A somewhat disconnected and very enjoyable Christmas!

I didn’t get online much over the Christmas break, and for good reason. I was enjoying (as well as cursing at) the joys of home ownership (as well as celebrating the holidays).

Earlier last week, I started taping off most of the office. After we finished our Christmas shopping, we stocked up on supplies we needed for projects over the long weekend. The office is a light blue, and the living room / dining room/ halls will be an off-white color. After everything was prepped, it was time to ‘sign off’ and get to work.

After working half-day on Wednesday, we started moving a few items that were no longer needed from the office to other parts of the house. I was able to put up a coat of primer, mainly to give me a standard surface to paint on rather than the mix of thin lime-green paint over what used to be a pink room (note: this is the one room we did not touch when moving in). That night we went to go visit my dad’s side of the family for Christmas dinner and a gift exchange. We didn’t stay long, but it was nice to catch up with parts of the family, as well as to learn more about my cousins baby (who was born that morning!)

Deborah is still a little kid at heart on Christmas, so we usually get up rather early (that, and we are just so used to getting up at 7AM or earlier now, its hard to sleep in). After relaxing until 8, we exchanged our gifts. My wife (being the awesome one she is) gave me some cool new things:

  • Left4Dead (for the 360) and LittleBigPlannet (for the PS3)
  • Cocoa programing for Mac OS X – what I hear to be one of the best resources for learning Cocoa
  • Strut Tower Brace for my car – helps reduce body-roll in unibody cars. The SE-R’s have them, and her Stratus had one from the factory as well.
  • A Massage gift card – since im an old man (or at least feel like one), I get to relax for an hour and try to feel better!

Afterwords, there was a whirlwind of visits throughout the day, with the hopes of at least getting one coat of paint up. After going to her moms for breakfast, and then visiting my parents, we came home to cut-in and do the first coat of paint. This was able to dry while we went to my moms large Christmas dinner, and see quite a few faces we only see a few times a year. Friday we drove to Suffolk, VA to visit a close friend and her family, as well as do some shopping in Norfolk to just get out of town.

Since part of Saturday was pretty nice, we decided to get outside and start cleaning up the yard. But after the ‘perfect storm of events’ – tall grass, to much wind, and surprisingly little amounts of leaves to actually pick up, I just cut the front yard and called it quits. I usually love yardwork, but leaves are the one thing that really kills me. The weekend was already coming to an end, and I had yet to really get a chance to relax (or to finish the room).

Sunday was that day. I started painting the rest of the office, but ignored the ceiling and touch-ups (they will come when we move everything back out in 3 or so weeks). After playing some video games for a while, we put things back together in the office, and I also setup a new wireless router and redid part of our network.

During this entire time, I really never sat on the computer to check my feeds, respond to many emails, or see whats up on Facebook. The only time I actually really used the computer was to stream music while working. Though, I wasn’t fully disconnected, I obviously had my phone on me the entire time. I was able to respond to emails, check prices, chat with friends, and keep in touch like normal. This really attests to the iPhone’s versatility, and how useful a product like it can actually be. In some ways, the simplistic phone interface actually made tasks much easier than it would have been using a computer.

All in all it was  a great holiday. I have the office back to normal (somewhat) and ready to start on the next task (which is, in short, repaiting a large portion of the house, moving everything we own into 2 rooms, and tearing up carpet!).


Lumpkin Family Reunion

Last weekend, Deb’s and I went to King and Queen Co. with my dad and other family members for the 60th annual family reunion. It was held at Upper King and Queen Co Baptist Church, and the second one I have ever been to. The actual reunion was a dud – we didn’t know a soul there other than close family – but some decent food!

This church itself was quite interesting. The church was built in sometime in the late 1700’s or early 1800’s, but existed in the 1770’s. We walked around the core of the sanctuary, and I took a few pictures. Its only about 45 minutes from Richmond, and wasn’t to hard to find either. While I didn’t remember it, I had been to this church easily 20 years ago when my grandpa died. My Grandpa (who died of MS) as well as my great-grandpa and great-grandma (who died in the early 1950’s) are both buried here, as well as many close family ties over the years (even though many of us have been in the Richmond-metro area well over 50 years.

I had anticipated going up there and meeting a bunch of people I had never known but have a connection with and seeing what we can do, especially online. That did not end up being the case. While there was a WIDE range of ages there, it was funny that only a few people had an email address (heck, even some people wrote in the book ‘i don’t know what that is!’). I was hoping to get even more people on to a service like Geni.com, but oh well.

After eating there was a rather interesting (at least to me) talk from a family member, who published a book of the family in the early 1990’s. The day before celebrated the 300th anniversary of the death of the first ‘Lumpkin’ in the US, who was buried not to far from the church. We also learned about a few cool connections of our family to historic features like Carter Braxton and Patrick Henry. Carter Braxton not only lived in the same location as Jacob Lumpkin later on (Newington), but also had great-grandparents that were Lumpkins. Carter Braxton was one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence for VA. We also found out (though the details are rough), that a member of the Lumpkin family married Patrick Henry’s daughter, Anne.

After the talk, we ended up taking a walk through the graveyard mentioned above. My dad and his brothers and one of his sisters were talking about everyone they knew buried there, and connections to many of the families that were in this yard. It was actually fun trying to remember ‘wow, I was here 20 years ago, do I remember anything?’

I have uploaded the rest of the pictures to Flickr, so please check them out!

Listening To: ‘You’re the good things’ by Modest Mouse