Advice For Someone Starting Their Careers

The other week my friend asked me if I (we, including Brian) had any advice to give her niece who is starting out her career. I thought about it for a bit but there are a few things I would say.

Don’t Give It Your “All”

I gave this advice to a guy I used to work with. He would put in extra hours… when there was a deployment outside business hours he wouldn’t count that as part of his 40 hours. He took PTO for errands and appointments, etc even though he was already giving the company more than 40 hours of his time.

I told him to stop doing that. The company doesn’t care… well, they do but in their own selfish way. They owe you, you don’t owe them. You owe them your best work and your time… 40 hours a week. Anything you give them extra, they don’t appreciate.

And I know a lot of people say this isn’t true but I’ve given three of my four companies this “extra time” of mine and received nothing in return. My first company, as I was leaving, I put in 10+ hours of work every day to get them this certification they were working towards. I didn’t see an extra dime in my final paycheck when everything was calculated (PTO I didn’t spend). My second job I pulled a weekend once for a big deployment and we didn’t get anything extra for it. I would stay extra a few times for my various jobs but never received anything… not even a “thank you” some of the times.

Don’t bust your butt for your employer. Don’t be a slave to them. Work your mandatory 40 hours and go home and enjoy your life.

You Have To Jump

My uncle once joked that I changed jobs more than he did underwear. I changed jobs four times in my 14 year career. (Five if you count the “fuck up.” But I needed that “fuck up” to get a better salary… hence this point…)

In order to get a pay increase, you have to leave. Once you’re with a company, they don’t give big raises. Shit, even if you get a “promotion” it could be months before you see a pay increase. And if you do, it’s probably going to be miniscule.

I know of this from experience and talking with other people. My first pay increase was 5%. I was only making $38,000 a year and I got a 5% increase! I thought that was awesome! But I did the math on that. While 5% is huge, I kept going with that… Even if I got a 5% pay increase every year I’d only make around $62,000 when I got to ten years there. It would take me over 20 years to get into six figures.

One company, I was so close to making six one year. I got a 1.5% increase (not even COL). I didn’t get to six that year but I did the year afterwards. And that 1.5% I got, compared to other people, I did really well! Others I know only got 0.5%! And no bonuses.

The only time I have been able to get pay increases is when I switched jobs. So every three years, no matter what, I started looking. My last job I even threatened to quit in order to get what I deserved. My pay they were giving me wasn’t keeping up with inflation and I called them out on it. I put in a two week resignation notice then they started talking. They met me close to my number so I was happy.

You gotta jump. And keep jumping.

Bonuses Are A Thing Of The Past

There aren’t many companies out there that give bonuses. I was lucky to be with two companies who gave out bonuses. But it was miniscule. It was $500… maybe $1,500. Nothing like that National Lampoon’s movie where the dude was able to take everyone on his family a vacation with his bonus. Nope, that shit doesn’t happen in the real world.

Be Good At What You Want To Do And Do What You’re Good At

Try not to take a job that you don’t have any passion for. You’re not going to be good at it. You’re not going to want to give it the time and practice it takes. You need to have a passion for what you do.

I was very good at what I did. I’ve gotten so many complements throughout my career of how good I am; bosses and coworkers alike.

The best advice I was given was from my uncle (not the underwear uncle, lol). I just got a call back from two companies (for my first career job). One offered me $38,000 and one offered me $32,000. I wanted to go with the $32,000 because it seemed like more career growth even though I would be doing Java which is something I did not enjoy at all. He told me to go with the $38,000 one because you don’t want to be miserable.

You need to have a passion and a drive in what you chose to do. Trust me, it does help.

401k’s Are A Joke

When you need to jump companies so much, and especially with the stock market taking big shits every ten years, 401k’s are a joke. It takes years to become “vested.” And if you need to jump jobs so much,  you’re not going to be “vested” so that company can take all what they “gave you” away.

Plus… the fucking stock market crashed four times during my life alone and I’m still a few years from 40!

I don’t know what to do for retirement income. I mean, the stock market is so evil and unpredictable and you could lose all your money if you don’t keep up with it and invest it correctly. Remember, that’s on you. Your company isn’t picking and swapping out the best bonds and stocks. You need to keep up with your own 401k.

There are no pensions anymore, thanks, Boomers!  So if you don’t want to do a 401k route, you can save up to buy a rental property. But even there, that could be a shit show. I did it and it didn’t turn out like I’d hoped.

Disclaimer

I know others have had different, wonderful experiences with companies and I’m not one to judge all companies. These just have been my experiences with the four companies that I’ve worked for. And I know I’m not the only one who feels this way.

You just have to be cautious and look out for yourself. Your company usually isn’t.

Again, these are just my opinions and my two cents. I’m sure a lot of people have had a lot of success doing the opposite of what I’ve stated here. But they’re lucky. And you can find really good companies that you want to stay and work for for the rest of your career. I wish I had found one.

In the end, this is what worked out for me.


Dry January 2024

As I stated in my 2024 Resolutions post, I’m doing a dry January. I’ll be updating this post throughout the month.

2/5/2024

Well it’s done! And I’ve been drinking every night of February. That will probably break tonight.

I think I slept better but I slept longer. I definitely gained weight but it could also be because I’ve been exercising more (that happens to me). It could also be that instead of drinking, I will eat more when we go out for dinner.

It got a lot easier at the end of the month. And I haven’t gone crazy in February. With Brian gone for two weeks I’m responsible for the pets so there’s reason to not go crazy.

The first sip of beer after January felt like diving into a cool pool on a hot day. Simply refreshing. It was tough when others were drinking and I wasn’t. It kind of changed my relationship with alcohol in a way. I don’t feel the need to go crazy and drink everything. I’m more moderation now… however, that could just be because I have responsibilities until Bri gets back. Or maybe I’m just fooling myself and I’m not being responsible… I don’t know.

I may do dry January again… maybe not.

1/19/2024

More than half way through! It is getting easier. The real challenge has been not cheersing people when we go for a happy hour. I’m ordering orange juice. I’m glad I have friends doing this with me. I’m really proud of my friend, Mark, for hanging in there with me. We met up last night and everyone was not drinking.

I haven’t lost any weight and this morning I woke up and it felt like I had a hangover. It’s also harder to get to sleep. Yesterday wasn’t a good day for my brain. My Portuguese was poor and I’m having a very difficult time in class understanding how to give directions. It’s different than in English.

It’s strange but everything feels fine. I feel normal for the most part… just lower energy and not sleeping. But when I am sleeping, I’m sleeping well. I don’t wake up during the night. I dream more, I think. This has been easy for me but I still want to continue drinking after this month.

1/11/2024

It’s been a tough, slow month so far. I’ve had some challenging days where alcohol would have helped. It’s been 11 days since I last drank alcohol. I know I’ve done longer sprints like this in the past (like when we didn’t have plans for a weekend) so I know I can get through it. In Portugal I drink a lot more than in the states (besides during covid when the only thing to do after work was to drink).

So far I feel okay during the day. However, I feel like they lie when they say you are going to have more energy, sleep less, lose weight, etc by stopping drinking. I’ve had the opposite effects. I’m sleeping 8-9 hours a night (vs when I drank I would get 7-8 hours of sleep). I feel like I’ve gained weight and feel bloated. I also eat a lot more which sucks. I feel like when I drank I wouldn’t eat as much. I feel like I have a lot less energy now. Often I feel like I need to take a nap or feel tired during the day. It sucks.

Alcohol also helps with my portuguese and my overall anxiety. Yesterday I played poker with some people and I felt so nervous and I was shaking. Alcohol helps calm down my nerves and relaxes me but I couldn’t have that.

I’m glad I’m doing this with a friend. Brian is also doing it too. The support from him and my friend helps. I know I’m not the only one going through this hell.

I hope it gets better. Will update again soon.


Thoughts On Visiting The States Since I’ve Been Gone

It’s coming up on a year… a whole YEAR… since I’ve moved to Portugal. It has been a crazy year.

