by: Matt Simerson
Sunday 28 Nov 21


Dec 26, 2002: Merry Christmas everyone! Jen and I spent Christmas with my mom and sister Sharolyn's family, having an enjoyable evening until the bug that I had picked up a few days prior decided to kick my butt up one side and down the other. Between the fever, full body ache, and raw throat, I felt like I had been run over by a truck. After 12 fitful hours of sleep and some time well spent in the Jacuzzi tub working them sore muscles, I feel like I'm over the hump.

Here's a panoramic photo of Mike Surls new house in Marshall, MI:

Dec 20, 2002: Holy moly batman! Interland paid out bonuses. We achieved EBITDA positive for Nov 2002 and the company chose to pay out bonuses based on that, despite falling short of the stated bonus requirements. In other words, they gave us an unexpected Christmas surprise. Cool.

We leave Atlanta tonight, Michigan and snow-ward bound. Here's a picture of Mrs. Smiley with her new ring. Click for a larger photo.

Dec 15, 2002: We'll be leaving Atlanta on either Friday night or Saturday morning, heading up to Michigan thru the new year. We'll be praying for lots of snow in Michigan. All our ski gear lives up there.

Dec 15, 2002: It was a big weekend for Jen. On Friday Jen spend the day shopping with friends. Later that night, it was a candle light dinner for two. After dinner a man on bended knee presented a ruby & diamond ring, much like the one resting peacefully under the Atlantic ocean. Jen cried. :-) After dinner the candle lit party moved elsewhere and finally concluded with breakfast served in bed; and they both lived happily ever after.

Nov 25, 2002: That turkey will get you every time:

Nov 22, 2002: Looking for Christmas gift recommendations? If it's in your price range, there's no finer gift than an Apple iPod. I purchased Jen on for her birthday last year and then finally had to buy one for myself. I have our entire combined music collection in the palm of my hand. That totals 2796 songs representing 13 days worth of music. All that uses 12 of the 20GB my iPod can carry.

What's so truly great about the iPod? Besides have fantastic quality, and the convenience of never digging through my CD's again, I have really enjoyed my subscription. For $15/mo I get to download (and keep) 2 audible books each month. I can then listen to them in the car, on the MARTA, walking to work, or even sitting in the dentists office. Anywhere I happen to be, I just hit play and I'm back in my book. I can play the books in my iPod or laptop while on the go, via the car stereo with cassette adapter, or in my computer at work or home. Very very cool.

Nov 19, 2002:This weeks Book Recommendation: Journey of Desire by John Eldridge. If you've caught yourself digging around under the car seats looking for the desires you once had, you need to read this book. The illustrations John uses to paint the slow gradual growth of apathy and contentedness in our lives and the choking effect it has on our desire is insightful. It will awaken you to parts of your being you've long since forgotten. I highly recommend it.

He has another excellent book I've read recently, Wild at Heart. It too is a wonderful book but it speaks best to those whose spirit that's yearns to live wild and free. I can't imagine life any other way.

Nov 14, 2002:Jen re-discovered the reason you don't mix bubble bath and a jacuzzi tub. "Oh no, oh no, there's too many bubbles! They're running over!"

Nov 12, 2002:Absence really does make the heart grow fonder. Jen flew to Seattle for a week, immediately after returning from Key West. We really missed each other and are quite fond of being within arms reach of the other. :-)

Nov 8, 2002:Woohoo, I'm currently the highest bidder on a 12000 Pound Thrust Rocket Engine. Just image what me, that engine, and a parachute could do!

Nov 5, 2002:Key West is Fantastic! We had a party of seven (Matt, Jen, Martha, Keith, Jason, Mishael, & Phil) that went down to Key West this last weekend. We pulled out of Atlanta at 8pm and arrived in Key West around 8AM on Friday morning. Friday we checked into our private home in the Key West Golf Club and were delighted to find our selection was far better than we had expected.

After arriving we all took a well deserved siesta and then cruised into town, booked our boat for SCUBA diving and snorkeling for Saturday, and then did some shopping and touring downtown before having dinner at the Half Shell. Saturday we got up late, made a leisurely breakfast and then went out diving. We were feeling really blessed after arriving at our boat to find we had an entire chartered boat to ourselves. We finished the day with a stack of T-bone steaks and relaxing in our hot tub.

Sunday we drove up to Bahia Honda beach and played beach bums for a few hours before heading back into town for dinner, a walk on the gold course, getting primitive on some coconuts, and then preparing our feast of shrimp, hogfish, margaritas, pina coladas, and grilled vegetables. Our perfect vacation got interrupted by the loss of Jen's wedding ring. We deduced that it came off in the Ocean. :-(

Monday we packed up, called a million rental companies in a vain search for an underwater metal detector. We finally bought a couple Radio Shack metal detectors and engineered them for underwater use and went back to the beach and spent a few hours attempting to find Jen's ring. We finally gave up and headed home, arriving around 3:30am.

