comments
PCraw, when we get things settled, come on out for a visit. BTW, I don’t have a house hunting licensed, but my real estate agent does.

Knitting Dalek, the joints are feeling great. Good luck with the hear monitor. I thought about getting one, but did not.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Hunting houses

It is finally getting warm here. Today was the first day over 90 and tomorrow will be in the upper 90s.

There has not been much to post about lately. I have spent most of the last week looking at real estate listings and reading school reviews. I have also been mapping estimated bike routes from the prospective home to ASU to make sure that the house was close enough to continue commuting by bike. Yesterday when I went to run errands and go grocery shopping, I drove through some of the neighborhoods around some of the places I went to see what was there.

Today, my real estate agent took me to ten different houses. I have found some that I really like and I am looking forward to showing them to Dawn when she gets out here. There were a couple of houses that could have been nice had they not needed some work to be done to them, but I really do not want to do much work on the house during the first year or so - I just want to enjoy the house and area with the family.

Meanwhile, Dawn has been doing a great job getting the house in Virginia ready to sell. She has done a great job on the house and I hope it will sell fast.

Sunday, April 6, 2008


Yesterday I went to the Tempe Bike-a-palooza, an event that kicks off Tempe’s Bike Month (April). As part of the event, there is a free 12.5 mile ride through Tempe, and the best part is that all of the major intersections had Tempe Police Officers controlling the traffic. It was a great chance for me to see and learn more about Tempe.

Another part of this event is the bike swap. There were a lot of people who were selling bikes, bike parts, clothes, tools, and vintage bikes (I saw one from 1933 for sale). It was a chance for me to meet people and one group I met I am thinking about getting involved with. The Tempe Bicycle Action Group has a lot of members who are doctorate students at ASU and they do a lot of cool things, such as bike polo. However, I am thinking of waiting until the fall when I can pick up a spare bike to start playing bike polo.

Today I finally biked the canal that is parallel to the Salt River. This ride took me east out of Mesa and into the Salt River Indian Community. A real nice ride with some great views and have added three pictures to my album.

This week it is about getting serious on finding a place for the family to move into. I have done enough research and it is time to start visiting some of the houses and neighborhoods I have been investigating. I need to have some places for Dawn to visit when she is here in a couple of weeks.

Today’s picture was taken while I was pedaling at the start of the ride yesterday. Notice the nice wide bike lane in the middle of this divided road. The right side is for parked cars.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

It is not about the bike

From The Crawfords in AZ Blog Photos

A couple of years ago, I weighed myself and stared at the scale. It read 277 pounds. For a bunch of different reasons I had become inactive and gained a bunch of weight. I mention this because today I looked at the scale and it read 202. I have lost 75 pounds since that “high water mark”.

I am in the best shape I have been in since 2000. About three years ago I started some great habits where I started eating less at meals. The portions we eat are way to big. When I got out to AZ, I start calorie counting. I found a web site that you plug in your sex, height, and weight and it calculates how many calories you need to maintain, gain, or lose weight (your choice). Something that has made things easier is the fact that I do not have a bunch of snacks laying around to distract me from my goal.

Recently I combined eating better with exercising when I start biking to work. It seemed like the thing to do considering how well the weather cooperates out here (at least so far) and that parking is way too expensive at ASU. Now I have started an exercise program at ASU’s Student Recreation Complex where you can hire a personal trainer (often an upperclass Exercise and Physiology student). Thanks to that, I am starting to use the facility on my own before work so that I can improve my progress.

One problem I am having is that I am going to have to give away some real nice pants since I have shrunk out of them. I am also down to the last hole on my belt. So it looks like I will be going shopping for new clothes soon.

My goal is to get near 170 pounds, a weight that Dawn has never seen me at (she has never seen me under 195). I am hoping that the habits of eating right and exercise that I have started will continue for a long time. Who knows, maybe I will participate in the Rock’n’Roll Half Marathon or the Arizona Ironman one day.

In the meantime, I am just enjoying the fact that I feel great.