Since I just went back to the states for a visit I thought I’d reflect on what I thought, what changed, how I felt, etc. In no particular order:

  • Traffic has gotten really bad. It wasn’t just me. Bri felt it too and everyone whom I’ve asked there said it had gotten bad. We ran into traffic three different times coming back from Uncle George’s on a Wednesday.
  • Beer is expensive. I kept paying like $8 or $9 for a beer. WTF? Portugal a caneca (a mug; close to a liter) is 2.5€ during happy hours. At most 4€. In the states at Silver Branch it was $8.50 for a token and two tokens was a liter (so $17!!!). Unbelievable.
  • On that note, we spent more than $1,000 when there! My Portuguese friend, Glenn, gave me $92 in “dirty money” and it was gone really fast. Bri also found some USD and we spent it.
  • We had an awesome time at the wedding. It was soooo good to see people and dance and have a good time. I really hope to see them again.
  • Not a lot of people have anything new or different in their lives since I left. Sure people have a few things going on here and there but nothing like life changing had happened. I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or what but I got a lot of “same ol’, same ol'” when I was asking how people were.
  • A lot of people showed up to the happy hours that I wasn’t expecting to see. People I haven’t seen in years. My friend, Arlene, came up from Florida. My friend, Angela, and her baby came up all the way from Anne Arundel County (like two counties away from where we had the happy hour). Mel and Jim came out. We saw Helen every happy hour (#superfriend)! One of my friends boyfriend came who we’ve never met before came. My sister, her boyfriend, and Matt all came down from New York!
  • The final happy hour at Brookeville felt like one of our parties we used to have in Rockville. A lot of people came out. There was different groups of people but I saw and was able to spend a little time with everyone. Everyone had someone to talk to. Everyone was so cool and was sharing pizza and drinking and just good vibes. It went by so fast.
  • It feel like when you’re in the states and you’re working, you live for the weekends. (We tried not to live that way when we lived there as we were always up for doing stuff during the work week.)
  • We were bored Thursday and Friday during the day. I guess I didn’t plan anything for those days for some “down time” but we found ourselves just playing pinochle with Bri’s parents.
  • I was scared every day not having health insurance there. If something happened we would be fucked. I was also scared of shootings. Probably illogical but still… that shit doesn’t happen here.
  • I kept speaking Portuguese. I couldn’t turn it off. Some of my family even got mad at me for doing it. Waiters and waitresses looked at me funny but I think they knew what I was trying to say.
  • I really do miss my American friends. I got some good friends in the states. Great people. I really miss them.
  • Sometimes it felt like nothing changed; like we were back from a long vacation. It just clicked to be back.
  • I already knew this but just to reiterate: JETLAG SUCKS. I was up by 6:30 AM every day (that’s 11:30 Portugal time). I only got like 4 or 5 hours of sleep most nights. Now back in Portugal I’m having trouble getting to sleep by 1 or 2 AM Portugal time.
  • My stomach doesn’t like the US food anymore. My stomach hurt nearly every day. I had to keep taking Pepto. Around Tuesday is when I didn’t need to take it any more but I still took it pre-emptively on some occasions. Portuguese food is just better.
  • I drank every day but I never got drunk. Maybe slightly buzzed on a few occasions but I watched myself and never drank in excess.
  • We didn’t want to drive by our old house.

I had taken my Portuguese friend, Sam’s advice going to the states. She’s from the U.K. and she said make people come to you instead of you running around trying to please/see everyone. That was good advice. It allowed for more time. Many people wanted me to come to them but I just couldn’t. It was either too far or not enough time. I feel bad but I don’t see that changing the next time I visit.

For some things I’d do different next time:

  • Bri wanted to see his family who live in different states. Maybe we would do that… I don’t know but then I think…
  • I don’t think I could go all the way to North Carolina to see Uncle George again. It was too much driving and time. However, it was during the week when most people were working anyway but it just sucked spending 11+ hours of the trip being in a car. I don’t know what I would do about that though. We did have a lot of fun down there. We got crabs which I hadn’t had in years. We saw the family that was there. They just live really far away from anyone we could possibly make two mini-trips out of.
  • Maybe for more time Bri and I would go separately so I could stay there for like a few weeks. But I have no where to stay and no vehicle. Bri at least would have his parents. I don’t think I would like that though. The more time spent in the states is the more time without healthcare. Also, what do I do on the weekdays when people worked? Heidi took a day off to be with us but I’m not sure if some of my other friends can/would do the same.
  • I’m not sure how to tackle this but a few of my other friends moved to different states. There is like no way we could spend time to travel to see them when there. They might have to be a special trip but I don’t know how that would work since I don’t want nor plan to visit the states that frequently. (Thinking the next time we visit will be in 2025!)
  • Not plan so far in advance. I knew about the wedding months in advance but actually planning the week didn’t happen until about a month before travel. It was very stressful to me knowing our flight but not our schedule. It was difficult to wait that long to finally plan since I’m not the kind of person to give someone 3 or 4 months advance of when I’ll want to hang out. If there’s another wedding like this, I’m going to have to repeat this process which just caused me so much stress.
  • Buy a sim card when I get off the plane (or try to). Fuck Lycamobile. They said my phone would work in the US but it didn’t and I was stranded. I put 40€ on that thing for overages for nothing. I had to buy a T-mobile sim card for $31 the next day.

Diary Of States Visit September 2023

A wedding was to happen! A wedding of two of my good friends! I had to go back for that! No way I was going to miss it. So I decided to plan an entire trip seeing friends and family in the states.

We have been living in Portugal for about a year so it was about time.

Below are all the things we did during the trip. Thanks to all of the people who made time to see me and thanks to the friends and family I saw along the way!

Pictures:
http://yearscollage.com/user/niles38?set_id=146

Thursday, September 7th, 2023

  • Woke up before alarm & started moving
  • Walked the kids and ran into Lorna
  • Continued to get ready & close up
  • Walked to bis station and ran into Brandon
  • Bus to Lisbon
  • Checked bags in
  • Food court
  • Waited for gate
  • Flight to IAD
  • Long customs line but we got through easily
  • Met up with Heidi after we got bags
  • Parking $12
  • Dropped off stuff at Heidi’s & got Benji
  • Went for drinks and fries and nachos at CraftHouse $37
  • Back to Heidi’s for sleep

Friday, September 8th, 2023

  • Bri kept waking me up
  • Up at 5AM
  • Heidi got up early & went to her appointment
  • Made bread & coffee & packed up sheets
  • When Heidi got back, Walked Benji around & ran into Heidi’s neighbors
  • Tried to find & went to T mobile and got a sim card $31
  • Dropped Benji off
  • Went to Chipotle
  • Went to Makers Union Pub and got a beer
  • Back to Heidi’s to pack
  • Heidi dropped us off Curtis & Wilma’s
  • Hung out with Bri’s parents
  • Went over Britney & Jason’s
  • Played wildlife game
  • Got Chinese & drank
  • Drinking game
  • Went back to Curtis & Wilma’s

Saturday, September 9th, 2023

  • Got up early
  • Duolingo
  • Went to Target $320
  • Went to grocery store
  • Went to bank
  • Back to Curtis & Wilma’s
  • Played a few hands of pinochle
  • Drove to Rochy’s
  • Hung out there & had seafood & drank a little
  • Went to nearest hotel to Aaron & Sabrina’s & dropped Stacy & Charles off
  • Went to Aaron & Sabrina’s & drank
  • Picked up Stacy & Charles
  • Matt arrived at Aaron & Sabrina’s
  • Ordered Mama Lucia’s
  • Played game & drank & pokemon & hangout
  • Dropped Stacy & Charles off at hotel
  • Hung out a little bit more & went to bed

Sunday, September 10th, 2023

  • Got up early
  • Matt on couch so couldn’t do Duolingo
  • Bri got up so I did Duolingo
  • Waited around
  • Aaron & Sabrina got up around 9
  • Had coffee & coffee cake & talked
  • Picked up Stacy & Charles
  • Went back to Curtis & Wilma’s
  • Family party! Wine & saw family
  • Charles left then eventually Stacy & Matt
  • Talked to Shawn after Eagles game
  • Bri Bri Went out
  • To sleep

Monday, September 11th, 2023

  • Got up and got ready, took some sandwiches & drinks
  • Got to Uncle Georges around 12:30
  • Got in pool & had a few drinks
  • James & family came over & hung out
  • Steak dinner
  • Watched a tiny bit of the game & went to bed

