How have you been? What is up with your Facebook profile pic? Hilarious. It’s hard to believe another year has gone by. Things have been pretty good for Tara and me. We didn’t do quite as much traveling as last year, but we managed to find other ways to spend exorbitant amounts of money. In particular, on a new house.
Are you still living in that same place? It’s been too long since we’ve been over there. We’ve really enjoyed our house since we bought it and moved in back in April. Aside from a tree branch falling on the roof during our first big snowstorm in October, we’ve been really fortunate as far as home maintenance goes. The branch didn’t do any damage. Rather, it ended up being small enough for the roofer to throw it off with his bar hands while I watched from the ground. Pretty emasculating, but I hate ladders.
My brother, Ben, moved into the basement in August. He just got out of the Marines and is now attending the University of Utah which is not far from our house. He helps us out on the mortgage. Also, my football knowledge has increased significantly since he’s made sure to have all the big games on. You’d be impressed.
We’ll have to have you guys over some time. You should come out for skiing. The guest room gets a little lonely in the winter months.
Speaking of travel, did you go anywhere fun this summer? We went on an Alaska cruise with my family in July. It was awesome. I would highly recommend it. Just make sure you bring a wind breaker. It can be friggin’ cold on deck. Our favorite stop was Ketchikan. It’s this sweet little fishing town surrounded by rainforest. Someday we hope to return and backpack across the island.
We traveled back to the midwest twice for weddings over the summer and a third time for Tara’s Somer family reunion. It seems like most everybody we know is married now. I’d say it’s hard to believe, but I have 14,000 Sky Miles to remind me. Not that I’m complaining: we love traveling back for weddings.
The Somer family reunion was a lot of fun. Tara’s parents rented cabins on Lewis and Clark Lake for everybody. Her dad had to say goodbye to the beloved family ski boat, which finally bit the dust that weekend, but we still got some skiing in with a rental. We also held a small memorial service for Tara’s grandpa, Larry, who passed away in April.
We have a goal this year to go camping every month. We started back in May and will hopefully continue through the winter hitting every month until next May. The goal fosters creativity and hopefully when it’s all said and done, we’ll have camped some places we wouldn’t have otherwise.
I also did a little bit of solo “Mountain Manning” this past summer. Tara was gone for a week on business, so I set up camp at a campground not far from the office. For three days, I slept and ate in the mountains, coming down during the day to go to work. I used a shower at the office to keep my coworkers from hating me. It was quite the experience. I would highly recommend you try it.
Have you done any good camping lately? I keep thinking we should meet up in Wyoming for a weekend trip sometime. There’s supposedly some good camping between Laramie and Cheyenne. Vedauwoo, I believe it is called.
I hope you’re still enjoying your job. Tara and I continue to feel rewarded by our careers. Mine has not been without its share of excitement, however. A year ago September, due to a growing complacency at my job, I developed a crazy plan to go to grad school for a Masters degree in engineering and MBA. I had studied, passed the GRE, and been accepted into the program when it was announced in January that my company had been acquired by the largest DoD contractor in the world, Lockheed Martin. Much change happened, including my job description, and suddenly work was exciting and fulfilling again. I did not quit my job, nor did I show up for the first day of classes. I have been tremendously pleased with this decision ever since.
In October, Tara and I officially joined the ranks of America: we bought a second automobile. For the past 3 years, we shared our Dodge Stratus. I’m sure you remember it–the paint chipping off the bumper and all. At least the paint is no longer chipping. It’s all chipped off! Anyway, it now has to share the garage with a brand new Subaru Outback.
We were able to confirm that the Outback is indeed the king of road tripping vehicles by taking it back to Omaha for Thanksgiving with my family. Four adults can ride comfortably for 13 hours with plenty of room for weekend bags in the back. We also took it on it’s first camping trip down in St. George in early December. This also went exceptionally well, except for when I learned that the car has a car alarm at 3:00 in the morning.
Well, I think that’s a fairly compete update. We sincerely wish you and yours the best this holiday season and coming year. If you’re searching for something, I hope you find it. If you already found it, hold on to it and give thanks! And if you ever need anything, don’t forget Tara and I are just a phone call away. At the very least, we’re always available to listen. I may even offer some unsolicited advice! Happy Boxing Day!