Friday, June 25, 2010

...and another one's gone!

We are pleased to once again report that we have paid off yet another debt! This one belonged to a real estate course Ben took a few years ago. The information learned was quite valuable--as the cost was expensive--but we are happy to kick this debt to the curb!

To date, since we've been ahead enough to pay off our debt (roughly February of this year), we've paid off close to $14,000, some of which was taxes due. The bulk, though, of our payoffs, has come since we switched trucking companies and saw the huge increase in pay. We feel so blessed and fortunate to have been hired on with the new company, making our goal of being debt-free closer. Our next debt will be taken care of within 3 weeks!

Present location: somewhere in western Iowa, on our way to the Denver area
Mileage this week: 6571 (a GREAT week!)

I'll try to give another update in the next few days about our visit with fellow truck school alum Russ, our exercise endeavors, and more terminal visits (we have been impressed!). Until then, have a beautiful Friday and weekend!

God bless you,
deb

P.S. A HUGE shout-out and thank you to Jennifer, for designing the header of our blog. We love it! Check her out at doxologydesign.com !!

Monday, June 21, 2010

A Beautiful Day in Portland, OR

Last week on Sunday, June 13, Ben and I had a "free day" in Portland. We were parked at a truck stop right next to a bus stop for the city transit system. We inquired to one bus driver how much an all-day pass would cost, and he gave us a deal for $5 total for the both of us! Off we went into downtown...

Our first stop was Pioneer Square, to check out the Visitor's Center and plan our day. We then took the Max to the Portland Zoo, which proceeded to give us so much joy--watching the otters and the polar bears was worth the admission price! Here are some photos of the zoo animals:

Bobcat:

Hippopotamus:

Black Bear:

Polar Bear:

Bald Eagles:

Check out our little video of the polar bear having fun with his "toy", a plastic bin with a hole torn in it (caution, it is quite loud):

video


Next was a visit to Old Town, the haunted pizza joint near Chinatown.

We also visited the Rose Test Garden, a place where 10,000 blooms can be seen and smelled, where hybrids reign and a "Rose Queen" is crowned every year. We were a week past the peak of the blooms, but they were still so beautiful and fragrant!


Then we took a walk along the river, where the Rose Festival was finishing up its weeklong celebration. A stop at somebody's #1 on a top ten list of Irish pubs (Kell's Irish Restaurant) was our last escapade before heading back to the truck stop. A full--and extremely fun--day! Portland isn't always this beautiful with great weather, so we really lucked out!


We look forward to the next time we'll have another "free day" in Portland, but if the weather is crummy, we'll just head to Powell Books then (as the gentleman at the Visitor's Center said, "It's like Barnes & Noble, on steroids).



Right now we're at one of the terminals near Chicago. We've had a great week of miles, but I don't know exactly how many as I write this post. From here, we're heading to eastern Pennsylvania, and from there? Who knows! They keep us busy, and we're loving it--goodbye, debt! We're going to kick another credit card to the curb by the end of next week!

Have a great week, everyone! God bless you!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Our Rig

After transferring to our new company over a month ago, here is finally a picture of our "new" rig:



It is a 2008 Freightliner Cascadia with 260,000+ miles on it. We've put on close to 30,000 since we started at the end of April. She's squeaky-clean in this picture, as we just pulled out of the truck wash!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Mile Marker 48

It has been seven years since Dad died. Several times now, I've driven past that crick-bed on I-44 in Missouri where his soul left this world. Sitting in my Bible, I still have a Father's Day card, signed but unsent. I still miss him.

I had hopes of writing up some elaborate tribute to my Dad, but sometimes the grief is still too much, sneaking up on me in waves of emotion. So instead, I just ask that today you say a prayer for his soul, and for my family.


May God bless you and yours abundantly,
deb

Friday, June 4, 2010

Another One Bites The Dust!

We are happy to report that we have paid off yet another debt...this one was a while in the making because taxes this year set us back a bit, but we are another one down! This time we paid off the car; the VW Jetta is now ours, not the banks! It will be nice to not have that extra $200+ payment each month--that money will now go to our next smallest debt, which we should get paid off within 3 weeks or so, depending on how good our mileage is. We're getting closer to our goal of being debt-free, one debt at a time!

Present location: San Jose, CA (to Tempe, AZ to Memphis, TN)...it is 84 degrees here!
Miles this week: this load will have us at 2780 miles by Monday morning

Have a great weekend, everyone!