Tuesday, September 12th, 2023

  • Got up about 6 & did Duolingo
  • Bri slept on couch then after I got up slept in bed a bit
  • Had shrimp salad for breakfast & coffee
  • Left for beach around 10:30 AM
  • Parked in Surf City free area & walked on beach for a bit
  • Went to restaurant & got a beer & bang bang shrimp
  • Drew on table paper & ate
  • Went to get crabs & picked out live crabs
  • Stopped at several places to find Coors Light in bottles
  • Uncle George steamed crabs when we got back
  • Went in pool for a while until crabs ready
  • Brendly came over & had crab legs
  • Patrick came home
  • Everyone ate crabs for a while
  • Patrick & Brenly got in pool & we followed
  • In pool for a bit & Uncle George got in for a bit
  • Kim drinking & dancing
  • Went to sleep

 

Wednesday, September 13th 2023

  • Kicked Bri out of bed because he kept moving around
  • Got up & did Duolingo
  • Uncle George got up
  • Brenly left
  • Had breakfast (sausage and waffles)
  • Left Uncle George’s around 9:30 AM
  • Ran into bad traffic
  • Went to Target on way back
  • Arrived around 4 PM
  • Went to Streetcar 82
  • Bryan S and Helen E showed up
  • Drinks then went back to Bri’s parents

Thursday, September 14th, 2023

  • Got up early & did Duolingo & took a bath
  • Bri helped parents move safe
  • Pinochle with Uncle Neil
  • Went to dinner/lunch at Olive Garden
  • Went to Silver Branch
  • Met up with Alicia, Bryan S
  • Arlene came!
  • Helen came & we all drank
  • Later Marc came & we moved inside
  • Arlene & I went to car to retrieve wine and ran into Tony!
  • Went back to Silver Branch but last call had happened but Hung out anyway & split last beer
  • Said bye to Arlene & Tony
  • Went over Marc’s place for a hang out
  • Went back to Bri’s parents late

Friday, September 15th, 2023

  • Got up early
  • Bri’s mom made french toast when Bri got up
  • Played pinochle a good part of the day
  • Decided to ping Sabrina
  • Went over Sabrina & Aaron’s around 3 and hung out for an hour and a half
  • Went over to Helen’s place
  • Ate pizza & drank a little
  • Watched Barbarian
  • Went back to Bri’s parents

Saturday, September 16th, 2023

  • Got up early
  • When Bri’s parents got up they took us to Bob Evans (I drove)
  • After Bob Evans, back to Bri’s parents for pinochle for a while
  • Started to get ready for the wedding around 2:30
  • Left for the wedding & got there around 3:30ish
  • Awkward at first, caught up with Paul’s family & some of their friends
  • Wedding & ceremony happened where we were called out :)
  • When time to go inside, had the honor of sitting at the same table as Paul, Becky, Shawn, & Jen :)
  • Chipotle dinner & open bar
  • Paul’s dad & his brothers came over to me to ask about Paul & Becky story
  • Bri started talking to one of Paul’s uncles
  • Caught up with a lot of people like Seth, Paul’s dad, others; hung out with Shawn & Jen
  • Jen walked in on first dance
  • Danced & talked & drank
  • Helped clean up
  • Decided to go home since it was so late & we couldn’t go anywhere else

Sunday, September 17th, 2023

  • Got up early & started to pack
  • Got ready & waited around for a while
  • Finally got moving to the brewery around noon
  • Lots of traffic!
  • Stopped at Brew Belly for some beers but they didn’t have Sweet Baby Jesus or the cider Brian likes
  • Finally arrived at Brookeville Beer Farm; the area changed!
  • Eric & family & Chris were already there
  • Got a bigger table
  • Helen, Frank, Aaron & Sabrina, Tricia & Travis & family, Angela with Jasper showed up!
  • All talking & having a good time
  • Mel & Jim showed up
  • Heidi showed up then Dave
  • Talked with everyone and had a good time
  • People started leaving then we left around 5:30
  • Heidi dropped us off at IAD very early (just in case of traffic)
  • Got checked in & waited at gate for like two hours
  • Got Five Guys
  • Boarded plane
  • Couldn’t sleep too much; kept waiting for food & uncomfortable

Monday, September 18th, 2023

  • Didn’t sleep too much on flight
  • Watched the last episode of Shameless
  • Finally arrived in Lisbon
  • Several minor incidents then got to bus station
  • A few minor incidents then finally got on bus to Lagos
  • Arrived in Lagos & started to unpack
  • One of the beers had exploded in Bri’s suitcase
  • Lorna dropped the boys off but Lando isn’t doing well with his nail
  • Bri cooked dinner
  • Tried to help Lando but he was in too much pain
  • Sad night worrying about Lando

Lessons Learned Moving To Another Country

A lot of this might seem regurgitated from Blog – Things I Wish I Knew Before Moving To Portugal but it will be a more abridged version. This is the post like. “if I could roll back time and start from the beginning again I would…”

  • Get google voice in the states because iPlum is a pain in the ass. Or try to get another service.
  • Not ship my car or my bike over. I would have sold them both and bought things here.
  • Not ship the TVs and receivers over. We have converters which work okay but it would be better to get something made for Europe.
  • Not ship a lot of the household US-based appliances over. Some work with the converters but some do not.

Think of moving to another country like moving to another planet. A lot of your U.S. shit won’t work and the process for getting things the way they were in the states is very difficult if not impossible. Do not import cars or motorcycles and do not import US-based stuff. Let it go. Get rid of as much shit as you can. Start anew.

I wish I could go back in time and do things different. I wouldn’t have not moved. I love it here but this journey has been rough. I have no doubts it will be worth it in the end it’s just torture now.


Why It’s Hard For Me To Learn Português

I’ve been trying to learn Portuguese for a few months now. On Duolingo I completely switched from Spanish (which I had been doing for over two years on there) to completely Portuguese. I’m not doing bad with reading and writing but I suck at speaking and I really suck at listening.

But I figured out why I suck at speaking. When I was a kid, I had to attend speech therapy (or whatever they call it)… like a speech class. I was having trouble with my R’s and S’s with pronunciation. The S’s I would “shhh”. It was like drilled into me not to do “shhh” with S sounds…

Well… now… enter me learning Portuguese. There are A LOT of times you make the S “shhh” sound (example, where I live, “Lagos” is pronounced “Lagosh”). So now I need to retrain my brain to do that.

Ugh, if only I learned Portuguese from the get-go. Thanks Mom and Dad.


Things I Wish I Knew Before Moving To Portugal

There are quite a lot of things I wish I knew before moving here. The journey still isn’t over yet as we’re still not settled into a place of our own. We are days away from closing on our condo we bought in Lagos. Getting this far has been a really difficult journey.

I thought I’d write down some of my thoughts on this as this process isn’t for the faint of heart and it has definitely been depressing, trying, challenging, and downright draining. It feels like the universe is against this decision I made and it’s trying to tell me to abandon hope of this dream.

Here are some things I wish I knew before and how much I’m so depressed about this difficult situation:

