Time to Clean Up the Garage

There are a few things that I have left to do before winter and one of them would be cleaning out the garage.  We had a bit of an incident this year where a fire hydrant broke and shot water up into the air on the street.  Unfortunately for us it shot it out towards our garage and it filled with a few inches of water.

But that is not the worst part.

The problem was that we were on holidays and didn’t notice the problem until a few weeks later when we came home.  Upon opening the garage door for the first time we were greeted with sight that no homeowner ever wants to see.

Mold.  Lots of it.

We immediately called a company that had the tools to water damage dry out so that we could start the process of cleaning and repairing the garage.

It seems like that was months ago.

There is still a lot of work to do to fix the rest of the garage up and clean up what little mess is left out there so that we will be ready for winter.  I will be happy once it is all done and this year is behind us – hopefully we never have water issues like that again.

Learning Something New Every Day

Learning on the ComputerI have always been a big fan of learning.  As a child I would spend hours reading books, both fictional and non-fictional, to exercise my brain each and every day.  This love of learning was instilled in me from an early age from my grandmother, and my thirst for knowledge continues to this day.

In my youth, I depended on the library for my source of reading material, but things really changed for me when the internet became more mainstream.  Instead of waiting for the library to be open, I could fire up my computer, go on the internet and read interesting articles on little known facts or do larger scale research depending on my mood.

It really opened up a new world for me.

Having easy access to information on just about any topic really fueled my thirst for knowledge and I found myself spending more and more time learning.  It was a great way to spend my free time and do something productive with it.  At the time, I was limited only by computer access and therefore only could do research online at certain times of the day.

Just as the internet changed things for me, the advent of the smartphone made it easier for me to go online and learn.  In fact, I had access to the world’s knowledge right in my pocket.  If you had asked me as a child if this would ever be a possibility, I would have just laughed at you.

But having a computer in our pockets is the reality that we now live in.  It makes it so easy to learn something new every day.

Booking my Next Hotel Stay

Going away can be expensive if you plan everything at the last minute.  I know that I learned that lesson the hard way a couple of years ago, and since then I have made sure to plan everything in advance.  I am not so bad that I schedule my exact itinerary or anything crazy like that, but I do like to make sure that I will have some place to sleep whenever I am out on the road.

I used to do everything manually on my own, but after a friend of mine showed me an easy way to book a hotel room on TravellHotels.com I have never turned back.  It is so easy to book rooms from the comfort of your home in just a few minutes, and it is so easy that even taught my grandma how to do it.

I love how easy it is to pick your location and find hotels in the area without having to do any other kind of research.  When you are in the middle of planning a vacation or business trip time is a precious commodity, and Travell Hotels really helps to make the task of finding lodging a lot easier.

Take the stress out of your travel plans and visit travellhotels.com

Finding the Best Deals for Black Friday

When it comes to shopping online, I like to save as much money as possible.  Yes, I am thrifty and with Black Friday around the corner, I am looking forward to buying some cool gadgets and tech toys for myself.  It is the one time of the year that you can get those things that have been on your wish list at a deep discount, and I am not going to miss any of the deals coming up.

The way that I am able to get the best gadget and gear Black Friday deals is by knowing where to look.  Much like the real world, if you know the right places to shop and where you can find a list of the best deals then you always get the best price.  For me, I have had some very good luck finding those deep discounts over at WhatRocksAndWhatSucks.com, one of my favorite product review sites.  They do all of the hard work to find the best deals and products on the market, and I can just visit their site, and within a few minutes, learn everything I need to make an informed buying decision.

I can’t wait to see what I will be able to buy this year on Black Friday.

Replaced my Computer Monitor

For the last five years or so, I have been using a 24” Acer LCD monitor that I bought at a garage sale for $20.  It was a great find at a time when I didn’t have a lot of extra money, and I was lucky that it lasted as long as it did.  But over the course of the last few months it had been giving me problems, so I knew it was time to get a new one.

I though that picking out a new monitor would be easy, but things have changed a lot since I bought that monitor five years ago.  I decided to talk to a few of my friends that worked in IT support to see what they recommended.

While their choice of brands varied across the board, the one thing that was consistent was that they all recommended that I buy an IPS monitor.  I decided that I would follow their suggestions and I decided to look at as many review websites as I could to find out which monitor would work the best for me.

It took a bit of research and some late nights, but I finally ordered a new ASUS MX27AQ monitor.

I knew that I made the right choice as soon as I hooked it up and turned on my computer – it was beautiful.  The color reproduction is the best I have ever seen and it will be nice to work on something this sharp.

It was definitely a good investment.

Learning the Elixir Programming Language

As many of you know, I have a background in Computer Science.  I studied programming in my college days nearly twenty years ago and a lot has changed since then.  In order to keep up with new programming languages, I have made a point of taking the time to learn new languages and frameworks over the years, and that is exactly what I am going to do this weekend.

