My Blog

Goodbye Old Friend…


My laptop, purchased in October of 2004, is now listed on eBay. This machine is great, but it’s a monster – as heavy as a small desktop computer. It’s time to upgrade. The listing is here:

Old Laptop

This laptop and I have been through a lot together (heck, I’m sitting in bed writing on it right now). It’s a three day auction so I can get this out to the new owner before my next Brasil trip. Plans are to replace it with another Dell laptop, likely an XPS M1330 from the Dell Outlet store. Here’s a link:

New Laptop

Much lighter and more portable, I’ll be able to carry it around. I considered the MacBook13 for a while, but the specs, the price and the dated styling helped convince me to stay with Dell and the PC format. My old laptop is still worth a few bucks, so upgrading won’t be too expensive.

I worked the last three night shifts. Today is my day off. I had planned to sleep later, but construction noise from across the street won’t let me sleep. 9100pix-001.jpg We’re getting some new houses and workers are pouring the concrete for the footings (no basements!). Everything has a back-up alarm (beep, beep…). Great for workplace safety, bad for night shift workers. Hey, it’s my day off anyway – shouldn’t sleep it all away, I guess. I’m a little surprised by the work today – they must be using some very fast setting concrete because we have heavy rains predicted this afternoon into tomorrow.

I was planning on going into work this afternoon for some required training, but I just checked and found that I can do this training on Wednesday while at work (woo hoo!!). I also checked my Google mail and found another poem from Monica 2-001.jpg. She is so cool… I’ll be back home (presently defined as wherever my sweetheart is) in a week. Can’t wait.

Bonnie is laying next to me and her tummy is growling – you can hear it almost across the room. She is a very low-maintenance dog, but she has a sensitive tummy. I’ll have to watch her carefully today. When she has a tummyache, she needs to go out to poop more often. Good thing I’ve got a couple of days off. Yesterday, I made an appointment for her at the groomer. She’s a little ratty-looking.

Tomorrow morning, I have to pick up Kate from the airport – the Navy has graciously agreed to free her up for a few weeks. It will be good to see her again. She’s smart, beautiful and I’m quite proud of her. She will be twenty next week, and will be spending her birthday here.

I was busy this week with work as well as taking care of some important pre-trip stuff. If you’ve read this blog, you’re likely aware that I am in love with the beautiful woman in the picture above. We’re likely going to get married sometime this summer. Monica and I met on the internet (I was typing on this very laptop) almost exactly two years ago. Since then, I have traveled to Brasil monthly (21 times so far) and we are convinced that we are the right people for each other. I have never been so happy.

So, what does a happy guy do? Diamond shopping. I have a little knowledge of diamonds, and I decided early in my search that I would buy the nicest rock that I could, sacrificing size for quality and whiteness. I had”borrowed” a ring that Monica likes to wear on the ring finger of her left hand (the last time I was in Brasil) and walked into a local jeweler with it.

Wow, I felt like a lamb walking into a lion’s den. An almost intimidatingly beautiful young woman immediately walked up and offered to help me. I gave her Monica’s ring and said that I was looking for something similar. In a second, she had dashed behind the counter and had a few rings displayed on those fake finger things. I did like one of the settings, and she then pretty much chose a diamond for me. The 5/8 karat diamond was in a ring already, and I held it up to the light for a second. I noticed that the tag on the ring described the diamond as a SI1. The stone was $2400! I didn’t even see the color grade, but there’s no way I’m going to pay top dollar for a visibly flawed stone.

I looked at a few other stones – all priced high and all with similar flaws – some of them visibly not even white. At some point, I asked the attractive shark saleslady shark.jpg what size Monica’s ring was. She slipped it onto a ring gauge and told me that it was a size seven. This woman was good, she was asking all of the right questions in exactly the right order to get me to buy a diamond right away. It’s nice to be a little older sometimes – you can recognize when you’re being steered by a pushy salesperson. After discovering the ring size, I had no further use for this woman or her overpriced and flawed diamonds, so I politely ended our conversation, explaining that I would need to think about it a bit before making such a large purchase. The look of disappointment on her face almost bothered me (men are genetically wired not to disappoint beautiful women), but I knew that it was all part of the sales act. I left the jewelry store under her disapproving stare to wait for the turnip truck to pass by to take me back to the farm. images.jpg I felt like I needed a shower. What a nasty experience.

So, where do you go after that? Me, I’m off to the laptop. I spent hours looking around on the ‘net, trying to find a stone that wasn’t ridiculously flawed or ridiculously expensive. Can you buy a diamond without looking at it first? You don’t shop at the jeweler’s with a microscope, so there’s got to be some trust involved in any transaction. I found a stone that met my requirements on eBay, of all places. The stone had an EGL certificate and the seller had a solid record of good eBay feedback selling similarly-priced gems. I made the bid (I was the only one) and bought the rock with PayPal. Bonnie, the eBay seller located in Arizona, was very helpful and helped me buy a perfect setting 4dcb_2.jpg . They were both shipped less than 24 hours of my winning bids, and I’ll have a local jeweler (not the shark lady) mate them for me – hopefully before I leave in a week. Yes, I bought an engagement ring on e-Bay. I’m such a geek…..

All for now,







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