  • Getting stuff shipped to Portugal is a VERY DIFFICULT PROCESS.
    • Bri flew back to the states on December 3rd to try to get all the paperwork we needed together, titles mailed, inventory, organization, timing, etc. He STILL wasn’t able to do it in THREE WEEKS!
    • Bri flew back a few days before Christmas without having much progress on getting our stuff shipped here.
    • We had to go to the Junta to get a special form like four times. The shippers fucked it up, the Junta fucked it up, and the Junta had very difficult requirements for people to meet.
    • We paid another $2,000 around January then another $6,000 in June just to get our stuff due to the shippers delays. All done I’d say we paid around $30,000 just to get our stuff here. Not worth it.
    • UPDATE 6/13/2023: We finally got our stuff on May 30th 2023!
  • You STILL need a US address for a lot of things!
    • Shipping is a big one as they need to mail back the certificado de bagagem.
    • Having your mail forwarded somewhere. The USPS won’t forward to Portugal!
  • You need some people in the US to help you!
    • My sister was able to help me with the certificado de bagagem as she can mail things and it gets there a lot sooner (and cheaper) than from Portugal.
    • Brian’s parents have helped us a lot along the way. Our mail is forwarded to their house. We still use their address for official things that need a US address.
      • Working with the embassy requires a US address.
      • Shipping stuff!
  • The dollar to euro kills you. The conversion rate varies and it makes A HUGE difference.
    • Another reason Bri flew back to the States was to move our money from our US bank to our Portuguese bank. You can do this online but it is a lot easier to do it by going to your bank. Quicker too. Our big condo purchase we had a budget; we have exceeded it since the dollar dropped so much in value by the time we hit closing.
    • Having a US credit card doesn’t help. I do minor things with euros (cash) but a lot of things I put on the credit card. It does a poor exchange rate and might charge extra since I’m out of the US.
    • I’m not sure what others do. It really is like playing the stock market on how much it changes cause it changes constantly.
  • When buying a house or a condo there are A LOT of taxes and fees. We are paying 8% of the price in taxes. There are also other fees the buyer (me) needs to pay such as 1% for the lawyer, a notary fee of 1,000€, registration fee of 250€, legal fee of 6,458€. All of these are on top of the full amount which is paid directly to the seller. No money goes into an escrow or anything like in the US.
  • Finding things can be difficult.
    • Sometimes you need to know the right things to search for in google. Example is finding carpeting. We are carpet people. In Portugal (maybe even Europe… and the US is starting to do this too) people like hardwood. Carpeting isn’t common. Finding a place that does wall to wall carpeting has been challenging. Turns out you need to google “custom carpeting” to find places that can hopefully do what they do in the states. We’re still not over this hurdle!
    • Finding a furniture place is proving to be a little difficult too. There are quite a few places that do “custom furniture” and it can be very expensive! We luckily found a few places like Marlo (in the US) that has furniture you can buy already made.
  • Without transportation, some things aren’t accessible.
  • Getting your cell phone switched was challenging. I wanted to keep my US number so I can keep up with friends and family.
    • When I originally arrived here I used my roaming which was $10 a day. Not ideal.
    • I bought a sim card for 15€ for a month with 6 gigs. Great deal!
      • Renewing this was a pain in the ass if I didn’t want to buy a new one every month.
    • I had to port my US number to another service (leaving AT&T). I needed to provide the latest bill, your account number, password, and all your information. I’m using iPlum (which turns out to be really shitty). This porting over process can take more than a week.
      • My US calls and texts are through an app on my phone (iPlum).
      • iPlum is charging me $108 a year for their service.
      • According to their Fair Usage Policy for Unlimited Plans “unlimited plans” are limited to 2,500 “credits” a month. Sending or receiving a text is a “credit.” Every minute you spend on the phone is a “credit.” I had to buy extra “credits” since I ran out last month and my service was going to be suspended. I bought $20 worth of “credits” which gives me 2,000 extra. It’s bullshit.
      • The iPlum app is a piece of shit!
        • Half the time I don’t know who is calling (I don’t recognize many phone numbers).
        • When someone sends a picture, I don’t know who sent it.
        • Sometimes I can’t even tell who sent the text message as it’s just a phone number.
        • It’s clunky as I need to touch many things and menus just to send a text or make a call.
        • I had to change my credentials since my phone is now Portuguese number and NOT US so it thought all my contacts where Portuguese numbers.
        • The calls drop sometimes and it’s difficult to hear. I have my volume to the max and I still can’t hear my uncle very well.
        • UPDATE 6/13/2023: I currently cannot text since iPlum has now required registration which I can’t prove that I’m an individual without paying a lot of money. It’s ridiculous.
    • Bottom line: be prepared for a few days of hardship and stress and don’t get iPlum. They’re a rip off and a piece of shit. I will be replacing them next year.
  • You get nickeled and dimed a lot when going through these processes. It feels like death by 1,000 cuts.
  • Don’t import cars or motorcycles over.
    • We did some research online and it felt like it was going to be a fairly simple process. It isn’t. We’re in the tenth circle of hell with this.
    • The government agencies (IMT) and Hyundai and Honda do not help you.
    • Your vehicles might need to be converted and it’s just a miserable situation. It isn’t worth it. Sell your shit. Let it go. Don’t bring it for the love of God.

I will be updating this post maybe from time to time. Many times I’m getting and got depressed about everything and it feels hopeless a lot. I wish I could go back in time and change some of my decisions.

So far I would change:

  • I would have sold/given away a lot more stuff and went with UPackWeShip or something similar.
  • I would have sold my car and my bike. It would have killed me because I love them but I would have.
  • I would have quit my job sooner in order to accomplish more in the states and have done more research before I went over so I could have been more ready for the bureocracy which is Portugal.

I miss my friends and my sister a lot.


Things I Miss About The United States

Now that I’m all settled in Portugal, there are a few things that I should note that I miss about the United States.

I love living here. The beautiful weather, the friendly people, the bug-free environment (I’ve seen a few bugs but they are very rare), the affordability, the slower pace of it all, the safety… there are a lot of things that are just awesome.

Being said, I do miss the following:

  • Friends & Family – Of course I miss my friends and my family. I’m hoping some of them come to visit.
  • Variety – You can find almost anything here. However, it’s not in the variety that it is in the United States. For instance in the US you would have entire isles at the supermarket dedicated to one or two items but you had your choice of brand, shape, quantity, etc. Not so much in Portugal. Supermarkets do not have this. You are lucky if you get your choice between one or two things of the same thing.
  • Vegetarianism – In the US Beyond Meat and Impossible are almost everywhere. They’re not here at all. You’re hard pressed to find a veggie burger of any kind. It is very possible to be vegan or vegetarian here though, of course. Lots of fruits and veggies.
  • Vegetarian Chinese – One of my favorite restaurants was Yuan Fo in Rockville that had the best vegetarian Chinese food.
  • Land O’ Lakes Butter – Heidi and I call it our “special butter.” We have Planta here (which is a lot like Promise) so it’s pretty good but not the same.
  • Ease Of Cellphone Use – Getting my number ported over (I might blog about it later to try to help others) is a pain in the butt! Cellphones never used to always “work” in the US (we had Google Fi for a while which was a piece of shit; so was T-Mobile when I was in college) but here, porting over my US number is an issue. Cellphone service overall is great though! Data, calls, texts everywhere! No deadzones yet.
  • One-Stop Shopping – There are no “big stores” like Target or Wal-mart here. You can absolutely find what you need (baring a few items) but you might have to go to a few places to find specific things.
  • Specific Items – We haven’t been able to find the following: maple syrup and yellow squash.
  • Things We’re Going To Get Back – When we move out of our AirBnB, our next place should have an ice maker and a dryer. We have to hang our clothes out to dry. Which is great for the environment but they don’t dry very well with us being on the first floor. There isn’t a breeze. We also miss our stuff.

Moving To Portugal

I’ve decided to blog about this! I’m not sure who reads my blog anymore but here it is.

Bri and I have decided to move to Portugal. The plan has been in the works now for a while. Here I will document what steps we’ve done and where we’re at in the process.

Initial

We visited Portugal in December 2021 and decided it would be a place we would like to live. For various reasons, Portugal has been our number one retirement destination. It is cheap to live, has great healthcare, great culture, speaks mostly English (thought we will be learning Portuguese).

Time: 10 days in Portugal.

Choosing A Lawyer

We interviewed a few different lawyers and figured out (roughly) what we need to do. We met with four different immigration lawyers (all in Lisbon) and received quotes.

Time: 4 months (finding and interviewing lawyers). This process might be faster for others.

Signing Up With An Immigration Lawyer

On Tuesday, February 22, 2022 we paid and sent over our information to the immigration lawyer we chose. We sent them over pictures of our drivers licenses and passports as well as some other information they asked for. We paid around $3,000 initially. The remaining is around $1,000.

Time: 1 day.
Cost: around $4,000

Getting NIF Numbers

The migration attorney is in charge of getting us Tax ID (NIF) numbers. We need these numbers to open a bank account (which the attorney will also do). It took them around two weeks to get us these numbers. We received them on Monday, March 7, 2022. The attorney now needs our United States Social Security cards which we will send over today.

Time: 2 weeks.

Getting A Bank Account

We obviously needed to open up a Portuguese bank account there. In order to do this, we need various forms and other information. We had to send them almost everything… copies of our passports, social security cards, proof of income, our last few paychecks, our tax returns for various previous years… it is a lot.

On top of which, they needed INKED documents so we had to print out various documents (bank account information with Millennium) and send it to them… like actually send to Portugal.

We sent these documents (the first time) on Monday, April 4th, 2022. We eagerly awaited their arrival. We sent them through USPS. No tracking info. It cost around $20 to send.

