Today we went to the 168th Annual Highland Games presented by the St. Andrew’s Society of Detroit. This is the first time that we have attended this event, having only recently become aware of it. I have watched Highland Games on TV before, but despite trying on numerous occasions to attend the Renaissance Festival on Highland Weekend, have never seen them in person until today. We got to watch some of all the heavy athletics, including the Caber Toss, which once you understand the rules of is very fun to watch! We also watched some of the Highland Dance competitions and wander through the Celtic market. Besides the games themselves, my favorite part of the day was listening to all of the pipe and drum music! There was a continuous rotation of four live bands in the band tent as well: Crossbow, The American Rogues, Stone Clover, and Albannach. The food was delicious as well. We tried some traditional Scottish scones, along with a traditional Scottish Meat Pie and even some haggis! Our haggis was served in a puff pastry and was very good. I will be on the lookout for places to try this again in the future!
After spending the day at the games we then went and tried some of Gus’s World Famous Fried Chicken. Honestly, I am typically not a fried chicken person. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy it, but I can honestly not ever remember a time where I craved it or it was my first choice for a meal. So when Melissa said she was craving it, I acquiesced and we discovered Gus’s. The chicken isn’t just your regular fried chicken, their special blend makes the chicken hot and spicy. I am a big fan of hot and spicy foods, and this may have been the best fried chicken I have ever had because of it. We also ate some fried green tomatoes, baked beans and macaroni and cheese; all of which was decent. I can see us returning here again in the future should the mood for fried chicken strike.
On the way to dinner we passed by the Blues Brews & BBQ festival that I had forgotten was also this weekend. So afterwards we went over their for a few hours as well. This event is a yearly festival that our city puts on that showcases local blues artists, local beers, and lots of great BBQ. Seeing as this year we had already spent the day out and had just come from dinner, we didn’t partake of any of the BBQ or Brews, though Melissa did manage to find the worst elephant ear I have ever tasted (it was baked, not fried). We simply found a nice shady spot to place our chairs and listened to almost 2 hours of blues music before finally heading home for the evening.
Overall it was a long day filled with lots of new things. We had a lot of fun and we will certainly consider attending these events in the years to come.
Melissa and I were able to celebrate our third anniversary today! The day started off with her picking up an additional 2.5 hour shift at work, which is always a fun way to celebrate. Afterwards though, we went to Emagine Theater to enjoy Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2, which was very enjoyable. Afterwards we took a trip down to Dundee to partake in a wine tasting and customer appreciation event at St. Julian’s, and to pick up our quarterly wine shipment. The event was a lot of fun, there was music and food provided by EJ’s Gourmet Street Cuisine. We had never had food from EJ’s before, but I can’t recommend them highly enough now! Their kielbasa and mac and cheese are hands down the best I’ve had, we may have to track them down in Ann Arbor to have it again! Once we finished at St. Julian’s we then went to Bed Bath and Beyond to get new dishes and a few other things; then we went home and relaxed with some television. While we didn’t do anything glamorous, we did enjoy having a day to spend together. I look forward to many more days with you Melissa. Happy Anniversary, I love you.
Happy third anniversary to my beautiful wife! Unfortunately we both worked over 12 hours today and didn’t get to celebrate, or even see each other much, it was still a good day with the time we did have. I am very grateful to have you in my life! This past year had it’s ups and downs, but we have come through stronger and we will continue to grow together for many more years to come. Thank you for all you do, for helping me to be a better person, and for loving me through it all. Here’s to many more years my love!
In the early 1990’s I was made aware of a percussion show like no other that I would follow off an on via television performances, and later video clips online, for over twenty years. The infusion of percussion, dance, and even comedy made it an ever-present member of my mental list of theatrical events that I hoped to someday see. That show is Stomp, and today that 20+ year-long item has been removed from the list! Today Melissa, Kylie, and I all went out to the Wharton Center and watched an amazing show like none other I have ever seen. The interaction with the audience and the comedy that stemmed from it is something that I completely did not expect, and added to the enjoy-ability of the show immensely. I am overjoyed that I was able to see this show, and even more so that it was so enjoyable for Melissa and Kylie as well. The Wharton Center is rapidly becoming one of my favorite venues as well because there is basically not a bad seat in the house. I highly recommend both the venue and this show to anyone that has the opportunity to partake in either.
Tonight is the annual Woodhaven Police Unity Tour fundraising party. The Police Unity Tour is an event that raises awareness for law enforcement officers who have lost their lives in the line of duty (more information on their website). My friend Nicole’s brother is a Woodhaven Police Officer who, with other officers, participates in this great event. Each year he throws a party to help raise funds that go towards various things ranging from donating to the families of officers in his community that have lost a family member, to helping to fund his participation in the tour, and the general donation to the tour. It’s a great cause and it is a really fun night. This will be the second year that we are attending, and I believe this is now officially a tradition as I do not see us not going to this event in the future. We are really looking forward to a fun night ahead of us!