I’m going to learn the Elixir programming language and the Phoenix web framework.

In order to learn properly, I have enrolled myself in an Elixir tutorial that I found on udemy taught by Stephen Grider, an experienced software engineer.  One of my colleagues that works as a programmer pointed me in this direction as it was the exact same course that he used to learn Elixir as well.

So far, it is very good, easy to follow and I really love the teaching style.  I’m only a few lectures in, but I feel encouraged that this course will give me the skills that I am looking for in a very short time.  I know that I should be able to get through the fourteen hours of lessons over the course of this long weekend and I’m really looking forward to what I will be able to do with my new programming skills.

Working as a Career Counsellor

For the last few years I have had the opportunity to work with kids at our local high school in the counseling department.  My role there has been a career counsellor and I have helped to facilitate discussions with students that are trying to figure out what they want to do after high school.  Their responses cover a broad range of careers and it is interesting to see who they want to be when they leave school and why.

This past week I had a wonderful conversation with Carol, a senior that has been struggling with trying to figure out what she wants to do with her life.  Overwhelmed by the sheer number of career paths available to her, we have been working to try and discover her interests and how she might find a job that will work for her.

It has been tough.

In this week’s session, I saw a glimmer of hope from her when she expressed some interest in becoming a lab technician.  She had been intrigued by a job description for a mold testing position that she saw on a job board and she thought that it might be something that she would like to do.

That made me very happy.

I’m going to do some research this week to discover what she needs to do to pursue a lab tech career and we will talk about it later this week.  I am so excited for Carol and I know that she will do some pretty amazing things in her life.

I am just happy that I was able to help her out.

One Last Window to Replace

Over the course of the last couple of years, my parents have been working on replacing their old windows with new ones.  They live in a part of the country known for cold winters, and they have seen some real reductions in their heating bills since they started putting in replacement Milgard Triple Glass Windows in their home.  They love the fact that the windows look good in their home and help them save money.

They see it as a win-win situation.

But they have one window left to replace.  They were hoping to get it done before the first snow fell, but that was just not in the cards as the first snow came early this year.

They were not happy.

Thankfully, that was a couple of weeks ago and they have an installer coming out Tuesday next week to install the last window.  The forecast is good, so the install should go without a hitch.

They are pretty excited about being done their home renovations.

I am hoping that they take a break over the winter months as they usually rope me in to helping them.  Winter is the busy season at work for me, so I won’t have time to help them out properly.

I know that I will be happy when that last window is replaced – it will be nice to cross one more thing off of their list.

Saved by a Kind Mechanic

Spontaneous road trips are one of my favorite things to do in life.  It all started back in college when a couple of buddies and I drove across the country over the course of a week.  I had never felt so alive, and since that moment, I have made time to hop in my car and explore the world every opportunity that I can get.

In fact, last week a few of us took time off work, hopped into Jack’s Explorer and set out on the open road.  We figured that it was going to be one last adventure before the cold of winter clutched our country for another year.

I have to admit, I was pretty pumped.

But we hit a little snag when traveling through Michigan.  I am no mechanic, but it was apparent that something wasn’t quite right with the SUV that we were driving.  The brakes were not very responsive at all, and after just about hitting a car on the road, we decided to see if there was something wrong with our vehicle.

It was later on in the evening, and we were not sure if we could find a garage that would consider doing a brake repair Trenton Michigan.  It took a few phone calls, but we were able to find a kind mechanic that was willing to help us out.

We were lucky that we did.

You see, after inspecting the vehicle, we were told that a couple of our brake lines had burst and we technically had no breaks.

Things could have turned out real bad.

But after a couple of hours we were back on the road with brakes that worked thanks to the help of one kind soul – the whole road trip would have had to be canceled if it wasn’t for him.

Business Auction Today

When it comes to running local businesses here, the biggest challenge is the social environment of this town.  We live in a community that is defined by whether or not you are in the “in” group or not.  If you are socially accepted, residents will shop in your store and support your business.  But if you are not in the clique, then you will have a hard and uphill battle to try and stay alive.

Unfortunately, one business owner who opened a pet grooming shop in town just six months ago learned the hard way when people here decided not to frequent her shop.  She tried as hard as she could, but in the end she had to close her shop.

Which brings us to today’s auction.  She is liquidating everything from the clothing that her staff wore to the groomers accessories that they depended on to get their work done.  Everything is up for sale including the building, and I know that the owner is trying to make enough money to get her investment back.

I don’t know if that will happen, but there will be plenty of deals to be had.  I’m on the lookout for anything that I know that I could resell and make a profit, so hopefully I will walk away with something good.