By April 18, 2022, our lawyers were wondering where they were. We decided to print out these documents AGAIN and resign and send them. We did this on Tuesday, April 19, 2022 and sent them out this time through UPS.

This process is finally finished but we still need to fund the account all the way.

Time: 2 months

Putting Money Into The Account

Once we finally got access to the account, we had to put money in it. Unfortunately, this wasn’t cheap. Bri created a Wise account to transfer money from his account to the new Portuguese account. He also couldn’t initially log into the account so he had to call the bank.

We completed this in a week though we need more time to transfer funds as the Wise app takes some money and doesn’t allow large transfers.

We are also playing the market a bit and only transferring money when the Euro is at a better position so we get more Euros for our buck.

Time: 1 month

Finding A Place

Well, we have to find a place to live, right? In order to be accepted, we need a place to stay. We initially started looking on our own but we decided to go with a realtor. We hope to not have to fly over there to look at places. Right now it’s a very busy time. It also costs money and time to go over there to look.

Reading online, it can take a while to find a place. This is why we are hiring a realtor to do the finding for us. We are looking in the Algarve (which is really hot right now because of summer).

Our realtor sent us a listing and we wanted to pick a place from their list but none of the places were available. I don’t know why they would send us stuff that they didn’t first check was available.

We ended up going a different approach through our lawyers. Our lawyers were able to find us a room to rent with a lease. We will be using that address and lease as our housing requirement. As far as a real place to live, we will be staying in an AirBnB somewhere in the Algarve until we buy a place.

Cost: $133 (for realtor to find places)
Time: 3 months

Fingerprinting/Background Check

Us living in the DC area, we kind of have an advantage. It was really easy to make an appointment somewhere close to get the FBI background investigation and fingerprinting scheduled. We did that on Wednesday, May 11th.

Cost: $160
Time: less than a week

Getting Our Pets Over

More time and research needs to go into this (and I have a checklist for them). So far I’ve bought two dog crates and am getting them used to them. Unfortunately, they will need to go in the cargo hold.

Getting the pets over is a very tricky process. Portugal is a rabies-free country so they both need to be up-to-date on their rabies vaccine. However, they also need to be microchipped which needs to take place BEFORE their rabies vaccine.

We needed to do the following:

  • Crate train the pets – This was a difficult process with Lando. Wiki was aces. Lando would whine all the time in his crate and would become destructive. He destroyed a plastic bowl that was left in his crate. He also destroyed a blanket we had overtop of the crate.
  • Find a USDA approved vet & make an appointment – This process was more difficult than it sounds as there are not a lot of places that still do it. They need to go to this vet within 10 days of travel.
    • The vet did a lot of paperwork and research for us. Lando was an issue as his microchipping occurred AFTER his rabies vaccine. We needed to get him another rabies vaccine which had to happen 21 days prior to his vet appointment.
    • We told the vet about Lando’s anxiety and she gave us eight pills. We tried one and that made him calm down. Before the plane, we gave him a pill which hopefully worked.
  • Get the USDA certificate certified – The vet looked up what we needed to do. Once we got the certificate we had to overnight it to a place in Albany, NY that certifies certificates and have a return overnight envelope to send it back to us.
  • Properly label the crates – The crates that I bought came with “LIVE ANIMALS” stickers so we put those on the crates. We also put stickers with our phone numbers as well as Bri’s dad’s number. We also put a bag of food duct taped to the top of the cages just in case.
  • Pet trackers – For piece of mind, we bought Samsung smart tags for both our pets. We tested them out first and they worked! It just needs to have a Samsung phone around to find the pets.
  • Call the airline – We flew out with TAP so we needed to call them AFTER we booked our tickets to tell them we had two dogs. They asked about breeds and sizes and sizes of their crates.
    • We needed to arrive there two hours before our flight. We went to the luggage counter with them and our luggage.
    • We rolled them in then later took off the wheels on the crate. The airport took them on a cart which we followed.
    • The airport/TSA scanned their crates. We had to zip tie the doors closed. TSA/the airport said they could no longer touch the animals once we had them zip tied.
    • We tracked them and after an hour of no activity on their tags, they finally appeared underneath us! We were the last ones on the plane on purpose so we could see them get loaded. They took them out in this van and loaded each one up on the belt. A lady then walked both of them into the cargo of the plane and I assume strapped them down.
    • At the airport in Lisbon, we asked where to pick up our pets. The airport person said to wait by a door (funny story to ask me later). The door eventually opened and we retrieved our dogs, safe and sound. They couldn’t wait to get out of their cages and had to go to the bathroom really bad.

Cost: $263 (for two dog crates) + $618 (USDA vet) + $83 (for certified overnight certificate) + $1,600+ (for the dogs to be in luggage)

Getting A Place To Rent

We contacted a realtor a month and a half before our VFS appointment. She sent us some things but nothing met our requirements or it turned out to be unavailable. She got another realtor involved which had a few places. However, even after making a decision, the properties were unavailable.

How We Eventually Got A Place

Days turned into weeks. The final week we needed a place, we were freaking out. I was reaching other realtors in Portugal to see if they could help.

We finally told our lawyers we didn’t think we were going to make the deadline. She offered us an alternative and we took it. We have a lease for a place in Porto.

The place in Porto isn’t a place that we actually stayed. We ended up getting an AirBnB for two months in Quartiera. We then bought a place in Lagos.

This was a very difficult part of the process! It is NOT easy at all.

Cost: $625
Time: 2 months

Getting Travelers Insurance

It only took a phone call. But we did some research before we decided on a company. We chose Mutuaide and made the call to have our insurance start on October 1, 2022. No deductible. Best part it was only 1,200 euros for two people for a year! If health insurance was that cheap in this country, we would stay.

Cost: $1250 (1,200 euros)
Time: 1 day

Getting Ready For VFS Appointment

This took a long time. We needed to print out many documents. Our list (per person) was:

  • Application for National Visa
  • Passports
  • Two passport sized photos – we only needed one but they said to bring two
  • Colored copy of passports  – we needed them notarized; which we didn’t know; but luckily, the person was able to copy ours and notarize them herself
  • Personal statement
  • Proof of financial means – we brought bank statements, a letter from our property manager, and account statements from accounts we have which generate income
  • NIF documents – we got these first thing from the lawyers; this was one of the easiest things as they did the work
  • FBI criminal records – see above
  • Release/request for Portugal criminal record check
  • Proof of travelers insurance – see above
  • Proof of accommodation – see above
  • Copy of marriage certificate – they did not ask for this but we provided it anyway
  • Representation letter – our lawyers provided this for it; they didn’t ask for it but we provided it to them anyway
  • Two money orders – one each person; made out to Embassy of Portugal; both for $95.19

Now all that’s left to do was wait.

Time: months (see above steps)
Cost: $95.19 + $95.19 + $150.38

Selling Our Home

Of course we need to sell our current house before we make the move. It might seem a little pointless to put this in here but I feel it’s important. We had to find some realtors and vet them.

We finally decided to go with a local one recommended from a friend. This same friend also will do the photography and video of our home. We listed our house in August.

After a week and a half of being on the market, we finally got a bid! After a lot of negotiating and the home inspector finding a lot of shit, we settled on a price. We closed at the end of September, 2022.

Time: 6 weeks

The Waiting

After our VFS appointment (mentioned above), the long wait happens… We went through DC which is usually faster than other places but that wasn’t the case for us.

We kept checking on our application online but no update. Just kept saying it had been forwarded to the embassy.

Finally on August 2nd (right as we were leaving for GenCon) we got an email requesting our 2021 tax returns. We quickly gathered the information, went over to Brian’s parents, and scanned it to a PDF. Within an hour of their email request, we had sent it back to them.

We waited another long time to get any feedback back. We emailed them and called several times in September as it was going on 90 days since our VFS appointment.

FINALLY on Monday, September 19, 2022, we got an email saying we were approved! The email came in the morning right before my standups. Finally a weight had been lifted and the long wait was over!

Brian mailed our passports a few hours after we got the good news. They stamped with our Visa and we will have the ability to get into Portugal on our six month D7 Visa.

Time: 95 days + 4 days (we sent our passports on September 19 and got them back September 22)

Getting To Portugal

Bri made flights at the beginning of October for the end of October.

