Monday, May 25, 2015

Sleepover

We had the grandkids overnight this weekend.  They are old enough now to enjoy it - they were a little frightened of being away from home in the past, but there was no fear at all this time around.

We took them to Killer Pizza from Mars for dinner at their request, then back home to read a few of the books that Troy had ordered from school.  It was a very pleasant evening.  I peeked in on them the next morning, and this is how I found them sleeping in the guest bedroom.

Solar Panels Are In!

 After months of research and signing a contract on April 15th, the solar panels we purchased are now installed!  It took two days but will pay off well in the long run.
 We bought a 10.4 kw system which consists of 40 REC 260 kw panels - 15 on the front and 25 on the back.   Our calculations show this should be enough to cover our entire electric bill.
It is harder to see the panels on the back side of the house.  We placed as many as we could on the back side because the sun angle is better.  We should get 92% efficiency out of the back panels and about 72% efficient from the front panels.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Ron's Graduation Weekend

 A barbeque the night before graduation, and Mary's parent's house.  That's Ron at the near end of the table.
 Bright and early the morning of graduation, Ron and his wife Mary preparing to walk into the stadium for graduation.
 Mary, Laura, Ron, David.
 Laura, Ron, me, David.
 David about to watch his brother graduate.
 Ron looking for us in the bleachers.
 Chico State divides the ceremonies across three days.  This day is just for Business and Arts/Humanities graduates.
 Ron is 6 over from the "No Photos" sign, with the purple lei.
 Mary and Martha.
 Dave, Tyler, Malcolm, Mary, Ron, Kathy.
 Malcolm, Tyler, Kathy, Mary, Ron.
 Ron's self'designed hat art.
 Mary and Ron.
 My wife.
 Back at Ron's house, relaxing a bit.
 We had a drink at B Street to celebrate.
Flying home...

Ron's Graduation - Movies

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Our Maserati Ghibli at 1 Year Old

 Our Ghibli turned one year old in March, so I took it in for its one year service.  When they gave it back to me, it absolutely sparkled so I decided to take it out the next morning for a photo shoot.  Here it is very early in the day near our house.
 We still love the Grigio Maratea color and Cuoio interior - it was the right choice for us.  When we tell people we bought a Maserati,  their first reaction is that it will be tempermental as that is the reputation Italians cars have.  That was true it decades past (think Fiat),  but as with all car manufacturers, Maserati has come a long way.  In the 5000 miles we've driven, we haven't had any mechanical issues at all.  The stereo amp did go out during the year, but it was replaced under warranty.
 The car is an absolute joy to drive.  It is by far the smoothest car I've ever owned, so much so it begs to be driven fast.  It is not hard to look down and be going 20 MPH faster than I thought.  And the sound!  Oh the exhaust note is glorious.
 Would I make changes to the car?  Absolutely, no car is perfect.  For one thing, it is harder to shift into the correct gear than it should be.  Finding park, reverse, and drive should take no thought at all, but it does.  It has twin turbos, so there is a tad bit of turbo lag too, something I'm not used to coming from non-turbo V8s.  But other than that, I'm happy with it the way it is.
 Ferrari owns something like 90% of Maserati, and they are both owned by Fiat - not exactly sure how that family tree works but they are making fine products.  Fiat also owns Chrysler, which is important when you consider the engine.  The V6 block is from Chrysler, with the heads and upper end designed by Ferrari and Maserati engineers.  The motor is actually built in the Ferrari factory and shipped over to the Maserati factory for installation in the Ghibli.  Now that's making the best of all available resources - very smart!
 Maintenance is going to be expensive.  The first oil change was $250.  And we hear the tires and brakes will need replacement between 10K and 15K.  But we knew all that going in.  There are some things worth the cost.
 No, that is not our license plate number - I doctored it before posting to the internet.
All in all, we are extremely pleased with our purchase and hope to own this beauty forever.  If she gets tempermental later in life we may change that viewpoint, but if the coming years are like this past year, she's ours forever.

One Sunny Sunday Afternoon

 The grandkids come over every Sunday - here they are one recent Sunday afternoon in our back yard.

Teo.  He starts preschool in three months.
 Troy.  He starts Kindergarten in three months.  He attended "transitional kindergarten" this past year.  Since California monkeyed with the ages for starting kindergarten, more kids were starting their education older than normal, so the San Marcos school district created a 2-year transitional program (sort of like two years of kindergarten) to ensure they weren't behind before they even started.  It has worked out well for Troy - that boy surprises me with what all he knows!
 Troy and Teo.
Teo.

Friday, May 1, 2015