Oct 30, 2002: Tomorrow, the Key West party leaves port and voyages down I-75 and doesn't end until we arrive in Key West. To say I'm looking forward to spending a few days at the beach and playing in the Ocean would not even partially convey the desire and anticipation that's pulsing through my veins.

Oct 23, 2002: Quote of the Day: "Everything seems new to those who are ignorant of history." -- Dr. Rick Warren

Oct 14, 2002: Now that we've figured out how to keep the chemicals in the pool balanced, we've got to deal with the Oak tree that fills it with leaves and acorns. Having a pool is nice but it's a lot of work.

Jen and I finally ate at a Waffle House over the weekend. We've also started taking dance lessons as well. Right now we're learning the waltz, then we'll be on to learning some salsa or swing. It's fun and it fills Jen with warm fuzzies. There's something to be said for that.

Sep 30, 2002: The pool is blue. I've learned a lot about pool maintenance. In short, there's lots to it. After cleaning the pool filter (not fun) and adding about 15 times the normal amount of chlorine, all the algae is dead, the filter is clean, the water is blue, and in another day, the chlorine levels will be back down and ready to swim in.

Sep 23, 2002: The pool is green, we're working on that.

Sep 15, 2002: We're moved into our new house! There's no running water yet (makes Jen very happy!) despite paying extra for the convenience of same day hookup but all else is working. Hey, the most important part works, my cable Internet. AT&T is really on top of things for me.

Special thanks to our crew that made our moving day experience a complete success: Andy and Erin Witcher, Matt Baldwin and Katie Miles, Phil Tang and Jason Noble, Jason Ramke, and Thomas and Jenna Loving. Thomas and Jenna arrived as Matt & Katie left so we had a crew of 9 working the entire time. It only took two loads in our 24' Ryder truck.

Give us a few days to unpack and we'll be announcing the House Warming/Pool party.

Sep 12, 2002: Jen and I are moving Saturday. Our new address is on our personal page. The new house has a pool. That'll be fun for the next couple months. :-)

Sep 1, 2002:Today I made bread. No special machines were involved, just a Kitchenaid mixer, flour, sugar, yeast, water, and salt.

I've been learning how to make bread for a couple weeks now. This is my fourth loaf, and the first one that I'm really pleased with. It's excellent bread, with nice crispy crust, good rich flavor, and it passed the "yummy" test, one loaf and part of the second devoured with dinner. Where would I be without my good friend and chef Gordon? Thanks G-man.

Aug 28, 2002: Showhomes just informed Jen and I that we need to move out of our house by Sept. 17th and take up residence in a new showhome. We were hoping this house would last another few months. So, I've been getting a little more aggressive with my eBay auction.

Aug 13, 2002:eBay has been treating me well. I've already pulled in over $1,000 by selling stuff that I've been toting around for too long. Now I walk around the house, looking for more stuff to sell. It's addictive, it's cleansing, and it's funding my new iMac an iPod. I like eBay!

Jul 30, 2002:Jen and I drove North to Michigan for the Simerson families 2002 Reunion. We had a good time socializing with the family and then visiting some old friends before spending another 14 hours driving home.

Jul 24, 2002:Jen's wedding dress meets eBay. I also am selling a few other things on eBay.

Jul 19, 2002: I'm selling a complete computer system.

Jul 10, 2002: I shaved my head.

The Jetta got a new timing belt for it's 40,000 mile birthday.

Jen, myself, and a couple buddies from work (Jason & Phil) met Mary, Melissa, and Ruben in New Orleans for the July 4th weekend.

Jun 21, 2002:I've been out Mt. Biking a couple times lately. The Chattahoochee National Forest has quite a few trails that aren't too far from here. I've been riding with Eric, a buddy from church. I pretty much forgot just how much fun riding is. I'm glad I'm getting back out, it's something fun to do down here. It's rather sad but for me, the highlight of Atlanta is the church that Jen and I found. Other than the people we're getting to know, it's the only thing we'll miss about Atlanta.

Jun 15, 2002:Pictures of my dad's wedding and Nathan Dewey's wedding have been uploaded.

Jun 13, 2002:The wedding photo's have been cleaned up a bunch and updated. They live in the wedding site under photos link. There's also a new section in my outdoors section to my scuba diving page.

Jun 10, 2002: Ahh, home sweet home. We're not safely back home in Atlanta. The wedding photo's are all online now, including pictures of the honeymoon and some really cool underwater pictures taken by a fellow we were diving with.