We hung out with a lot of people in this month. We went on a kid of “going away tour” and saw a lot of family and friends before we left. It was quite sweet. I loved seeing all my good friends one last time. We saw:

  • Uncle George in North Carolina
  • Heidi in Virginia
  • Bryan S – We hung out with Bryan S who lived close to Bri’s parents a few times since he was so close
  • Megan & Matt in New Orleans
  • Our local people: Helen, Andrei, Jason & Brittany, Aaron & Sabrina, Shawn & Jen, Eric & Delaura, Joe & Kate

Like I stated earlier, we booked tickets for October 30th. We flew out really late and arrived in Lisbon on October 31st. We rented a car and got down to the Algarve (lots of steps before, see the pets). We checked into our AirBnB on November 1st.


Diary Of Portugal Scouting Trip November/December 2021

As some of you may know, Bri and I are looking at Portugal to possibly retire. We wanted to visit the country to find possible towns that we like that could be possible retirement spots. We planned this trip for a few months. We rented a car for the whole trip and stayed at two different places in Portugal (though it ended up being three hotels).

Portugal is a great country full of friendly people, culture, and fun things to do. Cervejas (beer) is sold everywhere and at all hours of the day it is not uncommon to drink. Cervejas are in coffee shops, souvenir shops,  lingerie shops (just kidding about that one).

Most people speak English but we did run into some who did not but we were able to easily get by. We learned some Portuguese before going of course such as “olbrigata” (which is thank you for women).

It was an awesome week. We did a lot. Visited a lot of places. It seemed like a very long trip even though it was only a week and a few days.

Pictures:
http://yearscollage.com/user/niles38?set_id=47

Here’s what we did:

Friday, November 26, 2021

  • Got up around 7:30 am
  • Went to CVS for covid test
  • Ate leftovers
  • Lounged around all day
  • Bri’s parents picked us up
  • Drove to Dulles
  • Got there really early
  • Ate and drank at bar
  • Talked to lady for a while at gate
  • Boarded plane
  • Started to watch Titanic
  • Couldn’t sleep on plane

Saturday, November 27, 2021

  • Got to Lisbon
  • Very long line at customs but they didn’t ask us anything or checked anything; just stamped passport
  • Got luggage
  • Tried to find rental car place with no luck
  • Finally figured out they didn’t have a stand there; had to wait to get picked up
  • Got rental car
  • Tried to get to hotel but phones were not working
  • Had panic attack because our phones weren’t working
  • Bri found wifi and downloaded Lisbon map
  • Got to hotel but we were too early for check-in
  • Walked around & Got Portuguese dish and beer to eat
  • Back to hotel & checked in
  • Took a shower and nap
  • Walked around Lisbon
  • Got a cafe (very small coffee)
  • Walked and found beer place outside & Got a glass of wine and 0% alcohol beer (oops)
  • Walked around; checked out outdoor markets
  • Ate at place outside; bri Got sausage on fire
  • Walked around Lisbon & found beer museum
  • Had many beers
  • Went back to hotel and slept
  • Woke up 11PM our time (4AM Lisbon time)

Sunday, November 28, 2021

  • Time change fucking with us; got up around 2 am Lisbon time; had sex; played on phones; back to sleep
  • Got up around 8:30 Lisbon time
  • Headed to breafast; had breakfast
  • Took a nap & got up around 11:30 Lisbon time
  • Hit the road; got gas
  • Évora; walked around and finally found food inside the castle walls
  • Suviner shopping
  • Went to grocery store on the way to Mourāo to see if we can eat here cheaply; about a wash
  • Went to Castelo de Mourāo; waited for sun to set
  • Tried to go to telescope place but it was closed; waited for sun to set
  • Saw stars; thousands of then
  • 2.5 hours back to Lisbon
  • Got dinner at sushi place

Monday, November 29, 2021

  • Breakfast
  • Nap
  • Went to Fonte de Telha
  • Had lunch at cool Beach restaurant
  • Walked around town
  • Tried to go to Corva but it was just a neighborhood
  • Back to hotel
  • Walked around & Got dinner at hybrid restaurant
  • Drinks at hotel’s rooftop bar

Tuesday, November 30, 2021

  • Breakfast
  • Chilled in hotel room (no nap)
  • Walked around and hit up a cafe; expresso
  • Went to an old church, sé de Lisboa
  • Walked to Tagus; had expresso and cerveja by the water
  • Went by pink Street
  • Walked to Praça de São Paulo; cerveja
  • Walked around hitting various cafés; Benard
  • Went to Miradouro de São Pedro de Alcântara
  • Walked back to hotel
  • Walked to Lizzo’s and got pizza

Wednesday, December 1, 2021

  • Breakfast
  • Got going to Quarteira and checked into hotel
  • Went to Fonte de Telha but restaurants were closed
  • Went to beach restaurant in Lagos
  • Walked around Lagos and went to grocery store
  • Back to hotel & drank & watched Netflix

Thursday, December 2, 2021

  • Back hurt in the morning and too much light in room
  • Bad hotel & bad hotel food
  • Decided to check out and find a hotel in Faro
  • Traveled to Faro
  • Checked into hotel
  • Walked around and got food at Italian place
  • Had to get Euros from ATM
  • Walked around and went to marina bar & drank most afternoon
  • Went back to hotel & relaxed
  • Went to Portuguese restaurant

Friday, December 3, 2021

  • Breakfast (better than the others)
  • Started early and went to Tavira
  • Cafe and walked around; visited shops
  • Went to Cavanas (clear winner)
  • Drinks on the boardwalk
  • Went to Santa Luzia & had lunch
  • Went to Olhão; drinks by the water
  • Went back to Faro
  • Dinner at nice Mexican restaurant; learned some português
  • Talked to Stacy on messanger video chat
  • Drank in room

Saturday, December 4, 2021

  • Woke up to wrong number
  • Breakfast
  • Went to pharmacy to schedule covid test
  • Headed off to Sagres
  • Walked around Praia da Mareta beach
  • Lunch at beach bar
  • Went to Lagos; walked around & Got drinks at a tap bar
  • Went to Portimão; walked around & ate dinner at a pizza place
  • Back to hotel

Sunday, December 5, 2021

  • Breakfast
  • Spa
  • Walked to tap pub
  • Drank cerveja and had conversations with people from Ireland and England
  • Too drunk so Went to hotel to sleep
  • Went to covid test
  • Bri Got dinner
  • I got dinner later
  • Talked to Stacy and watched the Ravens game
  • Couldn’t sleep

Monday, December 6, 2021

  • Got up around 7 AM
  • Breakfast
  • Checked out of Faro hotel
  • Traveled to Lisbon
  • Got to airport way early; I fucked up the time and thought we flew out at 2 PM instead of 5 PM
  • Cervejas and coffee
  • Got food
  • Walked to immigration
  • Waited some more
  • Segregated our gate & made us fill out form to return to US
  • Loooong plane ride
  • The plane could not land so we had to circle around again since the wind was bad
  • Bri’s parents picked us up and dropped us off home with the dogs

Weddings I’ve Gone To

As I’m sitting here in BWI having a few to drink… what a perfect time to blog!

Recently (just in the past six months) my friend from work has been to (and officiated some) NINE weddings. NINE. I guess they all got delayed from years past?

Anyway it got me thinking… one, my coworker must be really popular and two, I don’t think I’ve gone to nine weddings in my entire life.

Counting them, yeah. Thought I would blog with a count.

  • Young – I went to a wedding when I was like 5. My parents were still together. All I remember was staying in a hotel and dancing a lot.
  • My own – I believe I was there at my own wedding to Bri. No one else was. Justice of the peace, baby.
  • Tricia & Travis – Good friends from college got married. I was a bridesmaid! Very good wedding. Also was the same day as Shawn and Jen but we didn’t know them yet.
  • Joe & Kate – My in-laws. Fun wedding up in New York. We had to stay at a different hotel from the rest since we had Candi. A few good stories from it.
  • Seth & Meredith – Friend from college. Good time. He had karaoke and Taylor Swift songs.
  • Leslie & Jason – Friend from college. Nice wedding up near Baltimore. Good food. I photocopied.
  • Pablo – Uncle George’s friend had a nice little wedding at his home. I think Bri and I kind of crashed it but it was fun. Very low budget. Coors Light in Coolers.
  • Mel & Jim – Right before covid. Friends I knew from Bernie’s campaign. Fun Jewish wedding.