Melissa and I are doing something tonight that we haven’t done in all our years together, we are going to our friends house for New Year’s Eve. We typically go out for dinner and maybe a movie but are then home for the turning of the new year. Spending the evening together has been our tradition since our first New Year’s Eve and is something we typically enjoy. However, this year, our friends Alex and Nicole have asked us to join them at their new house for a small gathering and one of our fun-filled game nights! We are looking forward to spending the New Year’s with good friends and good fun. We will stay the night there seeing as they now live a bit further away and we will have a late night and probably a few adult beverages. We hope everyone has a safe and happy New Years!
Today we joined our friends Alex and Nicole at the Detroit Institute of Arts to view their Dia De Los Muertos exhibit. Despite living in the area for over 16 years now, this was my first trip to the DIA. In all truthfulness it’s because I am typically not interested in most art museums, if I am going to go to a museum I would rather go to a Natural History museum. That being said, the DIA might have changed that. I really enjoyed the Dia De Los Muertos exhibit and the rest of the exhibits that were on display. Considering we now live in the county and part of our taxes go towards the museum and afford us free access, I think we will try to work in a visit on a more regular basis, meaning more than once every 16 years! Melissa and Kylie also both really enjoyed the visit and, I think, if we were to have gone on our own we would have stayed longer than we actually did. However, we decided to leave when Alex and Nicole did so we could to their house for some lunch and let the kids hang out and do other activities. I am looking forward to when we next have an opportunity to go back to the DIA.
Tonight we reached a milestone as homeowners that I always assumed would come later into our ownership; but considering everything else we have already done on this house I guess I shouldn’t be surprised; we closed on our refinanced mortgage. I thought this was typically something people did after 5 or more years, but we are just shy of 2 years into our mortgage. Still, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity. We ended up with a very similar rate, and a monthly payment that is about $20 more a month than we had previously. So why did we refinance then? A couple of reasons:
We have put a lot of work into the house namely the new roof, windows, and HVAC
The market has changed and we were pretty sure our house value had risen
And this is the big one, we shaved three years off the backend of the mortgage which will save us almost $30,000 over the life of the mortgage.
Previously we were in a fixed rate 30 year mortgage and had been in for almost 2 years, leaving us with 28 years to go, the new mortgage is a 25 year fixed rate thus eliminating 3 years and leading to the savings. The appraised value of our house did go up as well by almost $10,000 giving us more equity in the house which also means that our PMI will fall off sooner, adding additional savings. We also changed lenders, we moved from Wells Fargo to Quicken Loans and are extremely happy with the service, support, and communication they provided throughout the process. We are utterly satisfied with the outcome of this refinance in terms of the process itself and the end results. Additionally, we recommend Quicken Loans to anyone in an instant, they are outstanding to work with!
Today was the annual Secure-24 Company Picnic, and this year we had it at Heritage Park in Farmington Hills. It was the first time we have had it at this location and it was a nice change. I feel like this location was more family friendly in terms of the playground for the kids. I know Kylie enjoyed this park over the previous ones. Additionally there was more shade available at this location than at the previous sites. Though we didn’t have much need for shade most of the day due to the light rain in the morning and then the general overcast later in the day. Despite the weather not being the greatest it was still a very nice day and as the weather broke the turnout increased, though it was still less than previous years. I have no doubt that if the weather had been nicer there would have been more people in attendance. I think my favorite moment was watching Kylie participate in the watermelon eating contest! I hope they have the picnic here again next year and that the weather is better. Regardless, I think I will be back in the spring to explore more as there are hiking trails and other activities available.
The summer of camping continued this week as we spent the last few days with our great friends Alex, Nicole, and Kira camping at the Metamora-Hadley Recreation Area. This is the same area that we camped at last year for a short weekend and what spurred all of this years, and hopefully many more years’, camping trips. It was a good five days of canoeing, fishing, swimming, and general camp fun! The weather wasn’t as hot as our time in Jellystone last month, but I contribute the vast amount of trees here to helping with keeping the temperatures much more comfortable. We did have a persistent raccoon visitor this year that made the evenings a little more adventurous. This little guy, on more than one occasion, came right up to our table while we were sitting by the fire. It eventually became a fun little game for us to try to enjoy our adult conversations and still watch for his approach so we could shew him away before he got too near. I think we are all already looking forward to next year’s trip!