Friday, August 26, 2011

Getting Married Tomorrow!

The big day is almost here! The weather in Puerto Rico is as expected, no remnants of Irene. The power has been on at the hotel since Wednesday night, so the guests were not inconvenienced at all. The destination wedding continues to reinforce itself as the way to go:

Wednesday evening, the 5 guests, LL and I went to dinner together at Cafe Puerto Rico, which sounds like it would be lame but they have awesome food. It's really a must if you hit Old San Juan. Before we were seated, we went to Aqua Viva and visited the bartender, Mikey, who took care of us in May when we visited. He made great drinks again and gave us some free calamari appetizers. Can't beat Mikey!

Thursday about half the guests arrived in the afternoon and 30 of us went to dinner at Barachina, one of the few places where 30 people wouldn't fill the entire restaurant. They also claim to be home to the pina coloda, that may be true or not, but they make an awesome one!! It was great to just hang out with everyone and visit and catch up. Afterwards, we continued hanging out at the hotel in an open air area near the honor bar. Around 11:30 we called it a night as many folks had been traveling that day.

Today a group of 12 of us went to breakfast at Bonbonerra. They serve an egg, bacon and cheese sandwich on a grilled Mallorca roll that is unbelievable. Rachel Ray and Andrew Zimmerman both have given it a big thumbs up. Another must eat place.

A bunch of the gals went to get a mani-pedi and are happily catching up I'm sure.

So instead of just spending a few minutes with each of the guests, we've already had 2 or 3 meals with many of them and drinks with just about everyone. THAT'S what we were hoping our wedding weekend would be like!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Still Alive!!

Where to start? First, it's all good. We're wet, but that's about it.

We left O'Hare Monday morning at 8:00 as scheduled and little did we know that the airport in San Juan wouldn't even open for 3 hours!!! The flight is a little over 4 hours, so they must have known or at least been pretty damn sure that the airport was going to open when we took off. The ride was smooth until we had to descend through the clouds for our landing when it got a little choppy until we cleared the clouds.

We met our driver for the week, James, who is as responsive a guy as you could hope for in a cabby. Unfortunately when we got to our hotel we found that there was no power in the rooms, just the common areas and one kitchen all of which was being supported by a generator. Then the kitchen closed until 6, still 3 hours a way, and we were starving. The only two restaurants with power in Old San Juan? Wendy's and Subway....and we LOVE Wendy's (I used to work there, but that's a story for another time).

Our cell phones had sporadic reception at best...mostly no reception actually, so we had to go to the end of the street over looking the bay to get even periodic coverage. It's kind of funny to picture: LL and I on the top of an old fort wall, holding an umbrella and our cell phones, either texting or emailing or talking and then the signal dropping and we would have to wait to pick it up again. Pretty crazy, but a little funny.

The night in a powerless room was fine for me because I had some booze, Benadryl and earplugs. LL didn't use either of the latter, so she had some trouble sleeping. Then the phone, which was a cordless but whose battery would get charged by the station, started running low on power and started beeping. I couldn't hear it but it was driving her crazy. She couldn't determine where the beeping was coming from so she tried to call the front desk and then realized it was the phone itself! She took it, wrapped it in a towel and put it in a closet. Ha! It worked though.

With the prospect of another warm night and not being in touch with civilization, we got credit for a night at our hotel and went to a Marriott not to far away (20 minutes) which has power. A/C, computers (which I'm on now), cell reception, and television....not to mention a casino. Very nice.

So that's my update. Our trip to get the license has been delayed until tomorrow because the demographics office is without power. Everything else will be alright though as long as the power comes back on in short order. We really just want it back on for our guests!!!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Six Days and Counting

Only six more days to the wedding and most of the planning is done. Of course that does not mean there are not things to be concerned over! First and foremost is Irene. If you're not up on the weather, tropical storm Irene may be upgraded to a hurricane and is going to go just south of Puerto Rico tomorrow morning.....just after our flight is supposed to depart from Chicago. Ugh. Will they update the departure status or anything before we leave the house? Probably not. Could be a long day of traveling. Oh yeah, the weather service is preparing to upgrade Irene from a tropical storm to a hurricane. Excellent. Hey, better now than on the weekend right?