We went to a few wedding receptions (Megan and Matt, Bri’s childhood friend), but we weren’t at the actual “I do” part.

Looking ahead, next year I will go to at least one, Bri’s cousin. I’m not sure who else is on the horizon…

Still drinking…


I Really Need To Keep Shit Bookmarked

Well it happened again. I got called out for being wrong about something but, later, after a half hour of research, I found what I needed to to back up my argument. And I feel like a shit if I were to text them later to assert my claim.

Google is a real pain in the ass. It is REALLY hard to find things right as you need them to back up an argument. I’m not sure what I’m going to do going forward, I mean I don’t want to bookmark every single article I read just in case I need to back it up months or years later.

This time it was an argument about whether or not Biden can eliminate student loan debt. Turns out, most likely, I’m right. Trump even used the same kind of logic when he did it.

Here are some links:

And now doing a google search of this: can the secretary of education cancel student loans links to a bunch of articles! Fuck my life sometimes man. I hate feeling like I’m this jerk or crazy person who makes bogus claims and can’t back them up. Fuck me for not having the information right then and there. But looking back at it later, I’ll fucking find it.

Update bonus: Here’s a reminder that POTUS can give everyone Medicare for All under section 1881 A of the Social Security Act. In fact, that act has been used in Libby, Montana where residents can get free healthcare.


Diary Of Myrtle Beach June 2021

My mom’s boyfriend, Kenny, was kind enough to give me his timeshare in Myrtle beach in June 2021. I originally wanted it to be a big girls trip with just Arlene, Becky, and I but I realized that wouldn’t be fair to our guys. When Arlene decided to get her own place, I made the move to have the guys there too all week.

We had an awesome time! We did breweries, wine tasting, lots of mini golf, pool, dinners and drinks, games, and (of course) the beach! I always wanted to do a trip like this with good friends. It was awesome.

Pictures:
http://yearscollage.com/user/niles38?set_id=42

Here’s the diary…

Friday, June 4, 2021

  • Worked half day; got everything done
  • Packed
  • Got stung by a plant
  • Dropped dogs off at Bri’s parents
  • Got hotel in NC
  • Hardee’s for dinner; drank a big beer

Saturday, June 5, 2021

  • Crappy breakfast
  • Left hotel
  • Got to Sands Beach Club
  • Found car spot with electric parking
  • Met up with mom & Kenny
  • Drove to Ocean Annie’s
  • Drank a lot of beer, live music
  • Got food
  • Went back to resort
  • Room ready
  • Kenny & mom showed us around room then left
  • Went to hot tub & drank
  • Becky texted & we met up with them
  • Hot tub & pool with Paul & Becky
  • Twisted Restaurant dinner
  • I was plastered
  • Back to room
  • Arlene & Andy came by

Sunday, June 6, 2021

  • Got up & Went to breakfast with Paul & Becky (good place)
  • Went to Costco
  • Came back to resort
  • Walk on the beach
  • Hit the pool with everyone
  • Played with ball
  • Back to room to chill and change
  • Went to the pirate Voyage show
  • Went back to our place for games

Monday, June 7, 2021

  • Talked to Kenny but weather not good
  • Went to the beach
  • Went to the brewery, Andy & Arlene Met us up there
  • Walked to golf but Went to a wine tasting place along the way
  • Hung around wine place for a bit
  • Paul drove us to alpha gold put put place
  • Went to Arlene & Andy’s
  • Got pizza

Tuesday, June 8, 2021

  • Got up somewhat early to go boating
  • Met Kenny & Mom at the marina
  • Went to Bird Island
  • Walked around a bit, did the ocean
  • Got stranded on Bird Island because of the tide
  • Had some beer
  • Did more ocean and beach
  • When we were able to get out, did a toast with wine
  • Boated to LuLu’s… bad service
  • Had lunch, drinks
  • Boated back to marina
  • Everyone tired & Went to bed early

Wednesday, June 9, 2021

  • No one wanted to go out to breakfast
  • Bri & I went to blueberry grill for breakfast
  • Went to Publix
  • Back to hotel
  • Went to the beach
  • Met up with Arlene, flew kites
  • Walked to Harry the hats for lunch
  • Hung around hotel
  • Hit up the boardwalk around 5
  • Paul, Bri, Becky drank at Hurricanes (cat 5 Hurricane’s)
  • Played the Mind, alcoholic slushi’s
  • Rode the SkyWheel
  • Met up with Arlene & Andy
  • Went to some tiki bar (bad service) but shots and food
  • Went into some shop
  • All rode back in my car; everyone drunk

Thursday, June 10, 2021

  • Everyone drank the night before
  • Went to pancake house for breakfast
  • Back to hotel
  • Mini golf at two places
  • Went swimming in pool
  • Met cool guy by the pool
  • Went to seafood place for dinner
  • Checked out kite place before we ate
  • Back to our place for games
  • Everyone called it an early night

Friday, June 11, 2021

  • Paul & Becky got up, packed and left
  • Kind of sadness
  • Waited for Mom to message me
  • Got in the pool for a bit
  • Went over Kenny’s
  • Went out to lunch with Kenny & Mom
  • Hung out with Kenny & mom for a bit
  • Back to hotel
  • Met up with Andy & Arlene and went to place next to Ocean Annie’s
  • Back to our place & played rummy
  • Went over to Arlene’s for their beer
  • Watched half of a movie

Saturday, June 12, 2021

  • Got up and cleaned and left
  • Traffic a lot
  • Picked up the kids
  • Got home & watched movies

Diary Of RV Trip 2021

A lot of time went into the making of this trip. Heidi, Bri, and I have been playing Dominion online since the pandemic. Earlier this year (2021) we wanted to do a vacation that was “covid friendly.” Since Bri had always wanted to do an RV trip, Heidi and I went along with it. We let him plan the whole thing which was probably a mistake… we just let him go at it with the assumption that he knows what we like… which he did.

We had several mishaps during the trip like forgetting the pillows and having to drive almost two hours out of the way to pick up and drop off a rental car. But we had a great time but it was very stressful at times (at least the driving was). But we had a lot of fun and have a lot of good memories.

Pictures:
http://yearscollage.com/user/niles38?set_id=39

Anyway, here’s a diary of what I did on the trip…

Friday, April 30, 2021

  • Worked from home for a few hours
  • Heidi came over
  • Got the RV, went through the whole spiel about “how to RV”… thinking to myself they need to have a degree program in this shit
  • Went home and started to pack, neighbors came over to check the RV out

Saturday, May 1, 2021

  • Left around 6 am
  • Realized we forgot the pillows!
  • Went all the way to some airport to pick up the rental car
  • I picked up the rental car by myself and drove to Walmart (ewww! First time I’ve even step foot in a Walmart much less buy something in like 15 years!), got pillows, beer, and other supplies, and other shit
  • Got to KOA and relaxed, I built the fire
  • Couldn’t sleep, tried to sleep in rental car; half way through the night I was cold so I went back in the RV

Sunday, May 2, 2021

  • My back hurt in the morning after the sleep on the top bed
  • Went to the Fontana Dam with everyone and dogs
  • Walked around Cherokee
  • Cherokee memorial
  • Went to Firehouse Subs where there was an order for “Trump” (a Trump guy said his order was for Trump; he had a Trump patch on his biker vest)
  • Heidi went for a walk so Bri and I could do adult things
  • Dominion at night before rain

Monday, May 3, 2021

  • Back hurt in the morning after sleep on top again
  • Heidi watches dogs while Bri and I went out
  • It was rainy all day
  • Tried to go to Mingo falls (but it was closed); dudes who walked down said don’t waste a trip up
  • Scary one way gravel road next to creek to get out of the place
  • Went to Mingus Mill; a nice guy there gave us a tour
  • Drove through Smokey Mountain National Park
  • Camera broke before Laurel Falls!
  • Did the hike up to Laurel Falls; no one wearing masks
  • Went into smallish town in Tennessee to get gas; no one wearing masks walking around like it’s Marti Gras… got out of there fast!
  • On the way back noticed a “Native Brews” sign
  • Ate at Native Brews