Jun 06, 2002: We are now flying home. I'm writing this at 35,000 feet, and I really like my laptop. :-) We're flying a little late, after waiting a half hour for our crew to show up but still have plenty of time to make our connections back to Grand Rapids.

After a brief overnight stay in Cadillac, we're off to Madison WI for Nathan's wedding before heading South to Atlanta. Then, I'll have to go back and remember what it's like to work.

Jun 02, 2002: The honeymoon is progressing quite well. We had a perfect series of flights from Grand Rapids to Chicago to San Jaun to Bonaire. In Bonaire, AB Car Rental was waiting at the airport with a sign for us. We got our little Toyota pickup truck and drove to our little condo, less than a mile away.

Were this not our honeymoon, a party of four would be ideal for this excursion. Our little truck seats four, we can carry four tanks, our condo has two more single beds in another room. :-) Our condo is on the ocean, which down here is the norm. The island is a large boomerang shape and consequently has lots of ocean frontage.

We are both surprised at how arid this island is. There are quite a few areas (along the ocean) that are lush and "tropical" but most of the island is dry and arid, featuring cactus and wild donkeys roaming the countryside. The diving is fantastic. There's dozens of shore dives (drive there, wade out, and go down) and even more boat dives.

We've got a package that includes 1 boat dive per day so we've been going out on 1 shore dive and one boat dive each day. That's enough to make me sleep very well at night.

May 28, 2002:Wedding Photo's are online!

May 27, 2002: It's official! Jen and I are now married. Pictures will make their way onto the site very soon. Stay tuned for honeymoon pictures as well. :-)

May 23, 2002: It's Thursday, only one day left of life as I've come to know it, as a single man. I'm getting more excited now that the big day is finally getting close. It's been a long time in the waiting. So, where is that honeymoon at?

May 13, 2002: There's a few pictures online of the "serves 40" batch of Tuna Noodle Casserole.

I also have a few pictures of Jen, Jason, Phil, and I on our SCUBA trip this last weekend to Pensacola Florida. Jen and Jason got refresher courses and Phil and I got our Open Water Diver certifications.

April 25, 2002: The wedding invitations are sent out and many have already received theirs. We've already had a bunch of online rsvp's arrive.

April 7, 2002: The Wedding Date is Official! Write it on your calendar, etch it in stone, do whatever it takes but let it be known. We were planning for the fall so now we're cranking into high gear. Check out our Wedding Site and pass along any tidbits that we can use to improve it.

March 23rd, 2002 Michigan Trip: We'll be heading up to Michigan to begin making wedding arrangements ever a 4 day weekend. Who knows, maybe we'll have a location selected and a date nailed down after that trip.

Mar 17, 2002: I'm in a need of a few "virtual" servers around the country for a project I'm working on. If you've got a server sitting around with a spare IP on it, I'd love to get access to it. All I need is an Apache virtual host and the ability to serve DNS on port 53 of that spare IP. Setup will require root (I'll let you know exactly what I need) but thereafter I only need a standard login and SSH. Traffic will be very light.

Mar 04, 2002: Well, March just stormed right in and brought some pretty frigid temps with it. Good 'ol Mr. More Bravado than Brains did in fact notice the snowflakes falling before exiting the garage on the Mt. Bike. Did that stop our courageous hero from riding to work in shorts, t-shirt, and a wind shell? Not a chance! Two miles, one pair of numb feet, and some very cold ears later I arrived at work. A lady in the elevator comments, "I admire you". I retorted, "Don't, it was a bad decision!"

Michigan Trip: We'll be heading up to Michigan to begin making wedding arrangements on the weekend of March 23/24th. Who knows, maybe we'll have a location selected and a date nailed down after that trip.

Feb 21, 2002: By now most of our friends and family know that Jen and I are planning to get Married. On Feb 14th, Valentines Day we became "officially" engaged. The wedding will take place in Michigan but we're not exactly sure where yet.

Feb 8, 2002:My Bellevue house is sold. The closing moved up a few days and I'm already cashed out.

Jan 21, 2002: Another answered prayer! My home in Bellevue Washington is under contract. That means the right buyer for my house has found it and is going to be it's new owner. It's a bittersweet victory. On one hand I'll probably want to go back to the Puget Sound area to live and having a house there would make that easier. However, right now having an additional mortgage there on top of rent here in Atlanta is a bit of a financial burden. The close date is Feb 14th.

Jan 20, 2002: I took some panoramic pictures of the Show Home that Jen and I are living in. Here is a floor plan with links to photos.

Jan 5, 2002: Hotlanta huh?

Atlanta went from being nice and warm (60-70) in December to downright cold in January and still hasn't recovered. Brrr.