Quotes are coming in on the drywall reconstruction and the carpet replacement. It looks like we'll use the same guys we used before on the carpeting and the drywall is still up in the air. After we get back from the honeymoon, LL is home for about a week and then goes to Hong Kong, so I'm hoping I can have everything back in place by the time she gets back from that trip. Seems doable.

Ok, back to packing! I hope to catch up on blogs while I'm down in PR!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Golf Equals Less Stress

Earlier this week it was getting pretty stressful around the house, but we entered a trough and have rebounded strongly having had lunch together yesterday and then picking up our wedding rings. All seemed good again, though we're both a bit tired.

Today I went golfing with Jumpin' Joe DeMarco who is joining us in Puerto Rico and doing a reading at the ceremony. He's part of a group that are small business advocates and everyone is really into networking and doing things like remembering each other's names and stuff. Yeah, that's not really my bag. I know what I'm good at and what I'm not good at. Networking, like that at least, and remembering names from people I see every 6 months or so is not my forte. Golf was fun though, even though I played pretty poorly most of the day.

So tomorrow (Friday) morning, I'm driving 4 1/2 hours up north to golf and celebrate the bachelorhood of my fellow Bears fan, Doug Jr. Because we leave on Monday though, I'm only staying over night and coming back home Saturday morning. Another Bears fan, Gar (pronounced like the fish), is driving up with me. Normally I'm not a big fan of driving with people other than LL, but this should be fun. See you on the other side!!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Plans coming together

Have to admit, getting a little stressed out with wedding planning and tension is running above....well, I guess tension exists where it normally doesn't around the house. Cleansing breaths and one day at a time. Plus maybe some sleep for us both would be good. Sleep cures all ills.

In addition, with the basement still torn up (but I received a promising quote finally!) and the wifi not working, it seems like there's everything is out of sorts. My bachelor party weekend last weekend probably didn't help that feeling, but what can you do?

Thursday I have a fund raiser golf outing with my buddy Joe D. who is coming to the wedding. I went to Joe's wedding in Sarasota back in 2007 and had a good time. It's probably what made me suggest the idea to LL (who already had her own positive thoughts about them). Anyway, after Thursday, I'm probably going to a bachelor party for one of my Bear's fans which is about 4 1/2 hours north in Arkdale, WI. Good Lord that's a long trip. I'll come back Saturday morning though so it's just an over-nighter. Then packing and such for the wedding!! Busy, busy, busy!!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Computer back up and running

Hello all!!

After much ado and a basic wiping of my computer, it's back up and running. A ton of things have been going on over the last week, but I'll only be able to hit the highlights as time is precious.

It looks like the guest count for our wedding in San Juan will be 71, a very nice turnout!! Lots of stuff to still organize, but nothing we can't handle.

We've been receiving a lot of gifts from our wonderful friends and relatives and the owners of our local sushi restaurant. That's right, from our favorite sushi place! The owners are the waitress and chef and the space is not big, so we talk to them whenever we go and have a good time. In fact, the chef is also a golfer so we may go golfing after the wedding. It pays to stop and talk to people some times and even pay them a compliment.

Let me elaborate on that last point. We have several sushi restaurants around us and several choices that are BYOB. One place, Kanok, is where we decided to go for the quality of the food. The service was always suspect though. I mean it was "fine", but the waitress seemed to never be happy or smile or warm AT ALL. Then Roll-a-Palooza opened up, so we tried it. Minnie is the Korean waitress/owner and she's just a treat: smiling, happy, warm, friendly and always ready to offer a suggestion or her opinion on a dish if you're not sure what to get. So when we came back for the second time and had the same experience, I told her, "We used to go to another place, but we came back here SPECIFICALLY because you're so nice." The food is at least comparable to the other place if not better, but it's also a little more expensive. Minnie couldn't have been more gracious about receiving the compliment and beams every time we show up now. After our last visit, she asked where we were registered and sent us a very nice gift. But the best part is that we have very cool business owners right down the street with whom we enjoy hanging out and having a meal.