God bless,
deb & ben

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Movie Madness

To pass the time when we're on a layover, we enjoy watching movies. Purchasing our laptop was a huge contributing factor to viewing, and we've made our fair share of purchases from Blockbuster's $2 movie selection. Here's a review of the movies we've watched over the past 4 months, in no particular order (we learned pretty quickly that $2 movie generally means that the movie stinks).

Revolutionary Road: Kate Winslet, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Kathy Bates reunite from their Titanic days in this book-turned-movie. Great acting. The story revolves around a young couple who consider themselves to be extraordinary and beyond the ho-hum of daily work and life in the suburbs with a father who hates his job and opposes the conformity to the settled American life. The wife convinces the husband to return to the enthusiasm of their younger years and move to Paris, which gives them fleeting moments of unrecounted happiness. All hope of this new adventure comes to a quick halt when the wife discovers she is pregnant with their third child. The husband decides to take a promotion at work and stay in the states, while the wife desperately seeks out ways for them to return to the enthusiasm of their plan to move, which includes a self-induced abortion which culminates in the taking of her own life as well.

The Life Aquatic: This movie is steeped in European humor. Unless one is a fan, we do not recommend it. Great cast, though.

The Memory Keeper's Daughter: The book was great, the movie, notsomuch. It exhibited a low budget and tight schedule (and apparently was a Lifetime movie). If you're interested, just read the book. Trust me.

The Devil's Tomb: Cuba Gooding Jr. stars in one of the biggest wastes of time. It's remarkable just how bad a movie can be. He needs a new agent.

Dan in Real Life: This is one of the better movies we've seen in a long time. Dan is an advice columnist who is still coping with the recent loss of his beloved wife, while he continues to raise their three daughters. The movie centers around an extended family get-together weekend. One of his brothers brings his new girlfriend over to meet the family, and Dan finds himself strongly attracted to her, bringing about many funny and awkward situations, which will tug at your heartstrings. This movie is an emotional rollercoaster, with a heartwarming ending.

Lies and Illusions: Christian Slater and Cuba Gooding Jr. star in this movie, which started out very serious and captivating in the first 10 minutes. It didn't take long, then, for it to take a dive south. We both feel that halfway through the movie, the director decided it was a joke to film it, and then they improvised the rest of the film, sprinting to the finish. Christian Slater needs a new agent too.

The Life Before Her Eyes: This is a fairly good movie, opening up with two teenage girls primping in the bathroom before class, when suddenly, gunfire shots are heard throughout the school as a disgruntled classmate is taking his frustration out on the school. The scene ends with the young man barging into the girls' restroom, looking for someone to shoot. The movie then jumps forward so many years, depicting the aftermath of the shooting in the life of one of the young women. As the movie jumps back and forth between present-day reality and the day of the shooting, and with it unclear as to what took place in the girls' restroom, this movie is filled with suspense and twists in the plot.

Lakeview Terrace: This movie is about a black workaholic police officer who sought to provide everything for his family, while not realizing that in doing so, he drove his wife and children away from him. Consequently, his wife had an affair, and was accidentally killed in a traffic accident with her lover, who happened to be white. This brings about deep racial prejudice against white men who are married to black women. With his new neighbors happening to be such a couple, this movie focuses on the tensions therein.

Crossing Over: This is an intriguing portrayal of the trials and tribulations both legal and illegal immigrants go through as they seek to work and obtain citizenship in the United States. The movie is interesting but filled with lots of nudity and foul language. The great cast includes Harrison Ford, Ashley Judd, and Ray Liotta.

Valkyrie: This movie is the retelling of the last assassination attempt on Adolf Hitler. It is fairly suspenseful and well-acted.

Meet the Browns: This Tyler Perry film highlights the struggles of a single mother providing for her three children with limited income and resources. What is refreshing about the movie is the the mother's care for her children and the responsibility she takes upon herself to be the best she can be for them.

Meet the Fockers: An excellent sequel to Meet the Parents, with as much gut-busting laughter as the first.

The Unsaid: Andy Garcia stars as a psychologist who lost his teenage son to suicide. Years after his loss, a former psychology student requests his help for aiding a young man similar to his son (at least in physical characteristics). The story is a race against time as the psychologist must put aside his own feelings of inadequacy about his son's suicide in order to uncover the truth about the young man's past before he acts out dangerously. The plot has plenty of twists to keep you at the edge of your seat to the end.

Zodiac: This movie tells the true tale of the San Francisco area killings in the mid-1960's that spawned a nationwide manhunt for the killer. It also focuses on a journalist's obsession to discover the killer's identity.


Present location: at home in Bend, OR
Mileage this week: 8 miles (hiking/running)

Happy 19th Birthday to Sarah!

Have a great week, and God bless!

Peace,
deb & Ben