Tuesday, May 4, 2021

  • Returned rental 3 hours out of the way; I drove rental back by myself; met up with Heidi and Bri
  • Got on the road
  • Bad wind and rain
  • Bad accident which caused traffic
  • Heidi panic attack
  • We drove through GA for like 10 minutes (very strange)
  • Canceled rental for Alabama since we weren’t going to make the time
  • I drove through nasty rain storm to get to Alabama; hazard lights on the whole time
  • Drank at night outside after rain
  • Decided that I will sleep on the table bed which had to have been built for a midget (excuse me, small person) since I had to sleep catty cornered

Wednesday, May 5, 2021

  • Bri Bri got pan cakes at the Market place in KOA
  • Walked around KOA
  • Did laundry and played cornhole; talked to the owner of the KOA
  • Debated food; nothing around; no one delivered not even Dominos
  • Decided to drive to store and get food
  • Bri and I did some adult things in the Publix parking lot while Heidi got the groceries
  • Walked around KOA when we got back; cinco de mayo food

Thursday, May 6, 2021

  • Breakfast and coffee outside
  • Heidi went for a run
  • Went and did kayaking around lake
  • Birds divebombing us around bridge where their homes are
  • Walked and chill; of course drank
  • Tried to grill but severe thunderstorms
  • Lando kept me awake at night… tried to do adult things but it rocked the trailer too much and woke up Heidi… blamed it on the wind and the dogs

Friday, May 7, 2021

  • Got on road to KY
  • Got rental car
  • I found yet another fucking Walmart (all they got out there) drove there and got cupcakes for Heidi’s birthday
  • Went to the KOA store… everyone was super nice; offered to drive me back to RV since I bought 4 six packs of beer
  • Walked around and played on bounce thing
  • Ordered from New Jersey pizza… story… they did not deliver :( But ordered pizza from somewhere a little closer who did deliver
  • Played Dominion and got on Fri night call for a few minutes

Saturday, May 8, 2021

  • Drove to random bourbon place but it wasn’t there!
  • Drove to Wilderness Trails distillery and did a tasting
  • Went to little Mexican place which had awesome food; dogs were welcome too
  • Went to Four Roses but they were sold out
  • Went to Wild Turkey distillery; Heidi and Bri drank so I could drive
  • Debated what we were going to do on Monday; Heidi made some calls and set up a KOA for Monday night
  • Bri and I went out on a date night but the first BBQ place didn’t wear masks (very scary!) so we went to another joint that had masks
  • Heidi went for a walk so Bri and I could do adult things
  • Played Dominion

Sunday, May 9, 2021

  • Went to Cumberland Falls with dogs; just Bri and I
  • Drove through Boone National Forest; stopping at interesting places
  • Came back, rain, the mind, and drank

Monday, May 10, 2021

  • Had shower and got on road ASAP
  • Part way through I did calculation from home and from KOA to home
  • The KOA we booked ended up being another 2 hours total versus just hammering it out and going home being 1 more hour
  • Decided to head directly home instead
  • I drove the final leg which was all of Maryland; drove by our college, Frostburg <3
  • Got home around 6:30; unpacked and cleaned

Random Thoughts 12/13/2020

  • I DO NOT have covid. I doubt that I’ve ever had it.
  • I REALLY want AOC to force a vote on Medicare For All so then we will know who supports giving people healthcare during a pandemic.
  • I say fuck too much.
  • My friends are awesome. I miss my friends.
  • My dogs are awesome. I don’t miss my dogs since they’re always here with me.
  • I’ve been downloading (actually buying) a lot of music.
  • I’m really into Chernobyl, Mount Everest, abandoned places, ship wrecks, etc. I would like more recommendations for YouTube but since all I subscribe to and most of what I play is political in nature, I don’t see much.
  • I have a weird crush on Jared Harris right now. I just finished binging Fringe and just watched Chernobyl on HBO for the third time. I just love his voice. It’s sexy to me.
  • It does not feel like Christmas to me.
  • I’m kind of a little addicted to work right now which is not a good thing. I think about it a lot. I’m having fun and (dare I say it) look forward to the work days.
  • I’m learning Spanish and actually getting good at it. Speaking and hearing, not so much but I can read it.
  • I REALLY wish the Democrats didn’t suck. I REALLY wish we had Bernie in there. I REALLY wish more people realized that the Democrats suck and demand more from them. All I do on Twitter is bash the Democrats because they deserve it. They are beyond pathetic and the next four years are going to be a cluster fuck. Sorry (not sorry) but Joe Biden sucks ass. He’s going to make things worse (and NO that doesn’t mean he’s worse than Trump).
  • I wish I had more time for this blog. I wish I could write debunking posts like I used to. I would research the shit out of something and write about it with sources and stuff. It was fun and awesome.

COVID Songs (In Case I Die)

Hahah.

I’m playing the following songs in case I die. I’ll update this blog post to remember me by.

  • Matisyahu – One Day
  • Kodaline – All I Want

Will my memory live on? God I hope not. My miniscule life means nothing.

I know I’m borrowing this from a Kevin Spacey movie but I can’t feel anything but gratitude for every single moment of my stupid little life.


Chances About COVID

Yes, I’m drunk writing this. (Thank God for spell check!)

I’m in Ocean City, Maryland right now. I’ve been looking forward to this time for many many weeks. It’s wonderful.

Am I COVID positive? I don’t know. But I couldn’t tell you that before I came here either.

I’m quarantining for at least two weeks when we get back. I’m wearing a mask always (DUH!) even on the boardwalk. I’m very slow to type but I feel safe at the moment. I want to always be safe.

Being in Ocean City, it’s great but it’s also worrisome. I love hearing the ocean but I worry about COVID.

Just now. Tranquil. It’s necessary. Different change in scenery. I need this. Thank you. I’m grateful I can do this.


Post Pandemic Plans

I’m getting a list together of all the stuff I want to do once this shit is over. I really miss the ability to just go out. I miss my friends. I miss hanging out and having a few beers. I miss driving. I actually miss my commute. This time of year I’m riding my motorcycle to and from work. I miss that. But I actually miss being in the Prius as well. Scary thing.

Anyway, here is a list of stuff I would like to do once the pandemic is over and life becomes normal again:

  • Go to Medieval Times (I seriously think about this everyday)
  • See Arlene in Florida with Becky
  • Go with Arlene to Seattle
  • Go on a cruise with my P.I.C. (Bri Bri)
  • Go to the beach
  • Have our yearly party
  • Go glamping with Heidi
  • Play real life board games with all my board game friends
  • Start up our Friday traditions of going to a bar and playing board games
  • Hang out with Uncle George and have a few beers
  • See my family

New Look & Pandemic Activities

I decided my blogs needed some love. I’m looking at this blog and Syntax Notes. I’m installing new, crisp, clean WP themes on both this blog and Syntax Notes.

We’re also getting out a bit more (a bit). Every week or every other week we seem to do something with someone. We still maintain distance with them and wear masks. It’s nice to actually go places and see people. You need that.

I can’t wait for this bullshit to be over!


Carpet Vs Hardwood

We recently explored the possibility of moving to another house (long story). So, naturally, we started interviewing realtors to sell our current house. Every one of them said rip up the carpet (which is only five years old) and expose the hardwood.

I wasn’t sure what kind of impact that would have on our home as the different levels have been built up for carpet. Not to mention, the title I had put in on the side door. That would have to go.

I also wasn’t sure what kind of shape the hardwood floors were in as I hadn’t seen them before. What if they were crap and needed to be sanded? Ugh. I know what that does to a house (all the dust, disgust from cleaning and sanding hardwood from my dad’s house).

Ripping up the carpet was a non-starter with us. We dismissed it and saying we wouldn’t do it. Apparently, hardwood “shows better.”

I had hardwood when growing up and it was gross. Getting a glass of water in the middle of the night, or going to the bathroom? I’d have to wipe my feet off before I went to bed. Dust, dirt, black on my feet. It was not cool.

My husband and I are big into carpet. I love the feel and the ease of cleaning. It’s just a vacuum. With hardwood floors it’s like swiffering, vacuuming, and cleaning. It’s a pain. Not to mention the dust and hair that settles down on it and get’s blown around. Then you have these areas close to the walls where there’s hair and dust. Ugh.

So, this post was pretty pointless. Just letting people know I’m a carpet person and hardwood sucks!