No progress on the flooded basement yet as I'm obtaining dry walling quotes and will probably have the work done after we get back from the honeymoon. We have received our insurance checks from both my personal insurance company and the building's insurance company, so the money is there to get everything replaced once we start. It'll be nice to have a downstairs again!!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Computer hostage day 5/week 3

The virus my computer got is apparently something fairly virulent as they've had my computer for five days and have been working on it for three. They called me today and said they still need two more days....crap!!!

My wireless isn't working, but I'm going to try to address that problem either right after this entry or tomorrow. I was waiting to get my desktop computer back, but LL needs it to work at home so I'm going to try and getting it running and then see what happens when the computer is fixed.

Have you ever gone out for fondue? Last year I got a $100 gift certificate to a fondue restaurant here called Gejas (gay-hoz) and it expires this month, so LL and I decided to take my neighbors (who were also flooded) out for the night (after Ricardo screwed up our plans to go with him and Jodi). This place was very expensive!! It was $45-$52 per person for salad, some fruit and bread to dip in cheese and entrees of meat/shrimp/scallops/chicken and veggies to cook in oil and then some fruit and such to dip in chocolate. It's not that much food and you do all the cooking! Many, many better options in the city for food than this place. And the service was brutal. They were very attentive, but they kept trying to serve all four of us from over one person's shoulder and reaching across the table instead of walking around. Anytime they brought something or took it away (which was constantly!) a waiter was reaching in front of you. I hate that.

At the end of the meal I went to get the certificate out of the envelope in which I received it, and it wasn't there. Ugh. I had taken it out to "make sure" I didn't forget it. So I had to leave LL with our neighbors and dive home to get it and drive back. Fortunately the restaurant is only about 10 minutes away.

Thus came to an end what should have been a much nicer meal and evening which I guess is a fitting cap to a particularly frustrating week.

Monday, August 08, 2011

Where the hell have I been??

I've been right here, honest. Last week was really busy with softball on Sunday night, Monday night and Wednesday night, golf Thursday night and then computer failure starting Friday. Actually I just got tired of having to delete a file every 15 minutes or so. The computer has been in the shop getting debugged since Friday and I should be able to get it tomorrow morning. I hate FIFA!!!!

So I've been working on my laptop, which isn't bad, but it doesn't have the capacity of my desktop computer. Plus I spent the better part of Saturday and Sunday trying to get the wireless router to talk to the DSL modem after an electrician cut power for a minute. Ugh. That took 5-6 calls around the world....not fun. So here I am with a lame post because it's all I can do really. Hopefully things will get better this week!!

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Still fighting a computer virus....sort of

Something is screwing up my computer and taking over all the available CPU usage and turns the computer into basically a dead machine. To counteract it, I have to keep the task manager bar up and when the CPU usage gets to high, I have to find the svchost.exe file that is eating up the memory and terminate it. Even when it's using 100% of the memory, I can still click a file or something every 30 seconds or so. When I kill the file, it's like starting the clock all over again. Very frustrating. It does buy me some time to use the computer though, which is key now as everything is kind of nuts with the final planning for the wedding and the flood and turbulent weather.

On the insurance front, my carrier is coming through like a champ by paying me more than the current estimate by the reconstruction company. The reconstruction company is probably higher than they should be too, so I'm considering having someone less expensive come in and do the work. It's basically dry wall work and painting and then I can have the same carpet people that installed the carpeting originally, do the job again. The savings could be thousands of dollars, so it's something I seriously contemplating.

Hope to be blogging regularly soon....he wrote as a thunder claps in the background after yet another storm rolled through dumping crap loads of water on us again!